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woosterthunkit: Happy person who just wants her life back :)


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Hi everyone! 


Hope you guys are keeping your chins up :) 


I finally took the time off work last July to diagnose and treat my PMDD. I'd have MDD since 18, diagnosed and on cymbalta at 27 and was working well on it until my PMDD developed. I remember cymbalta fixing me within 2 hours, and I cried because it had filled this struggle inside me that had hurt me for so long.


My PMDD symptoms developed and for a few years I honestly couldn't tell (neither could my...admittedly male GPs) whether my immune system sucked, low iron, or was just one of those people who was sick all the time. In my defense, I was also on birth control so I didn't have a period, so it wasn't until a female GP said, are you seriously telling me you get the same illness every month at the same time? It's 100% your cycle. 


So I was referred to the Women's Health Clinic, which had a wait list. All good, I live for my career and my friends and family, I had plenty to be busy about while I waited. 


Last July, I went to a male psychiatrist who lived near my place (cos PMDD makes me too weak to go far) to see what we could do about these likely related issues. I went from Cymbalta to Prozac, and toughed out 7 weeks before I told my psychiatrist I had to go off it, I was suffering too much and I wasn't improving and life was literally better on Cymbalta. At least on that I could work all the other times, and was only sick during my PMDD lows. This, I slept basically 14 hours a day every day and I barely left the house. I was so overwhelmed with sleep I would lie down on the floor of my living room or hallway. 


It's been 11 months. I haven't worked and I only leave the house sometimes. Luckily I got recommended this site by a redditor who saw my post (probably incorrectly) lambasting Prozac. I was shocked to the exact same language I'd used to describe my symptoms "1 step forward, 3 steps back" for eg, to be used in multiple other posts. The windows and waves analogy was exactly the same, the description of troughs were the same, the comforting words someone said "one day your window will be your last and it will be reality again" were exactly my instincts about this debacle. That it could take up to a year to recover (this part I can't testify because I haven't recovered yet) I fundamentally feel that I keep improving and getting worse but my body deep down knows how to recover and has been struggling to do so this whole time. I knew something had gone wrong, and it had been trying to right itself ever since. 


I'm shocked to see the information here and I'm somewhat relieved because my primary psychiatrist has felt guilty over my symptoms, which is one thing, but on top of that it has made him defensive. It is hard recovering from this, all the while describing your symptoms to someone with 20 years experience who keeps telling you they can't figure out what is wrong. I know dude, I know.


Between my windows and waves, I managed to file for disability insurance (I owe that person a box of chocolates cos I was utterly useless at getting back to her), and my insurance came through fast and without argument. My workplace didn't fire me, and tried to help with my rehab. I posted memes on my work page because I missed my job, my colleagues, friends, and doing the things I enjoyed. I was a creative person and I went to work to connect and create every day, and I missed the hell out of it. The last 3 weeks have been unusual in that I don't feel I've taken any steps backwards or forwards. It feels like a plateau. 


Now I've been prescribed mood stabilizers and I'm waiting for a script. I finally feel strong enough as well to take another chance on throwing my system into a loop, cos my previous experience with mood stabilizers was negative too. I never want to see my psychiatrist again after this is over. I will consult him about SSRI withdrawal but it does stress me out that after seeing him every month for a year, including emails and phone calls, that he has continued to wring his hands and say he can't figure what is wrong.  


Keen to keep reading this site and if my situation really is SSRI withdrawal. I really wish that the mood stabilizer does fix me but if not, I will continue to keep recovering myself. 


Have a hopefully nice day xx



Edited by Gridley

Current: Ovulation suppression birth control Zoely, 60mg Duloxetine 

July-August 2021: 12.5mg 1 week, 25mg 2 weeks, 50mg 2 weeks, 75mg 1 day Lamotrigine 

September 2020: Tapered on Prozac, went back on 30mg Duloxetine 

July- September 2020: Tapering off 60mg Duloxetine, halving every 2 weeks. Went on Prozac, up from 10 to 20 to 40mg. I frankly don't remember the specifics of Prozac because I went through 7 weeks on it while withdrawing from Duloxetine and my memory is very bad from that period of time 

2014 -July 2020: 30mg Duloxetine for 4 years, 60mg for 2 years 

Previous to this was largely unmedicated but tried Zyprexa, Lithium, Ritalin briefly, all under different psychiatrists because I moved around alot 



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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, woosterthunkit.


To start:


To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.


Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


We are a site for going off psychiatric drugs and helping members cope with withdrawal.  Sometimes this means tapering slowly all the way off the drug(s) and sometimes it means reducing your drug burden to a lower dose, whatever works for you.  It has been our experience that the vast majority of doctors, whether psychiatrists or G.P.'s, know nothing about withdrawal or safe tapering.  That's the reason your doctor can't figure out what is wrong.  That's the reason this site exists.  We don't recommend adding new drugs to deal with withdrawal from previous drugs.  That's puts you on what we call the drug merry-go-round, as doctors throw drug after drug at you, hoping that somehow something will work.  We don't recommend taking a new drug to try to deal with withdrawal from a previous drug.  Withdrawal is the elephant in the room that doctors don't know exists, resulting in misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis.


I'm going to give you some links that will give you a good idea of the recommendations from this site.  Please take your time going through them.  It's a lot of information.


When a person wants to go off a psychiatric drug, we recommend tapering no faster than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  This schedule is much slower than doctors generally recommend, but we have found it is safe and effective.  We take a harm-reduction approach, which translates to "better safe than sorry."


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


You mentioned withdrawal.  Here is some information on psychiatric drug withdrawal and the healing process.





When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  


These explain the healing process really well.




We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 




Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).


This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.








Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • Gridley changed the title to woosterthunkit: Happy person who just wants her life back :)

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