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Beneficial: My case History: More than 15 years on SSRIs and now off!


Beneficial

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Hello to everyone. I apologize in advance if my story gets long.
 

I caught typhoid fever in year 2000. I was freshman in an Engineering College at that time. Recovered from typhoid in about two weeks but it left me with dizziness/vertigo. Over the next 12 months, my physician prescribed me few lab investigations but nothing could be found. He gave me few generic medicines ( I don’t remember the names of those but these were not antidepressants. Perhaps these were some vitamins). In 2001, one of my friends suggested me that I should visit a psychiatrist. I still remember it was September 2001. If it was a never-to-be forgettable time for World in general and American people in particular ( due to 9/11 terrorist attacks), and it became an unforgettable month for me as well as I started antidepressant drug (20mg Prozac) in this month for the first time in my life. During the first two months, I felt sleepy all the time. Afterwards, I started feeling lot of energy and there was no dizziness. After 6 months into Prozac, I started developing maniac feelings. My Psychiatrist then added a mood-stabilizer ( Epival also known as Valproic Acid) to Prozac. Over the next month or so, my maniac feelings came under control but I started developing severe headache. That was the time when I started to say good bye to antidepressants and seek some alternative treatment. I stopped antidepressants in May 2002 cold-turkey and started feeling electric zaps and severe headache. I took homeopathic treatment for 6 months to manage my withdrawal symptoms. My next two years (2003 and 2004) were drug-free. During these years, I still had some residual effects of Prozac and Epival. I graduated with my BS Engineering in 2003 with CGPA of 2.8. I was a top student till the end of my freshman (I could have easily achieved A grade) but my grades suffered over the next three years due to antidepressants that affected my brain and general well being.

 

In 2005, I started feeling anxiety symptoms and they soon converted into a full-blown panic attack in November 2005 when I got hospitalized for two weeks. The physician referred me to a Psychiatrist who then prescribed me Paxil (20 mg) along with 1 mg of Ativan. The latter was discontinued after about one month, though. Paxil didn’t give me drowsy feelings ( as was the case with Prozac). It also managed my anxiety and panic attacks very well. However, it gave me a different set of side effects, namely contraction of facial and forehead muscles, constipation, and lack of sexual desire. After getting married in 2008, I stopped Paxil  in April 2008 by tapering it from 20 mg to 0 mg over a period of two months. Over the next four months, I took homeopathic remedy to manage withdrawal symptoms. However, this time around I couldn’t manage my withdrawal and had to reinstate Paxil (20mg) after another severe panic attack in August 2008. I lived with good and bad effects of Paxil over the next 7 years.
 

In August 2015, I earned my MS degree with a CGPA of 3.30 and stopped Paxil by tapering it off over a period of four months. To manage my withdrawal symptoms, I again took homeopathic remedy but to no avail. I had to reinstate Paxil (20 mg) in December 2015 after another full-blown panic attack. From December 2017, I started feeling that Paxil was no more effective for me as, though my anxiety symptoms remained in check, I developed depression. So, my psychiatrist stopped Paxil cold-turkey in April 2018 and started 10mg of Trintellix ( vortioxetine), stating that this was the best ( and the latest) antidepressant on the market. This medicine was very difficult for me to tolerate as it gave me great nausea. Even though my depression improved with this drug but my anxiety started worsening. On my insistence, my Psychiatrist stopped Trintellix in August 2018 and started 10 mg of Lexapro along with 50 mg of Lamictal. I kept this set of medications till July 2020 when I graduated with my PhD degree. 
 

Since my education was complete and my social circumstances had eased out to a good extent after the completion of my PhD degree, so I vowed to myself that I would quit antidepressants once and for all. To this end, I applied for a federal government job based on my PhD degree. I knew that, in order to cope with my withdrawal symptoms, I had

 to do a less stressful job and government jobs perfectly fit into this category. Furthermore, I decided to do a slow taper. So, I took next 7 months to taper off both Lexapro and Lamictal from 10 mg and 50 mg, respectively, to 0 mg. February 03, 2021 was the last day when I took any antidepressant. Since July 2020, I have been taking supplements ( Vitamin D3, Magnesium, Melatonin,and Lithium Orotate). I have also improved my nutrition. In order to cope with panic attacks, I use homeopathic remedy ( Aconitum 10M) as per need only. My healing from antidepressants got a setback in April 2021 when I contracted COVID-19. However, I didn’t reinstate antidepressants. Instead, I fought with COVID-19 with the help of Almighty God, and good nutrition. Currently, I feel that I am 50% healed from the dreadful effects of antidepressants. I  will write another post when I am 100% healed. 
 

Thanks for taking time to read my long post! 

 

 

Edited by Beneficial
Changed my healing percentage

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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  • Altostrata changed the title to Beneficial My case History: More than 15 years on SSRIs and now off!
  • Administrator

Welcome, @Beneficial

 

Thank you for adding your voice to our community. You had great fortitude through your long struggle with antidepressants. What are your residual symptoms?

 

Are you also recovering from covid-19?

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please summarize your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator

Hello Beneficial, and welcome to SA.  I admire your strength and determination to get off of these psychiatric medications.  That is a very big accomplishment.  Also, congratulations on getting your PhD and MS degrees!  This is also something to be very proud of.  I'm very happy to hear that you are 50% healed.  Healing from these drugs takes a lot of time and is very gradual.  This link will explain what to expect in terms of healing and recovery.  

 

How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take

 

Just FYI, the more we go on and off psychiatric drugs, the more likely we will have a difficult withdrawal in the future.  This is called kindling.  Just be aware of this for the future.  Here is more information about that.  

 

Kindling and Hypersensitivity

Edited by getofflex

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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On 8/30/2021 at 12:53 AM, Altostrata said:

Welcome, @Beneficial

 

Thank you for adding your voice to our community. You had great fortitude through your long struggle with antidepressants. What are your residual symptoms?

 

Are you also recovering from covid-19?

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please summarize your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

Thanks @Altostratafor maintaining this wonderful website. It has helped me in tolerating withdrawal symptoms and not revert back to Lexapro or Paxil. 

Currently, I am going through waves and windows pattern. I felt great from August 5-15 ( I felt that I was 95% cured) but then again I have started feeling moderately bad. My current symptoms are panic symptoms ( shortness of breath, palpitations, sweating palms, and dizziness). Sometimes, these symptoms are low in intensity but sometimes they are of moderate intensity. Basically, this is the shortness of breadth that triggers other panic symptoms. My symptoms get worse when I am at a crowded place. So, I avoid going to these places. 
 

As far as COVID-19 is concerned, I tested negative after 17 days of contracting it. 12 of those 17 days were like a hell. I did CBC, CRP, Lipid Profile, Vitamin D-3, Blood Sugar, TFT, and Chest X-rays twice after testing negative from COVID. On first occasion, some markers were off the normal range ( particularly HB, WBC, CRP). However, on second occasion, they were normal. Chest X-ray wasn’t good on first occasion. It was almost OK on 2nd occasion except few scars on my right lung. Doctor told me that it was due to COVID and that it would most probably heal at its own over next many months. I shed lot of head hair ( another post COVID effect) in June but they stopped completely since July. 
 

I am not sure if my current panic symptoms are due to post COVID effects, or due to withdrawal effects of Lexapro, or combination of both. 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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  • Moderator

Hello Beneficial.  I'm sorry that you had to go through COVID19 and WD at the same time, and that you are currently going through a wave with panic and anxiety.  I would venture to guess that the cause is probably a combination of COVID19 and WD.  We have a lot of good resources on here for panic and anxiety: 

 

Sudden Fear, Terror, Panic, Anxiety, etc from WD

 

Ways to Cope with Daily Anxiety

 

Links for Anxiety, Worry

 

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • Administrator

Yes, having had covid might have brought on some symptoms that will also need to resolve over time.

 

Many people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see

 

https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please summarize your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I have been taking Tri-Magnesium Complex with Vitamin E for the past month or so. 
 

https://getweyland.com/products/tri-magnesium-complex-with-vitamin-e?variant=31468025806918

 

I have been taking one capsule daily with lunch. It has benefited me with bowl movement. I don’t know if it has helped reduce anxiety. 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Beneficial: My case History: More than 15 years on SSRIs and now off!
  • 4 months later...

Exactly one year ago on this day, I took last dose of my anti-depressant. It was Lexapro which I took from 2018 to 2021. Before that it was Paxil from 2005 to 2018.  
 

Last one year has been very tough for me as far as my health is concerned. I was caught by COVID in April 2021 and then by Dengue in September 2021. I recovered from both but those two illnesses sapped my energies. On top of that I was (and still) going through protracted withdrawal symptoms of the two SSRIs that I had taken for about 15 years. I have been going through panic symptoms with full blown panic attacks every few days. Thank God, these panic attacks would end in 20-30 minutes without I being hospitalized. The ups and downs of my mental health are still ongoing. My biggest concern is tightness in chest and heart burn. I don’t know how much time it will take before I fully recover from this dreadful experience of antidepressants. I have been taking Fish oil, vitamin D3, and Magnesium regularly for last 7-8 months.   

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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  • Moderator

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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Thanks @getofflexfor your valuable suggestions! Can you or anybody else on this forum tell me if Silexan ( Lavender Oil) is an effective alternative remedy to cope withdrawal symptoms of antidepressant/anti-anxiety medicines?  I am talking about oral form of Silexan. Does Silexan itself has side-effects? 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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  • Moderator

I'm not familiar with Silexan.  I know that lavender essential oil is relaxing when used in aroma therapy, and can help sleep.  

 

Try searching the site for yourself:  How to Do a Site Search

 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • 3 months later...

Update about my health.

 

I took Lavender Essential Oil (80 mg tablet once daily at bedtime ) for 4 weeks in Jan/Feb 2022 to ease out my anxiety symptoms. Instead of improvement, I started feeling stiffness at the back of my neck. So, I stopped  taking Lavender. In addition to homeopathic remedy,  I have also been constantly taking, over past 12 months or so, Fish Oil and Vitamin D3. 
 

It’s been 16th month since I took the last dose of my antidepressant. It’s been an up and down (mostly down) journey since then. There are days when I feel very good. There are days when I feel very bad. There are days when I feel just OK. On few occasions ( 5 or 6 times over past 16 months), I had full-blown panic attacks. But, instead of going to hospital where doctors would have certainly put me again on antidepressants, I took 5 mg of Buspirone which calmed my nerves. I carry Buspirone with me all the time. 
 

My physical symptoms include pain in my lower back and tiredness in my spinal chord. If a psychiatrist says that this is relapse of depression/anxiety, I don’t agree with him. These are certainly withdrawal symptoms because I never had these symptoms before starting antidepressants. My other symptoms are occasional dizziness and blurred vision. I avoid going to crowded places and traveling in public transport as it kickstarts my anxiety attack. Another thing that I am currently going through is lack of interest in doing my office work. I don’t find energy to go for gym or for a brisk walk.  These feelings are not for 100% of the time but for 80% of the time, I would say. However, my bigger worry is anxiety, not depression. 
 

I will appreciate any advice that could help me in recovery from antidepressants. 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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Hello @Beneficial

Your story is impressive. I am sorry for your suffering.

I admire and respect your ability to succeed throughout your studies despite the antidepressant rollercoaster you have been on. 

 

You strike me as a brave, strong, capable person. You have come so far! I hope you give yourself credit for all your hard work. 

It sounds like you are doing a very good job of staying the course. 

 

Do you do any exercise? I ask because you mention:

 

10 hours ago, Beneficial said:

My physical symptoms include pain in my lower back and tiredness in my spinal chord.

 

Muscle aches and pains can of course be withdrawal-related. This does not necessarily exclude the possibility that lower back pain and "tiredness in (...) spinal cord" could also simply be related to prolonged inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle (which could of course, in turn, be related to withdrawal).

 

In withdrawal I have not been able to exercise as I did before -- as a result I have lost significant muscle mass and feel weaker overall. However when I am able to manage gentle exercise such as very gentle yoga or tai chi-like movement practice, it helps me feel better. I try to go for walks when I can. Physical activity is good for healing and supportive to brain and nervous system function. Keep it gentle, moderate, nothing too strenuous. If you haven't exercised in a long time, begin with a little at a time and gradually work your way up to longer sessions. 

Another thing to consider might be psoas release exercises. I am partial to Liz Koch and her core awareness method. You can find a variety of her offerings at her website and elsewhere online.  

Sarah Koenig also has some good videos

 

I'm just sharing a bit about what helps me. You know your body best. Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. 

 

11 hours ago, Beneficial said:

My other symptoms are occasional dizziness and blurred vision.

 

I had these for a while, too. They have resolved. It gets better!

Practicing acceptance and patience can help along the way. 

What are your favorite non-drug coping techniques

 

11 hours ago, Beneficial said:

Another thing that I am currently going through is lack of interest in doing my office work. I don’t find energy to go for gym or for a brisk walk

 

I hear you. It also struggle with avolition and feeling demotivated. This is normal for withdrawal. 

What has helped me is adjusting my expectations and thinking small. Even though I'm not able to go to the gym or for a brisk walk, I can do 5-10 minutes of gentle exercises at home, or go for a short walk around the block. Every little thing counts and facilitates healing. And all those little things eventually add up. 

 

11 hours ago, Beneficial said:

my bigger worry is anxiety

 

The main thing about anxiety is that the more one worries about it, the worse it gets. What would happen if you were to say: Oh hello there anxiety. And then just continue on with your day.

The more you can accept that the anxiety is there without reacting to it, the easier it will be for you to live with it. Eventually it will get better. In the meantime practice acceptance and not reacting, not attaching

 

Beneficial, you are doing such a great job navigating the significant challenges of withdrawal syndrome. I hope you can see how far you've come. Give yourself lots of credit!

Remember: IT GETS BETTER. Healing is happening all the time, even when we do not consciously feel it. You are well on your way! Hang in there. 

 

Best of luck to you on your healing journey,

A.

 

 

1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 1 tsp fish oil w/ morning meal; 2mg melatonin 9pm 

August 1, 2022 - 1 mg melatonin, approx. 10:30pm

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house

 

I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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@ArielThanks a lot for your wonderful response. I feel indebted! 
 

I haven’t exercised over past 16 months due to two reasons. I caught COVID-19 in April last year. Suffered from post-COVID symptoms over next 2 months or so. It is always very hot and humid here in July-August. So, no chance of exercise in these months. In October last year, just when I started feeling better, I caught Dengue fever. That again taxed my body and it took next 3 months to get some strength back.
 

As far as my academic and career achievements are concerned, I am thankful to God and my wife who supported me immensely in tough times. While I am largely satisfied with my achievements, I am somewhat disappointed too thinking that I could have matched or even surpassed many of my friends but couldn’t do so due to constant side effects of antidepressants. For example, my GPA hovered between 3.0 and 3.3 throughout my BS, MS, and PhD studies while my healthy friends stood between 3.7 and 4.0. Another thing. My healthy friends settled in USA, Canada, or UK after completing their MS or PhD studies while I had to come back to Pakistan because I couldn’t have tolerated the rigor of private-industry job in USA. One month before my PhD thesis defense ( that is, in June 2020), I started tapering both Lexapro and Lemortrigine. By the time I graduated in August 2020, I started feeling withdrawal symptoms. That was the time when I decided to leave USA and come back to join Federal Government of Pakistan. My observation is that Government jobs are always relaxed compared to Private jobs, no matter which part of the world you are in. I would have loved to join US Government but that required US citizenship.


Another thing. I have got back my sexual powers. Never ever have I felt so much sexually aroused over the 14 years of my married life as I have over past 16 months. So, it is absolutely clear to me that these antidepressants adversely affects sexual health. These should never be prescribed except to very limited number of people and that too for short time. No Psychiatrist in Pakistan ever told me to get out of these drugs even when my health was stable. No one informed me about the side effects of these drugs.
 

I once again thank you and others for reading my story and giving me valuable tips. 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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Hi @Beneficial

 

I'm sorry you have had some bad luck coming down with numerous illnesses in a short period of time. Getting sick while in withdrawal can be a challenge. For the body it is a stressful event and thus destabilizing.

 

It's good to hear you've been getting your strength back. The key is to increase exercise/movement gradually. Another member here, I think it was @JanCarol, once wrote in a post about aiming for 70% effort. That way you will be slowly improving without overly exerting yourself to the point of crashing. If you only do 50% you will not get the same improvement. I have taken this to heart and am trying to learn moderation. Turns out moderation is a practice. 

 

Another practice is acceptance...

2 hours ago, Beneficial said:

While I am largely satisfied with my achievements, I am somewhat disappointed too thinking that I could have matched or even surpassed many of my friends but couldn’t do so due to constant side effects of antidepressants. For example, my GPA hovered between 3.0 and 3.3 throughout my BS, MS, and PhD studies while my healthy friends stood between 3.7 and 4.0. Another thing. My healthy friends settled in USA, Canada, or UK after completing their MS or PhD studies while I had to come back to Pakistan because I couldn’t have tolerated the rigor of private-industry job in USA. One month before my PhD thesis defense ( that is, in June 2020), I started tapering both Lexapro and Lemortrigine. By the time I graduated in August 2020, I started feeling withdrawal symptoms.

...which I wonder whether you've experimented with?

 

The way I read you, you are sharing your feelings about your experience with withdrawal syndrome. It sounds like you are expressing an experience of loss, and as such it is only natural that you may have some grieving to do. A lot of us go through this as part of withdrawal. Many of us experience significant loss in various areas of our lives as a result of negative consequences and iatrogenic harm of psychiatric medication/treatment. The grieving process seems integral to the larger healing process, part and parcel of acknowledging, accepting, and moving on.

 

If at some point you feel like it could be helpful to your grieving/healing process to receive professional support, you might look into exploring counseling of some kind. I don't know what is available to you where you live, but if/when the time comes to look into that option, you can always post your thoughts about it here. 

 

That being said -- let yourself off the hook. What happened, happened. It's not your fault. You did the best you could with what you were dealt, and that's all any of us can ever really aspire to.

 

Don't get sucked into the monkey mind quicksand of shoulda coulda wouldas. If you feel yourself getting pulled under, revisit the topics on neuro-emotions, dealing with emotional spirals, non-drug coping techniques, acceptance, and any other goodies you might find. How about putting those scholarly smarts to work studying up on all the great self-help resources here on SA? You will build skills and develop tools that will serve you for the rest of your life. You may even have the satisfaction of lecturing others about what you have learned, providing unsolicited advice! It can be quite fulfilling. 

 

2 hours ago, Beneficial said:

Another thing. I have got back my sexual powers.

Congratulations! Sounds like fun. Enjoy!  

 

And thank you for sharing this. There are many members here who struggle with psychiatric-drug-related adverse effects to their sexual health and it causes much suffering. I'm sure people will be encouraged and fortified to hear of your successful recovery. If you feel like reaching out to offer support and hope, a place to start could be to post in the PSSD help topic.

 

Best of luck to you on your healing journey,

A. 

 

1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 1 tsp fish oil w/ morning meal; 2mg melatonin 9pm 

August 1, 2022 - 1 mg melatonin, approx. 10:30pm

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house

 

I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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Thank you very much @Arielfor your valuable pieces of advice. I will try my best to practice these as much as I could and will keep posting on SA whenever I feel noticeable change(s) in my recovery. I am also going to start CBT sessions from a professional Psychologist. 
 

God bless all! 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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On 5/22/2022 at 4:34 AM, Beneficial said:

Update about my health.

 

I took Lavender Essential Oil (80 mg tablet once daily at bedtime ) for 4 weeks in Jan/Feb 2022 to ease out my anxiety symptoms. Instead of improvement, I started feeling stiffness at the back of my neck. So, I stopped  taking Lavender. In addition to homeopathic remedy,  I have also been constantly taking, over past 12 months or so, Fish Oil and Vitamin D3. 
 

It’s been 16th month since I took the last dose of my antidepressant. It’s been an up and down (mostly down) journey since then. There are days when I feel very good. There are days when I feel very bad. There are days when I feel just OK. On few occasions ( 5 or 6 times over past 16 months), I had full-blown panic attacks. But, instead of going to hospital where doctors would have certainly put me again on antidepressants, I took 5 mg of Buspirone which calmed my nerves. I carry Buspirone with me all the time. 
 

My physical symptoms include pain in my lower back and tiredness in my spinal chord. If a psychiatrist says that this is relapse of depression/anxiety, I don’t agree with him. These are certainly withdrawal symptoms because I never had these symptoms before starting antidepressants. My other symptoms are occasional dizziness and blurred vision. I avoid going to crowded places and traveling in public transport as it kickstarts my anxiety attack. Another thing that I am currently going through is lack of interest in doing my office work. I don’t find energy to go for gym or for a brisk walk.  These feelings are not for 100% of the time but for 80% of the time, I would say. However, my bigger worry is anxiety, not depression. 
 

I will appreciate any advice that could help me in recovery from antidepressants. 

I've been off for a year and I still have this aching back pain that i never had before. I workout all the time and this is a huge issue for me I also have body aches still.

- 10 mg lexparo 1.5 years

- ativan for panic 0.5 , never more than once daily and not everyday 

Incorrectly tapered and now taking nothing since 6-10-21. 

Took buspar a few days and had severe muscle pain. July 26, 27, then 30.

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On 5/26/2022 at 6:10 AM, Foxclover6 said:

I've been off for a year and I still have this aching back pain that i never had before. I workout all the time and this is a huge issue for me I also have body aches still.

Hi @Foxclover6Do you also have fatigue in and around the whole length of your spinal chord? I am having this for the past 8-10 months. Didn’t have this particular symptom during the first 6 months after stopping antidepressants. I think it has to do with protracted withdrawal syndrome. 
 

 

September 2001-May 2002: Prozac 20mg.Stopped cold-turkey in May 2002. 
November 2005-April 2008: Paxil 20mg. Left Paxil in May 2008 after a taper off over two months.

August 2008-July 2010: Paxil 20mg 
August 2010-June 2015: Paxil 10mg. Tapered off to ZERO from 7/2015 to 9/2015 

December 2015-April 2018: Paxil 20mg. Left it cold-turkey

April 2018-July 2018:  Trintellix 10mg. Left it cold-turkey
August 2018-June 2020: Lexapro 10mg, Lemortrigine 50mg
July 2020- January 2021: Tapered off both Lexapro and Lemortrigine from 10mg and 50mg, respectively, to 0 mg both.  
Since February 3,  2021: Drug-Free

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On 5/27/2022 at 8:12 PM, Beneficial said:

Hi @Foxclover6Do you also have fatigue in and around the whole length of your spinal chord? I am having this for the past 8-10 months. Didn’t have this particular symptom during the first 6 months after stopping antidepressants. I think it has to do with protracted withdrawal syndrome. 
 

 

Yes I do and instability feeling ..weak and can't sit straight 

- 10 mg lexparo 1.5 years

- ativan for panic 0.5 , never more than once daily and not everyday 

Incorrectly tapered and now taking nothing since 6-10-21. 

Took buspar a few days and had severe muscle pain. July 26, 27, then 30.

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