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Locut0s: off medication again after years - feeling scared


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Posted (edited)

Original topic title before shortening:  Off medication again after years. Feeling kind of scared at the feelings that are here now.

 

I've been on and off SSRIs for many many years. To be honest I'd need to dig through records to know just how many but it must be a good 15 years or more now. Most of this time I was on, with the occasional period where I would taper off. I typically would do ok for some period of time then hit  a road block in life and go back on

 

I think over the years I've gone from a belief that I needed the medication to a belief that at least it helped supported me to now more of a belief that it's part of the cycle of my whole struggle. I had a very unhappy childhood and my solution to most of life was to isolate, live in my head, numb myself, deny and run from problems. I can see next to no strong correlation between the times I was at my best and worst and when I was on and off medication. I chose to be an alcoholic for many years while still taking medication for example and have been sober for 3 or 4 years now. What I will say is that I do believe that medication does act to dull my emotions but long term I'm seeing this more as a bandaid over a wound that I'm not addressing the trying to heal. I've done a LOT of self work over the past 7 to 8 years and I believe I've made a lot of progress in that time. One of the most transformative changes has been taking up a very dedicated meditation routine. 

 

I've now been off Prozac, the last medication I was on for a while, for well over a month from the time I last took my last tapered dose. I tapered from it over a period of several months. I never felt a lot of bad physical withdrawal but I did notice some pronounced mood swings. Those seem to have settled more but what I feel left with is quite a prolonged period of nervous system activation. A persistent sense of wrongness, doom etc. I suspect though this is even more connected with recent experiences I've had with someone that my brain has labeled a dates lol. I laugh because I don't know if we just have a friendship or if it's something more. But intimacy in general has often been one of my huge triggers for emotional struggle. So I think the panicked mood I'm in is to be expected even without the change in medication. 

 

I'm wondering though if others have experienced resurgences in fear, depression etc. I think the difficulty is that the societal narrative is such that this is taken as diffinitive proof that I need to be on them for good. I have a couple of friends who have said they thing I'm sabotaging myself and it can be difficult for me to know if that's what I'm doing or not. I would like to say that I want to learn to live without medication and that it's likely that the feelings I'm having are a natural result of both just going off them but also moving through this world with unhealed trauma, pain, attachment wounds and much else. We seem to be living in a society for so long where that simply = medicate. But I'd really like to learn to build the skills and muscles to lift these heavy and painful weights. Does that mean though that I should or should not go back on medication while I work on things I don't know and find myself rather lost with. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
shortened title

2002 - 2016 jumbled mix of many medications off and on over spotty periods.

 

2016-2022 Prozac 10 MG (occasionally off)

 

2022 (Feb) to present tapering off

 

Currently on extremely small dose <0.5 MG likely. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Locut0s: Off medication again after years. Feeling kind of scared at the feelings that are here now.
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Locut0s: off medication again after years - feeling scared
  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

Dear @Locut0s

welcome to SA. I am sorry you are struggling with life after coming off of the medications with a fast taper. The resultant activation is very likely a symptom of withdrawal. Many of us feel extra anxiety, hypervigilance, insomnia, intrusive thoughts, dread. It is likely that right now you are not yet feeling the full effects of the withdrawal as prozac is known to stay in the body for a long time after you stop taking it and as such its withdrawal effects are often confused as 'return of the original condition'. Withdrawal symptom after a long period of taking these drugs and switching multiple drugs and/or tapering fast from them can be hard and go on for a long time period (months and more likely years). We can't predict how long it will take for any individual or how severe it can get. One option for you is to reinstate your drug (at a lower dose) before the symptoms get bad and then lower your dose at no more than 10% of your previous dose every month. If you can please tell us about your drug history, we can advise better. Here is how to do it. 

How to List Drug History in Signature - Introductions and updates - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Here is the general advice on reinstatement. Have a look and see how you feel about reinstating a small dose. Small doses are very potent -see the SERT studies below. We can help decide if you have question once you fill in your drug signature. 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

 

This is what you can expect during withdrawal: 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

What is happening in your brain? - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

I am glad that you are addressing deep seated trauma - many of us come from very traumatic childhoods and end up being retraumatized by psychiatry. There are now more effective therapies to heal trauma - if you haven't yet read it I highly recommend the book The Body Keeps The Score by Bassel van der Kolk. I personally have benefitted from EMDR and IFS therapy though trauma therapy can be difficult and may not be the best thing during withdrawal unless you are so triggered there is no other way (which is the case for me and for a few other people here). If you decide to do trauma therapy, please find a therapist who is trained in those and trauma aware so that they know how to keep you safe. 

 

This video explains antidepressant withdrawal quite well. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSjYH044-2Q

 

Welcome again to our community. We will help you come off of your drugs in the safest way possible and you can find kindred souls here who can support you on that journey! 
 

OMW

 

Edited by Onmyway

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I reinstated an extremely small dose of Prozac after continuing to struggle and for a bit that does seem to have helped. I have these 20mg capsules and basically I've been opening them and emptying them until there's almost just dust in them lol. That did seem to reduce some of the worst of the doom feelings. I've noticed though that in situations where I would have been activated in the past anyway that I'm still really badly triggered and on edge right now. For me these are social situations regarding romance or intimacy or the perception of that, areas where I need to work on my mental health and attachment wounds etc. 

 

It's difficult to know if this is the withdrawal still or just how I normally am and need to do nervous system work here. I'm doing better than I used to with sitting with these feelings and continuing with my life as I normally would. But it's on the edge of bareable right now. I'm fine if nothing activates me lol, but if a social trigger comes along I'm just crawling to get out of my skin. I feel like I CAN sit with this... it's just a fear if it could get worse or not. The good news is that I haven't gone back on a significant dose so I assume my nervous system is adapting to things?

 

Are there ways to measure small doses for something like Prozac? Prozac comes in capsules so it's not easy to easily measure. 

2002 - 2016 jumbled mix of many medications off and on over spotty periods.

 

2016-2022 Prozac 10 MG (occasionally off)

 

2022 (Feb) to present tapering off

 

Currently on extremely small dose <0.5 MG likely. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
1 hour ago, Locut0s said:

Are there ways to measure small doses for something like Prozac? Prozac comes in capsules so it's not easy to easily measure. 

 

You can make your own liquid from the capsule contents.  See Post #1 of this topic:

 

Tips for tapering off fluoxetine (Prozac)

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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