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louisiana2012: This feels impossible


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I'm 30 years old, a single, successful careerwoman who came from a great family. I started my own consulting business in July and have been incredibly blessed - it's going better than I could have imagined.


In the transition of starting my business money is tight and my insurance was obviously effected. At the same time I met (what I thought was?) the love of my life and had literally never been happier. We fell in love quickly and were anticipating a possible wedding next year - if after the 6-8 month mark we were similarly rolling along happily. I have been in love before but this was a very different experience. I told my sister in law that this was the first person that had ever made me feel so accepted and understood that it was 'like I wasn't alone in the world anymore.'


I thought I had the tools and the foundation to get off of my medications after wanting to do so for years.


I started occasional therapy with I was 11 after the violent death of a family member. I believe I was 12 when I was first prescribed a medication. I can't recall what it was, but on and off until I was probably 20, I tried them all. Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Effexor, Paxil, several I can't even remember, and most recently Zoloft. This past stint has been about 5 and a half years - Zoloft 150mg. Yes I have a somewhat extensive family history of mental health issues - mostly depression/ anxiety. My mom is the product of an alcoholic home so she's struggled her whole life and she will NEVER not take medication. She's resigned to that. She also requires serious medication to sleep properly. My father has never taken anything that I'm aware of, but admits that there were times in his life he probably could have for a while. Of course my two older brothers in my very southern family are pretty traditional in the 'no shrinks no pills' mindset. But the've never suffered from the ongoing bouts that I have. I have a very close family. We are not perfect by any means, but there is a LOT of love and we genuinely enjoy being together.


I have never been 100% comfortable with taking these pills. I did it because at times the anxiety and depression were too much for me to deal with alone (while almost always using therapy). For me sometimes the alternative would be a few weeks of basically not functioning. Which doesn't fly well with bosses. On some occasions I made a conscious choice to do it feeling that I needed the stability it provides because who has time to take a few weeks off to feel miserable? Other times, I felt like I had to take something for the sake of those around me. I've often felt like a monster who needed to be tethered to a wall. My parents are remarkable people but I'm not sure they knew what to do with a child/teenager so dramatic. In college I think I just continued to take it without much thought. When I was 21 I chose to get off, and for the first time in my life to that point it seemed, I had a therapist who looked at me and said "there's nothing wrong with you - you don't need this." It was a revelation. And I "survived" about 3 years without it. At the time I was away from my hometown in college, then I moved even further away from my hometown for a few more years. I recall nothing out of the ordinary for a young woman - no extensive, debilitating depressions or anxiety. I will always be a passionate and emotional person, but my close friends and family seem to value that in me and I've always had several outlets. It was only on occasion that it seemed my emotions were out of control.


All that said, it can feel like you're giving up your true self to be on this stuff. I have often felt that I'm not sure what the real me looks like, and I dislike that idea very much.


In 2006, the year after Katrina hit Louisiana, I came home because I felt called. But within about 6/8 months the transition proved so stressful and my anxiety was through the roof. Trying to start my career, being back in a town where it seems everyone knew me and every step I took was reported directly back to my family, and feeling like I was being treated like a teenager by prospective employers/colleagues and those in town who had known me before my 6 year absence - it was a lot for me at the time. I agreed to try a medication - but for me it's never been that easy. I had to go through 2 or 3 before I landed on Zoloft and didn't have terrible side effects. My dosage started at 50mg, then went to 100, then eventually 150. Again, this dosage seemed so high to me but I felt calm and decided it was worth it to not feel like those around me wanted to run and hide. A lot of people report feeling numb - I'm not sure numb is the right word for me. But level, maybe.


I must also note here that I have always struggled with psychiatrists. Not my BCSW or LCSW therapists - just the docs with the prescription pads. They seem to care very little, charge a fortune, and they never agree with each other. Every time I try to find a new one that I'm comfortable with, they have completely different takes and diagnoses than the last. They rush you in and out for your 15 minute appointments callously, and in the meantime you have to relive the traumas of your life over and over again. Most of them are so strange or nutty that I feel like I'm looking for cooking advice from an anorexic. So for the past few years anyway, as I felt fairly comfortable with the medication - or at least the leveled feeling it provided (minus the side effects of night sweats, weight gain, etc etc) - my father, a physician, agreed to extend the scrips as I needed because the 'psychiatrist scramble' was so defeating, almost violating.


Fast forward another 5 years and I will be the first to say I have a great life. I finally got to go to work for myself and it's been a much easier transition that I could have dreamed. I'm still getting over the money hill, but in a few months if things continue this way I will be on solid ground.


Some people would say I'm crazy for choosing this time to try to break this addiction. But to me, no time was ever right. So why not just take it on and power through?


I weaned off the meds over about 4 weeks. (This is not my first rodeo.) In the 2-3 weeks since that I have slowly fought through the dizziness, the rage-like moments, the nausea, the crying and sadness, and the overwhelming fatigue. (If this stuff makes you so damn tired while you're on it, how in the hell does it also make you so exhausted when you're off it?!!) It has been brutal, and it's such a private battle. I only told my boyfriend (to ask for his support) and one friend. I don't feel comfortable telling my parents, because every time in the past that I've even brought up stopping, they react very strongly. (Again - as if to say , 'please don't release the beast.) But of course it's hard to cover up this withdrawal and there are several people who are close to me that have expressed concern for my well being lately. "Are you okay? You seem so down?" "What's wrong?" or "Where have you been lately??" I am admittedly hiding out a lot - I work from home as much as possible. I stopped going for my usual beers or to my weekly running club lately - partially because I don't feel well, but also because I can barely control my emotions and I'm genuinely afraid to be in public.


The purely physical stuff is mostly over I think. But the emotional roller coaster I am trapped on is enough to make me give up. The man that, just a few months ago I felt sure I would marry and he felt the same way, now seems to be keeping me at arm's length as best he can. I have serious doubts that we can survive this. And it just keeps going on and on. I had been told that it took 6 to 8 weeks to get this out of your system. I think I'm just about there but my crying, anger, frustration, feelings of being overwhelmed, and near self-hatred are consuming me. Now I wonder whether the medication (or rather its chilling effect on me) was the only reason that this man loved me (or Me Lite as I like to call it) or if this is truly wreaking the havoc on me that is causing the problem. And of course it's effecting my friendships also. Being snappy and melancholy, or just hiding out, doesn't exactly bring folks to your door. As for the family that I'm very close to - I'm generally avoiding them as much as possible also. If I let them see what a mess I am they will push me back to the meds before I can try to get through it.


I feel like I'm rambling. That's another issue - my focus is very effected. Amazingly I am still able to stay focused enough on work to continue to do well, but privately it is a struggle. Faking confidence, especially in my own abilities, has been a lifelong talent. As people keep buying what I'm selling - thank heavens.


Now that I've gotten to the end of this tale I'm not sure what my question is except - how long? Have I made a huge mistake? Who are these people who say it takes them years to fully get through the withdrawal? How is that possible?


My head tells me that I'm too young and my life is far too wonderful to feel so incredibly overwhelmed. But I still do at times. And I still think that maybe not being alive is easier than this - how can that be true?


I'm not okay with resigning myself to the fate that my mother has - that I will have to live on medication for the rest of my life to be 'normal.' How is that normal? How is that authentic? How is that what God intends?


I hope desperately that a few of you will take the time to read through this silly diatribe and offer some experience or encouragement. My profound thanks in advance for those who do. Keep in mind I'm painfully fragile these days, so if you intend to tell me I'm a whiney idiot, please do so gently. ;)

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  • Administrator

Hi Louisiana2012


That is a very detailed post and I hope it made you feel better to share this information :) .


I see where you tapered off of Zoloft 150 mg in just 4 weeks. It looks like you've just been off for 2-3 weeks. The symptoms you describe are classic withdrawal symptoms ... avoiding friends and family is a withdrawal symptom ... rage, nausea, crying, sadness and overwhelming fatigue are all withdrawal symptoms. I would hate to see you end a promising relationship over withdrawals, too.


You tapered off too quickly. You may have done this in the past successfully, but over time these drugs sensitize our nervous system. If I were in your situations, I would reinstate a small dose and see if that alleviates your withdrawal symptoms ... I might suggest just trying 25 mg to see if you feel a difference. From there you can monitor it and go up or down, but give it about 4-5 days to see if it helps.


After you have stabilized you can try to taper off of that dose of Zoloft http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/page__view__findpost__p__13380__hl__zoloft__fromsearch__1


Please post your medication withdrawal history in your signature when you get a moment http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/. It will help us respond to your updates and questions.



2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg; 12/17 - 75mg; 8/17 - 45 mg; 10/16 40 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 ; 10/16 40mg;

1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor

I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Louisiana,


You are by no means a Whiney idiot and even though your have been through this before, I agree with Kama, you've gone too fast


Your nervous system is telling you it's not coping and hasn't adjusted to the withdrawal of the drugs. This doesnt mean that you need thedrugs, just that you have destabalsed it through withdrawal As kama said if your system is highly sensitive to changes , you have to take time and do it in small reduction. Our systems become sensitised when we go cold turkey or too fast (sometimes to change meds), then then next time we withdraw the medication our nervous system reacts very strongly. Most of us have found that we have to taper very slowly to avoid withdrawal. I have been tapering since Januarynthis year


I also agree with Kamas recommendations


Please take time to read the material Kama provided links for and feel free to ask any questions



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Please note that I started typing this before Karma and dalsaan made their posts, so I may be repeating their advice.


Welcome to the forum, louisiana2012. I'm not going to tell you you're a whiny idiot because most of the members here have suffered similarly from abruptly ending their pyschiatric drug use, myself included. The main reason for the creation of this forum is that these drugs are so very difficult to discontinue and that the medical profession is largely ignorant of how debilitating withdrawal can be for many people. You'll find lots of friendly, gentle support here.


What you've done by tapering so fast (yes, four weeks is VERY fast) is seriously destabilize your nervous system. Whoever told you it would all be over in six to eight weeks was shooting in the dark. Many of us here have been going through withdrawal for months to years. I took Pristiq 50 mg. for five months and then Lexapro 10 mg. for nine months, then tapered off of Lexapro over three and a half months and still went through a lengthy and painful withdrawal, beginning December 14, 2011. I'm still not quite over it today as I still have some emotional numbness and seem to feel sad very readily.


For safety's sake, you might want to go back on a low dose of Zoloft - enough to resolve your withdrawal symptoms - and then taper off very, very slowly. Since you've only been off the drug for a few weeks, you stand a good chance of reinstating with no problems. Here's a topic specifically on tapering off of Zoloft http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/page__p__13380__hl__zoloft__fromsearch__1#entry13380 and I'd recommend that you read as much as you can stand in the Tapering forum as well http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/14-tapering/. Please don't delay looking into and considering this. Letting things go for a few more weeks could mean the difference between a relatively painless but lengthy taper, and a harsh, drawn-out withdrawal period. One of the paradoxes of psychiatric drug withdrawal is that the faster you go off the drug, the slower the recovery.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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  • Administrator

I can't add much to the excellent comments by Karma, Dalsaan, and Jemima.


I'd suggest perhaps starting at 12.5mg Zoloft, as soon as possible. If it works, you might not need to go to 25mg.

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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