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Clank: Sertraline taken away the girl I love


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Hi all,


New member here. First off, I'd like to apologise in advance if this is considered inappropriate in any way; I hope it's not, and I'm in the right place, but I'm at my wit's end and I just need to find someone, somewhere I can talk about this stuff...


Second off - I apologise if this is long, or rambles... there is an actual question at the end honest :-).


Third off, before I get to the point, I should mention that although this story isn't really about me, my background with mental health experiences obviously colours my views: I'm from a single parent family, and my mother attempted suicide several times when I was young; she went through the years of changing diagnoses at the hands of the NHS; the most stable diagnosis for the last few years has been Borderline Personality Disorder alongside Bipolar Disorder; her drugs regimen has changed more times than I can remember (and, as is the nature of bipolar is not terribly stable now,) but suffice to say I have grown up seeing many of the horrors that psychiatric medicine can unleash over the years, but I can also understand the good it can do and have seen the positive effects.


Anyway, this post is not about my mother, or even me, it's about my partner.



My partner was, is I hope, the most wonderful girl in the world. We fell head over heels in love three years ago, and until recently i still felt we were... She was always 'high maintenance' (and once a month *incredibly* high maintenance, lol,) but then I guess I am a bit too - we're both emotional people, boy could we argue, but we argued to make up half the time lol, and the making up was... fantastic. Even after two years, it was like falling in love again every time we met. She is the best thing that ever happened to me.


Anyway, she was very close to her dad, who sadly passed away a bit over a year ago, following a long and very traumatic illness (he was only in his 50s.) I did my best to support her through the illness and after his death, but it wasn't easy, she took it badly but her mother took it worse, so there was a hell of a lot of pressure. Things like losing her job (and then me losing mine) didn't help, but we got through it; up until nearing the first anniversary of his death.


She was struggling, so she went to her GP; I hoped he might refer her for counselling... But instead she came back with a prescription for Sertraline. "Just to take the edge off," she said... Naturally, I felt like a failure, but also terrified, I've seen what withdrawal can do and what dependency looks like with my mother... I also thought the doc should never have prescribed them, that grieving after such a torrid time is natural, not a medical condition.


But I also thought it wasn't my job to argue with a doctor - after blaming myself for my mother's condition half my childhood i could hardly intervene and stop her taking them and then blame myself forever if she did something terrible - so i decided to just be as supportive as i can be.



Things were going ok for a couple of months, not brilliant but ok, side effects not too bad; then she went back to the GP for a followup. Based on scores on a questionnaire, he declared that the drugs were 'working' but not 'fast enough', so he doubled her dose, from 50mg/day to 100mg.


Since then, I've lost the love of my life.


She looks the same, but... it feels like she's been scooped out inside, replaced with one of the Stepford Wives; she doesn't get sad any more, ever... But she doesn't feel anything any more. She seems incapable of expressing emotion, love at all... I don't mean sex, I was expecting those problems, and I was ready to support her and cope with that, but i mean any kind of tenderness or affection or emotion at all.


She sometimes remembers to say the right words, but it's like the light has gone out of her eyes.


It's killing me... I don't want to sound pathetic, but I want to be loved too, I need some kind of emotional support, I've done, I am doing everything I can to support her because I love her - or at least, I pray the girl I love is still in there - but I am getting nothing back and now it's driving me into depression and I don't know if there's any light at the end of the tunnel. She doesn't laugh, smile, feel anything at all any more.


What scares me most of all is that she might be gone for good?



Will I ever get her back? If she ever comes off these wretched drugs, will my girlfriend come back, or is she gone forever?


And how long will it take? I understand the need for tapering, taking it slowly, i've got to support her and take her through that when the time comes, but how long will it take to get her back?




I'm terrified I've lost her.


I'm so sorry if this came over as a whinge or a moan... I've just got no one i can talk to who will understand, and I so need to get this off my chest...

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Clank, I moved your topic to the Intro section since it's your first post telling us about your problems with antidepressants. Please continue to post here by coming back to this thread and clicking on "Add Reply" at the bottom of the page.


Most people on this forum will agree that your partner should never have been drugged up for normal grief and definitely not at a high dose or for a year. Unfortunately this sort of thing happens a lot.


Are you able to talk with her about getting off the drugs? Is she at all aware of how she's changed?


Yes, she's still in there and not gone forever, but it will take a while to get off the antidepressant and probably a while longer for her "self" to come back. Normal emotions seem to be the last thing to return after getting off the drugs. There's lots of information here on how to taper off of antidepressants (see the Tapering discussion) and what to do about withdrawal symptoms (see Symptoms and what helps).


I'm sorry that drugs have so messed up your wonderful relationship. Welcome to the forum. You've come to the right place.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Clank

Welcome to the forums, I knew straight away you were from the UK from the "sertraline" in your heading. I was on sertraline for quite a few years, I can relate to most of what you've written. You can learn a lot yourself from these forums and in particular the tapering section, but I guess your partner has got to reach that place where she wants to do something about it herself.

Have you tried talking to her about it?

It's appalling that these drugs are dished out so readily.


*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***

Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.


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  • Administrator

Welcome, Clank.


I can tell you from personal experience that SSRIs can cause an emotional anesthesia. That may, indeed, be how they "work" for some people. You cannot say you are depressed or in emotional pain when you pretty much feel only complacent.


Your partner may wish to carefully exit from the medication. Grief, however intense, diminishes in time and she may be past the most painful part now.


Here is a topic about tapering sertraline: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

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 Emeritus

Hi clank


Grief does diminish with time but it might still be worth encouraging her to see a counsellor. My father died a long traumatic death. Whilst I'm over the significant grief of his loss, the manner of his death haunted me for a long time


That's why I went on ads as well. With the right support your partner can come back from this. I wish you all the best



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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Hi Clank,


this is the first time I'm posting here too, although I've been a member for almost a year. I will post a personal introduction in the coming days but for now I just want to say that I've been trying to get off sertraline (Zoloft) for three years, and the sooner you girlfriend starts tapering the better. I was up to 100 mg for a couple of weeks, and that was like being emotionally castrated. She will be back, but it may take time, depending on how sensitive she is to WD symptoms. If she hasn't been on 100 mg for very long, she may be able to cut back to 75 mg in one go (which is neat: sertraline comes in 100 mg, 50 mg and 25 mg doses).

If in doubt, just take it very carefully and get a pill cutter (guillotine style) and take it slower. The important thing, in my opinion, is to start. Just start tapering, with however little at a time! A good idea is to follow the instructions for sertraline tapering on this site. Personally, I've realised I can NEVER go faster than 5 per cent montly - but then I've been on the drug for four years. Taking the drug as a liquid solution kills my stomach so doesn't work for me.


Just wanted to add that I have an understanding husband who has been supporting me all this time. He's my life saver. Your girlfriend is lucky to have you.

2004 Put on ADs for the first time due to severe burn-out/exhaustion. In one year went through Citalopram 20 mg, Remeron, Citalopram again and finally Effexor 75 mg. Came off Effexor over 12 weeks. Difficult but not impossible.

2005-2007 Slowly recovering from burn-out. Started working part-time in 2007.

2008 Gave birth to my beautiful son. Suffered PPD/anxiety six months later due to sleep-deprivation and sensitivity from previous burn-out. Put on Zoloft 75 mg and Zolpidem 10 mg. Able to come off sleeping tabs 1½ years later with few problems.

Since 2009: In Sisyphian Hell tapering Zoloft. Trying to taper at 3-5 per cent monthly, usually ending up with less.

Currently at 50 mg (10 Jan 2013).

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Clank,

Welcome and I am sorry for your past and present issues with psychiatric medications... I think your gf is very lucky to have a man who has an understanding of the horrors of these drugs. You will probably need to be quite delicate in the way that you approach the issue - especially if she thinks she is feeling well and the drugs are helping. You haven't lost her, she is still there.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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