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☼ Ajay -- Zoloft withdrawal

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Altostrata

Right, you need the doctor to fill out the paperwork and vouch for your disability.

 

Depression is a valid basis for disability.

 

Corroborating statements from people at work can help.


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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ajay

The lack of sleep is really getting to me. I'm doing the obvious stuff from the sleep board. I've got the room darkening shades, I'm taking melatonin...

 

I'm still not physically active enough. I've been waking up a few hours of sleep (1.5-4) and then lying in bed stuck with my brain going nuts for the rest of the night. sometimes I'll get up and do something. Last night I woke up at 112:30 and read some of the discussion board but couldn't gather the energy to post anything. Then I tried taking melatonin and benedryl - no luck.

 

I'm seriously thinking of trying some meds for a short term, like maybe ambien. Which is a risk, I know.

 

I'm just not functioning and I can't get anything done. I'm jealous of everyone who is thinking "TGIF!" and has the weekend to look forward too. Well, my brain will still be here tomorrow, so no break for me.

 

I'm not a religious person by nature or upbringing. But honestly I've been thinking about prayer. Maybe because, for now, I see no hope. I know this sounds crazy, but if you read this, can you take a moment to think of me and send positive, healing vibes my way? I often do that (mentally sending calming and healing thoughts) when I read other people's introductions and updates. You don't have to tell me about it, but if you want me to return the favor, just let me know either here or by private message. Maybe that's thread for another topic in discussion - a prayer circle of sorts.

 

I'm just feeling alone. I'm tired of this. I think my husband's patience is starting to wear. I'm not sure of my friends, either. I can't really blame them; I'm high maintenance right now and that wears thin after a bit.

 

I feel like there's so much more I want to write, and I think my feelings of isolation are exacerbating the problem, but I need to go to work, so I'll sign off now.


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Baxter

Ajay - I am so sorry that you're having sleep problems. From personal experience I can attest to its pervasive bad effects on all areas of life!

 

I am sending you my best wishes and prayers for a weekend that brings some peace/relief. Your husband and friends will stand by you. You'll get through this.


 

1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

1992-1998 Paxil - pooped out*, oxazapam, inderal

1998 - 2005 Celexa - pooped out* klonopin, oxazapam, inderal

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

CT klonopin, oxazapam, inderal (beta blocker) - 2007

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

July 2010 - March 2018 on hiatus due to worsening w/d symptoms, which abated and finally disappeared. Then I stalled for about 5 years because I didn't want to deal with W/D.

March 2018 - May 2018 switch from 30mg Cymbalta to 20mg Celexa 

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

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brighteningup

May you have a peaceful and healing weekend.

 

Positive vibes your way.


Citalopram for 6 months

Since then tapering off over last 4 months

20mg -> 15mg -> 10mg -> 5mg (roughly every 3-4 weeks)

Stayed at 2.5mg for approx 6 weeks

As of 9 Sept 2011 off citalopram

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Altostrata

That waking up after a few hours of sleep, and getting patches of sleep, is a very familiar symptom. I feel your pain.

 

If you try a sleep med, Ajay, try a tiny fraction of a dose first to see how it affects you. Your nervous system might be sensitized to those drugs, too.

 

Something like yoga for exercise might help, if you're flexible enough (I'm not). Some people find it very relaxing, and you can do it at home.


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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Nadia

Hey Ajay,

 

So sorry to hear you are struggling with depression and insomnia. I am sending you lots of healing thoughts!


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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ajay

an update -

 

My boss basically told me to take my vacation time next week.

 

I feel like I've been fired. I know I haven't been all that useful at this job. I'm very much afraid that I will not be able to find a new one, especially in this economy.

 

I suppose I will get through this, but I'm very frightened and I don't know what to do.

 

Alto, I will look into disability. But my GP has not been particularly understanding about all this (she just wants to give me more meds) so I'm not sure she'll agree to it.

 

I feel very, very scared.


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Altostrata

Ajay, time to find another doctor who has a better understanding. Try phoning Dr. Joe Tarantolo, Washington, DC and see if he can refer you to someone in Boston.


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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ajay

Alto, thanks for the suggestion. I can't believe how long it takes for me to act on things.

 

I was thinking of starting a logistics thread about disability and employment, but I don't know where it should go. I can get specific answers from our contract HR company, but I'd love to hear from others about how it may affect my abilities to get another job in the future. I realize the details will vary for people in other countries. I of course welcome feedback form folks here in my intro/update thread, but it might be easier for others to find it and add to it if it had its own topic. Maybe under "Support" there could be a heading (I can't think of what would be sufficiently informative) and under that we could have topics like "disability through your employer", "disability through social security", "going back to work", etc. I realize it might be outside the scope of these boards, yet many of us have discussed these issues in our own threads. It might be helpful to have a landing site for those topics. Any thoughts?

 

Personally, I think it might actually help me to be in an office interacting with other people. I almost think I need more time distracted from my brain - staying at home just reminds me that I'm not where I want to be, the house is a mess and I can't find the energy/motivation to clean it, and my friends have drifted away.


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Altostrata

How about starting that topic in Taking action?


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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Nadia

Ajay,

 

Just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you. Listen... if you do lose your job, maybe it's a blessing in disguise? You've said often that you don't enjoy it. I'm sort of in the same quandry... trying to think of a career change. One of my problems is I'm really not SURE about what I want, so it's hard to make a plan to get there. I'm at least starting with trying to concentrate on how I want to FEEL in relation to work. For example, I imagine feeling fulfilled, smart, useful, appreciated... and then hope that slowly my mind will work on it in the background and with some luck the right kind of opportunities will come up.

 

Find a new job you enjoy!! Don't think about the economy! You are an incredibly intelligent, capable person (that much is obvious even just knowing you through your posts). You just need to find a place where you are happy to work and you like what you do! It doesn't have to happen all at once, but just know that it is possible.


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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compsports

""Personally, I think it might actually help me to be in an office interacting with other people. I almost think I need more time distracted from my brain - staying at home just reminds me that I'm not where I want to be, the house is a mess and I can't find the energy/motivation to clean it, and my friends have drifted away""

 

Hi Ajay,

 

While I had problems with insomnia on my last temp job, at least I could function. Once it ended, I feel they worsened although there were other issues.

 

So I definitely support you in wanting to work based on my own experience.

 

Of course, when your symptoms are intense, it is hard to get the energy to look for work which is another issue..

 

CS


Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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Altostrata

Volunteer work can fill that need for face-to-face interaction, which I also think is important.


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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ajay

Hi all,

 

Many thanks to Nadia, Compsports, Alto... I really appreciate your comments.

 

I'm hanging in there but having a bit of a rough time. I have a follow-up this afternoon with my GP, who wants to put me on effexor. I don't want to go on anything. Or rather, I would if I actually thought it would work, but I don't.

 

I feel like I have a lot to write about, or should write about. I'm now over a year off the zoloft (except for that one reinstatement attempt this summer) and I think it'd be good to do some sort of check in. I'm not sure why it seems hard for me to write up my thoughts. I keep planning to...

 

In the meantime, I'm still here, and grateful for my SA friends.

 

Best wishes and hope and healing to all.


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Altostrata

Good to hear from you, Ajay.

 

Why is she trying to force you onto Effexor? It seems quite arbitrary and ill-advised, given your experience with withdrawal and its known withdrawal difficulties.

 

Your situation is beyond a GP's capability.

 

We've gotten some suggestions for psychiatrists in the Boston area. I've added them to our list here.


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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Nadia

Ugh, Effexor. I tried it years ago and it had no good effect, and then was really hard to get off of.

 

Hang in there! Are you still meditating and stuff like that?


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Nadia

Hey Ajay,

 

For the past week I wake up every morning meaning to get on here and tell you I wonder how you are doing. I hope things have improved!


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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ajay

Dear Alto,

 

Thank you for the Boston area resources. I have yet to check them out - I don't know what my resistance is, but I seem to be hitting it on all fronts...

 

Hi Nadia! Thanks so much for your message. It really means a lot to me.

 

I'm hanging in there. I'm sleeping 5 hours (or possibly more) rather consistently. I stopped keeping track because I felt like it just made me anxious, but I go to bed and read for a bit, fall asleep, then wake up (usually hot and sweaty) before dawn. I'll lie in bed for awhile until the alarm goes off for my husband around 5:30. My eyes are still permanently puffy, I feel cold except for when I first wake up, and my brain runs slow... My anxiety has calmed down a bit, but in a way I've just avoided things that make me anxious, which only works for awhile (bills are not going to go away).

 

Good news: An old friend came to visit me for a few days and that was *really* helpful. One of the things I find distressing is how quickly that help has started to fade. It's like I can't initiate anything on my own. While she was here, we could make dinner and clean up and it wasn't an issue. Now I'm back to having a hard time with the basics. At least I can keep myself reasonably well fed. And most of my GI issues come and go. My system still processes things too quickly, but diarrhea is no longer the norm.

 

I guess I am grappling with depression. My doctor has suggested I go back to work and I don't want to go. I need a different job but I don't seem to have the energy to even explore what my options are - or I do, but I keep coming back to jobs I could've done right out of college. I feel like I've lost so much time. I get caught up in the despair of "I used to be smart, I was on a path to do other things, how did I get here?!" I lack confidence. I feel broken. I guess off the meds I realized that I don't like the house we bought or the town we're in, I haven't really taken an active role in making my life what I wanted it to be, and I've lost track of so many friends. Some part of me feels like I don't like my life, I'm a failure, and I have no idea where to turn and what to do next. I'm frustrated that most days I can't seem to even get myself to take a shower and go for a walk. I run late for the few things I do have on my schedule (therapy). I'm quite lonely, yet I haven't made an effort to meet people and I'm kind of afraid to do so. I seem to be actively avoiding things that could help. I haven't done meditation exercises or yoga in a long time. I don't understand. It's as if I've completely lost all sense of myself and any self discipline and thus self respect.

 

There are glimmers of hope. I do okay (I think) around friends. I've started reading for fun. I've tried to shift my thoughts so I don't get so wrapped up in what was supposed to be, but isn't [it's harder now that I really need to get my resume together]. When my brain starts going, I try to tell myself good things that are true ("I am safe") good things I wish were true as if they already are ("I work with people I like and respect") and things that may be somewhere in between ("I am loveable just as I am").

 

I am trying to think of something to do for Valentine's Day for my husband. It seems inappropriate to spend money when I may not have an income (I don't know what will happen if my doctor says I can go back to work but my job doesn't want/need me back yet). And it has been such a rough year. It's hardly romantic to say "Thank you for standing by me and I really really hope that next year will be better even though I can't promise it will." But even just the "Thank you for standing by me...."

 

I keep focusing on wanting to change the last 15 years or so of my life. I'm so focused on the path I wish I'd taken that I can't see what paths may be available to me now.

 

So those are my challenges. It's going to take work to overcome them and sometimes I feel like I can't do it. Or I'm hoping one day I will wake up and my motivation will return and I'll have a sense of direction and I'll be able to figure it out. I just don't seem to be doing anything in the meantime. Or rather, my steps have been very small. Honestly, I'm congratulating myself for the tiniest things (whee! I unloaded the dishwasher! Hooray, I went grocery shopping!). I get maybe one of those things done a day. The house is a mess.

 

I go through phases on SA. I often check in to see how folks are doing, but then I lose energy and don't post. I think sometimes I get overwhelmed by information. I feel like I can't sort it out and what difference does it make since there are things I *know* would help (yoga, walking) and I'm not doing them. I also feel guilty - like if I weren't so lazy, maybe I would have gotten better by now. This site is so helpful. I wish we could all be in the same area and meet for coffee and sometimes talk about serious things and sometimes just watch silly movies.

 

::whew:: okay, that was kinda stream-of-consciousness venting.

 

A joke I have with a friend of mine: She asks how I'm doing, and I say "better than I think I am." That's probably true. I'm hopping that when I start to see signs of spring outside, I will start to experience more noticeable growth within me as well.

 

I wish health and healing and warmth to everyone.


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Nadia

Ajay, I'm so glad to hear from you. Wow... so much of what you say really resonates with me... lacking confidence, regretting choices, being stuck about knowing how to "fix" your life. I get better and worse about ruminating about the past and not being able to see the way out depending on how well I am. Sometimes I think I've succeeded in shifting my focus in a healthier direction, other times I feel like I'm simply feeling better and it has had nothing to do with my attitude (or rather, that my attitude is not something I can control, but which controls me). At the same time, I have to say that going out to walk (and now jog part of the time) keeps my head above water like nothing else. The willpower part is difficult, especially if I'm feeling better... sometimes I'm just motivated by sheer desperation.

 

I think the only difference between us is that I have not quit work (I'm too mortified about what people would think of me if I quit now, and am just waiting for this job to end), and that in itself is a double-edged sword. I think it helps with my depression, as it forces me to keep active, but at the same time sudden events, which maybe to a "normal" person would be run-of-the-mill, can completely shake me and ruin my progress (for example, someone reminded me to cc someone on an email today and it ruined my morning). I'm very quick to anger, I am overwhelmed by details, and work really ramps up my anxiety even as it helps me with discipline and keeps me from drowning in depression. I am hating my job now for the most part, but at the same time it does keep me busy and I believe often helps me more than it hurts me in the end.

 

As I reach more stability (when I've had periods of less stress, and maybe related to my menstrual cycle?), I have the same pattern of sleep you describe... I sleep on average 5 hours, and on a handful of nights have reached 6 and even 7. I also wake up hot and sweaty. And sometimes really thirsty as well, and having to go pee (and then just keep on having to go so that even if I did succeed in sleeping it will wake me up). If I take a good amount of magnesium chloride and a Seriphos, I can go back to some light sleep when I wake before dawn. But then, like in the past few days, something will set off the anxiety and I'm back to awful broken sleep.

 

This makes me think often about how Alto recommends lowering stress to help our nervous systems heal, and how I think she is right, but at the same time, you have to be really careful not to remove TOO much stress and activity... which maybe is what is happening to you? I think about how women who were diagnosed with hysteria before were recommended bed rest, and they just got worse and worse. It also reminds me of the theory of why allergies are on the rise because of too-clean environments... the idea is that if your immune system has nothing to attack, it "gets bored" and attacks your own body. I think if we have nothing to stress over, we are all the more likely to get bent out of shape with little things. I am still hoping for the "right level of stress" and in the right doses to help me heal.

 

Also, it's so important to have something to look forward to... and if not that, at least something to keep you busy. I'm sure you already know this and it's dumb for me to give a suggestion... but perhaps it would help if you engaged in some kind of activity, maybe even volunteer work or classes, that "required" you to be there and got you interacting with people and being more active?

 

Still, I completely empathize with your lack of willpower to do the yoga, the meditation, etc. (It reminds me of a quote from a book I was reading (Troubles, by J.G. Farrell): "Some strange insect had taken up residence in the will-power of which he had always been so proud, eating away at it unobserved like a slug in an apple.") I think it's good to applaud yourself for all the small tasks you do accomplish. In a way, they ARE huge! And each little thing we do, even if it's not obvious at the moment, can help steer us toward spiraling out of depression.

 

Anyway... I wish for both of us to "find our bliss"... and then have the courage to work towards it.


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Nadia

About the work thing... would it help if you did something that is totally unrelated to your field so you don't feel pressured about it being a "life choice"? Just something you knew was temporary, as a sort of therapy?

 

Sometimes I think about doing carpentry, for example... hahaha! Not that I have the skills necessary. But I fantasize about moving away somewhere where nobody knows me and working in a store part time or something, knowing it's just a "visit" so I don't become engulfed in it. A borrowed life for healing... Of course, jobs tend to suck no matter what, so it's just a fantasy.


'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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ajay

Testing... testing.. (tap tap) is this thing on?

 

An SA member reached out to me, and I realized "you know, I keep meaning to post a follow up..." Has it really been over two years since I've been here? Wow.

 

I'm basically stealing parts of my reply email (only slightly edited) to post here. I hope that's okay, and if it isn't, well, it's too late now.  :)

 

I still think of many people from SA.  I found that stepping away from the boards (and no longer documenting all of my symptoms and progress) helped me re-frame my perspective - I tried to just "be" and not dwell on everything that was wrong. I was so frustrated and I needed to get out of my own head and away from seeing everything in the context of withdrawal. I hope that makes some kind of sense.

 
Overall, I am in pretty good shape these days. I can sleep now!  I have episodes of insomnia still, but they usually only last for about 3 nights at a time. Sometimes I'll take a very small amount of magnesium before bed, but for the most part I've given up on worrying about supplements and such except for vitamins and fish oil.  I know for a while I tried everything I could for insomnia, but it seemed like the only thing that works is to just try to hang in there and ride it out. [Plus darkening the windows. I still have trash bags taped over them, and we have blinds ready to hang still in their package. I'm not exactly a model of productivity]. I can get 6 hours of sleep pretty regularly now and on weekends/vacations I can usually get more than that. When I wake up in the middle of the night (which only happens now and then!) I can usually get back to sleep within 20 minutes or so.  I'm back to drinking espresso in the morning (yay!) and the occasional alcoholic drink on a weekend.  
 
My short term memory is still pretty awful. I don't know if that's from the sleep deprivation or if it's a withdrawal thing. I just try to write a lot of stuff down and rely heavily on my smart phone to the point where I have reminder alarms for everything. It works as long as my phone works!  I'm also really, really fortunate in a lot of ways. I still have my job. There's a group acupuncture practice near me that sells multi-visit packages at a discount, plus I learned that the visits are eligible for FSA reimbursement. I have a hard time trying to meditate at home but I seem to be able to relax during the acupuncture sessions. I have a really supportive husband who will occasionally drag me (grumbling) out of the house for some gardening task. He knows I like being outside and once I get out and get dirt under my fingernails, I'm happy - I'm just not usually motivated to go out in the first place. I haven't been committed to meditation, but every night when I lie down I try to think of 5 happy things (something I'm grateful for, or something that happened during the day). I'm not religious, but I also go through a kind of list of wishes for the people in my world - like hoping my MIL (who has arthritis) is able to use her hands easily, and that my best friend who is traveling has a safe journey, stuff like that. I think it helps me feel connected to others I care about and forces my brain to focus on others.  Cheesy, maybe, but there you go.
 
A lot of the stuff I'm still struggling with could just be from my personality and coping skills or lack thereof. I don't know how much of that may have changed by taking Zoloft or withdrawal from it, but for whatever reason, that's who I am now and what I have to work with.  When I get really overwhelmed (which still happens a bit more frequently than I'd prefer) I'm much better at taking a step back and a deep breath and thinking "Ok brain, let's see what we can do here..." ( Go Sparky! You can do this!).
 
Oh, hey: I can listen to music now!  For at least a year or more, I just couldn't stand it because just about everything made me cry. I won't be listening to Harry Chapin any time soon, but I can turn on the radio without fear of spontaneous bursts into tears.
 
I think I had a rough two years or so, but then it started to pick up for me.  I still get frustrated, and I have days where I just want the whole world to stop while I step off, but if I can think about where I was 3 years ago, the difference is pretty remarkable. Somebody (Nadia?) said something like "my worst day now is better than my best day then." That's definitely true for me. 
 
I'm in the middle of "overwhelm" right now (work deadline and low energy) but I still plan to check in with something a bit more detailed than this drive-by. Just not tonight.

I don't think of myself as a "success," (not yet anyway)  but just looking over some of my previous posts, I hadn't really thought about how far I've come.  All of our experiences are a little different, but I would definitely tell the ajay of 2012 that yes, it will get remarkably better (but sadly your house will still be a disorganized mess. It takes a while to dig back out. Also, sorry about the weight gain - I think it's a cortisol thing. We'll leave it to the future ajay to let us know how that works out). 
 
Take care everybody.

History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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trouper

glad to hear you are doing better! it gives me hope. :) thank you for coming back and posting an update. :)


on 37.5 - 50mg zoloft/sertraline for GAD from 3/1996 to 4/2013 (17 years) 

too fast taper from 1/13-4/13

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NervousKitten

Thank you for posting an update. Its nice to see something from the other side of what some of us are still going through :)


1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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alex

Thank you Ajay, very hopeful, inspiring post!!

I am dealing with w/d insomnia myself...it is tough...

3 years mark...seems to be the magic number for recovery for what I've read.


4 years aprox. on 150mgs.Effexor for situational major depression.No AD before.
Tapered 150-0mgs in 3 months.

Tapered Quetiapine,Xanax in the last 18 months.NO med of any kind anymore.
First 3 months off acute w/d
Protracted w/d ever since.
Symptoms:Anxiety,anhedonia,insomnia,tinnitus,PSSD

04/13/2014 Awful Relapse.Recovered fairly fast.

3 years and 4 months off.

waves and windows.Very much recovered.

November 2015,health issue.Setback.
 

 

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Petunia

Thank you ajay for coming back to post an update.  It inspired me to read back through your thread, I'm glad you are now over the worst of protracted withdrawal and feeling a lot better, it gives me hope and I'm sure others too.

 

I completely understand your reasons for staying away from the forum, I think many people get to a stage where recovery is happening at its own pace and there is nothing more to learn, so it becomes more productive to step away from everything withdrawal related and focus on life as it is.

 

I hope you will tell us a little more about what has been happening over the last 2 years though.  Was there anything you did to improve your sleep, or did it improve slowly over time?  When were you able to start drinking coffee again?  How was it effecting you before and how did you know it was ok to start again?  I really miss my morning coffee, but still can't handle any caffeine, not even weak tea.

 

I'm glad to hear that you kept your job, have your felt happier there as you have continued to recover?

 

Thank you again for updating, it really does give people who are still struggling hope for the future.  Please stay in touch and add your story to our success section when you are ready.

 

Petu.


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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ajay
Hi Petu,

 

On the sleep thing: honestly, I just gave up.That was pretty much it. I'd tried so many supplements over the months (some prescribed, some suggested here) and they didn't seem to make a difference but then I was afraid to stop taking anything in case *that* made it worse... Nothing was working for me anyway.(*) I was a zombie, and there were a few times when I think I even fell asleep behind the wheel for a second or so (I was still working and started to work from home if I didn't think I could make the drive safely).  My caffeine vice was and is espresso, which may not have as much caffeine as coffee. Side note: coffee makes me sort of nauseous, and did even before all this; espresso does not. I can think of possible explanations, but I don't really know why.

 

One day I my head was a brick and I was just so tired and fed up that I said, "F*ck it all. I'm not sleeping anyway. I'm barely functioning. Everything s*cks. I want an espresso. I'm making a double shot and putting it in some almond milk." I didn't have any idea what would happen, but I didn't really care anymore. I don't remember feeling much of an effect when I had my first cup - certainly nothing that stopped me.  I've been drinking my morning latte ever since.  For a long time, I didn't have anything caffeinated after noon. I probably still wouldn't push it later than 2pm except maybe on a weekend, when my anxiety levels tend to be lower. It may be worth mentioning that I have low blood pressure and used to have a reasonable caffeine tolerance.

 

I did a similar thing with booze.  My limit is one mixed drink or a glass of wine, or on rare occasions, both (with food).  I try not to have it too late in the evening, say after 9 or 10 pm.  Sometimes I still wake up after a few hours, but I'm able to get back to sleep again, so that isn't as agonizing as it used to be. It's more an occasional socializing thing - it *might* average out to a drink a week. Last month I went to a wine tasting and overdid it and realized, yep, my limit is there for a reason and I think I'll keep it.

 

The only real shift I remember was my attitude. I had been so anxious about not sleeping that it was counter productive. In the face of all those articles saying "you need 8 hours or you're compromising your health!" I thought, "Well, I have friends with small children and I'm sure they went through a year or two or more on low sleep and they seem to have come out of it okay." I decided even short naps were probably helpful, so drifting off for a little bit in the middle of watching TV counted as a nap. Also, I was so sure I wasn't sleeping *at all* yet I would notice things like "Wait - the fan is on. I don't remember either of us turning the fan on. Huh. I guess I was asleep for a little while."  So I figured maybe I was getting more sleep than I thought, it'll work itself out somehow, and I'll be okay. Or if not, I'm sick of struggling against it and then maybe this is just what life is now so I guess I should try to make it work. I stopped keeping track of when I went to bed or how long I was lying in bed. I turned the display on my bedside clock off. I figured if I was gonna be lying awake anyway, I might as well read a book or something.

 

I used reading and TV to get out of my own head. I read young adult books like the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. I started reading P.D.James - I found her Adam Dalgliesh books to be just complex enough to shut my brain up, but not so compelling that I couldn't put the book down and close my eyes when I realized I'd just read the same paragraph 3 times and it still wasn't registering. I don't remember them being particularly gruesome, though of course there's usually a bit of suspense toward the end. I reread a lot of Jane Austen. I also watched a lot of TV - like the BBC versions of Jane Austen stories, and Pixar movies (I cried through the first 20 minutes of "UP", but you know, I think everybody did).  I watched Shaun the Sheep and the Cosgrove Hall production of The Wind in the Willows (and then any episodes of the TV series I could find). I re-read childhood favorites like The Westing Game and The Phantom Tollbooth.  I watched The Incredibles and Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon. Major regression here, but I figured my brain was such a mess that it deserved a break, and anything soothing or funny or joyful was worth a try. 

 

(*) The one thing that did seem to help and that I'll still take now and then is a very small bit of Magnesium before bed (when I know I've got 7 hours or so, not if I'm up at 3 am).  I should look up the details for you (I can't remember if it's chelated or Mg citrate) I open the capsules and sprinkle some in a small glass of water and then stir and drink it (the Mg doesn't dissolve, really, and it's a bit hydrophobic, so drink carefully - I've accidentally inhaled some powder that was floating on top of the water surface, and I don't recommend that delivery method).  I'd say my dose is maybe 25-50 mg of Mg.  I don't remember why I found a full capsule to be too much, but it might have to do with GI issues. I still have a lot of those, but I have food allergies so it's hard to know for sure why.  Probiotics are my friends when I remember to take them. 

 

One drawback of the fuckitall approach is that I can't really look at anything and say "here is where the tide turned" - I'd stopped documenting.  I did end up taking a leave of absence at work, which was helpful in some ways but presented other challenges (like not having any schedule or other people as anchor points).  I do think volunteering or otherwise getting out into the world would have been wise. The human interaction (and feeling useful) would have helped. But I never managed to gather the energy/motivation/whatever to actually do it. I still have to force myself out of the house to do gardening stuff (or get prodded by my husband) and then once I've got my fingers in the dirt, I remember that I like it and wonder why I don't do more gardening. Somewhere in there, I joined a gym (half hour of weight training, half hour cardio). I found that to be pretty helpful, because there was some pleasant personal interaction but only for an hour or so, so not more than I could handle at the time. That definitely helped with my appetite and may have helped with the sleep, too, though not in such a way that it was easily identifiable as a reason. My physical strength was really low, and it's nice to be able do stuff like vacuum the living room without getting completely wiped out.

 

I hope that helps - I wrote this in parts and didn't expect it to get so long. It probably needs to be read in parts, too.  :)


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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ajay

but wait there's more -

 

Petu, you'd asked about my job. It's not the best fit for me - I spend a lot of time alone and it requires a lot of concentration so I really have to rally for it and sometimes fail. But my boss is patient and I'm really lucky he hasn't given up on me, so there's that. I think if it were a larger, more social company (and my projects were more collaborative) that'd be better for me, but for now I'm working with what I've got. I'm trying to make a lot of little changes in day to day life, and I think changing jobs (and interviewing and all that) is more than I can handle right now.

 

My husband has been suggesting that maybe I think about a second career. I don't know how realistic that is, but sometimes just thinking about options makes me feel more hopeful and less trapped.

 

with hope,

Ajay


History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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mammaP

Thank you for updating Ajay, it's really good to see people who have come through the nightmare of withdrawal. 

I'm really happy for you. :)


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Altostrata

Ajay, I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol



to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

Please come back and let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!


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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