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Solang: New hope


Solang

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I've been on some form of antidepressants for over 20 years. Mostly it's been a combination of Zoloft, plus Wellbutrin to counteract the effects of the Zoloft. I've attempted to get off at least 4 times due to side effects (e.g., sleepiness, fatigue, low libido) and each time have encountered terrible protracted withdrawal. Of course, I was told that this was a return of the underlying depression, and that I needed to stay on the meds for the rest of my life "just like a diabetic needs to stay on insulin."

 

I have always suspected that the meds have actually changed the hardwiring of my brain so that I need them to function normally. After doing some research on "protracted withdrawal" (which I hadn't heard of until I read it in an article on Mercola dot com recently), I'm quite sure this is the case. And it's not just my brain, but my whole body, because serotonin receptors are all over the place.

 

The thing that was always confusing about the withdrawal was that it took at least a month after I was completely tapered off to really kick in. So, this lent credence to the idea that it was the underlying depression and not just withdrawal. It seemed to me that if it was withdrawal, I would have had the symptoms sooner after stopping the drugs. But, reading this forum and the Mercola article, it appears that the etiology of withdrawal may not be linear, logical, or predictable. Which is all the more frightening because it seems to me that I'd need to wait a REALLY long time after EACH reduction to see how it would affect me.  Anyone have any thoughts on that?  In the past I've done what I considered very slow tapers - MUCH slower than what the doctors advised, but NOT as slow as 10% per month. 

 

Now that I know about protracted withdrawal, I have both new hope and new trepidation.  New hope because I now know that what was happening to me after prior tapers was protracted withdrawal and not a return of underlying depression.  New trepidation because protracted withdrawal is so unpredictable and possibly longstanding.  Nevertheless, I am determined to move forward with freeing myself from this drug dependency. 

 

Based on what I'm reading, and my withdrawal experiences, it seems to me that my main issue has always been autonomic nervous system dysregulation, originally produced by an extremely "adverse childhood" and exacerbated by subsequent self-medicating (e.g., a couple years of methamphetamines as a teenager and 15 years of binge-drinking that ended in 2001- incidentally, I was very sorry to read that the binge-drinking/hangover cycle has a very deleterious effect on the nervous system, so much so that I would've been better off drinking every day!).  And of course by the 19 years of antidepressants and various episodes of protracted withdrawal.

 

I am so grateful to a friend of mine who has pointed me to lots of information and some resources related to "complex/developmental PTSD" and methods for re-regulating the nervous system.  I had started taking advantage of those a few months before discovering the protracted withdrawal phenomenon.  It's becoming very clear to me that healing is going to require lots of TIME.  Hopefully not time in terms of the long-term, but time in terms of my daily schedule.  Deep down, I've always known this.  In fact, one of the main factors that always put me back on meds during withdrawal was that I was getting to the point that I couldn't function enough to work.  And my friend spoke with a "mind/body medicine" MD who said that lasting and positive effects require one to engage in 2 hours per day of techniques (e.g., yoga, meditation).  The thought of spending 2 hours/day on the techniques while trying to do all the other daily life-maintenance activities AND working full time puts me into complete overwhelm.  (And I don't even have kids or a demanding job!)  And I've received spiritual guidance that I will not be able to get off the meds while working full time.

 

As many others have noted, society would rather foist meds on us, and keep us in the rat race, than give us the time and resources needed to truly heal.  I am very fortunate to have a job that has allowed me to save up a good chunk of money.  (Unfortunately it's a federal job that doesn't automatically come with disability insurance, like most other jobs do.)  I planned to use the money to quit and travel for a long time (e.g., visit intentional communities, hike the Himalayas) but it's looking like a goodly portion of it will go towards supporting myself while I just stay home and heal, which I RESENT.  (Of course, a massive amount of money has already been spent on various therapies I've had over the years.)  Hopefully, this won't be that hard and I will still be able to pursue my 22-year dream of long-term travel.  Everything is unknown right now.

 

I am so grateful for this online community.  I've been reading a TON on here (and sites it links to, like BeyondMeds).  One thing I've noticed is that people are generally pretty good at tracking the effects of changes they make in meds, excercise, diet, etc.  I've never been so great at that, so I developed the attached Excel "tracker" to help me with this.  I had fun putting this together, which I'm sure says a bit about my personality :-)  Maybe someone else will find it useful, at least for a laugh ;-)  Whether I'll actually use it is another matter entirely.  I looked for online versions of this but they didn't work with my computer and/or were only available for iPhone (I have an Android).  (Yes, I plan to get a glucose meter since I read the Chris Kesser post on it.) 

 

I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow, and I'm going to spring this on him.  I've only seen him twice so far, and at our first appointment I sprung the concept of "cranial electrical stimulation" (CES)on him.  He was amenable to trying different things (e.g., he does transcranial magnetic stimulation), which I'd been told he would be.  Unfortunately he also gave me the "like a diabetic needs insulin" line, which was, needless to say, VERY disappointing.  Seeing as he gave me that line, I don't know how open he will be to considering the concept of protracted withdrawal.  (I'll be devoting my afternoon after writing this post to figuring out what, if any, written materials I want to share with him.)  Hopefully even if that doesn't fly with him, he will still cooperate with my 10% tapering plans.  And those plans make me quite anxious because they seem to require a very stable lifestyle to manage the highly precise drug dosings - i.e., no long-term TRAVEL :-(...  

 

I also hope to try the Fisher-Wallace CES device that he prescribed and that we are awaiting an insurance company decision on.  Although I'm wondering if that device will just amount to an electrical "drug" that still prevents my nervous system from healing itself.  Anyone have any thoughts on that?

 

So far I am just eyeballing the 10% redux and cutting the pills.  This certainly isn't the most precise option, but based on my past tapering experience, I think the precision will become more important as the doses get smaller, so I'll save the aggravation of crushing and oral syringes until I think I need it.  (In past tapers I didn't seem to get bad withdrawals until after I had stopped the drugs completely.)

 

Any thoughts, info, and/or encouragement highly welcome!

Mood Tracker.pdf

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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I would just add, as part of your learning and exploring process, I highly suggest you get hold of a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. It addresses some of the things you mention in your post above, and also helps explain some of the history and dynamics of how we've ended up in this place. (Including how, since the widespread use of ADs, depression has become an ongoing lifelong struggle typically rather than limited to one or two isolated incidents, which was typical of untreated depression in the old days.) It also addresses the "diabetic/insulin" thing. 

 

There's also a ton of excellent information throughout this forum, as you have no doubt already noticed.

 

Good luck on your journey, and welcome!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Welcome Solong.

 

As an FYI, when I tapered off of psych meds, I don't think I had my psychiatrists's support.   But I took the attitude that this was what I was going to do and that essentially, he couldn't do anything about it.

 

To his credit, he totally cooperated with my 10% plan even though I know he thought it was absurd.

 

By the way, if you do start tapering with his cooperation, don't say anything that would lead him to believe you are relapsing.   Say you are doing fine even if you feel like "crap."   Your only goal is to get him to prescribe the meds as the dosages you need.   Use this forum for support.

 

Of course, if he refuses to cooperate at all, then that is another issue.  Hopefully, you don't have to worry about that.

 

Again, welcome.

 

CS

 

PS - I wouldn't even share the concept of protracted withdrawal with him if he thinks people need to be on meds for life.

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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 I am very fortunate to have a job that has allowed me to save up a good chunk of money.  (Unfortunately it's a federal job that doesn't automatically come with disability insurance, like most other jobs do.)  I planned to use the money to quit and travel for a long time (e.g., visit intentional communities, hike the Himalayas) but it's looking like a goodly portion of it will go towards supporting myself while I just stay home and heal, which I RESENT.  (Of course, a massive amount of money has already been spent on various therapies I've had over the years.)  Hopefully, this won't be that hard and I will still be able to pursue my 22-year dream of long-term travel.  Everything is unknown right now.

 

 

If you taper slowly and listen to your body and symptoms when they tell you to slow down, you may be able to continue working as you heal, many of our members have been able to continue working full time as they slowly came off medications.

 

Welcome to our site, you will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

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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 I am very fortunate to have a job that has allowed me to save up a good chunk of money.  (Unfortunately it's a federal job that doesn't automatically come with disability insurance, like most other jobs do.)  I planned to use the money to quit and travel for a long time (e.g., visit intentional communities, hike the Himalayas) but it's looking like a goodly portion of it will go towards supporting myself while I just stay home and heal, which I RESENT.  (Of course, a massive amount of money has already been spent on various therapies I've had over the years.)  Hopefully, this won't be that hard and I will still be able to pursue my 22-year dream of long-term travel.  Everything is unknown right now.

 

 

If you taper slowly and listen to your body and symptoms when they tell you to slow down, you may be able to continue working as you heal, many of our members have been able to continue working full time as they slowly came off medications.

 

Welcome to our site, you will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

Wow what a fabulous dream and goal.....my mother uses a quote by Dr. King to help keep me focused....."Keep your eyes on the prize."  Yours is drug free and traveling. 

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Welcome, Solang.

 

When you say Wellbutrin was added to counter side effects of Zoloft, what side effects do you mean?

 

Here's our topic about titrating Zoloft for tapering 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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Thank you all for your responses - I very much appreciate them.

 

Rhi, I must admit to being frightened to read the Whitaker material - I'm afraid that it will convince me that my prognosis is very poor due to brain damage :excl:   If you think it provides hope in addition to the brain damage stuff, let me know...

 

Compsports, the psychiatrist proved very willing to cooperate with my plans (yay!).  Though when I told him about protracted withdrawal, he put a fancy moving graphic of synapses and neurotransmitters up on his computer showing that only about 50% of the "re-uptakers" are blocked by SSRI.  I guess this was supposed to quash the nervous system adaptation to meds idea.  What-EVER :angry:  (I'd love to save the world by convincing psychiatrists they're making people much sicker, but first I've gotta save my own a**!)  He's going to switch me to 2x25 mg of sertraline (Zoloft) to make pill cutting more precise, and is willing to prescribe liquid when that becomes necessary.  Though he said my insurance company might not cover 2x25mg since 50mg pills are available and cheaper (grrr), so he wrote it for 1-2/day prn to increase the chances they'll cover it.  (He said I could go to GoodRx dot com and it might be cheap enough to warrant bypassing the dang insurance.)  He's also switching me to 4x75mg immediate release buproprion (Wellbutrin).  I've found contradictory information on this forum about whether one can cut extended or sustained release buproprion and retain the sustained/extended properites.  When I asked about this he said it might even differ based on which "brand" of generic one gets because the formulations are different.  Sigh.

 

Petu and Nikki, yes, I certainly hope that my withdrawal symptoms will be mild enough to enable me to work so I don't have to "waste" my savings staying home and feeling like crap (and wasting is how I would see it).  Even so, I already feel so dang OLD to be doing the kind of traveling I want to do, and I don't want to wait YEARS more!!!  But, "you can't always get what you want" and my worry about being old is a whole other issue for me to work on (oy!).  My age also raises the issue of menopause and how much all that is going to interfere with and confuse the whole withdrawal process.  My cycles were like clockwork until about 5 months ago, and now they're varying pretty wildly.  Boy, I'm getting pretty pissed writing this (wasted years and all that).  I'd like to use some expletives but I know this is a public forum so I won't. :angry:  :angry: :angry:  

 

Altostrata, first let me say how grateful I am for the clearly massive amount of time you spend organizing and moderating this forum.  It makes me feel warm and fuzzy thinking about it :wub: .  The Zoloft side-effects I experience are lethargy, sleepiness, total lack of motivation, inability to focus on work tasks, sexual dysfunction, and dry mouth.  Reading that one wonders why I even started taking it?  Well, it did make my nerves a whole lot less reactive, thus quelling my anxiety.  And, it also helped quash the racing, perserverative, intrusive, negative (to put it mildly) thoughts.  So the Wellbutrin helps with a lot of the side effects, but doesn't completely take care of them - especially the sleepiness.  At one point I was prescribed Wellbutrin on its own (wasn't already on Zoloft) and I thought I'd jump out of my skin.  Same thing happened with Prozac. 

 

Do any of you have an opinion about CES devices (such as Fisher-Wallace)?  Specifically, since it supposedly raises levels of serotonin in the cerebrospinal fluid significantly, would I just be switching from a chemical drug to an electrical one?  I'm imagining myself traveling in some foreign land, and my device goes kaput, and.... well, you know the rest.  Or, maybe the device would help my body to restore itself by stimulating neuron or dendrite growth or something.  Hmmm. 

 

Thanks again for all your support!!! 

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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reading a lot of the posts on here and knowing what I know about companies like Monsanto and such and just now taking my pills I feel the unreality like I'm in some science fiction nightmare. unfortunately it's actually pseudoscience Fact, and I'm not dreaming. reading other people's posts and remembering what I've been through every time I went off,I feel so disgusted that the horror was all caused by what I was told was supposed to make me better. the reality of all this is hitting me very hard at this moment.I don't want to catastrophize but this whole thing truly is a catastrophe for so many people. and I don't want to dissociate because I need all of myself here now and for the rest of my life.I am determined to face reality full on.for me to face the reality that the system has created hell on earth for so many of us I need to start praying. So that's what I will do. and I will go read the postS about finding meaning.sorry about the weird grammar and capitalization it's because I am using my voice recognition on my smartphone and it doesn't always work so great.

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

I agree, it's like dystopian science fiction.

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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Well, I've decided to submit myself to further science experiments.  I am working with a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctor who has been using the Fisher Wallace cranial electrical stimulator with patients successfully for many years.  Often for pain, but sometimes also for depression.  He seems to still be a true believer in meds, but he's also a true believer that this device is better than SSRIs for depression (and without the side effects) and better than anything else for chronic pain.  His opinion based on my history is that I can get off the sertraline with the device, but may always need to be on bupropion, or something (hasn't said what yet) because I have "irreversible receptor changes" caused by my use of speed as a teenager :(  :excl: .  Truth be told, it's the sertraline that I really find most offensive in terms of side effects, so if I can just get off that it will be a big win in my opinion. 

 

I'm going to start using the device tonight before bed, for twenty minutes on the highest setting I can tolerate (it has 4 settings).  And tonight I will cut my dose of sertraline to 25 mg (!) and the next day also cut bupropion to 225 mg (!).  (I'm to reduce the bupropion by taking 150mg XL in the morning when I usually would take the entire dose, and 75 mg immediate release 4 hours later.)  He said I can expect some ups and downs, but if there's a down lasting 5 days or more, to call him.  I have another appointment with him in two weeks.  He also said there's a "honeymoon period" with the FW that wears off in 3-6 weeks, but it will still be effective, and its effects can build up for 6 months. 

 

I know this goes against all the advice on here, but he says that I MUST decrease the sertraline in this way, otherwise I risk "serotonin syndrome" because the FW causes the body to produce serotonin.  At first he didn't want to reduce the bupropion, but he changed his mind, I guess because I stressed to him how anxious it made me when I took it without already having sertraline in my system.

 

I hope folks on this forum are still willing to lend support during the down times, even though I'm going "AFA" (Against Forum Advice, as opposed to AMA - Against Medical Advice)!  I'll keep this thread updated with my progress and/or regress :unsure: .

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes please :)   Do keep us updated with your experiences of 'The Device'.  I think I'm going to go and search for a picture of it, at the moment I'm imagining all kinds of torturous looking contraptions.

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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everything was going well until today.this afternoon I was at my boyfriends house and I was reorganizing everything and at some point I realized I was into his fourth junk drawer and something wasn't right. this is after I had already spent at least 8 hours re organizing his stuff. now his stuff did need reorganizing, & I am always a bit OCD, but this level of energy andpersistence is definitely not normal for me.so the other symptoms I started noticing are the creepy doom feelings and the cortisol rushes about everything I think of. like I thought of going to work tomorrow yeah X

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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this voice recognition software on my phone is really annoying. So as I was saying, when I thought of going to work tomorrow it seemed really scary. And when I thought about my boyfriend I thought oh my god what am i doing spending time with this man what am I thinking am I crazy?!!and my chest was hurting. So I got in bed and got warm because I was cold. And I used the Fisher Wallace for 20 minutes ahead of schedule by a couple of hours.I drink some dreamy time tea and all this seemed to help a lot.so I am wondering if I need to go even lower on the Wellbutrin now. Or perhaps not as low on the Zoloft. Or perhaps use the Fisher Wallace more. As I'm sure everyone can relate it's very frustrating to not know exactly what is causing what.of course I will be asking the doctor about all this tomorrow and hope that he has good insight about it but of course only time and experience will tell.

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

Please do not change dosage of two drugs at the same time. Taper them one at a time.

 

If you change a bunch of things at once, if you get adverse effects, you won't know what caused them. Conversely, you won't know what works and what doesn't.

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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Hi Alto,

 

Yes, the not knowing what's causing what is very frustrating.  Unfortunately, I've also started peri-menopause with a vengeance at the same friggin time.  (On day 16 of bleeding now - 1st time it's ever gone beyond 5 days!).  Sometimes it seems like a totally lost cause to try and keep things stable in my life.  I remember one time when I was about 30 years old when I asked a shrink if I could ever get off meds, they said I could when my life is stable, e.g., I'm married and settled down in a house.  At the time I said, "jeez, that could be till I'm 40!"  Ha!  If only.  I'm almost 45 and there does not appear to be any end in sight to instability in my life, including hormonal.

 

Fortunately the anxiety has not returned since Sunday.  However, I noticed flu-like symptoms (GI upset, headache) upon awakening yesterday and today.  I left a message with the Dr. explaining this and asking that I go back up some on the zoloft, possibly also the wellbutrin. 

 

What I didn't include in my message was that last night I had a Somatic Therapy session in which it was very difficult for me to get into any comfortable or positive mental space.  The idea behind the Somatic Therapy I'm doing is that you get very relaxed, then allow traumatic memory to surface, along with the imagery, bodily sensations and emotions that come with it.  You stay with that for awhile, and then you bring in some feelings of comfort, and comforting imagery and messages to "resource" the part of you that experienced the trauma.  In this case, I was working with my six year old self who experienced profound neglect.  The negative emotions and thoughts got very intense, and the therapist guided me to get my wise elder self into the picture to comfort and give positive messages to my six year old self.  Normally, I would be able to do that.  But last night I just kept thinking of all the neglect I experienced, and all the bad decisions and fallout it led to throughout my life (including now and into the future), and I could not imagine that there is any wise part of myself that is able to provide comfort. 

 

The therapist later said this is because my "cingulate gyrus" is overactive and is causing me to get stuck in the repetitive negative thoughts.  She said to tell the Dr. this.  I googled cingulate gyrus when I got home, and the Amen Clinics came up.  I saw in the diagrams that the cingulate gyrus is the thinking part of the brain that appears to be the outer layer of the limbic system.  The website talked about it getting overactive and causing persistent negative thoughts and the inability to "switch gears" mentally.  It also said this gets worse when one "concentrates."  This was particularly disturbing, because one of the main mind-body medicine techniques is meditation.  The Dr. I'm working with said that some people can't meditate, and now I'm wondering if this is what he's referring to (I've never felt very successful in meditating).  And the Amen Clinic's first recommendation for dealing with the overactive cingulate gyrus is SSRIs.  Grrrrr.  :mad:

 

Another stream of thought I have about this is that I need to grieve my childhood thoroughly.  Last year I went to an African Grief Ritual in which I focused on grieving the 6 close relatives who died by the time I was 18.  (Yeah, I have lots of reasons for being depressed.)  It actually helped me feel much more at peace about the deaths, and changed my relationships with the deceased.  The ritual includes several uninterrupted hours of crying and wailing (or whatever else one feels the need to do, as long as it's safe) in a supportive group setting.  My friend thinks this could actually be bad for the nervous system in that it represents a continuous period of negative activation (as opposed to toggling negative activation with self-comforting).  I admit that I had some periods of "unreality" for a week or two after the ritual, but overall it feels to me like it was very helpful.  I wish there were some clearcut ANSWERS about these things!

 

I'm also confused by the seeming contradiction between the need to really face and grieve the past, and the need to reparent myself and imaginally provide the resources to my younger self that she didn't get.  How do I totally face the absence of something while also trying to implant virtual memories of that something into my nervous system?  I don't know, but I do know that I'm going to register for that ritual today (it happens over Memorial Day weekend).

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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I feel so disgusted that the horror was all caused by what I was told was supposed to make me better. the reality of all this is hitting me very hard at this moment.I don't want to catastrophize but this whole thing truly is a catastrophe for so many people.

 

Yes I feel the same and more many parts my story was the same as yours. I tried to quit Paxil many times and because it took sol long (6 weeks) before the withdrawal hit, I believed my GP who said it was not related to the pills. Though it WAS strange that the symptoms vanished after taking the drug again... but at that time I was too ignorant to come to the right conclusion and though I did some internet research in 2006-2007, I missed the right info which was in those days not so widespread as now and PP was pretty much the only source of information. But I did not find it.

And so I went into a hellish protracted WD and your worst nightmare became reality for me, I was not able to work for many years, got some unemplyment fee but not enough to live and had to burn most of my savings.  I sti9ll cope with the fact that 5mmunites of wexplanation or finding the right in fom on time int he internet could have saved my for a years long ride through Hell and beyond...

The only good news is that I feel much better now after 6.5 years and even will start a new job, the first in years.

 

Wish you good luck in your travel to become med free!

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
after 8.5 years working again on a 90% base and basically functioning normally again!

 

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Hey Solang!

 

I'm new here too - I think I heard of that device. I agree about not tapering more than one thing at a time. Even though I really want to 'just be done' i'm taking the advice here. I look at it as 'slow and steady wins the race' - I'm on my last week of Effexor xr, then about 5 days later I'm meeting with my psych to get on a taper plan for my celexa (been on only that for 2 months) but I will take it as slowly as possible. I'm also meeting with a nutritionist/psychologist to get a plan in order for natural vitamins to help my nervous system/withdrawal. I too can't miss a day-i work and have 2 kids and i have to be somewhat productive!

 

I wish you all the healing in the world.

Do you exercise? I've found that even 10 minutes a day of working up a sweat (free youtube videos) feels like the best antidepressant in the world.

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  • Administrator

We don't recommend the Amen Clinics. Search this site for discussions.

 

Yes, you can learn to meditate.

 

I'm sure if you've asked to increase psychiatric drugs, your doctor will be happy to oblige you. It's decreasing they don't know anything about.

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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Actually he said he doesn't want to increase either drug, and that perhaps I should decrease the "dose" of the Fisher Wallace.  He also said I shouldn't do any trauma processing work while I'm changing meds.  At this point I'm feeling really unstable, and I had forgotten how crappy this feels (don't know how I could have forgotten, reading this forum).  I don't want to deal with it - I've spent too much of my life like this already - basically scared of life.  So now I'm scared of what's happening/going to happen with these changes.  At this moment I'm debating whether to scrap the whole Fisher-Wallace idea and go back up on the meds to the prior dose.  (I actually asked the Dr. in an email how he would recommend I do this, but I don't think he's going to cooperate on that end.)  And, then, debating whether to go the 10% per month (approx) route, or just stay on the damn things ad infinitum. Maybe I should just feel lucky I haven't had "poop out" or "severe" side effects.  Or maybe I should try the 10% and go back up if I have ANY symptoms.  I must say that the opinions out there vary so wildly from the "insulin" idea (which I just heard yet again from a friend who "has bipolar") to the idea on here which is that the meds are the CAUSE of the problems - it makes my head spin wildly even without the med changes.  I don't know what to believe.  CRAP!! 

 

I do have a few questions, which I REALLY hope there are answers to:

1.  Have there been people who took the 10% route and STILL experienced protracted withdrawal months down the line?

2.  Have there been people who took the 10% route and had very mild or no symptoms?

3.  I know Alto has said only to reduce one med at a time, however, I really feel (based on past experience) that if I went down on the Zoloft without reducing the Wellbutrin, I would become agitated, angry, etc.  And if I reduced the Wellbutrin without reducing the Zoloft I would become zombie-like.  Aren't there any cases where it's OK to reduce both 10% concurrently?

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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I don't think doing 2 things at once is good-I know people who took a few months to go off an SSRI and were completely fine-but their lifestyle changed for the positive as well AND they were going to therapy and both the therapist AND the patient agreed it was a good time to start weaning.

 

I think it's very personal and you know your body chemistry. Are you in therapy? It sounds like you are so aware of WHY you feel the way you do but therapy is where you really deal with all the dirt that is brought up. Just my $.02. - 

Sorry I can't answer anymore of your questions..

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Solang,

 

My first thought after reading your posts was that you shouldn't be doing any trauma processing work at the moment.  Your nervous system needs to stay as calm and stable as possible.  I've tried to do some of this work on myself while being in protracted withdrawal, I have some programs which you use at home.  But I stopped, as tempting as it is to want to work on the real cause of our problems, our bodies can only handle so much stress at a time.

 

I do have a few questions, which I REALLY hope there are answers to:

1.  Have there been people who took the 10% route and STILL experienced protracted withdrawal months down the line?

I will try and answer your questions, this comes from my experience of reading a lot of stories on this site and others.  I haven't heard of anyone who tapers slowly via the 10% route, feels well for a while and then gets symptoms later.  But I have read about people who still experience some difficulties when they come off completely, but they are mild and eventually go away.

 

 


2.  Have there been people who took the 10% route and had very mild or no symptoms?

 

 

Yes

 


3.  I know Alto has said only to reduce one med at a time, however, I really feel (based on past experience) that if I went down on the Zoloft without reducing the Wellbutrin, I would become agitated, angry, etc.  And if I reduced the Wellbutrin without reducing the Zoloft I would become zombie-like.  Aren't there any cases where it's OK to reduce both 10% concurrently?

 

There are several members here who are tapering multiple drugs at the same time.  I think the recommendation with this is to taper at a lower percentage of each drug, its possible but you have to experiment to find out what works best for you.  It really is best to do one at a time, or to alternate, by tapering one for several months and then the other.  You could try a small reduction of the Wellbutrin and see how you felt. We usually recommend tapering the most activating drug first.

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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Thanks for the kind and supportive replies :)

 

I have actually decided to go back to my original medication doses and put off tapering until I don't know when.  Experiencing a couple days of the withdrawal symptoms was enough to remind me that I'm really just not "in the mood," so to speak, to deal with this right now, even though I thought I was.  Also, I wasn't anticipating the sudden hormonal shift, which in itself is looking to be a somewhat significant problem, as I am now on day 17 and the bleeding is getting quite heavy (I'll be calling GYN today).  And though going down in much smaller increments may stave off the bad symptoms, I'm not even in the mood to deal with the annoying process of lowering the doses so precisely, and watching my symptoms like a hawk to make sure I'm not "going down the rabbit hole." 

 

Also, just like Petu said, my Dr. said I should not do trauma processing during a medication adjustment.  I'm committed to processing trauma, because I think in the long run that's what's going to get my nervous system healthier.  I've already processed a lot of it and feel I'm coming towards the end of the really big stuff. 

 

And when I'm "done" with that (I know I'll never be totally done, but "done enough") I am going to travel per my 22 year dream.  And I certainly don't want to be dealing with miniscule dosing increments during that.

 

I'm sad and it feels like I'm giving up, but I'm trying to keep in mind a couple of things that were said to me.  I told a good friend last night of my decision to postpone the tapering, and she said that when I had decided to taper, she wanted to tell me to just "let myself be" for awhile.  That my life is looking pretty good, and I'm looking strong for a change, so why rock the boat?  And who knows if the sleepiness is really a zoloft side effect, or just aging, perimenopause, and life.  And here's what the Dr. I'm working with had to say:

 

"Rather than do everything all at once in all areas of your life and in every event that has psychologically formed you and at the same time taper your meds while taking on the dragons of trauma and processing this at a point of hormonal change that often send women over the edge even when there's nothing else going on, and taper off your meds while doing this, and feed your self-loathing because you can't do it all and stop your meds and be healthy and happy..........is anything of this getting through?"

 

And as I said, I'm going to focus on the facts that I don't have really bad side effects and I don't seem to have had "poop out."  If the drugs have damaged my nervous system and are continuing to do so, well, I'm going to accept that possibility.  I have to say that my horrendous childhood (and even the severe stress I was subjected to in the womb due to being unwanted and my mother's mental state) probably caused a lot more!  I'm working very hard on acceptance of all this (as opposed to resignation).  Perhaps I need to stop "working hard" at anything :unsure:

 

Here's some other tidbits my Dr. had in emails to me (showing once again the ignorance of the medical profession about the effects of these meds):

-The Zoloft is really a baby dose

-such small changes in your meds affecting you so profoundly

-once both feet are firmly on the ground, and you have a safety net of support and substitutions that are healthy, then work on dumping the meds, my guess is that you'll be less than impressed with how little they do once you've been off them for awhile, they are both very gentle drugs in the spectrum of things shrinks give people.

 

This doc recommends I continue with the Fisher Wallace in addition to the meds!  He said it will help balance my hormones.  Still chewing on that one.  On the one hand, I don't want to be relying on another external crutch.  On the other hand, I'm strangely curious.  I think I'll try it for awhile and see what happens.  That probably sounds CRAZY huh?! :huh:

 

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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Good advice, Petu.

 

Solang, it sounds like Wellbutrin is activating for you and countering the effects of the Zoloft. What you might do is lower the Wellbutrin slightly and see how that affects you. How have you reduced it before? You'll need to reduce by a smaller amount.

 

To taper Wellbutrin, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/877-tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-buproprion/

 

If all goes well, then reduce the Zoloft slightly. And so on.

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 Solang--

 

I wasn't able to read thoroughly all your posts and the replies, because I'm short for time, but just want to give you a few quick bits.

 

First, my overall impression is that you're trying to do about four or five times too much all at once. Try to slow down! Don't be changing meds at the same time that you're experimenting with some alternative therapy, do one or the other. Don't be working on childhood trauma issues at the same time that you're changing or tapering meds. Don't don't don't cut two different meds at 10% both at the same time. I am the queen of multi-med tapering and believe me that's a recipe for disaster.

 

I highly recommend just tapering one med at a time, but if you want to taper two at the same time you need to start with cuts of no more than 2.5% apiece for a total of 5%. In your case, only if you stop doing all the other stuff you're doing that's disruptive. 

 

Please slow down, get grounded, get stable, and then start to improve things one small tweak at a time. It will take a long time but it will be worth it.

 

I think if you taper slowly, you will do fine. Many people come off meds carefully and do fine. However, you need to wrap your mind around this being a long-term process. You can taper slowly and still have your life and your work and your relationships. Rushing it generally just leads to disaster.

 

I had the same reservations about the Whitaker book but actually it's not discouraging at all. He doesn't really talk about protracted withdrawal much. There are a number of cases he describes of people who got off meds and their lives improved. Mostly the reason I recommend it is for people who are dealing with docs and psychiatrists, because it's full of valuable information and context so that you can feel more sure of yourself and their "diabetic insulin" BS won't throw you off.

 

Good luck to you! Please slow down and let the whirlwind settle down around you. It won't be comfortable at first, but it's worth it and it gets better. (And you're not exactly comfortable right now it sounds like.)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Crap…. sorry…. I went to cut and paste something discussed here on my own thread and posted instead. SORRY!!!! 

 

But now that I'm here…. interesting discussion!!!   :)

RU

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Now that I read over the thread it sounds like you're already doing as I've suggested.

 

I would add that it's possible to taper very very slowly and still be able to function and work and have a life and feel pretty good most of the time, but it requires a very slow taper and really tuning in and paying attention to your bodymind changes. So once you're feeling more stable again, if you're wanting to taper, you don't need to scrap that as a possibility.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • 2 months later...

OK, I'm giving it another go.  Been using the Fisher Wallace continuously, and reducing my work hours, soon to be quitting and traveling.  Yes, many changes at once, but I perceive the changes as mostly stress-reducing.  Mostly.  Been reading some very enlightening books about complex PTSD.  I'm writing on here about 3 weeks after my last dose-redux.  Only going to reduce 1 at a time for now.  So far so good.

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

What have you been reducing? How has that been going?

 

Can you tell us more about the Fisher-Wallace and how it helps?

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

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Hi Alto,

I've reduced the Zoloft (sertraline) by 1/8th (from 50 to 43.75 mg), which I get by taking one 25mg tablet, then splitting the second 25mg tablet into 1/2 and  two 1/4s, and taking all except 1/4 of the second 25mg tablet.  I know this is a 12.5% reduction (more than 10%) but I also know that I am not going to be able to do liquid formulations while I'm traveling.  I'm also planning to keep at each dose reduction for two months or more, because that's usually the timeframe in past tapers when I've really started having issues.  I did this reduction 3 weeks ago, and so far I haven't noticed any problems.  But, as I said, I'm going to keep at it for at least 5 more weeks.  And I'm going to leave the Wellbutrin (buproprion) where it is.

 

According to the Fisher Wallace literature and videos, and the MD who dispensed it to me, the device helps by increasing production of serotonin.  It affects other neurotransmitters too, but I don't recall all the details.  There are quite a few testimonials about reduction of depression, anxiety, and insomnia - without SSRI side effects.  The latest research says it may take up to 6 months of continuous use to reach the full effect of neurotransmitter increase.  I use it twice a day (morning and night) for 20 minutes at the maximum setting (4).

 

My ultimate goal of course is to not take pills OR use the FW.  I hope to first taper off the Zoloft, then the Wellbutrin, then the FW.  It will be a long haul, but worth it if I can be free!  It's funny, last time I was asked to fill out a medical history and they asked what meds I was taking and what I was taking them for, I wanted to write that I was taking them because my nervous system has been changed by them and is now reliant on them (as opposed to taking them for depression).

 

Fascinating books I'm using to help me re-regulate my nervous system: 

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, by Pete Walker

Healing Developmental Trauma, by Laurence Heller, PhD and Aline LaPierre, PsyD

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

You can throw out the serotonin interpretation. The "serotonin deficiency" theory and all associated theories are bunk.

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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What about poly-vagal theory?

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

There's a discussion of polyvagal theory in the Symptoms and Self-care forum.

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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  • 3 weeks later...

So, yesterday was the first day I had really noticeable withdrawal symptoms since reducing the sertraline by 12.5% 45 days ago.  The symptoms are anxiety and associated insomnia. I woke up three times last night with what I guess are "cortisol rushes."  I was also undergoing a lot of stress when it started, regarding subletting my apartment, and having my "going away party" at work.  It's all hitting me that I'm leaving my job on June 13th  to go travel mostly by myself, which is  mostly a good thing but also scary.  Plus, I had way too much chocolate cake in a 24 hour period.  Finally, I neglected to use the Fisher Wallace before falling asleep last night :excl: (Sometimes when I rain on myself I really pour!)

 

I know this is not a great time to be reducing meds, but, looking at what the future holds for me, THERE MAY NEVER BE A GOOD TIME for me to reduce, in terms of life stability.  I hate my job and feel that I've painted myself into a corner career-wise, so I'm pretty much having to start over in that realm, and it may take years to get established.  I was hoping the Fisher-Wallace would really stave off the withdrawal symptoms.  I'm going to give it a few more days, increase my self-care, and if the symptoms don't improve probably give up, AGAIN, on reducing, for the foreseeable future. :angry:  :(

 

And, now I hope I haven't screwed myself by adding on the FW, so that now I have to be on the meds AND use the FW (or taper off the FW?)  For anyone contemplating a FW or some other electronic do-dad, take this as a precautionary note.  In retrospect, I would have added yoga nidra daily or some other nervous-system-regulating practice that does not require a "device."  For me, part of the appeal of the FW is that it is supposed to also help with chronic pain, which I have due to neck issues.  Unfortunately, it seems I always have so many variables going on that it's very difficult to tell what is helping with what.  E.g., I started doing physical therapy for my neck, which could also be helping with the pain.

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

Perhaps you need to consider reducing by 5% at a time.

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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Good suggestion Alto, though the liquid dosing seems pretty difficult on the road. I am better today and slept pretty well last night. I avoided sugar yesterday, got a massage, and did a hard workout in the evening. The triple chocolate cake I had made for my boyfriends birthday Monday actually didn't even appeal to me much. I could almost see an evil grin and little horns coming out of it. Truly Devil's Food!!

<p>On Zoloft (sertraline) since 1995, Wellbutrin added in 1999. MOST RECENT TAPER HISTORY:APRIL 20, 2014: 50Z, 300W // APRIL 21, 2014: 43.75Z, 300W, 2X20 mins FW on 4 // JUNE 19, 2014: 37.5Z, 300W, Discontinued FW // AUG 20, 2014: 31.25Z, 300W // SEP 24, 2014: Accidentally decreased W to 150mg and had suicidal ideation and crying spells (didn't realize I had done this until Oct 9) // SEP 27, 2014: 34Z, 150W // OCT 9, 2014: 34Z, 225W // OCT 25, 2014: 31.25Z, 225W // NOV 22, 2014: 31.25Z, 187.5W // DEC 28, 2014: 28.12Z, 187.5W // JAN 31, 2015: 28.12Z, 168.75W // MAR 02, 2015: 25Z, 168.75W // MAR 30, 2015: 25Z, 150W HALFWAY DOWN ON BOTH!! // April 6 added Fisher Wallace setting 4X20 mins at bedtime for insomnia // April 29 discontinued FW // MAY 7, 2015: 22.5Z, 150W // JUN 10, 2015: 22.5Z, 131.25W // JUL 15, 2015: 20.25Z, 131.25W // AUG 13, 2015: 20.25Z, 112.5W // SEP 10, 2015: 18Z, 112.5W // OCT 13, 2015: 18Z, 93.7W // JAN 23, 2015: REINSTATED TO 20Z, 75W - HOLDING UNTIL MAY DUE TO POSSIBLE SAD

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  • Administrator

You can carry a small bottle with you and a syringe. Or: Get capsules compounded.

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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Solang: New hope

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