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A hell of a ride - ihadenough


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Hello dear reader, thank you for taking interest in my story.


I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder I rapid cycling w psychotic episodes in 2010.


The short story:


My problems with my mental health started round the age of 17. Problem concentrating, extreme fluctuations in mood and behaviour. My parents (and myself) thought it was puberty :D.


Finished high school and went to university to study an exact science, that's when the **** started hitting the fan. I could be really outgoing (mostly rude), productive and cheerful. At the time I did not see this as a real problem. The depressions following these "episodes" I did perceive as a problem. This resulted in poor grades and a general feeling of inadequacy and despare. Ended up in the GP's office at the age of 21 with complaints about depression. I had switched studies by then and moved back to my parents. GP started me on citalopram. This did something (on a holiday with friends I had my first manic psychotic break in retrospect) I still fell back in depression.


GP sent me to a psychiatrist, started me on venlafaxine and kept upping the dose. Resolved the depression some but I still was manic (still not perceived as a problem by me).


Meanwhile I switched to working fulltime to prevent an enourmous student loan. This more stable life worked for a while with support of new anti depressants like mirtazipine.

Until.... I decided to start my own business. Within a few years I had 12 people working for me and was working my ass off (90-110 hrs a week manic people don't sleep :lol: ).


I got anxiety and constant feeling of fear (probably through lack of energy). So I decided to quit the business and get a normal job. Too little too late.Then I finally broke and was hospitalised for a few months on the psyc ward. Working is way far beyond my reach now. Well we'll have to see what the future holds...


In the past years I have had my fair share of anti-depressants and gone on and off them, switched, mixed, you name it. When quitting anti-depressants I am quite un-orthodox. Really fast tapering off (<2 weeks). Currently I'm kicking Cymbalta from 90 mg. 7 days 60 7 days 30 and currently I'm at 0 for close to a week. The first two reductions did close to nothing. Currently I'm experiencing nausea(vomiting) chills, hot flashes, negative thougt patterns and of course electric shocks. In my experience this is at its peak now and will gradually get better in the upcoming week and will be bearable again in the week after.

Currently I'm taking 100 mg 5-htp to help combat the steep drop in serotonin activity. By giving my body the building blocks for serotonin I hope the level will rise a little and the withdrawal symptoms decline some. Keeping you posted on that experiment.


I'll think twice before I start medication that tweaks my serotonin system again.......


Psychiatrist wants to put me on bupropion now (dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor). Don't know if I like this idea. To be honest I've had it with all complex organic molecules of which even their creators don't know what they will really do in a human being. 


That being said I see a-typical anti psychotics as something forged from pure evil, that is if they are prescribed on a permanent basis. In the event of an acute psychosis they are effective and IMHO that is the only use they have.


- citalopram 40mg /day 1 yr no real withdrawal quitting
- venlafaxine 300mg / day withdrawal was crazy. At night it was like a scene out of trainspotting people walking on the ceiling and all
- mirtazipine 30 mg / day 1 yr no real withdrawal quitting
- duloxetine 90 mg / day 2 yr withdrawal comparable to venlafaxine with more nausea (current)

Lamitrogine 200 mg /day 1/2 yr - no withdrawal symptoms valproate 1000 mg / day 1/2 yr - no withdrawal symptoms Lithium carbonate 1200 mg / day 2 yr (current) quetiapine 600-800 mg /day 1.5 yr withdrawal was complete and utter misery. Spent most of the time hovering over the toilet puking my intestants out. olanzipine 1/2 year - no physical withdrawal mentallycompletely broken. Couldn't leave the couch for 4 weeks. risperidone high dosage (can't remember) temazepam 20 mg / day alprazolam 1 mg / day diazepam 15 mg / day oxazepam 20 mg / day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hm, it was my understanding that ADs are contraindicated for people with bipolar disorder. But what do I know. I think most psych drugs are contraindicated for people who are people.

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

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome ihadenough,

Thank you for sharing your story, you certainly have had a rough time and I'm sorry you are not doing so well at the moment.  With everything you have been through, I would expect your nervous system has been stretched to its limit.  With every drug change, trial, too fast taper etc, it puts more stress on the NS and causes things to become more unbalanced.


We recommend tapering by no more than 10% per month, please read through this link which explains why:




Here is a link with specific information about tapering cymbalta:




If I were you I would reinstate the cymbalta and begin a proper, safe taper.  I'm not sure what dose,  probably Alto will be able to advise.


I think it would be a good idea for you to start taking care of your nervous system, because once it reaches its limit, protracted withdrawal can go on for a long time, years, and there is nothing you can do to get any relief.  I'm in this position and its not pleasant.


I hope you will consider what I've written and keep us updated, this is a very helpful, supportive site, you will get a lot of 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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  • Administrator

Welcome, ihadenough.


Antidepressants can cause hypomania or mania in people without bipolar disorder. Could this be what happened to you?


Even so, an antidepressant would require careful tapering so as not to cause withdrawal symptoms, which it seems you have.


Is your doctor one of those who signed on to this paper http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5195-tapering-packets-to-be-produced-for-paroxetine-and-venlafaxine/?p=66738

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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