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☼ Zang909 Almost 20 Years Medicated. Time to stop.


Zang909

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I’ve tried writing this introduction more than once and I have to say that it’s kind of difficult to summarize almost twenty years of wrestling with these dang meds.

Around 1995, my second marriage was falling apart. I hated myself and I was falling apart. The marriage counselor my (ex-)wife and I were seeing recommended a doc who could prescribe something for me. In tears, I practically begged that doctor to give me antidepressants. To his credit, he was reluctant but he did end up giving me handfuls of free samples of a relatively young drug called Paxil.

At that time, I had never had a panic attack. When I began taking Paxil, and it gave me panic attacks as my system got used to it, I was told that it cannot give you panic attacks.

It was only after I began taking Paxil that I actually made a serious suicide attempt and ended up hospitalized.

When one of my doctors tried to help my taper off Paxil by halving my dose, I reported symptoms of withdrawal. My doctor told that was impossible: that these meds do not give you withdrawal symptoms, and that any symptoms I was having must be the underlying pathology reasserting itself.

I then spent years in the care of a doctor who seemed to have never met a med he didn’t like. When I complained of Paxil’s sexual side effects, he put me on Wellbutrin. He started stacking the meds on me. I was getting tremors in my hands from the Wellbutrin, so he put me on Neurontin (Gabapentin).

Never able to get free of sexual side effects, I tried a bunch of different meds. Effexor. Buspar (which had me screaming at the top of my lungs). Etc. But I always returned to the welcoming arms of Paxil.

Things started to turn around for me when I started researching medications for myself. After spending some time on Serzone (Nefazodone), I saw online that some countries had banned that med due to concerns over liver toxicity, so I asked to be taken off it. Doing more research exposed me to the fact that many folks were experiencing the side effects and withdrawal symptoms I had been reporting to my own doctors for years. And gradually, the doctors started to admit to the existence of “discontinuation syndrome” which seemed to be particularly bad for those taking my main medication – Paxil.

I started to trust my own observations more. I started keeping a daily log of how each dose of each medication affected me over time. This log has been a tremendously helpful tool for me. My doctor at the time felt that such detailed record-keeping was pathological.

Luckily, after almost two decades medicated, I found a doctor who was willing to listen to me. She put me on Lexapro in another attempt to get free of sexual side effects. She was willing to listen to me when I told her how sensitive I seemed to be to these meds, and how halving my dosage yielded catastrophic results. I told her of my plan to do a very gradual taper; much more gradual than she thought necessary. She was willing to go along with it as long as I reported in regularly.

So, in October of 2013 I began my most gradual taper ever. And on 05/28/14 I became med-free. We’ll see how it goes.

My wife and I just celebrated thirteen years of being happily married, so I'm very lucky to have her as my support network. She's seen me at my best and she's seen me at my worst. I'm mainly here at Surviving Antidepressants to learn more about these meds and to have experienced, knowledgeable, and impartial folks who can help me evaluate whether what I'm going through is withdrawal or the depression/anxiety that has plagued me in the past.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Zang, and welcome to the forum. Your story sounds very, very familiar in many ways, although of course it's also yours alone.

 

I imagine you've already read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, and seen the website "cepuk.org" but if you haven't, check those out.

 

As you probably know by now, I would not call six months to taper off after 20 years on meds a slow taper, but I'm all about the slow. 

 

By the time you switched from Paxil to Lexapro, were you already off all other meds? How long had you been on only Paxil and nothing else at that time?

 

As far as telling you what are withdrawal symptoms and what's your former depression/anxiety, I'm not sure anyone can tell you. But it sure sounds to me from the story you've told me that most of the depression and anxiety you have experienced was AFTER you started taking psych meds, is that correct? and during the years you were taking them? You were initially put on the meds because of what sounds like a normal grief and stress reaction to a marriage falling apart, so unless there was something else in your history, it doesn't sound like you were plagued with depression coming out of nowhere all the time before ever being exposed to the drugs.

 

If that's the case I would be inclined to assume that symptoms that you feel now are probably also drug-related.

 

What is going on for you now, by the way? Are you doing okay, is it tolerable?

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 

 

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

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Hi there, Rhi, and thanks for taking the time to comment.

It is true that by the time I switched to Lexapro, I had only been taking one medication for my anxiety/depression. Although I had been trying different meds in an attempt to get rid of Paxil for good, I was only on one med at a time for years. So, I was on just Wellbutrin for several years, sandwiched between years of just Paxil on either side. During that time I had also tried Serzone, Effexor, Remeron, Buspar, etc. Paxil was my worst best friend.

I was an abused child, and looking at personal as well as family history, I think that I probably suffered from some low-level anxiety for much of my life. And when things would overload me, I'd probably go into a low-stimulus mode which included mildly agoraphobic behavior. At the time that my former marriage was falling apart, I really realized how much I hated the man that I had become by that time. I was a real jerk, basing much of my personality on overcompensating for fear and feelings of inadequacy. When that "mask" fell apart, I was left having to completely recreate myself into a healthy man. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have been given medication without even trying therapy first. Also in retrospect, it seems clear to me that at least some of the problems I've been having for, lo, these many years have been either caused by or exacerbated by those meds.

BTW, I haven't read "Anatomy of an Epidemic" or seen cepuk.org, so thanks for the recommendations.

 

How I'm doing:

Things are going mostly okay so far. The first week off meds was completely fine - no zaps or other symtpoms of any kind. On my seventh day without meds, I got some slight zaps or wooshes which lasted for much of the day, but that has almost completely gone away.

I've noticed what is perhaps increased sensitivity to dietary changes: especially sugar and caffeine (both of which I'm trying to go pretty light on).

I'm feeling a little sensitive and a little irritable. I'm sleeping pretty well, though.

Sexual side effects I had been experiencing (anorgasmia) are going away.

I mainly just feel kind of fragile right now - a little out of balance and sensitive. Sensitive to sound and the moods of others.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

What you're describing sounds typical for withdrawal, and not too bad as withdrawal goes. It's particularly nice that you're sleeping okay, that's the worst. Irritability and sensitivity, very normal, quite typical. I wouldn't worry that you have some "underlying condition" coming back. 

 

The next thing to be aware of is that people often get through the initial period and think they're done, and then they get hit with a resurgence of symptoms some months out. Often at this point they are told they are having a relapse and put back on meds. However, what we've found is that this is another manifestation of withdrawal and it will pass without meds if you can hang in there and find non-med ways to cope. This may or may not even happen to you, it doesn't happen to everyone, but I'm just letting you know in case you find yourself having a bad spell down the road--don't worry that you're having a relapse or a return of an underlying problem, it's probably still withdrawal.

 

I would probably assume for the next two years that you're still not at your baseline so anything you might go through could be affected by withdrawal. After a couple of years if you've been pretty stable for a while, you can start to get a sense of what your baseline is.

 

Those are just my thoughts based on what I've seen people go through.

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 

 

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Zang.

 

I too have been on meds for a very long time. Twenty-five years in fact, with a number attempts to discontinue. The last time I experienced what Rhi mentioned: 4 months after my last Prozac capsule I got hit with some serious withdrawal symptoms and ended up re-instating. I did have some mild discomfort during the 4 months but mind you, I had tapered far too fast. From the short time I've been on this site it's definitely not something that happens to everyone. I started this current taper last August and it is a very different story.

 

I also developed a sensitivity to sugar. I don't consume dairy, so I don't know about lactose, but fructose could do a number on me. I think it has something to do with histamines... But I won't try and discuss it because I really don't know. The good thing is that sensitivity seems to be subsiding. I thought I had developed a new allergy as a consequence of age, but now I think it's part of withdrawal.

 

Anyway, sorry to ramble on about myself. Just wanted to let you know your experience is a shared one.

 

I think you'll find SA extremely helpful and supportive. Glad you found your way here.

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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Rhi: Thanks for letting me know that some folks experience a resurgence of withdrawal symtpoms some months out. I hadn't realized that and if it happened to me, I would have freaked right out and assumed that I was doomed to have to stay on meds. I'll keep in mind your two-year evaluation period recommendation. That's a little disheartening, though - to feel that I won't even have any idea regarding the success of my withdrawal for another two years. But we take what we can get, right? Thanks again.

 

Addax: Thank you, also, for the perspective you bring. I haven't encountered many folks who've been on these meds as long as I've been on them (or, in your case, longer), so it's good to know that there are others in places similar to mine. The lack of some long-term folks in other stuff I've read started to make me think that perhaps I had missed my window for getting off these meds. Thanks also for sharing that you've developed a sensitivity to sugar, since I think I'm developing the same thing. It kind of makes sense, I guess - since sugar is such a ubiquitous substance that already has an impact on our mood and energy levels. Please don't apologize; you have helped me to put what I am experiencing in perspective. I'm glad to hear from you.

 

Updates:

  1. I still don't have zaps, but I do have a lower-level kind of slight dizziness throughout my body. I mainly don't notice it and if it were worse, I'd probably call it zaps. For example, don't notice it while I'm occupied with somethign at work, but I did notice it while waiting for my daughter's violin recital to start yesterday and while waiting for a movie to start last night. Mild, but also hard to describe - something like a very, very mild whole-body startle sensation.
  2. One thing that's going on that I'm not sure how to feel about is the fact that my spiritual life has suddenly become less important to me. One the one hand, it's slightly concerning to me because it's been so important to me for many years, but on the other hand, I've been told to evaluate how I feel to how I felt before I went on meds. And before I went on antidepressants so many years ago, spirituality was an interest of mine, but was not the very important, almost life-defining, thing that it's become over the last fifteen years or so.
  3. It's a little more difficult to get out of bed in the morning, on week days as well as on weekends. Not super-difficult, and I don't stay in bed past noon on weekends, which might be a bad sign. And, I've never been a morning person. So, that's not very different from how I was pre-medication.

 

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Zang,

I just wanted to add my welcome and let you know that I'm another long timer. I've been on the drug roller coaster since 1997.  Don't use me as an example though, because my circumstances regarding life events and drugs over the previous 8 years have been horrendous, so I've been further damaged by stress, that's why I'm not doing so well one year off all meds.

 

But I think you will be fine, like Rhi mentioned, you may experience a few waves of returning symptoms over the next few years, especially if you experience any life stressors, but with a healthy lifestyle, support and by understanding the recovery process, I think you will get there.

 

I found it interesting, what you wrote about the change in your spiritual life.  I was on a spiritual 'path' before medication, but the drugs completely wiped out my spiritual drive, its like they blocked access to that part of my personality.  Since stopping Lexapro about 3 years ago, its come back, it seems to have effected us in opposite ways.

 

Perhaps for you, an increase in your spiritual endeavors while medicated was a kind of compensation for perhaps feeling less in touch emotionally.  I'm just guessing, but if I were you, I wouldn't be too concerned, I'm sure you will reach a balance in your level of dedication which is right for you as you continue to adjust to being non-medicated.

 

In your second post, you suggested that the anxiety you have experienced most of your life may have been caused by early childhood trauma.  If this does persist or return, you could consider counseling or other non-drug therapies in order to address this.  But do give yourself enough time for your nervous system to completely settle down first.

 

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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Petu: Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for sharing details about your own journey. It's so helpful to hear from others about their own experiences. Sometimes I get so angry on behalf of myself and also everyone else who couldn't possibly have been aware of what they were signing on to when they took that first Paxil, or that first Effexor, etc.

I am so extraordinarily lucky in that I met and married a wonderful woman while I was medicated. She is amazingly knowledgeable and supportive, and she has motivated me to spend the last dozen plus years working on myself and working to learn all those lessons I couldn't learn as a child - how to be a decent human being, how to be a healthy and loving member of a healthy family, etc. She's seen me through so much and helped me to climb out of the absolute depths of hell so many times over the years. There have been times in my life when I felt completely cursed and doomed, but I have also had some amazing blessings, and my wife and kids are primary among my blessings.

 

It's now been two weeks without any psych meds, and things are going pretty okay. If I'm still having zaps, they are minor enough that I don't notice them. I don't want to jump the gun, so I'm being wary and not allowing myself to get overconfident.

 

Yesterday I suddenly came down with what feels like a respiratory tract infection (my first in years), so I'm feeling unwell right now, but at least it seems to have a good cause which should hopefully pass within a week.

 

 

Also: to update my spiritual state: I no longer think that my spiritual life has gone away. It seems to be more the case that it has refocused a bit into a slightly lower-profile manifestation. Still important, just less drama. Which can be a good thing.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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I'd like to share that I feel a little guilty coming on here and basically saying that things have been going pretty well. Silly, huh?

But know that I can't tell you how many times I tried going off these meds in the past and had my life fall apart. Absolute misery and absolute hell. Years of trial and error, years of resigning myself to being on these meds for the rest of my life. You know the drill.

So don't see me just as a lucky guy (though I am undoubtedly quite lucky), I likely just happened upon the right drug (for me) to taper off, and the right taper schedule (for me) to use to get off it. It definitely does seem to be the case that Paxil messed me up alot worse than Lexapro.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

How wonderful that you have such a lovely wife!  Glad to hear things are going "pretty ok", but not so glad to hear you might be coming down with something. Hopefully it will pass quickly.  

 

Don't feel guilty about posting that you're doing well.  You are documenting and sharing your journey and it illustrates that the experience of withdrawal can vary greatly from person to person.  

 

I'm intrigued by the shift in your spiritual state.  I'm curious because I've noticed some minor shifts myself now that my dose is so low.  Mostly relationship wise.  Not the relationships themselves exactly, but more in their meaning to me and the emotional intensity.  Nothing bad.  In fact, it's more like I'm more relaxed about them, so it's kind of good.  The way you describe the shift in your spiritual state sounded similar to my experience with relationships.  Like there's less anxiety attached?  Something like that...

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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Addax: I think you're absolutely right when you say that there's less anxiety attached! Wow - I think that's exactly it. As though there's less desperation/fear/clinginess on my part. But the relationship is still important. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - you've helped me to see it differently.

 

I've got some kind of terrible cold/lower respiritory tract infection. It's been years since I've been this sick and I was not prepared for how emotionally cruddy I feel right now. I was prepared to monitor my moods, but I wasn't prepared to factor in the effects of a physical illness on my mood. I want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers until I feel better. At least I hope that my emotional state is due entirely to my cold.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yuck! Sorry you're sick. I hope it passes quickly and that mood improves along with it passing. I got sick multiple times last fall after at least 5 years of barely coming down with a runny nose. It had me in quite a funk.

 

Get well soon!

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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  • Administrator

Yes, please take care of yourself and get well soon.

 

Please stay in touch with us. In a few months, perhaps pay it forward with a Success Story?

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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  • 4 weeks later...

I've been off meds about 5 weeks now. Except for the very rare and very mild zap, I'm symptom-free.

However:

I've been married for over thirteen years to a truly wonderful woman whom I love very much. We've been through so much together and we've been able to brave it all because we love each other and because we've been willing to fight to make things right and to work together no matter what. We've got two beautiful daughters together and she's got a son from a previous marriage. He's a teen with ADHD and he's driving me crazy. I've also got a twenty-one year old son from a previous marriage and he is entering his senior year of college while suffering from debilitating anxiety for which he refuses to take medication.

 

I've been experiencing strong guilt feelings: thinking about mistakes I've made in the past, even the distant past (twenty to thirty years ago), and feeling bad about them. Also thinking about mistakes I might be making currently, and experiencing physical symptoms of guilt (what I can "heart drops," where it feels as though my actual heart literally drops within my chest).

I'm also very sensitive to certain sounds. I suffer from misophonia which contributed to the breakup of my previous marriage, and it seems to be resurfacing now. Last night my wife, whom I love very much, was eating pumpkin seeds in the kitchen while I sat in the family room, and the crunching was driving me crazy. I went into the bedroom last night, shut the door, and put earplugs in to get away from my step-son's loud, droning monotone of a voice. And I could still hear him.

I'm finding almost everyone annoying. And I don't feel like doing anything. And I'm starting to despair.

I'm irritable, annoyed, and annoying. I'm losing it.

The worst part is this: this is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I can't blame withdrawal if this how I was prior to ever taking antidepressants. I was a tremendous jerk who destroyed every relationship, just like my Dad and just like my Mom.

I've got a great marriage and a great family and if I destroy this, I don't know how I'll live with myself.

I'm who I was twenty years ago. I'm guilty, anxious, irritable, and angry. This is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I'm starting to despair.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Zang, sounds like your nervous system is still working hard to stabilize.

I can relate to the crunching and everyone getting on your nerves. Sometimes

I can't bear to be around people and their just being I the vicinity grates

On my nerves, but I don't like it alone either!

 

You are definitely NOT the man you were, you are older and wiser. You recognize

The mistakes you made and will try to avoid making them again!.

The guilt I can also relate to and at times desperately wanted to apologize for

Things I did or said 40 or 50 years ago! Weeks later I wondered what on earth I

was worried about!

You are still healing and all this will pass.

Take a look at the symptoms and self care topics to see ways of dealing with

Emotional symptoms. Now you can recognize that they are the same ones you had

before meds, you will be able to deal with them differently.

**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

 

 

Link to post

mammaP: Thank you for your kind reply.

I am extremely frightened that, since these "symptoms" are not new and that they are indeed the way I was prior to ever being medicated, this is my natural state. Especially since my father was the same way. And also since my biological son is living with excruciating anxiety today, at the age of 21. All of these together seem to confim for me that I do indeed suffer from a mood disorder which has the potential to rob me of the only things which today make my life feel worth living. 

I am afraid that attributing these traits to withdrawal is turning into wishful thinking.

 

How can I tell what the truth is?

The doctors will tell me that everything I am experiencing is due to an underlying disorder which needs treatment.

The folks on this board will likely tell me that what I am experiencing is due to medication withdrawal.

 

I am so confused and frustrated and afraid.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I've been off meds about 5 weeks now. Except for the very rare and very mild zap, I'm symptom-free.

However:

I've been married for over thirteen years to a truly wonderful woman whom I love very much. We've been through so much together and we've been able to brave it all because we love each other and because we've been willing to fight to make things right and to work together no matter what. We've got two beautiful daughters together and she's got a son from a previous marriage. He's a teen with ADHD and he's driving me crazy. I've also got a twenty-one year old son from a previous marriage and he is entering his senior year of college while suffering from debilitating anxiety for which he refuses to take medication.

 

I've been experiencing strong guilt feelings: thinking about mistakes I've made in the past, even the distant past (twenty to thirty years ago), and feeling bad about them. Also thinking about mistakes I might be making currently, and experiencing physical symptoms of guilt (what I can "heart drops," where it feels as though my actual heart literally drops within my chest).

I'm also very sensitive to certain sounds. I suffer from misophonia which contributed to the breakup of my previous marriage, and it seems to be resurfacing now. Last night my wife, whom I love very much, was eating pumpkin seeds in the kitchen while I sat in the family room, and the crunching was driving me crazy. I went into the bedroom last night, shut the door, and put earplugs in to get away from my step-son's loud, droning monotone of a voice. And I could still hear him.

I'm finding almost everyone annoying. And I don't feel like doing anything. And I'm starting to despair.

I'm irritable, annoyed, and annoying. I'm losing it.

The worst part is this: this is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I can't blame withdrawal if this how I was prior to ever taking antidepressants. I was a tremendous jerk who destroyed every relationship, just like my Dad and just like my Mom.

I've got a great marriage and a great family and if I destroy this, I don't know how I'll live with myself.

I'm who I was twenty years ago. I'm guilty, anxious, irritable, and angry. This is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I'm starting to despair.

 

 

Please consider the possibility that this is NOT who you were to begin with and read our stuff on "neuro-emotions."

 

The sentiments you are expressing are all too common in withdrawal. Our ability to objectively assess ourselves, our situations, and our outlook becomes quite warped in withdrawal. I know you feel this is very real and very original with you but I have been doing this work for a long time and if I had a few hours free I could sift through the entries in this forum and find everything you have described being described by others, in almost the same words, during acute and protracted withdrawal. I myself am all, all too familiar with the thoughts and emotions you express, during my periods of withdrawal during my taper.

 

What you're saying about yourself is contradicting things you have said previously. Not that you're doing it intentionally. These damned emotions and thoughts seem very, very real when they hit.

 

That business of ruminations and regrets about the past is kind of a red flag, by the way. As is a distorted sense of self-worth, hopelessness, and that feeling "this is how it's always been and it will never get better." These are so common they really should have their own names. I actually made up a name for those awful thoughts and feelings about our past, I call it "dystalgia" (like an evil nostalgia)--sort of as a joke but also because every time people are in it they think it's just them, it's how they are, it's real, and to make up a name for it just like "akathisia" or "suicidality" have names, I think it points out that it's another symptom and common enough to warrant its own name.

 

I'm not going to try to convince you because I don't have the time or the power. It's my impression that you probably won't listen anyway. You tapered very fast for 20 years on meds and no matter how well it goes it is inevitable that you will experience some withdrawal. Everyone goes through this, and usually they end up diagnosed with "relapse" and put on more meds.

 

Please read about neuro-emotions, I think it's in the Symptoms and Self Care section, probably linked to in the topics pinned at the top.

 

I would like it if you could be an exception and actually succeed in getting off meds, in spite of your rapid taper, because that was a strong desire of yours when you began this process and I think that desire more accurately reflects who you really are than these strange overwhelming thoughts and emotions that you are having now.  

 

I think there's a good chance your withdrawal will get worse before it gets better. It would probably help if you reinstate and stabilize and then taper at a more appropriate speed. But I suspect that you will not listen to this and instead you'll end up "on meds for life like a diabetic on insulin" believing that this is really you and not what the drugs have done to you. That makes me sad, and I hope you can avoid that fate, so I'm being blunt in hopes I'll get your attention.

 

You tapered way too fast. You're having the "neuro-emotions" aspect of withdrawal. It's typical. It will probably get worse before it gets better. I hope you can get through it without getting re-diagnosed or re-diagnosing yourself as "needing" meds. I'm not holding my breath.

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 

 

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

Link to post

 

I've been off meds about 5 weeks now. Except for the very rare and very mild zap, I'm symptom-free.

However:

I've been married for over thirteen years to a truly wonderful woman whom I love very much. We've been through so much together and we've been able to brave it all because we love each other and because we've been willing to fight to make things right and to work together no matter what. We've got two beautiful daughters together and she's got a son from a previous marriage. He's a teen with ADHD and he's driving me crazy. I've also got a twenty-one year old son from a previous marriage and he is entering his senior year of college while suffering from debilitating anxiety for which he refuses to take medication.

 

I've been experiencing strong guilt feelings: thinking about mistakes I've made in the past, even the distant past (twenty to thirty years ago), and feeling bad about them. Also thinking about mistakes I might be making currently, and experiencing physical symptoms of guilt (what I can "heart drops," where it feels as though my actual heart literally drops within my chest).

I'm also very sensitive to certain sounds. I suffer from misophonia which contributed to the breakup of my previous marriage, and it seems to be resurfacing now. Last night my wife, whom I love very much, was eating pumpkin seeds in the kitchen while I sat in the family room, and the crunching was driving me crazy. I went into the bedroom last night, shut the door, and put earplugs in to get away from my step-son's loud, droning monotone of a voice. And I could still hear him.

I'm finding almost everyone annoying. And I don't feel like doing anything. And I'm starting to despair.

I'm irritable, annoyed, and annoying. I'm losing it.

The worst part is this: this is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I can't blame withdrawal if this how I was prior to ever taking antidepressants. I was a tremendous jerk who destroyed every relationship, just like my Dad and just like my Mom.

I've got a great marriage and a great family and if I destroy this, I don't know how I'll live with myself.

I'm who I was twenty years ago. I'm guilty, anxious, irritable, and angry. This is how I was before I was ever medicated.

I'm starting to despair.

 

 

Please consider the possibility that this is NOT who you were to begin with and read our stuff on "neuro-emotions."

 

The sentiments you are expressing are all too common in withdrawal. Our ability to objectively assess ourselves, our situations, and our outlook becomes quite warped in withdrawal. I know you feel this is very real and very original with you but I have been doing this work for a long time and if I had a few hours free I could sift through the entries in this forum and find everything you have described being described by others, in almost the same words, during acute and protracted withdrawal. I myself am all, all too familiar with the thoughts and emotions you express, during my periods of withdrawal during my taper.

 

What you're saying about yourself is contradicting things you have said previously. Not that you're doing it intentionally. These damned emotions and thoughts seem very, very real when they hit.

 

That business of ruminations and regrets about the past is kind of a red flag, by the way. As is a distorted sense of self-worth, hopelessness, and that feeling "this is how it's always been and it will never get better." These are so common they really should have their own names. I actually made up a name for those awful thoughts and feelings about our past, I call it "dystalgia" (like an evil nostalgia)--sort of as a joke but also because every time people are in it they think it's just them, it's how they are, it's real, and to make up a name for it just like "akathisia" or "suicidality" have names, I think it points out that it's another symptom and common enough to warrant its own name.

 

I'm not going to try to convince you because I don't have the time or the power. It's my impression that you probably won't listen anyway. You tapered very fast for 20 years on meds and no matter how well it goes it is inevitable that you will experience some withdrawal. Everyone goes through this, and usually they end up diagnosed with "relapse" and put on more meds.

 

Please read about neuro-emotions, I think it's in the Symptoms and Self Care section, probably linked to in the topics pinned at the top.

 

I would like it if you could be an exception and actually succeed in getting off meds, in spite of your rapid taper, because that was a strong desire of yours when you began this process and I think that desire more accurately reflects who you really are than these strange overwhelming thoughts and emotions that you are having now.  

 

I think there's a good chance your withdrawal will get worse before it gets better. It would probably help if you reinstate and stabilize and then taper at a more appropriate speed. But I suspect that you will not listen to this and instead you'll end up "on meds for life like a diabetic on insulin" believing that this is really you and not what the drugs have done to you. That makes me sad, and I hope you can avoid that fate, so I'm being blunt in hopes I'll get your attention.

 

You tapered way too fast. You're having the "neuro-emotions" aspect of withdrawal. It's typical. It will probably get worse before it gets better. I hope you can get through it without getting re-diagnosed or re-diagnosing yourself as "needing" meds. I'm not holding my breath.

 

 

Wow. I appreciate your feedback and reflection, but I found the tone a bit hurtful. You've put me in the "lost cause" box. You did get my attention.

Plus, my post ends up in the "Best of SA" thread as a "plea for reinstating."

Not super helpful. But no one here is obliged in any way to make me feel better.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post

Rhi, I feel as though your response was only half to me and half in order to use me as an example. That feeling is supported by my post ending up in that "Best of" thread. I've shifted from a person experiencing something common to being an example and a warning to others. That's what it feels like.

Very much the disapproving parent vibe. Perhaps it will help others who read my thread, but not so helpful to me. I understand that you feel burned out on giving the same advice to people for a long time, but I'm not a long string of people who refuse your advice; I'm just me. Just one guy.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post

I've ordered a refill of my Escitalopram/Lexapro 5mg tablets. Planning to reinstate my last dosage of 1.25mg per day and stabilize.

Once I've stabilized, I'll begin tapering again, this time no more than 10% of current dosage each taper. I'll be buying a mortar and pestle as well as those tiny syringes in order to make dosing easier to figure out.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post
  • Member
cymbaltawithdrawal5600

 

But no one here is obliged in any way to make me feel better.

 

But we would like to help you feel better about all of this. Withdrawal from these sorts of medications is brutal to say the least. If you look at the 'harm reduction' approach to getting off meds that is advocated here, your taper was far too fast for your nervous system to safely 'not notice' after being on meds for as long as you were. Part of what happens is that we go through a distortion in our thinking and behavior patterns which makes it seem as though the original symptoms are coming back. The problem is, is that any 'original' symptoms were likely to be better handled by lifestyle and dietary changes, attention to sleep and balance in life, therapy, and NOT these powerful medications. Which incidentally, have never been proven to 'cure' anything.

 

It may have been a bit overzealous of someone that a post to a new member such as you went into the 'best of' thread. No one here means you any ill will and all intents are to save you great suffering. There is far too much suffering going on about these awful medications as it is. Your return of 'misophonia' (I looked up the wiki article) may be evidence of 'withdrawal syndrome' and not the return of that which you describe. I for one had a very bizarre symptom which, had I not mentioned it, would have caused me much grief and near suicidal despair. I have had pets all of my life and some time last fall after becoming destabilized, had a huge aversion to my cat. Could not stand to have him anywhere near me. He spent a cold few months living on the porch and it tormented me. I happened to mention it and turns out it happens to others. Inexplicably, I notice it has gone away in the last few weeks.

 

I do hope you will stay and continue to post here. We all want to help you in your journey to live life off these awful meds. We all wish they could have worked to help us with our psychological problems. Unfortunately, they didn't do such a good job of that. It is great that you have been exploring other areas of the site. There is a lot of good information here. Take and use whatever you find helpful.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to post

cymbaltawithdrawal5600: thanks for your kind post. I understand Rhi's motivation in posting what was posted, and I got the message in spite of the tone. I'm not storming off in a huff - that would be counterproductive. In order to honor myself, I just had to share that I found the tone of that post hurtful. No drama.

I need to get off these meds healthfully and I acknowledge that I can't trust my own impressions of what's going on. I'm going to reinstate at my lowest effective dose (1.25mg per day) in order to stabilize once again. Then I'm going to begin the long slow taper from there.

 

Unfortunately, the health care provider I'm obliged to use by my employer-provided insurance has their own pharmacy and that pharmacy does not provide Escitalopram (generic Lexapro) in liquid form. So I'm consulting the many helpful threads here about making my own liquid from tablets and using syringes to dose properly. It's daunting, but I'm going to give it my best.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Zang, please consider non-drug therapies such as meditation and Acceptance Commitment Therapy to deal with your distress. The drugs may have delayed your coming to terms with some things as well, perhaps a therapist might help you work through them.

 

You are not the person you were 20 years ago, your father, or your child. You are not fated to be one way forever.

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.

Link to post

Altostrata: thank you for the kind words. I began this taper process with the expectation that I'd be dealing with some things as I went, and I am still committed to doing that work. I just need to make sure that whatever issues come up, as they have been coming up, only come up in amounts that don't overwhelm me so that I can deal with them constructively. It's been a bit overwhelming of late, though. I can deal therapeutically with a trickle, but not a flood.

Hoping to get it back down to a trickle. I can't afford to destroy another marriage.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Zang909-

 

I'd be scared too if I felt like symptoms that caused me and others so much pain were returning. It sounds like your worried things will spin out of control... That you'll lose control and revert to your former ways and behaviors. With all the knowledge you've acquired over the years, with your experiences, and just growth and maturing, I doubt you'd revert back to how you see yourself prior to meds. Like Alto said, you're not the same guy you were 20 years ago. I do, however, completely understand the fear of it happening.

 

For what it's worth the symptoms you described, all of them, are very familiar to me. Except I have experienced them exclusively during withdrawal. There have been times during withdrawal when I'm pretty sure someone eating pumpkin seeds would send me over the edge. I have a friend who loves biscotti. I used to fantasize about grabbing it out of her hand and smashing it on the floor (or in her face!) when she would eat one. I had to stop meeting he out for coffee for a while.

 

And as an aside, living with a teen is bad enough. Living with a teen who has ADHD sounds nightmarish to me. Living with a teen with ADHD while going through withdrawal...I'd want to reinstate too.

 

I hope the floodgates close quickly and you feel stabilized soon. If you're not in therapy, this might be a good time to start, so when you do begin your taper again, if the anxiety over the returning of symptoms and behaviors reemerge, you'll be well prepared to handle it.

 

Keep us posted!

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Rhi, I feel as though your response was only half to me and half in order to use me as an example. That feeling is supported by my post ending up in that "Best of" thread. I've shifted from a person experiencing something common to being an example and a warning to others. That's what it feels like.

Very much the disapproving parent vibe. Perhaps it will help others who read my thread, but not so helpful to me. I understand that you feel burned out on giving the same advice to people for a long time, but I'm not a long string of people who refuse your advice; I'm just me. Just one guy.

 

You're right. I apologize. You're absolutely correct, you aren't a long string of people who refuse my advice, you're you, an individual. You're spot on. Thank you for telling me how you feel about that.

 

It's not about wanting to be hard on you. I often find that I have to go straight up Momma Bear on folks before they will actually listen. It's my last ditch strategy (and now everybody knows, sigh...)

 

I do find it incredibly frustrating to know as much as I know (more than all but a handful of MDs in the world do, about tapering psych meds) and to over and over and over again have people doubt that and ignore my advice and end up suffering unnecessarily. Often by the time they actually do listen it's too late to really help them and I have to just stand by and watch.

 

So sometimes I get blunt. Shock therapy, I guess. 

 

I hope the reinstatement works and you stabilize soon.

 

I don't know why it ended up in Best of SA, that wasn't my doing.

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 

 

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Actually I suspect the Best Of part wasn't about your situation personally nor about my admonitions.

 

It was probably the stuff I wrote between "the sentiments..." and "...its own name."

 

We put stuff in that Best Of area that's useful to requote, to have access to it, for other people, rather than having to rewrite everything from scratch and reinvent the wheel every time. I think that's probably why it's there--that's some useful stuff which, as I say, actually comes up over and over and over in withdrawal. I know it will be useful for me to be able to just copypasta it. That's why it's there, I imagine.

 

If you'd like, we can probably go in and edit out the rest of the post.

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 

 

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

Link to post

Addax: Thank you for your post. My 15-year-old stepson with ADHD is the biggest stressor in my life right now. It's almost as though he was perfectly designed to be my nemesis. My anxiety means that I most benefit from calm, quiet, and predictability. He is a loud, random source of chaos every single day of my life. Just as there are many misconceptions about anxiety, depression, and their treatments, there are many misconceptions about ADHD. ADHD is not just being inattentive. There are a host of things that go along with ADHD, and all of them seem to push my buttons.

My wife and I are attending counseling with him ostensibly to help him learn to deal with life, but the counseling is also helping me learn to deal with his disorder and to adjust my expectations around him. The problem is that there is so much time between counseling sessions. I wish that the counselor (who is great) could come live with us for a couple of months and help us deal with things as they arise, not weeks later. But that's not the way counseling works, is it?

 

And on that note:

My stepson just flew out yesterday to spend the next three weeks with his grandparents. I still have a wife, two kids, and a dog in the house, but the house is calm and peaceful. It was so blessedly calm last night and this morning without my SS. Amidst the normal hubbub of a full house, I did just fine. Without my SS's ADHD, obliviousness, and loudness, I did fine.

This calls to my attention the tremendous opportunity I have right now. I have three weeks without my SS, to see just how much of the problems I'm experiencing right now are in some way related to my SS. If I can do just fine for three weeks in his absence, then I've isolated the major cause of my probs. If, even in his absence for three weeks, I still feel the need to go back on meds to restabilize, then I have greater clarity about what is going on.

So, I've still got my meds on order but I don't plan to start taking them until I've had the opportunity to see how I'm doing after three weeks of relative peace and quiet.

This is also an opportunity to get three weeks more neurological healing done, regardless of what I end up doing at the end of that three-week period.

 

I really can't stress enough just how different my home is without my stepson. I fear that sounds mean of me, but he is truly maddening. His disorder creates the perfect storm of conditions for exacerbating my disorder.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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Rhi: Thank you so much for your post. Thank you for being able to hear me and thank you for being big enough to apologize. I appreciate it so much. I think I can understand where you are coming from. I'm certain I would be frustrated also, were I in your shoes.

I appreciate what you were saying to me, and your post helped me to calm down and re-think some of what I was feeling. I think that it's due to the tools I've learned in therapy that I did not just storm off in a huff. That would have been counterproductive, to say the least.

Thanks again.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I believe you when you say ADHD is not just inattentiveness. From what I know and hear it's a myriad of behaviors that are frustrating and grating, and down right maddening for those around the person who has it. A good friend of mine has a step-son who has ADHD and feels an enormous amount of guilt for how she feels about him, and even how relaxed she feels when he's not home. She's not in withdrawal (as far as I know), and I can see and/or hear her anxiety when she anticipates his return from school or from being with his mother. And even without her telling me, I can tell when he's gone to his mothers for the weekend or for an extended stay.

 

I think it's great that you'll have some time of calmness to asses where you are and how you feel. If you won't mind sharing, I'll be interested to know whether you feel a difference in your symptoms and things over the next three weeks. I also hope you'll continue to see the therapist even while your SS is away. If you do find a marked difference during your SS's absence it's probably important to address that and how you feel about it, and handle it before his return.

 

Enjoy the calm!

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

Link to post

Wow, thanks for telling me about your friend, Addax. One layer of problem is how much trouble I have dealing with my stepson. Another layer is the guilt that I feel about how much trouble I have dealing with him. It's helpful to hear that others have similar problems. And similar guilt.

I can't see the counselor while SS is away, as SS is really the patient. But I'm continuing to work on my issues while he's away. And the time away itself should be helpful.

 

 

In life itself, fear is the thing that keeps us from so much that is good. And, among those of us who deal with depression, anxiety, and medication withdrawal, fear can be our constant companion - a false friend who is always ready to tell us not to bother, not to even try, to stay home, to stay in bed. A false friend who assures us that his advice comes only because he cares about us and wants to protect us, but his words are poison and he is always ready to keep us from forgetting ourselves in joy.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still med-free. I did not go back on meds.

 

Updates from my mood notes:

07/16/14: My stepson has been away in another state with his grandparents for about a week and it’s just my wife and I and our two youngest kids in the house. Life is much better. Much less stressful. Things are going pretty well. The anxiety is there as an almost constant low-level background hum, but it's been manageable so far. My hope is that as time goes by, I'll be able to become less sensitive to it and it will recede further into the background if it doesn't disappear completely.

 

07/17/14: Things are going pretty well. My brain seems to keep looking for things to attribute the anxiety to: sometimes it will try to tell me that I am messing things up at work, at other times it will bring up things I've messed up in the past. It keeps looking for reasons, and I think that's the thing that might get me in trouble if I don't get a handle on it. If my brain comes up with a convincing enough reason for this reason-less anxiety, and I start to actually believe it, it could become problematic. If I can keep it in perspective and keep dismissing the anxiety signals, hopefully they will have less and less power over time.

 

07/18/14: Pretty good today. I felt like I handled the day well, that I was competent at work, and that the anxiety has receded noticeably.

 

07/21/14: Things continue to go well. Work is nice and predictable. Home life is good. Anxiety is not a constant presence. When regrets about the past come up, I am making an effort to move my thoughts along and not let them dwell on mistakes and regret.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for updating us.

 

It sounds like you may be able to navigate this acute period of withdrawal okay. Now just be aware of the possible shoals down the road--people not uncommonly get hit months out with "relapse" which is actually a post-acute withdrawal, and end up back on meds. With your self-insight and skills, I think you'll be able to get through that too, although feel free to come back here for support if you want. 

 

If you do find you need medication support down the road, we've found that much lower doses than the doctors consider therapeutic can do the trick, with fewer side effects and less to taper off later.

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 

 

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

Link to post

Thank you, Rhi. And thank you for helping me to see that I didn't necessarily need to go back on meds.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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  • Administrator

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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  • 1 month later...

100 Days Med-Free

Okay, it’s actually been 104 days since I finished tapering off my meds, but 100 is a better number for headlines. I’m over three months med-free and I figured it’s okay to check in here.

Things have been mostly okay. Definitely not “perfect,” but perfect is not my goal. My goal is a sustainable healthy life, integrating healthy family interactions as both husband and father and satisfactory career performance.

 

I am both hopeful and disappointed. I am hopeful because more and more I believe that I will be able to live the rest of my life without antidepressants. I suppose I’m a bit disappointed because I am having to make peace with the fact that I am not now, and likely will never be, “normal.” Even as a child, I was always a bit sensitive and anxious, so it makes sense that even a healthy adult me will still be that way.

 

A big word I’d use to describe the past few months is fragile. I have to work to maintain my well-being by paying special attention to self-care. I find that I am more sensitive to the effects of poor nutrition and especially excess sugar. I’ve been more careful to maintain a healthy intake of protein and to limit candy and junk food. And avoiding disruption to my sleep schedule has been very important.

 

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend on a major home improvement project that turned out to be a much bigger project than I had anticipated, and it wiped me out. It left me physically exhausted, which left me open to emotional exhaustion and I ended up being pretty anxious and irrationally feeling that I had botched the job. About a week of good rest and relaxation pretty much restored my equilibrium, though. And I know not to allow myself to become that tired again. Next time, my wife and I will hire someone else to do any job on this scale.

 

And, some folks here warned me that a relapse of at least some symptoms might occur after a few months med-free, and it seems as though that did happen. However, I am feeling as though I’ve emerged on the other side of that event.

 

I’ve been reading Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Claire Weekes, which is refreshingly concise and no-nonsense. I think it’s been helping me.

 

Another big point I’d make about where I am now is that I am still in a place of having to deal with underlying issues that the medications had smoothed over. Now, with things feeling a bit raw and fragile, is a good time to work on issues that need working.

 

I have to say that I consider myself privileged in that I know that my life circumstances – middle class, decent desk job, in a major metropolitan area in the Western world, with a loving and supportive wife – allow me to surround myself with the type of environment that allows me to work on healing. I don’t think I’d be able to do this if I had a very stressful and demanding job, or a difficult marriage, or a difficult financial situation.

 

As a side note, my weight is the lowest it's been in a couple of years. Is this due to getting off meds? I don't know.

Circa 1995 put on Paxil; Tried various meds over the years in an effort to get away from Paxil's side effects

06/29/13 Switched from 30mg Paxil to 10mg Lexapro

10/24/13 7.5mg Lexapro

12/01/13 6.25mg Lexapro

01/01/14 5mg Lexapro

03/01/14 3.75mg Lexapro

04/01/14 2.5mg Lexapro

05/01/14 1.25mg Lexapro

05/28/14 Med-Free

02/27/15 300mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

May 2015: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

08/05/15: 600mg Neurontin twice daily, 30mg Paxil daily, .25mg to .50mg Xanax as needed

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