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Progress! What withdrawal symptoms have gone away for you?


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One of the things that's been most striking to me, on my taper, has been the disappearance of the suicidality that was my constant companion for most of the time during the 20 years I was on meds. It would recede, but always came back, and now I realize that even when it was in remission it was still always there at a lower level.

 

The reason for the "now I realize" is because even though I am still on meds, I'm on quite a bit lower doses than I started at, and the suicidality is gone. In fact, sometimes (particularly when I'm holding my taper and not in so much withdrawal) I feel the "urge to survive" that I now realize is the normal state for all living beings.

 

Right now I can no more imagine hurting myself than hurting someone else. And although some of the "life isn't worth living" feelings do come back when I'm in the throes of withdrawal, periodically, they're just shadows of what they used to be, and pass; and much more of the time I feel a deep sense that life IS worth living, and I'm glad to be here and living it.

 

You have no idea what a change this is for me after 20 years of believing that I was mentally ill and my suicidality was proof of that, and that it was only the drugs that were keeping me alive.

 

GRRRR!

 

Here's a link to Gianna's post on this subject. I think it's really important for everyone who has experienced suicidality on psychiatric drugs to know about this.

 

http://beyondmeds.com/2011/02/23/withdrawlesssuicide/

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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One of the things that's been most striking to me, on my taper, has been the disappearance of the suicidality that was my constant companion for most of the time during the 20 years I was on meds. It

Barbarannamated

Rhi,

I know exactly what you mean! I tried to verbalize the difference and what I came up with is 'there is now a distinct difference between 1) not feeling like living and 2) wanting to die.' That was such a revelation. I never made attempts in past, but it felt much more like a possibility.

There are days im feeling so wiped that im in bed most of day. This would often be seen as a sign of depression, but I realized I wasn't depressed as I used to experience it. I allowed myself to rest and not put a label on it. Husband checks in occasionally, one time asking what I was doing (scary, I know). I heard myself say 'I'm EVOLVING'. That did not fit any of his textbooks and he walked out of room scratching his head, probably thinking he should call the psychiatrist.

It's been amazing how that 'reframing' eased my conscience. It has since morphed into 'Im experiencing neurogenesis' and 'my brain is remodeling'. ;)

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Barbarannamated

On another note, a childhood friend committed suicide a few days ago. I hadn't seen her in many years, then connected at reunion in 2010 and found alot in common. We weren't close, but in looking at some of her posts on Facebook, I wonder what role meds might have player. She spoke of a long problem w narcolepsy and demons, even though she was a bright, life of the party person. They say still waters run deep, but still waters are sometimes masked by beautiful babbling brooks.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Rhi, that's wonderful that you feel the urge to survive now. I never had an issue with feeling suicidal until that first big drop off Paxil. I haven't had it since, thank God. Now I know for sure what feeling makes a person kill themselves. I always wondered how depression alone could cause it, as I experienced depression off and on many years and never felt like ending my life. But now I see just how deep and all consuming that depression can be. Now I have a new empathy for people going through this. This is a plus side to my experience. I can help others better since I've been there. Anyway, I'm so glad you aren't feeling suicidal now :)

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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Barbarannamated

I agree w Gianna's point about physical pain. That is the worst for me and changes my outlook.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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This is by far the most terrifying WD symptom for me. I never had it until about a year ago. I was still chugging along with the less than 5% drops when all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under me. I stopped sleeping completely, couldn't eat, horrible anxiety and depression, etc. I didn't sleep for a week, lost about 15-20 lbs. and I was very close to giving up completely. By the grace of God I got through it but I haven't been the same since. I've had trouble sleeping on and off and a big problem with hypnic jerks since then. The jerks were SO bad at the beginning (it was pure torture) and have calmed down but are not close to being gone. I had them for over an hour last night before I could finally fall asleep.

 

That's why I'm going achingly slow because I'm frightened of my own suicidal ideations when I'm in WD. I think it stems from utter hopelessness of ever getting off this drug, yet feeling like I have no choice because of poop out. I feel worse the longer I stay on a dose, yet I feel bad if I drop too much. I feel so discouraged that I can still feel .10mg drops (not too bad, but still noticeable) at this dosage when I know MOST people wouldn't feel that at all. It's like less than a 2% drop!! I don't want to be tapering for 10 more years when I have already been tapering for five years! I just feel like I am TOO sensitive and am UNABLE to get off this drug no matter how slow I go and that makes me VERY discouraged which in turn causes suicidal ideation. Sorry for the rant, but like I said this is my scariest WD symptom. That is so great to hear it went away for others after tapering off completely.

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Ladybug, it was by far the worse w/d symptom to me too. It was simply a desire to kill myself. It was view of the world and reality; that it was ugly and I hated life. "Life isn't worth living" etc. Aside from what suicide would do to my children, my belief in reincarnation also kept me from doing it. I believe that when we kill ourselves we have to come back in the same situation, only it's worse because we make even more karma by hurting others with our suicide. So for me, I feel I have to get through this or I'll experience it again in another life. Thank God the Stramonium helped with those feelings. I haven't had them since the beginning now. Never was I suicidal in my life until w/d.

 

I couldn't taper below 20 mg. I even tried 18.5 drop. That's why I'm going ahead with the Prozac switch. So far so good. Day three with no Paxil and I have no symptoms. But I'll tell you it was very scary to just drop off Paxil at 20 mg like that. It felt like I was jumping off a cliff!

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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Barbarannamated

Thanks for that explanation, Shanti.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • 1 month later...

*sigh* I had thoughts of suicide today. I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. What can I do? What should I do? I go to group meetings and they still don't help. I'm just angry and depressed.

UT- LongHorns baby

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I'm feeling better this morning. I have taken only 3 quarters to start the day off right (1.5)mg Xanax. I only had 5 hours of sleep also...things are looking ok today. I wonder if my depression is coming from living in this god awful city of Seattle. This place is just gloomy and dark. *sigh* Alright yall I'm out, I'm going to pick up my ex-gf later this morning. Hope it all goes well. :o

UT- LongHorns baby

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  • Administrator

Tony, I think I mentioned before, depression can be a side effect of benzos.

 

You might get better advice on a benzo forum, such as benzobuddies.org. We don't do benzos here, this is a site for tapering off other types of psychiatric drugs.

 

Tapering off benzos requires special techniques. They'll know more on benzobuddies.org.

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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Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with you on that. Thanks for the forum direct alto. It seems like a good community. :unsure:

UT- LongHorns baby

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Tony! A couple of thoughts from me. First, if you're taking Xanax, be careful with it. It has a really short half-life and if you don't take it every four hours or so you can get breakthrough withdrawal symptoms. So it can actually make you feel worse. With Xanax, if you're going to take it every day you need to split the dose up and take it at regular intervals. You really do need to be careful with benzos. They won't help you feel less suicidal, that I know of. (You can find me under "prhiannon" over at BenzoBuddies.)

 

Second, yes, Seattle can make you depressed in the winter. I live out in the Columbia Gorge east of Portland and we get a lot more sunshine here. But when I first moved up to Oregon from New Mexico I was worried that I would get winter depression so I got a therapy light. And that first winter here I didn't see the sun for two weeks so I used the light every day and it definitely did help me a lot. I definitely recommend trying it. I think the best bang for your buck is with the Uplift Technologies brand.

 

Also exercise is really important for fighting depression and suicidal feelings. And it's hard to get exercise in the winter in Seattle unless you join a gym or get home exercise equipment. So that's another thing I'd highly highly recommend trying.

 

I hope some of this helps!

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 Tony. I had the same problem. I was loathing life. I had to remind myself that this feeling over me is an illusion and it is temporary. It's like there's this false shadow imposed over what reality is like and life just seems so.. ughh. Anyway, have you thought of trying Homeopathy? Stramonium saved my life because it targeted those symptoms specifically. For me, the worst symptom of this whole thing is the suicidal thoughts and hatred of being alive. That was worse to me than the zaps and jerks. Here is what I have listed at my site for suicide and depression:

 

Arum Metallicum 30C - Depression, wanting to die, loathing life, suicidal.

 

Stramonium 30C - Anxiety, fear, nightmares, depression, suicidal feelings.

 

The Stramonium also worked wonders for the overly vivid dreams. I've been taking it every night since I started this tapering journey and my dreams have been normal. But then the other night I decided not to take it, and bam, I had the crazy, too realistic dreams again. So needless to say, I will be taking Stramonium every night for a long time.

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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  • 4 months later...

Hi everyone.

Just a couple of quick questions. For anyone who is feeling better(even slightly) after how many months of acute withdrwal did you see some improvement in WD symptoms?

How do you know you were feeling better- did the severity of the symptoms lessen (e.g were pains less painful) or did you experience times with no symptoms.

I'm only 12 weeks off but desperately looking for signs that i am getting better. I feel i have more energy - i don't need to lie down all the time but i haven't had a day without various pains yet.

Thanks for your feedback

Had taken sertraline and Prozac for approx 6 weeks each in 2001 and 2006. Stopped c/t both times no prob. October 2011 started sertraline again. December 2011 started getting weird symptoms (stomach ache and numb limbs in my sleep) so decided I wanted off the 50mg sertraline. Cut in half in december and reduced to 25mg. Knew I was in trouble as went into withdrawals. Managed to stabilise quickly though and thought I could quickly come off 25mg. Stopped the 25mg in march 2012. Went into withdrawal and experiencing for almost 3 years now.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi... post withdrawal issues can go on for many months, sometimes years, which is why folks are advised to reinstate at low doses when they are not deemed to be too far out from the last dose. Do you still have some AD on hand so you could reinstate as per Alto's suggestions in your intro thread?

 

I read about your doc dismissing that your problems could be due to withdrawal.. will she write a new script for some pretext, or can you find another doc who might be more responsive to your needs? The potential outcome is too serious here to continue on your present course. The longer you have symptoms, the more neuro sensitization there is.~S

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's just not possible to answer your question. The time involved in withdrawal varies wildly depending on a person's drug history, the type(s) of drug taken, the length of time drugs were taken, and the person's overall health. Even with all of that information, no one could tell you for sure because there's just not enough history available about antidepressant withdrawal to make any predictions.

 

I don't mean to be difficult about this. The problem is that antidepressant withdrawal has only recently been recognized in the medical world and even so by only a few rare, caring and honest doctors. The phenomenon is not yet widely accepted and so there is very little good research available. All we know to date is that antidepressants change the brain's structure and it takes months to years after the drug or drugs are out of one's system for the brain to rebuild to normal.

 

I do sympathize. Withdrawal was the worst sickness I've ever had in my life.

 

(It would be helpful for everyone if you'd include your drug history in your signature along with a link to your Intro.)

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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You know the phrase one day at a time???? I go one hour at a time. It's hard. But it will get better. Mind what you eat and drink.....

Everything was ok. And then it wasn't.

 

Med History

11/2009- 50 mg Zoloft (1st ad ever) in combo w/.50 xanax for 2 weeks then use xanax as needed (1st benzo ever)

9 days on Zoloft, I was awake for 9 days straight C/T Zoloft

11/2009- trazadone to sleep for 2 weeks c/t Trazadone

12/2009 start 10 mg Lexapro w/ Xanax as needed

5/2010-3 week taper off lexapro

9/2010? back to Lexapro 10 mg after 5 or 6 weeks c/t leapro

12/2010-10mg paxil

5/2011-6 week paxil taper

8/2011 5mg lexapro

last lexapro pill January 7 2012

all this as per doc orders Thanks Doc!

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Thanks for your replies everyone. I threw all antidepressants out a while ago. It's been 13 weeks now since I took any and that feels like a long time. I've seen a fair few stories from people who say symptoms resolve after 4- 6 months so hopefully I'll get better without needing to reinstate. I really can't imagine taking another pill again. Some things have got better- e.g the anxiety and chest pains have gone so maybe I am on the road to recovery. Thanks for your views though. How do you add your drug history to your signature? Cheers

Had taken sertraline and Prozac for approx 6 weeks each in 2001 and 2006. Stopped c/t both times no prob. October 2011 started sertraline again. December 2011 started getting weird symptoms (stomach ache and numb limbs in my sleep) so decided I wanted off the 50mg sertraline. Cut in half in december and reduced to 25mg. Knew I was in trouble as went into withdrawals. Managed to stabilise quickly though and thought I could quickly come off 25mg. Stopped the 25mg in march 2012. Went into withdrawal and experiencing for almost 3 years now.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for your replies everyone. I threw all antidepressants out a while ago. It's been 13 weeks now since I took any and that feels like a long time. I've seen a fair few stories from people who say symptoms resolve after 4- 6 months so hopefully I'll get better without needing to reinstate. I really can't imagine taking another pill again. Some things have got better- e.g the anxiety and chest pains have gone so maybe I am on the road to recovery. Thanks for your views though. How do you add your drug history to your signature? Cheers

 

Here's the link to instructions:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Cheers Jemima :)

Had taken sertraline and Prozac for approx 6 weeks each in 2001 and 2006. Stopped c/t both times no prob. October 2011 started sertraline again. December 2011 started getting weird symptoms (stomach ache and numb limbs in my sleep) so decided I wanted off the 50mg sertraline. Cut in half in december and reduced to 25mg. Knew I was in trouble as went into withdrawals. Managed to stabilise quickly though and thought I could quickly come off 25mg. Stopped the 25mg in march 2012. Went into withdrawal and experiencing for almost 3 years now.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

I have contemplated suicide many times while taking anti depressants, and attempted 3 times 

many years ago, again when on AD's. During withdrawal the feelings have been so strong at times

and I was in great distress at times. It is a known side effect of anti depressants but what puzzles me

is HOW can a pill make thoughts turn to suicide?  I have had several life threatening illnesses and

have always wanted to live through it and fought through surgery and treatments to get over them. 

I asked my psychiatrist why I didn't want to die when I was physically ill and she told me that when

someone gets a life threatening illness depression tends to lift. She also said that it isn't psychological

because many peoples' depression has lifted BEFORE finding out they are ill. 

 

I'm rambling a bit so well done if you are getting what I'm saying. I know what depression feels like, and withdrawal

but for the life in me I cannot understand how a pill can put a thought in place and drive you to desperation 

when most people don't really want to die, just to get better. I think completely differently now to how I thought

only a few days ago and always tell myself that I will never think that way again. Suicide is wrong, I don't believe

in it and yet the thoughts and feelings pop up without invitation. I have been financially in dire straits at times

but would never consider stealing because it is wrong and the thought never even enters my head so where

do suicidal thoughts come from? 

 

I've read many posts from people here who have thoughts of suicide too during withdrawal, I just would like to

understand really, I used to feel very guilty but now I just feel thankful that I resist and keep going until it passes. 

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

 

 

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

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

2002  effexor. 

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

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

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

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

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Barbarannamated

MammaP,

 

This is thought-provoking post. The difference you felt when faced with life threatening physical illnesses is interesting. I haven't faced anything imminent (physical illness), but have definitely had thoughts of not wanting to live while in withdrawal (never prior to antidepressants).

 

I try to remember that 'not wanting to live' is NOT the same as 'wanting to die'. I hope that makes sense. I struggle with this daily.

 

I hope others will contribute.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Dear MamaP:

The original meaning of desperate was "without hope". I can't speak for others, but for me that has been the thing that separated being scared or horribly sad from thinking about ending it all. Hope is pretty hard to justify, but sometimes it 's there and sometimes it isn't. Is that the thing these drugs sometimes effect?

Thinking good thoughts atcha,

Ed

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MammaP,This is thought-provoking post. The difference you felt when faced with life threatening physical illnesses is interesting. I haven't faced anything imminent (physical illness), but have definitely had thoughts of not wanting to live while in withdrawal (never prior to antidepressants).I try to remember that 'not wanting to live' is NOT the same as 'wanting to die'. I hope that makes sense. I struggle with this daily.I hope others will contribute.

 

 

 

A thought-provoking post indeed.  I think Barbara brings up a really good point about not wanting to live being different from wanting to die.  I have found the suicidal thoughts worsening for me with each withdrawal episode I go through and as Barbara mentioned, I too have been struggling with this daily as well.  Maybe it is the brain's way of saying it is in chaos.  I do have better days where the thoughts are there but much less, so I do think it is definitely linked to something specific regarding the withdrawal experience. 

-1/06 - 3/07 Cymbalta. Fast taper; withdrawal symptoms after 4 mos (didn't realize was WD)

-10/07: 100 mg Zoloft; 1 mg Klonopin - tapered off Klonopin
-Tried several times to slowly taper Zoloft by 10%, then 5% every 4-6 weeks; could never get below approx. 40 mg - spring 2012 experienced major WD symptoms due to stress; tried to updose but no relief, back on Klonopin 1 mg.
-Switched over 5-6 mos from Zoloft to Citalopram. Finished Zoloft 1/13; Citalopram 35 mg and 1 mg Klonopin.
-8/13: 27 mg Citalopram; 1 mg Klonopin

-11/14: 12.6 Citalopram - began to have bad withdrawal symptoms; out of desperation increased to 1.25 mg Klonopin at the beginning of December.  12/13/14 16 mg Citalopram - going to stay here to try to stabilize; stabilized on 16 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

-7/15 - 3/16: reduced to 15 mg; ~ 2 months later w/d hit hard (probably r/t stress); 6/16 updosed to 20 mg Citalopram and trying to stabilize. Updosed to 1.5 Klonopin as well. Stabilized on 20 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

8/17-9/17: feeling withdrawal symptoms at 20 mg Citalopram (due to stress) - slowly increased to 25 mg. No change in symptoms after 6 months (? tolerance ?)  - decided to start citalopram taper February 2018 (still on Klonopin 1.5 mg).

Supplements: fish oil; magnesium; vitamin D3; curcumin

Citalopram taper:  2/2018 - 12/2019: 25 mg - 11.03 mg I 2020: 10.89 mg - 7.9 mg

2021: 1/3/21: 7.8 mg (1.27% drop); 1/24/21: 7.7 mg (1.29%); 1/31/21: 7.6 mg (1.17%); 2/7/21: 7.5 mg (1.19%); 2/14/21: 7.4 mg (1.34%); 2/28/21: 7.3 mg (1.25%); 3/7/21: 7.2 mg (1.25%); 3/21/21: 7.1 mg (1.25%); 3/28/21: 7.0 (1.25%)

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Meimeiquest

I am lucky not to have this struggle, but one day in med-transition hell in 2006, I was having mental akathisia or something, and the only thing that brought comfort was thinking about suicide. I planned the end goal, then started working backwards, spent most of the day on it. I was researching how to take a gun safety class when my girls came home from elementary school...and I resumed my life as a mom. And the thought never returned. But I have wondered what would have happened if we had a gun in the house.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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Barbarannamated

Edted's point about hope or lack of is key, IMHO. At this point, I am unable to "see forward" or anticipate anything pleasureable or worth staying alive for. This is not to say I am suicidal, just to be clear. It's a very distinct lack of hope or expection of anything good /pleasure. It ties in with the emotional anesthesia, anhedonia, and apathy....lack of purpose...lack of reward.

 

"Mental akathisia" is an excellent description, Meimeiquest. My mind seems to be constantly searching and scanning for ANYTHING to hold on to. I used to be a voracious reader, but can't concentrate now. Unfortunately, when my mind does lock onto something, it's usually negative.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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I think Barbara brings up a really good point about not wanting to live being different from wanting to die

 

 

^My life story. I'm pretty chronically suicidal, on ads, before ads and oh wait, I haven't really been that suicidal since I started withdrawal--probably because part of me is hopeful about the whole thing. I know both that I am thinking about suicide to comfort myself and that I don't really want to die (I'd much rather find a way to live).

 

 My mind seems to be constantly searching and scanning for ANYTHING to hold on to. I used to be a voracious reader, but can't concentrate now. Unfortunately, when my mind does lock onto something, it's usually negative.

 

 

Ugh, you too? I totally understand where you are coming from. Last year in the height of depression (pre any influence of drugs), I was despairing because I couldn't focus enough to read, but I would spend hours thinking/ looking into horribly negative things I was obsessing over. I'm somewhat better now since I'm still pretty numb to most things.

Tapering Zoloft, Dec 2014

Started Lamictal

Re-started Zoloft mid-Oct 2014, 25-50mg

Stopped Zoloft end of Sept 2014

Started Zoloft July 2014, 50mg

Stopped Prozac from 3mg May 2014

Stopped Effexor Dec '13 Started 10mg Prozac

Reinstated Effexor 15mg on Nov 2013

Stopped from 21mg on Oct 2013
Effexor 112.5mg, since Dec 2012

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It is a known side effect of anti depressants but what puzzles me

is HOW can a pill make thoughts turn to suicide?  

This is something that I've wondered too. When I took Paxil for a short time, within just a few days I became absolutely obsessed with suicidal thoughts. It was so clearly the drug and I was really amazed and awed by the power of that pill.  That was actually the event that made me realize how powerful--and bad, at least for me--these drugs are, and started me exploring this path which has led me here today, tapering and withdrawing and trying to help other people in the same boat.

 

The only time in my life that I've been suicidal has been either while on ADs or in withdrawal from psych drugs.

 

I don't think anyone knows the answer to this, and I doubt we'll find out any time soon, since right now so much money is being poured into making sure people don't believe it.

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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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Um, isn't EVERYTHING a 'known side effect' of ADs? Not being facetious here.

 

Not to get all science about it but there is a possibility about how our physiology changes with medication our thoughts change too. I think the thing is to sorta wall it off, or head it off, by something and not get wrapped up in it as meaning something personal about ourselves. I am always shocked when such a thought flits thru my head (I think one zoomed by as short as a day ago) and I just blinked my brain eyes and did something else. It is a totally scary thought and I don't like it one bit. Changing the channel seems to be an antidote for a lot of things and it's not just purely mental. Anything will do. The crappy knitting. Learning a new way to tie my shoelaces. Drink a glass of water. I think it's hard for us humans to have 2 separate thought streams going at the same time. We have to choose which one gets more of our attention. Maybe nothing more mystical or scientific than that. And then not beat ourselves up when it doesn't always work, just do it again and again.

 

In the absence of any clear struggle 'for' something, like recovering from an illness (think daily physical therapy to regain lost function of an arm for the goal of having it work again), we might have to 'make something up' and stop thinking of our 'recovery'. Do something (maybe something, some activity you are sure won't work like alphabetizing the sock drawer) and not think too much about it and see what happens. Then come back here and tell us about it. Go into great detail, write the longest post you have ever written. I assure you we will be fascinated! (And I for one am sure I won't have one suicidal thought during my reading). I think our inner 'imaginer' gets stuck and we can't see, via thinking, about how life can get any better. Sheesh, my life sure got DIFFERENT when I walked into the pool with my cell phone in my pocket. What was up with that? Am I getting the dreaded A at my age? Well maybe, but maybe I just had my head up my butt thinking about the concept of 'mindfulness'.

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.

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You walked into the pool with your cellphone in your pocket? Is it okay if that image makes me laugh? I'm sorry, it's not that your misfortune is amusing to me per se, but that sounds so exactly like something I would do!

 

I find that my own experience fits with what Barb said about not wanting to live being different from wanting to die. They use the terms "active" and "passive" suicidality too. Active, for me, is when (like when I took Paxil and when I CT'd Neurontin) I become practically obsessed with the idea and start really researching ways to make it happen and actually figuring out plans. "Passive" is more like wishing a satellite would fall from the sky onto my head and kill me, but not actively pursuing plans. And I think Barb's category is a third one, for me: just feeling like life is too long and too full of suffering and I just really hope I don't have to go through much more of it, and feeling like I'd be grateful if it ended soon. Maybe not right this minute, but before too long.

 

I don't get the first two any more.  The active kind went away about six to eight months into my taper, I think maybe once I got pretty stable with the withdrawal. The passive kind took longer, about another year and a half into the taper, as I got to lower doses of the meds. I still get the "not really wanting to live but not really wanting to die right now" kind pretty often, usually when I'm not getting enough sleep or exercise or hugs or social times, or when I'm having withdrawal from a cut.

 

I did discover the time I actually did attempt (back when I was still on the polydrug merry-go-round) that even when I'm feeling extremely suicidal it's very hard for me to actually hurt myself. I don't think I could do it again.

 

Anyway, I think these stupid drugs cause way more suicidality than anyone official wants to admit, both when you take them and when you withdraw from them. 

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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PS: LOL alphabetizing the sock drawer! HA!

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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I am lucky not to have this struggle, but one day in med-transition hell in 2006, I was having mental akathisia or something, and the only thing that brought comfort was thinking about suicide. I planned the end goal, then started working backwards, spent most of the day on it. I was researching how to take a gun safety class when my girls came home from elementary school...and I resumed my life as a mom. And the thought never returned. But I have wondered what would have happened if we had a gun in the house.

Well I'm really glad you didn't!

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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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Rhi, I'm still laughing about the cell phone myself! The post is in Off Topic under 'Mindfulness and Alligators'. Not quite so funny when the ramifications of its loss hit me. I couldn't hold back the tears last night at the cell phone store. I hope I remember to go back and post the aftermath there.

 

Yup! Had all the diff suicide 'ideations' you described and they are all states of horrible despair. Before I went on meds in CA I had it bad. I didn't want to DO myself in, I just wanted the pain to stop. The thoughts convinced me that I needed help because I didn't want to die and I was afraid that my 'inattentiveness' to life would cause it to happen by mistake.

 

 

I still get the "not really wanting to live but not really wanting to die right now" kind pretty often

 

So what do you do? My sock drawer idea was an example of postponing or diverting the thought so it can't take hold in my addled neuro mind. I don't have any answer to mammaP's original question which I think was 'How could a pill do that?' I find it to be one of those things that if I can just find out WHY I can make it stop. It (the thought) just comes to consciousness, science probably knows why but in the final analysis I still have to DO something to head it off at the pass and do something other than sitting in the corner twiddling my thumbs until my recovery gets here.

 

Is that my socks calling me or is it my underwear? Honest to pete, in my 20's I actually had an epiphany with the socks/underwear metaphor. I suddenly realized that I couldn't start my life until I straightened up my underwear drawer! The absurdity of that realization really hit me at the time. I still ended up in AA and on ADs and here the thought comes round again.

 

It's a fancypants way of 'changing the channel' when those thoughts come. I think even 'normal' people get them in times of deep despair. Some have admitted them to me, that's how I know.

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.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

PS.  You guys know I'm not well yet, don't you?

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.

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Some very interesting replies, I wasn't really expecting so many! I am in no doubt whatsoever that

paroxetine/seroxat was responsible for my worst times.  Like Rhi I was obsessed and went to the library

looking at drugs books to see which would be best and how much would be needed. It just would not go away

and I was convinced everyone would be better off if I wasn't around. It wasn't just the thoughts but the feeling

of absolute desperation, of emotional pain that was worse than any physical pain I have ever experienced. I

didn't have any of that until I started that drug. I remember telling my psychiatrist at the time that she had made

me ill and that I was ok until I went in that hospital. I was admitted after OD on sleeping pills. It wasn't a suicide

attempt, I had been through a lot of stress and struggled to keep everything together. I was utterly exhausted

and just needed sleep. I didn't even think about it, just tipped one from the bottle and several fell out. It was impulse

and all I wanted was sleep. 

That was the start of my medication madness. Several years later there was a documentary on tv about seroxat and

how it was responsible for hundreds of suicides and attempts.. 

 

I have had those same feeling recently with withdrawal, but didn't recognise it as withdrawal at first.

Alto pointed it out to me and knowing what is happening and that it will pass makes a huge

difference . I play solitaire on the computer or burst bubbles online (yes, really, lol)

 Things that don't take any thought but are a distraction. Haven't tried sorting my sock drawer yet but have been going

through my hoards and passing stuff on.  ( thanks CW for the kick up the bum )  It feels liberating! 

 

I don't suppose anyone will ever know HOW a pill can cause so much misery when it is supposed to help. 

But then I have to admit that I was grateful for the effexor when I first went on it, it was brilliant for quite a while, I didn't

get any suicidal thoughts until I was stopped and reinstated. 

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

 

 

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

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

2002  effexor. 

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

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

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

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

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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