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☼ TheAutomator: Recovering from PSSD

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theautomator
Hello all :)  

 

Forgive me if this should have been an intro topic, I couldn't decide whether to post it on the intro forum or here. This mainly focusses on my PSSD, one of the last parts of my withdrawal to abate, but I will eventually post a broader story that covers all aspects of my withdrawal success. This was originally posted by me on PP about a week ago - I had just joined, and then it was shut down.

 

 

TheAutomator's PSSD Recovery Story:

 

 

Hello all. I’ve always been a lurker on various forums, but never one to make a post. However, I feel that I owe it to everyone going through the same things I have been, to share this story. 

 

I took Lexapro, followed by Zoloft, for about 8 months in total, back in 2011-2012. I was 24 at the time, and had always had a raging sex drive. Not to give you waaaay too much information here, but I easily masturbated 3 times a day, every day! The most subtle of sexual thoughts could put me into heat. My sex drive was a strong part of my identity, and I never imagined anything could temper it.

 

Well, as the familiar story goes, within a few weeks of starting on SSRI’s (for long standing issues with depression and a new job in a horribly toxic environment), My sex drive began to fade (amongst a whole host of other side effects). Physical sensation was significantly diminished, and the ability to have or maintain an erection was marginal at best. It was entirely impossible without direct physical stimulation as well. Orgasms felt like almost nothing. In my mind I was still sexual, but my body no longer functioned. It was hell.

 

After 8 months, I quit over a 1-2 week period. Lexapro had crapped out, and Zoloft was now doing the same. The side effects (including the one in question here) were too much. I had tried various other ADs before starting these two meds to no avail, or with serious side effects. I decided I was finished with meds.

 

The next 6 months were emotional hell. I slipped for a week and started Zoloft again, but quit promptly. Months passed and my sex drive wasn’t coming back. After reading about PSSD online, I became terrified, and angry at myself for ever trying these horrible pills. I had flatlined – maybe a 10% improvement since a quit and that was it. A year had passed. 

 

I tried every supplement under the sun (as I’m sure many other desperate sufferers have) and soon learned that I was sensitive to many of them, often feeling worse in a variety of ways. I developed a new rule – if it’s not in normal food, I won’t take it. Fish oils yes, Rhodiola no, for example. I tried licorice root once and had the worst two weeks of anxiety and insomnia in my life. I wanted to die. In the end, no supplement really did much for me, with the exception of inositol. Inositol, while doing nothing for physical sensation or arousal, restored my orgasm to pre SSRI levels in a matter of days. It also made me drop the 25 pounds I had gained *after* quitting ADs (with absolutely no change in diet). I had been unable to stop the gain, no matter what I tried, how much I controlled my calories. I had given up. My metabolism was screwed up – another lovely gift care of SSRIs. Inositol has been a god-send here.

 

In the second year I started to experience the “windows” that people talk about. It first started over a weekend. I felt, overnight, almost 75% back to normal in every way (sensation, drive, erections). It was amazing. The sceptic in me feared it wouldn’t last, and he was right. 2 days later I was back to my old new self. Over the year, I had 2 or 3 more such events, lasting up to a week. I felt hope… I wasn’t broken, just malfunctioning.

 

Toward the end of that second year, which is about 3 months ago, I had what I thought was another window. But this time it didn’t really go away. Instead, the entire pattern started to invert. I was mostly functional, but had windows where I’d lose my sex drive for a few days! I was again skeptical the first month, but it has persisted, for 3 months now, and all the while getting better! I quit all my supplements (just to try and figure out if anything was helping and anything wasn’t) and I felt even better! It seems as if some were making matters worse, not better! I now consistently wake up with morning erections every night (I forgot how annoying those can be!), and can become physically aroused without direct contact (just thinking, or with visual stimulation). Women and sex drive me crazy again. I’m not 100% of my old self yet, maybe 80 or 90, but after what I’ve been through, this is heaven. I’ll be sure to return in a few more months for another update.

 

I hope anyone who reads this will keep hanging onto hope. It was the other success stories that I read online that kept me sane. My PSSD lasted longer than I took the freaking SSRIs for, but it eventually started to remit. I think yours will too! It wasn’t a gradual recovery, but a lot of flat-lining, false starts, and eventual rapid change. It’s been like trying to start a car that doesn’t want to crank. A lot of nothing, the occasion where you alllllmost get there, but then the engine goes off again, and then finally that one good turn of the key that gets you over the hill! Keep cranking :)

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Altostrata

Thanks, theautomator. Do you have any other lingering post-acute withdrawal symptoms?

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johnson

Thanks for posting this again theautomator. I was on PP when you wrote this story. In case you didn't read my reply,

I just want to say thank you. Your story made me laugh, almost made me cry and gave me more hope to keep going.

 

Thank you so much!

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theautomator

Thanks, theautomator. Do you have any other lingering post-acute withdrawal symptoms?

 

Glad to share. I have a few, but they are slowly improving. Sleep is still an issue although it is slowly getting much better. It used to be that I couldn't get to sleep at all. Then eventually falling asleep became very easy, but I'd wake after a couple of hours and couldn't get back to sleep once I woke up (without sleep medication). Now I still wake up, but can get back to sleep on my own quite consistently, and get an overall 5-8 hours of sleep a night. I began to suspect, after much reading, that this was linked to cortisol spikes at night or blood sugar fluctuations. I got a 4-point cortisol test and was within normal range for all 4 including immediately after waking at night. I also bought a glucose tester and do not get hypoglycemic at night. I'm a bit puzzled, but thankful for the slow improvement over time.

 

Another issue is a weird, physically sick, brain-foggy, somewhat indescribable and very unpleasant malaise I get if I eat too early in the day (especially carbohydrates, and somewhat with protein). I also get it if I wake too early (despite total sleep time). The feeling does not abate until I sleep again the following night, or have a mid day nap (even just five minutes completely fixes it).

 

My memory is also like a sieve. It was never great, but it's embarrassingly poor these days. Specifically recalling things on the fly (like in conversations), and remembering things like people's names.

 

Thanks for posting this again theautomator. I was on PP when you wrote this story. In case you didn't read my reply,

I just want to say thank you. Your story made me laugh, almost made me cry and gave me more hope to keep going.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Hi johnson, I did read your reply! I was actually going to PP to reply to it when I saw the note saying the forum had been closed! Thank you and I'm really happy that my experience can be a source of hope. Don't give up. I know how terrible it feels when it seems like nothing is getting better. Don't let that feeling phase you. I think you, and everyone else's odds of getting through this and back to their old selves are fantastic. It's just a question of how long it will take. Not if... when :)

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Altostrata

Very, very happy to hear of all this improvement!

 

I think for now, I'll move this to the Intro section as your journal. When you're back to nearer 100%, please write a success story.

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Chemistry

Hey automator thanks for posting your success story! I'm glad to see your PSSD has improved, more proof that it really can get better. Sorry if you've already said this but how long exactly since your last SSRI? 

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theautomator

Very, very happy to hear of all this improvement!

 

I think for now, I'll move this to the Intro section as your journal. When you're back to nearer 100%, please write a success story.

 

Much thanks Altostrata, will do.

 

Hey automator thanks for posting your success story! I'm glad to see your PSSD has improved, more proof that it really can get better. Sorry if you've already said this but how long exactly since your last SSRI? 

 

Hey Chemistry, no problem, and thanks. My last SSRI ever was April 2013.

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johnson

Hi,

 

Theautomator

 

I have a quick question for you, you mentioned that a few times during your second year off ssri's that you had %75 improvement in your pssd which would last a couple days each time and you would be back to your old new self. Then a few months ago this happened again but this time the %75 improvement in your pssd had stayed? And when this happened each time you literally woke up the next day and notice %75 improvement in PSSD?

 

Sorry for the repeated questions, I'm just feeling a bit low right now, just completely blah with no emotions especially if I see a nice looking woman. It's a strange feeling.

I'm just looking for some hope again. I'm 25 months off since I took my last pill.

 

thanks and sorry.

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BlueLeader

TheAutomater, thank you for posting this!

 

It gives me hope someday I might get better

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Zoran1

Omg... everytime I see a ''recovery  case'' I just get disappointed again and again. Instead of a way out of this Hell I get a story of somebody who had some ''windows'' and ''waves'' ...  

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Micromonster

just giving you a stalk, hope al is well

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btdt

 

Hello all :)  
 
Forgive me if this should have been an intro topic, I couldn't decide whether to post it on the intro forum or here. This mainly focusses on my PSSD, one of the last parts of my withdrawal to abate, but I will eventually post a broader story that covers all aspects of my withdrawal success. This was originally posted by me on PP about a week ago - I had just joined, and then it was shut down.
 
 
TheAutomator's PSSD Recovery Story:
 
 
Hello all. I’ve always been a lurker on various forums, but never one to make a post. However, I feel that I owe it to everyone going through the same things I have been, to share this story. 
 
I took Lexapro, followed by Zoloft, for about 8 months in total, back in 2011-2012. I was 24 at the time, and had always had a raging sex drive. Not to give you waaaay too much information here, but I easily masturbated 3 times a day, every day! The most subtle of sexual thoughts could put me into heat. My sex drive was a strong part of my identity, and I never imagined anything could temper it.
 
Well, as the familiar story goes, within a few weeks of starting on SSRI’s (for long standing issues with depression and a new job in a horribly toxic environment), My sex drive began to fade (amongst a whole host of other side effects). Physical sensation was significantly diminished, and the ability to have or maintain an erection was marginal at best. It was entirely impossible without direct physical stimulation as well. Orgasms felt like almost nothing. In my mind I was still sexual, but my body no longer functioned. It was hell.
 
After 8 months, I quit over a 1-2 week period. Lexapro had crapped out, and Zoloft was now doing the same. The side effects (including the one in question here) were too much. I had tried various other ADs before starting these two meds to no avail, or with serious side effects. I decided I was finished with meds.
 
The next 6 months were emotional hell. I slipped for a week and started Zoloft again, but quit promptly. Months passed and my sex drive wasn’t coming back. After reading about PSSD online, I became terrified, and angry at myself for ever trying these horrible pills. I had flatlined – maybe a 10% improvement since a quit and that was it. A year had passed. 
 
I tried every supplement under the sun (as I’m sure many other desperate sufferers have) and soon learned that I was sensitive to many of them, often feeling worse in a variety of ways. I developed a new rule – if it’s not in normal food, I won’t take it. Fish oils yes, Rhodiola no, for example. I tried licorice root once and had the worst two weeks of anxiety and insomnia in my life. I wanted to die. In the end, no supplement really did much for me, with the exception of inositol. Inositol, while doing nothing for physical sensation or arousal, restored my orgasm to pre SSRI levels in a matter of days. It also made me drop the 25 pounds I had gained *after* quitting ADs (with absolutely no change in diet). I had been unable to stop the gain, no matter what I tried, how much I controlled my calories. I had given up. My metabolism was screwed up – another lovely gift care of SSRIs. Inositol has been a god-send here.
 
In the second year I started to experience the “windows” that people talk about. It first started over a weekend. I felt, overnight, almost 75% back to normal in every way (sensation, drive, erections). It was amazing. The sceptic in me feared it wouldn’t last, and he was right. 2 days later I was back to my old new self. Over the year, I had 2 or 3 more such events, lasting up to a week. I felt hope… I wasn’t broken, just malfunctioning.
 
Toward the end of that second year, which is about 3 months ago, I had what I thought was another window. But this time it didn’t really go away. Instead, the entire pattern started to invert. I was mostly functional, but had windows where I’d lose my sex drive for a few days! I was again skeptical the first month, but it has persisted, for 3 months now, and all the while getting better! I quit all my supplements (just to try and figure out if anything was helping and anything wasn’t) and I felt even better! It seems as if some were making matters worse, not better! I now consistently wake up with morning erections every night (I forgot how annoying those can be!), and can become physically aroused without direct contact (just thinking, or with visual stimulation). Women and sex drive me crazy again. I’m not 100% of my old self yet, maybe 80 or 90, but after what I’ve been through, this is heaven. I’ll be sure to return in a few more months for another update.
 
I hope anyone who reads this will keep hanging onto hope. It was the other success stories that I read online that kept me sane. My PSSD lasted longer than I took the freaking SSRIs for, but it eventually started to remit. I think yours will too! It wasn’t a gradual recovery, but a lot of flat-lining, false starts, and eventual rapid change. It’s been like trying to start a car that doesn’t want to crank. A lot of nothing, the occasion where you alllllmost get there, but then the engine goes off again, and then finally that one good turn of the key that gets you over the hill! Keep cranking :)

 

" My PSSD lasted longer than I took the freaking SSRIs for, but it eventually started to remit. I think yours will too! It wasn’t a gradual recovery, but a lot of flat-lining, false starts, and eventual rapid change. It’s been like trying to start a car that doesn’t want to crank. A lot of nothing, the occasion where you alllllmost get there, but then the engine goes off again, and then finally that one good turn of the key that gets you over the hill! Keep cranking  :)"

 

Since you don't have a history here could you say how long you were on ssri drugs and how long the recovery actually took?  Was it more than 7 years is what I am asking.  Also did you have bad headaches with the onset of physical tension associated with orgasm?  From what I can find on this they are known as orgasm headaches.  I am just curious. Thanks 

peace

 

ps if it is a rule of thumb or turns out to be that it takes longer to heal than the time you were drugged I will be in an old folks home ...likely drugged and not caring much by then... meant as a bit of dark humor... I was drugged a long time..peace

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theautomator

Hi,

 

Theautomator

 

I have a quick question for you, you mentioned that a few times during your second year off ssri's that you had %75 improvement in your pssd which would last a couple days each time and you would be back to your old new self. Then a few months ago this happened again but this time the %75 improvement in your pssd had stayed? And when this happened each time you literally woke up the next day and notice %75 improvement in PSSD?

 

Sorry for the repeated questions, I'm just feeling a bit low right now, just completely blah with no emotions especially if I see a nice looking woman. It's a strange feeling.

I'm just looking for some hope again. I'm 25 months off since I took my last pill.

 

thanks and sorry.

 

Hi, I'm sorry for the delay in responding. Yes! It was overnight - I'd literally wake up one day feeling the improvement. There was nothing gradual about it. Then one time it happened and just persisted. Unfortunately I've been really sick lately with both toxic mold in a bad apartment, and carbon monoxide poisoning from an exhaust leak in my car. Back to back... I've felt horrible, and my sex drive (and emotional health, and sleep, and energy) have all been adversely affected. I'm just starting to recover after moving and losing $1000's of furniture. I hope things will go back to where they were and will post here as time goes on. I hope you're not still feeling so low. Don't let the frustration get to you yet.

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theautomator

 

 

Hello all :)  
 
Forgive me if this should have been an intro topic, I couldn't decide whether to post it on the intro forum or here. This mainly focusses on my PSSD, one of the last parts of my withdrawal to abate, but I will eventually post a broader story that covers all aspects of my withdrawal success. This was originally posted by me on PP about a week ago - I had just joined, and then it was shut down.
 
 
TheAutomator's PSSD Recovery Story:
 
 
Hello all. I’ve always been a lurker on various forums, but never one to make a post. However, I feel that I owe it to everyone going through the same things I have been, to share this story. 
 
I took Lexapro, followed by Zoloft, for about 8 months in total, back in 2011-2012. I was 24 at the time, and had always had a raging sex drive. Not to give you waaaay too much information here, but I easily masturbated 3 times a day, every day! The most subtle of sexual thoughts could put me into heat. My sex drive was a strong part of my identity, and I never imagined anything could temper it.
 
Well, as the familiar story goes, within a few weeks of starting on SSRI’s (for long standing issues with depression and a new job in a horribly toxic environment), My sex drive began to fade (amongst a whole host of other side effects). Physical sensation was significantly diminished, and the ability to have or maintain an erection was marginal at best. It was entirely impossible without direct physical stimulation as well. Orgasms felt like almost nothing. In my mind I was still sexual, but my body no longer functioned. It was hell.
 
After 8 months, I quit over a 1-2 week period. Lexapro had crapped out, and Zoloft was now doing the same. The side effects (including the one in question here) were too much. I had tried various other ADs before starting these two meds to no avail, or with serious side effects. I decided I was finished with meds.
 
The next 6 months were emotional hell. I slipped for a week and started Zoloft again, but quit promptly. Months passed and my sex drive wasn’t coming back. After reading about PSSD online, I became terrified, and angry at myself for ever trying these horrible pills. I had flatlined – maybe a 10% improvement since a quit and that was it. A year had passed. 
 
I tried every supplement under the sun (as I’m sure many other desperate sufferers have) and soon learned that I was sensitive to many of them, often feeling worse in a variety of ways. I developed a new rule – if it’s not in normal food, I won’t take it. Fish oils yes, Rhodiola no, for example. I tried licorice root once and had the worst two weeks of anxiety and insomnia in my life. I wanted to die. In the end, no supplement really did much for me, with the exception of inositol. Inositol, while doing nothing for physical sensation or arousal, restored my orgasm to pre SSRI levels in a matter of days. It also made me drop the 25 pounds I had gained *after* quitting ADs (with absolutely no change in diet). I had been unable to stop the gain, no matter what I tried, how much I controlled my calories. I had given up. My metabolism was screwed up – another lovely gift care of SSRIs. Inositol has been a god-send here.
 
In the second year I started to experience the “windows” that people talk about. It first started over a weekend. I felt, overnight, almost 75% back to normal in every way (sensation, drive, erections). It was amazing. The sceptic in me feared it wouldn’t last, and he was right. 2 days later I was back to my old new self. Over the year, I had 2 or 3 more such events, lasting up to a week. I felt hope… I wasn’t broken, just malfunctioning.
 
Toward the end of that second year, which is about 3 months ago, I had what I thought was another window. But this time it didn’t really go away. Instead, the entire pattern started to invert. I was mostly functional, but had windows where I’d lose my sex drive for a few days! I was again skeptical the first month, but it has persisted, for 3 months now, and all the while getting better! I quit all my supplements (just to try and figure out if anything was helping and anything wasn’t) and I felt even better! It seems as if some were making matters worse, not better! I now consistently wake up with morning erections every night (I forgot how annoying those can be!), and can become physically aroused without direct contact (just thinking, or with visual stimulation). Women and sex drive me crazy again. I’m not 100% of my old self yet, maybe 80 or 90, but after what I’ve been through, this is heaven. I’ll be sure to return in a few more months for another update.
 
I hope anyone who reads this will keep hanging onto hope. It was the other success stories that I read online that kept me sane. My PSSD lasted longer than I took the freaking SSRIs for, but it eventually started to remit. I think yours will too! It wasn’t a gradual recovery, but a lot of flat-lining, false starts, and eventual rapid change. It’s been like trying to start a car that doesn’t want to crank. A lot of nothing, the occasion where you alllllmost get there, but then the engine goes off again, and then finally that one good turn of the key that gets you over the hill! Keep cranking :)

 

" My PSSD lasted longer than I took the freaking SSRIs for, but it eventually started to remit. I think yours will too! It wasn’t a gradual recovery, but a lot of flat-lining, false starts, and eventual rapid change. It’s been like trying to start a car that doesn’t want to crank. A lot of nothing, the occasion where you alllllmost get there, but then the engine goes off again, and then finally that one good turn of the key that gets you over the hill! Keep cranking  :)"

 

Since you don't have a history here could you say how long you were on ssri drugs and how long the recovery actually took?  Was it more than 7 years is what I am asking.  Also did you have bad headaches with the onset of physical tension associated with orgasm?  From what I can find on this they are known as orgasm headaches.  I am just curious. Thanks 

peace

 

ps if it is a rule of thumb or turns out to be that it takes longer to heal than the time you were drugged I will be in an old folks home ...likely drugged and not caring much by then... meant as a bit of dark humor... I was drugged a long time..peace

 

 

I took SSRI's for about 8 months, and have been off around 2 years. No headaches or anything like that associated with orgasm. Sigh, I wish the relationship between length of use and length of recovery was clear. One thing for sure is that it varies enormously between individuals, but it's possible to get there given enough time (and soem bumps in the road, as you can see in my above post).

 

Hey, that might not be an entirely bad thing. The last time I visited an old folks home, the nurses were pretty cute ;)

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theautomator

TheAutomater, thank you for posting this!

 

It gives me hope someday I might get better

No problem :)

 

Omg... everytime I see a ''recovery  case'' I just get disappointed again and again. Instead of a way out of this Hell I get a story of somebody who had some ''windows'' and ''waves'' ...  

Well, for me (and everyone is different), I found inositol to be a big part of "a way out". I suspect it had more to do with my progress than I alude to, but I don't like to openly speculate. Whatever the case, my improvement did become a lasting one until some recent severe health issues (see 2 posts up). Even still, I'm much better than I used to be. I know it's tough, but stay positive.

 

just giving you a stalk, hope al is well

Thank you.

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BlueLeader

theautomater, hope you feel better soon.  Thank you for the clarification.

Seems pretty odd that one day it was just better.  I go to sleep often thinking "Perhaps tomorrow" Got to hold onto hope ya know?

 

Please continue to post updates

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alexjuice

How do you know you had toxic mold ?

 

I have been dealing with a mold exposure myself.

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Petunia
Well, for me (and everyone is different), I found inositol to be a big part of "a way out". I suspect it had more to do with my progress than I alude to, but I don't like to openly speculate.

 

How did inositol help you?  Perhaps you would like to add your experience with it to our inositol discussion here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4908-inositol/

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Altostrata

Very happy to hear you're doing well. I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol

 

 

to the title of your Intro topic.

 

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

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BlueLeader

theautomator, Wondering how you are doing and any progress you have made with your PSSD?

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theloneranger86

I would really move  this thread to "Success Stories"

 

Mods, please take notice 

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scallywag

tlr86: we don't move intro topics to the Success Stories forum.  We ask members to post a success story after they have had 12 symptom-free months and leave it up to individual members to make that assessment.

 

Please (re-)read these posts:

On 2014-12-21 at 6:29 PM, Altostrata said:

Very, very happy to hear of all this improvement!

 

I think for now, I'll move this to the Intro section as your journal. When you're back to nearer 100%, please write a success story.

 

On 2015-01-01 at 10:56 AM, theautomator said:

Much thanks Altostrata, will do.

...

 

On 2015-02-22 at 5:45 PM, Altostrata said:

Very happy to hear you're doing well. I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol ☼ to the title of your Intro topic.

 

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

.

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