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Georgina

Georgina: introducing myself

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Georgina

Hi, I am 35 years old - nearly 36 and been on Sertraline since age 22. I tried to stop once and had a complete meltdown. I am very scared of that happening again so am only tapering by 10% since Monday. I am cutting the tablets so exact amounts are difficult. I bought a mg scale, which hasn't arrived yet but don't know if it will be sensitive enough. Anyway - I am going to stay on 45mg for a few months at the moment as I have a very stressful job, stopped smoking a year ago (but still using Nicorette!!) and I am trying to cut down on my alcohol consumption, which has become steadily worse over the last few years as it makes me feel very anxious about my health etc etc. I have developed an eye condition (called Azoor) and I blame Sertraline, though I could be wrong. I am finding many posts on here very inspiring because I am so afraid that I will never be 'normal' if I stop taking Sertraline. I also feel a huge sense of resentment towards the psychiatrist who put me on the drug (I know this isn't helpful). My mother is convinced I have to stay on this drug for the rest of my life and last time I tried to taper I told her, which in retrospect, was a big mistake. She kept saying things like "I can see a difference, are you sure you are doing the right thing … etc." which served to make me quite paranoid about the process. My fiancé says I was much better off the drug (until I went a little nuts for a while). 

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Fresh

Hi Georgina ,  welcome to the site.

 

Sounds like you got here just in time - good idea to stay at 45 until you feel stable.

This taper should be a lot smoother for you , now that you can get some sensible advice and information.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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ten0275

georgina, hi.

welcome to the site. i think you are moving in the right direction on many levels. holding at 45mg for a few months is the prudent thing to do. once you reach a level of greater stability, you'll be able to progress more assuredly and comfortably with those 10% cuts. i'm guessing you have already had a peek at it, but our thread on why it is important to heed the 10% reduction method is explained concisely here:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

and here is our specific post for tapering from sertraline:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1441-tips-for-tapering-off-zoloft-sertraline/

kudos to you for giving up smoking as well - that is insanely difficult. i quit smoking in 1999 and have been grateful ever since. cutting down on alcohol consumption is a very good idea during withdrawal - you'll be doing yourself a huge favor. as your brain seeks to reestablish homeostasis, stability spread over your whole person is very key.

do you utilize any supplements? i have always been rather skeptical when it comes to them, but a tried and true companion on my withdrawal journey was magnesium. many people find that it helps them with anxiety, sleep, and muscle issues.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

many of us find that family members and friends are often unsupportive of our decision to taper from psychotropic medications. ultimately i believe this comes from an honest place of love and concern, but it is often an uninformed expression of these things. as you progress with your stabilization and tapering, hopefully your mother will come to the same conclusion your fiance did. you are reclaiming your brain. there is reason to be both optimistic and all-out excited about this.

please continue to research, ask questions, and report your progress. you can use this intro as your personal journal of sorts.

hang in there and let us know how we can help.

dave

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Georgina

Thank you both - I really appreciate your help. I have found it very difficult to find anyone who can answer questions about Sertraline and withdrawal and that just makes it worse and makes me feel more anxious. I am so grateful to have found this site because it gives me hope. I have ordered Magnesium Citrate and will start with 25mg and see how it goes. I just wonder - I am cutting what I think is about 10% off my Sertraline tablet every day but I know it's probably not completely accurate. I am hoping that the scale I bought helps with accuracy (when it arrives). The last mg scale I bought didn't even register mg so I had to send it back.  I would prefer not to take the liquid and I don't think I can get it here anyway - my doc looked at me like I was mad when I suggested it. Anyway, thank you again. 

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Purplestars22

The gemini scale works well it measures up to one mg it's sold in amazon.com.

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Georgina

Hi, thanks all. I think I will wait for the scale (it is a Gemini I ordered). One question: can I take magnesium citrate and fish oil at the same time? I started a very low dose of magnesium citrate this morning (25mg) and am thinking of also buying fish oil. What is the best strength to buy? Thanks

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ten0275

Georgina, hey.

 

i am not aware of any contraindications between fish oil and magnesium. so many, including myself, have utilized both of these wonderful supplements at the same time with no issues. my advice however would be to stick with the magnesium alone for a few weeks to see how you adjust to taking it. once you feel comfortable with the dose of mag you are taking, and how it makes you feel, then consider adding the fish oil. this way, if one or the other disagree with you, you will be able to better isolate which one is causing the trouble. if you begin taking them both at once, it will be hard to discern.

 

i used a liquid fish oil - nordic naturals is the brand. doses vary, as does potency and purity. research a little before you make the purchase.

 

let us know how you get on with the supplementation.

 

hang in there.

 

dave

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Georgina

Thanks Dave and Alostrata. I will take the magnesium for a while and see how I feel on it and will start the fish oil as soon as I feel ok with the magnesium.

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Georgina

Hi all, 

I just wanted to give an update so far. I am taking magnesium citrate (half a capsule, so 50mg) daily and so far, so good. I might increase it but think I might increase it slightly when I do my next Sertraline taper. I am now taking 43.75mg Sertarline (it is meant to be 45mg but as I am still waiting for my mg scale to arrive in the post, this was the only way I could accurately make sure what I am taking as I am using a pill cutter). I feel fine on it but will keep going with this dose for a while longer as I do have instances of weirdness - occasionally. I bought fish oil capsules but haven't quite plucked up the courage to start those yet and also vitamin E, to take with the fish oil. They are patiently waiting, wrapped up. I am trying to eat more oily fish though as I feel less anxious about that than about taking another pill. 

 

I have discovered something very interesting - I was having a horrible ruminating session the other day and I realised (in retrospect) the exact moment where I chose to worry myself silly over an imagined catastrophe, rather than to acknowledge the thought and do something else instead of worrying. I want to be able to conquer this ruminating thing because It is what trips me up … and since I have been doing it for as long as I can remember, it might be a tough one to crack. For a successful taper and a life free from Sertraline, I must tray and figure out what it is that gives me such comfort form creating the most awful catastrophes in my head. 

 

I hope that everyone is well and take care. 

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Altostrata

Exactly! You have a bad habit of scaring yourself. To take care of yourself, you need to leave this behind.

 

Magnesium is more effective taken in divided doses throughout the day. You might find you can take 50mg magnesium 4 times a day or so and it will help you relax.

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Georgina

Thanks Altostrata. I will try the magnesium in that dosage tomorrow.

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Georgina

Dear All,

 

I stopped the Magnesium Citrate for a while, simply because I was on a 3-week holiday and didn't feel like taking it! I am now taking it again and am still on 40mg Sertraline - since April this year. What I would like to know is, because I am experiencing some troubling worries, is it possible to be completely clear and happy after stopping anti depressants? Will they have done some long-term damage that cannot be reversed? Are there many success stories? I am taking this tapering very, very, very slowly because I want to stop for good. I am still to partial to too many beers, and I hope to cut that down in the short term. 

 

Thanks, in advance. 

 

G

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Georgina

Thank you.

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Georgina

Hi all,

 

I have been on 40mg now since the beginning of April. I dropped to 36mg today. What I would like to know is, is there a time period one should stay on each dose, before dropping to the next? I am also reading 'Your Drug may be your Problem' and wondered if anyone else had read this and what they thought of it? 

 

Thanks,

 

G

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tgirl

Hello G,

I just finished reading it. I thought it was a great book!

 

Someone else should be along shortly to answer your question.

But, this sight advocates waiting a month or longer between cuts.

Hope you are well,

T

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Georgina

Hi T and Alostrata,

 

Thank you for your replies; I am so grateful to have found this site. 

 

Georgina

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Georgina

Hi all, 

 

So, after a few days at 36mg, I have periods where I feel very weird. My chin seems to shake and have a mind of its own and my whole jaw feels a little tight - is this normal? I also feel a bit panicky - am I going to be ok kind of panicky?! I really want to stop but sometimes I am so scared that I get really bad again. 

 

I bought myself some paints (I am going to try and take it up) as a way to deal with anger issues … haven't started using them yet. I am trying to take Magnesium Citrate four times a day (I use capsules and use two a day as I open them and pour the magnesium citrate in water). I still have the fish oil and vitamin E tabs that I bought some time ago but am scared to use them … 

 

I have stopped using Nicorette (so I am now smoke free for a year and a half and a few days off Nicorette). It is tough to not use Nicorette. 

 

Thanks, in advance. 

 

Georgina

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Altostrata

Don't make yourself scared, observe your symptoms calmly.

 

Many people feel a little odd after a reduction. It should go away in a few days. Take the 36mg at the same time each day.

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Georgina

Thank you Alostrata. I feel a bit better today and my chin now feels like it belongs to me! I finished the Peter Breggin book, although I found parts of it written in a way that inspired fear and panic! I have ordered the Glenmullen book.

One question please: is it better to remain as alcohol free as possible while withdrawing because I think I am far too partial to having too many beers, too often.

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Georgina

Sorry, and one more query ... what is the best time of the day to take a fish oil capsule (I think I might try tomorrow and start with only one) and should I take the fish oil capsule with the vitamin E capsule? Can I leave the vitamin E out for a while or do they only work well together? Thanks

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Altostrata

The fish oil topic explains this in detail.

 

You'll probably be taking more than one capsule. You might start with one in the morning to see how it affects you.

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Georgina

Hi all, I have started taking fish oil and am now on two capsules a day (I take one in the morning and one at lunch). The bottle says Omega 3 950mg EPA and DHA. EPA is 504mg and DHA is 378 mg. Is that ok or could I take more? I always feel better in the afternoon for a few hours after the lunch dose and then after afternoon teaching and driving home (like today) I feel so so tired and a bit weird. Like I don't really exist and all that stuff that I am sure you all know about. Problem is, it's so d*** scary. I am still in 36mg Sertraline. Been since 06Sept. I wonder if I ever really recovered from the last time I had such a severe reaction after stopping Sertraline too soon (this was over two years ago). Thanks and take care everyone.

Edited by brassmonkey
Naughty language

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brassmonkey

Hi Georgina--  Yea, this is pretty scary stuff. Luckily it's just scary and very uncomfortable and isn't going to actually harm you.  I think you're pretty well over the problems you had a couple of years ago and what you're feeling now are symptoms from your current taper.  I can see that you're taking it nice and slow which is good, because it gives your brain time to adjust to each drop.  The 10% that you are currently dropping is just a guideline, there would be no problem with doing smaller drops.  A lot of people have good success with 5% drops, which should make the symptoms milder. 

 

Another possibility would be to try the Brassmonkey Slide Method. This would be doing a 2.5% drop each week for four weeks and then hold an additional 2 weeks to let things stabilize.  It lets you sneak up on the 10% so your brain has more time to get use to the idea of the drop.  It seems to really reduce the severity of the symptoms involved with each drop.

 

There should be no problem with adding in another dose of the Omega 3, maybe just before you start your drive home.  The feeling you describe is generally referred to as depersonalization and is very common.  It can feel really freaky but once you're use to it you should be able to go on with things almost like it wasn't there.  Again it feels really weird but it won't hurt you, and it does go away with time.  Fatigue is another symptom we all have to fight through.  All you can do is rest as much as possible and be good to yourself.  I find that it tends to cycle with good times and rougher times.

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Georgina

Hi Brassmonkey,

 

Thank you so much for your reply; I saw it when I woke up and I immediately felt a little better (you know, the feeling you get when someone understands). I tried the Omega 3 just before I left work (about ten minutes before) and it really did help. I didn't swear at anyone (just kidding). I managed to remain quite calm and went for a run when I got home. 

 

Do you think it would be safe to do 5mg every two or so weeks and then hold for two weeks as opposed to 10mg at once? My next drop is due on the 6th October and I am a bit afraid. One thing on drops and measuring - I ordered a Gemini scale some time ago and I think there might be something wrong with it. When I measure mg (using the 'g') mode, I get the following weight for a normal 50mg Sertraline tablet: 0.154g. Now, if I measure the same tablet using mode 'ozt' it accuratey measures 0.050. So, do you think my scale is faulty and should I order another? I don't know if I could accurately measure a 2.5% drop although that method does sound like a very good idea. 

 

Another thing, as I see by your signature that alcohol plays a part in your life as well - I always want to stop drinking for a while, but I never manage. I only drink beer and have decided rather than just stop (which was my plan 'Sober October" - I failed already!) to try to cut down as much as I can. At least I have stopped smoking, I suppose. I was nearly in tears as well yesterday because I really just wanted a beer to take the edge off what was a very, very difficult day. 

 

Thank you again for taking the time to help. 

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brassmonkey

Hi Georgina-- glad I could cheer you up this morning. I'm also glad that the Omega3 helped for the drive home.

 

Yes dropping 5% every few weeks and then a hold should work well.  Be sure to drop by percent not by mgs.  Dropping by mgs will cause trouble really fast.

 

You want to use the g mode to measure in mgs. 0.154g = 154mgs.  Ozt is for troy ounces which is used for measuring gold and sliver and would just cause confusion.  Also when you weigh things put the little calibration weight in the pan and press the "tare" button. leave the weight there and weigh your pills.  This puts the scale into the middle of its range and makes it more accurate with the small amounts.  When I get home I'll run some numbers to help you figure the 2.5% drops.

 

Stopping drinking can be quite a challenge.  I stopped the hard stuff CT but continued with 2 beers a night for another 18 months.  I still needed that small amount to maintain.  three beers and I would feel sick, one beer and I'd feel sick but two worked well.  Then I got a bad case of the flu and didn't drink for a couple of weeks.  Once I was better I decided that there was no reason to start back up.  One beer to take the edge of shouldn't hurt, but be careful about accelerating.  It can get out of control very fast.  Also many people find that they suddenly can't tolerate alcohol and one beer will give them a hangover that lasts for weeks.  Also there are a lot of non alcohol/drug things that can be done to calm a rough day which would be even better to use.

 

(((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))

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Georgina

Hi Brassmonkey,

 

I am confused as my Sertraline tabs are 50mg only so they cannot then measure at 154mg?

 

Thanks, G and hugs too!

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brassmonkey

Very easy point of confusion.  The tablets have fillers in them to make them big enough to handle, to buffer to prevent stomach upset and control release speed.  My 40mg paxil tablets actually weigh 500mg.  So in your case there are 50mg of active ingredient and 104mg of fillers.  That makes it so there is 1mg of active ingredient for every 3mgs of pill weight, something to remember for the future.

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Georgina

Hi Brassmonkey,

 

Well, as you may have gathered, I certainly don't teach Maths or Science! I can't believe I made this mistake - it all makes sense now. I bought a scale, must have been about a year ago to measure mg and sent it back - because I thought it was broken. When my new scale (the Gemini) was measuring the same, I just thought that maybe American scales measure differently. I really do sound like an idiot! Anyway - thank you for clearing that up for me - it now makes sense. The next challenge is, of course - given my natural talent for numbers (cough cough) - going to be dividing up the doses accurately. I am on 36mg (it looks like 'ozt' is almost exactly a third of the correct mg measurement with the fillers and stuff). So, 0.154mg = 51ozt. So, 36 ozt (which is what I have been taking) is approximately 108mg. I am confusing myself here. 

 

So, would a 5% drop of 108mg be 102.6mg? And, how do I measure the .6 accurately or can I just round it off? 

 

Thank you and I hope you have a good weekend. 

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brassmonkey

Good Morning Georgina--  and you said you're no good at math.  Yes that is correct your next dose would be 102.6.  I usually use the standard rounding rules; above .5 round up, below .5 round down.

 

The easy math for this is; current dose weight multiplied by 0.95 equals the new dose.  108 X .95 = 102.6  Next time it would be 103 X .95 = 98 (I rounded those).

 

Most things we weigh in pounds (not Euros, bad joke) and ounces. I have to use kilos and grams at work, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how much a "stone" is.

 

It's good to see you got it figured out.

 

Going to be a busy weekend, but it's all fun stuff.  Hope you enjoy yours.

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Georgina

Thank you Brassmonkey! It took me a while to figure out where the .95 came from but after a bit of thought, I realised it's 100%-5. As I moved to England about eight years ago I had no idea about 'stones'. I still don't, really. Thanks for your help.

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Georgina

Hi all,

 

I dropped to 34mg last Sunday (a 5% drop) as recommended by Brassmonkey. The side effects are better - however, i feel like the side effects are becoming cumulative in a way. Building up after each drop … I don't know if that makes sense. Is it normal to have weird brain issues - i.e. I might dream something and struggle to realise if it really happened or if I dreamt it. I also seem very forgetful and I lose concentration quite easily. I have had a very difficult time at work but am now on a half-term break (for a week) so wonder if things might improve a little. I am trying to exercise regularly and am going for weekly massages at the moment to try and relax. I am still drinking far too much but hope to do something about that soon.  Sometimes I feel so full of rage. I find I also get very bothered by loud noises (particularly police and ambulance sirens). I bought myself some heavy duty headphones to wear if I go for a run or a walk to drown these sounds out. I have stopped taking Magnesium Citrate altogether because I felt like it made me feel very weird and wired. i ams till taking Fish Oil as that really, really helps. 

 

I hope everyone is ok and thanks for listening. Take care. 

 

G

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brassmonkey

Hi Georgina-- I'm glad you're feeling better with the smaller drops.  Yes the effects are cumulative, especially if you go too fast.  Your signature says you're dropping every two weeks, that could be the problem.  Even with the smaller drop it is a good idea to wait at least four weeks, and I recommend six weeks between drops.  I will really help keep things on a even keel.

 

Ah, the vivid dreams that you think were actually real life.  I got those for a long time.  I would only realize they were dreams once I figured out I psychically couldn't have done the things I did.  In a way I miss them, some were rather pleasant.

 

The other things you talk about are pretty common WD symptoms.  With any luck taking a longer time between drops will help minimize them.

 

Enjoy your midterm break.

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