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  1. Hi All, Yet another member of the OMG SSRI's I thought they were supposed to help me - club. My story. My mother is a schizophrenic - maybe related, maybe not, not sure. In my early 20's I struggled with fairly deep depression with anxiety - no specific reason or cause - again, I think it MIGHT have been inherited something from my mother. Got through that after a few years with help of good diet, reading a lot of self-help books, and finally travel. Had a fantastic childhood, always on the go. Deep interest in technology and IT. Moved from Australia to UK to travel and see world. Met loveliest lady in Victoria in 3 months! Instantly knew we were right. Happy. Never really was a "depressive" personality, fairly introverted and normally interested in lots of things. had some mood dips, took St Johns Wort occassionally - not sure if it did much, but low moods NEVER last long for me. I'd always bounce back. But nothing major. Anyway - flashforward to about 2008. In a job in IT. Had an extremely stressful situation build and build - sought help internally in the company - wasn't really helped much. Finally my wife got me to goto her regular GP doc. She signed me off for 1 month of work, gave me some of tranquilizer which I didn't like at all, and 10mg of Lexapro. She said I might feel MORE anxious starting Lexapro - I was a bit sceptical... but went along with it. Work situation was sorted out, went back to work. Was ok. Wasn't nearly as interested though, felt less "sharp" and less switched on. Thought it was that I was just over the job. After approx 18 months (I really didn't take notice of a lot of the dates back then) I thought right lets stop the tablets. Took 5mg for 2 weeks and stopped. Started getting the brain zaps - they weren't THAT bad, thougth they were weird and interesting more than anything else. What got me was the intense muscle aches and crippling depression and extreme confusion and brain fog. After a few days of suffering with this and being very irritable, my wife said "For god sake, take your med!!" So I swallowed that 10mg tablet and a few hours later, started to feel more human again. Thats when I was like omg I'm stuck on these things. Went to see the doc who put me on them, and she completely dismissed me saying they're not addictive. I didn't see her again, got repeats from other doctors who seemed to understand the situation a bit better. I went on my merry way thinking, I'll deal with coming off them another time - later when things are better. Fast forward a few more years, in 2 newer jobs - again, struggling mentally to learn new things and retain things, and "care" about the job. Started to get dizzy spells - 5-10 seconds, tingling in feet, and growing apathy, slowly losing more and more interest in hobbies and interests, really having to push myself. Felt like I was in a rut... just felt "off", not myself, and constantly like I'm about to come down with the flu or something. Was it my teeth? Something wasn't right. Just notched it up to being in a rut, and "getting older"... not sure why I thought that, but thats how I rationalized it. I started getting SORT of brain zaps, even though I was taking my meds daily. I was doing half of a 20mg tablet for years to save costs (the 20mg cost same as 10mg here in AUS). Eventually something clicked in my brain that I wasn't feeling right, starting googling my symptoms and eventually found people on SSRI's having similar - came to various sites like survivingantidepressants and paxilprogress etc etc etc, and there were literally 10,000's of people in the same boat. Finally an answer! I still couldn't quite work out exactly what was going on with me though. As I felt bad on 10mg, the thought of DROPPING in dose scared me - and I did something very very silly (in hindsight).... and took myself upto 20mg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know, I know. I started to feel better, but my brain was still "drugged", but I was feeling as if my brain was getting oxygen. I stayed there for about 2-3 weeks, and went down to 15mg - getting quite strong waves of anxiety, but it was still better than the "nothing" I'd been feeling... also got a little "high" with a fair bit of energy - and "windows" of very clear thinking... they didn't last very long though. My aim was to "kick-start my brain" and get back to 10mg to then start tapering properly. I jumped to 20mg in around sept or oct 2014, then 3 weeks later to 15mg. when I got back to 10mg I started getting waves of muscle aches (to me that is the WORST withdrawal symptom - I literally cannot stand that feeling of deep pain in my body - same when I get the flu too). Was taking some codeine and ibuprofen to take edge off, as well as a mouthful of Omega 3, Magnesium, NAC, and Choline supplements - as well as a multivitamin. Overall, I didn't feel TOO bad, some dizziness, whooshy feelings, lightheaded, some concentration issues etc, but nothing I couldn't push through. But I was having some waves of being interested again - which I loved... although I could STILL "feel" the Lexpro suppressing my emotions and perception ability, like things don't really penetrate, like you have cotton wool around you. Anyway - I felt "stable" on 10mg again... and dropped to 7.5mg.... I was at that for about 4 weeks. I was hoping to feel stable on it, but the muscle aches kept coming and going, seeming to get a bit worse with each wave, then I started to get waves of depression along with it, each "wave" seemed to be worse than the last. After 4 weeks I thought I would be over the worst of it, and I als thought I'd be stable for Xmas time with the family. WRONG! I got good news about a new job - and was able to quit current job quickly - and spend 2 weeks at home. Great. wrong. Crashed BIG TIME, on couch - could barely move, felt incredibly depressed, felt like lead in my arms and legs, and couldn't get off couch. ARGH - not now!!! went back to 10mg tablet - started to feel a bit of relief.. but it now seems after 1 week of being on 10mg that the symptoms are getting to me aghain - slowly building muscle aches and depression... So the reason I'm here - I can't seem to get to a stable dose again... so do I need to go UP to 15mg to get "stable" and taper slowly from there? I'm really confused as to what I need to do now. I've got a bottle of liquid Lexapro, although it is 10mg /1ml which is very potent. I've got an oral syringe to help measure out the doses. But I really don't know what I should do now. Any advice??
  2. Hi all . I was on SSRI for 9 years (mostly lexapro) with some small breaks in between. I withdrew fully (don't believe I did it slowly) in July and now 3 months later I am experiencing intense symptoms that became disabling at times . I was initially prescribed lexapro in college for panic attacks and general anxiety . Physical symptoms compared to emotional were not bad for me at all . Now 3 months later my fatigue intensified. I am constantly exhausted no matter how much I sleep . I feel detached and disconnected. I am also indifferent and not emotional (example I don't want to be intimate) the most annoying thing is dizziness and the feeling of disbalance I wonder if it will ever go away . At times I wonder if I should go back on drugs but in all honestly they didn't really help me I just get like a zombie. If anyone can share their experience coming off lexapro, similar symptoms and if gets better . Thank you so much <3
  3. I have been doing some research into the biology of anxiety. We're all here familiar with the cortisol spike and adrenaline, and how those biochemicals are key components of the anxiety we all feel during our recovery from antidepressant use. A friend put me on the trail of the limbic system - where these chemicals do some of their worst work. I did not know anything about the limbic system. Or why my spell-checker insists that I am spelling it wrong when I know that I am not. (Think of the spell checker as a metaphor for our damaged limbic system - it's lying to us). Here is a short definition of the limbic system: The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. Of key concern to us is the amygdala - that's where the "fight or flight" instinct is stimulated by cortisol and adrenaline. And ours are broken. Now, there is no medicine or supplement to heal the amygdala - or any other part of the limbic system (though it should be noted that the hippocampus can be stimulated by aromas, and some people have had success with aromatherapy; I myself use lavender as a calming aroma). So stop looking for a magic bullet solution. However, the amygdala can be "healed" - along with the rest of the limbic system. And the way to heal it is to remind it of your good memories and form new good memories through experiences. It sounds simplistic. It almost smacks of "fake it until you make it." But I have been putting this into practice, and I am in my first real window of recovery. The way I did it was by contacting old friends and asking them to write me emails filled with the good times of our youth, of the times where the notion of "anxious" could never be applied to me. Where I was a hopeful, outgoing, fun person. In other words - the time before I ever took one psych-med. I have added to that the practice of not avoiding doing things with friends and family. I go out, I engage, and a float through the anxiety if it comes (thank you, Dr. Claire Weekes - go get one of her books now!). I will leave things there for now and end with links to some of the articles I read that put me on this path: https://www.unlearninganxiety.com/amygdala https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-to-help-depression-by-healing-your-limbic-system/ Be well. Live. Make new memories. SJ
  4. Hi there everyone, so I've managed to come off Lexapro 10mg with no issues at all (or so I thought). The first week I had the usual Brain zaps and palpitations, which are now thankfully completely gone. I'm now one month into the process and have been having a surge of anxiety which started last week, so the fourth week. I keep feeling like old symptoms are manifesting again, such as: - Feeling my heart beat all the time - Anxiety - I dont want to say depression, but sadness. Is this normal withdrawing from AD, Lexparo specifically? I want to add that, I have some good hours and then some really bad hours. Would really appreciate the advice. Cheers, Sam
  5. Hey, everyone. Here's my introduction (I hope it's not too long): In 1994, at 19, I suffered panic attacks from being bullied in school and having cognitive errors in my thinking (perfectionism, negative self talk, etc.) My parents took me to a psychiatrist who told me I had a "chemical imbalance in my brain," prescribed me 80 mg of Prozac a day, and kicked me out the door. I received no therapy and from that day forward saw myself as a mental health patient. This diagnosis changed the course of my entire life. My Prozac took six weeks to kick in, and it brought with it a slew of side effects: generalized anxiety, hypervigilance (constant surveying the world and my body for signs of panic), stomach cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome. Like the proverbial boiling frog who doesn't notice the raising temperature, the side effects eased in to my life so slowly I thought they were a part of me and my "chemical imbalance." In essence I had a paradoxical reaction to the drug: it amplified my existing struggles but I had no idea my medication was the source. I was never told this was possible, nor was I told about the danger of trying to come off. The side effects made work outside the home, socializing, and dating extremely difficult because I was always afraid of the next wave of anxiety that would send me racing to the washroom. I watched my friends grow up and have careers, partners, and families, while I tried to buoy what was left of my self-esteem with self-help books and different therapists, none of who ever questioned the drug or the dosage. After two years of cognitive behavioral therapy to untwist the errors in my thinking, I tried coming off the drug under the supervision of my doctor in 2006 but the initial reduction of 20 mg every two weeks proved to be far too steep. When I reached zero I had a few days of bliss, then an absolute mental collapse. I developed akathisia and was unable to sit still and paced relentlessly and lost control of my emotions. I felt completely hollow and cried for no reason, all the while suffering from unspeakable anxiety. My parents debated admitting me to a hospital but was told that the doctors would check my medication levels then ask me to leave as there would be nothing they could do. I went to my psychiatrist who misdiagnosed my condition not as withdrawal but as depression and anxiety that the Prozac had been treating. Desperate not to lose my mind, I restarted the drug and lost another ten years to side effects. Two years ago I lowered my dose from 40 mg to 30 mg. Three days later I was to meet friends for dinner for as long as my anxiety would allow. I braced myself during the meal for the inevitable tsunami of mental anguish but what I felt instead was a mere ripple. I was stunned, then perplexed. When I realized what was happening and that the drug had been the cause, I burst into tears. Instead of racing home after the meal as I so often had in the past, my friends and I went to a movie. Over the past few months I've been easing off Prozac at 5 mg every six weeks. My quality of life improves with each reduction. My hypervigilance and anxiety all but vanished at 20 mg. At 15 mg I have become more social than I have ever been, and at 10 mg I feel like myself again - sort of. I've been on 10 mg of Prozac since May 9th, and I'm also on 50 mg of Seroquel. I want to get off the Prozac completely but I'm going to stay at 10 mg for at least three months until I know I'm stable. Though most of my anxiety is gone, I had a panic attack last week. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday over how much I've missed out on from the medication and cried through the whole thing. Naturally she was concerned that this might be a relapse of depression/anxiety, but I honestly feel better now than I ever did on the higher dose. So...that's me!
  6. I have started the process of tapering off several medications, so that I can see what my baseline feels like. I have been on medication in one form or another since I was 23, for various health reasons, primarily chronic migraine and major depressive disorder. The list of current medication is as follows, 3600 mg Gabapentin, 150 mg Wellburtin, 25 mg Sequorel, 120 mg Cymbalta. I started my journey of getting clean on July 1/17. Currently I am at the following medication levels, 1800 mg Gabapentin, 150 mg Wellburtin, 90 mg Cymbalta. I have transitioned off the dosage of Sequorel in the last two days. I will be staying on the 150 mg Wellburtin and 60 mg Cymbalta, until I stabilize. How do I feel? Quite terrible, headachy, body aches, extreme nauseau and anxious.
  7. I lost a sister to suicide in 2007 and was put on antidepressants by a justifiably nervous mother. She and I both now realize what a sham the whole thing AD$ thing is, and I have desperately wanted to get off of the stuff for years (I'd only been taking it to avoid withdrawal) but I worry I won't be able to get to a normal state again. I stayed on Lexapro through high school and college and was certainly able to do alright through certain traumas ( I was disagnosed with C-PTSD from the loss and an assault when I was 18. I'm now 24) but here without the Lexapro I'm feeling worse than I ever have in my life, panicking and projecting negativity... I was never like that, I've always been an optimistic high-achiever, and now it's as though my brain just isn't working anymore. I feel slower, as though vocabulary has just fallen out of my brain... Perhaps this is hurting my ego more, having been regarded as "gifted" growing up... I worry that I was on these drugs for too long throughout my developing years. I have worked through so much emotionally over the years in various forms of therapy, but this feels like a complete physiological thing that's just taking control over me. I was able to feel okay in the few months after my final tiny bit of Lexapro taken in February (after a very gradual taper over many months)- I was in another country with few responsibilities, which made the taper relatively easy compared to previous attempts. Near the end of the trip some irrational upset began... Now I'm back home (3 weeks ago) and I'm having a complete meltdown like never before. I am having extreme anxiety especially in the AM, ruminating on negative thoughts, fits of crying (sometimes for hours), suicidal ideation (I won't do it because of my sister), complete self-doubt, absolute anguish.. I can't go on like this. I was never like this, before or during Lexapro. I feel no joy in my work (Which used to be so healing for me) or desire/ability to do what I need to... I'm exercising, meditating, I've tried so many supplements... There was one day of clarity when I took 5-HTP, but the next I was a nervous wreck again... I tried L-tryptophan later... I don't know what to do at this point, I've been so down that I caved and took a Prozac today as some people use it to get off of Lexapro, but I don't want the SSRI's anymore... Today I felt so tired and out of it, my moods are cycling like crazy... Of course it won't work in just a day, but I am so desperate to get away from these horrible feelings... My mom wants to send me to a rehab specializing in this type of thing, but it's insanely expensive and although I'm so grateful that she'd consider that I don't know if a month's worth of help can undo the years I was on the SSRI... Looking back at all of this I feel so ungrateful and unworthy of the goodness in my life that I know of, but cannot feel... I feel so lost and hopeless... Any input is greatly appreciated Lexapro 2007-Feb 2016
  8. Hey guys! I was diagnosed with autism (then eventually PDD nos), bipolar, GAD (generalized anxiety) and fibromyalgia. I have been on anti-depressants since I was 9 and stopped them almost a year ago at age 21. I was on sleeping pills from age 6-20. I also was on like 12 prescribed pain pills because my pain was so bad from age 17-21. I had bad withdrawls from everything (I got my doctor's guidance to safely taper). Turns out my fibro pain that caused me to be unable to barely walk for 4 years was being caused my Abilify pill. I now have no symptoms of any of these things I was diagnosed with. I took 7 years to finish high school because of my anxiety and agoraphobia. The pills seemed to make everything worse because without them I am now I'm full-time university which I never dreamed I could do. It's really hard for me because I wonder if all those years of suffering (especially with my pain and anxiety) were caused by the pills. Anyone have any experience with this?
  9. Hi all, I've been on and off Citalapram for the last 9 years. Its a 10mg dose and I am desperate to be rid of them. I am worried about how long this is going to take me due to how long I have been on them. Also? The sode effects and how long they will take to go. What to expect etc
  10. my therapist suggested I use a weighted blanket, but to be honest, I'd been thinking about getting one for some time. The only thing holding me back was the price, they are expensive!! I am fairly sure it's going to help me with anxiety and dissociation, because any time I've had a lead blanket on me during xrays, I've just felt so calm, I didn't want them to take it off!! As it turns out, though, you don't have to buy one, you can make them yourself. My therapist has made some for grandkids and others. She gave me some tips and told me of a few places where I could get the plastic pellets or beads for a good price (but I found an even better price, thankfully) I already had some good fabric, so for about $38 (for the plastic pellets, 12 lbs worth**), I'll soon have my own weighted blanket. It's taking me a long time to make it because my brain is toast lately. then I'll need to make a cover for it, because these can't be washed in a machine but once it's done, I'll let you know how it works out. I think these were originally designed for autistic children but they are now used for a lot of other reasons, one site that sells them has this list: Who Can Benefit? ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) ADD / ADHD Aggressive Behaviors Agitation Alzheimer's Anxiety Disorder Asperger's Syndrome Bi-Polar Disorder Brain Trauma Injuries Cancer Anxiety Cerebral Palsy CHARGE Syndrome Chemo Anxiety Dental Anxiety Down Syndrome Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Fibromyalgia Insomnia Menopause Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Pain Parkinson's Disease PDD-NOS Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Restless Leg Syndrome Restless Sleep Rett's Syndrome Seizure Disorder Sensory Processing Disorder Tension Tourette's Syndrome Williams Syndrome **they recommend 1lb of pellets for every 10lbs of body weight, plus an extra pound, but I don't have the money to buy more. I'm going to make a blanket that does not cover my feet, anyway, so it'll be a bit shorter and hopefully there will be enough weight where I need it the most.
  11. I had been on Effexor XR for fifteen years before making the decision to get off this terrible drug. My concern is that I waited too long. I was tired of the feelings if I missed a dose, the sexual side effects and the general lack of emotions. Had I know how difficult and painful this journey was going to be I would have stayed on the poison just to avoid all of the difficulty. In the beginning of coming off the drug I had all the symptoms others have described. The crying, the brain zaps, the panic attacks at night all were just the tip of the iceberg with coming off. I unfortunately came off too fast. I did the standard weaning described by my doctor from 150, 75 to 37.5. What I should have done was to open the capsules and count the beads. I also should have lengthened the time between each drop in dose. I would say after 3 months in I had it beat, I felt litter but that was short lived. I then began my journey of trying to find other alternatives. I tried Accupunture, Counseling, LDA therapy, NAC, Inositol, heavy doses of vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, omega fish oil, restore, brain octane...... I then , after 9 months off Effexor, decided to try Prozac in order to cope with life. Everything has become insurmountable and my thoughts are all negative. I have never been so pessimist as I am right now. Now only to I judge myself against all others, I internally do the same with my children and their accomplishments. Nothing is ever good enough. I feel perhaps that Effexor has damaged me somehow. My once optimistic trial and error ways have turned to a pessimistic future. My next journey is to try CBD in the hopes that I can return to some normal aspect off life. I welcome all comments, ideas, stories or pep talks to get me through!
  12. Hi Everyone! I started taking Lexapro three years ago at the age of 24 after therapy sessions and the occasional Xanax were no longer working for my anxiety. My psychologist diagnosed me with OCD and GAD. Dread is the only way I can explain it. Vicious thoughts and dread. I wasn't depressed nor had I ever been and this hit me like a ton of bricks. I would be out and then this wave of panic would come out of no where. Dizzying and all consuming. I would start crying, become dizzy, and just be in an all out panic. It got to the point where aside from getting up and going to work everyday (getting out of the door was the hardest) I would basically refuse to do anything. Otherwise I would shake and feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I started with my general physician putting me on 5mg of Lexapro and then eventually going all the way up to 20mg. Aside from noticing a drop in my libido, slight dulling of feelings, and mild tiredness I felt like a new person. I actually remember the exact place I was where I felt those all consuming mind racing thoughts turn off. For the next three years I was perfect. Lexapro pretty much saved me. Recently in November of 2016 I decided that I wanted to go off. I was in a different place in my life. I was working, going to grad school and nights and living on my own. In hindsight I probably should have waited until I finished grad school since I was/am at one of the most stressful times in my life. Full time job, while taking a full three classes per semester at nights. But hey hindsight is 20/20 right? I tapered over three months. Probably too quickly, and by the end of January I was entirely off. My only immediate withdrawal symptoms were dizziness (not enough to stop me from driving) and I remember for about a week and half every time I would shift my eyes it felt like it took my brain a second to catch up. Finally nothing. I thought I was free. I was feeling again, my emotions came back, but all without that feeling of dread. Two weeks ago, about five months after I've been Lexapro free, I got the worst stomach virus I've had in years/gastritis/my period all in one week. I wasn't eating and I had lost 10lbs. I'm small to being with so I went from 118 to 108 quick. Then... It hit. Sick on a Wednesday and by Sunday I had the worst panic attack I've had in years. To get up from my bed was crippling. Am I relapsing? My mind was flooded. The PTSD was so bad from the thought of me relapsing into what I was pre-Lexapro crippled me. And since then I haven't been able to stop crying. My dizziness had returned along with chills, mind racing, feeling like I wanted to jump out of my own skin and rip it off, and the non stop crying. To the point opening my mouth and talking about a plain wall would make me start crying. I also have no appetite. The thought of eating makes me feel sick. I called my doctor and during my virus check up visit he gave me .25mg of Xanax. I thought this would kick it but it hasn't. It actually made me feel worse. I see my psychologist tomorrow to now talk about whats happening to me. My doctor said if this doesn't go away I cannot be reliant upon Xanax and I would have to go back on my Lexapro, but I DON'T WANT TO. I only took the Xanax once and I really am fighting to not take another, even though I feel like I am being tortured by my own mind. I want to be medicine free. I know what SSRI's can do to the body. That five months of freedom of no drugs and no anxiety were amazing. My questions are: Am I relapsing? or am I still withdrawing? Any advice? I am so scared that this isn't going to go away and that I am going to be right back to square 1. Thank you!! xx
  13. Hi everyone, I've been looking at this forum from the outside for a while as I'm trying so hard to taper off of Lexapro. For the past year or so I've bounced around from Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro (I'm definitely missing one but my memory is so whacked from these drugs). Zoloft gave me some serious emotional blunting so my GP put me on "The Mercedes of SSRIs" - Lexapro. Within 2 weeks of being on the drug, my brain was telling me that I had no reason to be on this planet anymore. I called my doctor immediately to begin tapering off of it. I'm about a week in, and I think I'm going through a weird combo of withdrawals from Zoloft AND Lexapro, which just makes things worse. I've had a migraine for the past week, the brain zaps and dizziness are so frustrating, I can't keep food down (or in, for that matter) and I feel like I'm being totally suffocated. It's like everyone in my life is a clingy ex-boyfriend and I just need to breathe... but can't. My brain gets stuck in a cycle of "what if this never gets better? whats the point of living if I'm always going to either 1. be on these drugs or 2. stuck withdrawing forever?" When it gets really bad I think about running away, but my car is currently broken. One of the main reasons I'm giving up SSRIs for good is the emotional blunting... saw Hamilton on broadway and felt literally no excitement, despite buying these tickets a year ago and being a huge theatre nerd. I have no longing for affection or sex, and as a 20 year old girl, that's wildly frustrating. Has anyone had emotional blunting/smothering as part of their SSRI withdrawal symptoms? Or am I just in really bad shape?
  14. Okay, this is weird... I have been having a lessening of symptoms over the past week, going from bad days with maybe some good moments to good days with some bad moments - but every day having at least some sort of background/low-level anxiety. Now today I woke up with pretty much zero anxiety and it never really even came up to the background level. But suddenly, in the past half-hour, I have begun to feel manic/hyper. Not off the hook, but in the background. Is it possible that my brain somehow overshot the mark today? Or is this just a different kind of anxiety I am feeling. To answer some obvious questions: no, I did not have any caffeine, yes my routine was the same today as it has been for the past week, except for 2 things: 1) I did go up from 250mg of Vitamin C in the morning to 250mg in the morning and 250mg in the afternoon a few days ago (so I have not had my second dose today. All other supplements have remained the same. 2) I went for a bit of a longer walk today (which was about 10 minutes before I noticed the manic/hyper). Could that have over-energized me? Does anybody have any experience with this sort of thing, this seeming overshooting the mark? SJ
  15. Hi Everyone. Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone on this website. The last few months have been hard, and in my times of worry and panic my google searches (bad I know!) often lead me here. I apologise, as this is going to be a bit long... A little about me: I am a 28yo male, 5'11, 210lbs.I have a 4yo little girl who's my world, and a very patient and understanding wife who suffers with her own form of anxiety and panic. I decided to start going back to school this year in order to get a better career (was working part-time.) After a rocky first semester back, I decided to see my school's accessibility office for some help. I have had a bad habit of just quitting school when things get too difficult (I flushed 3-years of University down the drain, as well as a few other wasted semesters in college.) I wanted this time to be different, so I got in touch with an academic counsellor as well as a therapist. Now before I go on, when I was a kid (9-10) i had anxiety and panic attacks to the point that I'd run home from school. I had a massive fear of being sick and throwing up and constantly felt nauseous. However, since then my anxiety has been almost entirely social, and I've become very good at masking even that. It's not that I can't go out or have a conversation with someone (example: it was mentioned in a job interview one time and my interviewer told me he couldn't tell at all and that I seemed rather outgoing); it's more so that I just don't like going out, or being in crowds, and when I have to be in them (i.e. job and school.) I get anxious and usually avoid the situation. This is why I primarily work part-time and do so poorly in school. I managed this best near the end of high school when I was an honours student, but got progressively worse when I moved away for University. I also gained a lot of weight which made me very self conscience (I went from 180lbs to 240) Anyways, so when I seen a therapist in January 2017 he "diagnosed" me with moderate-severe social anxiety (obviously) and helped me get accommodations for school. I then made a very poor decision in asking to try medication. My brother has OCD/anxiety and has reacted very well to Zoloft, so I figured I would try it. Frankly I was sick of disappointing my wife and daughter and wanted to try something new when it came to succeeding in school. On January 21st I started 50mg of Zoloft (Sertraline). I also made some lifestyle changes with my diet and exercise (I weighed around 240lbs in January - I now weigh 210) Honestly, I didn't really notice a difference either way, though admittingly, it may have been what helped push me into my lifestyle change. My diet had dramatically improved, I was exercising, and I was feeling better about myself. To be honest, my attendance wasn't all that better with school, but I was finishing assignments and passing my classes. My wife also said I seemed to be more "awake" when I was around and out of the fog I was stuck in, but neither of us knew if that was due to the medication, lifestyle, or both. Near the end of February I got the flu. I also upped my dose to 100mg ONCE prior to getting sick. I then missed my dose twice and was considering just ending it. The following night (after missing my doses twice) I was watching an episode of something with my wife when one of the main characters had a stroke due to complications of gunshot wound. This set me off. I had my first panic attack in about 15 years. I felt dizzy, my legs went weak, weird tastes in my mouth, tense neck, arms felt heavy, shortness of breath, etc. The first thing I went for was the Zoloft (50mg). After battling the urge to call 911 I was able to "come down" over the span of a couple hours and a couple gravol to help with nausea and make me tired. The next day I felt like crap, but felt mostly normal for about a week. I then had another (smaller) panic attack which I attributed to too much working out; my body was exhausted, and I noticed that when I felt over tired I would get anxious. But thoughts of panic and anxiety were (and still are) stuck in the back of my head now. I seen my therapist, and he agreed that the flu in combination with the dosage change (up once, off twice) probably caused the weird symptoms. He assured me that it didn't sound like a stroke, and that from what he could tell I had very few risk factors for such a thing. We also agreed to stay on 50mg until things normalised. This was beginning of March. Unfortunately now I had seen how Zoloft can affect your brain, and I had started reading about SSRI's. I don't know if it was in my head (likely)or if the Zoloft was causing it, but my left arm constantly felt stiff. Then on St. Patricks Day (March 17th) I felt just horrible. Sluggish, tired, short of breath, arm stiffness... You can see where this is going. As absurd as it sounds now, later that night I thought I was having a heart attack. Before I continue into my current tale of hypochondria, I'd like to mention that I rarely went to the doctor. To the point it was a detriment. I haven't seen my family doctor in about 10 years, and had been to a clinic twice in that span. So, this night 911 was dialled. I got an EKG to show that my heart was/is fine, and then sat waiting for 11 hours to see a doctor (it was an especially bad night as there were a lot of traumas due to all the drunkenness.) The doctor told me it was panic, that chest pain can happen, offered me a couple Ativan (which I turned down) and sent me on my way. He also said to stick with the medication. I stuck with it for another few days until I had another (smaller) panic attack and then decided to taper off. I couldn't wait to see my therapist. I started taking 50mg every other day until March 29th. On the 29th I found myself in another panic attack which lead me to a mental health outreach (they did their best but weren't all that helpful) and then Urgent Care (not the Emergency Department.) I have long had what I thought was a hernia (pain below my left rib cage and I can push a bulge inward - I have had this for years.) They checked my vitals, assured me everything looked good, and then did an Ultrasound which didn't show a hernia (this has actually made me more anxious cause I still don't know wtf it is.) A doctor then prescribed me Pantoloc to help with my stomach. I then cut down to 25mg every other day. I figured I got through the horrible day, so it was a good time to continue my taper. I seen my therapist again, who agreed with my taper and also agreed that I should completely wash out instead of going on something else. We also started seeing each other every two weeks instead of three. I fully stopped the Zoloft on April 16th. I made another visit to the doctor exactly a week later due to continued stomach pain, and was told they couldn't find the cause and that my complete blood count looked good. I may be getting a scope to check it out but am waiting to hear back. April was a horrible month. I often laid in the dark. I experienced random sadness, anxiety, weak limbs, tingling, headache, dry mouth, etc. I managed to push through these symptoms and finished all my exams and projects and passed all my courses. I was taking gravol nearly every day for nausea, as well as heartburn medicine, and also 4-5 prescribed Ativan. Starting the last few days of April I began feeling a bit better. I started working full time (for the summer) on May 8th. Opposite of April, May was a pretty good month. I had figured out some ways to bring my body "down" from anxiety as well was some positive thinking. I still thought about my health daily, but didn't let the thoughts consume. I was finally able to sit down and watch some shows with my wife again (I had trouble doing this the couple months prior.) My therapist agreed that it seemed like I was over the hump. I also had not taken gravol nearly the entire time, completely went off the pantoloc, and only occasionally took Zantac for heartburn. Unfortunately the last three weeks have been dreadful. I feel like I have taken a huge step back. I started having muscle twitches, some brain fog, fatigue, and the vision in my right eye seemed strained; as if it was hard to focus but not necessarily blurry (this actually started in April, but with the increased anxiety started really bothering me end of May.) I also got a nice new symptom of muscle twitches, which of course spiralled my thoughts into ALS, MS, or brain tumour; the latter two both being a possibility for twitches and eye trouble. Earlier this week I went to the hospital yet again. My head has been, and still is feeling "weird." My right eye has been bothering me a lot. I've been getting head aches, some mild dizziness, and increased trouble sleeping (jerked awake, vibrating feeling, etc.) My head and body feel extremely agitated, to the same degree they were in April. I am hypersensitive in everything. I have random thoughts of if I am going crazy, or seeing things right, etc. So, the hospital did another blood test, as well as a CT Scan. Both of which came back good. They also scheduled me an appointment with their clinic, where I got to go over everything with a Resident who consulted the doctor, and then referred me to a sleep clinic (I've had sleep problems since I was kid and am extremely likely to have sleep apnea, this isn't news to me,) as well as an x-ray on my chest to check for a hiatal hernia in regards to my stomach issues. This was Tuesday. I also noticed that my right pupil often goes bigger than the other, especially when anxious, but forgot to mention this to the doctors, so now I am worried the CT is wrong and there is something wrong with my brain. Note: the pupil is not blown, it still reacts to light. I have now had two more panics attacks yesterday and today. My stomach is a mess (nauseous, bloat, etc.). Headaches, and my pupil continues to go bigger than the other. I had to come home an hour early from work due to panic and anxiety. I see my therapist again next Thursday, and my family doctor next Friday. Now, my question for you folks is: Is it normal to have relapse like this with discontinuation symptoms? I was only on 50mg for a couple months, and have now been off it completely for almost two months. I am feeling more anxious now because at least before I could blame discontinuation. Has anyone ever had pupil issues coming off of SSRI's? Should I trust the doctors and stop thinking they're missing something? Could stress from a new job and staring at a computer all day be playing a part? I really just want to be normal for my wife and child. Thanks everyone for your advice...
  16. Hello to all of you First of all I want to thank all of you for the information posted on this page. I am a guy living in Copenhagen, and I'm currently taking clomipramine. In a couple of months I will turn 30, and by that time I will have spend the last 12,5 years of my life on antidepressants. I am diagnosed with OCD, which most of all manifests in GAD like symptoms today. The first 10 years I was on 20 mg of citalopram, and it was only increased a couple of times during this period. Last year I was seeing a psychiatrist, and we tested a lot of different medicine (paroxetine, pregabalin, mirtzapine, sertraline, escitalopram), but none of it helped with my symptoms. I wanted to try clomipramine as a last resort, which my doctor prescribed me. It felt good for a couple of weeks as all the other drugs have, but I simply can't stand the feeling of being doped any more. I feel like I have to get back to me in some way, but talking about me is also kind of crazy after being on antidepressants for 12,5 years. I was taking 25 mg of clomipramine which I cut in half about a month ago. It's been kind of a tough month. The anxiety and anger overtakes me, and today I have made a water solution and taken 20 mg instead of 12,5 mg. Hope the symptoms will improve! I do have some worries now. The whole water solution makes me really nervous. Like do I get enough, will the solution get stronger as I get near the bottom of the glas etc. Like doing the whole water solution is agony, when you suffer severe anxiety. Do you guys have some calming words or any suggestions to combating the anxiety? I have made my mind up about wanting to stop the medicin, and I'm planing to do the 10% method etc. That make me drug free in 2020 or something, but just decreasing the drug slowly will be a reward in it self. I'm so tired of feeling numb, apathy and not being able to love like I once did! Greetings Henrik
  17. Good morning. I will start by saying that I am a healthy, sober, active woman in a happy supportive marriage and mom to 2 (mostly) wonderfuI teenage boys. Here's my story. I started taking Zoloft 17 years ago to help with postpartum depression and seasonal affect disorder that seemed to be worsening with age. I learned that I could get by with 100 mg in the summer and increase to 150 mg in the winter. A couple of years ago-during the summer- I noticed an increase in my depression. I was lacking joy, lacking motivation and energy, having difficulty focusing on tasks and was often weepy. I was intrigued by the commercials I saw for Abilify which promised to give me the boost I needed to get through the day. I tried talk therapy for a couple of months, but finding no relief, I asked to be prescribed Abilify. I experienced an immediate improvement in my mood and motivation. About a year in, I was discouraged by the inability to make it through the day without napping. Sometimes, I napped all afternoon. My Dr. prescribed Adderall to boost my mood and energy. The cocktail of Zoloft, Abilify and Adderall did seem to help for a while. The symptoms of lacking joy and motivation returned and I eventually concluded that the effect of the Zoloft had petered out. I came to believe over the years that I suffered from a chemical imbalance that would always need medication-it was the only logical explanation for depression considering my otherwise fulfilling life. So rather than increasing the Zoloft, I spoke with my Dr. about switching to a different antidepressant. I had come to believe that the Abilify really wasn't helping my symptoms and was perhaps contributing to the lack of motivation, so in an effort to wean from current medications in order to switch to a new one, Abilify was the first to go. I was running low on the prescription, so rather than refilling, I decided that I could taper with the remaining tablets since I was "only" on 5 mg. I don't know exactly how long that taper was-2 weeks or so. At first, there was no problem. Then about 3 weeks in, all hell broke loose with diarrhea, lack of appetite, crying jags and anxiety. Over the course of 3 weeks the only persistent symptom was debilitating anxiety. I tried eating better, exercising more, yoga, meditation, breathing, vitamin supplements to no avail. Although I suspected the anxiety was related to the Abilify discontinuation, my Dr. made no reference to this and seemed as mystified as me. After 2 months of trying holistic approaches, I conceded to trying new drugs. First she prescribed Gabapentin, 300 mg. With no improvement after 2 weeks, I discontinued. She then prescribed 75 mg of Welbutrin which I also discontinued after 2 weeks. She switched me to 30 mg of Adderall which seems to help boost my mood and energy without ironically, increasing my anxiety. Tired and depressed from the constant anxiety I was prescribed .5 mg of xanax 2 times per day. This does alleviate most of the anxiety. Curious about the root problem and concerned with taking Xanax, I started doing some research and eventually was directed to this site which affirms to me that I am suffering from prolonged discontinuation syndrome (4 months) resulting from my rapid discontinuation of Abilify. I am now more concerned than ever about using even a small amount of Xanax to calm my overactive nervous system, don't know if the Xanax may be prolonging the healing from the original Abilify discontinuation, wondering if reintroducing Abilify at a low dose and doing a 10% taper will work at this point and wondering how long this will last if I just suck it up and suffer the anxiety until it goes away. My ultimate goal was to stop taking everything so I could switch to a different antidepressant to deal with my "faulty chemistry". Now I don't know what to do and it is clear that my Dr. has no idea either.
  18. Good Day, I wish I could say that my withdrawal symptoms from quitting Lexapro are the worst, but quitting Xanax takes that title. I have been off Xanax for two years and six months. The first day was the worst, the first year was the worst, and I am not feeling any Xanax issues now except waking up in a cold sweat every night since 2014. Anyway, I have not looked back or taken Xanax ever again. During that entire ordeal, I was still on Lexapro. I didn't quit it also because I didn't want to do too much at once. I finally quit Lexapro on the 25th of Dec 2016. Side note: To help me quit Xanax, I was put on Seroquel and Neurontin at rehab, and I gained 20kgs in 6 months which I am still trying to lose. I have lost half of it, but for some reason, my metabolism is no longer the same. I can't lose weight after rehab. I quit Seroquel cold turkey and tapered off Nuerontin. I took it for about six months and stopped when the weight piled on. Back to why I am here: The first month after quitting Lexapro was alright. Just brain zaps and nothing else really. I thought, "Wow! Quitting these antidepressants is very easy! I should have done it earlier." I was basing my experience on Xanax, which is harder at the beginning and easier with time. I didn't expect things to begin falling apart later, and boy are they falling apart. Month two drug free was also not too bad, but it was filled with episodes of sadness. Month three became worse than month two, and I felt withdrawn and my lust for life started disappearing again. Month four was worse than month three and I felt myself losing more joy, being darker than I have ever been. Month five, my current situation, is a hot mess! My anxiety is back, my depression is back, and actually they are back and worse than ever. My obsessive thoughts are back. Oh, and my sexual urges are back, after years of thinking that I might be asexual. The problem is, my sexual urges are disconnected from my emotions, so as horny as I am, I still don't feel like having sex with my husband, and the whole thing is making me panic for several reasons. My insomnia is back. I am weepy and frustrated. My pessimism is back. I hate life right now. My face is braking out and for this last week, I have been unable to eat so I also feel awful due to that, I am sure. I could go on for days about how awful I feel right now. I have not left bed for a week! I have made music though. Actually, I started having the urge and will to create music around month 3 of quitting. Before that, I though I would never make music again. So, there are pros and cons to this quitting, more cons than pros though, currently. I was thinking of going back on Lexapro when I happened on this website. I have now changed my mind. I thought I was just getting worse and worse until I end up committing suicide, however from the posts I have read, it gets better apparently, and none of my torture is unusual. I was suppose to start a family this year but now I have doubts. I would wait a year but I am 35 in three months so... I am taking, and have been for over a year, Magnesium (a high dose), Iron Fumarate (I have severe anemia), Vitamin C (a very high dose), Probiotics, L-Theanine, Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin B12 on top, 5HTP and Valerian, camomile tea when I have the strength to make it. Mood: Very Blue. Like in the pic.
  19. Hello, My name is Cathy and I live in Minnesota. I have a long history of depression, numerous meds, ECT, a study for VNS, a study for genotypes, etc. Typically I would get into more detail but it hurts too much to type. I started Nardil about 7-8 weeks ago and was on a steady 60 mg. dose for at least five weeks. Early on I started developing "carpal tunnel" type symptoms. I had done a short MAO trial in the late 80s and remembered when I was on one, I had almost had carpal tunnel surgery. I went off the MAO for other reasons and the symptoms all went away, prior to surgery fortunately. I later learned that Nardil depletes B6. When my symptoms started this time, I began adding in B6. I was not sleeping well, often up til 4 or 5 am unless I took Trazadone, in which case I would sleep until 4 or 5 pm. About two weeks ago, I started getting more fidgety, restless legs, etc (the insomnia was different from what I typically have--if I can't sleep it is usually because my brain will not shut off. This insomnia was as if my body did not want to go to sleep--tossing, turning, etc. My back and neck started becoming tighter too--I am a typical type A, first born, Taurus, former lawyer--so they are usually tight to begin with. This was worse. With insomnia, restlessness, etc. I stayed up and did a lot of housework, cleaning the basement, cleaning the garage, etc. Somewhere along the way, my shoulders, neck, arms, and hands developed excruciating pain. The hands were typical neuropathy symptoms. I could not drive or type. I used heat, ice, lots of Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Tylenol, and even some old celebrex. I did gentle stretches. I had chiropractic. Nothing helped. I went to urgent care and was given muscle relaxers (one that was safe with an MAO) and a referral to physical therapy. Those did not help either. All in all, I think the symptoms were due to pyridoxine depletion (my nerves were probably more prone to damage--recovered alcoholic who had footdrop--although the college incident makes me wonder if I am just low on B6 to start with), a lack of sleep (thus no healing), and the added movements and tension. I am still experiencing the neck and hand pain. It is a little better now, thus the typing. However, in the last few days, it has been to the point where I can't even move my fingers. I am now going off Nardil. I feel more depressed, angry, irritated, jumpy, fidgety, extremely restless, tired but not sleepy, and in general, bad all over. I am not sure when the use symptoms overlap with the withdrawal symptoms. Typically I do not have much for withdrawal symptoms, but this sucks. I did read the advice--keep it simple and stable and taper slowly. Right now I am about one step away from checking in to the hospital--but it is the weekend and the holiday on Monday. Plus once I get there, I will have wished I stayed home. Just looking for support and understanding. My fiancee (provided our relationship makes it thru this) does not really get depression or meds. He tries, but his understanding of it is limited. Thank you, Cathy
  20. I've mentioned this in my own thread, and seen other people mention it too - so I thought I would start an official topic so we can share information and ideas. Most every evening I get an nearly complete relief of symptoms around 7-ish (with exceptions on extremely stressful and/or physically active days, and excluding the first couple of weeks of my withdrawal) The relief window takes me through to bed time and lasts until I wake up with high anxiety anywhere between 2am and 4am . I used to call it "my false friend" because it was a tease of how life could be after withdrawal, but then it would leave again. Now I look forward to it and protect/cherish it. Anybody else experiencing this? What are your evenings like just before it comes? What are you doing? Do you have a routine? A typical timeline for me is: 2am to 4am - Wake up with high anxiety. Go to bathroom. Try to go back to bed. Toss and turn. Pray. 5am - Get out of bed. Feed cat. Drink adrenal cocktail. Maybe have a decaf black tea or chamomile tea. Pace. Pray. Take 100mg of Mag-Glycinate. 6am - Panic Attack! 6am (work days) - Take blood pressure med, shower, and leave for work. 6am (non-work days) - Lay down, panic, get up, pace, pray. 6:30am - Eat a little something. Daytime - Various levels of anxiety. Drink (either in water or decaf black tea) 100mg of theanine twice during the day. 11-ish: Take a walk. 4:30pm (work days) - Get home. Still have anxiety. Interact with daughter. Prepare kitchen for dinner. 6-ish - Wife joins us. We make dinner. 6:30 - Eat dinner. Clean up. 7ish - Go upstairs to read. Anxiety begins to subside. Might doze a little or just zone out. Pray with wife. Chat a bit. 10-ish - Go to sleep. Fall asleep rather quickly. Anybody see anything in my routine that is promoting the evening relief window? Or something in there that is keeping me from getting it earlier in the day. Or something that I can do to get it to kick in earlier? What is your routine like if you are also getting the evening relief window? Comparing notes might help. SJ
  21. I've been thinking about this a lot: Will my body be able to cope with anxiety symptoms in the long term when I'm off meds? Will it withstand the physical stress from the prolonged periods of anxiety, or is this likely going to lead to stroke or heart attack or some other health problems? What I'm asking is: Are people with anxiety disorder likely to have a normal lifespan if they don't take meds? See, I don't want to put my health at risk, but at the same time I know what ADs did to me and I'll do my best to avoid them. It's a tough one. I'm ready to use techniques like meditation and CBT, and maybe some herbs/supplements if my CNS hypersensitivity normalizes. But is it going to be enough? I guess nobody can really answer this, but I'd like to know your opinion. Thank you!
  22. Hello everyone. Although I feel like maybe I'm not as bad as many many people here, I would still like to share my story, since I have been through some suffering lately. Hope I don't bother you. Tl;dr: When I reinstated Luvox I started having depression, terrible feelings of hopelessness, dread and doom, no joy in activities or life in general, lack of purpose or meaning in life, and no love for my boyfriend, which troubles me the most. I never had depression before. Wondering if it was the Luvox and starting to taper, but afraid... So it all began when I was 9 years old. I started having severe panic attacks and anxiety out of nowhere. Afraid to die, afraid my parents would die because they were older than "normal" (used to call my mom every 5 minutes to see if she was alive), afraid of death in general. After a while, I was seeing a psychiatrist for children and started taking Clomipramine, don't know the dosage, until I was 12. I don't remember much because it was 13 years ago, but I don't recall any problems with withdrawal. From that point until I was 21, everything was fine. I would ocasionally have shortness of breath and that kind of stuff, but completely manageable. I was always a very good student (my mom told me they had an IQ test or something and they said I was "gifted", but we never explored that so I don't think it's really important), I practised sports, I learned to play the piano, I always had a great social life, very active. Now, in 2013, when I was 21 years old, everything went downhill. I was in a relationship since 2011 and it was not a great one, we would fight a lot, he would always break up with me, changing is mind about loving me on a weekly basis, insulting me, saying nobody would like me if they really knew me, etc. This relationship lasted until 2015, mainly because of my inability to let it go, as I thought I could never be happy again without him. In 2013, I had a huge anxiety and panic attacks crisis. I was also diagnosed with ocd (obsessive thoughts with mental compulsions, have little to none physical ones). Started on Sertraline but rapidly stopped because I couldn't tolerate the dizziness and nausea and it would make me more anxious. They put me on Xanax for 3 months and I tapered it in one month. Spent two horrible days with insomnia and EXTREME anxiety, but after those two days, it all subsided. Two months later (February 2014) I was worse (panic attacks, dp/dr, etc) and was put on Luvox (fluvoxamine - 50mg). It was well tolerated, and it helped me for two years, but I noticed I would still have anxiety and the obsessive, I just wouldn't reach the point of a panic attack. About a year and a half in, I started taking 25mg and everything was ok. Now where it got worse. In April 2016 I started to taper it with the help of my psychiatrist (whom doesn't really talk to me for more than 5 or 10 minutes, doesn't believe Luvox made me gain 33 pounds in under a year, and told me it usually had no bad effects). He told me to start taking it every other day (the 25mg) for a week, then every two days for a week, then every three days, etc. At this point, my previous relationship was over for a year and I was starting a new one. When I was taking it every two days, I started having SEVERE DP/DR and PANIC ATTACKS. I was told to take the 25mg everyday. It didn't work and he told me to raise to 50mg. Well, the panic attacks have stopped but the worse came. Since I was back on 50mg, I started to feel unhappy. I have a great boyfriend now, who really supports me and cares about me, I am studying psychology with very good grades, so everything is fine I guess. But I started to feel disconnected and detached. I feel no joy, no happiness in activities I used to enjoy. I reduced my going out of home very very much, sometimes spending a week without leaving my house and bed. I find no purpose in life, no sense (mybe it is an existential crisis, used to have them but not to this extent). I sometimes feel very frustrated and cry from hopelessness. I don't know what to do. Somedays I don't feel anything at all. On new years I was downtown watching the fireworks and suddenly I felt detached and very nervous and had to go home. My boyfriend came with me and it was ok after a while. But I can't stop feeling sad and with no joy. And the WORST OF ALL, sometimes I don't feel love for my boyfriend I know I love him, I think I do, but I can't feel it. I used to feel love so so so deeply and it is so strange to me. I told this to my psychiatrist and he said it was normal with the antidepressant but there was no problem and I had to keep taking it and he told me I had depression because of the anxiety, ocd and panic attacks. But I feel I just got worse since I reinstated it. I never had depression before and I had this since I was 9... Do you think maybe it is the Luvox? I am thinking of finding another psychiatrist since mine says that withdrawal from antidepressants is not usual and it was my symptoms coming back. But i reinstated it and I just got worse and worse. I sometimes think of suicide, but not in a "I want to do it" kind of way, nor finding relief in it. On the contrary, I feel so hopeless and purposeless that I fear it might come the time that there is no other way and it really scares me, since one of my great fears is dying and ceasing to exist. I want to taper it but I am afraid I am broken already and I have no hope. I don't want to feel the terrible withdrawal symptoms but I can't take this anhedonia anymore. It makes me so, so sad. I also sleep for more than 12 hours a day and sometimes I don't even see the light of day. I just want to feel happy again, but I am afraid I have no hope at that, that I will be depressed forever. What do you think? Sorry for the long post, but I needed to talk to someone that might have experienced the same as I do. Thank you so much, hope you all feeling well on your journey.
  23. just signed up. information and advice is overwhelming!!!! I can only take in some information at t time. I can't believe this isn't more common knowledge. it is a horrible existence. but God is good and He heals. *1991-2003: 12 years on increasing amounts of Prozac, then *2003-2013: 10 years on increasing amounts of Effexor alchohol abuse issues throughout along with nicotine addiction *2013: pscychMD guided 5 month taper from 300MG to zero Effexor while quitting alcohol and nicotine at about the same time ( awful process , so painful and scary)Dr had me adding prozac to reduce the "discontinuation side effects" *then November 2013, not on anything... ------Bad bad bad ( probably and unknowingly, tapered way way way too fast and unknowingly into some Med PAWS and paws from alcohol ( 8 months without etoh at this time, 4 years now ) * Ran to psychMD and he put me on Latuda then Brintellix ( now called trintellix) *4 months later those about killed me and landed me 3 days in the hospital and then in intensive treatment for depression/anxiety for 5 months. During that time they tried different things too fast and furious with a lot of bad reactions to stuff. Chemical Assaults!!!! this included seroquel, Depakote Summer 2014 finishing up intensive treatment ("pills and skills" what a crock...): I ended up on a cocktail of xoloft, Wellbutrin and elavil. I didn't need more drugs. I was suffering from protracted w/d and chemical assault shock/ptsd. the medical community has no idea. they say "your mental illness is chronic and progressive so you have to manage it continually with drug additions/changes". you can't make this stuff up for a horror movie. *At this time (summer of 2014) I was diagnosed with MS (significant brain lesions and positive other tests for MS) and told I had to go off Humira. I had been on Humira or Enbrel for 13 years, as well as anti inflammatories for arthritis. I stopped these. One year later I started a 4 month taper of these psych drugs. This was way too fast and probably caused more damage/ptsd March 2017: Now I am 14 months total medicine free and dealing with recovery from the damage caused by the actions above. I don't know what is what in terms of cause and effect. I only know that it has been and continues to be awful. a hellish relentless anguish of a myriad of symptoms, an awful existence...after having lost my marriage, family, career possibilities, life...other than faith...I still have my faith in Jesus Christ and God's promises of who HE is, what He's like, and who I am. God Loves me and has taken and continues to take care of me in miraculous ways... He just hasn't healed me fully yet. Is it MS? Immune dysfunction? ANS dysfunction? Damage while taking medicines and self medicating with alcohol ? PAWS from alcohol? PAWS from psych drugs? Chicken, egg or road? It amazes me how after not being on meds for a while, we can suddenly get drastically worse with new or worsening symptoms. 25 years of pschych drug chemical assault and 2 way too abrupt tapers have left me in this state. not to mention MS. Such a mess. Hell on earth. Anguish. So many symptoms.
  24. Hi SA, Good to be here. I've been reading some of the stories on here with interest. Kinda makes my problems seem pretty small in comparison to others! I'm more and more horrified by what I'm discovering about discontinuation syndrome. As a postgraduate scientist, I've read a few of the papers associated with SSRI withdrawal and I can't believe how little real information is out there for patients and doctors. I think I've been depressed since I was a teenager, but I was essentially snubbed by psychiatrists at the time (apparently, cutting yourself counts as ‘teenage angst’ in the UK) and didn't get into the mental healthcare system until I was around 25 when I started having really severe panic attacks and anxiety. I'd taken a minor in psychology as an undergrad and, armed with quite a lot of information, was determined not to use drugs unless I felt I really needed to. The anxiety ebbed and flowed, but I generally did OK. After moving to the US for grad school (and embarking on a very long distance relationship), I had a nervous breakdown due to burn out and relationship anxiety at the end of 2013. I moved back home and spiraled further, and eventually my friend took me to the doctor and I decided to try medication, with a lot of skepticism. I tried propranolol (a beta blocker) for about a month or so, which just made me feel ill and didn't really help as a chronic medication. Then I I tried Mirtazipine, which left me with a completely blunted affect, incapable of feeling anything at all and making me too tired to function anyway. I quickly got off that and went on Citalopram, which I tapered up on, through some really horrible side effects (talk about red flags!). I remember the first day when the Citalopram really kicked in because I was hypomanic for about a week. It was like being on MDMA, a drug I had used heavily for about 8 years before. I also lost my sex drive entirely, got restless leg syndrome and started putting on weight. I went back to grad school in 2015 and after an initial period of motivation, and a short period of hypomania (2ish months), I gradually ended up back in a pit of despair and anxiety. I managed to stave off doctors’ attempts to put up my dosage and remained on 20mg until May last year (2016) when I decided to try and taper off as I didn’t feel like the medication was really helping with my symptoms and I’ve been sick of the sexual side effects since I started. I managed to get from 20mg down to 10mg before the withdrawal symptoms got too bad. I now realise that I tapered too rapidly . Either way, I stayed on 10mg deciding grad school wasn’t the time or place to be tapering. Just after that, I decided to Master out of my PhD program and enjoyed a 3-4 month period of hypomania where I felt completely amazing, extremely creative, was eating books and information and felt on top of the world…I even saw a slight return of my sex drive. This came crashing down again in October following another really sudden bout of relationship anxiety. Now I’m done with university, and have been unemployed for a bit, I wanted to get off the meds ASAP so that I could get on with my life. Rookie error! I tapered from 10mg to 5mg in about a month around the end of February with no real issue, but now I’m a complete mess again. I’ve struggled to get beyond 5mg, with bouts of extreme depression, mood swings and suicidal ideation. I’m currently taking 5mg/2.5mg every other day but I’m right on the verge of going back to 5mg for a second time because I’m suffering bad. I’ve been sick as a dog for 2 weeks, I think I do have genuine sinusitis and a terrible head cold, but perhaps the symptoms have been amplified due to the medication? Hard to say really. This past week I’ve had terrible depression, suicidal thoughts, crying spells and violent mood swings. I really feel like everything is crushingly pointless, that I am worthless and hopeless. I feel like my life is falling apart and that I’m going to destroy the remaining good parts because I can’t be around people most of the time, including my long-suffering partner. I feel like a complete burden on everyone. Apologies for the pity party, but this is where I am right now. I hope that this post might help someone else coming off this medication. I’m really stunned at how difficult it has been to get off it and do wonder a lot whether my continuing problems have been due to the medication rather than a continuing mental health problems.
  25. I've been on 50mg Pristiq 4 years, want to wean. I got stressed out after a fainting episode and near-death smoking wakup call, had anxiety attacks, ate xanax for a couple weeks while pristiq kicked in (i quit smoking cold turkey while i was still crazy with anxiety, no ciggies 4 years now yay!) now I want to stop Pristiq - libido and clear vision would be nice. my doctor is getting fired, expressed zero interest in weaning me. found your forum via google search; i'm hoping to find the magic method of getting off this stuff and share the experience.