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  1. Hello everyone. I'm very, very grateful to have found this site before I found my way back to a secluded ledge at the Grand Canyon I found four years ago with my now ex-wife. The ledge had no appeal then, but has come up repeatedly during rough periods. I just found this site and I just came to understand just how extensive and pervasive my WD symptoms have become. They did not really start to become that active until 5 months ago. Now they rage. I have to laugh and cry at the same time because currently I am living in a travel trailer and I have no idea where my next stop or step is going to be. 5 months ago I sold my condo, closed my art business, ended an engagement, bought a travel trailer, and have been staying with a friend in rural VA. Now I'm in Phoenix, AZ. Several times in the last 3 months I have tried to start over by making decisions and implementing a plan of action for work and living arrangements and have been unable to follow through with even the beginnings of restabalizing my life situation. Once I start to initiate changes to my situation, violently intense emotions begin to arise and my ability to think clearly falls away. I abandon the plan and fall back. Strangely, in the midst of this pattern, I have been in some intense therapy sessions, uncovered and addressed some deep wounded issues from my past that I'm sure were being masked by the meds. I had a 7 week period recently during the therapy where every day was filled with almost nonstop continuous waves of shame, sadness, and some rage (all I believe being old repressed and masked emotions but probably way more intense from WD or is it the sum total of repressed emotions finally getting out). It's like I'm split at times with two completely different personalities with two completely different agendas. I just read the posts about neuro emotions and realized I have been experiencing them intensely. They have been running my life since I become abstinent. There is a lot of intense healing going on inside me physically and emotionally, and I didn't realize just how deep it goes. I am not the same person anymore and it frightens and excites me at the same time. It's like a spiritual journey through hell. I feel at times very peaceful and supported by the universe and at times like a want to die. I will stop there and ask for the wisdom of the forum for what I have posted. I am a sponge for your help now. Thank you!! Mark
  2. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
  3. Hi everyone. I am new here, and I am so thankful for this forum. I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice or input into what I am going through with Prozac withdrawal right now. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Here is my history with meds: I am a 29 year old female (well, 30 this month). At age 20, in college, I took 5 mg of Lexapro for a year (prescribed 10 mg, but I am very sensitive to meds, so I broke it in half). I weaned off of it very slowly. I took 2.5 mg for several weeks when weaning off, then half of that for a couple weeks, until I was done. Withdrawal for me was miserable, but thankfully the worst of it only lasted for maybe a week or so (it basically made me psychotically enraged at everyone until I was totally off of it). Once I was off of it, I lost weight quickly, I was sleeping better at night, and my only remaining symptom that lasted about 2 years was just this random facial twitching. Then around age 26, I started experiencing horrible panic attacks several nights a week that left me paralyzed in fear and unable to sleep. The panic was situational—I was faced with making some major life decisions, and I felt really stuck, and very alone and depressed and scared of making the wrong decision. I finally decided to try an AD again to see if it would help me to get over my panic attacks, sleep, and move forward. I tried a low dose of Lexapro again; for a few weeks, it worked well and I slept well, then all of a sudden I began having an adverse reaction—the most horrible anxiety and insomnia you could imagine. It was a living hell. I got off of it quickly and switched to brand-name Prozac 10mg. It worked great! I was sleeping well at night, my panic attacks completely stopped, and I took some huge steps forward. I took it for maybe 9 months or so and weaned off of it very easily. A couple years later, after some stressful life events, I felt I should go back on the Prozac for a period of time since it had helped calm me so much in the past, enough to make some changes and move forward. I felt it was harmless since I had no problems on it before and it was very easy to get off of. This was at the end of May of last year (May 2016). Since I have been so sensitive to meds in the past and could do well on a low dose, I started by breaking the Prozac capsule in half and dissolving it in juice and drinking half for 5mg (I used to do this the first time I took it when I felt I didn’t always quite need the full 10 mg, and it worked very well). Part of me was concerned that I may have an adverse reaction (I can’t remember why I was afraid of this, since I had done well on it before) so I thought it was good to begin with 5 mg for a few days/weeks and see how I did. I began experiencing terrible, terrible anxiety in my stomach, as if my stomach was constantly doing somersaults that never stopped. It was also the beginning of horrible, horrible, nightly insomnia. I figured this was just a normal start-up effect, and that it would soon stop once the Prozac built up enough in my system. 8 weeks later, the anxiety and insomnia were as horrible as ever, so I quit the med. I was literally on it for no longer than about 8 weeks. So I was done with it by the end of July of last year. I have been off of it for about 6 or 7 months now, but the anxiety and insomnia are still as horrible as ever. They never resolved, and I don’t understand why. They did not begin until I began the medicine. It is like my body has been tricked into thinking it is still on the Prozac. I also wonder if those symptoms would have gone away had I built up to a high enough dose of the Prozac (I know 20 mg is the lowest therapeutic dose, and I was only taking 5mg). Do you think my anxiety and insomnia will ever be resolved without meds? Could going back on Prozac, only a higher dose, help me? Why would I have done so well on Prozac years ago, only to do horribly on it this time? And . . . why would I still be having symptoms after being off of it for 7 months, especially when I was only on 5mg for 8 weeks? I am really not sure what to do. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks for any input. I am really at a loss.
  4. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  5. Hi 8 am from the UK and was on Prozac for 18years but had been unwell and having physical problems the past few years but tests where all clear. I realised it was the drug that was the problem. I was taken off too quickly and my body went into shock and I have been in protracted withdrawal ever since which is 9months now. Every month I'm getting new symptoms and really struggling with living. I can't tolerate even a pain relieve tablet without a reaction. I have awful lung and chest pain, blurred vision, severe headache which has just started this week and feel like I'm dying. I feel I maybe shouldn't have came of but then maybe it's better to get the poison out of my body. Really need some positive vibes at the moment and if anyone else in UK can help please do as I'm frightened that I'm going to die.
  6. Hello all, I had a very traumatic childhood in which I was abused physically, verbally, and emotionally by my father. After graduating high school, I moved out of state in an attempt to save myself from being a victim any longer. About 6 months after I had moved out, I was at my breaking point. I had been going to my college's counseling center for 4 months, but only found myself feeling worse and worse. Here I am, 2.5 years later, and am on prozac, vyvanse, seroquel, and hydroxine. I want to begin tapering off of these meds, as I already know that my body has been damaged by them. In fact, the prozac has caused me to have scary thoughts, and in response today my doctor wanted to increase the prozac from 40 to 60 mg, reduce the seroquel, and start me on trazodone. I hate the way I feel on these medications and want to get of them, as they have made me into someone I am not. I feel very absent minded, now struggle immensely with schoolwork where I used to be in all advanced classes with a 4.0, and am unable to work as I have previously reached my breaking point when trying to work and go to school full time. I am engaged to a wonderful man who supports me in every way possible, and is ready to take on this journey with me to get off of these horrible medications so that we can live out our lives together. I am concerned about what may happen when I taper off, such as becoming unable to do my schoolwork at all (which has happened before and I had to take a year off of school), but do not want these medications to do more harm to my body than they already have.
  7. Hi I'm on fluoxetine 40 mg for the last 6.5 months. and my psychiatrist prescribed me trazadone for sleep. I was taking 12.5 mg a night occasionally 25 mg for nearly 5 weeks. She told me that it wasn't addictive and could stop it when I wanted. Well I did and two days later I broke out in hives and itching then over an 8 day span anxiety and depression built. Which is where I am now. Can I reinstate the trazadone at 12.5 and stabilize? She also wants me to start abilify 2 mg
  8. I have been on antidepressants 3 times in the last 14 years. Usually would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off with no problems. The last time I took them (2011), I needed the maximum dose of sertraline (200mg) to get an effect. After a year on it, I felt it was time to stop. The nurse insisted I had to keep taking or risked relapsing into severe depression. I tried several times to bring up the topic to no avail. After about 1.5 years on it, I cut the dose on my own to 150mg and felt ok for 2 weeks. But after I started having a dull headache that lasted hours, dizziness, serious cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. I could not function and needed excessive sleep (12-14 hours/day). Tried increasing it again and the more severe symptoms got better, but the headache and flu-like malaise persisted for at least a week. I consulted with a psychiatrist. We tried effexor and cut on zoloft. Had no withdrawal symptoms, as I was cross-tapering. I was completely off the zoloft. Only took Effexor for about a month on a low dose (never past 150 mg) because it never helped with the symptoms of Atypical Depression I had. When I started tapering down the effexor, I got the dizziness and extreme fatigue again. When I would fall asleep, I found it extremely hard to get up. Literally felt pinned to the bed. Woke up more tired than I went to bed, even after 12 hours of sleep. Woke up dizzy and with a headache. I increased dose again and we're doing a slower taper over 21 days. The starting dose is 37.5mg. I experience dull headache that lasts hours, flu-like malaise, muscle tension, fatigue every day (with the occassional good day of no symptoms and the occassional day of much worse symptoms). I have learned to cope the best I can with these symptoms, but the fatigue gets unbearable at times. I sleep 12 hours at night and still feel tired and even drowsy during the day. I'm in grad school and it's hard and often impossible to study or even make it to class. I was supposed to decrease dose to 25 mg after 10 days on 37.5mg, but since I still have symptoms, I'll ask dr if I can postpone the decreasing... Im also concerned that the increasing apathy Ive had over the last 7 years might be due to antidepressant use. It could also be depression, but if it is SSRI use, its a very scary symptom that is not going away (has not gone away for more than 3 months in over 14 years since I started having depression/taking SSRIs). The only reason I can semi-function today is because I take nuvigil (a stimulant) 3 or 4 times/week. Without that, I can't do homework or clean or shower. Im extremely dysfunctional. I don't rely only on the stimulant though. I use it to give me energy and motivation and alertness that I use to do positive things, which improve my mood and further help with apathy.
  9. Hi, I was on .5 Mg 1x day of Klonopin for 28 years, my GP updoses it to 3 x day....terrible pyridoxal reaction, Dr. added 10 Mg Prozac which helped the terrible reaction. Did a 2 year taper off Klonopin. 6 Months after being off I started a 5 - 6 month taper off the Prozac. Been off Klonopin 15 months; Off Prozac little over 4 months. Having terrible monophobia (which I kinda had over these last 28 years), huge terror, obsessive thoughts, ruminating thoughts, extreme anger / rage, insomnia. I called both my dr. and therapist crying today. Dr. wants me to re-instate the Prozac. Is this still benzo withdrawal or Prozac wd ??? I am SO scared of meds.....I wonder if this is me or meds ???
  10. 9 months ago today I took my last Prozac and I am still dealing with withdrawal. I took 15 mg of Fluoxetine for 12 years from PAR pharmaceuticals. In July 2015 the fluoxetine I received from the pharmacy was from TEVA pharmaceuticals, apparently PAR pharmaceuticals discontinued the tablets I was taking. Well, my body did not react well to the TEVA brand. I started having nausea and tremors. After a couple of days on the TEVA brand I switched to the MYLAN brand but nothing changed. Realizing my body was not going to handle the change I decided to taper but it seemed pointless because my body was in withdrawal from the PAR pharmaceutical fluoxetine my body was use to taking. On August 27th 2015 I took my last pill. From July to November I dealt with nausea and tremors and then all hell broke loose. On top of the nausea and tremors I developed a bad smell in my nose that only I can smell, internal shaking that is constant, the nausea got much worse, I started having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and chills. I also have cried almost every day since November. In December I had a gastric emptying study done due to the nausea and lack of appetite. I discovered I now have delayed gastric emptying. To date I have lost 44 pounds from the nausea and not being able to eat. I have also had a CT scan and an MRI for the tremors and internal shaking. Those results were normal. I have seen an ENT for the bad smell in my nose, but they can find nothing wrong. I have noticed that I am feeling a tiny and I stress tiny bit better but I still have the internal shaking, nausea, bad smell in my nose and crying. I have read about internal shaking in withdrawal but how long does it go on. I was put on Prozac for panic attacks and the constant internal shaking is making me feel panicky and anxious. Does anything help with it? Has anyone else experienced a bad smell in their nose or heard of anyone having a bad smell in their nose during withdrawal? Thank you for any advice or help anyone can offer me.
  11. Hello everyone! I first started Prozac in the beginning of 2009 to help with social anxiety and public speaking at work. I had to delivery training and couldn't simply face the situation where I'd be in the center of attention. I had had previous failings in this area and couldn't think of screwing up again. Especially, I could lose my job. So, after googling and researching I decided to give fluoxetine a try. As you can see, no doctors were involve and I could only blame myself . I even sourced the pills by ordering from the internet. I started with 20 mg and noticed effects after approx 2-3 weeks. The main thing that I remember was calmness and confidence. With the chemicals fully kicked in, I was so relaxed about the future ordeal that I thought that even if I failed, I’d not care too much. The training went fine though and I had a massive boost of confidence from this fact. The nature of my work, requires me to constantly communicate with people, which had always been hard for me. For this reason I stayed on AD. So that I could function normally and establish myself. I had recently moved to the UK from another country and had to survive. On the other hand I was very cautious, as I had had some past dependency on substances at a tender age, and never exceeded 20mg/day. Also, I never intended to use the pills forever. I just liked how they made me feel in social situations. I had always been a bit shy and fluoxetine helped me to be more relaxed. I continued to take Prozac, but with breaks where I'd be completely off for weeks and even months! I'd go off medication cold turkey (I didn't know about tapering at the time!). And to be honest, I didn't have any major symptoms during years 2010-2013 apart from anxiety (but I'd always been anxious), irritability, anger. No major physical symptoms as far as I could remember. I consider myself to be a person with some self control and I'd try to disregard what happens inside me and try to look normal. Maybe being young(ish) and the fact that I always did some sport help as well? With time as I was becoming more relaxed about my job security and with thoughts that I probably better off AD eventually, my breaks would become longer and longer. And in Jul 2015 I first decided to go off completely. As always, I just stopped cold turkey! Well, I tapered by taking 20 mg every other day for couple of weeks, but I don't think it can be considered tapering in pure sense. WD was probably a bit harder this time with anxiety, irritability, fatigue more pronounced. But I tolerated it fine. I thought maybe I was getting older? No other major physical symptoms. I went back on Prozac again in Feb 2016 because of a new project where I'd need to socialize and communicate. And when work situation calmed down, I went off again in Sep 2016. This time WD a bit harder still. Major symptoms: anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, stress intolerance, anger, insomnia. Surprisingly, insomnia only hit me first in month 7 (still suffering)! This is probably the worst symptom, a torture, when you can't sleep for several nights at a time and then had to function during the day... Thanks a lot for all your attention!
  12. Hi, you can call me AprilShowers. I was put on Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the millenium due to a period of depression. Was on it two years and tapered off with no problem and gradually depression got managable and life went on. Then my mother died of cancer and my depression came back more suicidal and severe. I tried citalopram with horrible side effects and continuous suicidal feelings before being changed to venlafaxine which had worked for me before. And it worked again, more or less. I got stabilised and although it took a long time the suicidal thoughts receded and I just had bad depression. Last year after five years on venlafaxine I was having bad heart palpitations and my psychiatrist thought it might be beneficial to change medications as I thought it might be being caused by being on an SNRI. I switched to mirtazapine which I was on a couple of weeks and felt good at first before it made me very suicidal. Panicing and needing to not feel that way anymore I stopped taking it cold turkey. After I began to have withdrawal issues I tried to get onto prozac (fluoxetine) in the hope that it would help, it didn't, it exacerbated the symptoms. I was in full withdrawal syndrome, massive dumps of cortisol turned my body to acid, I was urinating blood, I couldn't eat or sleep and the shakes were exhausting. It was completely debilitating and I did little but lay on the sofa for five months trying to distract myself with TV shows. Life got a little better in increments and with the help of this site which I read without joining I was able to understand what was happening to me and try to support my body. I thought maybe I'd been lucky to have gotten through this and was hoping to build my life back to some semblance of normal. I managed to get back to the point I'd been on while I was on the antidepressants. Still depressed, still not coping well with life but able to function a bit. I had hoped to build on that. A couple of weeks ago I started getting mad anxiety, possibly triggered by the shock of the news of terrorist attacks in Paris although I guess if I'm honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed before that. Whatever happened, I was having a hard time and took a couple of small doses of lorazepam two nights running to get some sleep and mellow the panicy feelings. Of course they got worse after that and now I have the full cortisol dumping into my system again and I'm back on the sofa wishing for a different life and a better body. I've been in touch with my care co-ordinator who isn't seeing me until next week and she says that without me being willing to take medication there's not much she can do. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow to try to rule out any underlying medical reasons (I had an infection before all this happened and have recently become diabetic, have PCOS and have had previous anemias, heart palpitations and thyroid blips) but I'm not holding out much hope and unsure how to try an explain to the doc what is happening with cortisol dumping into my body. I know all they can offer for the symptoms is lorazepam or similar drugs and I think that would just make my problem worse. The early morning shuddering and feeling of waking in abject terror is the pits, the shudders are exhausting, like parkinsons and then taper off during the day but still with a low level of tremor and feeling of panic. I've got no saliva, I go hot and cold, my stomach is acid, I'm wetting myself with the level of fear hormones in my system and am having to wear pads and I'm constantly going to the bathroom, I'm not doing very well at all. The fact that this is happening for the second time is extremely disappointing, I've had thoughts of not wanting to live like this. I feel very alone, I live alone and I'm scared of losing all I've gained. I'm here to find hope. I need to give this awful life I'm forced into some value and give myself some value. After five years living on benefits, trying to overcome depression and not really coping with life I feel like I have nowhere to turn but here to find people who believe and understand what I'm going through. I am desperate to believe this is just a blip and won't last as long as before but it's been getting worse every day like the reverse of when it happened the first time when it was very bad and I gradually felt relief. I'm finding it hard to trust I will recover. I have nothing to do but hope I can again. Supplements I take omega 3 in a high dose which has helped me manage my depression. vitamin C magnesium with calcium. Occasional other supplements. Am thinking of just stopping all but the omega 3.
  13. Hi folks, Just looking for a bit of advice. I'd been on Prozac, 25mg a day, for 9 months, for depression and wanted to come off them. I was advised by my doctor to take a 25mg tablet on alternating days for 1 month and then stop completely. I did this and have now been off for 4 weeks. Asides from some rather severe depression symptoms my main withdrawal issue has been PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder), something which I suffered with 2 years ago. What I'm wondering is, does this mean I tapered off too quickly? I should also mention I have M.E. and tend to respond strongly to drugs. Is the best plan of action to just ride this out and hope the symptoms go or to go back on the Prozac and taper off again much slower? (my doctor did tell me if I go back on the Prozac I'd have to stay on for 2 years but I really don't want to do that.) Any advice appreciated, Thanks
  14. Hello! I have been following this forum for a while, but haven't been able to find time and energy to write my own introduction. I found this site after searching relentlessly for other answers to mental wellness besides antidepressants. Besides lots of other informative books I read Whitaker's "Anatomy of Epidemics", and understood better what happened to me last year when I had a big relapse, which I'm still recovering from. Medications didn't help anymore. Things only started improving when I started taking supplements (Daily Essential Nutrients, which is former Empowerplus), and applied gluten free casein free diet. And since then, I have carefully tapered down with medications. But I write briefly about my story from the beginning. I have difficult background and lot's of things I have had to work through psychologically, because my dear mother suffered from severe depression for many years and finally it ended with her suicide in 2002. But I don't go into depths about that, but try to give you general idea of what has happened over the years. It was very hard after her death, and with difficult relationship at the same time, so I ended up taking antidepressants for some time. I was really paranoid about them, and agreed to take only small amount - 10mg citalopram, for like 5-6 months. As time went on, I started to get really bad mood swings myself in 2005. In summer 2006 I ended taking birth control pills I had been taking for 8 years. At the same time there was high pressure at work and another relationship that didn't work out. Few months after quitting the pills, I fell into hole I hadn't even been able to imagine before. Severe depression with even small amount of psychotic symptoms (delusional guilt thoughts). It was really, really bad. There was a psychiatrist, that put me on citalopram "because it worked before". 40g, which, in hindsight, was really high and I probably suffered a lot from not only the illness, but AD side-effects. I didn't really feel that the pills were helping, although after a few months I was out from the most awful state of mind. I continued to take the meds for some months, but then dropped it - I just didn't want to take them (I saw my mom deteriorating on AD-s, and didn't believe in them). But I was not the same after this crisis. I'd lost something in me. And as time went on, I started to sink down again. Until in 2008 (3 years suffering), it was so bad that I had no other way than to search for help again. I started cognitive-behavioural therapy, and did it vigorously, but it didn't help. And then I started meds again. After first tries that didn't work, I started prozac (20mg) - and it's effect was amazing and very strong!!! I got flashes and glimpses of my warm and good memories, I felt like a ton had fallen from my shoulders, it was quite dramatic improvement. I continued to get better gradually for at least a year. I felt that I gained about 80% of my wellness. As things were going well, I thought it's ok to stop them now. I was still very wary about taking those drugs long term. I gradually stopped it, I think during 1-2 months. I remember I had withdrawal (feeling very angry and irritated), but pushed through it. I had learned a lot in therapy and thought I can handle myself. I was really emotional after ending it, cried a lot and it put a strain on my new relationship. After a couple of months I was really going down again, I felt really bad, depressed, awful, and anxious about the relationship. my pdoc restarted prozac. It didn't work anymore! It was awful... to realize that the drug doesn't help anymore. We tried duloxetine, which gave bad side-effects. and then sertraline (zoloft), which, after 3-4 weeks started giving relief. So the dynamics was such: I stopped the drug, restarted it about 4 months later, waited for 5 weeks, then started new one (1-2 weeks), and then new one, which eventually started to work. The relationship still ended though, after a few more months. I didn't fall into pieces after that, although it was hard. 2009-2011 I was on Zoloft then (50mg). Looking back, things were more stable. not perfect, but I was able to live my life. In July-August 2011, I was in love, and thought I could do better if I reduced my antidepressant. I took 3/4 pill for a week and then half, since the beginning of August. By the end of August I was quite a mess. I didn't think about meds at all because I was dealing with relationship and I thought this all is psychological, and due to past traumas and my own illness, etc. I felt very raw psychological pain at this time, and it took a long time to get out of this hole - I remember hurting like hell all autumn. And we (me and psychiatrist) started messing with meds. I think at first we upped zoloft, to 1,5 tablets (75mg). I think it didn't help - therefore we switched me to citalopram. I think first at 1 tablet, then 1,5. it helped for a little, but then I think caused me to be very tired and stoned. I think I then reduced it again, and went to 0,5 tablets (somewhere in November). And then, in the end of January 2012 I quit that entirely. I ran out of meds, and then thought, what the hell, I don't want to take them at all. I realized that they were not helping very much, but I totally did NOT realize how much harm they are doing, especially if withdrawing! During all this autumn 2011, I was making intensive progress in therapy, so I attributed a lot of my feelings to psychological things. And at the end, we did quite remarking breakthrough, and I also felt better, so I naturally thought about dropping the pills. I experienced sudden and dramatic IMPROVEMENT in my condition, especially psychologically! I felt alive, sensitive, feeling, lighter, more awake, really connected to life and people and things! wow! I saw very vivid dreams and I swore that I even visually saw more clearly! I did feel also psysical sypmtoms - like dizziness, little nausea. but nothing so bad that I couldn't tolerate. In april, my mood starts swinging. I managed it with lots of meditation, and running, etc. but it continues and gets worse. Until in the end of June - boom - suddenly during a period of one week, I suddenly crashed so deep, it's hard to even describe it. The relapse was very sudden and steep. I deteriorated into suffering which is unimaginable. I had been through very, very painful mental illness periods before, but this was one of the two most awful crisis. and it didn't go away. new pdoc, at first reinstated zoloft, I think. didn't help. then swithed to paroxetine. things only got worse, paroxetine gave me horrible side-effects, besides everything else. then switched to buproprion. didn't help. at all. I ended up in the hospital. they started me on Prozac again. plus 50mg seroquel for sleep. This was in August, last year, 2012. Things actually did not improve after that, or improved really, really little. And I developed hypersomnia - sleeping 14-16 hours a day. But still feeling tired. We increased Prozac to 40mg, but after that I was reluctant to do any more changes. I felt that meds just don't help me anymore. And it proved to be correct, because for 8 months, there was very little improvement (all that time I stayed on 40mg prozac + 50mg seroquel). I started reading about meds. Before that, I had done ALL possible with psychological interventions. CBT, EMDR, intensive therapy, group therapy, ect. all things very helpful for personal growth, but unhelpful for feeling so bad still. now I started reading about meds. And vitamins and minerals. I read Whitaker's book, and finally understand what happened last year - that the horrible condition I ended up with, might be because of ending drugs too abruptly. It helped to give me back some security - at least I understood, what happened, and what almost caused me my life. I also read a lot about vitamins and minerals and mental health. I started taking lots of supplements in March, and noticed small improvement in my hypersomnia. Then I switched to Daily Essential Nutrients (former EmpowerPlus) in April. At the end of April I started tapering down Prozac, by 1/10 amount in month or more time. In June, I started gluten-free-casein-free diet (with the help of nutritional therapist). I have been improving since April. When I started DEN, it made me more tired for a week or so. And then, I think it started detoxification process in my body - I had violent headaches, woke up with swollen face, didn't tolerate alcohol at all (half glass of champagne gave me horrible hangover the next day). But those things passed - I think the headaches stopped completely when I started GFCF diet. My mood has definitely improved, if I look back a couple of months. I don't think about death anymore. I have more concentration, and my memory is better. although I'm not by any means in good shape, I'm out of crisis. My energy has improved more slowly, and hypersomnia as well, but they, too, are improving. There are days now when I can sleep 10 hours, and I'm very glad about it. I'm able to do more things. I think I feel prozac withdrawal after two weeks when I have reduced it. I plan to go in the same pace (4mg down each month) until 20mg, and after that go 2mg/month. and at the same time, reduce also seroquel. Whoah, that was a long story to write down. Thank you for anybody who had the energy to read it through! I have some questions for you, too... - does it also seem to you, that lot's of my problems are drug-induced - withdrawal-induced? - what about illness itself? lots of people here discuss how they were put on AD-s which in hindsight were not needed, and then developed problems. I had small depression even before drugs. after my moms death I was on low dosage and for little time (half a year). And I did have bad trauma in my life. My mood swings and depressions were bad without AD-s... - my first biggest crash coincided with quitting baby pills (hormones). I have long suspected there was a link. I think I was sensitive to chemical changes, and the stress and traumas had built up, but my body couldn't handle it anymore. I also think taking long time baby pills can deplete the body from some important vitamins/minerals, and cause biochemical mess in the body. I think I will have more questions down the way. It's nice to finally write and introduce myself to you!
  15. Hi! I found this website when googling around and reading articles about how to taper off your antidepressants, mainly because I have tried several times (gotta be around 5 or 6 times by now), but I have failed miserably time and time again. Here goes my sad little life-story (I will try to keep it as short as possible but suspect I will not succeed). So, I have always been a pretty depressed and sad person, even as a kid, due to low self-esteem, being very sensitive, et.c. I think you get the picture. Anyway, my perfectionistic, self-hating and insecure personality led me to developing crippling OCD during a stressful job I had three years ago. It was the type of OCD that is called Pure Obsessional OCD, or in more understable terms; obsessive rumination, 24/7, everyday. It is like living through hell everyday, or at least that's how it is for me. Anyway, my OCD which was filled with horrible images and thoughts that I, unknowingly and in total panic-mode, tried to fight (which of course made them a million times worse). This led to me, six months later, quitting my job out of necessity (I was all but fallen apart completely emotionally), and telling a relative that I had to be driven to the psychiatric emergency ward. There, they took me in for two weeks, immediately starting to give me Fluoxetine. Fast forward, I get home, my mind's a complete fog and a lot of the horrible images and thoughts luckily shut off, which was exactly what I needed (and still need). It was a scaring yet necessary feeling for me if I wanted to even survive and not take any desperate measures to get away from my own mind (aka suicide). Right from the get go of my Fluoxetine-dosage, I was struck by insomnia. Of course, a month later or so when I met a new doctor, I was prescribed an evening pill to be able to sleep. In Sweden it is called Mianzerin, but I'm not sure as to what the English term for the same medicine is. So from that day on, I've been on 30 mg Fluoxetine, 10 mg Mianzerin. The doctor wanted me to take an even higher dose of Mianzerin when my insomnia didn't dissappear right away (of course, that's what doctors want, as rushed and unthought of medication as possible), but I refused a higher dose, and I'm happy that I did that because a couple of days later I started being able to sleep again. Now, the sad part is, that Mianzerin made me instead having to sleep waaay more to feel satisfied waking up (which still doesn't do the trick, no matter for how long I sleep). I'm always tired from this medicine, and the sleep that I have been getting for the last couple of years on these medications have not been even anything close to as satisfying and recharging as a normal, pre-drug, sleep session was. Of course, when I try to explain this sort of ungraspable change in my sleep-feelings, no one of my friends and family understand what I mean. It always seems like they're thinking; "Well, you sleep a good amount of hours right, so that means you're getting a good sleep, right?" Nothing could be farther away from the truth. This message became, as I had suspected, a bit longer than I had meant for it to be, but to try to sum things up; My side-effects on 30 mg Fluoxetine + 10 mg Mianzerin: 1. Worse quality of my sleep. Never feeling like I've slept enough. 2. Much higher need of sleeping (because of the Mianzerin). It has, these last couple of years, been almost completely impossible for me to get up early in the mornings. If I set my alarm too early, I either shut it off without even remembering having done it, or I wake up hung-over, almost paralyzed, and insanely tired, from the Mianzerin, making it close to impossible to not just go back to sleep again. If it is something really important that happens in the morning, an appointment or something, I can sometimes force myself to sort of float up through the Mianzerin-fog by immediately reaching for my laptop which I have right next to the bed. Staring at the bright screen for a period of time usually works. But to get as far as that is sometimes impossible, and I've missed out on a number of my university lectures because I could just not muster up the energy to get up in time for school. 3. Night time sweats. These have fortunately become less and less frequent with time. When I first started taking Mianzerin it was every night, now it's only every once in a while (for example, last night I woke up covered in sweat again). 4. Impaired eyesight, in the sense that I have a really hard time reading books for long times (and, on many days, even a whole single page if the textfont and size doesn't fit my broken eyes). This has made it a necessity for me to take a break from my University-studies, which I really didn't want to do, but I just couldn't keep up with school when we got assignments like "oh, read these 35 pages as preparation for the next lecture, would you?". I think my eyesight-problems stems from the fact that my medications makes my eyes insanely dry. I have tried regular eyedrops as suggested by my optician, but they didn't do any difference at all. 5. I also believe that it has worsened my pre-existent IBS and anal leakage (sry for the yukky details), which then of course makes my social anxiety even worse, which leads to more isolation (I haven't seen any old friends for over a year now), which of course leads to more depression. I am aware however that my worsening of my stomach problems doesn't necessarily have had to become worse because of my medications, since they were there pre-drugs, but since I started taking these drugs I've been walking around in my tired zombie-mode which means very little physical activity or any activites at all that doesn't involve sitting in front of the computer and staring at meaningless youtube-videos. This, I believe, is why my IBS/leakage-problems have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Inactivity and tiredness is not a healthy living imho. So, reading this, you might ask yourself, "Why the hell wouldn't you taper off your drugs? It makes your life so much worse!" Basic answer: I can't. About five days/a week or so after starting to tapering off with a 10 mg-decrease (which I have now from this message board learned is a way to big cut-down if you're sensitive to it), I get extremely low, my OCD starts once more to attack me more fervently and convincingly (it's always there even on my meds, but it becomes so much worse again), and last time I tried these huge decrease at once I woke up one day feeling totally, utterly; empty, cold, hateful, mean, hopeless, sad, everything bad that you can feel just came over me at once, like a dark cloud, and I rushed home from my morning walk and immediately gulped down that extra 10 mg of fluoxetine again. The sad part is, that besides all the side effects from my drugs, I had been having a couple of really good weeks prior to my dosage-lowering, which is why I, in my desperate attempt to get back to the "real" me, rushed to the conclusion that I was ready to start trying to taper off once again. Ever since that horrifying morning, I have not been able to get back to the good state that I was in prior to it. But, since my wish to get rid of these drugs is so huge, I tried once more a couple of days later after this morning to taper off, but this time after having read that a 10%-lowering was more sensible and should work better if you're sensitive. Again, this didn't work, and I failed after five days or so once more. Now, I'm back at my regular dose, stuck in my unhappy zombie-mode again, a mode that at least keeps my OCD from getting uncontrollable and the bad voices in my head to become so strong and convincingly once more, and my depression to lead me to the poisoned water of suicide. I realize, with a great unhappiness, that I'm definitely not ready for the moment to try to taper off, since I live in miserable isolation from people and the rest of the world (how I could even think it would work to taper off when I basically spend all my days devoid from friends or any social activities is beyond me). At the same time, I feel like I'm sort of caught in an incredibly irritating and heartbreaking paradox. It goes like this; I can't begin my tapering off until I have achieved a happy, fulfilling, and rock-steady life filled with normal and joyous social activities and hope for life, et.c., but I feel like I have such a hard time moving towards that goal because of my drugs and the way that they make me a tired, lethargic zombie that just lets the days pass without having the energy to do anything about it. This paradox makes me so frustrated I want to tear my own hair out haha. I can't get healthy on my drugs, but I can't quit my drugs because I'm not healthy enough. I guess that's what they call a moment 22? End note: Woooow, this became so much longer than I had expected, it was just suppose to be a little introduction haha. Well, what can you do, I applaud those of you who have the willpower to at least skim through it. Now you know how my life situation is. I am not tapering off my meds right now, but I hope to be sometime in the distant future (although that seems extremely distant and impossible right now). I just was happy to find a message board filled with others who seem to have encountered similar problems, and who are too, just like me, struggling to put one foot in front of the other and maybe (hopefully!) transform from being in a constant survivor-mode, to actually starting to enjoy and experience a "normal", happy and fulfilling life. PS. I apologize for any spelling-errors or weird and incomprehensible usage of words. I'm from Sweden, so my English has it flaws. PPS. I forgot to mention that I see a psychiatrist on a regular basis, just thought you guys should know so that I can spare you the obvious suggestion of me going to one haha.
  16. I tapered of Prozac in early 2014. I tapered over 4 weeks by taking every other day so basically ct. I had taken Prozac for 17 years for anxiety and depression. It took almost 4 months to get very bad by which time Drs had prescribed me sertraline and citralopram both of which exacerbated things tremendously. I only took a single dose of each. It never occurred to me or Drs to put me back of Prozac and by this time I was too terrified to take anything. The last 3 years have been horrific, losing my husband, my health and my income. I was unable to work for 2 years and now work part time from home which I still struggle with. I'm diagnosed with cfs fibro and severe depression all caused by protracted withdrawal. Iv seen dr Healy a few times and a neuropsychiatrist who both back my cause. I haven't taken a drug in 28 months but am about to start imipramine on their advise. I hope to get some relief from the crippling depression and pain and then hopefully taper off. I know this is a risk but desperate times call for desperate measures. I have terrible tinnutus caused from the destabilising effect of ct Prozac. I also have vertigo and chronic insomnia, especially early morning waking and sleep maintence. I use magnesium glycinate and lactium but Iv not noticed a noticeable difference. I have learned to not panic too much during extreme anxiety, instead of it breaking me completely like in the old days, I open the door and invite the beast in. This also helps with odd flare up of akathesia that was relentless in the beginning. I'm completely amazed at the lack of knowledge from Drs about the dangers of drugs but I have also found at leat 3 who are well very knowledgable. It gives me hope at least that we are not completely alone.
  17. I'm ******. My signature pretty much sums things up, but leaves out the In-depth details of the journey with this drug. My biggest fear is that I began taking the med as a teenager and while my brain was still developing. I can't help but wonder about the impact Prozac had on my neuro- development and what that means for me now and in the futures he last time I kicked the Prozac habit it lasted 4 months before I finally gave in to the withdrawal symptoms and resumed taking Prozac again. It's so hard to describe how bad it was and what it felt like. The physical symptoms alone were unbelievable. I honestly wasn't sure I'd survive it. Right now there are periods of anxiety and fatigue and irritability, but they are tolerable and slowly abating. When they do I will decrease my dosage again. That's how I'm playing it this time. Decrease, survive withdrawal symptoms till they [mostly] abate, then decrease again... Then on like that. I don't ever want to experience what I did the last time.
  18. I've gone from 40mg to 30mg then to 20mg of fluoxetine over a few months after taking antidepressants (citalopram then fluoxetine) for 4 years. Since being on 20mg I've started to feel evening dread in my stomach, lethargy and lack of appetite in the evenings. This is exactly how I was about 6 years ago before depression became bad.
  19. ADMIN NOTE See ang's Intro topic with her earlier history here ☼ ang: help and confidence needed Hello Altostrata and friends. I now believe I am a success story. I am working, contributing and ENJOYING life again. I am 58, so I am grateful that I can enjoy maybe a few more years of my life. From the amount of drugs I was on, this is a miracle. Took me I would say, many years. Mistakes I made, so, so many, ........then in desperation .......... I found this wonderful lifeline Surviving Antidepressants. The pharma fraud, and psychiatric fraud, and $$$$ made destroying lives on these poisons, I can never forgive. I have not been able to update my own timeline, as I have been so happily busy. I do, however, wish to write my survival story, maybe in 6 months, when I am permanent in my job, and will update with all the things I have done in the last 6 months. Just wanted to say, is hard to revisit this site, remembering how ill and desperate I was. But I will, and I will contribute when I can. Yes, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, for me the agony waxed and waned for a couple of years. Keep up the fight, never give in. Happy Easter Everyone. I am so hoping you may be able to enjoy, but I know how ill I have been, and family and friends were just too much to cope with. This easter, I cant WAIT to see my grandkids and family. Yes the brain recovers from these poisons. Cheers Ang
  20. It has been years since I took medications, I was 16 when I took them in 2009, and went through a few different brands. I have copied some of my introduction story to make things easier for me. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5232-%E2%98%BC-hello-charliebrown-script-free/#entry67166 Starting with Fluoxetine 10mg for 1 month. Then Venlafaxine for 1 month at 75mg then, 3 months at 150mg. 1 month of Clonazepam 0.5mg as I was tapered off Venlafaxine and onto Sertraline 50mg. Then I took Sertraline 100mg for 4 months. Still experiencing panic attacks, agoraphobia and paranoia. I went to the hospital during a panic attack and was given Lorazepam 1mg for 1 week. This is when my psychiatrist added Risperidone on top of the Sertraline. Risperidone started at 0.25mg for 3 days, then 0.5mg for one week, raised to 1.0mg for one week. After two weeks I had a check-up I told the Dr. I wasn't feeling anything and I believe he may have misinterpreted that as "no effects" but when I said it I meant that I felt no emotions. My dose was raised to 1.5mg daily. After 3 days of 1.5mg I began experiencing Akathisia with no relief of anxiety. With no options in perceived sight I took all of the remaining Risperidone. Approx forty 0.5mg pills. My Parents caught me and called 911. At the hospital I was given charcoal and passed out, waking hours later. After being discharged I continued to take Sertraline as prescribed for 2 months. With no reduction in my anxiety and my emotions being basically non existant I decided to "take the good with the bad" and feel some kind of emotion. Over the next month and a half I slowly weaned myself off Sertraline. Popping open the capsule and throwing away 3-5 tiny XR beads a day. So that's my age, meds and taper strategy. How long it took to regain all my emotions and bodily functions is a hard one to answer. It took about 6 months before I felt much of anything. Then the bad emotions came back, sadness, anger. Slowly over the next two years I had many days that were blank and void of anything, days full of sadness, but also days where a light would shine and I would be happy. Feelings were coming back in waves and leaving again. I joined this website in late 2013 and at that point I had some emotional range, a libido but no sexual pleasure. So i guess it took about 3 years off medications to regain a good emotional range and my youthful lust. I'm finally writing this success story because in the past year the lack of sexual pleasure and anhedonia are not a problem for me anymore. The feelings slowly came back in waves, sometimes weak, but getting stronger and stronger. Now I feel great when I hug someone or see a friend smile. Sometimes the feelings can even be overwhelming. Like my heart is ready to burst. I don't know what else to add except, it's been almost 7 years since I took medications and I am a whole new person! Don't give up hope! Things are constantly changing, even if you don't notice. I didn't notice the change until it was right in my face!
  21. I'm new on this site. I was referred to this site from someone on benzo buddies. I am 15 months free of them. I am looking to taper off of Prozac now. I need help with how to taper off of Prozac safely and not rapidly. I then will taper off of gabapentin. I am in a very fragile state right now. Please be gentle.
  22. I've been off prozac for almost 4 months now and in November I started experiencing body zaps. They don't feel like they are in my brain but maybe down the back of my neck and spine and throughout my body. They seem to come and go. I feel like some things trigger them amongst other symptoms, like exercise and recently I'm beginning to think acupuncture. Within hours after she does some points on my head I start getting body zaps even if I haven't had them for days so I am wondering if there is a connection. They freak me out though and make me want to curl in a ball. Is adrenal fatigue caused by withdrawal? Will my brain and nervous system fully go back to normal? My history is that I am 24, when I was 19 I started taking Zoloft and was on it for 2 years. I was able to wean off no problems at all. I was off for a year. Then I started getting panic attacks again. So I reluctantly went back on zoloft again and with in a few months wanted to get off them which I couldn't. First I was stupid and cold turkey'ed it. Then I was like maybe I'll just try something else that might have less side effects so I got on lexapro still had side effects and didn't like it but was pretty stable for a few months then switched back to zoloft and tried to wean off again and once I took my last dose went into withdrawal so I was put on Prozac 10mg and stayed on it a month and leveled out then started weaning from there over 9 months dropping 1mg ever 4-6 weeks depending on if I was stable. Last dose was September 2nd. At first I thought I was going to be in the clear but then November I started feeling like **** which is I guess when it must have fully left my system. I feel like I did things the right way this time. Weaning slowly... So why am I still going through withdrawals?
  23. Hi everyone I withdrew cold turkey from Fluoxetine around a year ago and I've been suffering from visual snow for 7 months now . My question is can ssri induced visual snow go away or am I gonna be stuck with this forever?
  24. I've been taking these meds for years. I've been on them mostly for extreme anxiety and depression. What do I need to help with anxiety and depression as I try to get off of them so I can stay off of them. Also, how bad is getting off of fluoxetine, trazodone, wellbutrin compared to getting off of Effexor? Getting off of Effexor was pretty hellish.
  25. I was misdiagnosed with major depression, and prescribed Prozac 20mg. I actually have Bipolar 1 disorder. Six days into taking Prozac that night I began having horrible thoughts [mod note: deleted graphic violent thoughts]. I knew these thoughts were horribly wrong! But I couldn't make them stop, I had to check into a psychiatric facility for fear I would hurt someone or myself. It's been a little over a year now since that occurred, but I am a highly sensitive person, and I still struggle with accepting what happened to me. I feel I was robbed of some of my innocence that I can't get back now.