Hi, I found this site a couple of weeks ago and have slowly been starting to wonder if what I’ve been going through the past 18 months is related to SSRI withdrawal.
I managed to successfully withdraw from Lexapro at the end of 2010, after over 13 years of AD use. I had various fluctuating symptoms for a couple of months, but then apart from constant ringing in my ears and a return of occasional anxiety, I seemed to be ok. I was studying to be a chi-ball instructor, was exercising regularly, was eating healthy and was generally quite happy.
After getting off Lexapro, I had been diagnosed with adult ADD and been put on medication for that. It worked well for a couple of weeks and seemed to completely cure what remained of my anxiety, but then I started to get extreme restlessness, OCD like symptoms, irritability and an increase in my sensitivity, to sounds and lights. I assumed it was a bad reaction to the stimulant medication. My life has been a confusing nightmare since the end of 2010 really, but until I found this site a couple of weeks ago, it really didn’t occur to me that my ongoing problems were being caused by a medication I stopped taking over 2 years ago.
I’ve had a lot of stress in my life starting from an early age and have always been sensitive and anxious. There has been some violent crime and sexual abuse, but I seemed to be ok until I got myself into a psychologically abusive marriage. That’s when I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and started on Zoloft. For a couple of years it took the edge off my anxiety, but I never thought I had depression, but the Zoloft just made me feel generally numb, so I endured my marriage, for several more years until it became unbearable, tried to communicate with my ex-husband so that things would improve, but he wasn’t interested in change, he was already in his next relationship and had been for a while, I didn’t know that at the time though.
Then I went through about 4 years of extremely frightening separation/divorce and ongoing court proceedings. . There were other extremely stressful things I’ve had to deal with over the last 10 years, but I’m not going to go into details. I have been thinking that what I’m going through is a combination of long term stress, anxiety/depression, a ‘dark night of the soul’, menopause and/or some kind of spiritual transformation like kundalini, because I have engaged in various spiritual practises through my life.
At times its felt like my CNS is completely burned out or that I have some kind of serious hormonal imbalance, but I gave up trusting the medical profession, including psychologists after years of not being able to get any help from any of them and only ending up feeling worse and that its all my fault for not trying hard enough. I’ve had lots therapy, counselling and done various support groups over the last 15 years, nothing has been any significant help. I went back to college to study psychology and started a business, but that all fell apart when the marital abuse became worse and the divorce proceedings began.
Since finding this site, I’ve stopped taking all psychotropic medication, realizing that anything which effects my brain is having an exaggerated negative effect on my recovery. For a long time I’ve noticed that even small amounts of caffeine, half a glass of wine or even an anti-histamine will have a very bad effect on me, but I was thinking it was my imagination. I can’t even eat chocolate any more without suffering the next day.
I’m exhausted all the time, but it’s a weird kind of fatigue, its like a combination mental/emotional tiredness, not like anything I’ve ever felt before. I spend most of my time at home, on the internet on my bed, just doing the things I need to do to take care of myself and my teenage daughter. Its very difficult just getting out to buy a few groceries, but when I do go out, I function perfectly in a kind of dissociated way, like I’m not even in my own body, I’m watching myself like from a distance, wondering who it is that’s behaving so ‘normally’ when I’m feeling so awful.
Waves of negative emotions seem to get triggered by almost everything around me and almost every thought, I try not to think about things or do much of anything so I can avoid the emotional pain that thoughts or experiences bring, its like a kind of forced meditation. This symptom was at its worst from November 2011 – August 2012, but its not as bad now, seems to be settling down, I think its improved by about 50%.
Please would someone take a look at the details in my signature and give me an opinion if protracted anti-depressant withdrawal might be a factor in my current health problems which include:
Waking at 5am with racing thoughts
Feeling like I haven’t slept at all
Nausea, shaking, dizziness, body pressure, muscle twitches
Waves of negative emotion
Hot/cold flashes, sweating
Constant ringing in my ears
Sensitive to sound, light and smells
Can’t watch TV or listen to the radio because its too stimulating
Most things are too stimulating now, including being around other people too long
Loss of appetite and loss of weight
Hair falling out
Agoraphobia, mostly during the day, I’m able to go out easier late afternoon towards evening
Memory problems and mental confusion
Loss of confidence.
Loss of interest in doing anything or going anywhere
Can’t get any pleasure out of things any more
Loss of hope
I needed to put more detail in my signature, but that’s all that would fit. From about 2006 – 2008 I was also taking duramine (a prescription stimulant weight loss med) to try and lose all the weight I’d put on from being on SSRI meds. Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to try and provide a clear picture of my situation. Thank you