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  1. 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!
  2. See also: weight-loss-while-tapering _____________________ This is really more like a side-effect from taking SSRIs rather than the symptom of WD itself, but some of those who are still on drugs and are getting ready for tapering may find it really helpful. Weight gain While on drugs my body weight went up by about 55-60 pounds. I was able to get rid of it thanks to lowering my carbs intake. What worked in your case? Interestingly, no amount of physical exercise was enough in my case to help lose weight - the whole endocrine system, metabolism, and what not, was so much out of whack, that even running three marathons a day wouldn't do a thing.
  3. I'm 51yr old gay guy and lived with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety since childhood. It took me till I was 43 to finally 'break' and open up to my then partner, my GP, my friends and family. I was initially prescribed Fluoxetine, but this was changed to Sertraline. I have been taking sertraline since then, at 200mg daily since about 2011. In 2013, my partner and I separated after 17yrs together, I lost my job and home. I haven't worked since. I have been in my own housing association home since Nov 2015. Even at the maximum dose of sertraline, I have continued to suffer anxiety and panic attacks. I have been prescribed Propanolol to ease this, at a dose of 160mg slow-release for a period. At the moment I take 40mg up to 3 times daily. I have been frustrated by the amount of side effect symptoms that I attribute to the sertraline use: exhaustion, lack of emotions, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbance, teeth grinding and jaw pain, appetite disruption, haemorrhoids. Most of all is my overwhelming feeling that I am being dehumanised, no longer able to function, have a relationship, make friends, have a job... Just want to be me again. In consultation with my GP I started a tapering off of sertraline last Sept. I couldn't cope with the crippling anxiety and fatigue of withdrawal and I went back to the 200mg dose. I started tapering again in may this year. I reduced by 25mg at 2week intervals and managed to get down to 100mg daily in 6weeks. I found the process manageable up till reaching 100mg when anxiety was worsening. But I kept on that dose till mid Sept when depression was worsening along with the anxiety. I saw this as a major warning that I wasn't managing. I've been taking 150mg for the last 4days and coping. With the dark winter days returning I am resigned at the moment to postpone reducing sertraline until the spring. Meantime I found this forum and feel it will be helpful to connect with people in similar situations.
  4. 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??
  5. 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
  6. I've been in a bad place lately and I could use some advice. Since April I've been going through a relapse of mental health issues, and right now they're the worst they've ever been. It started when I was coming to the end of a stressful postgrad, I started getting panic attacks, something I used to get in the past but managed to overcome through therapy. I then broke up with my girlfriend, which was a stressful affair. The month of May I spent entirely searching for a job in the field I went to school for. I did this while I battled through my symptoms, and I developed some early morning waking, bad insomnia. I couldn't sleep, or think straight (Insomnia as since resolved for the most part, or at least not as bad). I somehow managed to find a job in my field, and started at the beginning of June. The last 2 months have gone by fast, and I've felt awful for the majority of them. Still depressed, this aching feeling in the pit of my chest. Just feel very low. We found out today that they're not going to extend my contract past this month. So it's back to being unemployed, and I just don't know if I have it in me to start looking for a job in this field again. I was happier last year working an old job. I don't even know why I left it. 2016 was one of the best years of my life. I can always go back to it. But I don't know if it'll make any difference. If I'll still feel just as sh*tty. I see a psychologist which is helpful, but I'm really bad at doing my CBT homework. I find it hard to track my moods, and what causes them. I just tend to feel this way. I see a psychiatrist, and he prescribed my Trintellix, but I'm terrified of these medications. I had an extreme reaction to Zoloft in the past, and all the research I've done, i'm on the side that these medications aren't as great as they're made out to be. I don't trust psychiatry. I don't want to put on an ever growing cocktail of pills. I don't think I have something terribly wrong with my brain. But I'm aching every day. Some days are better than others. But some I just can't take it. I'm not suicidal or anything. But I'm lost, scared for the future. Worried there's no point to anything. What has helped you guys the most? Thanks for reading. I wrote a lot more than I expected too.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. I don't profess to know what it's like to live with anxiety, depression, or "medically diagnosed psychosis" in any form. Nor have I experienced the brain numbing side effects of the so called "Happy Pills" that are dished out like lollies to children and adults alike. And now Babies are the next largest growing market for these personality fixers. I live on the "Otherside". Firstly, I am the Mother, who against all pleading, and arguing with Doctor's (of all ranks) to not put my then "coming of a Meth Addiction" Son, onto Anxiety medication, was ignored. We are the people who stand by and watch as our loved one's fall apart slowly, in front of our eyes. The one's who are powerless to help and to fix it, because we are "out ranked" by the people who are supposed to know what is best. What I have done, is make it my life's work to understand Addiction and Anxiety - including coming off of these debilitating drugs and what happens within the brain from an unconscious, neuroscience and being in control of yourself perspective. I found this site because I too was looking for some answers on "cold turkey withdrawal". My Son decided to go cold turkey off of his Antidepressants 3 1/2 weeks ago. His decision? because he was sick of the night terrors, cold sweats and feeling like he was constantly in a fog. He asked me to help in my professional capacity and together we got through the hard parts. He still has a way to go, and I am not recommending going "cold turkey" However, what I can say is this: There IS clarity at the end of that foggy tunnel, allow your mind and body to adjust to this new drug free you. It will take sometime, it will happen. I am here to lend support just like all of the other amazing people in this forum . If I am able to support you by giving you any tools that will assist you. I will. Here is something I would like to share with you; You don't need to be strong. Realise, really understand and see, just how self empowered you have become, by being on this journey. And that you are absolutely AWESOME!!!! In those moments of doubt and grayness, give yourself permission to acknowledge just how amazing you are. You have come this far, keep going! xx
  10. 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
  11. Hi everyone. I've been dealing with severe derealization, panic, insomnia, anxiety, depression, dizziness, vertigo, migraines, agitation, irritably etc. for 3 years now. I'm scared out of my mind. I am on geodon 20 mg 2x a day zoloft (I'm weening. Just went from 25 mg to 12.5 mg) remeon 7.5 mg 2x a day scheduled Ativan (5 mg total per day) i am at at the end of my rope. I believe be chronic insomnia is at the heart of the way I feel. I have recently come to the realization that the derealization could be coming from pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to feel better, I have started weening off Zoloft- under doc approval (had to start somewhere and this medication has never helped me). I have been on Zoloft for 13 years, since the birth of my son when I developed post pardum depression. Is it it possible that going off the Zoloft will help? Or is the derealization likely to get worse? I'm still on 12.5 mg. This is my 2nd day on 12.5 from 25 mg. I believe I went from 50 mg to 37.5 in mid July. Then only went from 37.5 to 25 mg a week ago. And started 12.5 yesterday. Is this too quick? Or should I stay on 12.5 for a couple weeks and see how I do? Sounds like medication withdrawal can certainly cause DP/DR, but is it possible that coming off of them can actually help? Will things ever get bettter? Any adcice woukd be greatly appreciated.
  12. Hello, I need help to understand how this antidepressant work for anxiety. I am suffering from severe anxiety (suspected hyperadrenergic postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome - hyper pots) which causes my heart rate to increase by 30-50 beats per minute upon standing along with blood pressure increase, and so it's hard for even to even stand because of heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness etc, and so i lay in my bed for 22-23 hours daily for 8 months, my muscles are GONE, i am only existing. Medicine history story in few sentences: after more than several heart tests year ago, they found nothing except mentioned sinus tachycardia episodes and high blood pressure when anxious, for example it was 170/90 with the heart rate of 120 just sittting and talking to cardiologist cuz of anxiety and body many posture changes, but it's in 40s when i sleep and it varies from 50s to 140s every hour during the day, which cardiologists think relates to anxiety. I decided to go to psychiatrist and so she saw severe anxiety and gave me ssri antidepressant escitalopram which made me a lot worse, my heart rate was 90-100 even when i wanted to go to sleep. Now she wants to put me on mirtazapine and i just can't understand how it can work because its serotonin and norepinephrine reuptaker, so how it will reduce my anxiety if i will have more norepinephrine in my blood, i thought they will block it, not increase it. This is a paradox that i fail to understand, what kind of treatment is that? I am scared that this will increase my anxiety/panic attacks/heart rate/blood pressure just like escitalopram. What were your experiences with it? Thank you!
  13. I was on 150mg of Zoloft and tried weaning off by halfing the dose every few weeks... I got down to zero but the symptoms after a few weeks were too bad... I went back up to 25 and then to 50... I've been at 50mg for at least 6 months (maybe longer)... Having read the info here, it looks like it's going to take me a few years to taper off 😨... I can do it I've sort of forgotten why I want to taper off... I think I just want to be free of pharmaceuticals. Thank you for this forum!!!!
  14. Seriously, why? I feel like I'm naturally an ******* and I have to fake it to make it, all day every day around 99.99% of the people I meet because I can't stand 99.99% of the people on this planet. I'm on Escitalopram 10mg/day for anxiety and 1mg of ativan to take if I have a panic attack. I have now successfully been fired or quit from my last 4 jobs due to going off the handle on someone about something. It always starts with someone telling me what to do or telling me that I'm wrong. While that starts to annoy me, it's not really the issue of trying to show me how to do something right, and point out what I did wrong, it's the fact that they come off as a complete d*ck about the subject with a poor, aggressive, condescending, talk-down-to-me-attitude pretty much begging me to react in a demeaning manner. I can't stand being told what to do when it's done poorly in such a rude way and I can't stand being talked down to as if they're some how better than me. My wife tells me to grin and bear it no matter what and my only response is I can't; because I will not tolerate being treated that way and if they want to talk to me the way they do, I'll push back until they stop pushing, which 5/5 times results in getting fired. I feel like a sociopath trying to live a normal life, because I tend not to give a **** about how I treat anybody once they wrong me. A normal person like my wife would just walk away, laugh, ignore, or run and tell at her work with the things that happen to me on a daily basis at work, I on the other hand however feel the need to flip **** and get the last word in, no matter what it takes. I guess I'll have to tell this to my counselor when I see him again, because things were going great at this last job and I had one instance and flipped out on one of the workers and got canned. I just suck at life.
  15. So, has anyone come across an alternative to caffeine/a cup of coffee for when the fatigue is high but you absolutely need some energy? I stay away from caffeine completely now - just do not want to risk triggering any anxiety or jitters. But on some days - especially after a bad night of not getting enough sleep (a problem for a lot of us in recovery) - I feel the need for some sort of energizer to get me through the day, especially if I have to work and a nap is out of the question. So, what do some of you folks use? SJ
  16. Healing The Limbic System

    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
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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?
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. 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!
  23. 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
  24. 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?
  25. my husband was diagnosed about 18 months ago with MDD and GAD, and has been taking zyprexa (evil, evil drug), ativan, paxil, mirtazapine and gabapentin at various dosages. as i learned more about these (he is too scared to do the research himself and refuses to look up anything on the web), it seemed that we should start with getting him off the zyprexa (originally 15 mg and then down to 2.5mg over the 18 month period.) but the movement from 2.5mg to 0, which has been in the last 2 weeks or so, has been extremely difficult and his doc is resistant to the idea of microtapering because "it doesn't work." the doc is an idiot and we must find a better provider asap who will write a microtapering Rx. he continues to take the ativan (.5mg at night, sometimes during the day when he feels like he's "jumping out of my skin.") he's taking 30mg of mirtazapine. the stupid doc wants to increase this to 45mg, because more is better. last nov., the same stupid doc thought that it would be good to increase the paxil from 20mg to 30mg. that little experiment resulted in suicidal ideation, return to the ER and 5 days in the locked-down unit. he's taking about 1200 mg/day of gabapentin, which stupid doc says is "benign" but it strikes me that NONE of these poisons are benign enough to stay on them for one more nanosecond than is necessary. i'm also interested in your point of view on TMS. we have a facility nearby, it's covered by our insurance, and they claim they can deliver good results for folks with depression/anxiety issues. we're getting ready to try this (i hope) before changing up any of the other meds so we'll know if in fact any improvement comes actually from the TMS vs. other change. i should point out that i have been married to this man for 15 years, and have known him for nearly 20. he was exceptionally normal for 18.5 of these years. all of this pile of crazy started following a kidney transplant in the summer of 2012. he had had an earlier kidney transplant in 1986, which lasted 25 years, so we were optimistic abt this one. in all of those 25 years, he had no psych issues. initially he was fine following the recent transplant, but about 6 months later, everything went to hell in a handbasket, and nobody can tell us why. all i can tell you is that my normally calm, collected, unflappable hubby has become agitated, anxious beyond belief, scared, irritable, timid, hysterical and a whole bunch of other not-normal behavior SINCE HE STARTED TAKING THE MEDS. idiot doctor says the symptoms now are the underlying disease. but since hubby didn't have this disease before, doesn't it seem that the meds are in fact what's making him crazy? does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage the zyprexa WD symptoms? (especially the anxiety, fear/dread, "pit in stomach" feeling, racing thoughts?)
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