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  1. Hello to all. I cannot write much or often due to tardive dyskinesia (or dystonia?) of my right eye, arm, neck, tongue and face. Reading, writing and using my phone, tablet and desktop exacerbate this condition. However, I would like to add my voice here and say two things that I feel are important: 1. You will in all likelihood get better - much better, and 2. If a moderator suggests that you reinstate, please read the horror stories of those of us who did not have that chance before you decide that you "do not want to go "backwards."" I believe I developed serious side effects in 2005 or 2006 including dyskinesia, but I did not know that the drugs could cause that. Before that, I developed anxiety in 2002 or earlier which I did not have to any appreciable degree before taking Celexa. I sit here now in disbelief that I suffered from increasing anxiety for 9 years on Celexa (and 5 years on Zoloft), and the doctors simply raised the dose, not by a little, but by 50 percent each time for Celexa. I also realize now that I developed dystonia in my feet and toes and my chest and neck, but I had no idea what it was, and doctors' appointments resulted in no doctor suggesting the medication could be the culprit. I didn't even know the terms dyskinesia or dystonia. No one mentioned them either. In 2011 I gave birth to a girl. That very night, the OB at the hospital switched me from Celexa 150 mg to Zoloft 10 mg with no cross taper, no advice and no warning of the Hell I was about to endure. After many nights with no sleep due to this switch I finally started to sleep again. Then, over the next 6 years the doctors kept raising the dose by large amounts despite increasing anxiety and what I now know to be akathesia, dyskinesia, and various other side effects including cognitive decline, increasing OCD, and inability to see reality. I threw more and more amazing parties, and I became a hoarder. Buying things on eBay became my job it seemed. I became obsessed with organizing my home, but it was impossible without a professional to help, and I could not see that. Until my child was about 4 I was functioning, but I thought I was a bad organizer, a bad mother, and a terrible wife. After having had horrendously stressful jobs that I managed pretty well, I could not understand why I was so bad at being a wife and mother with a much less stressful job. Eventually, I showed some signs of serotonin syndrome and mania, but I was probably spellbound by the medication (as Breggin suggests can occur.) I believed I was normal, right about everything, etc., and my husband could not convince me otherwise. I enjoyed all the energy I had and could not understand why almost everything I tried to do did not work. All my projects caused a lot of anxiety for me and my husband, it was nearly impossible to complete any of them, and I would often start a new one whilst struggling to complete a previous project. I could not believe what my husband was saying -- that a professional carpenter, bricklayer, party planner, etcetera would be needed. I began to cut corners or abandon plans in order to complete a project or be ready for a party. I had a great deal of trouble leaving the house by 2015. I could not be prepared for all of the possible disasters while I was out. I had to cancel or be late to many activities. I couldn't keep the house, cook or do laundry or organize clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, etc. I count NOT THINK straight at all. I became unable to socialize well by mid 2015. I stopped working in early 2016. I was not willing to cut corners for work so I stopped altogether intending to start again very soon. I could never do that. I continued to develop dystonia of my foot and toes and my neck and chest on my right side and slightly of my left toes, but, again, I didn't know these terms, I never connected this to Zoloft or Celexa, and I thought I was just not stretching or exercising enough. In late 2016 I decided to stop taking Zoloft. Using Xanax had worked for a few hours for anxiety, but I knew it was addictive. So, I used it only once every 3 days until I realized that after it wore off I became very angry. My child was 5, and I could not bear it if I yelled at her. I decided that discontinuing Zoloft was my only hope. If I micromanaged my child and taught her to feel anxiety over every mistake, I would not be able to live with that. I knew which behaviors were harmful to her even though my personality was utterly changed since I began medication. I could not, however, see how harmful my behavior was to my husband. He had begged me to stop with the projects and the hoarding, but I could not, and I could not see how it harmed him. I did recognize that I was not perceiving reality, and that I needed Xanax to get through all activities that were ordinary or not. I marveled at how other mothers with 2 or 3 children managed so much better than I did, and it worried me that I could not work. Something was very, very wrong and it was very likely to be the Zoloft. I looked up how to stop Zoloft on webmd or maybe a different site, and I checked many others to verify the information on other "reputable sites." All I found were instructions that parroted the quick taper that the pharm cies and doctors knew. I never saw anything about this site or Breggin or any other doctor who was aware of tardive withdrawal, PAWS, etc with regard to SSRIs. So, I made the worst mistake of my life - I "tapered" 150 mg in about 6-8 weeks. I found SA after it was too late to reinstate. I am a person who doesn't trust the pharm cies. I don't feel comfortable with the high number of vaccines for babies and young children. I'm suspicious of the flu vaccine, statins, and, of course, benzos. I try to eat organic food and even if I don't I make sure my child has organic eggs and milk. Despite that predisposed mistrust of pharmacology, I never thought to question a quick taper of Zoloft because I believed it was not "addictive!" I had a honeymoon period for about 5-6 months until August or Sept 2017. I am now medication free for 10 months. It has been HELL a hundred times over. I am still experiencing waves. It's been a few weeks, 2 or 3, since I wanted to die, and all my symptoms are less intense and less frequent except right side bruxism and dyskinesia/dystonia of my face, neck, jaw, chest and eye plus numbness on my right side in my arm, hand, face, nose, eye, jaw, hip, leg, foot and toes. I am no longer living in terror and fear and wishing an accident would take me from this world. I still have cortisol mornings in a wave, and I need to keep my mind occupied at all times, but I am not exhausted and weak all the time. The insomnia I had in Sept and October is gone seemingly for good. There are many other mental and physical symptoms that are gone or are less intense. Thank you for reading and I look forward to meeting each of you. I hope you all recover quickly and take some solace in seeing the progress I have made. Peace, Rosetta
  2. kt1449

    kt1449: New to SA

    Hi all, Recently stumbled upon your site while trying to manage withdrawal symptoms. I was put on Lexapro in 2015 after discussing some extreme emotional fluctuations and bouts of anger. Depression runs in my family, so I took the advice of my Dr. and trusted it was in my best interest. While the medication helped stabilize my mood, it also made me feel like I was on the outside looking in. I don't feel like I am fully living my life, and I definitely don't feel like myself. In addition, I have gained about 60 lbs. The medication, in addition to the weight gain, has made me lethargic and made it far more difficult to be involved in my favorite pastimes, playing basketball, football and other sports. I decided about 3 months ago to stop taking my medication (knowing nothing about the withdrawal). I stopped cold turkey for about a week, before the brain zaps, dizziness, photo sensitivity and nausea got the best of me. Those side effects, however, made me even more determined to clear the drug out of my system. I set up a tapering schedule with my doctor, and finished my final dose about 2 weeks ago. I am still having side effects, but they are nowhere near as bad as what they were when I stopped cold turkey. I can go several hours with nothing, but then I will have a headache and nausea that will hit me and last several hours. I have been taking multivitamin supplements, along with fish oil, but I don't think either are doing much to help. I did read online about someone saying that Benadryl helped with their symptoms, so I took that as a last resort, and strangely, it did help temper the symptoms and make them more tolerable. Now, if I am feeling super sick, that is the only thing that helps and makes it so I can finish out a work day. I don't want to have to rely on benadryl forever though (fighting through the groggies is not as bad as the headache and brain zaps, but still). I have read information about 5-HTP and some other amino acids helping to ease the severity of the symptoms until they clear up, but I don't really know what to believe! Anyone have any luck with anything? Also, anyone know how the Benadryl works to lessen the symptoms? I haven't been able to find much info on it. I just figured with it being an allergy med, it was relatively safe to get me through the first couple weeks. Thanks!
  3. I'm going to copy and paste seperate documents that I've written over the last few months below, so it may not be totally coherent. This first document was written in early June 2016, just after I'd crashed into a severe depression. After being put on Paroxetine when 17 for, at the very most, mild depression, with no offer of talking therapies and the "this medicine isn't addictive" line, I'd finally had enough by last autumn, as once again after having forgotten to take my liquid Paroxetine by six hours from the usual time, I was crazy for the next two days. So after 17 years on 40mg, I decided to come off. Initially I felt so good as I reduced by 10mg/5ml increments every two weeks reaching zero six weeks after I'd started, which was far better than the previous times when I'd tried to reduce or even just switch from the liquid onto the tablets at the same dosage. I was NEVER stable on the medicine for all the years that I took it, by which I mean I was either depressed and flat or agitated/irritated/argumentative and feeling more, and the doctors weren't interested. After the initial mild depression completely passed in the spring of 1999, my doctor immediately began to taper the medicine down from 40-30-20mg over two 2 week periods. That was a turbulent and argumentative month!!! However, after levelling at 20 mg for that summer, I was then told to try to taper below 20mg at 10mg increments again. This quickly induced too much instability, and so a 1ml/2mg per week regimen was suggested. I managed to get down to 7ml/14mg before going to University that Autumn, but reduced no further while at Uni due to the instability while reducing, even though I remember an instability all that Autumn anyway. I suspected that this inherent instability might have contributed to me being thrown into a severe depression after an external trigger event that Autumn, leading me to withdraw from University, and from which I've been gradually recovering from ever since at my parent's home. Through the years I would constantly cycle through (at various rates and frequencies, both of which increased the better I got) a pattern whereby if I was feeling a bit better/more, I could get more sensitive, which could make it more likely that I could depress again. I noticed quite by accident once, after mistakenly taking two doses within a few hours of one another and whence temporarily overdosing, that I could amplify/accelerate this process to speed up getting better after depressing, by deliberately alternating the medicine e.g. taking my next dose 12 hours after the previous dose, instead of the usual 24 hour interval. However doing this the other way round, leaving an interval of 36 hours before returning to the usual dosing interval produced the opposite affect, e.g. it tended to lead to me feeling more depressed/bad rather than less, and whence was never intentionally practiced. After having improved over the years, this improvement felt like it plateaued from 2008-2012. I felt the most sensitive yet, but I could still depress, sometimes for up to months at a time. Then in the Autumn of 2012, after the GP's never showed an interest in my depression (having "reviewed" my medicine a handful of times over the years with a simple, "you want to keep taking it, alright then" and there always being another excuse for not referring me onto any other help), they now suddenly wanted to switch me from the liquid to the tablets, something which I knew from the past would not go well. This is because on at least two previous occasions this had been tried, both of which increased the instability, for exactly the same dosage. In preparation for trying to swap over again, I started to reduce my dose to exactly 20ml/40mg, as inaccurate/lazy dosing measurement in the cup had led me to taking more, perhaps as much as 50mg, for some time. I soon reversed this reduction on the liquid, as it was making me feel different and we were going on holiday so I thought I'd wait until after we came back. It was when increasing again (not when decreasing) that I felt bad, surprisingly so, like I had done on a handful of previous occasions in the past. This was after having been established on this medicine for a long time, not when first going onto it for the first time as is warned of in the patient information leaflet. After I finally switched to the tablets sometime later in that Autumn of 2012, I was surprised at just how good I felt at first, as this was a reduction in dose, as I never did subsequently reduce the liquid again, just as was the case when I started reducing in the autumn of 2015, in other words the opposite of what happened when I increased. However as I "stabilised", or not as was in fact the case, at the lower 40mg, the instability notably increased. Here I was taking the tablets, and yet I was never as "stable" as I was on the liquid. There was no longer a +/-3 hour window within which to take the medicine without a notable increase in instability as there was with the liquid. Now it had to be taken at EXACTLY the same time every 24 hours, even with EXACTLY the same food to try to reduce the instability to a minimum. I couldn't understand how this could be until I discovered something called bioavailability. A liquid is apparently more consistently bioavailable than a tablet. This suggested potentially significant sensitivity to this medicine! Soon after this happened, and this time with no trigger, I had the greatest increase in depression since the Autumn of 1999. I'm not sure that when I started to come off the Paroxetine in the Autumn of 2015 that I had yet returned to how I felt in the summer of 2012. This had seemingly happened because of the ANTI-depressant, and if it had happened now, could it have happened before, in fact how much of all of this could be down to the medicine?! After stratospheric instability in December of 2015 after finally reaching zero dosage (after initially always feeling better on dropping each dosage level), things have only slowly got worse. Initially my appetite collapsed, which with accompanying Gastrointestinal issues that I'd had for a number of years after I'd started to take the Paroxetine (Gastritis since early 2003, recently diagnosed Visceral Hypersensitivity since May 2013) led me to become malnourished, loosing a fifth of my body weight in three months, and dumping a lifetime's worth of accumulated fat, that had built up as I'd always had such a strong appetite on the medicine. Then the dizziness/vertigo and intolerance to movement began; I could turn my head and it would feel like my head was lagging behind. I had a rash for the first time in my life on my upper chest, where I also had a strange pain just below the surface of the chest, as well as a rash on the sides of my neck and on my upper groin. After never having felt the cold, having sweated a lot of the time I took the Paroxetine, I was now ice cold to the touch in a house heated to 21C, (although recently as I've felt at my worst, I've started sweating profusely again/feeling really hot). I started to get numbness in my peripherals and then internally, including in my gums. After never having more than the occasional light tension head ache all my life, now my head felt so thick that I needed to hold it just to release the pressure, and I developed occasional brain fog along with cold/hot patches inside my head. I also developed lower back pain and pain just to either side of the spine. This all along with an on/off racing heart, shimmering vision, particularly noticeable against a brighter background (along with a change to a warmer tint of colours at times) and uncontrollable shivering in the chest when I wasn't cold, often most pronounced after eating. Oh, and a sickness and at times uncontrollable thirst that led me to drink up to 8 litres of water in my waking hours. A head MRI and abdominal CT scan, as well as a Full Blood Count and liver and kidney tests as well as a blood sugar and Insulin test showed nothing, and I was put on a special medical diet to bring me out of malnourishment, as well as a transfusion of Vitamin B Complex. Little did I know that this was the easy stuff, as just when I was transitioning out of malnourishment and regaining my physical energy, the constant "lower" level of instability now went to levels never before experienced in my life! A non trigger led to simply unbelievable swings of mood from an inner rage to an anxiety unlike any other. I've never been a particularly anxious person all my life. I also felt SO BAD, a bit like I had very occasionally and briefly on the medicine, usually when increasing it, except now it wasn't abating, except briefly after crying/releasing. This all happened EXACTLY as I regained my energy and also became hypersensitive, with the opposite of brain fog, my head now feeling remarkably clear/pin sharp. So now I felt the opposite of numb; I physically felt/smelt/heard too much! When taking the medicine, I'd always know when I was feeling better/more as I could smell more, hear more, touch more, as opposed to having a somewhat dulled sense of touch, heavy limbs and the like. Now I was feeling an extreme version of this, and not feeling better but a real gritted teeth psychological pain/distress/anxiety. Then exactly at the same time as I developed a hyper vigilance; jumping at the slightest noise, my heart racing at the slightest thought; my sleep, for the first time in my life, collapsed. After having slept so much while on the Paroxetine, easily 12+ hours a night and a lot more if feeling worse which then returned to the normal 8 hours a night on coming off the medicine, now I couldn't fall asleep or stay asleep, for anything more than a few short hours a night at most, waking every 30 minutes or less, sometimes in a panic with my heart racing. I just feel so awake/so alert, and so can never relax. I have spent since the start of May in my bedroom, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep, with the swings in mood steadily slowing to a depression, after having felt at times so much after I came off the medicine, more than I ever did when on it. When the swings were at their most extreme, I could depress and then come out of it again completely in as little as two hours, with my head often spinning/a wave like sensation passing through the head as it did, something which could take months in the past, although I would never say that I came out of it completely in the past. Every time I depress, it's as if the hypersensitivity is trying to push back, and it's when I'm emerging from a depression that I feel at my worst. When going into a depression, I can get (at least a temporary) relief from the pain/distress/anxiety that I can especially feel when coming out of a depression. It's for this reason that I'm terrified to go back onto an anti-depressant (the doctors want me to go onto Fluoxetine 20mg) as when taking the Paroxetine I would always feel at my worst when increasing the dosage, even when already established on it for years, a bit like the opposite of how I felt every time I reduced it. I've bizarrely noticed that even an anti-histamine (Cyclizine) that I'd been taking for Gastrointestinal nausea has appeared to make me feel more/make me more irritable. How I would feel transitioning onto an anti-depressant, I have no idea!!! Some of these symptoms I recognise from the constant instability while on the Paroxetine, just massively exaggerated, but others I have simply never experienced before in my life! I genuinely don't know if I'm going to make it! The kinds of thoughts that I have everyday are frightening. I've imagined so many ways in which I could end it all, as it's simply unbearable at times! None of the doctors seem to appreciate the seriousness of it! They all dismiss this as having nothing to do with the Paroxetine, "It's been too long since you came off it, it must be some underlying issue", even though I've never felt anything like this before in my life, and certainly never did before I was ever on the Paroxetine!!! I'm scared!!! This second document was written to my sister at the end of July 2016. I'm so scared! I don't know what's going to happen to me. Ever since I fell into a deep depression at the end of May, things have been so different to how they were up until that point. After that week in April, which was a warning of things to come, this all started in earnest at the start of May, when I had the greatest swings in mood ever. I then frequently felt really bad in short sharp bursts, which I was crucially able to release through crying, as I critically still had my feelings. However, as the swings abated, I was aware that I was starting to repeatedly depress, perhaps in response to the magnitude of the swings. However, even when I did depress, I always then came out of it again and was feeling so much! Then unfortunately at the end of the month, mum and I had a tiff when I was feeling at my most vulnerable, after which everything changed. Ever since I came off the Paroxetine, I'd always held onto my feelings, often feeling more than I'd ever done while on it. Now I was the most depressed that I'd been in I don't know how long. The loss of this critical release valve, the ability to cry, was devastating. Instead of the constant variety that I'd had before then, now there was just a singular flat empty muffled sensation, interspersed with periods of drawn out anxiety that I couldn't really express. When I developed chronic insomnia in the second half of May for the first time ever, I could wake from my highly broken sleep in a panic with a surge of anxiety and a racing heartbeat, and then it would all pass, as I'd expressed it. Now when waking with anxiety, it can be very drawn out, and because I can't feel, I can't really express it like I could before. I just don't know what's been happening since the the end of May. After about a week and a half, it started to feel like I was no longer depressing but perhaps trying to sensitise, and this process may have been continuing ever since, I don't know. This doesn't however mean that I've ever started to feel more than I have since it all changed at the end of May, it's more like a background effect. In other words the world didn't feel as alien/unreal after a while, there started to be a slightly warmer, or perhaps more accurately less cold, sensation at base level. I still frequently felt a 'bit' bad, as the depression was now burying the more intense bad sensation that I'd felt in May, but it was more constant, in other words I wasn't getting a break from it, as I constantly did in May. What had been a minority had become a majority. The 5HTP supplement unquestionably significantly accelerated this process. It provided a notable boost/lift. Suddenly things seemed warmer/less harsh. Sounds didn't sound as loud or brash. I was able to start to imagine opening the curtains on occasion. I still spent almost my entire life in my bedroom, which had not been the case prior to the end of May. However, now I was able to try looking at Facebook, however briefly, for the first time in over a month, and eventually even venturing downstairs in the middle of the night to try and watch a few minutes of TV. All this horrific time, I unfortunately continued to look on the Internet for any info about what I was going through, and sure enough, there's no shortage of testimony. Some of the info has been useful, but unfortunately I so wish I had never come across some of it! This Welsh Psychiatrist who has spent his life researching this (and who is widely dismissed by the wider Psychiatric community), and some of the people on these websites have written simply unimaginable things! They talk of this protracted SSRI withdrawal syndrome lasting months, and in some cases years!!! There are even some who claim that they've never got over it all, although the vast, vast, vast majority do. Reading this when I've already felt as bad/anxious/health anxious as I have has been simply nothing short of devastating at times. I know that I simply couldn't survive some of the timescales that some of these people talk of. I'm a perfectionist with OCD tendencies. I have a low tolerance threshold for health issues as it is. Last year's worsening of my eyesight after the eclipse caused me no end of distress at the time. The other thing that I've discovered was that I made the biggest mistake of my life last autumn, when I came off the Paroxetine at the rate that I did. All these websites, every single one of them, all say that the slower you reduce or taper your dose, the less likely you will have any/these problems. They all say that you should never reduce/come off your medicine without consulting a doctor first. The problem for me however was that I'd lost all confidence in the doctors. I should never have been put on the medicine in the first place, and every time I'd tried to talk to them about it, I'd just been brushed aside. So, while I knew that you couldn't just go cold turkey, I could have still looked at what the current recommended advice is for the rate of reduction, especially as it would have taken so little time! Why I didn't, especially given how naturally cautious I am, is inexplicable. Although in reality I know why I didn't, I didn't want to find something that might upset me/scare me off coming off, as I'd wanted to do so for so long, but it had simply never gone well in the past. I knew that if the withdrawal symptoms became intolerable I would slow down my rate of reduction, but they didn't, and so I continued at a rate that I now know was 4 times faster than recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and up to 6-8 times faster than recommended on some of these websites. Even Dr Clements (my GP) has now stated that he would have advised at least a 6 month taper, not an 6 week one. When reducing I knew that I might have to slow it to a 10 month taper, but because it went so much better than I'd hoped, I just kept going, thinking that I could get it over with sooner rather than later. What would one year of tapering have been in the larger scale of things! What have I done?! I hope that this mistake hasn't cost me my life!!! Since coming off the 5HTP almost two weeks ago, everything has started to sound louder again, smell more, even some brighter colours seem brighter than I remember them to be. This of course distresses me again. I also when trying a one off 5HTP dose about 5 days after I came off was surprised by how much more of an effect it had than when I first went onto it. I've continued to forever brighten/energise since I've come off (although with absolutely no feeling) and am now wondering if I'm more sensitive than ever, whether this 5HTP was in fact a good idea after all. Whether my brain started to get used to the higher levels of serotonin, which when removed again has led to even more of this effect. I just don't know. I do know that the low level of tinnitus that I started to get when I started taking it didn't stop when I stopped it, it just got louder. Other physical hypersensitivity symptoms seem to be returning as well, with me now starting to feel some pain for the first time at night, some itchiness, more anxiety, sleeping even worse. The involuntary muscle twitches/spasms have also returned/increased. My head is also now spinning just from having some anxious thoughts which never happened before. I can physically feel some things so much! I've noticed a slight tremor in my hands. My vision seems to be shimmering more than ever at times, and my heart has started to palpitate and race more again. This delightful Welsh doctor/some of these websites have also suggested that going onto another antidepressant doesn't necessarily help. That because your nervous system can be thrown into effectively a shocked state by this SSRI withdrawal syndrome, that adding some other medicine won't necessarily help. That all your neurotransmitter levels need to be able to get back to their normal levels themselves, and that introducing another medicine might interfere with this process. This truly horrified me when I first came across it, as I need to know that at least something can help me, especially if the doctors (including the Psychiatrists) are in denial about this. I feel so abandoned by the medical profession that did this to me, and so alone, not knowing what's going to happen, as I can't go on like this for any length of time! I've never been in a position like this in my life, and simply don't know what is to come! I'm so scared! This last document was written after I unfortunately, in desperation, tried the Paroxetine again for just 4 days at 1mg, the second biggest mistake since last autumn's life threatening fast taper. At the start of August, I unfortunately made the biggest mistake since last autumn when I came off from the Paroxetine far too quickly. Out of desperation from another horrible night with truly horrific nightmares of doom and no way out, I tried the Paroxetine again. Just four days earlier, after coming off the Cyclizine, as it was now bizarrely waking me up as opposed to slightly sedating me, and consequently sleeping slightly less horrifically that night, I tried some Chlorphenamine, at between 4-8mg per day. This did soften things just a little bit, made things seem a little warmer. I was also able to cry a bit after taking it, just like with the 5HTP, even though this felt much gentler than the 5HTP. Why I didn't trial the Chlorphenamine longer I'll never know. I knew it was a risk to reinstitute the Paroxetine, but I thought that at worst it would make me feel worse, whereby I could then stop and it would be out of my system quickly. How wrong I was! I had suspected that I was becoming potentially ultra sensitive, and so I took an ultra cautious 1mg of Paroxetine each day for four days. The effects were immediate. Within minutes of taking the first 1mg, the world changed, it looked less cold, more like it used to, a bit like it did with the 5HTP, but more and quicker. I also became immediately more cautious, less willing to do things, just as in the past. No longer did I want to go for a walk. It also immediately quietened my incessant obsessively racing thoughts, which is why I unfortunately continued with the trial beyond the originally planned single day. The original intention being to try this SSRI with the shorter half life in preparation for a potential trial of the longer half life Fluoxetine. Because it appeared to work better than I'd feared, I unfortunately continued for four days. For the first three days and nights, I was as strikingly awake/alert as I had become after coming off the 5HTP. I was dipping into the lightest shortest sleeps imaginable, with frequent unimaginably horrific nightmares, like never before experienced in my life. I continued to never yawn. Then on the fourth morning, I yawned for the first time, started to feel a bit tired for the first time in weeks. I also felt better to the extent that I felt able to venture further from the house than I had for months. I even allowed myself to dare to believe that maybe this could provide some relief from this unending numbed hell. That evening, I discovered otherwise. I had just started to burn an incense candle in my room to try to aide with relaxation. Now I strangely couldn't smell it, unless I literally put the burning candle to my nose, while previously the smell had filled the room. Then I had a bath and noticed that for the first time in my life I could get in without adding any cold water. I'd always had a low heat and pain threshold all my life. I also realised that my pain threshold also appeared to have risen. No longer would it hurt to pinch my arms like it always had done. The ankle that I'd sprained earlier in the day seemed to hurt surprisingly little. This SHOCKED ME! I immediately stopped the Paroxetine. That night, I slept a little less horrifically than I had for a while, since the 5HTP. Also, the anxiety had significantly reduced. The nightmares seemed to stop. Two days after my smell had significantly reduced, I noticed my taste also reducing. The foods that I'd just started to eat again, as the one recent positive had been the return of the appetite, no longer tasted as full bodied as they had. This unsurprisingly shocked me further! Now I had four major changes in the physical senses, never before experienced in my life, from just the smallest shortest trial of the Paroxetine. Yes the senses had been too high, but now they were too low, like never before in my life! It appeared that the Paroxetine was dampening things across the board. As if the previous direction of travel, which for months had always been to sensitise, was now shockingly thrown into reverse to a place that it had never been before. When I had been most depressed in the past on the Paroxetine, my physical senses had been somewhat subdued. I always knew when I was feeling better/more in the past because I tended to smell more, feel the heat of the bath more for example. But NEVER was it anywhere close to this extent!!! I certainly never smelt/tasted less like this for example, and the heat/pain thresholds we're also never affected like this! I now realised that I felt the swings in heat/cold that I'd been experiencing for months much less, so much so that I wouldn't always even realise that I was overheating until I physically touched my chest wet with sweat. When curled up in a ball in bed in the morning, often unable to get up, I would get just the faintest hint that I might be feeling cold like I often would in the past. These four major new symptoms however were not to be the last, worse was to come! The one side effect that almost stopped me ever taking this vile stuff when I was 17, when I never needed to in the first place and which unfortunately changed the course of my life, was the sexual one. All the time that I was on it, I was aware of it's dulling effect on the libido/sexual pleasure, and so was so pleased that when I came off it last autumn, that effect lifted. In fact the libido went through the roof. Now, for the first time in my life, I'm impotent. I can't state enough how much this horrifies me!!! The quietened thoughts also evolved into a cognitive impairment. All these years, the one way that I coped was through keeping myself entertained. My whole life I've had a sharp mind/excellent memory. I've always played mental games with myself, never been bored, EVER. Now I started to notice that I couldn't remember people's names that I've watched for years on the TV, that I wouldn't remember what I'd just done/was about to do. I would keep coming up against one mental block after another. Initially this was only intermittent, but it's now becoming more permanent. Then I realised that I wasn't observing as much as I normally would. I've always been a very observant person. If I thought of something else, then all my concentration would go to that, and I would miss all kinds of things that I would normally have picked up at the same time. Then I noticed that my mind was becoming 'softer', like it's never been before in my life, the opposite of the razor/pin sharp state that it's been in for a few months now in this constant fight or flight response. However the fight of flight doesn't feel like it's gone away, it just feels like all these new symptoms have been grafted on top of it, just as the 5HTP grafted a degree of calm/warmth onto the agitation/upset which still seemed to continue underneath in a muffled state. So the thoughts can still be faster at times for example, but when they are I then just hit more mental blocks more quickly. I can not stress enough just how distressing this new symptom is!!! We all live our lives through our intellect, our cognitive capacity, our mind, and I've always been intelligent. It's always been a defining feature of who I am. This cognitive impairment may not come across in this document, but I can forever correct this document/go back over it. It certainly takes longer to write these than it did. Also, if you've always had a good mind in the first place, losing some of it will still leave you with comparatively a lot, but I notice the difference!!! I also wonder if I might loose more if and when the faster mind of the fight or flight response slows down underneath. For me to be affected like this for the first time in my life is almost impossible for me to deal with, and causes me no end of additional stress!!! After all the emotion disappeared as I crashed at the end of May into a severe depression, I still, unlike the past, not only had all my physical senses to the full, but to too higher a level. This allowed me, when I was finally able to leave the house about 8 weeks later, to still have the associative memories from the smells that I could really smell for example, if nothing else. Now I've significantly lost these physical senses for now as well, and have so turned something from which I only got very rare breaks before into a CONSTANT hell, with NO breaks. I can't stop thinking for example, as when I try to distract myself as I'm meant to try and do, I start hitting numerous mental blocks like I never would have done before, and so it upsets me even more again. I simply do not know how to deal with this never ending crisis, from which I do not know whether I'll survive. To top it all off, my sleep is deteriorating back to how it was prior to taking this vile stuff again, but with all these other symptoms remaining/worsening. I've also noticed a reduction in my appetite again, an increase in gastrointestinal inflammation, I've started yawning uncontrollably on doing deep breath exercises, and I've started clenching my jaw for the first time in my life. All from just four days of a so called medicine that I never wanted to touch again, and should certainly never have been prescribed in the first place all those years ago for nothing more than lower bowel problems!!! Finally after noticing that I couldn't even understand words spoken on the TV unless they were enunciated well, I then tried one of the previous pharmaceuticals that I hadn't dared take after the reinstitution. I took just half a propranolol 10mg tablet. I had been taking these on and off until the reinstitution. Now it was different. That night I slept even worse than normal. Then 2 nights later I noticed that I was loosing some more taste again, and now apparently some more of the little smell that I had left. If this is because of the propranolol, which never happened before, then what if anything can I take?!? I've also noticed that the warmth that I felt on numerous occasions after the reinstitution of the Paroxetine has reduced and my cognition/memory have improved, and my libido improved a bit. My heart is also racing slightly less than it did. In other words, it feels a bit like it did after coming off the Paroxetine again, when things temporarily improved as always, but still worse. While my mind is clearer, it's still not in the ultra sharp overdrive that it was in before the Paroxetine reinstitution. My mood has also felt a bit better at times, just as it always did when coming off in the past, except that all I've come off is the Propranolol! If I'm now this ultra sensitive, then how I can cope when things get worse again with not being able to take ANYTHING, as they surely will, I have no idea!!! Looking back, I find it so hard to accept that I made things considerably worse when I tried reinstituting! While it was hard to see at the time, I had made some progress. I'd started to leave the house, eat more than in years, and the Chlorphenamine had taken just enough of the edge off to make things manageable. Yes I was emotionally number, so I felt like screaming with nothing behind it for example, but at least I felt like screaming. Now I'm 'feeling' much more like I used to when I felt worse on the Paroxetine, but worse; apathetic, flat, empty, except that I've been off it for over a month. I don't know if I'll ever get these things back, and can't see how I can go on like this for much longer, as things just seem to get worse and worse. I've read what other people have said on this website, and simply can't understand how they cope!!!
  4. Verity3

    Verity3: Hi :)

    Hi, I'm at the end of my first week with no sertraline, and my withdrawal symptoms are just starting to be bothersome. So NOW I discover that, far from being able to expect to completely go off the medicine over my summer break, withdrawal symptoms can last weeks, months, or years! This is not going to work -- I'm a school bus driver, and need to be in top shape when September rolls around. I'm so grateful to have come across this site relatively early in the process. Hoping to undo/prevent some of the damage. My biggest symptoms right now are dizziness and irritability, which worsen at night. The dizziness comes in split-second "zaps," so I tend to refer to it as my "brain zaps," but it doesn't feel like an electrical current as some people describe. Am I confusing the term? I want to go back to my last dose when I was feeling good (half the maintenance dose... basically, the first week of my taper which was a 50% drop), and do a SLOOOOOWWW taper from there. Waiting to hear back from my PCP's office whether they approve this plan and can prescribe a liquid form.
  5. Ok so I have no idea how to start this and I'm sure I will forget some things. So here goes... I'm a 20 year old female and when I was 12 I was put on Zoloft for situational depression. I was on it for a total of 8 years and over that period of time I had my medication increased a couple times so I was at 100mg. Then in November (I think) 2016 I decided to get off of it. I weaned myself off over the period of about 3 or 4 weeks. (I think, I don't remember because I thought it would be of little importance). I was doing fine but noticed some anxiety but still felt 100% normal. Then around February 25th 2017 I noticed an increase in anxiety and spoke with my doctor who thought getting back on Zoloft would be the right choice. So I started back on at 25mg. I had severe side effects that I had never experienced before on Zoloft. Depersonalization, nausea, fatigue, random pain, the list goes on. But I tried to stick it out for around 4 days before I realized I couldn't take it anymore, so I stopped taking the medication thinking things would settle down again. Boy was I wrong.. I had so many symptoms such as: Nausea Light headed Palpatations Head ache Head pressure on right side of head (debilitating) Neck pain Back pain Chest pain Leg pain tendons feel like they're popping Teeth clenching jaw pain tmj Irrational thought Depersonalization Derealization Lump in throat Difficulty swallowing Clogged ears (so awful) ringing in ears (sounds like frequencies) Irritability Tearfulness Shaking Panic attacks Weight loss and as of two days ago everytime I try to fall asleep and about to drift off I get this weird sensation in my chest/head but it's not a palpatation, it's almost like a falling or tugging sensation. It's kept me up all hours of the night And The list goes on... ive been to the ER 3 times now thinking I was dying So I went to my doctor and he told me it was all anxiety but I knew that couldn't be it so I tried to diagnose myself but I've had all bloodwork done, an MRI, an echocardiogram, and everything was normal. I just can't believe this is anxiety. So I found this website and everything makes sense. I tried to tell my doctor that it could be Zoloft withdrawals but he said that no withdrawals only last a couple weeks and wouldn't listen to me and made me feel crazy. I've lost 40lbs in 3 months because of feeling so awful. I missed school, I cry everyday, no one listens to me anymore, I just can't live another day like this. So my question is, how long will this last? If I started a different medication like lexapro would it help? Or am I too late? I need help and need answers before I actually do go crazy. Please help.
  6. 2-17-16 I was taking Effexor for 13 years (since I was 19y/o) up until a year ago then was weaned off with Prozac till September 2015. I experienced everything that everyone has talked about. October and November seemed to be going well and then December developed SEVERE stomach pain and burning with GERD/GI issues. I went to the doctor and have since been on Prilosec 2x a day which isn't doing sh*t for me. I am completely terrified. They ran the basic tests of ultrasounds and blood work and came back normal. I am terrified of having the scope although that is what's next when I go for a follow up in a few weeks. I know that's what's needed to get a better look but I've never been put under and it sounds terrifying. Not sure if these are delayed withdrawals??? I was tapered with Prozac till 5 months ago and now this horrible stomach pain and acid. Has anyone experienced this? Is it permanent? I lost 20lbs from being scared to eat normally and only drinking water. I just want to know I'm not alone in these symptoms. December to now can't be normal to have pain this long, right?
  7. frederike01

    frederike01

    Hello everyone! Ok it's a long story but i'll give it a shot! my name is Frederike. Oh and my english might be not THAT good, but...i'll try my best! =) . When i was very jong (about 12 years old) i started to develop anxiety combined with OCD. At that age it wasnt very harmfull yet but it got worse when i got older. I went to a psychologist at 13/14 but that didnt really help. so i stopped going. But my anxiety didnt left me so i went. The psychiatrist prescribed me fluvoxamine when i was 15 years old. I also started to experience 24/7 derealisation. The meds. didnt really work i think but i thought maybe it would be worse without them and i dindt know how hard it was to get off back then so i kept taking them. my anxiety OCD en derealisation didnt disapeare or get any better. i try'd to stop several times but the next day after lowering my dose my derealisation would become so bad i couldnt stop if i wanted to continue to function. and the docters told me: well, then keep taking them. So i took the pills for many years and after taking them for about 8 years my anxiety and derealisation slowely worsened.3 years ago all of a sudden i felt really bad and anxious i had to stop working. I went to my dokter and firt we desided to higher my dose. i was on 125 mg fluoxetine. But that dindnt work at all. It made me feel even worse. so i decided to lower my medication (with my dokter)and maybe switch to some other meds. i was on 175 mg. fluoxetine at that moment.I decided i didnt want to switch but i wanted to stop taking the meds. because they never really worked and i wanted to solve my problems for real.i wanted to know wich part of my problem was really mine and witch part maybe the meds. i knew i would never get better if i would start trying some other meds. i was afraid i would even get sicker. So i went from 175 to 0 in about 5 weeks. Even though i felt so so bad i kept on lowering because my docter told me : after quitting the withdrawal will last for only 3 weeks.Then they will disapear.Wel that was the breaking point. i went totally insane,experienced continue panic and anxiety OCD and derealisation at the worsed levvel.my symtomes had NEVER been this severe.So i went into a mental hospital. They gave me paroxetine. i was ok with it bacause i wanted to "ficks" this way to fast lowering of my medication, and dicided to take it and then slowely taper off when i was back home. In the end I was on 50 mg. paroxetine and 1,5 mg lorazepam. but it never really covered up the mess quitting fluoxetine made.Only a little.At that time i didnt know paroxetine is the worst drugg (SSRI) to get of but I found out soon enough. I found a good therapist (not a psichiatrist) and dicided to slowely taper off meanwhile fixing myself with therapy. All this time i could not work or function. every single step i took on lowering was a hell. I am on 0,5 mg lorazepam now and 3,5 mg. fluoxetine. When i was on 14 mg paroxetine i couldnt get any lower. even lowering 0,2 made me feel to terrible. so i siwtched to fluoxetine because it would be easyer to get off. the switching was hell. then i started lowering from 14. every week i took off 2 mg. until i was on 4. ( i did this again in a clinic).i thought it would be way to quick for me but i felt no extra withdrawal symptomes. wich i almost couldnt believe. Then after going home ( at 4 mg.) i broke down again. obviously the withdrawal started wayyy later.So here i am, feeling worsed then ever. Not knowing when this hell will stop and whether i will still be alive by then. Starting new medication is no option at all because whatever psychiatric drug i put into my body, my body just cant take it.So this my story in short thermes. right now i'm on 0,5 mg lorazepam and 3,5 mg fluoxetine. Hope to speak to you soon!
  8. Hey, I'm new here. I was prescribed Stesolid and Paralgin Forte for fifteen years. Ended this in December 2015. I have ended my use of Cipralex (SSRI), and Remeron, which I got during my withdrawal periode. I still use Quetiapin (100 mg x 2). I am having a severe depression. How shall I go on with Quetiapin to end this cruel situation? I'm Norwegian. Sometimes my English might be a little different...
  9. Hi all, This is my first time ever on a forum so please be patient with me. 13 years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and OCD and put on Luvox, which I took for 6 years until it started to not work. Docs then switched me to Lexapro when I became severely depressed, and then when that started losing efficiency at the end of last year they added Valdoxan. I have also been through inpatient treatments, CBT,ACT,DBT and have also tried TMS (didn't work). I finally decided in May this year that I wanted to be AD free so started to taper the Lexapro, went from 20mgs to 10(got a slew of side effects) and then after 6 weeks went from 10 to 5 (no side effects) and then 5mg every other day and then finally at the end of August came off the Lexapro (still taking Valdoxan but it's not an SSRI). The first two weeks were fine, no physical side effects just feeling a bit anxious, however the last two weeks and in particular the last 5 days have easily been the worst in my life. extreme anixety, ocd rituals, crying non stop, no appetite, insomnia, agoraphobia, anhedonia. just no will to do anything. also very snappy at everyone, no patience, very irritable and short tempered. prior to coming off the meds I was calm, peaceful, always the nicest person in the room, non confrontational, positive and happy. even though the meds made me numb I was able to live somewhat a normal life. do you think this is a relapse of whatever I had 13 years ago? or is it just a normal adjustment for my brain going from high doses of SSRIs to nothing at all in a (relatively) short amount of time? help please!! I don't know whether to go back on the drugs or what to do. I am at my wits end. Thank you so much, Rosemary
  10. graceless

    Graceless

    Greetings all, I'm happy to have stumbled across this website. There's a lot of true knowledge here. To be honest lots of the information on here is really hard for me to hear ... I'd like to think that getting off meds might entail a few rough weeks or even months ... but from my own recent experience (and reading through some of the forums here) I can tell that it's going to be a much longer road to true health. 13 years ago I started graduate school and within a few months of arrival was started on an SSRI for anxiety and depressive symptoms. At first I was ecstatic! I thought the drugs were the solution to my emotional pain, introversion, loneliness, and lack of belonging. I have to say they did allow me to be more functional. I was able to complete graduate school and work at a very demanding/stressful job for a few years, and a lot of that might not have been possible without the SSRI. But of course, the dark-side of the meds caught-up with me. In retrospect I wish I'd never started an SSRI. What it allowed me to achieve was not worth what it cost me. On an SSRI I gained weight, experienced sexual side effects, and developed digestive issues (constipation, SIBO). But actually the worst effects of all have been on my personality and personal relationships. Instead of allowing me to flourish personally, these drugs only worsened my isolation and loneliness. For the 12 years that I took an SSRI I was not my authentic self. I was restless, agitated, disconnected from myself and my feelings, could not feel empathy, could not experience love. I was better at superficial interactions with others but true connections became so much harder to make. I distanced myself from my parents and old friends. I became a lonely zombie. On the bright side, I'm on the slow painful road back to my authentic self. In the last few weeks there've been glimpses of hope. I've had moments of clarity. There've been some moments of empathy and closeness with my parents and with old friends who I've been trying to reconnect with. It's amazing to me that these aspects of my personality are still buried deep inside me! I haven't lost them completely. I'm here looking for support. I really identify with the windows/waves model of post-acute withdrawal symptoms. It's so hard to accept how fragile I am right now. Push myself too hard exercising ... and I'm in bed for 36 hours feeling hopeless and beyond exhausted. Indulge too much in food or alcohol and I spiral into despair for a week's time. I'm just trying to take one day at-a-time. I'm not working right now and I'm staying in my parents spare bedroom as I try to put my life back together. Thanks for listening ....
  11. Am frightened Weened MYSELF off zyprexa and buproprion SIX WEEKS ago and am very sick. 24 7 headache for SIX weeks and NO SLEEP. Anxiety and manía off the charts. I keep thinking with each day i will get better. Will I? Dont want to go back on. Feel like getting worse. No money. No Insurance. Not working. Huge medical debt. Can not go back to Dr who did this to me. Will this get better? On both 4 months. On MANY MORE through the years. In January stopped 15yr opiods and 10yr benzos use. Is this zyprexa? 5.5 months off benzos and opiods is it that? Taking 10mg zolpidem to try and escape hell on earth and this headache NOT WORKING. Afraid to stop that too. Frightened to be in hospital or back on meds trying to get off of. SIX WEEKS! Can anyone tell me this will get better? Please? Living a nightmare.
  12. Hello, Thank you for this community. I have said goodbye to Cipralex and Wellbutrin. I know it was too fast and I choose to do it without medical supervision. I knew it was time. Now I am dealing with withdrawl symptoms that I pray don't get any worse. I have so many questions and I am thankful that I made my way here.
  13. In June 2015 I was diagnosed with "major depressive disorder" after being suicidal for years. I was put on Zoloft in July 2015 after being begged by my mother to take an antidepressant. I was against the idea of taking a pill to feel like a normal person from the beginning.... But my mother had been depressed her entire life and had been taking antidepressants for decades, so I figured that if I wanted to get out of the dark hole I was in, I should should listen to her. Nobody ever told me how hard it was to get off SSRIs. I honestly think that's a crime. If I had known I would have never taken them. I started off with 100mg. At every doctor check-up I would tell him that I felt the same low-ness, and he would put me on seemingly random pills to try and fix that, like risperidone (is that even meant to be prescribed to patients with major depression?). Eventually he decided to up my Zoloft prescription to 150mg, and shortly after to 200mg. I wasn't aware that 200mg was a lot of sertraline; again, something nobody bothered to tell me. After that I was doing pretty well. In December 2016 my mom tried to get off of the antidepressants she had been on so long. With days of taking less drugs she was having delusions. She didn't tell anyone in the family about what she was doing so we had no idea why she was being like that. She believed that her estranged brother had died after reading an e-mail backwards, even though we found out he was completely fine after digging out his home phone number. One time she walked around the neighborhood for hours in negative-degree weather and wouldn't let anyone take her home. She finally came home after I talked to her (we were very close). She also did a lot of speaking in tongues during those two months. In February 2016 my mom died of causes related to her SSRI withdrawal. My younger brother found her on the edge of her bed with clothes on like she was getting ready to go somewhere. We were so close; she was like my twin. This started my total hatred for antidepressants. No drug that could give a healthy, middle-aged woman a psychosis and kill her in 2 months should even be legal. I could be with my mom right now if it weren't for those stupid pills. SSRIs caused the worst thing in my life. Definitely my inspiration for getting and staying off of them and for warning others about the damage they do. Last month I began tapering, and a few days ago I took my last dose. I'm so mad that I even got tricked into consuming them in the first place. My symptoms so far are really awful migraines that happen every day. I can't get anything done. I was going to apply for a job and then the migraines started happening. I have to put the job search on hold because I can't even move. I can't imagine what it would have been like if I started tapering during the school semester; I doubt I would have been able to go to school. Overall I feel very grateful that I'm young and have only been on Zoloft for a year. Still, I would love advice for the migraines. I really want to work. One more thing I'd like to just share: changing the way I thought about life "fixed" me more than Zoloft ever did or could. People tell me all the time that they have no idea how I'm a happy, positive person after what I've been through. The solution was realizing that I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. Life is hard, yeah, and it's also really beautiful. Every day I see people better off than me going through I went through a year ago when I wanted to die every day. I wish people would understand that the solution is within their thoughts. Thanks for reading
  14. Cherry47

    Cherry47

    I have had CFS for 32 years. Put on Zoloft 100 mg 14 years ago because 'it seems to help but nobody really knows why'. Certainly some help for the first ten years then seemed to have trouble tolerating other meds eg cholesterol meds, supplements, magnesium, sleeping pills albeit at low doses. Through process of elimination got down to the Zoloft, so stopped over a year although the last 50 to zero too quick I now realise. My introduction to hell! After 15 weeks, seemed to get a bit better but then relapsed. Around the 15 week mark out of sheer desperation I took half a sleeping pill (temazapan), great the next day, then slowly slid back. I have also taken some Q10 for four weeks for energy. Is that building up? Was it the temazapan? Is there any rhyme or reason to this? So hard to work out. Only medical advice different drugs and more of them! Has anyone with CFS been on this same roller coaster?
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