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  1. In late 2008, I was prescribed Cipralex for depression/anxiety issues. Earlier that year, I was on Propecia (hairloss medication) and started developing pretty bad brain fog issues (was only 21 years old), that's when I resorted asking my doctor for antidepressants (because I thought they would magically fix things). It's been since May 2017 since I stopped taking Cipralex completely, after taking it for 9+ years. Oct 2017 is when I started to feel and see my brain slowly deteriorate at an abnormally fast rate (I'm currently 30 years old). It is now Feb 2018 and I feel as though my withdrawal symptoms have been over since early January 2018, but I've just been feeling progressively worse. My cognitive function has been severely hindered, I've been neglecting all friends and family, and I am currently living a life of a disabled person and don't see a resort other than going back on this medication + possibly something else. It's a vicious cycle, I'm getting more depressed because of isolation, but I'm isolating myself being I'm "depressed". I haven't seem a lot of people recovering from anti-depressants successfully, especially after using Cipralex/Lexapro/Escitalopram long-term... And I'm starting to believe there is no way recovering from this. Seriously considering starting at a low dose and possibly adding Wellbutrin to give me the energy to change what's going on in my life... I really really don't want to take these medications, because I honestly believe Cipralex was one of the drugs that caused me to be this mentally handicapped, but I honestly don't see myself getting out of this hole without any meds... Therapy has been only doing so much for me... I'm scared guys; I don't think I'll ever do this, but suicide really does seem to be the only answer to all this. I don't want to live a life thinking about what could of been if I never took these drugs.
  2. Good Afternoon, I just read some informative and helpful posts you wrote about this subject. I wondered if I could pick your brain, as I feel you have a handle on this. My profile is quite simple. 45 year old male. Had a vertigo episode 7 months ago. Went to every specialist under the sun (vestibular specialist, Neurologist, had full blood work, EEG, CTA's of brain and neck, MRI of brain, sinus scan, etc), and nothing out of the ordinary was discovered. Since that vertigo episode, I have had this "spaced out" "disequilibrium" feeling in my head that I cannot seem to shake. The symptoms of occasional headaches, light headedness, and dizziness (not spinning like vertigo) have not gone away. My neurologist suggested I try Lexapro for a few months, to see if these symptoms could be anxiety related. I am very sensitive to all medications, which I knew going in. My neuro originally prescribed 10 mg Lexapro with an increase to 20 mg. After consulting with some professionals in this area, I started out at 5 mg for 2 weeks. (20 mg pill split twice). I was on 5 mg for 2 weeks and although there were slight side effects, I tried upping to 10 mg. After 3 straight days of excruciating headaches, I went back down to 5 mg. In the 8 weeks I was on 5 mg, I felt OK ,but I gained 15 pounds (no lie) as I was either hungry all the time, or tired and drowsy all the time. The odd feeling in my head was still there but dulled by my cravings to eat and constantly feeling like I needed a nap. Last week, I decided to taper off the 5mg dosage. I weigh the broken tablets to get exactly 2.5 mg on a pill scale each morning. I realize the weight of the pill is actually 25 MG but the dosage is 20 MG. Last night I was working on my laptop while reclining, and I got so dizzy, I thought I was going to either throw up or pass out. I stood up, walked it off, and my head settled down. It seems for a week I have felt woozy and off balance much more. My food cravings have diminished and I am not as groggy as I was when on 5 mg. So many professionals state 5 mg is such a low dosage I shouldn't have to taper, but with as sensitive I have always been to meds, I knew I needed to at least try 2.5 mg. In your experience, how long should I stay on 2.5 mg of Lexapro, considering I have only been on the SSRI for 9 weeks total, and the 2.5 tapering for 8 days. Your advice is greatly appreciate. Thank you. Mark
  3. Does anybody have experience with tapering off 5 mg of Lexapro? I have been on for 8 weeks and wish to come off.
  4. About 4.5 months ago, I went off of Lexapro 10mg after 2 years on (was previously on for another 2.5 years prior to that as well, then off for 6 mths before I restarted). Instead of a taper, I was instructed by a psychiatrist to switch from lexapro to Prozac (bc of its longer half life) for 3 days before stopping the medication completely. I made it through the physical withdrawal and then began experiencing plenty of other symptoms: anxiety, depression, apathy, detachment, social isolation, etc. It seems to go in waves, but when I have short periods of feeling well, I feel quite fragile. Now, after 4.5 months, I have been feeling depressed for about the past 2 weeks. I’ve felt high levels of anhedonia for a while as well. I should also mention that I am planning a wedding that is 7 months away. I fear that I will continue to feel this way, and I am sad and terrified at the prospect of not feeling better, not being able to enjoy wedding planning, my bachelorette, my wedding. I chose to come off of the lexapro when I did because I didn’t want to deal with this during year 1 of marriage or while we’re trying to have children. I’ve been eating a healthier diet and I do weight training most days. I push through at work and in social situations, but this is very painful and I need to know that this won’t last for too long and that I’m doing the right thing. I don’t want to go on medication again because I don’t want to experience this again, but I also don’t want to suffer through what should be some of the most exciting parts of my life. Reading others posts on this site have been reassuring for me. Any insight, suggestions, or stories of how any of you can relate would be appreciated.
  5. My doctor wanted to cut my dose in half. I insisted that I taper 2.5 mg of Lexapro at a time. I stay at one taper for a month. The last taper took almost 2 1/2 months. I just tapered down to 12.5 mg. The only side effect I have so far is the extreme itching which is difficult to manage.
  6. Hey Everyone. 3 months ago I finished my taper off of SSRIs. The agony I have gone through is well appreciated by this group. That’s why I’m here. There are still days I wonder if I can make it BUT I am also getting to the point though where it is hard to imagine “going back” (on SSRIs). I am getting some “glimmers” of hope. I have good days or even multiple days. I smelled a candle last night and couldn’t believe how rich it smelled. A song with sounds you can “feel”. Beautiful. All my senses were dulled on antidepressants. I didn’t even realize it and had just gotten so used to it. Now I feel things again. Sure sometimes that feels like way too much BUT I’m starting to think it’s worth those bad “waves” to get my brain and emotions back. Having a good day today. Hope you all are too. I’m taking some time off work to get my head back and heal through some of this build up. I’m overwhelmed by my life but am happy to be “back in it”! Any encouragement or wisdom is welcome. One of the lingering symptoms for me is sleep. I am getting better but still waking up too early and restless and racing.
  7. I beat withdrawal and in the process I beat a depression that had been plaguing me for half my life. I’ve been meaning to share my story for sometime now but have failed to take the time to do so. When I was in the thick of it back in 2016 I heavily utilized this site for answers, for comfort, and for inspiration. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of success stories but I am proud to say I am one. It was quite a daunting task writing this all down, I swear I could write a novel based on my experience with depression and antidepressants. Irregardless I hope my story can help encourage those currently in the midst of withdrawal just as stories I had read on this site encouraged me during my withdrawal. I am a 27 year old man and I took antidepressants from 2010 to early 2016. My first year was on Zoloft and the next five years were on Effexor 150mg. Depression entered my life around the age of 13 and it more or less stayed there up until recently. Sure there were periods of time where it subsided but eventually I would always return to my depressed default state. When I was about 13 my father died unexpectedly, a few years later my grandfather was murdered. My teenage years were very lonely. Affected by the deaths and trying to understand my sexuality pushed me into a state of isolation, it was during this time where I developed a very strong pornograghy addiction. Rather than talk about my issues through friends and therapy I chose to keep them hidden and use medication to do the work for me. Soon after starting college I got on Zoloft. It suited me, I felt calm and content but I craved something more stimulating. I had previously been prescribed adderall, but I recognized the ill effects it had on my personality so I stopped taking it. The campus doctor recommended Effexor, he said I might find it to be more stimulating. Therefore without question I took the prescription and worked my way up to 150mg where I would remain the next 5 years. During this time I was also taking ambien nightly, and between these two drugs I was able block out any of the persistent issues that were bothering me. I was numb. Years later I was living in a house with two very supportive roommates. These two guys would become my best friends and for the first time in my life I actually opened up about the things that truly bothered me. I also finally decided to get into therapy. In retrospect I could see that I was not actually happy on the antidepressants. I was just going through the motions, numb to the good and numb to the bad. I could see my growing disconnect from people. Up until those roommates I didn’t have close friends, I wasn't dating, and I certainly wasn’t having sex. I was almost 25 and still a virgin. The antidepressants removed the desire to be intimate with people, I was living in perpetual loneliness. So in January of 2016 I made the decision I was getting off Effexor and that was that. As with most doctors, my doctor had no idea how to get me off. There are no established plans to get people off of antidepressants, once your on them your expected to stay on them. So every two weeks I would half the dosage, and at the lowest dosage I was to take it every other day. That was completely idiotic as Effexor only has a 12 hour half life, essentially I would be playing ping pong with my brain chemistry. Fortunately I did not follow that last part of the plan but I did get off too quickly. After five years on the drug, six weeks is not long enough to get completely off. My first day off of Effexor was also my first day on a one month solo trip through South America which was during my birthday month when I would be turning 25. The trip was fantastic but it gave me a false sense of security as to what life would be like without the drug. While traveling you are processing so much new information and your brain is naturally producing tons of dopamine through all these new experiences therefore I was not accurately feeling what real withdrawal would feel like. I had some minor headaches the first week of the trip but that was really it. By the time the trip ended I thought life without antidepressants was going to be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. When I came back it was time to face reality, and I had to do so without relying on Effexor. We were moving from our house, my two awesome roommates were going their separate ways and I was on my own. On top of that I had a very important all consuming project at work to figure out. My anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Ativan that I used very sparingly to get me through, but the anxiety was so bad I thought I needed a more permanent solution. I had to do whatever it took to get through this move and this project so I went back to the doctor to try a different antidepressant. He put me on Lexapro, I believe it was only 5mg but I could feel it instantly. I was finding I was hypersensitive to everything now. I was only able to tolerate Lexapro for 5 days because on the fifth day I was contemplating suicide. Whatever fire I had inside me that had always gotten me through the tough **** felt extinguished and I just wanted to die. I ended up going back to Effexor only taking 10 or so beads from the capsule, just that small amount made a tremendous difference in my anxiety. I did this until I had settled into a new place and my project was complete. While my anxiety was calmed my emotions were neutralized and my libido was extinguished. These were the exact reasons I got off in the first place so I knew I had to stick with the plan of staying off for good. Things were calming down but I was very depressed and had a complete lack of motivation. I was trying a lot of things like B-vitamins, Magnesium, L-theanine, and Fish Oil. I could feel some benefit from each of them but after a few days I would be back in my depression. I had very low energy and I was sensitive to everything. Just eating bread would make me feel terrible even though I had no apparent gluten intolerance previously. It was around this time a good friend of mine talked me into doing Improv. I thought it was crazy but I had nothing left to lose. So even at my worst I did Improv and I also continued training in the martial art Krav Maga. No matter how bad I felt I would show up and make a fool of myself in Improv or hit the **** out of something in Krav. I always felt much relief whenever I did either and I credit both of those activities to helping me beat my depression in the long run. I opened up a lot to my friends and family about what was going on in my head, and whenever my anxiety felt high I would challenge myself into doing something that made me uncomfortable. I performed on stage, I did sparring at my gym, I went on dates with guys, and I opened up to my Mom about my sexuality. My motto was “oh you think you’re anxious now? Wait till you do this!” While all these lifestyle changes helped build up my confidence I still struggled to find relief from my depression. I thoroughly researched the neurotransmitters and what vitamins and supplements help support what. I determined that my issues seemed to lie with Dopamine. So I went back to my doctor to get on Wellbutrin. I was not happy about throwing in the towel again but I also wasn’t ultimately finding relief. I was open to Wellbutrin because it supposedly did not have as severe of sexual side effects. I started taking it and I actually felt pretty damn good. Unfortunately I also broke out in hives. So it was back to the drawing board. I tried St. John’s wort and SAM-e, neither of those did anything. Finally I tried L-Tyrosine, this seemed to make the biggest difference. Like I hypothesized, my problem stemmed from dopamine and L-Tyrosine is a precursor in the creation of dopamine. While I found some relief, it was very finicky. Taking too much made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, too little of course did nothing at all. It was also very easily influenced by the digestive process so it was hard to find consistency and consistency was what I needed as I was about to hop on a very stressful 6 week project. I threw in the towel again this time looking at Cymbalta. I had read that it was less likely to cause the sexual side effects that Effexor does. It was true, I found my libido did not seem to suffer as badly however I downright felt badly. I felt achy, my head hurt, I felt dehydrated, and I was terrified to force my body to adjust to this seemingly toxic drug. I knew that I had no intentions of staying on antidepressants my whole life therefore if Cymbalta feels this harsh to adjust to in the beginning then I can only imagine what it would feel like to get off of. This whole withdrawal process shook me to my core. While I was desperate to find relief so that I could function at work I also knew that I never wanted to withdrawal from an antidepressant again. I tossed the Cymbalta and I went back to taking a few beads of the Effexor. Once again I felt relief but once again my libido vanished as did my emotions. The most striking difference I noticed once I was back on the Effexor had to do with a coworker. I had a thing for one of the girls I was working with and I knew she felt similarly. Whenever she smiled at me I could feel an electricity rush through my body. When I got back on Effexor and she smiled at me, I felt nothing. That was it, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could be depressed, anxious, and barely able to function but I was not going to lose the feeling of being human. I was not going to lose feeling a connection with someone, caring about someone, and I sure as hell was not going to lose my libido, not at 25. Antidepressants were out, I had to find another way. That’s when I discovered a different form of L-Tyrosine called N-Actetyl-L-Tyrosine, this form is less affected by digestion and crosses the blood brain barrier more easily. It took a lot of experimentation with how to dose the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It caused a lot of headaches but it was relieving my depression and anxiety. Finally I developed a regimen that included several of the vitamins I had previously tried that offered relief but couldn’t fix the problem as a whole. My regimen consisted of a B-complex, Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D during the day; at night I would take Magnesium, melatonin, and every other night 150mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. After 6 months of suffering and countless experimentation I finally found stability again with my own personal regimine. I more or less stayed on this particular plan for a year, and the extreme depression and anxiety stayed away. I had never felt better because I was actually feeling everything like a human being should. I was also very in tune with my emotions, as soon as I felt depressing thoughts creeping in I would identify them and root out what may be causing them. I continued challenging myself with the improv, krav maga, and anything else that my old self would swear I could never do. I also continued therapy and being open and honest with those around me. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me the majority of my life. I didn’t stay on that particular set of vitamins and supplements indefinitely, I started dropping things along the way. After about a year the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine started acting finicky again, I was suffering headaches similar to when I first got on it. I ended up dropping the Tyrosine several months ago and instead started experimenting with Rhodiola Rosea. So far it has been working well. If the Rhodiola Rosea stops working I’ll try something else, the important thing is that my mindset has changed. I’m extremely self aware, I’ve accomplished so many things I thought I could never do, and I know that I no longer need antidepressants to function. Depression will always be something I will battle but I’m finally now in the driver's seat and I am not going to give up my spot so easily this time. Withdrawal is horrible but its an important process in forming a new and better self. Just because L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea have helped me doesn’t mean they will help everyone. It took a lot of trial and error to find what seemed to click. Ultimately it was challenging myself, being honest and open with those around me, and learning mindfulness that truly brought me into the light. I hope my story can provide some ray of hope for all of you out there in the thick of it. It can be done. It’s not the end of the world to reinstate just know what your ultimate goals are and stick to them.
  8. Hi all, I hope this finds you sane! I'm tapering off of my second time with escitalopram. The first time, in 2010, I was only on about 2 months, when I decided to come off of the drug. I used a book called "Break your prescription addicition". Since I had been taking the drug for generalized anxiety (basically, work stress sent me into what used to be called a nervous breakdown), I chose to supplement with a neurotransmitter precursor, and I was off "cold turkey" with no problems at all. I was not on very long, I was younger, it was summer. Last July, after being on the drug this time for nearly 2 years, the supplement trick was not so effective. So, in September I talked to my PCP who is a nurse practitioner. She was awesomely supportive, and suggested a S-L-O-W taper. So far so good. I'm at month 4, and for January I've taken 5 mg a day, most days. Some days I forget, really, and then I would have an episode of panic, or over-reaction. That would remind me to stick with the program. I am also making sure that I keep up with my meditation practice, and my yoga practice, and getting outside to walk. I am already starting to feel my mind coming back to me, but it sounds like the real test happens after the meds are done. Why did I want to stop? Easy. Breakthrough anxiety and the fact that I have gained 40 pounds in 2 years. And FATIGUE. So why did I go back on lexapro the second time? My mother, who has dementia, moved out here so that I, the "single" daughter, could be her caregiver. That happened early June, 2015. In July, I lost the high-paying job that had allowed me to buy the bigger home that had room for mom. I received a good severence package, and I had the summer off to leisurely seek other employment. In the fall, I was employed at my current company, but mom was getting worse. She transitioned to assisted living, and I started having massive anxiety - AFTER all the stressors were relieved. Weird. Mom's condition has worsened again, and she now needs to be in memory care - or at home with me. I opted to bring her home with me, at Christmas. It has been a challenging transition, and in spite of tapering, my inner freakouts have been short-lived and minimally disruptive. I am COPING! I'm writing a lot, and enjoying my dogs. I feel more like myself, I sleep better, and feel fairly well balanced. I hope to be completely off the drug by the Vernal Equinox. I've been listening to a really good audiobook by a woman who is a psychiatrist. She has no qualms about pointing out the lack of research proving a link between low seratonin and depression. She doesn't hesitate to point out the lack of scientific rigor in drug testing. And most alarming of all, is her confession that they don't really know what mood meds actually DO do. I'm glad I found the book (not sure if I can name it here), because I am now determined to tough out any post-taper withdrawal. That's my story, for now.
  9. I was on Lexapro 40 mg for nine years and 30 mg for more three years for OCD - 12 years total. Got serotonin syndrome in September 2017 after combining with Saint Johns Wort and half of a sleeping pill the same night that my milligrams were increased back to 40 for the Lexapro. Three days later I was back on 30 mg of Lexapro and feeling good. One week later I had a little bit of an antihistamine to help me sleep and had serotonin syndrome number two. At that point, I went off of Lexapro cold turkey, fearing another serotonin syndrome. I had no meds for a month. It was more than I could bear, I slowly increased back up to 20 mg over the course of a month. I am at 20 mg and have been for about five weeks, but the withdrawal symptoms continue. I have not been able to return to my work as a teacher; my creative work as a writer and musician have virtually come to a standstill; I have severe depression now and anxiety and panic and many of the usual physical suspects that cold turkey brings. I am not as completely broken as I was before reinstating, but I am not functioning at any kind of a level, honestly. The doctors don't want to go above 20 mg, as they fear another serotonin syndrome. Can anyone share any perspective on withdrawal symptoms continuing even after resuming the medication, albeit at a lower level than before? I started the cold turkey 3 1/2 months ago. And as I said, I have been back at 20 mg of Lexapro for five weeks. (I went back up very gradually).
  10. Hi SA, So I'm feeling like a huge failure because I decided I can't hack it without Lexapro. I started getting off it in the beginning of November. I was on 20 mgs, then went to 10 mg in a week, then 5 mg in 2 weeks with virtually no issues. Then I went to nothing and, oh boy, the rodeo began about 4 days later. December was a month of crying, anxiety, rapid mood swings ( and I mean seriously rapid; like I would cry while heating my lunch up at work then be in a rage for no reason an hour later.) The brain zaps, vertigo, upset stomach, vision problems, etc. were ever-present. So 5 days ago I decided to take 5 mgs of Lexapro. The physical problems disappeared instantly. Now I'm dealing with the rebound depression and anxiety. I took 10 mgs today to try to normalize. I have been doing most of this under my GP's care. She suggested in November that I only go to 10 mgs and hang there until the spring and we can revisit the issue. But weaning was going so well, I thought, hey, let's just go all the way. I haven't called her and told her what I did because I'm hoping to be able to stabilize at 10 mgs and report only good things when I see her. Why did I want off Lex? Same as anyone. I felt better and thought maybe I didn't need it. I gained 25 lbs. Tired of feeling dependent. But I have to be able to function and care for my family and work. My job is somewhat demanding and high profile and can't fall apart everyday. My diagnosis are PTSD, MDD, Anxiety, and Panic Disorder. Hence, the Lexapro. The question I pose to you is this; has anyone had a similar experience and is Lexapro still going to be just as effective? And how long can I reasonably expect to feel awful before I start seeling some equilibrium? I'm trying to ignore the fact that I feel like a huge failure for not seeing the weaning process through. I'm also trying really, really, hard to not monitor every tiny thing my mind and body are feeling. I keep repeating, "It's just myself, talking to myself, about myself." Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is doing well. If you're not, tell me about that, too. I have over 20 years of experience on this crazy merry-go-round.
  11. In April 2015 I began taking Wellbutrin XL 150mg (1 tab then 2 tabs a couple of weeks later) for smoking cessation for about 10 weeks total including tapering on and off. It ended up making all of my nicotine withdrawal symptoms worse so I tapered off, each week cutting my dose in half. (2 tabs to 1 to ½ to ¼) At the time I was not aware of any potential of any crazy side effects of getting off of the medication except for maybe some tiredness and fatigue. My first day of having no Wellbutrin after tapering off, I had 3 huge panic attacks back to back. I went to prompt care and was given a small prescription of Xanax until I could go to my regular doctor the next day. My Primary Care doctor told me I was having a nervous breakdown and instructed me to take short term disability and start seeing a therapist. (I had also been on Lexapro 10mg since April 2015 as well, but was still on it at this point.) So that’s what I did. I couldn’t work anymore. I could barely function. Because I couldn’t work, I couldn’t keep my place and had to move back home with my parents…at 30. I lost my home, my job, and my social life. For about 4 months I just stared at the ceiling or played a game on my phone. It took me about 3 months to find a good fit for a therapist/counselor. After about 4 months, I went to an alternative medicine doctor who told me I had Candida and Leaky Gut Syndrome. They put me on a million vitamins and probiotics and allergy shots and told me to change my diet completely. (I was used to eating pretty healthy in the past so it wasn’t new for me.) It seemed like as soon as I changed my diet and took all of these vitamins, etc. my body jump started with energy and I felt great! I started a job working from home and could slowly start to function again. I started to notice these symptoms I was having, but they could all be explained away by other things. Dizziness, extreme fatigue, gagging and nausea, heartburn. Everything seemed to have another reason. Then my depression and anxiety got worse. So my (new) primary care doctor increase my Lexapro dosage to 20mg. A few months later, my depression was worse. Doctor said I was at the max dose and the only thing to do was to switch medications. Nope! I didn’t want to be on an SSRI in the first place. A few more months go by and I start doing some research online only to find that ALL of my symptoms are side effects of Lexapro! I was done. 2.5 years I had been on it. I had been encouraged to stay on it when I wanted to get off and I was done! I looked online and found a taper schedule. Every 2 weeks, cut the dose in half. So that’s what I did. (20mg to 10mg to 5mg) November 12, 2017 was my first day Lexapro-free. The tapering process was TERRIBLE. Everything was amplified. It would be really bad for about 3-4 days after each drop in dosage and then ease up a little for a few days and then ease up even more over the next week until the next dosage drop. Symptoms: -Increased Depression -Increased Anxiety -Constant Fatigue -Suicidal thoughts (not like me AT ALL) -Extreme Dizziness -Nausea & gagging -I could barely eat or keep food down -Brain Zaps (argh) After coming completely off, I was still struggling, but it was manageable. The dizziness and nausea were the worst and those seemed to have subsided along with the increased depression and anxiety. Then about 4-5 weeks after being completely off of Lexapro “Phase II” started. And that is the hell hole that I’m in now. Here are my current symptoms: -Crippling Depression (worst in my entire life) -Out of control Anxiety (worst in my entire life) -Extreme fatigue -Nausea -Gagging from Anxiety -Inability to eat very many foods without gagging -Vomiting from Anxiety -Varied Dizziness -Weight loss -Brain Fog -Forgetfulness -Decreased brain processing time -Extremely easily overwhelmed -Constant stress -Increased heart rate that will last all day -Sensitive to loud noises -Derealization (especially right after waking up) -Depressive Rumination (This is hands down the worst symptom. A thought or set of thoughts gets stuck in your brain on an infinite loop and you can’t make it stop. It drives me to near insanity.) I feel like the “real me” is inside of me fighting like hell to get out. None of these symptoms are “me.” I’m not myself at all and it feels terrible. I feel like my brain is broken and it’s not functioning the way it normally does. I’m frustrated, mad, sad, every emotion…except happy. I feel like since finding this forum, I have gained more clarity about what is happening to me. Because none of my friends and family really completely understand this…how extreme this is. The more I learn about WHY or HOW my brain isn’t functioning correctly, the more hopeful I become. Because I can try to find coping mechanisms to help me while my brain heals. Before I found this forum, I thought I was literally going insane and I was going to be trapped inside this insane body forever. I was absolutely terrified. So I just want to say thank you to the people that created this place. I’m pretty sure you’ve saved lives.
  12. Moderator note: link to Linus' benzo thread - Linus: Klonopin question Hi everyone, I like this forum, I think the moderators are sensible people who give good advice, compared to some other websites. I have already come a long way with regards to withdrawing from Escitalopram, from 30mg to 1.8 mg. It has been hell but hey here I am I know that by now even small cuts are problematic. My first question would be if anyone has a clue as to whether there comes a point in the withdrawal where things get easier (like at 1mg or 0.8 mg) or does it stay funky all the way down to zero?
  13. blueyes: My Story

    Hi Everyone! I just wanted to take the time to introduce myself and share my story.... I was on Lexapro for 12 years. I actually think I have been on something else when I was pregnant but I honestly can not remember due to the short term memory loss these drugs have given me. Anyhow, the lexapro gave me insomnia so the doctor also put me on a sleeping pill called Lunesta...when I switched over health insurances to Kaiser, the doctor told me they don't cover Lunesta and told me to try this other "sleeping pill" called Klonopin. Little did I know, Klonopin is worse than Xanax. I was taking the Klonopin for over 2 years. I also started gaining weight so the doctor also put me on another pill called phentermine for 6 years to help curve my appetite. When I found out all these drugs were addicting I got nervous so I starting lowering my dose of all the pills over an 10 week period (which now I know was way too fast). By June 1st, 2016 I was off all the drugs. My initial withdraws were not so bad then bam come the 3rd month...ALL hell broke lose. I literally had almost every withdrawal possible and they only got worse as the days went on. I was like a vegetable...couldn’t see well, hear well, confused, hard time comprehending simple things, felt out of my body, depersonalized, dizzy, disoriented, diarrhea everyday, no appetite, sensitive to light, losing my hair and the list goes on and on. I literally felt like I was living in hell. As the days turned into weeks then months things only got worse. I ended up with so much anxiety and depression like I have never experienced before. Then the insomnia kicked in so bad I ended up not sleeping for 3 straight weeks which made me manic. I was pacing around the house like a crazy woman. Then I became extremely, extremely suicidal.... Meanwhile, during all this, I kept walking in the evening for exercise, working, journaling and begging God to help me but NOTHING was working. I finally googled what I was going through and it was ALL right there.... withdrawals from the meds!! I ended up in a mental ward for 10 days. It was literally the worst experience of my life. In the hospital they tried to drug me up again. I ended up getting back on something just so my brain would go back to normal. Right now, I am only on 10mg of Prozac and thankfully I'm off the Klonopin and Phentermine! I’ve been off the Lexapro and Phentermine for 18 months and the Klonopin for 7 months. I am still feeling weird. It’s been a little bit over a year since I was hospitalized. I’m not sure if I’m still going through withdrawals from all the previous meds I got off of or if it’s side affects from the Prozac. As if today, I am still losing my hair and have to wear a wig full time because of all the hair loss. My memory and vision are horrible but getting a little better. I still have racing thoughts everyday but that’s getting better as well. I have 2 young children and dont really look forward to anything. It’s almost like I can’t wait to die but I’m not suicidal. I feel flat with no happiness or joy. I never want to do things and nothing really bothers me now. My initial plan was to start a very slow taper of the Prozac this May as that will put me a year off the Klonopin but I am now having 2nd thoughts. I feel like maybe I should stay on the Prozac a couple years till my children get a little older and start a really slow 3 - 4 year micro taper. I am just so scared of going mentally ill again. I would love to hear positive stories of people who have been on antidepressants for years and have safely tapered and are doing well! Thank you for listening to my story! God Bless!!
  14. Is there even one story on line about a Pharma victim actually weaning off SSRIs after being on them for several years, suffering the withdrawals, then leading a happy life like others. Seems EVERYBODY ends up back on some sort of poisonous chemical, or the same one they were on before, or suffers lifelong side effects and feel miserable? I was on 15mg cipralex for 2.5 yrs for “acute exhaustion”. Tapered down over about 10 months, took my last 2.5 mg 21 days ago and I am in way worse condition than I was 2.5 yrs ago!! Talked to 2 different pharmacists last week. One said go to emergency and get a new prescription, the other said there are NO withdrawals or side effects! “its you underlying problem coming back, has to be” She didn’t even know WHY i was put on this stuff, but immediately made a false assumption!…….. Can anyone put up links to actual success stories? In my life, I have had to get off alcohol, tobacco, adivan and zopiclone and they were a walk in the park compared to this stuff
  15. Dear Soldiers in the Fight Against Antidepressants and Benzos, December 25th 2017 marked a year without any AD and just over 3 years without Xanax, and it seems to me that quitting Lexapro was tougher than quitting Xanax, probably because I was still on other medication when I quit Xanax. I can't say that 2017 was fun. In fact, it was one of the toughest years I have ever experienced, second only to the years following my sexual assault by 5 men when I was sixteen (I'm 35 now). I was so tempted to go back and just take the meds again. The temptation was made even harder by the fact that doctors were throwing these drugs at me all year, and each and every time I had to refuse profusely and tell them that I am not taking ADs anymore. *sigh* Doctors are very disappointing. We fear illicit drug dealers but we should fear the legal drug dealers more because we have been conditioned to accept their advice as infallible due to their qualifications, not considering the fact that they are either corrupt or ignorant of the drugs they dispense to us. Anyway... I digress. I went through it all in 2017. I travelled all over the world, seeing beautiful islands, going to beautiful places, being with the most wonderful man in the world, but derived no pleasure from anything. It was an apathetic year, and apathy is worse than pain sometimes, although logically you would think otherwise. Then, 8 months after all this emptiness, I fell pregnant, and only now, in January 2018, I am starting to feel a bit more joy peering through the cracks of my grey, dreary and lifeless soul. I can't say that quitting is beneficial right now, but I can say that I have seen an improvement a little. For example, 5 months after quitting, everything came back, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and disatisfaction, all expressing itself though apathy. Then the slump lasted for another few months until I got pregnant, and then I became slightly more upbeat, less fatigued and more present. Then in November I started to feel again, crying for the first time, laughing for the first time, libido up for the first time (only a little), and basically being bombarded by being human. Now, it is more of experiencing ups and downs than total darkness. So, it is improving. I had to stop taking supplements since I became pregnant, and I struggled with sleep a lot at first, then it got better, and now it is back to weird sleeping patterns but I sleep enough at least. Maybe the hormone surge of pregnancy is helping, but I definitely am better off than before. I just wanted to share this with the forum because I wouldn't have even dared to venture into quitting and sticking to it without this community. Also, I want to convey the fact that it gets easier but it is not an easy, quick path. I have come to terms that this journey is probably going to take me 10 years to see the true light of day judging by my progress, but as long as it improves, I am willing to slug though it. Thank you, and Happy New Year to Everyone.
  16. Just found these forums. This is 1st Post. I’m about 10 Days into withdrawal from Pristiq and Lexapro. (I’m assuming my “signature “ automatically attaches to this, so I don’t have to go into all the details again?) This has been shocking how hard this is. The worst for me has been the wild mood swings, accompanied by extreme anger and some outbursts. Also, a lot of shouting in the privacy of my car. I feel pretty out of control a lot of the time, with a hair-trigger temper. I used to be somewhat like this before antidepressants. But this is even worse. I’m scaring myself with how quickly I can become over the top angry. Also very anxious. The physical symptoms include one thing I haven’t seen mentioned, so I wonder if anyone has also felt them. It feels like my tongue is tingling, sometimes lips too, and I also get these zippy tingling sensations internally that make me think my heart is racing, but when I check my heart rate, it’s fine. My biggest concern is that I’ll be traveling soon, which always makes me irritable and anxious, so I wonder how I can handle it right now. I do have a small number of Valium, which I almost never take but I have it for fear of flying. Should I just go ahead and take it? Will it help? Or will using it just create more problems? Thanks for “listening “.
  17. Hello everyone. I'll try to organize this as best as I can. There is a lot going on. I was on benzos from age 17 to 36 and on Cymbalta from age 35 to 36. Went off both together for a 2 year nightmare. Absolute pure hell. I wont get into the details and symptoms of that withdrawal in this post as it is it's own little novel. Some things improved during those 2 years and I feel I've beat the benzo part of the nightmare even still, but at age 38 I was still suffering enough that I agreed to go on Lexapro to see if I'd improve. I did improve hugely but it stopped working as well after 3 years and I was switched to Prozac. I have taken the Prozac ever since and it felt like it was failing around 4 months ago. I missed a lot of doses around 3 months ago and just tried to stop CT for just over a week around a month and a half ago. I started feeling withdrawals so I went back on and the withdrawal feeling is still getting worse. My memory and focus went first, then the inner restlessness and anxiety started and dizziness. I am also having the disconnected dream like feeling 24-7. I am so depressed and fearful all of the time. I've been taking the Prozac without missing a dose for over a month again and this is still happening to me. It's as if the combo of Prozac tolerance and coming off for the short time has started a withdrawal that even going back on can't stop. My doctor wants to take me off the Prozac after a slow taper and start me back on the Lexapro. The hope is that since it worked before and I've been off of it for almost 3 years that it could pick me back up and end this nightmare I'm back in. I am really considering just tapering the Prozac and staying off all ssris; so no going back on Lexapro in that case. I am so afraid of entering back into a nightmare like a was in coming off benzos and Cymbalta. My current state is terrible but the previous experience was truly worse; being benzos and Cymbalta together. It is really hard t say what withdrawal symptoms were coming from which pill. There were so many. I am so terrified of how I am feeling right now, but mostly for the days to come. If I come off the Prozac entirely I know my current state will worsen. I will be thrown back into a situation similar to the first nightmare. If I taper the Prozac and go back on Lexapro and it actually works, I'll still be doomed because I'll be back on another pill waiting for it to stop working again and most likely going through it all again. If I go back on the Lexapro and it doesn't work I will just aggravate my current symptoms with throwing more chemicals on my already hurting brain. The first time around withdrawal I had terrible akathisia and I am already feeling it brewing and I am still on the Prozac. I don't want to go through this again! Also from what I've been experiencing this month it seems a lot of what I assumed were due to the benzos were possibly due to the Cymbalta withdrawal as it's so similar. Also, I forgot to mention that I am on 500 mg of Depakote XR as well. I was put on this a couple of months after the Prozac as I felt a bit agitated. It helped but I got worried about my liver and quit it after 4 or five months and had a mild withdrawal from that but it passed. Just a couple of weeks ago after my current situation started I went back on the Depakote to see if it would help and it hasn't. I'll most likely be stopping it again as well. I had an account on Benzo Buddies during that ordeal and it gave me an outlet and some hope. I've set this account up here and got my story out in advance as I am leaning towards just stopping the meds and I'll be needing all of the support I can get! I'm seeing my doctor on January 3 so whatever I decide to do it will be starting then.
  18. My medication history is complicated and in all honesty my memory isnt working all that well. I cant really remember a lot of my medication journey which is a scary thing to admit. Ill do my best to summarise. I started taking diazepam in 2013 i believe. I took it for the sudden onset of panic attacks. To begin with I only used my medication sparingly (and always, always as prescribed). I was seeing a psychiatrist at the time who was trying to help me find an antidepressant to help, however after trying almost all of them, i found nothing worked. At this point my Pdoc agreed it might be wise to take a small dose of clonazepam daily while doing CBT in order to allow me to do the work which would ultimately help me heal. Unfortunately CBT never did help and i remained on a daily dose of clonazepam for about two years. After deciding my clonazepam still wasnt working well enough to help my GAD and panic, i decided to try an antidepressant again. This time i chose escitalopram. I took 10mg and it worked after the first dose. Not many people believe me when i say that, but after trying nearly every other AD available and having absolutely no success, i know it was no placebo effect. I took 10mg for about two months, and i felt pretty good but unfortunately i also felt pretty numb. I decided to quit taking it. I cant remember if i tapered. But i will say i had no issues coming off. I found myself exactly where i left off before starting it. About six months later, i decided to try escitalopram again at a lower dosage, given i was still no better in terms of managing my anxiety. It took longer to work this time around, and in actual fact i wasnt even convinced it DID work the entire next year i was on it (more on that later), but nonetheless i continued to take it. I changed dose almost every week for about three months trying to figure out what dose would be best. I would try 2.5mg one week, 7.5mg the next, 5mg the following. And so on. Eventually i settled on 5mg and remained on that dose for a year. During this year i slowly tapered off my benzodiazapine by cross tapering from cloanzepam to diazepam and then doing a daily microtaper off. I took my final dose of diazepam on the 18th August this year (2017). It was one week later that i decided to quit my 5mg escitalopram cold turkey. I thought i was on a low dose, and i wanted to be off all medication. I wasnt even convinced it ever worked so i thought it would be no big deal. I did okay for the first two months. For the most part I felt really wired. I couldnt stop moving, my thoughts wouldnt slow down. I felt hypomanic in a way. My sleep was terrible, i would bolt awake straight after falling alseep and feel a strange terror and/or rage. I struggled TERRIBLY with restless legs too. At month three is when things started to change. I started to feel really unlike myself. I started to feel disconnected from my surroundings. I would wake up and not know where i was. I started to feel like i couldnt recognize the people in my life i loved the most. And i felt scared of them too. A couple of times out of desperation i took one off doses of my escitalopram only to feel better immediately, or at least by the next day. Im now in month 4 off both drugs and this last week has been the worst week of my life. I have fallen into a deep depression. I dont recognize my life. I dont recognize my house, my pets. Intellectually I know who they are and where i am but emotionally i feel scared of everyone and everything because its all foreign. It doesnt feel like my life. And yet at the same time I feel like im in some sort of time warp where ive travelled back 7 years in time. I'm having intrusive memories of 2010/2011. Not bad ones. Theyre mosly neutral in fact, but the fact that I emotionally feel like its 2010/11 is terrifying me. Its like i cant remember the last 7 years of my life. And its not because i took medication for 7 years. I didnt. I started medication in 2013. I AM SO SCARED AND CONFUSED. Im pushing everyone i love away because im scared and i cant recognize them emotionally. My poor boyfriend. We have been together 6 years and i love him so dearly, but i dont rezognize him. He seems foreign and scary. I have had DP/DR before but this is in a league of its own. Its like its my life, but my life 7 years ago. And im not numb either, which i usually have with DP/DR. Im full of emotion. Ive been crying hysterically because i feel like ive lost my mind. Last week i couldnt take the pain anymore, and i took a 5mg dose of escitalopram. It seemed to fix everything the last few times i tried that tactic. And immediately so. I would usually feel better and immediately regret ever taking the dose and interrupting my withdrawal. But last week it didnt work. Today i had the worst day to date and again i desperately reached for my 5mg of escitalopram. It hasnt worked. Now im sitting here feeling everything i was feeling before i took it and now im even more "out of it" having taken the escitalopram. I know how dangerous it is to randomly take escitalopram here and there. I dont need a scolding. My poor brain is probably so kindled it doesnt know what to do. Im aware of the risks and that ive been playing with fire. It just shows how desperate ive got. Im not sure this post will even make sense. I can barely string my sentences together. The time frames probably dont add up. Im not trying to deceive anyone with time frames for things, im just generally too out of it cognitively to figure it out. My memory is shot anyway. But for the love of god im so scared of my symptoms and i need help desperately. My whole life is unraveling. I dont know who i am and nothing feels the same. I cant remember my life for the last 7 years and thats the worst part. Please can someone help me?? I dont know whats causing these symptoms. Not sure if its just "me" or if its escitalopram withdrawals or if its a horrible wave of my diazepam withdrawals. I thought at four months id be improving but instead im getting worse. much much worse. This cant be normal. Im wondering whether i should try and stabilize on my escitalopram and wait a few months before embarking on a 5% taper. I dont care how long it takes. i just need the pain im feeling now to stop. Please help
  19. I was diagnosed with post natal depression ten years ago. The psych put me on 10mg lexapro and told me to see him again two weeks later. When I went back he asked if I felt better and I said no. He put my dose up to 15mg. Two weeks later I went back again and answered the same question with another no. He put me up to 20mg. This continued till I reached the dose of 30mg. By that stage I had learned to lie....I told him I felt much better so that he would stop increasing my dose. I later learned that the recommended dose of lexapro is 20mg. After twelve months on 30mg I cut myself down to 25mg. Basically over the following years I did the same thing until I got down to 5mg. That was two years ago. That is when my problems began. Increased anxiety and ocd. No physical symptoms thankfully. But the anxiety and ocd is awful. I have read extensively and know my symptoms are withdrawal. There are definite windows and waves. I am currently at 2mg and life is hard. I honestly can’t see how I am going to get off this drug. The withdrawal sets in about one month after a cut and honestly seems to be endless in intensity. At this stage I am in no hurry to cut any further. During a window My anxiety and ocd seems laughable and I can’t believe how silly I have been getting upset about everything. But during the waves the fear and terror is so real. It is as though my central nervous system is damaged beyond repair. I live in a constant state of hyper alert.
  20. Hello, I been on Lexapro 10 mgs for 4 years. I was put on due to stomach issues (nauseas, pain, etc) a constant "blah" feeling, and a feeling of just feeling sick when my previous dr said it was just anxiety and depression. I went thru alot of tests and everything always came back normal. At the time everything started I was very fit and active. I weighed 195 pounds and was benching 300+ pounds. Then when everything hit in no time I was down 25 pounds in almost a month or 2. I didnt have no energy to work out and I felt disconnected from myself which was my 1st symptom. I lost interest at this time to do alot of things. I was always foggy. I didnt really feel much stress in my life tho. I was with a great girl which is now my wife and I have a great job. So without researching anything I decided to try Lexapro suggested by my dr. Thru the 4 years we had 2 beautiful children, built a house, got married, and I got promoted to management. I will say tho I still feel my job does not have much stress. My wife is also a RN. Yes, I have had some waves of feelings but looking back it could of been some of the side effects of the Lex and also a few times I went from 10 mgs to 5 mgs and vice versa. I found myself going back to 10 mgs when I had to watch the children alot. My wife works 12 hour days as an RN so 3 - 4 days a week I come home from working my 10 hour day and get the kids and I am with them till they go to bed around 8 and I get up for work around 4 in the morning. I am a huge part of my kids lives. They are 2 and 4 at the time. So yes, I do deal with some stress when they are being kids throwing temper tantrums and mom isnt around. So thats why at times when I just felt frustrated I would up my dose to 10 mgs which was the recommendation. It seemed to keep me a little more cool headed. Thats the only thing I thought it really did. Well, 5 months ago my dr asked if I wanted to get off them. I agreed to try. He said to take 5 mgs for 2 weeks and then 2.5 mgs for 2 more weeks. The 1st 2 weeks at 5 mgs was fine, then a few days in on the 2.5 mgs I started to notice withdrawal. I stuck it out for a few days then just quit thinking it would get better. I was wrong. I went thru alot phases and didnt even know about withdrawal until I started researching it. Its been a rough 4 months now and I believe I am still going thru it. I have good and bad days. Today is Christmas and its a bad day which brings me to this forum. Not being able to enjoy Christmas as I would like with my family had got me depressed today for sure. My day to day symptoms right now seem to be where I am always tired, I have a "bobble head" feeling like Im on a boat, its not real bad but its like Im constantly off balanced, I have light sensitivity, headaches, nausea, and anxiety. I really never had anxiety until I came off. I got an mri done last week and that was hard to sit thru which before it never bothered me before. This was ordered thru a ENT dr which believes I might have vestibular migraines. I am still waiting for that report by the way. I have times where my heart feels like its fluttering and I get leg and arm weakness, Im going to guess this is part of anxiety? It comes from out of the blue and cant find a trigger. I went to the dr last week, which is a new dr because my last one retired, and she wants to put me on Celexa or Cybalta. I didnt pay much attention as I thought great another pill. I 1st said no way. She made me feel to be crazy as she smirked at me when I said its not depression. Now a week later Im starting to think about trying it. I just want to feel normal again and enjoy my family. Im looking for some advice. Should I wait this out a few more weeks or try something else? I do have another dr apt with a new dr my wife wanted me to see in 4 weeks. I just dont know if this is still withdrawal or something else? Looking back now and after reading I know I stopped way to fast. Im looking for some advice? Thanks.
  21. Hello everyone, I know everyone is different. I was just wondering how long I should expect the anhendonia from quitting Lexapro cold turkey 18 months ago. My main problem is not feeling anything for my boyfriend who I was so so in love with before the withdrawal. I'm so devastated, I feel like things should be looking up. Should I be discouraged that the feelings aren't back? I was only on pills for 9 months. I feel so lost right now please tell me your experiences with withdrawal and if it affected your relationship. Thanks in advance. <3
  22. Hi Everyone, I want to start off saying by what an incredibly tough journey we're all going through... and I'm sorry for all of us here... These drugs were advertised to help our mental health; when in fact it damages our brain, especially when used for long periods. I don't even know what to see, other than the fact I feel pretty hopeless after reading so many articles about brain damage that these drugs did to us (mainly SSRIs). I tried stopped this medication in my mid-20s but eventually relapsed due to the terrible withdrawal symptoms. This time around in May 2017, after reading and acknowledging what these drugs do to us, seeing my drive and passions slowly fade away since I started, I decided it was time to stop poisoning myself. Currently, I feel these effects every day: 1) cognitive problems involving memory , learning, and focus 2) apathy, and lack of anyenjoyment for life 3) deterioration of emotional wellness, and unable to handle stress I am currently 30 years old, but feel my brain has rotted immensely. I truly was a talented individual growing up, was always quick witted, fast, and excelled highly in my activities and passions. Now I feel like I have cognitive function of a mentally disabled person. I feel so hurt, and angry and hopeless about what has happened... that I allowed myself to take this poison for ~10 years, listening to doctors that didn't really have an IDEA about the damage that these drugs could pose in the long-run. We are the guinea pigs that have to suffer, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. This makes me wonder if I have to start my medication again eventually to not feel like walking death every day I wake up. I'm trying to fight this... but there is just more and more recent data about what these drugs do to us long-term and I believe it has caused me brain atrophy... Please, I would love to hear some feedback and Idk, can we start fighting these Big Pharmas or are we just a big experiment for them to profit from? Regards, Ethan (PS: If there is any other info you guys which me to provide, I can do so gladly.)
  23. Hello everyone, I'm having an awful hard time with Lexapro withdrawal. I was under a lot of stress a little over two years ago and was put on 10 mg Lexapro in August 2015. About a month on them I met an amazing man! After only a couple months of being together I knew he was the one and we were making plans to get married within the next year and couldn't wait to start our lives together. About 8 months later my life was still amazing and I didn't think I needed pills anymore so I made the biggest mistake of my life and quit them cold turkey. I woke up about a month later and that's when my nightmare started. I completely felt like I lost feelings for my boyfriend/soon to be husband overnight. I can't explain it, it was like I knew he was the same person but I couldn't feel anything when I looked at him and being around him just didn't even feel right. We had moved in together about 3 months before that. It has been 18 months since that day and the feelings have still not returned. I'm really looking for any advice on this. How long has ssri withdrawal lasted for some of you? Did your feelings come back even when you felt they wouldn't? I know I'm probably asking questions that can't be answered but I'm desperate and I'm losing hope. I don't even know what to do anymore.
  24. Can't feel anymore - withdrawal

    Hello everyone, I hope everyone is doing well. It's been almost 18 months since I lost feelings for my boyfriend after stopping Lexapro cold turkey. We were so so in love and everyone around us knew it. We were inseparable after a couple months of dating and couldn't wait to be married and start our life together. About 4 to 6 weeks after taking my last dose of Lexapro, I woke up and everything was different. My boyfriend looked the same and acted the same but I did not see him the same way I had for the 9 months before. I know everyone's different but I was just wondering if someone could tell me how long they lost their feelings and when they knew they were coming back? I can at least see how bad I was to him in the first part of the withdrawal and how much I hurt and shut him out. I've apologized many times and sometimes I will get glimpses of the old feelings or start to feel something and I'll wake up the next day again confused and unsure how I feel about him. Does this sound normal to those of you who have lost feelings or been the spouses of someone who has lost feelings? I'll give anything in the world to feel for him what I did in the beginning every month that passes I get a little more discouraged but I'm not giving up and he said he's not either. I would love to hear stories about how you guys have gotten better after this hell. I hope all of us get our feelings back <3 Thank you in advance.
  25. Layla: hi

    i just 2 moth off med new here hope for good thanx
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