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oskcajga posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
I am a 65 year old recovering female alcoholic with history of amphetamines, hallucinogenics, cocaine and cannabis. I have not used any of these substances for 34 years. In recovery, I went into a full-blown four week unrelenting panic attack in 1985 three years sober, and was put on pamelor for the first time for depression and was given ativan PRN for panic disorder. When prozac came out, I was switched to that in 1988 and was on prozac for 8-9 years. I got off prozac and was put on the newer SNRIs off and on for the next ten years, the usual ones, as each new brand arrived on the market.I had a round with wellbutrin in 2004. By that time, I was diagnosed as bipolar, not depressed, and started on topomax and then lamictal, taking the topomax on and off. I was on this combo until 2012 . By this time my ativan was long gone and I was given klonopin BID for breakthrough bipolar symptoms. I developed tinnitus and severe dystonic style muscle spasms in my hands and feet. I had these spasms hit me full body twice and the pain was unreal. I went to Lahey clinic regarding this and was placed on baclofen 10mg BID. I was sick of all this and this last spring was able to get off everything for the first time. Don't ask me how I detoxed as I have no idea, just kept the klonopin for PRN and with that in place went for it. HOWEVER, I was diagnosed with bone on bone arthritis simultaneously with fibro and I was off and running again. I went back on lamictal and klonopin and the.When I reported back to the fibro doc he was upset and me titrate 50 mg a week one week at a time for a total of three weeks. This was in November and when it was all done I flipped into all the detox symptoms. That was when I looked online and found out what was happening. He reluctantly put me back on 50 mg for one week and then gave me 25 mg pills til I see him Jan 17. I was supposed to drop from the 50 mg to 25 mg lyrica two days ago but was really frightened read somewhere about splitting the pills for a slower titration. I did that and yesterday was my second day on 37.5 mg gram. I still am feeling horrible, shaking, anxiety, crying spells, feeling crazy, all the garbage along with horrible nightmares along with anger and agitated too. Unfortunately, I will not have enough of the 25 mg pills to do a 10% titration and I doubt this doc will write another prescription for the lyrica. I also have to deal with getting off the tramadol next and he is the doc for this one. I am sure he will be uncooperative with this also. My psych nurse is willing to prescribe neurontin if it will help. I am still on 100 mg lamictal and 0.5 klonopin every day. I am still taking baclofen when my body says it needs it. Any and all suggestions and support would be a welcome relief. My husband is no support and my mother keeps calling via facetime from Florida three times a day to "chat" and I have to rally up as she is elderly. Just to add to the mix this week, I also have a funeral on Saturday as my brother-in-law died (too young) and this is an already unpleasant situation because of family dysfunction. I apologize for the long post but want you to know me straight up and need as much help as you can offer. I'm sure I've left some out.. Regards, Ro
To make this short and sweet, I got put on these drugs by my doctor that was treating me for Lyme Disease as a way to help me feel better through the symptoms and problems of Lyme disease. And of course I believe that this actually made all the problems MUCH worse. Cut to now, I'm ive been on: 1 mg of Klonopin a day, split into 2/0.5mg doses. 450 mgs of Lyrica a day, all at once before bed for sleep. 100 mgs of Tramadol a day, split into 2/50mg doses. 60 mgs of cymbalta a day taken all at once in the morning. Basically before doing my research into the proper speed to taper, I was trying to drop klonopin first and basically had it down to 1/4 of a 0.5mg tablet. But I was feeling terrible as you might imagine because I was tapered down to that from the full amount over just 8 weeks. I though it may have just been lyme disease and feeling bad, but nope...So basically I went back up to the 1mg total again for now as to not completely fall apart mentally and physically. It was making me a nervous anxious wreck, and drained me of all energy, willpower, physical stamina, or physical strength. So now I'm here asking how I should go about getting rid of these medications and in which order please. I want them all gone at some point, but I would just like to get moving on whichever one I SHOULD knock out first etc. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Jeremy
scottly9999 posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHello Friendly people! I just wanted to put this out there and ask for some advice on behalf of my lovely wife. Very quick history of her. SHe has suffered quite bad depression a lot of her earlier life. She lost both parents by age of 16, and fell into deep depression. By age 21 or so, she got herself together, got a job and started in a positive direction. After her first marriage breakup, she went on 20mg of Citalopram, around year 2000. I entered her life a little after this. We moved out to Australia 2004. I can't quite remember the situation, but she started getting depressed again, and went to a helpful doctor (ironically the same one that put me on Lexapro!!!) She put her dose upto 40mg. That seemed to help her. After the birth of our daughter, she has had chronic back pain. It's been 9 years now, and has slowly got worse and worse. After MRI scans showed inconclusive information, but various issues, she was put on 200mg of slow release Tramadol to help manage the pain. It does help her. She was also put upto 60mg of Citalopram! I beleive she was hitting "poop out" at 40mg, and was becoming more and more depressed more often. I understand the maximum dose is 40mg. She was advised to be tested for liver issues occassionally. So far, her blood tests have been fine. She suffers TERRIBLLY with side effects, night sweats, fatigue etc. I also understand that Tramadol also acts as an SSRI!!! So she is not only over the 40mg of Citalopram, but added 200mg Tramadol!!! I fear that this situation isn't ideal and really needs to be addressed. The GP's she has seen in the meantime give mixed messages about what to do. If she lowers the dose to 100mg of Tramadol, she finds her back pain ALMOST unbearable. She tried to lower her Citalopram to 50mg - by the 5th week she went into a VERY VERY deep depression, and immediately went back to 60mg, suffering with side effects. She was fine for a good 4 weeks. But 5th week hit her hard! I fear that her dose is far too high. Can she titrate to a different SSRI? Is this something that can be done quite safely? Can it be titrated to minimize side effects? I'm very upset at the GP that put her on both Tramadol and the high level of Citalopram - she but me on Lexapro - which I'm still struggling to get off. From a personal perspective, she is in a good place emotionally in her life, and recently discovered extra happiness through joining a church. She feels trapped on her current medication, but the dose cannot stay that way. She says she read something that said she can't swap SSRI's. SHe is a bit reluctant to delve into this herself. Even the pharmasist approached her and said that the combination she was taking, and the amount wasn't good for her heart or liver. Any advise? We are in Australia.