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WhySSRI: Relearning my body and mind

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Been quietly observing and reading other peoples posts and finally decided to post my story.


My path with AD started with a full blown panic attack. 

I had never in my life experienced a panic attack so it was very difficult at the beginning.  Everybody's different.

My panic attacks were debilitating lasting for several hours.  

Went to see my doctor and was quickly put on benzos.

Started with xanax 0.5 mg and was quickly raised to 2.0 mg.  Later it was switched out to klonopin 2.0 mg.

It did control my panic attacks and my anxiety attacks.


Later on I was told to add an AD to further control my panic attacks.

This was the fun part where I became my own guinea pig where I had to "FIND THE RIGHT MED" for myself.

Initially started with lexapro and was told that it could take up to 4 months for the drug to kick in.

4 months past by and it did nothing.  lexapro had no effect on me.  

Tried viibryd, celexa, paxil, and prozac.

Settled with paxil and klonopin for a long time.

Towards the end made the jump to cymbalta and klonopin.  


If it wasn't for people around me telling me how I've changed, over the time frame that I was on these drugs,

I would have probably continued taking these drugs.  

I've lost all emotions nothing in the world gave me any enjoyment.  Started drinking heavily to the point where

I was drinking every day.  Spent money like money grew on trees.  I had no apathy at all towards others.

I became completely indifferent towards the entire world.


I have so much respect towards people here that are maintaining their strict taper schedule.

I tried to slowly taper from my drugs but I could never keep it myself.  At the first sign of withdrawal I kept running

back to my drugs.  I decided to throw all my meds out and go the cold turkey route.  I fell into a dark abyss.

I didn't bother going to no doctor because I knew it was my fight and my fight alone.  


Woke up with severe panic and dread.  It was as if all my nerves were fired up.  Every person was associated with

a flash back from the past with a very negative flash back from my past.  For example, my dad was asking me how

I felt and I had a really bizarre flash back from the past where my dad was not so kind to me when I was a kid.

It was a memory from the past that I had forgotten for a very long time.  This flash back resulted in me with a rage

like emotion towards him.  Pretty much everyone I met, that had an unkind past with me, brought up these negative

flash backs. 


Entire body feels numb.  Light/noise sensitivity.  Blurry vision as if I'm surrounded by fog.   

All my muscles were sore, aching and shaking.  Tingling burning sensation on the skin.  Itchy anus. 

Joint pain like I've never experienced before.  Difficulty breathing.  Flu like symptoms.  

Severe headaches.  Head felt really heavy as if there was a rock embedded in my brain.

Messed up sinus.  Weak legs.  Weak neck.  Difficulty speaking.  Difficulty balancing myself.  

Coordination skills severely impaired.  Severe tinnitus.  Body feels heavy as if gravity increased.

Severe dp/dr. 

One day I spilled my entire plate while eating and I could see my plate fall down in slow motion in 3-D.

One day I was cooking and accidentally burnt my hand and I could feel the pain from my hand travel all the way to

my brain. 


I'm pretty sure there were a lot more symptoms that I really can't remember them all.


It's been six months now that I've gone cold turkey.

I'm still a long ways from recovery but looking back sure as hell feels like I've made some progress.


Going cold turkey put my body in full reboot mode and slowly one by one I get to feel parts of my body come alive

one by one.

Edited by scallywag

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My most predominant symptom right now is the tinnitus.  It really is unrelenting.  

Some days it sounds like grinding metal at a workshop.  Some days like wind blowing.  Some days like snake hissing.


Was wondering whether anybody fully recovered from tinnitus.

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Welcome WhySSRI,

Thank you for deciding to share your story. I'm so sorry you are going through this, but glad you have posted and now can get some support.


If you are feeling a bit better after six months, then I would agree you are well on your way to recovery.


To answer your question about tinnitus, its been one of my ongoing symptoms since two weeks after stopping Lexapro in 2010. I can't say its gone away completely, but its reduced to the point where I hardly notice it at all now. At one point, or several points really, it was driving me insane and I wasn't sure I would  be able to live with it.


Here is the link to our tinnitus thread: 

Tinnitus -- What does all that noise mean? - Surviving Antidepressants


It sounds like you know your way around the site, as you've been reading here for a while, but do check out our symptoms and self care section for ideas about how to best support your nervous system as it continues to recover.

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Thanks for the tinnitus link.


Tinnitus is still at full force even after a six months withdrawal.  It's to the point that it scars me that it's permanent damage,


Predominant symptoms are tinnitus, heavy head, and numbness throughout my body.

Last night had a slight indigestion problem.


Taking it day by day trying to fight it.

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Woke up this morning to the sound of tinnitus feels almost as if its itching my brain and ears.


Most of my day is still spent in bed or couch.  

The numbness that covers my entire body makes it very hard for me to coordinate my movements. Still can't feel my legs.  Just going to the bathroom is very difficult.

Internal body shakes are still there.  My body feels so heavy as if the gravity increased.


My predominant symptom, which is tinnitus, is so severe that I have to really sit down and go over my entire body to check and see what other symptoms I have.

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As I struggle day by day it's getting very difficult to find meaning in all this.

I feel like my life is completely done.  I feel like a vegetative zombie.


Lost track of time.  It's Friday already.  

My tinnitus has progressed and it changed frequencies.  Now I can hear the ringing over anything.  My brain and ears feel like it's getting scratched by it I almost want to drill my ears out.


My entire body is so heavy it's difficult to coordinate my movements.

My emotions are so dark at this point I'd easily welcome death to end it all.  Wish I could cry but I never had a crying spell like so many described.


At this point in my withdrawal I find it odd that I'm actually craving the dam pills.

I feel like I've come too far to get back on them poison.  But then if I wasn't disabled home bound, I'm pretty sure I'd get a script filled.


It's getting harder to occupy my mind in something other than manifesting on my symptoms.

I've been through it long enough to know these are withdrawals but in my mind I feel like I've been poisoned by something.

Every little thing in my surrounding freaks me out.

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I understand what you are going through i am still experiencing many things you are. One fact i found very helpful and may very well be the only thing keeping me going so far is the fact that SSRI's no matter how bad cant cause any long term side effects (IE permanently/long term change the brain's structure) they can destabilize the brain witch leads to withdrawal side effects but its just that, WITHDRAWAL a temporary state you go through while you are tapering off a medication. After you have tapered and are  off the medication chances are you will still have emotional/cognitive symptoms. This is because your SSRI did not treat anything it was only a crutch. Now that the crutch is gone you will be left with the Panic attacks again, depression may come back stronger than ever and you may develop serous stress. All these combined can cause about every physiological problem in the book, and certainly every side effect you are having right now. Your mental paradigm is also a very large factor. I recommend you look up the Placebo effect. Did you know a acaholic can get drunk by just looking at a drink? A drug addict can also get a high by looking at a needle! I recommend you see a Physiologist, make sure to express that you dont want to take another SSRI you want to fix this naturally. Tell them about your real personality your real self, your real health before all this happened then tell the physiologist your goal is to get back to that. You must though be willing to open your mental paradigm to new ideas and more than anything else be pacietnt and persistent.


God Bless



(forgive my terrible spelling, its been getting hard to type with all this brain fog)

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Thanks for your reply.  I pray to God this tinnitus is really only a withdrawal symptom not permanent.


Woke up again to the sound of tinnitus itching my brains out.  

My eyes feel very heavy.


I don't feel hungry.  I only eat because it's time to eat.  Once I start eating I don't feel full.  I can't stop eating.

I've noticed some slight improvements in my internal body shakes sensation.  I guess I'll have to take this small victory over my tinnitus.


It's very hard going through the holiday season being home bound disabled when in fact this joyous time should be spent celebrating with friends and family.

But then going through this hard time I've found friends and family to be useless.


Just one more day keep fighting on.

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I understand how the vibrations feel, if it provides any closure i had it before i took the SSRI. At the time i was going through extreme stress. The stress made my head vibrate and i heard ringing allot. Just in case though i would have someone at an urgent care clinic check to make sure it isn't an ear infection or anything like that. Once that is cleared up i believe you can rest assured this is induced by stress anxiety and depression. I would try not to think of it that much about it for the time being. I understand that may seem hard but please take closure in the fact that everything you have can and is caused by stress anxiety and depression + Placebo affect. 


Even if some of this is caused by withdrawal form long term SSRI use it should go away in time(a few weeks perhaps a month at the most) after that it is most likely. Stress anxiety depression and placebo.


I know thinking about this will be inevdiable at this stage. So instead of trying to ignore it witch is imposable i recommend you try to only think about it twice a day. Write your worries and fears on paper in the morning, and then at night. In between the morning and night you should try and focus on life as much as you can. I know it can be hard seeing life isn't nearly as full as it once was. But you must be willing to accept that for the time being. As i said implement healthy life style changes. Don't let yourself fall into an unproductive schedule. Wake up at a given time, work out, read a book watch a show, catch up with family and friends, fill your day with meaningful activity. YOU WILL NOT get better by just sitting around and waiting. Your stress anxiety depression and placebo will not go away by waiting. It will get worse. The more you delay activities the more you isolate yourself the more power and fear and control you give to your woes. And the stronger and more consuming they will become. 


So i recommend you write down your fears in the morning. Then forget about it and follow a schedule throughout the day. Interact with people do things. Even if you don't feel the emotional motivation you once had don't worry just do it and it will eventually return. Then at the end of the day instead of doing research review those fears and write down why your fears are invalid, drill this into your head(I AM NOT DAMAGED BY A MEDICATION) (I AM GOING THROUGH NATURAL SIDE EFFECTS OF STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION) (I AM RECOVERING) 


I also recommend you write down at the beginning of each weak your goals for the week. Maybe one week your goal will be to work out more, wake up earlier or even something as simple as calling you friends more often. 


Then at the end of the week asses things and don't be disheartened if you don't make as much progress as expected you will get there just keep trying.


Another tip is, if you experience a negative effect of stress like ringing ears or fatigue don't use that as "proof i am not recovering" the more you judge your symptoms the more they will occur because your paying more attention to them. I had floaters for the longest time and they drove me crazy i really considered getting surgery. Instead i decided to try just forgetting about them. After a month or two of just living life and shrugging them off they actually disappeared. 


Anyway i hope you can make sense of this terribly constructed heap of words. And find it helpful. I am there for you if you ever need someone to talk to. 


Are you seeing a phycologist? 

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Also concerning your constant eating. Im sure you know this but that is a very common side effect of savere depression, witch you are most definitely experiencing. Don't worry to much about it. If you can i would try to also adopt a healthy eating schedule. Perhaps you could even make your own breakfast in the morning (eggs and toast exedra) maybe one snack in between breakfast and lunch. On snake between lunch and dinner and one late night snack. You could even make all your meals yourself that would prove as a great distraction.

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Why . We're with you here - keep up the good fight.  :)   T is a withdrawal symptom - it's not permanent.

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Thanks for the reassurance. 


Sometimes it is very hard cognitively to label my symptoms as withdrawal lasting this long.  Mentally I know that it's withdrawal because I've seen some improvements over the past six months but when it lasts this long things get scary everyday.


I'm seeing definite improvements to my internal body shakes sensation.

My dpdr is still there struggling with the disconnect between my body and mind.


If I had to describe my current situation this painting resonates from the heart.



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Sent you some information you may find helpful. 

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Just stopping by to update my symptoms.


My T now changes frequencies several times during the day.  Hoping this is sign of healing.

The intensity of my T hasn't changed though.

I've also noticed that it moves around from left to right ear sometimes vice versa.

After six months of T I'm still not used to this sound.

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Just quietly going over my body and my symptoms, noticed a few improvements.


Now I can feel my lungs breath.  I no longer find myself gasping for air.

My bowel movements have returned to normal.  I go once a day with no issue.

I can once again feel hunger.  Never thought I'd be happy to feel hungry once again.


Guessing these are signs that my body is healing.  Since my T is so predominant, I really have to go over each symptoms to see which one has improved.

For now I'm focusing on these improvements as a small victory.

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Antidepressant Research from Grace E. Jackson - Law Project for ...


Benzodiazepines may be sensitizing the brain to anxiety by inducing ... be similar adaptations occurring in the brain, which lead to permanent residual symptoms ... structuralchanges in the brain which make symptoms refractory to treatment.


I am not trying to be cruel here but there are some facts that will sooner or later present themselves... ok sooner cause of me. It is important you know for later... now is healing time. 

I hope you search for people on here that took the same drug you did. 

wishing you peace and healing... 

there is a benzo only part to SA I don't know much about it as I did not use it but you may start there. 


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Thanks for stopping by my thread.  Going on 9 years???  You're a true inspiration.

Hope this holiday season gives you much peace and healing,

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My sleep has improved so that I'm getting 5 hours of continuous sleep.  I'm seeing micro level improvements on all other symptoms.


I don't seem to be following the wave and window model of recovery.  All my symptoms are persistent and they seem to gradually get better.

Tinnitus is still driving me up the wall still unrelenting.

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Woke up with the sound of tinnitus itching my brain.  Looked at my watch and see that I only sleep 4 hours.  Then comes the dreaded bathroom anxiety.  I've got to get myself up and make the trip all the way to the bathroom.  My body feel so heavy it just doesn't feel like my body but I feel like I'm hauling meat.  I can't feel my legs as I walk, walking feels foreign.  


My eye sight is getting much worse.  Metal taste in my mouth is slowly getting better.  Still feels like my head is heavy and feels like there's a rock inside my brain.  Somedays I feel like i just want to sleep the entire day off, somedays I just sit on my couch surfing the web.


Journey so far has been very slow and painful.  When I cold turkeyed my meds, I was first hit with phobias, emotions, then pain and aches all over my body, and now tinnitus as predominant symptoms.  Now I've had these short moments where my T would fall behind the background.  This gives me hope that I am healing.  


For this new year I wish my T would go away for good and my legs to return to normal so that I could walk  in peace.  There's no reason to be angry anymore.  I was naive to think these pills doctors gave me were magic pills.  It was all my fault I am to blame nobody else.  i guess now I've found peace with acceptance. 





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When I'm done eating I do feel full again.  SI is completely gone thank god.

Excessive salivation is completely gone.  I do feel thirsty again.  Micro level improvements on all other symptoms.


Nowadays I'm getting brief moments when my brain fog gets lifted but then I get hit with this weird visualization symptom.  I'm beginning to wonder whether my eye sight getting bad has anything to do with this.  It's like my vision gets phased out like I'm looking at the world through one of those 3-D glasses you get at the cinema.  It's really weird.  Has anyone experienced anything similar?  Is this extreme dp/dr?

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Emotion wise I was hit with extreme terror, anger, SI thoughts, and now I'm overwhelmed with sorrow.

Woke up and out of no where I just started crying.  I felt so sorry for myself.  Sorry for my family for putting up with me.  I felt so sorry for my coffee mug for being my coffee mug.  I guess this is the crying spell everyone's been talking about.  It felt good after a good cry though.  I guess now instead of being angry at everything around me, I feel sorry for everything around me.  


I'm fighting my damnedest not to cry in front of my family.  

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Im sorry that youre experiencing so many symptoms,I had the worst crying spells for about a week. You describe it so well, once it started it would not stop. And literally anything made me emotional. Hang in there it will pass!

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scallywag,  Thanks for the links.


lillylou, Thanks for the reassurances.  To be honest I'm finding sorrow to be a whole lot better than being angry.  Releases a lot of emotional stress for me.



Symptom wise my speech impairment has gotten a lot better.  I still have to fight a good bit to speak but it isn't as strenuous. 

Restless leg and akathisia comes and goes.  Thank god it isn't persistent. 

Edema has gotten a lot worse these couple days.  


I find it really hard to read anything.  With my brain fog and cog fog the words that I read don't have any meaning to them.  Even typing and posting my updates here takes a century.  When I'm typing here when I can't find a word I literally get stuck for hours looking for that one word.  But strangely it's getting better.  I picked up a newspaper today and started reading.  With all the sensationalism shock and awe of junk journalism these days along with all the pictures and oh boy not to mention all the ads, it was all too irritating for me.  Next I picked up my Bible but I found the scriptures way too profound and the text way to small for my eyes.  Even readers digest was way too much for me.  Finally I found a dusty old small book right next to my Bible called our daily bread.  This was perfect for me to read.  As I read, even though the words have no meaning at all, I just simply read over and over again just retraining my mind to read.  


Besides reading another thing I started doing is trying to move around as much as I can.  When I get up my legs start to wobble.  It doesn't hurt though thank god.  Slowly I'm pacing around my house like a slow moving zombie like motion.  Feels like I'm hauling this heavy giant meat suit around.


And yes yes persistent tinnitus is a constant reminder that I'm in WD and healing recovering.  Another day of acceptance.  

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Eye pain is completely gone.  My eyes now feel heavy for the most part.  Am worried my eye sight is getting worse but I think it has to do with aging as well.

Been sleeping a straight 4-5 hours each night.  Nightmares and vivid dreams are completely gone. 


Seems like my tinnitus has increased in intensity these days.

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Lying in bed looking at the ceiling for hours to no end.  I ponder whether this hermit like existence is the life of me.


My emotions are flat these days.  Its not even dark.  Getting hit with massive anhedonia.  

It's been a long time since I felt any anxiety or panic.  My physical symptoms must be masking them for now.

Tinnitus still rampant.  Sometimes I can hear my heat beat.  Ear pain comes and goes.

Sleep is still sporadic ranging between 2-5 hours unable to find a pattern for now.

Nausea comes and goes like a slow rocking boat.  Head is so heavy like a rock.  Still feeling dizzy.

I still have this weird taste in my mouth.  Olfactory hallucinations comes and goes.

There's enormous pressure in my head, eyes, and ears.  Sinus draining at around dinner time.  Once it starts draining doesn't stop.

Dp/dr comes and goes.  When I get hit I feel like I'm in a 3D video game.

Restless leg and akathisia comes and goes.   Backpain comes and goes.  

I've gotten a habit of pinching myself every now and then.  All part of my body is so numb I pinch myself to see whether its getting better.

Brain fog cog fog still rampant.

Nerve pain have gone for the most part with the exception of lingering nerve pain in my teeth.


Of all these symptoms tinnitus is still the absolute worst symptom.  At this point I can tolerate all other symptoms relatively well.  But then sometimes I feel that tinnitus keeps all other symptoms in the background at bay.  Only god knows how long this healing process will take.  I want this so over and done with.  I'm so very tired.

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Wave after wave of my life flashes back in front of me.  I'm my own movie critic of my own life.  Never knew how much I hated myself.  It's as if I have to practice self loathing to stand myself.  This was my life??  What a minuscule life I've lived.  Is this what my life ends up being?  I had no idea there were these many ways of self loathing.  I'm so amazed at all the self destructive behavior that I've practiced all my life up to this point its a miracle I'm still alive.  Another phase of true awakening perhaps?


I feel like I'm nothing more than a consciousness trapped in a body right now.  Emotions just void neither dark nor bright.  

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Healing is happening ever so slowly.


Brain fog, cog fog, confusion have improved.  

Reading comprehension is getting better day by day.  

Eye sight started to clear up a bit.


Brain numbing tinnitus never ends.   :(

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Sorry your symptoms continue unabated, especially the tinnitus.  Keep being gentle and patient with yourself.

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Hello WhySSRI,

I was reading your thread and when I came to the picture of The Silent Scream and then I started screaming.  YES, YES, that's it. For the past year I have been trying to tell people what my withdrawal felt like. I am so sorry you are going through this but I can't thank you enough for sharing the picture.  That is exactly what it feels like.  I went cold turkey last July, had to reinstate and now I am on a slow taper. This entire ordeal is pure h*ll, isn't it?  I can tell you that healing does happen.  It's torture, but you will improve. 


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scallywag, Thanks for your encouragements.


Rachel, Thanks for visiting my thread.  The reason I connected with the painting The Scream is because I can't scream or yell even if I wanted to.  I have severe speech impairment thanks to cymbalta.  I'd really have to force myself to scream or yell if I wanted to.  It's not persistent though it comes and goes.  


I feel like I've come a very long way thus far.  I've seen a lot of symptoms get better and a lot of symptoms have left me as well.  Even a micro level improvement gives me so much hope.  I am yet to see any hope in the tinnitus department as of yet.  Constant non stop 24/7 brain numbing tinnitus.  I've read so many threads here of those that have suffered from it and I'm pretty sure that once you develop tinnitus in your withdrawal you suffer from it till the very end of recovery.  But still theres got to be some kind of improvement even a small micro improvement but NO.  A lot of people are able to ignore it but I somehow can't seem to.  I tolerated nerve pain much better than tinnitus.  I know I b**** about it way too much and it doesn't help.  Tried to welcome it, ignore it, accept it but all have failed so far.

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WhySSRIs - i just read your thread and was wondering if you still have panic attacks / original symptoms . While you were on medication did you go into therapy to learn how to deal with them ? I was also put on medications due to panic attacks thus my question

Thank you and hope all is well

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I haven't had anxiety or panic attack ever since I entered withdrawal.  I could be wrong but it's probably my severe physical symptoms masking them for now.  I read a lot of post and it seems that once physical symptoms are gone the original condition do come back with a vengeance.  Still have long ways to find out.  I was in therapy for a good two years or so while I was on meds.  Sadly therapy didn't help one bit.  I'd gladly trade my tinnitus for anxiety and panic attack any day now.

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I am sorry your Tinutus is bad . I actually just got it too. For about 3 weeks I have this ringing in my ears so annoying but I would not trade it for anxiety / panic . That terrifies me I know yo are not suppose to fight it and just let it be . My ear ringing is very noticeable at night and in the morning during the day not as bad as I have noises around me which distract if .

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For therapy did you try CBT ? I went to a few sessions a while back and thought that was helpful . Going to a therapist just to talk did not really help . It was nice to let out my feelings but as far as helping panic it did not . I really hope you T gets better mine is mild compared to yours I cannot even imagine . My ears also feel clogged . All these symptoms so crazy how our bodies get affected . 6 months is a long time and it is great you are pushing through .

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Once my original symptom of anxiety and panic comes back I'll give CBT a try.  I'm so sorry that you developed tinnitus.  Each of these symptoms has its own special place in hell.  I just could not continue my life on meds anymore and I'm determined to see this till the end.  Just hope this raging T goes back to tolerable levels is all that I ask.

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