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Iggy131313

Success: Recovery From Protracted Zoloft Withdrawal and PSSD

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Hi All, I have permission from this guy to post this here, This chap took 4.5 years to feel fully recovered from what was TRULY a severe w/d, he is fine now. 

From Lossleader:

 

Even I recovered in the end...
I used to post here years ago - I don't know if there's anyone still around who would remember me, but basically I turned up at the start of 2006 at the beginning of an almighty sertraline withdrawal (which had already been going on for a few months) and then spent the next couple of years going through the wringer. I don't need to go into the details of this, as I'm sure you all know exactly what I mean, but I had a pretty horrific time of it... there were people here who'd had it worse than me, but I think I was probably in the top 5% in terms of how difficult I found it, and how long my symptoms lasted. A really, really horrible period of my life which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Whatever you're going through right now, there's a good chance I had it too, and for a very, very long time. Seriously... it was grim.

Anyway, I'm just dropping back in for two reasons. Firstly, I sort of vanished from the site once I started to feel better and I wanted to come back and say thanks properly to the folks who helped me out at the time. So thanks - this place helped me out a lot.

Secondly, I can remember that when I was going through withdrawal myself, it was always good to hear from people who'd had it really bad and recovered... so here I am. I still have depression, sure. I have moderate anxiety issues and a whole cornucopia of hang-ups which make my life less than totally wonderful. But I don't think there's a single major problem in my life right now which I can point to and say "that's lingering withdrawal, right there" - and that's been the case for several years now.

Now... I've been off SSRIs for seven years, so that might not sound like much of a boast. But I was convinced I'd never recover. A year after stopping the pills, I would regularly find myself thrashing around on the floor screaming and howling; two years after that I was still in hell. I'm naturally a pretty pessimistic guy (like a lot of people with depression, I guess) and sometimes it was impossible to see any light at the end of the tunnel. I began thinking that the only reason I hadn't ended it all was that I didn't have the guts. And anyone who's been there will know that it's a pretty scary place to be, mentally.

Years after coming off, I still had PSSD. For someone like me, who'd always been what we in Britain call a randy git (and this hadn't been affected at all by a high dose of SSRIs) that was a big problem. My sex drive was still strong... the problem was, my mind was writing cheques my body couldn't cash. Erections were unreliable - though not completely gone - but the worst thing was the horrific premature ejaculation. It was like being a teenage virgin again... I could get started, but then seconds later... oh dear. To the guys here who are having problems even getting that far, that may sound not so bad, but trust me - it really is. Orgasms were almost totally pleasureless, of course. This went on for years. Just when my confidence needed a boost, it got the biggest kicking imaginable... and life's greatest pleasure was gone.

And while all this was going on, my life itself decided to go badly wrong. I haven't even got the time to list all the disasters and general "challenging" events from that period, but let's just say that even without the withdrawal it would have been a very difficult time indeed. As it was... I still don't know how I made it through.

But I did. I hung on, and eventually I got better. I'm not religious, I'm not into meditation or anything like that, I don't believe in any kind of alternative medicine and I'm even slightly dubious about the benefits of therapy (at least for myself - I'm sure it works great for others). I'm not what you'd call a positive thinker. I don't have great willpower, either (currently giving up smoking, years too late, and it's an absolute nightmare!). I found a couple of doctors who were sympathetic, but none who had anything useful to say, let alone anything useful they could do.

What I'm saying is, I went through one of the longest, hardest withdrawals and post-withdrawal periods I've ever heard of; I was totally unprepared for it, very badly suited to it, and unless you count the forum, I had nothing in my life to help me through. And somehow, I managed to beat it. What does this prove? Well, it proves one thing for a start: if a loser like me can do it, so can you.

The recovery was slow and painful, but I became conscious of every little improvement as it happened. I got used to the pattern: something would get better for a while, then suddenly everything would swing right back and all that recovery would vanish. But I learnt the trick - once something had recovered temporarily, it was only a matter of time before it recovered permanently. It made no difference if it came back for a while... it had already revealed its weakness, and sooner or later it was going to be gone for good. That was true in every single case.

I spent a while "pampering" myself, when things were really bad. If I was incapable of doing anything that day, I did nothing. Sure, I lost a lot of time I'll never get back... but what was the alternative? Then, when I had a good day, I'd grasp it with both hands and get as much done as I could - so when things got bad again I had some kind of achievement to point to, something to remind me that it wasn't always like this, and wasn't always going to be.

The PSSD was probably the last thing to go. It can last a horribly long time, I'm afraid. But once it's gone, believe me - you're so glad to be fixed, the joy drowns out any bitterness! Again it was a slow process, with lots of gradual improvements followed by depressing relapses, but after a while it was obvious that things were starting to change... and they did. Eventually, everything fell back into place. I'm 40 now, and I have a well-functioning sex life which is more affected by the fact that I was a smoker until a fortnight ago than it is by anything to do with SSRIs. I lost four or five years of my sex life, which doesn't fill me with joy. But I got it back, and it feels good, and ultimately that's what matters.

These days, I'm basically just a guy with moderate depression and anxiety... more or less what I was before I ever touched an antidepressant. Right back where I started, after going through a nightmare - that's pretty depressing, right? Well, not really. I coped with full-on nightmarish withdrawal, so now I find I can cope with depression. Things are a LOT easier than they were five or six years ago, and I made it through that - so making it through this is a piece of cake by comparison. No, I don't feel great every day. Yes, I feel a bit exhausted still by everything I went through. And yes, I can see little ways in which the whole experience damaged me: I certainly can't be the hard-living guy I was in my younger days, that's for sure. But I'm capable of enjoying things now, and looking to the future with a bit of hope again. It's all behind me now, that horror... and at last, everything's up to me. I'm not at the mercy of crazy bubbling brain chemistry with a life of its own any more. It's all up to me again - and that's the most important thing in the world.

And all I have to say to anyone who's currently going through long-term, heavy withdrawal symptoms: just hang on. You don't have to do anything... just hang on. So long as you don't let it beat you, in the end this stuff will just melt away. It really will. There'll be a bit of mental "tidying up" to do afterwards, as though a hurricane has passed through your house. But you'll be so glad you survived, so glad to see the blue skies again, you won't care too much about that. If it ever seems like everything's hopeless... well, it's not. It's really not. Honestly, it's simple as that.

Good luck to everyone. You'll get there in the end.
__________________

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!!!!!!!!!

 

So happy to hear Lossleader has recovered. For many years, he was beyond gloomy.

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Hes a great guy and he suffered very badly, he said he saw alot of improvements before the 4.5 year mark but it was then that he felt normal again..yeah he had a terrible time....he told me to hold my nerve, he said ''hold your nerve for long enough and all this will go away, it really will''

 

That message from him kept me going for at least 2 weeks!

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In fact I will post a passge from his most recent email to me....of course you have to remember that Loss had depression before he started on ssris and still does now, but for those of us who were put on them for other reasons (like I was for a physical illness) I hope we wont have any lasting depression...

 

 

As regards being healed - yeah, I think I am, although that doesn't mean I'm a bundle of joy. The point is, I'm back to being me, with all my own issues and problems, rather than a load of artificial SSRI-induced ones, and this is definitely better. I do have more anxiety than I used to (though much, MUCH less than in withdrawal - I mean, it's not even remotely in the same league as four years ago or whatever, never mind the first year off). Possibly that's a long-term effect of being on antidepressants so long, but having come through so much I'm strong enough to deal with that thought now... I mean, how I feel now is so much better than how I felt before, it's like being on a different planet. I don't really get free-floating anxiety any more, either - it's more about actual stuff in my life. This is better, obviously, because at least I can respond to it constructively, by trying to fix the stuff...

 

I'd say the main lingering thing from w/d is mental exhaustion from years of that crap - I still get stressed out very easily, I need a lot of sleep, I feel a bit gloomy about having lost a few years, things like that. There's no point pretending that's not the case. But my God, I'm just a completely different person from the gibbering wreck I was after coming off SSRIs. Issues like this are just NOTHING compared to what you're putting up with right now. But if you put up with them long enough, they'll go away. They really will. It's just a matter of holding your nerve and waiting for the next improvement, until eventually you turn the corner and you know you're finally on the mend.

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Great posts, Iggy. Thank you.

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Please convey to LL my regards. There are a number of old-timers here who will be happy to hear he's doing so well.

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Fair play to this fella for posting this, I'm 2.5 years in, only 2 to go!

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That's very encouraging.

 

Hope for us all. Thanks for sharing.

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I do remember LossLeader. God Bless him. There are two things he said that resonate with me.

 

PSSD I took that to mean Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from WD. Is that right? I have it.

It is the fear of ever feeling like that again - and - having anxiety or a bit of depression, and it feels like the end of the world because it was so bad at one time.

 

When a symptom passes, it's gone.

 

Thanks for posting.

 

Hugs

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No, LL was troubled by PSSD -- Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction.

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Bumping for newbies -- everyone should read this!

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It's amazing what people can fully recover from. It's helpful to know that going in, that it is worth it in the end.

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Needed to see that!!

 

Thank you!

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Thanks for posting this.

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sorry just to say again, that this is not charlys story, this is lossleader, so need another swift title change!! 

 

not critising at all, just pointing it out is all...also of course its better because both carly G and Lossleader have made full recoveries!!!

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maybe a btter title would be

 

severe zoloft protracted withdrawal - recovery - must read

 

I should have called it that when I posted it

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How's this, Iggy?

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Thank you so much, Iggy, 

 

for posting Loss' story!

 

It is very encouraging and reassuring reading, and I happen to be reading it on a bad day, so it was just what I needed.

 

I think it is so nice of him to care so much about other people trying to recover from AD withdrawal and actually make a point of telling everybody his recovery story. Although not perfect, as the states himself, it must definitely be deemed a success story.

 

It certainly brightens my day :)

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great stuff and everyone is most welcome, I know the desperation for success stories. I feel very lost

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This is soooo inspiring! Thank you soooo much for sharing?

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Wow, this story truly is something to cling to- I love it. :)

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I do remember LossLeader. God Bless him. There are two things he said that resonate with me.PSSD I took that to mean Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from WD. Is that right? I have it.It is the fear of ever feeling like that again - and - having anxiety or a bit of depression, and it feels like the end of the world because it was so bad at one time.When a symptom passes, it's gone.Thanks for posting.Hugs

 

 

While PSSD is post ssri sexual dsyfunction...ptsd post traumatic stress disorder ... are two different things I think you can get them both from cold turkey... cause I have had them both ... according to shrinks... ptsd was the dx after I quit some previous drugs cold turkey.. each in turn 

severer reaction to proac quit after two wks.. lasted at least two years ... I was medicated out of it by amitriptyline... leading to zoloft...leading to paxil ... quit them all cold turkey ... and ended up on the next drug before too long after the quitting paxil ct... I got the ptsd dx. and was put on Effexor and celexa.. quit the celexa ... staying on Effexor.. ct E 5 years 7 months ago. 

Sexual dysfunction can run a range for women.. I am female. 

No feeling absolutely numb sex organs including breast.  

I think that stayed at least 3 years gradually improving on a hit and miss basis.. don't check to see no partner.  At this point I can feel but rarely bother as when I do I have discovered Orgasm headaches... intense pain like my head will explode as soon as the orgasm starts... now I had the orgasm that did not feel much most of the time I was on Effexor but I would choose that to this as this one thing that may turn me off sex forever.

 

Loss Leader was at pp... I was a bit confused there for a minute as I know this site was not here in 2006... I remember him. glad he is doing well.

7 years for him and Charlie both... oh my I am almost there and I am going to feel like a complete failure if I can't pull of some healing magic in the next year and a half.  

There were times I was sure I was dying but I did not die... I have to admit I am a bit surprised by that.. I am not done either.  LL does mention he had set backs during his withdrawal he does not say what they were.. I wish he had. I have had setbacks too.. I would like to know what he has overcome... cause I wonder if this going to keep me from that magical  7 year fan fare of being healed...

Just another day in paradise...

I am grateful for the amount of healing I have now when I look back at the first year... I think the word is grateful... ya grateful to my body for surviving and to those who helped me along the way.. forums and in real life.

I am also angry about the way my life has been affected... there is this 5.5 years sure but there are also the 18 years drugged before...all for pain in my leg which I have to this day. I am damaged I know that.  Worse than the damage to my personal self is the damage to my family... to see your child suffer because of the effects a drug has had on your life is something a mother does not take lightly.  My inability to be helpful to him now still bothers me. The loss of financial security at time when I am ready to retire will eat at me thru these supposed golden years... should I reach that 7 year mark and be freed like the rest.  

I doubt this will be over for me and pharma.

I know I am weak I can't touch them but I will try to keep people off these drugs... I will try to tell them how bad they are as long as I can as long as I am alive.

Sadly if the past is any indication most won't believe me and take them anyway.  

Now that I think about it that is not much to aspire to for an entire life time... maybe I will rethink this at the 7 year mark.

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This is a great story, and gives hope to the long termers.

I am now at 70 months, so close to 6 years and still not recovered, though there is absolutely a lot of progression.

I feel I have entered some plateau phase again so look forwrd to the next phase of recovery from protacted WD. I really REALLY hope that (almost) complete recovery is possible for all of us, albeit a very long term process.

 

I will definately post my story when I feel recovered. If I will recover, I am sure anybody will.

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This is a great story, and gives hope to the long termers.

I am now at 70 months, so close to 6 years and still not recovered, though there is absolutely a lot of progression.

I feel I have entered some plateau phase again so look forwrd to the next phase of recovery from protacted WD. I really REALLY hope that (almost) complete recovery is possible for all of us, albeit a very long term process.

 

I will definately post my story when I feel recovered. If I will recover, I am sure anybody will.

You are one month ahead of me how very interesting...I quit Nov 18 2007 wishing you healing... and peace.

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I am glad I read this just now. I am so happy for him that he got to the other side of all this. I am sad though that it took as long as I did and that scares me, but it seems he remained mindful and patient and hopeful.

 

I had a horrible day post my cymbalta cut down - cessation, and then reinstatement experiment. I truly felt sick as a dog with a major headache and it was the loneliest feeling in the world. I am 47 and I wish I was doing this when I was younger. I worry it is too late for me. By the time I am OK, I will be what? 54?

 

But I will be 54 anyway and maybe some better life still awaits me. I don't know. At least I haven't let myself go totally down the tubes physically over all these meds, but I've Lost SO much time and I get really really down about it at times. But maybe if I have to wait a long time yet to find some true mental homeostasis as much as possible, then it's still worth it to hang in there and get through this.

 

I went to a metro park tonight and laid down on the grass and felt the earth for a while. That was a help. I kept asking whatever power that might be at all for any help. On my drive home in the dark, I got the message that I need to come home and read the success stories. They truly are helpful at this point.

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This is soooo inspiring! Thank you soooo much for sharing!!!

Edited by JanCarol
clean up HTML

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I'm so glad I read this, I continue to worry about never ending symtoms. But I've read that the body regenerates most cells in 7 years. I don't know how true it really is. But there are signs of progress when I look for them.

I still worry about the effect on 5ht-7 receptors that the inactivating antagonist risperidone has done to me. But I have hopes for the resilience of the body and neuro plasticity. Creating new synaptic connections as I grow.

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Iam so glad to read this story!! I realise many things will change in life while going thru this but i soo want to be good in the end, i pray everyday ( even tho i dont really believe in any god) i just pray (if there is anyone out there who can hear me) that i will be recovered one day. I can for sure handle depression, up and downs and so on , but everything else hard to handle :(

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Thanks for posting this again- gives hope to all of us :)

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This is a great story, and gives hope to the long termers.

I am now at 70 months, so close to 6 years and still not recovered, though there is absolutely a lot of progression.

I feel I have entered some plateau phase again so look forwrd to the next phase of recovery from protacted WD. I really REALLY hope that (almost) complete recovery is possible for all of us, albeit a very long term process.

 

I will definately post my story when I feel recovered. If I will recover, I am sure anybody will.

You are one month ahead of me how very interesting...I quit Nov 18 2007 wishing you healing... and peace.

 

Is my face red... yes it is... I thought I was 7 years off the drugs... and I am not it is going on 7 now... if I had not read this post I would have thought I was in my 7th year... so much for my cognitive abilities.. yep they are hit and miss but the fact that I did not see this for months is really ... makes me lose confidence in myself... but can't get stuck there too long it is not like I did not know I have issues with my mind I know this... I just can't accept it. I make a lot of mistakes some days cannot make a batch of muffins like today with destroying the kitchen ... but other days I am almost normal... for a time. 

I hope I am getting better tho some days if feels progressive. :(

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Thank you, Silver Star.  This read came for me just in time, I am off the meds for 7 months and am experiencing bouts of depression, anxiety, mood swings, and writing those checks that my body cant handle cashing.  Support helps, but not everyone understands, therefore Ive lost a tremendous amount of people from my life, but then again, just as you said- things get bad (losing people) then the sun comes out and you realize that theres good at the end of the tunnel (they weren't worth keeping around anyway).   Anyway, thanks for the great read- you are not alone and either are we.  Bless you and Good Luck in the future..  Hugs to you..

 

Maggs Mayhem

Pristiqe

Zoloft

Wellbutrin

Xanax

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Hi, Maggie! Please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you.

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Thank loss leader for his update iggy please, did you used to be on pp as well?

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Thanks for posting this and especially for highlighting that part in red. It is nice to hear that when we experience those glorious moments of returned function of some sort & it disappears as soon as it appeared that there is a documented case/ example of that function returning for good eventually. 

 

That knowledge fells very wonderful.

 

Thanks again!

 

RU :)

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Wonderful to read Lossleader's story and update. New here, now 2.8 years post withdrawal 200 mg Zoloft and a few other drugs. Healing is happening for me too.  Windows and waves. Steadily increasing energy. 

 

Wishing all on this thread continued healing. Many thanks again.

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Iggy, I tried writing you a personal message but it wouldn't let me send it. I think your box is full. I have a question for you if you wouldn't mind writing me?

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