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Confused about my personality when getting off the antidepressant meds

C

cautiouslyoptimistic

New member
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
2
I've taken antidepressants for depression/anxiety for 10 years. Now, trying to get off my meds makes me confused because I've taken them so long that I don't even know who I am. I have no depression anymore. It only comes as a result of anxiety. But when I try to get off the meds, I feel stuck because I develop phobias and anxiety that forces me to take the meds again because I get depressed about it. What should I do? It's a never-ending cycle that is ruining my life. I want to join the military one day but these meds are disqualifying! Thanks for your input!

More info for context:
I've taken antidepressant medications since I was barely 15 years old -- a freshman in high school. Now that I'm almost 25, and largely over depression, I have tried unsuccessfully twice to get off antidepressants completely. But it seems when I taper off, phobias I've never had appear (fear of riding in elevators, or flying in airplanes, or being easy to be startled), I can't make everyday decisions (it stresses me out to think if I want to go to this store or that one, hang out with friends or read a book, etc.) and I just feel tired and uninhibited.

But that's not me!! That's not who I am at the core. Or at least, I don't think it's me, and it's not who I was at the core -- before the meds. I think back to the "glory days" of being an innocent 15-year-old with the world ahead of me and no experience at all with antidepressants. I never had the fear of flying (my first jetliner flight was when I was 14 and I loved it) and I was so good in school at handling homework pressures. But now I seem to have developed GAD when I was in high school, a little OCD when I turned into a young adult, and now a full-fledged anxiety disorder when I get off the meds completely. The longest I have been off the antidepressants is 3 months, and during that time I was just a stresswad with no patience for others or myself and I had a hard time falling asleep. No sign of depression though, which was my original purpose for taking the meds 10 years ago!

My meds history:
  • Dec 00 - Paxil (made me gain weight, didn't calm stress, had to drop out of school)
  • Jan 01 - Wellbutrin (to ease depression) + Trazodone (to help me sleep) - made me gain weight but felt happier, went back to school
  • Dec 03 - Tricyclics like Parnate (couldn't eat cheese, made me really fat, made depression worse because I thought how pathetic it was I had to take cheese off everything. I tried to "commit suicide by eating a cheese pizza." I didn't go through with it because as it sat there on my table, I thought, if I'm going to go down in this life by eating a cheese pizza, it had better be a good one, and this one looks like it tastes crappy. So I just laughed and threw it away.
  • March 04 - Zoloft (for depression) + Tradozone (for sleep because I found out ANY SSRI makes me insomniatic. I lost ALL the weight that I gained on the previous meds since Paxil (about 60 pounds, plus then some, and I felt the best I had in years. I also graduated high school two months later.)
  • Sept 07 - Effexor (for anxiety) + Trazodone (for sleep) Effexor really helped me feel as good as Zoloft before, but it was so hard if I missed a dose. It scared me that I was "addicted" to antidepressants
  • Dec 07 - Lexapro (for anxiety + depression) + Trazodone (for sleep) Lexapro makes me gain weight and not care about my actions
Other medicines I've tried before:
  • BuSpar for a short while for anxiety. Didn't have an effect of me
  • Gabapentin instead of trazodone to help with insomnia side effects of SSRIs. But it made me hallucinate and took 2 hours to kick in.
  • Xanax at times to spot-treat anxiety during tough life moments. But it was never a long-term solution.
Thanks so much for your input and suggestions!
 
R

Roger Waldram

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Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
900
Location
33540 Caumont, Gironde, FRANCE
Hi,
My advice to anyone coming off drugs is: slowly & under medical advice. Here's a link to an excellent site with further advice- http://www.comingoff.com/ . With any new drug our body will adapt to it slowly so come off slowly to give your body the chance to adapt to a lower dose (almost so it doesn't notice!). Good idea to seek informed therapy or use good friends for extra support during the process-exercise, meditation & having a 'fierce & tender regard for your self' will all help.
Some fascinating & helpful stuff in 'The Neuroscience of Relationships' by Cozolino. He suggests as a concept just as we have neural synapses in our brain that communicate so also we can choose healthy social synapses with people, animals & objects etc.. I love writing with a favourite pen, love my wife & my dog & my football team & the fans forum so choose things-any thing that you enjoy & lifts your spirits. Healthy relationships are really important as is a place of sanctuary for peace & quiet.
Keep your dreams & take the small steps to begin to realise them-good luck & make your own luck-all the best Roger
 
C

cautiouslyoptimistic

New member
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
2
Thanks Roger. I'm checking out that site now. I've tapered slowly enough where I didn't have the usual "electrical shock" sensations some people get when coming off, but I still have fatigue, don't-care-about-anythingness and these strange phobias I never had before I ever took medication at 15. Any other suggestions?
 
R

Roger Waldram

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
900
Location
33540 Caumont, Gironde, FRANCE
Hi CO (if I may shorten your name), Daniel Stern wrote about RIGs (Repetitive Interrelational Groupings) or in english(!) how we understand the world thro' sight, sound, taste, touch, smell memory-groupings. Thus with trauma the experience may be memory-triggered by just a smell etc from that time in the past so we feel again as we did then e.g. I had enforced ECT in a psych hospital when 20 so my ability to think clearly is adversely affected, when I go to one for a meeting or conference-if I'm driving need the sat-nav, my body remembers & tries to avoid!
The point is there will be meaning in your strange phobias & your being tired & switched off as you come off the meds. Hence the need for informed face-to-face support at this time-a good friend or therapist who will walk alongside at this time-maybe someone who has done it-a kind of expert through experience...the good books by Peter Lehmann will help-written by survivors but try & find someone to accompany you, All the best, Roger.
 
K

kathleen1963

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Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Messages
1
hi just red your message.this is new to me not that good with computer anyway.i have sufferd with anxiety and depression,for 7 yearswos on prozac,my dr said as i have been on it so long on and of give me new medican sertraline been onfor 6 weeks.makes me feel sick all the time so he said try mirtapine but did say may give me nightmares.i dont sleep that good anyway.have you tried any of this medicans if so could you give some advice thanks kath
 
R

Roger Waldram

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2008
Messages
900
Location
33540 Caumont, Gironde, FRANCE
Dear Kath,
In the 60's I was given Largactil & am on nothing now-only insulin-4 injections per day (only just under the skin-so they don't hurt!)-had that for 46 years pretty good at the insulin blood-sugar balance (rarely get tripped up). Don't have personal experience of your meds. However, when we're anxious or depressed the prescribed medication works on our neuro-transmitters or receivers (sort of brain signals) to lift us up or calm us down so we're more level & can hopefully function better. They keep us in the middle ground of feeling-no highs or lows.
Our bodies are wonderful bits of kit & will adjust to whatever happens around us so with losses and stress we get anxious or depressed or crazy-hence the meds. When we take meds our body will adjust again over time. So when we change, adjust, reduce or stop meds we need to do this s-l-o-w-ly so our body can adjust again hopefully with minimum symptoms. If you look at my original reply there's a link to a great site with help for drug changes-just click on the blue link & you'll be there. Here's a link to an excellent book by service users-they tell it like it is-& it can be hairy & very unpleasant unfortunately. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-Psyc...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275421246&sr=8-1
Best of luck,
Roger
 
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