Life after quitting antidepressants- how has it been for you? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-28-2008, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been on antidepressants for about 5 years, first celexa and for the last 3 and 1.2 years zoloft. I never suffered from severe depression, and was never suicidal. I always had a tendency toward mild depression and that together with pms related lows and some difficult life changes at the time I decided to start on antidepressants.

A few months ago I started tapering off and about 1 or 2 months ago stopped completely. I don't feel depressed, not quite, but my emotions are definitely different than they have been in the last years. I feel like I am reacquainting myself with an old me and learning about all these feelings that I had mostly forgotten about. It feels like on antidepressants I had a safety net so that if I got sad I only got sad to a certain point and usually no more, and was able to bounce back very easily and quickly (I was able to feel very sad but only when something really bad happened).

Now I can feel very sad very quickly and for the littlest things sometimes. I've cried (a lot) just seeing someone cry, and I've cried thinking about something very happy. I don't know how to deal with it!

I am confused! I feel like I need to relearn myself all over, and look for new skills and coping mechanisms that can help me with my lows. ( I quickly run for the chocolate and that isn't great in the long run!). I think seeing a counselor right now would help but I don't have insurance.

I would love to hear from mamas here that have been in similar situations how it felt to be off of antidepressants and the things that helped with emotions and moods.
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#2 of 8 Old 10-28-2008, 11:05 AM
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This is tough. There are a lot of things that you can do to try to regulate your emotions yourself, like reminding yourself to keep things in perspective, keeping stress in check so that you don't get overwhelmed, and making sure that you're dealing with your emotions appropriately so that they don't build up. I agree that seeing a counselor would help you identify what you could be doing better, and I hope that you at least had a chance to speak with one years ago when you first started on antidepressants, because meds only fix part of the problem. Hopefully you had some good discussions then and were able to incorporate some changes in your thought patterns, etc.

Even with these behaviors, there will still be times where you feel down or up, and that's ok. That's part of life. If you feel like it's out of control or that it's not normal, then you should probably seek professional help to determine what the next step is. The extreme emotions is actually my first symptom that my depression is coming back.

Good luck.

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#3 of 8 Old 10-28-2008, 03:12 PM
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I was on prozac for a year. I eventually got off because what had seemed like insurmountable problems to me at the time suddenly didn't seem to matter anymore (in hindsight, that was probably the prozac working ).

Like you, I felt like I *could* feel sadness, I just didn't really feel a depth of sadness I was used to when on prozac. I don't remember crying (with the exclusion of therapy sessions, I cried every time I walked in the poor man's office!) when I was taking medication, but I did feel sadness occasionally.

When I quit, and still today, I do feel like I'm still getting to know myself again. I just try trust my emotions. If I feel like I need to cry, then I do. I talk to my DH a lot about why I feel like crying, and he lets me cry. If I get too hysterical he stops me and we talk about how I can feel better (make something? go for a walk? am I hungry? take a nap? tea?). I also find though, that my feelings of joy are intensified as well! Sometimes I'm looking at the autumn colors, or the sky, or flowers on my walk home and I just feel like the world is SO beautiful that I might burst.

I am also on the lookout, and so is DH, for signs that I might need help again. And I think it's important to recognize that while we're fine now, one day we might need some *help* again to get through the dark days. Part of my problem when I first came off was every time I felt sad, I felt like a failure. DH reminded me that sadness is an emotion, and feeling it is okay.

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#4 of 8 Old 11-02-2008, 11:43 PM
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This is interesting. I have wondered about this too. I'm on meds (was on Prozac, switching now to Wellbutrin) and kind of wonder if I have to be on them for the rest of my life. Not sure. I've always had mood problems (depression and anxiety). The thing is that without meds I feel so much more, yes, but also more sadness and.......anger/rage (this is the reason I went on meds in the first place after I had dd1). Now that I'm tapering off Prozac and switching to Wellbutrin, I feel like a part of myself (like a sharpness to physical sensations and an edge to my thinking) is coming back, but so is more irritability and anger. :

It's exhausting to have to reinvent yourself all the time, to keep working to improve. But what's the alternative?

Good luck to you OP

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#5 of 8 Old 11-03-2008, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guys for all your thoughtful replies.

Here I am continuing to reinvent myself

It still feels weird but it seems that maybe I am getting used to it a little. I feel like I have to watch over myself closely and learn how different things affect me. For instance I have to keep a close eye on my period because that is when I always used to feel more depressed, and I have to keep an eye out for dark and overcast days, especially now that winter is coming. I also am trying to analyze my thinking and feeling patterns, to try to understand what upsets me. Sometimes it's hard to know what is making me upset and it takes some investigating (conversations with loved ones help a lot!) but when I figure it out I always feel much better.

Physically I am also feeling differences. I get tired very easily and want to lay down and rest a lot. I always have been a tired kind of person, I think maybe the antidepressants were making me feel more energized? I wonder what that is all about, and it gets me a bit worried because wanting to sleep all the time is symptom of depression for me. On the positive side me libido is back!

Being outside and getting some fresh air and exercise help, but it's hard to do when I feel like taking a nap! I also want to do some yoga which will help with mood and energy but again comes the tiredness and laziness! Also I am trying to be more social, to go visit friends.

I feel more alive, before I was in a haze where I didn't feel a lot of sadness but I also didn't care very passionately for my life either. It's like before my life was "well, whatever..." and now it's both "yeah!" and "crap!"
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#6 of 8 Old 03-11-2014, 01:19 AM
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I am not off meds yet.  I tried to get completely off once, but I was crying and emotional over everything .  I left my meds at home and was visiting my daughter.   I cried over an argument she had with her daughter which was very unimportant.  so when i got home i started back on the antidepressants.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-23-2014, 02:32 PM
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Like to join, thanks.
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#8 of 8 Old 06-17-2014, 11:53 PM
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I hope you all continue to make progress. I have been suffering from severe anxiety, depression, insomnia and panic attacks over 3 years but never tried antidepressants. It has been a possiblilty to try them in the back of my mind. My fears of them are to great because my mom had severe issues with them, but others I know seem to function good on them. The problem I seem to have is when people go on them they hardly ever get off them. This thread is interesting to me because I have wondered if people can have normal happy lives again after coming of these drugs? Can I ask why everyone decided to come off them? I pray for all of you to feel better, but it sure is a struggle.
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