Simon's Story (Mirtazapine)

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I’ve been on here a few weeks now and contributed to many a post about the drug Mirtazapine and thought it was about time I told my whole story to try and help others.  First thank you to everyone on here who has replied to me or posted their own bits.  It all helps.


I’m not sure where to begin or where the beginning actually is to be honest.  Maybe it was back in 1999 when I was having problems and first went on anti depressant’s had counseling and was a mess after being blamed for someone else’s suicide.  I turned to alcohol had two attempts at suicide myself.  They tried me on all sorts of anti depressants and the only one that worked was valium.  I say I got through it then by meeting my now wife.  She gave me more meaning and a reason so live than any drug or therapy session ever did.  However 16 years later I’m back on anti depressants.  Or I was and this is where the story actually begins.


Back in March one morning I couldn’t get up I was so tired.  I had no energy and chest pains.  I had been walking to work 3.5 miles everyday but now I was struggling to do 100 yards.  I changed my diet, cut down on crap and booze and still nothing.  Bad chest pains all day long and although I was breathing fine I didn’t feel like I was getting the benefits of oxygen.  So I went to see my local GP.  They first put me in with the head nurse at the practice.  She sent me for blood tests, lung and respiratory tests and what ever else she could think of.  Everything checked out fine.  I had the best lungs they had ever seen!  But still I was tired and struggling with breathing.  So she referred me to the Dr who said I was stressed and carrying the stress in my chest.  He told me to crack on and get over it basically.  Well at least I wasn’t dead so after making more life style changes, this time to my business which I know had been stressing me out I tried to move on.  I even had a hypnotherapy session and stress relieving massages to try and help.  But nothing. 


Come September I went back to my Dr and explained I was no better and going on holiday in a weeks time and could he give me something to pep me up for the trip.  He put me on Sertraline a common anti depressant and one the wifes on for her panic attacks.  Four days after taking it I woke in the middle of the night in a right state of panic.  My mind was racing uncontrollably, I was shaking with fear and had no idea what was going off.  It was the worst thing ever and those of you reading this that have experienced it will know what I mean.  I wanted to come off the drugs as I was convinced it was the Sertraline that had caused it as I had not ever had this sort of problem before going on them.  But my wife told me to stay on them as the Sertraline was to stop her having panic attacks.  So I did but they continued every night and on into the morning sometimes lasting hours.  I couldn’t get into see the Dr as it was the weekend and we was going on holiday Sunday night.  I told the wife I couldn’t go.  I was in a right negative place, all I could think about was not being able to get in the taxi, clinging onto the door or freaking out on the plane as soon as they closed the door.  I’m an ex Para so I’ve flown all over the world, jumped out of planes, been shot at, blown up and all sorts of scary sh*it that didn’t bother me till now.  The wife was in a right state.  She was crying and saying we had to go, we wasn’t wasting our money etc.  So I had to man up and begged so valium off a mate to get me on the plane.  I stayed awake all night before we set off and again all night in the hotel at the airport.  The panic attacks only happened at night so I was scarred to sleep.  In the airport I took the valium and calmed down, got on the plane and flew to Las Vegas.  We checked into the hotel and I thought that’s it we are here now, together, safe and the business is shut down for two weeks so no worries.  We went straight to bed and fell asleep.  I woke in the early ours again in a state with the same old song going over and over in my head.  The song was from 1989 called ‘Nothing ever Happens” nothing changes at all, the needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along as before and we’ll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow.

This and other thoughts where driving me mad.  I went downstairs to the hotel lobby and asked if they had a doctor.  They  didn’t and all they could offer was a first aider.  I needed help and said who I was and where I was from and that I was going to walk out into the road if I didn’t get help.  At that point security grabbed me and to cut a long story short I ended up in a local mental hospital in Las Vegas on a green 72.  Three days on strong drugs that made me just want to sleep.  It was great apart from the food.  I was eventually released into the wifes care and given valium to get me through.  Not enough though as I had to go cold turkey and couldn’t get no more unless I paid $1000 for a doctor to come out an see me and he would have to put me on the next flight home.  So I had to struggle on.  I had already ruined the holiday and didn’t want to make things worse.  It was very hard.  The panic attacks in the night had stopped but I was on edge all the time with anxiety.


Back home I managed to see my GP straight away and told him the story.  I had stopped taking the Sertraline whilst I was over there so he put me on Amitriptyline.  The next day I went into a violent shaking fit.  I was on my own and couldn’t even open the door to get help for some time.  Eventually I got help and the Dr said I was one of the unlucky people who have bad reactions to the SSRI family of drugs.  So they put me on Mirtrazapine.  This was supposed to help me sleep and calm me down and stop the anxiety.  I couldn’t sleep, was having suicidal thoughts and was feeling no better but was told by a friend who was on it to stick with it as it could take four weeks to kick in.  So I stuck it out till week five when I was to see a NHS shrink.  By now I was feeling worse than ever with anxiety.  I was anxious all day and after a crap nights sleep as soon as I woke up I had to get straight up and occupy my mind or I would lay in bed and destroy myself mentally.  In the whole five weeks I only had one good day when I went out and had a laugh and a joke with the lads, but later that night sitting watching TV within seconds I was a total wreck.  Nothing was working and the Mirt seemed to just make things worse.  I saw the NHS shrink and he put me on Venlafaxine but I had to have tests before I could go on that as theres a strong history of heart problems in my family.  I came off the Mirt and tried the Venlafaxine.  Only took the one tablet and that led to worse than ever side effects with me struggling to breath as my throat was swollen shut.  So the Drs told me to stick with the Mirt and double my dose to one 15mg tablet in the morning and one at night.  I was also told I had GAD general anxiety disorder and that’s what I was being treated for.  This was by the HNS shrink that spent twenty minute with me and didn’t even want to talk about medication.  So I tried the double dose and next day felt so crap all day I missed my mornings dose.  (Footnote, I’m feeling ill as I type this now just thinking about it all).  So that night instead of taking a 15mg Mirt I halved my dose to see what that would do.  For the next few days I felt wonderfull.  Really great and back to my old self.  Then I started to feel anxious through the day again so I decided to quit the Mirt all together.  Again for a few days I felt great.  Then I started to feel sick in the morning and anxious as the day went on.  This always eased by about mid afternoon.  I had by now a good supply of valium and fell back onto it a couple of times.  One day I took two 5mg tablets just to get me through.  I was having up and down days with the morning being bad and afternoons tolerable.  By day eight I was still feeling sh*t and tried another drug they prescribed me Trazodone 50mg.  I think they put horses down with this stuff.  I hated it and the next day I was having the worse suicidal thoughts ever.  Planning to the last detail how to do it but finding fault with every method.  I’ve tried every option on the NHS to get therapy or some sort of counseling but the earliest date I have is the 13th April.  By which time I could be dead.  So I went to see a private shrink a few days ago.  She sat and talked for 2 hours as a free assessment and has diagnosed me as having had a mental break down.  Shes going to work with me without drugs to get better. Fingers crossed.  Today is day 14 off the Mirt.  This morning I woke up feeling fine and went down hill, then ok and then down hill again.  The last three days have really been mixed and a struggle.  I’m at my whits end now and trying so hard to stay off any medication and just telling myself its “JUST IN MY MIND” (JIMM).  This does help but only when I’m busy.  That’s one of the reasons for typing all this up, to stay busy. I’m not sure how much is the withdrawal symptoms of coming off Mirt or even one of the other many drugs I’ve been on.  My last valium was 28 hours ago so maybe its that and not the Mirt.  I’m told by my pharmacist that Mirt only stays in your system for a couple of days and as I was only on it for five weeks it cant be withdrawal symptoms still.  I’m haning in there but only just.

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  • Posted

    So sorry to read of the trouble you are having. Doctors are so quick to prescribe these types of medication....they're also quick to have you jump from one med to another without ever considering withdrawl.  I went to my family doctor because I was having some shaking, crying spells and feeling like I couldn't breathe. Dr said GAD (most likely due to perimenopause)

    I started on Mirt in 2013. 15mg then up to 30mg after about 2 months. It was awful! I was so groggy in the morning I couldn't function and had to sleep again as soon as my kids were off to school. Wasting my days. Went back to my doctor and he decided to have me stop Mirt (cold turkey) and start Welbutrin. OMG.....WORST two days of my life. Non stop crying, shaking, no sleep, sweating. Started Welbutrin on a Thursday morning and was on the phone with the pharmacy Saturday morning. I went back on Mirt but only 15mg. I've been on Mirt (15mg) for 3 years now and I'm doing pretty good.

    I've learned that we really have to educate ourselves on these types of medications. I've discovered that MANY doctors will prescribe anti depressants to women suffering symtoms of perimenopause rather than actually treat hormones. Crazy right!?

    I've finally realized that what I was experiencing with the Wellbutrin was more than lkely withdrawl of Mirt and nothing to do with Welbutrin. I see the same thing with my brother and his doctor is constantly trying him on different meds. It's no wonder they can't find the right one with the constant ups and downs of withdrawls!

    My psychiatrist told me that the lower doses of Mirt are actually more sedating than the 30mg and 45mg doses, which means when someone takes 30+mg at night they are not getting into the deep REMsleep our bodies need so we wake up feeling vey very tired. I thought that was very valuable information and looked it up. Seems to be true!

    I know that my body cannot tolerate more than 15mg of Mirt. I'm not afraid to tell my shrink "No thanks" to suggestions of increasing doses. He's suggested switching meds but after I read up on them I said no thanks and he respects that.


    It did take me a few months when I 1st started Mirt before I really felt better. I'm not sure how long I'll be on Mirt, but for now it's working. I do know that if and when I come off it, it will be a long and slow process for my sake!

    Hope you can find something that works for you!

    • Posted

      Really appreciate seeing this post - just to read that someone has settled on 15mg Mirt, it took a while before it was really effective and you've been on it for some time as it is working  is a 'breath of fresh air'. For someone who has just started on the drug and reading on these forums of all the side effects and bad experiences taking and withdrawing, your post has given me some hope. Thank you so much
    • Posted

      You're welcome! Not every med works for everyone, I do have moments of anxiety, but for the most part I'm good and leading my normal life. Pretty sure my hormones are a BIG factor in all this so looking into that too. Hang in there!
  • Posted

    Hi Si. Sorry to hear you've had such an awful time, I can definitely relate to it perfectly. I do agree that a lot of your symptoms can be put down to the changing to different medications, start up and withdrawal symptoms. If only we knew this at the time! I'm a 48 year old female, this is my short history.

    My recent history started in March last year. I suffered a 'nervous breakdown' following marriage problems, since resolved. I was put on 20mg Fluoxetine which made me worse for 8 weeks, extreme anxiety, lost 10 kilos, and even suicidal. Eventually I began to feel much better, but very 'vague' so thinking I was all better, stupidly did a fast taper of a month and was completely off them by end of July.

    Feeling wonderful then 'bam' at the beginning of September back down again (which I only now realise was fluoxetine withdrawal). Dr put me on 50mg Sertraline this time. Terrible terrible anxiety, weight loss again, nearly got checked into a psychiatric hospital, nearly lost my job, I had no idea what was going on with me for 8 weeks. I had an appt with a young female psychiatrist beginning of November. She was lovely. After lots of discussion, as I was so sceptical, I started straight on 30mg Mirtazapine. It was instant, after 1 groggy weekend I was feeling sooo much better. She kept me on the Sertraline as well, but down to 25mg (with the option to stop it). I will stay on this combination for a good 6 months to stabilise. It is such a relief to feel normal again.

    I have now educated myself a bit more about these drugs, the slow 10% taper, withdrawal side effects etc. In hindsight I should have just gone back on the fluoxetine probably. My plan (eventually) is to do a very slow taper off the sertraline (following the 10% rule), see how I go on just the Mirt and then possibly do the same with the Mirt. But for now I am just enjoying feeling normal, although putting on weightwink.

    I agree these drugs have a lot to answer for but they can also literally be a life saver. I am not sure why so many people seem to be on less than 30mg Mirt as my psychiatrist explicitly told me not to start on less than this for anxiety/depression. One thing I am grateful for and that is that I didn't get hooked on benzodiazepines.

    I hope this helps anyone in any way. I am very interested to see how people go with Mirt and in particular anyone who is on the combination with Sertraline and hoping to taper.

    Thanx Jean smile

  • Posted

    Day 16 off the Mirt.

    Yesterday was a good day.  No bad thoughts, managed to stay in bed a little longer and throughout the day I felt OK.  Not normal just OK.  I managed to drive and occupy my mind.  Only had one slight off moment but that soon past.  The feelings I have are extreme hot sweats all over my body.  They start in my arms and then all over me in seconds if I don't do something else.  If I'm in bed i get up and go somewhere cool.  Today as I lay in bed with the old Mel & Kim song respectable going over in my head on loop I remembered a stream that ran through the farm where I lived.  I started to trace this from its end to beginning to give my mind something to do.  You have to find something that helps.

    • Posted


      great to see your update. Can you recall how long after stopping mirt, did you get your first withdrawal symptoms? Day 1 for me and nothing yet :-)

      calm before the storm and all that lol! ♥

    • Posted

      I actually don't think all the symptoms people are having are all withdrawal.  Yes I will get slated for saying that but as going on one drug can be a placeebo (sorry my PC has stopped spell checking) coming off a drug can also make you think and panic because the safety cusion has been taken away.  I too am having problems but i'm being positive and saying its just the fact the problem I have is not fixed yet and wont be for a while.  But I wont say i'm having withdrawal symptoms. I'm being positive.  For the first few days I was having terrible morning sickness.  That is withdrawal, but once thats gone maybe by day 4 the drugs are out of your system.  They only have a shelf life in the body of 100 hours.
    • Posted

      Thank you si

      that's really interesting. 100hrs is doable if that's the worst of WD timeline. lol!

      how are you feeling now? Better than earlier today?

      No symptoms with me yet and how wonderful it would be to get none! How long did your down time last today?

      Sorry so many questions but this cold turkey fear keeps me in suspense! ♥

    • Posted

      I went 4 days in complete freedom and then it started.  Feeling sick and suicidal thoughts.  But this was just in the mornings.  As the day got longer I got better so by midday I was feeling Ok and actually feeling guilty for feeling OK.  I found getting up straight away and just occupying my mind on the PC helped
    • Posted

      Thank you si

      your information is truly helpful to me. I find myself feeling tireder than usual bit other than that ok. Good to know that you can get better as the day goes on when WD kicks in. That's something I will hold on to!

      Wishing you the best of evenings xx

    • Posted

      That's lovely to hear, Si!  You are doing a great job of self-care, finding ways of distracting from the unpleasantness being one of them.  I think part of the suffering in withdrawal is self-generated through obsessing over the experience, so anything that can be done to distract away from those thoughts is good and I think brings us out of the wave sooner :-)
  • Posted

    Dam this illness.  An hours ago I was ok now my roller coaster ride is heading down hill fast, or is it up hill slow?  I felt OK as you can read in my post about an hour ago.  Now I'm on edge, sick feeling in my throat and stomach and just want to take a valium and go back to bed.  Or should I take 2, 3 or 4 so that I can sleep and maybe never wake up or pray I wake up happy.  Don't worry I'm not going to do anything or thats what my therapist says as my planning to end it all always has a flaw in it.  So all I'm doing is crying out for help.  This is what we all must do, cry for help and make sure we get it.
    • Posted

      Bless you, praying for you now♥ hope you start feeling a bit better soon xx
  • Posted

    Another thing thats helping me a lot espcially in the morning is writing notes on my day and my feelings / thoughts.  I don't read them though, well not normally but todays where a little dark

    12th Jan

    Had nearly 8 hours sleep. Only woke a few times and got back to sleep quickly.

    I'm not sure what my mood is as I wake. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with thoughts and a Mel & Kim song 'Respectable' in my head. So I stay in bed and think about a stream that ran through the farms fields where i was raised. Odd that stream has been in my thoughts a lot lately. I decide to trace it in my mind from end to beginning. The stream ends as it falls from a mini water fall into the river Don. Theres a weer there, which is noisey and I find this very scary. Always have so I don't dwell in that area and move quickly up the stream. I'm amazed at how much I can remember. Its twists and turns, where the cows could get to it to drink, sandy banks, deep areas and more scary areas. Maybe this represents my minds journey. The dark over grown areas are the scary ones. The sandy banks, wide parts and parts without barbwire are the nice parts. I remember areas where I fished and played, where we made dams and had happy times. Thne I start to loose the ability to concentrate. It around a area of the stream where it runs next to the road. Here is where I saw my first dead body or three. I watched a woman and baby be cut from a car after a lorry load of steel had come off and crushed their car. I sat in a field hidden by the darkness eating a sandwich watching. A few yards further down the road by the stream a motorcyclist lost control and hit a wall killing him. I can't remember if I saw that body. But its strange how its this part of the stream that turns my head black, black johhny, black. Thats all I can see now BLACK, so I have to get up.

  • Posted

    Well it's day 21 pff the Mirt. Day 20 was great, I felt good all day and laughed a few times. I'm sure you'll all agree we don't laugh when on Mirt. It's another emotion that the drug sucks out of you. Feel asleep early last night just after 9 whilst watching TV in bed. Woke at 10:30 but managed to get back to sleep. Then woke again and again with the worst time being between 2 and about 4:30 when I just couldn't sleep. I felt fine not even tired so want worried at all by the lack of sleep.  Then I woke just after 6 and felt so sick and shaky. I tried to get back to sleep but felt like I wanted to throw up so had to get up for a while just in case. I was shaking violently for a few seconds every few minutes as well. I let the cats out and watched them in the snow, all confused as one of them has never seen snow before. Standing in the cold of the open door and watching helped me take my mind off feeling sick. I went back to bed only to feel sick again so I took some anti sickness pills and a Diazepam. This made me sleep again for a little over an hour.  Woke shaking and thinking about my planned move and all the stress that's going to cause. That's not helping my condition I know. 
    • Posted

      Oh si

      so sorry to hear you are having a rough start to the day. Hope you get some relief as the day goes on. Like you I had a poor nights sleep. We are getting there si, can you remind me, how long was tyou on mirt for before stopping? I worked out mine was six weeks not five as I first thought. Don't know if length of time comes into play? Thinking of you x

    • Posted

      I thought I'd got rid of the morning sickness.  I think in my current state any other illness even a common cold could put me over the edge.  Its really a thin line at the moment.  I was on Mirt for 5 weeks total, then tried Venafaxline 2 doese and Tramozone 1 dose.
    • Posted

      We are very similar in our time frames! I stopped citalopram on the 20th Dec and doses ranged from 10 and ending on 40mg. 2 weeks prior to that i was taking both cit and mirt! Before just taking mirt. Think I might have some residue withdrawal from that too! Started off well today, now angry In the pit of my stomach! Diazepam time! Hope you start feeling better ♥
    • Posted

      Try and use the Diazepam as a last resort. Or you'll be stuck on that next. I know what it's like though as many a time I feel like taking the max amount and vegging out all day. 
    • Posted

      Hi si

      you are very right. I ended up taking 2X2 2mg and 1X 5mg yesterday. Today I have taken 1X 2mg so far. Just so peed off with feeling this way and fed up with the tears on top! so hope I get a window of relief sometime today. How about you? Any improvement? ♥

    • Posted

      Hi Lorraine,

      Yes getting better though the day but still not great like I was yesterday.  I'm on my own for nearly 24 hours today and the first time since Christmas so maybe thats got something to do with it. I seem to always have a bda day after a glass or rather half bottle of wine.  I stopped drinking in October and just have the odd on now and as said seem to always feel ill the next day.  Its not like a hangover feeling it just morning sickness and that ruins the rest of the day for me.  Ive been lazy today, just sat watching Breaking Bad all afternoon.  Will stay up late tonight and fingers crossed sleep.

    • Posted


      well done stopping regular drinking. It's not an easy feat!

      I have a prediction! Tomorrow will be a good day for us!

      Hope breaking bad us good? My son goes on about that one! I can't seem to focus on tuning in to TV today...doing too much googling on side effects and duration of withdrawals! No clear average length of time!

      God bless x

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