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  1. I was given 20 mg of Prozac back in 1997 for depression. I was still technically a minor back then. I had an initial "high" from the Prozac which was mistaken for me not being depressed anymore. A few months later, Prozac stopped working and I had completely lost my sexual functioning. I told my doctor about this, so I was switched to Effexor. I kept on being switched from medication to medication in an attempt to achieve the initial "high" of the Prozac and to reverse the sexual functioning but things just got worse. One day I was put on a medication called Wellbutrin and that caused a manic episode from the first dose which caused me to have to be put into an inpatient facility. I was now switched from just being depressed to having bipolar disorder. I was put on Depakote which stopped the manic episode. Depakote caused me a lot of suffering, so I decided to cold turkey the medication about 6 months later. This led to another inpatient hospitalization and now I was polydrugged with Depakote and Zyprexa. This was the first polydrug combination I was on. This combination of medications was even worse because I was sleeping at least 16 hours a day. After another 6 months or so, I cold turkeyed both of these medications and that led to another inpatient hospitalization. I was fortunate in some ways to have the Zyprexa removed and be able to function somewhat ok on just Depakote and now Klonopin. I stayed on Depakote for years but my sexual issues were never solved and I had a lot of other side effects from Depakote such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease like symptoms. In around 2005, I discovered the first person who had described the same sexual issues I experienced. It was called Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction. I discovered forums similar to this one, and consumed books by people like Dr. Breggin. In 2007, I was able to successfully withdraw safely from all medications by switching over to lithium and valium and using a compound pharmacy to taper down. I felt a lot better and recovered from some of the damages caused by the medications. I began social drinking in 2008 because I felt like I missed out on such a big part of my life. About 6 months later, I completely lost my ability to sleep probably due to the alcohol damaging what the benzos had already damaged. I was forced into a state psych ward and given a diagnosis of bipolar NOS, psychosis, anxiety etc. After 3 or 4 months in the state psych ward, I left on a combination of Depakote ER and Ativan. I had to eventually updose the Depakote ER and switch to Klonopin again. So for the last 3 years or so, I've been on 1250 mg of Depakote ER and 3 mg of Klonopin. While I am not suffering nearly as much as I did when I was bombarded with antipsychotics like Haldol and Geodon, life isn't nearly as good as I know it could be. That's why I want to get help in coming off of the Depakote ER and Klonopin safely. My confidence level is a bit low because I feel like I may be damaged beyond repair due to being on dozens of psychiatric medications and due to the past experience with insomnia I freak out when I cannot sleep and that is what is happening now. I started to taper off of Depakote ER on 11/24/2014 and I'm on 750 mg Depakote ER now and 3 mg of Klonopin. That's my intro but I'm not sure what to do next...
  2. Okay, I am a newbie to posting online and have spent the last 2 months searching Google since this happened to me, so please bear with me if this seems a bit long. I just want to get my story out there so people can see what has happened to me and offer any possible advice. In October 2017, My GP put me on Lamictal for mood and 22.5mg Restoril for sleep. I have been on Restoril since 11/2016 roughly. At the time I had a diagnosis of BP2. My pdoc at the time 2 weeks later switched me from Lamictal to Lithium by tapering the Lamictal from 150 mg to 100mg then 50mg every three days, he felt it would be more effective. I went up to a dose of 1200mg of Lithium but it made me sick so we moved down to 900mg, which seemed to be effective. He added Latuda 40mg but it made me irritable, so he switched that to 5mg Abilify in 12/2017, no taper from the Latuda. That combo seemed to work for a while but then I felt emotionally blunted and numb, so my pdoc then lowered the dose to 2.5mg. I felt better so I then (stupidly) quit CT the Abilify in May of this year. At the same time he also tapered me off of Lithium which I was scheduled to stop taking on 6/27 due to constant diarrhea. He then prescribed me Klonopin for anxiety. I started feeling too high from it and was feeling depressed, so about a week and a half later was put on Lexapro. The Lexapro made me feel extremely sleepy and out of it, took from 6/18/28-6/21/18, stopped taking. Pdoc then switched me to Effexor XR 37.5mg on 6/22/18, felt extremely depressed and anxious, did not take Klonopin or Valium. I had little to not appetite and was not very talkative. 6/25-6/28/18 Felt much lest depressed, better than I had in the past month, taking Klonopin as needed for anxiety. Stopped the Effexor today and the Lithium. Started Paxil 10mg the same day. At this point still taking 22.5mg Restoril. I noticed since I started the Lexapro and stopped, I had been getting 3-4 hours sleep and started to feel thirsty. When I started Paxil on 6/29, it was at night and I woke up several times and had stomach cramps. Still had a stomach ache the next morning and felt depressed. Depression and brain fog got worse over next few days, the dose was increased to 20mg after 5 days. I would wake up with sweats in the middle of the night so on 7/4 at the advice of my pdoc covering on-call doc I stopped the Paxil because I became suicidal. At this point as of 7/8 all I was on was on Restoril for sleep. I noticed tinnitus and felt extremely anxious and regular stress almost gave me a panic attack. At this point I was having the following symptoms: Tinnitus, anxiety, depression, insomnia, feeling thirsty and dehydrated, heart palpitations, brain fog, stress intolerance. Restoril seemed to have no effect now. Pdoc prescribed me Ativan for anxiety and I told him I want to taper off of Restoril since not working any more. He advised me to taper by taking 22.5mg 3 days, then 15mg 4 days, 7.5mg 3 days, then stop. He also prescribed Mirtazapine 7.5mg for sleep. I noticed the Ativan raised my heart rate. On 7/16, as I started to doze off I got a brain zap. Ever since this day I never get sleepy and have TOTAL insomnia, can never fall asleep on my own without some kind of medication. Noticed increased palpitations and severe dehydration. Hands and feet sweating. On 7/18 I had a tingling sensation in my brain and then blurred vision in my right eye. I also noticed a weird smell of some kind of chemical or paint on 7/19. On 7/21 they advised me to switch from Trazodone to Mirtazapine 7.5mg for sleep again and also take Lunesta 3mg if needed (prescribed by a sleep specialist). Still not getting sleep. Now at this point I notice blurred vision and loss of appetite. On 7/24 my pdoc wanted to put me on Zyprexa for sleep but I refused. He prescribed Lorazepam to take as needed for anxiety. On 7/25 high blood pressure, then after then went back down to normal. At this point I feel like I am dying. My sleep specialist tells me to try cognitive behavioral therapy. (Yeah right, Been there, done that!) 7/27-7/30 I had been taking Lunesta for sleep and Ativan for anxiety (pdoc switched again because Lorazepam was not working), but sleep doc said long taper not needed to get off Ativan, withdrawals are psychological and not physical nothing will happen to me if I do not sleep and I don’t have to worry about withdrawals. 7/31 had muscle jerks when going to bed. Lunesta stopped working so GP said try Hydroxyzine and then Trazadone again if Hydroxyzine doesn't work. Of course this did not work, so my pdoc put me on Ambien CR 6.25mg and 1500mg Depakote as a mood stabilizer. I tried this for a few days and still had trouble sleeping, getting 2-3 hours. GP Prescribed Seroquel for sleep. Took 8/16-8/17, 50mg and 25mg respectively, and did not sleep for more than 1-2 hours. Now I am seeing a NEW pdoc, she has me tapering off of the 50mg Seroquel, taking 10mg Doxepin at night, 5-15mg Melatonin as needed, I am still on the 1500mg Depakote. I have totally gotten off of then Ativan by tapering using diazepam. Each day I feel like I am worse than the day before. I am trying to figure out where I go from here.... stay on the current dose of Seroquel and try to reinstate the drug that may have caused the HORRIBLE withdrawals and total insomnia I am experiencing now (either Abilify or Paxil), or follow my new pdoc advice and taper the Seroquel and see how it goes (whilst adding the doxepin and Melatonin, breaking the keep it simple rule)? I am desperate and totally sleep deprived and getting worse by the day, which is why at this point I think she is just trying to get me to sleep. I even have an EEG next week to check for problems there. Thanks for reading. Kevie
  3. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  4. I've been meaning to introduce myself for a while now, but getting myself to sit down and actually write something has been so incredibly hard. I just can't focus. Things I want to say or share come in bits and pieces and are gone by the time I can get on this site. I'very been tapering off Lexapro since August and am down to 10 mg fromy 30. I know it's faster than suggested here, but it seems to be OK. Well, I am still alive anyway. Since I can only seem to put together short thoughts on everything and need to get them out right away, I've decided to use Twitter primarily #TweetingMyRecovery. My handle is @AbleWriterSays if anyone cares to join me or follow along.
  5. I am writing this as an addendum to My Story which details what ADs did to my life and discusses to a degree how I got my life back. However, I am writing this to elaborate on what certain problems where posed both physically and logistically after I stopped taking medications. Please keep in mind that I went COLD TURKEY and did not taper, which differentiates me from many people on here; also my story took place over 10 years ago, so my memory is not is 100% clear which means it is hard for me to apply a quantitative number to aspects of my physical recovery. In 2002 I quit cold turkey from a drug cocktail that included an Antidepressant (Celexa), an Antipsychotic (Zyprexa), an Anticonvulsant (Depakote), a Benzo (Ativan), a Z-Drug (Ambien) and a prescription diet pill (Phenteramine – given to me by my pdoc to lose the 60 pounds of weight I gained from the other weight gaining medications). The physical ramifications of quitting cold turkey where hard core, and lasted to the best of my recollection in hard core form for six months. These were: insomnia, exhaustion, akathesia, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting, total loss of appetite and over-sensitivity to certain substances. There were also mental symptoms: overwhelming memories, mania, depression, over-emotional reactions to certain situations (e.g. crying or extreme anger) and PTSD from the whole ordeal. It is important to note that many of these symptoms continued to linger in a much lesser form for several years. I know that many of you would like a firm number of how long I suffered, but I cannot put a number on it because I started my recovery in 2002 – 10 years ago. This is further complicated by the fact that to get through the exhaustion from WD, I smoked cigarettes anywhere from one to one and a half packs for many years after. Since smoking can mimic some of the symptoms of WD (loss of appetite, headaches, mania, anger) it is hard to delineate what was what. However, I do believe that smoking provided mental focus that I would not have had otherwise. I finally quit smoking in 2007, five years after stopping meds. It was an odd thing, I just stopped one day and no longer wanted to smoke anymore. Maybe this was a sign of my recovery, but it may also have been a reaction to the fact that because of NY laws and my husband, if I needed to smoke I had to go outside. Smoking outside in the rain or cold was getting stupid. I do believe that part of this was a sign of final recovery – I didn’t need to mask symptoms anymore. So if this is true, and I had to put a number on it – I would say I battled with minor symptoms and PTSD for five years So what problems was I left with after drugs had stolen my life? And how did I regain control? Here is a list: Weight Gain A ruined job history A ruined credit history from filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Over $20K in debt to the IRS plus two tax liens PTSD Estrangement from my family I was fully aware of the PTSD, and would think on occasion of reaching out to a therapist. However, because the whole ordeal left me extremely suspicious of the whole field of mental health, I declined to reach out to anyone. So based on this list, I will try to tackle how I recovered in each area: 1) Weight Gain: I lost my appetite during WD and I also became a huge walker. In one year I lost sixty pounds with little effort. I did eat, but I ate very small meals, 200 kcal 3-5 times a day, mostly high protein and I ate an apple a day and I drank a TON of herbal tea. 2) A ruined job history: I had been fired from three high paying jobs, all in IT. I had no references, a job gap of four years, but I had good computer and office skills so I reached out to temporary agencies. I worked as a temp for many years, in the NY/NJ area only taking jobs at Fortune 500 companies. I built up my resume this way. Today, I list those jobs as “contract” and I explain that I liked the flexibility of “contract work” and that I was in the process of getting married and building a home with my husband, no one questions it. 3) A ruined credit history: I got a copy of all three of my credit reports and joined a credit law forum. I found that there were many examples where creditors where breaking either or both the FCRA or FDCPA laws on my credit report. I also hired an attorney. The attorney got 50% of it cleared up, I got the other 50% cleared up myself by tenacious letter writing and disputing with the Credit Bureaus. The forum I used had a great database of creditors who gave people with Bankruptcy on their reports a card with a small credit line; I applied to all of these and rebuilt my credit this way. When I married my husband in 2005, he added me as an authorized user to his accounts, giving me a longer and stronger credit history. 4) Tax Debt and Liens: After hiding from the IRS for several years, I contacted them and got on an installment plan. Because I was not working at the time I called them, my payment amount was on $185 for $20K+ in debt. I paid it faithfully for years; in October 2011 I was paid in full. Because the IRS has a law that you cannot pay more than 25% in interest and penalties of the actual tax debt, a good $10K got knocked off the total bill. But I still had two tax liens on my credit report. I did some research and found out about a service called the Tax Advocate service which is run through the IRS. I contacted my local Tax Advocate. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the details of how I argued my case to get two tax liens released, but I did and in 2005 poof they were gone from my life and my credit report. If anyone needs more info, I would be happy to answer questions later in this post. 5) PSTD: I just endured this, but chose to embrace anger over victimhood. I was one extremely angry person for many years and I ruminated and had nightmares for years. I often thought about writing the SHRINK who did this to me, but refrained. One thing that I learned from this whole ordeal was to trust in my instincts which was empowering and allowed me to pick and chose my relationships with people and situations that were good for me. I let go of many friends who were not healthy for me. 6) Estrangement from my family: In 2003 I was estranged from my entire family (father, mother and brother). Today I am by choice still estranged from by father and brother. This is because I realize it is futile to ever expect them to change and to stay in relationship with them will only hurt me. I have however, repaired my relationship with my mother. I am extremely happy to share that six months ago I convinced her to move from Illinois to New York and reclaim her life. She tapered off multiple pmeds herself around 2007 and was left with two medical conditions diabetes and downbeat nystagmus from taking lithium and depakote for many years. She lived alone, my brother who lived close by was not helping her, and she was not getting the proper medical attention so she agreed with me. Today she lives 2 miles away from me, we are extremely close and I have helped her get her life back. My husband and she adore each other. So that is how I put the pieces of my life back after being devastated by polypharmacy. And I joined this forum because I think it is important that people know that taking these medications can be extremely harmful on so many levels. I hope this information helps someone out there. Please feel free to post any questions you may have. I wish all of you the best and trust that if I could restore my life which was utterly devastated by psychiatry, you can too.
  6. MOD NOTE: Info on Deanxit From: http://buddymd.com/side-effects-deanxit-flupentixol-melitracen Deanxit is made up of two components- flupentixol 0.5mg (or flupenthixol, an antipsychotic) and melitracen 10mg (a tricyclic antidepressant) _______________________________ 5 months ago I went off of the drug Deanxit. I was on it for 4-5 years abd decided to go off because I read it was only for shoet term use and banned in many countries. I started tapering slowly and found I was getting dizzy so talked to my Doctor... she advised that I could go cold turkey!! Mistake of a lifetime and an idiot doctor! I ended up in the ER with awful symptoms.. a neurologist put me on Depokine, which Ive tapered from the past few months and am off fully for 8 days. Basically my life was turned upside down! I have multiple withdrawal symptoms that continue daily, I had to quit my 7 years of being a teacher and my life feels like it is on hold. My most dramatic symptoms daily are dizzy all the time, tingling and burning in arms, legs, face etc., weakness, shortness of breath and I'm very sensitive to anything I eat or vitamins. I have a long list of problems... . . . .Ive read over and over that only TIME can heal the damage to my nerves. It has been exhausting. . . I can only pray this doesn't go on forever. 5 months is a long time . . . I think I have withdrawal syndrome. 2 doctors have tried to put me on yet another pill for anxiety but I don't want to go through this mess AGAIN!
  7. Hello all! I feel very happy to have found this place today! I am a 49 year old guy, single, not because of lack of women but because of the difficulty to keep a relation besides of being chemically castrated by psychiatric medications for 35 years in a row. Before dealing with my mental issues I was a very healthy guy, loved sports, had excellent grades and was very sociable and happy. I come from a very dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and a sex offender neighbor who abused me many times but I never told anyone. At that time of my life I could not realize that I had been traumatized by the sexual assaults of my neighbor, but because of a change in behavior, my mother knew something was going on with me. So she decided to take me to a Pediatric Psychiatrist and the Pandora's box jut opened. I was a living trauma and for the first time in my life I was medicated. It has been 35 years without having a normal, enjoyable life My whole health decayed big time in many aspects. During treatments I developed: diabetes, hypercholesterol, hypertriglyceridemia, cardiovascular disease, whole body nerve damage, fibromyalgia, darkening and peeling of the skin in my legs, burning tongue syndrome, impotence and harsh tooth decay. I could be a 49 year old man but specialist doctors tell me that I am a high risk patient and that the situation of my physical health is the same as of an 85 year old man and that with all my health conditions, I could die anytime. It wasn't til last week that I decided to put an end to all of this, no matter how. I have used any single psychotropic medication, the old and the new and all of them are really bad for you but the FDA and the Big Pharma Industry want your money and will try you to keep on consuming their products. They don' really care if you feel good or not at all. I was feeling miserable, lying on bed for weeks because my body pains were so severe that I could not barely walk. Then, one day I started a research on psychiatric medications side effects in detail and I could relate to my state of physical health. So I made another research on how to withdraw from psychiatric medications but using natural supplements and that information has helped me big time. My current cocktail last week was Depakote 2,000mg Seroquel 800mg Efexxor 225mg Xanax 6mg Ambien 10mg Adderall XR 60mg Neurontin 1,600mg Estazolam 4mg I made a research of every single one, selected the hardest to eliminate, and decreased their dosages. Right now I am taking: Depakote 200mg Seroquel 200mg Efexxor 75mg Xanax 4mg Ambien 10mg Adderall XR 30mg Neurontin and Estazolam are history. It feels like kind of hell but this is my goal and I know I can accomplish it and at the end I will have the kind of life that I deserve. For next week I will keep on reducing dosages and going into "full time " natural supplementation with: Vitamin D, Chelated Magnesium, Turmeric, L-Carnitine, Vitamin E, Fish Oil, Vitamin C 1,000, Garlic, Ginckgo Biloba, Coenzime Q10, Flavonoids, Copper, Alpha LipoicAcid, B Complex and B-12 separately. Do your research for your own good. You were not born with all those meds and undesirable side effects, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! The information I posted is based on my own opinions and experiences and in NO way I instruct you to do the same, I just think that my history may inspire you in making things the better for you. Many blessings to all, HEMARO
  8. I am on Fetzima80 mg, Geodon 160 mg, Depacote 1000mg, Desaryl 600 mugs Klonapin4mg, Neurontin 1000 mg, Clonadine 25 mg, Percocet2 tabs/day and Tinzanadine 3 tabs/day plus meds forthyroid and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I feel like the meds are a major food group and I'm sick of taking so many meds I have been on this regiment for10 years. I need help on Howard whatto taper off first?
  9. MichaelWiseley

    Michael: What to taper first?

    Hello,my name is Michael.I would First like to thank everyone for having me.I hope this group can help with my tapering off of psych meds.I know to go slow and 1 at a time.I take Xanax 3mg,Cymbalta 60mg,and Depakote 1000mg daily.Which drug would be recommended to taper first.Any help or feedback is greatly appreciated
  10. Hi All! Just wanted to say I've been scouring this site for advice from people who have gone through tapering before, and have found the advice here invaluable. I wish I knew about it sooner because it would have saved me a lot of heartache. Here is my history: I had been an extremely anxious child, kind of a hypochondriac, and extremely sensitive. In 2000 when I was 15 years old I was diagnosed with major depression, and had some psychotic episodes (mostly paranoia). During this time, my parents gave me some of my dad's medications (I am not sure which ones) which may have exacerbated the situation. After two weeks, I started on 20 mg of Paxil and 25 mg of Seroquel in 2000. Tapered off of Seroquel quickly after a week or so, stayed on the 20 mg of Paxil until 2007. Cold turkey off of Paxil for 9 months - experienced a number of side effects - head zaps, mood swings, irrational behavior, hypomania. After 9 months, reinstated 20 mg of Paxil, was on 40 mg for a few weeks. Saw my Pdoc and she told me to go on 10 mg Paxil, 50 mg of Seroquel, and 250 mg of Depakote for my new bipolar diagnosis. I stayed on this until summer of 2014 when I tried weaning off of Paxil to 5mg. Within 2 or 3 months I started feeling hopeless and depressed even with the Seroquel and Depakote. Went to Pdoc, he told me my depression was returning, and so I reinstated to 10mg. In March of 2015, I switched from 10 mg of Paxil to 10 mg of Prozac by adding 10 mg of Prozac for 2 weeks, cutting down the Paxil to 5 mg in another two weeks, and then completely off the Paxil in another two weeks. I experienced some minor depression for a few days. I didn't know I was experiencing withdrawal at the time. In May of 2015, I weaned off the Depakote with a schedule from Pdoc from 250mg to 125 mg in two weeks, then off completely two weeks after that. I didn't experience any debilitating withdrawal symptoms with Depakote, except one day of diarrhea which could have also been food poisoning. On 9/9/15 I started tapering off of Seroquel from 50 mg to 25 mg which was my Pdoc's tapering schedule. The night of the cut, I immediately experienced insomnia and got a few hours of in and out sleep. After about 3 or 4 days I got a little bit more sleep and was feeling a lot sharper and less sluggish. I realized that the Seroquel was what was blunting my emotions and contributing to extreme apathy. I was also sleeping way too much and feeling groggy the next day. So when I went off of it, I felt amazing. After about 4 days, I cut the half into another half (12.5 mg), didn't get much sleep but still felt sharp, but experienced cold sweats. Some anxiety started to creep in as well. In my anxiety, I decided I wanted to get off completely, and so I didn't take it that night and had the worst insomnia I'd ever had. I slept for maybe 20 or 30 minutes. The next day I was having trouble regulating body temperature, had chills and sweats, and felt like all my nerve endings were raw and exposed. I reinstated to 12.5 mg and felt immediate relief in my withdrawal symptoms the next day. A couple of days on 12.5 mg wasn't cutting it, so I went back up to 25mg. I was beginning to feel extremely anxious and depressed in the morning, and had mini panic attacks during my lunch breaks at work. I decided to go back up to 35 mg, which is where I am now. 35 mg of Seroquel and 10 mg of Prozac. I am feeling pretty stable these past two days after reinstating the 35mg of Seroquel, still early morning disturbances and manageable levels of anxiety and depression in the morning. I usually feel much better by noon. I do still have dizziness and headaches as well. I am now 29 years old, have a 9-5 job, work out regularly (4-6 times a week), and am eating as well as I can. I am taking no supplements. This forum has been extremely helpful to me and was instrumental in my reinstating. I have often been too stubborn, thinking all my effort is going to waste, and end up suffering a lot. It is important to me to continue working and keep up with my social life and exercise. I know that it will contribute to my healing, along with prayer and knowing Jesus is beside me every step of the way. From the Slowness of Slow Tapers thread, I found a lot of encouragement to be patient and to hold until feeling stable. This is going to be a long and arduous journey, but I have hope that I will at least be on as little medication as possible, or none at all.
  11. In 2007 I was put on meds at 19 for depression. Then they decided I was bi-polar, the bi-polar where you are just really depressed. So from 2007 until November 2012 I was on a cocktail of meds. Three meds at a time. I was on abilify, wellbutrin, sequel ( only for two weeks because it made me extremely tired) Lamictal, Depakote, Effexor and so on. So what would happen is my psychiatrist would prescibe meds and I would feel better and didn't want to take them so I would stop or miss a lot of days. When I would go to see him I lied and said I was taking them and they didn't do anything so he would prescribe a different medication. It was always three at a time and I would stop or skip days of taking the medications. So this went on for 5 years. So in I believe July 2012 I was prescribed Effexor and was also on Lamictal and something else. So I was missing days as usual for months and in mid November 2012 I woke up and had this really weird detached feeling like I was in a dream, things weren't real. So I freaked out. I had been trying to get a hold of my psychiatrist and had learned within two weeks he unexpectedly retired and fled the country and no one could communicate with him. A few days later I stop the Effexor, Lamictal and whatever that drug was cold turkey. I didn't know what to do. Oh I forgot to mention, my leg went totally numb in August 2012. In early December 2012 I got double vision. So my family doctor sent me in for a MRI. I had an appointment in Cleveland on December 23rd 2012 and they diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. So I thought "this feeling" I had was caused by my ms. So in January 2013 I was put on zoloft, Lamictal and abilify. Later that summer 2013, I had a breakdown bc of being diagnosed with ms and was hospitalized. They changed my meds to abilify, zoloft and depokote, because I had been on them before. Then from that time to now I have switched meds. Zoloft was a constant and I tried, Topamax, and the invega and abilify shot. So for the past year, I have been on latuda 40mg and zoloft 200mg. I have started weening off. My doctor just started me on 20mg of Latuda to ween off. I am starting with Latuda and then zoloft. So I thought for years this feeling was due to my ms, but I am learning more and more it's most likely due to the on going meds I have been on. Hence why I am finally weening off and stopping! Can someone please give me any advice or info, thank you for any help. I was wondering if you think my derealization/ depersonalization is from the meds?? Will it go away after weening off these meds for good? Do you think it will take years to heal and get rid of this horrible dr/ dp? Is there anything else I can do to help myself go back to normal and get rid of this feeling for good? I will still be taking my ms medication which is Tecfidera. Please and input would be much appreciated, Thank You
  12. Hello! This is my intro post. Currently my brain is rather fuzzy due to withdrawal symptoms so I apologize if this post gets confusing or if I end up giving up before I've had a chance to share all the info that I need to. If I do, I'll come back and add info later. Feel free to ask me questions too! I'm a 32 (turning 33 next month) year old female from the Sacramento area of California. I'm a freelance graphic designer currently living with my boyfriend of 7 years. He's the primary bread winner of the household and we're currently not hurting too bad for money so I chose this time to go off of my medications. I'm also fortunate enough to have a very wonderful and loving support network of family and friends. I joined this site so that I have a place to talk about what I'm going through with people who have gone through it and are currently going through it. My support network is great, but there's only so many questions they can answer. I also don't want to cause any added stress to their lives. Here's my long and boring history with psych meds (note, my memory isn't that great, so dates may not be completely accurate)... Prescription and diagnoses history: I was prescribed Prozac for depression at around age 16 (1997), which made me incredibly manic and gave me hallucinations, so I was switched to Clomipramine shortly after that. I reacted badly to the Clomipramine as well, so they then switched me to Paxil. It was then suggested at around age 18 (1999) to my mother and I that I probably had bipolar disorder and so I was prescribed Lithium to take along with the Paxil. Between 1999 and 2002-ish, I continued on the Paxil, but my second medication changed a few times, from Lithium to Zyprexa to Depakote. The Zyprexa made me gain a LOT of weight. Around 2003 or 2004 I switched to Celexa because the Paxil was making me unable to cry or orgasm (sorry if TMI). I have since been on 20mg Celexa and 500mg (and later 250mg) Depakote daily from then until earlier this year. I've also been taking Lorazepam as needed (though not very frequently, maybe an average of one dose per week or so) since around 2001. Why I decided to go off of my meds: Well for one thing, I was an adolescent when they were prescribed to me and I'm now in my thirties. Also, doctors were handing these meds out like candy at that time (probably still are, I'm not sure, I don't have any kids of my own). I feel like my brain and body and metabolism have changed a lot since then. When I was first prescribed them, I was under 100lbs and when I started tapering I was 175 (I've lost 10lbs since tapering). I'm in a different place in my life as far as stability and mental state goes, and when I would start to think that I would have to be on these meds the rest of my life just to function, I got incredibly depressed at that thought. Also, there's a slight chance that I might want to have kids someday (still very unsure, but the remote chance is there), and I wouldn't want to be on these meds while pregnant or breastfeeding. I decided that I would go completely off of all meds, then re-evaluate. I don't want to ever go back on the meds, but I'd like to look into other treatments if needed. The counselor that my doctor has me see once a month says that based on my history, it doesn't sound like I ever was bipolar, but of course that remains to be seen. I personally think I was misdiagnosed. Depakote taper: I tapered off of the Depakote by skipping progressively more doses every few weeks until I felt worse on the days that I took the pill than I did on the off days. I have been completely off of Depakote since July of this year. The first two dose reductions were pretty rough. Mostly mood swings and headaches and lack of appetite. Going off completely from taking one 125mg pill every 4 days was pretty easy for me. Celexa taper: I started tapering the Celexa in mid August, starting by breaking my 20mg tablets in half (they're oval shaped and scored in the middle so that was easy). Then I started cutting the halves in half for my second reduction, which wasn't as easy. The first few weeks of each dose reduction were pretty rough. Symptoms included mood swings, irritability, rages, flu-like symptoms, chills, sweats, loss of appetite, food tasting different, difficulty digesting certain foods (greasy foods, red meat), inability to tolerate much alcohol or caffeine. I used to drink one to two cups of coffee per day, but I can now only handle up to a half of a cup or I get incredibly jittery and wired. But if I drink no coffee, I get bad headaches. Since this latest reduction (from 5mg to 0, which started on the 19th of October), my friend suggested switching to green tea. So far it's helping. My symptoms don't feel quite as bad after having a cup. So that brings me to now. As of today, I'm on day 9 of no Celexa. The first 2 days weren't too bad. The third day was manageable. The fourth day and every day since has been progressively worse. I've had flu-like symptoms most of the time. I'm not exactly getting the "brain zaps" that I would sometimes get if I missed a few doses before, but they're more like "brain twitches" I guess. Just slightly less jarring than brain zaps. If I lay really still, I can avoid them, but other than that they're pretty much constant. It's incredibly disorienting, so I can't drive at all. I'm constantly alternating between being too hot and too cold. Sometimes I feel like I have a fever, but it's only ever low grade when I take my temperature. My muscles are sore, I'm starting to get twitches that make my head kinda rotate to one side quickly. My jaw clenches tightly for no reason sometimes. I've been manic for the most part, wanting to do "ALL THE THINGS!" but my brain is too foggy to be able to deal with even some of the things. Loud noises are incredibly disorienting to me, it feels like my ears kind of clench up and my brain sort of "twangs". I have a hard time dealing with certain situations and I'm very quick to anger. I have to keep myself from snapping at people. I love my boyfriend very much, but I have a hard time dealing with him when he's home since I've started tapering. I feel the intense need for alone time, like I can't deal with people at all, even the ones I love the most. The past few days I've been having a hard time finding words when speaking (it's not too bad typing) and I get easily confused and my short term memory is horrible. I've been having incredibly vivid dreams with all senses very much in full effect, mostly dreams about mundane everyday stuff, so it's very hard to differentiate between what's really happened and what was a dream. My doctor has prescribed me benadryl to help me sleep, so I take that almost every night and I'm sure that's not helping with my symptoms. I've also had to take my Lorazepam more often to deal with the anxiety from the withdrawals. I think it's gonna be a long time before I can go completely off of that. Oh, and last night I had my first random crying spell, but I felt much better afterwards. Some things that help: Music, watching favorite TV shows on Netflix, indulging in my hobbies (art, archery, books, geeky fandom communities online), hanging out with my cat. Animals help me a lot. Sometimes I'll sit by the window and listen to the birds, or if I'm out and about I'll go to the pet store and look at the animals. Also meditation and stretching help a lot. And sensory stuff, like squishy stress balls or silly putty. I have 3 sets of bucky balls (little super strong ball magnets) that I play with sometimes and make shapes with, then squash. Wow! This got way longer than I had planned. I guess I had a lot to get off of my chest and I've got a kind of long history. Sorry if I put anyone to sleep. I'm looking forward to being a part of this community, helping anyone I can help, and reading about your experiences as well! I'm pretty drained now so I think I'll step away from the computer for a while, but I'll come back later to see if there are any replies and to read the other threads. Nice to meet y'all! -Stormy
  13. Hello everyone. I'm new to the group. I've been on lithium for more than 3 years. Lately, my memory loss has been worse, I've been having frequent nighttime awakening to go to the restroom because of the Lithium so over the past year my sleep has been off. I am exhausted and extremely frustrated that they pushed a label on me to begin with when I was finally discovering myself. In any case, I don't have a lot of support from my husband or psychiatrist and my psychiatrist is recommending that I switch to Depakote because of the side effects of the Lithium. So I know that in order to get off the medication without having a manic episode, I need to do it slowly and i obviously can't continue with lithium for that long. Do I introduce Depakote in the meantime and drug myself up with both until I get to a stable dose? Is Depakote hard to get off of? What do you recommend? I don't get it.. I had infections both times that I had a manic episode, plus both times I got my period in the hospital. Both times I was sleep deprived beforehand... and my psychiatrist even admitted to me that sleep deprivation causes people to lose some of their inhibitions. I was also going through profound transformations at the time and getting in touch with emotions and parts of myself that I hadn't allowed myself to be and what gives them the right to tell me I have bipolar when they can't even explain the physical/emotional components? Plus I have MTHFR (a genetic mutation) and some other sensitivities and deficiencies like anemia (not iron deficiency). Thank you. Looking forward to your input.
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