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moonboots posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHi all, first post on here... trying to balance providing enough detail without writing an essay. I asked for mirtazapine in July to help with sleep (I've been dealing with lots of prolonged, chronic stress in my life and it looks like I’ll soon be relocating for a new job after 2 years of unemployment). I took 15mg for a few weeks, but it was too much chemically (I already take 50mg quetiapine at night), so I dropped to 7.5mg Mirt, however, it's been affecting my memory (both meds target histamine receptors at low doses). I dropped to a 1/4 tablet a week last Monday and felt more energy, more emotionally in touch, improved sexual function but also very adrenalized. To complicate things further, I have strong anxiety around concussions/head trauma after experiencing post-concussion syndrome in 2015 and last Saturday, my headphones were playing up - I thoughtlessly gave them a quick slap while they were on my head. My anxiety exploded as I am very nervous about bumping/banging my head. I've felt worse this week - the main symptoms I've had have been irritability, anger and adrenaline rushes - these have much reduced. Wednesday was hell as I had dental work. I have fear of dentists anyway, but my cortisol was through the roof that afternoon. I remember hating humanity when my mouth was full of needles/dentist's drills - I've never experienced such as strong reaction in that situation before. Neuro-emotions? I'm now mainly mentally tired, feeling a bit depersonalised/detached with intermittent mild headache. Part of me is saying I'm experiencing brain-injury after effects of slapping my headphones, while the rational part is aware I started feeling very anxious/adrenalized before last weekend. I'm fairly sure this is all due to the 50% jump down from 7.5mg to 3.75, however, today I found myself stuttering when talking to a stranger, which did my brain injury fears no favour. Given that I've got a big move and new job coming up in 5-6 weeks - I don't have the luxury of time to ride out these symptoms and certainly don't want to attempt that feeling like I am now. The logical thing to do would be to re-instate 7.5mg and maybe try again in a few months at a much slower taper... It's just that 7.5mg Mirt + 50mg Quetiapine was turning me into a chemically-induced idiot with the memory of an 80 year-old, which is not a good look when starting a job that requires brain power. Any advice on what I've experienced and the best next steps?
I have been doing some research into the biology of anxiety. We're all here familiar with the cortisol spike and adrenaline, and how those biochemicals are key components of the anxiety we all feel during our recovery from antidepressant use. A friend put me on the trail of the limbic system - where these chemicals do some of their worst work. I did not know anything about the limbic system. Or why my spell-checker insists that I am spelling it wrong when I know that I am not. (Think of the spell checker as a metaphor for our damaged limbic system - it's lying to us). Here is a short definition of the limbic system: The primary structures within the limbic system include the amygdala, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, basal ganglia, and cingulate gyrus. The amygdala is the emotion center of the brain, while the hippocampus plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. Of key concern to us is the amygdala - that's where the "fight or flight" instinct is stimulated by cortisol and adrenaline. And ours are broken. Now, there is no medicine or supplement to heal the amygdala - or any other part of the limbic system (though it should be noted that the hippocampus can be stimulated by aromas, and some people have had success with aromatherapy; I myself use lavender as a calming aroma). So stop looking for a magic bullet solution. However, the amygdala can be "healed" - along with the rest of the limbic system. And the way to heal it is to remind it of your good memories and form new good memories through experiences. It sounds simplistic. It almost smacks of "fake it until you make it." But I have been putting this into practice, and I am in my first real window of recovery. The way I did it was by contacting old friends and asking them to write me emails filled with the good times of our youth, of the times where the notion of "anxious" could never be applied to me. Where I was a hopeful, outgoing, fun person. In other words - the time before I ever took one psych-med. I have added to that the practice of not avoiding doing things with friends and family. I go out, I engage, and a float through the anxiety if it comes (thank you, Dr. Claire Weekes - go get one of her books now!). I will leave things there for now and end with links to some of the articles I read that put me on this path: https://www.unlearninganxiety.com/amygdala https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/how-to-help-depression-by-healing-your-limbic-system/ Be well. Live. Make new memories. SJ