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  1. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  2. 2013 - 50mg Zoloft 2016 - increase to 150mg Zoloft 2016 - Lamictal in addition to Zoloft 2018 - Serequel in addition to Zoloft 2019 - 5mg Abilify in addition to Zoloft 2022 - tapered off Zoloft decrease of 25mg per week over 6 weeks and then tapered off Abilify 5mg over 2 weeks. It has been 4 weeks since my last dose of Zoloft and 2 weeks since last dose of Abilify. I had no withdrawal symptoms until 4 days ago. For the last 4 days, I have had severe anxiety that is constant and will not go away. The anxiety has contributed to difficulty sleeping as well. I tapered under the supervision and guidance of my doctor. Is this anxiety a withdrawal symptom? Is this a relapse? Should I reinstate? Reinstate at a low dose? 25mg or 50mg reinstate? Is there any hope for not reinstating? I don't know what to do...I'm so scared...I had no idea coming off the meds was going to be this hard. Please help!
  3. Hi I am presently very foggy and unsure how to go about composing this but I’ll do my best. About eight days ago (May 20) I took one dose of a 20mg adderall XR prescription I had recently been given for ADHD. If I’m remembering correctly my focus was improved and I was able to get a lot of things done without incurring much fatigue the way I normally do, but it immediately caused some pretty intense side effects, including elevated anxiety (nearly to the point of panic frankly), sexual dysfunction, appetite suppressing, GI problems, numbness/tingling in my extremities, and insomnia. I discontinued after the first dose and some of the symptoms subsided, but many didn’t and fairly quickly some new ones emerged. Presently I’m experiencing severe brain fog, anhedonia, sexual dysfunction (v low libido and genital insensitivity), difficulty w speech, heavy fatigue, dissociation (maybe depersonalization/derealization? It’s hard to tell), tremors in my hands and head and some involuntary movements, numbness/tingling in extremities (different from when on the med, less of a squeezing more like “drained”, I think I read that adderall affects blood flow), difficulty eating (also a different quality to the appetite suppressing effects of the meds), occasional insomnia, altered perception of time (everything feels much slower) and very intense depression and anxiety. I am very distressed ab these. I’m a trans woman w a history of sexual abuse and medication-induced sexual dysfunction (both very distressing! tho the dysfunction was never quite persistent iirc) as well as long term dissociation due to dysphoria who has only within the last year (since I fully came out and started hormone replacement therapy) that I’ve begun to heal and enjoy being present in my body and to experience a sexuality that doesn’t feel poisonous to me, and it has been more or less heartbreaking to feel as though the like. Fruits of my progress have been taken away from me. Additionally, I’m a survivor of long-term withdrawal from other meds, most notably lamictal, and it’s very triggering to be experiencing symptoms that so closely parallel my experiences with that. I’m hoping very much I’ll experience some relief soon because I don’t feel remotely like myself. I haven’t been able to engage with any of my interests in any sustained way since the dose. I’m very afraid I’ve given myself a case of PSSD in a roundabout way, though I’m trying to stop myself from jumping to conclusions. I am going to pursue specialized treatment for PTSD w/o meds in the meantime. I would appreciate any comfort, reassurance, advice, etc — (until I figure out how to pin a signature I’ll just put one here manually) extensive history of prior psych meds usage for adhd, depression, anxiety lamictal march-august 2018 (abrupt taper over latter four months, don’t remember dose) abilify, three days september 2018 concerta September-October 2018 reinstated lamictal at microdose, then tapered off probably too abruptly May 2019-July 2019 Estradiol, Spironolactone, Progesterone April 2021-present 💗 Adderall XR 20mg May 20, 2022
  4. Hello. I'm 21 y.o. male. My story with ADs. I was taking Cytalopram ~8 months in 2019, then I stopped it myself as I was not seeing any effect. 07.07.2022 I took first 30mg of prescribed duloxetine before sleep. (Also I was prescribed it with Lamotrigine, Atarax. I strated them a week or two before.) After 2.5h of sleep I woke up with strange feeling. It was difficult to focus, it was getting dark in my eyes. Seems like my pressure got low so I even called to ambulance, but they said ti is just adverse effect and it's ok. Then it got better, but it was a strange feeling in my head all next day. I drank a lot of water (~6 liters) to decrease this drug effect. I was trying to sleep, but wake up every 1-2 hous. I read about a possible PSSD, even after a few days of taking it. Fortunately, yesturday I tried and it seems like it was ok with orgasm. Also I slept today and seems I'm feeling better, but have slight kind of lightheadedness. Of course, I wouldn't take this drugs anymore. Maybe you can reassure me that nothing terrible will happen to my brain from one pill? I would like advice about some lifestyle changes/supplement/diet to minimize effects of this drugs and reduce anxiety. Btw last few months I used to go to the gym and eat healthy diet. When is the best time for me to exercise? Thank you in advance. I appreciate this community.
  5. I had the first manic and psychotic break at 2006, I was 28, mother of a small child. I was admitted to the ER and given a high dose of olanzapine and mood stabilizer, sleeping pills. I don't even remember those first few days, I was locked in a psych ward without any visit from a psychiatrist for 3 weeks. Then I begged to go home (still psychotic but they didn't know) and they let me go home, where I continued the treatment, although I was feeling really unwell, desperate even. With time I got better, then went to a private psychiatrist that put me on quietapine and a mood stabilizer. I took the meds 2 years, struggling to lead a normal life. My brain wasn't functioning well, I felt incapacitated. I managed to find a job but I wasn't happy there to put it mildly and even though I was taking the meds I ended up manic and psychotic again, I divorced my husband, the police went to get me at work to take me to the hospital... This time they didn't commit me and I ended up taking arpiprazol, sleeping pills, and maybe a mood stabilizer. I lost the job, went into depression, but I found the doctor that still is my doctor today. He took me off aripriprazol when he could and I started taking lamotrigine. I never sought a job again because I felt humilliated by the whole situation, I eventually got together with my husband because our separation was all due to my mental health problems at the time. I stayed home with a lot of trauma and low self-esteem for 5 years but with no symptoms. My husband gor me a part time job in his company and that's what I do now. But in 2015 my doctor went to another hospital and I got a new one. I didn't dislike her, I had a crisis that year and after depression. I was put on olanzapine and sleeping pills, and when the olanzapine was over the sleeping pills remained so my brain got addicted to them. She gave me an antidepressant that got me manic and I was miserable, I decided to take matters in my own hands. I quit the antidepressants and the sleeping pills, changed my diet, started exercising (I was fat from the drugs) and lost 15kg while trying to control my mania with olanzapine but I didn't take enough and had another crisis, this was 2017. I was committed and took a huge dose of olanzapine and all the other meds again, the doctor told me that medication was for life and I nodded. As soon as I got out of the hospital sought out my actual psychiatrist that followed me in 2009. I said I wanted the least ammount of meds possible. I started making a very detailed diary of meds and symptoms and slowly got off of everything but olanzapine. He thought I should take preventively 5mg everyday but that dose makes me less human, so I went down to 2.5mg and he was very pleased with how I functioned although I was in a bad depression. In last May the depression finally lifted and I started exercising more and lost 10kg that meanwhile I had got from olanzapine. This winter I'm reducing even more olanzapine, my plan is to wean it off and try another antipsychotic in the spring doesn't mess with my sleep. I'm sleeping badly and having anxiety but I don't want this med anymore, or at least not take it everyday. It's a long story, I started trusting the doctors and doing everything they said but today I'm way more critical. Everyone is surprised when I say the little I take. My seasonality is also something peculiar, I don't get manic or psychotic in autumn of winter so I'm weaning off now. I'll get there eventually, wish me luck.
  6. Original topic title: Olanzapine cold turkey (out of presumptuous stupidity, I destroyed myself, and now I am trying to save at least a part of my being) On October 20, 2021, I started olanzapine 2.5mg. per day (which I was advised to split into two doses, to take half in the morning and the other half in the evening), recommended to me by a psychiatrist as a remedy for chronic insomnia, and on November 11, 2021 I abruptly stopped using this medicine, as I read in internet about its extreme neurotoxicity. On the evening of November 14, 2021, something terrible happened to me: something seemed to be turned off in my psyche forever, I lost my whole self, i.e. my emotions, interests, hopes, dreams, hobbies, motivation, flexible intellect, and ultimately the will to live. I tried to restart olanzapine on November 15, 2021, but at that time I did not know anything about effective strategies for reinstatement of the drug, and therefore, already on November 16, 2021, I stopped olanzapine again, but, exhausted by insomnia, had to take 25 mg. quetiapine, which have been in my medicine cabinet for many years without use. On November 17, I impulsively returned to olanzapine, but after a couple of days I stopped drinking it again in order to resume taking it at the end of November, but this comeback was also extremely short-lived and did not exceed the duration of the same couple of days. On November 29, 2021, I took olanzapine for the last time, but the neurotransmitter chaos, provoked by my stupid thrashings, seems to have done me irreparable damage. Over the next three and a half months, I tried to pull myself out of this anhedonic pit with various supplements (I tried fish oil, 5-HTP, St. John's wort, green tea extract, tyrosine, biotin, citicoline, Alpha GPC) multivitamin complexes (I mean B vitamins), peptides (for two weeks I was regularly injected intramuscularly with cortexin) and even psychopharmacological drugs prescribed to me by other psychiatrists, but with drugs of this class I again behaved as haphazardly as possible (about 8-10 times during these months I took phenazepam at a dosage of 0.5 mg., it at least minimally relieved anxiety; 5-7 times I drank hydroxyzine at a dosage of 0.25 mg at night, but it did not help me sleep at all; for three or four days I took a combination of venlafaxine, lamotrigine and trazodone, and once I took two capsules sulpiride, the content of the active substance in which was 100 mg., and one tablet of phenibut at a dosage of 250 mg.). Now I realize that my behavior during these months was absolutely suicidal, and probably only the prompt reinstatement of olanzapine could have saved me, but now almost three and a half months have passed since the last dose of this medication, so my chances of self-preservation seem for me absolutely ghostly. I hope that something else can be done in this situation: I have already completely lost hope for rehabilitation, I have practically not slept all these months due to permanent panic and bouts of neurocognitive hypochondria, I don’t understand how I still haven’t made suicide, because it is unnatural to live in such a state.
  7. Hi, I'm new to this site. As far as my background, in 2018, after 25 years of taking Paxil and feeling good and stable, I decided to reduce my dose of 40 mg. down to 20 mg. over the course of three months (May-Aug) as I wanted to get rid of sexual side effects. After some back and forth with the dose, I reduced my dose to 20 mg in August and began to experience bad SSRI withdrawal and particularly intense anxiety. It got so bad I eventually ended going back up to my baseline dose of 40 mg of Paxil but it no longer was working to control my anxiety, etc. In addition, I began to experience a new cyclical mood disorder, whereby I could feel fine for several weeks or a month or more and then I would have an episode where for 7-10 days I would wake up with intense suicidal depression that would generally start lifting a few hours after waking. I have been working with a cadre of psychiatrists and other healthcare providers to get stable again, my anxiety is under control but so far nothing has worked to address this mood disorder which has been diagnosed as an atypical presentation of cyclothymia and which has been life-altering. In addition to reinstating the 40 mgs of Paxil, I am now on Seroquel (300 mg), Lamotrigine (75 mg) and recently started Lithium Carbonate (300 mg). My questions: is it possible that my attempts to go off Paxil (including some back and forth with increasing and then lowering dose) after so many years could have instigated this new mood disorder I'm dealing with?
  8. Rhi's Introduction topic I want to crow, or at least jabber excitedly, about the improvements I'm finally seeing in my health and mental/emotional wellbeing as a result of my taper. But I'm not "fully recovered from withdrawal" so I was hesitant to post in this area. Then I decided what the heck. Recovery doesn't have to be all or nothing. There are all kinds of success stories. I know people will be encouraged by what I have to say, as I am encouraged by others. So here it is. As you can see from my sig, I'm in the process of a very long taper off five meds, with a long time yet to go. But I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED at my improvement so far. Even though I'm still taking low doses of four psychiatric meds--I'm not sure I can find the words to describe how much better I'm doing and how happy I am at these lower doses, relative to how I was when I was taking those so-called "therapeutic" dosages. Neurontin completely savaged my ability to learn and remember things. Benzos and Lamictal are still making that something of a challenge, but the Neurontin was the worst. It also gave me the lack-of-impulse-control of a two-margarita drunk, and you can imagine what that did for my personality and peoples' impressions of me. I did and said stuff even just two years ago that makes me shudder to think now and thank my lucky stars I didn't get in more trouble. After I got down below 100 mg, all of this settled down a lot, especially the cognitive stuff. When I finally came all the way off Neurontin back in April, after about three months of recovery I seemed to stabilize out fully. My point is, though, I got the lion's share of my improvement not when I quit completely, but during the taper itself. Now I'm experiencing something that just makes me want to shout from the rooftops: I've gotten my motivation and enthusiasm back! After 20 years on antidepressants, I had forgotten what it felt like to actually WANT to do stuff! I used to go along with stuff proposed by other people, and I enjoyed it to the extent that I could experience "enjoyment" (something ADs cripple in me), but I usually felt like I would just have soon have stayed home, and left to my own devices that's pretty much what I did. It was hard, because my poor kids wanted to get out there and experience life. Fortunately their dad and some of my friends used to take them places and give them some adventures. I just never really wanted to do much. Which was weird, because before Prozac and Xanax, you couldn't keep me at home. I was always wanting to go out and do things. I was also very social, loved being with other people, got along well with them. Then for 20 years I became the opposite--agoraphobic, uncomfortable and awkward with people, socially anxious. Well--I'm getting myself back! I'm still on 2.7 mg of Celexa, but the zombie effect is lifting. You have NO idea how great it feels, and I don't think words can do it justice. Over about the past six months I've noticed that I'm back to being comfortable in social environments--more than comfortable, I love being with people, and people seem to enjoy me too. It's so much fun being a social human being again! And for the first time in 20 years I want to do stuff! When I have a day off work, instead of hanging around the house, I want to get out and explore the world, get out and try something new, meet people, see things, do things, touch the world, feel alive, explore, have fun! It's GREAT. So I'm here to testify (can I get a witness?--okay, that's a southern US cultural reference, ignore it if you don't get it) that at least for me, it's been possible to get back a lot of myself, a lot of what I lost on the "meds", just by slowly and carefully lowering my doses and getting down to low doses. The lower the doses go, the better I feel. There's a lot of room between "all" and "nothing", and that's the room where slow tapers play out. It was my hope that by tapering extremely slowly like I have been, all the meds together like I have been, that this would happen, that I would gradually and safely emerge from the nightmare miasma of "non-me" that the drugs had trapped me in. And it's happening. After two and a half patient years of tapering, it's definitely happening. For the first time in 20 years, you can't keep me at home, and I delight in social interaction. Just like how I remember myself being before they put me on the drugs. I'm not even going to go into the kind of karma that people earn by stealing 20 years from someone's life just so they can make money. That's not what this is about, although I have to say I feel pretty PO'd about it. I just want to say that you may not have to wait until you get to the end of your taper to enjoy a lot of benefit. And that tapering faster so you can get all the way off faster--it might not be worth the price, since tapering slow enough that you can still maintain a life and good health may turn out to be worth it when you get to a lower dose and you're functioning well enough to actually ENJOY that life and that health. And I want to say that YES, it's worth it. You can get yourself back. I've heard it from others, I've seen others do it, and I'm experiencing it myself. Hang in there! it's worth it!
  9. AJS74

    AJS74

    So sorry to everyone going through this. I’ve gone through withdrawal from lots of meds, because they didn’t help. They just physically hooked me and were an easy bandaid for DRs compared to the therapy I desperately needed. I’m currently coming off of Lamictal after two years of trauma therapy and then 3 years depression free. I’ve been on for 5 years total and the main problem was that if I forgot to take it, I’d have horrendous neuropathy to the point that I’d have to leave work by 10 am. When I told my p doc about it she just looked at me funny and said something like “that doesn’t happen”. And I used to just sort of accept that because I hadn’t really felt self worth. I think it’s safe to say she never reported my symptoms. Last year I told her I wanted to taper off and she said that I only need two weeks- if I don’t feel good it’s just because I’m going back to my natural MDD state, not withdrawal. Hmmm… this is where having a diagnosis allows people to try to strip away all your credibility. My symptoms of MDD had never been a sudden onset of debilitating brain fog and tingling face, hands, and feet like when I forget to take my meds. Anyway…. One year later and I’ve done it myself over 3 months. It was still so painful but I kept researching and decided to try hi dose B vitamins (Folate and B-12) and vit E. And it’s working. I’m still not the sharpest- it’s only been a week w the supplements and writing this is taxing my brain but so much less painful. It’s a huge huge win for me. I knew I couldn’t get back on Lamictal and I was starting to get terrified my brain would always be numb. I really wanted to share and look forward to participating w everyone more when forming sentences isn’t so challenging 🫠 I hope this helps someone- the vitamins are a no- brainer and I can’t believe I’d never read about it anywhere.
  10. I apologize in advance for the long winded post while trying to keep it as short as possible...Been on so many AD's over the years since being diagnosed (hospitalized) in 1996 with MDD and severe OCD (rumination) Did inpatient ECT treatment in 2009 while on Zoloft as well...I couldn't remember all the timelines and noticed I forgot a few meds when signing up...Months ago I was struggling on a dose of 60mg Paxil combined with Lamotrigine 250mg.....Seemed like the meds had lost effectiveness which has happened many times over the years usual 3-5 is the most I get out of a med...Been on Paxil/Lamotrigine approx 7 years this time and this combo is 1 of only 3 that had worked effectively since 1996 with alot of struggling in between.Anyway started taking some naturopathic stuff that seemed to help and decided to come off the prescription meds thinking if I could be stable great if not I needed to switch anyway.From past experience in my case when meds stop working or don't work they do more harm than good. When my Doc had me increase the lamotrigine I realized it was aggravating a psoriasis skin condition so I tapered off that.(likely way to fast)....After a few weeks off lamotrigine I started reducing my Paxil dose of 60mg...Went to 50mg for a week,then 40,then 30 and I was feeling great,as good as I ever have...Ignorance truly is bliss as I had NO idea what I was about to be in for...I reduced my further to 20 then 10 after each week still feeling pretty good.Within a week my anxiety gradually soars,can't sleep,brain zaps when moving eyes,nausea and to make matters worse my sense of taste has gone haywire....I eat because I have to but don't enjoy eating anything and can't stomach the taste of some foods I once loved. March 18th was my last dose of Paxil at the time...I looking online for what had helped other people (benadryl,Nyquill,green Gatorade) at various places when I came across this site and thankyou in advance for having it. 2 Days ago after 2.5 months the withdrawals were not easing up so I reinstated 10mg of Paxil hoping to alleviate the withdrawal...So far my anxiety has diminished and I can sit still for more than 30 seconds at a time...I'm a self employed mechanic and the past 2 months have been crazy busy and I needed to do something to get some relief as the withdrawals were not letting up anytime soon although the brain zaps were far better and few and far between. My biggest concern at the moment is this nasty taste to food and obviously I need to get some sleep as I'm still working.Very tired and not feeling great but all things considered not bad,just running out of energy and hope to get stabalized for awhile..I have a Doctors appointment next week and am looking for some advice in advance as I try to come up with a plan moving forward....Any input is appreciated
  11. Original topic title before reducing the length of it: I cold turkey’d too many things, the worst being Celexa, due to misdiagnosis and emotional blunting. I’m struggling. Let me preface this by saying I have had unstable mental health as far back as I can remember. I was an anxious and depressed child. I used to SH as a teenager and was put on Paxil, but I hated it and quit after a couple months. I did not use medication for any mental health reasons for at least 10 years after that. I have been told I’m bipolar by people close to me, and I think doctors eat that up and once you’re branded bipolar, that’s your identity. But that’s neither here nor there; the main takeaway from that is I was put on several different medications and hated the way I felt on all of them. My first return to psych meds was in the summer of 2015 with a diagnosis of GAD which turned into GAD and bipolar 2. I was put on Celexa 20mg. It was pretty good for a while. I was then put on Lamictal 150mg and took both, but the Lamictal made me feel like a zombie so I didn’t take that long. I kept up with the Celexa. After my gastric bypass surgery, the Celexa didn’t work as well. I was then bumped to 40mg and that’s where I stayed. I was starting to feel severely depressed, emotionally numb, and had anxiety creep back in so I was put on Wellbutrin 300mg and buspar 15mg on top of the Celexa. I took this combo for maybe a year but I was horribly noncompliant for the most part and it never really did much for me. I CT’d the buspar and Wellbutrin. I was to a point (and still am) where laughing felt like a chore. Crying is almost non existent unless it is a major sad event (death). Interest in things and smiling are difficult to come by. The only emotion I felt was rage. I was either apathetic or enraged. That’s when I was given the ultimatum to treat my bipolar disorder, as I was often verbally abusive to my SO and would have meltdowns. Jesus this is embarrassing. I finally gave in and started seeing a psych through telehealth. Big mistake, told them about my previous dx. That was enough to not even evaluate me, and I was started on some antipsychotics in addition to the Celexa. This was the beginning of a long spiral of multiple medications that ended with Latuda that made me so depressed I cried constantly. There was no tapering involved really, maybe just a two week period of dropping while introducing something else. I went through Abilify, Trileptal, Latuda, Abilify again, and Lamictal. My brain felt so fried at this point I said I’m done, and stopped taking everything except my Celexa. After stopping all of these meds I was so far depressed and anhedonic I decided I was done taking everything and needed a brain reset. I ended up taking 10mg Celexa a few weeks and then dropped to nothing after 6.5 years. After reading this forum, I realized this was probably one of my big mistakes. Now not only did I have severe mood disturbances, I felt physically sick. The physical symptoms went away after a few weeks. The last time I took Celexa was at the end of February this year. Now I am dealing with a whole host of other issues. It turns out I’m not bipolar, I have ADHD. Again, not knowing any better that I shouldn’t take anything that alters my brain, I’ve been on stimulants and back to Wellbutrin. NOTHING is helping. The anhedonia and apathy are killing me. I feel no emotion towards anyone. I am not interested in anything. Every moment is painful. ADHD meds are doing nothing for me. I guess I am looking for support. Advice. Anything. Something that tells me my brain damage isn’t permanent. Something that tells me I will feel emotions again, that I won’t think my favorite past times are a waste of time, that I will feel love towards my SO and family again. I felt emotional blunting with Celexa, but nothing like this. I don’t know what to do, and my doctor is useless when it comes to this.
  12. I had been on some form of anti-depressant and mood stabilizer/anti-psychotic since high school, 2002 or 2003. Initially I was put on Zoloft for depression which caused me to become "manic" which lead me to be put on Lithium, Abilify and Risperdal (not sure doses or when). Starting around 2008 I was put on Cymbalta and Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I got off the Cymbalta & Lamictal cold turkey on my own in 2011 and it resulted in brain-zaps and then a deep deep depression. I reluctantly got back on my meds. Beginning in 2020 (exact date I'm trying to find), my psychiatrist agreed to help me taper off my meds. I was able to get off the Cymbalta it seems fairly easily, which I have been off since the end of the Summer 2020. After getting off that I began tapering off the Lamictal ... I'm trying to find information on how much I lowered initially, etc., and don't have it right now. I do know I got down to 100mg by November 2020 and had to go back up to 150mg over the winter due to debilitating depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper: 5/18/21 (May 18) - 6/13/21 (June 13): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg/87.5/100) 6/14/21 - 6/21/21: 87.5mg each day 6/22/21 - 7/11/21: 75mg/87.5mg/75/87.5 7/12/21 - 7/26/21: 75mg each day 7/27/21 - 8/8/21: 62.5mg/75mg/62.5/75 8/9/21 - 8/30/21: 62.5mg each day 8/31/21 - 9/12/21: 50mg/62.5mg/50/62.5 9/13/21 - 9/26/21: 50 mg/day 9/27/21 - 10/10/21: 37.5mg/50mg/37.5/50 10/11/21 - 10/24/21: 37.5mg/day 10/25/21 - 11/7/21: 25mg/37.5mg/25/37.5 *On November 1, 2021, my dog and best friend of 10+ years, the Big Guy (110lb. half boxer/half mastiff), died after a brief fight with cancer... in retrospect I should have ceased tapering at this point; instead I continued my tapering in earnest and began to self medicate excessively with alcohol and cannabis 11/8/21 - 11/21/21: 25mg/day 11/22/21 - 12/5/21: 12.5mg/25mg/12.5/25 12/6/21 - 12/20/21: 12.5mg/day 12/21/21 - 12/31/21: 0mg/12.5mg/0/12.5 January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely I had no idea about this site or a couple days ago. I have been realllllly struggling this whole year but especially the past couple weeks. Some days I am so depressed I can hardly get out of bed. Some days I am "functional." I have major brain fog where I can hardly think most of the time (which is not good for my job!). I can't hardly make even the most basic decision. It is bad. I am desperate. I do not know what to do. I really don't want to get back on the Rx. I'm looking for suggestions on how to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. I have been sober (no alcohol or cannabis) since January 1st as well. I workout, do Wim Hoff breathing, garden, meditate/pray and eat mostly organic. Supplements: EMPowerPlus Lighting Sticks, 5-HTP, Vitamins C, D, B-complex (6&12) & K2, Magnesium Glyinate, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract; Just started taking St. John's Wort a couple weeks ago I don't really recall withdraw symptoms (depression) prior to my Dog being diagnosed with cancer in September 2021 (which coincides with me getting down to 50mg/day)--since he was diagnosed and then passed Nov. 1st, I have been mostly depressed. The brain fog didn't really start that I recall until ~January of this year when I was totally off -- but I could be wrong. Since November of last year, it has kind of been a blur. On another note, while not directly related to withdrawal, I am very unhappy with my current career and have been for some time. I think doing something that goes against my values and not really knowing what my purpose is has a big impact on me feeling depressed. However, right now with my brain fog and depression, I am having a really hard time doing any work whatsoever. So my purpose now is to get past these withdrawal symptoms so I can find my purpose in this world and what gift I can offer to other people. I am VERY wary of getting back on any RX and do not want to go that route if at all possible. Thank you if you read this far and I appreciate any advice on how I should proceed!! -Will
  13. Link to Hibari's Success Story: hibari-polydrugged-benzos-twice-and-now-im-well Link to benzo forum thread - Hibari: Swtich from Ativan to Clonazapam Hi, I have been Remeron since April 2014 reaching a dosage between 37.50-41.25 I also have been on Lamictal since September 2014 reaching a dosage of 200mg. I began a taper of the Remeron with my psychiatrists knowlege, I think at the end of February/March? Hard to remember with my somewhat foggy brain. I am now down to 28.125-tapering at about 10% for each cut. My withdrawal has follwed a specific pattern. I make the cut, feel some nausea but okay, then after about 2-3 weeks have a crash, depression, crying, and anxiety. Then I pop through and move into a more stable period. I think I let myself stabilize for about 10 days and then make another drop. My question is about starting a slow Lamictal withdrawal at the same time. I may be overeacting but when I read about what Lamictal can do to the brain, along with other antidepressants, I want to start the taper now. I do have some professional obligations happening over the next few months but I don't want to stop my progress. I like many others I have read am very impatient about getting off these medictions. They served their purpose to help me after a long stressful period of caretaking-7 years-and then the death of my mom 2 1/2 years ago. Any thoughts or experience about taper from two drugs at the same time. Thanks. Hibari 28.125 Remeron 200mgs Lamictal
  14. Hello All I am mother of 5, turned 40 this year Ihave been on anti deps and anti anxiety meds since 2002 multiple trials of weaning off led me to reduced meds fron 2014 -2017 but not a day I have been completely off meds since 2002 I am on so many meds that I feel there is no hope of getting off completely but even lowering dosage will do Start of April I tried to reduce clonazepam just by 0.15mg and started having anxiety and brain zaps had to go to same dose I have to try again in May guided by my psychiatrist but Brain Zaps throw me off literally and I start having panic attacks I feel it is totally impossible hence i was searching for success stories on google and landed here. Right now after being stable I haven't done any changes to my dosage and since two days getting brain zaps Any help,advice,support is much appreciated Love and prayers
  15. hello team and fellow sufferers, I am a woman in early 30's who has used antidepressants since 21 due to depression, anxiety, panic disorder etc. My mother growing up had mental healthy issues and lupus which made her physical abuse toward me start at age 5. After beatings and narcissistic love I grew up to be a broken adult, lonely, mentally sick and now a manic depressive according to doctors. I have been on prozac, lexapro, Seroquel and now lamictal. I have not being able to make friends or date and I am a virgin at this age which is lonely and embarrassing. I have lost about 45 jobs where I argue with people, feel they attack or bully me and due to panic I cannot make any friends. due to medicine I have gain weight and lost hair. My sister is healthy compared to me and she had it easy she was golden child, I am angry at this and I will never get over it. I have irrational fears and being obsessed with God is the only thing that helps me live. I am a lONER. I SAW a new doctor recently. He said I have anxiety and mania BP 2 I THINK. he is giving me lamictal 400 mg. I cold turkey prozac in January and my brain withdrawal was hell. I cannot handle any stress, I feel in depression when I argue with people. my question is: WHAT IS MY SALVATION? LAMICTAL does solve my issues, I am about to lose another job. I live in NYC which makes this story even more scary. I have severe fear of intimacy even tho I seek love. IS THERE HOPE FOR ME? Please please offer me some hoping advice. thank you and prayers for all of you WAARIORS!!
  16. Hey Warriors! I’m approaching 3 months tapering off Pregabalin, reducing 1-2mg/day using water titration. Today marks -80mg, or 520mg down from 600mg/day. And the day I found this forum. Feeling constant sadness most days, with some energy and a few happy moments here and there. Sleep has been erratic, it affects me badly to be so tired all the time. I’ve got appointments next week: - Julia Ross Nutritional Consultant for Amino acid therapy - New GP To get referral to Psychiatrist Three other meds to come off after this. The order I’m hoping to follow is: 1. Pregabalin 2. Lamotrigine 3. Fluoxetine 4. Moclobemide I’d love to be blessed with a quick and easy tapering journey but I know it’s not always possible. But I’ll do my best to have the best possible outcome. Thank you for sharing in the good and the challenging times xxx
  17. I have depression and anxiety. My former prescribing ARNP started me on Latuda to augment sertraline (an off-label use) but I didn’t notice any effects. We then switched 150mg sertraline to 20mg trintillex from November-December and I felt good but I had eye twitching and found out it was expensive so I decided to try an ADHD medication as recommended by my prescribing ARNP. I lowered my trintillex (I think to 10mg) and started the ADHD med but I was anxious and nauseous on it so I stopped and went back up to 20mg trintillex. A few weeks after that, I started having severe symptoms (see below). I have a feeling that increasing the trintillex caused my current symptoms but Latuda is not covered by my insurance so I want to get off it as well. I know I need to titrate slowly but I don’t know which one to start with. I was working with an ARNP and we discussed starting sertraline and then decreasing trintillex but she dropped me after I asked started asking questions about and wanting to change the tapering schedule. She discouraged me from stopping the trintillex alone and said my depression would get worse. Since January 11th, I have been experiencing debilitating anxiety, crying uncontrollably (for the first two weeks), nausea, vomiting, racing heart, heat sensitivity, insomnia, stomach pain, suicidal ideation, obsessive thoughts, memory issues, cognitive issues, itching, agitation, feeling detached, irritability, waves of panic, self doubt, and constipation. My questions are as follows: Should I start decreasing the Latuda or the trintillex first? Do you think decreasing the Latuda could help my anxiety symptoms even though it didn’t seem to have a positive affect on me when I started taking it? Would it be unsafe for me to start decreasing trintillex without adding another SSRI? Would it be safe for me to start on sertraline before dropping the trintillex? To the best of my memory: 2006-2010: sertraline 2006-2007: risperidone 2010-2016: took fluoxetine and citalopram as mono therapy 2016: trial Effexor for a few months 2016-2020: escitalopram (polyrugged with Wellbutrin) 2016-2020: Wellbutrin, months on and months off May 21-Nov 21: tapered from escitalopram to sertraline 150mg August 21: trial of lamotragine (rash) August 21: started latuda (off label) at 20mg, then up to 40mg and 60mg but back down to 40mg November 21: two week taper from sertraline to trintillex 20mg, experienced eye twitching and itchiness (5mg trintillex for 5 days, day 6 decrease sertraline to 100mg, day 10 decrease sertraline to 50mg and increase trintillex to 10mg, day 14 stop sertraline, 10 days of 15mg trintillex and then up to 20mg trintillex) December 21: quick taper down on trintillex to I think 10mg and trialed dextro-amphetamine for a week, 10-40mg, anxious and nauseous (1/2 of 40mg pill in am, then 1/2 pill am and 1/2 pill pm, then 20mg am and no pm, then 20 mg am and 1/2 pm, then maybe 20 mg am and 20 mg pm) December 21: quick taper back up to 20mg trintillex, some lip and foot twitching January 22: lorazepam for a few days January 22: clonidine .1mg-.4mg per day, currently taking .1mg am and .1mg pm January 22-March 22: ashwagonda, L-theanine, and probiotics Current medications: Latuda 40mg Trintillex 20mg Clonidine .1mg am and .1mg pm Fish oil Vitamin D Levothyroxine .112mg
  18. I read that it is more difficult to withdraw from a drug with a short half life. It is suggested to switch to a different drug with a longer half-life of the same category (i.e., antipsychotic) before tapering off (mind.org.uk). I have been on Risperidone for 5 years. I started tapering in April at 1.0 mg and am now on 0.70 mg. I am considering asking my doctor about switching to Zyprexa, another antipsychotic, and then tapering off Zyprexa. Does titrating off one drug and onto another need to be done as slowly as withdrawing from a drug, i.e. 10% every month or something like that? Has anyone had experience titrating off an antipsychotic onto another antipsychotic? Since Risperidone has a short half-life, I am concerned that it will be hard to switch onto a drug with a longer half life. According to Medscape, the half-life for Zyprexa is 21-54 hours, and the half-life of Risperidone is 3-20 hours. Thank you!
  19. Hi, I wrote my introduction on the 4th of October 2019 ☼-francisco-on-the-way-to-a-success-story At that time, I was seven months of all meds – I stated that the post was a combination of an introduction and a success story since things were on course at the time. Since that post, my mental has been put to the test like never before but it's now been around one year and 10 months since I stopped taking meds and I believe my mental health has passed the test. I was given a diagnosis of bi-polar by a consultant psychiatrist in the autumn of 2011 after years of volatility in my mental health and began taking meds six months later. I started with Lamictal (Lamotrigine) – after a few weeks on a low dose, the dose was increased – the next day I noticed a rash all over my body and stopped taking it. I was then given Abilify – I was on this over for a month or two but stopped taking it since it caused me insomnia and really intense pain in my wrists. Next, it was Olanzapine/Zyprexa (5mg) to deal with my elation – the 5mg worked well but when the dosage was increased to 10mg and 15mg, it caused nothing but depression so I went back to 5mg. I was then given Prozac to deal with the depression side of things – this however, caused me the worst depression I ever experienced. I was on it for a bit over a month until I could take no more and stopped taking it. My psychiatrist then prescribed me Venlafaxin/Effexor in September 2012 – I started at 75mg and eventually made my way up to 300mg. As the dosage increased, my depression did get better but the side affects most certainly got worse – constipation and intense sweating in bed at night. Also, I always felt the medication was causing me brain fog, despite what my psychiatrist was telling me – ‘all these meds do is treat depression’ I was told and basically, how limited intellectually I felt was in fact an actual reflection of the abilities I was born with. I was really getting fed up with the side affects and decided to do what a lot of people in my situation do – come of the meds without telling my doctor. I slowly tapered down the anti-depressant but came off the Olanazpine quite abruptly – result: disaster. The depression came back in a big way. Around this time, I remember one sleepless night lying in bed just saying to myself over and over – ‘I just want to die – I wish I had the courage to kill myself’. Went crawling back to the psychiatrist in July 2015 and told him the truth – needless to say, he was quite annoyed but prescribed me Cymbalta/Duloxetine (60mg) and agreed to reduce my dosage of Olanazpine to 2.5mg. The Cymbalta no doubt stabilized my mood at that time – I was pretty dam low, as you can imagine. Once again, I felt it was limiting me but after the volatility I had experienced, I was happy for a bit of stability. In the summer of 2017, I began to learn a lot about the affect diet and exercise can have on mental health. Up until that time, I thought I ate and exercised healthily – how wrong I was. Over the course of around a year, I completely changed my diet and exercise regime – I experimented a lot and ended up with my current diet which is essentially a Mediterranean diet – meat, dairy and eggs a few times a week but primarily plant based food – mainly unprocessed. A lot of my free time now is spent cooking and preparing food. After I started with Cymbalta and before I changed my diet and lifestyle, I felt that my depression/elation cycle was going on in the background but the medication was keeping it in check. As my dietary and lifestyle changes kicked in, I began to feel that the cycle was longer there – I was essentially stable. I got married in July 2018 to the woman who stuck with me through the diagnosis and all the mental volatility over the years. Immediately, we started trying to conceive – I really wasn’t mad about the idea of trying to conceive while I was on medication – I know that women are advised to come off meds before becoming pregnant and I wondered if my own meds could have an affect on any potential child I conceived. Did a bit of research – heard a bit about meds possibly causing fertility problems but nothing about meds causing birth defects etc. For a number of months after the wedding, we tried hard to conceive with no success. Consequently, I made the decision to start tapering. Not surprisingly, my wife was initially reluctant given what happened previously when I tried to come off meds – this shook my confidence a bit but I really believed that I could cope this time round, given the dietary and lifestyle changes I had made. Unlike the previous time, I told my psychiatrist who to my big surprise, did not object in the slightest. He initially suggested that I stop taking the 2.5mg of Olanazpine altogether – he told me that according to the research, 2.5mg has no real anti-elation effect – it only really aids moderate anxiety and sleeping. I genuinely believed that the olanzapine was indeed helping my sleep so I decided to continue taking it and instead drop the Cymbalta from 60mg to 30mg at the beginning of November, 2018. I was on the lower dosage for three months – I didn’t notice any major withdrawal affects during that period. Consequently, when I saw my psychiatrist three months later, I suggested to him that I stop taking the Cymbalta altogether – once again, to my big surprise he was very supportive. I continued to take the Olanzapine for another month – I had planned to stay on the Olanzapine for three months but given what the psychiatrist told me previously about 2.5mg not really having any anti-elation affect and given how I hadn’t experienced any major withdrawal affects up until that point, I decided to come off completely at the end of February 2019. A part of me was worried that my sleep would go to hell without the Olanzpine but once again, I really believed as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle, I would eventually enter into a natural, healthy sleeping pattern – this transpired. Also, around four or five weeks after I ceased the meds completely, I started having withdrawal effects – my nervous system reacted and consequently, I felt very edgy and jittery and my concentration levels went down significantly – obviously, work was quite difficult during this period. Also, it’s not easy to say this but my performances in the bed room were pretty mediocre during this period also (not uncommon I suppose). This was quite severe for around five weeks and then gradually started to diminish. I fully expected some withdrawal affects so they did not surprise me one bit when they came. Once again to stress the point, self-belief was hugely important at this stage – I just knew that as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle – essentially, the way I was designed by nature/evolution to eat and exercise – the withdrawal affects would pass and I would reach stability. In the year since I posted my introduction, I had to deal with an extremely stressful project at work which was further complicated by a certain pandemic, the very difficult birth of my first child and a lot of subsequent and extremely heated disagreements with my wife under very stressful circumstances – as I said above, my mental health has been put to the test but I haven't gone back on meds and have absolutely no intention of doing so. As I type this post, I’m in fact currently staying in my parent’s house following a particularly nasty exchange with my wife – in many ways, my family are great but I’ve already heard ‘I think you should be taking medication to get you through this difficult time’. I know they mean well and just want what’s best for me but they just don’t understand me and never really have. For most of my life, I’ve been miserable and it wasn’t because of some chemical balance in my brain which would have been triggered no matter what – I had to deal with some personal problems which were really inhibiting me. Like my medication, those problems have been put to bed – I’ve been married for over two years and have been a father for a year. The first year of my daughter's life has been extremely difficult for all the reasons mentioned above – it's been difficult but I've coped. My marriage is in a very bad place right now and if it does survive, it’s going to take a lot of work and compromise between my wife and I. If it doesn’t survive, I firmly believe I’ll be able to cope with all the difficulties which come with marriage breakup as long as I find the support I need – the kind of support which this forum offers – guidance from people who’ve experienced similar things. If I was still seeing a psychiatrist now, I reckon he would have drugged me up to my eye balls in an attempt to get me through this difficult time. If I wasn't taking meds and hadn't made all the lifestyle and dietary changes I made over the last couple of years, I would have completely collapsed in the face of all the adversity I've had to endure. I'm still standing, however. Life now is extremely difficult like it is for a lot of people but I've found a way to manage. Now, I want to find a good life.  I have no problem saying that I have the bi-polar gene. I experienced all the symptoms and those closest to me can verify that. However, I don’t consider myself mentally ill and do not believe that I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. As long as I live the way I was designed to live, my bi-polar gene will be completely suppressed – it simply won’t be an issue. For the most part, I believe that the symptoms I experienced were basically a reaction to all the things I was doing wrong – my diet, my exercise routine, my work environment, my learning environment, my past relationships etc. I plan to keep the potentially harmful parts of my bi-polar gene suppressed for the rest of my life and in order to do that, my life is going to be quite mundane – no substance abuse, regular moderate exercise, healthy sleeping patterns and I’m going to have to continue to spend a lot of time (but not too much time!) cooking and preparing healthy food. However, I will take ‘mundaneness’ any day of the week over mental volatility and side affects from psychiatric medication I’ve had to endure over the years. Having come through all that, the stability and strength I’ve found are all the sweeter – ‘spring would not be so welcome, if we didn’t have to go through winter’. As well as the mundane lifestyle I mentioned above, I’m also going to have find a working environment which I'm designed for. In January 2010, I had a nervous breakdown at work. The job I was doing at the time was a fairly basic office job. The company undertook a large project which I was part of which turn out to be extremely stressful for all involved and which I simply could not cope with. One day, I simply left the office and never went back – didn’t hand in my notice, didn’t tell my supervisor, didn’t tell family/friends. I went home, packed a bag and took off on a train to another city where I stayed in a hostel for a week. Subsequently, I was unemployed for three and a half years while I was trying all the medication mentioned above. Once I found the medications which stabilized me, I once again started doing similar type very basic office jobs – most were temp jobs completely unrelated to the what I studied in university and which needless to say, I didn’t exactly thrive in. These ‘go-nowhere’ jobs were all I felt capable of doing while I was on meds. I never built a career based on my university qualifications because I just felt so hindered by all the personal problems I was going through back then. I ain’t no office worker – I'm an introverted, insightful writer and researcher. In university, I received a first for my masters in International Relations. That was a hell of a long time ago but I feel I just have to get back into research once again. My own personal and fairly primitive research over the last decade or so helped me recover from a very serious mental health problem when all the so called experts were telling me that I would be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life. I would love to build a career based on writing and researching about mental health and helping people who have also been told that they will be on medication for the rest of their lives. I believe I’m on the right forum to achieve this goal and look forward to contributing to the great work which is done here going forward. Many Thanks Francisco Quote: ‘Spring would not be so welcome if we didn’t have to go through winter’   Previous Meds taken (Not all at once - Mid 2012 to July2015): Lamictal, Abilify, Olanzapine, Prozac, Venlafaxin/Effexor Side Affects: Skin rash, insomnia, worse depression, constipation, intense sweating at night, brain fog Most Recent Meds: Cymbalta (60mg), Olanzapine (2.5mg) Taper: dropped Cymbalta to 30mg for 3 months until end of Jan 2019 - stopped Cymbalta completed at the beginning of Feb 2019. Stopped Olanzapine completely at the end of Feb 2019 Withdrawal: around 4/5 weeks after ceasing meds completely, my nervous system started to react - felt very edgy, irritable and couldn’t concentrate for around 3 or 4 weeks. Have been feeling stable since despite numerous stresses in my life
  20. I apologize in advance for the long post. Like many of you, my story is very nuanced and some details are difficult to skip. The past year has been a nightmare. I took my last dose of Klonopin in late November 2021, and I am feeling a mixture of shame and confusion and anger over what happened to me and who I’ve become. History Like many of you, my story starts in my primary care physician’s office. In 2010, I went to my doctor because of depression. I was 19 and was prescribed Lexapro (or Celexa – I honestly can’t remember). I was told I had depression and generalized anxiety disorder and honestly, it was a relief. It was so validating that my pain was not dismissed and comforting to know there was effective treatment. In retrospect, although I took those pills everyday, my depression never lifted. After I gained 50 lbs, my doctor suggested I switch medications in 2015. I was in the middle of my master’s program and had trouble sleeping. I had a terrible reaction to Prozac; I experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks. Looking back, I’m not even sure if my doctor tapered me off of Lexapro; I think she just told me to start taking Prozac. She referred me to a psychiatrist, a harsh and demeaning woman who prescribed me Wellbutrin, Xanax and Buspar. When nothing worked, she told me I must have borderline personality disorder which, according to her, is not treatable with medication. I was desperate for help. I saw a couple of practitioners at my university health center for the severe anxiety and insomnia. I had gone a few days without sleep. The health center gave me Trazodone and Effexor and assured me I didn’t have BPD (at that time, I cared about diagnoses – I cared that I would not be seen as ‘crazy’). For the next few years, I was relatively stable on 150 mg of Trazodone and 150 mg of Effexor. I finished my master’s degree while juggling multiple internships and a full-time job. I still struggled with severe anxiety, even more so than depression. Panic attacks were a once a week occurrence for a long while, and by the end of 2019, they happened nearly daily. I was working full-time and obtaining my doctorate by that point. I had some family issues that really stressed me out. Plus, I am naturally extremely sensitive – an empath, I suppose. Hearing sad stories, even if it’s just on the news, greatly affected how I was feeling. I was ambitious and was offered a well-respected job two hours south of my hometown. It would be my first time away from home. I remember a distinct moment in October 2019 when, due to stress from family issues and stress about the new job, I had a panic attack that rendered me paralyzed on the living room floor, held all night by my mom. I thought, “Wow, I really need professional help.” I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist. That’s when the real hell began. The nightmare of 2020 I did extensive research on a new psychiatrist. I found someone with great reviews who specialized in women’s health and said she did not believe in overprescribing. After three months on a waiting list, I had my first appointment. She actually listened to my life story, asked good questions, and I opened up my heart to her. I thought, wow, she must be such a great doctor because she didn’t try to push pills on me after one 15 minute appointment. I was so grateful. Over the course of a few appointments, she told me that she treats lots of patients like me who don’t respond to antidepressants. She said it was because people like me are actually bipolar. I told her I had never experienced mania before. She said that I could be bipolar II – and that my “hypomania” manifests as anxiety. Saturdays where I spent hours writing my dissertation, or days when I would Zoom with my friends, I found myself suddenly second guessing my behavior – was I only productive and engaging because I’m hypomanic? The doctor took me off of Trazodone and Effexor and prescribed me the following in the span of a year: Lamotrigine, Zoloft, Mirtazapine, Symbyax, Seroquel and Klonopin. I was usually on three medications at a given time. While under her care, I had panic attacks daily, experienced intrusive thoughts and even had to sleep with my mother most nights. I accumulated some other diagnoses: panic disorder, OCD. I voiced concern throughout the process; I wasn’t comfortable leaving antidepressants and introducing antipsychotics and benzos, which I knew were highly addictive. She reassured me that under her expert care, I had nothing to worry about. Withdrawal from hell I read “Anatomy of an Epidemic” in the beginning of 2021 and did a lot of research online. I decided I wanted to get off medication. When I voiced this to her, she started writing in my medical records that my judgment was no longer fully in tact. She was vehemently against me coming off of medication, saying that I will not be stable, but stated she couldn’t force me to be on meds. So she withdrew me off of Klonopin, Seroquel and Lamotrigine in five weeks. I experienced terrible side effects. When I voiced my concern to her, after a night of vomiting, she said that there is no such thing as psychiatric withdrawal. “Withdrawal” was a term for street drugs, not medication. She said that the vomiting is from my increased anxiety, which is what my life would be like if I wasn’t medicated. So I stopped telling her what I was feeling and she discharged me a week prior to me taking my last dose. A few days after I took that last dose, my body gave up on me. I experienced horrific physical and emotional side effects. I was rendered absolutely disabled. I did not sleep for five days straight. I couldn’t attend work. I sobbed to my boss and HR when asking for time off. My brother and mother took time off of work to take care of me. I had to be transported to my aunt's home when they could no longer take time off of work. My extended family saw me as a broken shell. I begged them with everything I had not to hospitalize me. To summarize, I experienced: Physical convulsions (not actual seizures; I think they are psychogenic seizures) Severe insomnia Anxiety unlike anything I had believed possible; irrational fear Panic attacks several times a day Crying spells Depersonalization and derealization Constant intrusive thoughts Suicidal thoughts Deep shame and questioning my core values Brain fog and confusion Rumination Hypersensitivity Nausea and vomiting Headaches Emergence of an autoimmune condition Over the course of two weeks, I lost 20 lbs. I needed help bathing. My abs hurt from the constant convulsions. I couldn’t think straight. I called my psychiatrist’s office, but she discharged me as a patient because I was no longer on medicine. I had an emergency session with a different psychiatrist, and my family made the decision for me, with my permission – I needed to get back on Klonopin. I needed to sleep to heal. I was prescribed Klonopin, Ambien, and Amitriptyline. Over the course of the next few weeks, I slowly regained my strength. I could no longer drive, I could no longer read (I have been a bookworm since I was a child, so this was very hard for me). I couldn’t listen to music. I could only watch nature documentaries and kids shows. Everything else was too intense. Second withdrawal On memorial day in 2021, about a week after finishing my doctorate, I made the decision to start tapering Klonopin again. I learned about the Ashton manual and websites like these, which helped. I talked to people who went through similar experiences. I decided to go slow. I ignored my psychiatrist, who told me that, despite what I went through, my Klonopin dose was tiny and that it’s fine to take it for the rest of my life, or to stop taking it after a week of cutting the pill in half. I found a new psychiatrist who genuinely believes in these poisons they prescribe, but nevertheless agreed to help me taper slowly and follow my lead. I don’t tell her much about how I’m really feeling. I experience the dehumanization that people with mental illness feel on a daily basis. When I share my story with others, people look at me like I am crazy. Doctors have told me that what I went through is not possible. Even my loved ones… I could feel at times that they were humoring me. I slowly regained my strength, and though I am not fully myself again, I am better than I was. I can drive, and I can go to work, and I can listen to music, and I can even read sometimes. I took my last dose of Klonopin a couple weeks ago, and I sure do feel it. The depression is heavy, and panic attacks returned, and I still convulse sometimes. I have one more medication to go – Amitriptyline – and I hope to start tapering next year. Mourning and finding meaning What I am struggling the most with is fully coming to terms with what I went through. I don’t mean to self pity, but it’s how I feel. I trusted a system so wholeheartedly only to be fired as a patient and left worse off. I can’t help but wonder… who even am I? Sure, I’m starting to feel more like who I was before I began withdrawing, but looking back – I’ve been medicated my whole adult life. How do I know what was me and what was the medication? Who am I underneath it all? Will the depression that I felt as a teenager just remain as my normal? I also don’t understand the point of what I went through. What is God or the universe trying to tell me? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge? Everytime I discuss it, I am met with humoring looks and pitying stares. Was I such a bad person that this is punishment? At the end of the day, I realize I have a lot of privileges that other people don’t. I’m not ungrateful. I know that my family saved me. I know that it could have been so much worse. I could have been on the streets. I could have been hospitalized. But I am so angry, so hurt, so upset for myself and the thousands who went through this and more, only to be sidelined with a story that will never be considered credible by the powers that be. Thank you for reading.
  21. Please someone direct me toward where I saw a list of doctors throughout the nation who will taper AD’s. I was on here looking through it and hit the wrong button and now I can’t find it. Thank you.
  22. Hello, I am 24 years old, and am currently going through what I think are Lamictal withdrawals. My story is rather long and complicated, so I will try to sum it up as best I can. If anyone wants me to explain anything further, I can do that as well. I was diagnosed Bipolar II in 2010 at 18 yeara old, and was prescribed Lexapro, Seroquel, Vyvanse, and Klonopin. I immediately felt like a zombie, and stopped taking everything but the Lexapro. Fast forward to May of 2016, I am only on 5mg of Lexapro now and feeling rather depressed. My new psychiatrist wants to try a mood stabilizer (I have always fought against doctors wanting to add new drugs to my cocktail). Unfortunately, my parents convinced me that a new pill would be the answer, and I started up on 25mg of Lamictal. For two weeks I took that and felt alright, a slight improvement I guess. Two weeks later I bumped up to 50mg and started noticing a decent improvement, but also some pretty noticeable side effects. Two weeks later, I upped the dose to 100mg, and the next day felt absolutely horrible. I got terrible flu like symptoms, rash on my hands and feet, swollen glands, spread throat, stomach pains, etc. I went to the hospital and they said it was just a virus. I continued to take 100mg of Lamictal. Two days later, the rash had now spread to my whole body and was extremely itchy. I went back to the ER, and again they said it was just a virus and had nothing to do with Lamictal. I took it upon myself to stop taking 100mg that day (June 5, 2016). The rash went away almost immediately, but the withdrawal symptoms were unbelievably overwhelming so I reinstated 50mg three days later when I couldn't take it anymore. I stabilized for two weeks on 50mg, until I got yet another itchy rash, this titem accompanied with a very dizzy headache and a lot of cognition problems. I stopped cold turkey again, and made it three days before needing to reinstate 25mg as the withdrawal was too much to handle. I then stayed on 25mg for a week (still feeling absolutely horrible the whole time). I experienced insomnia (jerked myself awake every time I was about to fall asleep), rapid heart beat, extreme anxiety, worse depression then I've ever had before, zero appetite (lost 13 pounds and am already underweight), dizziness, terrible brain fog, confusion, memory loss, dp/dr, shakiness under the skin, back and neck pain, extreme fatigue, bouts of crying, extreme anger, and much more. After trying to stabilize at 25mg for that week, both my pDoc and GP told me just to stop the 25mg as it wasn't making anything better and I was past the worst of it. They also prescribed me 2 weeks of Klonopin as I basically hadn't slept the past week. I took my last pill of Lamictal on July 1, 2016. It's now been two weeks since taking my last pill, and I'm not sure if I feel any better. One moment I feel alright and think I can push through, the next minute I feel like it's going to last forever and I should reinstate a small dose and try to stabilize there first. Then I think I've already made it through 14 days with no pills, and my symptoms are not nearly as bad as they were when I was taking 25mg of Lamictal at the end of the taper. The first week after stopping Lamictal I felt rather depressed, but somehow still hopeful that things would get better. I still had a very rapid heart rate, trouble sleeping, dizziness, and feeling generally uneasy, but it wasn't too bad at all. This second week has been somehow harder though, and I feel like I don't know what to do. I am now pretty dizzy all the time, my loss of appetite is back, and I usually feel pretty depressed and hopeless about the future. I also have almost no interest in anything that used to bring me happiness. It's getting somewhat overwhelming and I don't know what to do anymore. Should I just keep fighting? Both my mother and my pDoc think that I should keep pushing through and eventually things will get better. I want to believe that but I feel like my hope is fleeting me each day that I wake up and feel the same. I also am very addicted/dependant on Marijuana, and use it to sleep, eat, stop anxiety, feel better, etc. However, after this whole issue whenever I smoke it makes everything a million times worse. Unfortunately, when I don't smoke, all I can think about is smoking pot and that it will make me feel better. So I then proceed to smoke, feel worse, and then painfully sober up until I go through the whole process again. I want to stop smoking altogether, and have tried hundreds of times, but have never made it more than a few days before I feel like I'm losing my mind. I was taking .25mg of Klonopin 2x/day these past two weeks, but have decided to stop that now as I don't want to become dependant on it. I have also been meditating, eating healthy (when I do eat), trying to stay positive, trying to exercise and stay busy, got myself on a sleep schedule, and want to start taking some supplements. None of these things I was doing before all of this. I also scheduled an appointment with a talk therapist (as I feel I have some deep rooted issues causing my anxiety/depression) and with a Neurofeedback Center (in hopes of lessening my anxiety/depression, reducing pot addiction, and resetting my brain to its natural state). If anyone could offer any insight or advice or experience with anything I've been going through I would be extremely grateful. Right now I have so many concerns I don't even know where to start. Should I continue pushing through the Lamictal withdrawals in hopes the symptoms will reside soon? Should I reinstate any amount of Lamictal to stop the withdrawals symptoms? But couldn't that cause worse symptoms like it did when I was on Lamictal in the first place? Should I keep taking the Klonopin to help with anxiety/sleep or should I stop? Should I just cold turkey stop or try and taper down the Klonopin? Is it possible to already be dependant on Klonopin after only two weeks? I feel as though I may be dependant on it to sleep. Sorry for the long post, I'm not sure if that's alright, but I've been holding this in for a while and am not really sure where else to turn.
  23. Hi all - new to the forum and very grateful for the members who are walking the path to get off these SSRI. I was always depressed as a child and was prescribed Lexapro in 2003. 2004: Prescribed Cipramil instead of Lexapro after going hypomanic for 6 months, and lamictal to stablise. Got diagnosed with bipolar II... 2014: Came off lamictal with no issues, stablised using a buttload of coconut oil to stablise and a paleo diet. 2004-Dec 2015 - 5mg Cipramil once a day. Noticed that Cipramil stopped working from mid 2015 and decided to stop (only lasted a week) with severe WD symptoms - dizziness, diarraha, flu like symptoms, anxiety, OCD thoughts etc.... 20 Dec 2015 - 2.5mg Cipramil a day hoping to taper by 10% per period, depending on tolerance. Am feeling kinda ambitious and want to go down 10% once a week but will most likely fall on my face, which is fine too. Been doing really well this week - I can feel below my belly button and my sex drive is coming back! Went on a boat and did want to die (One of the side effects was painful sex and really crap at travelling on boats/cars/bus). But am feeling really tired alot and a little dizzy, nothing to write home about. Need some help fro other more experience members with WD.... Q1: A friend of mine is trying to convince to try Kambo - anyone tried this? I am really skeptical and don't think I am up for it as am feeling abit fragile and in addition to being depressed I have fairly constant inflammation (eczema), never mind its like $140 per treatment (!!) http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/from-bedbound-to-fit-and-able-in-14-days-effects-of-the-amazonian-medicine-kambo-on-a-cfs-patient.22952/page-4 Q2: Also read about the prozac bridge which seems like alot less trouble, I am seeing my shrink in January should I ask for this to try? Since I have never even had prozac (I have only ever had SSRIs) so not sure?
  24. I’ve been on both of these meds since I was 15 years old and I am now 21. Im scared to get off due to the side effects that may occur… I had a really scary episode of phycosis where I tried to harm myself but the doctors don’t know what lead to it and I think it may be the medications im on.. I don’t really know what to do anymore im on 10mg of citalopram currently and 75 of lamotrigine… please help. Im experiencing anxiety and panic attacks at this time which I have never experienced before..
  25. Hi all, this seems like such a lovely community, I am in a desperate place. I finished my aripiprazole taper 3 weeks ago but because it has such a long half life (45 days I believe) my withdrawal continues and only gets worse. My psychiatrist did it all too fast I think: I got down to 2.5mg then just stopped altogether. I am in mental agony. I have never had such strong suicidal urges, I'd even go so far as to say I have been committed to do it. My family have hidden knives, they supervise my access to the balcony and have taken my medication from me so that I don't take too much. I have been to A&E twice but they don't want to admit me to inpatient because I am withdrawn and quiet and they think the noise in there would cause too much distress. I have an NHS crisis team supporting me but they have put me on two more drugs that I will eventually have to taper from: clonazepam and quetiapine. I am getting addicted to the drowsy feeling these drugs give me and I find myself waiting all day until my next dose so I can experience more relief. For background: I have autism, ADHD and mixed affective Bipolar Disorder and my stable meds are Lamotrigine 100mg and Elvanse 30mg. I have already tapered off so many medications but this antipsychotic withdrawal is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I would love some support as despite going through such a tough mental health journey for most of my life, this is the most isolated I've ever felt. I'm experiencing anhedonia for hours then searing mental anguish that makes me want someone to murder me or for my loved ones to just let me do it myself. I hope I've said enough here. I could write a book but I don't want to waste anyone's time.
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