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  1. angelicus

    Angelicus: intro

    Hello all, Let me first say that finding this site (mentioned on Dr. Brogan's own site) has been incredible! I've been scrolling through a bit last night and today and finally thought to make an intro. Here's a history. In 2017 I experienced a panic attack on a flight back to school. Was out late drinking the night before, had some fast food at the airport. Took a nap at the beginning of the flight. Woke up feeling quite odd, shooting sensation up my left arm, heart was beating like crazy, thought it was a heart attack. Luckily, there was a doctor on the flight (he said it was a panic attack) and another passenger had Klonopin, so the rest of the flight was just about getting me calm. Not fun. After we landed I went to the ER to see if it was anything with my heart, all was well. Next few weeks was constantly on edge, worried I was going to have another attack. Then one morning I woke up with some derealization. Again, had no idea what was going on at all. Went to the ER maybe a few days later, was given some ativan, doctor told me it was just high anxiety. A few months later (after I graduated), I went to my PCP and told him about my derealization symptons, to which he promptly prescribed me lexapro (10mg). Since this was a long time ago I'm not sure how I exactly took it at first, I think I started only taking 5mg to start and then worked my way up to 10mg. Don't recall any terrible side effects besides maybe just feeling "odd." Derealization didn't fully go away, Doctor prescribed me with 20 mg. However, I kept only taking 10mg (I don't know why, maybe some intuition?). Anyways, the derealization eventually went away after I drove back to school for my master's program (a 12 hour drive, quite on edge for the first hour or two!). I kept taking the lexapro throughout the year. Things were fine, but again I'm really not sure whether it was the lexapro or just my brain being fine with the derealization being over. Anyways, that summer, I was having some sleeping problems (caused by the lexapro, in my view), and I went to see a psychiatrist and she prescribed me klonopin (a neighbor gave me some one night after I told him about lexapro issues). Was prescribed 0.5mg. After finishing my master's that summer, I went to another school to get another master's (overkill, lol), and was running out of klonopin so I was naturally worried I wouldn't be able to sleep. Went to school doc who prescribed me the klonopin and referred me to a psychiatrist. Continued on this (intermittently, I could go a month or so without it and be okay) and the lexapro for the whole 2018-2019 school year. Took 20mg of lexapro for a month or two but it was too much and went back down to 10mg. I was pretty consistent with my doses of lexapro, though occasionally would miss a few (and would avoid taking it some nights I knew I was going to drink; I never drank on klonopin). In January of this year, I decided, without the advice of my psychiatrist (imprudently, I know) to taper myself off the medication. I believe it was a quicker taper (my memory is just so hazy). Went from 10mg to 5mg for a bit, then just managed to stop. Same with klonopin, started to take only .25mg and then just stopped when I ran out. The withdrawal was real, and I wish I tapered more carefully, but I was just in such a rush to get off the meds. Went through a strong depression for 1-2 weeks after stopping, but tried to eat a lot healthier and exercise (weightlifting, walking). Both of those helped and I eventually got out of the depression funk, though I still experienced anxiety (even it wasn't fully calmed during all the medication). Fast forward to about a few weeks ago, I was driving back home from my apartment by my school and had a panic attack on my drive back, which freaked me out. Was on edge for a bit, constant fear of driving alone. Called my psychiatrist to see if I should go back on medication which, to no surprise, he said yes and prescribed 10mg Lexapro and 0.5mg klonopin (I tried to only take 0.25mg even when necessary) which I began on 8/11. The first few days were fine, but on the fourth day I had some severe anxiety and stomach problems (a frequent theme throughout my anxiety/panic attacks). Anyways, went for a walk, came home and ate some lunch, but a few minutes after I threw it all up. Body felt like it was on fire and I had an intrusive suicidal thought that just freaked me tf out. Luckily, I'm here with my family so I went to the ER because it felt like the worst panic attack ever. ER trip wasn't really fruitful, high BP (148/89 or something close to that), they took blood and urine but didn't do any tests. Next few days were horrendous, same high anxiety symptoms/panic attacks/stomach problems and I started to develop depression. I called my psych asking if I could stop taking the meds, he advised me to just split my dose. I thought that would cure everything, but could not be more wrong. Next two days were extremely brutal, same problems of debilitating anxiety/depression/stomach issues. Wanted to split my dose again into 2.5mg thinking that would do the trick, but woke up the next morning with extreme stomach pain and was back in the ER again. Took the klonopin (0.25mg) in the morning and later when I got home. Thankfully, some actually tests were run (urine/blood) and everything came back fine. Called my psych to see if I could stop and he said yes. Rest of the day I felt extraordinarily depressed, called my psych again to see if I should check myself into a psych ward as I was having intrusive suicidal thoughts. He advised I take my actual dose of klonopin of 0.5mg to see if that would help. It did a bit, the depression went away after I napped, but was still extremely jittery. Called my psych again to see if there was anything else I should try, he prescribed my seroquel which I picked up and absolutely refused to take. These past 6 days of the lexapro have been...not fun. Anxiety high, depression (a very physical one, feeling it throughout my whole body), intrusive/obsessive thoughts, and terrible GI condition. Each day I've really wanted to reach for the klonopin, but I fought it off, knowing it would be worse in the long run. Finally went to see a naturopath today. She was great, but I'm not sure of the supplements she gave me. One is "GI Revive" which contains a bunch of different herbs (I feel this might be too much for my system to handle, and I felt odd after taking it earlier, though less anxious, perhaps due to the chamomille in the mix) as well as glycine (powder, take ever morning). She also gave me magnesium glycinate if the glycine didn't help after two weeks. Based on what I'm reading here I think it might just be better to go straight for the magnesium and ask her for just gluminate for the GI problems. Hoping these will at least help during this process. I was just really freaked out over all this, as I had no previous adverse reactions to lexapro and for my system to react this way after only 10 days just reallllly has me freaked. But reading stuff here has been extremely helpful as I'm seeing these adverse reactions can happen. My psych was also perplexed calling it "odd." Anyways, my main symptoms seem to be High Anxiety Hyperarousal/Hypersensitivity Depression No motivation Intrusive thoughts Obsessing over my future (I had to take a term withdrawal this semester, which I'm fine about), but just constantly ruminating over "will this happen again in future?" "will I ever be able to function again?" "will these feelings last forever?") Catastrophizing (which I've always done, even before my first 'official' panic attack) Intense GI problems (I think the Lexapro exacerbated these, as I've been dealing with some problems here for the past month or so) I've definitely been trying to cope with all this. Like I said, it was and is such a weird and quite debilitating. My main coping mechanisms have been prayer, walking, distracting myself on the Internet (kind of good, kind of bad) and reading a bit. I've always tried to adjust my diet to maximize mineral/vitamin content from food. I've always begun psychotherapy with my psychiatrist, but am contemplating looking for a Catholic therapist to help with the spiritual dimension of this (I'm Catholic). Unfortunately I am a smoker (pack/day), but I am working to taper off that as well, as I know the stimulant exacerbates things. it's an awful coping mechanism. The past three days have been better, though I definitely have my ups and downs throughout the day. Any advice/encouragement you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm really glad I found this forum and disappointed I didn't see it years ago when I was first going through the stuff and I know me not consistently taking the doses at times was not the smartest. Nevertheless, ruminating on my past mistakes isn't the most beneficial, so I'm trying my best to look towards the future. I don't expect it to be easy, but just trying to take it one day at a time. I've probably missed some aspects of my history/symptoms/etc., but this post has been quite long so my apologies! Thankfully, I'm with family, and they have been so accepting/understanding. I appreciate all that ya'll do here, and will definitely recommend it any friends who think about taking these meds. -angelicus
  2. Hi all, It's been a crazy few months since August... and yet it feels like we barely started on this journey. Not really looking forward to next year based on what I've seen... Anyway, some background, my 62yr old mum has on and off over the years experienced stress related throat symptoms - difficulty swallowing, lump in throat etc. All her visits to throat specialists yielded nothing (except for a slight hernia hiatus w/ GERD, which she was put on a PPI long term for). Unable to find the source of her discomfort, she became more distressed by it, resulting in a vicious cycle of cause and effect. Eventually she got put on Fluvoxamine 150mg, Olanzapine 2.5mg and Nordiazepam 11.25mg back in 2018 Nov. Previously she has been rx fluvoxamine on and off since 2004, and seem to have always gone cold turkey off them whenever she felt better. Her pdoc never warned her not to do so, nor suspected that her repeated visits and complaints of symptoms may have been due to withdrawal. She was previously rx benzos PRN but never took them until the TID prescription in nov 18. Fast forward to 2019, she started exhibiting symptoms of what i now know was tolerance withdrawal from benzos, increasing anxiety and visibly fearful, things shes never had before. In Aug 19 she switched a pdoc believing that the previous pdoc's meds werent working anymore. The new pdoc cold turkeyed her off the antipsychotic as well as her benzo, but rx clonazepam to her to be taken PRN, but only if she really needs it coz it's 'addictive' and thus bad. She was also switched to mirtazapine 30mg. This switch resulted in a tsunami of acute withdrawal symptoms to appear. Within weeks of zero sleep and many many disturbing symptoms, she became suicidal. I got involved at this point, but was otherwise ignorant of the real danger she was in. I knew she was in withdrawal, I just didnt know withdrawals could be so dangerous or last that long. The pdoc reassured me that everything will be okay, and that she's already looking better than when she first came in! (Turns out, it was because she had a clonazepam just before the appointment. Duh!) When things didnt relent by the end of august, and she became actively suicidal, i grew concerned and admitted her to a psych ward. Bad mistake, because they misdiagnosed her as depression and did a major change to her cocktail of drugs again. They reinstated her on 10mg V, and switched her to 75mg Effexor XR, as well as loaded her on zdrugs for the duration if her stay(10+days). This mistake did help me figure out what went wrong though, as the switch to Valium helped me find benzobuddies and the ashton manual. Only then did the past month finally make sense. I was horrified at how arbitrary pdocs were making their adjustments to medications, and shocked that they would so blatantly tell me its her underlying illness that she has been masking symptoms of from me. Makes one wonder if she was so good at masking symptoms previously, why is she incapable of doing so now? 😕 They tried to cold turkey / rapid taper her off V again, but i insisted they reinstate her back on her benzo and do a proper taper instead. They agreed but only reinstated and discharged her with 8mg V with the instruction to taper her benzo at 1mg/mth. My discovery and obsession of benzo withdrawal has blinded me to the other two real dangers that she was in, that she was cold turkeyed off an antipsychotic, and put on venlaflaxine, a super short halflife snri. By the time I realize it may not just be benzo withdrawal, it was too late, she was already off olanzapine for 3 mths, and on effexor xr for the same amount of time. I raised my concerns, but the pdoc brushed away my concern again. These ill advised tapering instructions resulted in my mum entering a state of catatonia stupor in mid nov, and had to be admitted to the hospital for a week, after she couldnt stabilize on her 1mg cut to 7mg V. As of now, shes having a myriad of symptoms, including but not limited to dp/dr, akathisia, broken sleep, major brain fog cognitive dysfunction/memory issues, paranoia, confusion, dysphagia, anxiety, fear, panic, agoraphobia, constipation and other gi issues, and something im growing more and more concerned for, tardive dyskinesia (rapid eye blinking, chewing, lips smacking) which Im wondering if it was from the olanzapine cold turkey or the clonazapem use for 3 weeks after her first cold turkey. Most days, shes hardly present and would take a long time to register things i say, or execute simple instructions. Her cognitive skills fluctuates, but only from really bad to somewhat bad, never good or normal. Her anxiety has somewhat weaned but is still fearful and obsessively worried and paranoid. She bounced back from her catatonic state rather quickly, but is experiencing severe dp/dr and brain fog that hasnt relented for the 2 weeks since she got discharged from the hospital. Waves and windows throughout the day... Anyway.. her tardive dyskinesia concerns me... and got me reading up on more than just benzo withdrawal. Effexor has always concerned me, so on and off i'd be on SA reading up about it, but Ashton said to taper ADs after benzos so i never really questioned it, until I read the thread about tapering stimulating drugs first which got me thinking if we should get her off effexor first and do a long hold on her benzo instead... of course, i'm assuming her pdoc will be supportive but who knows 😕 Anyway... I'm currently holding her on 7mg V intil the end of the year, which will make it about 2+mths shes on that dosage. Will do a micro taper eitherway, drycutting V or counting beads for effexor XR. As of now, i started tapering her PPI omeprazole coz shes been on it for almost 4 yrs and that concerns me... as well as the Valium Interaction with omeprazole. for all I know, her anxiety and throat symptoms over the yrs couldve been caused by the PPI, coupled with her cold turkeying off her ADs on her own over the years, it seemed like a perfect storm waiting to happen... I wish back then I had known the things i know now, perhaps then she wouldnt be on these drugs or been cold turkeyed off them. It's painful to watch her usually high functioning self be reduced to someone whom I have to bring to the washroom otherwise she doesnt remember she has to urinate. I really miss her. I wish I had read up more, because I had the exact same thing happen to me in my early 20s with ADs and antipsychotics (had a BS bipolar II diagnosis and even had 10 rounds of ECT done to me) but I was taught to embrace my mental illness and work towards recovery... but I always kind of knew it was BS because I knew I didnt become suicidal or had behavioral issues until i started on psych drugs, and that I didnt fully recover until i was off them for a couple of years (I learnt to act normal so my pdoc would take me off them). Anyhow... tons of regret not researching more when I was younger, coz I can see clearly now what happened to me back then, and what is happening to my mum now. Sorry for the long post. Been feeling very guilty and helpless lately over her current situation, and cant figure out what the next best step should be. Anyway, I hope everyones doing ok and making progress in their own journey to recovery.
  3. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
  4. I am 23 days post op from Nissen Fundupliction. I am 45 years old and have suffered atypical symptoms of acid reflux for about 9 years now. I never get heartburn, but was constantly nauseous. I would also have very scary "panic attacks" after eating acidic foods or drinking wine that would wake me up 8 hours after eating with SEVERE nausea, puddles of sweat, a heartbeat too fast to count and a feeling of death or doom. They would last at least an hour, coming and going in waves. I would sleep sitting up and holding my husband's hand. It is my own opinion that my acid was coming up to my vagus nerve, where it didn't belong, and cased my body to go into fight or flight. This happened two to three times a month until after months of testing, I was diagnosed with acid reflux. I tried different medications while my entire body started shutting down, one system at a time. I was not able to empty my bladder, my moods were all over the place and intense, my skin was green and my muscles were fading away. I had constant headaches, etc. I settled on Omeprazole but still had symptoms and felt terrible. PH tests and swallowing tests all showed that I produced way too much acid and it washed into my mouth, even when I was upright and eating a very alkaline diet. My teeth were decaying at an alarming rate, my voice would be gone for months at a time, and the nausea was constant. I finally found an occupational physiologist (a nutritionist who works at a cellular level) who helped me with a very restricted diet. My life got better and I felt amazing. I lived like that, while still on 80 mg. of Omeprazole for 3 years, but could not continue the diet as strictly as I had been. (life gets in the way) My GI said that my acid tests didn't change, even though I felt better. He wanted me to see a specialist 6 hours away. The thought of staying on medication for life worried me. Since I had tried every "fix" I am aware of and I was still struggling with the reflux, I decided on surgery. After reading the posts, I am very happy to be weaning off of PPIs. My surgery was intense and I just started transitioning from a liquid diet to soft foods. It is not for the faint of heart. My esophagus is so tight that I feel like an anaconda eating a rabbit whenever I swallow anything, but healing will be a process. I am happy that I am not waking up nauseous and water finally tastes good. (acid and water are not friends). I hope my improved body will keep the acid where it belongs and am excited to start weaning off of my meds. I truly appreciate the advice that I found here.
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