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furgussen - Long battle, looking for assistance


furgussen

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Hello All,

 

Thank you for this wonderful site!  A lot of my Google searches come back to this site and I've been helped by quite a few posts.

 

I apologize if this post is a little unreadable.  My brain isn't working today, but I felt I needed to at least start a thread.  I'm going to omit some symptoms I had/have because I just want to start this thread. 

 

My story starts in 1998 with Paxil (I was 17 years old) with self-esteem issues and depression.  Since then I've been on almost every SSRI and some tricyclics and one MAOI.


I've read Anatomy of an Epidemic as well as a couple of books by Peter Breggin.  I'm convinced my current issues are antidepressant related but I'm having trouble finding help here in Calgary.

 

I don't want to write a novel, but my history is as follows:

 

Self-esteem issues in high school.  What was probably a very normal at the time.  My Dr prescribed Paxil and I've been on antidepressants ever since.  We tried so many SSRI's.  My record keeping started in 2006 so from 1998-2006 my records are just from memory.  I remember that I should have started writing it down because the drugs she had me on changed monthly.

 

It seemed like the two drugs I was on for the longest time were Citalopram/Celexa (2001-2007) and fluoxetine/Prozac (2007-2013).

 

However I've been on Lithium (600 or 800mg from 2004-2007), I was never diagnosed bipolar.

Desipramine, Wellbutrin and Manerix during 2007.  I'm sure I missed some.

 

I felt really stable on 60mg of Prozac between 2007-2013.  In August 2012 my life changed.  

 

My wife and I lost our first child.  During delivery our little one must have flipped around and become breech.  She was Frank Breech, meaning she came out bum first with her feet up near her head.  It wasn't discovered until she was already in the birth canal and needed to be delivered normally.  He heart stopped during delivery and doctors couldn't get her heart started again and she passed away.

 

I think it was this event that send my brain into a spin that I have yet to recover.

 

After that event I became very fatigued.  I had never taken an energy drink before, but was now relying on 5-6 Rockstars a day (over 1g of caffeine) just to get through the day.

 

December 2013 I had a melt-down and was admitted to an outpatient Psychiatry unit.

 

They changed my medication to Cymbalta.  It seemed to work at first, but then after titrating up to 90mg/day it stopped working.  This psychiatrist also diagnosed me with adult ADD.  I had taken Dexadrine 10mg for a while, but now that I was "diagnosed" they put me on Vyvanse.  I went up in the dosage on that to 80mg/day with no help.  During this time I also tried Modafinil (300mg).

 

All these stimulants seemed to work for a few weeks then stop.

 

During this time I could sleep 8/10/12/16 hours and not feel refreshed.  I had a full polysomnogram which determined I did NOT have sleep apnea or narcolepsy.  The poly showed I exited sleep state 26 times per hour, but didn't determine why.

 

During this time I've been constantly fatigued.  I used to go to the gym 5 days/week, but stopped in 2014.  I manage to go for a walk every now and then but it is difficult.

 

Believing sleep was the issue and knowing SSRI's interrupt REM sleep (I haven't dreamt in years), I stopped all drugs between Sept and Dec 2014.  I became suicidal, which I now attribute to a withdrawal symptom.

 

The psychiatrist was nervous I would hurt myself so they put me on Wellbutrin XR.  Titrating up to 300mg for 6 weeks before discontinuing because I didn't notice a difference.  However Wellbutrin gave me insomnia which I still battle today.

 

Desperate for help I've been seeing naturopaths.  They tested me for Lyme disease.  And while 1 test did come back positive they put me on the antibiotic Doxycycline for 3 months (June 10, 2015 to Sept 10, 2015 no help).

 

I should note, all tests come back normal (CBC, Liver enzymes, Thyroid, Iron, Vitamin D).  The only things out of range are Cortisol (high in the morning), B12 is high and my LDL is a bit high.

 

Another family doc put me back on Prozac 20mg and Abilify 2mg with no help. (May 14-June 10, 2015).  I stopped this because my Lyme came back positive and I didn't want to be back on the drugs to begin with.

 

I've been off all psychoactive prescriptions since June 10, 2015.

 

Every doctor I've seen wants me back on the SSRIs.  I'm hesitant to start up again.

 

Since being off the antidepressants, my suicidal thoughts have subsided.  However the fatigue and brain fog have me off work.

 

My naturopath is the only one that seems to want to help me.  My family doc gave up years ago.  However naturopathy is not covered by my health plan and is very expensive.

 

I'm taking a probiotic to replenish my gut bacteria after the Doxy.  I remember being constipated on the antidepressants.  Taking psyllium fibre every day to stay regular.  I'm very regular now that I'm off everything.

 

I'm also taking some Tryptophan, 5-HTP and Tyrosine and an attempt to replenish neurotransmitters.

 

It's this last point that I need some help with.

 

I know the chemical imbalance theory is debunked, but I wonder if years of SSRI's has sent my brain into atrophy regarding neurotransmitter creation.  My belief is that flooding my body with these amino acid precursors can't hurt (or can it?).

 

I know I didn't taper off my meds, and some posts I read indicate this is bad.  However I'm very hesitant to start on them again only to slowly taper off.

 

What does the community think?

 

My main complaints today are extreme fatigue/exhaustion, almost no short-term memory, and crippling brain fog that's keeping me from working.  Plus I feel like I'm 90 years old.  If you see a video of Ozzy Osbourne walking, that's what I look like!

 

Any guidance is appreciated!

 

Thank You

My Main Drug History

1998-2000 Paxil
2000-2007 Celexa (also Lithium, Effexor and Manerix during this time) 

2005-2013 Dexedrine 10mg
2007-2013 Prozac 60mg
2013-2014 Cymbalta up to 90mg (with a brief stint of Wellbutrin XR up to 300mg) - Vyvanse up to 80mg

 

Brief Drugs:

Mirtazapine for sleep in 2007 - I gained a ton of weight on it

Seroquel 12.5mg  for sleep in 2006/2007 and again in 2014 - Found it worked for a while

 

Drug Free since June 10, 2015, no tapering

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi furgussen

 

Welcome to SA. I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your baby. That would have been devastating for you and your wife.

 

You have been on a lot of drugs over the years and frankly I'm surprised you don't have more symptoms that that, particularly given you didn't taper. Can you tell us a little about how your symptoms have changed, if at all since you went off and whether you are experiencing anything else that you may not be attributing to withdrawal?

 

It's quite possible that the 5htp and tryptophan are mediating your withdrawal. They are both serotonergic. Whether this is good is debatable. We have a thread on 5htp here -http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9933-5-htp-5-hydroxytryptophan-and-l-tryptophan/page-4

 

Can I ask you to complete a signature with your withdrawal history. Instructions on how to do that are here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Also have a read through other threads like this which offers a theory of withdrawal - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/392-one-theory-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/andthe managing symptoms forum

 

I think the threads on 5htp and the theory of withdrawal may help you make good decisions about your current strategy. I would be a bit cautious with it and ask whether you are just swapping one substance for another within the context of a brain that has adapted to having these substances. But, there are no definitive answers to be had. We have to piece through the info at hand, listen to our bodies and make the most informed decision possible.

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Welcome

 

So sorry for your loss.

I have also been having the extreme tiredness and brain fog along with joint pain.

These symptoms got worse since last year. I would like to ask you feel your symptoms are truly from lyme or withdrawals symptoms.

A few doctors except for my pdoc think my symptoms are coming from lyme.

My pdoc does believe in withdrawals and feels that it would be a huge coincidence that I would have contracted lyme since when my symptoms came right after I cut 50%. Of the notorious effexor. He mentioned that lyme tests can result in false positives or vice a versa.

I would try to taper off the supplements you are taking because coming off ads can result in a sensitized cns especially cold turkey, large cut or fast tapering. Please let us know how you are doing.

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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  • Moderator Emeritus

What were you taking between December 2014 and the beginning of May 2015? 

 

RU

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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Wow!  Thanks for the quick replies!

 

Dalsaan - The only positive things I have noticed since stopping are my suicidal thoughts are gone.  It took a month or two but I don't think about it daily anymore.  Also I noticed I'm not biting my nails anymore.  I can't remember the last time I needed to use nail clippers on my finger nails!  But my sleep patterns are still way off.  It's 10PM right now and I'm wired.  Can't sleep.  I'll probably fall asleep around 1AM, sleep until 9AM and wake up; be exhausted the entire day and then get wired again tomorrow night.  I don't know why.

 

Lexy - I'm still not convinced I have Lyme Disease.  I've had three tests.  The Alberta Health Services (ELISA) and iGeneX (Western Blot) came back negative, whereas the ImmunoSciences (ELISA) came back positive.  I did 3 months of Doxycycline and didn't notice any difference. I would think the antibiotic would do something if I had Lyme.  

 

Areyouthere - Between Dec 2014 and May 2015 I was taking nothing.  I had stopped the Cymbalta in Sept 2014 and I was only on the Wellbutrin for 6 weeks in Dec/Jan.  I didn't taper those drugs at all.  I only noticed two temporary withdrawal symptoms.  I remember being really dizzy, and the suicidal thoughts.  Dizziness lasted about a month and the thoughts maybe two months.  Now I'm just left with the fatigue, brain fog and extreme stiffness.

 

I agree with Dalsaan that our bodies will only tell us what we're doing is working, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had success (or failure) with amino acid therapies for coming off antidepressants?

 

Tyler

My Main Drug History

1998-2000 Paxil
2000-2007 Celexa (also Lithium, Effexor and Manerix during this time) 

2005-2013 Dexedrine 10mg
2007-2013 Prozac 60mg
2013-2014 Cymbalta up to 90mg (with a brief stint of Wellbutrin XR up to 300mg) - Vyvanse up to 80mg

 

Brief Drugs:

Mirtazapine for sleep in 2007 - I gained a ton of weight on it

Seroquel 12.5mg  for sleep in 2006/2007 and again in 2014 - Found it worked for a while

 

Drug Free since June 10, 2015, no tapering

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  • Administrator

Welcome, furgusson.
 
It sounds like your nervous system is still recovering from going on and off many drugs, including the antibiotics. See What is withdrawal syndrome?
 
You are sleeping, that is a good sign. You might reinforce your sleep pattern by following sleep hygiene recommendations, including getting off the computer early in the evening and turning down the lights. See Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

As for your theory about amino acids -- some of them can be activating, including tyrosine. This will affect your sleep. Please go to our Symptoms and Self-care forum  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/8-symptoms-and-self-care/and use search to read up on each of the amino acids you're taking. There are many other suggestions there for how to reduce symptoms, too but mainly, you will need to be patient, nurture your nervous system, and let your body very gradually heal.
 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 4 months later...

Hello furgussen

how are you doing ?

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

Hello All,

 

Thank you for this wonderful site!  A lot of my Google searches come back to this site and I've been helped by quite a few posts.

 

I apologize if this post is a little unreadable.  My brain isn't working today, but I felt I needed to at least start a thread.  I'm going to omit some symptoms I had/have because I just want to start this thread. 

 

My story starts in 1998 with Paxil (I was 17 years old) with self-esteem issues and depression.  Since then I've been on almost every SSRI and some tricyclics and one MAOI.

I've read Anatomy of an Epidemic as well as a couple of books by Peter Breggin.  I'm convinced my current issues are antidepressant related but I'm having trouble finding help here in Calgary.

 

I don't want to write a novel, but my history is as follows:

 

Self-esteem issues in high school.  What was probably a very normal at the time.  My Dr prescribed Paxil and I've been on antidepressants ever since.  We tried so many SSRI's.  My record keeping started in 2006 so from 1998-2006 my records are just from memory.  I remember that I should have started writing it down because the drugs she had me on changed monthly.

 

It seemed like the two drugs I was on for the longest time were Citalopram/Celexa (2001-2007) and fluoxetine/Prozac (2007-2013).

 

However I've been on Lithium (600 or 800mg from 2004-2007), I was never diagnosed bipolar.

Desipramine, Wellbutrin and Manerix during 2007.  I'm sure I missed some.

 

I felt really stable on 60mg of Prozac between 2007-2013.  In August 2012 my life changed.  

 

My wife and I lost our first child.  During delivery our little one must have flipped around and become breech.  She was Frank Breech, meaning she came out bum first with her feet up near her head.  It wasn't discovered until she was already in the birth canal and needed to be delivered normally.  He heart stopped during delivery and doctors couldn't get her heart started again and she passed away.

 

I think it was this event that send my brain into a spin that I have yet to recover.

 

After that event I became very fatigued.  I had never taken an energy drink before, but was now relying on 5-6 Rockstars a day (over 1g of caffeine) just to get through the day.

 

December 2013 I had a melt-down and was admitted to an outpatient Psychiatry unit.

 

They changed my medication to Cymbalta.  It seemed to work at first, but then after titrating up to 90mg/day it stopped working.  This psychiatrist also diagnosed me with adult ADD.  I had taken Dexadrine 10mg for a while, but now that I was "diagnosed" they put me on Vyvanse.  I went up in the dosage on that to 80mg/day with no help.  During this time I also tried Modafinil (300mg).

 

All these stimulants seemed to work for a few weeks then stop.

 

During this time I could sleep 8/10/12/16 hours and not feel refreshed.  I had a full polysomnogram which determined I did NOT have sleep apnea or narcolepsy.  The poly showed I exited sleep state 26 times per hour, but didn't determine why.

 

During this time I've been constantly fatigued.  I used to go to the gym 5 days/week, but stopped in 2014.  I manage to go for a walk every now and then but it is difficult.

 

Believing sleep was the issue and knowing SSRI's interrupt REM sleep (I haven't dreamt in years), I stopped all drugs between Sept and Dec 2014.  I became suicidal, which I now attribute to a withdrawal symptom.

 

The psychiatrist was nervous I would hurt myself so they put me on Wellbutrin XR.  Titrating up to 300mg for 6 weeks before discontinuing because I didn't notice a difference.  However Wellbutrin gave me insomnia which I still battle today.

 

Desperate for help I've been seeing naturopaths.  They tested me for Lyme disease.  And while 1 test did come back positive they put me on the antibiotic Doxycycline for 3 months (June 10, 2015 to Sept 10, 2015 no help).

 

I should note, all tests come back normal (CBC, Liver enzymes, Thyroid, Iron, Vitamin D).  The only things out of range are Cortisol (high in the morning), B12 is high and my LDL is a bit high.

 

Another family doc put me back on Prozac 20mg and Abilify 2mg with no help. (May 14-June 10, 2015).  I stopped this because my Lyme came back positive and I didn't want to be back on the drugs to begin with.

 

I've been off all psychoactive prescriptions since June 10, 2015.

 

Every doctor I've seen wants me back on the SSRIs.  I'm hesitant to start up again.

 

Since being off the antidepressants, my suicidal thoughts have subsided.  However the fatigue and brain fog have me off work.

 

My naturopath is the only one that seems to want to help me.  My family doc gave up years ago.  However naturopathy is not covered by my health plan and is very expensive.

 

I'm taking a probiotic to replenish my gut bacteria after the Doxy.  I remember being constipated on the antidepressants.  Taking psyllium fibre every day to stay regular.  I'm very regular now that I'm off everything.

 

I'm also taking some Tryptophan, 5-HTP and Tyrosine and an attempt to replenish neurotransmitters.

 

It's this last point that I need some help with.

 

I know the chemical imbalance theory is debunked, but I wonder if years of SSRI's has sent my brain into atrophy regarding neurotransmitter creation.  My belief is that flooding my body with these amino acid precursors can't hurt (or can it?).

 

I know I didn't taper off my meds, and some posts I read indicate this is bad.  However I'm very hesitant to start on them again only to slowly taper off.

 

What does the community think?

 

My main complaints today are extreme fatigue/exhaustion, almost no short-term memory, and crippling brain fog that's keeping me from working.  Plus I feel like I'm 90 years old.  If you see a video of Ozzy Osbourne walking, that's what I look like!

 

Any guidance is appreciated!

 

Thank You

 

 

Hi, first of all let me say that what happened to you is tragic. You asked if somehow flooding your brain with all these chemicals did some sort of damage. I believe that is accurate in your case and in mine. Anytime you ask a doctor about the long-term effects of antidepressants or how they work and they are clueless. I think we are proof that antidepressants do long-term damage. I got off all my antidepressants for the last time almost 3 weeks ago. I've had horrible insomnia for 7 years and I believe it's due to damage that was caused by 23 years of antidepressants de-sensitising the receptors in my brain. I guess we will find out if abstaining from antidepresssants will fix our problems. We will see.

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