Jump to content
OpalOwl

OpalOwl: battling the triple threat - Zyprexa, Lamictal, Wellbutrin

Recommended Posts

OpalOwl

Greetings fellow warriors of the "Free Brain" resistance army,

 

A great battle is underway as we take on the oppressive Evil Empire: Big Pharma and the Pdoc minions who carry out their orders. These last 3 years I have been fighting alone, David vs Goliath style, and have proved no match for the powerful chemical Agent Neuron Walkers. I personally have been battling the front in the northern frontier of the CNS (Central Nervous System) facing the Triple Threat, a legion of 3 pharmaceutical terrorists, who are trying to set up a Caliphate in my brain: Zyprexa, Lamictal, Wellbutrin. The battle must go on…but new strategies are needed.

 

I'm grateful to have found all of you, the coalition of the willing, at this critical moment. We Shall Overcome!  

 

Ok, so time to get serious (well, relatively serious).

 

Short version:

Hi, I’m the Opal Owl, I fly by night.  Starting in Dec.2012 I was put on 20mg of Zyprexa for a few weeks after a drug induced psychosis and 10 day stay in the crazy house. This was later reduced to 10mg—no side effects. About 6 months later I was put on 300mg of Wellbutrin.  I had 3 withdrawal attempts from Zyprexa and Wellbutrin.  All of them failed due to going cold turkey or too rapid of withdrawal—and it was horrendous. However, I was able to get down to 5mg of Zyprexa with no withdrawal effects and 150mg Wellbutrin (with some negative effects).  In mid-2014 I was put on Lamictal (200mg) with the goal of discontinuing Zyprexa.  Over the past 1.5 years I have reduced the Zyprexa to 1.25mg—I did 50% reductions: 5 to 2.5, 2.5 to 1.25.  I have been on 1.25mg for about 2 months—no noticeable withdrawal effects (in my experience, I can get down to the tiniest of doses with no withdrawal effects. It’s only when I go off completely that all hell breaks loose).  3 weeks ago I did a 50% reduction of Lamictal to 100mg.  I started feeling the withdrawal effects intensely this past week—nausea, headaches, anxiety, depression, lack of appetite. All my old friends. Last night I saw my Pdoc and he said “Big mistake!”. He said he would support me going off of Zyprexa and Wellbutrin, but not Lamictal (which he seems convinced I will have to be on for life).  So, I agreed to reinstate the Lamictal. 150mg this week and then 200mg next week. Once I stable out, I will decide to take on either the Zyprexa or Wellbutrin.  Zyprexa is the most evil and I’m not sure I’m ready for that battle.  The Pdoc said he would put me on Seroquel 100mg (1/4 or ½ tab) to help with the, as we all know, insufferable insomnia (don’t have any experience with Seroquel—and am not aware of its soporific effects--any thoughts on this plan?).  Perhaps it would be better to start with the Wellbutrin.  Thoughts/suggestions/advice would be appreciated.  I’m learning from this forum that I will need to settle in for a war of attrition (something my “I want it now!” personality has a very difficult time with).

I gratefully await your thoughts and suggestions. 

 

Long version:

December 2012, Chicago.  A drug/alcohol induced manic episode (preceding the end of the Mayan calendar, and perhaps the end of the world) leading to psychosis and an eventual 10 day stay in the psych-ward (one of the most fascinating, and scary experiences of my life. I really do think most of those nurses and doctors were highly advanced AI. Has the singularity already happened? Are we indeed living in a simulation?).

 

After a stay in solitary confinement they decided I had suffered enough (or they were done testing my psychosis-induced special powers and probing the outer limits of human sanity). I was given 20mg of Zyprexa and was almost instantly zombified. I was then bestowed with a diagnosis of Bi-Polar 1 and chemical dependency (bada bing bada bang, that diagnosis took all of 5 minutes. Though to be fair, it wasn’t the first time I received this diagnosis).  A few days later I was given the boot along with my prescription for Zyprexa (signed by the Devil). 

 

Fast-forward 6 months and I’m taking 10mg of Zyprexa and 300mg of Wellbutrin. I decide, “Well, I’m glad that is all over. How about I kick these meds?” Little did I know I was already deeply entrenched in the briar patch, covered in pharmaceutical tar.  So, I go cold turkey and get my first ass-kicking from the man with horns that carries the bag of unfortunate souls trapped in the vile throngs of Zyprexa (on their way to the 7th ring of hell where Mother Zyprexa sits on her throne of Lilly pills).  I learn my lesson and decide that a new strategy is in order: Tapered, but rapid, withdrawal.  Second ass kicking—“You think it’s going to be that easy?” chuckles the horned one.  A few months later another meek attempt.  This time with my secret weapon of lorazepam to fight the insomnia.  Well, that worked for about a month and then another knock at my door, “Yep, good try. I’ll be taking that soul back now. Thank you very much.” So, I surrender and make a compromise: Here’s my soul back, but let me stay on the lowest possible dose.  The agreement is Zyprexa 5mg and Wellbutrin 150mg.  This was the second time I had made a deal with the Devil.  The first was during my 2012 psychosis when I pleaded to leave the country and was granted permission, but...BUT…I had to pick up every single cigarette butt I came across.  Needless to say, I have failed to live up to this promise and fear whether I will ever be able to leave my current entrapment (though I do give credit for the environmentally friendly agreement—who knew the devil could wear green?)

 

I maintain this contract until 2014. At this point life has become painfully monotonous (Insanely, I long to return to the psychosis-induced alternative reality of the psych ward—where in addition to my secret powers, the food was great, the people were interesting, and I could make collages all day). Instead, I’m tired all the time, I’m working less than part-time, and I’m living with my grandparents at age 30. The magic and enchantment of life are gone. I’m about ready to choose “Not to be”, but I can’t quite get over the “what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?” Then a ray of light, a chance for escape. Yes, an extreme plan, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m offered a teaching job in Saudi Arabia.  It pays bank.  I can get out of debt, I can gain back my independence.  And, with the money I earn, I can put into action my secret plan to get off all of the meds FOREVER (we’ll get to that later).

 

Well, Saudi turns out to be a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire”.  Not surprisingly, I’m miserable. I want to jump out of my 9th story apt. window into the desolate desert below, be trampled by a camel, and disappear forever beneath a giant sand dune. By the grace of the universe I’m put in contact with a Western-trained psychiatrist (mental illness is hardly acknowledged in Saudi. Therapy and psychiatry are done rather clandestinely. However, they have every modern pharmaceutical medicine, and it can all be easily acquired without a prescription).  We come up with a plan: I will start taking Lamictal, wean off the Zyprexa and continue the Wellbutrin.  1.5 years later and I’m taking 200mg Lamictal, 150mg Wellbutrin and 1.25mg Zyprexa.  Note: I did not do the recommended 10% tapering (wasn't aware of it).  I jumped from 5mg to 2.5mg, and then 1.25mg (The smallest dose here in Saudi is 5mg, so I just cut the pill into 4 pieces).  So far, I have not had any major withdrawal effects (maybe this is tempered by the Lamictal? This is what the Pdoc thought).  However, I should mention that in all of my previous attempts of Zyprexa withdrawal I could get down to a very tiny dose and not feel any withdrawal effects. It was only when I quit the drug completely that hell was unleashed.  I have now been on 1.25mg for about 2 months.

 

Satisfied with my current situation, I thought I would attempt a reduction of the Lamictal.  So, 3 weeks ago I once again took the 50% route and reduced my dosage from 200mg to 100mg.  Things were ok until last week when I started to feel nausea, anxiety, depression, and severe headaches.  Yep, my old friends were back. 

 

Just this evening I met with the psychiatrist (who I had not been in touch with for about 6 months). As mentioned above, his response was “Big Mistake!”. He said he would support me going off of Zyprexa and Wellbutrin, but not Lamictal.  So, I agreed to reinstate the Lamictal up to 200mg. If I go off the Zyprexa completely, he wants to put me on Seroquel to help with the insomnia, though I'm not too keen on this proposal). I also told him about my Secret Plan, which I will now unveil to all of you.

The Secret Plan:
Wean myself of all my current meds in a 4 month period (goal is by April 10). Travel to the Peruvian Amazon. Participate in a 3 week Ayahuasca retreat (which requires me to be off all the meds), including a diet with medicinal plants to help with withdrawal symptoms.  Face my demons and childhood traumas (that may be at the root of my mental illness and substance abuse) and see what else the Mother plant spirit has to show/teach me. Use my savings to stay in South America for 6 months in a safe place to recover and suffer through whatever withdrawal symptoms come my way, continuing to rely on plant medicine and a strict diet.  A battle between Indigenous medicine and Western medicine, with hopefully the former being the victor. Return to the US free from all psych meds FOREVER.  Begin life anew.

 

He didn’t outright reject my plan, but he also didn’t see it as being an effective long term solution.   And he may be right.

 

Is this plan foolhardy? Am I setting myself up for failure again by trying to take a short cut? Is the horned man waiting for me in the jungle? Will I ever drain my soul of these demonic chemicals!?

 

I’m slowly accepting, after reading many posts on this forum, that I may have to bunker down for a War of Attrition, rather than a war of Shock and Awe. So be it.

 

As a lover of the Sufi poets, I’ll  close with this:

 

“You carry
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare (i.e. every pharmaceutical drug)-

Don’t mix them!

 

You carry all the ingredients
To turn your existence into joy,
Mix them, mix

Them!”

~Hafiz

 

So, that’s what I’m hoping to do—mix the right ingredients.

I await your suggestions and insights; as well as strength, experience, and hope.

Dream Slow,
The Opal Owl

Share this post


Link to post
Fresh

Welcome noble warrior . . . you are home!  Thanks for the laugh , that's the funniest introduction I've read!

 

What you will learn from this site , should you choose to so , is that the ONLY safe , permanent way to stop

these medications is to go slowly.   

Tapering safely involves decreases of no more than 10% at a time , then holding for at least 4 weeks before

decreasing again.  That way you get small withdrawal symptoms , and your brain has a chance to recover after

each drop.

 

I fear your secret-now-exposed plan is indeed foolhardy.  

Yes , you will be doing yourself a disservice by trying to take a short-cut. Many a brave warrior has tried and

failed. To stop all your meds by April is setting yourself up for a whole lot of pain. And probably more time in the

crazy house.

 

"Satisfied with my current situation, I thought I would attempt a reduction of the Lamictal.  So, 3 weeks ago I once again took the 50% route and reduced my dosage from 200mg to 100mg.  Things were ok until last week when I started to feel nausea, anxiety, depression, and severe headaches. "

 

Take some time to rethink your plan.  I can feel your euphoria from here , and that's never a good time to make plans.

Try reading the following links:

 Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

and

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

You might consider trying to stabilize on 150mg of lamictal rather than the 200mg your doc. suggested.  

The updose from 100mg might be enough to do the trick.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

:)

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Hi Opal Owl and welcome to SA.

 

Fresh has done a great job of not only replying to your intro but in the same vein.  Well done Fresh!

 

You've joined a great, supportive community with a wealth of information.  Use your Intro topic to ask questions and update your progress.  Follow the topic (top right) OR Bookmark/Favourite it in your web browser.

 

Patience is something that is very much needed on this journey.  Unfortunately there are many members' experiences documented here which prove that impatience can slow progress.

 

Wishing you all the best in your tapering.

 

CC

Share this post


Link to post
Petunia

Welcome OpalOwl,

I loved the long version of you story. But as much as I enjoy an exciting adventure, your future and health is at risk here. If you've done much reading here on the site, you probably know we are more likely to back your War of Attrition. Fresh has posted since I started writing and has given you some links which explain why.

 

I don't know about 'the horned man', but your brain and nervous system need to be taken care of if you are going to escape from the demonic chemicals unscathed, and that means tapering slowly and keeping your life as stable and as free from stress as possible, even good stress. Perhaps that sounds a little boring, but your Sufi poem carries a clue, mix the right ingredients to create balance and then life will be a joyful one.

 

Here is one more link for you to consider: Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

ChessieCat was also writing while I was composing this and I see she also favors the path of patience. So now you have 3 votes for abandoning your secret plan and heeding the wise words of those who have gone before you.

 

Great to have you here, you no longer have to fight alone.

 

Petunia.

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

I feel like I have just received council from the "3 Wise Elders" (I'm sure there will be more wise ones to come).  I will heed your advice and consult the links.

 

Despite the crushing of my Secret Plan, I feel a sense of calm that there will be a way out, and that others have indeed tread the path with success.

 

For now I'll hold tight with the 150mg Lamictal and see how that goes.  

I will resist the flights of fantasy and stay cooped up in my hollow hideout for now. It feels good to no longer be a lone owl.  

Hoot Hoot.  

Share this post


Link to post
Fresh

Hoot hoot    :P

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, OpalOwl.

 

I wonder why your pdoc thinks substituting Seroquel for Zyprexa is in your best interest. They are roughly equivalent. There is no advantage to Seroquel, another antipsychotic. Doesn't Zyprexa make you sleepy, or at least slow you down?

 

Insomnia is a very common symptom of reducing psychiatric drugs too fast. It can also be a side effect of Wellbutrin or too much lamotrigine (why do you need to increase your dose to 200mg?). Rather than adding in a drug to deal with the insomnia (thus necessitating more tapering later), we advise doing a systematic taper.

 

We advise changing only one drug at a time, so you can figure out where adverse effects are coming from. Even psychiatrists understand this, though they may not follow it.

 

It sounds like you have a complex drug choreography going on. Anything might be causing insomnia. A hold on drug changes for a while is a very good idea. Going to the Amazon to experiment with more drugs is not a good ideal.

 

When you are ready to taper, you might consider reducing the Wellbutrin, it is the most activating of your drugs. Of all of them, lamotrigine is the least harmful to general health.

 

A psychiatric diagnosis is inappropriate when an adverse reaction to drugs is in play. In the US, any doctor can prescribe psychiatric drugs. Is it possible for you to work with a doctor who is less drug-happy?

Share this post


Link to post
KarenB

Welcome OpalOwl,

 

 

 

Despite the crushing of my Secret Plan, I feel a sense of calm that there will be a way out, and that others have indeed tread the path with success.

 

 

But you can now make a new Secret Plan (well, you might have to include some other Knights or warriors), and it will be a better plan than your first one. 

 

Also - you are so right that there is a way out.  You've just got a few steps closer to that pathway.  The others have given you some really good advice, so I'll leave you to digest that.  Just make sure you check back in if more questions come up, or you need some support.

 

For now, stabilise, stabilise, stabilise.  Then you can work out the next steps, with help from your war-council. 

 

Best wishes, (what do warriors say at the end of a post?)

KarenB

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Hi Alto,

 

Thanks for your reply.  To clarify:

 

Yes, Zypreza makes me very sleepy (but less so now that I am down to 1.25mg).  I am not currently having any issues with insomnia.  When I spoke with my Pdoc he told me that I needed to go back up to 200mg Lamictal (I had done a 3 week rapid taper down to 100mg with, not surprisingly, adverse results). The past 2 days I am back up to 150mg Lamictal and feeling quite functionable.  He wants me to go up to 200mg starting next week.  Fresh suggested stabilizing at 150mg and not going up to 200mg as the pdoc suggested. I think this is a good suggestion and I will take it.  He also said he would support me going off of Wellbutrin and Zyprexa. It wasn't clear whether he thought I should go off of them at the same time (I will see him again next week).  He thinks I can go off of 1.25mg Zyprexa no problem (he said all of his other patients have not had problems going off of this low of a dose, which I highly doubt). I told him my fear of the crippling insomnia that rapid Zyprexa withdrawal would undoubtedly cause and his suggestion was to put me on Seroquel to counter the Zyprexa withdrawal (which, as you say, doesn't seem like it would accomplish anything. One evil for another).  

 

For now my plan is to stabilize at 150mg Lamictal (perhaps 2 weeks?). The next step will be to begin the Wellbutrin taper.  

 

I have 2 months left in my contract and will then return to the US.  I will have to find a new pdoc at that time--hopefully one with a withdrawal-friendly outlook and a holistic approach. 

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Karen,

 

Thanks for the support  :)  Yes, I think you are right, this new Secret Plan has a much better chance at success--and the support of the Elder Council.

 

Now is some time for R-R due to this last gung-ho solo battle attempt with Lamictal.  I will re-enter the battlefield with better armour, better strategy, and the overwhelming force of the "Free Brain" resistance army behind me.  

 

What do warriors say at the end of a post?

 

May the Force be with you! 

Share this post


Link to post
kup0

Saludos OpalOwl, 

Eres fuerte en esta lucha, y lograras vencer, has estado con zyprexa casi el mismo tiempo que yo, y te digo que se puede superar, o al menos mejorar notablemente la calidad de vida.
Pero no te recomiendo que tomes ayahuasca o DMT, y peor aun después de la retirada, hará un efecto cruzado, puedes sufrir un síndrome serotoninérgico.

But I do not recommend you take ayahuasca or DMT, and worse after the withdrawal,  make a crossover effect, you can suffer serotonin syndrome.

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Kup,

 

Gracias por tu apoyo y consejo.  Eres una inspiracion!  I am amazed that you were able to go from 2.5mg to 0mg on Zyprexa.  How are you doing now?  Still suffering the withdrawal effects?

 

As for the ayahuasca, you are right, it is much too dangerous at this time.  Though I must admit I feel a strong calling to the plant spirit and I hope to do a ceremony when my brain has recovered and healed from the damage of all these meds.  

En solidaridad,

El Buho

Share this post


Link to post
kup0
I still have symptoms, but they are getting better in every day seems to be no changes, but a month to month I feel better.

Despite this I'm very sensitive to substances Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, I can not take any of it or me greatly increase the symptoms. Avoid all stimulants and substances that have crossed serotonin and dopamine effect with the first 6months.

Share this post


Link to post
JanCarol

Hello Opal Owl!

 

Thank you, for the most entertaining intro I've ever read!  

 

You have heard from the wisest of the Round Table, so listen now, to the lowly bard whispering tales of hope.

 

I don't believe in diagnosis.

 

There is a secret panel of SA friendly doctors, if you can choose where you will land in the US of A, perhaps this will influence your decision?  Recommended doctors, practitioners and clinics  Perhaps by now, you have already returned?

 

Additionally, we have a cache of weapons and training that you can start - RIGHT AWAY!

 

You do not need the plant spirit Ayahuasca to merge and strengthen your soul (most shamans do not accept anyone with any psych drug history) - you have many tools you can use to master the symptoms of your battlefield!

 

As I'm not sure what symptoms you may suffer, start here:  Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms

 

There are secret clans of creative warriors all over the world!  I am tuned into three of them, and am working on initiations for other secret societies.  Here are the three I recommend:

http://www.madinamerica.com

http://www.bipolarawakenings.com/

http://www.shadesofawakening.com/

 

The realms of initiation I am working on lurk in these territories:  

https://shamaniceducation.org/

www.fourwinds.com

www.shamanism.org

 

And of course, my tribal home, Surviving Antidepressants has wisdom and nourishment to last for years.

 

Also - what kind of physical training are you taking?  We recommend yoga, tai chi, martial arts, chi gung, walking in nature - nourishing (not depleting) exercises.

 

I keep emphasizing the secret nature of our mission, because to talk about it is often unrewarded, nay, even punished!  (maybe tell your pDoc you are taking meds as prescribed, even if you are not)

 

So we taper, quietly, hold and heal (you are in the hold and heal phase, please) and wait for the day that we can proclaim from the rooftops:  I AM DRUG FREE, and SANE and CREATIVE and ALIVE and NOBODY CAN STOP ME!    

 

Practical:  150 mg Lamictal will cushion you from the worst symptoms of withdrawal.  If you read around the site, you will see that others have suffered dire consequences from too-fast tapers.  Stay on the Lamictal, save it for last.  Plan to hold where you are, until you return to the US.

 

When it comes time to taper, it will not be the Lamictal that the Wise Ones recommend first.  Lady Petunia sent you to  Polydrugs? Taper off the Antidepressant First!, it is a valuable trove of understanding.  There are reasons for tapering the Zyprexa (too numbing) and the Wellbutrin (too activating).  Ultimately, you are in charge and will make the decision, but please read that thread to hear the arguments for yourself.

 

and just to let you know who I am:  I AM DRUG FREE, I am SANE, I am CREATIVE and ALIVE, and while someone might try to stop me - I don't plan to let them!   :D

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Note: for those uninterested in theatrical preludes, skip to "Plan of Action"

 

(Cue rustling leaves, creaking branches and crescent moon. In the distance a faint "who whooo, who whooo". Louder now, closer. The pale moonlight reveals giant wings, flapping in silence and Eyes of Opal, piercing the night with all the colors of the spectrum. It's a bird (Yes!)...It's a plane (No!)...It's the Opal Owl (Yes!). HE HAS RETURNED!)

 

Folks, I am indeed back. After a long wandering in the desert (not a hospitable place for a bird of prey, but one can and does survive).

 

I have returned to share with you the fruits of my sojourn (which, I'm sorry to say, are rather meager).

 

Since my last correspondence, over 1.5 years ago, not much has changed in terms of my chemical romance. My initial warrior vigor was quickly diminished by what felt like an overwhelming mission. I more or less called a truce with the meds and decided against even the War of Attrition. Rather, I settled for an agreement which, in the field of Conflict Studies, is called "Negative Peace". That is, a stop to hostilities but not a lasting resolution to restore neural network freedom.

 

The current stats are as follows:

Zyprexa (1.25mg)

Lamictal (200mg/day)

Wellbutrin (75mg/day)

 

So, yes, I did go back up on the Lamictal, but I also achieved a reduction in the Wellbutrin that was successful and withdrawal-symptom free. A small victory, but I'll happily claim it.

 

I will say that this long hiatus from the withdrawal game has, in some ways, been good for me. I've enjoyed the longest period of stability--in body, mind, and spirit (and job!). So, I'm certainly grateful for that. Oh, and I'm engaged!  A path that I never imagined has opened in yonder date palm oasis.

 

I share this with the intention that it may offer some hope and light for those who feel trapped in the hollow darkness of the Great Oak Tree. The Spirit of the Forest knows well that I've spent my fair share of time cooped up in Owl Isolation. But the light does get in. And one can live a good life despite what often feels like an enormous burden of chemical dependency.  Day by Day, Drip by Drip the Puddle to Freedom begins to appear.  One can begin to see a reflection in this puddle; a reflection of a new person, a new life.  And one day, Spirit of the Forest willing, I (and all of us) will swim (though I hope it's a shallow pond as owls aren't known for their swimming skills) to the other side.  

 

And now time for an inspirational musical interlude: "Swimming to the Other Side"

So, I'm writing to announce my return to the puddle-building work of withdrawal. I've decided to carry on with my attempt at a complete withdrawal from Wellbutrin.  Regarding this next mission, I would like to seek some advice.  

 

Plan of Action: Wellbutrin Withdrawal

Here in Saudi, the only available doses are 300mg and 150mg XL.  I had been splitting the 150mg and taking once a day in the morning.  However, I wasn't able to find any more of the 150 so had to buy the 300mg. That's what I'm currently working with--splitting the 300mg into 4 pieces.  The quarter pieces are big enough to split again if need be.  OR I can continue to look for the 150mg in other pharmacies and begin the withdrawal process with those. 

 

So, any advice on a plan of action?  My Pdoc has recommended taking 75mg every other day for 2 weeks and then stopping. But I know that's usually not advised by the SA Council of Elders. My initial reduction was from 150mg to 75mg and I didn't have any noticeable withdrawal symptoms, perhaps buoyed by the increase in Lamictal. Should I try splitting the 75mg, take 37.5mg for 2 weeks and see how that goes?  If it goes well, then another reduction (for this I'll certainly need to find the 150mg).  Please let me know if anyone has suggestions.  I'll also read up on the Wellbutrin tapering thread.  

 

That's all I got folks!  It's good to be back!  And a special thanks to JanCarol, a withdrawal warrior who has swum to the other side, for the inspiring message above--your whispered tales of hope found a welcome home in these Owl Ears! YOU are an inspiration! And one day, Spirit of the Forest willing, I too, shall screech from the top of the Great Oak Tree:  "I AM DRUG FREE, and SANE and CREATIVE and ALIVE and NOBODY CAN STOP ME!"   

 

Peace, Love, and Farm Mice,

 

Opal Owl 

Edited by ChessieCat
reduced font size

Share this post


Link to post
JanCarol

Hey OpalOwl!  Welcome back!

 

I agree with your truce - I guess you are still in the desert, then - but when the stresses of life are too great, a break from withdrawal is warranted!

 

When did you drop from 150 to 75 mg Wellbutrin?  Please put that date in your signature.  

 

Please do not alternate or skip doses.  Every-other day dosing

 

Here's our topic on Wellbutrin - 

Tips for Tapering off Wellbutrin

 

Wellbutrin was one of my bug-bears in the dark forest.  It was one of the reasons I was convinced I was "bipolar."  Doctor said:  you can take this one (and I could, it didn't mess me up like the SSRIs did), and then when I tried to get off of it by cutting doses - big fail!  I was so caught by this drug, that it became easy to believe "broken brain" and "drugs for life."

 

But we know I escaped that poppy field, and you can too.

 

Wellbutrin has a shorter half life (that's why they do the XL and SR formulas).  So if you are cracking it open we suggest dosing 2x a day.

 

You're in a tricky spot if the best you can get is 300 mg XL. Can you look for smaller doses of IR? (Immediate Release?)  When you break them they become immediate release right anyway.

 

Please get yourself a scale:  Gemini-20 Portable Milligram Scale is the cheap, mostly accurate one that many of us have.  You want to know that your crumbs are of similar size.

 

Instead of tapering right away, get practice with weighing smaller amounts.  Study here for techniques on how to make your weigh more accurate:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1596-using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses/

 

Get practice at making those small amounts out of what you have.  Because it will only get smaller from there.

 

I know your first cuts were unremarkable, but there is an exponential curve - the lower doses are often the most challenging to taper.

 

Plasma%20Concentration%20Fluoxetine_zpsj

 

I know that these charts are for Prozac, but it seems to follow with most tapers - you see very little change at the higher doses of the drug - but at the lower doses - there is a very steep drop off.  (the numbers for where that curve gets steep will be different for Wellbutrin)  That is why we taper at 10%.

 

Wellbutrin XL doesn't work in liquid or suspension - only the IR does.  If you can get the IR - you can go to liquid tapers for the last little bit, and it is more accurate.  More consistent, accurate doses mean a smoother taper.

 

You've been splitting XL and taking it daily - have you been having any symptoms in between doses?  Going swimmingly, sailing smooth?  Then you may be okay with one dose per day.  

 

If it gets rough, however, Wellbutrin is recommended for 2x doses per day because of the short half life when breaking the tablets.  At the sticky end of the taper this might be more important.  It is more complicated by splitting the doses, but you've been taking short half-life Wellbutrin for - OH please post that date into your signature!

 

So - if it's been at least a month (I'd prefer 3 months) since you dropped from 150 to 75 mg Wellbutrin, you can do your first taper (with your scales) at 67.5 mg.

 

I think the scales will help your plan out immensely.

 

So - if you live in Saudi - is it superfluous to hope that you see the sun today?   ;)

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Thanks, very very much for your response, JanCarol.  I was already getting zealous to fall back into the old impulsive "must do this now!" mode.  

 

 

I've been on the 75mg dose now for over 6 months (splitting the 150mg XL until I could no longer find it. Now splitting the 300mg XL).  I will see if I can find the IR doses in the "big cosmopolitan city" of Jeddah when I go next week.  Also, I will be back in the US in July so I will plan to buy the scale then (unless I can find one here, doubtful). And this means holding off with the withdrawal tapering for a couple more months, which is probably good anyways.  The end of June will be my engagement ceremony in Morocco, so it's probably best not to disturb the waters too much before then.

 

 

Regarding sun in Saudi, normally that would be a superfluous statement, but I live in the southern mountain oasis of Abha, where we often get rain and sometimes even hail! We also have purple jacaranda trees.  So, not what you think of when you think of Saudi Arabia!   

 

 

Thanks, again!   
OO

 

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Ok, I just ordered the scale on Amazon--$30 with shipping.  

 

Are there any other utensils/supplies I should procure when I'm back in the states?

 

After Wellbutrin, I plan to taper Zyprexa (which I know will likely involve a liquid taper) and then Lamictal.  

 

Thanks,

OO

Share this post


Link to post
JanCarol

That sounds great OO!

 

Congratulations on your engagement in Morocco!  That sounds so romantic!

 

The tools can often be made out of paper.  I made a little paper funnel (but also found some cheap ones on ebay that are plastic and better)

 

You might want gelcaps to put the crumbs in, so that you can pack a week's supply at a time, and then forget about it.

 

Size O or OO is recommended for the empty gelcaps, they are easier to fill and manipulate.  Maybe you will get the OO ones for Opal Owl!

I think your "order of approach" is laudable, too.

 

I love Jacaranda trees.  Oh yes, I do!

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Thanks, JanCarol!  1000 Size OO gelcaps have been purchased :)  So, the tools of the trade should be arriving soon.

 

I want to express how grateful I am to you, and to all those who have offered support and/or shared stories on this site.

 

This is truly a place of compassion and hope.

 

Kindly,

OO

Share this post


Link to post
Madeleine

Love your writing style!  :D  Congratulations on your engagement and best wishes on the rest of your taper. 

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Love your writing style!  :D  Congratulations on your engagement and best wishes on the rest of your taper. 

 

Thanks, Madeleine :)  It helps me for some reason to turn this journey of withdrawal, which can often be a depressing and overwhelming challenge, into some sort of grand adventure story--with heroes (all of us on here) and villains (the chemicals we hope to free ourselves from).    

 

So, my fellow warrior of the Free Brain Resistance Brigade, I wish you well on your current mission. Zyprexa is no easy foe, but those who have gone before have proven victorious, and with patience and perseverance, So Shall We!

Share this post


Link to post
OpalOwl

Hello ya'll,

 

Checking back in here...I see it's been...ohhh 16 months since I last put up an update.  

 

I'm back in Saudi, happily married, back at work.  Scale and gel caps successfully smuggled back into Saudi.

 

Ready to begin the Wellbutrin withdrawal, Yes!  Let's do this!  Slow and steady wins the race (fast and furious certainly does not!).

 

Da dana da...It's Taper Time! (to the tune of Hammer Time)

 

~OO

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Welcome back and congratulations on getting married.

 

Yes slow and steady is the best way.

 

Unfortunately discomfort is fairly likely during tapering so it is a good idea to learn and use non-drug ways to get through the tough times:

 

non-drug-techniques-to-cope

 

Acceptance

 

Some members find that magnesium helps to reduce anxiety.  the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 
 
 
 
 
 
On 8/24/2016 at 3:49 AM, brassmonkey said:

I posted this to DesertChild yesterday where I talk about poopout, stabilization and WDnormal.  I gives a bit of my background.

 

"You call it withdrawal normal, as said above when you have reached a base-line which is as good as it gets for you. Now I guess, I can start to think about that. "

 

As good as it gets for that moment.  WDnormal is a sliding scale of reference for tracking overall improvements in ones condition. As you're learning this is a very slow process and at first changes in WDnormal are very small and slow in coming. As time passes and ones body heals those changes become more pronounced and more frequent. But it can be frustratingly slow at first.

 

I'll bore you with a bit of my history so you can see how I came up with the idea of WDnrmal.  Many people find the time frames upsetting but I truly advocate going very slowly.   I'm one of the "lucky ones" in that I have only been on one drug, all be it for 23 years now, which makes things a lot easier to sort out. I originally started on Paxil for Spontaneous Outbursts of Violent Anger and it really helped.  In reality I should have been through counseling instead of being drugged, but that's an irrelevant part of the story.  After many years on the drug it wasn't working as well so I updosed.  That helped sorta but a few years later I needed to updose again.  That helped for a few months, then I started down hill.  It took a number of years and becoming totally messed up to figure out I was in severe tolerance, or what we lovingly call "poopout".

 

Just making the decision to do something about it was a terrifying experience but after 18 years of being drugged, my marriage on the rocks and about to lose everything (probably even my life) I decided to do something about it.     Again I was lucky and found a site called PaxilProgress before I made any changes. That started the entire process.  I liked the idea of the 10% taper, but made a couple of modifications to make it gentler, and started with that.

 

Nothing happened. I felt as bad as I had been.  Six weeks passed and I did my second drop. Nothing happened, except maybe I felt a bit worse.  This pattern kept up for about 18 months.  When one day it hit me, "I hadn't felt as c***** for the past several weeks".  It took another six months before I again noticed that things had improved.  During this whole time all I could do was move doggedly forward making the best of it and learning to put up with and work around the symptoms.  I really had no other choice.

 

A little after two years I had my first widow.  It lasted about fifteen minutes, and it wasn't until several hours later I realized it had happened.  That was the point that it sunk in that the process really did work.  Except for that window the rest of the time was heavy brain fog, DR, no short term memory, dizziness, all the symptoms we know and loath.  Another window opened briefly a few months later, and I noticed that I wasn't as "out of it" all the time and that I was gaining a little control over the symptoms by Acknowledging them, Accepting them and letting them Float off as I went about my life.

 

Finally after three years of tapering I felt like I was making progress. I could see that I was improved from where I had started even though I knew I was by no means better.  I also could see that I was doing better that I was just six months before.  I realized that my "base line of feeling like c***" was improving or how my WD symptoms normally felt was improving.  Hence WDnormal.

 

These last two years, it will be a total of five this fall, have brought fairly steady improvement.  I can see improvements on a month over month and sometimes week over week basis.  To the point that many people would say I'm back to normal by the way I function.  I know I'm not because I am still taking the drug and will be for the next several months. During my time on and tapering off of paxil I have learned a huge amount about myself, life and how to deal with things.  

 

I feel like I'm rambling now, but I hope this helps explain some of the process and you don't find it too disheartening because of the time frames involved.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
fixed link to are we there yet

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...