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Shem: greetings - struggling to get off Anafranil

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Shem

Greetings!

 

I am very fortunate I found this site. I will not go into to much detail but here are some facts about my current situation. I have had anxiety/panic my entire life, from the earliest I can remember I used to have horrible separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and just plain being scared of silly things, like when I was younger I was terrified of thunderstorms and elevators I had to do exposure therapy while I was little and that was pretty difficult but it defiantly was not enough. My mother didn't put me on pharmaceuticals until I was 12 or so because the SSRIs were fairly new and she wanted to wait as long as she possibly could do try one of these medications.

 

Flash forward to 2005, my father dies on the treadmill right in front of me, I am still in high school, and my anxiety up to that point was manageable, put when that happend my anxiety went through the roof. I couldn't finish high school in public but I was fortunate enough to have some retired teachers come to my house so I could graduate with my class. 

 

Of course during this time I was seeing a psychiatrist. Now he is an intelligent man and I have a number of medications to be thankful for, especially getting me out of that trauma. I was on a Tricyclic Anafranil 150 mg, from 2006 to 2013 for anxiety. During November 2013, I tried getting off the medication because it wasn't working and it was effecting my speech (probably from the anticholinergic effects). I tried to get off of it several times before but was given bad withdrawing advice (cut dose in half and 2 weeks you will be good), well that never happened of course. The old, see you need your medication, none of these brain zaps you speak of cannot occur with these drugs. So I followed the doctors advice and continued taking the Anafranil for a few more years.

 

In November 2013 I tried to get off Anafranil for good. I wanted to do half the dose but just stay on that dose for like a month and then go down another quarter or something and try it that way. I had no idea how wrong both the doctor and I were. As soon as I lowered the dose I became a basket case. I started crying for no reason, I lost a bunch of weight (about 25 pounds in a month), vertigo, heart palpitations which scared the crap out of me because my father died from a birth defect we were not aware of at 49. I went back to the psychiatrist who I had seen for 6 years and was slapped with a bi-polar diagnosis.

 

After doing a lot of research and looking into these drugs I didn't realize that the withdrawal could be so severe, or that most doctors had no idea that these drugs were capable of producing such a profound effect upon discontinuation. I reinstated the drug after 6 months of shear terror and my heart rate returned to normal, my crying stopped and it was like none of it ever happened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now my main concern is with my heart because part of my anxiety would be dying in a similar fashion my father did. I have a great cardiologist who I have been seeing for years. He was fortunate enough to understand what was happening to me. I had every test imaginable and everything came back normal. Even when my heart was skipping a lot during the withdrawal, the holter monitor didn't pick up anything. He said its not so much your heart, its the receptors on your vagus nerve which is the main problem which makes since because they up regulate and down regulate depending if you are starting or stopping a drug. He said these drugs can effect the QT prolongation of the heart sometimes, but every EKG and Echo looked good so thank god for that.

 

I stared back on the 150 in mid 2014 and currently I am on 60 mgs as of now. Now I think I misread because I tapered 10 mg every month instead of 10 percent of the dose, which is what a lot of people recommend. So what I am going to do as of now is try to stabilize on 50 mgs for a few months, since I am almost done with the 60 mg, and then taper down 5 mg every month which is roughly about 10 percent of the dose, I have calculated. I just hope this process goes a lot smoother than it did before because when I first tried my psychiatrists way it was absolutely horrible. 

 

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nz11

Greetings to you to Shem.

Welcome and so glad you found us.

 

Sorry to read of the lose of your father.

 

I have had anxiety/panic my entire life, from the earliest I can remember I used to have horrible separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and just plain being scared of silly things.

I think you are being a bit hard on yourself....this  is called normal when you are a child.

Gee iwas scared of dogs and going to school. Oh yeah and dont forget heights oh my....then i was scared of our neighbours mother ...she would yel out of the car at me when i was riding my bike with no hands on the handlebars.... anyway i digress.

 

Of course during this time I was seeing a psychiatrist. Now he is an intelligent man and I have a number of medications to be thankful for,

Well he might be intelligent but he is unfortunately misinformed regarding withdrawal and tapering and im not sure that grief deserves drugging.

 

I went back to the psychiatrist who I had seen for 6 years and was slapped with a bi-polar diagnosis.

These people just make me want to pull my hair out in frustration ...i just cannot understand how they can get away with this diag-nonsense.

 

 

After doing a lot of research and looking into these drugs I didn't realize that the withdrawal could be so severe, or that most doctors had no idea that these drugs were capable of producing such a profound effect upon discontinuation. I reinstated the drug after 6 months of shear terror and my heart rate returned to normal, my crying stopped and it was like none of it ever happened.

 

wow well articulated that is exactly how it was for me.

Whenever i tried to stop id end up in a foetal position crying and so ri and it would go away as if it never happened.

 

I started back on the 150 in mid 2014 and currently I am on 60 mgs as of now. Now I think I misread because I tapered 10 mg every month instead of 10 percent of the dose, which is what a lot of people recommend.So what I am going to do as of now is try to stabilize on 50 mgs for a few months, since I am almost done with the 60 mg

Well done on getting down to 60mg.

You say 'almost  done with 60mg' so does that mean you are going to jump straight to 50?

 

If you are currently stable on the 60 then i would now regardless of how you were tapering before go to the taper by dropping 10% of previous dose so each successive drop is now going to get smaller. (multiply current dose by 0.9 to get the next dose)

 

There doesnt appear to be a tapering link on anafranil (clomipramine) but it is a tricyclic antidepressant and we have a link on amitriptyline so if i am wrong here in doing this someone can correct me  ...but here is the link to is sister amitriptyline...it is in the same family. (there is a link on nortriptyline too...thats a tricyclic)

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1099-tips-for-tapering-off-amitriptyline/

 

Breggin says "although not usually as severe as withdrawal from the newer antidepressants after years of exposure some patients have found the tricyclics antidepressants extremely difficult to stop. "

I'll just translate that ....'Do the 10 % taper' rec here. If you do that you give yourself  the best chance of getting the smoothest taper down.

So you would go to 54mg and wait  a month then if stable drop to 48.6mg.....etc.

This may also be time to consider going to liquid as it allows more accuracy in tapering. What do you think.

 

Finally

Klonopin 2 mg everyday for Anxiety/Panic. I know it is a Benzodiazapene but I am comfortable staying on it the rest of my life honestly.

I am sorry you think you need to take this for the rest of your life.

R Whitaker wrote 'anatomy of an epidemic' Can you get this from your library . This book is very informative and you might like to consider reading ch 7.

No pressure.

 

Anyway first things first you are doing so well tapering off the amitrip. If you  hang out here you will realize you have an international bunch of personal cheerleaders. And you can use this thread to update your progress.

You are not alone.

 

So glad you found us. there is so much great stuff to read here. Oh yeah if you do see your psych about tapering it would be very wise to get a second opinion here at sa on any advice given. 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

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Shem

You say 'almost  done with 60mg' so does that mean you are going to jump straight to 50? So you would go to 54mg and wait a month then if stable drop to 48.6mg.....etc.

This may also be time to consider going to liquid as it allows more accuracy in tapering. What do you think.

Yeah since it is almost the end of December, I would be jumping to 50 mg. I have 2 months of the 50 mg and figured I should use them up. I think I will see how that works then proceed with the 10 percent drop from there. I will ask my compounding pharmacy if they can do liquids. 

 

 

 

R Whitaker wrote 'anatomy of an epidemic' Can you get this from your library . This book is very informative and you might like to consider reading ch 7.

No pressure.

I have read Robert Whitakers books, Anatomy and Mad in America and both are excellent. He makes a lot of great points, especially about taking drugs for Trauma, and the dangers of anti psychotics. The only reason I am staying on Klonopin is one, it helps, and two, since this Anafranil withdrawal is bad enough, I am not even going to chance it you know?

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Shem

Also I forgot to mention I moved during this whole ordeal, so I had to get a new psychiatrist. I of course told him what was going with the Post Acute Withdrawal and I was surprised he actually knew what I was talking about. He said oh yeah I have heard of this, Paxil and Effexor are notorious for being very difficult to get off of. He said I should just stay on it initially, but I told him it really wasn't working anymore, so he agreed to do the compound taper. 

 

Which is a good step in the right direction I think, it seems a lot more psychiatrists are understanding that these drugs can be psychically damaging over time.

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nz11

wow thats great to have someone who 'gets it' and  be acknowledged like that.

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JanCarol

Hey Shem, welcome to SA.  I'm glad you found us.

 

You seem well educated, well read.

 

If you are on 60 mg, then a 10% reduction takes you to 54 mg, not 50.  Can you step down by that much?

 

10% of previous dose is important - especially as you get to lower doses.  NZ kindly posted:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Please read this thread carefully, as it explains much better than I could.

 

Also, it will be important for you to get your anxiety under control as you come down off the drug.  If you want to be drug free, you need some coping mechanisms in place.  Start here:  Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms

 

This includes such things as diet, exercise, self care, self soothing, and learning how to ride the waves of withdrawal.

 

Here are names of some people who have helped others here at SA:  Claire Weekes, Baylissa Frederick, Tara Brach.  There are more, but if you look them up on YouTube or read stuff by and about them, you may find it helpful.

 

You mentioned the vagus nerve - there are techniques for gentling the vagus nerve, for toning it up.  Singing is one of the best things you can do for your vagus nerve, as it requires breath control and adds vocal vibration.  

 

Here is a link for you about the symptoms you've described:

Irregular heartbeats, paltpitations, tachycardia, bradycardia

 

Again, welcome!  I hope you see the sun today!

Edited by JanCarol
fixed link

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Shem

Hey Shem, welcome to SA.  I'm glad you found us.

 

You seem well educated, well read.

 

If you are on 60 mg, then a 10% reduction takes you to 54 mg, not 50.  Can you step down by that much?

 

10% of previous dose is important - especially as you get to lower doses.  NZ kindly posted:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Please read this thread carefully, as it explains much better than I could.

 

Also, it will be important for you to get your anxiety under control as you come down off the drug.  If you want to be drug free, you need some coping mechanisms in place.  Start here:  Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms

 

This includes such things as diet, exercise, self care, self soothing, and learning how to ride the waves of withdrawal.

 

Here are names of some people who have helped others here at SA:  Claire Weekes, Baylissa Frederick, Tara Brach.  There are more, but if you look them up on YouTube or read stuff by and about them, you may find it helpful.

 

You mentioned the vagus nerve - there are techniques for gentling the vagus nerve, for toning it up.  Singing is one of the best things you can do for your vagus nerve, as it requires breath control and adds vocal vibration.  

 

Here is a link for you about the symptoms you've described:

Irregular heartbeats, paltpitations, tachycardia, bradycardia

 

Again, welcome!  I hope you see the sun today!

 

Thank you for the response JanCarol,

 

Yeah I am going to see how the drop to 50 goes, if I cannot tolerate it I will go back to 60. Then do the 10 percent reduction because I am still getting withdrawal symptoms from doing 10 mg every month like I am doing, but hardly any.

 

Since I wasn't doing the 10 percent drop this whole time I think I might stay at 50 mg for a while to "stabilize" before I do that 10 percent drop every month. Perhaps stay at 50 mg for like 6 months instead of 1 to stabilize my nervous system, does that sound like a decent idea? My only problems have been with my memory and my heart. My heart does "skip" a few times a week which I know is from withdrawing to fast like I did but I don't want to go back up to 150mg, where I originally started, in fear that it wouldn't have the same effect it did before you know? I defiantly am going to do the 10 percent drop, it is just a matter of when. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Shem.

 

Having tried to go off Anafranil several times, and having been off and on other drugs, your nervous system may be highly sensitive to dosage changes. What symptoms are you having from decreasing 10mg?

 

Please do not continue reducing while you have those symptoms. We advocate a very gradual taper to minimize withdrawal; any withdrawal symptoms lasting more than a few days indicates you're tapering too fast.

 

You have found an unusual psychiatrist who allows for the existence of prolonged withdrawal syndrome! Does he know anything about tapering? After you get to know him better, you might post his contact information on our list http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

 

To go off psychiatric drugs, it is essential you be able to manage your worrying, particularly health anxiety. Are you working with a therapist on this?

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Shem

Welcome, Shem.

 

Having tried to go off Anafranil several times, and having been off and on other drugs, your nervous system may be highly sensitive to dosage changes. What symptoms are you having from decreasing 10mg?

 

Please do not continue reducing while you have those symptoms. We advocate a very gradual taper to minimize withdrawal; any withdrawal symptoms lasting more than a few days indicates you're tapering too fast.

 

You have found an unusual psychiatrist who allows for the existence of prolonged withdrawal syndrome! Does he know anything about tapering? After you get to know him better, you might post his contact information on our list http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

 

To go off psychiatric drugs, it is essential you be able to manage your worrying, particularly health anxiety. Are you working with a therapist on this?

 

Hello Altostrata,

 

Yes my nervous system is extremely sensitive right now, no doubt about that. I understand I am going a bit fast, because I really didn't understand what was happening in 2014, nobody did. Going from 150 mg to 100 mg put me in an absolute tailspin, which I now know is because it was in my system for such a long time. I went through the first 6 month of ordeal thinking I was dying, some doctor said I had Lyme Disease, that year really was a whole mess. I am just glad I didn't take my old psychiatrists advice a go on a mood stabilizer, anti - psychotic, ADHD medication, and an antidepressant. I mean you would think that he would understand that it was the medication doing this, no one become Bi-Polar overnight.

 

Do you think I should I stabilize on this current dose 60 mg and go 10 percent every month as instructed, once stable that is, does that seem like a decent plan? 

 

I am seeing a therapist which is very helpful, no doubt about that. I gave her some of Whitaker's books to read as well as a few of the doctors she works with so they fortunately are pretty open to these kind of discussions.

 

Yes I was so surprised when my new psychiatrist told me Paxil and Effexor were extremely difficult to get off of and he doesn't prescribe them to anyone because of the withdrawals, which is a great sign! I do not think he knew about compounding or slow tapers from my initial first visit, but I explained the situation, told him I was compounding and he was on board with it from the start. I will post his name on the list probably after a few more visits.

 

Worse comes to worse, I taper for like a year and a half or two, really doesn't matter how long it takes for me, I can still work fortunately, all that matters is correctly getting off the drug properly. 

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Altostrata

I'm confused. Did you go back to 60mg Anafranil?

 

What were your symptoms when you were taking 50mg?

 

How often do you take Klonopin?

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Shem

Oh I probably should clarify, I'm currently on 60mg about to go to 50 in January since I do not think that jump will be to bad and just stay at 50 for a while since I've been going to fast. Staying at 60 might be tricky since I already have like 3 months worth of anafranil in 50 mg and the compounding pharmacy is pretty far and the weather is going to get nasty soon. Does that make sense?

 

I went from 150 down to 60 by tapering 10 mg every month instead of 10 percent of the dose. So 150, 140, 130, ext. I now realized that was a bit fast and explains why I still have some symptoms.

 

I take 1 milligram of Klonopin a day for the panic/agoraphobia I've had since literally forever. I understand the risk of benzodiazepines but it's really the only the thing that helps me function. I could probably wean myself off of it eventually, I just want to tackle the Anafranil right now since it's the main priority.

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Altostrata

I'm still confused. Do you have withdrawal symptoms at 60mg Anafranil?

 

What time of day do you take Klonopin? What is your daily symptom pattern? Please keep notes on paper, relative to when you take your drugs.

 

Given your earlier difficulties, there is no logic to assuming decreasing from 60mg to 50mg will be easy. It may be, it may not be. When withdrawal symptoms occur, sometimes going back to the earlier dosage doesn't eliminate them. We advise tapering carefully rather than taking risks like these.

 

It would have been just as easy to get Anafranil compounded in 54mg capsules in order to make a 10% decrease from 60mg. A decrease from 60mg to 50mg is close to a 17% decrease. Can you get one month's prescription for 54mg, then the next month start taking the 50mg capsules?

 

Or, you could make a homemade liquid with some of the capsules -- clomipramine is freely soluble in water -- and add 4mg in liquid to 50mg capsules for a month before going to 50mg. See How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules and Using an oral syringe and other tapering techniques

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Shem

Yes I am still getting withdrawal symptoms at 60.

 

My main symptoms are I cannot stand up or sit down too fast or my heartbeat becomes slow/fast, also I am getting a lot of muscle twitches all around my body. I walk and exercise everyday just to keep my body in motion.

 

I can ask my doctor for a 54 mg prescription instead of going right to 50, then once at 50 hold there once the withdrawal subsides, or continue the 10 percent decrease? Or I can even hold at 60.

 

I know it's confusing since I did not start the taper properly but I appreciate all your help altostrata.

 

I take the Klonopin in the morning and the Anafranil at night.

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Shem

UPDATE

 

I caught my doctor in the nick of time before he left for the Holidays so I have an order of 54 mg of Anafranil for all January, and February I will drop down to 50 and stay on that for a while.

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JanCarol

That sounds good Shem.

 

Even though you have the lower scripts - you may need to hold.

 

In order to let your brain catch up to your reductions, you hold on a dose until your symptoms settle down.  They may not go away entirely, but let the symptoms get to a point where they are bearable - then - wait another month before tapering.

 

To continue to taper relentlessly, on a calendar, regardless - does not give your brain time to heal.

 

As MammaP wrote:

 

Sadly it isn't a case of  just getting the drug out of the system, it is undoing the changes that were made in the brain while taking them. 

 

So if you stay on the 60 mg even into February - that's okay, too - and probably better, than making a relentless calendar based cut.

 

Please see:  Rhis's Start Small Listen to Body Taper Plan

 

I hope you enjoy your holidays.

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Shem

That sounds good Shem.

 

Even though you have the lower scripts - you may need to hold.

 

In order to let your brain catch up to your reductions, you hold on a dose until your symptoms settle down. They may not go away entirely, but let the symptoms get to a point where they are bearable - then - wait another month before tapering.

 

To continue to taper relentlessly, on a calendar, regardless - does not give your brain time to heal.

 

As MammaP wrote:

Sadly it isn't a case of just getting the drug out of the system, it is undoing the changes that were made in the brain while taking them.

So if you stay on the 60 mg even into February - that's okay, too - and probably better, than making a relentless calendar based cut.

 

Please see: Rhis's Start Small Listen to Body Taper Plan

 

I hope you enjoy your holidays.

Thank you, I am glad I found this forum, happy holidays to you as well!

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Shem

Bit of an update

 

I just switched from 54 mg to 50, and I am going to stay on this dose for awhile, hopefully I will be able to stabilize with this approach. Main symptoms are confusion and some autonomic disturbances but I can handle them.

 

I am currently in Nursing School and am doing okay but I defiantly have to get off this medication correctly this time, even if it takes a year or so. I am seeing a therapist who specializes in PTSD so that is going okay as well, I think I just have to be patient with myself because I tend to get things done in a hurry, just because of my personality, but my god is this a big lesson is patience.

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Petunia

Thanks for the update Shem, please would you add the date you dropped to 50mg to your signature, it makes it easier for us to keep track of your taper history while reading your posts.

 

I'm a little concerned that you made a cut so soon, I'm sure the symptoms are bearable, and that's good, but the idea is to allow your nervous system enough time to get as stable as possible and to keep it there as you slowly taper, that way you remain comfortable and functional in your life.

 

Its much safer to go a little slower than necessary and remain stable than to rush things, crash, become symptomatic and have to updose and hold again.

 

Patience really is key in getting off these drugs painlessly. Now that you are at 50mg, please hold until your symptoms subside and then hold for at least another month before making another cut.

 

See:   Why taper by 10% of my dosage?   and  The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

 

I hope your symptoms settle soon, let us know how you are.

 

Petunia.

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Shem

Thanks for the update Shem, please would you add the date you dropped to 50mg to your signature, it makes it easier for us to keep track of your taper history while reading your posts.

 

I'm a little concerned that you made a cut so soon, I'm sure the symptoms are bearable, and that's good, but the idea is to allow your nervous system enough time to get as stable as possible and to keep it there as you slowly taper, that way you remain comfortable and functional in your life.

 

Its much safer to go a little slower than necessary and remain stable than to rush things, crash, become symptomatic and have to updose and hold again.

 

Patience really is key in getting off these drugs painlessly. Now that you are at 50mg, please hold until your symptoms subside and then hold for at least another month before making another cut.

 

See:   Why taper by 10% of my dosage?   and  The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

 

I hope your symptoms settle soon, let us know how you are.

 

Petunia.

 

Thank you so much for the reply. Yes, since I'm at 50 I am gonna try to stabilize on it for probably 6 months or so because I have always rapid tapered without success and my nervous system is defiantly paying the price. I will add the date as well :)

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Shem

Little update,

 

My resting heart rate now is about 110, normal is 60-100. When I lay down it goes to about 80 bpm, which is normal, but when I stand up it shoots all the way up to 160. When I am laying down and turn to the side it starts skipping and palpating a little. It has been like this for a while, like 2 years. I had to stop seeing my old cardiologist, even though he was great, because he was a pediatrician and I just turned 26. He said my heart was fine and I explained to him the nightmare of this taper I have been doing, and he said it was defiantly the Anafranil which was causing the problems, autonomic disturbances. He referred me to another cardiologist who he usually sends everyone too.

 

But I am scared you know? I went to him about 2 months ago for an EKG and an Echo, everything is fine, I just don't want anything to happen to my heart you know? I see my new cardiologist on March 4, so I will see what he says. My regular doctor thinks I should be on a beta blocker or something because she assumes I have an anxiety problem, which I do, but my heart has never behaved this way before so, again, its the medication. 

 

I have been on 50 mg of Anafranil for about a month now, in a couple of days, so I assume I should just ride this out so I can stabilize a little? I mean part of me is like what if in 5 months I don't stabilize then what? Should I just go off the medication completely and go on a heart medication for a while, either a steroid or a beta blocker I assume, because if I stop taking the medication my heart is defiantly going to be out of sync. Maybe I can take a beta blocker with the Anafranil but I went to a neurologist and he said I had POTS, and he said, "medication can sometimes cause this Postural Tachycardia but I don't want to put you on anything because you are already on a lot of medication". Okay?

 

I feel like no matter what I do, something horrible is going to happen. I know because the reason I'm on this damn Anafranil in the first place because my father died right in front of me from a heart condition so now the only way to cope is to take Klonopin, which is addicting I know, but it is either that or I kill myself, I will not do that, Im just saying that is how bad the anxiety is. I feel like I have been robbed out of life, I mean I just turned 26 and I want to do things like go to college, learn, meet people, but the last probably 4 years I have just been by myself, being misdiagnosed over and over and reinstated. It is like a cruel joke, I'm a prisoner in my own body. If I knew my life would be like this 10 years later after my father died, I would have gladly taken my own life, without hesitation. 

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Shem

So 10 Percent of my current dose of 50 mg every 4 weeks this is what I got, had to round off because the numbers got ridiculous

 

45

36.45

32.80

29.52

26.57

23.91

21.52

19.37

17.43

15.66

14.09

12.68

11.41

10.27

9.24

8.32

7.49

6.74

6.06

5.46

4.91

4.42

3.98

3.58

3.22

2.90

2.61

2.35

2.11

1.90

1.17

1.54

discontinue

 

Does this seem like a plan, it is a little over 2 years sounds a little long no?

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AliG

Sounds good , except for the drop off .  As you get lower , it becomes more important to slow down & taper very slowly. 1.54 might sound low , but it's not.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7629-tapering-to-zero-when-do-you-just-drop-off/

When to end the taper and jump to zero?

 

Why taper? Paper demonstrates importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

Ali

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Provided correct link

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Altostrata

How are you doing now, Shem? Any withdrawal symptoms?

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Shem

Thanks Gold Star for the recommendation.

 

Altostrata, yeah a little tachycardia from time to time but I am hoping it goes away within a month or so before I begin lowering the dosages you know?

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Sarabera

Hi Shem,

One of the main reasons I wanted to get off of amitryptiline was because of the heart palpitations that it was causing me (Amitryptiline is also a tricyclic). It seems like you get heart palps from the med, and you get heart palps from discontinuing it, no way to get around them. I ended up doing basically a cold turkey from 12.5 mg (a low dose), then reinstating at 2 mg., now down to .325 mg and feeling SOOO much better. Hate that awful drug. I would encourage you to get your dosage down fairly quickly to a lowish level, then taper slowly from there (bigger drops, then smaller drops). So sorry to hear you have Klonopin on your back also! but you can taper that after the anafranil hopefully.

Sarah

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Shem

Hi Shem,

One of the main reasons I wanted to get off of amitryptiline was because of the heart palpitations that it was causing me (Amitryptiline is also a tricyclic). It seems like you get heart palps from the med, and you get heart palps from discontinuing it, no way to get around them. I ended up doing basically a cold turkey from 12.5 mg (a low dose), then reinstating at 2 mg., now down to .325 mg and feeling SOOO much better. Hate that awful drug. I would encourage you to get your dosage down fairly quickly to a lowish level, then taper slowly from there (bigger drops, then smaller drops). So sorry to hear you have Klonopin on your back also! but you can taper that after the anafranil hopefully.

Sarah

 

Thank you Sarah.  Yes a lot of the tricyclics blocks acetycholine as well which interferes with the heart rate, but a lot of doctors don't seem to tell us that. Yes once I am off the Anafranil I'm pretty confident I can get off the Klonopin as well because I knew I was functioning without medications before my trauma, thank you for the kind words.

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Shem

Out of curiosity, did anyone on this forum have to apply for SSI Disability? Surely no one wants to go on disability, but my options are so limiting at this point. I get so fatigued just from standing up or lying down it is pretty ridiculous you know?

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JanCarol

Hey Shem - there are a number of people here on disability - but it is not the function of this forum to address the nuts and bolts of that.  For example, I'm in Australia, and don't have a clue what you need to do.  Additionally, I know that the procedure is slightly different in each US state.  Some states have a knock-back policy - all first requests are knocked back, which requires the hiring of an attorney to get past.  (at least, that's how it was when I left the US in 2002)

 

Well done for holding at 50 mg.  I would encourage you to continue to do so. 

 

I would also discourage you from adding any other drugs like beta blockers, etc., if you can avoid it.  These will complicate your withdrawal.  It may be that as you get lower on the anafranil, the heart palpitation / condition will improve naturally.

 

Additionally, it is difficult to separate anxiety from palpitations or pounding heart.  You think it is anxiety because your heart is thudding in your throat - but really - it's just an autonomic response from having been on the antidepressant for over a decade.  I still get what I call "uncomfortable heart beat."  It does not mean my life is in any danger (it's all been checked out - I'm in sore, bad shape - but the ticker is okay), or that there is any cause for panic or anxiety.  It's just a symptom:  an uncomfortable heart beat.

 

Have you had Stress Test or Holter monitors done?  If you have, then let go.  Continue to stabilize on your anafranil, and consider a 5 mg taper sometime in the next few months, to see if that eases your symptoms at all.

 

Running to the doctor every time you are uncomfortable will only increase your chemical burden.  Because that's what doctors do - it's what they know.  If you complain, they want to do something, and that something will be a drug or an intervention of some kind.

 

Breathe, seek out some mindfulness.  Learn to sit with your symptoms - discover what they are trying to teach you.

 

Much of what I have said here comes from the teachings of Claire Weekes.  Give her a look - see if you can learn more about your symptoms, and being with them, from her.  http://www.claireweekes.com.au/index.html

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Shem

Okay so bit of an update. My heart palpitations were getting worse and not allowing me to move even the slightest with it going crazy. I am almost at 25 mg soon in a few weeks (Anafranil) and I feel the anxiety creeping back up even with the Klonopin but that is to be expected. I'm taking a really low dose beta blocker, half a pill of 25mg of Atenolol so 12.5 I guess, it defiantly is helping and shouldn't have any withdrawal from a low dose according my cardiologist who was really understanding. I did not do the super slow taper as I planned earlier, instead I'm doing 5 mg every month but I just want to get to a real low dose then go slower from there. If I'm housebound until I drop so be it.

 

I'm currently checking up on disability since it has been 3 years without employment and it is looking good so that is a plus. 

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KarenB

That's good about the possibility of disability. 

 

I'd still advise caution about your rate of taper because the effects are cumulative, so you may be setting yourself up for difficulties further down the track.  I'd like to see things go well for you. 

 

Karen

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Shem

That's good about the possibility of disability. 

 

I'd still advise caution about your rate of taper because the effects are cumulative, so you may be setting yourself up for difficulties further down the track.  I'd like to see things go well for you. 

 

Karen

 

I know I feel kind of hopeless though. With my heart rate and everything, I cannot do much despite how slow I go with the taper. I am seeing a therapist once a week so I actually have someone to talk to but it is a damned if I do damned if I don't scenario. I feel like I'm missing out on so much, cannot go to school, never had a job, do much of anything, even reading a book is impossible. It is really ridiculous.  I feel a lot of the times of giving up because the last 3 years have been a real nightmare because I had no idea what was happening when I went down from 150. I feel like I have it the worst here but I know others are suffering. The trauma from this is by far a lot worse than the trauma I experienced when I lost my father. I was very young and was ignorant with all the medications. I was doing so well before now I feel like giving up because it has just been a rollercoaster with this nonsense. I cannot for the life of me see the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been ten years and "oh you're Bi-Polar, you're crazy now, listen to me I'm the doctor your the mental patient what do you know?" I did not go to medical school to read things from the internet one doctor told me when I was in the psych ward last year. I feel so betrayed and robbed I do not think I will recover from this.

 

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KarenB

I'm really glad to hear you have somebody to talk to Shem, because you are carrying a lot at the moment.  Knowing there are no quick fixes can increase the burden too.  But if you bring together enough support and enough strength to get you through these months, then things will start to ease.  It's a matter of holding out till then. 

 

I realise talking about self-care can sound a bit futile, but I've found that it does help.  Even a little bit each day builds up into a supportive nest that can hold you in the really bad times.  A short, guided meditation, some mindful breathing, a simple and gentle yoga pose.  There are many options - have a look at my favourite SA page:  Non-Drug Techniques to Cope with Emotional Symptoms.

 

I've been in places where I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But it is still there.  You'll get round this bend in the track and you'll be able to see it again.  Were you labeled bi-polar before you were put on drugs, or after?  Imagine what can happen when a person is offered real support instead of drugs and labels.  Well, now that you are gaining these understandings, you can head in that direction.  You can bring things into your life which are real and healing, and you can slowly and carefully remove the drugs.  You'll come out of this a much stronger person. 

 

You won't be in this awful place forever.  It will change.  Just hang in there.  There's a strength inside you Shem, which will see you through.

 

Hugs from Karen.

PS If you want to see more details of how I've healed and found my way out of the dark places, you can look at my blog (see my signature).

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Shem

The Bi-Polar diagnosis came after I went from 150 to 100 and started crying for no reason. The reason I cut the dose was because it, the Anafranil, stopped working. The doctor literally went into the DSM book, took out the Bi-Polar section, copied it on his copier and then handed it to my mother showing everything there is to know about Bi-Polar Type 2. My mother said, "you think he is Bi-Polar?"

 

That was late 2013.

 

He was a nice guy, my doctor for almost a decade.  He wanted me to go on ADHD meds, a mood stabilizer, and an antipsychotic. I was surprised when he actually said you should go home and research this first because I know you like to do that. I was a complete mess and really thought I was going mad. Thank god I did because it really goes to show you how little psychiatrists know about the brain and the "medication" they prescribe.

 

Thank you for all the advice. I take it one day at a time. Some days get to me, while others not so much. It comes down to acceptance and surrender. The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another-William James. I'll change my avatar to him because he is an awesome philosopher. 

 

I am thankful last year my new psychiatrist and therapist (they work in the same office) understood what I was talking about. My new doc said yeah its not Bi-Polar. He says thats why he never prescribes Paxil or Effexor to anyone, I was very relieved.

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KarenB

That's very cool how you side-stepped that bi-polar (mis)diagnosis.  So many others on psych meds get trapped by it.  Got to run now, my daughter just got home from soccer and she shivering!  Glad you are going one step at a time.

 

Karen

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Shem

Hey just wanted to update, wondering if anyone else has had this.

 

Since going lower on the Anafranil (I'm at 15 now), I'm beginning to have memories pop up randomly in my memory before I was put on this. For example, memories from childhood that would seem to come out of no where, it's really strange. Though I guess thats what the drug did now that I think about it, suppress the trauma and forget about everything that happened. Does anyone else get this? I am also getting some weird push/pull sensations which I got when I was off the drug entirely. Sorry for the bad grammar, its hard to type/

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