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Kevroeques

Hello, all!
I've been a lurker for about two months, and I want to start by stating that I'm very thankful for this forum, it's moderators, everybody who posts and the wealth of information and experience within that helps so many people, including myself, through this dizzying inferno of medically induced purgatory.

I'll second by stating that I'm not an avid user of social media or discussion forums, so I apologize in advance if I seem not to reply timely or anything- I've discovered this site through mostly google results and decided it's time to enter the discussion.

 

A bit about me:
I had my first major panic attack in August 2013. I was with friends awaiting a party in Manhattan sipping wine, just biding time by stating at my phone. I had been offered a few bumps of cocaine- nothing I had ever done habitually, but was no stranger to on the odd Friday or Saturday night. I suddenly noticed my phone looked bizarre and my heart was racing. I was instantly swept into a mode that has changed my life in a terrible, recurring way.

 

I had subsequent attacks that sent me to the ER and doctor's offices. After an EKG and blood tests, it was decided that I was indeed suffering from recurring panic attacks. I was offered buspirone which I took briefly- for only 3 weeks- before deciding I was better off just learning to control it.

And control it I did, for two years. It caused unneeded strain and some avoidance, but I was usually good enough hiding in a bathroom stall or what have you for five minutes or so, and I'd be right as rain.

 

I apologize if I'm talking more about my disorder here than my meds, but I feel it's important being that we often need to relate to eachother completely in why we took antidepressants as much as when we came off of them.

 

Anyway, this past summer of 2015, I noticed changes. I had started a new seasonal job in November 2014 and the season ended early in late spring 2015, leaving me stagnant on unemployment until the next season started. I decided in the summer to visit friends in Virginia.
The second I stepped off the train, I was greeted by a slow, almost aura-like startup of a panic attack. It was so bad I had to sit on a couch and close my eyes for a bit while my friends just waited for me to re-emerge. I did so, and we all went out for a beer and a bite- and it happened again! I quieted myself in a bathroom and finally calmed fully. I thought it was just the excitement of the trip and sauntered on.

 

Well, I continued having strings of long-lasting panic attacks multiple times a day. If I was out in the summer heat, it was definite. If we went out in a group of friends, it was definite. One night it was so bad, I ran out of my friend's house and walked in the pitch dark of rural VA for almost two hours, calling my mother to calm me down (as she had suffered from panic induced anxiety in the 80's and still does, but always managed it without therapy or meds). We decided it was time to seek medical help.

 

For brevity, I ended up seeking a therapist and psychiatrist who could help me. It was becoming chronic and debilitating, and I feared I wouldn't be able to return to work. And indeed, shortly before my first appointment, I had started work and had 2 weeks of constant panic attacks which led to a spectacular breakdown that would affect my cognition and coordination in such a way that a leave of absence was necessary.

 

My pdoc prescribed escitalopram without hesitation. He issued no warnings about the difficulty of onset, and warned me of "minor" side effects. His only poignant statement was that it could take a few weeks to reach therapeutic effect.

I went through over a month of complete mental discomfort and constant panic and fatigue before I got any relief at all- but it's not what I thought it would be. I was still getting panic attacks, but with less frequency- only now I also had lethargy, apathy, drunken vision, fatigue, depression with suicidal ideation, and the list goes on. It was horrible. Not only was I disappointed, but I was much worse off than I was a month prior, and I was now stuck on medication without an easy way out.

 

At the doctor's request, I stayed on for an additional two months without any relief. I was becoming further agitated, addled, and depressed. I was now in a state of hopeless despair. I told him I refused to be on the medication for even one more month and requested a taper plan. He requested 10mg Prozac to mitigate the withdrawal for a month, which I abided.
I felt A TICK better on the low dose of Prozac, but still far from functional. After a month of it, I asked my pdoc for a taper and he assured me I could come off it without any problems.

 

Well, here I am. The first few weeks were riddled with sudden worsening of panic, dizziness, tension, uncomfortable fatigue and depression just to name a few. I had steeled myself for it, but my inner soliloquy couldn't save me from the enduring horror. Time stands still when your senses are all tied up in agonizing disarray. Within the few weeks, I saw a few windows, but was mostly engulfed in waves. Last week (around 5/16/16) I started to notice I wasn't paying attention to myself as much- as though I didn't need to. I was having some anxiety and panic, but the horror wasn't on me 24 hours like before. It was hope, and it felt great- but it didn't last.

 

About three days later, I had sudden and very new symptoms. My ears feel pressured and full. My eyes feel pressured and crooked. My vision feels dim, and contrasting shades and colors look overwhelming (like a psychedelic effect without the fun or the consent of actually causing it with a substance). I'm lightheaded all day, yet still get brain zaps that amplify the dizziness momentarily- sometimes while still, sometimes with head or eye movement. I'm unbalanced and clumsy. It almost feels like a silent migraine without the light bursts.

 

I living with my parents right now (bless them, they're selfless) and have woken one of them or the other almost every night this week because it's too scary to be alone- and I've never feared being solitary- but my symptoms are constant now without letup, but seem to erupt in intensity very late at night, being compounded by my insomnia and jilted internal clock. The other day I woke my mother at 2am. I was starting to cry- not the sad or confused kind, but the desperate, fearful kind. I haven't cried from fear or pain since I was 12. I decided I wanted to go to the hospital and try to get a brain scan, but all I got was an EKG and blood testing (which is all perfect).

 

I'm now awaiting hearing from Medicaid, because I'm generally unemployed and my insurance ran out.
I was partway past a consultation and psych test with a neuropsychologist when my insurance ran out. Now I have no course.

 

I'm in limbo with my symptoms. I guess I just want answers. I can't "oh well" these symptoms. Part of me knows they're likely withdrawal in their newness and sudden, intense onset- but my cognition can't keep up when they hit hard. It's hard enough to keep a logical head throughout the day, when they're present but lower in intensity. But the sudden nature has me frightened. If I look back, nothing has gotten better at any point. In fact, I've gotten worse at almost any point and I'm fully disabled now.

 

I don't feel good enough to see my friends- some I haven't seen in months- or my own brother who lives a bit over a mile away. Driving is scary and feels dangerous because my vision feels drunk, so I never do it anymore. And my head gets overwhelmed so fiercely so often with both physical and cognitive pressures and disarray that sometimes I can't speak and I collapse to my knees in absolute confusion and terror. I can't even find words meaningful enough to describe it, but I'm sure you're all familiar.

 

I'm not a hypochondriac. In fact, before I had my first panic attack I rarely sought medical help and would go years without it. But now, I'm convinced I have a neurological disorder.

 

The visual disturbances, the pressures, the mixed up senses, the cognition halting, the physical coordination problems and twitches that seem to favor the left side of my body almost exclusively. I'm terrified and won't likely be satisfied unless A) I suddenly recover in the near future to at least the state of only having anxiety and panic attacks or B) I get scanned by a neuro and optometrist for nervous malfunction in my brain and eyes and vet a clean bill of nervous health.

 

It's hard to explain, but my symptoms are that sudden and that intense. Worth mention, I don't get random panic attacks anymore, but if my symptoms become inbearable I can be thrown into one. But chances are, I'm suffering from everything with a steady heart rate and a lack of epinephrine coursing my system- so I can't entirely blame momentary anxiety symptoms for a constant string of other symptoms I'm going through.

 

I know this was lengthy and I thank anybody who took the time to read it. I guess my hopes here are to have somebody relate to me with what I'm going through and tell me what I'm experiencing is normal and I will eventually be okay. You read so much about the problem but people often stop writing at a point, so you never know if they feel better or got better. I also have a supportive family, but none save for my mother have suffered anxiety, and she never took meds so she can't understand what I'm currently going through.

 

Some of my symptoms are hard to find specifically through searches, and this get linked to things like MS more than anxiety or SSRI withdrawal, which is scary- and we're all familiar with how little a doc knows or is willing to admit about these types of meds.

 

It has calmed me a bit just getting this out, and I look forward to discussing anything about it with all of you. I promise I'll do my best to keep up and share any light or hope that I experience on this twisted journey!
-Kevro

Edited by AliG
added paragraph breaks

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Kevroeques

P.S.: I have never participated in narcotic use frequently or habitually, I currently do not at all, nor do I drink any alcohol due to fears it will exacerbate my symptoms. I have not touched any natcotics since August 2013 (when I had my first panic attack) and have not had a single drink since November 2015. I state this not for reputation, but just to negate possible preconceptions that I may currently be messing with my condition.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

What little I could make out in your narrative (a mod will hopefully swoop in and add some white space around your paragraphs to make them a bit more readable) leads me to believe you were on a drug, stopped it too soon and are now having symptoms of withdrawal syndrome. It mimics everything under the sun, really. And makes you feel awful to boot and the doctors and drug companies for the most part deny it exists or goes away quickly if it does.

 

So hang in there and someone will come and give you a bunch of stuff to read and do what I cannot on this small screen, give you a proper welcome.

 

Trust me, if there was a symptom I and everyone else has had it and they do go away in time. Very seldom are people actually made ill by the withdrawal itself, it just feels like it. I mean as in diseases. You yourself realized that your symptoms might not in actuality show high levels of adrenalin but they FEEL like it's there, however you stated it. So hang in there, ok?

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Kevroeques

Oops! Sorry- I tend to be verbose. Unfortunately, I can't edit this post myself but I'll be mindful of proper spacing in the future.

 

Like now :). You're correct in the fact that I have taken meds and am suffering the consequences. The general gist is that I had roughly a month of withdrawal symptoms that started harsh and eased over a month to almost nil, then came on ten times stronger suddenly a few days later with symptoms I've never experienced mixed in.

 

I also should clarify that I don't think necessarily that the meds have CAUSED a disorder of any kind, but rather I feel that my panic and anxiety could be a warning sign for deeper neurological issues, seeing as my symptoms worsened gradually and sometimes suddenly prior to medication, and are pulling new tricks on me now very suddenly and intensely after it already seemed the withdrawal was starting to really lighten up, and I've had trouble associating some of them with accounts I've read of withdrawal. But I'm also aware I overreact when I'm going through it.

 

Thank you for the welcome, the format advice and the reply!

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DaddyCee

Hi and Welcome.

 

It would definitely pay to fill in a signature with your meds history then I'm sure the good people here will be able to advise.

 

Are you med free now? and if so how long have you been so?

 

Namaste,

 

DC.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

In this case (and until I can really read your first post I can't say for sure, but I am sure anyway because people don't get here by accident) just understand that LIFE itself is probably the deeper 'neurological issue' and right now wd may be the biggest cause of all your symptoms.

 

Um, it's the precipitous WITHDRAWAL of the meds that causes these symptoms, not the meds themselves per se. Your body, every system it seems, goes all weird trying to bring itself back to normal functioning and along the way seems to just react in incomprehensible ways. But those ways make sense to it. WD is doubly difficult for us intellectual types, we have to understand EVERYTHING. You write as though you are very smart and educated, we can still help you, lol.

 

The Aussies are likely going to bed and the USA people are likely not up yet. Hang on, someone will be along to help.

 

You only have a 1 hour time span to edit a post. If you are editing and the timer passes, when you go to post it will error out.

 

How to fill in a signature is in the sticky post at the top of this forum. I wrote the directions myself!

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Bless AliG for the white space!

 

Oh my, what a story, no wonder you made the remark you did about 'deeper neurologial problems' and I am sorry if I seemed flippant, that was not my intent.

 

So it is well known that some human bodies react very 'oddly' to chemicals in as little as one exposure and seem to go completely off the rails. I am not a doctor but an ex-nurse and an avid reader and deep thinker on this stuff. I can often understand the medical and scientific jargon enough to form a considered opinion and give a good guess on things.

 

I will do some more research on panic attacks when I can but I think they can come from the body's over reaction to some event and this event can even be triggered by its own internal workings. That is what happens in wd syndrome and that is what you are likely feeling now. Eating food is alarming, lying down to sleep is alarming, loud noises you have heard all your life (like the refrig) cause it to go into fight/flight mode.

 

What causes more of a problem are neurogically active substances like psych drugs. For most of the population they can short circuit the panic attacks but at a price: they leave you feeling like they did. that is how they work, they dull and distort your 'felt' experience.

 

But drugs are first line defense because of doctor ignorance coupled with pharma chicanery, let's just not go there right now.

 

You were never worked up to see if diet and lifestyle habits contributed to the persistence of the attacks after they started. Chronic poor sleep habits, a bad diet low in the proper vitamins, chronic use of stuff that leaches needed, er, stuff, out of your system (like antacids), chronic worry and stress do this too.

 

Get the medicaid and stay hunkered down with your parents, we will try to help you through this. It will be my opinion that if you do try to reinstate some of one of those drugs it might not ease your symptoms. Alto the admin might need to weigh in on this one. But I think you are in the right place. I have a feeling that in some people meds to treat panic attacks actually make them worse, but I am not sure. I think you would really benefit from magnesium supplementation, it won't be dramatic but it is very effective and most every 'body' is low on mag. A mod will give you the links. It is a 'calcium channel blocker' and it does something chemically in the body as an essential nutrient but does it naturally, not ham fistedly like drugs do.

 

This is survivable and eminently treatable, but not with drugs is my opinion. And ah, you know what they say about 'opinions'......

 

There was some TV personality that had his first ever panic attack while he was on the air, I should remember his name but don't. And I don't remember how his story played out and which show it was but it was something like 'Good Morning America'. I'll look it up and see if his narrative might be helpful, if not for anything more than my own understanding of panic attacks.

 

Edited to add: I was nearly spot on with the hazy recollection and you will be very surprised when you read about him. Same as you, same as you in that the trigger was the same chemical. I am just leaving the link, I will read his story later, it's a busy day for me.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/dan-harris-air-panic-attack-improved-life/story?id=22469789

 

Another link:

 

http://bigthink.com/think-tank/meditation-2

 

So far I can see it was a miracle his shrink did not put him on drugs. So so lucky.

 

I only have 20 more minutes before I cannot edit this post anymore, if I find anything after that I'll post new.

 

http://www.amazon.com/10-Happier-Self-Help-Actually-Works/dp/0062265423

 

He wrote a book, $10.95 on Kindle. It will be waiting for you when you are ready. You have to get over wd syndrome first, the reaction your body is having to starting and stopping the drugs.

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Junglechicken

I had all your symptoms when I effectively CT'd off Cipralex last summer but instead they were on my right side. I even had right side sciatic nerve pain which was hideous (a few months of osteopathic treatment put this right) and my right arm was so painful I had to go to ER on Thanksgiving day.

 

They all subsided when I re-instated at 2.5mg in November 2015 (following the advise of the mods on SA).

 

Since then, I re-located back to the UK from Canada and have had various issues which have subsided. My current being GERD. Very unpleasant but it should disappear as well.

 

I have an appointment with a psych doc at the weekend who I am hoping can shed some light on all this.

 

Hang in there, we know what it's like believe me!

 

JC

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Shep

Hi, Kevroeques. Welcome to the forum and thank you for your well written and interesting narrative. 

 

I'm a bit unclear as the timeline of your medications. You mentioned being on buspirone a long time ago, and then more recently, escitalopram and Prozac. 

 

Please provide the doses and dates you were on them and when you came off. 

 

Are you completely medication free now?

 

Here are a couple of links about withdrawal. 

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 
 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Please fill out your signature. Here is information on how to do this:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

This thread is where you can list your symptoms and ask plenty of questions. You'll find lots of support and information here. 

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AliG

Hello Kevroeques.    It's taken a little while to decipher your story.  If I have this right , you have been on Escitalopram ( Lexapro ) for 2 months before going on Prozac, ( for withdrawal  ? ) as per doctor's suggestion for 1 month .
If you can add a little more information, it will help us to more succinct advice. A couple of questions. You said Lexapro made your symptoms worse. There was no relief. Is that correct ?  What did your taper consist of ?  Was it over a few weeks ? Alternating doses?  C/T ?
Then , you went on to 10 mg Prozac for W/D symptoms . You tapered of that after a month. How did you taper and how long did it take ?
We recommend the 10 % taper method, as it keeps symptoms to a minimum.
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
 
It would help if you would put a short drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Doing this helps us understand your context and appears below each of your posts.
 Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

This is your thread to journal your progress, and ask questions. Once we have a little more information , we can come up with a plan. Possibly , a small reinstatement could help to alleviate symptoms, and then you can taper off slowly in the future , when stable.

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

A few more links that help to explain withdrawal :

What is withdrawal syndrome?

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Brain Remodelling

 

Ali

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Kevroeques

Okay- I put my med history in my signature.  Sorry if my post is confusing or lax in information.  I have this problem of being too detailed with some things and lax on details with others.  Also, I decided to break out the ol' laptop so I can easily backtrack while I'm posting to assure I'm addressing everything properly.

 

To address any questions or concerns in order, I'll go in the order I'm reading them.  To start off, I've had blood work, urinalysis and an EKG about once every few months the last few years.  I've learned that my heart is perfectly fine, and my blood always shows proper levels of hormones, vitamins, electrolytes, and various other chemical properties that are all in perfect order.  I have been tested for Lyme disease a few times to be safe, and it always comes back negative.  I can't vouch that my diet is anything to brag about, but to give you an idea I try to mix in fruits and veggies as much as possible and I only drink water- never soda or juice.  I used to have a thing for sweets, but have cut back to almost nothing- especially recently.  My one dietary sin is that I eat a lot of bread and pasta-ish carbs, but the effects are so debatable that I try not to worry about it.  Nobody in my family shows signs of gluten intolerance or allergy, so it's really not on the radar.  I do supplement vitamins B-complex, D3, Magnesium (Oxide) as well as a men's multi.  I was toying with l-tyrosine for a bit which seemed to help energy levels for the first half of the day, and I played a bit with 5-HTP, which I threw out because it seemed to activate me in an odd and uncomfortable fashion- like a less severe panic attack, without the adrenaline, that would just stay there and drive me crazy.  I've very recently started taking EPA/DHA fish oil, but don't quite have a regimen yet.  I just take two softgels after lunch as the label suggests.

 

I can't claim that I'm not a chronic worrier.  Not until recently, mind you- but yes, I've been in a fair state of worry for a few months now, sometimes letting up and sometimes getting worse, and always directly related to how I feel in regards to arising or worsening symptoms.

 

About reinstatement: I wouldn't worry about that.  I kind of knew that antidepressants (especially SSRIs) were risky business, but I was desperate at the time and my concern caused me to belittle the risk involved.  After being on and off them, I will never be on them again- even if there was a promise of any relief from how I feel, I'd rather sweat it out and pray for time to work it out.  And yes, I know what they say about "opinions", ha ha- but in this case, I'm happy to be presented with them.  That's why I'm here!

 

I saw that on-air panic attack sometime in the past.  Its funny how you can recognize both sides of the coin with an outward view, because you can never see yourself have a panic attack.  Most people can't.  My friends never could tell when I had them, because I had learned not to react.  But to look at the dude, it looks like nothing's wrong.  He just looks a bit confused and scared.  But then you realize that inside his brain there are a bunch of chemical reactions going off uncontrollably and they're affecting his entire body and mind.  It's very terrifying when you don;t know what it is, and can still be after you do, if it happens at the wrong time (like live TV!!).

 

As stated I updated my med history in my signature.  It's a short history, but the impact has been immense!  To answer definitively, I was on escitalopram 10mg for three and a half months.  I took it upon myself to start by cutting pills in half for the first two weeks, because my pdoc was very cavalier about me starting with a full dose- something I wasn't keen to, but I didn't want to argue as this was my first experience with psychiatry.  After the first month, I had told the doc that I was having worsening panic and brain fog.  He suggested it was basically a reaction based on my condition and insisted that I keep at it for another month as I likely hadn't reached the therapeutic effect yet.  I obliged, because I had an ex-girlfriend who had a short stint on Zoloft and I read about it extensively to help her out, so I was aware of the long onset.  I followed suit at full dose for the next month with mixed results: My panic had subsided in frequency, but not necessarily in intensity or duration.  In fact, it often felt worse because I felt addled, and had a harder time coping.  Next came the brain fog and slowed cognition.  After that, I became lethargic and apathetic- i wasn't interested in anything that I knew should interest me, and had zero drive to do anything.  One more month of the stuff at the doc's request and my own desperation/curiosity, and I was having a whole new stable of problems.  I'd have sudden panic attacks that would keep me face down in bed or on the floor for an hour or so, and I even started to get Parkinson's-like symptoms such as extremity weakness, hand and arm coordination problems, mostly on the left, weird vision and a strangely goofy gait.  That scared me so much that I told my doc it was time for a taper after month 3. 

 

For month 4, rather than give me a taper plan (because escitalopram 10mg is so tiny that cutting it into micro doses is impossible) he switched me to Prozac 10mg for the next month to mitigate any withdrawal.  I happily abided and went on my way.  The next month was strange- I had what I assumed was minor withdrawal for about two weeks.  Insomnia worsened (as my sleep had already suffered from the escitalopram), my head felt achy and I was having mood problems and a different kind of panic attacks.  It was not fun, but I soldiered through it because I saw greener pastures on the other side.  By week 4 on Prozac, I felt better, but still not as good as I felt before I started taking meds.  Something just didn't feel like me.  Upon the end of that month, my pdoc simply suggested I stop the Prozac abruptly.  I questioned him and asked for a taper, but he suggested that it was such a low dose with such a long half-life that I could simply stop it.  As I said, he was very cavalier when I would show concern regarding things such as sudden uptake or withdrawal.  The problem is that when you're diagnosed with panic disorder and anxiety issues, everybody assumes that your caution or concern is an involuntary overreaction.

 

So, the 10mg Prozac was my taper, I suppose.  I feel that all I truly did was confuse my brain by introducing a new neurotransmitter-confounding chemical just after another, and then go cold turkey.  I promptly stopped seeing that doctor and found a holistic neuropsychologist group at he recommendation of a family friend (who is also a social worker).  I saw him for 2 sessions- one consultation and one test.  I was impressed with his questions to me during and after my discussion of my journey- he seemed very in-tune and asked extremely relevant questions compared to my prior therapist and pdoc.  The test was also very thorough.  I don't remember the name of the test, but it was a legitimate psychological test with the #2 pencils and the scan sheet and all of that.  After the test, I was scheduled to see him the following week, except he canceled the day before and I cannot see him until June 3.  Unfortunately, my insurance ended last week, but my saint of a mother is paying for my next visit because she wants the test results and an outline of his diagnosis, prognosis and any actions we should seek going forward- basically we're going to pick his brain and move on.

 

This is where things get sticky.  Last week I was feeling so well and collected that I was considering planning to go back to work and taking the reigns of my social life back.  Six days ago, I went into shock at the amount of new symptoms that swept over me, and became instantly concerned because it has been over a month since I stopped the meds, I was starting to feel better, and these symptoms came on suddenly and won't let up!  They haven't let up for six days straight now.  Eye pressure with multiple forms of vision distortion, a constant state of dizziness that gets exacerbated by brain zaps- sometimes when still and sometimes with head and eye movement.  I have episodes of complete confusion and memory wipe- the other day I suddenly went blank and started reciting my name, address, SS# and other things about myself just to make sure I was still thinking and still knew who I was.  At other times I've become so confused and suddenly weak that I fall to my knees and lean on whatever is available, and cannot formulate sentences to answer when people ask what is wrong.  It has been so bizarre and frightful- especially since it's not necessarily in concert with any of my initial symptoms, I don't get adrenaline-fueled panic attacks when I go into episode, and anything that is similar to any prior symptoms suddenly feels so different- like the dizziness I feel recently, while similar in thought, doesn't feel like the lightheadedness I felt from panic, or on the medication.  It was a very sudden onset of a group of similar-yet-new symptoms with an overwhelming intensity, weeks after I thought the withdrawal had already started and calmed a bit.

 

Again, I'm sorry for the length and I appreciate you reading, but there was one more thing worth mention.  When I first started getting panic attacks, I had stressed concern to a few different doctors that I would like to check deeper to make sure that the attacks and sensations weren't simply a sign of something else.  This is where it's painful to have anxiety issues- medical science assumes you are a paranoid schizophrenic when you express worries after coming down with an anxiety disorder.  They try to assure you that "It's JUST anxiety.  It's ONLY a panic attack" as though these sudden, all-encompassing and repeated episodes can't possibly be your body's way of reacting to a real issue that needs to be looked into.  That's all fine and good, but when you express to doctors that you had it under complete and unquestionable control for 2 whole years, only to suddenly have an overtaking breakdown that instantly worsened your symptoms to an unmanageable level and to pry the possibility of work and social affairs from your fingers instantly- this isn't a concern.  It's still just anxiety.  I had such bad eye pressure yesterday that my vision was crooked and distorted, my whites were flushed with red, and closing my eyes felt alien as my lids almost seemed to not be sitting right over my actual eyeballs.  I'm a bit confused. 

 

The reason I really fear I've been ignoring a worsening neurological issue is not paranoia.  It's based on one oddity that I've been mentioning for about a year now and nobody has been listening: last summer, I was completely intolerant of the heat.  I'm not talking about "Oh man, it's so HOT I can't STAND IT!"  I'm talking about an overwhelming sensation when I went out into the heat.  Complete mental fog (before the meds, and before I really had cognitive issues outside of the moments of a panic attack), overwhelming fatigue even if I wasn't exhausted, I could almost HEAR the heat, and all of this would usually end up in a protracted panic that could last an hour or more after I retreated back into the air conditioned house.  It would distort my very reality and my ability to function mentally and physically.  It was very scary, but I never had any ideas why it might be other than the suggestion that it was exacerbating a panic attack.  Well, I discovered recently that such an intolerance to heat is a signature of MS- something I would usually shirk at, but mix that with an unyielding brain fog, visual distortions and various other symptoms that have been creeping up through the recent year and I'm suddenly quite petrified.  Being in medical limbo doesn't help- Medicaid could take over a month to take effect barring any problems with my application, I'll likely have to find new doctors that even accept the insurance, I can't continue seeing my neuropsychologist after I get my test results and his opinion, and I'm waiting for the university hospital to call me back in regards to their psychological program that I signed up for last week.  Sitting here is agony.  I can't drive, I have friends who I'm unwilling to see because I don't do well in a group with my cognitive malfunction and panic if I'm away from home if I go into an episode, and I'm just enduring anguish while I wait for the possibility of honest research into my problems, answers and solutions.  I'm cognitively aware that it could be the medication withdrawal, but it's so enduring that there's plenty of room for fear and doubt.  I guess a good question for all of you, to try and relate, is have you ever had withdrawal effects that mimic neurological problems, such as physical coordination?  Have any of you had such an intense intolerance for heat that you almost break down?  Have any of you felt right as rain after just over a month of withdrawal, only to have a sudden onset of new and unfamiliar symptoms so many weeks after your initial withdrawal, and that don't let up at all?   I know I don't have a hope of mitigating my symptoms, except for allowing time.  I also know I'll never get a doctor to admit that SSRI withdrawal is real, and thus acknowledge that any of my symptoms could be a result of it.  So all I can hope for is to have people with experience relate to me, tell me what is typical and what isn't, and hope I can find that soothing until I can get the proper testing to rule out anything major and life-altering.  I've been shaking the whole time I've been typing this, ha ha.  The sad part is that my symptoms usually worsen at night, and I can't sleep until they let up.  As a result I usually fall asleep between 8 and 10 am and sleep until mid day.  It sucks, but staying up and occupied beats lying in the dark, unable to sleep, with symptoms and thoughts taunting you.

 

I hope that clarifies a bit what I'm dealing with here.  I have so much on my mind I could write a thesis, ha ha.  I like to think I properly educated myself on these matters, but unfortunately words do not prepare you for experience, and reading can either comfort you in knowing your symptoms are typical, or it can scare the hell out of you when you find them to be atypical.  The main problem I'm facing is I feel alone most of the time no matter who is with me.  Even amongst my family who is supportive and accepting, they lack a relative understanding and an idea of the severity of my symptoms, so I feel alone.  It helps me greatly to be able to express what's going on with people who may be able to relate and give advice or direct support.  Thank you all very much.

-Kevro

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Quite a story indeed!

 

I would suggest that you alter your sig to reflect that your panic attacks (add that in as your primary dx) started after an evening of wine and a spot of coke. You have effectively masked your identity, no?

 

I am wondering, since the whole thing started with a stimulant, that you might not have something non standard in your make up that causes you to have such a reaction to substances that are often taken in stride by others (but have the usual side effects we all get used to). So there's a thread I was reading today, a member is missing something to metabolize a certain drug and it turns out she was given that drug and now she has to get off it quickly. I am wondering if that is not the case with you and the temperature situation has me intrigued as it may be a part of this and not an impending dx of MS.

 

When that heat sensation occurs, what is your temp, have you ever taken it? Temperature dysregulation happens in wd syndrome, it is part of the autonomic system upset collection of symptoms. I just found out that my temp is really running lower than normal, I may have low thyroid but I never took it in wd because I knew it would not likely tell me anything. It could be 40 degrees and I could not feel anything. You, on the other hand are feeling it intensely. Do you sweat too? A normal body would likely sweat when it gets too hot.

 

You don't have to answer all of this but I think you need to put the coke and panic in your sig so we remember what your history is. It could be that the drugs you were given were the exact wrong ones for your system and I for one would not be surprised if you chose not to continue them.

 

I think you should stay away from all drugs till your body settles down and then get worked up for anything that does not get better after that. But I am not a doc, just a really curious person.

 

What is your gut reaction to all of this?

 

And I forgot to add that mag oxide is the cheapest of formulations and very poorly absorbed. Citrate and glycinate are better but those usually are not found in the drugstores but in the health food store. The govt website says aspartate is really the best of all but none of us take it.

 

And for us, wd symptoms are usually better in the evening because that high cortisol falls and some nights we can feel positively normal. Yours is kinda backwards. But we are often kept up at night with a peculiar type of insomnia which you might be exhibiting too. We often cannot fall asleep and if we do we are usually slammed awake at 4 am when cortisol rises to start the body on its day. Ours comes on like a steamroller instead and does not fall till early evening.

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Kevroeques

Noted!  I have updated my sig to reflect my initial reaction and diagnosis.

 

I'm not sure how I would go about checking checking for enzyme deficiencies in drug reactions, but all I can really say for now is that my liver and kidney function have been noted as normal in blood testing and urinalysis.  As for intolerance, it was odd and sudden. 

 

I can't stress enough that I was never a heavy or habitual narcotic user.  I generally never bought anything, but if offered in an environment where I felt it would add enjoyment, I would partake.  A few details- I never had a habit of smoking marijuana- maybe 7 times in my life between 1994 and 2006, very spread out.  I had done LSD a handful of times between 1995 and 1997, but never back to back.  I had taken ecstasy/MDMA in small single doses and very rarely between 2000 and 2012- probably around 10-15 times in total.  I never had a bad reaction to any of them while under the influence, nor have I after to any extent.  There was one time in 2011 or 2012 that a small group of friends and I received a dubious substance that was stated to be MDMA, but had a much more intense and psychadelic effect.  We proceeded to lock ourselves in our friend's apartment and sweat it out.  It was intense, but wore off after 4 or 5 hours and had no recurring or after effects (I presume it was 2Ci- a bath-salt type "legal" substance that people were reportedly using to bunk out their salable stashes). 

 

Cocaine I had first tried in 2006, and subsequently from then until 2013 when it was made available to me, usually once every few months, at most maybe a few hits 2 weekends in a row..  I never did lines- always bumps- and didn't overdo it.  I always slept fine after, and never got tweaked off it.  I was very careful not to overindulge and often found a satisfying effect off of a single bump if i was with friends enjoying some beer or wine. I never once had an adverse reaction to it, until that night in August 2013.  It was sudden and overwhelming.  It took roughly an hour to fully calm from the attack but it the end I was right as rain.  That was on a Saturday night. 

 

The following week, I hadn't even thought about the event, until that Thursday.  After a fine work week, I was driving home in good spirits when I suddenly felt out of place.  I suddenly felt stuck in my car on the highway while having an out-of-body experience, heart racing, and lost my sense of self.  That attack was very traumatic because I was driving, and it was proof of a reoccurring problem that wasn't brought on by a drug experience like the prior- it was brought on at the enjoyable end of a workday, close to the weekend, on a beautiful autumn day when I was absolutely in great spirits. 

 

The next day I took off work.  The following week I was too scared to drive because I was having subsequent attacks in my car from the fear.  I've been forthright with all of my doctors about the initial drug induced episode, and none of them seem to find note in it.  I haven't had a narcotic since then, and have not had a drink since November 2015.  Worth mention- prior to this first panic attack, I was always cool as a cucumber.  I never stressed about typical difficulties, always had patience regarding things that couldn't be attacked or addressed at that moment, and wouldn't really even react to physical pain or unease.  I was never the kind of person who you would get a tempermental rise out of, or in an altercation with.  That all changed drastically in a single evening.

 

One more thing of note is that I was suddenly also intolerant of caffeine.  I had never been a daily coffee drinker.  I had never purposely taken caffeine in any way in the past.  Outside of the odd soda, energy drink or dessert coffee, I have never had a regimen of caffeine intake- and I often never even felt a waking or stimulant effect from caffeine.  After my first panic attack, a cup of coffee can put me into an episode, or at the very least overstimulate me into a tweaky state.  As a result, I avoid caffeine in general, and haven't had a soda or cup of coffee/tea in months, possibly since last summer. 

 

Similarly, I slept bad and pulled a back muscle years ago, and my mother game me a Flexoral (a mild muscle relaxer, although it was her Rx and not mine).  Instead of being relaxed, it threw me into an episode that lasted about two hours.  It was like a panic attack, except with different features- the most memorable being an electric rush through my chest and a rhythmic tremor toward the end before it wore off.  I had a similar experience with an OTC allergy pill (I don't remember what kind), and have since just considered my body to be hypervigilant and therefore intolerant of any sudden state changes.  I avoid almost anything that isn't generally food or water, ha ha.  I've never seen any of this as meaningful in any respect except for the odd doctor reaction that it's just a characteristic of anxiety and panic attacks.  Early on I remember I could sometimes have a cup of coffee, but I stopped when I noticed that doing that at the wrong time could ruin a string of days, based on my reaction right then and there.

 

The heat intolerance started before I ever took medication, but since it seemed to be "related" to my panic and anxiety disorders, I was wondering if anybody else here who had anxiety had experienced this before.  Its not my foremost symptom right now, but we're getting closer to summer here in the States and it's a symptom that I fear, and that makes it very hard to function.  It's the main reason I tie my symptoms to the possibility of MS or neurological disorder, and it would bring me some comfort if somebody could relate, link it to an anxiety disorder in any way, and tell me if it eventually dulled or abated.  As for my actual body temp, I take it now and then and it usually seems to be at 98.4 Fahrenheit, which is normal.  Even when heat is overwhelming, I generally don't perspire heavily unless I physically exert. 

 

If I'm just relaxing or taking it easy (which I tend to do in heat, even before this problem) I don't break a sweat- I just keep that normal, misty skin moisture that doesn't well up, soak or drip- which seems like a normal reaction in my book.  I don't think it's the heat is causing my body to overheat as much as it is an exaggeration of sensation mixed with an extrapolated physical/neurological response.  My skin retains coolness and slight moisture to the touch, but you won't catch sweat drips on me unless I'm moving a lot or lingering directly in strong sunlight.  I'm frightful AND curious about this summer.  I want to see if it exacerbates my condition (if it isn't completely W/D and doesn't go away by then) so I can further detail what happens effectively for doctors and such. 

 

I have also decided to stay away from drugs, medication and some supplements for the time being.  I gave my melatonin and 5-HTP away because I don't want to be tempted to  experiment with them.  I stopped taking my l-tyrosine, just because.  It was actually doing some good and no bad, but I want to be able to rule out any other factors when I start getting evaluated again.  This is either W/D, something that's actually wrong, or a mixture of the two.  I don't need any more variables in there.  All I take is a multi at bedtime, a B complex in the early day, some fish oil with my first substantial meal, and some mag oxide every other night.  I was taking vitamin D, but stopped when I ran out because a few months on it did nothing for me, and I don't want to overdo it.  I know the mag oxide isn't easily absorbed, but I bought it before I found out and figured I'd finish it before I buy more.  It may not help as much as citrate, but I'm sure it does something on a minimal level.

 

Honestly, I don't know what to think right now.  It's taken me forever to write this because I'm having trouble thinking right now.  My eyes and ears feel so weird, and I'm starting to dull a bit in the brain department.  I want to wish that I'm having allergies right now and they'll go away- except I've never had major allergies outside of a stuffy or runny nose.  This whole season I've been breathing fine, no faucet nose and no more sneezing that normal.  I don't even really get headaches- just weird head, eye and ear pressure and fullness that seems to coincide with a hellish brain fog, worsening fatigue, memory problems, cognitive and coordination difficulty to name a few. 

 

It's all-encompassing and overwhelming, and it gets more frightening every day it doesn't let up- and again, this is day 6 of this sudden and constant state, just over a month after I C/T quit antidepressants and had already started to feel a lot better.  I'm beating this dead horse into the ground, because it's just that significant.  I would be so thankful if I could be certain that all of this is the W/D, but I fear that only some of it is while the rest is a worsening overarching condition.

 

My mother is great at organizing.  She found out today that my sister-in-lay works at a radiology office that does sort of a "give back" Sunday.  Apparently, if you show them an annual income of less than $40k (and I definitely fit there) they barely charge for MRI and such.  I can start there.  Secondly, she just found out there's a psychologist in my town who is apparently very good (a friend referred her).  The wait can be bad, but that's because he doesn't keep sessions to a set time, and tends to really look deep into people's issues beyond just psychology, referring out if he suspects physical or neurological problems.  Fingers crossed. 

 

I know I'm reacting harshly and looking into grim possibilities, but I feel so locked away from normality because of all of what I'm going through- both mentally, physically and neurologically- is just not correct.  Some is pain, some is discomfort, some is confusion, but all together it's becoming too heavy to bear without help, and all of this waiting and guessing is soul crushing. 

Edited by JanCarol
white space for ease of reading

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Okay, a few quick things popped into mind after your latest post.

 

Of course your liver and kidneys are fine, that is not the issue, it is how your body reacts to the introduction of an 'outside' chemical, such as the coke molecule or the tonka toy molecule. I am not making a joke, just trying to illustrate a concept.

 

Coke, MDMA, and tonka toys are molecules in the universe and they can react with the human body, that last one actually doesn't enter into a chemical reaction tho, but can be like the 'clowns terrify me' thing some people have and indirectly cause a reaction.

 

Human bodies are delicate machines, psych drugs are sledge hammers to the system and for some people bath salts and coke are too. Not necessarily immediately but in something called 'gene expression', they may alter a chemical process in your body that way. That's why it sometimes takes a few exposures to a substance before you see it. You assume those 'drugs' you took were all the same and I will say they are not. They came from different parts of the planet (think about it) and unless you did a chem assay on each one, they were not chemically identical, they were 'adulterated' not pure. Any one of the adulterants could have set up a reaction in your body to attempt to deal with their presence that is now causing a problem.

 

Are you catching a tiny bit of my drift? You may not be able to understand all of it without having exposure to physiology, biology, chemistry, etc etc. But there is one thing that stood out: you have a same kind of odd reaction to caffeine as I but backwards. You appear to OVER react, I UNDER react. Can drink a cup and fall asleep. I read somewhere it may be the reaction of one of those 'C' enzymes in the liver. So that's where I wanted to end up: I don't think you'll be going through the testing to determine if that is what causes your symptoms, it is going to be by guessing and inference and treatment might be just plain old knock it off with the 'experience altering' chemicals, they are not good for YOU in a big way now. Like Dan Harris and the coke and ecstasy. And now you and antidepressants and street drugs.

 

The other thing is the family history of 'panic attacks'. Remove the emotional connotation from them and they are just a body's way of reacting to its environment, including its own internal mental and feeling one. You know it's mediated by chemicals, right? We are walking chem labs and some of us have a few first year students at the benches mixing up chemicals and trying to make something that pops or fizzes instead of listening to the teacher. I believe some is a learned response from mom, some may be an inherited chemical makeup but altered by your dad's contribution.

 

I am just trying to offer you some paths for thinking on these things, you think if you just KNEW what is causing all this you'd be able to accept it. Like if it's really MS well bring it on then and let me get used to dealing with and or treating it, not this in-between garbage. Is it the drugs, the tonka toys, the what? and let's treat it and move on I've got a life to live here and I can't while I am back living with the 'rents.

 

I have no answers and I bet I have not helped you feel better at all. When you are able, maybe if you read our collection of stories and some of the articles Alto has gathered and something may spark something that will start to unravel things for you and then you have the task of convincing a doc to see it too and try to treat it. You may have to wait till much time has passed, you've got the AD drug effects that have to go away first and teasing out what is causing what is very difficult. That's probably why no one else seems to be commenting on your story much yet, it is not too clear cut. But people ARE reading it, the 'read' count for each thread is on the main page of the forum. Yours has over 100 views already. (But it's in that 'wall of text' format again that it a bit hard for wd addled brains and eyes to deal with. Don't worry about it, I can train myself to read it and others can too.)

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Kevroeques

Sorry for the hiatus- I have read every word of response, and it all makes perfect sense.  Believe it or not, I'm pretty good at studying concepts that relate to biology and chemistry- well, more the theoretical parts than the mathematics.  It's just hard to apply raw information when your mind and body add in a sense of personal desperation.  I've experienced weirdness for years now, the problem being that it was a fairly static weirdness so even though it was harsh, it was easy to get used to.  As for recently, I would normally associate this craziness with taking antidepressants and the subsequent withdrawal, except I just have this nagging doubt that something further needs to be looked into, simply because I did suddenly get worse (i.e. my static anxiety symptoms were suddenly becoming dynamic and extrapolating after two years without) before taking the meds. 

 

One thing you said is so true: having an understanding of exactly what elements are causing my symptoms would bring me comfort, even if it didn't help abate the symptoms.  I've actually been dealing with constant changes in my symptoms to the point where it doesn't feel like anxiety anymore.  It feels like changes are happening that aren't at all related to anxiety.  I have heard numerous people mention there is a certain point where you should just have yourself examined further for saftey's sake- I've just had trouble finding that route, and after feeling around for months, I ran out of health insurance.

 

Two days ago I decided to reach out to an old friend to get some info.  He never took any prior meds or had any known disorders, but he started gradually coming down with neurological symptoms (turning out to be a form of MS).  After a long chat, some of mine sounded similar and some did not, but he and his wife agreed I should definitely have neurological testing done to make sure.  They helped me find affordable options and I'm slated to have a scan done this coming weekend, I believe.  The following Monday, I have an appointment with the neuropsychologist with whom I took a test to get the results and his opinion.  I'll pick his brain on whether or not he thinks it's a neuro or psych problem.  I wish I could talk to him about SSRI withdrawal, but I've already brought it up and it seemed to pass through him with a brush of the shoulder, like most medical professionals do when withdrawal is mentioned.  It's such a myth to them.

 

I'm obviously here because I know to a large extent that antidepressant withdrawal can cause profound problems that are difficult to describe and explain, even if you're familiar with neurotransmission and the common outcomes of messing with particular transmitters and receptors.  The logical part of me wants to just sit here and endure it because it might just right itself when my brain finds its chemical equilibrium.  The emotional part of me is in fear of not only the changes that have taken place, but the lack of relief- the past 8 days have had the same harshness without any windows of calm- and needs the comfort of ruling out the larger, more life-altering problems that this could be.  I suppose that my emotion overrides my logic after I feel a timeframe has passed without any resolution, and I just start scrambling for answers.  I feel like a crying baby that nobody has bothered to feed, so all I can do is continue to cry louder.  I'm not hoping I have deeper neurological issues, even though that would give me clear insight as to how to treat myself and largely mitigate my symptoms.  I'm just hoping to get it out of the pool, because the potential alone is terrifying me more than I need to be terrified right now.  The MRI will oddly be free, although I'll still have to pay for other tests and the resulting consulting after.  If I have a clean bill of central nervous health, then I won't feel like I'm taking a health risk anymore and will be able to look further into the psychological aspects and waiting for the SSRI withdrawal effects to fix themselves.  It just suddenly struck me as dangerous to wait any longer without being checked.

 

I must admit that I do feel less anxious and desperate knowing that I'm at least on the path of getting properly checked, but the lack of anxiety has not even put a dent in my odd symptoms.  I'm still having vision distortions, I still have an enduring dizziness (for 8 days now!) that doesn't ever let up, and is worsened by certain movements and random brain zaps, and I still feel tense and a bit stiff in my movements, even when calm, just to name a few.  If I can achieve a clean bill neurologically, then I'll have an easier time blaming the original anxiety disorder and antidepressant withdrawal for everything that's going on.  It won't make living like this any easier, but at least it will negate my larger fears and allow me it give it time without that very time being the possibility of a worsening neuro disorder that requires intervention and treatment.

 

I don't mind if many people haven't replied yet.  I know I'm detailed and overly verbose, but if somebody is ever experiencing anything similar to me, be it in specific fears or the mix of symptoms, then we'll start a dialogue.  As for you, you've kept me both well informed on how to utilize this forum correctly as well as how a lack of chemical equilibrium can play the ultimate trick on you.  Really, we're all here because we need relation with our particular problem and comfort knowing people have experienced similar things- and even better- gotten through them.  That's worth each word in gold :)

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Kevroeques

Hello all!

 

I'm going on 34 hours without substantial sleep right now (I had one 45 minute nap while sitting up earlier and had about an hour of dreaming sleep in bed before waking completely and driving myself into a panic attack). The thread for insomnia advice is down, but I was hoping maybe somebody could lend me some ideas in case this continues.

 

All I really have here is prescribed Hydroxyzine 25mg, but that doesn't put a dent in my sleep abilities. My sleep pattern and time has been off for months, but I was still getting 7-8 hours of unbroken sleep. Suddenly I can't sleep at all, or will lull close only to be stricken awake. Lying in bed for hours while awake makes me uncomfortable, and sooner or later I get hungry or crave a cigarette- two things that don't promote sleep, but once the cravings hit sleep won't happen anyway :/

 

I find it amazing how much your brain struggles trying to find equilibrium again, even after a relatively short time in meds. It's a mixed bag and I never know what to expect, but sleep is the one thing that comforts me in the end.

 

So, any sage advice? I've tried counting breaths, timing inhalation and exhalation, light reading, antihistamine, and I try to get out of bed every half hour to hour to try and 'reset' my body's familiarity with lying down. No help. My mother insists I try Zzzquil (diphenhydramine). I'll give that a shot too, but please share any advice or techniques that seem to help you.

 

Thanks!

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Kevroeques

The "Tips to help sleep" and "Light Therapy" links come up missing. Still, I found some useful and supportive info and conversation in there. Thank you.

 

For the record, I'm one who doesn't want to reinstate for two reasons: I was only on antidepressants for a short while and don't want to unwittingly embolden their impact on my life, and I really wasn't much better on them than I am now. It was an uneducated "trial" of sorts to see if they helped my panic and related symptoms, but they added so many more symptoms to my plate that it would only be a different hell to reinstate.

 

I'll probably try the Zzzquil once tonight regardless. At worst, it'll only ruin one night's sleep- not a huge deal. The vistaril has helped me sleep a few times (I don't take it very often- usually way before sleep hours as it was prescribed to reduce daytime anxiety), but I'm just having a sudden flare of insomnia the past week or so after ALL of my symptoms have suddenly worsened. Most of what I went through last week has eased a bit, but the insomnia is pulling the opposite for some reason.

 

I apologize for just placing this here willy-nilly. I'm not very used to using forums, but I'll be sure to put anymore personal topics in my personal thread.

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Kevroeques

So, I'm still figuring the forum out, but I figured I'd use this space to talk about some symptoms I believe may be caused by WD.  It can be a bit confusing at times because I had dealt with panic disorder prior, and it had been worsening/changing in ways which led me to try medication in the first place.

 

One of my more recent and most disturbing symptoms is eye problems.  I seem to keep getting strained vision in my eyes to the point where my focus keeps changing, and it also makes my eyes hurt sometimes when moving them.  As a result I've become hyper aware of my vision and feel that soe things just don't look right.  Light can seem dim or overwhelming, and contrast between differing colors or light/shadow can look very stark. Both eyes seem to feel this way, but at least today, it's favoring the left eye a bit which brings me to my next point...

 

I seem to lose a bit of coordination and strength, which also seems to favor the left side, mostly in my forearm and hand, and occasionally in my hip.  I am right handed, so I keep telling myself it could be natural that any weakness or irritation would be more noticeable on the "weaker" side of my body.  My left hand does get a bit shaky when this happens, partially from weakness and partially from anxiety.

 

Insomnia is also suddenly a huge symptom.  It was expected, and I have suffered sleep problems since briefly after I started taking meds.  It's only just now gotten much worse almost 2 months after stopping CT.  I can lie in bed for hours without even feeling sleepy, no matter how tired I am.  I can have lucid dreams that wake me before I fully doze off (nothing scary- usually just mundane auditory conversations, usually with a friend or family member's voice that gently wakes me as I realize that nobody is there.  I don't appear to be speaking, just listening).  The last two nights I usually wake after dreams.  Roughly an hour of sleep goes by, I dream and immediately wake.  Knowing what I know about REM and sleep cycles, you're closest to being awake after the first hour of sleep when brain activity rises, and insomnia is just breaking the tiny barrier into waking.  Since I'm not working right now, it's not a huge concern but it's still very annoying when you crave the peace and relaxation of a good night's sleep.  There has been two instances in the past two weeks where I did not sleep for over 24 hours.

 

The eye problems/arm weakness have been enough of a concern for me to seek a neurologist and MRI, which I'm scheduled for in 2 weeks.  I'm a bit mixed between worsening panic disorder and antidepressant WD.  It helps when you know what to blame for symptoms, and I never know which to pin them on.  I have had some fear for the past year or so that my body is telling me there's an underlying neurological problem, and to have it checked out.  Hopefully the MRI and following neurological tests/sessions will ease my mind a bit and give me the peace of mind to patiently recover.  I've had my blood and heart tested numerous times in the recent past, so I know that having the worst possibilities checked off the list can really aid your morale and ease grim worries.

 

The last of my four months on antidepressants, I was switched from 10mg Lexapro to 10mg Prozac, and that's when most of these problems started.  I started to notice visual distortions and eye strain/pain more, and that's also when I started noticing my left hand coordination seemed odd.  I don't always feel these symptoms, but they come often enough to cause concern and anxiety, which usually makes me dwell on them harder no matter how hard I try to distract myself or convince myself that they're likely caused by the meds and WD.  I did read once about medicine induced Parkinsonism, where meds that mess with neurotransmittors can artificially mimic Parkinson's by altering the way your brain utilizes dopamine.  It sounds like it's most often temporary as your brain re-learns homeostasis.

 

Scary as these things can be, I find some evidence of people experiencing similar things.  It always helps when you know you're not alone and some symptoms are typical.  No matter how bad things get, it's really always the anxiety that makes things feel monumental and life ending.

 

Last concern- has anybody here ever sought therapy WHILE in a withdrawal state?  After I stopped the medication, I quit seeing my talk therapist because she wasn't really helping and would often deny that the medication had any role in my worsening condition, often claiming that my reactions were psychosomatic and inadvertently belittling what I was going through.  I sought a psychologist and made it through an initial consultation and a test, but hadn't been able to get another appointment until this Friday (it's been about a month).  I like him and feel engaged when I speak to him, but I'm afraid that since I'm in WD we may be focusing on the wrong things going forward.  I'm generally going for panic disorder and anxiety, but I have mentioned the WD to him and he will also be treating me based on the test I took last I saw him, which is used to profile my disorder to a certain extent.  I haven't gotten a feel on whether or not he acknowledges antidepressant WD exists yet, and there's some part of me that feels I may be considered by him to have some other diagnosis as a result and take me through an unnecessary route. 

 

That's all I have today.  I hope everybody is doing as well as they can be, and I'm gonna try and relax and get my mind off the way I feel :D

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LexAnger

Hi Kevro,

 

I just found your thread and read your initial introduction.

 

Im very sorry you are also going through this most bizarre and difficult process! First off, you did a brilliant job describing your symptoms that I experience everyday for years but never blue to express in words. I'm on my 3rd year micro tapering lexapro currently at 2.4 mg and having every symptoms you are having. From years of reading on the forum, I found those are more like lexapro unique WD and side effect symptoms. You mentioned your symptoms started mostly after switching from Lexopro to Prozac which confirms more my feeling that what you currently experiencing is mainly from WD from lexapro mixed with certain side effects of lexapro and Prozac.

 

So you are not alone for how you feel every day and hour.

And I can almost assure you that your MRI etc will come back normal. It's all the misfire of the brain electricity ( my own way f thinking).

 

my hope is you will survive sooner than most of us being on these meds long term.

 

 

Lex

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Kevroeques

Thanks for the reply, Lex.

 

What you have mentioned, I can tell you that the first two weeks after the switch from Lexapro to Prozac were very tense and strange.  I couldn't tell if I was feeling withdrawal fro the Lexapro or the uptake from the Prozac.  I'm guessing I did have a minor withdrawal from the Lexapro that the Prozac did diminish- but I just didn't want to be on either.  Even when stabilized on either medication, I was one of the lucky bunch that was simply stabilized in an extremely uncomfortable, apathetic and almost suicidal depression state.  To be honest, I almost prefer my ever changing WD symptoms to how the meds made me feel- and I certainly prefer my panic disorder and anxiety to either!

 

It's always good/bad to hear somebody shares your experience (good in that you're not alone, bad in knowing somebody else suffers something so preposterous!).  I go back and forth between blaming WD for my symptoms, blaming my anxiety disorder for them, and becoming overwhelmed and fearing I'm ignoring something else that requires treatment.  I did become health anxious shortly before going on medication, so the WD symptoms naturally drive me near to insanity. 

 

I'm actually having my MRI tomorrow.  I still need a follow up appointment from my neuro to go over the results, but it will no doubt bring me a bit of peace just to know that it's done and I'm on a path.  It's a unique form of torture for me lately to wait for answers, but once I know the problems aren't physical (which I already know) or neurological (which I will soon), then I can concentrate on psychological help and time for healing from WD without further worries driving me mad.

 

Lastly, I find it worth mention that my current psychologist has conceded to me that AD meds can indeed have aftereffects that can cause havoc.  I think I'm keeping this guy, ha ha.  I'll soon be on a route of therapy that I'll post about if I find it at all helpful regarding WD symptoms.

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JanCarol

Hey Kevro - I can see this will take some time for me to unravel your bits to point you in some clear directions to consider.  So even though I've only read a few posts, I will address what I see - at the risk of giving you duplicate information (I usually check, but I want to start getting complete information your way sooner, and I am s-l-o-w).

 

CW seems to think that your reaction to cocaine is important.  Surely, it is something to consider.  It does seem to be that all of your symptoms are reactions and not an indicator of any obvious neurological disorder.  I'll address that shortly.  You are welcome and encouraged to get any medical testing that you think you need - however - many of us have been through similar things to yourself, had all the tests done - and while it was a relief to have negative tests, they were, still - often (though not always) negative tests.  What you are speaking of is very common in withdrawal.

 

These psych drugs are a huge experiment.  They have been released upon an unsuspecting public, only tested in the short term.  We, unfortunately, are the guinea pigs for the long term experiment.  

 

While you were not on the drugs for very long, you were switched an awful lot.  You suffered symptoms from the drugs and symptoms from withdrawal of the drugs.  Often a reaction to starting the drug has very similar "side effects" (really, they are all just effects) to what happens in withdrawal.  

 

Nobody in my family shows signs of gluten intolerance or allergy, so it's really not on the radar.  I do supplement vitamins B-complex, D3, Magnesium (Oxide) as well as a men's multi.

 

Sounds innocent enough, eh?

 

Just because you do not have celiac genetics, you still could react to wheat, gluten, dairy, histamines.  After these drugs have messed with your neurochemistry, anything is fair game.  90% of your serotonin is in your gut.  

 

I resisted the gluten thing, thinking it a fad, and having been raised on homemade whole wheat bread - what could be unwholesome about that?  Sadly, in order to heal, I had to go off gluten.

 

B-complex and Multi = we are not in favor of formulas, here.  You don't know what you are reacting to.  Once the psych drugs have shaken your system, you might be reacting to the B-vitamins, or other things in the multivitamin.  We use single ingredients, one at a time.  Here is what others have said about B--vitamins when having symptoms:   http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1068-vitamin-b-complex-supplement-reaction/

 

Additionally, as CW pointed out, Mag oxide - well.  You may as well be chewing rocks.  I know, it is the most commonly sold magnesium supplement.  And it is a clear indication of why the buyer must beware in supplement land.  They will sell you anything.  Including rocks to chew (mag oxide).  Please educate yourself on magnesium, as well as why fish oil is important for symptoms:  Magnesium and Omega-3 fish oil

 

Always, only try one new supplement change at a time.  Your first change should be to drop the B vitamins and multi.  You can always add them back later, when you are feeling better (though I would recommend one B-vitamin at a time - you might sorely need B12, but react horribly to B6, for example).  

 

After you see if that is helping, start looking for a good fish oil, and build yourself up to a tolerable dose.  I take 6000 iu of fish oils daily.  You will see in the fish oil thread, what other people take and can tolerate.

 

When you've got your fish oil up to speed, you can address magnesium, and titrate up to a dose you can tolerate.  (you can quit the mag oxide at any time, or keep taking it, it doesn't really matter.  Even though it's cheap - it's a total waste of money.)

 

Consider at least 2 weeks in between all supplement changes (except the mag oxide, which is pretty much worthless).

 

About reinstatement: I wouldn't worry about that.  I kind of knew that antidepressants (especially SSRIs) were risky business, but I was desperate at the time and my concern caused me to belittle the risk involved.  After being on and off them, I will never be on them again- even if there was a promise of any relief from how I feel, I'd rather sweat it out and pray for time to work it out. 

 

Normally I would caution you to keep an open mind about reinstatement.  We've all said that:  "I will never be on them again," but when you are on your knees, tormented by your thoughts, unable to sleep - any of the myriads of intense symptoms withdrawal can bring, sometimes reinstatement is the best solution.

 

However, in your case, it sounds like you had a reaction to the drugs.  Additionally, you were switched so fast from so many, I'm not sure where to head.  Even though you were on it for the shortest time, at some point (sooner, rather than later) you might consider a 1 mg dose of Prozac, just to quell your symptoms. However, if you react like you have in the past, it is not the answer for you.  We'll just put that solution on hold for now.  Often these low doses are below the threshhold of "side effects," and can be safely reinstated.  And the window of opportunity for reinstatement is right after quitting to up to 6 months out.  Of course, the further out you are from your last dose, the less chance there is of benefit.  Up to 2 months out is more ideal (that gives you an idea of the time frames involved here)

 

More information on reinstatement here:  About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Stop Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 Six days ago, I went into shock at the amount of new symptoms that swept over me, and became instantly concerned because it has been over a month since I stopped the meds, I was starting to feel better, and these symptoms came on suddenly and won't let up!  They haven't let up for six days straight now.

 

All the medical literature says that if you have symptoms more than 3 weeks out, it must be relapse.  But you noted that these symptoms are different, new.  Here at SA, we have found that it is common for delayed withdrawal to hit as late as 6 months out.  Sometimes even a year out.  In withdrawal (as sometimes while on the drugs, too) there is a honeymoon period.  Where you feel great, you think you are free, you feel your personality starting to return.  Then, after a given period of time, WHAM!  You hit the bottom of the cliff.

 

I imagine withdrawal as a sort of jump off the cliff.  In a CT withdrawal, you are jumping off the cliff with no parachute or bungy cable.  And sometimes it takes 6 months to a year to hit the bottom.  Once you have hit that bottom, it is very difficult to put you back together.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9451-delayed-onset-of-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

Since you are just a few months out, we may be able to throw you a parachute, or catch you on a bungy cable, and work on trying to keep you together for the rest of the journey.  A reinstatement would be one such cable.  But let's look at your supplements first, to see if we can calm you down without a reinstatement.

 

You list your horrific symptoms:

 

Eye pressure with multiple forms of vision distortion, a constant state of dizziness that gets exacerbated by brain zaps- sometimes when still and sometimes with head and eye movement.  I have episodes of complete confusion and memory wipe... confused and suddenly weak that I fall to my knees...dizziness...sudden onset of a group of similar-yet-new symptoms with an overwhelming intensity, weeks after I thought the withdrawal had already started and calmed a bit... last summer, I was completely intolerant of the heat.  I'm not talking about "Oh man, it's so HOT I can't STAND IT!"  I'm talking about an overwhelming sensation when I went out into the heat.  Complete mental fog...overwhelming fatigue even if I wasn't exhausted, I could almost HEAR the heat, and all of this would usually end up in a protracted panic that could last an hour or more after I retreated back into the air conditioned house... unyielding brain fog, visual distortions

 

Yes, yes, and yes.  All of these are common symptoms of reactions to, and withdrawal from these drugs.  Here is an overview list of likely symptoms that you can also print out and use to track your recovery:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2390-dr-joseph-glenmullens-withdrawal-symptom-checklist/

 

Here are topics on SA which address your specific symptoms:

Vision:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6380-vision-symptoms-floaters-snow-blurred-or-dimmed-vision-etc/

Losing your identity: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1766-derealizationdepersonalization/

Brain Fog:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7043-brain-fog-blank-mind-comprehension-cognitive-and-memory-problems/

Brain Zaps:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/288-brain-zaps/

Temperature Dysregulation:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2271-body-temperature-dysregulation-fever-chills-too-hot-too-cold/

 

Sadly, all common in withdrawal.  

 

Lastly (on this post):

such an intolerance to heat is a signature of MS...have you ever had withdrawal effects that mimic neurological problems, such as physical coordination

 

Yep.  Also common in withdrawal, or reaction to these drugs.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6722-auto-immune-diseases-triggered-by-ssri-withdrawal/

 

I'm sorry for the heaps of links - and there may be heaps to follow.  But I sense you are a detail oriented guy, and will eat these links up like lollies.

 

I've got some things on today - you are my goal for today, to get through all your information and find ways to help you.  As the s-l-o-w-e-s-t mod, this is an ambitious goal for me - but I have great hope for you.

 

It does get better, it can get better.  Let's get rid of the possible reactive things (the vitamins) and get you started on helpful ones (fish oil and magnesium) and see if you get some benefit from those.  Meanwhile - educate yourself from the links, and you will be a long way towards feeling better.

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JanCarol

OK Kevro - 

 

How about this for a theory - 

 

You live your life, a normal guy.  Occasionally you drink alcohol, sometimes coffee or coca-cola.  Every now and then, someone offers you a street substance - a little this, a little that.  Like CW says, each one was slightly different because street stuff is never pure.  Heck, sometimes pharmaceutical stuff has different buffers that cause different reactions.

 

Anyhow - think of it like a bucket.  First time doing LSD - great time, fun, whatever.  Same with second, and third, and the MDMA too - until you got that weird batch.

 

Your bucket got full with that one, and while you recovered quickly the bucket lid was maybe closed after that - and so the substances affected you more.

 

LSD, MDMA - also affect neurotransmitters - so - when you first came to pharmaceutical psych drugs - your body recognized that stuff right away and said, "No sir, I don't like it!"  I have the same issue - I don't know whether I was sensitized by the LSD / MDMA (I, too, had a very bad one of those in the 90's, there's a lot of criminal activity around the MDMA these days) - or whether I was "bipolar 2" like they tried to tell me - or if I had that liver enzyme (CPY) that CW is talking about.  My serotonin neurotransmitters were not virgin when I started taking them.

 

It doesn't really matter, when it boils down to it.  What has happened has happened.  It may help to think about it some, it may not.  What is important forward is that you take care of yourself.

 

Most important is making a list of coping strategies.  What I like to call a toolkit.  This is a list of things you can do to help you live through the symptoms.  This will help you whether you have MS or not.  Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms and http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3533-acceptance

 

Get rid of the B vitamins and multi.  Get the fish oil, take it regularly.  See if these 2 changes make any difference in your symptoms.  Then add magnesium.  See if it makes a difference.  If these make small differences, you might get by without a reinstatement.  If the differences aren't enough, we might try a tiny reinstatement just to see if you react, or - even better - to see if it gives you relief.  

 

And let us know what you find out from the MRI and the psych.  

 

Hang in there.  It does get better.  Time is the biggest thing, and patience is the hardest one.

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Kevroeques

Hi JanCarol,

 

Thank you for the wealth of information.  You've pretty much hit all points!  Don't worry about the possibility of duplicate info- I've always benefitted from hearing key points more than once, especially with this foggy brain o' mine :)

 

I definitely recognize the cocaine usage of that particular night to be a huge part of my breach into panic land, as it were.  I usually only mention the cocaine because it took place that very same night, but I think there were other stimulants at play.  At that particular time, I was also trying to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes, and before the first panic attack I had noticed that they sometimes hit way too strong and made me jittery.  That, and at the time I had a nasty habit of buying Red Bull tallboys on Friday and Saturday nights to keep me going.  Even with a strong heart, all of these stims combined set off a reaction that has plagued me ever since.  I can't even enjoy a cup of coffee or tea anymore without suffering consequences, and hence I completely avoid them- even caffeinated soda is a no go for me (or any soda for that matter now).

 

I've always known that AD meds were sort of a weird crapshoot.  Years ago I had a girlfriend who suffered from migraines and situational anxiety/depression.  She was quickly prescribed Zoloft and, well, it became a hard time.  She seemed to do okay with uptake, but her attitude was awful.  She became cold and aggressive with me.  She broke up with me, quit the meds, and within a few weeks she was back to her old self.  It was really strange.  I should have known better than to try them, but I was in a desperate situation with worsening panic attacks and anxiety and I unfortunately am one of those people who learns from personal experience more than the words of others.  Hence my current situation.  Zoloft almost killed me in 4 days.  Lexapro made me unrecognizable to myself and so physically and mentally uncomfortable, and the Prozac just added weird physical effects and aggressive behavior to what the Lexapro had already done to me.  There was nothing therapeutic about any of my experiences.

 

As for diet, I have tried to improve in some ways and merely change others.  It is extremely difficult for me to even try to stop eating any carbs, because bread is like 92% of what I consider to be food.  I have cut down a little, but honestly my digestive system just works better when I eat a good amount of carbs with everything.  I've always had a hard time digesting heavy oils and fats and eating carbs, usually as bread, takes the middle-man role in keeping my movements healthy and regular.  I have introduced more whole meat into my diet recently, as well as real cheese when I can get my hands on it.  I've also started to eat yogurt regularly, more fresh fruit, fresh veggies and I drink plenty of water throughout the day.  That's about the best I can do right now because I have family helping take care of me and can't buy my own groceries right now.

 

I HAVE been researching the gut/brain connection a lot lately.  I used to consider it woo biologics at one point, but there is a ton of fascinating research happening recently that indeed shows not only how serotonin is supplied from the intestines, but also how nerves in your gut are directly linked to your brain and can have a profound effect on your parasympathetic nervous responses, including anxiety level and mood.  This leads me to a question that I'd like your advice on, or any experience you may have:  As a result of what I've learned, I was interested in finding a probiotic supplement that includes lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and bifidobacterium longum (all of which are linked directly to mood and anxiety stabilization, based on studies conducted in which lab mice were observed to have highly improved anxiety responses after being introduced to the strains).  Are you at all familiar with this, and do you think it would be a bad idea to introduce new gut flora at this time?  I'm sorry I don't have any of the papers available to link over- I'm a scatterbrain and can't organize things unless I print them out and tangibly place them.

 

The B complex and multi: I had been taking these for years prior to AD meds, but I am willing to cut them out as per your advice to see how it goes.  Oddly, my B complex doesn't include B-12, but my multi does.  I'll cut both out for the time being, but I would like to find a separate B-12 to take if you find that advisable.  I also take 1000iu of D-3 a day, and sometimes take 500mg l-tyrosine if I feel my energy levels are starting to dip.  I've never had an adverse reaction to l-tyrosine, and started taking it after quitting meds CT.  It had immediately helped me escape the harsher fatigue without any undesired side effects, but nonetheless I am interested in your opinion and advice regarding it.  I had also started taking fish oil last week.  I take it with my first substantial meal (usually lunch).  It doesn't show iu as a form of measurement, but it appears I'm taking 360mg EPA and 240mg DHA per serving.  I haven't gotten a good idea of a reasonable dosage yet, so I'm currently taking the recommended serving for now.  TBH, I haven't noticed any changes or improvements, but I figured I'd keep at it for the possibility of long term effect.  Plus, I bought A LOT of fish oil.  The magnesium oxide does relax me a bit just after I take it, and it does soften my stool (sorry to be graphic), so it at least does SOMETHING.  I'll try to get citrate in the coming week or two.

 

The reinstatement is something I'm admittedly closed minded to, unfortunately.  As I mentioned before, I actually prefer most of my WD symptoms to the side effects I was experiencing constantly on meds.  On meds I had no windows.  I was pretty much in a stormy sea of waves and it was unbearable.  I suffer often now, but it does let up here and there.  On top of that, I can currently keep myself interested in things- I can be excited and hopeful.  On meds, I was in constant hopeless despair, could not enjoy anything I know I love, and suicidal ideation was a daily routine.  I could never subject myself to that again.  I'd rather suffer WD knowing it will get better, even if it takes its sweet time.  I'm also currently uninsured.  I'm going through the Medicaid process right now, and would like to avoid seeing any docs other than my neuro and psychologist because I have family currently paying out of pocket.  I just can't add anything to that currently.  My conscience is already in knots!

 

As for my symptoms, for now a few have improved a bit, even though they're still there.  The eye pressure isn't ridiculous, even though it's still there.  The dizziness has calmed to below crazy levels.  The brain zaps have become very tame and spread out to the point where I barely notice them.  I'm unfortunately still foggy, confused and spacey.  My memory and concept of time are still weird as well.  I still have insomnia, but have gotten my sleep SOMEWHAT under control, so that may have helped.

 

The heat intolerance started last year, so it's not an immediate result of WD.  It may be worse (I live in NY, and it's not that hot here yet), but time will tell.  I did clean the roof and driveway yesterday of oak flowers.  It was sunny enough for me to break a sweat and I had some shut down, but I think it was exacerbated by the fact that I'm now suddenly very allergic, and was blowing pollen all into the air as I did my work.  I had a horrible day as a result and even today, my symptoms are all in hyperdrive and I'm very uncomfortable.  Heat intolerance can also simply be caused by anxiety, but my intolerance is so pronounced that I just wanted to have my brain looked at, as it can be a sign of neuro disorders like MS.  If there are no lesions, then there's no problem.  I actually go for my scan tomorrow, so sorry if I said it was today.  Like I said- no concept of time :/

 

I'm not convinced I have a neuro disorder, but I just need the worry off my plate so I can relax and concentrate on recovery.  A lot of my symptoms came on before meds and WD, so I can't completely convince myself that WD is the problem.  Although I had panic and anxiety prior, so many symptoms hit me at once years after my condition had stabilized that I'm really starting to think it's a good idea just to get checked.  One of my fears has been that doctors tend to pass over things when you have an anxiety disorder- something I have witnessed since my initial diagnosis.  This has led me into health anxiety.  If my docs had just humored me and checked when I first had concerns, we could have put said concerns to bed and I wouldn't be anxious about it now.  But, it's about to happen and that brings me peace of mind knowing that I'll either be able to cross it off the list, or get to treating a potential problem instead of ignoring it.

 

You have posted a wealth of information.  I've gone through a bit of it so far and will continue to tonight.  I have my MRI tomorrow evening and then I schedule a follow up with my neuro.  On top of that, I continue seeing my new psychologist this week and we'll figure out a path- it sounds like they want to try biofeedback to see how that works- I'm admittedly unaware of what that even entails but I'm willing to give it an honest go.  I'll get through what I have to and post any updates here when I have anything to share.  Thank you again for your thorough review, advice and all of the information! 

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Bodies in wd react to everything without rhyme or reason.

 

I think you are taking too much D myself. And probiotics, though a good idea, won't put a dent in the mood perturbations of wd syndrome. The body often treats things that would normally be a good idea with extreme alarm, it can't help it.

 

So why we keep going on and on about reinstatement is this: you are going through the first wave of wd. It's bad but it will pass if you do nothing but fish oil, mag and whatever food you can eat and take a 30 min walk every day. You'll have a honeymoon period and your body will start sliding into the next phase. The more emotional/mental stuff has yet to arrive.

 

It's the protracted wd that can happen a year to a year and a half later, after it is way too late for a drug reinstatement, that we are hoping to get you to avoid. You do not want to go through that, trust me. Those of us who have gone through it know how really really bad it is. This first wave is mild compared to that. And there is no drug in the world to ease the pain.

 

But you have set your course despite our admonishments. What you are feeling now IS mild compared to what it might be in the future, so good luck. (And btw, I am a BIG fan of bread. I have accused the supermarket bakery of lacing it with crack it is so addictive. But I am over wd and on my way to a very good recovery so I can eat it with impugnity. You probably can too, but not to the exclusion of veggies, fruits and protein. For me it was healthy choice frozen stuff every day. Hey! it's food! And I recovered.)

 

What you want to do maybe at this point is watch and see how many people step up and tell me I am full of it, that it won't happen to you, that I have no idea what I am talking about. That should tell you right there we might have some idea of what we are talking about.

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JanCarol

I concur CW - while you are living about the 33rd parallel (where the sun don't shine so bright) - it is summer.  Walk in the sun for 15 minutes a day, stop taking the D vitamin.  It is also stimulating.

 

Leave the probiotics.  They will do nothing for mood control.  They will help your digestion - but they are pretty helpless in the face of withdrawal.  It is better to eat real food, and a variety of it.

 

Leave the Tyrosine, as well, it actually tends to increase panic and anxiety:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6679-be-careful-with-l-tyrosine/

 

SO MANY foods come high carb, and I hear you about the fibre thing - but really - if you look at carbs they don't actually contain much fiber.

But Carbs burn fast, cause sugar spikes = affect mood, make it less stable.  I'm currently on a modified paleo diet:  SCD/GAPS/Paleo Diets

I can cite a number of sources, but I don't want to waste my time doing research that you should be doing.

 

When I tried to lower my carbs, it seemed nearly impossible.  Everything comes with rice or noodles or bread.  And I, too, love bread.  (got sick last night because of it).  If you look at my intro, I was told "gluten free" and I scoffed.  Now, I'm crippled if I do not avoid starches, wheat, and gluten.

 

MAYBE you will be one of the lucky ones who can walk away with just a few months of symptoms.  But - from the suffering I have seen here on SA - do you want to take that chance?  The chance that a few months of discomfort turns into a few years?

 

Again, let's get the supplements pared down to nothing but good fish oil, and then add magnesium in about 2 weeks time.  Read this:  3 KIS's Keep It Simple, Slow, Stable

 

And see where you are in 2-3 weeks time.  CW feel free to PM me if I get lost somewhere else on site.  This is a huge place, with a lot of people trying to get answers.  Because if it's not the supplements, we'll need to look at a reinstatement if he still wants relief.

 

And please, let us know what the MRI says!

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Kevroeques

So, I had my MRI done Monday. I felt horrible all day until I got to the office- not that I was stressed to have the scan done, but just going out at all is bad enough to set off a stress reaction at this point. I go to my neurologist in a few days to have it read, but to me (I have a CD copy) everything looks clear, as it's fairly easy to spot lesions when looking at a brain scan. There is one suspect tiny, barely light spot on the back left, but it only shows on one layer so it obviously has no depth. If I go through the side scan, it's not there at all. As of now, I'm feeling a bit of relief mentally. I still have the follow up to read the MRI, a neurotrax test upcoming and whatever else the doctor needs to decipher whether or not I have a neurological problem, but again it's a relief just to know I'm on a path and being looked at thoroughly. However...

 

I've been really having a problem with my left hand the last few days. It feels so uncoordinated. It feels strangely weak as well, like things that should be effortless now require a push of strength. It's most notable when I go to grab or manipulate small items or if I need to squeeze things, like a shampoo or ketchup bottle. Things are also harder to hold up and I feel my left hand "miss" things I go to grab, like before I just mashed my hand into a doorknob because my fingers weren't open as much as I thought and my aim was off. It sounds benign, but you really have to imagine the level of control you have over your hand to imagine how odd and alien it feels when you can't control it correctly, even just slightly.

 

I started having this problem slightly after going between Lexapro and Prozac, although less than I'm feeling it yesterday and today. I promptly looked around the internet and that's when I found instances of medicine induced Parkinsonism linked to Prozac use. I don't know why it freaks me out so much, but it does. I'm silently screaming in my head while I try to ignore it, because it keeps reminding me of itself. My left arm feel oddly heavy and like the muscles aren't sitting right. The hand feels like every movement is stiff and weak, almost like it has to move in clicks (not like an audible click, but just like I've lost the smooth transition and in-between degrees of normal, smooth movement). My left hand is cold to the touch and feels achy, with occasional minor pins-and-needles sensations and dull pain. I'm going to mention this to my neuro when I go to see him, even if it goes away (and I really hope it does).

 

The worst part is that it's keeping me from visiting a friend right now. My energy levels today were okay, so I was going to go drive a few blocks to see him. As soon as I got ready to leave, I had a stress reaction. I felt listless and lightheaded just completely out of place, and my hand was aching a bit which just threw me off like crazy. I started the car and drove two blocks before I turned around to go home, because I felt my cognition failing. I have never felt so helpless in all my life. If current me had travel back a few years and tell past me what's going on right now, past me wouldn't be able to even comprehend or imagine it, least of all in the context of severity or all-encompassing nature.

 

I don't really know what to make of any of this right now, but I figured I was due to write something. I can see how it's not as bad as I'm making it, but I apparently have a real problem waiting for answers and dealing with unnatural sensations. My stress response is automatic and overwhelming now.

 

As of right now, I'm going to slowly and patiently play with off days with the few supplements I currently take and monitor my reactions. As I said, I've been taking some vitamins prior to medication and my body is already comfortable with and used to them. I stopped taking my D3 and B-complex briefly and had a very uncomfortable, low energy and depressing day- so it's partially apparent that my body/brain are using them for some comfort. Every body is chemically different so I'm going to have to experiment to see what helps and what hurts. For now, I'm keeping on the D3, B-complex and fish oil. Down the line (when I can get a family member to buy it for me) I'll be adding a better magnesium compound- probably citrate because I can remember that name and easily convey it to somebody else without confusion.

 

Quick question- I'm on my phone and don't want to scroll and look for it right now- but one of you said something about antacids depleting you of something. Is it magnesium? I take antacids every few days if I get bad heartburn (which I've been getting due to stress and general disarray) and I know magnesium and calcium have a chemical relationship in the human body. Just wondering if that's what you were referring to, that calcium depletes the body of magnesium.

 

I'll post in the coming days of any state changes, for better or worse, as well as any further neurological or psychological progress.

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Kevroeques

It seems to me that nobody is reading or replying to this anymore, but I'll give it one more shot.

 

I had a decent period of time recently. I stopped taking all supplements except for my B complex. It occurred to me that I personally wasn't reacting to the fish oil very well. It had worsened many of my symptoms, including brain zaps and mental fog. I decided to just stop taking everything at that point, but decided to keep the B for my fatigue.

 

For about a week, I felt pretty good. Not awesome, but it was a definite window. My worst problems for the past week have been a slightly tense early evening a few days in a row and a general lack of motivation, which I assume is just depression. The only thing I have really been concerned about is my left arm and hand, which still felt weak, slightly achy and sometimes slightly numb/pins and needles tingly.

 

I have been alone lately (I stay with my parents currently and they went away for a while) and have just been relaxing. Yesterday night, my left arm started to ache again and felt cold to the touch. I tried to ignore it and lie down, but it just stayed on my mind and gave me a true panic attack, which I haven't had in a while. I endured the attack and felt okay, but my hand and arm kept hurting. Now, the panic attack comes for found 2. Then immediately, round 3. At this point, I truly believe I'm having a heart attack. No matter how much you tell yourself that it's a panic attack, having repeating and worsening attacks with full on chest ache and squeezing, racing heart and an aching left hand is just too much to bare, so I had to call my bro, wake him up and ask him to come over just to make sure I didn't call 911.

 

His presence helped calm me a little, but I also made myself vomit because I did eat a lot that night and was wondering if maybe an engorged stomach was playing a role in my chest pain. Well, it helped relieve it a little. I puked, then ate a small bowl of flakes, then relaxed and slept.

 

Now today, I could NOT wake up. I woke numerous times in a daze and fell right back to sleep. Finally around 3:30 pm I decided to sit up and read. I have had blurry vision all day, feel exhausted, have extreme tinnitus in both ears, and still have that arm ache. Everything looks and sounds a bit off, and I'm just exhausted, discouraged and a little scared. I haven't even had a cig yet because I'm afraid the slight buzz of the first one will set me off into an episode or attack.

 

I don't know why I'm writing this here, since this is more general anxiety/panic than it is AD related (even though some of the symptoms never happened until after I took AD meds). I guess I just feel miserable and scared today and could use some support, or at the very least just type it out to in hopes it'll comfort me. That's really why I joined this forum to begin with.

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scallywag

I hope that you got some relief by getting the last few days out of your head and into your thread. Communicating -- talking, hand-writing, or typing -- often eases whatever we're feeling.  For me, it almost feels as if what I wrote was blocking everything else like a dam in a river.

 

A panic attack is a lot of work for your nervous system -- it makes sense you were exhausted.

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Kevroeques

It hasn't quit yet, unfortunately. I must have one hell of a cortisol store, because my whole day has been intensely frightful. It's 4:30am here and I'm just getting a bit better. It's insane how bad a panic attack and the aftermath can be. It's been 3 years, but they've gotten so much worse for the past few months.

 

I had to convince myself 4 times over the past 48 hours NOT to call 911, or ask my brother to drive me to the ER. Constant chest pain and numb, itchy, pained left arm. That logical part of your mind that knows it's just the aftermath of a panic attack just breaks down when it lasts so long, and the worry just sends your heart and all of your physical and mental faculties into limbo.

 

My only hope was to do things that would WORSEN heart stress. I did jumping jacks and power walked around the living room to prove to myself that it wouldn't worsen. Well, it did at first and my left hand started tingling extremely. Luckily, it calmed after a few minutes of marching in place and a few more jumping jacks. Probably burned some cortisol. Now I have to try to sleep so I can make an appointment tomorrow.

 

Thanks for listening and replying. I know it's not directly related to AD WD (even though my anxiety has gotten weird since the meds and WD), but I needed an outlet because I'm alone right now and pretty shaken up.

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JanCarol

Hey Kevroeques - sorry to take so long to check back, but I actually had a bad month of thyroid med errors, and crashed myself!  (it can happen to anyone, anytime.  Mistakes are easy to make!)

 

So it looks like fish oil is not your friend.

 

These symptoms that you are having are the reason we use reinstatement.  Just a tiny amount, not enough to "steal your soul" but enough to ease your panic, soothe your endocrine and nervous system a bit.  Think about 1 mg prozac.

 

Except it doesn't quite work like that.  Get thee to a doctor.  Tell the doctor, you want to go on prozac, but you want to be on the lowest effective dose.  Ask for liquid Prozac.  It is the easiest to taper.  If 1 mg Prozac even helps a little, then we know we are on the right track.  Give it 4 days (some feel better on the same day of reinstatement), to make sure it hits the receptors (which have been restructured by years on the drugs).

 

Believe me, you will heal faster if a reinstatement works.  You will feel better, and enjoy your life quality.  Sure, you will be on the drug longer, but you will be on the drug less than before, with less suffering than before - and less suffering than now.

 

A few other topics:

 they want to try biofeedback to see how that works-

 

That's actually not a bad thought.  Some here have tried neurofeedback (which is wired up for brain waves) - but I'm reluctant to hook anything up to a brain that is in withdrawal.  But biofeedback, might use BP, heart rate, and skin resistance and sweat to help you learn how to breathe and calm yourself.

 

There is a chance that you cannot calm yourself - because of withdrawal, or that it will be a harder skill for you to learn.  In withdrawal, sometimes these things are just so out of whack that we have to just lay there and wait for it to pass.  The important part of waiting for it to pass is - acceptance.

 

Claire Weekes writes about the reactions of the body, and just accepting them as body reactions. It's when we add the secondary fears - "fear of heart rate" that the heart rate becomes a problem.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10964-the-dr-claire-weekes-method-of-recovering-from-a-sensitized-nervous-system/

 

Here's one little bit from that page (It looks like BrassMonkey might have written this concise description):

If your body trembles, let it tremble. Don't feel obliged to try to stop it. Don't try to appear normal. Don't even strive for relaxation. Simply let the thought of relaxation be in your mind, in your attitude toward your body. Loosen your attitude. In other words, don't be too concerned because you are tense and cannot relax. The very act of being prepared to accept your tenseness relaxes your mind, and relaxation of body gradually follows. You don't have to strive for relaxation. You have to wait for it. When a patient says, "I have tried so hard all day to be relaxed," surely he has had a day of striving, not of relaxation. Let your body find its own level without controlling it, directing it. Believe me, if you do this, you will not crack. You will not lose control of yourself. You will float up from the depths of despair. 

 

The relief of loosening your tense hold on yourself, of giving up the struggle and recognizing that there is no battle to fight - except of your own making - may bring a calmness you have forgotten existed within you. In your tense effort to control yourself you have been releasing more and more adrenaline and so further exciting your organs to produce the very sensations from which you have been trying to escape. 

 

AAFT - Acknowledge, Accept, Float, Time

 

T is for:.... 'letting TIME pass. There is no electric switch no overnight cure. Setbacks should be expected and accepted as part of recovery.'

 

 

More in a bit.

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JanCarol

Okay, has anyone mentioned to you the Waves and Windows pattern of healing?

 

In Withdrawal, because "fixing" a brain, endocrine and nervous system is so complex, it happens in fits and starts.  You might feel better for a day or a week, then the symptoms come crashing back - or - those old symptoms are gone, and new ones come in.

 

Learn to recognize waves - "this is only a symptom."  While it sounds crazy to do jumping jacks - you did confirm that you weren't having a heart attack, right?  (though that was one scary "attack")

 

But - I think what is happening to you is something weird happens, and you try "not to think about it."  Well.  Right now.  I want you to do that.  Don't think about the white bear.  

 

You can't, can you?

 

So what you need to do instead, is accept the white bear.  Okay.  My heart is racing now.  My skin is sweaty or tingly or whatever the symptom is.  Breathe into it, and see if "sending" your breathing to that discomfort eases it.  If not - be with it some more.  Or distract yourself so that you forget about the white bear.  

 

That might be your favorite manga or video games or books.  Some of us like stupid TV shows from our childhood.  Sometimes, even that is too much, and have to distract by taking warm epsom salt baths by candlelight.

 

(note:  if you are concerned about cardio, a good magnesium might be the best thing for it.  A new study in Finland claimed that adequate levels of magnesium correlated to 60% fewer cardiac events.)

 

Learning to sit with symptoms is a huge key to surviving withdrawal.  It sucks, but it is actually an active activity that you can do to help yourself feel better.   

 

So you see how you've been spiralling into symptoms?  How your fear of the symptoms is making it worse?

 

FunkyBaboon said it like this:  

I'm also starting to see how the fear of symptoms can feed into the symptoms themselves. It's an unfortunate situation because we should be allowed to be alarmed when really messed up and strange things are happening to our bodies but I think that receiving our symptoms with fear exacerbates the situation. 

(reference:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/11260-ali4-reinstating-low-dose-of-celexa/page-3)

 

So, that said, getting into specific symptoms:

I've been really having a problem with my left hand the last few days. It feels so uncoordinated. It feels strangely weak as well, like things that should be effortless now require a push of strength. It's most notable when I go to grab or manipulate small items or if I need to squeeze things, like a shampoo or ketchup bottle. Things are also harder to hold up and I feel my left hand "miss" things I go to grab, like before I just mashed my hand into a doorknob because my fingers weren't open as much as I thought and my aim was off. It sounds benign, but you really have to imagine the level of control you have over your hand to imagine how odd and alien it feels when you can't control it correctly, even just slightly. 

 

All right, mate, you've got Glenmullen's list.  #43 - Unsteady Gait, poor coordination.

 

I remember a period about 2 years ago, where I looked down at my hands, and for the first time in - maybe 20 years - I saw my mother's hands.  This was a good thing - they are competent hands, chopping onions, carrying various tools, using those tools and utensils.  For so many years on the drugs, I have had times where using a fork, knife and spoon were weird.  (true confessions, I still don't like to use a knife - I cut my food with a fork because that's only one hand)  THEN I injured my right hand and I'm back to poor coordination and dropping things and maybe I didn't hold a thing tightly enough, or maybe my fingers are just weak.  Sometimes a jar or a doorknob can really frustrate.

 

I'm sure I'm not the only one.  (in my case there is a "weakness of tendons" also, due to my thyroid / endocrine problems)

 

Some of this too, may be perceptual difficulties.  Your vision may shift a bit during this time, and your ability to estimate distances - between your hand and the door, between steps, may be variable.  Glenmullen calls these "hallucinations" - but to me, they are so variable I prefer to call them "perceptual distortions" - where what your senses are taking in, and what your brain tells you - don't quite match up, and may not match objective reality, either. 

 

It's not very confidence building, but you can "stupid-proof" yourself a bit from these distortions, by being more careful with your body in space (chi gung helps a lot*).  Or you can just say "ouch" when you hit something, and ask for help with opening the frigging package!

 

*chi gung, my favorite:

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JanCarol

Okay, lastly, you expressed fear about:

 

instances of medicine induced Parkinsonism linked to Prozac use. 

 

Prozac-induced Parkinsonism is more common in older folk, longer use, and is often reversible.  You are now making up boogeymen to keep your adrenaline fired.

 

Instead, you need to make up cuddly toys, or go catch Pokemon Go for "positive hits" 

Pokemon Go vs withdrawal symptoms

 

Find positive things to say about yourself, to yourself.

 

You may think this is silly - but there is some hard science behind it.  Another way to say it is "fake it till you make it."

 

Find things which are pleasurable to distract you from the pain.  This may be as simple as sitting in the shade watching the breeze through the trees, or following the path of an ant across the sidewalk, or the clouds across the sky.  

 

My favorite quote is this one, from Jon Kabat-Zinn, maestro of "Mindfulness:

The fact that you are breathing means there is more right with you than wrong with you in this moment.

 

You suggest that you might:

 play with off days with the few supplements I currently take 

 

That doesn't sound very stabilising to me. Please make your changes slowly and gradually.  You can always add them back later.  

 

You are nowhere near stable now, this does not sound like a time for "experiments."

 

The doctors did their experiments on you quite randomly - you need to be better than the doctors.  Your experiments need to be more scientific - one variable at a time - make your adjustments slowly, so that you get better scientific information on what affects you and how.  And listen to your body.

 

Last you say:

I'll be adding a better magnesium compound- probably citrate because I can remember that name and easily convey it to somebody else without confusion. 

 

 

That's a good starting point.  It is one of the cheapest, and easiest to find.  But they have to LOOK for it, because most magnesium supplements out there are oxide.  Sad but true - buyer beware!

 

***

Please let me know what you think about a reinstatement of 1 mg liquid Prozac.  

 

Preferably sooner, because you are reaching the outer edge of benefit from reinstatement.

 

 

I hope you see a window today.

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Kevroeques

Hello JanCarol- thank you for the reply!  It has been a while since I've been on here talking or looking through other threads.  There's a bit to address and a bit to update, so I'll start by addressing your posts topic by topic.

 

First off, I'm sorry you've had a bad month!  Thyroid conditions are no joke.  My mother has Hashimoto's and I can clearly see how it has led to struggles with her. I'm glad you have it back in control.

 

The fish oil is hard to pinpoint.  I tried going onto it by itself to make sure it wasn't something else causing the reaction.  Unfortunately, every time I took it I would notice that I'd have a weird feeling in my head later that day that would lead to tension.  I took them at night before bed after a while but I've also had many new symptoms coming on lately, so I decided to just stop taking them until I level out again so I can clearly tell what effect they're having on me.  As much as I would like to avoid taking them if they're causing a reaction of some sort, I'd also hate to condemn them by blaming some other symptom on them even if it's not necessarily the case.  I may try them again down the line, likely before bed.

 

I have been considering reinstatement (not in practice, but in thought) since it was mentioned to me here.  I just have to find a doctor I trust so I can really talk it out with them to an extent.  I didn't trust the psychiatrist who prescribed them shortly after I started the meds.  I no longer see my PC doc from back then because I felt he took a lazy approach to my health concerns and didn't quite care- I never even felt like he looked into anything I said at all.  It was very dissatisfying.  I am currently seeing a new doctor who I haven't gauged yet, however my initial visit felt a bit hurried on and I felt he was unwilling to listen to my details.  A lot has changed in me and many of my symptoms are getting hard to relate to anxiety, however I still run the problem of being slighted once a doctor reads that I've been diagnosed with panic disorder it the past.  This may sound paranoid of me, but you have to take my word for it.  My mother didn't believe me because she thinks all doctors are attentive and dedicated magic healers.  I made her come in to my last appointment- a physical at the same office as my current doctor by their nurse practitioner.  She never game me a physical.  I began to discuss my physical symptoms with her, including the one for the past two weeks where I feel like I have a flu-like infection.  I handed her a list that I had made of the physical symptoms I've been having lately, because I have read that it gives you an opportunity to be descriptive and gives doctors a concrete list that they can refer to when needed.  She immediately pinned me for a sexual abuse victim with schizophrenia- no lie.  I calmly tried to convince her I've never been sexually abused and I've been officially diagnosed by multiple psychologists and psychiatrists through testing to have primary panic disorder with secondary depression and GAD.  When asked where she was getting all of this from, she simply said that my symptoms were everywhere and seemed to indicate some form of reactive shame disorder or something.  She also made a few inappropriate metaphors about the way she believes I was feeling, and continually offered to get an ambulance so I could go to the hospital, be diagnosed and be put into inpatient care.  Yeah, right.  I had considered it in the past just to get attentive help, but I'll be damned if I'm going based on some nurse's left field assumption that I'm schizophrenic.  I probably stop going to that after my urinalysis results come in and I follow up with the doc one last time.  I'm actually still a bit scarred from that visit, and I'm so happy I convinced my mother to come in, too.  She got to see the level of "care" I've been getting, and will no longer be able to assume I'm being doubtful of my doctors for no reason.  Insane.  So, to sum up, I will discuss reinstatement with a doctor when I find one that cares and can at least act informed by experience rather than textbooks.

 

I will ask for liquid prozac (I didn't learn that this existed until after my doc had me quit CT, but he didn't seem interested in tapering me anyway, hence why I fired him when I quit).  And just to be frank, I was only on SSRIs for 4 months total.  That's why I sometimes find it hard to believe that I'm suffering so hard.  Like, I believe that I'm still affected by them only because some of my symptoms didn't even start until after I was taking the meds.  However, I've been having lots of new symptoms as of late that don't seem related, and I've long suspected that I do have a somewhat organic cause to much of what I'm going through- more on that later.

 

I tried the biofeedback- which actually turned out to be neurofeedback- with mixed opinions.  I loved the actual doctor there.  He was intelligent, a great listener, he asked great questions in return and clarified the important things I said and was very open to discussing the science and biological nature of mood disorders with me since I had educated myself on them- rather than shutting me down and treating me as inferior in my understanding because he has a PhD and I don't.  That's rare in a doctor.  Anyway, after my initial consult, discussion and testing, I was then in the hands of a tech.  I would basically do breathing exercises in front of a computer with a tech who was NOT a psychologist, and I would not see the doctor.  I went for a few sessions where I'd just breathe while a computer told me if I was doing good or bad based on criteria I felt was unrelated to myself in general and could easily be fake, then I said goodbye and came back a week later.  When I read about bio/neurofeedback, I read about a mixture of interesting methods that utilized EEG to read your brainwaves and display them, giving you tangible control over how they would react to things.  I read about breathing techniques of all different kinds.  I read about the doctor doing the exercises, or working alongside the techs so it was also a therapeutic experience.  I read about other cool devices such as one that would squelch anxious thought patterns with certain types of sound.  I got none of these.  I got the same breathing techniques each time with no doctor, no therapy- just a silent tech who would hook me up to a pulse oximeter and a weird non-EEG device on an ill-fitted elastic headband while I watched videos that would stop when my brain was "working too hard".  I stopped going after 3 sessions.  It was expensive and not covered by medicaid, and I had no faith in the technique nor did I have continuing access to the doctor.

 

I am familiar with the notion of windows and waves.  It's actually something I learned about panic attacks before I ever took meds or found this page.  It is really such a great way of looking at any kind of attack, episode or flare-up.  It gives you the definite notion that it will end.  That life can be paused for a moment but will resume eventually. There's one problem with this notion and myself currently: I'm not having windows and waves anymore.  I'm having symptoms that are sticking permanently, without yielding.  They aren't dependent on any kind of flare up, episode or attack.  It's very hard to explain, especially to doctors, and it's hard to relay the severity.  I've had a constant and worsening brain fog, fatigue and failure of body coordination.  I can only relate it to the flu, but it's much worse in ways.  I can't see right, even though an ophthalmologist just looked at and tested my eyes fully, and says they're in perfect health both structurally and nervously.  It has gotten so bad that I sometimes profoundly can't tell what I'm looking at, even though I know what I'm looking at.  Like my intelligence knows what it is, but my personal interpretation doesn't- very hard to describe.  It all just looks unnatural.  It started out as maybe driving would look weird and uncomfortable, but now it's even if I'm watching TV or sitting outside looking at trees and grass.  It feels like I just dropped 2 hits of acid, and it's all the time now without windows.  Same with my brain fog.  It has gotten so bad I often can't tell you what I was just doing, or if you ask me a question I just won't answer because my brain doesn't want to think.  I have a hard time reading and any decision I have to make is just a numb and somewhat overwhelming experience.  On top of it all, I cannot move many of my body parts the way I want to.  Like they're only responding to half of the criteria that my mind is telling them to do.  I'm sluggish, my body aches like I have the flu, and my mind and vision are as scrambled as somebody who has the flu.  I honestly feel very ill, but doctors won't look at me deeply and automatically attribute it to anxiety- even though I clearly state that the symptoms are not episodic and I'm not having panic attacks.  So, windows and waves are currently out the window.  It was assumed years ago that I had contracted Lyme's disease.  I like in Suffolk County, NY- a hotbed for Lyme's.  I was bit more than once, the last time I know I was bit being a few years ago.  I was tested twice, but both came back negative (I didn't know at the time that the average test is extremely unreliable and is notorious for false negatives).  I have just learned ways to search for Lyme literate doctors, since many docs don't follow newer protocols on diagnosis and treatment, and have learned the more particular test I should have ordered and at what labs.  Most of what I'm going through, as well as the progression of my symptoms, scream of Lyme's- and I would hate to continue seeking unnecessary behavioral treatments for no reason.  Lyme's, although behavioral and neurological in its symptoms, is organic.  It's bacterial and can be cured.  It's a shame so many people go years before being diagnosed and treated due to poor testing criteria and doctors who refuse to keep up on protocols.  I know it's not a definite lead for me, but it's convincing enough to look into.

 

One of my bigger problems it that I want to accept my symptoms and my suffering, but it's hard because nobody in my life, as supportive as they can be, understands the level of suffering.  They know the descriptions of what I've been experiencing, but they can't imagine it much past there.  Even looking at the evidence- My family used to never see me because I was always socializing.  I worked every day without fail.  I woke up at 5:45am on weekdays.  I loved driving and found it relaxing.  I had interests and would fulfill them whenever possible.  I had a strong group of friends that were like brothers and sisters, most of whom I've known since childhood.  Currently, I can't drive because I can't see well enough to and it freaks me out.  I stopped working because I couldn't make sense of anything in front of me, and it was beyond stressful.  I can't socialize because my personality and conversational ability are both behind a wall that they can't get through.  I'm an insomniac most of the time and can't sleep or wake properly or on a schedule, no matter how hard I try to correct it (and believe me, I've tried every method I can find).  My interests are waning because I can't make sense of most of what I'm reading, watching, playing or looking at- I even had to quit playing my favorite game with my brother last week because I can't tell what I'm doing in it, and can't react intelligently in it.  And I rarely see my friends because I don't feel right, and being around peers who can think and act correctly makes me feel less able right now.  I know I can't express how extreme this is, but I try to describe it by comparing myself to myself.  I have quickly become somebody who is unable to be the person I have known for 37 years, and it's astounding.  I feel mentally disabled, except its more like I'm stuck in a mentally disabled person's body while my inner mind is perfectly aware and able.  My mother is just starting to accept my level of suffering and the ongoing nature of it, separating it finally from my panic disorder.  Even at that, she now sees how medical professionals react to me when I try and illustrate my desperation, only to get shut down as an anxious person before they even begin to listen.  It's like I'm in grade school, and somebody has labeled me a "big baby", so every time I have something to talk about people just automatically shut me down and start pointing at me chanting "Kevin's a baaaaby- Kevin's a baaaaby!".  What can you really do to defend yourself?  They have a predetermined decision that anything I say is an anxious overreaction, even if I'm perfectly calm.  I could walk in there bleeding out of an orifice and they would still assume at first that it was based on anxiety (an exaggeration, I know- but let it illustrate my point).  So at this point, it's very hard for me to feel comforted to begin with.  I feel alone and slighted by the people that should most often be listening to you intently, testing and observing you, and earning your trust.  It's a terrible hell to be in, especially when your body and mind always hurt to begin with.  This makes acceptance nigh impossible, and even distraction is unlikely because I just can't concentrate or comprehend what I used to enjoy.

 

I have actually updated my magnesium supplement.  I got magnesium glycinate 400mg.  In fact, I got ripped off- the front label says "Magnesium glycinate 400mg, 120 vegetarian capsules".  I was taking one a day.  I read the back recently "serving size: 4 capsules.  Servings per container: 30".  What a crock.  So, I've been taking 100mg a day instead of 400mg.  This is especially troubling, since I was just diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency.  I know that D and Mg deficiencies go hand in hand.  I have a good idea of how the two relate to eachother in the body, along with vitamins A and K.  I know that taking large doses of D2 or D3 will likely take a Mg deficiency and turn it into a major deficiency.  Well, my doc prescribed me D2 at 50,000 IU once a week.  I took one and felt horrible for days- still do.  And I've only been taking 10mg of Mg a day to counteract it because of a misleading label.  I've stopped taking those huge doses of D2 after the first one and opted for 2000 IU D3 instead.  I just hate that it's so difficult to diagnose a Mg deficiency directly.  Heck, I hate that PC docs are so nutrition illiterate.  Trying to discuss anything but Vitamin D with them is like listening to somebody who has no education about something try to fudge and feign intelligence- just tell me you know nothing about basic nutrition and human biochemistry because it's not in your reference manual.  Be honest.  You'll do less damage that way.  Can you tell I hate primary care in the USA? :P  Useless as a screwdriver when you're changing a tire.

 

I see what you mean about feeding symptoms- however, this is most true for me when I already have the symptom.  Fear doesn't generate new symptoms for me- it just makes the current symptom feel worse as a result.  I have had very new, very real symptoms coming here and there, and they always scare me when they're new.  Sometimes, they still scare me later depending on how extreme they are- my odd eyesight and cognitive problems being the scariest.  For instance, when I had the chest pains- they were new, they were sudden and they were very real.  I was tested by a cardiologist and as of now, it seems my cardiac state is good.  I went to a pulmonologist, was tested, and although I have some small airway obstruction, they have found that I'm fairly healthy.  My pulmonologist did, however, prepare to send me to a GI until I told him I already had an appt.  The reason being, based on my description of my chest pain sensations he would be comfortable having me checked for GERD, which he said fits my description.  None of my specialists deny my sensations as based on anxiety, or dismiss them based on my healthy looking physique or relatively low age.  They listen to my concerns and look into it, because when they actually listen they can clearly see that I'm not overreactive, but I'm just generally concerned and want to make sure my body is in good condition.  I have not feared for my heart since, but I will always heed new chest symptoms without hesitation.  I don't consider this feeding, but rather caution.  Now, If I had learned that my heart was fine and continued to be in constant fear about it without even accruing any new symptoms, I would consider that feeding the fear.  When I first started getting panic attacks 3 years ago, I quickly learned not to feed the fear.  I learned that the symptoms were the same as the ones I felt last time, and that last time I was fine and it all ended eventually.  That ability had changed when I was getting new and unfamiliar symptoms out of nowhere, and it has failed when some of the symptoms stayed permanently.  If you are stuck with certain symptoms that affect your ability to thrive, then there is an absolutely founded and logical reason to be in fear.  You can stifle the fear from time to time, but it will be there whether you like it or not.  I can accept the symptoms or the fear fairly well, but the fear will break through as sure as I'll eventually be hungry no matter how well I eat.  That kind of willpower doesn't come on unlimited tap, unfortunately.  I do the best I can, but I can only dedicate myself on the notion that the symptoms will abate.  When the symptoms have proven they won't abate, at least not now or for a very long time, eventually you will fear them again.  And until I can get a doctor of some sort to begin to look into them, take them seriously and lead me to the proper specialists to further diagnose and possibly treat them, I will feel alone and helpless fairly often.  An acknowledgement from a doc would be a good start, but I rarely even get those.  Seems par for the course at this point.

 

As for Glenmullen's List, I'm going to have to look at it in a minute- I'm using my laptop to type this and my phone to read your posts to assure I address everything properly- I hate to multitask too much so I'll read it after I finish (I'm working on a very limited attention span here).  I had the unsteady coordination in my left hand at first.  The rest of my body has followed, but that left hand is still the weirdest part.  It just seems to not want to do everything I tell it to.  My fine motor skills suffered next.  Then my eyesight got weirder (I just want to clarify it isn't a problem focusing or seeing in general- it's like my brain just isn't translating the data my eyes produce properly, and light doesn't seem to react with my eyes the way it used to.  It's, again, hard to describe.  My ophthalmologist said some of the symptoms sound very much like migraine aura, but not at all like anxiety), and then my cognition tanked.  I'm actually almost constantly listless, uncoordinated, moody and fatigued.  I either look drugged or like I have the flu.  I like your term "perceptual distortions"- that is a perfect way to describe my vision.  Not just the spatial reasoning, but just the way I'm beholding objects.  It's creepy and unsettling.  As far as avoiding being goofy, I've actually spent my entire life so far moving as gracefully and quietly as I can.  It just takes lots of effort now where it used to be absolute first nature- pretty much like most of my abilities at this point.

 

I know medicine induced Parkinsonism isn't absolutely typical, but it seemed like a reasonable fear when the left hand problems started coming up.  I have never experienced a sensation like that in my life, so when it happened it was unfathomable.  My logic landed on something equally as unfathomable as a reason.  Granted, the lack of actual panic attacks I've had recently makes me wonder if I'm OUT of adrenaline or not (I know, I know).  But honestly, that's one of the weirdest parts of all of this.  Up until recently, all of my symptoms have followed the pattern of being precipitated alongside strings of full-adrenaline panic attacks.  Now, I'm stuck with symptoms regardless, and I'm having less adrenaline, less heightened heart rate and BP, less panic attacks in general.  My panic attacks are down, but my overall stress level and unhappiness are waaaaaaay up.  Seems paradoxical.

 

Funny you should mention Pokemon Go- I'm not a fan, and it's been a source of personal stress for me.  All of the "grown ups" who thought themselves too mature to "get it" in the past are suddenly very vocally into it.  I played the Pokemon games to death since I was 18 (I'm now 37), and I still do.  I've had to deal with the jeers of people who thought it was just so damn uncool.  I never cared how uncool it was- I always found other people who played despite the social dangers involved and discussed, traded, battled- it was awesome.  I always felt I earned my fandom of the games, and it's a place that belongs rightfully to me.  Now, because it's a phone app that strips the strategy from gameplay, it's suddenly not only socially acceptable to be into Pokemon, but it's the decidedly COOL thing to do and everybody is making sure to make sure YOU know just how into it they are!  I get to see every useless rattata and zubat people on my feed have caught today, because POKEMON IS JUST SO DAMN COOL NOW AND I HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW I'M DOING IT TOO!!  Honestly, everybody playing Go is pissing in my pool as far as I'm concerned.  I suffered for my love of Pokemon games, and by that hand of so many people who are suddenly into it because they want to be socially accepted.  You may think it's silly of me to mention, but it sucks when a niche interest of yours becomes fast food for the masses.  If everybody is so cool for catching Pokemon 20 years after it started, they should be apologizing to me for the years of slighting and misunderstanding the series despite my always saying how great it was, and they should be worshipping me as their master, because I've had a complete pokedex for like 4 generations!  But in reality, I think anybody who croons over Go nonstop who hasn't played a core Pokemon game is a loser, and the worst kind.

 

I like the Stuart Smalley reference.  I try to do this.  I, from time to time, will affirm myself to an extent.  Maybe not staring into a mirror telling myself that doggone it, people like me- but I tend to give myself pep talks, a bit of verbal bravery and strength, a vote of confidence, and occasionally a bit of pity and sorrow as well because I believe those things can be equally as powerful, needed and deserved.  In fact, I've been able to cry finally these past few weeks.  It used to be hard to cry at all- not because I' macho, but just because I really hadn't in so long.  Now, I cry every so often, but it's a catch 22.  For the first few seconds, it feels like relief.  After that, I can't stop myself and it no longer feels like a release.  It feels like a kinked hose and I feel worse, because I realize that even with the relief of crying, I still feel just as awful- just now, my face is wet and I need to blow my nose.  Crying serves me well as an outlet for grieving- but when you're stuck in grief that doesn't pass with time, and is actually WORSENING from time to time, well, crying just adds more hurt to it than healing.  A few weeks ago I was home alone.  I put the earphones in and cried uncontrollably for 2 whole hours.  After it was over, I felt miserable and my face hurt, ha ha.

 

Let's discuss supplements.  As of now, I take vitamin D3, 2000 IU once a day with my first meal, alongside a men's multi and 200mg Mag Glycinate with B6 and Taurine, 500mg.  later in the day I'll take an additional 200mg Mag Glycinate.  Every other day I take B12 and 1000mg Vitamin C.  I'm still just adjusting t some of these, and as mentioned, I just started taking the full 400mg Mag Glycinate today due to the sham labeling on the bottle.  To reiterate, I take the D3 because I actually am deficient.  I take the Vitamin C because it is beneficial to adrenal function (something that concerns me as I used to have very adrenal panic attacks) and helps balance cortisol to a certain extent.  I'm hoping I start noticing the magnesium soon, because to be honest I haven't been taking a full day's dose yet and I was very excited about how beneficial it can be.  I'll be continuing it regardless.  I take the multi because I honestly can't nourish myself well right now.  My very old parents are helping feed and shelter me.  I've never had a great sense of nutrition to begin with, but now I'm eating on somebody else's tab, so I'm being conservative.  The multi helps me get some of the minerals and metals I'm likely not getting through diet at all right now.  And honestly, I've never noticed a negative reaction to a multi.  There are others I plan on taking in the future.  I bought l-glutamine powder, but decided never to take it.  I wanted to try and boost GABA when I was still getting lots of panic attacks, but I later learned that it will equally boost glutamate, which would make supping it nonsensical.  I have DLPA, which I plan on taking when I'm a bit more stable.  I had taken l-tyrosine daily for over a month and really liked the effect.  I only stopped because I was still having adrenal panics often and thought the tyrosine may be playing a role in it- however, I feel the ability to readily manufacture dopamine was beneficial to me at the time.  I had a definite drive and sense of boldness that was very rewarding for those weeks.  DLPA is supposed to be a more easily controlled reaction with less stimulating effects. 

 

I'll make a new paragraph for this one, because I fund it interesting.  Inositol.  I don't know if there are any discussions about it in this forum,, and I have not dedicated myself to a regiment thus far, but it is VEEEERY interesting to read about.  It's a carbohydrate that is present in human CSF and seems to play a role in how neruotransmitters effectively relay messages.  It doesn't in any way alter the architecture of the neurons or receptors- but it somehow sensitizes the actions and makes them more effective and efficient.  It sounds like hokum but it has actually been studied and you can even find it on NCBI as such.  At 12-18g (grams) a day in people suffering from anxiety and depression, it showed improvements that performed better than antidepressant meds without the side effects.  On average, the only side effects of inositol were slight gastric distress like gas.  The studies can easily be found.  Another thing I've read, but only as evidence without an actual defining study, is that inositol can purportedly re-sensitize neuron receptors that have been desensitized by medication- meaning that in the case of SSRIs and other AD meds, there is anecdotal evidence that inositol could naturally speed the healing process and reverse the damage that causes WD symptoms.  Being that this is something that occurs naturally in the brain, I think it's intriguing.  I really want to try it soon- I just don't feel very mentally stable right now, I'm still adjusting the supplements I'm on now, and I don't want to falsely accuse it of not working or making me worse.  What I've read so far is very promising and I urge you to look it up.  I'd link it right now if I could find it, but as I said I'm brain dead right now and am already multitasking with my laptop and phone.  Google will do the work for me.

 

Lastly, I'll mention this, because it is a major source of stress and concern for me and I need an outlet: I've had a ton of blood tests and urinalysis done in the last 3 years (since my first panic attack).  I've always had great blood and healthy urine.  Recently, since changing doctors, I've had just one more routine lab.  This was a fasting lab, which was new for me.  I couldn't eat for 12 hours before the lab, and since it was early in the AM I didn't sleep all night.  Tell a man with insomnia that he has to starve through the night and take bets on whether or not he'll be able to sleep, ha ha.  Anyway, I only remembered the blood test, and not the urine- so I urinated before I got to the doctor's office.  When it came to the urinalysis, I could only squeeze out a very concentrated little puddle in the cup.  The lab tech said it was enough.  A few days later, I got my labs back.  The blood was fine besides the vitamin D deficiency.  The urinalysis, for the first time in my life, was a mess.  It was only dipstick tests, so I don't have quantities- only what is present.  I have ketone, protein, bilirubin, urobilinogen, and trace-lysed blood in my urine.  This is astounding to me.  I know ketone can signify diabetes- I'm not worried about this because my blood sugar and other variables are always perfect.  I also just learned that ketone is often present if you've been fasting, so I'm sure it was a relative fluke.  However, all of the others can signify kidney disease.  They are NEVER supposed to make it past filtration and into the urine stream.  Given how this is new, and my symptoms are gradually worsening, I'm a bit worried.  I also have other symptoms I don't mention on here, because they're not relevant to AD WD, such as lately my feet can get a very cold and numb sensation even when the rest of me is hot, and my legs and feet have been itching like mad lately, but without rashes or welts of any kind.  I found out later that these are both symptoms of kidney disease- as are extreme fatigue and muscle twitches and aches.  Eff me, I'm scared.  That was last week.  I just had a follow up urinalysis today.  I feel like I'm standing on needles waiting for my results.  This is only a follow up- if i test positive again, I'll need to do a microscopy lab to determine the amounts, then I'll need a diagnosis by a specialist, then likely more tests, then a course of action.  My only hope is very particular to being a man- this is a bit personal, but I've had quite a bit of sexual dysfunction lately.  I remember gratifying myself I believe the day before I went to the lab office for urinalysis- I'm not positive, it could have been 2 days before.  Regardless, I've had an extremely weak ejaculate that seems to be backed up and not come out with any sort of muscular force.  Which means trace amounts could linger and slowly come out the urine stream as the move forward.  Having trace amounts of semen present in a urine sample can, as far as I've found out, show false positives for everything I've tested positive for up to and including small amounts of blood cells.  As much as bummed kidneys may explain my suddenly tanking physical condition, I'm petrified of having kidney problems.  They're not something that typically heal on their own, and usually not with any kind of treatment.  You can only keep them from getting MORE damaged at best.  Not something to mess around with.  Anyway, I'll probably know by Tuesday or Wednesday.  It feels like an eternity.  Say a prayer, send some juju, cross fingers- whatever you can to wish me luck.  I know many of my fears can seem outrageous and negative, but this one holds a bit more weight and definition- and goes in line with many of the symptoms I've been having since before I ever would have guessed the possibility of kidney problems.

 

That's all I've got right now (as if it wasn't enough).  Thank you again for keeping the conversation going and for all of the good advice.  I do need to talk an awful lot at the very least- it's hard in my current situation to find people that and understand and relate.  Take care and I hope to hear from you again soon!

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elbee

Hi Kev,

 

I too started my psych med / therapy adventure after having intense panic attacks strike when I was 20 years old (I'm 46 now, so it's been a long ride, my details are in my sig if you're interested). I read your thread and I'm following it now because I'm always curious to learn more from / about others who experienced having panic attacks BEFORE starting any psych meds. In other words, people who are not experiencing panic attacks solely due to psych med withdrawal.

 

I too had some experiences prior to the panic attacks with various "street drugs." I did get into smoking pot somewhat regularly in high school and college (not daily, more socially in the evenings on weekends). I was never a habitual user of any other types of street drugs. I did drink regularly, but again mostly socially, several nights a week perhaps, but sometimes to great excess. One note on the drugs, I tried acid and shrooms a few times, but had bad experiences ("trips") each time. To me, I would describe my panic attacks as very similar to how I remember the bad trips. I've always wondered if there was some type of relationship, but I have no clue. Contrary to this relationship, I did have what I might call "mini panic attacks" during high school BEFORE I did any hallucinogenic drugs.

 

I don't have any answers or great insights about panic attacks unfortunately. But then I don't think anyone does (and I've done a LOT of research). What I can say is that I don't think it's any one thing (for me anyway), I think they result from a "perfect storm" with numerous variables. I feel that I've been able to identify some of those variables for myself and work with them. And I'm sure there are others I am yet unaware of.

 

I also believe that the use of ssri's change the brain structure and that getting off of them results in the brain needing to then "readjust" to NOT having them in the system any longer. I also believe this process effects much more than simply "depression" and "anxiety/panic." And thus, there is oftentimes a more "global" withdrawal effect when getting off these meds. AND this framework also makes sense of many other "strange phenomenon" people experience while thing these drugs ... it makes sense of my own experiences / history. Please know that most of this is my own opinion based on my own researching (including information on this site) and my own experience. I personally have hope and have some trust that as I get off these meds and recover from the WD, things will get better overall for me. Will I still have panic attacks? I dunno, but I'm pretty sure I will still have some amount of anxiety just like most other humans. And I believe I can find ways to minimize it and deal with it when it arises without the need for ssri's or benzos.

 

I'm not sure if this is an "appropriate" post to your thread since much of it is about me (I'm still relatively new to this forum), but there are similarities in our experiences / history so I thought I would share some of those with you. And I'll add that I believe this forum is probably one of the most reliable sources of information on ssri discontinuation / WD available.

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Kevroeques

Hi Elbee!  Sorry I didn't reply sooner- my email can get messy and I may have disregarded my last notification as one I had already addressed.  Your story is most welcome and I do enjoy discussing anything similar to what I am going through and have gone through in the past.  Luckily I passed by the site to post an update and saw your post.  That said.....

 

UPDATE: It's been a while, but I've been through some ups, downs and all around craziness this past month or so, so I need to express and vent. 

 

Firstly, I've been having some particularly rough patches lately.  In fact, my therapist got to witness me crying, which is something I told him would probably not happen.  I had been having horrible symptoms out of nowhere- things that were similar to brain zaps, but felt more physical- like sudden zaps with a definite pressure sensation as though my brain was turning in and bumping into my inner skull.  Alongside this my eyes had become oddly pressured again, despite the fact that my ophthalmologist stated that my eyes are in perfect order.  These were happening with increased bodily weakness, neuropathic sensations in my hands and feet (P&N in the hands, and a heavy, ice cold feeling in my feet even though they were not extraordinarily cold to the touch, and even in this extreme heat), and worsening brain fog (or derealization/depersonalization- I still don't know where to draw that line) that had me disconnected and worried all day.

 

I'm going to talk for a minute about that in particular, because my nerfed mental state is my most worrisome symptom at this point.  I still can't aptly describe it, but I've found some people who have been able to make me say "That's what I have!".  One person says it's as though they're living life through base instinct, and aren't connecting with reality cognitively.  This resonated with me.  For instance, I could not talk to you the way I am typing right now.  I'm able to organize my thoughts, take minutes to express myself, google words I can't recall right now and back up/delete/correct.  If we were talking about this face to face, I'd be stumbling on words, wrestling my brain to properly express what I'm feeling, pausing and losing thought train and possibly rambling in slightly incoherent circles as I struggle and fail to describe it in a convincing manner that satisfies me in having been detailed enough where you couldn't possibly belittle it as being a little dizzy, or a little disconnected as people often do.  In fact, I could punch every person (including my parents and other family members) who act as though they know what I'm going through, because I know first hand they haven't and they'd be miserable as I am if they had.  My mother's favorite thing to do is say "Oh, it happens to me too- it's just a part of getting older".  I reprise by stating that what she's saying is like comparing the onset of osteoporosis to breaking a bone.  This didn't slowly happen to me through time.  It happened in a matter of weeks, in very noticeable and sudden declining chunks that tore my cognitive ability away from me as I was experiencing very major panic attacks and a miserable experience with medicine.  Not only that, I'm not even 40 yet and she's straddling 70.  It's not comparable at all.  It's like a geriatric paraplegic person telling a child suffering the rigors of ALS that this is normal.

 

In fact, I often forget that this started getting bad after I took AD meds to begin with.  Oddly, my mother is the one who reminded me.  As I was on the way to my therapist (I'm still unable to drive myself- that's how severe my brain fog and visual disconnection are), I was having sharp pains in my chest (more on this in a bit) and was having trouble breathing.  I had been dealing with it silently all day, but suddenly got fed up and told my mother to drive me to the hospital.  Because the hospital never does anything and tries to charge you 3500 bucks for all of that nothing, she refused.  She did, however, invite herself into my session.  As she spoke to my therapist, she brought up all of my adverse physical pains and weaknesses, my fatigue, and my cognitive/vision issues.  Then she mentioned that I've never been the same since I had taken SSRIs, even though it was a short amount of time.  I had gotten so frustrated trying to convince people around me and medical professionals that I haven't been myself since these meds that I simply stopped talking about them as the reason, since it was almost a guarantee that nobody would look into it.  It warmed my heart to hear her say it, because I thought she denied it as well.  It doesn't help me in any way, since nobody believes it anyway nor could they do a damn thing about it.  But it feels good to be acknowledged, because I had no choice but to doubt myself and that was crushing me.

 

So, after having a few breakdowns, alot of physical pain and more mental stress and dysfunction, I had a small bit of relief- and I do mean small.  A friend of mine I haven't seen in 10 or so years was visiting my area from Florida.  In fact, we reconnected a few months ago because he has MS and I sought council from him on how to find a neurologist and get an MRI.  I knew he'd be visiting, but doubted I'd be able to see him for any length of time.  Miraculously, I was able to spend a whole afternoon and night with him at his daughter's sweet 16 party amongst other friends I had not seen in months, as well as a load of people I didn't know.  Not only that, but I hung out with him the next two nights in a row.  I was able to converse pretty normally.  Luckily it was a low impact experience so I knew where I was going to be, I would be staying put, and I knew who/what to expect. This made it easy to concentrate on the few people who were there and keep the conversation rolling.  I did feel stressed, and mentally foggy, but the low impact nature of the situation was easily handled.  This built a confidence in me I hadn't had in months.  However, it didn't last long.

 

This past week, I'm sinking back to my normal state.  My mind and eyes feel drunk- and this is the way I have learned to describe my brain fog/derealization.  I have enough cognition to know what I'm looking at, but it's as though my brain is getting the information just a bit after I look at it, like I'm drunk.  It's as though my inner mind is sober, and that's why it's so staggering to experience.  It really does look how the world looks when you're fairly drunk, hence why I don't drive.  On top of that, my brain is just slow and unfocused- so bad that I often can't even play certain video games, which is something I've never experienced (I don't play modern video games like COD where you need to be perfectly fast and precise).  They can just be overwhelming- even a game that I know like the back of my hand like the Monster Hunter series.  My body is achy, weak and off balance.  My digestive system is really acting up- I've been told I probably have GERD, but lately my insides are full of knives.  I'm familiar with the burn of GERD like symptoms, but I've also been having pressure and shooting pain in my diaphragm region, which is too low to be GERD.  I'm wondering if I have an ulcer.  As well, I've also had a worsening colon problem that's coming to a head.  I go numerous times a day- usually 3 or 4- and they're messy and painful.  I hate to be detailing this, but nothing looks digested when it comes out.  And it's not gassy or pressured, but I'm very swollen in my gut and I think my musculature down there is out of whack, because I sometimes get spasms that keep me on the toilet writhing in pain for an hour or so.  The spasms aren't often- maybe once every two months- but that's enough to warrant attention.  I was referred to a gastroenterologist in early July, and my appt isn't until the end of September- so I have to deal with this for much longer before it is properly tested, diagnosed and treated if at all.  This leads me to my rant about the state of medicine in the USA in general.

 

I have been to primary care more times in the past three years than I have in the rest of my life, including childhood.  The worst thing that has ever happened to me is allowing a diagnosis of panic disorder.  There is nothing a doctor can't blame on "anxiety" and sweep under the rug.  No doctor will listen to me intently, look at my physicality deeply, or even try to assuage my worry with convincing evidence.  In fact, I've had to demand to see specialists adamantly at times- including a cardiologist that an ER doc said he thought it was a good idea to follow up with.  my (former) PC doc was like, "meh".  I gave it to him pretty good, got my referral, and swiftly moved on.  My new doc doesn't seem much better with his ability to see even AN OOZING EAR INFECTION AND CHRONIC GASTRIC PROBLEMS as anything more than anxiety, but at least he doesn't give me lip when I wish to see a specialist (you know, the only doctors that can actually diagnose and treat).  I just think primary care gets upset when they haven't been able to prescribe antibiotics for a bloody viral infection- you know, the only thing they're really qualified to do.  My last visit to the office was for a physical with a nurse practitioner.  I had typed and printed a detailed list of my symptoms and a timeline of when they came about over the past year.  She looked at it for a moment and deciphered that I was a schizophrenic sexual abuse victim who should admit himself into emergency psychiatric care (keep in mind these were ONLY physical symptoms, not my feelings or mental stresses).  I calmly protested her opinion, stating that actual psychiatrists and psychologists have officially tested me and found that I was suffering from panic attacks and resulting depression, and I have never been sexually abused.  I also told her that I had been to emergency psychiatric at a local hospital months ago and they dismissed me as stable, referring me to stay the course of psychological help.  She wasn't convinced.  I still need to bring this up when I follow up with the doctor in a few weeks.  There's more to the story, her being pushy and inappropriate with her line of questioning, and extremely overreaching with her opinion as a nurse, as well as her wish to spearhead extreme treatment without consulting a doctor.  Again, this is a normal reaction to physical symptoms when you've been officially labeled "anxious".  Freaking doctors and such.

 

Where I stand now, I've started walking around my town every other day (my town sucks, but I do live by a bay and there are quiet streets that can be peaceful).  It always feels good for a moment but quickly gets overwhelming with fatigue and drunken brain- and my eye problems are accentuated by trying to look at scenery in bright daylight.  I have a stupid hope that doing this repeatedly will "beat" the fatigue and brain fog out of me, but I know that's about as realistic as rapping an old static-riddled TV set or blowing into a malfunctioning NES cartridge.  I'm frightened every day, and depressed, and I often feel hopeless and unable to even hope to function on any human level for the rest of my life.  It's painful.  My only hope is that those 4e quick months on medication have addled my brain, and it'll just find a way to right itself.  I mean, I only took SSRIs for 4 months.  It's been 4 since I stopped, and I really feel worse in general than I did back then in many ways.  One odd thing, however.....

 

*knocks on wood* I haven't been having the classic panic attacks that I've had for almost 3 years lately.  In fact, I'd say it's been since early July since I've had a true, out-of-nowhere adrenal attack.  To background: I had attacks out of nowhere from Sept 2013 until June 2015 that would have a quick onset, last 3-5 minutes, and disappear leaving me perfectly functional as soon as they ended, with a frequency of maybe 2 or 3 a week.  In June 2015, they started having preemptive anxiety for sometimes hours, and the actual adrenal panic attacks would come in strings, sometimes incapacitating me for one or two hours and happening again later the same day or night- with a frequency of multiples a day.  That is also when the fatigue set in.  In December 2015, I had quit my job due to panics and was put on Lexapro in January.  My attack frequency diminished a bit, but that's when all of my other symptoms started, and the ferocity of the odd panic attack was severe and unbearable- often ending with me close to tears and unable to function the rest of the day.  After I stopped the meds in April 2016, I was still having daily panic attacks, fatigue and drunk brain.  It was only a few weeks ago that I noticed my panic attacks had stopped.  I can't pinpoint when, but I'm certain it's been just over a month.  I can still have attacks, but they're different.  They're relevant.  They're not out of the blue.  They come if I've been in pain for an abundance of time, or have been worrying about my symptoms, or feel incapacitated by brain fog.  This isn't really a "panic attack" by disorder standards: they're for a reason, they don't involve adrenaline or an increased heart rate, and they don't leave you with a tired feeling when you get over them.  In fact, I get over them naturally- they don't just "leave when they want to" like a random panic attack.  I cam myself down.  They're generally more of stress situations.  They come from worry or pain, and I can control them. 

 

I could not tell you what made the difference.  I quit smoking abruptly in June.  I don't think it's this, because to be honest I didn't start fiending for a cigarette until last week and it's getting harder not to smoke every day this week- a definite source of stress.  I was recently diagnosed with low vit D, and I've been taking 300-500 IU a day with around 400-600 mg magnesium glycinate for about 4 weeks.  I started taking D,L Phenalalanine about 3 weeks ago.  I still take a multi for the few rare metals and other things I don't normally get and a B6/Taurine supp.  I feel like I've somehow stabalized my GABA/Glutamate levels these past fe weeks, but I still have a choline problem of some sort. 

 

I FINALLY have my neurologist follow up to my MRI next week.  I'm kind of scared that I'll be slighted when I don't immediately show any obvious signs of an organic neurological disorder- but I'm preparing myself to be adamant that since my symptoms are neurological, it's still his responsibility to test and diagnose so we can treat.  One thing I've learned is that not only am I not alone in the SSRI WD department, but I'm far from alone in my mixture of symptoms to begin with.  A good neurologist will be prepared to continue testing regardless of how invisible the cause of my symptoms are- and I'm getting just sick enough of faithless medical professionals to protest their opinion, refuse to be slighted and I'm beginning to suspect I'll be getting straight up bold and insulting if I'm prompted to by a cavalier dismissal. 

 

It's been crazy for me and it's far from over, but thanks for not letting me feel alone.  I had a good 34 years of feeling extremely in touch with myself and my surroundings, and I often wonder if that's making this past year especially difficult.  It's like wondering if somebody who was born blind or lost their vision very early has an easier time coping than somebody who loses it later in life after they had gotten so accustomed to their good vision.  Mental health and mood disorders are not to be taken lightly, but unfortunately people can't help but deny the pain until they experience it first hand.  I pray every day that I'll have control of my life again.  I really can't say if I was destined for this or if the meds are responsible for the bulk.  The evidence seems to point at the meds, but having a poor memory and an uneven grasp of reality casts doubt into my mind lately.  Hearing my mom say that to my therapist almost shocked me, but it felt good to hear.

 

I'm going to try and take fish oil again.  So far, I feel worse mentally and it's precipitating into the way I feel physically.  But I want to give it a real try.  Maybe there's a hump to get over before you notice a cognitive difference.  Maybe I've been foggy so long that any nuance of clarity is translated as feeling overwhelming.  I just hear so many people say it helped their mental fog and memory that I need to try (also, people swear by it as an anti-inflammatory that can be beneficial for IBS and IBD).  I never really game it an honest try for any length of time.  At worst, it'll make me feel like crap a few weeks and I'll stop.  If it fails, I will try the same with inositol.  In a few weeks I'll post another update. 

 

Thanks for listening.

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Kevroeques

Oh- and I forgot to mention:

 

I found an old thread on a fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome page where a gentleman detailed all of my symptoms EXACTLY, as well as their onset and undulating nature.  It was as though I wrote it myself, honestly- there was only like 1 minor symptom that didn't match mine.  Even though it was a thread dedicated to FM and CFS, people with Lyme had all found it, read it, and told the poster that his mixture of symptoms and their nature sounded exactly as they had before they were treated for Lyme.

 

Now, I have been tested for Lyme twice in the past 3 years.  Both tests came back negative.  However, I did not know much about Lyme, and decided to brush up.  Well, the first thing I learned is that most doctors know next to nothing about Lyme or how to diagnose it.

 

First off, the standard Elisa test for Lyme is not a defining factor in detection- in fact, Lyme is most often a clinical diagnosis based on a known tick bite, a telltale rash, and a resultant fever among other early immune system reactions.  A positive test result is usually an afterthought, but treatment based on clinical diagnosis usually starts beforehand anyway.  Here's where it gets funny: Lyme is notorious for for suppressing the immune system in most people, meaning most people will NOT have a bullseye rash, most people will NOT have a fever, and most people will NOT test positive on the standard Elisa test.  Mix that with the fact that most people may not even know a near-microscopic tick bit them, and you have a grand majority of people that get infected, but won't know, will be missed by medical diagnosis, and will start to come down with sudden worsening neurological symptoms as time passes.  What a joke.

 

Reading this infuriated me, but it also prompted me to research.  Turns out there are Lyme foundations that are dedicated to educating and helping people who may have it, since the CDC basically shrugs its shoulders at a known infectious bacteria that plagues large parts of the USA and offers vague, archaic and inaccurate detection criteria.  I learned about a test that is much more accurate called the western blot- a test that only select labs throughout the country do, and most doctors will not order.  It apparently tests for a number of different proteins that will show suspicion of possible infection even if not a definitive positive- something that is important because Lyme is extremely tricky to detect, as is your own body's immune reaction. 

 

Anyway, I took this test last week.  I'm in NY and it had to ship to CA.  I'm not sure when the results will be in, but the office that helped me order it will call me when it's ready.  Unfortunately, that office is not to an MD but to a naturopath.  Naturopaths are not licensed to practice medicine in NY state, so they basically peddle natural remedies and snake oil from what I can tell.  He was the only person in my general area that I knew of who could order the test, and it was costly- out of pocket as they are also uncoverable by NY med insurance.  I just today learned of a Lyme and associated disease practice 2 towns away from me, so I will take my results there.  Lyme can be horrible, but it's treatable and curable.  That would almost be a dream at this point.  My symptoms are all over the place, and constantly shift and morph.  I would love to get started on healing if it were that easy. 

 

Oh- I didn't mention: I was bit by a deer tick somewhat recently.  I don't remember, but I think it was 2 years ago.  That would be one year after I started having (very controllable) panic attacks, but also one year before they became unbearable alongside many other behavioral symptoms.  It was in the back of my left thigh and I discovered it in the shower.  I pulled it out and stuck it to a piece of tape so I'd remember.  It never formed a bullseye rash and I never got a fever, so I forgot about it.  It's certainly tempting to blame my symptoms on Lyme, as the nature and onset match up perfectly. 

 

To be continued....

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