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Rjb23: Zoloft - Over-excitement, intrusive thoughts, and depression


Rjb23

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Hi everyone! I have a pretty long post so please read through it if you wish to comment and help. Thank you in advance.

 

I have always struggled with anxiety starting at 7 when I was diagnosed with a phobia of thunderstoms. I had severe panic attacks, aggression, and serious avoidance when I knew there was going to be a storm. I overcame the phobia after two years of intensive therapy.

 

My anxiety came back significantly in high school in my senior year. I was experiencing panic attacks regularly and thought I was going crazy. I was terrified of having a serious mental disorder or having a seizure (never had one but saw a teammate have one). I was put on Zoloft (25mg) and took it on and off for 3 years during college and did very well on it. Never increased the dose except once due to sexual dysfunction, but it made me feel sick so stayed on 25 most of the time.

 

Now this is where things get complicated. After graduation my anxiety and panic attacks came back full force. I was up many nights with panic attacks and could not find any relief so I decided to go back on Zoloft because it was so effective for me before. Makes sense right? Well I was wrong. Two days in I was a complete mess. I was confused, sweaty, vision was blurred and became suicidal. I called my doctor and he recommended to drop to 12.5 so I did. Did okay for a few days then was back to the same mess. I had mood swings and increased anxiety along with suicidal ideation again. This kicked my OCD into full gear and obsessed over my symptoms and what was wrong. I was convinced I am bipolar having these dramatic mood swings. I'd feel great then wanting to die within minutes of each other. My psychiatrist then put me on Prozac which I did even worse on and was hospitalized twice for being suicidal. Clearly SSRI's aren't for me so we stopped them and I was put on vistril, gabapentin, and klonopin. I was feeling really numb most of the time but with random bursts of uncomfortable excitement. I'd then dip into a pretty depressive state. I'm now off klonopin and am on gabapentin 300 mg 2x a day and vistril as needed.

 

Now for the vast majority of the day I just feel this over excited feeling. Sometimes I'll feel happy but other times it's just uncomfortable. It seems like no matter what I do or think about I cannot shake this feeling. This is where my OCD kicks in again because I'll think some pretty dark thoughts and nothing seems to work. I'll still just feel this excitement. It typically happens when I'd normally be really anxious before all this happened I.e. on my way to work, starting a new job, having dark intrusive thoughts, playing in a competitive environment ect. In the midst of all this my girlfriend of 2.5 years (who I was living with when the anxiety started) broke up and I can no longer feel sad about it. Sometimes I can force myself to cry but I'll jump right back to this excited feeling. I feel like I'm turning into some kind of psychopath. I was always an anxious but caring person but now I feel like I can't feel anything but this unusual excitement. I can hardly feel love, empathy, or any other emotion I used to have. Some intrusive thoughts are about hurting people I once cared about which I would've never had before I took these drugs, but they don't make me anxious. Just this stupid excited feeling, which is not good.

 

Readers please help! I am seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but they think it's anxiety. Has anyone else experienced this? I hope so because I feel pretty alone and like I said, I feel like I'm turning into some crazy person. Thank you all for reading. Oh btw I have a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis (for now).

Drug history:

Setraline 25mg (Zoloft) August 2011 - January 2014

on and off (longest time on was about 7 months)

Setraline 25mg (Zoloft) March 2016 - April 2016

Awful reaction, made me confused, sweaty, and suicidal

Prozac 10mg June 2016 - July 2016

Adverse reaction, made me have dramatic mood swings, suicidal

Klonopin .5 3x a day July 2016 - August 2016

Made me emotionally numb

Gabapentin 300 mg 4x a day July 2016 - August 2016

No apparent effect

Currently on no psychotropic meds

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Rjb -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I've moved your post to the Introductions Forum so that more people will see your question. This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.
 
I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.
 
Two requests:

  1. Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Please put your withdrawal history in signature
     
  2. When a someone is taking multiple medications, we ask that that you post an interactions report. Sometimes the information is thought-provoking/eye-opening. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here.
    Drugs Interactions Checker.

 

I'm not sure what browsing or searching of the SA forums you've done so far.  A tip -- using a Google site specific search is often the best way to find relevant posts and topics. Use as search parameters: "site:survivingantidepressants.org" and the terms of interest, e.g. "OCD" or "panic"

 

Have a look around. If you have questions about your situation, please post them here in your introduction so that all your information is in one place.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator

Hey RJB - there are many things (besides thunderstorms) which can manifest as anxiety.  Sometimes they can be nutritional or environmental sensitivities.  Sometimes they are stressors that a 7 year old cannot quite understand - like a divorce (it was moving a long distance, in my case).

 

I think that my "mood disoders" started when I manifested an allergy to grasses.  (then animals then trees, then nearly everything)  I was put on antihistamines at age 7, and I am still on them.

 

Over time, I think they made me cranky and moody, and that's what put me on the path of mood disorders.  Looking back (I was raised in an organic household, so Mom thought the food was healthy for me) I wonder if maybe I wasn't manifesting sensitivities to wheat and dairy - of which there were plenty in my diet.

 

Plus - age 7 - my parents moved and I had to make all new friends and the new city was big and scary, we had to have a burglar alarm and run to the basement for tornadoes.  Nobody in my neighborhood went to my school - so it was hard to make friends.

 

I am too old to have started SSRI's in my 20's, but you were not.  Here's the thing:  these drugs sensitize us to the very thing we are trying to get away from.  So, taking an SSRI can sensitize you to anxiety and depression.  Taking an anti-psychotic can sensitize you to perceptual distortions and manifestations (often called "psychosis").  Anti-anxiety drugs make you more sensitive to anxiety.

 

This is through the receptors.

 

If you are upset - let's use anxiety for an example.

 

The SSRI floods you with certain neurotransmitters, so then your brain adjusts your receptors (decreases) to accommodate those neurotransmitters.  It's called "homeostasis" - the body automatically adjusts to new input.  There is no chemical imbalance - until you take the drugs.  Then, you have changed your brain and nervous system, and you cannot just go on and off them easily.  And the symptoms of this manufactured imbalance look very much like depression, anxiety, and even mania.  (I'm surprised you haven't gotten the ubiquitous "bipolar" diagnosis yet!)

 

Likewise, the anti-anxiety drug - like your klonopin and vistatril - block certain receptors, so that your brain adjusts (increases) your receptors to accommodate this "lack of information."  You tend to feel numb.

 

Further, the anti-anxiety drug has an extra special treat attached:  when it wears off, it's like stepping out of a warm bath into a cold wind, and your anxiety is doubled, tripled or worse.  It's called "rebound anxiety" and becomes "interdose anxiety" when it happens regularly between doses.  And, they are very addicting. (doctors are now getting in trouble for giving scripts for them)

 

You can find out more about this by charting your patterns on a calendar.  What time do you take your pills?  Different pills at different times?  When do you feel symptoms the most?  Which symptoms at what times?  What other stressors were there? (I found myself vibrating today when a neighbor fired up his loud car!  Not all stressors are major!)  Chart it on a calendar and learn to connect your symptoms to the drugs.

 

Certainly, you were suffering when you started the drugs - but instead of fixing the problem, the drugs just cover it over for awhile.  They are not designed for long term use, and they are not "brain specific."  They affect your gut, your sleep, your endocrine system - your whole body.

 

"Anxiety" is what doctors call it when your adrenaline fires.  Fight or flight:  your heart pumps, you sweat, your nerves are on edge, and you could run a mile or lift a ton with this energy - or - you have the heart pumping sweating - and you are frozen to your spot, like a deer in the headlights.

 

There may be emotions attached to these states, or they could just be your system firing.  Learn to detach from that firing, and you will have some measure of control over your "anxiety."

 

Claire Weekes, an old-fashioned Australian carer of "the nervous condition" has excellent descriptions to survive these extreme states.

 

Here is a post from her work, as described by BrassMonkey:

 

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.'

 

You can learn more about Claire Weekes, here:

How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes

Claire Weekes - Self Help for your Nerves

 

I'll be curious to hear whether this is similar to what you've been getting in therapy or whether it is new to you.

 

Also - many of us find that Magnesium and Omega-3 fish oil are helpful.

 

Welcome to SA!

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • Moderator

Hey RJB -  Good job on the signature!

 

When you ask questions, mods will come in - and members too - and try to point you through to the topics that will help you the most.

 

Click on all the links that people have given you, to read more about how things work here.

 

For example:

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Stop Withdrawal Symptoms    <-----that's a link, click on it, and it will take you to another discussion.  I use separate browser tabs for each discussion I open, so that I can refer to them.

 

About Reinstating - you are close enough to your last drugs to reinstate to help with symptoms.  I would not reinstate the klonopin, and it looks like you are clearly having adverse effects from antidepressants that you also quit recently.    3 cold turkeys at once is an awful lot to ask of your nervous system!

If it were me, I'd consider at reinstating 30 mg Gabapentin 2x a day.  That's 1/20th of the dose you were on.  If you have breakthrough symptoms, you can go up to 4x a day, like you were before.

 

How do you get the pills that small?  (it's cruel of the drug companies to not give us different sizes for tapering)

 

Study here:

Tips for tapering off Gabapentin there is a lot of information about the drug here.

How to Make a Liquid from Tablets or Capsule

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-using-an-oral-syringe-and-other-tapering-techniques/

 

Have a read around the links that Scally and I gave you, and ask questions.  

 

I know - most people who "go off their drugs" - don't want to reinstate.  But the benefits of reinstating, is you lose the worst of the withdrawal, and take control of your descent so that you don't smash into little pieces at the bottom of the Cold Turkey withdrawal.

 

At this point, it is the clearest path to trying to minimise your symptoms.

 

 

 

This thread is your journal and "wall" to track your progress and interact with others.  You can visit others' intro threads and "get to know them" there.

 

I have met some amazing people on this site.  It's one of the main reasons I stay here, even though I'm doing quite well.  (though I still have moody potential for a random future - I also have better tools for dealing with them)

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • 7 months later...

Hi Rjb,

Are you feeling better since your last post?

DRUG HISTORY:

 

November 2013- Zoloft, ( Bad reaction).

January 2014 - March 2014 Seroquel.( Quit Cold Turkey).

January2014- Mirtazapine, I was taking 15mg at one stage, reduced to 7.5mg, Pgad reactions to Mirtazapine. Doctor kept increasing it to 37.5mg, until July 2014. No improvement, experiencing panic attacks, on 37.5 mg. I had enough by October 2014. Began tapering.

October 2014- Started tapering Mirtazapine from 37.5mg.

September 2015- Down to 4mg of Mirtazapine. Crashed.

September 16th- Up dosed to 5mg. Held this dose for almost 5 months. Stabilised.

February 2016- Began tapering again. From 5mg to 4.5mg of Mirtazapine. (Rocking the boat, again)! Lol. :(

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