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Tattycorum

Tattycorum: Introduction

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Tattycorum

Hello community,

So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months.

 

Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline.

 

The symptoms I currently have are:

  • rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:
    • dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
    • inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance)
  • ears ringing
  • morning depression
  • heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer)
  • intense dreams and nightmares
  • head tremor

Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman).

 

Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse).  I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper.

 

I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too).

 

Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.

Edited by scallywag
emphasize meds, add tags

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scallywag

Tattycorum -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

It looks as if you've been doing a lot of reading around this site and understand the best bet for you right now is holding at current doses.

 

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.

 

Let us know how things are going for you.

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

Thank you for your message on my thread. I posted the message below on my page, but I wanted to make sure you got it, so I'm posting here as well.

 

I read your introduction, you have gone through a lot. I am so sorry that your husband passed away.  If my story can be of any help to you I'm pleased.  I put it up here specifically for anybody else that is going through something similar to what I am going through. I even put my mistakes up here hoping that someone else might not make the same ones.  For me, patience has been hard.  If you need support, I offer it. If have any questions I am very comfortable answering anything about my journey.  I see Scallywag, one of the moderators, responded to your post.  Scallywag is the same person that answered me when I first posted.  Scallywag helped me a lot, along with others here.  It sounds like you are doing everything right, please continue to take care of yourself. Thank you again for your note, it made me very happy.

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Tattycorum

I'm currently stabilizing on  25 mg sertraline in the morning and 0.75 mg lorazepam (at bedtime).

Would it make sense to taper the lorazepam first? Since it might be such a long time to before I'm tapered off the sertraline? Is there some general information on the question of tapering an SSRI before of after a Benzo if you are on both?

TIA!

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Tattycorum

I started my 10% per month taper January 2017. My symptoms seem pretty stable... not much better, not much worse. I'm discouraged that my symptoms did not improve more during the period I was stabilizing on 25 mg sertraline (Sept-Dec).

 

I'm continuing with my "zero carb" way of eating (http://zerocarbzen.com/zero-carb), and trying to keep stress down and remain patient with the extent of my physical disability due to the rapid heart beat. I have started getting acupuncture treatments and I'm taking a Chinese Herbal medicine (Tian Ma Gou Teng). Taking herbal tinctures: motherwort, hawthorne, black cohosh root. Drinking herbal tea: Nettle, licorice, ginger, lemon balm. 

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ChessieCat

Here's SA's discussion of:  Acupuncture - Posts #6 & #8 (not detox or stimulation)

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

I decided to drop in and see how you are doing. In one of your previous posts you mentioned not feeling better, but not feeling worse.  Any difference now? Are you still having head tremors?  The tremors for me were the worst part.  Thankfully most of mine have gone away. During the first week of a medication taper they do come back, but are rather minor in severity and very short in duration.   Congrats on starting your taper.  I had to go back up a little on medication last fall and then started a taper in December. I'm doing between a 5% and 10% taper, based on how I feel. Wishing you the best.

Rachel

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Tattycorum

Hi RS,

Thanks for checking in. I have been following your posts, which are very helpful.

 

I have not noticed my tapering having any effect, although I don't keep up with daily tracking of symptoms. I'm glad I'm doing a gradual taper as recommended here -- feels much safer, after how awful my previous, doctor-advised taper was. 

 

My overall symptoms (which I think result from nervous system damage from the too-steep, doctor-guided taper in 2016) continue about the same, with slight improvement. For me, unlike you, the tremor is not a major thing. Just my head. My symptoms center around my heart palpitations, which sometimes feel like they shaking my body and creating my head-nodding tremor. (Which I don't think is happening, but it feels that way.) So, for me, heat intolerance, stress intolerance, and exercise intolerance--I can't walk uphill or upstairs without feeling like it's too much exercise... muscles feel week and I have to catch my breath. I'm quite disabled in that way. But as long as I'm sedentary, not hot, and not stressed, I feel okay, most of the time. Even on a good day I'll get a hot flash or some heart palpitations. And I still have the ringing ears, mild involuntary tongue movements, vivid nightmares, waking up depressed/anxious, mild anxiety in general. Some days worse, some days better. On a bad day, I'll have POTS like symptoms--dizziness when standing up.

 

Good luck with your taper and thanks for the updates!

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RachelSusan

I'll stay in touch and I will keep updating my thread.  Your symptoms, as well as mine, they are awful and there are just so many different ones. What a nightmare.  I do know however we will eventually get off and recover.

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Altostrata

Welcome, Tatty.
 
After hearing about your symptoms, I am concerned about your zero carb diet. Low blood sugar raises adrenaline, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness and rapid heartbeat in people whose nervous systems are already stressed by drugs.
 
Ketosis can also increase heartrate.
 
Ancient peoples ate grains, roots, and legumes when they could. Few of us are still genetically adapted to the ancient diets.
 
If I were you, I would add a few nuts, legumes, potatoes, and even oatmeal to your daily diet. Complex carbs in the evening will help keep your blood sugar steady overnight, which probably will assist restoring your sleep pattern. I would not be a bit surprised if the symptoms you experience in the morning, including depression, were from fasting overnight and even lower blood sugar.
 
Otherwise, we've found many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker
 
Also see Taurine for heart arrhythmia

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Tattycorum

Thanks for your feedback, Altostrata. Yes, fluctuating blood sugar is definitely to be avoided! Unlike some zero-carbers, I don't do any fasting--I eat a snack in the evening as well as regular meals during the day, to keep my blood sugar steady. I have found my blood sugar to be more stable, and my symptoms improved, with this way of eating. (Also, by cutting out alcohol, using only minimal caffeine, and avoiding stress.)  I do take magnesium supplements. Fish oil did not agree with me, unfortunately. Also, I eat a lot of raw liver, which has carbs in it. :)  "Zero carb" is a bit of a misnomer for this way of eating. 

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Tattycorum

Very happy to report that the last three weeks or so my symptoms are noticeably improved, and stayed at the improved level even after my March 1 10% decrease. My guess is I'm still overall recovering from the misguided too-steep taper of March-August 2016. Have been able to start exercising... my exercise tolerance has increased. Also, to clarify an earlier post, I haven't had arrhythmia, just rapid heart beat. And that rapid heartbeat seems noticeably better now too. Hooray and fingers crossed. I'm grateful for the guidance and moral support from this group!!

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

Thanks for your post on my page.  I'm here on your page to cheer you on as well.  My misguided taper which was actually "cold turkey" was in May or June of 2016.  It appears we are both on similar timetables. I'm so glad to hear you are doing so well.  We'll get this thing taken care of, slowly but we will.

RS

 

 

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

I just wanted to check up on you. Are you still visiting Surviving Antidepressants?  How are you doing? If you feel like posting I would love to hear from you.

RS

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Tattycorum
On 10/4/2017 at 9:12 AM, RachelSusan said:

Hi Tattycorum,

I just wanted to check up on you. Are you still visiting Surviving Antidepressants?  How are you doing? If you feel like posting I would love to hear from you.

RS

Hi RS, sorry I missed this post, but I think I've given an update on your thread. I hope you are well. :) Things are the same here, as I reduce my dose 10% every month. Don't seem to have symptoms from each taper, just my regular set of symptoms since my too fast withdrawal attempt in 2016. But even those symptoms might be moderating a bit, fingers crossed! I'm getting down where it will soon be too hard to measure the powder and I will need to school myself on the liquid solution dosing techniques that I've read about here.

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Tattycorum

I read the post about shortening our signatures, so I did that and I'm just pasting the more detailed history here for future reference. Thanks everyone for this great site!

History:

2005-14 50 mg sertraline (aka Zoloft); 

2014-15 200 mg sertraline
2014-15 1-1.5 mg lorazepam (aka Ativan) at night
2016: attempted taper too fast
Sept - Dec 2016: 25 mg sertraline

2016 to present: 0.75 mg lorazepam at night

Sept 2016 - present: following Zero Carb diet http://zerocarbzen.com/zero-carb

Jan 2017: start 10% per month taper of sertraline: Jan: 22.5 mg; Feb: 20.25 mg; March: 18.23 mg; April: 16.4 mg; May: 14.76; June: 13.29; July: 11.96: August: 10.76; Sept: 9.69; Oct: 8.72; Nov: 7.85; Dec: 7.06: Jan 2018: 6.35; Feb: 5.72; March: 5.15; April: 4.63; May: 4.17; June: 3.75; July: 3.39; Aug: 3.04

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

 

I appreciate you responding to my post.  You did update me on my thread so no worries.  I too continue to taper my sertraline (Zoloft) since my disaster of a cold turkey and then a too fast taper in 2016.  I'm down to 3.8 mg at the moment.

 

It sounds like you are doing much better these days which is wonderful to hear.  It's sadly amazing that these drugs can affect us for so long.  Perhaps the two of us will be posting in the near future that we have completed our mission and are drug free and symptom free.

 

xo

RS

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Tattycorum

Hello Fellow Travelers,

I'm down to 1.99 mg in my journey of reducing 10% each month! Only 14 months until I will consider stopping, at .46 mg. 

 

I started making my own liquids. I realized that liquid would make it easy to divide my dose into 2 x a day. Since the half-life is relatively short, I wonder if this will make things easier. I don't usually notice that my symptoms are affected by my monthly reduction but I do have chronic symptoms (tinnitus, nightmares, morning depression, anxiety, head tremor, heat intolerance, exercise intolerance, rapid heartbeat.)

 

I just divided my lorazepam / Ativan dose into 3 x a day hoping that will help with the above, and now I'm inspired to ask if dividing my sertraline might also help. Thanks for any ideas!

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ChessieCat

If you have only just started dividing your Ativan I suggest that you wait a while before changing the dose time for a split dose of Zoloft.

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 

The half life of Zoloft is about 26 hours so provided you didn't take a dose later, you should be okay.

 

However, if you do decide that you would prefer to split the dose it is better to move part of the dose by 1 hour each day.  I suggest that you keep notes on paper to see how it is affecting you.  If you usually take the dose in the morning, taking 1/2 at night time may affect your sleep.  If that happened you could either reduce the evening dose and move the balance earlier by an hour each day until the same time as the morning dose or you could move the entire evening dose forward by an hour each day until you are taking it earlier in the day and it doesn't affect your sleep.

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Tattycorum

Thank you, very good advice and the information in the linked post is great too! I'll hold off on changing the zoloft.

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Gridley
16 hours ago, Tattycorum said:

Only 14 months until I will consider stopping, at .46 mg.

You have a while to go, but you might want to consider going a little lower before jumping to zero.  This link has good information:

 

When to end the taper and jump to zero?

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Tattycorum

Thank you, I have read that thread over and over and will not jump off too early!

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Tattycorum

This past year after a lot of drama and tests and procedures, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, sarcoidosis of the lungs and some other places. I'm exploring lifestyle and environmental changes to try and control it before considering the mainstream approach to treating it: prednisone. I have read on here of someone finding that prednisone made their WD symptoms much worse.  

 

I had started a 5% every two weeks taper of my lorazepam but decided to put that on hold until I finish my sertraline taper.

 

I started researching low-dose naltrexone (LDN) for autoimmune disease and it looks very promising and not addictive. And, on this forum, I read that some folks find it useful to ease SSRI WD symptoms as they taper. If I try it I will report.

 

In the meantime, I find that my mega-dosing vitamin C (6,000 mg spread throughout the day) still significantly helps my symptoms. Every now and then I'll have a bad day, which reminds me of how much better most of my days are than when I first did my too-fast taper. 

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