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Dealing With Emotional Spirals

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brassmonkey

ADMIN NOTE Also see Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 


Dealing with Emotional Spirals

 

One very common symptom of tapering antidepressants is ruminating thoughts. The incessant reliving and rehashing of things that just happened or happened many years ago and have been long forgotten, until now.  It starts innocently enough with having a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.  You used to love grilled cheese, except for that time your brother took it and smeared ketchup all over it. That wasn’t nice of him. Like that time, he wouldn’t stop teasing me, and he was always changing the channel on the TV when I was watching something.  He was always hitting me and breaking my stuff. I HATE my brother and want to hurt him.  All because you had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

 

Welcome to the Emotional Spiral, or in this case as I call it “The Anger Spiral”.  I made up the term a few years ago to identify something I kept experiencing. By giving it a name I was able to isolate the set of reactions, learn what caused them and how to control them.  The sequence of events of The Anger Spiral is not isolated to just anger.  They are common in a lot of emotional thinking, anger, hate, love, lust, anxiety and panic attacks to name a few.

 

Once the dynamics of The Spiral are learned and understood they can be applied to many, many different things.  It is then possible to learn to control those things and defuse unpleasant and possibly dangerous situations.  This control will then reduce the stress of our everyday lives, improve relationships and make our jobs and careers more pleasant.

 

I will be breaking this essay into a series of smaller posts to make it more accessible.  Some of the posts will be rather short while others will be quite long.  Read through them at your own speed so you can absorb all the information, but please read through all the posts to get the full story.

Edited by Altostrata
Added admin note

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

The Anger Spiral is one specialized case of The Emotional Spiral and will be the easiest to use as an example.  The Emotional Spiral follows the same progression but deals with emotions and situations other than anger. Spiral progressions are quite common in panic attacks, health anxiety and muscle tics, in fact many of the things we experience during ADWD.  Anything that can be worried about or cause an emotional response is susceptible to Spiral thinking.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the dynamics of The Emotional Spiral

 

There are three main parts to The Spiral:

 

1. The Trigger,

 

2. The Escalation,

 

3. The Explosion.

 

Each has its own feel and place in the progression.  If any one of them is diverted, the Spiral can be stopped in its tracks.

 

The Trigger is going to be something that is innocuous. 

 

A situation happens, someone cuts you off in traffic, someone says something that you misinterpret, you’re playing with your favorite pet, you have an unexpected heart palpitation. Just about anything can be a trigger. Sometimes it will be the ruminating thoughts themselves. It just must be something that starts the thought process.  Once you begin analyzing and trying to find your triggers a common thread will frequently appear.  This pattern will help later as you work on taking control.

 

I’m a highly creative person and have spent my life developing the skills that allow me to design and make almost anything. I tend to be very defensive of my skills. For a long time any “perceived” questioning of my abilities would act as a trigger.  “Perceived” is in quotes because it is very important. I’m also a very private person and very protective of my personal space.  “Perceived” violations of that space are another major trigger for me. Again “Perceived”.

 

Let’s go back to the first example of having a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

 

“You used to love grilled cheese, except for that time your brother took it and smeared ketchup all over it. That wasn’t nice of him. Like that time, he wouldn’t stop teasing me, and he was always changing the channel on the TV when I was watching something.  He was always hitting me and breaking my stuff. I HATE my brother and want to hurt him.  All because you had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.”

 

This is a classic example of how the spiral works. It starts with an innocuous event, having lunch, something you do every day.  The grilled cheese was a childhood favorite and brings a smile to your face as you remember eating them so long ago.  The mind and memory are a tricky place to spend any time and it seems to be human nature to try to find the negative in any good situation.

 

So, your pleasant memory is spoiled by the thought of your brother taking your good lunch and making it taste bad by adding ketchup to it. This is the triggering thought that sets off the Emotional Spiral.  More accurately it’s your reaction to that memory, the “perceived” injustice of your brother’s act that is the trigger.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

The Escalation is the heart of the Spiral.

 

During this phase your mind will make a lot of irrational associations, they will seem rational at the time but they’re not. These irrational associations then build on each other, reinforce each other, and compound the emotions or sensations. Spiraling, if you will, out of control and ultimately leading to an uncontrolled release of emotion.

 

 

Let’s continue with the first example of having a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

 

 

“You use to love grilled cheese, except for that time your brother took it and smeared ketchup all over it. That wasn’t nice of him. Like that time, he wouldn’t stop teasing me, and he was always changing the channel on the TV when I was watching something.  He was always hitting me and breaking my stuff. I HATE my brother and want to hurt him.  All because you had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.”

 

 

This is a classic example of how The Spiral works.  It starts with an innocuous event, having grilled cheese for lunch.  The Spiral was triggered by the “perceived” injustice of your brother’s action of taking it and putting ketchup on it.  Your mind then starts to dig up every bit of dirt it has on your brother.  Even good memories will be twisted to suit the Spiral's purpose.  With each new thought your resentment grows and the anger within you starts to smolder.  Building over the course of time, it could be a few minutes or a few hours.  I’ve experienced spirals that took several days to build. 

 

 

The resentments and feelings of injustice and indignation grow and compound on each other.  It takes a huge amount of energy to build and maintain this anger and that mental fatigue adds to the mix.  Finally, every little act, bumping a doorway or mistyping on the computer is upsetting.  The Spiral is out of control.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

The Explosion is the final release of the emotion.

 

I refer to it as The Explosion because I developed this concept while working with Anger Issues that frequently ended with an explosive outcome.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be an explosion.  For some The Explosion will be a crying jag, an angry outburst or a full-blown panic attack.  It all depends on the type of Spiral that is being experienced.

 

This can be a very cathartic experience, seemingly rewarding and can build positive associations.  All the emotion and energy built up by The Spiral is released in one outburst.  Having all that roiling energy, once released, feels good at that moment, but it’s not without payback.  There frequently is a “hangover” that follows and can last several days.  During this time a person will feel totally drained, devoid of emotion, lacking in energy and motivation.  Small wonder since it was all expended by The Spiral and must be rebuilt and stabilized.

 

Oddly enough this “hangover” can trigger another Spiral.  Starting the process all over again and leaving the person even more drained at its conclusion.  This starts up an endless loop of Emotional Spirals that leave the victim in a deep dark pit that is very hard to climb out of.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

So how can we learn to control such a destructive thought process?

 

There are four steps:

 

1. Identify that it's happening,

 

2. Defuse the situation,

 

3. Change the channel,

 

4. Go on with life.

 

Identifying the situation can be hard at first because it's very easy to fall into The Spiral.  A person needs to go through the entire cycle several times to identify the pattern and understand the progression.  I find that I can be well into the pattern before I realize that it's happening again.  Learning what one’s triggers are is a good place to start and previsualizing situations where those triggers might occur.  That way a person can "keep on guard" when those situations arise.

 

Previsualizing situations must be done with care, because it is essentially setting off a trigger on purpose.  It is very easy for the previsualization secession to get out of hand starting The Spiral off and running.  For a lot of people this could be called overthinking a situation.

 

It's frequently the little things that set a Spiral off.  Getting cut off in traffic, a coworker’s off comment, someone’s tone of voice.  When a spiral has ended, I try to go back and coldly analyse it to see what the trigger was for future reference.

 

Thought processes are a highly individual and private thing.  No one can really know what you’re thinking.  The thoughts we are looking at as triggers are our reactions to various stimuli.  It’s not the stimulus itself, but rather our “perception” of it and reaction to it.  We all have nasty people in our lives, people who will say mean things just to get a reaction.  They’re naturally triggers, we know it and can generally handle them accordingly.  Then there are the people we know who wouldn’t purposefully hurt us or just plain strangers.

 

They’re the unintentional and accidental triggers that can cause a lot of Spirals.  It’s all due to our “perception” of the situation.  You’re standing in line at the grocery checkout.  You made a little effort to look nice this morning because you feel bad and thought it might help your attitude.  The friendly person behind you acknowledges your efforts by saying “My, don’t you look nice this morning.”  You “perceive” a compliment and feel better.

 

However, the friendly person is chewing gum at the time.  That gum causes them to swallow in midsentence so it comes out like “My, don’t you look…….nice this morning.” That little pause, caused by an accidental swallow, changes your “perception” of a compliment to an insult.  It reminds you of the time your Aunt Sally, who had a cold, kept insulting your cooking because something “smelled funny”.  From there the thoughts snowball and The Spiral is out of control, wrecking your entire day and causing a major fight with your significant other.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

Everyone has heart palpitations from time to time.  They’re a very common sensation in healthy people.  For people going through ADWD they are all too common.  They are, however, nothing more than a muscle/nerve tic that is harmless.  Again, our “perception” of the situation comes into play.

 

Many people going through ADWD will have one of two reactions to a heart palpitation.  Both of which will cause an Emotional Spiral. One reaction is OMG I’m having a Heart Attack” while the other is “OMG I having a Panic Attack”.  Neither of which is correct, but both of which will trigger an Emotional Spiral that will quickly turn into a Panic Attack, but luckily not a Heart Attack.  It’s all in how they react to that first twinge of a palpitation.

 

These are just a couple of examples of how our “perceptions” of and reactions to an innocuous trigger can cause us to Spiral out of control.  These ideas can be applied to many of our feelings and reactions to life’s situations.  Watching for and learning one’s triggers is key to controlling Emotional Spirals. 


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

Defusing the situation is very important especially in "confrontations".  This is a matter of self-preservation because Anger Spirals have a bad habit of escalating to violence, and that has a lot of ramifications.  The person who is angry is often deemed the "bad guy".  The one who hits first is always in the wrong, and the like.  Because we're in an Anger Spiral that has put us in the center of things, according to society, we have to "control our selves".  So, finding ourselves in a bad situation causing and caused by our Anger Spiral we must take control and make things right.  

 

Trying to talk our way out of it won't work, The Spiral is in control of things, making it so we can't think clearly.  The best option, if at all possible, is to just walk away.  It is much better to be seen as rude than violent.  Turn, walk away, relax, regroup and if necessary re-approach the subject from a different angle (work related things you just can't get out of) otherwise drop it and move on.

 

No matter how justified you feel with the course of action you want to take, it’s the Anger Spiral taking control and you can’t let it.  Becoming angry or overly emotional is a luxury that none of us can afford.  Even if they’re right, the person who is angry or overly emotional will be perceived as wrong, out of control and will carry the blame for the situation.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

Changing the Channel.

 

The key aspect of the Anger Spiral or Emotional Spiral is uncontrolled ruminating thoughts.  Once the trigger happens it sets off a series of mental events that build out of control.  There is the initial trigger which is frequently followed with a small flash of anger and then dropped.   A few minutes later the ruminating thoughts kick in with an "I should have..." followed closely by "that's like when....." "those b******s" , "I always get treated like this..."  all these thoughts swirling around and compounding each other.  

 

Changing the channel at "I should have..." is the best way out, but it can be done effectively at any point in The Spiral.   As soon as one realizes that The Spiral is happening, changing the channel is called for.  I frequently use a stern "don't go there" close my eyes, take a deep breath and concentrate on what I was originally doing.   While distracted I do deep breathing and progressive relaxation to regain control of my body.  It can take several tries to get control back and I need to keep an eye on things so The Spiral doesn't try to sneak in several hours later.  This is the part that takes a lot of practice but with time becomes second nature and very effective.

 

The process is called “Changing the Channel” because that is exactly what you do.  Just like on a television set, you change the program and watch something different.  Then every time your brain tries to start up The Spiral again you switch back to the different program.  It could be as easy as actually watching a TV show, concentrating on work, going for a walk, anything to take your mind off what has just happened and the associated thought patterns.

 

This is where the practice comes in.  Emotional Spirals can be very powerful and want to keep coming back.  At first Changing the Channel will be a very active process requiring diligent observation of your thought process and constant fine tuning.  As The Spiral loses its power the task will become easier.  With practice, the more times you take control, the easier the process will become.  The actual mental process can only be explained, to learn and understand it we all must go through it several times and figure out what works for us and for each particular situation.  Each time The Spiral is acknowledged and the channel changed the process becomes easier.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

Go On with life once the spiral has been broken.  

 

The event has happened, it was controlled, it's in the past, move on.  Later, after things have had a while to calm down, the situation can be reviewed in a rational manner to understand how it progressed and what worked to defuse it.  It now becomes a learning situation.  During this analysis, it is important to use a cold eye to avoid retriggering The Spiral..

 

It's very important to move on.  Dwelling on the situation is a very good way to retrigger The Spiral.  The event is now in the past and has no bearing on you and to think about it is to give it power over you.  This is where mindfulness and living in the moment come into play.  But that’s another topic.

 

Emotional Spirals are a common symptom of Antidepressant Withdrawal.  They can be triggered by the most innocuous of situations and can be all consuming, detrimental and very draining.  They can however, be defused and controlled by understanding what triggers them and acting accordingly.  The process requires some self-discovery and practice, but once learned is very effective in gaining control over runaway emotions and gives a person a skill set that can be translated into many situations and will be useful for a lifetime.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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brassmonkey

There are a variety of things we commonly experience during ADWD that are very similar to The Emotional Spiral, and can trigger or can contribute to one.  They are so common in our situation that they bear mentioning in their own rights.

 

One common form of Emotional Spiral experienced during ADWD is often referred to as the “Doom Cloud” Starting with some neuroemotions of fear that escalate through The Spiral ending not in an explosion, but rather in a deep black depression or dread, that is very difficult to break out of.  This can be a hard one to work with because of the neuroemotional trigger, but it can be minimized with the same techniques.

 

Another one that is very similar to the Doom Cloud is Morning Dread. Waking up with an overpowering feeling of fear.  There is a lot more involved with it due to cortisol cycles, neuroemotions and the like, but the experience frequently acts as a trigger.  This sets off an Emotional Spiral that makes the situation a lot worse than it already is and prevents the dread from running its course and self-resolving over the rest of the morning.  It also sets up a fear response that can trigger insomnia and a self-fulfilling response that increases the likelihood of it happening again the next morning.

 

I mentioned heart palpitations earlier.  These are a very large contributor to panic attacks because they can be a significant symptom during a panic attack.  If they are misperceived, these sensations, which will last only a few seconds, can trigger a panic attack that can last for hours.  So, we’re back to “perceptions.  Many panic attacks can be stopped dead in their tracks by following the steps outlined above.  It’s all in how you react to the trigger.

 

Akathisia is one of the most dreaded but luckily not one of the most common symptoms people in ADWD can experience.  It is based in the wiring of the nervous system so it has a physical/chemical cause which makes it an actual physical phenomenon.  It can’t be controlled in the same manner as an Emotional Spiral.  But, our reaction to it can.  Combining the techniques above with a healthy dose of mindfulness and living in the moment can greatly reduce the severity of an attack.

 

ADWD and tapering seem to last forever.  We all want our lives back and we all want to feel better.  The Frustration caused by this and many other factors can be overwhelming at times.  This frustration can easily trigger an Emotional Spiral that will manifest in a variety of ways, anger, despondency, loss of hope, depression and more.  All of which are compounded by the Emotional Spiral.  Breaking the Spiral will help to control this frustration.

 

I have given several examples of Emotional Spirals and how they affect us in ADWD.  These are just a few of the many ways they can affect our lives.  By paying attention to situations, triggers and our reactions to them we can greatly reduce the stress we experience, improve our relationships and our overall quality of life.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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JanCarol

These spirals can apply to a number of other symptoms, too.

 

Insomnia spirals - the more you ruminate on sleep, the deeper the insomnia hooks go.

 

Akathisia spirals - the more anxious you are about it, the worse it gets, and it ramps up.

 

Rumination spirals - need I say more?

 

Thank you Brassmonkey for an excellent tool for our members to "dial it down" when things are ramping up!


"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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GreenCup

This is very interesting.  I definitely get these with obsessive thoughts.  I have the hardest time changing the channel and I also do not see these thoughts as my own either.  For me, I have a very large disconnect between the unwanted spiral of thoughts and how I really feel about things.  I can't even follow how I would actually think the things I do sometimes.  Deep breathing has been the most helpful thing for me.  That and also accepting that sometimes I can't change the channel but I can not be so worried about watching a channel I don't like.  


Klonopin 26 years.  2.5mg/day most years.

Down to .25mg/day and holding in Nov 2016.  

add Zoloft 50mg/day 2013

 switch to Wellbutrin 100mg/day 2015

switch to Pristiq 50mg/day  Jan 2016

Nov. 8 - cut to 37.5 mg  

split pill up into 4ths,  taking three doses spread out in the day, morning, noon and night.

Was tapering klonopin, now holding that, and tapering pristiq.

Dec 5  25mg Pristiq, holding klonopin @ .25mg/day for duration of P-taper

Dec 31 cut to 12.5mg Pristiq - just in the morning.  Almost done with Pristiq!!! /holding k @ .25mg/day taken at night.

 

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Junglechicken

Thanks Brass for this,

 

I definitely recognise the emotional spiral thought pattern, and have "been there" so many times. The CBT I was having in Canada, was intended to help with the panic attack fear spirals I was experiencing.

 

Since moving back to the UK earlier this year, I have experienced several months straight of ruminating thought spirals (health anxiety and negative thoughts in general).

 

Now, I'm in the fortunate position of being able to have weekly counseling sessions, so hope to be able to get a handle on both of those. I have also "signed up" for the free NHS "Talking Therapies", where I hope to get regular CBT.

 

Onwards.


Dose History: 19 Feb 2014 - Escitalopram 10mg daily June 2015 - Started taper, 5mg every other day July 2015 - 5mg every 2 days August 2015 - 5mg every 3 days September 2015 - 5mg every 4 days Sept 14th - Completed tapering, but at 7 weeks "drug free" I suffered serious WD symptoms as a consequence of "incorrect" tapering. Nov 25 2015 - Re-instated Cipralex @ 2.5mg daily. WD symptoms faded. Held at this dose and experienced "windows and waves". 12 Oct 2017 Reduced dose to 1.25mg. 13 Mar 2018 Reduced dose to 0.625mg (approx.). 16 April 2018 0mg. Windows and waves triggered by stress (IBS/reflux, headaches, sinus issues) Aug 2019 Mirena coil fitted 6 Jan 2020 MAJOR Wave hit 19 months following last dose (protracted WD).  Symptoms listed below Mar 2020 Mirena coil removal.

Therapy: Nov 15th 2016 Re-started therapy Jan 19th 2017 Started CBT Dec 2017 Started listening to Hypnotherapy CD (self-esteem). Nov 2019 Started couples therapy.

Supplements: "Bioglan" Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora 10 billion CFU, live Bacteria, Probiotic, suitable for Vegetarians, with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium Longum"Pukka" Vitalise a unique blend of 30 energising botanicals.

Diet: 16 April 2018 Detox cleanse / anti-candida for 90 days. Jan 2020 Started "small plate" diet (i.e child size portions).

Exercise: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Elliptical/upper body workout, walking.

Medical Test Results: 4 Jan 2017 Homeopathic Treatment starts 24 Feb 2017 Started weight loss program 24 Mar 2017 Naturopathic Treatment + anti-Candida diet started due to suspected Candida Related Complex (CRC). DETOXED for 7 weeks to "re-set" gut. April 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Comprehensive Stool Analysis NEGATIVE; Full Blood Count (Normal) / Blood Cholesterol: 5.6 (Borderline) / Blood Sugar (Normal) / 28 Jun 2017 FSH 8.2 / 14 Nov 2017 FSH 17.7 Dec 2017 Blood Cholesterol: 3.9 (Normal) / Kidney Function (Normal) / Blood Sugar (Normal). December 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Food panel allergy (bloodwork) analysis - a few "VERY LOW/VL" allergens; Mar 2018 "Genova Diagnostics" SIBO urine analysis: High Level of Yeast/fungal markers found in small intestine but NO SIBO.  April 2018 Thyroid (Normal) / Full Blood Count (Normal) / FSH (Normal). 16 April 2018 Started anti-Candida diet - 3 month protocol.   25 March 2020 All test results "Normal". CRP" 5 mg/L (normal range to 0-5 mg/L).

Symptoms:  Flu-like symptoms, anxiety, anhedonia, sinus headaches right-side (severe), IBS issues/reflux (severe)**, tinnitus, fatigue, inner tremor, nausea, chills/hot flushes, pounding heart, muscular issues including stiff left hip flexor, intense anger, PSSD (ongoing).  **Histhamine intolerance (suspected).

 

Major Life Events: 

Re-located to UK from Canada: Jan 2016

My father died: 5:05pm, Monday 5 Feb 2018 Last Lexapro dose: 16 April 2018 (its now been over a year since I quit ADs)

Moved house: Friday 23rd February 2018  "Divorced" toxic Mother: Monday 26 March 2018 Starting working again: 19 November 2018

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Petunia

Great series of posts Brassmonkey, we need a like or up-vote button on this site :)

 

For me, the secondary anxiety caused by spiraling thoughts and emotions, which were triggered by symptoms, was so unbearable, I seemed to automatically block them because my sanity and survival seemed to depend on it. I already had too much chemical fear and couldn't tolerate any added cognitive anxiety on top.

 

Its easy to become taken over by these spirals, even for people not in withdrawal, I used to find myself caught up in them all the time. Now, not so much. At first it was only in hindsight that I could look back at what happened and analyze the process. But now I'm getting good at noticing I've been triggered almost as soon as it happens. The emotional response to the trigger has become an automatic cue for me to step back emotionally from the situation and take a look at what might really be happening. But its taken some time and practice to get to this stage, but so worth doing the work. I now rarely get dragged into stressful, conflict filled encounters which would leave me drained for hours, sometimes days.

 

But in withdrawal, not only can its symptoms act as triggers, but many of us have declining cognitive abilities during waves, making this kind of advanced self insight and behavior modification almost impossible... but necessary if we are going to avoid the added stress of secondary emotional responses.

 

I like to think of withdrawal as an opportunity for taking an advanced CBT course. Once we master the skills under these challenging circumstances, we will be set for life.


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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LittleBelle1912

This is quite possibly the best essay series out there dealing with ADWD. Thank you!


Feb 2017: Cold-turkey withdrawal from Abilify 30 mg (12 years) and Effexor 150 mg (8 months)

Jan 2017: Diagnosed MTHFR

Current Supplements: SAMe, GABA, 5-HTP, DLPA, Melatonin, powdered Amino Complex, B12, and a special type of Folate for people who have MTHFR.

 

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lookingforhelp

I am currently dealing with many of the mentioned emotions.  Several years ago when I was working with an excellent PCP (who went on to bigger things) she suggested that I check into Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  I could not pursue it at that time due to other commitments, but have recently completed a course in it.  It is meditation based and I know that turns lots of people off.  I still find it hard to make the time to meditate, but have been journaling and have found that it is a form of meditation for me, as it makes me slow down and think about what is going on.  With the anxiety I have a hard time slowing down enough to think about what is going on, but when I write about it and get it down on paper it tends to help get it out of my mind and allow me to go on.  Good luck to my fellow sufferers.  If only we had known.

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ChessieCat

Hi lookingforhelp, and welcome to SA.  You might like to start an Intro topic so we can get to know you and support you in your journey.

 

For other members, here is the link to SA's topic Journalling - Therapeutic Writing & Health Benefits


Being very patient.  I'll get there - slowly.  ETA mid 2021

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 12 Sept 2020:  Pristiq 0.625 mg (compounded)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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pinkfairy

Thank you for this brass monkey...

Will keep re-reading it over an over till it sinks in!

Very good write up an so very true.

Am finding everything to be a trigger at the moment.


Binge drinker thru out my life 17/37,recreational use of street drugs 17-30. Numerous AD from age 23 upwards

Matazpine 30mg 2007-2012

Paxil an zopiclone 2012-2016

Taken off Paxil in four weeks in janurary 2016

Given diazepam 2-4 feb to June 2016

C/t diazepam June (had no idea not too)

Reinstated 8mg of diazepam in July,crossed over to 8mg of diazepam! given 7.5 matazpine.

Nov 2016 at 5 mg of diazepam

Given Olanzpine 2.5 November 28th-stopped

paxil 1mg 3rd of dec -stopped

Started liquid diazpam 10th of jan.alchol free 13month

February 2018 - reduced to 4 mg diazepam and 7.5 mg mirtazapine

November 2018 - tried 2% diazepam reduction - updosed back to 4 mg after one week

 

 

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brassmonkey

I glad you read it Pink, the ideas can be applies to so many things. Feeling that everything is a trigger can happen when things get over whelming.  So instead of concentrating on finding the triggers, move to the next step, 2. The Escalation.  Work on recognizing what is happening with your body and associating those feelings with the spiral.  How are you reacting to those triggers and the thoughts that they produce. You don't have to understand the triggers to start getting control of the spiral.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Bobo32

very helpful thanks


2004-2007 paxil

2015- zoloft 3 months zyprexa 3 months lexapro 3 months xanax

Med free since Feb 28th 2017

Mostly experiencing PSSD

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SlowandSteady

Thanks for sharing this! It speaks to me and I am going to follow it closely. Just wonderful!!

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artSet3561

Well put, my problem is my pride and the discernment to know when I am over reacting or when I am protecting my dignity/space be it what you will. That I haven't learned yet. Also, do you worry that by 'changing the channel ' you may internalise anger thereby compounding the issue?


50mg sertraline daily for past 4 years

December 2016 - 12.5mg daily - Moved to liquid doses

January 2017 - 10mg

March 2017 - 9mg
May 2017 Dropped to 8mg, having some side effects but coping, just waiting for it to even out again.

June 2017 - Dropped to 7.9mg - again, some side effects but coping

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brassmonkey

The point of changing the channel is the move away from the anger so it can have a chance to dispell itself.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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ShakeyJerr

I just wanted to say thank you again, brass, for this great series of essays. They are very helpful. It has become one of my most shared threads on here.

 

SJ


Main thread: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14472-shakeyjerr-say-hello/

History: Prozac & Lithium from 1999 to 2003. Ended up back on after 4 months because taking a beta-blocker caused immediate depression (just 2 doses - turned out I didn't even need it; I had no other withdrawal symptoms - I might have ended up med and withdrawal-free otherwise :(). - Switched to Effexor (75mg 3/day) and Seroquel (50mg 3/day) in 2010. - Did a self-taper during 2016. - Developed Discontinuation Syndrome 02/17.

Supplements: Magnesium-Glycinate 400mg split into 4 100mg doses throughout the day. Vitamin C 500mg - once per day. Fish Oil 1360 mg (950 mg Active Omega-3) - twice per day.

I'm not a doctor. I use the internet, experience, and trial & error. Seek medical advice if necessary.

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dante

Thanks for sharing, those things happen especially while I was in deep depression.

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Rob66

Great thread and info!  It's really helped me to identify my thought process and what's happening.  As I taper I find that my neural emotions and spirals are getting less frequent and with less intensity.  


April 26th - 36.5>32.8mg Z.

Feb 4th - 40.5>36.5mg Zoloft.

Jan 5th - 45>40.5mg Zoloft.

Dec 6th - 50>45mg Zoloft.

Nov 1st - 53>50.0mg Zoloft. Sep 22/17 - 50.0>53.0mg Zoloft. Sep 18/17 - 59.0>50.0mg Zoloft.

Aug 7/17 - 65.6>59.0mg  July 18/17 - 72.9>65.6mg. June 18/17 - 81>72.9mg 

May 28/17 - 90>81mg.  May 8/17:  Started my taper. 100>90mg

1995 to May 8/17:  100mg Zoloft/day.  Working well but suspecting some signs of Tolerance this past year.

4/5/17:  Started Testosterone Replacement Therapy via T pellet insertion.  Diagnosed with Secondary Hypogonadism.

Supplements:  1000mg fish oil, 10,000iu Vit D3 with K2, 400mg Magnesium.

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Looking4peace

BrassMonkey,

Do you have this "system" in a PDF file? Would love to have a one location to refer to and learn from. Does this ever go away? Is it a constant learning battle to deal with these emotions? This has been, BY FAR, the worst part of my withdrawal.

Thank you for this!


2001-Started Effexor XR (15 Years on Drug) April 1, 2016- 150 mg Effexor XR discontinued 

Started with 150 Mg-Dropped to 75 Mg after 3 weeks I then dropped to 37.5 Mg,4 weeks later I dropped off the medicine entirely.

Did not find out about weaning until too late. (This was the protocol from my general practitioner)

Symptoms of withdrawal are so severe I tried to reinstate Prozac, 9 months after discontinuing Effexor XR

February 15th, 2017-Started Prozac 10mg 

February 22, 2017 -upped to 20mg one week later (no relief)  Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome - (OCD, Anxiety, Depression)

March 1st, 2017-Discontinued Prozac (Psychiatrist wanted to increase dose to 40 mg)

Currently on no medications / Currently dealing with Major Windows and Waves

Supplements: Magnesium, Cod Liver Oil, EM-1 probiotic, Restore teaspoon 3x daily,

Will begin to eliminate the following supplements 7/7/2017

vitamin D 10,000 mg, NAC 600 mg, Zinc 50 mg, Inositol 600mg x 4, B-12, Vitamin C 500 mg, GABA 500 mg, Ashwagandha

 

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Looking4peace

2001-Started Effexor XR (15 Years on Drug) April 1, 2016- 150 mg Effexor XR discontinued 

Started with 150 Mg-Dropped to 75 Mg after 3 weeks I then dropped to 37.5 Mg,4 weeks later I dropped off the medicine entirely.

Did not find out about weaning until too late. (This was the protocol from my general practitioner)

Symptoms of withdrawal are so severe I tried to reinstate Prozac, 9 months after discontinuing Effexor XR

February 15th, 2017-Started Prozac 10mg 

February 22, 2017 -upped to 20mg one week later (no relief)  Symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome - (OCD, Anxiety, Depression)

March 1st, 2017-Discontinued Prozac (Psychiatrist wanted to increase dose to 40 mg)

Currently on no medications / Currently dealing with Major Windows and Waves

Supplements: Magnesium, Cod Liver Oil, EM-1 probiotic, Restore teaspoon 3x daily,

Will begin to eliminate the following supplements 7/7/2017

vitamin D 10,000 mg, NAC 600 mg, Zinc 50 mg, Inositol 600mg x 4, B-12, Vitamin C 500 mg, GABA 500 mg, Ashwagandha

 

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Hope

This is very helpful and validating. I've never ruminated so relentlessly as when I've been dealing with withdrawal. And reinstating the AD didn't help right away.  I tend to try to "argue" with the rumination--mine usually involve having made a mistake, or decisions I made years and years ago. That becomes a part of the spiral and makes it worse. I love that this gives me permission to LET IT GO, distract, soothe, whatever I need to do to stop the spiral. I've been using DBT skills, which have been helpful. Also, YOGA!  Thank you for this information!! 


Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

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ShakeyJerr

Not directly on the subject of emotional spirals, but definitely related...

 

I find that I just cannot stop my mind from thinking anymore, and that every thought revolves around or relates back to recovering from withdrawal.

 

What do normal people think about? I seem to have forgotten! Sometimes I would just like to turn my mind off. I'm open to suggestions on how to do that!

 

SJ


Main thread: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14472-shakeyjerr-say-hello/

History: Prozac & Lithium from 1999 to 2003. Ended up back on after 4 months because taking a beta-blocker caused immediate depression (just 2 doses - turned out I didn't even need it; I had no other withdrawal symptoms - I might have ended up med and withdrawal-free otherwise :(). - Switched to Effexor (75mg 3/day) and Seroquel (50mg 3/day) in 2010. - Did a self-taper during 2016. - Developed Discontinuation Syndrome 02/17.

Supplements: Magnesium-Glycinate 400mg split into 4 100mg doses throughout the day. Vitamin C 500mg - once per day. Fish Oil 1360 mg (950 mg Active Omega-3) - twice per day.

I'm not a doctor. I use the internet, experience, and trial & error. Seek medical advice if necessary.

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bheb

Can the doom cloud happen as a side effect? This happened to me once while on my normal dose of Prozac and has returned much more persistently since I've been off (but with benzos in the mix)


Aug-Dec 2015 Prozac 20mg / Dec 2015-Feb 2016 Prozac 15mg / Feb 2016-May2016 Prozac 20mg

May 2016-June 2016 15mg

June 2016-August 2016 10mg

October 2016-January 2017 15mg, alternating agitation/akathisia sets in --> cold turkey

January 2017 Clonazepam .5mg 

February 2017 Clonazepam 1mg (for a week) then .5mg morning and .25mg evening for about a month. Came down to .25mg morning and evening. 

May 1, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .125mg evening. // May 20, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .0625 evening (.3125 total).

early June .28125 // early mid june .25mg // mid june .21875 // late june .1875 // early july .15625 // early mid july .125 

mid july .09375mg // late july .0625 //early August 2017 down to .03125mg once a day, hopped off in mid August

reinstated at .0625mg late August // Oct 16 - updose to .07mg and switch to oral Rosemont solution

Nov 17 2017 reinstate Prozac .5mg // Nov 21 2017 prozac 1.6mg // Dec 18 2017  3mg prozac / fast taper off the reinstatement -- probably completely off early Oct 2018

June 2019 begin tapering off .07mg Clonazepam, Finish taper December 2019

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ChessieCat

bheb, I suggest you read Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Peter Breggin.  He has a chapter on what effects psychiatric drugs have.  They can end up causing the problem that they are supposed to solve.


Being very patient.  I'll get there - slowly.  ETA mid 2021

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 12 Sept 2020:  Pristiq 0.625 mg (compounded)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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MaryDavid

Thank you BrassMonkey that was really good and i definitely can relate.  Im working on the before explosion bit because ive been exploding every month for the last 2 years and each month i say,  that will be the last and it seems the cycle starts over again.  You wrote about the 'hangover', its awful right?  

How long did this last for you during your withdrawal?


In 2001 - started on Carbamezapine (can't remember dose), Fluoexitine 20mg, Clanozepam (low dose) after a nervous breakdown.

In 2004 - abruptly stopped carbamezapine after falling pregnant.  

In 2009 - changed from Fluoexitine to Citalopram 20mg.

In 2014 - tappered off clanozepam.

In Aug 2015 - cold turkey off Citalopram :o

From Aug - Dec 2015 I had mostly flu-like symptoms and trouble sleeping. From Jan - April 2016 Emotional nightmare ensued, paranoia, excessive anxiety and tormenting thoughts, basically trying to manage these emotions and thoughts which are exhausting.  Lots of intense emotions followed by tears, at times howling when Im alone.In March 2016 I tried Choline & Inisitol, Vit B Complex, Using Aromatherapy, like Lavendar, Clary Sage and others.

In April STOPPED Choline & Inositol as I beleive it was giving me shakes and making me more anxious.  It also made me feel like i'd taken a benzo tablet making me feel sedated.  Reading - The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk (recommended by a member on this group).

Symptoms - extreme low self esteem and insecurity, intense emotions and tearfulness. This is so so hard.  But im going to keep pushing.  Feel bad for my 2 girls and husband.  I don't want to be seen in this way, especially by the girls. Self-help : praying, meditating, breathing exercises and physical exercises.

Ceterizine (antihistamine) - I've been taking this for many years now for itchiness in my palms and feet.  I take them as and when I need them. JULY 2016 Dr Bach homeopathic remedies and 'rescue remedy'

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brassmonkey

Hi MaryDavid--  I sorry to hear that you've been plagued with these spirals and blowups for years, it's no fun at all.  It sounds like there is a predictable pattern for your's which will really help in derailing the process.  By starting to change the channel as soon as you think you're starting to feel the spiral start will give you more control over the situation.  Sometimes in the beginning you might need to let the spiral play out, but try to do so in a "safe manner".  This will help gain control over the situation.  I've even apologized to people in advance when I felt one coming on.  Sort of a warning that things were slipping out of my control, but I was really trying.  The "hangovers" were really demoralizing in a "darn it, I did it again" way.  Once I started my paxil taper Spirals were a regular occurence for the first three years and then started to decrease in severity and frequency.  Now that I'm off I get minor ones that are relatively easy to control. Spirals are a normal emotional reaction to life, so they will never really go away, but now we can learn to control and live with them.


20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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minu

I hope this is ok to post. I’m kind of a newbie here. But I found a guided meditation video that has really helped me during my rumination/spiral episodes. It also has helped me fall asleep several times. It seems to work pretty quickly too. 

 

 


April 2015 - Started Wellbutrin XL 150mg for smoking cessation
April 2015 - Started Lexapro 10mg for depression
July 2015 - Tapered off of Wellbutrin and had a mental breakdown
December 2015 - Began slowly healing from mental breakdown
Mid 2016 - Increased Lexapro to 20mg
October 2017 - Began tapering off Lexapro. Dropped dosage in half every 2 weeks. Terrible withdrawal.
November 2017 - Finished tapering
December 2017 - Phase II began and I found this website

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Barbarannamated
On 5/17/2017 at 5:34 PM, artSet3561 said:

Well put, my problem is my pride and the discernment to know when I am over reacting or when I am protecting my dignity/space be it what you will. That I haven't learned yet. Also, do you worry that by 'changing the channel ' you may internalise anger thereby compounding the issue?

 

I understand your concern.  I've found that the things that trigger the angry spirals are events / abuse / mistreatment (family of origin) that I subconsciously buried and didn't even recognize as such prior to taking any drugs.  Not innocuous events.  I'm now recognizing how abusive and damaging they were and anger would have been a very appropriate response at the time.  I've even had therapists tell me "that's ABUSE".  

 

I recognize that I respond exactly how Brass monkey describes above (especially the hangover), but the only way I've been able to handle it is to remove myself from the relationships and anyone who knows my family because they will never understand or support me and that is my biggest trigger, by FAR.  

 

ALL good advice, BM.  I'm about 7 years post taper and dealing with several tardive medical conditions brought on by withdrawal, so it's extremely difficult to get myself in a healthy, supportive environment.  Just escaping the continuous daily conflict and trauma would be a good step (living with family). 


Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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