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LCAirPasta

LCAirPasta: Just need some encouragement/positivity

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LCAirPasta

Hey guys, I've actually read this website a lot in the past year but never actually joined. I decided today would be a good as day as any. I have a question that I think everyone here has probably asked before- am I gonna be ok?

 

Here's my situation (stick with me, it's a long story).

 

I'm turning 23 next month, and throughout high school I never dealt with much anxiety aside from two or three panic attacks brought on by smoking weed. I didn't know what they were at the time so I chalked it up to bad drugs or whatever.

 

Anyway, after I graduated in 2012 I started experimenting with different drugs in college and I ended up having what I think was a really bad acid trip, or even perhaps serotonin syndrome, in April of 2013. I took a few tabs and immediately had a horrible reaction that ended with me blacking out on the floor and waking up with a few minor scrapes and bruises. i was pretty much fine for about 2 or 3 months after that, but in August I started having weird visuals and light headedness. I also had some panic attacks, which had never happened sober before.

 

Thinking the bad trip had messed me up, I went to the doctor with my symptoms and was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Looking back on it I'm sure the bad trip didn't help but since I was ok for a few months after and my anxiety symptoms didn't really surface until August, i don't think the bad trip necessarily caused my anxiety. It probably would have happened either way.

 

Anyway, I was prescribed citalopram and it worked amazing for 2.5 years. I had minimal anxiety and panic attacks. However, I gained about 60 pounds and had some sexual side effects (without getting too graphic). Thinking the medicine was causing the weight gain, I went to a new doctor and was prescribed pristiq.

 

Pristiq also worked, though I noticed I couldn't drink on it or I would have a panic attack. The downside was that it wasn't covered by insurance and was VERY expensive. Still, I felt pretty good and because I was so ignorant about the drugs I decided to try and stop cold turkey back in May of this year. I lasted about a weekend with the horrible withdrawal symptoms before I went back to my doctor to explain what happened. She told me that it was normal to experience a withdrawal when stopping cold turkey and prescribed Effexor as something similar to pristiq that would be covered by insurance. It didn't help at all and I still felt like I was going through withdrawals.

 

After about 2 weeks i asked to try and go back to the citalopram and she recommended lexapro as an improved version of citalopram, so i tried that for about 6 weeks. It actually made me feel worse. I went back, desperate to find something to help me, and was prescribed brintellix(trintellix) which after two weeks did nothing.

 

Finally I had enough and asked my doctor about stopping all antidepressants. She told me to cut them in half for a week and then take a half every other day for a week. At this point I had become a veteran of online message boards and I knew that taper was very aggressive so I did two weeks of half a pill and two weeks of half a pill every other day. I took my last pill on August 30th, exactly 90 days ago.

 

I've gone through every symptom imaginable. Brain zaps, panic attacks, weird muscle twitches including eyelids and finger jerks, extreme derealization/depersonalization, horrible chest pains that sent me to the ER convinced I was having a heart attack, jaw pain, weird visuals, and bouts of crying at the slightest provocation.

 

Since I'm about 90 days in, I figured I'd see some improvement by now. While the brain zaps have thankfully stopped, all my other symptoms are still coming and going. Some days I'll have no chest pain but I'll have twitches and depersonalization. Or some days I won't really have much twitching but I'll have visuals and jaw pain.

 

I guess my question is this- can I expect these symptoms to eventually go away, or do I have to learn to live with them as this is the best I'll get? Is this my normal anxiety disorder or still withdrawal symptoms? Am I stuck like this? Please only positive comments, I'm a super negative person by nature and I'm trying to remain positive. Thanks in advance for any replies.


Edit- I should add that I don't do any drugs anymore, I stopped everything other than drinking as soon as I started my antidepressant in 2013. I haven't drank this summer either, I've tried but it just makes my withdrawal symptoms worse so I've stayed away. I've also been working out every other day (lifting weights and doing core workouts) to try and feel a little better. My diet has been better and I've lost about 30 pounds since May, and I've just started a new career that I'm excited about. I SHOULD be doing much better but these withdrawals/anxiety have just been killing me all year. Just some context for my question. Thanks again

Edited by scallywag
added paragraph breaks and tags

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yyeehhaaww

Oh, Dear LC... first off welcome.  I am sorry you have been through this... most doctors do NOT know what they are doing otherwise most of us would not be be here dealing with so many withdrawal hell madness .  YES, I believe you will heal.  You will find positive encouraging words and hear you WILL heal.  It may not feel like it, but you will hear from Experts (Moderators) that will reassure you.  

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LCAirPasta

Thank you! I just don't know how long to expect to feel this way. I'm trying to be patient but it's crazy to me that it's been 3 months and I'm still dealing with it. But thanks again for the positive words!

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yyeehhaaww

the focus HAS to be on today present NOT tomorrow future.  It will not help you.   I know because I too have done that as have most of us in living frustrating and fear  From what you have said. you are doing a LOT of good things to help you..  Do not be discouraged. ACCEPTANCE is what I am trying to focus on.  Billy the Kid also new. said PERSEVERANCE.  

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flatrock

Hi, I'm new here too. You've been through so much. Be gentle with yourself and trust that you'll feel better soon. (((hugs))

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yyeehhaaww

what is your new career?  that speaks a lot about your strength to be able to work and deal with withdrawal

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LCAirPasta

Thanks guys. I just started selling insurance. I got my license in may just before the beginning of my withdrawals, and I worked for a company for a while during the worst parts of the withdrawal. I've been licensed for about 6 months and I just started at a new company two weeks ago. It's tough but if I don't get out of the house and work I end up stuck in the house and that's not good for me. I try to keep stimulated.

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yyeehhaaww

WOW, 

 

YOU are a very strong young man to do that.  You really do have a lot of strength you will get to the other side and heal.  Rest in that.

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yyeehhaaww

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LCAirPasta

Thank you. Does anyone have a timeline for when this should mostly pass? I can deal with a little anxiety and panic attacks but I want to know if/when I'll really pull through

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yyeehhaaww

unfortunately everyone is different ... no crystal ball

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scallywag

LCAirPasta -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
You've had QUITE the adventure on and off SSRI and other antidepressants this year. I'm sorry that your doctor didn't know enough to advise how to taper off these medications safely and that you are now experiencing the negative consequences of her ignorance.
 
I wish I had an answer for you about the duration of your withdrawal. Unfortunately, no one can predict how long it will take for your symptoms to abate fully. As you've discovered it can take longer than the brief period of 4-6 weeks after discontinuation that the pharma manufacturers want us to believe. After what we would consider a rapid taper, you may be looking at many months for symptoms to resolve, though you will notice improvements along the way.
 
It's a good sign that the brain zaps have weakened, decreased frequency and disappeared.  This shows that you are recovering, perhaps not at the pace that you'd prefer, but it is a step in the desired direction. :)
 

For more about withdrawal symptoms:

What is withdrawal syndrome
Important topics about symptoms including sleep problems
 
I mentioned that we consider a 4 weeks a rapid taper. We, and other psych med peer support groups, suggest reducing dose by no more than 10% per month. For more about that, please read the discussion topic at this link: Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
 
We have discussion topics for the symptoms you've listed in which people share how they are coping with it.

Although I can't find discussion topics for them, some other members experience the other symptoms you mentioned, "weird visuals, and weird muscle twitches including eyelids and finger jerks."
 
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.

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LCAirPasta

Thanks so much to everyone replying. It comforts me to see support from other people who went through this. I gusss my last question is- I WILL get better right? Eventually? I can be patient if I know there's light at the end of the tunnel for me.

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yyeehhaaww

YES and YES.  You will get better.  You can and will be.  It will not be linear like a cut.  You will have windows and waves and the percentages will keep increasing for windows.  Keep going ... you are doing a great job.  Relax about the future... easier said than done, I KNOW>

 

No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things. 
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/tunnel.html

 

 

http://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-or-a-train/

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LCAirPasta

Thanks. Today was better! Just some derealization and weird jaw pain/muscle twitches. I just try to REALLY savor the good moments and not think about the bad ones

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scallywag

Please don't be surprised if your symptoms intensify or if new symptoms arise; CNS (central nervous system) recovery isn't linear.

The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization

 

The information at these two link have helpful descriptions and analogies about healing during withdrawal:

How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"

Youtube video, 4 minutes, "Healing from antidepressants"

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LCAirPasta

Yup my "windows and waves" almost seem to be by the day. Yesterday I felt the best I've felt since before I quit. And today I'm back to where I was earlier this week, suffering but not too horrible. I'm pretty young (22, 23 in 4 days!) and although a sinus infection kept me out of commission for about a week I try to lift or play basketball 4 times a week. Hopefully I can recover relatively quickly, some of the horror stories on here are really distressing. I don't know how I would handle 5 years of this, and I hope mine doesn't go on indefinitely like some people's seem to. I think that's everyone's fear in this, that you'll never get better. But I've personally made progress that I'm happy about, and I read a lot of the success stories that were super encouraging. Thanks to everyone to relied to this introduction, I'll be checking the website sporadically as I continue to recover and hopefully update monthly or so.

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LCAirPasta

Ok so I'm a little over 3 months out on a very fast taper. My symptoms we very very bad at first and I think slowly improved. Early last week, I think I hit a window where my symptoms got better to the point of me feeling almost normal again (just some confusion/racing thoughts). Then this weekend was the worst I've had since the first month of WD. This week it seems like my windows and waves are happening almost hourly. I'll feel a window for a few hours and then be in a wave for 5-6 hours. My question- do windows and waves become more frequent the closer I get to a (relatively) "full" recovery? I'm mostly afraid of a really bad, long wave hitting me out of nowhere, but if anyone who's made it through experiences something similar I'd like to hear from them. Thanks!

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scallywag

LCAirPasta I've moved your post/question from the Windows & Waves topic to your introduction so that all your information, questions and answers are in one place.

 

The pattern of windows and waves can change during the period of recovery.

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LCAirPasta

Thank you!

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Rockingchaircat

Thanks so much to everyone replying. It comforts me to see support from other people who went through this. I gusss my last question is- I WILL get better right? Eventually? I can be patient if I know there's light at the end of the tunnel for me.

 

Yes. you WILL (definitely) get better.  Eventually. The light at the end of tunnel is not the light of an oncoming train.

 

The Waves will be bad. But eventually they get turned into windows.

Mine own withdrawal has gone of for much longer than I'd hoped, but then I was also on them a lot longer than you. And you've got the benefit of being a couple of years younger than I. That which I've found to help: Eating healthy, EXERCISING, fresh air, and sunlight (a full spectrum light will also do good).  

As it is now, I've noticed that my waves seem to be getting shorter and less intense.

 

It's worth it to endure.  Good luck with the Insurance company.

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