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AnxietySucks: Going through nightmare and need some hope

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AnxietySucks

I'm shaking as I write this.

 

Long story short, went on antidepressants about 9 years ago for disthymia, GAD, and Panic Disorder. Started on Lexapro. It worked fairly well and had no startup side effects. PDoc added Welbutrin. It worked well too. Switched from Lexapro to another SSRI briefly without problems. Switched to Zoloft and stayed on it for about 8 years.

 

Smooth sailing aside from the sexual side effects, which caused me (stupidly) to quit cold turkey in November of 2016. From then to January 2017 I felt fine except for brain zaps. Those eventually went away and haven't returned.

 

February 2017 I started getting weird chest tightness and heaviness, accompanied by a stinging in the mouth and tongue. Had EKG, echo, chest xray, all fine.

 

Saw a new PDoc on March 3rd who said chest symptoms were anxiety and put me on Trintellix and Klonopin. Was hesitant to start these drugs so I waited awhile. Took a friend's 0.25 Xanax on occasion during March to combat relatively mild anxiety from chest symptoms. Anxiety was getting worse so I decided to try the Klons. Was prescribed 0.5 to 1 every night before bed. Started doing that about March 16 with varied results. One day it seemed to work like a charm while the next day not at all, or even seemed to make anxiety worse.

 

March 24 decided to try the Trintellix. March 25, 26 went by without side effects then BAM on March 27 I began what I can only describe as an unending and unrelenting panic attack that has only ceased briefly a few times since. I kept taking it anyway until March 29 when I called PDoc who told me to stop taking it and take something else. I told him F that, I want to go back to Zoloft and Welbutrin, at least I know that works. Been taking the Zoloft and Welbutrin since then.

 

 

Saturday April 1st, 10:00pm I took 0.5 Clonazepam and fell asleep for 4 hours.

 

Sunday April 2 2:00am awoke in a state of severe anxiety, about a 9.5/10, worse than I had ever felt. 5:00am went to the ER. 9:00am given Ativan at ER. Did not help. Voluntarily admitted to psych ER. In holding area until 11:00pm then transported by ambulance to a psych ward an hour away.

 

Psych ward was a nightmare and drove my anxiety even higher which I didn't think was even possible.

 

Monday April 3 evening, anxiety at 9.5. Blood pressure 177 systolic. Nurse gives 0.5 Xanax. Blood pressure drops to normal. Anxiety drops to 7.5. An hour later, anxiety up to 10!!! Nerves feel like they're on fire, heart pounding fast, muscles very weak, brain feels like it's being electrocuted. Given Hydroxyzine. An hour later, still 10. Given 2mg Xanax and wheelchaired back to room, or rather empty jail cell. Passed out.

 

Tuesday April 4 awoke feeling drugged and anxiety at 5. Discharged at 1pm. Anxiety drops to 3. Arrive home, anxiety drops to 2. I was hopeful that the nightmare was over.

 

Nope. Yesterday Wednesday April 5 morning, anxiety at 3. By noon anxiety climbed to 7. Is fluctuating between 5 and 7. Called PDoc in a panic. PDoc says keep taking Zoloft and Welbutrin and also prescribes Neurontin and Valium to be taken 3x per day, 2x dosage at bedtime. Picked up scripts that evening and took the bedtime dose. About a half hour later started feeling weird but good. Didn't last long though. Had a rough night.

 

Today April 6 morning I felt very weird, but not in a good way. Tremors in my facial muscles, derealization, slow thinking. Looked up Neurontin on the Internet and learned how bad it is. Decided not to take morning dose and called PDoc and left message.

 

I did take the morning Valium though, and that helped for a few hours. Took the afternoon Valium and it seemed to increase my anxiety and make me dizzy. PDoc hasn't called back.

 

 

 

This is HELL. There's no end to my anxiety attack. I cannot function. I'm going to lose my job, my health insurance.

 

 

Please tell me there's an end to this suffering. Please give me some hope. Some advice. What is happening to me? Is my life over?

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Dwell

Anxiety I think you have come to the right place! I am not an admin or anything on here but you seem to be having typical withdrawal symptoms. Many others and myself have and are going through what you are after stopping meds. It will all pass with time! A moderator should be by soon with some info for you! You are not alone!

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AnxietySucks

Thank you Dwell

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scallywag

AnxietySucks -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

Medical "professionals," oy! Your doctor AND your pharmacist each should have told you NOT to taper off an SSRI every single time time you were a client of their services. The vast majority of people will have a strong negative reaction to cold-turkey stops of SSRIs like Lexapro, Paxil and Zoloft. Wellbutrin cold-turkey ain't a picnic either. To understand how these drugs affect us all while we're taking them -- and then for weeks and months after we've stopped -- please have a look at

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

Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

 

How would you compare your symptoms, particularly the anxiety and panic, now compared to when you started medication: better, worse, or about the same?

 

Although you've written a detailed account of medications you've taken in the last six months in your first post of this topic, we ask that you summarize that in a posting signature that will appear below each of your posts. This gives us a quick summary of your pertinent medication and withdrawal history at a glance which can save a LOT of time. So A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 9 and Post 10
A practical job-related matter -- do you have disability insurance coverage that would allow you to take time off? Would your doc, pDoc, or any doctor you've seen recently support a claim for this and complete the paperwork? You would not be the first to make use of a disability benefit because of SSRI withdrawal problems.

 

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

 

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

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AnxietySucks

Hi scallywag.  Thank you for the warm welcome!

 

Is my signature okay?

 

 

To answer your questions:

 

  • My anxiety and panic are now much worse than they were before I started taking SSRIs.  Before, I was bad but still able to function.  Now I am barely able to function.
  • I currently have a PDoc appointment for Monday.  Hoping I can get him to sign something for FMLA.  But he's not happy that I refuse to take the Neurontin right now so I don't know how that will go.  Even if I get FMLA that will only carry me so far.

 

The information I've found on this site so far makes me more distrustful of my doctor and has lessened my hope that reinstatement will work.  I'm very confused and scared and don't know who to trust.

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AnxietySucks

Saw my PDOC today. I asked him what's wrong with me and he shrugged. I told him even before I ever started taking SSRIs I wasn't this bad. He said thats just the nature of Anxiety Disorder. I asked him if s this could be withdrawal from quitting cold turkey and he said no, not this far out. He told me to stay the course and that I'm impatient and need to give it time. He said he would sign FMLA docs which is good.

 

Still anxious all the time, between 5 and 7. Still depressed and having suicidal ideations (not depressed enough to do anything about it). Still have chest tightness and stiff muscles that stiffen up naturally if I'm not paying attention. Valium seems to be keeping panic attacks at bay which is good I guess. But now I'm freaking out about getting addicted.

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divegrl

Mindfulness meditation is helpful for anxiety. There are free videos on YouTube.

 

Meditation has greatly helped me with my anxiety and depression.

 

Good luck my friend. ????????????????

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ShakeyJerr

Yes, anxiety does indeed suck, AS. I am pretty much exactly where you are right now. Super-high anxiety, little relief at all. And I too will probably lose my temp job over it - which will make my wife very angry/unhappy (which of course has me even more anxious).

 

Let's hang in there, you and me together AS. We're going to beat this!

 

SJ

 

PS: I wanted to add that the psych consult I saw pretty much said the same thing yours did, i.e. "discontinuation syndrome doesn't exist, and even if it did, it would happen immediately, so you must have been in remission those couple of months and now your disease is back." He admitted to not knowing me from Adam, yet was ready to try a whole slew of med combos on me! I left without a prescription because it just sounded like a bad deal. But now I sort of wish I did just get some meds; this anxiety is the worse! I even contemplated going to the ER last night, but didn't want to stress my wife and daughter so I just rode it out with a hydroxyzine - which for me last only a few hours tops, if it helps at all, which it doesn't sometimes.

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AnxietySucks

ChessieCat, divegrl, ShakeyJerr, thanks for the support guys.

 

 

Thankfully for now the Valium seems to be keeping the anxiety down.  I'm having a better day today where I can work from home a bit.  I really really don't want to be on Valium because I've heard benzo withdrawal is pure hell but I don't feel like I have a choice at the moment.

 

I seem to be having a better depression day as well.  The past two days I spent a lot of time thinking very very dark despairing thoughts, but today I'm not feeling like that.  I'm hopeful but I know "waves and windows" I will probably regress to being a nervous and depressed mess very soon.

 

SJ I wish you the best and will be following your story closely.

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ShakeyJerr

Well a better depression day is a triumph! Every window is to be celebrated, and every wave is to be taken as a step in the healing process. I know it is counter-intuitive. But if I have learned one thing from this forum, it's that the waves are part of our system taking time to focus on an area that is in need of rewiring. And sometimes that means a seeming undoing of a problem we thought we were past. It's the Rubik's Cube analogy that you will see on here. Even after a "side" is "solved" it sometimes has to be seemingly messed back up so another "side" can get solved. But in the end we have a whole cube!

 

For some more input on anxiety, search for Claire Weekes here on the forums. She's an author on anxiety. There is a lot of good stuff excerpted from her books and further advice on managing this very sucky symptom.

 

I'm praying for you!

 

SJ

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AnxietySucks

Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

Well so far I've been feeling okay-ish.  The nightmare anxiety has not returned.  And my depression has lifted somewhat.  I see my psychiatrist for a followup on Friday 4/21.

 

I have a few fears/concerns that keep me thinking in circles:

  • Am I feeling better because of the Valium?  Or is the Zoloft/Welbutrin kicking in?  How can I tell?
  • I really hope it's the Zoloft/Welbutrin because I do not want to become dependent on Valium (hell I might already be!)
  • What is my pdoc going to do if I tell him I'm feeling better?  Wean me off the Valium?  Should I trust his weaning strategy?

 

I wish I had answers :(

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ShakeyJerr

Happy Easter, AS! Glad you are feeling better. I will be very interested to know what your doctor says. I am in the midst of trying to make some decisions concerning strategies to take also.

 

SJ

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ShakeyJerr

Haven't heard from you in a few days, AS. How did your week go?

 

SJ

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AnxietySucks

Hey ShakeyJerr and everyone.  Sorry I haven't been making updates as often as I should.  Had the followup with PDoc on 4/21, and I told him that the Valium seemed to be keeping the anxiety at bay and I was feeling marginally better.  I told him that it's not consistent.  Some days I'm really anxious/depressed and some days I'm not.   He said he thinks I'm on the right track and upped my Zoloft dose to 75mg (Need to update signature now!) and I've been on that since then.

 

Since that time it feels like I've been getting worse.  Almost worked a full week and was feeling hopeful last week until Friday 4:00 when my anxiety amped up.  Then Saturday, Sunday, Monday were filled with crazy depression and I slept all day.  I'm a smidge better today though.  I don't know what the hell is going on with me.  I read somewhere that the increase and dosage could be responsible for it?   I don't know.

 

I gain hope, then I lose it.  Today I don't know what to feel.

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ShakeyJerr

I gain hope, then I lose it.  Today I don't know what to feel.

 

"I gain hope, then lose it" - this is common, I think, in the early days of withdrawal. I know it happens to me. It's part of the Windows and Waves Pattern. Have you read that thread?

 

"Today I don't know what to feel" - Trying to put "know" (which in our case really means "think") and "feel" together can lead to a spiral. A wise veteran of these boards, BrassMonkey, posted about those here. Reading his essays on the subject is very helpful.

 

My advice on "know" and "feel" is to breath and float. That is - do your deep breathing when your mind tried to impose rationality to the chemically-induced emotions. Don't fight the emotions, or try to rationalize them. Accept them then gently move through them. Catnapt sent me a very cool, 3-1/2 minute audio meditation. You can listen to it here.

 

We are going to get through this!

 

SJ

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AnxietySucks

Sorry again for not checking in as often as I should.  Went up to 100mg Sertraline about 4 weeks ago.  Prior to that I had a week and a half where I felt okay on the 75mg.  Four days after upping the Sertraline to 100mg I tanked and haven't recovered since.  Every day is a struggle.

 

Is it possible that 100mg is too much?  Years ago I was on 100mg and was fine.  Or maybe the Valium is making me feel terrible?  The tremors, itchiness, weakness, dizziness, etc. didn't start until I started taking that Valium.  Pdoc thinks those are anxiety symptoms, not the Valium.  But I didn't have those symptoms (at least not in the same consistent way) before the Valium.

 

I'm at work right now.  My hands are shaking as I type, so bad that it's taking me way too long to write this.

 

I hope everyone else is doing well.  Take care.

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DaveB
32 minutes ago, AnxietySucks said:

Sorry again for not checking in as often as I should.  Went up to 100mg Sertraline about 4 weeks ago.  Prior to that I had a week and a half where I felt okay on the 75mg.  Four days after upping the Sertraline to 100mg I tanked and haven't recovered since.  Every day is a struggle.

 

Is it possible that 100mg is too much?  Years ago I was on 100mg and was fine.  Or maybe the Valium is making me feel terrible?  The tremors, itchiness, weakness, dizziness, etc. didn't start until I started taking that Valium.  Pdoc thinks those are anxiety symptoms, not the Valium.  But I didn't have those symptoms (at least not in the same consistent way) before the Valium.

 

I'm at work right now.  My hands are shaking as I type, so bad that it's taking me way too long to write this.

 

I hope everyone else is doing well.  Take care.

 

Wow, you need to read my introduction on this site..we are almost in exactly the same boat. 8 years on Zoloft, I quit in October cause I didn't think I needed it anymore. Felt fine until January, then started getting some anxiety. Tried to reinstate and have been in a crazy anxiety state ever since. Why did your doc bump you up to 100 if you were feeling better? I have felt worse every-time I have upped a dose of an SSRI since trying to reinstate in Januray, I am hoping the Paxil I am taking will kick in soon as I just upped it from 10mgs to 20mgs and feel terrible. 

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KarenB

Utah raises an interesting question - why did your doc raise the sert. when you were doing okay? 

 

It does seem likely that it is way too much for you.  Here's what I get when I put your three drugs into the Drug Interactions Checker:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Interactions between your selected drugs

Major

bupropion sertraline

Applies to: Wellbutrin (bupropion), Zoloft (sertraline)

Talk to your doctor before using buPROPion together with sertraline. Combining these medications may increase the risk of seizures, which may occur rarely with either medication. In addition, buPROPion can increase the blood levels of sertraline, which may increase other side effects. You may be more likely to experience seizures with these medications if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol during treatment. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

diazepam bupropion

Applies to: Valium (diazepam), Wellbutrin (bupropion)

Excessive use of diazePAM, or abrupt discontinuation following long-term use, may occasionally trigger seizures in patients taking buPROPion. Talk to your doctor before using these medications together if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Minor

diazepam sertraline

Applies to: Valium (diazepam), Zoloft (sertraline)

Consumer information for this minor interaction is not currently available. Some minor drug interactions may not be clinically relevant in all patients. Minor drug interactions do not usually cause harm or require a change in therapy. However, your healthcare provider can determine if adjustments to your medications are needed.

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DaveB
7 hours ago, AnxietySucks said:

I'm at work right now.  My hands are shaking as I type, so bad that it's taking me way too long to write this.

I have this symptom as well, it is really annoying! 34YO Father of 3 and I feel like I have Parkinson's!

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AnxietySucks

KarenB, to answer your question, he upped me to 100mg because that's what I used to take and was doing okay on it back then.

He offered to give me another medication to control the tremors and I was like "No f***ing way, I'm on too many drugs as it is."

 

I'm scared/curious to start tapering off the Valium.  I feel like it's contributing to some of these side-effects.  I see doc again on July 7th.

 

Thanks all for reading.

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KarenB

As always, it's a bit of a guessing game.  You might try reducing the valium by a small amount, while keeping clear notes on what happens.  Keep everything else at the same dose, so you know what is causing what. 

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DaveB

How are you doing now Anxiety? Did your symptoms calm down?

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AnxietySucks

Hey Utah49er,

 

Thanks for your concern!

 

I went from taking Valium 2.5 / 2.5 / 5.0 (morning/midday/evening) to taking 2.5 / 2.5 / 2.5 on odd numbered days, and staying with the 5.0 at night on even numbered days.  So far I haven't noticed any difference.

 

I'm on my way right now to see a 2nd pdoc for a 2nd opinion.  I hope this one does more than shrug when I ask him what went wrong.

 

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DaveB
1 hour ago, AnxietySucks said:

Hey Utah49er,

 

Thanks for your concern!

 

I went from taking Valium 2.5 / 2.5 / 5.0 (morning/midday/evening) to taking 2.5 / 2.5 / 2.5 on odd numbered days, and staying with the 5.0 at night on even numbered days.  So far I haven't noticed any difference.

 

I'm on my way right now to see a 2nd pdoc for a 2nd opinion.  I hope this one does more than shrug when I ask him what went wrong.

 

 

So no better on the anxiety front? No stabilizing? I will be interested to hear what your new doctor has to say, let us know.

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DaveB
On 7/27/2017 at 8:07 AM, AnxietySucks said:

Hey Utah49er,

 

Thanks for your concern!

 

I went from taking Valium 2.5 / 2.5 / 5.0 (morning/midday/evening) to taking 2.5 / 2.5 / 2.5 on odd numbered days, and staying with the 5.0 at night on even numbered days.  So far I haven't noticed any difference.

 

I'm on my way right now to see a 2nd pdoc for a 2nd opinion.  I hope this one does more than shrug when I ask him what went wrong.

 

 

Haven't heard from you in a while, how goes the battle? Hopefully you are stable again and enjoying life!

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