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Vegetassj53: About me: nervous breakdown and ensuing effort to reassemble


Vegetassj53

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Hi All,

 

Great to see such a community together here. I've been reading a bunch of posts but recently decided to start my own topic.

 

im normally a pretty happy enthusiastic person, but suffered from what I can only describe as a nervous breakdown late last year after years of stress due to not dealing with certain things in my life.

 

I Had been experiencing a lot weird symptoms for a while before the crash (new onset of social awkwardness, nightmares, racing thoughts, anger/rage), and in general was acutely aware that my brain was not functioning right. I had a lot of stress in my life that I was doing my best to hold back with, and after one very stressful anger/rage filled week I crashed hard with what I now understood to be a panic attack. I went to the ER, they referred me to mental health professional and discharged me.

 

for the first month I felt like my panic attack never went away. I also began having some freaky paranoid thoughts, along with extremely dizziness, brain zaps, vertigo when moving my eyes ( after reading on this forum, it seems like these are withdrawal symptoms, however I was not withdrawing from anything). I was in bed all month before starting to see a psychologist. During this time my mind would get stuck on angry thoughts, which I desperately wanted to let go of but couldn't...which would make the anxiety even worse. I didn't shower much, was just hanging on hoping to get better.

 

Things started improving slowly, I began going to therapy every week to get to the bottom of everything. I also started taking 500mg of 5htp which made a huge difference. I was recently referred to a psychiatrist who gave me lexapro 10mg a few days ago. He thought since the 5HTP had such a pronounced effect, that I would be a good candidate for lexapro.

 

I'm at a point where I still have anxiety, but it is getting better with the 5HTP and therapy. I started taking the lexapro a few days ago, but after reading this forum I am having second thoughts on continuing. Maybe lexapro will be stronger than the 5HTP and is just what I need to stabilize me for a few months while I work through the life issues? I might try staying at 5mg vs the 10mg I am on now. My psychologist seems to think it's no big deal to stop taking it if I don't like it.

 

looking forward to conversing with everyone.

 
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Hi and welcome to the forum

 

I am sorry about your situation I've had panic attacks before and it is terrifying. I had my first panic attack in college and was also placed on lexapro. It did give me the ability to function and I had no panic attacks while on it but it made me so tired and indifferent to everything . I was sleeping so much and just had that lethargic feeling . I completely understand wanting to be on a low dose and work through your problems . If you think this is what you need go for it but make sure you get the therapy and work on your issues and then come off . My big mistake was that I just took the drug and assumed it would cure me . I knew nothing about mental illness and my doctor told me after a year to stop taking it which is what I did . And then the symptoms came back. Then back on lexapro and merry-go-around .

 

I didn't know that but lexapro is a very potent drug if you can take 5 mg and work through your problems that would be better than taking 10. And yes lexapro is definitely much much stronger than 5htp .

 

How are you feeling on 10 mg of lexapro ? Any side effects? How many days ?

04/10 Luvox 25 mg PM, Nortriptyline 1 mg PM

03/08/19: Buspar 2.5 mg AM, 5 mg PM

01/01/19: Xanax 0.125 AM 5 times a week. Occasionally, 0.125 twice a day AM & noon

12/18 Armour Thyroid 60 mg (for hypothyroidism) 

 

Supplements: B Complex, B12 (adeno), multi-vitamin, D, Adrenal Cortex, iron

  • Lexapro 20 mg 2007 - 2013 with various attempts to stop
  • 2013 found a new Dr and started trying other meds: Prozac, Notryptoline, Effexor, Buspar, Gabapentin, Paxil, Nardil
  • Lexapro 15 mg 2015 - 04/2016
  • Vibryiid 10 - 15mg 05/16-06/16 
  • NO MEDS 07/16 - 10/31/16
  • Reinstated 10/31/16 at 2.5 mg lexapro, increased to 5 mg   
  • 1/13/17 switched to Luvox 50 mg before bed
  • 1/20/17 Luvox 37.5 mg PM
  • 12/18 Luvox 10 mg PM, Nortriptyline 2 mg (started Nortriptyline 06/17 at 10 mg)
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Vegetassj54

 

I'm sorry you've been having a difficult time since last year. But glad to hear you have been able to uncover your issues and work though them. These things can take time, but are well worth the time and effort.

 

Extended periods of high stress can definitely take their toll, I experienced the same thing. You mentioned that you had symptoms similar to withdrawal, even though you were not in withdrawal from anything. That makes perfect sense to me. Anything which stresses the nervous system can cause symptoms, whether that's emotional stress, long term physical stress, chemical exposure or disruption caused by psychiatric medications, especially trying to come off them after being on them for a while.

 

Any form of extended stress can cause increased sensitivity, a heightened fight/flight response, panic attacks and increased sensations of anxiety.

 

I think it was great you found a safe supplement which helped and decided to seek therapy. But my heart sank when I got to the part of your story about Lexapro.

 

Many people go through a time in life where a situation or events culminate in a kind of breakdown in normal functioning for a while. If you think about it, its probably natural and not entirely negative. Usually, these episodes are self limiting if given enough time, as people re-evaluate, make a few changes perhaps or just come to terms with whatever caused the upset. I prefer to think in terms of potential for breakthrough, rather than breakdown.

 

Your case is a perfect example. You admitted you hadn't been dealing with something, eventually your body started sending you warning signals in the form of symptoms and increased emotions. Like a warning light in a car, flashing to tell you something needs your attention.

 

Antidepressants don't cure anything, they alter natural brain chemistry in an extreme way, changing the way the brain functions. Over time the entire body and nervous system is re-wired and works differently in response to this chemical imbalance. They often cause unpleasant side effects, which tend to increase over time. Evidence is starting to emerge, showing they increase the risk of other illness.

 

For many people, coming off them can be difficult, although with careful tapering, its possible.

 

I started taking an antidepressant for anxiety, believing that I had an illness caused by a chemical imbalance which this medicine would fix. At first, it seemed to help, I was started on Zoloft, a similar drug. I felt different from how I usually felt. Some of it was good, some of it was unpleasant, but I stuck with it. But within a few weeks I was experiencing depression like I'd never experienced before in my life. I'd had the occasional down day, but anxiety was my thing, not depression, but here I was feeling like my life was suddenly completely meaningless. I couldn't feel anything emotionally, the good feelings were gone along with the bad ones, it was like I was half dead and just going through the motions.

 

But strangely, I never made the connection with the medication, probably because they are called anti depressants, but for me, they caused depression. I switched drugs several times, trying to eliminate side effects and recreate that initial feeling of improvement. I ended up on Lexapro, and ended up being on antidepressants for more than 13 years, even though they were no longer helping and in fact were ruining the quality of my life in several ways. Whenever I tried to stop taking them, within a few days I would experience intolerable symptoms and start taking my medication again thinking I must need to be on it. I didn't know there was a withdrawal syndrome with coming off them, or as its medically termed, discontinuation syndrome, that's if its recognized at all.

 

I don't want to write any more about me, if you want to read more, the link to my story, withdrawal and recovery is in my signature. But from personal experience, my own research, and reading thousands of anecdotal stories, I've come to the conclusion that psychiatric drugs should only be used in the most serious of cases and then for the shortest possible amount of time.

 

Before making your decision, I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

 

Something else to consider is this - if you are in a process of working through personal issues, including emotional ones, then you need  access to your emotions in order to gain the most benefit from your therapy. If your natural emotions are being suppressed by drugs, then you can't practice dealing with them in new ways.

 

I had a lot of therapy while medicated and learned a lot, but it wasn't until I actually came off the drugs that I was able to put into practice what I learned.

 

One more thing about lexapro. Blondiee is correct, that its a very potent antidepressant. 10mg is not a small dose, I was initially prescribed 10mg, but found it was too much and cut down to 5mg. The whole time I was taking Lexapro, 5mg was my maximum dose, that's all I could tolerate. So if you decide to stay with it, I recommend the lowest possible dose, for the shortest amount of time. Any side effects will be minimized and you will have a smaller amount to taper off.

 

I'm glad you found us now, at this early stage in your Lexapro journey. Your psychologist is partially right, you should be able to stop taking Lexapro right now with few problems, because you've only been on it a few days. But as your brain starts making functional adaptions over time, it will be harder to stop taking it.

 

Here is something which explains it better than I can:

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

Please stay in touch and let us know what you decide.

 

Petunia.

 

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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Petunia, Barbie, thanks so much for sharing your stories and advice...it's nice to go through this with others vs just taking the doctors word all the time...

 

I'm feeling really strange on the 10mg...day 3. I'm thinking of going back down to 5 and holding for a while...or just dropping it altogether I haven't decided yet.

 

I've made a lot of progress in therapy; the areas that I've worked on in therapy have translated to a marked decrease in anxiety in those areas of my life. I still have more areas to work on. Right now the anxiety is somewhat self-limiting. Meaning, if I think about or do something in one of the "areas" of my life that I'm uncomfortable with, the anxiety spikes and causes me to stop. Will the lexapro allow me to keep going and possibly cause more harm? Or will it just be like a stronger version of 5HTP and give me a better platform to see everything clearer? Maybe I'm thinking about it too much. I'll post back with how I'm feeling each day

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I'm still feeling strange with side effects on the 10mg...going down to 2.5mg and holding on advice from my psychologist since I just started the lexapro until I decide to stay on or get off with my psychiatrist.

 

For those with experience, since my anxiety is highly related to trauma in my life, would it be better to try something like xanax as needed? I feel like once I get to everything in therapy I should have much better foothold in everyday life. Also, I feel as if I was really rattled by the nervous breakdown, and my system is still coming back to equilibrium after years of torment...I say this because week over week seems to be having improvements (less irrational thoughts, the ability to actually see that the old thoughts were irrational, etc). There is also the question of: is this because I'm taking 5HTP, and is 5HTP a long term solution?

 

So I'm at a cross roads. My psychologist who knows me the best seems to think I would benefit greatly from an ad. So my

Options as I see them:

 

1) stick with lexapro, go to 5mg and see if it helps after a few weeks

2) try another ad (this I'm legit worried about since I've never taken ads...and now I'll have two in my system)

3) try xanax as needed

4) no presceiption meds, 5htp 500mg

 

I'll have a hard time convincing my psych that I want to do #4...but it is my body after all.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

My psychologist who knows me the best seems to think I would benefit greatly from an ad. So my

Options as I see them:

 

1) stick with lexapro, go to 5mg and see if it helps after a few weeks

2) try another ad (this I'm legit worried about since I've never taken ads...and now I'll have two in my system)

3) try xanax as needed

4) no presceiption meds, 5htp 500mg

 

I'll have a hard time convincing my psych that I want to do #4...but it is my body after all.

 

Perhaps your psychologist knows you best, but how much does he or she know about antidepressants?

 

You are right, its your body, your life and your decision. You shouldn't have to convince your psychologist of anything, or require their permission for what you do or don't put into your body.

 

Please read the book I recommended and do some research to learn the truth about these drugs. They are not harmless as most people believe, including most doctors.

 

5 htp and occasional xanax when absolutely necessary would be the safest alternative.

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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thanks so much for the advice and support. I think I will go with the 5HTP and xanax for now (never had a xanax but I heard they work).

 

I've been reading your story and the stories of others. I pray for your daily improvement; I can't believe the Intensity and duration of sufferings caused by protracted withdrawals.

 

I'm still confused and trying to figure out what happened to me. After reading the stories, i feel like I experienced many of the same symptoms of withdrawal, without having been on any meds. I wonder what that means? Did years of stress and anger deplete my serotonin until one day I just broke down? The paranoia I had is usually indicated by too much dopamine? Or maybe the ratio between serotonin and dopamine. I guess the only thing to do is hold tight while things improve.

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