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Nickie


Nickie

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Hi there;

 

Thank you for reading this. My story, like so many on this site, is a very long and painful one.

 

I'm hoping one of these days my mind will be clear enough for me to be able to write about my history, but unfortunately I am feeling too unwell to write too much at the moment.

 

I started meds when I was 16 (almost 19 years ago, eek!).

I was on Zoloft for years, then Serzone, then Luvox,

and then in 2004 I decided I wanted to come off the meds.

Since then, it has basically been a nightmare of going on and coming off meds, so many I think I've forgotten all of them and for how long I was on them. Basically I would go on one for a few months (sometimes weeks) then come off, usually cold turkey, and then try something else.

 

It seemed to me that through all of this I was becoming increasingly more sensitive to the drugs, but I guess I didn't want to believe it or face the possibility.

 

Many life events (married to a WONDERFUL man, had two children within 18 months of each other) and a great deal of personal growth brought me to the point of wanting to be off this insane medication roller coaster for GOOD. I was on Wellbutrin Aug/Sept 2011. I was having insane reactions to it, more severe than anything in the past. I just dropped it.

 

The last few months have been ok. I didn't experience any really terrible acute withdrawal from the Wellbutrin as I had only been on it for a few weeks.

 

I started doing acupuncture in December just because I wanted to look for alternative ways to deal with stress/anxiety and the insomnia I was experiencing. Yes I experienced rather dramatic side effects to this too (headaches, fatigue, irritability) that would last for days after each appointment.

 

The beginning of January was good. I was functioning better than I have in a long time (since adolescence?). I put it to just being in a better state of mind, in a healthy loving relationship and enjoying my little boys so much, and perhaps the acupuncture.

 

Then a couple of weeks ago, my doctor suggested I try Vitamin D (and Iron) to try to help my chronic fatigue symptoms.

I reacted to it.

I took a regular dose for 3 days and by the 3rd day (it builds up in the system), I reacted to it. DRAMATICALLY! I'm embarrassed to admit, but I even went into the ER because I was feeling so crazy and sick. All the symptoms I was having corresponded exactly to symptoms of Vitamin D overdose. SCARY!!

 

Since then, I have been on a very dramatic downward spiral.

Tired (exhausted), nauseous, tingly all over, extremely depressed, anxious, sleepless and waking in the morning feeling just horrible, dizzy, emotional, spacy/foggy, "stupid" - can't think to save my life, agitated, irritable, depersonalised, apathetic/distant.... on and on.

 

I didn't (officially) put it together until last night when I looked up "protracted ssri withdrawal" and came across this site, and it described EVERYTHING. (thank you!)

 

Now I'm really scared.

Really really scared.

I have no idea what I'm in for and it's just getting so much worse. I have two little ones to take care of and I can barely function.

 

My most frightening symptom is this EXTREME HYPERSENSITIVTY TO EVERYTHING. Apparently I can't even take vitamin supplements. I thought I was a total 'freak of nature' and so was somewhat relieved to find that this was related to withdrawal. But it is so extreme, and I wonder if the severity of it means that I am in for a really long ordeal.

 

My big question is whether or not this hypersensitivity goes away with time. It has become so extreme that I worry about what would happen if I needed any kind of treatment. I've thought about asking my doctor if I could be given a medic-alert bracelet about it.

 

This ended up being longer than I initially intended, thank you for reading.

Any suggestions/support/information would be so very much appreciated.

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  • Administrator

Hello, Meds. Thanks for joining us and telling your story.

 

Yes, it does sound like your nervous system has become sensitized to neuroactive substances.

 

Vitamin D is a neuroactive prohormone.

 

Yes, this does go away in time. Prior to the Wellbutrin, were you taking something else? Did you just go off it cold turkey?

 

It's possible it may take some number of months for your nervous system to recover from such a long history of medication. But with tender loving care, it will recover.

 

We have a lot of suggestions for ways to gently help your nervous system, which is what it needs if it is hypersensitive.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I agree with Alto. If, after your history of being on meds for so many years starting so young, you CT'd in September, well, I would be surprised if you didn't get hit with some withdrawal symptoms by now.

 

In fact, with AD withdrawal it seems to be almost a normal pattern for people to get hit around six months after quitting.

 

That doesn't mean you're going to be stuck in protracted w/d for years. By far the majority of people get through this withdrawal period, and heal completely, and go on with their lives.

 

Sometimes a forum like this one can give you a slanted impression, because those of us who come here are usually looking for support. The people who heal and move on aren't usually hanging out here.

 

You did so well with the CT that I think you can be optimistic. You'll get through this period. Just take care of yourself and be careful with supplements, drugs, stress, caffeine, anything very stimulating, for a year or two.

 

And try not to give in to the temptation and any pressure you may get from others to take more meds at this point. There are other ways to cope with your healing and symptoms that will allow you to stay med-free and pass through this time and be free of the crap forever.

 

Best of luck to you--you have our support!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Hi there;

 

I'm afraid I'm very very sick at the moment. If I didn't know any better, I'd think I had just CT'd off Paxil. These symptoms feel so much like severe acute withdrawal, and yet I haven't taken anything in 6 months.

 

In my introduction, which after re-reading it I noticed wasn't very clear, I mentioned some of what I've been through. Thing is, what I didn't make clear was the number of CT withdrawals I have had over the years. Honestly, I can't remember the number, there have been so many.

 

The ones that I DO remember:

CT off Luvox in 2004. Had SEVERE withdrawal (was totally insane, was vomiting like a crazy thing), eventually went back on and tapered, but had WD symptoms all the way through.

CT off Effexor at least 3 times (2005, 2007, 2009)

CT off Paxil 2008 (yes, I was in a thick black sick nightmare for about 4 weeks)

CT off Pristiq 2009

CT off Zoloft at least 3 times (most recent Aug 2011 - don't remember other dates)

 

There have been others. I experienced severe acute withdrawal with each one of these. I figured I would rather 'rip off the bandaid' and feel awful for a short while rather than drag it out with tapering. I had no idea there was any risk of ... THIS.

 

I started noticing that my system seemed to be becoming markedly more sensitive over time, probably starting after my initial 2004 Luvox WD. I had already been on meds for about 10 years at this point and had already switched meds a few times. (started on Zoloft at 16, in 1994).

 

 

This is the longest I've gone without meds since I started. It is no wonder, because, looking back, I was likely starting to get hit badly with protracted withdrawal and would end up back on the meds. It has been a nightmare roller coaster on and off different meds for so many years (going on 19 years). I'm too foggy right now to go into any more detail.

 

As I said at the beginning of the post, I am very sick right now.

My symptoms are barely tolerable, but there is nothing I can do except hang on and try to ride it out.

In the meantime, I have to take care of my two little ones, a one year old boy and a two and a half year old boy. Needless to say, this is excruciatingly difficult at the moment as I feel I am totally losing it and feel I have lost who I am because the depersonalisation and derealisation and confusion is SO severe right now. My amazing husband is doing so much more than his fair share of everything, but he is saintly and he is my saving grace.

 

I am doing everything I can to keep this from affecting my two beloved little boys. I won't let this hurt them too.

It's just hard right now.

 

My questions are:

 

1) Does the number of times one has experienced acute withdrawal have any bearing on the length/severity of protracted withdrawal? My system is SO messed up right now, I can't even take vitamin supplements without having major reactions.

 

2) Does anyone have any theories on the mechanism behind the development of hypersensitivity?

 

3) Does the hypersensitivity develop solely as a result of withdrawal, or could it possibly develop as a result of general long-term med use?

 

4) On this website, there is talk of symptoms going in waves. Are the waves you mention 'daily waves' (up and down through the day) or are they sort of weekly/monthly waves (week/months long waves that improve and then worsen again a while later)?

 

Man, I am so sick right now, I feel like I'm going to just keel over and die any minute. That may sound melodramatic, but it's really true. I barely recognise where I am. I think I'm in for a long and painful ride.

Thank you for reading this.

 

By the way, is there a way to change my 'site name'? I'm hoping I won't be "Medsnstv" forever.

Thanks.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. I don't have any advice for you, but i am sure Alto or someone else will come along and help you to get through this rough patch.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

Hi, Meds. I merged your topics, there's only one to a customer in the Intro forum.

 

It does sound like prior cold turkeys might have added to sensitization of your system. There is some evidence in the journal literature that quitting and switching medications leads to what psychiatrists call a "treatment-insensitive" state.

 

Here's some background on how hypersensitivity may develop: What is antidepressant withdrawal syndrome?

 

Symptom patterns seem to come and go, tending to decrease in severity and frequency as time goes on. One symptom pattern disappears, then is replaced with a different one, etc. Gradually your nervous system repairs itself.

 

Have you tried supplementing with fish oil, magnesium, etc.? If you can tolerate them, these can take the edge off some symptoms.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Administrator

At medsnstv's request, I've changed her screen name to Nickie.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thank you, Alto, for changing my screen name.

 

I may be visiting this site for some time to come, so I figure I would like to use my real name.

 

I'm afraid I've taken another turn for the worse. Over the weekend, my two little ones both had a virus which made them very sick (fever, spots, vomiting, pain from sores in mouth - apparently there's an epidemic of it here where I live). My husband and I had very little sleep.

 

Yesterday, (Sunday) morning, I woke up in the worst depression I have ever experienced. Total anhedonia, apathy, depersonalization, derealization, confusion, muscle weakness, disorientation, feeling hated and distant from everything I know and love. This was in addition to dizziness, nausea, an inability to handle noise (really tough with two sick and screaming little ones), inability to tolerate touch (didn't want to have a shower - couldn't handle the feel of the water on my skin), major tinnitus, blurred vision, almost total inertia, major tingling and numbness all over my body, especially in my tongue.

 

I was completely bedbound. It was my birthday yesterday.

 

Then, at about 3pm, it all started to clear. I had a reprieve - a very dramatic one. I felt my mind clear of the depression. I felt love and familiarity and 'me' for a bit. I was able to hug my husband and kids and feel love for them. We had a couple of family members over in the evening and I was able to feel oriented enough to my surroundings to enjoy it. It was like a beautiful birthday gift. I started thinking that the worst must be over and that I am getting better.

 

This morning after my initial 'horrible post-waking' feeling, I felt alright, but as the day has progressed, I have worsened again, and am down in this thick black tar fog again. I'm looking out my window and watching a nanny care for my children as I am unable to care for them myself today. If I was able to feel anything, it would be breaking my heart, but I feel even distant from that.

 

My husband is a saint. He is saying we will hire a nanny as much as we need to until I am better, we'll find the money. He just holds me and tells me he loves me. In my black fog place that is almost hard to hear because it seems so opposite to what could be true with the way I am feeling right now. How could he possibly love me??? There is no love in this black fog place, only distance and confusion. Normally his hugs are beautiful and healing and lovely, now they feel strange and confusing. They do give a me a little reminder, though, that I don't always feel this way, that his love and his hugs are usually beautiful, so it jolts me for a moment out of my blackness. He is my saving grace.

 

All I can hope is that I am in the worst of it now, and that it will just improve from here.

 

Thank you for being here, at least I know there is hope of getting better. I just want to feel again and get back to taking care of my beloved boys.

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Oh, and one of these days I will get my history up in my signature.

Right now, though, I really don't have the energy/memory/cognitive ability to do it.

I appreciate your patience.

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  • Administrator

You are a child of God, a child of the Great Spirit, you are worthy of all of the love your husband showers upon you. The black mood is not you. Try to realize that it is neuro-emotion from withdrawing from the drugs. Remember that you have moments when you feel connected and can give and receive love. Please don't confuse your "being" with the "mood" - I know it is hard, I'm having a little trouble with it myself right now, but we are worthy and valuable human beings - we're just going through a tough time.

 

Light and Love, Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg - 11/28/21 - 150 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Administrator

Nickie, you can see the symptoms come in waves with windows of relief.

 

Hang in there, take care of yourself as well as you can. If, for example, light seems to hurt your eyes or make you nervous, reduce light stimulation by wearing sunglasses, turning down lights (particularly in the evening), and using blackout shades in the bedroom.

 

Again, try supplementing with fish oil, magnesium, etc. Sipping a little magnesium citrate in ice water can be calming.

 

Acupuncture can be helpful to reduce some symptoms. Make sure the acupuncturist understands you need calming treatments -- nothing at all stimulating.

 

I'm glad your husband is there for you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thank you Karma and Alto;

 

Alto, I've tried acupuncture recently. Initially, it seemed to help somewhat after I got over the day or two of side effects. Recently, though, since my more severe symptoms started up, I just can't seem to handle it at all. It worsens my symptoms.

 

My body is soooooo hypersensitive right now that I just don't seem to be able to handle anything. Does this usually take a long time to heal? I imagine it does. Darn.

 

Thanks again.

Nickie.

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Hi Nickie! Thanks for your comments on my thread.

 

I'm sorry you had a bad day on your birthday. You must make a point to celebrate when you are feeling better.

 

I just wanted to say that the depersonalization/derealization stuff is where I think I've felt the best improvement! Sometimes I despair that I'm not getting better, but then I think back to how I felt before, and I realize I've made so much progress. Yes, it's possible! So hang in there!

 

You are very brave for going through this, especially having to take care of others while you go through it!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Oh thanks so much Nadia.

 

I was just reading your posts, and one that really stuck out for me was the one where you listed your symptoms and compared them to how you were feeling the month prior. Wow, could I ever relate to almost everything you listed. I'm so sorry you experienced all of that, but in a way I found it comforting because many of those symptoms have improved for you now, so I know there is hope. Thank you again for all your posts.

 

Yesterday was a slightly better day for me (relatively speaking, that is) and I went out to the grocery store. Today it seems as though I over-did it in going grocery shopping because today has been awful again. It would seem my system is in an incredibly delicate state right now, and any stress or anything that taxes my system even slightly throws me into severe symptomatology. Darn.

 

I just can't take a break from life right now because I want to be there for my children. That probably means that my recovery will be slower, as I just can't afford to rest and take the time I need to heal. There is this constant question as to whether or not I should just be taking it very very easy in the hopes that it will speed my recovery, or just do things as normally as possible, even if it worsens my symptoms, because I have no idea how long this will take and I want to be a mother to my children. I read in Nadia's posts that she struggled with similar questions.

 

Thanks for reading. I wish everyone here healing and peace.

Nickie.

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Oh and also, I would really like to get my cortisol levels checked - if for no other reason, just to have it documented if my levels are indeed high. How do I go about doing this? Is it a long process? Thanks.

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I just can't take a break from life right now because I want to be there for my children. That probably means that my recovery will be slower, as I just can't afford to rest and take the time I need to heal. There is this constant question as to whether or not I should just be taking it very very easy in the hopes that it will speed my recovery, or just do things as normally as possible, even if it worsens my symptoms, because I have no idea how long this will take and I want to be a mother to my children. I read in Nadia's posts that she struggled with similar questions.

 

Yes! I still struggle with that... Sometimes I do realize that I get worse because of stress or over-exertion, but ON THE WHOLE, I've also come to the realization that I've had some of my best improvement at the most stressful times of my recovery! It's hard to know what is cause-effect and what is just coincidence, but, in general, I think it is a mistake to withdraw from stress entirely. I think it would lower our threshold of what we can handle. Of course, it's hard to find the right balance.

 

I have been trying to find this paper written by a biology student about stress that I read not too long ago that said your body increases cortisol in periods of acute stress, but if that same level of stress continues, your cortisol lowers again (this is for a healthy person, not someone in withdrawal). I find that interesting, because the times I have seen a direct effect of stress making me take a turn for the worse is when the stress has been out of the blue and acute (e.g. a job offer or a conflict at work). However, staying active, exercising (and slowly increasing the amount of exercise), working hard and more hours... all of that seems to have the effect of gradually improving my wellbeing (not always in a linear way). An acute stress that sets off a bad cycle seems to take a months for me to recover from, but I get worse if I don't "take the bull by the horns". What this means for me is being disciplined about my sleeping, eating, exercising, working AND resting schedule. I give myself "breaks" with meditation and allow myself 1/2 hour at night to "decompress".

 

I'm sure this must be a lot harder with children, but I just wanted to bring up the possibility that in some ways, you may recover FASTER because of having to take care of your children. I think the important thing is to keep active, but also somehow find a way to give yourself a break where you can... find the right level of exertion, etc.

 

Also, I think I have done best when I don't worry about every little detail, but also don't go overboard on letting go entirely. For example, I used to panic if I wasn't in bed by a certain time. Then slowly I allowed myself on certain nights to stay up with friends. I might get an awful night of sleep, but I try to calm myself saying, "so what? It's not going to kill you." Of course, if I did this every night it would be bad, but I think it's important not to worry about things to the point you make yourself sicker!

 

Anyway, I hope you are able to connect with that wise part of you that helps you find the right balance, and that the outer world cooperates as much as possible in your healing process!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Oh and also, I would really like to get my cortisol levels checked - if for no other reason, just to have it documented if my levels are indeed high. How do I go about doing this? Is it a long process? Thanks.

 

There are several ways to check them. I had mine tested as a part of a general physical before I knew I was going through withdrawal. I had a blood serum test in the morning. You can also get them checked with a saliva test. Alto somewhere has posted about the real "gold standard" of a cortisol test, which is the way they test to make sure you don't have Cushing's disease. It's probably a waste of money to do that...

 

Still, I did find some comfort in seeing I had elevated cortisol, because, though the doctor just attributed it to stress and doesn't believe it's withdrawal from the ADs, it was a concrete thing I could point to and say, "so THAT'S why I'm feeling this".

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • Administrator

The "gold standard" test for cortisol is a urine test that requires you to capture all your urine for 24 hours in a special container.

 

This is a more reliable test for elevated cortisol as it can vary during the day, confounding saliva and blood tests.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Nickie,

I can totally relate to your symptoms. I have gone on and off meds over the last 3 1/2 years and have been so messed up. Recently coming off Pristiq and still take Imovane for insomnia.

I feel dizzy and have major brain fog, I feel anxious, exhausted and suffer from headaches almost daily. My ears feel like they are being pulled by little dwarfs and I am also extremely sensitive to sounds.

I am also doing acupuncture once a week in hopes that these symptoms will soon disappear.

I hope and pray that you feel better soon!

God bless,

Rosie

2009 Efexor 75mg tapered twice

November 2011 Pristiq 50 mg

January 2012 Pristiq 100 mg, became very dizzy and anxious with a lot negative thinking! Ear aches, eye pain, headaches, bruxism, night sweats.

Currently on 30 mg of compounded Pristiq

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Thank you for your replies.

 

I think the depersonalization/derealization has decreased somewhat. It's still not gone completely, but I feel it lifting a little. Phew.

 

There is alot of depression still (it's a weird depression, unlike my previous depressions, where everything negative is heightened and my nerves just feel so frayed). Right now, though, the TOTAL exhaustion is just killing me! I feel like I'm made of lead and can barely move, and I have little ones to 'run' after. I am extremely irritable too, and I'm just trying to hold it together so I'm not totally losing it at my 2 year old all the time.

 

And my husband is messy, it's just the way he is. But I just don't have it in me to tidy up, and the ruddy house is falling to shambles. The mess is driving me CRAZY.

 

I hate this. I can only hope it will just keep getting better.

Thanks. I wish you all well.

N.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

How I feel for you! I've been off of Lexapro for two months and it's been a roller coaster ride. Rather than push yourself to keep up a normal routine, I'd recommend that you allow yourself to crash when you can do so - and please note this is coming from someone who has never had children so I really don't know how demanding that might be. I do find it best to do what my body calls me to do, but I'd feel awful if I neglected my much loved cat or the house looked dirty and cluttered. We are all playing it by ear here on this forum. The doctors don't even know what we're talking about.

 

I can truly relate to the hypersensitivity and irritability. It gets better. There will be days when you feel terrible and days when you feel really good, but as time goes by, the lows get higher and the good days increase in number.

 

Hang in there, girl. Things really will get better.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Nickie, can you get someone to come in even for a couple of hours a day and help you straighten the place up? This might relieve some stress on you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Things were slightly improving. I was having some windows and there was a general trend toward improvement.

 

Then yesterday, I exercised. It was only for about 20 minutes, but I wanted to do some cardio, so I did so for the first time in a while.

 

And WHAM! It's all come back in a brutal way.

 

I barely slept at all last night, and today the depression, dp/dr, anhedonia, agitation, akithisia, irritability, cog fog, etc, etc, was back in FULL force.

 

Darn.

 

I just have to cling to the knowledge that it won't always be this way, and I will feel more myself again one day. I miss my family - they all seem so distant to me right now. I'm trying to remember what it was like before, and trying to hold on to that.

 

How does one find a balance? I have this need to just get out there and 'do' regardless of how I feel, like d**m it, this will not take over my life (I've lost too much to these drugs already), nor will this affect the lives of my children (this, I think, is partly driven by this intense akithisia (restlessness?) I'm currently experiencing). But then if I do too much, I am hit just so hard! Urg, I'm trying to hang in there and keep a positive mindset.

 

I have so many questions, most of which I imagine are unanswerable.

Wow, I have a feeling this whole Big Pharma psych drug thing is a Pandora's Box waiting to open and hit the fan. It will likely be looked back on as unbelievably crude. The thing that gets me is the trust the doctors are willing to put into these products about which relatively little is known. Crazy when you think about it, and they're just given out like candy. Yikes.

 

Hoping for better days,

Nickie.

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Nickie, I think you've figured out the balance -- do whatever you can handle, don't push yourself.

 

The cardio might have been too intense. Try walking for exercise instead, just comfortable walking, not power walking, or a little leisurely biking.

 

Intense exercise increases the release of cortisol, the anxiety hormone that is at the root of many withdrawal symptoms.

 

You're right about the bleep hitting the fan.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I think finding balance is all about trial and error. I second Alto, start with walking and only gradually ramp up. For me it was a really gradual process. The first day I started walking I felt like I was going to pass out and could do very little. Now I manage to jog, but this is after half a year of progress!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Hi there;

 

OK, so apparently I'm reacting to food. BIG TIME! About 20 minutes after I eat, I start getting really bad symptoms, including (but not limited to) a really pounding heart, dizziness, wooziness, irritability/agitation, difficulty with noise, cognitive fog, and others.

 

Not sure what to do here.

 

Should I get this looked at? It's getting worse. Is it related to cortisol spiking, or insulin, or something else perhaps? Anyone else with this type of thing? I'm pretty scared about it.

 

I should be being far more strict about my diet, but at this point

a) I'm too foggy, tired, sick to organize my diet better

B) These days, much of what I eat is leftovers from my little guys' meals - I don't have a lot of time to cook/prepare/organize meals.

 

Thanks for any input!

Nickie.

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  • Administrator

It's likely because when you eat, your body releases hormones to aid appetite and digestion. This normal activity upsets a hypersensitive nervous system.

 

Not sure what to do -- try eating slowly? Eat only fresh foods, no additives, no preservatives, they can cause a reaction, too.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there

 

I am going through another very bad patch, likely due to my menstrual period. However, it isn't as bad as the last one, so I'm hopeful.

 

I am still reacting to food, not just particular foods, but eating in general. It's really crazy but there is a very dramatic cause and effect relationship between eating and feeling veerryy sick and dizzy and foggy for a couple of hours after, then I eat again, and bam it comes back again. Unless it's my imagination, though, it appears to be improving. It started fairly suddenly, and now hopefully it will improve quickly too.

 

I am also finding I can't look at the computer (I'm writing this on my phone,whew). It makes me really sick and dizzy and agitated every time I use it. I would never have believed it possible, but it's happening. Wow my system is a mess!

 

Right now I am just keeping myself busy taking care of my little guys and trying to sam out every moment of enjoyment I can out of it. They are my joy and in the fleeting better moments I hug and hold and love them and enjoy them with every ounce of me. I am learning what I can from all of this, trying to stay positive, and remembering that I am fortunate in that I know this will improve. There are others in horrible situations who don't have that luxury.

 

Although this week has been awful because of the menstrual stuff throwing everything off, there is a general trend toward improvement. That keeps me hopeful.

 

Bless you all,

Nickie

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  • Administrator

Your reaction to the computer sounds like light sensitivity, you might want to reduce light stimulation in general (turn down lights) and wear sunglasses, even at the computer.

 

This does get better.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I just read back in my posts and I realise that things have improved since the beginning.

 

My body is still reacting to eating, but I know now it is not as bad as it was. Right now, unfortunately, a big symptom is irritability,,especially after I eat,.

 

oh, boys awake, must go. will finish later

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Nickie-

 

When you can, hope to hear more about your improvement!

 

It would be an inspiration to others 'behind you' on the withdrawal timeline.

Years:150mg Wellbutrin (to concentrate) 20-30 mg Celexa (rumination).

CT 8/2011 during a pregnancy attempt under MD orders. (Idiot!!!) Pregnancy hormones allowed it.

Felt great with 6 mg of melatonin per night to sleep plus preggo hormones-didn't last:(

Best time of my life. Botched IVF in Dec 2011.Stress.

Bone chilling exhaustion and told to go back on celexa and wellbutrin.

4/9/2012 Back on celexa wb for some relief, wb gave me heart palps so dropped and only need 6.6 mg celexa and 1/4 melatonin pill...IMPROVEMENT because my doses are much lower!

REMEMBER to get your thyroid and hormones checked/out of whack ones can appear LIKE MOOD DISORDERS!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there Elizabeth and everyone,

 

I'd love to give an update, if it can be of use to you or anyone else going through this madness, just as Nadia and others posts have helped me.

 

We just got back from a week in Mexico, and I am glad to say that things have changed (as they always do with this condition). My body has decided that reacting so violently to the intake of food is not so necessary and this has calmed down somewhat. It's not gone completely, but it has improved, thank goodness. Also the rrrreallllly dark depression that has been emotionally been taking me away from my family has lifted, thank God. I cry when I think of how dark and distant I've been. In Mexico, much of the darkness was there, and I just did my darnest to eke out every droplet of enjoyment I could out of it, regardless of the crazy way I was feeling. My little guys were so darn cute, and my 2 year old had the time of his life, and I wasn't about to let this darn thing take one moment of it from him, his brother, or my husband. I'm sure the warm sun did me some good too, although with 2 busy little guys, it wasn't the most restful of holidays ;).

Right now I'm dealing with alot of anxiety, dizziness, wooziness, exhaustion (unlike any I've experienced before ), a strange drowsiness that seems to sometimes completely take over me, cognitive difficulties, memory problems, morning dread and depression and alot of strange vision issues which are causing some anxiety.

 

I'm also dealing with the question of how much of this is withdrawal and how much is the original problem, I was a REAL anxious mess before I started meds almost 20 years ago. I keep asking, can I do this? Can I do this myself, meds do give one a false sense of security...

 

There is a sense of self efficacy and strength that I'm developing as I make my way through all of this. However I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails sometimes these days. erk.

 

I wish you all the best. Take each step, one by one, and hold on to your own strength. Bless you all,

Nickie.

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Nickie-

 

Great to read your update and to hear that you had a nice time in Mexico.

 

How have you found it best to deal with what you wrote:

 

"I'm also dealing with the question of how much of this is withdrawal and how much is the original problem, I was a REAL anxious mess before I started meds almost 20 years ago. I keep asking, can I do this? Can I do this myself, meds do give one a false sense of security..."

 

I am evaluating the same question and would love to read more of your thoughts about how to answer this question? I'm only 3.5 weeks out and I feel like a cripple without my crutches, like an invalid who is going through an illness needing something because I've been trained by marketers that there is a magic something that would make me feel better. In the morning it is hard to not wonder if I need something but by the afternoon I feel surprised to feel ok.

 

Be so thankful that you have your little ones. I learned recently the idea that mood follows action. Taking care of your babies is probably about the best medicine available.

Years:150mg Wellbutrin (to concentrate) 20-30 mg Celexa (rumination).

CT 8/2011 during a pregnancy attempt under MD orders. (Idiot!!!) Pregnancy hormones allowed it.

Felt great with 6 mg of melatonin per night to sleep plus preggo hormones-didn't last:(

Best time of my life. Botched IVF in Dec 2011.Stress.

Bone chilling exhaustion and told to go back on celexa and wellbutrin.

4/9/2012 Back on celexa wb for some relief, wb gave me heart palps so dropped and only need 6.6 mg celexa and 1/4 melatonin pill...IMPROVEMENT because my doses are much lower!

REMEMBER to get your thyroid and hormones checked/out of whack ones can appear LIKE MOOD DISORDERS!!

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...a couple of other things I wanted to add as I was in a rush to finish before and I want to write to help me keep track of my progress.

 

Although the worst of the depression has lifted somewhat, there is still some, especially in the mornings and mid afternoons. The afternoon is also when I seem to experience this insane drowsiness that seems to completely take over. I'm wondering if this is my body's hypersensitive reaction to normal circadian rhythms.

I'm also noticing that I am suddenly looking much older, sagging face, tired eyes, generally looking hagged. Yuck. I don't know if this will change at all when my body is healthier or if stress is finally taking it's toll and thats that.

 

Another rather uncomfortable symptom is this relentless buzzing in my body. Not just tinnitus, although I've had that since december, but a tingling buzzing feeling that is in every corner of my body. Not so pleasant.

 

The dp/dr has improved alot, but it is still there in a weird way to some degree. Right now I woukd describe the way I'm feeling as just plain WEIRD. But its better than it was, for the most part.

 

These days, especially in the mornings, and when I start questioning how much of this is withdrawal and how much is my original difficulties, I start feeling really scared. I realise that now I can't take medication, even if I wanted to - my body can't handle vitamins right now, nevermind meds. I sometimes feel like I'm just barely holding on, and I wonder if I can do it. As I said before, I'm finding a strength there, and I'm learning to rely on myself to keep myself buoyant, as it were, but I still get so scared and hope that this strength can keep me afloat come what may.

 

I'm also learning a great deal about acceptance, acceptance of whatever comes. Its not always easy, but it makes living under any circumstance, if not joyful, at least happy in a strange sense - beauty in life can be found and experienced in the small things and in the little moments, and I hold on to those with every fibre of me.

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Hi Elizabeth,

 

thank you for your post. You're right about my babies. Although it's often not easy, their presence is really helping me get through this on so many levels. They give me something healthy and happy to focus on, even at the darkest times. I take them out alot and thus get out myself, and I hate to think what I'd be like through all of this if I was home alone all the time. I would recommend for anyone going through this to do some work, even a little bit, to turn focus elsewhere and distract oneself from symptoms.

 

Elizabeth, I can TOTALLY relate to your feeling of suddenly being without crutches, yikes, not a pleasant feeling at all. However, as I wrote in my last post, I am finding a personal strength there that I am learning to rely on, making the willful decision to keep going and stay strong and accept whatever comes. I think that is the way out of this, or through this, regardless of whether this is withdrawal or not. That, and finding joy in small things. It's still frequently so scary, and I often have the feeling that I'm walking on a tightrope, but I imagine soon I'll start feeling more comfortable relying on my own strength.

 

I hope that helps. Keep us posted on your progress, and I wish you the best.

 

Nickie.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So unfortunately I have taken a really bad turn.

 

My reaction to eating has worsened and it has become almost unbearable at times. The thing that brings me close to despair is that I have no idea how long it will go on for, and I can't just stop eating. This morning after eating an egg and a banana my body went crazy with dizziness, tremors, tingling, agitation, vision problems, etc.

 

I am now at 7 months out, 3 months since the WD hit me hard. I imagine I'm in the thick of it now. My doctor is worried about me I think, he asked if I wanted to do ECT. That scared me.

 

I am just focusing on acceptance and drawing strength from the knowledge that people throughout history have gone through and survived some pretty horrific things. I can too.

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