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bananaboat: Am I in withdrawal or just losing my mind?

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bananaboat

Hi All,

 

I desperately need some perspective as I don't know how to proceed and neither does my doctor. Am I still going through withdrawal? Have I just broken my brain? I'm having some pretty dark thoughts (which is a new thing for me) and it's kind of freaking me out.

 

Here's my story. Prior to 2016, at age 36, I had no history of being on psychotropic medication or any mental illness (although I had seen a therapist throughout my years and am a psychotherapist, myself).  Then, 2 and a half years ago, after doing much research, I decided to take a non FDA approved drug called Domperidone to help increase my milk supply when I was nursing my newborn daughter. My lactation consultant had suggested it and several people I know had taken the drug successfully.  Unfortunately, I had a very bad reaction to withdrawing from the drug (after having been on it for 4 months at 160 mg...the "safest" max dose, according to the literature) and later learned that the drug acts very similarly to Risperdol (spelling) or an anti-psychotic, since it's a dopamine antagonist.  My symptoms included crippling insomnia and anxiety, brain fog, psychomotor impairment, agitation, memory issues, sensitivity to sound and touch, and the list goes on and on. It was the single scariest thing I had ever experienced. Having never been on any psychotropic meds before, I was desperate for relief as this was unrelenting after a month or two, and my doc finally put me on  175 mg of Zoloft and .5 ativan to calm me and allow me to get some sleep as I attempted to simultaneously reinstate and taper off the Domperidone.  Only after being on the Zoloft and Ativan was I able to do this.  I felt so relieved to be off of the domperidone. A few months later, after I had successfully come off the domperidone, I began to slowly taper the Zoloft (which went pretty smoothly) and then I slowly tapered almost all the way off of Ativan. But I found it difficult to sleep more than a night or two without taking at least a .25 of Ativan. 

 

Fast forward several months, I began getting what I feel like were interdrawals on the Ativan.  My doc tried switching me to Valium to slowly taper off of that and that went terribly. I could not tolerate it.  I felt high and anxious, lost my appetite altogether, and the brain fog came rolling right back in.  I began to question if I had broken my brain somehow with the breastfeeding drug. This is still my narrative, quite honestly. Finally, my doc put me on 15 mg Mirtazapine to get some sleep and ease the anxiety as I finally weaned myself all the way off of the Ativan.  You can see the cycle here. I get put on one drug to wean me off of another.  It seems endless. I'm sure many people here can relate.  I NEVER needed medication prior to the entire breastfeeding drug debacle.  In any event, the Mirtazapine provided such welcome relief and AMAZING sleep!!  But I began to gain some weight and decided that I no longer wanted or needed to be on meds.  I felt stable and was ready to be drug free.  So my doc quickly tapered me off of 15 mg mirtazapine (over a few weeks) and we decided to swap that out for trazadone, as needed (since it's "non habit forming"). And actually, that went smoothly as well. I only took the trazadone for a few weeks, and then I was FREE OF MEDS for almost 3 months!!! So from Jan 2018-March 2018, I was sleeping well on my own (with some melatonin here and there) and feeling like my old happy self. I was so grateful and relieved to have this all behind me.  I REALLY thought I was done with all of this crap.  Then in March of this year, I had taken 5 mg of melatonin 5 nights in a row (while on a vacation, after witnessing a man have a fatal heart attack on the beach) and my sleep fell apart...and the anxiety, brain fog, irritability, and other symptoms slowly crept back in. I was shocked!!!! I thought I was past this. This didn't feel like my normal anxiety...it felt like withdrawal!!!!

 

So what now? You guessed it.  As of late March, my doc convinced me to take Mirtazapine again (but I'm trying to hold out at between 3.25 -7.5 mg per night).  I tried just doing 1.25 for the first two months, but it began pooping out on me at that low dose. The problem is: my sleep is still TERRIBLE!!! I have about 2 good nights per week (if I'm lucky) and the other nights, I am getting anywhere from 0-2 or 3 hours. It's torture. I wonder if the different doses on different nights is really messing with me. My psychiatrist didn't seem to know.  I'm a working Mom (and have a 5 year old and 2 year old and a husband) and I am in such bad shape. I actually just took a leave from work and feel so much shame around it. I've never taken a leave before (other than to have my babies). My anxiety has crept back in, but so has a terrible depression, and some pretty dark thoughts. Have I ruined my life? I can't seem to get past this. It feels like a never ending cycle and I'm afraid I won't get my brain back. It's hard for me to feel joyful and loving with my kids when I feel so detached, exhausted, and in despair. That's probably the hardest part. I feel so alone and so baffled by what has all happened in the past two years...all because I wanted to nurse my daughter.

 

My brain is telling me that I should reinstate the Mirtazapine at around 7.5 nightly until I stabilize and maybe chill out there for at least a month or so.  Then I should begin a very slow and methodical taper.  Is there a link on here on how to do this if I take that pills? Will I need to purchase a scale and a pill grinder, and create my own liquid suspension?  I can't believe this is what my life has come to!!!!  I am just in agony. 

 

Please...if anyone has any HOPEFUL words or useful tips, please share. Only positivity here, please. No judgment. 

 

Fast forward

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Songbird

Hi Bananaboat, welcome to SA!  You have come to the right place.  I also began my journey with psych meds after having kids (although in my case it was for PPD, not breastfeeding).  You are definitely not alone.

 

It would be helpful if you could create a signature with your med history, including all drugs, doses and dates (starting and stopping).  You can edit your signature under your Account Settings.  See this topic for more info: Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

Taking different doses on different days can definitely cause problems.  It's best to stick to the same dose each day, to help your system to stabilise.

 

 

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bananaboat

Thanks Songbird. I appreciate the response. I'm feeling so low and so not myself. I'm really worried. It's so hard to be a mom in this condition.

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Centime

Hi bananaboat,

 

So sorry to hear of what you're going through. You'll find lots of company here--all of us going through this craziness together.

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Songbird

Hi Bananaboat, if I read your signature correctly, you fairly rapidly tapered off four meds Dec/Jan - Zoloft, Ativan, Mirtazapine and Trazodone.  You are currently taking 7.5mg Mirtazapine once per day?  What time of day do you take it?  What symptoms are you currently experiencing and at what times of day?  Have your symptoms improved at all since reinstating Mirtazapine?

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Santino

Hi Bananaboat

Same as you i got introduced to psych meds at the start of 2016-th ... i have had two of the most terrible years in my life but i managed to go through. Mirtazapine is a killer and you have to know that most of rumination comes due to wd from both Benzo and Mirtazapine. 

You can read my topic below to understand where i was and where i am now. I am telling you there is a lot of hope after this. The brain has the potential to go back to its normal functioning. If these problems were not into your life before this thing started they have no reason to be there now. WD is playing tricks on you my friend. Read my topic below and you will understand what i am talking about.

All the best

 

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bananaboat

Hi Songbird and Santino,

 

Thanks so much for your replies. Please keep the hope coming!! You have no idea how badly I need it right now. I'm super worried!!

 

I tapered off my ativan under my psych's supervision, over the period of a few months, last fall (Sept-End Nov). I waited till I was stabilized for a month-6 weeks before tapering off the Zoloft first (which I did over several months, as well). Then I did the Mirtazapine. The Zoloft took about 2 months to fully taper down from 75 mg, but we did a two week taper (switch out) from the Mirtazapine to the Trazadone. And I was only on trazadone for a month or so (12 mg). So the Mirtazapine was the quickest to get off of. And I had no withdrawal symptoms. I was fine for 3 entire months. I slept well (better than I had on any of these drugs) and felt like my old self again. I was SO grateful to feel like my old self again!! I really thought I was past all of this.  Is it possible that withdrawal can reappear after 3 months? My psychiatrist says that it's not biologically possible and she seems so baffled as to what is happening. She even asked if it could be Lyme disease. But I don't think so. This feels like withdrawal.

 

I'm currently back at 7.5 mirtazapine (which I detest, but feel it's necessary for at least SOME sleep and anxiety management) and still feeling LOUZY.  My symptoms are as follows:

 

sensitivity to temperature (especially cold). I get horrible chills

nervousness for no reason (which is very unlike me)

muscle stiffness and weakness in my arms (biceps feel tight as if I lifted heavy weight)

confusion / brain fog/ cognitive slowness / memory recall issues

Horrible insomnia (even 7.5 mg of mirtazapine isn't knocking me out, whereas it used to)

Feelings of detachment, feeling numb

Depression that this will never end / rumination all day long (again, not like my usual self as I'm not depression prone)

 

Prior to this entire debacle, I had never even been to a psychiatrist before...never had the need. I am usually a silly and joyful person, but feel that that person is gone now. My kids deserve their mom back. My husband deserves his wife back. I deserve myself back. I miss myself!!! Is there any hope for me? 

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Centime

Hi Bananaboat,

 

I’m withdrawing from Paxil, this time very slowly. In the past I got off it twice way too fast (my doc thought 2 months was plenty!). Both times I was really sick, and it was actually worse after I got off the drug than during the taper. Once I was off for about 6 months and assumed that my symptoms were because I needed the drug: insomnia, anxiety, zero energy, detachment, couldn’t concentrate. . . Now I realize it was actually withdrawal. It can be very confusing distinguishing between the two. This time I have  symptoms that are different: I’m so tired I just want to sleep all the time. I went from insomnia to sleeping 10 hours a night AND taking a nap! Weird. But I do have anxiety and a total inability to concentrate. Also memory problems. But I have faith that I’ll get through it this time, in large part because of this site. It’s been immensely helpful to be able to talk to people in the same situation. Hang in there. You’re not alone! Best, Centime

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A123

Hi bananaboat,

 

it also happened to me. I took Domperidone for increasing milk production. I took it about 5 months and my daily dose was 30-40mg. My max. dose was 60mg (I wanted to see difference in milk production) for about 2months then I gradually tapered again to my former dose 30mg. And when I was on 30mg I stopped it cold turkey. I have no idea how terrible drug is it and what can happen. The withdrawal symptoms hit me wit full force. My problems included akathisia, anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, insomnia, hot flashes, vertigo, fatique, intrusive thoughts, brain fog, cognitive and memory issues, headache, muscle pain and spasms of my entire body and I could continue indefinitely...

I am 19 months after stopping Dom. I still have some problems, some days are still bad. It is like a roller coaster.

I absolutly know how you feel. It is as if you were writing about me.  Do not lose hope. Maybe we will not be as good as the first but we will be better and learn to live with this.

 

I have NO psychiatry history before, NO antidepressants, NO benzos or other stuff excepting supplements such as magnesium, melatonin, omega-3 fish oil, C-vitamin, etc. I am conviced that this drug is damaging the brain. Recommending this heavy-duty medicine for breastfeeding women is a crime...all the destroyed healthy women...I wish for justice...for that doctor who recommend this drug with conciousness of being extremely dangerous. Still there are new cases of damaged women....

 

Sorry for my English, I am not native...

 

Take care!

 

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Songbird

@A123 please start an introduction topic for yourself (go to Introductions and updates and click on the "Start new topic" button).

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