Jump to content
gentlehermione

gentlehermione: life after ADs

Recommended Posts

gentlehermione
Until July 2017 I was an active, healthy female (58). I'd been extremely fortunate in that, the only health problem I'd ever encountered had been anxiety/low grade depression. At least that's what the doctors diagnosed 20 years ago. I was put on Effexor 75mg and then, some years later, reduced the dosage to 37.5mg. In January 2017 I started tapering off my medication and by July was off Effexor. I did experience the odd brain zap but could easily go about my daily business. Suddenly at the end of July, I started having what I thought to be panic attacks (but which were, in actual fact, heart arrhythmias) and my then psychiatrist put me back on Effexor albeit 150mg/day. At 2am on August 12th, I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully one of our dogs wakened my husband and he and my daughter performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. My guardian angel was watching over me and after a week in the hospital, where I was fitted with an ICD and was put on 30mg Cymbalta, I returned home.

 

Fast forward to three weeks later. My ICD fired. Off to hospital. In for observation for a week but no arrhythmias could be detected   Returned home and 24 hours later the ICD fired again! In hospital for another 10 days, had a catheter ablation but no structural heart damage was found. What they did find was that one of the ICD leads had moved and pushed itself through one of the heart walls which could have explained the shocks. So another intervention to replace the lead. I was still on Cymbalta and an anti-arrhythmic drug.

 

Just when I was beginning to think I was on the road to recovery, my ICD fired on the 12th of November. Off to hospital. In for ten days where I met a fascinating psychiatrist who thought that my SCA could have been induced by going back on Effexor as it's known to have a potential influence on cardiac rhythms. And since Cymbalta is also a SNRI, it would be advisable to stop taking it. Well since November 17th I'm Cymbalta-free and yes, I went cold turkey which I normally would not have done under other circumstances.

 

Initially I experienced, brain zaps, anxiety and irritability. However, the symptoms were bearable. I’ve been taking vitamin D3, magnesium and Omega 3 supplements and trying to eat all the right foods. I walk my dogs every day so am getting exercise and fresh air on a regular basis and I go for acupressure treatments (suggested by my new psychiatrist).
 
I was progressing quite well until March 2018 when I started experiencing severe anxiety, dizziness, muscle tension and headaches.The situation has improved every so slightly since then.
 
Am I experiencing what is known as protracted withdrawal?
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Petunia
Posted (edited)

Welcome Gentlehermione,

I'm sorry about everything you've been going through, but glad to hear that your heart problems have settled down now.

 

Unfortunately, you may be in protracted withdrawal from your Cymbalta CT late last year. After being on these kinds of drugs for over 20 years, stopping them suddenly is bound to cause some problems for the brain and nervous system, what you describe does sound like typical symptoms of withdrawal. Over time, these drugs change your nervous system. Their effects on your nervous system change as well.  These changes are temporary, but the CNS does take quite a while to right itself after the drugs are out of the body.

 

I will post some links which may be helpful:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome ...

 

The best I can offer by way of advice is to listen to your body and avoid those things that set off symptoms as much as possible. Aside from a high quality fish oil and magnesium, avoid supplements. (See King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker). They've been helpful to many of us. 

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

I have also been recovering from long term use of antidepressants, having stopped them much to fast. Its taken a while, but I'm almost back to normal now. Don't worry, you will get better, it may take some time though. 

 

You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again.

 

I'm glad you found us, there is a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

Petunia.

 

 

 

Edited by Petunia
added a link

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione

Thank you for your kind words and advice, Petunia 😃

 

As I received virtually no sound advice from my ex-psychiatrist regarding tapering off Effexor - the only thing he said was to "not taper too quickly" - I believe the heart arrhythmias which I started experiencing in July were a direct result of coming off it too soon: http://www.withdrawal.org/prescriptions/signs-symptoms-treatment-effexor-withdrawal/  Have a look at Dangerous Effects of Effexor Withdrawal. I've been told by several cardiologists that my heart is structurally in great shape. None of them could find an explanation for the arrhythmias. 

 

Since I had started back on 150mg Effexor a few days before my cardiac arrest, they replaced the Effexor with Cymbalta at the hospital. 

 

Btw, my daughter told me (I was, at that time, still comatose) that one of the head doctors at the hospital referred to Effexor as "heart poison"...

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione

Had a really good day last Saturday 🎉 (virtually no dizziness, muscle tension, anxiety) and then Boom! Bad dizziness returned with all the other symptoms on Tuesday and has continued until today. I gather, from what I've read on the forum, that this is not unusual. I'll be 8 months Cymbalta-free at the end of this month. After reading some of the success stories on benzobuddies.org. I've come to the conclusion that my recovery is going to probably take longer than I initially expected... 😕

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione

As of yesterday, I'm now at the 8 month Cymbalta-free mark 😀 Still experiencing dizziness on a daily basis however some days it does lift for a couple of hours. The headaches and neck tension seem to be a thing of the past (touch wood!). Anxiety is present but some days more than others. My social life is ok - I am able to attend the odd function although I usually have to leave early due to the overwhelming fatigue that kicks in after 10 pm. I get the odd palpitation which tends to send my anxiety through the roof but that's due to the heart issues I experienced last year.

 

All said and done, I feel I'm making some slow progress 😐

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie
20 hours ago, gentlehermione said:

As of yesterday, I'm now at the 8 month Cymbalta-free mark 😀 Still experiencing dizziness on a daily basis however some days it does lift for a couple of hours. The headaches and neck tension seem to be a thing of the past (touch wood!). Anxiety is present but some days more than others. My social life is ok - I am able to attend the odd function although I usually have to leave early due to the overwhelming fatigue that kicks in after 10 pm. I get the odd palpitation which tends to send my anxiety through the roof but that's due to the heart issues I experienced last year.

 

All said and done, I feel I'm making some slow progress 😐

 

That’s great Gentlehermione, 

 

Glad you’ve gotten off your meds and that some of your symptoms are now lessening. That gives one hope, doesn’t it? 

 

Slow progress is is better than no progress. You’re moving forward which is great. Just keep chugging along one day at a time. We will all get there in the end. Patience is needed. It’s still going to take me many years to get off my meds but one day I’ll be saying the same thing as you: “ It’s been eight months since I’ve been off Seroquel.”😀

 

Thanks for sharing💚

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie

P.s. I’m sorry you had to cold turkey off your meds because of medical reasons.

 

Sending you hugs🤗

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione
4 hours ago, Carmie said:

Slow progress is is better than no progress. You’re moving forward which is great. Just keep chugging along one day at a time. We will all get there in the end. Patience is needed.

 

Yes, Carmie, endless patience!

My greatest regret is that I took Effexor for so long. Not once did my then psychiatrists (I'm on no. 5 now and it's taken me 25 years to find her) ever suggest coming off the medication and I, being the compliant patient, stupidly never questioned their professionalism 😕

 

Good luck with your continuing taper. I hope you are spared an all too rocky road to becoming drug-free 😉

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione

I think I'm in the ten-month wave ☹️ The dizziness hit an all time high last Thursday and hasn't really abated since. That combined with anxiety and palpitations... I'm trying very hard to stay positive through all this but it's becoming more and more difficult. 

 

If it were winter, I'd go and hibernate...

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie
26 minutes ago, gentlehermione said:

I think I'm in the ten-month wave ☹️ The dizziness hit an all time high last Thursday and hasn't really abated since. That combined with anxiety and palpitations... I'm trying very hard to stay positive through all this but it's becoming more and more difficult. 

 

If it were winter, I'd go and hibernate...

 

Hi Gentlehermoine, 

 

Im so sorry your wave is going so long. I’m dizzy all the time too, my blood pressure is really low. I can’t stand in one spot for very long at all. I always sitting on the floor. 

 

Hibernating sounds good😂

 

Hang in there. Positivity comes in spurts, doesn’t it? I just had a fun time at my sister’s place. Made lots of happy memories. My motto is always make happy memories while in windows and then distract, distract, distract while in waves.

 

Hang in there💚💚

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione
3 hours ago, Carmie said:

Hang in there💚💚

 

 

@Carmie

 

Thank you ❤️

 

Apart from the dizziness I've actually been rather fortunate re physical symptoms. Many of the previous ones seem to have disappeared, hopefully for good.

However the dizziness has been quite tenacious and somehow I wasn't expecting it to get worse - but it has. 

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie
5 hours ago, gentlehermione said:

 

@Carmie

 

Thank you ❤️

 

Apart from the dizziness I've actually been rather fortunate re physical symptoms. Many of the previous ones seem to have disappeared, hopefully for good.

However the dizziness has been quite tenacious and somehow I wasn't expecting it to get worse - but it has. 

 

Hi Gentlehermione, 

 

Well that’s certainly a blessing that your symptoms aren’t too bad. Dizziness makes things very hard though, I’m always having to sit down n sometimes even sitting in a chair is too much. I have to put my feet up. Again, it’s due to low blood pressure from the CFS, which is also a CNS illness.

 

Once your system eventually reaches homeostasis the dizziness will probably go away. This process just takes a lot of time. It’s pretty much a day at a time, but we will get there in the end.

 

Ive learnt over the last few years that I too can eventually get over CFS, but not until this business with the meds is over which will still take a really long time. I try and not think about it too much and just live in the moment. 

 

One thing that has helped me in the past with dizziness was acupuncture. You have to go very regularly though. Everyone’s body is different though, so what works for one person may not work for another. 

 

Hope your dizziness doesn’t last too much longer💚

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione
On 7/11/2018 at 8:09 PM, Carmie said:

 

One thing that has helped me in the past with dizziness was acupuncture. You have to go very regularly though. Everyone’s body is different though, so what works for one person may not work for another. 

 

Hope your dizziness doesn’t last too much longer💚

 

 

I go for acupressure colour therapy every two weeks. My therapist has been concentrating on the anxiety (and the dizziness stems from the anxiety).

 

I, too, hope the dizziness at least dissipates a bit soon...

 

From one dizzy bat to another 👍

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione

This journey is a heavy-duty long haul 😔 

 

Christina Rossetti, one of my favourite poets:

 

 

Up-Hill

 

Does the road wind up-hill all the way? 

   Yes, to the very end. 

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? 

   From morn to night, my friend. 

 

But is there for the night a resting-place? 

   A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 

May not the darkness hide it from my face? 

   You cannot miss that inn. 

 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? 

   Those who have gone before. 

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? 

   They will not keep you standing at that door. 

 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? 

   Of labour you shall find the sum. 

Will there be beds for me and all who seek? 

   Yea, beds for all who come.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie
1 hour ago, gentlehermione said:

This journey is a heavy-duty long haul 😔 

 

Christina Rossetti, one of my favourite poets:

 

 

Up-Hill

 

Does the road wind up-hill all the way? 

   Yes, to the very end. 

Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? 

   From morn to night, my friend. 

 

But is there for the night a resting-place? 

   A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. 

May not the darkness hide it from my face? 

   You cannot miss that inn. 

 

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? 

   Those who have gone before. 

Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? 

   They will not keep you standing at that door. 

 

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? 

   Of labour you shall find the sum. 

Will there be beds for me and all who seek? 

   Yea, beds for all who come.

 

 

Hello my fellow dizzy bat, 

 

That’s a beautiful poem😍

Share this post


Link to post
gentlehermione
22 hours ago, Carmie said:

That’s a beautiful poem😍

 

 

@Carmie

 

Yes, isn't it? 

 

I see myself trudging along uphill (the road to recovery) with the inn as my destination. All the other "wayfarers" there are on the same journey but because they have already passed this road, are closer to full recovery. Just my interpretation 😉

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.