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☼ Lisa's Story by QuittheCure


QuittheCure

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From my blog: http://quitthecure.wordpress.com/

 

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

 

I don’t usually quote Nietzsche but I think brevity is important when you’re telling your personal story. I’ve been through a lot in these 32 years of life, but I don’t need to share it all right now and certain not in one sitting. What I believe to be relevant is who I am and how I wound up on thirteen different medications at the age of 32.

 

Thirteen.

 

I counted them all the other day. Before that, I had been afraid to. I’ve just carried the list around with me every time I go to the hospital or a doctor’s appointment, so I don’t have to struggle to remember what I’m taking when they ask me.

 

Now enough is enough. On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, I spoke with my psychiatrist about tapering off my antidepressants. And as of the same evening I began my journey toward “quitting the cure” when I stopped taking my prescription for Abilify 5mg. Now, on Day 5, the only symptom I have is ringing in the ears. It’s quite loud, but I’ll take that over depression symptoms any day.

 

So far, so good. But it wasn’t always so good. It wasn’t always so easy to smile and laugh. It wasn’t so easy to feel.

 

Everyone has had a rough childhood in one way or another. My childhood story is nothing worth putting up on Yahoo! News. However, my parents’ divorce—or divorces—affected me, moving from place to place far too often affected me, and experiencing a number of childhood traumas affected me. Eventually, at the age of 22, I just broke.

 

When I say “broke,” I felt like I had been turned into a puzzle. Someone had scattered all my pieces and I didn’t know where to find them or how to put myself back together. I went to my primary care doctor and he prescribed Zoloft for me. I started at a small dose of 25mg, and after a few weeks, I didn’t feel any difference. The doctor increased my dosage twice more, before I could feel “okay.”

 

For me, “okay” meant no panic attacks and no feelings. I was numb inside. I knew that all my emotions, all of my joy and pain lay under a lake of ice called Depression. But I didn’t admit I had depression at first. It took me a long time to admit it.

 

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been in the psych ward of the hospital. I went from feeling numb, to such feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that I considered suicide. I never planned it out, but the thought of it scared me so much, I knew that something was really wrong with me.

 

Almost every summer for five or six years, I would end up in the hospital. The medicines that the doctors would give me would work for a time, and then usually in the summer, I would suffer a complete breakdown. My work suffered, my home life and relationships suffered, and even my beloved writing suffered.

 

The cycle continued until I was diagnosed with Intracranial Hypertension (IH) a rare neurological disorder in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure within the skull is too high. I had been suffering from excruciating daily headaches for about a year, and when I had moved to Virginia for a few months, a neurologist finally diagnosed me with this rare disease. After using a new medicine for the IH, I suddenly noticed that my feelings of depression were beginning to return. Up until that time, I was ignoring my depression, keeping it “at bay” with the use of Lexapro. But as my symptoms began to return and as some stressors in my personal life increased, my neurologist recommended that I go home to Connecticut where I could be around family.

 

Well, when I arrived back in Connecticut it only took one day before I landed in the hospital. My life collapsed around me. Planning to return to Virginia after “getting well,” I found I couldn’t get well (couldn’t manage the symptoms of IH and depression at all). I lost my supervision job at a bank. I couldn’t get Social Security Disability. And I was powerless to get better. I was stuck.

 

I found myself barely able to leave the house, barely able to interact with people, and barely able to manage my headaches. I went to a new community health center, expecting more of the same: a new useless doctor, new useless medications, and a useless therapist. Luckily, I was wrong on all three counts.

 

The new psychiatrist really listened to me and came to understand my aversion to prescription medications. He respected my feelings and started me at a small dose of Cymbalta. Over time, I found myself unable to handle things until I was on 60mg of Cymbalta, 200mg of Lamictal, and a baby dose of Abilify 5mg.

 

My therapist—a young woman the same age (and height) as I am—“tricked” me into therapy. We always laugh about it; I swore up and down that I did not want to do therapy. Before I knew it, the therapist—I’ll call her “Natalie”—had me calm, comfortable, and talking to her in no time. I truly value her, and some days I wish we had met outside of the office where we could become good friends. Natalie has taught me so many wonderful coping skills and even worked with me using a very interesting therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), helping me to work through so many emotional issues.

 

After about three or four years of medication and therapy, I have finally found my “center.” Admitting that I had depression was the first step. The second and most important step was not to let it define me.

 

Now that I’ve spent a solid two years with few depression symptoms, I finally feel it’s time to throw out the depression meds. I’m not quitting cold turkey. I doing this on a psychiatrist’s supervision. However, she didn’t seem very happy when I told her I was going to do this. She didn’t seem like there was a solid, “safe” plan for tapering off of the medications. My sister and I have been scouring the internet for information, and I’m learning all about the things I need to ask—and tell—the psychiatrist when I see her in a little over a week from now.

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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I'm finding so much out on this site about withdrawal symptoms in Cymbalta, and the hell that people are going through. It makes me SO angry that these doctors do this to people without warning them. :angry: I don't know what decision I would or could have made had I known all of this ahead of time.

 

I want this poison out of my body even more now. But I know I have to be very, very patient. I just don't look forward to my patience vanishing at some point in the future. It sickens me to think I have to take my Lamictal in a few minutes. :(

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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QuittheCure,

I am so sorry for all that you have suffered! I am learning a lot about nutritional deficiencies and depression/anxiety.

Doctors do not have the time to explore such things with us therefore, writing prescriptions is what they do best and

we suffer the consequences!

Hang in there, it is a long journey but keep the faith that you will fight the good fight and finish the race!

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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QuittheCure,

I am so sorry for all that you have suffered! I am learning a lot about nutritional deficiencies and depression/anxiety.

Doctors do not have the time to explore such things with us therefore, writing prescriptions is what they do best and

we suffer the consequences!

Hang in there, it is a long journey but keep the faith that you will fight the good fight and finish the race!

Rosie

 

Rosie,

 

Thank you so much. I am so angry after reading some of the stories on this site. You're right--doctors only know how to write prescriptions! I don't know how I'm going to walk back in to see my psych and therapist without hitting someone for giving me this poison. :angry: They really need to put withdrawl effects on the information sheets with the scripts! This is criminal.

 

But I'm not discouraged. I will definitely fight the good fight and finish the race. I saw something yesterday that said, "No room to have fear when you have faith." http://razzi.me/photos/447615-no-room-for-fear All I have to say is AMEN.

 

Lisa

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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Amen and Amen!

<><

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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  • Administrator

Hi, Lisa. Welcome to our community.

 

Are you taking 13 medications right now? What are they?

 

Did you feel any side effects from the medication for the neurological condition?

 

Admitting that I had depression was the first step. The second and most important step was not to let it define me.

Absolutely true! You'll be a great inspiration on this site for people to unpatient themselves.

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, Alto,

 

Thanks for the welcome. I am so glad I stumbled upon this site! B) I cannot say enough about how important it is to find a community of people who have gone through and are going through the same things as you. I did this in the past when I had a breast reduction done. I hope that's not TMI, :lol: , but I only bring it up because it was so invaluable in helping me pre-op and post-op. I don't think I would have healed as well as I did--mentally and physically--without the help of that site/forum. (And sharing my story on there helped others.) I can see the same will be true for this site. (I'll try to share this web address with everyone I come in contact with that's thinking about or has gone off of antidepressants!)

 

The best thing you can do when you are in pain and suffering is to reach out to others, and then give more than you take.

 

Okay, I'm preaching :lol:

 

So, the meds I take, minus the antidepressants:

 

 

Lasix (Daily) - A diuretic - for the Intracranial Hypertension (IH)

Relpax - -- for my migraines (I just found out about this being a "selective serotonin receptor agonists" and have to do more research!)

Motrin (800mg) - For headaches/migraines and inflammation due to rotator cuff tears in both shoulders

Fioricet For migraines - My neurologist wants me to stop taking this as much because it can cause rebound headaches!

Torodol - For severe "unstoppable" migraines

Antivert - For dizziness/vertigo

Vicodin - When the rotator cuff tear pain is unbearable

Reglan - For nausea due to headaches and the IH (and probably the meds)

Voltaren (Gel) - An ibuprofen rub I use when my stomach cannot handle anymore medication

Albuterol - For my asthma, which is pretty mild

 

This, as you can see, is ridiculous! I've started working on ways to combat most of these symptoms naturally, i.e. ginger and magnesium for the onset of headaches/migraines (in place of the Relpax).

 

To address your other question, Alto, I used to feel a lot of side effects with the two medications I use to take for my IH.

 

First, I took Diamox, a diuretic. I would get tingling in my arms and legs sometimes. It felt similar to when one of your body parts fall asleep. :blink: I also noticed in the beginning that it made me feel drowsy. And of course, I had to pee all the time, lol :blink:

 

Within a few short weeks of starting the Diamox, my depression symptoms came back (I was taking Lexapro at the time and did not experience any symptoms for months before that). I continued to take Diamox with a new set of antidepressants and I didn't feel any interference with it. When the symptoms of my IH started to get out of control, my neurologist tried Topamax with me. Yeah, it worked all right, but it turned me into a complete zombie! I would forget what I was doing, what I was saying, and where I had left things (i.e. keys). So, we had to stop that drug. Then the Diamox stopped working completely. To say my head hurt would be an understatement. I also had a hard time seeing. The pressure in my skull was so high that the ER doc was surprised I was still standing!

 

Anyway, the doc put me on the new diuretic, Lasix. I don't have the tingling in my arms and legs anymore (thank God). I still have to pee all of the time, lol. I still have dizziness, but now I don't know what medication is causing it. It was severe a year ago, but it's gotten better since. Otherwise, I developed this sweating issue. I sweat profusely at random times. It's kind of embarrassing! :( My old neurologist didn't know why that started, but it started a few months after I started Lasix. It didn't go away when I switch meds temporarily.

 

So, now my new neurologist thinks that putting me back on Topamax will control my chronic daily headaches/migraines. He wanted to try Botox but I said heck no. <_< So he can't put me on the Topamax until I get off some of the antidepressants. He thinks that last time it reacted badly with the antidepressants. I want to get off all of them. I was just waiting for an excuse.

 

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to be thorough.

 

Lisa

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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  • Administrator

That is quite a list, Lisa.

 

I'm with you, I'd minimize the neurological medications as much as possible. Who knows how that soup is interacting. Any element can be adding to your depression symptoms, as well as IH itself.

 

In my opinion, antidepressants are a wild card. So little is really known about them -- the research being heavily contaminated by commercial interest -- they bring an element of risk into a situation like yours that makes their value highly questionable.

 

Getting down to a set of drugs your neurologist knows relatively well will be better for your health overall. Psychiatry's one drug-per-symptom polypharmacy approach is not what you need. (Headache is a common side effect of Cymbalta: http://www.drugs.com/ppa/duloxetine-hydrochloride.html , and it's been utterly oversold for pain, see http://curetogether.com/migraine/ig/treatment-effectiveness-vs-popularity -- Cymbalta is around the zero mark for migraines.)

 

We're big fans of magnesium and ginger here, as well as various Psychotherapeutic techniques to cope with depression and withdrawal symptoms.

 

If I were you, I'd go off the Cymbalta first. The lamotrigine may help cushion withdrawal, and it's among the drugs your neurologist knows.

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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Okay. Don't know if this is a withdrawal "symptom" of the Abilify, but for the last day or two I've been having a hard time keeping track of what I'm doing. I stop and start things a lot, as opposed to just multitasking. I almost started a fire in the kitchen today because I was cooking and totally forgot about it. :unsure:

 

Lisa

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

Link to comment

I personally hate Reglan. I am a chronic migraine sufferer and antidepressants made it worse. Reglan gave me a severe manic reaction with panic attack. Here is some more info on the side effects of Reglan:

 

http://www.drugs.com/reglan.html

Withdrew cold turkey from six medications: Celexa, Zyprexa, Depakote, Ativan, Ambien and Phentermine in 2002. It has been 10 years since I told polypharmacy to take a hike and have joined this forum to let others know that success is possible and to hopefully save people from experiencing the suffering that I did under psychiatric "care".

 

MY STORY

 

"TENSION is when we try to be who we think we should be, RELAXATION is when we are who we really are."

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I personally hate Reglan. I am a chronic migraine sufferer and antidepressants made it worse. Reglan gave me a severe manic reaction with panic attack.

 

Oh, boy. Luckily, I didn't have those symptoms. Thanks for the info, though. My sister and I both looked it over and I don't know how I missed "Before you take Reglan, tell your doctor if you have...a history of depression." I am way off my game. :(

 

I used to be so vigilant about making sure I didn't take any medication. I would even hesitate to take an Excedrin for my migraines. And when I did take meds, I always read up on the side effects. Now, of course, with the chronic daily headaches and intracranial hypertension, I'm stuck. And I keep missing things when I'm looking for side effects. I’m just taking too many medications and it’s time to stop. I'm going through the meds tomorrow and seeing which ones I can dump. I need to treat a lot of symptoms naturally. (i.e. I just discovered last week that Goldenseal, along with ginger, can really help nausea.)

 

I feel like I got tricked into taking all of these meds. I was vulnerable at the height of my depression, but I still should have trusted my gut. Yet the pain was just so much for me :(

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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  • Administrator

Make sure your neurologist looks this stuff up and remind him to review drug interactions.

 

Most CNS depressants have a side effect of depression.

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.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Hi Lisa,

 

Please don't beat yourself up for having accepted the solutions offered by western medicine. You made the best decisions you could make at the time with the information given. If you knew then what you know now, you might have made a different decision.

 

I find it is best to accept the present situation and make a plan to move forward. There is no value in going back over what could have been or what might have been.

 

Love and light,

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, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 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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I find it is best to accept the present situation and make a plan to move forward. There is no value in going back over what could have been or what might have been.

 

 

Thanks Karma. :)

 

Yeah. If I go back over everything, it won't help me. It'll just encourage me to beat myself up. (Which I love to do, evidently.) ;) But I'll share my experience with others if it helps.

 

I went to my PCP yesterday and ran into my therapist as she was coming up the stairs. I had such mixed feelings about her because she was just one more person who didn't warn me about all this. She's a great person, and she has truly helped me, but at the same time...she hasn't. I'm afraid to hear what she'll say next week when I tell her everything I'm learning about AD withdrawal. If she even tries to justify it...

 

But it's true--I need to make a plan to move forward. And I keep using my YouTube videos, my blog, and this forum as a way to share with others what it takes to survive antidepressants. I feel so inspired when I read other people's stories or see other people's blogs and videos. Giving back to others in this way is important. And if it helps just one person, then it will all be worth it.

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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  • Administrator

A lot of therapists don't know the problems with withdrawal or polypharmacy -- they've drunk the psych drug Kool-Aid.

 

To get the most out of therapy, bring up any personality conflicts or reservations you have with your therapist. They're supposed to give you a safe place to work this out. If the therapist isn't honest with you, plays games, or is offended, she's a bad therapist and good riddance.

 

Don't conduct your relationship to please your therapist -- you're probably replicating all the bad relationships you've ever had. Why pay for that? Confront and learn something.

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...

Okay. So at Day 23 off the Abilify, I've been handling my anxiety with chamomile tea and valerian. Pretty good. I had one extreme crying spell (over nothing), but that was to be expected. Today I had some flu-like symptoms--no fever but body aches, nausea, dizziness, dull headache. At 23 day could this be withdrawal or just something random? I don't know whether or not to expect the symptoms to stay the same for awhile (i.e. Anxiety/panic attack) or if I should expect new ones to come up (i.e. More crying spells, more symptoms). Kind of confusing and unpredictable....

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

Link to comment

Hi Lisa ~

That's quite a history -

Just a question about the IH - was that caused by SSRIs or related to their use -

I have had chronic head/neck pain that coincided with my start of Zoloft (and side effect of bruxism/TMD) - it's all a blur but as i read others' stories it prompts questions about my own history - never assesed for intracranial hypertension or hemorrhage but i see there is some literature relating it to SSRIs and bleeding in general -

 

Unpredictability is definitely a key feature of psych med withdrawal but you'll usually find that it's been discussed by the group along with best ways to handle it -

 

Welcome to the group - you'll get great guidance and support

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Hi Lisa and welcome :)

 

I was THROWN INTO SSIR discontinuance syndrome d/t my internist not refilling Effexor xr 150mg for SEVEN DAYS!!! I did not know it existed until then.... Evidently neither did she... But I knew in my gut that the poor concentration, impaired equilibrium, nausea, headache, irritability, ringing in my ears, vivid dreams, "brain shivers" were the direct result of stopping the medication cold turkey.

I decided then and there to get off this poison. I tapered too fast!!! The symptoms re occurred, especially the irritability and "brain shivers". I am now on a very low dose and will hold here until my body has time to adjust.

 

I have since cancelled 2 appointments with my MD. I am still angry :angry: with her for putting me through hell. But she is not the one to blame. She was not fully informed by the drug rep, so how could she inform me??

Effexor XL 2009-2012. CT 150mg Effexor XR  2012, Effexor XR  75mg  2012  then rapid taper to 0, Reinstated Effexor XR 13mg then updosed to 20mg, Tapered to 18mg Effexor XR 4/9/12, Off Effexor XL ?Reinstated  Effexor XL 150 mgs  August  2012, Crashed in November 2012, Prozac 40 mgs 2012 to Feb 2018, Buspar 60  mgs 2012-stopped 2015, Remeron 7.5 mgs as needed for sleep-stopped Feb 2017, Prozac 50 mgs Feb 2018 to March 2018, Lexapro 5 mgs March 18 2018 to May 17th 2018, Lexapro 2.5 mgs  May 18th to May 26th 2018, Prozac 10 mgs May 15th 2018, Prozac 5 mgs May 19th 2018 to current day May 28th 2018,  Xanax 0.25 mgs to 0.5 mgs daily for over 15 years. Increased Xanax to 1.5 mgs Sept 2012, Tapered Xanax to 0 mgs  May 2013.Reinstated Xanax Feb 2017 at 0.125 mgs as needed, Gradual increase of Xanax to 1.5 mgs daily till May 22nd 2018, Xanax 1.25 mgs daily. Holding

 

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I have since cancelled 2 appointments with my MD. I am still angry :angry: with her for putting me through hell. But she is not the one to blame. She was not fully informed by the drug rep, so how could she inform me??

 

I hope no doctor is relying on drug reps for up-to-date scientific info. Talking about discontinuation syndrome beyond what is specified in product labeling would fall into the illegal 'off label' area. If something has not gone through scientific trials, the FDA, and Medical Regulatory affairs, it's anecdotal info and off limits to discuss with a physician. This is not something that gets media attention like the promotion of off-label (unapproved) uses, but it is the flip side of same coin.

 

Sorry - I didn't mean to jump on your comment. It actually raises a good question about how doctors use or rely on info from marketing reps and where they get most of their prescribing info. They *should* be staying current with journals and continuing medical education, but even that is influenced by pharma.

Many docs have no interaction with reps and those that do only do so long enough to sign for samples (20-30 seconds).

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Silver Star,

 

Maybe my comment was too simplistic. The point I wanted to get across was... MD's do not know enough about SSIR discontinuance syndrome. I believe it is down played by the Pharms on purpose.

 

:)Enough said. Peace to all

Effexor XL 2009-2012. CT 150mg Effexor XR  2012, Effexor XR  75mg  2012  then rapid taper to 0, Reinstated Effexor XR 13mg then updosed to 20mg, Tapered to 18mg Effexor XR 4/9/12, Off Effexor XL ?Reinstated  Effexor XL 150 mgs  August  2012, Crashed in November 2012, Prozac 40 mgs 2012 to Feb 2018, Buspar 60  mgs 2012-stopped 2015, Remeron 7.5 mgs as needed for sleep-stopped Feb 2017, Prozac 50 mgs Feb 2018 to March 2018, Lexapro 5 mgs March 18 2018 to May 17th 2018, Lexapro 2.5 mgs  May 18th to May 26th 2018, Prozac 10 mgs May 15th 2018, Prozac 5 mgs May 19th 2018 to current day May 28th 2018,  Xanax 0.25 mgs to 0.5 mgs daily for over 15 years. Increased Xanax to 1.5 mgs Sept 2012, Tapered Xanax to 0 mgs  May 2013.Reinstated Xanax Feb 2017 at 0.125 mgs as needed, Gradual increase of Xanax to 1.5 mgs daily till May 22nd 2018, Xanax 1.25 mgs daily. Holding

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm finding so much out on this site about withdrawal symptoms in Cymbalta, and the hell that people are going through. It makes me SO angry that these doctors do this to people without warning them.

This is the part that infuriates me as well. What ever happened to informed consent?

 

I was hospitalized over a year ago with depression, which, I believe, was caused in large part by my cholesterol being reduced to a very low level by Lipitor. I was never told of the possible side effects of Lipitor such as muscle wasting (which I have), depression, memory loss, and diabetes. The psychiatrist didn't pay any attention to my cholesterol level but forged ahead, prescribing Lexapro, Remeron, and Ativan. For reasons he never explained, he suddenly switched me to Pristiq instead of Lexapro. No one ever told me about side effects.

 

Two months after leaving the psych ward I got a lung infection which I believe was due to taking frequent doses of aspirin for back pain and bleeding from my nose dripping down my throat. (My first clue was throwing up blood.) Did anyone bother to tell me that aspirin should never be taken with Pristiq? H*ll, no! The pulmonary "specialist" to whom I was referred had never even heard of Pristiq and proceeded to make a number of misdiagnoses. (Is there such a word as maldiagnosis?)

 

Eventually I got off of Remeron and then switched to Lexapro, 10 mg., and even though I tapered off over four months I've still suffered through a lot of the withdrawal symptoms so many people here describe. I was down to 2.5 mg. when I last saw my doctor and she laughed, saying I was taking "practically nothing". I'd like for her to experience "practically nothing". :angry:

 

I have also turned against mainstream medicine. I haven't altogether severed my relationships with my doctors, but I'm now very, very leery of them and seek out herbal cures first. In fact, I'm going to look into becoming an herbalist myself when I feel up to it.

 

Welcome aboard. This forum has been of tremendous help to me on the road back. :)

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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Silver Star,

 

Maybe my comment was too simplistic. The point I wanted to get across was... MD's do not know enough about SSIR discontinuance syndrome. I believe it is down played by the Pharms on purpose.

 

:)Enough said. Peace to all

 

You are right - the system is broken in so many ways with pharma controlling access to information in all avenues. I don't think doctors are aware of how misinformed and manipulated they are.

 

I apologize again for jumping on your earlier statement.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • Administrator

Hi, Lisa -- if you have a bug, the symptoms will follow a familiar pattern, peak and go away.

 

If you have withdrawal symptoms, you'll have them in waves, they'll be in weird combinations, and change in weird ways.

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 Lisa ~

That's quite a history -

Just a question about the IH - was that caused by SSRIs or related to their use -

I have had chronic head/neck pain that coincided with my start of Zoloft (and side effect of bruxism/TMD) - it's all a blur but as i read others' stories it prompts questions about my own history - never assesed for intracranial hypertension or hemorrhage but i see there is some literature relating it to SSRIs and bleeding in general -

 

Unpredictability is definitely a key feature of psych med withdrawal but you'll usually find that it's been discussed by the group along with best ways to handle it -

 

Welcome to the group - you'll get great guidance and support

 

The doctors don't really know what causes IH. It's really frustrating. Sometimes it's been linked with the use of birth control pills (which I used to take). It's also been linked to other things, but I never saw anything about SSRIs. Good question, though.

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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Eventually I got off of Remeron and then switched to Lexapro, 10 mg., and even though I tapered off over four months I've still suffered through a lot of the withdrawal symptoms so many people here describe. I was down to 2.5 mg. when I last saw my doctor and she laughed, saying I was taking "practically nothing". I'd like for her to experience "practically nothing". :angry:

 

 

That's horrible! I hate when doctors treat you like you're crazy.

 

I saw an article somewhere in which a doctor said “Although these withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, they are not dangerous. They simply reflect your body’s readjustment after losing the neurochemical effects of the antidepressant; experiencing these types of symptoms does not mean that you have become ‘hooked’ on the medication.”

 

"Uncomfortable?" They "simply" reflect the readjustment??? Really! As you said, I wish they could experience this and then maybe they would be careful about what they say and do. :angry:

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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  • Administrator

From your mouth to the Deity's ear, Lisa.

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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  • 5 months later...

An update on my success! Here's what I posted in the Success Stories:

I began my journey to "quit the cure" of February 28, 2012. I wanted off of my antidepressants: Abilify 5mg, Cymbalta 60mg, and Lamictal 200mg. And I've been blogging about my journey to "quit the cure" since the beginning of March. Back at the end of June, I hit a great, big road block--I had the worst breakdown ever. I survived it; however, I didn't want to turn back on quitting the cure. But I definitely wasn't ready to continue my journey. So, I stopped blogging (mostly out of a lack of motivation), and I stopped tapering. My therapist and psychiatrist were both on maternity leave anyway, so it seemed like a good idea. At that point I was off of the Abilify and Cymbalta, left with 100mg of Lamictal per day.

 

But during the month of July, I really worked on my faith. I've been a Christian since I was very young, and I wanted to get back to the close relationship I had had with God so many years ago. I'm not here to preach, but I will say that when my relationship with God strengthened, I felt like a stronger person period. So, I decided to call the psychiatrist who was filling in for my doctor to schedule an appointment for a dosage change. I called several times and no one called me back. Good thing I wasn't having a breakdown again. <_<

 

 

This is the part where I say, "Don't try this at home, folks." :excl:

 

So, I got the bright idea to taper myself with everything I had left. I had a nice amount of the 100mg tabs and a nice amount of the 25mg from a previous taper. Over the course of two weeks, I tapered down to ZERO. I know that the quick taper did me no favors.

 

 

However, I am here today writing this success story because I am free of antidepressants and withdrawal symptoms! It is possible to be free, but I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I hit some serious lows during the last few weeks. And that breakdown in June was no joke by itself. Still, I know God spared me the worst of it all. Miraculously, I didn't have any physical symptoms these last few weeks, just the severe mood swings. THAT was enough, please trust me.

 

I get readers of my blog who write to me about withdrawal, Abilify withdrawal in particular. I hate not having an answer for how long withdrawal lasts. My very last post was about the fact that antidepressant withdrawal "takes as long as it takes." And still, it breaks my heart every time someone asks me whether or not the torment of withdrawal will ever end. Because while you're in it, it certainly seems like there is no end in sight.

 

There is an end, but it seems like superhuman strength and courage is required to get there. But you can get there.

 

Meanwhile, here's what helped me:

 

#1 – Support: Reading stories on this forum got me prepared for antidepressant withdrawal. But it also kept me inspired and gave me a place to go back to with questions. Blogging gave me an outlet for my frustration, but the support of my followers was what made the difference. (I only wish I had had the emotional strength to write this last month.) Having a sister who was literally the Sam to my Frodo was a blessing. (If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, then you know that Frodo could not have made it without his faithful friend, Sam. Frodo carried the burden of the One Ring, while Sam carried him. This is an accurate comparison of my journey--because it was also my sister's journey.) Last but not least, was the love and strength of God which held me up and kept me from giving up--really giving up--in the end.

 

#2 - Diet: I have lost over 30 pounds while Quitting the Cure, and still going strong! :D I’ve been overweight since I was a teen, and gained a ridiculous amount of weight since switching antidepressants 5 years ago. Losing 30 pounds is a big bonus in all of this. However, it was only made possible by a strict diet change. I became pescatarian and then vegan during my journey. I cut out many processed foods, and paid close attention to any food sensitivities that I had. Now, the diet change played a huge role in things. Plus, supplements helped to affect how I felt physically and emotionally this whole time. I used a multivitamin, Omega-3s, and vitamin D to help support my body while it was struggling to return to homeostasis. I also used herbal supplements and specific foods to combat withdrawal symptoms, physical and emotional. Valerian was huge with the Abilify withdrawal because I experienced serious anxiety with it. I even tried flower essence for my episode of apathy.

 

 

I’m really happy to be able to put my success story on this site. I would definitely recommend a slow taper, though! It’s not fun coming off of antidepressants, but freedom from them is possible!

 

Wishing everyone my very best,

 

Lisa B)

Drug History (approx):

 

2002-2003

Zoloft

2003-2004

Paxil

2005-2007

Lexapro

2008

Cymbalta, Ativan

2009

Cymbalta, Lamictal, Ativan

2010- (February) 2012:

Cymbalta 60mg, Lamictal 200mg, Abilify 5mg

--

Currently (March 2012):

Stopped Abilify 5mg on 02/28/2012

Holding at Cymbalta 60mg and Lamictal 200mg

--

 

Lisa

Quit the Cure

http://quitthecure.com/

 

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." ~ Ephesians 4:23

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  • Administrator

Congratulations, Lisa. This topic is continued in Lisa's success story here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2920-i-quit-the-cure/

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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