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Goosie: insomnia crisis

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Jen1234

Wishing you the best! I am also going through withdrawal induced insomnia. My best week of sleep was when I somehow managed to “accept it.” Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t great or even good sleep, but it was at least a few hours and then for some reason I couldn’t hold on to that acceptance anymore and it broke down even further. I also realized that I may be getting more sleep than I think. I put on a progressive relaxation recording and when I wake and think I’ve been awake the whole time, I realize I must have slept some because I don’t remember finishing the recording or the recording turning off. It’s odd that we can experience sleep without realizing it, but it’s at least comforting to know I’m getting something. Good luck to you and keep us updated.

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Altostrata
On 3/2/2019 at 10:05 PM, Goosie said:

My my main issue is finding hope to keep going.   The insomnia is so severe even on sleeping pills- it’s like they have no effect.  

 

If hydroxyzine has gone paradoxical, which is common with the sedating antihistamines, it will keep you awake instead of putting you to sleep. Your "sleeping pill" may be your problem.

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Goosie

Thank you @Jen1234 for the encouraging words.    I try to practice acceptance. I felt pretty good last night but was still unable to fall asleep until after sunrise.   

 

@Altostrata  I made another reduction in hydroxizine last night and did not see any improvement in sleep I went to bed a 11 and was still awake at sunrise.  I had some nightmare sleep from  6 or7 to 9 am.    Can you point me to threads of members who improved after reducing their antihistamine?   Also I had insomnia before I took any meds.  That’s why I took meds.  Will this make it harder for me to heal?

Thank you

gwen. 

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Altostrata

Listen, we often see these sedating antihistamines go paradoxical. I've given you my best guess about what to do. I don't have time to discuss this any more.

 

 

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Goosie

@Altostrata  thanks for the link.  I read it all.  You seem to be irritated with me.  I am following your advice and tapering as fast as I can.   I have made two cuts in the last two weeks and things have only gotten worse. I am really sorry I don’t have better news to report.   I wish I did.    I need a lot of mental support right now and I am sorry for that.   This site is all I have keeping me going at the moment.   

Thank you

gwen.  

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Jen1234

Goosie, I also had insomnia before starting meds, but I believe it was very much brought on by starting Zoloft. Nevertheless my anxiety became so severe about not sleeping that even once I came off the Zoloft (I was only on for 10 days) I couldn’t sleep because I feared I wouldn’t. I do believe the majority of my insomnia now is withdrawals, however some of it is also mental at this point. Many people on here with insomnia after medication also had insomnia before medication. I don’t think we can blame it all on withdrawal. Medication sometimes is just a bandaid until we rip it off and the insomnia comes back, although unfortunately it seems to often worsen. I am receiving CBT-Insomnia therapy for the psychological aspect. I wish had gone this route after I came off the Zoloft instead of being placed on a sedating AD. Perhaps CBT-I can help you some?

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Altostrata
Jen1234

That’s great you felt good before going to sleep. I often will feel calm and still not sleep. My therapist made my bedtime later so that I wasn’t laying in bed awake for so many hours getting frustrated and associating the bed with awake time. If I’m only going to get several hours than I’m only going to get several hours. No point in going to bed at a “normal” time if you’re not going to sleep. Instead I try some relaxing or nonstimulating activities. I keep trying to remember that there is hope in that people do recover if this is withdrawal. I’m not doing a great job accepting it myself but am continually trying to work towards that goal rather than a goal of improving my sleep

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Goosie

@Altostrata  the worsening symptoms are:   Increased akathasia and extreme suiciduality , extreme fatigue,  increased insomnia.  Insomnia of the type where I sleep only a few hours  if I am lucky and those hours are so disturbed with fast heartbeat  and nightmares.    

 

As as I mentioned before.   What I need most is reassurance that this will pass 

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Goosie

Also: another thing to note, I never got any relief from any medication-  some days i would sleep some days no.  This has been going on for 8 months.   

 

With one exception: The phenibut did did seem to send me to sleep but I would feel so awful in the morning that overall it was a wash.   

 

I have tried seriquel mirtazapine hydroxizine.  None put me to sleep for two days in a row.   

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Goosie

@Jen1234 bless you.  Sending love. 

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Altostrata
On 1/19/2019 at 1:57 PM, Goosie said:

I sleep a few hours every other night.

 

Is this still your sleep pattern? What is your daily sleep schedule?

 

What we see is that when people go on and off psychiatric drugs or other psychoactives, their nervous systems can become hypersensitive to drugs and sometimes supplements and even foods. Additional drugs to help sleep can, paradoxically, make people worse.

 

Withdrawal insomnia is very common. "I never got any relief from any medication" is nothing new around here. In fact, if you're getting a few hours of sleep here and there, that's better than a lot of people.

 

If you don't do anything to get in its way, your sleep will very gradually improve. You will need to be patient and work on non-drug solutions. There are some things you can do to help your sleep. Did you read the links I gave you above? Did you follow the suggestions?

 

23 hours ago, Goosie said:

Increased akathasia and extreme suiciduality

 

What do you mean by "akathisia"?

 

If you are suicidal, you must immediately get face-to-face help. As we're only an Internet forum, we can't do anything about emergencies. See For those who are feeling desperate or suicidal

 

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Goosie

Yes @Altostrata I have read the sleep links multiple times and do all the suggestions.  My windows are covered in electrical tape so my room is black.  I also keep it cold.   No phones after 8 etc.   thank you for all the links.  

 

I also take melatonin & magnesium.    

 

My sleep pattern is still 4-5 hours every other night.  On the bad nights I get 0 -3 hours.   

 

By by akathasia I mean internal burning and shaking.      

 

I have windows on the days I sleep.   

 

Thank you for all your help.   

Knowing that other people made it through this is the best medicine.   Thank you

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Altostrata

When does the internal burning and shaking occur?

 

If you keep daily symptom notes, I think you would see very gradual improvement -- a normal pattern of healing.

 

How much melatonin and magnesium are you taking? When do you take them? Do you feel any effect from either?

 

 

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Goosie

Hi @Altostrata 

the burning and shaking starts around 5 am on the sleepless nights and lasts throughout the day until I get some sleep the next night.   

 

I can take daily daily symptom notes.  Would it be helpful to list them here?    

I notice changes but I have no idea if they are improvements.   For example I will switch to 4 hours a night and then go alternating 8 / 0 for two weeks.  And then switch back.    

I have a lot of fear that my sleep will get worse.  Especially since it takes hours to fall asleep.   

 

Thank you for your time

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Goosie

Oh I take about 2 mg melatonin around 10 pm 

and two pills of magnesium glycinate 120 mg each.   I think the melatonin does induce a sleepy feeling but it doesn’t last too long.  I think the magnesium makes me calmer.    

 

After i I take the hydroxizine I have like 10-15 minutes where it feels like I am going to fall asleep and then the feeling passes and I feel really awake.   

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Jen1234

Have you had other medical work ups done? Thyroid checked? What was your sleeping like before the marijuana and did anything in particular precipitate it? 

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Goosie

Hi @Jen1234    Yes I have had all the blood work done.  Everything looks ok except sex hormones so I am on bio identical hormone replacement.   Not sure if that is helping or.  hurting.     Before a year ago I slept like a baby.  9  -10 hours a night.    I hated my job though and was was super stressed.   I think the constant stress just got to my nervous system and it broke.    I graduated top of my class from Princeton with a degree in engineering and physics.    I’m not even smart.   That should give you an idea of the work I had to put in.   I would study non stop day in day out.  I didn’t take a single Friday night off in college.   I was brainwashed into thinking that the harder you worked the better things would be.   After college things continued this way. I was given a scholarship to continue studying so I got a PhD which was super hard and the whole time I thought I would die.  Then I had a hard job where everyone was much smarter than me and I had to struggle so much just to keep up.  I would beg everyone around me that I needed to quit but  I kept getting told I earned so much money it would be ridiculous to quit.   For some reason I didn’t have the strength of character to not need the approval of others .   I remember before I broke I was full on crying to my manager at work begging to get a layoff package as there was a big layoff going on.  I told him I could not take it any more.   He told me I was just upset and I needed to not take things so seriously.   In addition to my not being smart there was a whole lot of sexism and racism going on.  ( I worked at a top tech company).    Every day there were racist put downs and each time I would cry in my office or after work.   

Thats probably way too much information for you but that’s my sad story.     

 

I pray every day that I get another chance to live.    

God bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jen1234

Thank you for sharing. That all seems so difficult and i’m sorry you went through so much. I too, slept 9-10 hours 6 months ago, but was under a lot of stress with a very colicky newborn and anxiety was getting the best of me. It was milD anxiety thought. Despite the anxiety I was still sleeping fine. I tried Zoloft and whether or not it’s a coincidence that I slept poorly that week, or it was a side-effect of the Zoloft, I’ll never know. However, I panicked for three weeks. Couldn’t sleep because of the fear of not sleeping and ambien and ativan didn’t help to bring my anxiety down. Never have i felt such intense anxiety before lasting so long. Multiple panic attacks a day. Did that happen to you also?

 

I also began a partial rehab program for post-partum women, thinking perhaps I was suffering from PPD/A, but I felt like I gained control of the anxiety around sleep during the same week I was given amitriptyline. I wonder though if it was the amitriptyline helping me to sleep or my own ability to deal with the anxiety, or maybe both. Anyways, like you I was upped to 20mg of lexapro and the amitriptyline was taken away. I couldn’t sleep again, so went off the lexapro. I tried seroquel for two nights as well and it did nothing, also tried remeron for 2 nights and still nothing. My sleep pattern seems similar to yours... averaging about 4ish hours, but have several days of 0-2 during the week. Some weeks I’ll stay consistent with about 4.5 hours, but then if I have a good day (7hrs), I won’t sleep the next night and will start sleeping 0,7,0,7. The sleep unfortunately rarely feels like sleep. So shallow and fragmented. I have no idea what’s going on either and what’s to blame. I’m depressed and anxious now because of it which surely can’t be helping. My family thinks I need to go back on an antidepressant because of what this insomnia is doing to me. Last night I managed to get my finger caught in an immersion blender and have 5 stitches to show for it. Thanks to sleep deprivation. 

 

Im trying to do CBT-Insomnia, but it just doesn’t seem to be helping right now. I wish I knew the cause. I feel like it’s the amitriptyline withdrawal but there are so many variables at play and I don’t know whether to try another antidepressant or not, but living like this is no life and i’m not sure what my other choices are. 

 

You mentioned you were on lexapro and then when you came off all hell broke loose again. Was the lexapro helping at the time and why did you come off? 

 

Hope you’re making it through your day ok. We’ll get there some day. 

 

 

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Goosie

Hi @Jen1234 

my story sounds so similar.     At first I was not panicked by not sleeping and just took marajuana before bed for a month.   Then the marajuana gave be a bad trip snd I panicked.   Extreme anxiety about not being able to sleep.  

 

Tried seroquel mirtazapine ambien nothing worked.  However my shrink insisted I stay on seroquel.  I got so bad he dumped me and insisted I get electrical shock.  The electric shock shrink at the hospital insisted I take lexepro.   It never helped and only made things worse.    I was taken off it at the inpatient center I was in.   I think the taper was way to fast.  ( 6 weeks)  

 

i am sorry you hurt your finger.   That sounds painful.  And I  sorry you are going through this.  

 

Personally I don’t think antidepressants help and here is why:   The strong sedatives antagonize serotonin receptors, so how does it make sense to then take something that increases serotonin levels?   It’s like taking an upper and downer at the same time.  But what do I know.   

 

I am sure urge our brains will stabilize.   I am praying for that.   Congratulations on your new baby.   You have so much to live for.    💕💕💕

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Goosie

@Jen1234  also it looks like you are med free at the moment?   That sounds good- your body will be able to heal.   I am still desperately trying to come off the hydroxizine.     💕💕💕💕

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Goosie

Also I hated my job before the insomnia but I still liked my life.  I remodeled my beautiful house , was engaged to the most wonderful man, and wrote music on the weekends.   I was looking forward to life when the insomnia struck and rendered me disabled.  One day I will have my life back and so will you.  

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Altostrata
20 hours ago, Goosie said:

Hi @Altostrata 

the burning and shaking starts around 5 am on the sleepless nights and lasts throughout the day until I get some sleep the next night.   

 

I can take daily daily symptom notes.  Would it be helpful to list them here?    

I notice changes but I have no idea if they are improvements.   For example I will switch to 4 hours a night and then go alternating 8 / 0 for two weeks.  And then switch back.    

I have a lot of fear that my sleep will get worse.  Especially since it takes hours to fall asleep.   

 

Thank you for your time

 

Your switching up various drugs in this period may have unsettled your sleep schedule. We will not be able to ascertain a baseline pattern until you hold your chemical intake constant for a while.

 

Oscillating sleep patterns will correct if you let them. You will need to be patient.

 

20 hours ago, Goosie said:

Oh I take about 2 mg melatonin around 10 pm 

and two pills of magnesium glycinate 120 mg each.   I think the melatonin does induce a sleepy feeling but it doesn’t last too long.  I think the magnesium makes me calmer.    

 

After i I take the hydroxizine I have like 10-15 minutes where it feels like I am going to fall asleep and then the feeling passes and I feel really awake.   

 

That is a description of a classic paradoxical reaction. How much hydroxyzine are you taking now?

 

2mg melatonin might still be too high. Magnesium is best taken in small doses throughout the day. You might take only one 120mg tablet at bedtime and take another later in the night.

 

Instead of worrying when you can't sleep, which makes everything worse, teach yourself meditation. Music can help:

 

Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

 

Music for self-care: calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

2 hours ago, Goosie said:

Hi @Jen1234    Yes I have had all the blood work done.  Everything looks ok except sex hormones so I am on bio identical hormone replacement.   Not sure if that is helping or.  hurting.     Before a year ago I slept like a baby.  9  -10 hours a night.    I hated my job though and was was super stressed.   I think the constant stress just got to my nervous system and it broke.    

....  In addition to my not being smart there was a whole lot of sexism and racism going on.  ( I worked at a top tech company).    Every day there were racist put downs and each time I would cry in my office or after work.   

Thats probably way too much information for you but that’s my sad story.     

 

I pray every day that I get another chance to live.    

God bless

 

 

A bad job can certainly affect your sleep. If you work on self-care, you will be able to sleep again and work again. You would be wise to find a job where conditions are less adverse -- openly inquire about their diversity and gender climate. (Having worked in the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know exactly what you mean. Those environments are brutal.)

 

It seems you have a tendency to catastrophize. You will need to get that in hand as well. You can work on this as your sleep improves.

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Neuro-emotions

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Deep emotional pain and crying spells, spontaneous weeping

 

Shame, guilt, regret, and self-criticism

 

Health anxiety, hypochondria, and obsession with symptoms

 

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

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Jen1234

@Goosie yes I loved my life as well. Stressed, for sure, but nothing like this. I don’t feel anxious/depressed about anything else other than not sleeping so it’s hard for me to think there’s some sort of chemical imbalance that needs to be treated by an antidepressant. The insomnia needs to be treated and life would be great. Finding the root cause of the insomnia with all these medication/life variables is so hard though.

 

Given our history with our extreme stress related to the initial sleep disturbances, it  makes me believe perhaps much of this ISN’T medication related and our bodies can’t get into that sleep groove because we’ve taught it “it’s dangerous” in a way. In the beginning, just closing my eyes brought on panic or watching just my daughter fall asleep. Although I feel I got over all that for a month when on the amitriptyline, I feel it coming back now once off and if the sleep disturbances are med related my anxiety isn’t helping that’s for sure.

 

Anorher note, like clockwork, my anxiety decreases around 5pm and spikes between 3-5am in the morning and sticks around mostly until the evening again. Cortisol levels clearly seem to be playing a role here so whatever we can do to bring them down during the day/morning the better. 

 

Praying for you you as well. It’s Ash Wednesday and from ashes we will rise. 

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Goosie

@Altostrata thanks for the links I read them all over and over.    I do meditate every day.   In fact I like the book “ you are the placebo “ as it says you can heal yourself with meditation.      At night when I can’t skeep I usually meditate for several hours.  The problem is that I tend to lose my sh$t if I’m still not asleep by sun up.    And yes I catastrophize.    I see a councilor for this.  I am doing my best but yes I suck.    

 

To answer your questions I am down 1/3 of the hydroxizine capsule so about 17 mg.     From 25.   ( tapered in the last month).  

I am going down an extra tap every 4-5 days.    ( I tap out some powder from the capsule).  

 

The melatonin i have halved since i came home from atmc 6 weeks ago.  I was thinking to leave that as is until I come down more on the hydroxizine.   I used to be on 3.5 mg.    

 

I also tapered some of hormone replacement as I was on a lot.     I want to hold steady on this too for a while to try and focus on getting off the hydroxizine.   

 

@jen1234 I also feel better in the evening.    You make me feel so much more normal and less crazy.   Yes we will rise from the ashes.   Sending love ❤️ 

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Altostrata

Do not change more than one thing at once. As you have been reducing the hydoxyzine, has there been any change in your daytime symptom pattern?

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Goosie

Hi @Altostrata  daytime symptoms seem to follow whether or not I sleep.   So no additional symptoms from hydroxizine taper.   One very good thing is that I am now able to nap for 15 minutes sometimes.   I take that as a good sign.  

 

I will keep everything else the same as I continue the hydroxizine taper.    Bless you for your work here.    You are an 😇.   

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Altostrata

I'd go faster with reducing hydoxyzine.

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Rachellynn

@Goosie did you ever have days with no sleep at all? It’s hard for me to see a pattern in my sleep. I’m just trying to not get desperate because that will lead to meds/supplements that will put me back. 

 

You still in an upward trend? 

 

Was as falling asleep around 6 yesterday and my Dr. called. Lol!!!😭

 

sending love❤️❤️❤️

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Goosie

Hi @Rachellynn   Yes.  I often have days with 0 sleep.    I sob the whole next day - I don’t deal with it very well.   Usually around my period I have two weeks of 3 days a week not sleeping at all.   I am still doing ok!  I got about 5 hours sleep last night so I am thrilled.  Of course I expect when my period comes I will go back to feeling awful.    I just hope that month the awful gets a little less intense.   Sending love.    💕💕💕💕. Hang in there you can do it.  

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Goosie

That should say each month 

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Rachellynn

Is there anything in particular you did that you can share - that helped? Did i ask you that already? Did you tell me? Oh my goodness, my mind😂👯‍♀️

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Goosie

Hi @rachellynn.     The one thing I find helpful is swimming.   I swim slowly for a half hour every day.   I also meditate but I don’t know if it’s helpful or not.     

I basically surf the net all day,swim,  watch tv.  , and meditate.    That’s all I can manage at the moment.    I don’t know if is the best thing for me to do but it keeps me occupied.   

I also go to the kid playground and sit on the swings but only when there’s no kids around so I don’t look like  a creepster.      

 

Im getting slight relief now after 8 months of hell.   Hang  in there.   💕💕💕

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Jen1234

Yayyy to some relief @goosie! So happy for you, I’m sure it will continue to improve slowly. The sleepless nights send me for a loop as well too. Anxiety/depression off the chart those days. Today was one of them so expecting a better night tonight. Hope everyone gets some zzzz’s as well! 

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Goosie

sorry to hear today was hard @Jen1234   I am praying you get some rest tonight.

I am sure the waves are coming but it sure is nice to get a little break.

lots of love ❤️ 

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