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Ox123

Ox123: My Mirtazapine Story

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Ox123

Hi all, I haven't been on here for quite some time as I have been very busy with life. I guess that is a good thing? I thought that now is a good time to write my success story since I have been off Mirtazapine for well over 1 year and haven't had any symptoms related to that for 1 year also.

Here is my introduction and journal I wrote to give you an idea of the journey I went through:

 

The problem:
So back in 2017 I was blighted with a severe case of anxiety, I won't go into how this was triggered as this could have been from a number of things that contributed to this happening including lifestyle, stress, partying too much, among other things. Initially i was prescribed Sertraline that literally sent me into panic after taking 1 tablet, this was then switched over to Mirt.
I was prescribed Mirtazapine to relieve some of the symptoms which initially worked (It helped me sleep and get my appetite back). However as any of you on this medication will know this drug is very unpredictable and can cause all kinds of mental and physical symptoms. 

Withdrawing + Symptoms
I was only on Mirtazapine for a total of 6 months which included 2 months of tapering (see journal for more information on this). Initially I found coming off the drug quite easy, some stomach pain, sleep pattern changes but not much more. After approximately 1 month my withdrawal symptoms began. I noticed that I was very emotionally unstable, meaning everyday worries/problems become huge anxiety triggers. This was even more worrying to me as I started to think that my inital 'anxiety' problem was starting to come back and it wasn't really the effects of Mirtazapine (I was wrong).

As stated, my symptoms started at the 5th week of complete withdrawal from Mirt and lasted almost 7 months. Yes 7 months! Thats longer than I was even on the medication. They were as follows:
- Severe waves of anxiety (some lasting up to 3 weeks)
- Weird OCD style thoughts, totally alien and not what I'd usually be thinking about
- Frequent migraines from exercising
- Weird joint pains (between fingers, also in my thorax)
- Rectal pain (this was very weird also, and would happen at random times)
- Random nose bleeds (worse during full dose but also happening during withdrawal)

There were more symptoms but I can't remember them all at this time, the anxiety however was the most problematic and painful. I kept a mood diary which allowed me to rate the severity of my anxiety and track any patterns. I also had psychotherapy privately which cost me alot, and actually wasn't useful to me due to the fact the professional was treating me for 'generalised anxiety disorder' rather than 'anti depressant withdrawal'. I cut this off during my taper which helped. I noticed that I was experiencing the typical 'waves, windows' scenario. Throughout the withdrawal process I experienced waves of anxiety approximately 5 weeks after each dose drop. This, to my knowledge, was my brain trying to re-adjust to not being medicated anymore. One thing I need to mention here is that - do not assume you are permanently screwed. I fell into this trap many times, breaking down into tears thinking "Is this how I'm gonna be forever?". This thought should be avoided, infact forcing positive thoughts to stop yourself catastrophising like this will help you get better.

Recovery
As it is for most, my recovery was very non-linear. I went through periods of little to no symptoms, then i could wake up with chronic anxiety and a whole host of physical symptoms to go with it. I almost gave up on my medication sobriety many times, including visits to the doctors only to be told i should re-instate. Thankfully I never re-instated once, I fully understand those of you who have re-instated though as withdrawal symptoms can be horrific and any form of relief is needed sometimes.

The one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was experiencing windows of no symptoms at all, this could range from 1 hour to 2 weeks of no symptoms. I remember the moments where I was coming to the end of a window and was about to fall into another wave, this was probably the worst part of all this. The fact that I was fully aware that my window was over and i was now about to deal with a period of chronic mental and physical pain for an unconfirmed amount of time. 

The eureka moment for me happened at about the 7th month of withdrawal, I was still experiencing anxiety spikes but they were literally lasting only one day, followed by many weeks of calmness. I remember thinking "Wow, I totally forgot I was withdrawing from medication, its been weeks since i felt bad!". I strongly believe a point of recovery is reached when you actually forget that you have been unwell, I guess the science behind this is that new pathways have been created in the brain. Over-writing the anxious pathways our brain has trained itself to regularly follow throughout this process.

Thoughts to take-away + Tips
Its now been 1 year since I experienced any anxiety symptoms, I don't even get the "Am I going to have a panic attack in this situation" anymore. That's a huge leap for me as I knew when that happened, I was about to go back into the anxious loop. At times, my symptoms were so strong I was thinking about throwing it all away and just handing myself over to be hospitalised. Somehow I managed to soldier on and keep fighting..
I really feel that I am back to my normal self which I remind myself of everyday. I actually think this whole process has made me stronger mentally as I know that there isn't much worse than what I went through. 

Tips
- Recovery is non-linear - don't set yourself a date to get better, it will happen naturally
- Negative thoughts actually slowed down my recovery, consciously forcing positive thoughts reminded my brain that it was still 'normal' and not 'permanently damaged' helped alot

- Positive self talk & speaking out loud to yourself allows your concerns to be aired if you are worried about what people will think
- Don't read any worst case scenarios online! These will make you feel worse and actually trigger the mental symptoms 
- Take it as slow as you possibly can. Withdraw slowly, don't kick yourself because you still feel sh^t 6 months/2 years later. Your full recovery date is set for you, nobody else
- Exercise, diet and sleep are of huge priority as they will give your brain/body what it needs to return back to it's healthy state

- Track your progress and remind yourself of your 'windows'. they will become longer over time

Please be aware I'm not a medical professional so any advice should only be followed through the advice of a medical professional.
I'm sending positive vibes to anyone reading this who are going through recovery, KEEP GOING!


 

 

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Ox123

Hi is someone going to approve this post or have I done something wrong? 

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manymoretodays

Thank you so much for your patience Ox123.  And adding to our Success Story Forum.

Over a year off Mirtazapine! 

 

I'm going to lock on up your introduction now, as is the custom here.

Ox's introduction can be found here:  Ox123: 6 months on Mirtazapine

 

Congratulations and thank you again.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

moderator manymoretodays(mmt)

 

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Altostrata

What a terrific Success Story! Thanks @Ox123

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Ox123

Thanks both. Apologies for the double post. Will be around to answer any questions on this thread. 

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readyfortheworld

Congrats on recovering @Ox123.  How did you keep busy during withdrawal? Were you able to work? 

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Ox123
10 hours ago, readyfortheworld said:

Congrats on recovering @Ox123.  How did you keep busy during withdrawal? Were you able to work? 

 

I had 2 weeks off work when it first happened as i was in complete dispair.

 

I then realised it didnt matter where I was the mental symptoms were just as bad at home or at work. So i would go jogging on a morning as sometimes this would reduce the intensity of the anxiety. At work Id feel like breaking down constantly but If I fed into this I would embarass myself so I just tried my hardest to keep busy.

 

Sometimes I would book holidays in if the anxiety became too intense so I could go home and sulk for a while - this self loathing thing was also not good though as it made my anxiety last longer.

 

One thing I would suggest is get out the house if you can. I noticed that if I got anxious in the house too much I would start to develop avoidance behaviour as Id associate my home with anxiety. Jogs outside, swimming, gym, hotel trips, holidays abroad all helped shed some of the symptoms.

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PH1

Ox123, thanks for sharing your success story and so glad you are doing well!   God bless you!

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Armorall

I'm glad to hear you are well! It's an inspiring story and I hope to follow in your footsteps. Do you feel that your CNS has stabilized?

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Ox123
On 12/5/2019 at 9:33 PM, Armorall said:

I'm glad to hear you are well! It's an inspiring story and I hope to follow in your footsteps. Do you feel that your CNS has stabilized?

 

Hi yes this has returned back to normal. I think the only lasting effect is the really bad memories and the fact I know exactly what anxiety is now if i ever feel that way. Luckily ive not had any symptoms for over a year, worry no longer triggers anxiety and i know this as ive had many situations this past year which would normally trigger this like they would during withdrawal.

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