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iamsosmall: Almost a Year out


iamsosmall

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I have been on and off different anti-depressants for years.  I was on Effexor for many years.  (I can't offer specific dates on many things as many holes are there.)  I went on a trip in 2015 to Uganda and met a man with horrible trauma.  He was being weaned off the antidepressant they had him on for 9 months.  I asked if they ever left people on longer and the response was, "No.  You have them on it short term and work with them extensively, giving them the tools to overcome.  Then bring them off and work alongside them until they are ready to move on." 

 

I thought of all the 15 minute visits here in the US with a Psychiatrist, different ones over the years and how the only "tool" given me was a medication.  The recheck visits seemed like a way to keep the money rolling in.  Only 2 of the many I saw seemed to really care.  One got sick and had to retire, the other moved away.  I had also been to plenty of counseling over the years.  Never did I feel like anyone actually came alongside me and helped me to live.  At least not from the professionals.  I may have gotten some good nuggets of information but the people over the years that have genuinely loved on me in spite of myself have had the greatest impact.

 

After this information, I came home and began to research.  I knew from prior experience that none of the doctors I know of would encourage, know how, or help me withdraw.  So I began on my own.  It took 2 1/2 years to withdraw from the Effexor.  I let my body guide me as to how fast or slow I could go.  It was a very slow process and when I would feel symptoms, I would slow it further.  I have been off of the Effexor for over a year.  I was also on Mirtazapine for sleep.  I took 1/4 of a 7.5 mg tablet for years.  How many I do not know.  Unfortunately, I did not do my due diligence with this one as I thought it was such a tiny dose that it would be no big deal.  I did not take into account how long I had been on it, or the fact that I just came off the Effexor.  I was probably totally off of the Effexor for a couple of months at the longest when I began the Mirtazapine withdrawal.  (I would NOT recommend this to anyone!)   I couldn't really cut the pill any smaller than it was so I started skipping days until I was down to 3 nights a week.  Then decreased further.  I seemed fine, until about 4 days after I totally stopped and was out of the medication.  I went into full withdrawal at that point.  

 

I had already leveled with my employer about the situation of Effexor withdrawal shortly after he hired me.  (Not a conversation I wanted to have but knew I could be "off" some days.)  Being in a natural health care field, he was understanding.  When I had to approach him again, this last year because I was no longer sleeping and re visit the same conversation only with a different medication, he was still understanding.  He referred me to a place that has helped me with the detox and I am still being treated there.  It has been long, it has been hard and I wish I would have found the "Beyond Meds" site sooner than I did.  I think I would have done it differently, however, there are a number of reasons I needed to get off sooner rather than later. 

 

The symptoms are still too big and I have felt so alone until finding the "Beyond Meds" site which is how I found this site.  Now I see there are many like me and it has helped so much to know someone else understands and that I am not crazy.  Trying to explain what I am living with to someone else is maddening as they look at me like I am crazy.  My husband keeps insisting that I need to go back on medication, but the natural place I am treating at said that the medication is the reason my adrenals are in the state they are in and to never go back.  

 

I guess what I need is encouragement that this will get better from people that actually live with what I am living with.  The disassociation is so hard and this whole thing has brought up truama's from my past that I thought were long put to rest.  Now I am wrestling with them again like they happened yesterday.  The weight loss and muscle loss needs to stop too.  I am eating but still losing weight and my husband comments on that too which causes stress.  Then there is the lack of sleep and utter terror that can hit me at any time.  I have had to be honest with my employer about that as well since some of the terror is around him.  It is undefinable and there is no reason for it but I can have a 4 alarm fire alarm go off at any moment of the day with no fire in sight!   My life feels like it has been flipped upside down and I am slowly trying to piece together who it is I am supposed to be but go so derailed all those years ago by medication. 

 

I may not know dates but I can tell you that I have been married for almost 31 years and I have been on antidepressants for at least 25 of those years.  I am desperately praying I will not be in this for as many years as some I have read.  It feels unbearable. 

Edited by Shep
added username to title

Been on antidepressants for at least 25 years.  Various kinds, various stops and starts.  Ended Effexor in the fall of 2018, it was a 2 1/2 year long withdrawal diligently planned and slowly executed.   I ended  Mirtazapine December of 2018.  I took that for sleep in very small dose and underestimated the impact of the withdrawal.  Such a tiny dose, 1/4 of a 7.5 mg pill every night for years.  Not enough due diligence and while I tapered, it did not taper slow enough or long enough.  I have been off for almost a year now the the symptoms of withdrawal linger on.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, iamsosmall.  We're happy to have you with us. I think you will find the moderators and members here very supportive.

 

Yes, you will get better.  Unfortunately, we can't give you a timeline, but it will happen.  The symptoms you describe are typical, common withdrawal

symptoms.  It's very good that your employer is and your treatment center are supportive.  I'm sorry your husband doesn't understand.  Unfortunately, unless you've gone through this, it's very difficult to understand withdrawal, especially when the vast majority of doctors persistently  

deny its existence.  Uganda is far ahead of us on that score.

 

So that you'll have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal.

 

 
 

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
 
These explain it really well:

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

We recommend using non-drug methods to cope with withdrawal.  Take a look at the techniques in the following link to see which you think could be of benefit to you.

 

 Non-drug techniques to cope

 

Sleep issues are one of the most common withdrawal symptoms.  Here are some links that might be helpful to you in that area.

 

Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia
 
 
Trick and tips to fall asleep faster
 
This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  
 
 
Some members have found Melatonin helpful with insomnia.   
 
 
 It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.  
 
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  Again, welcome.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thank you Gridley! 

 

There is much information to go through.  I go through it in pieces as I am able.  the sleep deprivation is the worst part I think.  (That and the fear when the cortisol spikes.) 

 

I have 2 other physical things going on and had to jump through the medical hoops that I had been avoiding in order to get a diagnosis for those.  I had 2 MRI's and the report reader couldn't find anything pertinent.  The pain doc quizzed me about past abuse and wanted to send me to a pain psychiatrist.  The physical doctor wanted to discuss "depression".  I kept looking at these doctors and telling them, "I'm not depressed!  I am in pain and sleep deprived".  I didn't discuss withdrawal syndrome with them.  After basically being told so many times it was in my head, and looked at funny, I had a surgical consult with a PA that looked carefully at the MRI and said, "You have 2 things going on.  You have two cysts, one on each side of C7."  (The area I kept pointing at to the doctors and explaining how the nerve pain wakes me up at night.)  She told me the cysts are pressing on the nerves.  Then the tumor on T1-2 is expanding and pinching, hence the weakness in my left arm that the doctors didn't believe I had either.  I wanted to hug this person.  

 

I guess my point is, I have been jumping through hoops for a couple of months and it would be so much simpler if the medical community would listen instead of jumping to the old standby just because I have a history on anti depressants and I am no longer on them and they have no idea how, nor do they ask.  It seems like they just want to funnel me back... except this wonderful PA that actually looked, listened, and found.  I am grateful for the ones that look beyond the past diagnosis.  First procedure for the cysts is tomorrow.  I am hoping to have that sleep disrupter eliminated and then get the next one set up to complete the process.  I know it isn't the end all but to scale the pain level down would be amazing!  

Been on antidepressants for at least 25 years.  Various kinds, various stops and starts.  Ended Effexor in the fall of 2018, it was a 2 1/2 year long withdrawal diligently planned and slowly executed.   I ended  Mirtazapine December of 2018.  I took that for sleep in very small dose and underestimated the impact of the withdrawal.  Such a tiny dose, 1/4 of a 7.5 mg pill every night for years.  Not enough due diligence and while I tapered, it did not taper slow enough or long enough.  I have been off for almost a year now the the symptoms of withdrawal linger on.

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  • Moderator

 

1 hour ago, iamsosmall said:

First procedure for the cysts

 

It is so fortunate that your PA diagnosed you.  I wish you the best of everything on your procedure.  The ignorance of those who want to funnel you back is beyond understanding.  Please keep us apprised on how you're doing.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you.  I went to the surgeon the PA referred me to.  He basically looked at me as though he wondered why I was there!  He admitted he does not have the skill set to remove the type of tumor I have.  He asked me if I had seen my primary care physician.  I'm certain the look I gave spoke volumes.  How on earth did he think I got to him?  I have been jumping hoops for a couple of months in order to get to a surgeon.  He said some other things I won't go into but decided to refer me to Mayo.  I contacted them and told them straight up not to waste my time if they don't have the skill set to remove this type of tumor.  They got the information I had sent them from my primary care but I don't know if TC Ortho sent them anything or not.  They did say based on the information they received, they would not do surgery but would like me to come anyway so they can do their own exam and see what they find.  They also have a standing CT scan they could do if doctor feels it is a good idea.  

 

The injection did not help but spooled things up worse.  Once in a while I feel a little bit better but it does not last long.  The surgeon told me that this type of tumor does not cause pain.  I don't know... if you have something inside your body taking up space that isn't supposed to be there and you can literally push in alongside the tumor spot and your left arm goes weak, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that the tumor is infringing on the things that are supposed to be there.  

 

So, I have a follow up with the PA I have decided to keep because I am going to let her know several things, first off that I expect NOT to be billed for the surgical consult with a surgeon that doesn't have the skill set to accomplish what the diagnosis stated is needed.  Second, to let her know how cruel that is to wave a carrot of relief in front of a person and then send them to people that are incapable of doing the job that was outlined to the patient.  The Mayo appointment I was feeling so crazy about and wanting to cancel as I now have over $2000. in medical bills and all I have done is go in circles.  I told the medical establishment known as my "primary" that this is why I avoid them like the plague.  They send me from one to another and rack up a bill and I end up with no results and no resolution and usually they look at me as though I am the crazy one!  

 

I spoke with my employer who has sort of been functioning as my brain of reason when I am ready to go off on someone due to lack of trust and he told me to "go to Mayo".  He thinks once I get away from rural doctors that perhaps they will be the ones to figure it out.  In my heart I do not believe they will do a thing at this point but I have decided to go on his faith that they will because I lack my own in regards to anyone medical.  My sister lives near Mayo and is a retired Mayo nurse of 30 years that knows the system and asked if she could go with as she may think of questions I have not.  I decided to agree to that too. 

 

I realize the protracted withdrawal is a huge part of the sleep problem and have not discussed this with the medical community and probably won't as I don't think they will believe me and I don't think I could stand to be looked at by one more practitioner as "the poor abused, depressed woman that needs meds".  When they go there I tell them, "I am not depressed, I am pissed!  There is a difference!"  It seems sad though as it is a piece of the pain puzzle and may be helpful information to neurology but I just don't trust they will understand.  My son's medication was increased, even though I provided the information to his doctor of what I am going through with my own.  My husband took him to that appointment and he still believes I should return to medication.  Needless to say, it is a strain right now on my relationships.

 

I have also met with a Cranial Sacral practitioner and I do have hope in the direction she provides so I have another treatment lined up there.  If Mayo does not pan out and the tumor stays, I will continue to work on it through the other means I know of.  For now that is the plan.  So for tonight, I think I will embrace the crazy!  It is what it is and I do believe it won't last forever.  Here's to a good nights sleep everyone!  I will pray for all to get one!

Been on antidepressants for at least 25 years.  Various kinds, various stops and starts.  Ended Effexor in the fall of 2018, it was a 2 1/2 year long withdrawal diligently planned and slowly executed.   I ended  Mirtazapine December of 2018.  I took that for sleep in very small dose and underestimated the impact of the withdrawal.  Such a tiny dose, 1/4 of a 7.5 mg pill every night for years.  Not enough due diligence and while I tapered, it did not taper slow enough or long enough.  I have been off for almost a year now the the symptoms of withdrawal linger on.

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