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ohlittlefire

ohlittlefire: off of antidepressants for the first time in nearly a decade, ect?

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ohlittlefire

Hi everyone.

 

I was diagnosed with major depression and an anxiety disorder in my early twenties, although I had my first mental breakdown/became seriously ill at seventeen.  I managed to make it through university but had a second breakdown just as it was ending and have never fully recovered.  I was first prescribed antidepressants (Effexor to start) at the time of my diagnosis and had a terrible reaction in the form of a mixed manic state, where I was both depressed and manic.  However, I knew side-effects could happen and continued on through it as I was desperate for something to work.  It did pass, but the nightsweats that kept me up all night eventually became too much and I had to go off of it.  Over nearly the past decade I have dutifully tried antidepressants from every class, many different combos, as well as antipsychotics although I have never been psychotic, mood stabilizers, and benzos.

 

Several years ago, I told my psychiatrist a long-standing fear of mine; that I thought I was treatment-resistant.  I have one antidepressant that I feel may have worked moderately, and one that worked actually quite well for about a week - more about that later - but many of the others made me significantly worse and all had unbearable side-effects.  My psychiatrist disagreed with me and tried me on more meds, but after my worst reaction ever last winter (Duloxetine) he finally agreed that I was, in fact, treatment-resistant.  

 

Duloxetine was the one med I thought really worked for me, but after only a short period of time on it I had a severe physical reaction with GI symptoms/vomiting that went on for over a month.  All other causes for this but the med were ruled out through tests, and I became very ill/lost a lot of weight, and had to withdraw from it abruptly.  The abrupt withdrawal was the worst I'd ever experienced, and caused a severe upswing in suicidal thoughts, and some sort of rage syndrome, which was completely uncharacteristic for me and the most terrifying thing I've ever gone through mentally.  

 

Anyway, after that, I wanted to try going off of antidepressants altogether and I had the support of my psychiatrist, who I had freaked out with my Duloxetine reaction and who at this point had put me on a useless antidepressant from the 50's, I guess as a last-ditch effort in his panic over my condition.  He wanted to withdraw me from it too quickly, but I took a longer withdrawal period, and was able to do it!  I'm currently off of antidepressants for the first time in many years.

 

So I am no longer having the horrible mental or physical side-effects to the many meds I took, but am still suffering from the suicidal ideation that never left  and am now at a loss as to what to try next.  Not knowing what else to do, I asked my psychiatrist for a referral to ECT and was sent to an psychiatrist specializing in ECT, who approved me for it, but suggested I try a mood stabilizer first, as he said he'd seen many people who had treatment-resistant depression who actually had an atypical form of bipolar where they just hadn't presented with their first manic episode yet.  This seemed sketchy to me, but again, I was really desperate.  I was put on Lamotrigine, and have been having excessive crying spells, but it's impossible to tell whether that's from going off of antidepressants or the Lamotrigine itself.  In any case, it's either causing crying spells or doing nothing, so I am currently tapering from it, and don't seem to be having the problems tapering I've had with antidepressants, at least.  I have to be tapered from it fully to try ECT, as Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant that would cause the ECT to be unsuccessful.

 

I am also still taking Ativan, sometimes for anxiety but more often than not for when the suicidal thoughts get too much.  I've gone off of Ativan before during times when I've been in a bit better place, so I'm capable of it, but I have to get the suicidal thoughts under control first.

 

If anyone has any first-hand thoughts on or experiences with ECT I would appreciate it so much.  I've been overprescribed by psychiatrists and traumatized by therapists over the years, I've only met the psychiatrist specializing in ECT once, and I just don't have much trust there or with anyone I've encountered in the mental health profession, unfortunately.  I have done research and know the possible scary side-effects of ECT, but also that it has a much better success rate than antidepressants, something that I am pretty annoyed I had to discover on my own.  But, yeah, I am still very unsure of it.

 

I hope this is halfway articulate.  Thank-you so much for listening.

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, ohlittlefire.  Congratulations on being drug-free.  That's quite an accomplishment.

 

We're a site for going off psychiatric drugs and dealing with withdrawal.  ECT for depression is outside our purview.  However, here are several threads dealing with ECT, mostly in the context of dealing with withdrawal, that might be of help to you in making your decision.

We strongly encourage our members to use non-drug methods to cope with withdrawal, and some of these techniques might be of use to you as well.  I imagine over the years you've tried just about everything, but take a look at the techniques in the following link and see if any seem as though they might be helpful in your situation.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ohlittlefire

Thanks so much for the links, Gridley. 😀 I am grateful for your response and am going to check them out now.

 

And I know you deal primarily with going off psychiatric drugs and withdrawal from those drugs (of which I have a lot of experience, and am still at the tail end of slogging through re: the Lamotrogine and the Ativan.)  If anyone had an especially terrible reaction to Duloxetine withdrawal especially as I did, I'd like to hear about it.  When I researched it, there are actually Cymbalta/Dyloxotine Discontinuation Syndrome lawsuits that have been put out against the company producing it, so it sounds like it's been extra-bad for a lot of people.  The lawsuits seem to be based in the US and not accepting any more clients; I'm in Canada.  But it's interesting to know.  I'm lucky to be alive after that experience, tbh.  It was just... wow.

 

But yeah, the ECT thing, I just haven't found any other active forums to discuss it with; I'm sorry if it doesn't quite fit in here.  If anyone knows of any other online forums where I could discuss it more, please point me that way.  In the meantime, these links will be very helpful!  

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Gridley
15 hours ago, ohlittlefire said:

still at the tail end of slogging through re: the Lamotrogine and the Ativan.) 

 

You probably have your taper well under control, but I thought I'd give you our approach to tapering in case it is some help to you.

 

We recommend tapering no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The following link is specifically about tapering Lamotrigine.

 

Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)

 

If we can be of help to you, please don't hesitate to ask.

 

 

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ohlittlefire

Thanks!  That's helpful information.  I probably am tapering off the Lamotrogine much too quickly, reading that.  I usually insist on slow tapers because of past bad experiences, but with this one I am just really wanting to get it out of my system fairly quickly in case I need the ECT with regards to the suicidal ideation.  It is so hard to know what to do; maybe it is even causing some of the suicidal ideation?  Although that was there before I ever even took any psychiatric meds, so maybe not.

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KMart95

Hey fellow Nova Scotian ! Good to see someone from my homeland here. You have been through a lot and it sounds like you're handling things pretty well considering all you've been through. Just stopping by to wish you luck :)

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ohlittlefire

Hey KMart95, I'm also glad to see someone else from Nova Scotia here.  😀  Are you in a rural or more populated area?  I'm in a rural area right now and it's been hard finding a suitable psychiatrist/especially hard finding a suitable therapist since the same therapist is obviously not going to work for every person, but I really have no choice/can't shop around.  Anyway, thanks for wishing me luck.  You too!

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KMart95

You're one of the only people i've seen here from NS ! I am in the suburbs, close to Halifax so I have access to a therapist. I have seen many therapists over the years but I ended up finding a social worker that I absolutely love ! She's very laid back and non-judgemental. It can be hard to find a good one, especially if you're not in a heavily populated area.

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