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vibert

vibert - taper finished, withdrawal time again

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vibert

i need some advice and/or help in navigating where i'm at with all of this.

i have tapered with the help of, previously an inconsiderate doctor, and currently an excellent one. there were times where i was shifted about from tapering lexapro to various different antidepressants, i cannot remember all of them as there were many, but trintellix and was one of them. after a severe (and still recovering) bout of health anxiety, i stumbled upon the ashton manual (around november 2018) and folks talking about their experience with coming off of benzos. since i was taking ativan at the time, it was my scapegoat. i tried kicking it, lurked in various places online for other people's experiences, and started to shift my view to it being less about the benzos, and more about the psychiatric medication as a whole when it didn't quite work out.

 

since february of 2019, i have tapered off of three medications in order: trileptal, geodon, and lexapro. the trileptal was easy enough, but the geodon was a world of hurt. in my signature i've listed that the lexapro and geodon were tapered at the same time- this is to the best of my memory, which is spotty due to the polypharmacy. i know the geodon was the priority, but i seem to recall going back and forth with lexapro's dose while dealing with the geodon withdrawal- which assuredly caused the only psychotic event of my life. i switched doctors after being told to simply 'take the geodon every other day for awhile,' which said doctor told me not to do with the lexapro, and i couldn't handle the fact that my appointments were less than five minutes long. i switched to a new professional, and they are great. i was introduced to the compounding pharmacy for the geodon since it did not go any lower than 20mg, and following the completion of that taper in sept 2019, i focused on the lexapro, which is now completed.

 

i am no stranger to windows and waves, which are thankfully getting much better and easier to tolerate- though the waves are still intense. there are too many symptoms to list, but the FINISH acronym is very apt and applies to me, mostly the zaps, gastrointestinal issues, and insomnia.

 

my biggest concern at the moment is dealing with my sleep issues. previously it was a complete lack of being able to sleep, but now it is more of a reversal of my circadian rhythm. 12 hours on the dot to when i could be waking up otherwise, and i cannot simply 'fix' this as far as i have tried. i have a lot of frustration about having been medicated for entirely the wrong things as a result of being diagnosed with a mental health condition that i do not have by a 10 question piece of paper at a doctor's office, but it is well beyond in the past to change it now. i cannot beat myself up for this, as i was dealing with a gnarly living situation at the time and thought they could help. they could not. this frustration, coupled with having a frazzled nervous system and having a wholly messed up sleep schedule, is getting to me. i have to tell myself that it's okay to be healing right now, as there is not much that is expected of me, but i am having trouble essentially pep-talking myself into feeling better when i feel terrible from still withdrawing. while i am done with all of my medication, there is much healing to be done, and i am very tired of how long this has been going on.

 

 

apologies for the long post- i felt it necessary to post a bit of history/context, and i have trouble being unprompted for these sorts of things. i have not used a forum in a long time!

 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Vibert.  I'm sorry you've been misdiagnosed and given bad advice.  It's call too common.  It's great that you're off the drugs and on the way to healing.

 

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

 

What is withdrawal syndrome. 

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF)

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

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:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Insomnia is perhaps the most common withdrawal symptom.  Here is some information that I hope will help.

 

Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

Trick and tips to fall asleep faster

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/02/16/tips-tricks-fall-asleep-faster.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170216Z1&et_cid=DM133787&et_rid=1889748952

 

This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  

 

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Some members have found Melatonin helpful with insomnia.   

 

Melatonin for sleep   

 

It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.  I was taking 0.5mg and cut to 0.25 and my sleep improved.  There awesome studies indicating that 0.3mg is an ideal dose.  It's available via this link:

 

(available on Amazon) is exactly 0.3 mg. 

 

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. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

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.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

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vibert

hey, thanks for all of those resources, and thanks for the welcome. i'm still reading through them, but wanted to type a response while i had the energy.

 

i just got back from the grocery store- had to get a ride. i picked up some magnesium supplements and am going to cut them into a smaller dose. i can't quite do fish oil, am vegetarian- but thank you for that suggestion too.

 

yesterday afternoon (for all intents and purposes, this means 'last night,' but my sleep is inverted right now), was the first time i've slept without taking a psychiatric medication since i started all of this- which is a big win. the not-so-great news is that i feel dreadful today. lots of gut/ibs symptoms (bloating, cramping, etc) , and those weird shooting waves of nausea that make you start sweating and feel weak. this is surely exacerbated by the fact that my household had some sort of stomach bug going around, and i was unlucky enough to get it twice in two weeks. thanks recovering immune system. it's made eating the right things a little hard, but i'm no stranger to the BRAT diet helping this out.

 

the health anxiety monster is trying to convince me that this, yet again, is something other than medication reactions (and getting over being sick.) i've fought that off before, but it doesn't get any easier to tell the irrational side of your anxiety that it is not 'right this time.' again, i've been given the all clear by so many different specialists for things that were either one-offs, or symptoms that have continued. i know reassurance is not something to be given in this situation- it's just rough to get through it. i've 'had' so many different kinds of horrifying diseases that all turned out to be somatic, and ostensibly this is another time like that- and i will give it time to see if it continues, or shifts around to different symptoms as it usually does.

it is unfortunate that one can go through life without having issues like this, and they are suddenly brought about as medication that was supposed to help begins to not 'work', or react with the other medications in the cocktail you've been given. i wish it were illegal to throw these things out to people under the guise of them being helpful to people that haven't been proven any requirement for it, but that's neither here nor there.

 

i'm not sure if these posts are supposed to be sort of like a diary or not, but i'm going to continue reading through some of these and alternating between doing things that are entertaining. thanks again!

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brassmonkey

Hi Vi-- your introduction thread is meant to be your personal journal for your journey.  It is the place you keep notes and records, talk to friends and ask questions specific to your concerns.

 

Flax seed oil is an excellent alternative to fish oil.

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Gridley
3 hours ago, vibert said:

i wish it were illegal to throw these things out to people under the guise of them being helpful to people that haven't been proven any requirement for it, but that's neither here nor there.

 

 

If you haven't already read it, Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker is a real eye-opener about these drugs and the fallacious and debunked "chemical imbalance" theory that was used to sell them.

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vibert

flax seed oil- got it, thanks! those little buggers are versatile.

 

i'll see if i can find a copy, the page describing it on wikipedia seems pretty interesting. i see that he also wrote mad in america! a group at a psych 'hospital' outpatient therapy program talked about it once when the person that 'led' it was out of the room for a bit. what a terrible place, but amusing where it happened. i felt bad for the folks who were clearly out of it or forced to be in there. it was a cardinal sin to suggest that perhaps the medication was doing more harm than good! i have thoughts about how awful it is that people end up there looking for help, and wind up getting more than they asked for because they were in a life situation that went fubar (and expected a system that could help them, rather than stick them on bogus for life.)

 

the magnesium supplement seems to either have coincided with a window, or helped a little bit as far as just cooling things down a bit. definitely helped with stomach troubles, no longer needing to lay around and try to get through it today- at least for now. it seems that every time i have a symptom this afternoon, it must be 'something dangerous.' having unexplained body pain anywhere is frustrating, especially near vital organs.

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Gridley
14 minutes ago, vibert said:

perhaps the medication was doing more harm than good!

That's one of the main points of the book.

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vibert

woke up about forty minutes ago- i got eight hours of sleep with minimal interruption. i think i woke up once and didn't have trouble going back to sleep. continued the streak in which i didn't have to take anything, even as i was getting rather anxious about falling asleep. when i was feeling especially dreadful in the past, it was a surefire way to end up taking something. i just read some of folks experiences and anecdotes on here and it seemed to calm me down.

 

feeling a little woozy this morning, and some of the pain i was having yesterday is still here, but less intense/frustrating. it was on the underside of my biceps on both arms, and on the lower right side of my abdomen/top right side of my groin. i'm not terribly concerned about this yet, and hopefully won't be today, since if these things were dangerous they probably wouldn't get better after resting.

 

i am going to continue with taking the magnesium supplement. eyeballing how i cut it, it was somewhere between 40mg and 50mg- i can't tell if it helped a whole lot but it certainly didn't hurt. 

 

thanks @Gridley for the book recommendation 

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vibert

this is sort of a shower thought, but i have concerns when i compare how i had tapered versus how others on here had or are tapering. based on my signature, it was about a year of tapering off of three medications. i'm worried this comes across as very rapid, and while i've had some rough times getting here, it seems like it was an appropriate length of time for me. 

 

does being young have anything to do with the length of time one tapers? specifically, shortening the length of time it could take for someone hypothetically. 

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vibert

so far so good, food is working out better today. i'm icing the spots i mentioned that were bothering me and it seems to be helping a bit too.

 

i'm having a hard time getting out of bed. i am tired and weak, and frequently need to sit back down. the dizziness, brain zaps, fatigue, and as of this morning my GERD flaring up are all making it difficult to be active right now. i have some background noise esque anxiety that's sort of floating around, but it is better than it was yesterday.

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Gridley
3 hours ago, vibert said:

 

does being young have anything to do with the length of time one tapers?

 

Our recommendations regarding tapering rate remain the same regardless of age.  Being young can be helpful in handling withdrawal..

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vibert

that's good to know, thank you.

 

I'm still doing better today than i was yesterday. I'm pretty sleepy and weak. i've got some hot flash/heat intolerance things going on right now. going to just turn down the heat- I'm not sure if I've always preferred to be cold or if it's just since i was given lexapro.

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vibert

slept pretty well and actually woke up at a sensible time, seems to have been about 8-9 hours of sleep. i woke up kind of confused and anxious, but i'm thinking that was more a matter of sleeping strongly. last night i was having some GERD/LPR issues, so i slept with a wedge pillow. it seems to be a little better now, but i was rather phlegm-y and throat clear-y earlier today. some chest pains from it too. it seems that this flares up if i have any kind of probiotic lately. previously i was able to drink kombucha but it seems to throw everything out of whack now. always fun to have bodily issues you never had before starting psychotropics! 

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Gridley
11 minutes ago, vibert said:

kombucha

Kombucha may be too strong for you at this point.  Supplements and even foods that are fine for the "undrugged" often aren't tolerable in withdrawal.

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vibert

it seems you are right. any sort of probiotic is not agreeing with me, but this may be a flare up.

 

this is an update!

i am having some issues with histamine sensitivity since i have not taken my hydroxyzine. (or it is a matter of the psychotropic cocktail that i'm no longer taking.) i haven't really needed it to help sleep, or anything for that matter- sleep has been great. this morning i slept through my alarm, and woke around 10am instead of 9am, and felt quite rested with a solid 8 hours. my appetite is better, but some foods are still nauseating in texture. 

 

i will try to continue not needing to take the hydroxyzine unless i get particularly itchy or start having 'allergy' symptoms from it. it has definitely been worse than it is right now- if 10 is miserable or awful and 1 is perfectly fine, this is about a 4. i will speak to my mental health professional tomorrow about this- i have not seen them in about a month and have much to update them on.

there are pain flare ups and one of them is a result of clumsiness while i am recovering. whoops! i am already long and lanky, but some issues with spatial awareness are still happening. i have no answer for the groin/hip pain- i am not eager to start searching for this because the internet sucks and dr. google needs to have their license revoked for frightening advice!

 

i have a busy couple of days- i will try to update further if anything changes.

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vibert

another update. i had a follow up with my dermatologist today- every thing on that front is good. the doctor is aware of skin related issues when i mentioned withdrawal, and thankfully didn't question me about having tapered off of my meds- in fact she agreed. it's not quite their purview to look into histamine related issues, but she was still willing to assist and hear me out with those concerns in addition to what i was already there for.

 

i suppose i have a question. i am not eager to take the hydroxyzine that i already have- she mentioned that she doesn't like it because it tends to have a 'hangover' effect. since my body and nervous system are still recovering, she suggested to simply take a lower dose of zyrtec instead. i have previously taken zyrtec, but it has been a very long time- i never had any issues that i can recall. 

 

is it okay to switch over to the zyrtec instead? it cannot be healthy to simply sit around and have histamine sensitivity problems, but i am not keen on adding more medication into the mix.

i was directed to take it twice a day, but i was already using the hydroxyzine as needed. this ends up being once or twice a week. 

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vibert

also, i have noticed that i seem to be much less often out of breath or feeling like i must sit down. i think i may begin to go for walks around the neighborhood just to get some physical activity back in the mix. i would like to start this soon, but appear to have gotten a cold! this may still be histamine related, but until i am told that it is, i think it's best to not self diagnose (in this case!)

 

when this was an issue before, i think sometime last may, i ended up going to the doctor and being told i have asthma. i then went to a pulmonologist, who told me that i did not have asthma! was then directed back to my gastroenterologist who suggested that i do some sort of PH test for my gut- but i was not terribly interested in having a tube down my throat for a day, let alone attempting to sleep with it. i suppose i am mentioning this for additional context or for anyone that reads it, as well as to cement it into my lizard brain. physical symptoms are important to check out, but after tests are completed that show you are okay- it is important to watch it and keep on trucking. this was before i was entirely aware of how difficult it is to get off of pysch meds, and likewise how taxing it is to withdraw.

 

i have faith that this isn't indefinite, and there seems to be a path to recovery. the windows are getting better and longer, and the waves are getting shorter.

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vibert

while my emotions are back, i am finding it hard to exercise control over a lot of them. the dial is turned up to 11. things that used to make me feel a little sad actually make me feel sad now. things that irritate me, that i could previously tolerate, now elicit a response from me. i am not sure if this was previously a matter of just settling for dealing with it mentally instead of speaking up. i am confused. at the end of the day i am still autistic, i just don't want to make an excuse for this. 

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vibert

it appears that the zyrtec generic is causing issues, so i am back to the hydroxyzine when i am having a histamine response. will mention to prescriber in the AM.

 

the last two nights have rendered me to think sleep is an issue again. it seems to be that my physical symptoms of anxiety have hit a wave, hoping that it was the zyrtec as it was the only thing that changed. heart palpitations, feeling hot and unable to regulate it, brain fog, etc. i don't want to blame it on the zyrtec itself, more so that fact that it is a different med anyway. 

 

i do not appreciate having to be a guinea big when the end result is causing a poor physiological response. i've been at this for a year now. i am absolutely in a better place now than i was last year, but it's hard to see things as cumulative rather than in the moment with these things.

 

brassmonkey's 'are we there yet' post, specifically the WD normal section, is helpful and bookmarked. 

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vibert

an update.

 

i am doing a bit better. a bit less irritable, a bit more energetic. 

i have not taken any prescription medication in two days, the only one of which was hydroxyzine. i think it was causing a both palpitations and a tremor in my arms and legs, as it has stopped since i stopped taking it. i have brought my magnesium supplement up to about 75mg to 90mg, i am eyeballing it as it seems to agree with me.

 

i have a concern. i am already a rather skinny beanpole of a person. over the course of the three years i was on medication, i gained around 15 pounds which set me at around 155. for clarity, i am about 6'2". obviously that is thin and i am aware, but have always struggled to put on weight because of a fast metabolism and a relatively healthy diet.

my concern is that i seem to be shedding those 15 pounds- i am down to about 147 in the last 2-3 weeks or so.

this is not to say that i don't have an appetite- i don't necessarily feel hunger except when i have first woken up, but i do know when i should eat and how much. 

my sleep schedule has returned to its relative normality, i am fixing to sleep here shortly and wake up around noon. this does make it seem, to me, like i am not eating enough since my frame of reference for mealtimes is skewed. 

 

@Gridley, are there any sort of recommendations on what sort of way i should go about this? sure, i could just eat at a caloric surplus, but i am concerned about that exacerbating ongoing gut issues. 

 

would not be eager to return to any doctor in the event that any questions on medication have come up- i do not want to lie and say i am continuing to take the psychotropics, but i do not want another know-it-all to give me their anecdotes on the wonders of psych drugs any longer.

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Gridley
3 hours ago, vibert said:

are there any sort of recommendations on what sort of way i should go about this? sure, i could just eat at a caloric surplus,

Lack of appetite and weight loss are common in withdrawal.  I have it myself.  Just push yourself to eat a bit more of healthy foods.  Avocado is good, oatmeal is good. If you can tolerate fruits like plums, the sugar will give you more appetite.  There's not much a doctor can tell you.  I understand you don't want to exacerbate gut issues, which is why I say just push yourself a bit.

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vibert

@Gridley thank you! that's absolutely fair. i was having issue with avocado initially, but it seems to be working out a little better. i will continue to push. likewise, kombucha between 4 and 6 ounces (every few days) is also treating me well. i could not give up on that one, but i was absolutely having too much of it. 

 

i get stuck in my head and start to worry about the WD, the chronic pain related things, and additionally the side effects from the (lack of?) hydroxyzine like itching coming back, and some urinary difficulties. at least that one i am familiar with and understand it's just the med. it's just difficult to play mental tug of war during a wave. i am working to shake the 'i must go to a doctor' reflex, apologies. i had a pretty gnarly panic attack today and that lingering 'impending doom' feeling is taking its sweet time going away. undoubtedly this is a result of getting only around 6.5 hours of sleep, being a tad too energetic, and having a difficult session with my therapist. a good one! but a difficult one nonetheless. 

 

i am working on not letting that sort of anxiety take over, it is just quite difficult during a wave. i am trying not to post on here in the midst of an awful time, and would prefer to post during a window or on a.. come up? whatever the terminology is for the tail end of a wave. 

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vibert

my sleep issues are back. i am feeling deeply frustrated. i am trying to write out my thoughts,

as i cannot stop ruminating. i don't want to have to take anything for this. and unfortunately, i am having a lot off self doubt.

 

I'm at 7 weeks off of lexapro, and dreading these sleep problems every single night this week around the time the sun goes down. trying to tell myself to relax, that it's okay to just rest. cutting out all of the lights and the computer, etc. none of it is working.

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vibert

i am just very frightened, scared. i don't know what i am supposed to do. i am having issues with my therapist- i don't feel like i can talk about these sort of things with them, and there's a lot of doubt there too. i keep telling myself that the sessions are good, but in hindsight, i don't think i need to be leaving every session feeling miserable, frustrated, or sad. i've been wanting to look for a new one for awhile, but there's too much fear involved here that's been amplified since i've stopped the meds.

 

i hate that coming off of these things isn't consistent; how you can ostensibly be doing well, and it all comes crashing down out of nowhere. just in the last week, everything has gotten so out of control mentally. it was never this dreadful before the medications. there was a sensibility to the anxiety, nervousness, depression etc that i felt prior to them. now, all of that comes to the forefront (arguably tenfold in intensity) as soon as i'm left alone with my thoughts- waiting for something, trying to sleep, driving to run an errand. i don't know where to go from here.

 

 

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