Jump to content
Bythegrace

Bythegrace: My Story is a bit Different

Recommended Posts

Bythegrace
Posted (edited)

My story is a little different....at 33 years old, I quit smoking. About 6 months later, I ran into a situation that required me to confront someone. As that time approached, I became increasingly anxious about my ability to handle the situation....to the point I went to my doctor for help. He immediately threw 20 mg of Prozac at me which I started taking, not knowing or having been told to taper “on” the drug. In a matter of days, the mild anxiety I was experiencing morphed into catastrophic anxiety....I lost my mind. (I now know, after genetic testing, that my body did not produce enough “glutathione”, a major antioxidant that we need to detox and process chemicals) ....I needed help.

 

I left my GP and sought out the top Psychiatrist in my city...By this time, I was such a mess due to the effects of the Prozac, I was diagnosed with GAD Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I came off the 20 mg of Prozac and we tried several other types of antidepressants over the following months....Each one effecting me the same way. I finally ended up back on 5 mg of Prozac...over much time, my body eventually regulated and absorbed the medication, I healed from the experience and thrived.

 

Over the last 20 years I ran into a few occasions that required the medication to be increased....Again, I would lose my mind! It would take weeks, sometimes months for my brain to absorb and metabolize the increase of Prozac...I was told this was happening because I was “sensitive” to antidepressants and that I’d have to tough it out because I needed to be on them forever. Still not knowing about my lack of the major antioxidant, and hating the Prozac, I suggested to my doctor that we try another brand...He switched me to Lexapro in 2014...same story...massive anxiety...barely surviving...but finally after weeks/months I regulated and made it through to better times.

 

All this time I prayed fervently that God would tell me when I could come off of these horrid drugs that were on the verge of destroying my life....My father and grandfather had both taken their lives. I didn’t want to continue this legacy. I had managed to build a beautiful family and a solid marriage....all I wanted to do is live without the meds....my biggest prayer for myself and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon me.

 

In the spring of 2019, after 20 years, I heard what I was waiting for...not audibly, but in my spirit I heard that it was time. I could come off this medication. I started in March with a razor blade, scraping off “dust” from the 10 mg of Lexapro. I had heard of withdrawals from antidepressants but thought if I took it extra slow I could avoid them..I tapered all year. If I started to develop withdrawal symptoms, I would stop tapering and camp where I was at for awhile until I stabilized. I was doing it!

 

All went well until August of last year. I had gotten down to 2.5 mg and thought I could stop there. So I did. After 4 days I started getting nauseous and dizzy. I called my doctor and told him what I was doing...(He didn’t know I was tapering off...he was the one who told me I would be on them for life) He called in liquid Lexapro and told me to go back on where I left off (2.5 mg) and taper more slowly. The problem with this is...the medicine level had dropped in my system so with the reintroduction of the medicine, I LOST MY MIND YET AGAIN! I became almost suicidal...but I stuck with it. I slowly tapered completely off with the liquid and took my last dose on November 11, 2019.

 

Here I am 4 1/2 months out. If you are on this site, I don’t have to tell you how difficult it has been. I will say that in tapering off that slow (over 8 months) I didn’t experience the brain zaps and nausea as well as some of the other symptoms but I have experienced constant anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, dips of depression and hopelessness at times. I’ve needed constant affirmation from my support group that all that I’m going through are withdrawal symptoms and that I’m NOT relapsing or going crazy.  I pushed through even the hardest of days and have not missed a day of work since that last day of meds in November.

 

A friend of mine suggested that I go see her a Integrative Doctor about the time that I reinstated the 2.5 mg due to the withdrawals in August which turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in all of this. This doctor did the genetic testing and found out the root of why I was losing my crap every time the meds were increased and promptly started me on Gluathione IV’s as well as a cream and started me on a protocol of supplements and an anti inflammatory diet (no gluten, dairy, processed foods, or sugar) He also ran a sensitivity test to find out what other foods I was allergic or sensitive to. Did you know that 70 plus % of your serotonin is manufactured your gut? So it is imperative to heal your gut for optimal serotonin production. I will list the supplements that I’m on...of course these are taylored for me and my genes.....B2, B6, B9, B12 (shots), Magnesium Malate, Lithium Orotate, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, 3 different probiotics (Megaspore, Florassist Mood Improve, Restore) Lemon Balm tincture, melatonin, and the mother of them all, 5HTP (converts directly into serotonin).

 

I am 4 1/2 months out...I’m about 85-90% healed and my symptoms are decreasing consistently. I’m certain that I will reach 100% at some point this year...but am still having good days and bad days..Aside from the Integrative medicine, the things that have helped me most are: devotions and reading my Bible every morning, journaling, EXERCISING EVERY DAY, drink a lot of water to keep your mind sharp and to detox, anti inflammatory diet, routine, talking to my counselor, and TRYING to get as much sleep as possible....This is hard, because everyone I’ve talked to going through this is NOT sleeping. I don’t want to but I take Benedryl to sleep, however, I have been able to cut back on some of it. I am so thankful and encouraged by the bravery and courage of all of the warriors on this website and looking forward to hearing your success stories. Thanks for reading my story. Blessings to you all...ByTheGrace

Edited by manymoretodays
added name to title, spacing for ease of readability

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley

Welcome to SA, ByTheGrace.

 

I'm glad your symptoms are decreasing and congratulations for the progress you've made.  The symptoms you describe--anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes, depression--are typical antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.  So that yo have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and healing from antidepressants.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

When we take psychiatric 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 the healing process really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

   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 the use of non-drug coping skills to deal with withdrawal.  Take a look at the links in the following link and see which techniques you think might be helpful.

 

 Non-drug techniques to cope

 

These links are helpful for anxiety.

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall


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 if what you're taking is working for you, that's great.  An additional supplement that many find calming to the nervous system is omega fish oil.   

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Start at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

Again, if the B vitamins are working for you, that's great, but, just for your information, in withdrawal B vitamins can be overstimulating.

 

Hypersensitive to B Vitamin or B-Complex  

 

Here are some links to help with insomnia.

 

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

 

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

Tricks 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.  

 

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

 
 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace

Thank you so much for this information! I’ve been all alone in this for quite awhile...since I started tapering this time last year. It’s unbelievably comforting to know there’s others out there that have traveled this road. I am open to suggestions on anything that will make the process move swifter and smoother ♥️

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
19 minutes ago, Bythegrace said:

r. It’s unbelievably comforting to know there’s others out there that have traveled this road.

We're very happy to have you with us.  Any questions you have, please don't hesitate to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace

Can I message you privately if I have a question?

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
16 hours ago, Bythegrace said:

Can I message you privately if I have a question?

If it is a question about your withdrawal or your symptoms, we prefer that you post that question here on your thread so that others may benefit from the answer and other moderators can also participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace
Posted (edited)

Titled: When life happens during healing.  I need encouragement and strategy.

 

I’m new to this website and I sure could use some love, encouragement, and strategy. I tapered off of 10 mg of Lexapro last year. I had been on Prozac then Lexapro for 20 years. It took me 8 months to taper off. I’ve been completely off for 4 1/2 months now. It has been extremely difficult to say the least but I am making progress...I’ve had some decent days here lately and have been actually looking toward the future. I’ve even been handling the pandemic fairly well...I felt as though I was gaining ground until yesterday. Yesterday, my husband and I received the news that he has prostate cancer. The good news is it was caught extremely early and that it’s curable with surgery...The bad news is that it has thrown me for a loop. I feel as though I’m losing my crap! My anxiety has ramped up exponentially. I don’t know what to do....Is this going to set me back in my brain healing process? Am I actually going to lose my crap? I need to hear someone say that I’m going to get through this....Normally, I am a strong person that is reasonable and rational....a person of faith. Right now I don’t know what I feel. Can you recommend some coping strategies to help me get through this and be strong for my husband? Can you encourage me? Have any of you dealt with “life issues” like this during your healing? Please tell me you made it through it....and that I will too. 

 

Thank you, Bythegrace

Edited by manymoretodays
moved to introductions from S and S care

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace

Share this post


Link to post
manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Bythegrace, @Bythegrace

So sorry to hear of your husbands diagnosis.  And yes, that sounds like very good news, that it was caught early and is curable.

And yes, I have definitely had to go through some unanticipated life stuff, while in withdrawal. 

I can see that Gridley gave you more information around what to expect with WDsyndrome, and some non drug coping strategies that you can begin to use.

This particular topic on:  Neuro-emotions  may be helpful to look at and read now.  Often we can be on hair trigger responses to stressful things, due to our nervous systems being dys regulated, while waiting for things to adjust.

 

I think I might ask for some help, if I was in your place now.  Do you have any family and/or friends that might help with the appointments, support for both of you, and then the after care after his surgery? 

 

I did make it through some of my life issues, and I think that you can too.  Learning to self care, not selfishly, but so that I could be there for loved ones in need, was not easy, yet I did learn how important it was.  You absolutely must take care of yourself now, no way around it.  Have you had a chance to learn more from some of the links given on your arrival, as far as what to expect. 

It sounds like you have managed fairly well to date, by the way......given your report of 85-90% of recovery.  That's fantastic.  Waves may come, and even sometimes out of the blue, without any precipitating factors.  Just so that you are aware.  It's the nature of healing.  Good days and bad days are to be expected.  I don't think that this should set you back at all, in your long term recovery.  Have you had any success with some of the anxiety tools in the above post.

 

Also, please put your medication and tapering history in your signature -- that's the information you see at the bottom of someone's post. This will help people understand your situation no matter where you post on the site. See instructions in this topic:

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/18343-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/(Please note that, while your identity is protected by a screen name, your topic can be read by anyone who visits the site, including Google, and do not post sensitive identifying information.)

 

Oh, Bythegrace, so sorry, yet also so hopeful for you and your husband.  Please keep us updated.  Thank you.  And welcome.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

Edited by manymoretodays

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace

Thank you @manymoretodays...for the information. I will check everything out. I’m still learning to navigate the website. 

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
13 hours ago, Bythegrace said:

I need encouragement and strategy.

Bythegrace, I'm sorry to hear about your husband.  As you said, the good news is that it was caught very early, and I know prostate surgery these days is very, very expert.  I know it's thrown you for a loop, it would for someone not in withdrawal and very naturally it's increased by withdrawal.  The neuroemotions link manymoretodays gave you is helpful for understanding and dealing with these neuroemotions.

 

For coping, I'd take some time and look through the links I sent you to see which techniques you feel might be helpful to you.

13 hours ago, Bythegrace said:

My anxiety has ramped up exponentially. I don’t know what to do....Is this going to set me back in my brain healing process?

That's very natural too.  Take a look at the anxiety coping links I sent earlier.  No, this isn't going to set you back in your brain healing process.  Healing is ongoing regardless.  As this link I sent earlier says, it's always going to be and up and down process, and stressors in life can't be helped.  The brain will heal regardless. Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

You're going to be fine and no, you're not going to lose it.  All of us have had life problems, some very big, occur during the withdrawal process.  We just keep on healing in the face of it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Frogie
13 hours ago, Bythegrace said:

Titled: When life happens during healing.  I need encouragement and strategy.

 

I’m new to this website and I sure could use some love, encouragement, and strategy. I tapered off of 10 mg of Lexapro last year. I had been on Prozac then Lexapro for 20 years. It took me 8 months to taper off. I’ve been completely off for 4 1/2 months now. It has been extremely difficult to say the least but I am making progress...I’ve had some decent days here lately and have been actually looking toward the future. I’ve even been handling the pandemic fairly well...I felt as though I was gaining ground until yesterday. Yesterday, my husband and I received the news that he has prostate cancer. The good news is it was caught extremely early and that it’s curable with surgery...The bad news is that it has thrown me for a loop. I feel as though I’m losing my crap! My anxiety has ramped up exponentially. I don’t know what to do....Is this going to set me back in my brain healing process? Am I actually going to lose my crap? I need to hear someone say that I’m going to get through this....Normally, I am a strong person that is reasonable and rational....a person of faith. Right now I don’t know what I feel. Can you recommend some coping strategies to help me get through this and be strong for my husband? Can you encourage me? Have any of you dealt with “life issues” like this during your healing? Please tell me you made it through it....and that I will too. 

 

Thank you, Bythegrace

Bythegrace:

 

 I know a couple of people that have had prostrate cancer. My father. His whole prostrate was removed over 20 years ago and he was fine. Then my Uncle had it. He had the seeds implanted probably close to 15 years ago and he is fine. His PSA has been normal since.

 

It is a very curable cancer if caught early, like your husbands.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me and I’ll be happy to help answer any questions I might be able to for you.

 

Hang in there, and have faith.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

Share this post


Link to post
Bythegrace

Thank you so much for the encouragement. ♥️

Share this post


Link to post
Cjeanr

By the grace, I would love to know who your doctor was. I need someone like this as I am having very much the same experiences as you are. Are you able to provide his name and contact?

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy