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lithiumnomore: withdrawal from Lithium, Prozac after 20 years on lithium, others


lithiumnomore

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Hello. Details below but I think I'm experiencing withdrawal symptoms, mainly intense anxiety and insomnia. Both seem to be geting better following the windows and waves pattern, but it's exhausting. Looking to make sense of what I'm going through and support. 

 

Brief med and treatment history

2002-2019 Lithium 900-1200 mg (0.6-9.0 mEq/L blood serum levels), 2018-2019 Prozac 20 mg. After trying various mood stabilizers following manic episode precipitated by Zoloft (very high 100mg+ dosage), I was prescribed lithium, which I took most of the period from 2002 until I stopped it in 2019. During that time I tried various other mood stabilizers, including depakote, lamictal, carbemazepine, and abilify in addition or instead of lithium. 2008-2010 became dependent and withdrew from benzodiazipes. Underwent ~20 ECT treatments in 2010 following hospitalization for depression which marked a turning point in course of "illness." Significant improvement in my life from 2010-2020 but some anxiety and depression symptoms remained. 
 

Tapering


Started Prozac in early 2018 to help with continued chronic anxiety and mild depression. Prozac did help...most notably with the anxiety. I recall it seeming to lift a huge weight off my shoulders, allowing me to let go of the indecision, rumination and general anxiety. While on the prozac, I stopped lithium, tapering fairly rapidly, going from 900 mg/day to 600 mg, to 300 mg, dropping down after a couple months each step. In late 2019, I then went off the prozac, going from 20 mg to 10 mg for about 2 months, then to 0. I was not aware of this website or procedures to taper even more slowly.

 

Current State - Withdrawal? 


Beginning in 2020 after being off prozac a couple months and lithium over a year, I began experiencing bouts of intense disabling anxiety, insomnia and intense emotions (crying for hours on occasion). All of these seem to be of a different quality than the anxiety symptoms that led me to take the Prozac and very different from anything before then. At the same time, I have also been experiencing periods of clarity and heightened consciousness, which feel like my brain and mind waking up after many many years. Also, have had some periods of calmness. Its hard to make sense of the mix of feelings and sensations, but for the closest experience to the clear periods, I have to go back to my teenage years before the diagnosis and before the pills.
  
After reading the New Yorker profile on Laura Delano, I learned more about antidepressant withdrawal through this website and some of her work. I think it's probably the best explanation of what I am dealing with and am looking for help getting through this. I feel like I am on the precipice of regaining a full mind and life after 20 years in varying degrees of darkness. But this is also scary, hard, and it's difficult to keep things together. I am continuing to juggle a demanding career, parenting a two year old and five year old, and being a good husband....while caring for myself and trying to practice self-compassion as I go through what I view as a major life event. Looking for support and to hear more about others experience, hopefully to give me some confirmation that there's an end to what I'm going through. Up typing this in the middle of a stretch of anxiety and insomnia. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, lithiumnomore.

 

You are experiencing withdrawal from your fast taper of Prozac.  The symptoms you describe are very typical of antidepressant withdrawal, including the fact that the anxiety you're experiencing is of a different character than your pre-drug anxiety.   It is not uncommon for withdrawal symptoms to show up at the 2-3 month mark after cessation of the drug.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.

 

The mix of emotions you're feeling, good alternating with bad, is part of the windows and waves pattern of stabilization.

 

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.  

 

This explains the healing process you're now undergoing. 

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

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 restorative yoga pose helped me a lot with anxiety.

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

You mentioned the need to care for yourself during this process.  We recommend non-drug techniques to cope with withdrawal.  Take a look at the links in the following link and see which techniques you think might be helpful to you.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Nov 31: 6.6mg 

Taper is 65% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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. I ordered Magnesium last night and got it today (Thanks Amazon). They had 250 mg and 500 mg tablets available, but I'm seeing now people doing much lower doses in the Magnesium thread. I guess I'll start with the 250 mg and see how I tolerate it. I also restarted a multivitamin that contains magnesium so maybe I just need that. As I'm in pretty bad shape I'm just going to try the multivitamin plus magnesium supplement. And I took fish oil last night and again this morning 3 1200 mg pills containing 360 EPA/240 DHA at each dose. I think there are studies showing the greatest effects at higher doses and it seems benign otherwise. I realize I should probably limit changes to one thing at a time but need some immediate relief so am going to try all three. If I have problems, I'll try adding one in at a time. How long does it usually take to see an effect from fish oil or magnesium?

 

Also going to collect my recent medical history and nail down when I tapered, will update my sig with that when I have it.

 

Two questions:

1) How long will this last? I know it's impossible to know but does anyone have a sense of what's typical with prozac? 

 

2) You mentioned just the prozac and I know this board is focused on antidepressants. How is the thinking on lithium? I was on it for much longer, though did not seem to have much withdrawal when I came off of it while taking the prozac. Previous attempts to come off the lithium had thrown me into bouts of depression. Do the accounts suggest lithium is easier to say goodbye to?

 

 

 

 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator
1 hour ago, lithiumnomore said:

I guess I'll start with the 250 mg and see how I tolerate it.

It's better to start low and see how it goes.  Magnesium can have a laxative effect.  If 250mg is too much, if it's a tablet you can cut it in half.  

 

1 hour ago, lithiumnomore said:

As I'm in pretty bad shape I'm just going to try the multivitamin plus magnesium supplement.

If you haven't already taken the magnesium, I would stick with the omegas only for a few days.  That's because if there's a problem, you won't know the cause if you're starting more than one supplement at a time.  We advise against multivitamins for the same reason: if there's a problem you won't know which ingredient is the cause.  So I'd introduce one and a time and consider not taking the multivitamin.  If you do take it, wait until you've introduced the other two before starting.  

 

1 hour ago, lithiumnomore said:

How long does it usually take to see an effect from fish oil or magnesium?

I found the effect of the magnesium to be pretty immediate, within a few hours.  Omega levels build up quickly in the body, but some reports indicate it can take 6 weeks to 6 months to see significant improvement. 

 

1 hour ago, lithiumnomore said:

 

1) How long will this last? I know it's impossible to know but does anyone have a sense of what's typical with prozac? 

There is no typical time for any psychiatric drug, and unfortunately it's impossible to predict how long withdrawal will last.  

 

1 hour ago, lithiumnomore said:

Do the accounts suggest lithium is easier to say goodbye to?

 

The tapering schedule for Lithium is the same as for other psychiatric drugs.  It's not one of the hardest to taper, but I've read accounts of difficult lithium tapers.  It's great you got off it without much withdrawal.  

 

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.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Nov 31: 6.6mg 

Taper is 65% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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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Thanks. I'll avoid the multivitamin. It's quite a shift in thinking to realize all the things that could affect your state of mind. 

 

Another part to my story...I had been taking b12 vitamin around the beginning of year. Made anxiety and insomnia so much worse. Shoukd have learned a lesson there.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator
3 minutes ago, lithiumnomore said:

b12 vitamin

B vitamins can really be overstimulating in WD.  Another reason to avoid the multivitamin.

 

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.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Nov 31: 6.6mg 

Taper is 65% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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...

Thanks for the advice. I wanted to write an update. This is mostly just to write but then have a few more constructive thoughts at the end. 

 

I've started taking both fish oil and magnesium regularly now. I noticed a slight calming effect when I first took the magnesium and the fish oil seems to be having an effect over time. It could also just be time. Overall, the course of my healing seems to be on an upward trajectory. I look back at the state I was in a few months ago, and I can see a ton of progress. But there are still ups and downs sometimes with a day, day to day or between weeks. It seems consistent with the windows and waves idea, but I can't help but worry it's some mood disorder. I want to believe I'm just healing, but it's hard. I had believed there was something wrong with me for years, and it's difficult to let go of that.

 

To give an example of the windows and waves, I had manageable week last week, coming off a bad weekend around my birthday. By the end of the week I was looking forward to a trip to a nearby state park that's still open with my wife and two children we had planned for Saturday. I woke up feeling good and excited about the trip--went to the store, then we headed out there. As the day went on spending more and more time outside, I began to feel better and better. There's a calmness that I feel and a freeing of clutter in my mind. The park was positioned in the foothils and after lunch, we went on a hike up road to a look out, overlooking a mix of woodland and farm lands. I hiked up the road carrying my two-year old who was also excited and looking at the wonders of nature. Going up, I had a big problem I had been working on in my work start to clear up, and all the pieces began to fall into place. I felt alive and in the moment. By the end of the day, I told my wife that I had a "great day" and that it had been a long time since I had a day like this. At home, we had dinner, Indian food and I had a beer (more on that later.)

 

Sleep was okay, though I woke up a couple times with the 5-year old getting into bed with us and the dog needing to go out in the middle of the night. I woke up today in a dramatically different place. Trouble deciding what to do with myself, planning for the day, mind scattered, feeling exhausted.  Look in the mirror and I look physically exhausted, dark dircles under my eyes. Suddenly, everything seems overwhelming again. The clarity I had with my work problem is gone, replaced by pessimism and self-doubt. Rumination and catastrophizing take root, and it's hard to take initiative with anything. I've tried taking it easy---not reacting--but it's hard to let the negative thoughts go. Buying into the windows and waves framing, I give myself some comfort by remembering that this will pass as other waves have passed. 

 

So here I am. One lesson learned is that I need to be absolutely strict on my avoidance of alcohol. It adds a variable, and more often than not, any amount of alcohol leads to poor sleep and a bad day the following day. Maybe some day I can enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner or beers with friends. I can't right now.

 

Learning more about the difficulties of withdrawing after long-term use of psychopharmaceuticals has helped me undrerstand the last year or two better--since I started coming off the lithium. I'm pretty sure I started having lithium withdrawal while on the prozac and then dropping the prozac produced its own withdrawal symptoms. Still, the lack of certainty is difficult. I appreciate this forum and the confirmaiton it can give, but it's hard not having more certainty. What if I am bipolar? What if I'm just in denial? What if this never ends? What's really going on? I want it to be over. 

 

Sorry, for the rambiling update. Tl;dr: making progress, fish oil and magnesium are good, having windows and waves, alcohol is bad, struggling with lack of certaintiy. 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator
8 minutes ago, lithiumnomore said:

What if I am bipolar? What if I'm just in denial? What if this never ends? What's really going on? I

You are catastrophizing.  From your report, you are doing very, very well.  

 

9 minutes ago, lithiumnomore said:

I want to believe I'm just healing, but it's hard. I had believed there was something wrong with me for years, and it's difficult to let go of that.

 

We call it unpatienting ourselves, learning that we are not defined by often arbitrary and incorrect psychiatric labels.  

 

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.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Nov 31: 6.6mg 

Taper is 65% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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.

Link to comment

Thank you. I appreciate the quick response. Besides just pouring some thoughts on a bad day, also just wanted a reality check.

 

I am doing better. The bad days are less bad, and day's like yesterday are amazing. It's this feeling of "Oh, this is what life is supposed to feel like...wow, how I've missed this." 

 

What I'm struggling with most now, though again its better, is managing life while dealing with this process of continued healing. I'm not sure how to deal with the "lost days" at work or a worse parent or partner. Knowing it will pass provides some comfort but practically it's hard to just lose hours or days. I'm trying to just accept things not being perfect.Acceptance seems key to a lot of this.

 

Is there a good thread on alcohol effect on withdrawal symptoms?

 

Also, are there good summaries of the symptoms of withdrawa somewhere? I've seen the long lists, and have read some accounts of others, but it'd be helpful to just have a little more concise presentation to give me some confirmation. 

 

Thank you for your support. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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Rest of the day yesterday was pretty hard...but I tried to just let myself be and give myself a break on the work I wasn't getting done. It's hard during those moments, because I of course go from the work not being done to it not ever being done to quitting my job or getting fired. Monday morning, I'm still here. Woke up this morning feeling better. 

 

I ran across some mention of kindling in some of the forum discussion. I couldn't run down the term but this recent experience after alcohol on Saturday night made the kindling idea resonate. I feel like my brain is suspectible to these massive waves of withdrawal symtoms, manifesting mainly in anxiety, mood symptoms and disturbed sleep. Like an overgrown forest. Alcohol--and other things--can cause kindling for that fire or a catalyst to set it off. When I'm healed, I can maybe allow some kindling about or have a campfire and know the forest isn't going catch fire.

 

I wrote down my symptoms yesterday with the intention to turn back to them the next time I have a bad day:

- intense anxiety, feeling of sheer panic

- brain fog - just feels like there's cobwebs, brains having trouble making connections

- difficulty concentrating, thoughts cattered

- Difficulty planning or ordering things---everyhting just comes at me at once

- feeling a need to fix everything--from small stuff around the house to major things in my life-- and a seeming inability to take any action

- feeling overwhelemed

-indecisiveness 

-exhaustion, which is apparent in my appearance with dark circles under my eyes

- poor appetite

 

The contrast from feeling all of that yesterday to this morning cannot have been greater. One experience this morning seemed to sum it up. I was looking for a piece to a game that my son had lost and bent down to look under a heating radiator. It hadn't been cleaned in some time and there was lot of dust and other things collected. Yesterday, this would have sparked overwhelming angst. Today, I just kind of observed the dust, as it was, without judgement and thought "oh, we should clean there." 

 

 

 

 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator
21 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

managing life while dealing with this process of continued healing.

 

We recommend non-drug coping skills to deal with withdrawal and getting on with life during this process.  Take a look at the links in the following link and see which you think might be helpful to you.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

21 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

.Acceptance seems key to a lot of this.

 

It is very important.  An attitude of acceptance will go along way in helping you to deal with withdrawal.

 

21 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

alcohol effect on withdrawal symptoms?

 

Google SurvivingAntidepressants.org alcohol 

 

21 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

are there good summaries of the symptoms of withdrawa

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

4 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

kindling

Kindling is what happens when the brain and central nervous system become hypersensitized from psychiatric drugs, often caused by repeated going on and off them

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Nov 31: 6.6mg 

Taper is 65% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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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Coming up on another week in the books. Lot of work stress, working long hours culminating in not much sleep during the end of the week and a really stressful Friday. During the worst of it, I became absolutely convinced I cannot do my work, that I'm a fraud waiting to be found out, and have to figure out a way to afford to quit my job. Got a decent night of sleep last night and woke up feeling much better. 

 

Anyone have any experience dealing with the demands of work? I'm staring down a difficult 3 months working up to a deadline and have to handle knowing that I will have days when I'm about half as productive as normal. I don't really feel like I can be open with my boss or colleagues about this, so I just go through work days feeling a lot of guilt and self loathing. I'm doing my best to manage my symtpoms but expect I'll have the waves for a time to come. Withdrawal's not going away and neither are the demands of life. Feels like quite a bind. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to lithiumnomore: Withdrawal from Lithium, Prozac after 20-years on lithium, others

Checking in another week gone by. Have had windows, overall seem to be improving but still having some really bad days. Having trouble keeping up with work and continuing to think about take long term leave. Not sure if I can though. How do you deal with the cognitive symptoms?

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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Another update. Work and life have become so overwhelming that I'm likely going to talk to my supervisors about reduced work load and/or extended time off. The most difficult part of all this is that while I'm seeing progress in some places and am having wonderful glimpses of clarity, I've noticed some new troubling issues. Have had particularly challenges with cognitive functioning in the last week or so, which is interimittent but seems to be worsening overall. Last couple days have had particular trouble concentrating. I also have had suicidal thoughts in the lat 24 hours, which is something that hasn't happened in a very long time. Just thoughts, no action, and I'm in control but the thoughts alone are frightening.

 

Something I haven't talked about here. Should I be considereding reinstatement? I stopped the Lithium in late 2018, Prozac in late 2019 but then reinstated for one week in February. Sorry, I don't have precise dates with this. I need to do some work to piece them together. My inclination is to just stay the course but I'm worried that might fast taper might have set me up for failure? I'm experiencing a lot of positives, I want more of those but I'm working towards being well in the long-term, not today, not tomorrow, for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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After the awful day yesterday, woke up clear headed this morning. When one of these waves passes, my sleep is suddenly different. It feels restful and deeper. I have the initiative to tackle work and life again. The contrast is striking. Like night and day would be an understatement. The fact that these symptoms pass like this reassures me it's withdrawal and not depression relapse.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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After a good 3 days woke up this morning with brain fog. Work has been more manageable but then have to deal with this. Strategy is to get as much done as possible when I'm feeling good and then do what I can when I'm not.

 

One correlation between the window/wave switching I've noticed is if I eat cured meats. Wondering if nitrites might be contributing to symptoms.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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I managed the rough day okay yesterday and was feeling better by the end of the day. Slept pretty well and for a long time. Today so far has been better.

 

During the waves lately, the anxiety has been much more mild but feel more depressed. That can be scary as I still worry about just slipping back into depression. It's hard to remember that I don't need the drugs after depending on them for so long.

 

Even on the down days I have little windows of clarity. It feels like I've been away for a long time and am stepping into a life and experience that's unfamiliar. I try to enjoy that. It's all I can do and should do.

 

Anyone else find themselves starting to notice little things in the world after coming off of drugs/out of withdrawal? I think it's just healing and waking up.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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I feel really depressed now. Worried getting off meds was a mistake.

 

Took a Zyrtec this afternoon, that's probably just making things worse. But depression is terrifying.

 

I like the narrative of being free from meds and healing but it's hard to let go of the dependency on them and the idea that I'm sick. I'm terrified of slipping back into deep depression like I had when I started long term meds at 18 or had at various times. Scared of losing everything.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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Better this morning. Hopeful and feeling less overwhelmed. Starting to formulate a better plan to get through work while going through this.

 

I wish I had a better sense of the windows and waves pattern. I know there're good days and bad, and also good weeks and bad weeks. Overall, I seem to be making progress. And when a wave passes at least, I feel better than before. Going to try to keep track of them more. Maybe seeing the pattern will help remind me that the worst passes and I feel better on the other side.

 

Honestly, it's like  a series of hurricanes lined up and I'm passing through them one by one. Increasing pain and suffering as I start to move through it, eyes of calmness in the middle of each, intense symptoms gradually dissipating as I pass through the other side and then I come upon another hurricane. Repeat. What's hard to tell is if the intensity of each hurricane is lessening. I think they are. I need them to.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • 1 month later...

Just checking in after a rough month. I ended up bringing up the issues with my management and tried taking a week off of work to get a handle on insomnia, which didn't work. Now back to considering more extended time off. 

 

I've continued to have windows where each one feels like progress but the insomnia continues and is absolutely hell. I started the VA's only CBT-i online course and am looking into seeing a CBT-i specialist therapist. I feel like if I could only start sleeping again I would be well. 

 

Anyone have experience with the insomnia taking on a life of its own? When does it stop?

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to lithiumnomore: Withdrawal from Lithium, Prozac after 20 years on lithium, others
  • Moderator Emeritus

  

2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

  

On 6/23/2020 at 10:23 AM, Altostrata said:

Here are our sleep tips:

 

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

 

Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration

 

Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

What is the sleep cycle?

 

Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime

 

 

Sleeping sitting up is not a bad solution. A wedge pillow in your bed might be enough to calm your gut.

 

You might get some more sleep using a sleep mask.

 

 

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Thank you! I'm looking through those and started the VA CBT-i course. Trying everything. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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So the VA CBT-i course...I used the recommended app that pairs with the program and entered my erratic sleep. After entering 5 days of sleep, you're supposed to get a "sleep prescription" but when I go to that function in the app it just tells me that I have low sleep efficience and I should see a provider. I actually think my sleep is so inconsistent, that the app isn't able to calculate the prescription. I can't really afford a sleep specialist therapist as most do not take insurance. 

 

The sleep part is so frustrating. I'm doing better overall. Today, i had a full day nearly symptom free. Bedtime comes around, cortisol spike and here I am 3 am with no sleep dreading  dragging myself through the exhaustion tomorrow. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm having a particularly hard morning and am questioning this whole endeavor of coming off medication. The hope that the windows had given me seems largely gone, and I find myself slipping into the rumination and obsessiveness that characterized my depression. After several conversations with work, I think I'm going to request longer-term sick leave tomorrow. I have about two months leave total but plan to take one month. During that time, I would continue to focus on my life style changes and also buy time to heal. But it's scary, I'm losing my life and it's less clear than a few months ago what life I may be gaining. The worry and terror has given way to extreme apathy, and I can see my life slipping away.

 

As for updates, after the recent sleep issues, I had an appointment with a former psychiatrist at the behest of my family. I was open to seeing her because she had advised me when I last saw her 5 years ago that if I ever were to quit taking medication to do it "very slowly." I recounted my recent experience, detailing much of what I outlined above with the mix of extreme anxiety, insomnia but then also windows of clarity where things seem to resolve themselves and I feel better. And that I seemed to have made progress over time. She, considering my history and the manic episode 20 years ago in particular, said I was bipolar, then seeming to qualify it as the risk of mania and that stress, sleep issues and drugs/alcohol (not applicable to me right now) can make it worse. All of that seems reasonable. She also gave me one piece of info that was helpful in understanding the lithium withdrawal--that lithium can have effects for a year and half to two years after cessation because it works at the "cellular level." For her, this meant that it has "therapeutic effects" but we can just as easily understand that timeframe as the period of withdrawal or as I'm beginning to think about it "adjustment."

 

Because of the acute insomnia, which seemed to be worsening, she prescribed me seroquel at a low dosages 12.5 -25 mg to be taken as needed. I foolishly--and desperate for sleep-- took a half pill, which did in fact make me sleep with some fogginess the next day. Two days later, with more sleeplesness, I took another half pill. This time, I didn't sleep but instead had agitation and suicidal ideation. I ran a razor blade over my arm, toying with the impulse and then told my wife of the thoughts. In the morning, the agitation continued with a lot of physical agitation and repetitive movements. I felt very ill. After some time and engaged work day, it passed. This was last week, Monday- Wednesday. 

 

After more limited sleep and being terrified that I was slipping into mania--decreased need for sleep being one of the early warning signs--I took a hydroxyzine (powerful antihistamine, kind of a super benadryl) just 10 mg, which put me to sleep and calmed me over the weekend. In between, on Friday, I had a beautiful day, one of the clearer windows, probably partially caused by the lack of sleep but feeling good nonetheless. I felt good. I swore to myself to remember that feeling, know that I can feel good, feel normal again.

 

Then, that brings me to this week. Yesterday, I had very poor concentration, distractibility, lot of rumination and difficulty focusing on work with it all. Today, after 6 hours of sleep with one disruption in the middle, I woke up feeling pretty lethargic and apathetic about it all. Depression symptoms, which then triggers all the fears of depression worries. Lessons that I've learned is that I need to stick out the no drugs course, I've come too far and see where it leads. I also need to give myself a chance to succeed. I'll keep trying there.

 

Not sure what I'm hoping to find here today but I just wanted to ask everyone: what do you do when you feel like giving up? I want to live fully, and feel like I did on Friday. I want to keep my job and my family safe. I want the full experience of life that the recent windows have shown me. I don't want to die. I have more and more trouble seeing the path forward and I vacillate between the two paradigms of "bipolar" and adjusting to life without medication. 

 

This is awful. 

 

 

 

 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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Hello,

Just thought I'd pop by to recommend you don't experiment with seroquel ever again. It really is a dangerous drug and not to be messed with as you found out from only two doses. Please don't take any more, it's not the thing that will fix your sleep, really quite the opposite, and as you have discovered can make you extremely suicidal very very quickly. Please throw those pills away. You really will give yourself more problems if you add something else...your poor brain! 

Sounds like you are getting some nice windows and some hellish waves... standard! It's not easy though is it? 

When I feel like giving up I just have to remember that that feeling has come and gone many times. So I cling to the knowledge that it will pass. It's just our brain crying! I like that because sometimes I'm not able to...

But it's not permanent...it always passes. It's just such a horrible place to stop for any length of time, right? Who knew we were this strong. 

Take heart. Courage. Your family needs you and there is always another beautiful day ahead....even if you have to wade through the mud to get to it. 

 

11 July 2018 3.75mg zopiclone 14 days missed one dose at least doubled one dose 

22 July 2018 2 mg Valium one week ish

 

30/july/18 quetiapine 25

31/july/2018 quetiapine 100

1/August/2018 quetiapine 200

14/August/2018 quetiapine 100

14/ September /2018 Quetiapine 87.5mg

Not doing so well on this drop. 

Link to comment
3 minutes ago, Lilabella said:

Hello,

Just thought I'd pop by to recommend you don't experiment with seroquel ever again. It really is a dangerous drug and not to be messed with as you found out from only two doses. Please don't take any more, it's not the thing that will fix your sleep, really quite the opposite, and as you have discovered can make you extremely suicidal very very quickly. Please throw those pills away. You really will give yourself more problems if you add something else...your poor brain! 

Sounds like you are getting some nice windows and some hellish waves... standard! It's not easy though is it? 

When I feel like giving up I just have to remember that that feeling has come and gone many times. So I cling to the knowledge that it will pass. It's just our brain crying! I like that because sometimes I'm not able to...

But it's not permanent...it always passes. It's just such a horrible place to stop for any length of time, right? Who knew we were this strong. 

Take heart. Courage. Your family needs you and there is always another beautiful day ahead....even if you have to wade through the mud to get to it. 

 

 

Thank you! Yes, seroquel was some kind of hell. I just wanted relief and was genuinely worried about mania. Very much appreciate the encouragement. I am about ready to give up but don't know what that looks like. Once I've seen what it's like to feel again, I don't want to let go but I'm on the verge of sacrificing so much. 

 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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It's so hard, I know. It does change. Sometimes worse sometimes better. But change it will. 

It's hard to now the right words really, I just had a great day today and have had some extremely bad ones so I thought I'd reach out....like you say when you can feel again you don't want to let go. 

Flowers have been helping me today...and watching my son's joy as he cuddled his cat. I'm grateful to him for keeping me here. 

Just to say...don't want to overstep the mark..but

Seroquel withdrawal has got me to some quite manic places so it's not the fix you think! Could be said for all these drugs right. It's like some strange backwards world we have entered into where the things they are supposed to help they actually cause. 

We really are secret soldiers fighting an invisible war. 

Love x 

 

11 July 2018 3.75mg zopiclone 14 days missed one dose at least doubled one dose 

22 July 2018 2 mg Valium one week ish

 

30/july/18 quetiapine 25

31/july/2018 quetiapine 100

1/August/2018 quetiapine 200

14/August/2018 quetiapine 100

14/ September /2018 Quetiapine 87.5mg

Not doing so well on this drop. 

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to lithiumnomore: withdrawal from Lithium, Prozac after 20 years on lithium, others

I'm feeling better this morning after my 5th straight night of decent sleep. I've been waking up but go back to sleep quickly, which is huge. The crushing anxiety is more at bay though I feel pretty apathetic at times.

 

Thanks again for the encouragement. I need all I can get. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

Link to comment

Insomnia back last night, lot of anxiety. Got about 3 hours of sleep and then this morning felt despondent and had suicidal ideation again. I talked to my wife for about an hour and then took sick leave. Haven't done much but read this forum. Getting up and am going to go for a walk in the woods for some therapy.

 

I'm 8 months off of Prozac, nearly 2 years off lithium. Ready for this to end but worried with my fast tapers and doing so under the stress of work have prevented me from success. Then there's the windows which seem cruel now as reminders of what could be but just out of reach.

 

Could use any support anyone has to give.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

This topic was recently updated:

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Thank you, Chessie Cat. That's a really helpful resource. I slept well last night and feel a lot better today. The waves characterized by intense insomnia and anxiety do pass. But I'm much less confident in my overall progress now. I can't dig in to this more today but one take away I had from that essay is how problematic my fast tapers probably were. I'll need to think hard about reinstatement to stabilize but have a hard time processing what that looks like. Years like this is hard to fathom, though.

 

Anyway, thank you for your support and for your contributions to SA.

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

Link to comment

I ran across a site at some point recently where you could search psychiatrists familiar with withdrawal symptoms. I want to find a doctor that would be more supportive and open to things like microdoses if I were to reinstate. But I can't remember which site. Anyone know?

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

Link to comment
  • Mentor
On 5/9/2020 at 11:12 AM, lithiumnomore said:

During the worst of it, I became absolutely convinced I cannot do my work, that I'm a fraud waiting to be found out, and have to figure out a way to afford to quit my job. Got a decent night of sleep last night and woke up feeling much better. 

 

Anyone have any experience dealing with the demands of work? I'm staring down a difficult 3 months working up to a deadline and have to handle knowing that I will have days when I'm about half as productive as normal. I don't really feel like I can be open with my boss or colleagues about this, so I just go through work days feeling a lot of guilt and self loathing.

 

I have experience with this. I'm limping along in my job and not sure what is going to happen. I understand. It feels really, really bad a lot of the time to me too. You are not alone.

 

I would say to try not to confuse your *internal experience* of how it feels for you at work, with your actual performance/productivity, as noticed by your supervisor. I think your instinct not to share much about what is going on is a good one. Just try to focus on the task in front of you when you are at work.

 

Know that it is possible to get through difficulty focusing at work and have it improve. I went through a very, very difficult time focusing after I returned from 10 weeks or so on disability. But I got through it and so far I've managed to hold onto the same job. I just keep going to work. Even if I think I’m doing a crappy job and even if I think I’m going to get fired, I keep going. 

 

One benefit that I've found to working in withdrawal is that it provides structure and gets me out of myself. Still, a lot of the time I wish I could go on disability or retire. 

 

You sound like a high achiever. I have that same trait. Just going through withdrawal is enough now, though. Don't put being a high achiever on your plate. And consider this too--when you're at work, you're surrounded by healthy people who do not have significant disabilities! You cannot and should not expect yourself to be able to perform at their level! It isn't a level playing field. Start counting from zero, not 100. You have a job. You are maintaining it in withdrawal. You are maintaining it during a pandemic. That's huge.

 

The other things to consider are the impact of any of your decisions on your family. I would encourage you to try to preserve the structure and relationships in your life during withdrawal to the best of your ability. If you can’t, you can’t. But it’s important to try.

 

For example, if you were to quit your job, you would have another set of problems. Instead of being focused on work, your anxiety may change to be focused on the future, on finances, on anything else. Lack of structure. Childcare. Financial problems, possibly marital problems, and the need to eventually get another job, unless you’re independently wealthy. You may also experience loss of confidence in yourself.

 

I wasn’t able to work for 10 weeks or so when I was in acute withdrawal. And you know what I found that I wanted most during that time? To be back at work! [I laugh at that now but it was so true at the time.]

 

Some other options include working part time or working in a less stressful job. Sometimes, it really is impossible to work during withdrawal. Just know that not working has its own set of problems as well.

 

I hope this is helpful on some level. I get angry at the unfairness when people lose things they’ve worked very hard for; that’s why I’m trying to say to preserve what you can. Because losing things comes with its own set of grief and problems and that may end up compounding your problems.

 

I think taking time off to regroup is a good idea. Walking away from your job entirely is a serious decision and would encourage you to think through all the possible ramifications, or have some kind of plan if you can, before considering that. It’s hard to think clearly in withdrawal.

   

 

 

 

Edited by ShiningLight
spacing

Now: 125 mg Zoloft am, 50 mg Trazodone bedtime.  Daily drug burden decreased from 2050 in 2018 mg to 175 mg 🐢🐢

Zoloft: 10/26/21 cut 6 mg 10/17/21 cut 5 mg, 9/17/21 Cut 3 mg,  9/13/21 cut 4 mg, 8/29/21 Cut 2 mg 8/8/21 Cut 3 mg  7/30/21 Zoloft: Converted 25 mg to liquid. Also take 100 mg pill & 25 mg pill=150 mg total
🌞 Feb 28, 2021 0 mg Gapapentin 2021 Gaba each dose 4x/day: Feb 27 7 mg (one dose only), Feb 10, 7 mg, Jan 14 10 mg 2020 Current taper schedule from Aug 30-present: drop 8 mg every 2-3 weeks. Aug 20 31 mg, Aug 18, 33 mg, July 29, 35 mg, July 23 38 mg, July 22 40 mg Jun 24 42 mg, Jun 15 44 mg, Jun 9 48 mg, May 22 50 mg, May 14 54 mg, May 7 56 mg, Apr 16 58 mg, Mar 28 60 mg, Mar 18 62 mg. Feb 26 64 mg. Feb 19, 66 mg. Jan 23, 70 mg. 2019 Dec 19, 72 mg. Nov 14 ,76 mg. Aug 8, 80 mg. Aug 6, 85 mg. Jul 26, 90 mg. Jul 11, 95 mg.

Jul 16 trazodone from 100 to 50 mg.

Jun 17-July 10 Slowly changed gab fr pill to liquid at same dose 100 mg 4x/d.

Apr 24 Stopped klon!!! 🌞 Apr 4  Decreased gaba to 400 mg (100 mg 4x/day)-Apr 4, 2019   0.25 klon March 11  Klonopin .5 mg twice daily, varied dose til Apr 15. Started Klon fast taper 25%, short use

Mar 16, 450 mg gaba 3x/day cut 600 mg--not exact!--updose after learning w/d

Feb 20, 2019 1800 mg gabapentin; MD taper; off 3 days=mvt disorder & autonomic instability. July 2018 temazepam 15 mg 1-2; prn several x/wk til Jan/Feb 2019 when cold turkey, flu illness for months

July 2018 started gabapentin 100 3x/day; titrated up to 1800 mg (600 3x/day)

Buspar, I forget how much, 2 pills a day Jan 2017-July 2018 cold turkey. On Zoloft since maybe 2004? After trying many.

*I speak from my experience. Nothing I say is medical advice. I'm not a doctor.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, ShiningLight said:

 

I have experience with this. I'm limping along in my job and not sure what is going to happen. I understand. It feels really, really bad a lot of the time to me too. You are not alone.

 

I would say to try not to confuse your *internal experience* of how it feels for you at work, with your actual performance/productivity, as noticed by your supervisor. I think your instinct not to share much about what is going on is a good one. Just try to focus on the task in front of you when you are at work.

 

Know that it is possible to get through difficulty focusing at work and have it improve. I went through a very, very difficult time focusing after I returned from 10 weeks or so on disability. But I got through it and so far I've managed to hold onto the same job. I just keep going to work. Even if I think I’m doing a crappy job and even if I think I’m going to get fired, I keep going. 

 

One benefit that I've found to working in withdrawal is that it provides structure and gets me out of myself. Still, a lot of the time I wish I could go on disability or retire. 

 

You sound like a high achiever. I have that same trait. Just going through withdrawal is enough now, though. Don't put being a high achiever on your plate. And consider this too--when you're at work, you're surrounded by healthy people who do not have significant disabilities! You cannot and should not expect yourself to be able to perform at their level! It isn't a level playing field. Start counting from zero, not 100. You have a job. You are maintaining it in withdrawal. You are maintaining it during a pandemic. That's huge.

 

The other things to consider are the impact of any of your decisions on your family. I would encourage you to try to preserve the structure and relationships in your life during withdrawal to the best of your ability. If you can’t, you can’t. But it’s important to try.

 

For example, if you were to quit your job, you would have another set of problems. Instead of being focused on work, your anxiety may change to be focused on the future, on finances, on anything else. Lack of structure. Childcare. Financial problems, possibly marital problems, and the need to eventually get another job, unless you’re independently wealthy. You may also experience loss of confidence in yourself.

 

I wasn’t able to work for 10 weeks or so when I was in acute withdrawal. And you know what I found that I wanted most during that time? To be back at work! [I laugh at that now but it was so true at the time.]

 

Some other options include working part time or working in a less stressful job. Sometimes, it really is impossible to work during withdrawal. Just know that not working has its own set of problems as well.

 

I hope this is helpful on some level. I get angry at the unfairness when people lose things they’ve worked very hard for; that’s why I’m trying to say to preserve what you can. Because losing things comes with its own set of grief and problems and that may end up compounding your problems.

 

I think taking time off to regroup is a good idea. Walking away from your job entirely is a serious decision and would encourage you to think through all the possible ramifications, or have some kind of plan if you can, before considering that. It’s hard to think clearly in withdrawal.

   

 

 

 

Thank you. This is an awesome post and immensely helpful.

 

As an update, I've communicated more about the difficulties to my supervisor and HR. We're working on a reasonable accommodation and I'm probably going to take a few weeks off in the near term. That time will let me focus on the acute issues without the work stress. Coming back,it should be more manageable with whatever accommodation we work out--different work,maybe part time. In my line of work, this isnt a long term solution but it will buy me time to keep making progress.

 

Typing on my phone so going to keep this short but to reiterate, thank you so much!

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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  • Mentor

That sounds like a good plan. Helps me to know that my reply was helpful, because then I feel like I'm not going through this 💩 for nothing! It really is a terrible time, but you're going to get through it better than ever at the end.

 

Glad you found Laura Delano. I really enjoy her Facebook page Inner Compass Conversations, which is live on Saturdays.

 

You're young and you have a lot going for you. Keep learning, and stay the course! 😀

 

PS 

If your "manic episode" was precipitated by zoloft, that's called a side effect. They put you on lithium at age 18 to medicate a side effect. And they probably put you on zoloft to medicate normal young adult life problems. That's criminal. And unconscionable and infuriating. Yet it happens all the time in psychiatry. Anatomy of an Epidemic is an excellent book if you haven't read it already.

 

Now: 125 mg Zoloft am, 50 mg Trazodone bedtime.  Daily drug burden decreased from 2050 in 2018 mg to 175 mg 🐢🐢

Zoloft: 10/26/21 cut 6 mg 10/17/21 cut 5 mg, 9/17/21 Cut 3 mg,  9/13/21 cut 4 mg, 8/29/21 Cut 2 mg 8/8/21 Cut 3 mg  7/30/21 Zoloft: Converted 25 mg to liquid. Also take 100 mg pill & 25 mg pill=150 mg total
🌞 Feb 28, 2021 0 mg Gapapentin 2021 Gaba each dose 4x/day: Feb 27 7 mg (one dose only), Feb 10, 7 mg, Jan 14 10 mg 2020 Current taper schedule from Aug 30-present: drop 8 mg every 2-3 weeks. Aug 20 31 mg, Aug 18, 33 mg, July 29, 35 mg, July 23 38 mg, July 22 40 mg Jun 24 42 mg, Jun 15 44 mg, Jun 9 48 mg, May 22 50 mg, May 14 54 mg, May 7 56 mg, Apr 16 58 mg, Mar 28 60 mg, Mar 18 62 mg. Feb 26 64 mg. Feb 19, 66 mg. Jan 23, 70 mg. 2019 Dec 19, 72 mg. Nov 14 ,76 mg. Aug 8, 80 mg. Aug 6, 85 mg. Jul 26, 90 mg. Jul 11, 95 mg.

Jul 16 trazodone from 100 to 50 mg.

Jun 17-July 10 Slowly changed gab fr pill to liquid at same dose 100 mg 4x/d.

Apr 24 Stopped klon!!! 🌞 Apr 4  Decreased gaba to 400 mg (100 mg 4x/day)-Apr 4, 2019   0.25 klon March 11  Klonopin .5 mg twice daily, varied dose til Apr 15. Started Klon fast taper 25%, short use

Mar 16, 450 mg gaba 3x/day cut 600 mg--not exact!--updose after learning w/d

Feb 20, 2019 1800 mg gabapentin; MD taper; off 3 days=mvt disorder & autonomic instability. July 2018 temazepam 15 mg 1-2; prn several x/wk til Jan/Feb 2019 when cold turkey, flu illness for months

July 2018 started gabapentin 100 3x/day; titrated up to 1800 mg (600 3x/day)

Buspar, I forget how much, 2 pills a day Jan 2017-July 2018 cold turkey. On Zoloft since maybe 2004? After trying many.

*I speak from my experience. Nothing I say is medical advice. I'm not a doctor.

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I've arranged for the four weeks of leave...very nervous but hopeful it will buy me some time and I can continue to work on how to manage symptoms. The feeling in the last week--after a big wave--has been like "Okay, so this is what it's like to be off drugs, now I have to learn to live like this." It seems like I'm exiting withdrawal and its just learning to get by from day to day without the crutch of lithium or prozac. I know there's not much of a clear line between the two but this feels different. 

 

Anyone have anything on my question about providers who understand withdrawal? I definitely recall searching a list like that at some point but can't find it now. It seems like such a thing should exist. 

Past meds: 2001-2010 - lithium and/or other mood stabilizers, ssris and benzos; 2011 - 2018 - lithium and adderall; 2018 - tapered lithium 900 mg to 0 mg in about 6 months, stopped Nov 2018, started fluoxetine @ 20 mg spring 2018 through May 2019,  then tapered in two steps: May - 10 mg, Nov - 0 mg; Dec 2019 - ssri withdrawal started

 

Recent meds/taper 450 mg lithium only current psych med

Seroquel: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg up to 100 mg then tapered off rapidly to 0 mg (took for 2 weeks total)

Lithium: 9/4/2020 - 900 mg, 11/20 - 750 mg, 12/15 - 600 mg, 12/21 - 750 mg, 2/11 - 600 mg, 3/15 - 450 mg

Lamictal: 9/7/2020 - 25 mg, 9/17 - 50 mg; 10/1 - 100 mg; 10/13 - 200 mg, 10/23 - 300 mg, 11/6 - 400 mg, 1/15 - 200 mg, 4/15 - 100 mg, 5/13 - 75 mg, 5/27 - 62.5 mg, 6/8 - 50 mg, 6/22 - 37.5 mg, 6/28 - 12.5 mg, 7/7 - 0 mg

Current supplements: NAC - 1800 mg; methylfolate - 15 mg in AM, Magnesium, Dr Best Chelated 200 mg PM, Multivitamin, L-theanine 200 mg PM, CBD Oil ~30 mg in evening, CBN/CBD tincture in PM. 

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