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


lithiumnomore

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Quoting this here for member's benefit:

 

5 hours ago, lithiumnomore said:

 

I had a pretty rough wave the last two weeks, with a lot of concentration difficulty, anxiety and some suicidal thoughts. Part of it was feeling trapped by work and I'm taking time off starting tomorrow. 

 

I wanted to post here because following the wave this week I've been having some really clear windows. They vary through the day and I've still had symptoms at times, but when I'm at my best I've had moments where I feel 100% well. I'm in the moment, my brain is awake and my thinking is more expansive. It's like my brain is heeled. Has anyone towards the end of their withdrawal experience had windows that just felt too overwhelming? If you took someone and put them in a coma for 20 years, then woke them up, how would they react? Does anyone feel like the waves happen because we're having trouble accepting the full reality given to us in a window?

 

 

FINISH LINE here I come!!!

🏁

Current from 11 September 2021:  Pristiq 0.04mg

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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lithiumnomore

Improvement continues. I had a night of poor sleep Sunday night but last night slept well again. Insomnia really does seem to be improving with the break from work, and I'm going to start CBT-i next Monday. I'm hoping CBT-i will give me tools to continue to improve my current sleep AND help me to avoid insomnia coming back as it was before. I know I can't avoid avoid the next wave but I'll be in a better place to mitigate the severity.

 

I know these things are hard to predict and this comes on the heels of a very difficult couple months but the clarity of my windows makes me think the end of my withdrawal is near. I've been more motivated and decisive, concentration is improving and I find it easier to just be in the moment. The intense rumination is subsiding. I'm starting to accept and make sense of the lost years on meds and am looking forward to the future rather than dwelling in the past. I find myself enjoying simple pleasures again and looking forward to things. I care more about my own life and that of my loved ones. The apathy is going away.

 

While all that is true--and I think my brain is healing--I find myself in the midst of a new struggle in dealing with the psychological fallout that comes from being drugged for about 20 years of my life and then waking up. This is what I was getting at in the post ChessieCat copied here. Even when all the withdrawal symptoms are gone--whatever changes the drugs caused to your brain are gone-- you still have to get used to living with a new mind. It's hard--and maybe impossible--to draw the line between reversing physycial changes and just adapting to a full mind but believing I'm entering a new phase brings me some comfort. I also think that I'm reaching a point where he positive experiences outweigh the residual withdrawal symptoms. I'm hopeful that there will be virtuous cycle of continued to improvement as the good experiences boost my mood and optimism, crowding out the bad thoughts and suppressing the windows. That is my hope anyway.

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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lithiumnomore

Had a fair amount of anxiety through the day yesterday and then some difficulty sleeping last night. I tried watching something on TV before bedtime hoping it would calm my mind but it seemed to have just aggravated things further. Still, I seemed to manage the anxiety and sleep issues better. I was able to get back to sleep after waking up with anxiety which is an improvement and I made a point to still get up at what's become my wake up time and exercise. This morning, I as able to distract myself from rumination and have a productive morning, engaged with my children. 

 

Continuing theme of entering a new phase post-psychiatric drugs, I've continued to struggle with waking up to my life. My wife and I have led a very hectic lifestyle the last 4-5 years, having two kids and two demanding jobs, racking up a significant amount of household debt in the process. As long as we have two good jobs we have a way to pay it down and may pull some equity from our home to speed that up--but looking at the situation its hard to comprehend some of our recklessness. I feel like lithium and later prozac contributed to this irresponsibility, shielding me from reality. I'm now, towards the end of a harrowing experience having to pick up the pieces and clean up the mess that my former self left. It's not too dissimilar from waking up after a drunken binge except this lasted 20 years. The need to create a new life after psychiatric drugs is no joke.

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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  • 1 month later...
lithiumnomore

Just checking in. I appreciate any advice or encouragement anyone has as I'm very close to giving up on life off of meds. I took four weeks of leave from work, stepping out in the midst of a major project. Goal was to hopefully reestablish regular sleep in a reduced stress environment, make progress with acceptance, develop better coping mechanisms, and more or less buy time. My sleep was better by the third week of leave, able to go to sleep quickly and return to sleep after I woke up. The windows continued as well, and I felt like I was making progress. I returned to work last week and by the third day the insomnia had returned. You can see the significance of the disruption in the attached screenshot. 

 

Even with the sleep disruption, I've continued to experience windows. I feel like a different person with a fuller experience of reality. It's like my brain is coming back online, which maybe it is. Memories stir up, and I feel closer to my children. I can look them in the eyes and feel a deep love and connection that seemed absent on lithium and prozac. But then the anxiety, insomnia, rumination and poor concentration are exhausting and I can't work. I'm on the verge of taking more leave, possibly unpaid leave under FMLA. That could buy me up to four months while protecting my job, but if I can't figure it out in that time, I'll need to leave my job, creating significant financial strain on my family. 

 

I've experienced the waves and window pattern, and can try to understand this as a wave but the severity is the worst yet. I keep telling myself "the only way out is through" but life on lithium seems more and more appealing. I can at least function, but then, what will I lose? Will I remember I lost it? And, who knows if going back on lithium, would address the prozac withdrawal. It could be I end up with the worst of all worlds and not know it. 

 

I started CBT-i for insomnia and am two weeks in, with my sleep window at 6.5 hours from 11-5:30 AM. It worked some at the beginning. I had 7 hours of undisturbed sleep for the first time in about 9 months, but then as the stress increased, it's no longer doing much. I don't get tired. I just feel wired all the time. Like I drank a lot of coffee. I assume it's some sort of cortisol overload. 

 

I'm also reasonably confident that this is protacted withdrawal from the fast taper of prozac. It's agonizing that I set myself up for failure with out the knowledge of the importance of tapering. 

 

Anyway, lot of panic, I know but that's where I'm at. 

 

If anyone has any thoughts or experience with the following, it might help me:

 

1) Any signs that the end is near? Did anyone have a massive wave right around when it seemed like they were reawakening? I'm 10 months out from the last dose of prozac during the main course and 6 months from the one week in February. It almost feels like my brain is close to healed and I just need the flood waters from this wave to recede. 

 

2) Anyone have cognitive symptoms significantly worsen towards this far post-discontinuation? 

 

3) Has anyone given up a career in going off meds? How did you weigh things like ability to love more deeply against income? I'm not sure I could have continued much farther on lithium or prozac anyway, so maybe it's not really a choice. 

 

4) Anything I can do? I'm adding yoga to my daily exercise routine--usually 30 minutes of cardio. And will try magnesium and fish oil again--fish oil seemed to agitate me earlier on. I'll try one at a time, starting with magnesium.

 

5) Any advice on exploring reinstating? Is it too late for that? 

 

 

Screenshot_20200827-114915.png

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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lithiumnomore

I'm feeling better this morning. It was just a wave and the pattern of feeling better on the other side of it continues. I slept last night and woke up feeling the best I have since stopping the Prozac. I need to get better at managing the waves.  It consumes your thinking so it's really hard.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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Just encouraging you to hang in there.  As you go thru each time of struggle you'll be more prepared to move more peacefully through the next one.  I have worked through the whole experience (much of it part time as already planned, not due to withdrawal).  I think the structure and opportunities in learning to cope outweigh the downsides.  But there can be some really tough days.  And one learns to be calmer about not sleeping.  My sleep still hasn't recovered, but life goes on.  Best to you!

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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lithiumnomore

After feeling really good in the morning yesterday, I deteriorated throughout the day. Couldn't get any work done and am falling farther and farther behind. Increased rumination, concentration terrible. I would frequently forget what I was doing.  Sleep disturbed last night. I just lie there retracing my childhood and wondering where things went wrong.

 

Childhood trauma plus mental illness plus 20 years on psych meds just seems like too much. I can't reverse this. Through the windows and recovered memories, I've remembered what it was like to have a full experience but I think it's going to always feel out of reach. I feel immense guilt for what is going to happen to my family. My kids are innocent and I'm thrusting on them the trauma of their dad disappearing.

 

Other than the severe sleep issues last week the other development is I tried magnesium on Thursday (two 125 mg doses on Thursday) and then 125 mg 2 hours before bedtime last night. This deterioration seems so severe I wonder if the magnesium could have had something to do with it.

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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  • Moderator

Hello,

 

I'm sorry to read that you're struggling at the moment.

 

If adding magnesium is the only thing new, you might want to stop it and see how you next days.

 

Perhaps you could also try a lower amount (25mg, 50mg ) and see how your body react ?

 

Take care ☀️

2006 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2014-June2017 : Switch from Bromazepam to Prazepam, taper to 0.

2018 to August 2019 : Paxil 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22 Aug 2019 updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paxil. 

April 2020 : Paxil 10mg to Prozac 7mg bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :

* 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

* Prozac : 6.88mg (14 Aug 2021)/ 6.92mg (23 Jun 2021)

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lithiumnomore

I just spent the last hour looking over my life. I did a lot on lithium. Right now I'm losing everything. I'd rather have some life than no life at all, so I want to go back there. 

 

The scary thing is that I think what I'm experiencing now has nothing to do with lithium. It was the prozac. The correlation between discontinuation and onset of these awful symptoms is too strong. And the panicked anxiety and insomnia seem to be the telltale signs of ssri withdrawal. I'm terrified that lithium--with all it gave me, good and bad--will not fix things because it can't reverse the withdrawal. Maybe it will calm things down through its own mechanism. I know this website is about getting off drugs, but to take a shot in the dark, has anyone had success with lithium easing ssri withdrawal 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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I'm exhibiting full-on depression symptoms now. Lethargy, rumination, low mood, difficulty thinking, suicidal ideation. It feels a little different my depressive episodes but very familiar. Regretting the decision to come off lithium and really regretting taking prozac and the fast taper. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Anyone end up with major depression as the withdrawal effects wore off? That's what this feels like.

 

Also, looking at my signature, 7 years doing great on lithium. Doc prescribes Prozac cause reasons and now here I am? SSRIs seem to have a destructive potential all their own.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
  • Moderator

Hello,

 

You don't take any drugs now, right ?

Are you taking supplements  ?

 

52 minutes ago, lithiumnomore said:

Anyone end up with major depression as the withdrawal effects wore off? That's what this feels like

 

I've read a lot of people here reporting that after periods of anxiety/restlessness they felt depression.

Like if body and mind were relaxing the inner tension.

 

It could be a phase of your withdrawal process.

You've gone through major dose changes last 2 years, your CNS is probably working hard to repair and heal.

 

On 8/29/2020 at 7:19 PM, lithiumnomore said:

I just spent the last hour looking over my life. I did a lot on lithium. 

 

Would you be interested in seeing a psychotherapist ?

Don't get me wrong, I don't wanna minimize your symptoms, and withdrawal can definitely bring doom/SI/depressed feelings, I know it too well.

It's just that I see a lot of regrets and ruminations in your posts and I feel for you : perhaps you would benefit from talking to a psychotherapist and learn to forgive yourself.

Please don't beat yourself : we all trusted doctors and have done the best we could ❤

 

Take care ☀️

2006 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2014-June2017 : Switch from Bromazepam to Prazepam, taper to 0.

2018 to August 2019 : Paxil 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22 Aug 2019 updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paxil. 

April 2020 : Paxil 10mg to Prozac 7mg bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :

* 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

* Prozac : 6.88mg (14 Aug 2021)/ 6.92mg (23 Jun 2021)

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Thanks. No, I'm not taking anything.

 

Feeling pretty awful right now having gone through this hell, maybe for nothing. I should have never been on prozac. And who knows if I can find my way back to stability.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I wanted to try to sum up the situation as I understand it. I do have an underlying condition, absent psych meds. At 18, I had a major depressive episode with particularly prominent cognitive issues and obsessive thinking. I was fixed on a delusion. Because of that, I was prescribed sertaline, which triggered a manic episode and resulted in the bipolar diagnosis. Given the right conditions then I can have a manic episode.

 

Lithium and developing a life allowed me to become reasonably stable but it was still kind of a diminished existence. I struggled with a lot of continued cognitive impairment and other issues. I think a lot of this was a "me on meds" and the lithium keeping me from being a full person. 

 

In coming off meds, I truly believe that the windows and moments of clarity are my brain trying to get back to its natural stable state. But, because I fast-tapered prozac, I developed protracted withdrawal syndrome. This has continued to progress, and I fear now that the the PAWS insomnia, resulting disruption and Covid isolation have combined to create conditions where mania is possible. In the last two weeks, there's been a marked changed in me. Particularly the sleep has worsened, going from sleeping every other night to barely sleeping at all. I feel like I am incapable of sleep now. And with this taking hold, I think it's only a matter of time before I become manic. 

 

I have several psychiatrist appointments set up, and my family--and the doctors--will urge treatment. The problem is, while lithium and others might help with warding off mania, they will not treat the protracted withdrawal syndrome, and it seems the window for reinstatement has closed. I know at won't be able to get them to believe this but I know it's true. So I'm going to be taking a set of cures that have zero chance of fixing the actual problem. 

 

The other option is to stick to my guns and refuse treatment but again, considering my history, I don't think I can just endure this. So what do I do?

 

Options:

1) Embrace psychiatry--it will prevent mania at least. 

2) refuse medications and hope that my body continues its process and my mania fear are unfounded

3) Try to find a doctor that will address possible mania plus maybe do reinstatement. 

 

What do I do? It seems hopeless. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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lithiumnomore

I'm feeling better now. Was close to going to the hospital. Went to run an errand and talked to my wife and it all passed. Part of my playing with the idea of going back to psychiatry I tried Seroquel again last night. The last time I did that, I also had panic, suicidality in the morning. And it passed. 

 

I just have to get some relief from the sleep and some encouragement, this will pass. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Does it feel like you're learning a new way to think and be entirely? Part of my struggle seems to be tension between old and new ways of thinking and being. I'm scared to surrender to the new.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Just going to note this here for anyone that comes across it in the future. If you have any control over it, absolutely do not cold turkey or fast taper and SSRI. The effects of that careless decision ruined my life. Coming off meds, I've learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of insight into my life, but the consequences of the fast taper are clear. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Slept 2 hours last night. From 11-1. Then just lay there in bed for 4 hours. I'm just not getting tired. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Here's my current state:

- insomnia ratcheted up a notch. Feels like can't sleep at all but have managed a couple hours a night the last two nights. Have been taking melatonin 1 mg last two nights. I think also the Seroquel's effect is probably carrying over. I'm trying to learn my lesson with meds but you get so desperate for relief.

-cognitive impairment the worst it's been. Can't read or watch tv most of the time. Have trouble recalling basic knowledge at times. Ton of rumination.

- Constant earworm/song stuck in head

-suicidal thoughts

- notice everything seems to improve through the day. Sometimes like a switch when I engage my mind.

 

My family wants me to go back on lithium. I know that goes against the wisdom of this website and won't address withdrawal symptoms which I definitely had. My hope is it could even out moods and help with the sleep. Struggling with the decision.

 

Anyone that's been here, I could use someone to talk 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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I've decided to reinstate lithium. Will report back on if it helps withdrawal symptoms.

 

And after I share that decision with my family, all the withdrawal symptoms went away. Did I just need hope? We'll see if sleep returns.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I started lithium today. Had a high yesterday afternoon, which was a nice reprieve to be honest and now utterly depressed. I never had sleep problems before. And now can't sleep at all.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I started lithium and it seems to be having a serious reaction. I haven't been able to talk or think, just answer simple questions "yes" or "no" or I don't know. Just lie in bed staring at the ceiling. Following psychiatrist urging to just restablish sleep, I took seroquel and then hydroxyzine to get sleep yesterday.

 

My wife and family believe that I just need to get back to a therapeutic dose of lithium and this will resolve itself. But looking back at the withdrawal experience, it's clear my brain was changing--and had been been changed by the prozac treatment. 

 

One thing that should be mentioned here is that with all the downsides of medication because of the way your brain becomes dependent on them, it may in fact be necessary to be on them the rest of your life. I would trade anything to go back to where I was 2 years ago. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
  • Moderator

@lithiumnomore : how many lithium are you taking now ?

 

How many seroquel did you take ?

2006 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2014-June2017 : Switch from Bromazepam to Prazepam, taper to 0.

2018 to August 2019 : Paxil 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22 Aug 2019 updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paxil. 

April 2020 : Paxil 10mg to Prozac 7mg bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :

* 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

* Prozac : 6.88mg (14 Aug 2021)/ 6.92mg (23 Jun 2021)

Link to post
lithiumnomore
23 hours ago, Erell said:

@lithiumnomore : how many lithium are you taking now ?

 

How many seroquel did you take ?

 

I'm taking 600 mg/day lithium. I have prescriptions for hydroxyzine and seroquel for sleep. I've had several bad reactions after seroquel so have stopped taking it. Hydroxyzine had helped in the pat but more recently just keeps me up. 

 

Here's the timeline of the last few days, documenting for the board and for myself. I'm having dramatic mood swings. 

 

8/28- 9/6 timeline

Friday 8/28 - Feeling optimistic in the morning, enough so that I somewhat impulsively booked a hotel for a family trip to a nearby beach. By the end of the day, optimism is gone. I canceled the hotel reservation later that day.

Saturday 8/29 - Spent much of day in bed thinking about my life and current situation. Looked at photos of my family and me, in period on lithium before taking prozac. 

Sunday - 8/30 - Took day trip to the beach with my family. Lot of rumination and difficulty engaging with my kids or discussing anything but my symptoms. 

Monday - 9/1 - ??

Tuesday 9/2 - Took Seroquel 25 mg in the evening after determining sleep was main obstacle and if I could only sleep everything would work itself out, 25 mg. 

Wednesday 9/3 - Strong suicidal ideation in the morning, desire to cut open arms. Felt urge to jump out of the car while driving with wife. Wife reported she was near sending me to the hospital. Begin feeling better in the afternoon. 

Thursday 9/3 - Decision to restart lithium, picked up prescription. Had symptoms seem to clear in the afternoon--although felt a little manic--and had nice dinner, played board games with family, played guitar later that night and felt really alive, recalling songs I hadn't played in years and feeling really absorbed in the music. 

Friday 9/4 - Depressive symptoms worsened through the day, could only give single word responses to questions. Went to bed early at 8 pm and spent night absolutely terrified, thinking about life falling apart; violent urges. Wife near taking me to hospital again. Lithium - 300 mg AM; 300 mg PM. Seroquel 25 mg at 8 pm; Hydroxyzine 50 mg at 4 AM. Slept about 4 hours in total.

Saturday 9/5 - Felt much better, went for a hike in the morning and by afternoon participating in activities and optimistic about work and family. Lithium 300 mg AM; 300 mg PM. 50 mg Hydroxyzine at bedtime woke up at 12:30 AM, unable to sleep, concerned about mania. Not sure on total sleep. 

Sunday 9/6 - Feeling kind of flat in the morning (lithium taking effect?). Difficulty getting started.

 

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

I'm doing better back on lithium. Hoping that my sleep falls back into place as that would relieve a lot of angst. I'm terrified Prozac withdrawal has broken my sleep mechanism.

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
lithiumnomore

Just checking in to let y'all know I'm doing better. I took Seroquel again last night and it actually worked: slept about 8 hours, probably longest stretch or uninterrupted sleep since stopping prozac. I know the dangers of Seroquel but think I have no choice right now if it works. I'm reasonably certain that if I let myself just not sleep, I would be manic which would probably mean at least another 6 months of disruption and more consequences. I'll probably need help planning a slow taper of Seroquel once things settle down but hopefully can manage that.

 

Hard to gain perspective on the months since coming off Prozac while still in the midst of it but I'm starting to already. I absolutely had withdrawal syndrome from Prozac and because of my bipolar disorder (just using as short form for susceptibility to depression and mania), it was probably worse than for others. As I gained distance from the drug, I did start to wake up and it was magical. Prozac had really dimmed my experience and distorted my thinking and these effects did not stop with the last dose-- as everyone here knows. And when I was on it, it was in some ways equally damaging. I find myself wondering if the reckless decision to stop lithium--and the way I stopped Prozac--was due to Prozac's effect on my judgment. I am so glad to be free of it and will never take another SSRI again.

 

Then there's lithium and what to make of psychiatry overall and my relationship to it. I continue to subscribe to this Board's general sentiment on psychiatry. It is fundamentally flawed and inhumane, unable to appreciate the depths and complexities of human experience. Its drugs are blunt and imprecise instruments for dealing with the most complex system in history: the human mind. They have little evidence that the drugs even work and to the extent they do, the drugs don't work very well. The idea that GPs regularly dole out antidepressants is insane, considering the risks we all know about. And or course, there's the blind spot on withdrawal and so many other aspects of what these drugs do to you.

 

But then, for me, lithium seems to help. I built a life on it. I achieved big things. I'm better with lithium. Lithium helps me. But that doesn't say anything about what helps anyone else. And it doesn't say anything about what all the other drugs do to us and if psychiatry is a net benefit to society or any one person.

 

 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

Link to post
  • 10 months later...
lithiumnomore

HI everyone. I'm doing better and wanted to checkin. I hope to provide some updates on my progress and am seeking support for what I think is still PAWs from my prozac cold-turkey back in November 2019. I updated my signature with the recent tapers and current meds/supplements.

 

Thanks to all who responded to my posts as things got bad last September. That was the worst of it and every bit of reassurance was needed to help me get through it. After, the wheels came off in September, I returned to psychiatry, desperate for help. I restarted lithium and then the psychiatrist suggested lamictal as an alternative to lithium. I titrated up on Lamictal with a plan to come off of lithium. Once I strated tapering lithium, I noticed problems with lamictal seeming to make my sleep and concentration worse so I reduced it as well. Doctor became concerned about reducing both drugs, yelled at me, told me to think of my family and that I would need to see a different doctor if I couldn't take my meds as prescribed. I stopped seeing him. He did get a few things right, though, starting me on fish oil, methylfolate and magnesium. 

 

After that, I started to become resolved to come off of meds again. I started seeing a holistic psychiatrist with Free Range Psychiatry, a telemedicine based psychiatrist group that is anti-meds and generally aligned with the views of this board. I shared the issues that lamictal was causing and started a taper under her supervision. I ended up going faster than the 10% of current dose rule mainly because lamictal continued to cause issues which were affecting my ability to work. I've had some pretty significant withdrawal symptoms from that fast taper but am 3 weeks at 0 mg now and doing well. I thought of it as a calculated risk weighing the cost of the disrpution if I stayed on it against those of the withdrawal effects. Plan is to stay on lithium at least through the winter and then do a truly slow taper of it.  

 

Personally, I'm doing great. I've gone back to my job as an attorney and have gradually took on more and more work slowly getting back up to feeling fully competent and capable. Being on the lowest meds I've been on in a long time--while being mostly clear of prozac withdrawal--I'm feeling the best I've felt since the depression and ssri-induced mania at 18. The derealization is almost gone, cognitive issues clearing up. I find myself feelign more grounded and like life has meaning in a way that I haven't in a long time. I notice complexities and subtetlies in the world that I had just been glancing over, oblivious to, while on meds.  It's amazing but often overwhelming. I'm continued to experience a window and waves pattern and the waves seem to be triggered by when I make steps towards greater clarity and then feeling overwhelmed by the intensity of experience. I'll have sleep disruption and the sort of existential dread anxiety that was characteristic of my acute prozac withdrawal. The difference now, though, is I'm better able to tolerate it and can talk myself back down. I feel like, at almost a year and half out, that the Prozac PAWS waves are starting to fade but we'll see. 

 

Anyway, it's good to be back and sharing. I think I'm going to make it. 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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  • 3 weeks later...
lithiumnomore

Just checking in again. I think I'm now 35 days from my last dose of lamictal and over a year and half from prozac. I'm continuing to do really well, though there has been a clear pattern of waves every 6 days or so the last three weeks. Massive anxiety and panic, disrupted sleep, and then it passes. I always seem to feel better on the other side than I did going into the wave. That combined with the reliability has made these easier to endure but it's still really hard. I suddenly believe that the worst possible scenario is going to come to pass, and there's nothing I can do. The last waves passed but this one will stick--it will be relapse. So I spend time reading notes I write to myself in windows telling myself it will be okay and somehow get through it.  The improvement on the other side also really makes me believe that the waves help my brain heal. Like the excess stress response causes adjustments in the serotonergic system, getting me closer to normal.

 

When in windows, the cognitive improvement has been the most striking. I can read books again, think logically, consider complexities. I found myself the other day sitting there and having conversation in my head that drifted into fantasy. I panicked a bit about what sort of psychosis must be coming over me before I realized that this was daydreaming. I don't think I've daydreamed in years. I'm noticing a lot of things like that almost every day. It's amazing but also hard because it reminds me of what I had been missing for so long. 

 

Which, that brings me to a lot of the struggle I have today. What to make of my life on drugs and all the suffering I endured in a pharmaceutical cloud. That my problems for years and years were likely attributable to the drugs is so clear to me now. If only I had realized it at the time or the system was different and a doctor suggested a drug-free trial much earlier. It's very difficult to comprehend. Plus just the psychology of it is difficult. It's like I've lived as three persons. Myself before meds; myself during; and now myself after. There's massive discontinuity across those different periods. How do you process that? Are those memories always tainted? I'm also finding myself kind of learning to live again. Figuring out what I like and dislike; and what brings me pleasure. For so long because I couldn't experience real pleasure I substituted societal guidance as to what I was supposed to like, and then acted as best I can the way I observed others experience it. Now it's real; and it's very odd. I have to look back 20 years--before meds--to find it. 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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lithiumnomore

Consistent with the recent pattern, I'm in the midst of a really bad wave. It had been building some and then last night kind of hit with full force. I couldn't get to sleep and then the intense anxiety just built. I took some supplements I've been experimenting with for sleep--Ashwaghanda, l-theanine and CBD around 2 AM and finally fell asleep at 3, slept about 3 hours. I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation or being in a wave, but it's the worst possible feeling. I spent a good part of last night and today, just reading some encouraging notes I've made to myself about things getting better. It's hard to reconcile all the progress with the way I'm feeling now. If all those good things that are bringing me closer to myself and the world are happening in my brain, how could I also be feeling like this?

 

Anyone have any experience with this late stage where the windows are fantastic but the waves are either worse or feel worse because of the contracts with feeling well? How did you cope with that? I try to remember how I was doing just a few days ago--and can actually do so--but it's hard. I also have to struggle to believe that this will resolve itself--even though all the previous waves did. 

 

And anyone that tapered lamictal have a timeline of when withdrawal symptoms resolved after the last dose? I think lamictal withdrawal is probably the best explanation of what's going on here. 

 

 

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 - 1500 mg; 15 mg methylfolate, 200 mg magnesium, probiotics

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