Jump to content
MC89

MC89--Introduction

Recommended Posts

MC89

Hi everyone,

 

I'd like to introduce myself to the members of this site by telling you a little about my history and how I'm faring now.

 

Currently, I am a 21 year old college student from California on leave from my university where I will be a senior this fall. About 10 years ago, when I was 11 or 12, I developed a mood disorder, which I believe to be related to a high degree of academic stress, lack of sleep, and a chronic pain condition that emerged out of nowhere around that time. I was sent to various mental health professionals, at the recommendation of some of my doctors, and ended up seeing several child psychiatrists who put me on Zoloft, Effexor, and several other cocktails of anti-depressants. I remained on the drugs, except for a brief stint in which I attempted to quit at age 16 but relapsed horribly, until I could no longer tolerate the side effects (i.e. impotence, emotional apathy, mental fog, weight gain) and quit in the spring semester of my freshman year of college.

 

Although I quit over a short period of time (around 1 month) I didn't really experience any withdrawal effects--the situation remained more or less unchanged. However, after about 6 months after quitting I began to become very aware, and very anxious about the fact that I had no direction in my life, studies, or career because I simply didn't care while on the medication. This realization compelled me to work extremely hard in school, to the point where I couldn't accept anything less than an A. I also became extremely self-conscious about my weight and developed fairly severe social phobia. Thus, for the second half of 2008, 2009, and most of 2010, I hardly did anything besides study in my room--I barely ate or interacted with anyone at all and focused exclusively on my career.

 

In summer 2010 I secured an internship for summer 2011, and enrolled in the toughest courses I had taken to date for the fall semester. My internship, I believed, depended upon my ability to perform at a high level in those courses, so I studied harder even than I had previously. As a result, I became more preoccupied and obsessed with performance than ever before, and began to lose sleep at night worrying about the exams, until I couldn't sleep at night at all. After weeks of desperately popping pills for sleep I decided in mid-December that I could not go through with finals, got on a plane and flew home with incompletes in 4 classes and my future in serious doubt.

 

At home, I spent the first month in a partial hospitalization program and thought about suicide basically every day. I started eating sugary and fatty foods ceaselessly and stopped taking care of myself. I was completely dependent on my parents, and hardly left my bed to do anything but to eat. I was convinced that I was going to fail my exams and that my life would be over. I still couldn't sleep at night and just began to simply give up on anything. For the entire months of January and February I didn't touch my schoolbooks even though I knew I needed to take my exams to avoid failing my courses.

 

Somehow, though, I started to get better during March. I attribute it mostly to the supplements that my doctor recommended for me. I began to sleep better and that made a huge difference, and slowly I began to pick up the books for a few hours each day. Doing this enabled me to gain a bit of confidence, and to conceive that there was a hope that my life wasn't over. Eventually, I was able to study all day again, and could sleep okay even with the pressure of the pending tests. I won't get into details, but i was ultimately able to get an A on all 3 exams.

 

Right now, I am feeling better than I have in quite awhile. My sleep has steadily improved to where I can sleep for basically 7 hours a night without constant wake ups and without too much morning anxiety. I exercise regularly and have gotten back into pretty good shape. I am planning to do the internship, which was really inconceivable just a month ago to me, and I am not really taking any substances aside from a small amount of melatonin and l-arginine at night. What's more, I am beginning to take interest in things that I stopped caring about 10 years ago. Although I feel tired most of the time and have some lingering head pain from my time on benzos, it is nothing that is hampering me severely.

 

I really do feel now (I was always skeptical before) that we can overcome this and live fulfilling lives. I am still bitter about losing all of my teenage years and think about how things could have been if I was never on drugs in the first place, and I feel a great deal of anger towards other people for the treatment I received while on anti-depressants. However, at the same time I feel like I am starting to enjoy living again, and feel positive about the future and my prospects. Obviously, I am still nervous about going to a fulltime working environment and this summer will be a litmus test for me, but I think I will do well because my self-confidence and feelings of self-worth are higher than perhaps they've ever been. I am committed to turning this around and living life and succeeding in spite of my setbacks with anti-depressants.

Share this post


Link to post
Rhiannon

Welcome! And thanks for sharing your story. It's an important story to share--I hope you don't stop here.

 

I think with the insight you've developed, you will do fine this summer at your internship. Just remember that you can't necessarily "listen" to all those feelings/thoughts of doom and gloom. Don't over-pressure yourself.

 

You really don't have to make all A's in life, as it turns out; in fact, once you get out of school, to be perfectly honest, nobody's going to know or care much about your grades! Unless you're trying to get into some super competitive grad school program. Which is an option, if that's something that's fun for you, but it's really not a prerequisite to a fulfilling and satisfying life.

 

Anyway, again, thank you for sharing your story. There are so many people who were put on psych meds at a young age and have suffered a lot as a result. I'm so glad to hear your story of hope and recovery. I hope you'll continue to share it.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

MC, it's such great news that you're resuming your education.

 

Can you tell us more about the benzos, how you got off them (congratulations), and those supplements? Tapering schedule, what kinds of dosages, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
MC89

Thanks for the responses.

 

To follow up regarding weaning off benzos, this was done over a matter of around 3 weeks under the supervision of my doctor, who called every week to instruct me on the dosage. I never took more than ~1mg of Klonopin or 2mg of Ativan, and I was only at that dose for a brief amount of time.

 

I believe that being on any dose of these medications, for any amount of time, was a complete hindrance to recovery. A feeling of normality started to return only after being off the benzos for several weeks, and I still suffer some of the collateral damage from that time, including extreme fatigue and face pain (both slowly abating).

 

As for the supplements, I cant say I can trace any immediate improvement in my condition to any substance with the exception of melatonin. 3, then 1.5, then .75 mg at night has been a god send in helping me get to sleep. Also, a sleepytime tea taken an hour before bed helps on nights where I feel particularly tense. I also take 200mg of co-q10 and 500mg niacinimide, and occasionally inositol (very expensive), but I can't definitively state whether these have helped me indeed. If they have, the synergistic effect is very subtle. I also take L-arginine (500 mg i believe) at night, per the suggestion of my doctor, as it is supposed to enhance restorative, deep sleep.

 

One way or another, I have gotten much better as I detailed before. I feel self-confidence for the first time I can remember, and I just rented a room in a house in a different city (~55 miles away) so I can commute to my internship this summer. Should the internship go well, I really see no reason to doubt myself and my ability to cope with life anymore. While my well-being is somewhat conditional upon my ability to get my career launched, I still think I am more comfortable with myself regardless of the outcome.

 

Also, the anhedonia I have suffered for years and thought was absolutely intractable, has, quite miraculously, begun to abate. Just yesterday I was at a baseball game (GO GIANTS) and was involved in the game almost as much as I used to be as a kid. My attention span, while still not sufficient to sit still and read many lengthy books, has also greatly improved and with it my analytical abilities. Therefore, anyone who is afraid their brain and intelligence are permanently compromised (this thought kept me in the gutter for years) please don't worry. Recovery really happens--one simply needs to accept this as an incontrovertible fact and act accordingly, in order to prepare optimally for when it does come.

Share this post


Link to post
Neuroplastic

Great update, MC! It will help many. So much hope and energy in it. Drop by to tell us how you're doing and what symptoms are getting better. :)

Share this post


Link to post
angie007

HI MC and welcome,

 

Thankyou for your post, it was very enlightening, and will give so much

hope to others struggling in wd.

Call by again and tell us about any lingering issues and how you manage to deal with those.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy