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zenprincess

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zenprincess

Hi,

 

I am new here and this is my first post. I've read some but it is triggering so am diving in to see if you wise folks have any insight. I'm trying to decide if I am still having WD symptoms or if this is just me. 

 

I am very tempted to go back onto a super low dose of fluoxetine because I have been struggling with many symptoms.

 

I have been off of the antidepressants since April of 2020. Almost immediately after completing taper, two symptoms that were improved by the fluoxetine returned. Pulsatile tinnitus, like my heartbeat in my left ear especially at night when trying to sleep and Insomnia. When I couldn't sleep, I would get anxiety. My Integrative Medicine doctor prescribed me some Progesterone to help with sleep. It helped some but I didn't feel great on it. Still, I continued with it feeling mostly functional until things took a turn for the worse in November 2020. 

 

Insomnia returned in November and I started having a new kind of issue, waking up early in a fight-or-flight state. I'd have to use the bathroom immediately and be trembling. I felt like I was falling apart. My IM doc upped progesterone dosage and then added estrogen. My psychiatrist suggested we try to get approved for her new-ish TMS machine. Things got worse from there. I couldn't eat, sleep, or hardly function. I took Lunesta four nights a week per her request so that I was rested for the TMS treatments. In December, I stopped the Progesterone, and felt a little better but not much. 

 

 Symptoms are namely high cortisol which normalizes at night, anxiety on and off, brain fog, depression, lightheaded/dizziness, headaches or pressure, internal tremors, waves of fatigue, waves of dry mouth, limited appetite, etc. I have night sweats and maybe some hot flashes but the Estrogel seems to control that. Sometimes the symptoms feel very physical and my mind isn't really involved and sometimes they are accompanied by ruminating, intrusive thoughts, depressive and anxious thoughts. Problem is, at some point very soon I need to start doing some Progesterone or go off of the Estrogen to protect my uterus. Fluoxetine may have been helping with perimenopause and PMDD symptoms, so that is one reason to consider it. 

 

Several other factors could be affecting me and I don't know what's what.

 

  • Hypothyroidism (has been going a bit hyper at times throughout this past year, adjusted meds)
  • Perimenopause- I am 51 and definitely in the final stage (trying HRT)
  • TMS 
  • stopped most alcohol and caffeine rather abruptly in November 2020
  • Pandemic and fires and all the weirdness that comes with it - mostly am grateful that we haven't lost much income or health- but it's still a lot of change and stress

 

Things I am doing that I think have helped: CBT, EMDR, daily walks, acupuncture, magnesium glycinate, chinese herbs, occasional melatonin or CBD for sleep

Things I am doing that I'm not sure if they help: Estrogen, fish oil, magnesium threonate, B-complex for stress, Osteoprime (contains methylfolate), Culturelle probiotics, Costo Vit D3

I've lost 30 of the 60 lbs I gained over the years while on the meds.

 

Sorry if my signature doesn't post, I thought I had figured it out but it doesn't seem to be showing up. I've read many posts on how to start here, but I have grown impatient and just wanted to get a post going. I can only sit at a computer for so long before I start getting neck pain and my concentration is limited. 

 

So, yeah, I guess what I'm looking for is some opinions or knowledge about how likely I am still in WD and if maybe it's worth sticking it out. I am waffling about going the full bioidentical hormone route and/or low dose fluoxetine, but if it's better to tough it out naturally, I could try. I would do acupuncture twice a week if I could afford it. because it really helps but only for a while.

 

Thank you,

ZP

 

 

 

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November 2019 - after being on Wellbutrin since 2008, started weaning off of Wellbutrin 150mg, probably over a month. Tapered by breaking up 75 mg tabs.

December 2019 - after being on fluoxetine since 2007, started weaning off of 10 mg, used liquid and completed taper in March 2020. Followed my own methods and probably dropped too fast because I think I diluted it and misread the dropper but was on a tiny amount for several months.
April 2021 - Integrative med doctor put me on 50 mg micronized Progesterone to help sleep. I am 51. 11/5/21 she added .125 topical Estrogen because I was doing much worse with anxiety and insomnia.
11/17/21 - Started TMS - did not do well on it. Was way too activated. Couldn't sleep or eat. Felt not like myself. Did Lunesta (eszopiclone) every night of treatment, so 4 days a week at least. Finished 36 sessions on January 30. Sleep improved for a few weeks at the end and for several weeks after stopping, then got worse. Now it is somewhat better again but I still have a lot of anxiety. Not sure if it is the TMS, perimenopause, or PAWS.

11/19/21 - stopped alcohol (save an occasional sip or two) and caffeine because of TMS. I drank about 1-3 beers most days and a cup of coffee a day.

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  Congratulations for tapering off of the fluoxetine.  It also sounds like you are doing a lot of good things to take care of yourself. I'm sorry that you are having these issues.  The symptoms you describe sound to me like classic psych med withdrawal.  

 

First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your taper in a concise list (no symptoms), only specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

It could be that you did a too fast taper, and your nervous system is still in chaos from that.  Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we taper by 10% of the current dose, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 

 

Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

Finally, going back on a small dose of your drug, which we call reinstatement, is best done very carefully.  There is some risk involved, and we need more specifics about your drug history before we can suggest a good dose at which to reinstate.  Here is some information about reinstatement.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Nervous systems that are still trying to adjust to being without psych meds tend to be activated, hence insomnia, anxiety, early morning cortisol spikes, ruminating intrusive thoughts, etc.  It sounds like your system very well could be.  Therefore, if it were me, I would avoid the TMS treatment, especially since you said you got worse after doing this.  B vitamins also tend to be activating to the nervous system.   Here is a thread that talks about that: 

 

Should I Take Multivitamins 

 

Supplements, etc.

 

Finally here is a thread where people talk about their experiences with estrogen and progesterone.

 

Estrogen and Progesterone

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and mull it over, and we will take it from there. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and take heart.  We in this forum have been through this, and we understand first hand the pain and discomfort you are going through.  Please know that the brain is amazing in it's healing abilities.  It takes time, but healing can and will happen. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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zenprincess

Thank you for replying. I hope I fixed my signature so it's okay now. I take other stuff too, Synthroid and Estrogen and supplements, but just the psych meds were so long I figured I'd leave it at that. I can add them though, like you did. 

 

For the record, I completed 36 TMS treatments, even though I was way over-activated by it. My last treatment was at the end of January 2021 . Just this past week, I believe that the over-activation is finally subsiding, and I am not as anxious as I was. Several other TMS victims - I mean 'patients'- said that they felt better 3 months after treatment ended, so I'm hoping that is part of what is happening. Combined with it being a year since stopping the antidepressants.

 

However, prior to TMS, and the reason I started TMS, I was having the "Cortisol mornings" that I have read others talk about here. It was unlike anything I had experienced before. Waking up shaking and having to use the bathroom at 5 in the morning in a full fight-or-flight mode.  Also, the waves and windows are something I really relate to. I had so many of the symptoms of psych med withdrawal that I have read about here, that I think that's what was going on in November and that TMS just was the wrong thing to add to it. Or, maybe it actually did help and I'd be a lot worse without it. I feel like I will never know. The hormonal component is also there - difficult to say what part it's playing.

 

From here, just need to figure out how to manage my more normal self. I am not feeling as depersonalized or shaky or weird as I was the last five month but still have a feeling that depression and/or anxiety are lurking shadows in my mind. The CBT and meditation help with that but I'd sure like that shadow to be gone. The main thing I have learned so far from this site is to go slow. I was going way to fast - well, actually, my doctors were- and now I have learned I can not trust doctors to know what is best for me anymore. I am struggling to find doctors that I trust now. The only one I trust is my acupuncturist, who would like if I take nothing except Chinese herbs, and I have to say, they are one thing that help me. I take Gui Pi Tang and Xiao Yao. 

 

Also, all I can say is I am so thankful that I figured out a long time ago that I needed to taper and titrate on and off of drugs. Sadly, I didn't do it as slowly as this site recommends, and still struggled as a result. It was so difficult to find validation about discontinuation and withdrawal though. I am furious with the medical industry for it's negligence in this. The horrors it is putting me and other people through is unconscionable. 
 

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Hello.  I see your drug signature on your first post, but not on your second one.  Hm.  

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

Just this past week, I believe that the over-activation is finally subsiding, and I am not as anxious as I was. Several other TMS victims - I mean 'patients'- said that they felt better 3 months after treatment ended, so I'm hoping that is part of what is happening. Combined with it being a year since stopping the antidepressants.

I'm so glad to hear this.  I think you probably did the right thing to discontinue the TMS treatments.  In my opinion time is the best healer of the nervous system, and adding anything that affects our brain can cause trouble.  

 

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

I was having the "Cortisol mornings" that I have read others talk about here. It was unlike anything I had experienced before. Waking up shaking and having to use the bathroom at 5 in the morning in a full fight-or-flight mode. 

This sounds to me like classic psych drug withdrawal.  I have the very same thing when I'm in a wave.  

 

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

I had so many of the symptoms of psych med withdrawal that I have read about here, that I think that's what was going on in November and that TMS just was the wrong thing to add to it

Bingo.  That is the conclusion I'm drawing too. 

 

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

The hormonal component is also there - difficult to say what part it's playing.

Yep.  That has been a factor for me, as well.  

 

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

I am not feeling as depersonalized or shaky or weird as I was the last five month but still have a feeling that depression and/or anxiety are lurking shadows in my mind. The CBT and meditation help with that but I'd sure like that shadow to be gone. 

I understand.  It will continue to get better slowly, with time, I believe.  

 

6 hours ago, zenprincess said:

I am furious with the medical industry for it's negligence in this. The horrors it is putting me and other people through is unconscionable. 

Many, if not most of us here, concur.  In my opinion, the health care industry in developed countries is primarily motivated by the profit motive.  There is no money in helping people get off meds, only putting them on meds.  

 

Hang in there.  We are all in this together, and we will get through it together.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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