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AmyDenver: Here We Go Again, One Last Time


AmyDenver

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Hello. My pseudonym is Amy, and I'm a 34yo college English instructor from the southeast US. This is my med history in a nutshell.

 

I was given zoloft at 10 to cover up being sexually abused at home and later various drugs for bp1 and psychosis at 14 including ambien and lorezapam as needed. Discontinued all meds but the benzos changed to klonopin at 18 which was kicked up to 1x day because it wasn't addictive supposedly. Resume various meds at 23 after abusive bf was arrested for CP and leave grad school. Discontinue benzos and various meds at 25 after a suicide attempt, become homeless, return to grad school and resume benzos and various meds at 28, discontinue benzos at 29. Two multi-week psychiatric hospitalizations in the same year while job hunting and establishing my career, continuing to come off benzos and living with parents for a year but improved significantly in the past 3 years. 

 

Current meds: lamotrigine 200mg, lithium carbonate 300mg, prazosin 4mg, quetiapine fumarate 50mg 

 

I also take full-spectrum CBD oil for inflammation 

 

My script for quetiapine fumarate is for 300mg but I've tapered that down to 50mg over 2.5 years. I know I have a steeper taper than 10% outlined below, but I've gotten off the others before without pronounced withdrawl symptoms if I do it over at least a couple months in the past. Seroquel is the one I'm afraid of and have drawn out for a much greater amount of time. I'll have a month off from teaching soon and the first month of the semester before things get crazy and would prefer to tough it through the first sleepless nights when I can sleep in snatches whenever like a cat.

 

 

11/05/21 taper start, 4 three week decreases by 25% (except seroquel)

 

As of 11/05/21 lamotrigine 150mg, lithium carbonate 225mg, prazosin 3mg, quetiapine fumarate 25mg 

 

quetiapine fumarate will go to 10mg before going to 0. If it's too intolerable, I'll do a 5mg round.

 

 

I'm not doing this with a doctor. I have enough refills to do this taper. My prescribing agency is hostile and was never willing to discuss med changes, only moving the dose schedule around. 

 

I want to get back into therapy. I'm an incest survivor and just went no contact with my father and very low contact with my mother. However, I'm having a lot of trouble. I have insurance, so limited to who is covered. It seems like no one is taking new clients with COVID putting everyone in therapy. Then I would need someone who would be supportive of me getting off meds. On top of that, I'm a detransitioner. I identified as a transman as a kid and non-binary as an adult but returned to my birth sex twice. I just won't tolerate being encouraged to believe that my body is wrong and that changing it with hormones and surgery is only option I have left to manage my gender dysphoria. I don't need that kind of reinforcement. At the same time, I don't want a therapist who will tell me my heart is wrong for being bisexual. I'm reading trauma books, journaling and getting more comfortable with my body through exercise, but right now finding a therapist feels tougher than finding a spouse.

 

I also underwent low-dose ketamine infusion therapy in September, and it helped me find the perspective, confidence and courage to take this step. I always thrived better off meds. However, when a person is brought low by trauma, they call her relapsed and get her hooked again. I refuse their narrative. As a teen, I was a youth advocate for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. I clung to my diagnosis as a way to have my misery legitimized. I always doubted the biomedical model and read the community mental health advocates of the 1970s before it got pushed aside by pharmaceutical funding. The reckoning is here for the immoral overmedicating of children 

 

Thanks for being here.

 

 

 

1997 - Zoloft at 10

2001 - various drugs for bp1 and psychosis at 14 including ambien and lorezapam.

2005 - Discontinued all but the benzos changed to klonopin at 18.

2010 - Resume various meds at 23

2013 - Discontinue benzos and various meds at 26, become homeless,

2016 - resume benzos and various meds at 29

2017 - discontinue benzos at 30

Current meds: lamotrigine 200mg, lithium carbonate 300mg, prazosin 4mg, quetiapine fumarate 50mg 

November 5 2021 taper - lamotrigine 150mg, lithium carbonate 225mg, prazosin 3mg, quetiapine fumarate 25mg (taper already in progress down from 300mg 2 years ago)

Full spectrum CBD oil for inflammation.

"All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change." Octavia E. Butler

 

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  • Moderator

Dear Amy, 

welcome to SA. I am glad you found your way to us and I am so sorry you have had such a difficult life with so many people betraying you so young. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. I admire your will and determination to fight through all of this and to carve a place in the world away from those who harmed you. On top of all this, you have been abused by psychiatry by being medicated over and over. 

 

I am hoping that we can provide the support you need to help you thrive. 

It is great that you are looking for therapy. A good trauma therapist can help you heal and support you while you are coming off of the drugs. BUT, I would caution you about the schedule that you are proposing for coming off of the drugs. Withdrawal can be debilitating even in the calmest times but in your case I would be even more cautious because of the multiple drug changes that you have been through. You may not have had withdrawal before or you may have had it but considered it to be relapse. Did you get any new diagnoses after coming off of your meds? Sometimes people have withdrawal symptoms that can be delayed by a couple of months and that then get diagnosed as bipolar or something else. Sometimes starting new drugs is activating and lots of new people become "bipolar" on psychiatric drugs. I don't know your story in detail but my suspicion is that coming off of your drugs has, in the past, caused nervous system destabilization and then this has landed you in hospitals or on different cocktails that have made things worse. It is a common story on this board. You might want to check the book Anatomy of an Epidemic and the Mad in America website. 

 

I do agree with you that the biomedical model of treating distress and trauma is not very helpful and you may feel better off of the drugs. However, in order to be successful coming off of them and not go into withdrawal that then gets diagnosed as relapse or worse, I'd advise to do it cautiously and slowly. We want to get you to stability and thriving. 

 

In that vein I'd advise a  no more than 10% decrease of one drug at a time (usually the most activating one) every 4 weeks. 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage? - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

 

This is about what is happening in your brain while you are coming off of drugs (this is about benzodiazepines but would apply similarly to other drugs as well). 

What is happening in your brain? - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

In the meantime, have you considered online therapy - maybe someone who is not local but can still be reimbursed by your insurance company? Have you considered incest or trauma survivor groups? Even if there aren't any in your area maybe some exist online? 

 

Please have a read through the links that I have posted and update us on how you are doing. I am very glad you found your way to us and I hope that we can help you come off of these drugs safely and support you on your journey of healing. 

 

Hugs, 
OMW

Edited by Onmyway

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to AmyDenver: Here We Go Again, One Last Time

@Onmyway

 

Thank you for the response. Both of my last two hospitalizations I was on medication when I went in. No less than 2 years have passed after going off meds and then a traumatic event leading to hospitalization where I wasn't on meds at intake. I've been on this med cocktail for 4.5 years now. I suppose I can't know how I'll react now. I did stay on benzos the times I got off lithium and lamotrigine so maybe that cushioned the withdrawal. I just really want to know who I am under this poison. I badly don't want to be attached to this system anymore. There's no one in my area when I tried searching for doctors that say they give help tapering. Are there online doctors who will do it? I don't want to have to lie to some GP to get enough medicine to get off it. I also don't want to mess myself up. This feels very isolating. 

 

 

1997 - Zoloft at 10

2001 - various drugs for bp1 and psychosis at 14 including ambien and lorezapam.

2005 - Discontinued all but the benzos changed to klonopin at 18.

2010 - Resume various meds at 23

2013 - Discontinue benzos and various meds at 26, become homeless,

2016 - resume benzos and various meds at 29

2017 - discontinue benzos at 30

Current meds: lamotrigine 200mg, lithium carbonate 300mg, prazosin 4mg, quetiapine fumarate 50mg 

November 5 2021 taper - lamotrigine 150mg, lithium carbonate 225mg, prazosin 3mg, quetiapine fumarate 25mg (taper already in progress down from 300mg 2 years ago)

Full spectrum CBD oil for inflammation.

"All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change." Octavia E. Butler

 

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@Onmyway i looked at the form again, there isn't anyone in my state, but I see that a couple doctors will do skype sessions, so I'll seek that out. 

After having such negative responses from doctors over the years to decreasing or going off meds, I'm pretty freaked out about trying to have the conversation multiple times trying to find someone ongoing. I think it might be easier for me handle online, so I'm going to try to look for an MD that's open to helping me. I'm going to use the ideas in the how to talk to doctors thread.

1997 - Zoloft at 10

2001 - various drugs for bp1 and psychosis at 14 including ambien and lorezapam.

2005 - Discontinued all but the benzos changed to klonopin at 18.

2010 - Resume various meds at 23

2013 - Discontinue benzos and various meds at 26, become homeless,

2016 - resume benzos and various meds at 29

2017 - discontinue benzos at 30

Current meds: lamotrigine 200mg, lithium carbonate 300mg, prazosin 4mg, quetiapine fumarate 50mg 

November 5 2021 taper - lamotrigine 150mg, lithium carbonate 225mg, prazosin 3mg, quetiapine fumarate 25mg (taper already in progress down from 300mg 2 years ago)

Full spectrum CBD oil for inflammation.

"All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you. The only lasting truth is change." Octavia E. Butler

 

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On 11/13/2021 at 6:06 PM, AmyDenver said:

@Onmyway

 

Thank you for the response. Both of my last two hospitalizations I was on medication when I went in. No less than 2 years have passed after going off meds and then a traumatic event leading to hospitalization where I wasn't on meds at intake. I've been on this med cocktail for 4.5 years now. I suppose I can't know how I'll react now. I did stay on benzos the times I got off lithium and lamotrigine so maybe that cushioned the withdrawal. I just really want to know who I am under this poison. I badly don't want to be attached to this system anymore. There's no one in my area when I tried searching for doctors that say they give help tapering. Are there online doctors who will do it? I don't want to have to lie to some GP to get enough medicine to get off it. I also don't want to mess myself up. This feels very isolating. 

 

 

Hi @AmyDenver

I am so sorry I didn't get notified about your message and got delayed in my response. I completely understand your reasoning to go off of the meds. Unfortunately, there isn't much help available to do it under the correct supervision. 

 

I personally have told my GP what I am doing, given him a bunch of literature and he is prescribing me the medicine but I am making my own decisions about how much to taper. My cocktail and history of medication, however, is less complicated so I understand your trepidation. Others don't even tell their physicians. But that leaves us with lack of support network. 

 

I don't know what to advise. You should definitely look into online consultations if they are available. If you have a physician who understands coming off of these medications then you wouldn't need to worry about telling them that you want to come off of them. 

 

We can certainly provide support but are support is generally limited to information and advice. We are not doctors and we are on a computer far away so can't help if a crisis emerges. 

 

Our goal, however, is to help you taper in such a way that no crises will happen and the only way to do that is to come off of the meds very very slowly. We want to set you up for success so that you don't need emergency help and hospitalization. One solution could be, for example, to have a remote physician who is knowledgeable about tapering and can help with the meds part of the equation, an on-the-ground face to face trauma therapist and us, peer support and information. You would, in a way, set up a whole village to support and cheer you through what will certainly be a difficult journey. 

 

Does that sound like a good idea? Have you had a look at the links that I provided earlier? 

OMW

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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