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sleepymagic: 15 medications in 11 years. Recent Klonopin withdrawal.


sleepymagic

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I apologize in advance for the long post. Like many of you, my story is very nuanced and some details are difficult to skip.

 

The past year has been a nightmare. I took my last dose of Klonopin in late November 2021, and I am feeling a mixture of shame and confusion and anger over what happened to me and who I’ve become.

 

History
Like many of you, my story starts in my primary care physician’s office. In 2010, I went to my doctor because of depression. I was 19 and was prescribed Lexapro (or Celexa – I honestly can’t remember). I was told I had depression and generalized anxiety disorder and honestly, it was a relief. It was so validating that my pain was not dismissed and comforting to know there was effective treatment.

 

In retrospect, although I took those pills everyday, my depression never lifted. After I gained 50 lbs, my doctor suggested I switch medications in 2015. I was in the middle of my master’s program and had trouble sleeping. I had a terrible reaction to Prozac; I experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks. Looking back, I’m not even sure if my doctor tapered me off of Lexapro; I think she just told me to start taking Prozac.

 

She referred me to a psychiatrist, a harsh and demeaning woman who prescribed me Wellbutrin, Xanax and Buspar. When nothing worked, she told me I must have borderline personality disorder which, according to her, is not treatable with medication. 

 

I was desperate for help. I saw a couple of practitioners at my university health center for the severe anxiety and insomnia. I had gone a few days without sleep. The health center gave me Trazodone and Effexor and assured me I didn’t have BPD (at that time, I cared about diagnoses – I cared that I would not be seen as ‘crazy’). 

 

For the next few years, I was relatively stable on 150 mg of Trazodone and 150 mg of Effexor. I finished my master’s degree while juggling multiple internships and a full-time job. I still struggled with severe anxiety, even more so than depression. 

 

Panic attacks were a once a week occurrence for a long while, and by the end of 2019, they happened nearly daily. I was working full-time and obtaining my doctorate by that point. I had some family issues that really stressed me out. Plus, I am naturally extremely sensitive – an empath, I suppose. Hearing sad stories, even if it’s just on the news, greatly affected how I was feeling. 

 

I was ambitious and was offered a well-respected job two hours south of my hometown. It would be my first time away from home. I remember a distinct moment in October 2019 when, due to stress from family issues and stress about the new job, I had a panic attack that rendered me paralyzed on the living room floor, held all night by my mom.

 

I thought, “Wow, I really need professional help.” I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist. That’s when the real hell began.

 

The nightmare of 2020
I did extensive research on a new psychiatrist. I found someone with great reviews who specialized in women’s health and said she did not believe in overprescribing. After three months on a waiting list, I had my first appointment. 

 

She actually listened to my life story, asked good questions, and I opened up my heart to her. I thought, wow, she must be such a great doctor because she didn’t try to push pills on me after one 15 minute appointment. I was so grateful.  

 

Over the course of a few appointments, she told me that she treats lots of patients like me who don’t respond to antidepressants. She said it was because people like me are actually bipolar. I told her I had never experienced mania before. She said that I could be bipolar II – and that my “hypomania” manifests as anxiety. Saturdays where I spent hours writing my dissertation, or days when I would Zoom with my friends, I found myself suddenly second guessing my behavior – was I only productive and engaging because I’m hypomanic?

 

The doctor took me off of Trazodone and Effexor and prescribed me the following in the span of a year: Lamotrigine, Zoloft, Mirtazapine, Symbyax, Seroquel and Klonopin. I was usually on three medications at a given time. 

 

While under her care, I had panic attacks daily, experienced intrusive thoughts and even had to sleep with my mother most nights. I accumulated some other diagnoses: panic disorder, OCD. 

 

I voiced concern throughout the process; I wasn’t comfortable leaving antidepressants and introducing antipsychotics and benzos, which I knew were highly addictive. She reassured me that under her expert care, I had nothing to worry about.

 

Withdrawal from hell
I read “Anatomy of an Epidemic” in the beginning of 2021 and did a lot of research online. I decided I wanted to get off medication. When I voiced this to her, she started writing in my medical records that my judgment was no longer fully in tact. She was vehemently against me coming off of medication, saying that I will not be stable, but stated she couldn’t force me to be on meds. So she withdrew me off of Klonopin, Seroquel and Lamotrigine in five weeks.

 

I experienced terrible side effects. When I voiced my concern to her, after a night of vomiting, she said that there is no such thing as psychiatric withdrawal. “Withdrawal” was a term for street drugs, not medication. She said that the vomiting is from my increased anxiety, which is what my life would be like if I wasn’t medicated.

 

So I stopped telling her what I was feeling and she discharged me a week prior to me taking my last dose. 

 

A few days after I took that last dose, my body gave up on me. I experienced horrific physical and emotional side effects. I was rendered absolutely disabled. I did not sleep for five days straight. I couldn’t attend work. I sobbed to my boss and HR when asking for time off. My brother and mother took time off of work to take care of me. I had to be transported to my aunt's home when they could no longer take time off of work. My extended family saw me as a broken shell. I begged them with everything I had not to hospitalize me.

 

To summarize, I experienced:

  • Physical convulsions (not actual seizures; I think they are psychogenic seizures)
  • Severe insomnia
  • Anxiety unlike anything I had believed possible; irrational fear
  • Panic attacks several times a day
  • Crying spells
  • Depersonalization and derealization
  • Constant intrusive thoughts
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Deep shame and questioning my core values
  • Brain fog and confusion
  • Rumination
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches 
  • Emergence of an autoimmune condition

 

Over the course of two weeks, I lost 20 lbs. I needed help bathing. My abs hurt from the constant convulsions. I couldn’t think straight.

 

I called my psychiatrist’s office, but she discharged me as a patient because I was no longer on medicine. I had an emergency session with a different psychiatrist, and my family made the decision for me, with my permission – I needed to get back on Klonopin. I needed to sleep to heal.

 

I was prescribed Klonopin, Ambien, and Amitriptyline.

 

Over the course of the next few weeks, I slowly regained my strength. I could no longer drive, I could no longer read (I have been a bookworm since I was a child, so this was very hard for me). I couldn’t listen to music. I could only watch nature documentaries and kids shows. Everything else was too intense.

 

Second withdrawal
On memorial day in 2021, about a week after finishing my doctorate, I made the decision to start tapering Klonopin again. I learned about the Ashton manual and websites like these, which helped. I talked to people who went through similar experiences.

 

I decided to go slow. I ignored my psychiatrist, who told me that, despite what I went through, my Klonopin dose was tiny and that it’s fine to take it for the rest of my life, or to stop taking it after a week of cutting the pill in half.

 

I found a new psychiatrist who genuinely believes in these poisons they prescribe, but nevertheless agreed to help me taper slowly and follow my lead. I don’t tell her much about how I’m really feeling. 

 

I experience the dehumanization that people with mental illness feel on a daily basis. When I share my story with others, people look at me like I am crazy. Doctors have told me that what I went through is not possible. Even my loved ones… I could feel at times that they were humoring me. 

 

I slowly regained my strength, and though I am not fully myself again, I am better than I was. I can drive, and I can go to work, and I can listen to music, and I can even read sometimes.

 

I took my last dose of Klonopin a couple weeks ago, and I sure do feel it. The depression is heavy, and panic attacks returned, and I still convulse sometimes. 

 

I have one more medication to go – Amitriptyline – and I hope to start tapering next year. 

 

Mourning and finding meaning
What I am struggling the most with is fully coming to terms with what I went through. 

 

I don’t mean to self pity, but it’s how I feel. I trusted a system so wholeheartedly only to be fired as a patient and left worse off.

 

I can’t help but wonder… who even am I? Sure, I’m starting to feel more like who I was before I began withdrawing, but looking back – I’ve been medicated my whole adult life. How do I know what was me and what was the medication? Who am I underneath it all? Will the depression that I felt as a teenager just remain as my normal?

 

I also don’t understand the point of what I went through. What is God or the universe trying to tell me? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge? Everytime I discuss it, I am met with humoring looks and pitying stares. Was I such a bad person that this is punishment?

 

At the end of the day, I realize I have a lot of privileges that other people don’t. I’m not ungrateful. I know that my family saved me. I know that it could have been so much worse. I could have been on the streets. I could have been hospitalized.

 

But I am so angry, so hurt, so upset for myself and the thousands who went through this and more, only to be sidelined with a story that will never be considered credible by the powers that be. 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading.
 

Current medication:
Amitriptyline 100 mg (2021-present)

Recent withdrawals:

Klonopin 2 mg (2020-2021) (Klonopin free as of Nov. 2021!)

Lamotrigine 200 mg (2020-2021); Seroquel 50 mg (2021) 

Past medications:
Ambien (briefly in 2021); Symbyax (briefly in 2020); Mirtazapine (briefly in 2020); Zoloft (briefly in 2020)
Trazodone 150 mg (2015-2020); Venlafaxine 150 mg (2015-2020)
Wellbutrin (briefly in 2015); Xanax (briefly in 2015); Buspar (briefly in 2015); Prozac (one month in 2015)
Lexapro and/or Celexa (2010-2015)

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to sleepymagic: 15 medications in 11 years. Recent Klonopin withdrawal.
  • Moderator

Dear @sleepymagic

welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. I am so sorry you have gone through all of this, the treatment you and many of us have undergone is truly inhumane. Most of us have gone through the questions that you are asking yourself and through the anger, despair, disbelief that this is possible in a society that we consider safe. For many it is their first time facing injustice, not knowing who to trust and what to believe any more. Try not to let the anger consume you. It is hard to imagine but you will make peace with all of this eventually - just your view of the world will be a little darker and tainted, you will be less trusting and feel less safe. This is the nature of trauma. A lot of our suffering actually comes from us wanting the world to be different, as safe as we remember, as 'good' as we think it should be. But in the end acceptance of the ugliness is what brings peace. Mourning of the world as we know it is the right word, as you put it. 

 

For a long time I also kept asking the question: "Why me?" in the beginning. I was so angry, it was all consuming. Until I read an essay about this and the question asked was "Why not me?" If tragedy exists in the world, why not me? It was so painful to read it. (I have been through a lot of other trauma as well and I always felt that I had had my share but I guess not). But it helped shift my perspective. 

 

In the beginning months of withdrawal I was at a graduation ceremony in the US and the chaplain quoted a verse from scripture "God doesn't give one more burdens than they can" or something like that. It helped me get through the worst of withdrawal, the belief that I could carry this. But yes, I wish I could give you meaning but I don't think there is one. You can make meaning out of it, you can change your attitudes, you can turn this into something else, help others on these forums or outside, stop people from taking these drugs, tell your story. Or you can make a meaning by living your life ever more intensely and fully once you are done healing.  

 

I am not a religious person and perhaps having faith would help in this ordeal but I have stopped looking for why this happened to us. There is no good reason why anybody should go through this. It is just a way to perpetuate an abusive power system where doctors get an ego trip out of dismissing patients' thoughts, autonomy in the name of feeling good about 'helping' and feeling powerful about being better than their poor patients. I have come to distrust doctors and the more I check the things that they say (pubmed has become my primary source for everything), the more I discover how limited and poor their diagnoses/treatments etc. are. It is angering because at the same time they are gatekeepers to accessing further (sometimes good) care. But none of this is your fault, you weren't a bad person or did anything bad to deserve this. Nobody deserves this abuse. 

 

The question of "who am I" is also a common one on these forums, especially people who have been prescribed ADs young. I got mine when I was 22. Will I get back to my true nature pre-ADs? This assumes that there is one person with permanent characteristics who is unchanged during our whole life - who you were before is who you were supposed to be. I don't believe that. I have seen myself change over the years with or without the ADs. I have seen people around me change over the years. Yes, I do believe that ADs can make us more risk taking or have different attitudes about things (for me withdrawal has changed a lot of things), but I also believe that once you are completely off of your medicines and give yourself some time, you have your whole life to discover who you are and to explore who you become and how you change, grow, evolve. What is this life journey about otherwise. So you may not be the same person you were when you were a teenager but who is? (And thank God for that!)  And yes, you may have been a different person without the ADs for better or worse but it doesn't matter - it is what it is now. In a way, isn't it exhilarating to discover who you are now? 

 

Will you be the depressed person you were as a teenager? That again assumes that depression or anxiety defines you. But where is the proof for that? The theory of chemical imbalance has been debunked by now. Nobody has been able to find any biological determinants of depression that they can replicate in any way. Depression is usually the body's reaction to trauma or external issues, it can sometimes be due to low vitamin levels or thyroid etc. or other hormonal changes. If left 'untreated' the vast majority of depressive episodes will go away on their own. If they are due to some psychological issues you can get therapy (I like IFS and EMDR also CBT). One thing that doesn't work is throwing chemicals at a highly complex system. 

 

It is natural that you are asking yourself all of these questions and it is good that you are mourning and trying to find or create meaning from this. It takes a lot of time to process the enormity of what has happened to us - the destabilization of life, the loss of years, the suffering and abuse of medical professionals. Just through it remember to not let it consume you and traumatize you again. And remember that none of this, absolutely none of this is your fault or deserved or a punishment. 

 

A warm welcome again to our supportive community and through sharing your study and reading those of others you will find at least a little bit of peace. 

 

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 (don't remember dates), 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/day, then 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

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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Hi @Onmyway,

 

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response. The “why not me?” question is valid, though sad – and I suppose I shouldn’t think I’m above experiencing trauma. We often assume that people who make the “right” decisions don’t end up in a bad place, but life is not so black and white. 

 

There is a similar quote to the one you mentioned in the Quran; it says: “God does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear.” People would remind me of that and I’m not sure if it helps. This withdrawal has shaken my faith completely. During the worst of the withdrawal, I was praying every moment of every day. Now, I don’t even know if I believe in God anymore, and if I do, I don’t like him very much. And that just makes me feel ashamed.

 

I am glad I am not the only one asking about who I am. My mom tells me the same thing you said – that people change regardless of whether they’re on medication or not. That no matter what, I wouldn’t be the same person I was. But I suppose I look at these past years and what I accomplished and wonder if I can even take credit for it. Like did I get my doctorate because I was medicated? Would I have been a mess otherwise? I don’t really feel like the medication helped me, and I don’t want to be back on it, but maybe I’m wrong and I wouldn’t have been functional at that time without it. Or did I accomplish what I did despite being medicated? Could I have done more?

 

I also doubt sometimes that what I went through was withdrawal. Even though I’ve met people who went through similar things, and there is research that shows how bad benzo withdrawal can be, the mainstream medical community insists that what I went through is mental illness, not withdrawal. And I start to doubt myself sometimes. I feel a lot of shame for essentially losing my mind. Most days I still feel on the cusp of losing it again. If it happened to me once, it can happen again, right? I just need the right trigger and I’ll be convulsing on my living room floor again…

 

I guess those are pointless questions that only cause more pain. 

 

Thank you for reminding me about the chemical imbalance lie. That gives me hope. I appreciate the warm welcome and hope you’re doing well. 
 

Current medication:
Amitriptyline 100 mg (2021-present)

Recent withdrawals:

Klonopin 2 mg (2020-2021) (Klonopin free as of Nov. 2021!)

Lamotrigine 200 mg (2020-2021); Seroquel 50 mg (2021) 

Past medications:
Ambien (briefly in 2021); Symbyax (briefly in 2020); Mirtazapine (briefly in 2020); Zoloft (briefly in 2020)
Trazodone 150 mg (2015-2020); Venlafaxine 150 mg (2015-2020)
Wellbutrin (briefly in 2015); Xanax (briefly in 2015); Buspar (briefly in 2015); Prozac (one month in 2015)
Lexapro and/or Celexa (2010-2015)

 

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  • Moderator
On 12/7/2021 at 8:51 PM, sleepymagic said:

Hi @Onmyway,

 

Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response. The “why not me?” question is valid, though sad – and I suppose I shouldn’t think I’m above experiencing trauma. We often assume that people who make the “right” decisions don’t end up in a bad place, but life is not so black and white. 

Hi Sleepymagic, 

 

my first reaction to that was similar to yours - 'why would I think I am so special'  but the point of the article was different - it was that nothing about you caused this thing to happen - you didn't do anything wrong to deserve bad things, they just happen. I struggle with the same thing - if when you make the right decisions you still can end up in the wrong place then why bother. I guess if you are mathematically inclined, that would be the error term in the equation - even the best prediction model has an error term and randomness. So we do the  best we can with limited information and end up where we end up and then find enough strength to deal with the consequences of that. 

 

On 12/7/2021 at 8:51 PM, sleepymagic said:

 

There is a similar quote to the one you mentioned in the Quran; it says: “God does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear.” People would remind me of that and I’m not sure if it helps. This withdrawal has shaken my faith completely. During the worst of the withdrawal, I was praying every moment of every day. Now, I don’t even know if I believe in God anymore, and if I do, I don’t like him very much. And that just makes me feel ashamed.

 

There was one day in withdrawal where I thought I was in what could only be described as hell but other than that I an agnostic. You don't have to decide whether you believe in God or not during withdrawal and you have the right to change your mind either way. I have a very devout, delightful Christian friend who says he's often angry at God but he doesn't think God minds because God's stronger than all that. Even if you are angry at God you are in a relationship with him/her/it! And isn't that the ultimate goal of most religions. 

 

On 12/7/2021 at 8:51 PM, sleepymagic said:

I am glad I am not the only one asking about who I am. My mom tells me the same thing you said – that people change regardless of whether they’re on medication or not. That no matter what, I wouldn’t be the same person I was. But I suppose I look at these past years and what I accomplished and wonder if I can even take credit for it. Like did I get my doctorate because I was medicated? Would I have been a mess otherwise? I don’t really feel like the medication helped me, and I don’t want to be back on it, but maybe I’m wrong and I wouldn’t have been functional at that time without it. Or did I accomplish what I did despite being medicated? Could I have done more?

The thing is, we will never know the answers to any of these questions. There is evidence that ADs are no better than placebo on average. You can read up some of the work on this through this page - there are links to his articles. Irving Kirsch - Wikipedia

 

On 12/7/2021 at 8:51 PM, sleepymagic said:

I also doubt sometimes that what I went through was withdrawal. Even though I’ve met people who went through similar things, and there is research that shows how bad benzo withdrawal can be, the mainstream medical community insists that what I went through is mental illness, not withdrawal. And I start to doubt myself sometimes. I feel a lot of shame for essentially losing my mind. Most days I still feel on the cusp of losing it again. If it happened to me once, it can happen again, right? I just need the right trigger and I’ll be convulsing on my living room floor again…

 

Well, the mainstream medical community at some time in history did lobotomies on people and ECT (still) without any proof of efficacy so I think a little distrust is warranted. The idea of mental illness itself is interesting as well - what does it mean, how do we define it. When different doctors apply the same criteria to the same patient to diagnose or not with depression they end up with different conclusions. The PHQ-9 depression checklist was created with funding from Pfizer (I think) when they were trying to 'screen' patients for mental illness so they could prescribe their newest antidepressant. PHQ-9 - Wikipedia

 

I remind myself of this quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair It is true for psychiatrists who have indulged in a lot of patient blaming over the years anyway. A psychiatrist's job description relies on prescribing drugs. They are not trained in therapy and they think they are above therapists anyway because they went to medical school so they're smarter/more rigorous etc. That is why they resist research that shows that ADs are no better than placebo or that they have withdrawal effects. It sounds like a conspiracy yet it is actually true - that's what makes it so confusing. But there is research creeping into the mainstream that is breaking that fortress of lies. Let me know if you'd like me to link some of these - Mark Horowitz and David Taylor wrote in the Lancet about withdrawal effects and that is what brought me to SAs. 

 

On 12/7/2021 at 8:51 PM, sleepymagic said:

 

I guess those are pointless questions that only cause more pain. 

 

Thank you for reminding me about the chemical imbalance lie. That gives me hope. I appreciate the warm welcome and hope you’re doing well. 
 

 

Please trust yourself and this community - none of us knew about withdrawal before we got on this journey. We have no stake in pretending  - we are actually suffering, our lives have been upended. Maybe this link will help explain what is happening to you. It is not 'all in your head' - it is actually in your brain. 

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

 

Take care of yourself, 

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 (don't remember dates), 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/day, then 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

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/11/2021 at 5:36 PM, Onmyway said:

Well, the mainstream medical community at some time in history did lobotomies on people and ECT (still) without any proof of efficacy so I think a little distrust is warranted. The idea of mental illness itself is interesting as well - what does it mean, how do we define it. When different doctors apply the same criteria to the same patient to diagnose or not with depression they end up with different conclusions. The PHQ-9 depression checklist was created with funding from Pfizer (I think) when they were trying to 'screen' patients for mental illness so they could prescribe their newest antidepressant. PHQ-9 - Wikipedia

 

I remind myself of this quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair It is true for psychiatrists who have indulged in a lot of patient blaming over the years anyway. A psychiatrist's job description relies on prescribing drugs. They are not trained in therapy and they think they are above therapists anyway because they went to medical school so they're smarter/more rigorous etc. That is why they resist research that shows that ADs are no better than placebo or that they have withdrawal effects. It sounds like a conspiracy yet it is actually true - that's what makes it so confusing. But there is research creeping into the mainstream that is breaking that fortress of lies. Let me know if you'd like me to link some of these - Mark Horowitz and David Taylor wrote in the Lancet about withdrawal effects and that is what brought me to SAs. 

 

@Onmyway,

 

Thank you for your reply. That quote is so accurate! I feel like a fool for trusting my psychiatrists for so long, but I suppose most of us are here because we believed in the system until we got burned. I listened to a podcast with Mark Horowitz, but if you have any other resources, I'd love to check them out. 

Current medication:
Amitriptyline 100 mg (2021-present)

Recent withdrawals:

Klonopin 2 mg (2020-2021) (Klonopin free as of Nov. 2021!)

Lamotrigine 200 mg (2020-2021); Seroquel 50 mg (2021) 

Past medications:
Ambien (briefly in 2021); Symbyax (briefly in 2020); Mirtazapine (briefly in 2020); Zoloft (briefly in 2020)
Trazodone 150 mg (2015-2020); Venlafaxine 150 mg (2015-2020)
Wellbutrin (briefly in 2015); Xanax (briefly in 2015); Buspar (briefly in 2015); Prozac (one month in 2015)
Lexapro and/or Celexa (2010-2015)

 

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An update on how I'm feeling:

 

I am recovering. I am listening to music and singing with my cousins. I laughed a lot the other day when I saw a funny video. I am not so hypersensitive that I can't watch a movie anymore. I can read books again. My sex drive is returning and I don't feel so much shame in that regard anymore.

 

But I am so angry! I lost at least a year, more like two years, of my life thanks to horrific withdrawal. I lost nearly 12 years on psychiatric medication. What was the purpose? What am I supposed to learn from it? The withdrawal I went through was so profound -- I literally lost my mind -- I thought it must mean something. I thought the feelings of deep shame and intense fear meant I needed to change my life in some way. But now, I am finding moments of joy in the same things I used to find joy in. Am I not supposed to? Am I supposed to be a different person? It feels stupid to just go on like nothing happened, to just go back to old hobbies and habits like I didn't lose my mind. 

 

I'm also so embarrassed and frustrated because I can't communicate what I went through to people who haven't been through it. The words just can't do it justice, and when I try, I can sense that people don't want to hear or just don't understand. And that hurts because it is top of mind for me. It is a recent trauma and I can't seem to process it. 

Current medication:
Amitriptyline 100 mg (2021-present)

Recent withdrawals:

Klonopin 2 mg (2020-2021) (Klonopin free as of Nov. 2021!)

Lamotrigine 200 mg (2020-2021); Seroquel 50 mg (2021) 

Past medications:
Ambien (briefly in 2021); Symbyax (briefly in 2020); Mirtazapine (briefly in 2020); Zoloft (briefly in 2020)
Trazodone 150 mg (2015-2020); Venlafaxine 150 mg (2015-2020)
Wellbutrin (briefly in 2015); Xanax (briefly in 2015); Buspar (briefly in 2015); Prozac (one month in 2015)
Lexapro and/or Celexa (2010-2015)

 

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  • 1 month later...

I think I'm having a "relapse." I don't know what else to call it. It's been two months since I took my last dose of Klonopin, and I've been mostly ok, with the exception of a couple of panic attacks and a few nights of insomnia. I did have a really bad panic attack last week while giving a presentation at work.

 

Since it's been two months since I finished Klonopin, I decided to move forward with my plan to start withdrawing Amitriptyline. I reduced my dose from 100 mg to 85 mg last Thursday. I had a couple of nights of less sleep than normal, but was mostly ok. Then, suddenly, on Sunday, it was like I was transported to spring 2021, when I was going through the worst of the withdrawal. 

 

I felt utterly disabled, crying and convulsing and deathly afraid of myself. It was constant panic and depersonalization and intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. I had a panic attack while I was driving that nearly caused an accident. I almost called 911, but I don't want to be put on more medication.

 

I live alone, two hours away from family. I called my family and my brother and his wife came to stay with me the past couple of days.

 

I feel foggy and confused, extremely depressed, and I'm afraid that I will not be ok. My brother and his wife will be leaving today and my mom will come tomorrow to spend a couple of days with me. But that can only happen for so long -- they have work, and so do I. 

 

Is this from Amitriptyline withdrawal? My brother thinks so. I am not so sure. I had panic attacks before this recent dose reduction. I am starting to wonder if this is just me. Why did I think I would be ok? I am obviously not.

Current medication:
Amitriptyline 100 mg (2021-present)

Recent withdrawals:

Klonopin 2 mg (2020-2021) (Klonopin free as of Nov. 2021!)

Lamotrigine 200 mg (2020-2021); Seroquel 50 mg (2021) 

Past medications:
Ambien (briefly in 2021); Symbyax (briefly in 2020); Mirtazapine (briefly in 2020); Zoloft (briefly in 2020)
Trazodone 150 mg (2015-2020); Venlafaxine 150 mg (2015-2020)
Wellbutrin (briefly in 2015); Xanax (briefly in 2015); Buspar (briefly in 2015); Prozac (one month in 2015)
Lexapro and/or Celexa (2010-2015)

 

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On 12/21/2021 at 12:53 PM, sleepymagic said:

I'm also so embarrassed and frustrated because I can't communicate what I went through to people who haven't been through it. The words just can't do it justice, and when I try, I can sense that people don't want to hear or just don't understand. And that hurts because it is top of mind for me. It is a recent trauma and I can't seem to process it. 

I feel like this when trying to communicate with any western medical doctor. I swear when I start to talk about what I went through their eyes glaze over and they put me in the “she cray” box. Immediately written off.  I know that sometimes this is me projecting but other times I see it fully. 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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Hey @sleepymagic,

 

I'd say yes, that it is Amitriptyline withdrawal - WD effects are not always instant, and can take a few days after dose reduction/cessation before you get hit. When I stopped Sertraline, I had a week and a half 'bliss period', where my anxiety was greater than usual, and I felt a bit 'wired', before my entire system crashed (this was an adverse reaction after taking it for a short time) as in a lot of cases it takes a little while for your brain to respond to the dose reduction, or have any effect from it. How do you feel now, better? I'm not exactly qualified to be giving information in this realm, but the mods usually recommend to wait out symptoms if they're manageable, and if not, to reinstate your last dose.

 

Just take it minute by minute, I'd recommend herbal tea (non-caffeine variants) as a good grounding technique, if you're worried, or unable to relax from symptoms. Being sat with a mug of that most mornings helped me to think, and to bring me away from the increased fear.

 

Reading through your story about your university work, and juggling work onto of it has been a little inspiring I must say, to someone barely coping being at university; so thank you. Just know that if you can get through that whilst going through what you've gone through, you can get through this.

 

Take care,

 

Icip.

Early September 2019 - One 25mg dose of Sertraline taken.

 

Early October 2019 - Five 25mg doses (pills) of Sertraline taken for five consecutive days.

 

Withdrawal/reaction happened on the 27th of October (2019) in the evening.

 

Symptoms that have gone: Joint and muscle pain/weakness in my legs, phantom senses, chemical dread, chemical fear, DP/DR has gotten a lot lot better than what it is now, it was one of my worst and all-encompassing symptoms when it started, awful aphasia, parkinsonism, head pressure, pressure in my frontal lobe when trying to think/work out something, inability to plan or execute anything//feelings of being literally scatterbrained, inability to think in my head other than slight acknowledgements - the voice in my head sounded weak and 'small' like it was restrained to a much smaller area of my brain, constant fatigue, emotional numbness, constant eyestrain, and changes in perception of colour/contrast in sight.

 

Main remaining symptoms: Visual Snow/HPPD, derealisation, tinnitus, and brain/cog fog.

 

Drug free.

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