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Relieving Panic About My Health


alexjuice
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This may sound bizarre and unlikely to help others. Still, I will share something I stumbled upon which settles me down when I feel doomed, that I will never be okay, that this will never end.

 

I read a lot of health forums. On health forums and bulletin board type sites, inevitably people post in severe distress. Fearing for health is one of the mot potent forms of distress, I'd wager.

 

I find these posts, the ALL CAPS, fear-run-riot posts very soothing. As I read them I find myself feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Other people freaking out about their health, just generally, actually calms me down.

 

I think a couple of reasons for this is that 1, I tend to be conflict avoidant. When people around me start to get hostile, scared or irrational I respond by becoming very serene, rational and focused in on my calm. Usually, I am on some health site because I am starting to panic. The hyper arousal of others, snaps me back to a place where I can recognize my own unhealthy over arousal.

 

Reason 2, I've been dealing with the noise of fear for a long time. In w/d ups and downs for two years. My experience has been roller coaster. There have been easy stretches, then there have been horrific crashes. I am pretty experienced at being frightened by now. When I read the panic of others, often these others are panicked because they have just learned of a diagnosis. Naturally, they react with irrational fury. It doesn't matter the diagnosis even. I read posts from people who have cellulite or cold sores or cancer... And they've learned there is no easy fix and have not yet come to accept it.

 

When I see others in this first stage, it reminds me of my own first stage. When my withdrawal was so bad I didnt interact with anyone but a few people, up for days on end, in pain, and really scared because I hadn't yet found good information online, hadn't found any online community, and I went to doctors who had no clue what was wrong with me. Was I crazy?

 

To see others in Stage 1 gives me no perverse pleasure. It's not that I enjoy that they're panicked.

 

It simply calms me down and helps me refocus my perspective. I get to realize how far I've come in developing my coping skills. I feel gratitude that I am no longer in stage 1, ruled by a total darkness about the causes and frightened and hopeless.

 

I have a lot to be unhappy about. I rarely feel grateful. Only through others can I see my situation in context and feel grateful that, however bad things be, at the least, I am not stuck in the dark terrors of stage 1.

 

Inadvertently, I've found that observing scared people helps put my fear in perspective. If this sounds weird, well, it might be. I've noticed it helps center me.

 

I read through all sorts of ailments on earthclinic.com for instance or simply google a health topic and browse the boards.

 

Whatever works to keep me going.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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Inadvertently, I've found that observing scared people helps put my fear in perspective. If this sounds weird, well, it might be. I've noticed it helps center me.

 

I think most of us experience this. When I read posts, my first reaction is compassion. I want to soothe or allay that person's fears and when someone is so down, for some reason I may be up. I can look back and remember how it all feels. You know, the fear.

 

There is a validation aspect for me too. I know I am not alone.

 

Alex I have never experienced to this extent the feeling of being 'the only one' from getting off drugs. Divorce didn't cause this type of alone feeling. It's why companionship from these site is sooo important.

 

Hugs

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Interesting, Alex!

 

I think I may have experienced some of this. Especially on the benzo boards, where there's a lot of panicking. Unfortunately, for me it's mixed with a tendency to reinforce my own "fight or flight" reaction, which does more harm than good.

 

I do find it reassuring, though, to read posts from people who've experienced the same kinds of losses that I have and are feeling the same anger and frustration and grief about those that I am.

 

So maybe it's just where the focus is...

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I agree with all said, Alex. I also relate to the triggering of panic (anger for me, also) and fight or flight response, although i freeze (adrenal failure/Addisons).

 

Im not as afraid of losing my life as I am of keeping my life but losing my mind. I feel like I've been on a slippery slope at times throughout withdrawal and losing touch scares the h*** outa me. The grasp has been tenuous at times - a delirium of sorts. I never experienced anything like it before or during drugs. I'm sure pharma could spin that to me *needing* drug.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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i don't have that kind of response - anxiety for me is a fairly new thing - withdrawal seems to have awakened a sleeping giant!

I do feel empathy because i can relate to how the person feels, but i also think - is that going to happen to me!!!! I take on board someone else's experience as if it is gospel and if i have something in common, then my experience will surely be the same :blink:

 

it keeps me from reading too much when i am anxious

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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I guess it's a mixed bag. Barb I woke up this morning thinking exactly what you expressed. Living life with-----whatever it is that consumes us. In your case it is the adrenal failure. In my case it's anxiety.

 

Peggy, for myself I had anxiety big time before meds. The WD process and whatever effect the ssri's have on the nervous system does "wake up a sleeping giant."

 

Hugs

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Peggy, for myself I had anxiety big time before meds. The WD process and whatever effect the ssri's have on the nervous system does "wake up a sleeping giant."

 

Well said Nikki.. sometimes anxiety which existed before withdrawal gets lost because withdrawal has such an amplification effect, but we risk bypassing our strengths when the lose site of the chronology.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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