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Habu's journey so far..


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Hi all,

It’s been a very long journey for me; best place to start is at the beginning. I started a job the required shift work in the mid 1990’s, after a 10-8 day I was usually too jazzed up to go to bed so I would go to bed at 12am or 1am, this went on for a few years but the amount of time needed for sleep continued to decrease now I was going to bed at 4am and getting up at 5am for work. This cycle went on for 4 years, I just thought I was Superman and could stay up all night and would go several days without sleep. In 1999 I was having difficulty at work with my peers and subordinates saying things that were obnoxious, showing no respect, breaking balls on them, I was bored in my work and being a general pain the rear. My director of operations intervened and said I needed some kind of help, I asked what kind of help he said to go see a psychiatrist. So I did I was 27 then, the doctor was older and we talked for 30-45 minutes by the time we were done I was in business, he said it was ADHD and prescribed me 10mg of Ritalin 3x a day. Wow just like that a diagnosis. For a while my behavior improved, job performance was off the charts, since my restaurant was near Washington DC we had a string of endless beautiful women who came in. Now armed with my newfound confidence I soon made friends with one of the ladies. Out of the blue she calls me and asks me out, that was April 2000 by June we were engaged while ringing up a huge amount of debt. All the while the psychiatrist was still prescribing the Ritalin; soon I became a little paranoid of my fiancée that led to a huge breakup on August 30th 2000. I should have gone to my parents’ house instead I went to some friends house where they took me out for a drink which I never did drink. The next morning I was on my way to be hospitalized of my own accord. During the night I could not come down from the high I was riding, sometime that early morning it crashed down over my head.


I stayed in the hospital for about 8 hours; they did not give me anything to bring me down. My parents finally got there and I had two choice 1 go to their house while promising not to hurt myself, or I could be admitted to the hospital for further observation. Since I was being the foolish tough guy I said take me home. I went back to the psychiatrist office; saw a different one who stopped the Ritalin and started me on some anti-depressant which to this day I do not remember. All events in my life had a haze to them at the time and it is hard to remember what exactly happened. I was on and off anti-depressants for 4 years until I had enough one day with the weight gain, confronting the doctor I said this was unacceptable I am eating all the time, his response was “Who does not like to eat.” I realized then I was dealing with nothing but a pill pusher. That was it I stopped taking anti-depressants cold turkey in the spring of 2004. I refused to go see any doctor about what was going on in my head, by then I was convinced they were all idiots just pushing whatever pill they felt like. I was still working in the world of restaurants I had my ups and downs mood wise, I was back to my old self breaking balls and being a general menace. I finally managed to get myself fired in the spring of 2006 after a string of crazy behavior that occurred personally and professionally. I would not do my weekly inventories of my departments, drinking at work, postponing my wedding with my fiancée a month out and running up a modest debt yet again with nothing tangible to show for it.


I took the summer off and went back to school just taking a few online classes while half assed looking for a job. My fiancée had one request/demand at the time no more restaurants I was retired from that lifestyle. I did get a job working for a local insurance agency where I am still employed after nearly 6 ½ years. Working 9-5 had some benefits I was on a schedule and after several months managed to get myself on a nice sleep schedule, that improved things after a few weeks I felt real good. The next year we got married and I was still paying off what I owed to the credit card companies. Work was going well, home life was good I was back to exercising again, still in school doing the right things.


Under it all there were vicious mood swings that I was dealing with I have always for the most part internalized them keeping them bottled up. One word could set me off so I often preferred to be left alone to keep from saying or doing something I would regret. In 2010 we decided to take an extended vacation and we went to London. It was a great vacation, I’ve been to London several times before but leaving the UK this time sent me in a horrible depression just about as bad as the one from 2000-2004. Finally my wife said you need to see someone about this. So after a while I did the right thing before our son was born, I went to see a psychiatrist and we talked about things, mainly the way I was always feeling. So we agreed to do some testing which I felt would finally shine a light on all of this mess. A few weeks before our son was born I got the result which was Bipolar 1 with a dash of General Anxiety thrown in on the side. After a few days of processing this, Bipolar made perfect sense to me, the crazy thoughts, and the ability to stay up for days at a time, the bizarre behavior, the waves of highs and lows and spending sprees. I also then realized the Ritalin was the catalyst for what happened in 1999-2000, I probably was going into a manic phase then and with a little help it pushed me over the edge into a full blown manic episode.


A few days after my son was born on 10/19/11, I was started on 300mg of Lithium and .25 mg of Xanax, the first few weeks were rough dealing with a first child and starting the meds. I also entered therapy at this time. By 3/12 we changed the Lithium to 600mg 1x a day and the Xanax was upped to .50mg 2x a day. The Xanax made me stupid real fast I was taking a finite math class and I could not function at all in the class. She tried to give me Adderall to counter the Xanax. So I told the doctor no more Xanax and I weaned myself off of it. By August of 2012 I was in another major manic state. My wife is a sound sleeper a little too sound, she never hears our child cry, so it is upon my shoulders which to get him and tend to his needs. From February until August I was averaging 3-4 hours’ sleep at night, jazzed up cannot go back to sleep once he was down. So I would watch TV on the Ipad for half the night. It got to the point where I told my wife did she want me to go to the hospital because she was pushing me to an episode. My doctor prescribed my Abilify 2.5 mg 1x a day. The first 2 months on it was tough I had a headache the entire time, which in October 2012 I went back in to complain of the side effect she suggested I go to 5mg which took care of the headaches.


Between the Lithium and the Abilify I have felt better especially with my mania, the depression sneaks in once in a while and it is tough to fight it off. Last time I was depressed was when both my wife and son had the flu I was the last person standing and never got the flu. So it seems to creep up on me when I am at my lowest point. My therapist and doctor both have changed my Anxiety diagnosis and say the GAD was a mistake, probably just nerves and general stress with my son on the way when I took the testing. After reading the drug company’s data on the issues with Abilify I have decided I would like to taper off it. I have recently noticed a tremor in my dominant hand that does not stop and is slowly getting worse. I talked to my doctor and she looked at me like I was crazy when I told her I want to taper off the Abilify. I am going to give her a chance to redeem herself, if she does not I will see my PCP and ask him if he will write me a script for liquid Abilify. We live in Northern Virginia in one of the more affluent counties, we are not rich by any means but a lot of the psychiatrists do not take insurance at all. Turns out with all the government, tech industry and defense related jobs, if you were a high level staffer, or executive would you really use your health care for psychiatric care. These jokers charge $500 for the initial evaluation and $150 per 45 minute session. My wife and I are deciding on the best way to proceed as we are the process of moving and I do not want to start a taper while dealing with a move, new job, and breaking in a new doctor.

History: ADHD diagnosis, just a brief 45 minute session with the doctor.

Ritalin 10mg 3X daily (Janaury 1999-September 2000)

Major Depressive Episode August 2000

Various Antidepressants (September 2000-May 2004)weaned myself off of antidepressants

September 2011 Bipolar 1 and General Anxiety Disorder actually had testing done this time. There was no ADHD.

Lithium 300mg 1X daily for Bipolar 1 (October 2011-March2012)

Xanax .25 2X daily for the GAD (October 2011-March 2012)

Lithium 600mg 1x daily (March 2012 -present)

Xanax .50 2x daily (March 2012-May 2012) weaned myself off of it

Abilify 5mg 1x daily (October 2012-present)

January 2013 had the GAD diagnosis dropped by my doctor.

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Welcome Habu,


I don't have any advice, just wanted to welcome you. I have bipolar too, just not quite as interesting :). I am sorry that you and your young family have to deal with this! Best, Meimeiquest

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Habu! I'm glad you've joined us. I'm sorry for all you've been through. You are wise to know that you need to taper off the Abilify. Any doctor can prescribe it for you so I'm hoping your PCP will cooperate with you.


I don't know how much research you've done but we recommend a10%,or less, decrement and hold there for at least a month to see how it goes. If no problems, well done, and proceed at whatever pace your nervous system allows. The ideal plan would be to have no withdrawals from tapering slowly.


Here are tips on tapering Abilify:




Would you add your history, like so:




You've come to a good place for lots of warm, friendly support. The site is filled with helpful information to help those wishing to come off meds.


Be sure to browse the Symptoms and Self-care sub-forum.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum, Habu. You'll find lots of sound information here and gentle, friendly support.


You may want to wait until your life settles down before tapering off Abilify, although the hand tremors are a concern. That's called Tardive Dyskinesia and it's an indication of nerve damage which may or may not be reversible. You aren't the first person I've heard of who was given a strong stimulant like Ritalin and later on, got diagnosed as bipolar. It's my opinion that the drugs cause all of it. True bipolar is extremely rare.


I'm glad you found us.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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