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Liam - Long story. Misdiagnosed twice, several pointless medications, just a bunch of crap.


Liam

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Sorry if this is a little lengthy... or a lot lengthy. :P Before I start, I'd just like to say I completely understand if you have a persisting mental disorder more based on mood, such as depression, or a form of bipolar disorder, or anything else in that realm, which I'm sure almost everyone, if not everyone else here does. I recognize those are real but I also recognize I do not have one.

 

I have been a generally positive person my whole life. The only time I used to get upset was when I felt like I failed at something, when I had unrequited feelings for someone, or when I dealt with low self-esteem. (When I got upset, though, I got *very* upset.) Unfortunately, a little after the start of 10th grade I became seemingly perpetually upset, due to an attraction I had towards someone that became uncontrollable. (Part of this was due to my lack of experience in the relationship department, part of it because any, er, 'likings' I had had before that person had been very mild and insignificant, and this one felt like a smack in the face of severe attraction.) Said obsession escalated to me comparing myself negatively to everything this person said, did, or looked like - I twisted it so far that I perceived myself as a waste of a person and the other person as the most flawless individual on the planet.

 

This did eventually lead to depression, but only after that situation - I had never felt legitimately depressed before that, at all. (You never really know what it's like until it happens to you for real.) After working up the courage to ask my mom to take me to a counselor, we talked for a couple of sessions. It felt really great to let out a bunch of stuff, so I kept going back just to talk, but now - a year and a couple months later - I realize he understood me very little and despite having a friendly demeanor, was incompetent, at least in helping me feel better. Huge waste of time, to be honest, but it was my first counselor so I didn't know if that was the best it got.

 

Typical sessions consisted of me talking and trying to explain what conclusions I had come to about myself, and he would often state what he thought about it, guide my thinking into his ideas, then end the session with a written to-do list for me to take home and start following. (i.e. Eat 3 meals a day, go to the gym, sign up for yoga classes, do your homework at a specific time. It was almost always the same checklist every week, and I never followed it because who would in a state like the one I was in?) Those checklists continued for the entire time I was with him (Jan. 2012 to Feb-March 2013), but the sole counseling only lasted for a couple of appointments - then we brought up medication, after he along with my psychiatrist diagnosed me as depressed. (And later, rediagnosed me as Bipolar II, probably due to all the hell I went through and how moody I was on the antidepressants and when I had to stop taking them.)

 

So began a long slew of medications, from February 2012 to March 2013. Lexapro, Zoloft, Abilify, Abilify+Lamictal, Lamictal, Lamictal+Lithium, Lamictal+Seroquel, Lamictal+Zoloft, and then just Lamictal again. Each one made me very uncomfortable and not myself, prompting me to stop it and try another one, meanwhile by summer the kid had graduated and I had stopped thinking about the whole situation in about a month, and had no reason to be depressed at that point other than at how uncomfortable I felt on the medication, which actually made me *more* depressed. And I still don't feel like myself cuz I'm still on the Lamictal. I now realize had my counselor been more understanding, I could have easily solved my problems by identifying real-life triggers, coming to terms with things about myself, and stuff along those lines.

 

In March of this year my mom and I were equally mad about the way my counselor was treating the entire situation (she knows the problem started with a person at school but that's it) and I stopped seeing him and started seeing someone else who was recommended to us. She's probably the most understanding person I've ever met regarding my experience, and while she doesn't charge as much, she's much better at what she does in my book. Almost immediately after telling her everything she suggested ADHD, which can cause self-destructive thought patterns. I was skeptical because a year ago my old counselor had "tested" me for it, with a series of pictures and questions in a quiet room, and said I didn't qualify and that I needed to accept that it really was just my mood swings causing all my problems. She then proceeded to read common symptoms of type 2 ADHD out of a book and I was a perfect match to every single one. I was both very happy at this realization, but over the next couple weeks became increasingly angry with how my old counselor completely overlooked this and I wasted a year of my life putting my mind and body through hell as a result.

 

Although when I started with her I was extremely anti-medication, I agreed to try Focalin IR, an ADHD med, only because it takes effect almost immediately after taking it, and leaves your system the same day or the day after. And it has helped me calm down and concentrate very well. Unfortunately, I am still taking leftover Lamictal 100mg, which we have halted to taper because we wanted to take care of the ADHD first. I later explained to her just how "not myself" I have felt since I've been on it, a "not myself" different from when I was on antidepressants. (After Abilify, I was on Lamictal as an add-on to every med I tried after. These symptoms were present the whole time I've been taking Lamictal, and they're different than the symptoms of the other meds I was on while taking it, i.e. Lithium and Seroquel.) Things like..

 

- Bad listening. I get so spacey I often have to ask "Sorry, what'd you just say?"

- Confusion. One day, after having been on it for at least 4-5 months, I was packing to go to my dad's and I just got really, really confused. I had to sit down on the couch but it seemed like an impossible task. Everything was in super slow motion, my eyes kept shutting for a couple seconds and then opening up really wide. I didn't know how to do anything, or why I should, and I felt like I'd been drugged or something. When I talked to my mom, I kept repeating myself like I had a stutter, but it was because I couldn't think of what to say next so I was stalling. I've had a very mild recurring version of this ever since then, which is annoying sometimes, but I still get these awful spells at random, ranging from days to months in between each other.

- REALLY poor hygiene. Since I was little, I've always brushed my teeth twice a day, except maybe when I pass out on a Friday night. But for what seems like forever now, it's an enormous pain in the butt to even brush my teeth once a day. And I'm lucky if I shower every day, or if I actually do anything except space out when I get in.

- Boring spells. Very often, I get in moods where my mood doesn't deteriorate, but I become so so bland. Nothing funny or interesting comes out of my mouth (or even into my head) and it sucks! These don't usually last the whole day though.

- Can't find words to complete my sentences. This one has, I think, gotten slowly but surely worse since I started the Lamictal. I go to say something, or write something, and the word I know exists is gone from my head, miles away.

- Overall feeling very distant, like I'm not there, my surroundings are so far away, there's a wall between everyone else and my own head and actions.

- Loss of appreciation for the little things. I used to love the sunlight, now it's just annoying...things like that.

- Weight gain and stress eating.

 

She was happy that I was so aware of what was going on with myself, and said she would definitely try to get my psychiatrist to consider tapering the Lamictal soon. (Counselor, psychiatrist, and mom all wanted me to wait until school was over to do this. But if I should go through withdrawal in the summer, I'll be really lonely, denying plans, isolating myself more than I can if I'm going to school..right?) So that idea lasted with me for about a week, then I said I really really really needed to get off it because with the introduction of the Focalin, the parts of me that didn't feel like myself were all the more apparent, and I was beyond frustrated. She said she understood and we've started tapering.

 

 

It's only been a week, but I have definitely started feeling some symptoms, all on and off - regular depression, racing racing thoughts, nothing too bad yet. But I came here because in case things start to not look so good, I don't want to give up hope. I understand I'm going a little fast (from 100mg: 50, 25, none, 2 week intervals), but I'm not going cold turkey and I can't afford to go any slower, not at the end of my junior year of high school - I need this to all be over before I go to college, and the time that these symptoms might persist after I stop could be months. College is already a huge fresh start in my mind after all the people I've had problems with in high school, and I don't plan to go anywhere close where I can see people I know, so the need to be off medication and be myself again just enhances that idea. I've been through what I'd consider really bad withdrawal before, and at faster tapers (I did 2-day intervals of 50mg tapers once), and I never have suicidal thoughts or anything, just negative thoughts (not suicidal) and physical symptoms, so I'm pretty positive I can handle whatever this happens to throw at me (my biggest potential issue is my second-guessing and being indecisive about turning back or keeping going).

 

I have not suffered from ongoing depression for a very long period, but I still need to get off this medication all the same! I want to use this thread to keep updating if that's ok. :)

 

History (Feb. 2012-Present): Lexapro, Zoloft, Abilify, Abilify+Lamictal, Lamictal, Lamictal+Lithium, Lamictal+Seroquel, Lamictal+Zoloft, Lamictal, Lamictal+Focalin XR, Lamictal+Focalin IR (current)

 

Quitting both my remaining drugs (not cold turkey!).

 

Lamictal taper:

Summer 2012-4/19/13: 100mg (titrated as 25, 50, 100)

4/20/13: 50mg

5/4/13: 25mg

 

"Love because of imperfections, not in spite of them."

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Liam and welcome!

 

Please do use this thread to add updates, you can use it as a journal.

 

I'm sorry for all you've been through but you've come to the best place for support and advice, IMHO.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1122-tips-for-tapering-off-lamictal-lamotrigine/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/

 

You may find these links helpful.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Liam, just wanted to say hi and that I hope your taper is a painless one.

I know nothing about your meds but I do agree with you that the wrong counsellor

can do more harm than good.

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Liam.

 

Yes, you may wish to taper lamotrigine more slowly.

 

From my perspective, which is having read almost every topic on this site, I would say most people here have been misdiagnosed, mis-medicated, and over-medicated -- which is to say, gotten typical "psychiatric" treatment.

 

Just about everybody would fit the diagnosis of ADHD. ADHD drugs are vastly over-prescribed, but they "help" because, well, they're amphetamine analogs.

 

It sounds to me like lamotrigine dulled you out (a typical side effect) and THAT is why you have "ADHD." Lamotrigine is like a brake and Focalin IR an accelerator. It makes no sense to prescribe the second to counter the adverse effects of the first, but that's the current state of doctoring.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone. Thanks for the replies :) It's honestly great to find that others believe that quite often, it's perfectly okay to be going off medications like this. Because there's just so many mixed opinions on it, but almost everyone spewing the "chemical imbalance" theory, that I was beginning to lose sight of myself and now I can't wait to get things back to normal...although it may take longer than I might like it to.

 

As for my recent progress, to be frank, I haven't been dealing with this as well as it might be believed I should. First, only my counselor and I know I am tapering the Lamictal, as my mom and psychiatrist both were against me doing it at this point in time, but I firmly believed (and still believe) that it absolutely must be done, and as soon as possible. We are going to inform them about it at some point, but I'm not exactly sure when, and I have lots of trust and faith in my counselor as she has helped me come to several conclusions about myself, and I am sure we will find a way to do it as best as we can.

 

Second, as I said and have sticked to, I've been tapering the Lamictal over 2 week intervals, from 100 to 50, 50 to 25, and I plan to stop taking it 2 Saturdays from now. I thought this was quite the slow taper before I came to this site, and while I have spent lots of time considering the 10% rule, I have made my decision and I want to get off this medication as quickly as I can without it being dangerous. And I think I've found that happy medium, although some might not agree with how I view it. I am aware of all the possibilities of what could happen in terms of withdrawal, and I am willing to face it. This might not appear to be the best way of dealing with it, but from my experience, I experience symptoms just as bad no matter how quickly I taper, and at what dose. For me it just seems to be any kind of adjustment is equally as hard for my body to deal with, except of course when I stop taking the medication, which is always somewhat worse than just a lowered dose. So, this taper probably sounds a lot more reckless than it is.

 

I wouldn't recommend this to many others, and am only doing it this quickly because of certain circumstances, or else I would be following a much slower plan similar to the ones the majority of people on this site follow. For one, I have only been on this medication for about 9 months. If I was on this for a period of years, I wouldn't be considering this taper speed. Also, I am only 16 at the moment, and I want to get the medication out of my system ASAP so my still-developing brain can do its healing! I'd rather get this done and over with now than later, as it could take longer for my brain (and nervous system?) to adjust as I get older and past the adolescent stage. Also, I graduate from high school in a year, and I absolutely do not want to be dealing with any of this in college, which, while I know is not always as great as it's cracked up to be, will certainly be at least a little of a 'fresh start' given that I will be away from many of my schoolmates. (In my school, around the same kids I have been surrounded by for 11 years, I get anxious A LOT and it's very hard for me to act normally, regardless of medication or depression. I have no difficulty making new friends outside of school, and maintaining relationships with them.)

 

As for symptoms...I'm being optimistic, but trying to stay realistic and aware of the possible as well. So far I've just been moody, sometimes antisocial, but for the most part, back to being a little inconsistent, which was expected. Little things and situations seem to trigger negative thinking which can last for a couple hours, but can also be reversed by other little things that make me feel better. Yesterday my english teacher started jokingly talking about all the concepts in 1984, the dystopian book, which I have read and was honestly a little scared by. And a lot of kids in my class hadn't read it, and he was talking a lot about it, and he got into the subject of present-day government tapping, and invasion of privacy, and it was making me really uncomfortable and paranoid, and I was quite on edge and irritable from then until today, when I used my study hall to go to the band room and play around with stuff, which always helps. I got a little edgy again during U.S. history, my only class I have no friends at all in (and several unlikeable people in), but I felt a lot better when I got to hang out with my best friend from a nearby school today, who I haven't seen in a week or so cuz of her musical practice. Basically, I'm just more susceptible to triggers. I have a lot of self-control, though, and, as has been with all past medication changes or even during my original depression, I can keep my breakdowns down to crying and/or screaming, and researching online and getting opinions on stuff, and at the absolute worst, binge eating. And I am very thankful that my ways of coping are only a little unhealthy and not as bad as they could be. :)

 

Lastly, I have had some headaches, which seem bad to me, but I'm not sure how bad cuz I'm kind of a baby when it comes to headaches because I rarely get them, and I tend to make a big deal out of it whenever I do get one... :rolleyes: I'll make sure to update if anything major changes.

 

History (Feb. 2012-Present): Lexapro, Zoloft, Abilify, Abilify+Lamictal, Lamictal, Lamictal+Lithium, Lamictal+Seroquel, Lamictal+Zoloft, Lamictal, Lamictal+Focalin XR, Lamictal+Focalin IR (current)

 

Quitting both my remaining drugs (not cold turkey!).

 

Lamictal taper:

Summer 2012-4/19/13: 100mg (titrated as 25, 50, 100)

4/20/13: 50mg

5/4/13: 25mg

 

"Love because of imperfections, not in spite of them."

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  • Administrator

Anyone taking a psychiatric drug longer than a month is at risk for withdrawal syndrome.

 

Drops of 50% are too great. At least, to protect yourself, try drops of 25% per month.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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