Jump to content

sickandtired58 Used to think I was a survivor; now not so sure


sickandtired58

Recommended Posts

I am using a forum like this for the first time. I am 58 years old, and have probably been depressed all my life. My journey with antidepressants did not start until I was 38, so I thought I was a survivor. I have been on almost all the SSRI's over the years, which eventually stop working. This hadn't been such a problem until early July when I was to begin tapering off Prestiq 50 mg. I had been on this for about 3 years.

I have NEVER had such a miserable experience coming off a drug in all my years. The psychiatrist I am seeing told me it should be called "side Effexor" because it was so similar in chemical composition to Prestiq. In fact, he put me on a 25 mg dose of Effexor to wean off Prestiq. He said it would make it "less horrible".

 

I ached all over, was dizzy, joint pain, headache, diarrhea, and chills!! Doc said this was typical Prestiq withdrawal. I asked what would it be like if I were not taking the Effexor? He said "Hell".

I am trying to start my introduction on the site, and have chosen to begin here. Originally I noted a lot of people with Prestiq tapering problems. But if this is a safe place to vent my anxieties about psychiatric medications and tell a little of my story, perhaps that will keep me from feeling so alone in all this. I am quite sure I am not the only one who has been told to simply "snap out of it" by family and friends. This is probably why at my age I stay isolated, do not have any friends, and just deal with family.

I will write more later, thanks

Link to comment
  • Member

Hi SNT58 and welcome!

 

(Hope you don't mind the name abbreviation)

 

You've certainly come to the right place for support no matter what you are going through. This is a very safe forum to talk about anything, including your anxieties, and may you feel less alone and isolated the longer you are here. A moderator will surely stop in soon and answer any questions you might have on how to deal with symptoms and such. You may continue to post here in your 'intro thread' and keep it as a journal of your 'survivor's journey'.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

Link to comment

I can attest to how difficult Effexor is to come off! I did it much too fast and was then slapped with 3 different SSRI's to deal with the crippling anxiety and disorientation that ensued. Nothing helped so i started tapering slowly off the last one they gave me (which was paxil) and so 2 and a bit years later I am still working on the slow taper. You're not alone thats for sure!  I think we all know how hard this is, and when the "real" world tells us to get over it, or just try to be positive or any other number of things, it makes it even worse. Hang in there!

2 Timothy 1-7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Effexor 75mg to 262.5mg 2005-2010 for post partum depression

Started having poop out mid 2010, also switched generic brands, then crashed in Dec 2010 (anxiety/ "terror", intense DR, anhedonia, suicidal ideation, chills, insomnia, horrible intrusive thoughts, disorientation, ect)
Rapid "tapered" from 262.5mg Effexor in 3 months

Tried Celexa,Cipralex, then Paxil to deal with wd(this switching made things worse and added akathesia)

Found online support and started tapering Paxil 7 months after quitting Effexor (at this point was having small windows).

Paxil taper: dropped 10% every 4-8 weeks

Year 1 October 2011 to Nov 2012 20mg to 10mg

Year 2 March 2013 to Feb 2014 10mg to 4mg

Year 3 April 2014 to May 2015 4mg to 1.1mg

Year 4 June 2015 1.1mg , dropping by 10% until .5mg, after then dropped by 0.1mg every 5 weeks until 0.1mg.

Finished! Official last dose of 0.1mg on June 15/16

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey SNT, just wanted to let you know, we're the same age and we were started on psych meds at around the same age too (36 for me)... so hi there, you're not alone! Sux.

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

 

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

Link to comment

Well, this is the current psych evaluation for me:

I had my daughter accompany me on last week's visit, because I wanted to fast forward as much as I could the introductory phase of the doctor/patient relationship. He is only the 3rd psychiatrist I have EVER seen, as most drugs were prescribed by my GP after initially being started on them by a specialist. I realize these doctors meet all kinds and the 15 to 20 minute seessions don't do justice to how bleak and horrible my depression has become.

He did tell me prior to this visit that I had the worst case of cliical depression he had seen in 8 months, so I was pretty sure he took me seriously enough, but he had insisted I see a talk therapist (I did, didn't click) and I guess I swallowed my pride and asked my daughter to intervene. She was able to collaborate everything I had said so that he knew I wasn't either malingering or doing this for attention. (I am SO frateful for my daughter!)

I am on a week;y increase of Cymbalta. I am now on 90 mg. each morning, and after a week will increse to 120 mg. I will be on this dose until I see him again. He says it is a high dose. He also said there were many docs out there who would say I had "borderline personality disorder" because they often do when a person doesn't respond to 2 or 3 antidepressants.

I was relieved when he sais he did not think this was the case with me. I have to say that he is the first of the 3 to ever have me back on a regular basis in order to monitor my reactions to the drugs. So I am hopeful that if he hangs in there with me that I may one day have a day when I can have peace and contenetment. I don't even ask for happiness, just wish I had a day when I don't feel sad all the time. Or guilty for drawing breath, or responsible for everyone else's happiness.

Anyone out there on 120 of Cymbalta? At this point I HAVE to try it.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I can't help you--what I know about is how to help people get off meds, not how to help them take them. There are forums on the Internet (I think "crazymeds" is one, or used to be) where people on meds discuss their meds and how to take them and the like.

 

I do know that Cymbalta has a reputation for being extremely difficult to get off of.

 

I have never heard of people being diagnosed with BPD by their response to psych meds. That's a new one on me and I am extremely skeptical of it and I personally would probably walk out of the office of any psych who said that. I've done a lot of work with survivors of child abuse, many of whom are diagnosed with BPD, and it's generally diagnosed by behavioral and relationship difficulties and a traumatic history. (There is also some question as to whether it's actually a legitimate "syndrome" or just a combination of complex PTSD and attachment disorder.) 

 

I also have not seen in my experience that withdrawal symptoms always respond well to adding in a new medication, so my instinct would be to say, don't go up to the high doses fast, start with the lower dose and hold there for a while and make sure you're going to respond by feeling better rather than getting worse.

 

But I doubt this psychiatrist of yours is going to agree with anything I say!

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

 

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

Link to comment

Welcome, SNT,

 

I agree completely with everything Rhi said.

 

I just wanted to add that I'm a bit concerned that your doctor is increasing your dose so quickly to what is a higher equivalent than the dose of pristiq you were on.

 

My personal experience does not include pristiq, effextor, or cymbalta, but generally with SSRIs and SNRIs, the effects of the meds (or increases in dose) don't start fully manifesting until they've been taken for at least three weeks. I feel a bit out of my league on this and welcome other input, but I think your doctor should wait at least three weeks or more before increasing the dosage on the cymbalta.

 

Also bear in mind that withdrawal (including tolerance withdrawal that can occur while still taking a med) can cause depression - often severe depression - even in those who did not take the med for that condition and didn't have depression when going on it. That can cause depression to be an iatrogenic withdrawal symptom just as much as the physically manifesting symptoms you've had.

 

That to me is one more reason to go more slowly before considering increasing your cymbalta dose to a higher equivalent dose than what is equivalent to what you had been taking.

 

It would be helpful if you could include a brief med history and especially a bit more detail of how you did the switch (cross-tapering slowly or direct switch? - etc.) and put it into a "signature" here that will appear on each post, and can be updated when further changes are made.

I was "TryingToGetWell" (aka TTGW) on paxilprogress. I also was one of the original members here on Surviving Antidepressants

 

I had horrific and protracted withdrawal from paxil, but now am back to enjoying life with enthusiasm to the max, some residual physical symptoms continued but largely improve. The horror, severe derealization, anhedonia, akathisia, and so much more, are long over.

 

My signature is a temporary scribble from year 2013. I'll rewrite it when I can.

 

If you want to read it, click on http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/209-brandy-anyone/?p=110343

Link to comment
  • Administrator

I agree with Rhi and Brandy.

 

BPD should not be treated with any dosage of antidepressants, they don't work for BPD.

 

"Treatment resistant depression" can be iatrogenic -- caused by too many drugs at too high dosages for too long a time. 

 

120mg Cymbalta is an excessive dose. See http://www.drugs.com/pro/cymbalta.html

 

Major Depressive Disorder — Cymbalta should be administered at a total dose of 40 mg/day (given as 20 mg twice daily) to 60 mg/day (given either once daily or as 30 mg twice daily). For some patients, it may be desirable to start at 30 mg once daily for 1 week, to allow patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 60 mg once daily. While a 120 mg/day dose was shown to be effective, there is no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day confer any additional benefits. The safety of doses above 120 mg/day has not been adequately evaluated [see Clinical Studies (14.1)].

 

 

I strongly suggest you find another doctor, someone who explicitly believes in minimizing medication, because your current doctor sounds like he doesn't know what he's doing (not uncommon among psychiatrists). "Worst case in 8 months?" Smells very fishy to me, like he's trying to scare you into swallowing his advice.

 

We don't advise about drug switching for the purpose of further psychiatric medication here. We're about going off drugs safely.

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.

Link to comment

So am I right to conclude this isn't the site for me? I am so severely depressed at this pont that I can't function. I certainly hope the day will come when I too, can get "off" all medications. But because I was having such a hard time with coming off prestiq, I sought info on line when I found this site.

Being my age, I am not an online whiz, so am not sure how to repost one thread(?) or another. I wish each person represented here good sucess with getting off medications. I will try to find a site more appropriate to what I am experiencing which is very dark depression. Please note that the doctor said I did NOT have BPD, simply that some doctors would say so to people who are unresponsive to medication intervention.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

This is a site for tapering off psychiatric drugs. We are certainly very sympathetic to your issues with depression.

 

However, I have a strong feeling you have not been properly diagnosed and treated, and by this time you are probably suffering from an iatrogenic condition mislabeled "treatment-resistant depression."

 

If I were you, I'd start phoning all the elite psychiatrists in your area, probably associated with a major university, and find one who beiieves in 1) minimizing medication 2) treating "treatment-resistant depression" with non-drug means to allow your nervous system to heal from the iatrogenic damage.

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.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy