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Heart's story


Heart

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Heart’s story

Hi - I’ve been reading entries on this site for about 3 years and have finally decided to introduce myself.

I’ve feel I’ve been going through protracted withdrawal for the past 2 ½ years. 

I was put on Effexor in 2004 to treat depression. A therapist I respected told me that without medication, depression causes the brain to shrink. That’s why I went back on. I had tried antidepressants once before. In the mid 1990’s I’d had hopes that there was a magic pill to help lift my mood. I saw a psychiatrist and was put on Paxil.  I remember that, within 8 hours of swallowing the very 1st pill, I got this odd, sort of strung out feeling.  I talked to the doctor about it and she said to stick it out. Over a few weeks, the unpleasantness faded like she said, and then after a couple of months I felt no effects from the Paxil at all – except for constipation. So, she tweaked the medication a bit but, for each tweak, I just adjusted back to normal. In the end, I asked myself why I was taking constipation medication, and I got off of it – cold turkey. I got the odd feelings and maybe a little light flu feeling for maybe a month and then I was back to normal. So that was around 1996.

I started Effexor in 2004 and it hit me in the same way as the Paxil, but worse. This psychiatrist also told me to stick it out, then upped the dose after I’d normalized. When I normalized again, she added a different medication. This cycle repeated many times and by 2009, I was on 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote and 27mg Concerta ER. She was about to add another medication, the name of which I can’t even remember, when I’d had enough. I got a referral and found a new psychiatrist to get me off of all of the psych meds. Starting in 2009, he took me down systematically over a 2 year timeframe. The last pill was the Effexor. In April 2011, after bringing the Effexor down to 25 mg, he switched it to 20 mg of Fluoxetine (Prozac) because, he said, getting off of Effexor could be particularly nasty. My last pill was 20mg of Fluoxetine (Prozac) in July 2011.

Except for my first month of minor stomach rockiness and another month feeling a little crabby, I felt pretty normal, but then around Nov 2011 (2 more months later) I experienced something very odd. I got no buzz from a glass of wine. I felt cold sober. A month or so later I got no zing from hot peppers (I love hot peppers, Tabasco – all of that). In Jan (I think) I remember a particular pepper I ate – I guessed that it was a Jalapeno and I chewed and swallowed the whole thing. It must have been a Habanero (which is way too hot for me) because when it hit my stomach, my stomach knew what it was and I almost threw up on the spot. I didn’t enjoy the heat, I didn’t reject to the heat – I couldn’t recognize the heat. That’s not me – how did I not know how hot it was? These weren’t the warning symptoms I was looking out for. I didn’t go back to see the psychiatrist and, of course, I now feel it’s pretty obvious that I should have gone. But also, looking back, I made a cluster of bad decisions right around that same time.

A couple of months after that it really hit (starting Jan/ Feb? about 6 or 7 months in): insomnia, pacing at night, didn’t feel I dreamed for a year, punishing despair every morning.  My lower eyelid started jumping periodically throughout the day. Still, I could shake it off and function pretty normally after a few hours. The night pacing subsided after about a week and completely disappeared within a month. Then (around month 12) I developed an audio distortion to high pitched sounds (such as the rattle of keys) and sensitivity to loud noises (both symptoms I still have). I also experienced intense tingling in my cheekbones, lips, arms and legs. If I got upset, this tingling intensified to the point where it could become so distracting that I almost couldn’t keep my train of thought. (This has just about gone away completely). By month 12 I also lost the ability to shake it off and feel fairly normal throughout the day. More weird changes happened. I couldn’t think as well or remember as well, as I had before. I felt so worn out in an indescribable way. 5 out of 6 times I could never remember where I had parked the car.  My moods fluctuated.  Etc. etc.

I’m now at month 36. I feel I’ve turned the corner. I can again find my car (I am so happy).  I do dream at night. Maybe I get a ¼ buzz from a very rare glass of wine. My Tabasco enjoyment has come back completely. My mornings have soften to serious pessimism rather that punishing despair, and it lifts on its own after about an hour. My thinking is improving.

But I’ve lost my gut reactions. Just with writing this – is writing this completely self-absorbed? Too long? Just fine? I have such a hard time making decisions now. I could write it again, but I still wouldn’t know. I went grocery shopping today using a list which sort of had things I probably needed, but maybe not. In the store I found other things I needed, but were they just impulse buys? The mayonnaise was more expensive than I wanted to spend – or maybe I should have? I had no clue if I’d bought what I wanted when I was driving home, but when I unpacked, as it turns out, I liked my choices. This is me, where I am right now. It’s also late, but I’m going to post it anyway.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi heart

 

Welcome. I'm glad you have stepped forward and introduced yourself. Your intro post is fine, you have a significant story to tell and you needed those words to do so. It's some journey you have been on, like many others here. I understand your questioning of yourself but I think we need to have compassion for ourselves and what we have been through and patience to see all the rough patches smooth out. I take my hat off to you for navigating a way through this.

 

Is there any support we can offer in terms of advice or info?

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Thanks Dalsaan. It helps just to have a place to explain what's been happening. It's hard to write, which is why I want to do it. My opinion fluctuates. If I I were to write a letter in the morning, it would most likely have a different view from one that I'd write in the afternoon. That's why I want to write, where others can read it. For everything I get back, I feel I have to choose and practice it. All of the posts here are so compassionate and supportive. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

 

Heart

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Hi heart, wanted to say hi and welcome

Spring of 1998 place on birth control pills for irregular bleeding, high testosterone and one ovarian cyst, stayed on until April 2004, told to take hormone holiday, conceived first son 4 months later-VERY BIG SUPRISE, was told wouldn't be able to have childern or would need reproductive doctor to help. Got pregnant again 2006 with second son easily, then was on/off birthcontrol again until October 2011, concieved 3rd son in October 2011(tried many times to get pregant again when 2nd child was close to 2yrs, hormone problems started again after 2nd child, along with thyroid enlargement.

 

Spring of 2001 celexa 10 mgs-rx'd by pcp for complaints of chronic fatigue, irritability and weight gain, stayed on until June 2005, switched to Lexapro 20mgs for PPD, stayed on Lexapro 6-7 months, couldn't afford to see psyh dr. and Lexapro, saw PCP switched back to 20mgs celexa in 2007, remained on until November 2011, was c/t off due to 3rd pregnancy, baby had umbilical cord defect, seemed ok during pregnancy, except for crying jags here and there. Our miracle baby was born July 20th 2012, healthy except with reflux. One month later the anxiety,restlessness,horrible crying, insomnia and the deepest depression ever. That started the psyh drug nightmare-benzo's,antidepressants, sleeping pills, mood stablizers. Nothing help made me worse, doctors just kept changing the meds frequently. 4 mental health hospitalizations, rapid detox off benzos Jan 2013, horrible withdrawal and still suffering withdrawal symptoms NO ONE BELIEVES ME, I feel like ive been on one consistant drug withdrawal for the past 2 years

January 2014 slow titrate up of lexapro to 20 mgs-horrible side effects!!, was just rapidly taper by current pysh off to pursade me to try an MAOI-no way!!! Was told should consider ECT

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi and welcome!

 

Wow, you've really been through the wringer. It's awful, I know. But you are steadily improving, which is a very good sign. From what you are saying it sounds like your nervous system is healing. I know it's slow, but given the other stories I have heard, this kind of improvement generally just keeps getting very gradually better (although there can be ups and downs) and I think you can be optimistic about the future.

 

Please feel free to write whenever you want, it's okay, you can contradict yourself. We're here to support you. Glad to hear from you.

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

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

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

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Hi Skylarblue75 - thanks for saying hi. I read some of your posts - you've been really been going through it. This stuff is such a nightmare.

Hi Rhi - thank you. I can't tell you how much it means for you to say it's OK to contradict myself - and to hear that people do continue to improve.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Heart,

Welcome from me too, another protracted withdrawal recoverer.   I have exactly the same problem when grocery shopping and when trying to make any decisions actually. I also seem to have a personality change from morning to evening.  If you have done some reading here, you will know its related to daily cortisol fluctuations.

 

I'm glad you decided to share your story, feel free to post whenever you like, the support and validation here is a much needed part of the recovery process.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hi Petu - thanks. I had read some threads about the cortisol but for me, the dips were happening, I think, related to when I slept.

 

When I was in the thick of it, half of the night and the mornings were unbearable - I meditated on giving and accepting compassion for my situation from myself and to myself with every breath in and every breath out for hours on end. At the time my concentration was stellar - I did not allow my mind to drift - I knew that I couldn't afford to.  Its how I got through it, until it started to loosen its grip.  I was also lucky in that listening to music would somehow lift my mood, like flipping a switch. But I didn't want to loose that relief, having the despair spill over into the music, so I kept up my meditation. And I could do it - I could place my mind to the side of those awful feelings. But now that things have improved so much, I'm much sloppier meditating and I start grousing a little bit and my mind wanders off, as usual. Many mornings I will wake up and be meditating - it's very gentle and kind of fun, although it's becoming less frequent now. ...

 

Anyway, I wandered a bit - what I also wanted to say is that that horrible wake up feeling didn't just happen at night, if I were able to get to sleep with a nap in the afternoon, it would still happen right as I woke up. Does that mean that my cortisol levels were fluctuating depending on my sleep?

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Anyway, I wandered a bit - what I also wanted to say is that that horrible wake up feeling didn't just happen at night, if I were able to get to sleep with a nap in the afternoon, it would still happen right as I woke up. Does that mean that my cortisol levels were fluctuating depending on my sleep?

 

This is very interesting and a good question.  The same happens to me if I fall asleep in the afternoon, I usually wake suddenly with feelings of panic and disorientation.  But for me, if its the afternoon, the horrible feeling usually only lasts a minute or two.  When I wake in the morning, it often takes hours before I'm feeling better, so I still think its related to cortisol, but  I agree that for some of us, the sleep/wake transition might also be effected.

 

Scattered throughout this site are a lot of posts which mention unusual sleep related issues.  But most of these symptoms improve over time.  Like you I've spent many hours being able to do nothing but focus on my breathing and calming mantras in order to get through.  But these days I'm finding myself needing to do it for minutes rather than hours, often in the early hours of the morning and like you I wake up meditating, its become like an automatic survival technique  :) 

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Wow - you understand completely!  Yes, in the afternoon it would last a much shorter period of time. 

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum, Heart.

 

I'm at the very end of withdrawal and it's been almost three years for me since I started tapering off Lexapro way too fast. I'm mostly back to what was normal for me, but those low feelings upon awakening still happen from time to time as do some periods of anhedonia. Effexor is one nasty drug to recover from, so don't be discouraged that you're still struggling.  From what I've read here, withdrawal from Effexor goes on longer and harder than most antidepressants.  (And I would love to strangle the therapist who told you depression makes your brain shrink! There is absolutely NO evidence of that, although a depressed person may not be as mentally alert as when they're feeling well.)

 

I'm glad you decided to post.  You'll find lots of friendly support here.

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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Hi Jemima - thanks for posting.

 

I know, I know - I bought that line that my brain would shrink and now it sounds along the same lines as "if you do it, you'll go blind". To be fair, I think that she was only talking about the Hippocampus - nah, I don't feel like being fair. Oh well - what can I say? Mistakes were made. I love your Hanlon's Razor signature by the way.

 

I'm in window mode right now - it feels good.

 

It just amazes me how so many people routinely say "it's been 2 years", "it's been 3 years" It's just stunning to me, because I know that to get there it is one day at a time.

 

I'm so glad I posted - I feel so warmly welcomed.

And I'm going to sign off now, before I start thanking the academy.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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So, I want to apologize for my “academy” comment – what was I thinking?

I am currently going through periods of being really irresponsible and thoughtless – I know that you don’t know me, but this is not my normal. I can finally relax a bit and I’m acting like a jerk. I’m also eating crazy amounts of chocolate and ½ gallon of ice cream (… maybe ¾ gallon) a week. Its nuts - I never before understood people who could sit down and eat a dozen doughnuts because they're upset - and here I am. Luckily, I don’t particularly tend to put on weight and I don’t have diabetes or anything like that – but I know that I have to reign all this in.

Sorry again.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Don't apologize for your academy comment, it made me laugh! and I can use all the grins I can get. If you don't have a sense of humor, you're not going to survive this kind of crap, so you'll find you're not the only one cracking jokes from time to time.

 

It probably would be a good idea, if you can, to find your way out of this sugar binge. I find sugar super addictive--if I have it one day I crave it the next--and I know how easy it can be to get stuck. But a lot of us find that keeping the sugar down (and caffeine and alcohol and other refined carbs) is the best way to go in withdrawal.

 

Turns out, the gut has a nervous system of its own which is affected just as much by these drugs as our brains are, and the gut's nervous system has a strong influence over how we feel and how we think, not just over how we digest. (If you get interested in that, google "enteric nervous system" and "second brain.")

 

It's something I wrestle with a lot, we had a cake at work yesterday for a coworker who's retiring and this morning my stomach is reminding me that even two (!) pieces of cake make it unhappy. Hopefully I can do better today.

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

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

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

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Hey, Heart,

 

I thought your "academy" comment was funny, too. Reminded me a bit of my "old self," whom I miss (she's comin' back, though!). And, don't beat yourself up here (or anywhere). You've been through the mill! Gentle self-care is the order of the day.

 

I've packed the pounds (about 40!) on with Remeron. I initially went through an anorexic phase so the pdoc thought it would be a "good idea" to use the Remeron to get weight back on me. Plus, my gut receptors would NOT tolerate standard SSRIs. Remeron made me crave simple carbs by the truckload. I knew I was in trouble the day I considered (but didn't actually follow through) downing a few sugar packets I found in my desk because that was all I had in the way of a "snack." Sugar is a serious addiction for me now, and I know it worsens my anxiety. So, here I am, in WD, overweight, unable to tolerate strenuous exercise without exacerabating symptoms, and now recently diagnosed as pre-pre-diabetic. I'm making a concerted effort to cut way back on the sugar and other carbs. Anyway, thanks for letting me share my "cautionary tale." I never thought it would happen to me.

 

Just the same, it's great you started posting and feel you can relax a bit. Just leave some ice cream for the rest of us. :P

 

P.S. I think one of my first posts after being welcomed to SA saw me declaring my love for everyone here. The people here illicit that kind of response.

04/2013 diagnoses: severe insomnia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia. PTSD (my diagnosis)

Original scripts: 30 mg mirtazapine (Remeron) (1x day), 75 mg Bupropion HCL (Wellbutrin) (2x day), and 0.5 lorazepam (1x day or as needed)

05/05/14: Onset of acute Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms after haphazard "taper" of 6-8 wks.

05/10/14: Joined this site.

05/11/14: Reinstated approx. 25 mg Wellbutrin (1x day)

05/14/14: Switched to 12.5 mg Wellbutrin (2x day)

06/28/14: Changed lorazepam dosing to .25 mg 2x a day - seems to be reducing anxiety flare-ups

07/28/14: Dosing Wellbutrin in a (home made) solution form 12.5 mg (2x day) 08/15/14: Remeron 28 25.2 22.7 20.5 18.5 16.7 15.1 13.6 mg (home made) solution

05/16/15: Have been dosing lorazepam at .5 mg in the morning, .25 mg in the afternoon, and .25 mg at bedtime. Anxiety has increased somewhat, possibly due to tolerance.

 

 

 

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Thanks Rhi

 

That's a relief. Yep - my moods swing just a bit. Just nudge me towards center if I start wandering - I'd appreciate it. (I'm glad you found it funny   ^_^

 

The sugar thing - it's true - I'm going to have get some control over that. Once I stopped getting that happiness from chocolate (yeah, that happen soon after I lost my hot peppers) I could just eat chocolate bars the same as if I were eating bread - munch, munch, much. It was bad and I just had to tell myself to stop. But now I'm getting a bit of enjoyment back. I think that that's another reason way I've let it get so out of control. I will definitely be googling enteric nervous system. Thanks for the tip.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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MLRP 

 

I just want to say: I love everyone here  :lol:

 

Thanks for telling me your cautionary tale - what a catch 22.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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So, I want to describe how crazy the tingling became in my face, legs, arms – in case this has also happened to others.

 

The tingling definitely began after I was already going through the worst of the cortisol mornings (punishing despair). It started with the feeling that my body was vibrating, as if I’d just spent the day driving cross country and then laid down in bed. Then, over time, that feeling intensified and became more specific. I felt invisible armbands, about 3 or 4 inches wide, on each arm, and a second set of bands on my upper legs, starting about 2 inches above my knees – these bands had very distinctive edges and really felt like invisible bands. My face also lit up. I’d feel distinctive tingling patches directly over my cheekbones, like 2 buzzing poker chips. Both my lips would buzz crazily depending on my emotions. The bizarre thing was that sometimes my upper lip would tingle, sometimes the lower lip would tingle, and sometimes both. As I tried to figure it out, I came to believe that my upper lip would buzz when I was actively upset – anger, and the lower when I felt passively upset – shame, hopeless.  I never felt that I could completely test my theory, but during periods when I’d get enraged over something (usually overblown emotions), I would have to try to not be completely distracted by the light show. My upper lip would tingle intensely – then, at some point, my lower lip would join in. If I were to break down crying, usually my upper lip would just barely be tingling but my lower lip would be going to town. The poker chips on my cheeks were pretty much constant, but if I felt upset, they would increase as well – vibrating to the point where I kept thinking of those really bad pictures of Santa Claus with the round button, rosy cheeks, or Rudolf’s nose from that Christmas cartoon. Also, at those really emotional times, a pencil line could appear, running from one poker chip down and up to the 2nd poker chip – like some crazy mustache.  

 

Luckily, it has all softened a lot. I’m pretty sure the crazy mustache is gone, and nothing has distinct edges any more. The tingling around the area of the arm bands is completely gone, I think. And all of the tingling went away completely for just a few days when I was on a very relaxing vacation which also included an enforced vegan diet. So I do know that it can disappear. But now, as I sit here, I feel my cheekbones lightly tingling and also my upper legs. It’s not particularly disturbing. I don’t usually go out of my way to think about it, and it’s only when I’m sitting or lying quietly that I really notice.

 

So, does this sound familiar to anyone?

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Heart, the tingling sounds familiar to me, I've experienced it too. Not all the time

but intermittently. It doesn't happen as much these days but was quite......not sure of the

right word! Not painful or very distressing but strange, very odd with no apparent cause

at the time.  It's all part of the weird effects of drugs and withdrawal. I had lots of very

strange symptoms during my time on effexor and would tell my doctor all of them, thinking

that something awful was happening.  One of them said that my symptoms are from my

'underlying condition' then hopped it before I could ask him what he meant. Late I discovered

He meant my 'mental illness' , or depression. I've learned now not to mention any of the

withdrawal stuff because they just blame everything on a return of depression! 

 

Learning to live with it is essential to recovery and it sounds like you have learned that also,

like most of us here!  It is brilliant to know that we all understand each other and whatever we feel

someone else feels the same. Whatever symptoms we have, someone else has had them and can

tell how they dealt with them. It really is a very special place here  :wub:

**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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Heart - thank you for stopping by "my place." It's so touching that you took the time from your own troubles to share a little encouragement. I'm glad you like my energy. I always believe the stuff I write as I'm writing it. Later, on my own, the bad stuff can creep in and make me feel like a "liar." But that's, as they say in the program, stinkin' thinkin'! (Kinda hate the twee sound of that phrase, but nevermind...)

 

What a bizarre set of tingling sx! From a clinical standpoint, the Mr. Spock in me would say "fascinating," but so troubling that it's happening to a real person. I feel for you!

 

I don't have anything like that (some tingling for other reasons, won't bore you here), but yesterday my husband told me that when I was trying to sleep and being troubled by "restless legs," he was actually able to time the leg spasms at about 26 seconds apart until I fell asleep. That's pretty darn specific. We all have bodily regulatory systems that are trying desperately to self-regulate while dealing with these drugs and/or w/d, hence, I suppose, these weird sx.

 

I totally agree with every word mammaP wrote. I know better than to discuss sx with my doctors or even at length with my therapists. And SA is a very special place.

04/2013 diagnoses: severe insomnia, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia. PTSD (my diagnosis)

Original scripts: 30 mg mirtazapine (Remeron) (1x day), 75 mg Bupropion HCL (Wellbutrin) (2x day), and 0.5 lorazepam (1x day or as needed)

05/05/14: Onset of acute Wellbutrin withdrawal symptoms after haphazard "taper" of 6-8 wks.

05/10/14: Joined this site.

05/11/14: Reinstated approx. 25 mg Wellbutrin (1x day)

05/14/14: Switched to 12.5 mg Wellbutrin (2x day)

06/28/14: Changed lorazepam dosing to .25 mg 2x a day - seems to be reducing anxiety flare-ups

07/28/14: Dosing Wellbutrin in a (home made) solution form 12.5 mg (2x day) 08/15/14: Remeron 28 25.2 22.7 20.5 18.5 16.7 15.1 13.6 mg (home made) solution

05/16/15: Have been dosing lorazepam at .5 mg in the morning, .25 mg in the afternoon, and .25 mg at bedtime. Anxiety has increased somewhat, possibly due to tolerance.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Heart.

 

You'll find those sensations in the lists of withdrawal symptoms under "paresthesia."

 

Are you taking any other drugs right now? Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and post the results in this topic.

 

Since it seems your symptoms may be food-related, you may wish to go on an anti-inflammatory diet or exclude high-histamine foods, which can be excitatory, for a while. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/ for topics about this.

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/
 

Do you feel you can recommend the psychiatrist who helped you taper? It sounds like he might be able to help others get off drugs. If you can recommend him, please add his contact information to http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v or send me a personal message and I'll add it.

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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MammaP - it's always a relief to hear someone else say they're experienced something similar. And thanks, as well, for telling me about your doctor experience. I was on the fence as to whether to go in - but since  I saw no upside and only downside I didn't go back. What could he do? prescribe more meds? I couldn't do that (every instinct in me told me not to touch the stuff - and I couldn't find any instance of people going through this and being believed when I searched the internet)  Then there's the risk of being labeled as refusing advice ... Right now, according to my chart, I'm considered a "successful withdrawal" - I might just keep it that way.  I liked the psychiatrist as a person, I felt he was trustworthy but I completely distrusted the science behind him. 

It is brilliant to be understood here - thank you (I love the word brilliant, by the way - a beloved aunt of mine uses it all the time) :)  :wub:

And I feel the same way - if you can learn the tools it takes to get through the withdrawal - its a bonus - they work for "depression" too. Maybe we can end up getting something out of this mess?

 

mlp - you make me laugh - Dr. Spock. That is one thing - when you have bizarre symptoms you get this  - what the heck? this would be really cool if it were somebody else  :D And then I started feeling things backward - "oh no, my lower lip is starting to tingle - I've got 1 minute to leave before I dissolve into puddles of tears - oh no, that just makes it tingle more - I need the privacy of a bathroom - right now. What, what are they saying right now? I messed half of that".  :lol:

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Altostrata - I really appreciate your advice and the links.  I haven't really been taking anything, I'm not on any meds, and only dabbled with a few magnesium tabs. But, after I look those links up - I'll seriously start adding magnesium and fish oil. This site was a lifeline for me during the worst of it - thank you so much.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Administrator

Please let us know how you're doing. I'm sure you'll be posting a success story some day.

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...

Heart, I also have the exact same symptoms as you. April next year will be my three year anniversary of med free - thank god!. A couple of weeks ago the tingling and burning on my face became unbearable. I started getting days of this approxiamately 6-9 months out but they would only last hours. A couple of weeks ago the sensations became insane! So I decided to go on a juice cleanse and wipe everything from my diet apart from fruit and veg (I also stopped taking Nexium - its an antacid type medication as I thought this was making things much worse for me). Since stopping the nexium and changing my diet things have got much better, however I last night I had a salad and decided to put a bit of tuna over it and my face flared up again. Its really strange...I have been reading into histamine intolerance and am wondering if that may be the cause? I have found that for me any supplements trigger either anxiety or these weird sensations. I took a vitamin b12 spray to ensure my b12 levels wouldnt drop and I got the tingling/numbness back. If I take fish oil I start getting the creepy crawly arm band feelings like you on my arm. Last year I took anti biotics and had a major reaction, I got the arm band feeling around my arms, my face was tingling and numb and it spread to the rest of my body. What is this?! Its so hard to find others out there with similar symptoms - Im glad I have found you!! Ive had an MRI to rule out MS and blood tests have showed normal levels of everything else. I get so anxious about these sensations and my dear husband just tells me to ride it out and tells me that healing takes time. I can defiently recommend a vegan diet, however I do worry about vitamin b12 levels, so I'll just have to fiddle around with what I get reactions from. Tuna is definelty a no no. But perhaps eggs and salmon? Hmm will give it a go and see what happens. One good thing is that doing the juice cleanse has stopped my relfux and I have been able to discontinue Nexium. Yay - officialy med free now.

2006 - 2011 20mg Lexapro ( Diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder/Postnatal depression after childbirth. Symptoms only emerged after having Implanon hormonal implant put in).

2011 - CT off Lexapro (Did not know about withdrawal and developed crippling anxiety/panic attacks plus a host of other symptoms)

Oct 2011 - March 2012 - Diagnosed with panic disorder and was reinstated back onto 20mg Lexapro and .5mg Xanax. Took Xanax several times over a 2 week period and stopped.

Feb 2012 - April 2012 - Weekly drops of Lexapro and CT.

Protacted Withdrawal ever since. 0-18 months "severe" psychological hell. Currently at 26months and have left sided paresthesia. Numbness/tightness/burning left side of face. Pins and needles left shoulder blade. Hot patches/electric zaps on lower legs, Eye twitch. Nerve pain in back and crawling feeling on left forearm.

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Hi Miss Mellie 

 

I’m glad that you wrote - we do sound similar. You seem to associate the tingling more with diet and I associated mine strongly with stress. Does it change for you if you get stressed? With my timeline, the tingling was most dramatic somewhere around months 16 to 19, but then a few months after that, it slowly begin to soften over a period of a few more months (I could only really see that looking back). It sounds as if you’re somewhere around month 28 and the last few weeks have been particularly bad. Sorry to hear about the burning – that sounds particularly nasty. And I hear you about how insane all of this can feel – it’s not at all subtle. It was the intensity and the bizarreness which scared me into thinking that it wouldn’t go away, especially with knowing that nerves are slow to repair. But, if you follow a similar path to me, I think that it will just fade. I haven’t been as diligent about healthy habits as most people are on this site and it sounds as if you’re very careful about your diet – so kudos to you. I haven’t adjusted my diet much at all, except for adding omega 3 and magnesium tablets in the morning and I’ve had no remarkable changes so far, good or bad. I’ve also recently had some serious stressors added into my life which, thankfully, haven’t brought back any of the dramatic stuff. Right now I have slight upper leg tingling and a sort of tension / mild tingling “mask” at cheekbone range – going straight across - It’s a fraction of what I had before and, although it’s a bit odd. I’m not bothered by it. 

 

What a relief that your MRI ruled out MS and that the blood tests came back normal. But that’s weird about the tuna. Juice on! And congratulations on being med free! What a maze. 

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Wow Heart I am so glad to hear that you are doing better with these crazy sensations. I also found that stress really exacberates them, as well as things like caffeine. It must all just affect the nerves. I really hope that they fade. I remember early on in WD I use to get tingling/numbness in my lower left lip - which has now spread to most of my left side - I presume its my face awakening again - like you said the nerves rebuilding and rewiring I guess. If you don't mind me asking what month are you in now and what remaining symptoms do you have left? Oh and thankyou for your kind words :D

2006 - 2011 20mg Lexapro ( Diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder/Postnatal depression after childbirth. Symptoms only emerged after having Implanon hormonal implant put in).

2011 - CT off Lexapro (Did not know about withdrawal and developed crippling anxiety/panic attacks plus a host of other symptoms)

Oct 2011 - March 2012 - Diagnosed with panic disorder and was reinstated back onto 20mg Lexapro and .5mg Xanax. Took Xanax several times over a 2 week period and stopped.

Feb 2012 - April 2012 - Weekly drops of Lexapro and CT.

Protacted Withdrawal ever since. 0-18 months "severe" psychological hell. Currently at 26months and have left sided paresthesia. Numbness/tightness/burning left side of face. Pins and needles left shoulder blade. Hot patches/electric zaps on lower legs, Eye twitch. Nerve pain in back and crawling feeling on left forearm.

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  • 4 months later...

Time to update, since I haven’t looked at my post since August. Sorry, Miss Mellie I didn’t respond, but I see that you haven’t posted recently, so I’m hoping that you’re feeling better.

 

But I have news to celebrate!

 

1)      All of the tingling has disappeared – yeah J

2)      I think …. My Cortisol mornings are GONE !!!!   J J J JJ

 

I know that many people know about this – but I have to describe it because IT’S GONE !!!  It was a feeling of such hopelessness - it was like falling and screaming – and it hit the instant of waking every morning (no – I lie, there were, maybe 3, mornings within the 1st 2 years when I did not have it).  The “vertigo” was also continuous during the endless hours in the night, when I couldn’t sleep and even after a nap in the middle of the day (once I’d regained the ability to nap).

 

I started off with hours and hours of this, in combination with a horrible insomnia and not being able to dream. After a year I could sometimes dream but was up most of the night. It was around this last Aug I realized that my sleeping was improving – these horrible nighttime waking hours were shrinking (perhaps they were also softening?) and I was dreaming more often. Then, my dreaming was back to normal.

 

So now ….. I wake up and the pit is gone. I find that I’m having to get used to the idea. This last week, my remnant dreams / morning feelings are filled with wells that are covered, rooms with extra solid hardwood flooring, so thick that the distance between the floor and ceiling is a little shorter, impressions of standing in the middle of a frozen lake with immensely thick ice. It feels so solid. Just this last week I think that I can finally trust it. I really think that I have healed from this J J J

 

It’s been 3 years and 6 months since I stopped any psych drugs.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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  • Administrator

That is wonderful news, Heart. You might add to the cortisol topics in Symptoms, your experience will be encouraging.

 

Can you trace your improvement to any particular treatment?

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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Well … this last week of sleeping was not as solid as the previous one – that really was a particularly nice week. It doesn’t matter, though - I am very close to having this symptom disappear and feel confident that I can handle whatever comes. 3 1/2 years ago, on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being unbearable) my cortisol nights / mornings were at a 15 (past unbearable and into chaos). Last week, I had a few mornings at around a 2 or 3, but I can manage up to an 8 without too much distress. So, for me – I believe it’s over.

 

Hi Altrostata, I can see you’re really busy posting, wow.

 

Aside from time, what helped was music, meditation, and guided meditation tapes. (I did try magnesium and I tried darkening the bedroom – neither worked for me, as it turned out)

 

Right from the beginning, turning on soothing or inspiring music would instantly cut out 1/3 or 1/2 of the terror. I realized that I couldn’t afford to have that terror seep into the tapes or music so it became essential to always practice calming meditation when listening to music or tapes at night. I was more diligent than I’ve ever been in my life - I was also lucky and spiritually helped. The music and tapes never got contaminated and my meditation practice improved.  In a nutshell, that’s what got me through.

 

By the way, I have never before written that I've been spiritually helped. Withdrawal has changed a lot of things in me and some of these things have been good.

 

And, I’ll definitely write something on the cortisol page. J

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Oops, I screwed up. It was only 3 years of cortisol mornings, not 3 1/2 years.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Thank you for coming back to update Heart.  Its wonderful to know that your cortisol mornings have ended, 3 years is plenty long enough.  I'm still getting them, but they are not as intense as they were at first.

 

Its inspiring to know that you have been able to see something positive in some of the changes caused by withdrawal, I'm assuming its that your spiritual life has improved.

 

Apart from guided meditations, did you do any other kind of meditation?

 

So now ….. I wake up and the pit is gone. I find that I’m having to get used to the idea.

 

How did this happen, was it just that one morning you woke up and it wasn't there, or did the intensity decrease over time.  When you say you have to get used to the idea, what do you mean, could you write a little more about that.  I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like to wake and feel normal again, but I can't and it makes me worry that even if I did wake up and feel normal, I wouldn't even recognize it.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hi Petu

Oh, you will definitely recognize when mornings become normal again. It wasn’t overnight. I think that my nights and mornings got incrementally easier while, at the same time, I was gaining confidence that my nighttime meditation and listening could keep me safe from the cortisol experience.  I realized a few years ago that I had the upper hand, and then it got easier and easier which allows me to relax more and more. That I had those warm solid mornings a couple of weeks ago makes me realize that, for all intensive purposes, I’m back. (tapes? I called them tapes? How long ago was that lol)

 

I’m really slow writing these days – and I rewrite a lot. (My nights are fairly well solved but, alas, my days (cognitive, etc) are still a work in progress) I’ll add more tomorrow. J

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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continuing on:  :-)

 

Most of the meditation I’m currently doing now are calming meditations. I know that there’s lots of people and writing believing that it’s so important to looking deeply into problems in order to transform them, but I’m currently finding a huge benefit in working on my personal oasis – calming, grounding, smiling to myself. Sometimes I can really feel peace, other times not as much, but my rule is to always lean in that direction. I decided near the beginning of all this, that I would just create a place of peace – out of thin air, if need be. Withdrawal didn’t play by the nice rules of “looking deeply and transforming” and so all bets were off as to how I should deal with it. And I really do believe that the pit is a mirage, so my idea of an antidote mirage (safe and peaceful) feels perfectly right. And I’ve got to the point that I feel I might be up to adding some of the old “looking deeply and transforming”, maybe just a short 10 minutes once a day -  but I want to be a little cautious since I still have that fluctuating mood / cognitive ability  thing happening throughout the day.

 

For meditation, I usually work off of this gatha, either whole, or just the individual parts

(breathing) in – out / deep – slow / smile – ease / calm – relief / present moment – wonderful moment

There’s also a fabulous meditation called pebble meditation (Thich Nhat Hanh) – which is my absolute favorite. 

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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So today, I’m really feeling ready for this to be over. I feel that I’ve been a pretty good sport about this (not that that ever makes too much of a difference). But I’m really over it and I just want to be one person again. How can I lead my life when morning me comes to decision A, afternoon me thinks that I’m doomed, and nighttime me has an epiphany – “choose B”. Meanwhile my life is crumbling due to my lack of action / on the brink of disaster / is doing OK, just calm down.  Please, just let me agree with myself? Is that too much to ask?  Yes, yes – it seems to be too much to ask right now. No – it’s not really quite that bad. AHHH

 

Well, my nights are better, I no longer have paresthesia, I can find my car, the tinnitus might be improving,  I can again calculate simple financial transactions in my head, and my feelings are "filling in" a bit (although in a, sort of, learning how to drive a stick-shift sort of way) … Boy, I’m glad that this is an anonymous post. But I’m so glad that I can write things here. I'm a Loon

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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Went to get my eyes checked today because I need new glasses. Had a wonderful experience at Costco. I was looking at everyone – all these people figuring out their lives – connected – squirreling away supplies to take care of loved ones – hopeful of the future – industrious. They’re made of the same stuff as me, and I’m made of the same stuff as them. A warm and fuzzy feeling came over me – finally, I could relax, life made sense, everything is just as it should be – it’s all just a wonderful adventure to be enjoyed.

They gave me eye drops. If I remember correctly those would be sympathetic nervous system stimulants which drain, through the tear ducts into the body’s lymph / blood system. Ahhh, but what a nice feeling.

In 2004 was initially put on Effexor, but by 2007 I had a whole cocktail going - 112.5 mg Effexor, 200 mg Buproprion SR, 250 mg Depakote, and 27mg Concerta ER. I switched psychiatrists to get off of everything.  Systematically, my new psychiatrist took me down – last to go was the Effexor, which he switched to Prozac to soften the reaction.  My last pill was July 2011. Although with every change, up or down, I felt a bit rotten and flu-like, I would return to normal within a few weeks. Looking back, perhaps I felt a bit crabby, but I had no hint that I was in trouble until November 2011 when I experienced something odd - I got no buzz from an occasional glass of wine. By Jan 20112 I was hit, full force – insomnia, no dreams, pacing, twitchy, chemical despair – later:  tingling sensations, audio distortion ... Many symptoms have improved, some have not, some have morphed. I am still struggling, 3 years out. 

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