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WinningThrough
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I hear a lot of people talk about distraction as a means for getting through this.

 

What worries me is that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I can't distract. I remember years ago when I had an anxiety and panic disorder (I was on no meds except propranolol), I could often distract. I could get lost in something and forget about my anxiety.

 

This is a different kettle of fish. It's so all consuming that I just can't get away from it ever. In my better days (semi windows) it's still there all the time. I don't get any breaks from it. It's just marginally easier to function on those days.

 

I go for walks when I can. I've eaten in pubs with great difficulty. I've made myself go out at times. I play computer games. I sort of watch tv. I make myself do housework when I can manage it. I talk on the phone. I see friends if I can manage. I try so hard. No matter what I do, I just can't distract. With normal panic disorder (and my panic disorder was bad years ago), I could distract for quite long periods of time and I could enjoy myself. I worked during most of it. Now, I don't enjoy myself ever.

 

In my thread, I've described a few windows I've had where more of me has been there and where I've sort of felt my feelings a little bit and felt hopeful. But even on those days, its still all been there all the time.

 

The longest I can distract is if something is on the telly and I might comment on what I'm watching or follow the story a little bit. But that distraction is only for a few seconds at a time.

 

Is this normal? I guess it is for akathisia because you simply can't escape the terror or intense all over body unease ever. It's like I need the akathisia not to be there in order to distract.

 

Do a lot of people struggle with this?

The only way out is through.

 

Aug 2013 - Augmentin leading to akathisia

Sept-Nov 2013 - Citalopram 20mg, severe reaction, off at 5mg. Valium 4mg, prn

Oct 2013 - 5 zopiclone tablets, 7.5mg

End Nov 2013-end Feb 2014, Seroquel, top dose 150mg, off at 25mg

End Nov 2013-early march 2014, Zoloft 100mg top dose, off at 25mg

End Dec-2013-early April 2014, lorazepam 1mg prn

April 3rd 2014 zoloft 5mg for a few days. 18/4/14 - zoloft, 1mg. Came off at 0.35 mg,14th June 2014

29 June 2014 - 1mg lorazepam, last ever

29 June 2014 - med free

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I do. I also have no job or any regular activities that (I think) help many people distract during withdrawal. That's an assumption only; I've read of several people who have hardest times on weekends or days off with nothing scheduled.

 

I, too, can only watch TV for short periods if I'm VERY interested in the show. Things that used to hold my attention don't now and I'm afraid it's not getting better. Important to note that I was on a cocktail of drugs for nearly 20 years.

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

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Yes winning through, I understand it you are not alone xx

2000 - sertraline for job anxiety low confidence (17 years old) ..which turned the next 16 years into nightmare!

 

On/off sertraline severe withdrawals every time. 2014 - felt better as reduced dose of sertraline no more inner restlessness. Doctor rushed off again. Hit severe withdrawal. Lost the little I had in life. Couldn't get stable again on 12.5mg. Was switched to prozac. Had severe reaction to prozac..came off in November 2015 at 6mg as felt more confused and damaged on it..Even more withdrawal ..rage, depression, dyphoria, near constant suicidal ideation, self harm impulses, doom, concrete block in head, unable to do much of anything with this feeling in head..went back on 6mg of sertraline to see if would alleviate anything. It didn't..reduced from December to June 2016 came off at 2.5mg sertraline as was hospitalised for the severe rage, suicidal impulses, and put on 50mg lofepramine which in 2nd week reduced all symptoms but gave insomnia which still have..psych stopped lofepramine cold turkey..no increased withdrawal symptoms new symptoms from lofepramine except persistant insomnia which has as side effect.

 

Taking Ativan for 8 months for the severe rage self harm impulses 1-3 times a week (mostly 2 times a week) at .5mg. Two months (I'm unsure exactly when the interdose started to happen) ago interdose withdrawal seemed to happen..2 days I think after the Ativan.

 

 

Nightmare that could have been avoided!

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I've also had problems trying to distract, sometimes the symptoms can be so intense its impossible, I used to regularly have mornings like that, so I would just lay and focus on what I was feeling, using breathing to keep myself calm.   Now I can usually partially distract myself in the mornings, its like I'm still aware of the symptoms, but they only occupy about 50% of my awareness, but they still make it hard to focus and it can be quite a battle until mid-afternoon, which for me is when I usually start to feel a little better.

 

Now I can have periods of up to half an hour where I'm able to completely distract and be involved in what I'm doing, but its taken over 17 months of being completely medication free to get to this point.  But like Barb, I have been on many different drugs over a 16 year period.

 

As symptoms reduce it becomes easier to distract from them.

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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Thanks Barbara, Joanna and Petu. I'm so sorry you all struggle with this too.

 

Petu, it's great that you're now getting times when you can distract. That's very encouraging!

The only way out is through.

 

Aug 2013 - Augmentin leading to akathisia

Sept-Nov 2013 - Citalopram 20mg, severe reaction, off at 5mg. Valium 4mg, prn

Oct 2013 - 5 zopiclone tablets, 7.5mg

End Nov 2013-end Feb 2014, Seroquel, top dose 150mg, off at 25mg

End Nov 2013-early march 2014, Zoloft 100mg top dose, off at 25mg

End Dec-2013-early April 2014, lorazepam 1mg prn

April 3rd 2014 zoloft 5mg for a few days. 18/4/14 - zoloft, 1mg. Came off at 0.35 mg,14th June 2014

29 June 2014 - 1mg lorazepam, last ever

29 June 2014 - med free

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Yes I have had this problem and still can at times but it's so much better now. The other day I caught myself getting wrapped up in photography and realized that I wasn't able to do that before.  I had so much difficulty distracting myself not only because the symptoms were severe and because I couldn't focus well on most things (there were a few exceptions) but the things I had liked to do before mostly were not accessible--they actually mostly would make me feel worse.  TV was mostly out for instance, it was either too brightly lit for my sensitive eyes or the plot lines too upsetting. 

 

With akathisia I think it's basically that your fight/flight "mechanism" has gone haywire, so that you feel a continual need to move, because your body wrongly believes you are facing some external danger, ie the flight part has been activated.  Under such circumstances then it makes a kind of sense why distraction wouldn't work.  If your body perceives  danger, it isn't in your best interest to distract yourself from it.  But of course there is no real danger here, not outside of you anyway (hopefully!) so it seems nonsensical. 

 

Or that's my half-baked theory on why this happens. 

I am not a medical professional and nothing I say is a medical opinion or meant to be medical advice, please seek a competent and trusted medical professional to consult for all medical decisions.

 

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Thanks unfolding sky. I'm so glad you've been able to get wrapped up in photography.

 

You're right about the fight/flight mechanism. I wonder if something happens to the amygdala in akathisia.

 

I've realised with severe 24/7 akathisia that there really is nothing you can do but just keep white knuckling it through. After 13 months of this it's so hard. I try so hard, I really do. But in order to really do the things I need to do to help, the akathisia has to go, or calm down to a bearable level. It just has to.

 

I wish there was something I could take to stop it but there is nothing. I had it dreadfully all the time I was ON the meds. It never calmed down.

 

Rant over. Back to my positive affirmations and reading the success stories I guess. I'm compiling akathisia success stories.

The only way out is through.

 

Aug 2013 - Augmentin leading to akathisia

Sept-Nov 2013 - Citalopram 20mg, severe reaction, off at 5mg. Valium 4mg, prn

Oct 2013 - 5 zopiclone tablets, 7.5mg

End Nov 2013-end Feb 2014, Seroquel, top dose 150mg, off at 25mg

End Nov 2013-early march 2014, Zoloft 100mg top dose, off at 25mg

End Dec-2013-early April 2014, lorazepam 1mg prn

April 3rd 2014 zoloft 5mg for a few days. 18/4/14 - zoloft, 1mg. Came off at 0.35 mg,14th June 2014

29 June 2014 - 1mg lorazepam, last ever

29 June 2014 - med free

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I am sorry it's still ongoing for you Winning.  I wish there was some way to make it stop too. It will go away though.

I am not a medical professional and nothing I say is a medical opinion or meant to be medical advice, please seek a competent and trusted medical professional to consult for all medical decisions.

 

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  • 1 year later...

 I guess it is for akathisia because you simply can't escape the terror or intense all over body unease ever. It's like I need the akathisia not to be there in order to distract.

 

 

This is exactly how I feel. I just cannot get distracted from it, I feel it every second!

2010-2012: paxil, melitor, amitriptilyne, clofranil

2012-2015: venlafaxine 150 mg - to 85 mg - tapered from 85 mg to 0 in 3 weeks till October 20, 2015

Dec 15 - 6 March 2016: mirtazapine 15 mg to 3,75 mg, jumped to 0 on 6 March

1 March 2016 - now: horrible akathisia!

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Yup, me too - really struggle with getting out of my head and away from all of the associated symptoms.

 

It's a bit easier now that I am in a sort of window, but in a wave it's impossible.

Dose History: 19 Feb 2014 - Escitalopram 10mg daily June 2015 - Started taper, 5mg every other day July 2015 - 5mg every 2 days August 2015 - 5mg every 3 days September 2015 - 5mg every 4 days Sept 14th - Completed tapering, but at 7 weeks "drug free" I suffered serious WD symptoms as a consequence of "incorrect" tapering. Nov 25 2015 - Re-instated Cipralex @ 2.5mg daily. WD symptoms faded. Held at this dose and experienced "windows and waves". 12 Oct 2017 Reduced dose to 1.25mg. 13 Mar 2018 Reduced dose to 0.625mg (approx.). 16 April 2018 0mg. Windows and waves triggered by stress (IBS/reflux, headaches, sinus issues) Aug 2019 Mirena coil fitted 6 Jan 2020 MAJOR Wave hit 19 months following last dose (protracted WD).  Symptoms listed below Mar 2020 Mirena coil removal.

Therapy: Nov 15th 2016 Re-started therapy Jan 19th 2017 Started CBT Dec 2017 Started listening to Hypnotherapy CD (self-esteem). Nov 2019 Started couples therapy.

Supplements: "Bioglan" Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora 10 billion CFU, live Bacteria, Probiotic, suitable for Vegetarians, with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium Longum"Pukka" Vitalise a unique blend of 30 energising botanicals.

Diet: 16 April 2018 Detox cleanse / anti-candida for 90 days. Jan 2020 Started "small plate" diet (i.e child size portions).

Exercise: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Elliptical/upper body workout, walking.

Medical Test Results: 4 Jan 2017 Homeopathic Treatment starts 24 Feb 2017 Started weight loss program 24 Mar 2017 Naturopathic Treatment + anti-Candida diet started due to suspected Candida Related Complex (CRC). DETOXED for 7 weeks to "re-set" gut. April 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Comprehensive Stool Analysis NEGATIVE; Full Blood Count (Normal) / Blood Cholesterol: 5.6 (Borderline) / Blood Sugar (Normal) / 28 Jun 2017 FSH 8.2 / 14 Nov 2017 FSH 17.7 Dec 2017 Blood Cholesterol: 3.9 (Normal) / Kidney Function (Normal) / Blood Sugar (Normal). December 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Food panel allergy (bloodwork) analysis - a few "VERY LOW/VL" allergens; Mar 2018 "Genova Diagnostics" SIBO urine analysis: High Level of Yeast/fungal markers found in small intestine but NO SIBO.  April 2018 Thyroid (Normal) / Full Blood Count (Normal) / FSH (Normal). 16 April 2018 Started anti-Candida diet - 3 month protocol.   25 March 2020 All test results "Normal". CRP" 5 mg/L (normal range to 0-5 mg/L).

Symptoms:  Flu-like symptoms, anxiety, anhedonia, sinus headaches right-side (severe), IBS issues/reflux (severe)**, tinnitus, fatigue, inner tremor, nausea, chills/hot flushes, pounding heart, muscular issues including stiff left hip flexor, intense anger, PSSD (ongoing).  **Histhamine intolerance (suspected).

Major Life Events: 

Re-located to UK from Canada: Jan 2016

My father died: 5:05pm, Monday 5 Feb 2018 Last Lexapro dose: 16 April 2018 (its now been over a year since I quit ADs)  Moved house: Friday 23rd February 2018  "Divorced" toxic Mother: Monday 26 March 2018 Starting working again: 19 November 2018  Diagnosed with: 5th August 2021 PTSD/C-PTSD Diagnosed with: March 2022 Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful bladder syndrome

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  • 3 months later...

I am finding it difficult to distract myself as well.  All I seem able to do is read on this forum; for some reason I can concentrate on that - perhaps it is some kind of obsessive behavior over my "condition"?  However, I would like to try to find other ways to distract myself if at all possible.  I try to read novels (I used to love to read) or other websites but find I can't focus for very long.  I can watch a little bit of TV but not much as I can't keep my focus on it for very long (also very unlike me) either.  So all of my usual ways of trying to relax are now not working.

 

Has anyone found anything that is helpful for distraction?

-1/06 - 3/07 Cymbalta. Fast taper; withdrawal symptoms after 4 mos (didn't realize was WD)

-10/07: 100 mg Zoloft; 1 mg Klonopin - tapered off Klonopin
-Tried several times to slowly taper Zoloft by 10%, then 5% every 4-6 weeks; could never get below approx. 40 mg - spring 2012 experienced major WD symptoms due to stress; tried to updose but no relief, back on Klonopin 1 mg.
-Switched over 5-6 mos from Zoloft to Citalopram. Finished Zoloft 1/13; Citalopram 35 mg and 1 mg Klonopin.
-8/13: 27 mg Citalopram; 1 mg Klonopin

-11/14: 12.6 Citalopram - began to have bad withdrawal symptoms; out of desperation increased to 1.25 mg Klonopin at the beginning of December.  12/13/14 16 mg Citalopram - going to stay here to try to stabilize; stabilized on 16 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

-7/15 - 3/16: reduced to 15 mg; ~ 2 months later w/d hit hard (probably r/t stress); 6/16 updosed to 20 mg Citalopram and trying to stabilize. Updosed to 1.5 Klonopin as well. Stabilized on 20 mg Citalopram after 4-5 months

8/17-9/17: feeling withdrawal symptoms at 20 mg Citalopram (due to stress) - slowly increased to 25 mg. No change in symptoms after 6 months (? tolerance ?)  - decided to start citalopram taper February 2018 (still on Klonopin 1.5 mg).

Supplements: fish oil; magnesium; vitamin D3; curcumin

Citalopram taper:  2/2018 - 12/2019: 25 mg - 11.03 mg I 2020: 10.89 mg - 7.9 mg I 2021: 7.8 mg - 5.26 mg

2022: 1/5/22: 5.2 mg; 1/12/22: 5.1 mg; 1/19/22: 5.07 mg; 1/26/22: 5.0 mg; 5/1/22: 4.9 mg; 5/8/22: 4.88 mg; 5/15/22: 4.8 mg; 5/22/22: 4.76 mg; 6/5/22: 4.7 mg; 6/12/22: 4.6 mg; 6/19/22: 4.58 mg; 6/26/22: 4.5 mg; 7/10/22: 4.47 mg; 7/17/22: 4.4 mg; 7/24/22: 4.36 mg; 7/31/22: 4.3 mg; 8/21/22: 4.25 mg; 8/28/22: 4.2 mg; 9/4/22: 4.1 mg; 9/11/22: 4.09 mg; 9/25/22: 4.0 mg; 10/2/22: 3.99 mg; 10/9/22: 3.9 mg; 10/16/22: 3.89 mg; 10/30/22: 3.8 mg; 11/6/22: 3.77 mg; 11/13/22: 3.7 mg; 11/21/22: 3.6 mg

 

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It's probably an extremely overactive nervous system causing all the introverted thinking about yourself and your situation. When the this calms down you will have clarity and be able to concentrate fully on hobbles and be fully present.

 

Mornings used to be the worst for me when on the full dose, nothing could catch my attention because my head was all over the place, sometimes being simultaneously depressed and anxious at the same time. Basically I felt like a bag of shite. Now I'm on my taper, and bearing in mind I'm still early in the journey, I'm beginning to feel more like my old self - more calm, less irritable with people and generally more patients, easily lost in activities/interests and moving about in public at ease with no anxiety etc.

 

It all goes back to the screwed up nervous system I reckon, once it's at peace, you stop thinking and analysing your situation and just take life as it comes. Fix the nervous system and the inward thinking fixes itself.

 

Btw, swimming/running/ mountain biking are great activities to get lost in if you haven't tried them.

May 2007 - October 2007 Citalopram 20 mg od. 1st Antidepressant ever taken. No problem with fast taper and no withdrawal effects. No antidepressants for over 5 years.

 

January 2013 started Citalopram 20mg.

March 2014 Switched to Sertraline 50 mg od.

23rd June 2016 started taper 45mg

23.07.16 40.5mg 23.08.16 36.45mg 27.09.16 34.65mg 24.10.16 32.90mg 28.11.16 31.26mg 04.01.17 32mg 25.02.17 31mg 22.03.17 30mg 14.04.17 29mg 09.05.17 28mg 07.06.17 27mg 08.06.17 26mg 13.07.17 25mg 07.08.17 24mg 24.08.17 23mg 13.09.17 22mg 12.10.17 21mg 10.11.17 20mg 04.12.17 19mg 01.01.18 17mg 25.01.18 15mg 22.02.18 13.5mg 25.03.18 12.15mg 

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  • 4 months later...

Any of the original posters found that this goes away over time? I have been consumed with introversion and not being able to concentrate on pretty much anything. Very unlike me before the bad reactions.

2011-2014: 25-50mg Zoloft then CT via doctors advice. Some mild physical sx but fully functioning, unaware that withdrawal was a thing. Dr didn’t know why I was chronically dizzy with brain fog & advised to try Zoloft again.

2016: severe adverse reactions to Zoloft (1 dose), Paxil (3 weeks), celexa (2 weeks), buspar (1 dose), lamictal (4 doses). Ativan 12 times within a month. Also tried Xanax & klonopin a couple times. Each reaction became more severe. Kindled. Became disabled from these meds.

Drug free 12-16-2016
Month 1-20: +5% healing every month
Month 21- present: setback to acute from amoxicillin antibiotic (1 dose)
Month 32- 11 months into setback from antibiotic. Seems I was floxed by amoxicillin somehow. Horrific.

 

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