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susan: An Introduction


susan

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I was diagnosed as bipolar when I was 22. Since that time til November of last year, I have been on these drugs. There may be a couple more I have left out, I think I am missing one or two for many years I was not writing down the drugs I was on.

(In no particular order)

Cogentin

vistoril

Prozac

Zoloft

Ritalin

Desyrel

Buspar

Tegretol

Mellaril

Dalmane

Wellbutrin

Valproic Acid

Lithibid (Lithium)

Depakote

Geodon

Seroquel

Triliptal

Trazadone

Lamictal

Paxil

Abilify

Topamax

Anafranil

Amitripyline

Elavil

Haldol

Trilptal

Xanax

Nardil

Klonepin

Ritalin

Lexapro

Paxil

Remeron

Tofranil

Ambien

Ativan

Cymbalta

I have also had ECT.

 

Every time I wanted to quit a drug, I was told to do it cold turkey. None of the 29 psychiatrists I have seen in my life knew about weaning. I didn't know enough to ask questions, I just did it and muddled through.

 

Where I am now: My brain was damaged from the ECT. I was unable to perform in my career, and I lost it. The meds have made some weird side effects that I am currently dealing with, kidney failure (they are working again) from lithium. Haldol poisoning gave me paralysis, which I did get over, but only after spending over a month in a rehab hospital. I currently have anemia and at the same time, an elevated wbc that is bordering on Leukemia.

 

I live with my cat who keeps me alive, and I blog. I use to be a writer before I was damaged. I keep trying to start a writing career again, It's hard because my brain is so broken.

 

I am currently weaning myself off Xanax, which was given to me in hospital to keep me quiet in bed and deal with things like MRI's and what not. I am not on any psychiatric drugs but am on drugs for kidney, blood pressure, and pain.

 

I am so grateful to learn of this site, and will be reading other peoples stories. I don't feel so alone and I am grateful.

 

post-197-0-87632600-1310665155_thumb.jpg

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

 

It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient. It's a bum turn, Hotch, a terrible." – Ernest Hemingway

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Welcome, Susan! That is a crazy long list of drugs. Wow. I send you a big, big heartfelt hug and look forward to you sharing your experiences with us.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • Administrator

Susan, so glad to see you here, alive and kicking despite all you've been through.

 

Are you off all psych drugs now?

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

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Hi Susan!

 

What Nadia said: That is one staggering list of drugs! How long were you on these various psych meds (er, as a group, not each one)?

History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

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Hey Susan

Really glad to see you here. That's a staggering list of Rx. I've been on several myself over 14 yrs, but not nearly so many as you. I can relate to not being able to write right now nor really work and how much sadness and isolation this has caused me.

 

I believe you will find helpful people here.

 

Welcome.

 

Alex.i

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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Hello Susan... welcome to SA, where you will find knowledgeable and caring people. Have to get off line now... just wanted to welcome you and say hello!

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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Hi!

I am amazed by the warm welcome! Hello! Nadia, Altostrata, Ajay, Alexejice, and Summer.

 

I didn't know this blog existed until last week when the admin and I both got a shout out by the same blogger. I am so happy to find you all.

 

I've been on those drugs over a period of 27 or so years. Amounts, I don't know, I just blindly took the pills as prescribed, and didn't question. My father worked for Big Pharma (NJ is the US and World headquarters for most big pharma companies) , and (forgive me this is hard), I just took them. No questions, because I was taught to trust doctors. All the drugs were moved up, I recall the last bit or so back in 09 and 10 I was on 3100 of lithium trying to taper down. When I complained one drug had horrible side effects (I recall Prozac) the doctor just switched me to something else- it was either Zoloft or Paxil, and a few months later switched those two out.

 

When I would complain and take myself off the drugs, my mother, who had gone to NAMI during my second psych hospitalization in 93 decided I need to be on the meds, She got the line about diabetics need insulin, I need an anti-depressant and a mood stabilizer every day in my life. When she noticed I wasn't spaced out she would comment , "Oh the drugs are working!" to which I would reply, "That's cause I'm not taking any".

 

And I would be dragged back to a psychiatrist, I would get the whole bs from both mom and dad that they know best because of the family ties to big pharma and I need to take my medication.

 

The side effects weren't bad, and like I said most of the doctors didn't know about tapering. So I just did each one cold turkey or via a swapout. The side effects I can recall prior to 2002 were minor, like incredible sweating, headaches, very heavy periods, weight gain, migraines. I developed acid reflux and cannot eat a lot of foods due to damage . No spicy foods.

 

What I noticed were little bits of my personality started to change. This is scarier than the physical side effects, it was to me. After a hospitalization in 2002 where I recieved ECT, it all went down hill. I lost my job at a multinational news company. Before that I was high functioning, working in NJ, NYC, and London and one time in Edinburgh. I lost most of my memory, most of it still hasn't returned.

 

There are huge changes in my personality, like now I have agoraphobia. The worst thing is I have found out in 07 when my marriage flamed out and I was in a psychiatric facility that my body has been broken from all those meds. I found out that I have anemia, (which accounts of the monthly pain) and on the other hand, I also have an elevated white blood count that is bordering on Leukemia. If anyone reads a certain blog back in November (two are on your blogroll) you will know my kidneys shut down totally and I found myself in hospital for 25 days with dialysis and blood poisoning. At the moment, my bladder doesn't empty properly, I'm on and off catheters. The drugs I am taking for my kidney have a side effect that they will blow out your liver, and I am learning my liver enzymes are acting up. I;m in pain constantly from trying to urinate. But I;m off all psych drugs execpt Xanax, which the hospital was giving me to keep me quiet during the MRI's the CAT scans, and the dialysis.

 

It's all in my blog, but again, I don't think people have time to go through 4 years of long entries. So it's this in a nutshell.

 

I live alone with my cat. I have a bf who lives 200 miles away I see him every 4 months or so. I am pretty much alone, and disabled. It's hard to get around, it's hard to write, some days I just want to throw in the towel.

 

I just don't want anyone else to suffer like I have and make the mistakes on these damn drugs like I did. Once you loose your health, it's hard to find other things to live for.

 

-Susan

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

 

It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient. It's a bum turn, Hotch, a terrible." – Ernest Hemingway

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Wow Susan... you have been through so much. You know that means you are an incredibly strong person, right? I'm so sorry for what you have been through and I hope that you and everyone else on here that is suffering can take things day by day and go forward and find peace and wellness. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Thank you Nadia.

I don't think I am that strong, I think it's a matter of either living and not letting them get you, or giving in and dying.

 

I'm not ready to go yet.

 

What gets me through the bad spots, is knowing over the last four years I have found good people on the internet who understand. We all support each other. And we all understand each other. No one I know now on line tells me "it's in your head" or "Buck up" like my family does in real life.

 

To me, it's like the credit card commercial.

 

Price for a computer- 500

 

price for internet- 33 a month.

 

price of knowing you aren't alone- Priceless.

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

 

It was a brilliant cure but we lost the patient. It's a bum turn, Hotch, a terrible." – Ernest Hemingway

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I don't think I am that strong, I think it's a matter of either living and not letting them get you, or giving in and dying.

I'm not ready to go yet.

 

I think all of us are strong in our own way.

We are strong because we found out the truth by ourselves, do not let the shrinks push more toxic stuff through our throats.

And we are strong that we stand for ourselves despite all of us have to cope with doctors and family members who do not believe us and accues us of being stubborn...

And we are strong that we go on living, despite how terrible we feel and, for some of us like myself, have to cope with our bizarre behaviour during WD.

 

And apart from being strong, we are also a bit lucky that we did survive until today. Many will never find out the truth or are forced to commit suicide because unable to gain an income during WD they just cannot afford the most basic needs for living...

I was many times in WD close to suicide because I felt so terrible sick, crazy and disconnected from life but I knew too that it was not my time and I used to enjoy life. And it will come back one day. I only hope ot won't last 10 years as dr. Shipko stated :o

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
after 8.5 years working again on a 90% base and basically functioning normally again!

 

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Claudius is right. I also don't feel strong, even though a lot of people tell me I am. But we are! It has nothing to do with feeling it, either. We are here and we are trying and that is what counts.

 

And ditto, Claudius, on the Shipko stuff. I'm in a big battle right now between acceptance, denial, optimism, fear, etc. It reminds me of something I read from Alan Watts, about how if you have a huge pile of dishes and you think you have to wash all those dishes, you're going to get discouraged. You just have to think, "I only have ONE dish to wash". There is only ever the one dish. In our situation, we don't even know if there is a huge pile or a small one. We can go crazy guessing which and if we'll be able to wash them all or not. But we just have to breathe deep and wash the one that's in front of us right now...

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Well spoken Nadia! Never thought of that... ;) It is some variation of being in the Now as teached by Eckhart Tolle.

We are strong in paving our own way. The only thing I can hardly forgive myself is going cold turkey for the 5th or 6th time, not having learned from those attemps. But could I really have known better after all the denial and dismmissing from my GP? Some of us found out the truth much earlier...

But sometimes things go as they go... but one moment of cleverness at the right time could have prevented my from a years-lasting Hell which almost forced me to suicide :(

But that count for many of us. In the end, yes er ARE strong and may be proud! :D

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
after 8.5 years working again on a 90% base and basically functioning normally again!

 

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