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GreMar - Tough Story


GreMar

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Hi,

 

 

I'm in a very difficult position and my story may be too much for sensitive people to read.

 

Was put on 25 mg of Paxil after having panic attacks. In the first couple of weeks of taking it, I fell into a deep depression that I attributed to excessive fear of having another panic attack but now I think it was probably the Paxil. But in a couple of weeks I responded and felt very good. But I still had a couple episodes of depression over the following years. I would bounce back fairly quickly. But in 2005,  I fell into a deep and overwhelming depression and my psychiatrist upped my Paxil to 75mg CR and 1.5 mg of Xanax every day. I eventually responded and got back to normal.

 

A while later, I tapered back down to 25 mg with no problems. But I kept taking Xanax every day 1.5 mg for six years. I hit tolerance in 2010/2011. I tapered way too quickly off it and learned about benzo withdrawal and the Ashton Manual. I re-instated with Valium at 10mg and then cut 10% a week for a year - it was very difficult. But things got a million times worse after I had my last dose in January of 2012. I had all the classic benzo withdrawal symptoms and after trying to fight it and go to work for three months, I took a leave of absence for three months. I struggled mightily but eventually started to improve slowly. I went back to work and fought through the symptoms and they slowly, ever so slowly, began to lessen. I had the typical window and wave patterns, joined benzobuddies and felt like I understood what was happening to me and that a lot of others obviously suffered the same thing.

 

By 2014 I had got to the point where I was feeling better and was now very concerned about the effects of psychiatric medication so I decided to get off Paxil and be clear of all drugs. You would think after what I went through with benzos, that I would have tapered far more slowly and carefully than I did. But I had easily tapered from 75mg to 25mg and it seemed that there wasn't nearly as many people complaining of profound withdrawal from SSRIs (of course there were some reports, particularly with Paxil). I got the brain shocks and emotional instability and all kinds of other symptoms. About a month into my withdrawal, we find out my mom had stage 4 breast cancer and I felt there was just too much stress going on and my anxiety and obsessive thinking had skyrocketed. I went back on and waited for relief.  It never came. In fact,  I got much, much worse. Incredible, horrible depression. I had felt completely defeated by my own poor decisions and seeming extreme sensitivity to psychiatric medication. I was suicidal as I felt there was no way out for me now.

 

After a particularly bad day, my wife took me to the ER and I was admitted to the inpatient psych ward as I was a crying, emotional mess. While there, I was very depressed and struggled and saw people get better. I did improve a little while enough to be released and I went back to work. I had re-tapered back off SSRIs and was put on Remeron. I thought I had turned the corner, but the depression wave came back and I went back to the hospital. I was there for another two weeks and didn't improve at all. I was so desperate, that I agree with the psychiatrists suggestion of having electroshock therapy. I went to a hospital in Spokane and stayed there for a month and got 12 treatments. I would improve after each treatment but then slowly regress over the weekends. While there, I was put on 150 mg of Zoloft. I can not believe my stupidity after everything I've gone through. 

 

I went home at the end of March, very scared about what lay in front of me. After a couple of difficult days, I noticed my depression lifting. I went back to work and have been able to go to work every day but one in April so far. I have noticed a lessening of my symptoms and a window and wave pattern emerging that hadn't before. This confuses me as I don't know why my brain would be "healing" while I'm still on Zoloft. And when the waves hit, I start obsessively thinking about how I'm still on Zoloft and that I have months and months of pain in front of me because I have to withdraw (even though I had been off SSRIs for a serveral weeks before going for ECT). I also simply can not understand why this is so bad for me, why I'm so sensitive, why I haven't learned to cope better after benzo withdrawals. I'm embarrassed that I had been hospitalized for nearly two months, that I had ECT and that I'm still suffering. I don't understand why it can be so difficult for what appears to be a very, very small minority of users (considering way more people take SSRIs than benzos but there are far more people on benzo withdrawal sites - seemingly anyway). I love my life, I love my job, I love my kids, I don't understand this. I don't understand what my brain is doing and I'm very worried that I'm permanently broken. But I have been improving in a lot of different ways - though the waves are still so, so hard. It seems I feel different every day - sometimes it's different ways of feeling bad, sometimes it's feeling almost normal. 

 

I am just now in the middle of another wave and am feeling really low. I want to know why my brain would be going through windows and waves and slowly improving while I'm still taking Zoloft. Is it just a mirage that will ramp back up when I start to taper off the Zoloft (been taking for close to two months)? My  psychiatrist back in town has put me on Wellbutrin and Seroquel (for sleep and help with intrusive thoughts). I'm sure that's another bad decision of mine. She wants to slowly increase the Wellbutrin and slowly decrease the Zoloft. I showed her research on Tardive Dysphoria and she had never heard of it but was intrigued.

 

I am sorry to scare anyone as this is a pretty tough story. But would appreciate any knowledgeable advice about how to perceive my situation. Should I go off the Zoloft right now or wait to see if I stabilize (which I don't know if I ever will)? What can I infer about what my brain is doing when I'm having windows and waves while still on SSRIs. How can that be signs of healing when I'm still pumping SSRIs into my body?

 

 

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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Hi GreMar. I am glad you joined. You have been through unnecessary hell and survived.

 

You mentioned something that I have an opinion about:

"I also simply can not understand why this is so bad for me, why I'm so sensitive, why I haven't learned to cope better after benzo withdrawals"

No one knows, or if they know, they are not telling us. What we go through and report here is so profoundly distressing and diadisablingling, that it is criminal that, no matter what percent endure this, where it is under 1% or something much higher, these drugs are prescribed at all.

Why paxil for panic attacks, I wonder? 

 

Don't feel too stupid fr being on Zoloft at the moment. The decision to take it was made while you were not in good shape, and although it is hard to say, might have been a safer alternative--at the time--than doing nothing. 

2009: Cancer hospital said I had adjustment disorder because I thought they were doing it wrong. Their headshrinker prescribed Effexor, and my life set on a new course. I didn't know what was ahead, like a passenger on Disneyland's Matterhorn, smiling and waving as it climbs...clink, clink, clink.

2010: Post surgical accidental Effexor discontinuation by nurses, masked by intravenous Dilaudid. (The car is balanced at the top of the track.) I get home, pop a Vicodin, and ...

Whooosh...down, down, down, down, down...goes the trajectory of my life, up goes my mood and tendency to think everything is a good idea.
2012: After the bipolar jig was up, now a walking bag of unrelated symptoms, I went crazy on Daytrana (the Ritalin skin patch by Noven), because ADHD was a perfect fit for a bag of unrelated symptoms. I was prescribed Effexor for the nervousness of it, and things got neurological. An EEG showed enough activity to warrant an epilepsy diagnosis rather than non-epileptic ("psychogenic") seizures.

:o 2013-2014: Quit everything and got worse. I probably went through DAWS: dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome. I drank to not feel, but I felt a lot: dread, fear, regret, grief: an utter sense of total loss of everything worth breathing about, for almost two years.

I was not suicidal but I wanted to be dead, at least dead to the experience of my own brain and body.

2015: I  began to recover after adding virgin coconut oil and organic grass-fed fed butter to a cup of instant coffee in the morning.

I did it hoping for mental acuity and better memory. After ten days of that, I was much better, mood-wise. Approximately neutral.

And, I experienced drowsiness. I could sleep. Not exactly happy, I did 30 days on Wellbutrin, because it had done me no harm in the past. 

I don't have the DAWS mood or state of mind. It never feel like doing anything if it means standing up.

In fact, I don't especially like moving. I'm a brain with a beanbag body.   :unsure:

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Hi Gremar, thanks for sharing your story, you've been through a lot but you shouldnt feel embarrassed, no one would think any less of you for your psych ward stay, and the fact you say youre back at work is pretty admirable after what you've been through. These medications are massively powerful and they effect us all in different ways. Dont beat your self up for "not coping better" coming off psych drugs can do strange things to how we think and feel and its tough getting off or changing meds. Many here have been through similar journeys. I cant really comment on your current situation but hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge than me can help you out :-) For me personally, I have only ever taken Paxil and Ive had all kinds of strange thoughts and symptoms whilst on this medication. Its extremely difficult to know whats you and whats the medication after a while. Youve been on quite a few different drugs over the years and along with the ECT too your brain has gone through some changes. Its great though that you say you have improved in some areas, that shows that you are noticing some positive changes. Im sorry I cant offer better advice on your current situation but hopefully someone with s little more experience than me can! Are you able to exercise Gremar or do you have any hobbies that you enjoy? Really important to make time for yourself yourself whilst your brain is healing and to rest if and when you need it too. You have been through a lot. I have reduced my Paxil dose by half and I go through windows and waves. Some days I feel despair and hopeless, other days the sunshines and I feel calm and happy. From what I have learned on this site its important to withdraw from SSRI's really really slowly because your brain and nervous system need time to adjust to the changes. Alot of these drugs we take are massively powerful and the side effects are not always properly understood by those who prescribe them. Hope you get some answers soon and keep posting so we know how you're doing! :-) pink.

2002 started 20mg Seroxat for anxiety. Attempted 1st withdrawal in Autumn of 2006. Went to 0 in around a month-hell. Massive crash. Reinstated.

 

May 2013 started 10% taper with liquid seroxat as follows:

May 2013- 18mg                Aug 2015- 7.7mg           Jan 2017- 3.2mg

July 2013- 16.2mg             Oct 2015 -7mg               (This is where it gets a bit hazy..

Aug 2013- 14.6mg             Nov 2015- 6.4mg            I continued to do a slow wean but

Oct 2013- 13.2mg              Jan 2016- 5.6mg            didn't keep records of all my further

Jan 2014- 11.8mg              Mar 2016- 5.2mg           reductions, have filled in what I remember)

March 2014-10.6mg          May 2016- 4.6mg          Aug 2018- 0.8mg

May 2014- 9.6mg               July 2016- 4.2mg          June 2019- 0mg

Dec 2014-8.6mg                 Nov 2016- 3.6mg         

 

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Hi GreMar and welcome

 

You have nothing to be embarrassed about. You did what you thought was best at the time. I'm not knowledgeable enough to advise you about medications just wanted to say hi and welcome. I feel the same way you do - very scared, confused and trying to figure out what the hell is going on and why. I'm here if you ever need to chat. Much luck with your recovery whatever you decide to do next.

I suffer from depression, anxiety, pure-o ocd, and panic attacks since 2004. Been on multiple different psychiatric drugs since 2006. Never had a significant WD problem before, only brain zaps for a month and then I'd be fine...............Been on Cipralex (escitalopram) 15 mg and Fluanxol (flupentixol) 1 mg since Sep 2014. Stopped taking the Cipralex after a fast 20-day taper.Took the last 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 5th, 2015. Then took Seroxat (paroxetine) 10 mg for a week, and stopped it too. Severe WD started suddenly on Feb 16th. RI 5 mg Cipralex on Feb 18th, 2015. RI worked and was relatively stable for a while................April 7 - decreased Fluanxol from 1 mg to 0.5 mg and took it at this dose for a week. - BIG MISTAKE; April 13 - WD starts creeping in; April 14 - RI full dose of Fluanxol 1 mg => severe muscle twitching and jerking when trying to relax and fall asleep, overwhelming sense of doom, dread, terror, and horror, insomnia, hoping to stabilize.
Tried doing a 10% cut off Fluanxol in the end of May for a few days, but quickly updosed to full dose because the twitching returned.
Experiencing waves and windows in the following months.
Unsuccessful brief taper attempt of Fluanxol by 5% on November 1st. Symptoms hit the next day. Too scared to continue tapering, reinstate full dose.
Severe crash in November after stupidly trying a barbiturate on November 9th. Grave mistake. Sense of unshakable inescapable internal torture, like my soul is in hell being tortured, terror/horror/dread/doom (probably akathisia?) that gets especially bad when trying to relax and fall asleep, muscles twitch, jerk and move on their own, shaking, insomnia, can't eat, confusion, disorientation, brain not working normally. Never felt so bad in my entire life. Never experiment with other meds while in WD! Praying to God I stabilize and get back to my baseline.
December - things getting even worse.

January - unbearable suffering

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  • Administrator

Welcome, GreMar.

 

It's very possible your nervous system is doing better now that it's being left alone to stabilize. The nervous system does best in conditions of stability. If I were you, I'd let it heal for a while and then consider tapering -- see Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

When you feel confident you want to start lowering your Zoloft dosage, you can go very slowly, see Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

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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Thanks all. 

 

I am exercising 25 minutes on the treadmill every day and a 15 minute walk. It sometimes makes me feel better. 

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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  • Administrator

Yes, that kind of exercise helps the nervous system fix itself.

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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Hi GreMar, Welcome to SA and I know how you feel. It certainly does feel like a huge roller-coaster doesn't it. Many people here have suffered the way you have, so there is no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. We know how you feel. I have also been hospitalised, though I've never had ECT myself and for that I am thankful because I have seen it adversely affect many people while I was in hospital, they would feel more depressed. I wish I could say something that would make you feel better, even a little bit. I hope you are feeling okay. Be kind to yourself :) .

All medications::

Xanax (1995-96), Aropax (1995-96), Mellaril (1997-2000), Efexor (1997-2002), Seroquel (2000-now), Lithium Carbonate (2000-now), Avanza (2002-05), Epilim (2005), Seroquel-XR (2000-now), Zyprexa (2002-14), Raberprazole (2000-now prn), Crestor (2009-15), Gabapentin (2009-12), Lamictal (2010-now), Abilify (2011-now) Lyrica (2012-now), Diazepam (2010-now prn), Saphris (2014), Respiridone (2014), Chlorpromazine (2014) Neulatil (07/2016)

 

Current medications:

Lithium Carbonate 750mg; Seroquel-XR 600mg800mg 04/16, 600mg 04/16, 400mg 04/16, 200mg 04/16, 400mg 04/16, 500mg 04/16; Lamictal 250mg 200mg150mg 04/16; Lyrica 300mg; Abilify 20mg 30mg 11/15 Zoloft 25mg 04/16 ceased after a week due to severe suicidal thoughts; Seroquel 25mg prn; Diazepam 40mg CT Jan 2013, 5mg occasionally, (massive med changes in April 2016 due to a hospital admission).

 

SupplementsFish oil 4000mgMagnesium 100mg Niacinamide 1000mgSlippery Elm 800mg , B12 1000mcg, Zinc 50mg, B6 100mg, Vitamin D 2000IU, Calcium 1200mgP5P 100mg, Vitamin C 2000mg, Vitamin E 400IU

 

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Welcome GreMar

Seems to me there are a few different drugs at this point

Zoloft Wellbutrin and Seroquel 

 

I am not sure Alto noticed this and wonder if she would have any further thoughts.  I always find we are so hard on ourselves even when we are drugged and or ill we are hard on ourselves for making a certain choice.  Please be kind to yourself. I do not have knowledge in this but I know wd reactions and start up reactions... there is a lot of playing with you meds just now and all of it can be adding to the distress.  I guess the hope is to reach a certain combo that works. 

 

I think there are more people on the benzo board as it is more well known I think a lot of people have serious trouble with ssri snri drugs we are just seemingly silent a few of us have been trying to change that but it is very slow progress. 

 

I wish you peace

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome, GreMar,

Its good you are starting to stabilize now and are able to continue working. Is it correct that you are currently taking

Zoloft 150mg

Seroquel 100mg

Wellbutrin ?

 

If this is right, please would you add the Wellbutrin to your signature, and the dates when these were added, it makes it easier to understand your situation and offer advice.

 

When do you take the Seroquel?

 

Because you are slowly starting to feel better, if I were you, I would not make any more medication changes, but give your nervous system a chance to settle down and stabilize from all the upheaval its been through.  Recovery happens best in an environment of stability. It may take several months before you feel well enough to start another taper, maybe even longer.

 

If your eventual goal is to get off all medications, it might be best to start your taper with the wellbutrin, as that tends to be the most activating. But it sounds like your doctor wants you to stay on wellbutrin and seroquel, perhaps you could clarify what your goals are from here.

 

If you taper off wellbutrin, that will also need to be tapered carefully.

 

See:   Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin

 

After reading through your first post again I wanted to comment on this:

 

 

I also simply can not understand why this is so bad for me, why I'm so sensitive, why I haven't learned to cope better after benzo withdrawals.

 

After a difficult withdrawal, even when symptoms have subsided, in some people, the nervous system can remain sensitive to stress, drugs, drug changes or anything overly arousing for several more years. You probably weren't ready to begin tapering off Paxil, and then when you did start, you tapered much too fast. Then you were faced with the stress from your mom's illness, it was probably all too much for your still recovering nervous system.

 

Reading through this topic will explain more:

 

The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

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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  • 4 months later...

Hi,

 

Sorry I haven't been on this board since my first post but I have trouble being on these message boards because, while they often give me some sense that I'm not alone, they also make me focus even more on my situation and that just usually makes me feel worse. I also feel guilty because I don't have anything in the way of advice to give to others while at the same time I post to seek advice. Doesn't seem fair.

 

That said, a lot has changed since my initial post. After resisting for weeks to take a benzo to fight off the intense anxiety and inner akathesia that would make trying to get through a day of work nearly impossible, I relented and started taking ativan regularly - 3-4mg a day. In a few days, I noticed a HUGE change. I started to feel like myself again. And not just myself from before I got off Paxil, but as good as I'd felt in years. I started socializing a lot more, going out to concerts, out to eat, having fun with my kids. My wife said she saw aspects of me she hadn't seen since before I got off benzos to begin with. I figured I'd just live with this Faustian bargain to get back on benzos (after a brutal, brutal three year effort to get off). I stopped taking seroquel and wellbutrin and cut my 150 zoloft down to 100 mg and had no adverse reactions to that. 

 

Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks, I started to slowly descend again and things flared up again. The worst was the mornings, I was in an extreme bleak and anxious state - it felt so physical. As soon as I went from sleep to waking, it would kick in, not initiated by any thoughts. Some mornings I would nearly vomit from all the anxiety. I went to work, still, and things would ease up over the day. I was still not feeling good, but I was also not as internally anxious as I was before getting back on benzos. My state fluctuated a lot and I found that there were times where I felt good and that I could "fake" being myself at work. But I didn't return to the stable state I was in before. The worst for me is the "neuroemotions" - simple basic thoughts could nearly paralyze me with fear - completely irrationally. Thinking of any small thing I had to remember to do, would fill me with dread. Whenever I'd think about my situation in a broad sense or think about my hospitalization, I would experience completely disproportionate anxiety and dread and hopelessness. But if I could focus on the task at hand or what I had to do in the moment, I was better. This roller coaster went on through the summer and I had some genuinely good times and some genuinely awful times.

 

My wife and I decided to still stick with the same meds and hope my brain would stabilize over time. But I worried that the benzos had 'turned on me'. My appointments with my psychiatrist had her recommend increasing my benzo dose if I felt I needed it and recommending therapy as something I pretty much have to do since, she said, there is little more psychiatry could do for me. Honest enough. But it also implied she felt my issues were psychological in nature. Which I know isn't true. The external reality of my life hasn't been better - my job is great, love my kids, have great friends, etc. I have much less stress than I did a long time ago when I started taking the medication. 

 

Anyway, she also recommended I switch from ativan to klonopin to help with the morning anxiety in particular. Well...here we go again, after about a week or so, I started again feeling much, much better and "normal." Sadly, though, this only lasted a week or so and then I crashed again and for the past three weeks, I've been really hurting. Depressed, anxious, neuroemotions, heavy legs, head pressure and feelings of hopelessness. There have been fewer "breaks" in the past three weeks than there was the first time I re-crashed. My morning anxiety isn't as bad - I just feel a sense of dread but it's not as internally anxious as before. I have not missed a day of work this whole time. And I've been able to still "fake it" where no one can tell what I'm going through internally. I haven't tried changing much - some days I do take 4mg of klonopin instead of 3, but we're still clinging to the idea that not changing my regimen will eventually allow my brain to re-stabilize. 

 

Does this make any sense to anyone? Is this more SSRI withdrawal. I had been taking Paxil for 15 years before I tapered too quickly and feel into a deep depressed state where I was hospitalized and given ECT. I had gotten back on Paxil before my hospitalization but, if anything, I got worse. For a month in the hospital, I was weaned off SSRI and put on Remeron to no effect. My transfer to Spokane for ECT resulted in the doctors giving me Zoloft instead and that didn't seem to help. I just don't know if what I'm going through is related to SSRI withdrawal (even though I haven't tapered much since I got back from the hospital) or my body "turning against me" by taking the benzos. I mean, I was off benzos for two years and it took my brain a long time to re-adapt. But, at the same time, there have been times when I've felt better than before I got off benzos. My hope had been that I would get off SSRIs entirely and just live with taking benzos for the rest of my life. But this back and forth crap makes me worry that I've done permanent damage to my brain by going back on benzos. 

 

Any ideas of theories of what might be going on and what I might try to do would be most welcome.

 

My therapist, who is one of the few professionals who actually believes this is a neurological problem caused by medication is sympathetic but also says he doesn't know what to do to help. We are going to try EMDR. 

 

Lastly, I would have to say that there is definitely a "time of day" aspect to how I feel - mornings are the worst and I have ups and downs through the day and evenings are way more relaxed. In the past few months, I have vacillated from complete normality to feeling completely mentally unstable. I feel powerless to change this and I'm too afraid to cut down on either the benzos or the Zoloft for fear it would take me to a point where I could not go to work. I literally can't stay home by myself, having the distraction of work helps keep my mind from delving into "big picture" thinking of my current state. I am trying to take things day by day and hoping things will change on its own from neuronal adaptations. 

 

I've been running 2 miles a day on the treadmill 5-7 days a week. I'm doing everything I can think of to help - I eat pretty well, take fish oil, vitamin d and magnesium. 

 

Sorry this is so long. 

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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  • Administrator

GreMar, please consider this: Depression is a side effect of benzos. Also, benzos often have a rebound effect when they wear off -- often, anxiety that is more intense than the original problem (in your case, way back when).

 

So your problems could still be due to the drugs, on top of a nervous system sensitized by going on and off drugs many times, plus ECT.

 

It really seems perhaps you are at the end of finding a solution with drugs, or by tweaking your cocktail.

 

Please discuss benzos here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/29-members-only-benzo-tapering-discussion/

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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I know everything about benzos there is. I cut 10% a month for a year and still went through horrible withdrawals, then I had to take a three month leave of absence after my last dose because I was so messed up. I was a member of benzo buddies, I had Bliss John's book, I read the research thoroughly. After two long years of recovering, I decided that getting off Paxil wouldn't be as hard and paid the price. Never in my benzo withdrawals was I hospitalized or was seriously suicidal. Only after Paxil withdrawal and then failed re-instatement did I get to that point. The hospitalization did nothing for me, the ECT did notthing for me. I came home more suicidal than I was when I went into the hospital. I forced myself to go to work because I know that if I stayed home, I would commit suicide. I could barely sit through a day of work and the inner akathesia was killing me I felt my choices were either suicide or try benzos again. And the benzos worked for a while. And even when I had set backs, I wasn't as acutely suicidal as I was when I got back from the hospital. I haven't missed a day of work. But I simply cannot go through another withdrawal without a period of stabilization. So I'm not about to quit the benzos until I can find some method of stabilization. I can't take time off work again (it would be my third time). If I quit,  I would be suicidal at home. I don't know what else the **** to do here. I am going day to day hoping that just keeping my regimen the same will allow my brain to stabilize. It isn't working but I don't know what else to do. Withdrawing from either drug at this state seems to be setting myself up for another traumatic withdrawal experience that I don't think I can endure. I will take severely limited functionality on a fricking drug combo than trying to withdraw again. Small cutting has not worked for me in the past. I have two kids on the autism spectrum who need me. I need to find a path to stabilization quickly. I have been hoping that the dips I experienced after the benzos was SSRI waves coming back at me, even though I haven't changed my zoloft dosage. 

 

I honestly don't know what to do. 

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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I was put on Imipramine for panic attacks. That's how it all started for me. I know now that if I'd just gone to a good therapist I could have dealt with the panic without medication. The later problems-which turn out to be much worse than the original (panic attacks) came about from "experts" trying to "fix" the problems-problems they created by trying to fix the original problem. All of your problems have been caused by going on and off many drugs too fast. It's all withdrawal. The time you went back to Ativan and stopped the antidepressants, you felt fine until the withdrawal from the dropped antidepressants started. Delayed withdrawal symptoms are common with antidepressants. You can feel "better than ever" for months and months before the withdrawal happens. I cold turkeyed Imipramine and felt great for 7 months before I hit a wall of withdrawal symptoms. You have to wait until you stabilize before you do anything else. Learning some simple mindfulness techniques will help a lot with your current withdrawal symptoms. Mindfullness, I'd say, reduced my suffering about 75% during my rough patches.

 

The reality is there's no quick fix for any of this-you must wait until things get better at their own pace. The good news is that they will eventually. You are not permanently damaged-just going through withdrawal, which means your nervous system is adjusting itself to functioning without the drugs you stopped taking along the way. Things always get better eventually. Mindfullness will help a great deal with this waiting period.

 

It's also important to understand that none of this is your fault-it's reasonable to trust Doctors-unfortunately, when it comes to psychiatric drugs-they just don't know what they are talking about-hence, this web site.

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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I just read this and was shaking my head the whole time as I can relate.  I am very very very upset that SSRIs and/or benzos are immediately given out for panic attacks.  My daughter was diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago and was told she had 1 year to live. So, of course I started having these huge panic attacks (heart palpations, the whole works and they come out of nowhere).  Anyway, I tried Zoloft for a week with a bad reaction.....the day I stopped I got extremely dizzy and NO dr told me it was because I stopped it cold turkey or because I stopped Xanax cold turkey (took it only 2 weeks).  These Drs think just because it was a short time your body would be fine.  SO, I was told the dizziness was anxiety and foolishly listened to them.....went through 2 months of H*ll trying 4 different SSRIs....I was out of my mind..they took me off cold turkey and even more H*ll broke lose.  I just entered into month 6 off and still feel like I'm dying everyday.  I can barely leave the house, I can't drive, I can't be alone, my husband has to work from the house.  I kick myself and say how did I go from function and happy to THIS.  I feel I have 7 different mental issues, plus weird physical sensations.  I can't handle ANY stress or my symptoms flare up 500x worse.  I was told I can take Xanax since I'm suffering so terribly, but I just know I need to stay away from it.  After reading your post I know I have to.  These idiot Drs have no idea what they are doing.  Once we take that first pill we are trapped in their system.  Even though I feel I need to crawl on the floor each day and pound it due to the internal agitation, I AM GOING TO MAKE IT.  And then I'm going to mental hospitals and yelling in their faces (I was in one for 3 days because I was so out of my mind).   I am so sorry that I cannot offer you any help, but if you do decide to go off, PLEASE taper.  Even going off cold turkey on the small amount and time I was on is the worst torture anyone can experience.  I feel like I am in benzo withdrawal.  Just know that it will take time but you will recover.  See if you can work from home or get on disability.  I wish you the best and please know you are not alone.

Dec 2014 I tried Zoloft 25mg for one week (adverse reaction - extreme anxiety and felt like I was on an amphetamine). Dr. said to quit cold turkey, so I not only quit Zoloft but also 2 weeks of Xanax .25mg -- extreme dizziness, hyperarousal and anxiety began! On Jan. 29, 2015 my psychiatrist put me on new stuff and this is how my next 2 months and 7 days looked like (I was having the same bad reactions to all of these):Effexor XR 37.5mg (3 days) - throwing up, heart palpations, night tremors/convulsions or something where whole body shakes for a second, Prozac 10mg (15 days), Prozac 20mg (7 days) - internal restlessness, electric current through body/brain (not zaps), agitation, intense fear and could no longer nap at this point (still can't today because of this), Lexapro 5mg (4 days) - same as Prozac, a horror show...extreme internal agitation, Lexapro 7.5mg (2 days), Lexapro 10mg (16 days), Zoloft 12.5mg (3 days)...she said try it again since my blood relative does well on it, Zoloft 25mg (7 days) - same as before and getting worse!! Zoloft 50mg (6 days), Zoloft 25mg (4 days and then came off cold turkey on April 8, 2015). I used Xanax .25mg about 7 times per month through all of this until June 30, 2015 (my last benzo dose). Extreme anxiety, nervous system traumatized, mental akathisia, anger triggered by nothing but the brain totally going off on its own, feeling of a pressurized electric current going through me like my brain and body are trying to explode, stress reaction x10000 to everything, waking in terror lasting all day, fear, very sensitive, brain can't keep up, don't know what to do with myself, feeling like everything is going too fast and I can't keep up, helium head, deep depression like something is ripping out my soul, out of my mind, can hardly drive or be alone, cognitive issues, simple tasks are so complex and straining, feel disturbed because the brain can't process anything right even though your brain tries so hard and it makes you go mad, episodes of deep anguish with a sick toxic poison feeling (like you have some unknown virus).

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  • 7 months later...

Hi,

 

After having lots of instability for several months, including solid periods of feeling normal followed by very difficult periods of excessive distress, I have for the past three months made no changes. I made that decision because I attributed the expiramentations of dosage/drug changes to the severe sudden onset (waves) of symptoms. I was taking 100mg of Zoloft and tried at first to just taper off that and then thought to switch over to prozac but both times I went back to my original dose after hitting difficult waves. I would say, though, that it wasn't clear to me that the changes were the cause of the waves. In fact, many times, I improved while in the process of making a change and then would hit a wave again. So, my wife and I decided to try to isolate all potential external factors and just commit to one dose for a period of time. It seemed to work during February, after a couple weeks of struggling, I very quickly started feeling better - back to normal. I thought I'd give my brain this stability for six months or so before starting to taper. But only after a month, I started getting hit with another wave of symptoms (excessive neuroemotions, inability to think about anything in the future without feeling immediate stress regardless of what it is I'm thinking about). I thought it would start to lessen after a couple of weeks but it's been a month in a half and there's been no significant change. My waves used to be filled with acute periods of hyper-reactivity to external stimuli, followed by it's departure, In particular, it would be most intense in the morning and I'd feel significantly better by the evening. This isn't happening now. Each day that's gone on, I've wondered if I should make a cut, but I'm worried it would make me even worse. 

 

All of this instability started over a year ago when I got off of Paxil (after 15 years). I got on zoloft in April while hospitalized. I don't know if the experiences I'm having now are windows and waves from Paxil withdrawal or if the zoloft is contributing/aggravating symptoms or keeping the worst most acute symptoms at bay (I haven't missed a day of work since I got back from the hospital and have found a way to keep going even during the worst of times). I'm still taking 3mg of ativan a day and I don't plan on changing that until I can get off the SSRIs.But I don't know if I should start cutting this Zoloft now or wait for more stability. 

 

For more background (if interested), RxIsk ran a couple of stories I wrote about my situation: http://rxisk.org/gregs-dilemma/

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi GreMar,

 

I can't know for sure, of course, but I imagine that given what your nervous system has been through, it is trying desperately to destabilize. It seems like a cut right now could further destabilize. It's certainly understandable to want to come off faster though--, but that could make things trickier. 

 

We have similar stories -- I was on Paxil for 18 years; now down to 1.1 mg and also 100 mg Zoloft. 

 

2020: After 18+ years (entire adult life) on Paxil, a dangerous doctor-led "taper" in 2015, and four years tapering off the last 1 mg thanks to SA and the Brassmonkey slide, 

I AM COMPLETELY FREE OF PAXIL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Forever.

 

2021: Began conservative, proper, CNS-respecting taper of Zoloft, led by the only expert on me -- me. Making own liquid. 5-10% plus holds.

2022: Holding on Zoloft for now. Current dose 47 mg. Hanging in, hanging on. Severe protracted PAWS, windows and waves. While I may not be doing "a lot" by outside standards, things are graaaaadually getting better

 

Yoga (gentle to medium); walks; daily breath practice; nutrition, fruits/veg; nature; water; EastEnders (lol); practicing self-compassion, self-care; boundaries; connection; allowing feelings; t r u s t ing that I, too, will heal. (--> may need to be reminded of this.)

"You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story." - Baylissa

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  • Administrator

GreMar, I moved your post here, to update your Intro topic, which is a sort of case history.

 

Yes, you can continue to get waves for quite a while, even when keeping the drugs stable. As SkyBlue noted, this is your nervous system re-stabilizing.

 

What is your current drug dosage?

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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Thanks all - it's hard when it's just day after day after day. I had more variety it seemed earlier. My current dosage of SSRIs is 100mg of Zoloft. I'm taking 2mg ativan in the day and 1mg of Klonopin at night (I sleep better w/Klonopin). 

 

Alto - I sent you a PM earlier that you can disregard- I thought my post had been deleted. Thanks. 

 

PS - I've been a quiet follower and reader of your posts and commentary on this subject and really respect the integrity you put into this! :)

Paxil CR 25 mg - 1999-2014

Xanax 1.5 mg 2005-2011, too rapid of a taper

2012-2013 Valium 10mg - 10% cut a month, brutal, horrible withdrawal

Tapered 5mg a week off of 25 mg of Paxil in late 2014, gradually got worse, too much stress at home, went back on but it didn't work. Seemed t make me worse.

Became deeply depressed and suicidal, wife took me to ER and was admitted in inpatient psych unit. There a week, released, relapsed, went back to hospital. No improvement, tried Remeron, didn't work.

Went to Spokane for ECT, had 12 treatments, didn't work. Was put on 150 mg of Zoloft in beginning of March, 2015.

Currently taking 100mg Zoloft and 3-4mg Klonopin.

 

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  • Administrator

Thank you, GreMar.

 

Please keep notes on paper of your daily symptom pattern, your drug dosages, and when you take your drugs. This is to see if perhaps your symptoms might be related to the drugs, the Klonopin in particular. You can get side effects from benzos that resemble withdrawal symptoms.

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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