More on the withdrawal process and my current recovery

I’ve been reading over my blog today. I don’t do that too often. It’s a strange thing to see what came out of my head at any given time and I often cringe at how I expressed myself or when I see occasional glaring typos. I’m learning more and more to accept my flawed, imperfect writing and even find some appreciation and sometimes even inspiration in it!! I think this comes from reading so many others people’s stories and also, especially, reading peoples warm, accepting and even loving comments in response to it. It all breeds self-acceptance.

As I was reading comments today I noticed how often I don’t respond directly to individuals. I just want you all to know that I value all the comments and often times I don’t respond to even some of the comments that offer me great solace. Know that you do not go unnoticed. I simply am not always up to writing. Writing does not alway come naturally to me.

This blog is a mystery to me. How is it that I’ve written so much in the last 5 months? It’s been years since I could write anything. Every post is a mystery. Every time I am inspired to write a few words a small miracle is occurring. So often I just don’t have anything to say. I need a miracle for that to happen. Granted the miracle is happening with great frequency of late but I can not turn it off an on at will. And that includes when I leave comments on other blogs. There are some wonderful threads of which the content moves me and yet nothing comes. So I go in fits and starts and am happy that anything comes at all.

I’ve had a couple of good weeks now, following the worst period of my withdrawal so far. I’ve recovered from the Lamictal withdrawal.

I got myself prepared to start a Klonopin water titration and then for some reason I don’t clearly remember I decided to cut down the Risperdal instead. I suppose it’s because I had decided I would do the Klonopin because I thought it was probably what was making me feel so debilitated. But I came back. I’m relatively okay now. I, of course, still have great fatigue–I’ve had that since I started my withdrawal, but I’m doing normal things again. I spent a few days with a visiting friend. I’ve hiked, I run errands, and yesterday a family who are friends of ours all came over for a barbecue. We had completely stopped entertaining–it’s been months–because I simply could not be confident that I could be appropriately social. I’m okay in other words and Klonopin doesn’t seem to be the issue after all. The issue seemed to be the Lamictal withdrawal.

So I tapered the Risperdal again about a week ago. I had three bad days. So now I’m going to start a Risperdal water titration so I can avoid the bad days. I simply can’t cut the pills in small enough increments anymore. The reason I’ve returned to Risperdal instead of Klonopin is because I’ve been tapering it for 3 years. It’s a known quantity. I don’t suffer terribly. And I want to get it out of my system because it raises prolactin levels which in turn exacerbates PMS.

I’ll do the Klonopin next. I’m hoping to be off the Risperdal by years end. I have 1 1/8 mg to go–I started at 11 mg. With a slow and steady water titration I think I’ll manage by the end of the year. Then my hope is to do the 3 mg of Klonopin by the end of the 2008. It would be great if it went faster and it might. People have radical variance in how quickly they get off benzos. I’ve heard of people barely having any difficulty at all. I’ve, unfortunately, heard of many more who have a nightmare of a time. It can take a year to get off just 1 mg of Klonopin and I have 3 mg to get off of. My source of information, though, are the benzo boards where I think the most desperate are the people who post the most frequently. Those people who have a easy time simply don’t feel the need to share. In the Ashton manual it says 10 -30% of people have protracted problems. I pray I am not one of those and there is not reason to expect the worst, though I do need to be psychologically prepared for the possibility.

Lastly I will go off the final 200 mg of Lamictal I’m on. I will do that much more slowly than I did these first 200 mg of late. I don’t want to go through that hellish fatigue again. So perhaps if things go as planned I will be off my cocktail by the middle of 2009. Hooray and (at the same time) shit that seems like a fucking long time.

I’ve talked to some people recently who came of meds with almost no problems at all in very brief periods of time. Most of the people who have these easy experiences have not been on meds as long as I have, but one woman came off of 1 mg of Klonopin, which she had taken for ten years in a couple of weeks. It just makes my mind boggle. And it makes me angry. Not at the people who have it easy. I’m happy for them.

I’m angry because it is these people who have a piece of a cake of a time of it that stick in the psychiatrists mind and so they simply think you’re sick and need your drugs if you can’t come off in a week or two. That is a tragedy. Many more people are like me and need to take years–especially if they’ve been on meds for years. And even if only on one drug it often takes months instead of weeks. What a shame doctors don’t know this. So many people are trapped on drugs unnecessarily and completely ignorant as to what it takes to get off of them successfully.

13 thoughts on “More on the withdrawal process and my current recovery

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    1. I’ve heard it happen with seroquel because seroquel has anti-histamine properties…maybe geodon does too…do a google search with geodon and antihistamine….

      if so…I know someone who took tiny crumbs of seroquel for months until the itching went away.

  1. Hi Katie,
    I didn’t have any other symptoms, but I’ve also ended up having chronic fatigue. It seems that the withdrawals in general triggered chronic fatigue syndrome in me and that is not likely to happen to most people. I have a history of mono and I have the epstein barr virus, so while I have heard fatigue is a symptom for other people as well–it passes in a few weeks.

    As far as other symptoms go, I’ve heard that moodiness and teariness and irritability can be symptoms for some people and they all tend to pass after a slow and careful withdrawal.

    good luck!

  2. What were the symptoms of Lamictal withdrawal other than fatigue? And how long did they last? I’m working my way down from 200 mg (it’s taken me four months to get to 100, I’m aiming to be off totally by March).

  3. “I’ve hiked, I run errands, and yesterday a family who are friends of ours all came over for a barbecue. “
    I have been meaning to reply to this–that this is GREAT news! You must remember these days, always stop and look at how far you have come on the removal of meds, just since we all have been reading your blog.
    I was really happy for you when I read that.
    I also want to thank you for keeping an eye on me when I send out the call “I’m in withdrawals!”
    I appreciate it much, and trust me there will be no repeat of that Seroquel stuff. Unless I was swept off my feet to Paris or something.
    Thanks Gianna.

  4. Dear HSP,
    I’m so glad you stood your ground and avoided taking additional benzos. Each time we do that we become stronger.

    I’ve had occasional acute anxiety attacks since I’ve started my withdrawals. I sit through them, knowing they will pass. There’ve been times when I can barely wait until evening so I can take the remaining meds I’m on so that my symptoms will pass and I can go to bed. These events happen less and less frequently. By believing I can get on without meds I seem to not have as much need for them. We all suffer sometimes and reaching for a med is not the answer.

    Knowing that pain is part of life has really set me free.

  5. Hi there, Gianna,

    You sound wonderful. Really, you seem to have a very good understanding of what works for you.

    I’m still plugging away on the Valium taper. Things were not too, too bad during this last mg, until Saturday, that is. I experienced a huge panic attack. It’s funny. I know panic attacks can be exacerbated during benzo withdrawal, but I had such a bad one I thought I’d never return.

    Of course, I have. It’s taken me about two days to get a grip again. I came very close to reinstating the benzos.

    Thank god, I didn’t! For a time, I even thought I needed something stronger.

    Recovering from psychotropic medication poisoning is anything but linear, anything but easy.

    We can do it. We are doing it! Like Memory Artist wrote, we are most definitely pioneering the landscape!

    You’re doing so well!

  6. Christin!
    good for you too! a fellow traveler. I love “meeting” all of you. I’ve been on 7 meds at the height of it all too. Effexor is difficult. If you want to know details on how I did that drug let me know. (It involves counting pellets) You can probably figure that out yourself I imagine!

    It is indeed exasperating but it gets exciting from time to time too.

    Please stay in touch!

  7. Good for you! It is a process for me as well. I have been trying to go off Effexor for the the last 4 years. I’m on 2 meds right now down from 7. Effexor and Lamictal. I am concentrating on the Effexor right now and will probably wait another year to go off lamictal. It’s so exasperating.

  8. Mary,
    I answered your question on the other comment you left. Please join the groups I suggested you join. You can get through this and the suffering does end. You do have to take care of yourself however and you can get help doing that in the support groups.

  9. this withdrawal from Lamictal has been anightmare!
    Can anyone tell me how much more I will Have to suffer? my last decrease was 2.1.1907 T he fatigue is destroying my life. Is there any vitamins jor nutrients to naturaly detox the body of this garbage

  10. That is such an important point about the doctors thinking that people who have withdrawal effects are actually showing a need for the meds. They are so ignorant to the problem of withdrawal, because they get taught that patients need to be permanently medicated, so no one ever goes off without going onto something else.

    This ignorance about withdrawal is part of the problem I had with the doctor when I went off meds, and had the itching problem leftover for a year and a half from the Seroquel withdrawal. My psychiatrist had no idea whether it was the effect of going off of it after being on a such a high dose for several years.It did make sense, because of how powerfully it blocks histamine….(so what effect might releasing that flood of histamine back into the system have?) I couldn’t find anything on line about it even after searching extensively. He said he’d never heard of anyone having that problem.I said,”Well, how many patients go off of it without taking another similar drug? or without taking any drugs at all for that matter?” I don’t know if he got the point.

    What was amazing is how taking a tiny little crumb of seroquel (less than 1/4 of a 25mg tablet) would keep the itching away for exactly 48 hours- like clockwork.So, I had to go back to doing that every two nights for a year and a half after months of unbearable constant itching on every surface of my body- even my scalp and the palms of my hands.Eventually, I used it less frequently until the itching no longer occurred without it.The point is: Yes, these doctors know NOTHING about psych med withdrawal. They just want to scare people into taking it again when “symptoms” emerge during withdrawal, scaring people with warnings of potential brain-damage for not taking them.If anything, the drugs themselves cause temporary and often permanent damage.

    This withdrawal from psych meds, particularly after the dosages and years that we’ve spent on them is nearly unheard of in the mainstream and always regarded with fear and suspicion. This is a new frontier. We are pioneering this landscape.

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