Coming off meds: Part 1,234,031

Unfortunately an adverse effect of Lamictal that I thought was gone forever after I got below 150 mg in my withdrawal has returned. The horrible nausea is back. I don’t get it. It’s the same nausea, but it left me for about 2 months. I seem to have gotten sensitive once again to the remaining 125 mg of Lamictal in my system. For many years I’ve had bouts of nausea that kept me home from work and then once starting to take the Lamictal all at night I awoke at night for years with awful nausea about 50% of the time. Those days are back. I was so happy when it remitted a couple of months ago but it seems my body has adjusted to the new level in my blood and is again reacting with toxicity.

I can’t continue my withdrawals because I am not sleeping so I can only deal with the nausea as I did for so many years. It’s also been 2 months of essentially really crappy sleep. I’ve gotten a full nights sleep here and there, but now it’s been at least a week and, like I said, the better part of 2 months.

This lack of sleep leaves me drained and even more fatigued than the withdrawals/chronic fatigue already had me. It’s hard to be inspired to keep up the blog. I’ve determined that I will recover from this setback and then resume withdrawal much more slowly. And by that I mean tapers of less than 10% of current dose. I mean tapers of 3 – 5 %. I’m tired of suffering. And I won’t resume the tapering until I feel good for a while. Well, relatively good anyway. “Good” is absolutely a relative concept at this point. I’m often in bed all day—but due to physical symptoms—nausea, dizziness, weakness etc. It’s frightening. At this point I’m seeing the taper could go on for a few more years. I’ve been at it for four years. But with the 10% rule the tapers are ever smaller and smaller—so even though I’m off well more than 50% of my meds it may take an equal amount of time to finish it off. I’m determined to be able to start making commitments again and not be so debilitated—so the only option is to slow down to a snails pace.

I’ve done two experiments. In order to see if any of my supplements were causing adverse effects. First I went off all of my supplements except my amino acids which I believed were helping me sleep. Nothing was bothering me except a high dose of B-6 which caused mild stimulation. So then after that I cut out all my amino acids. I slept worse. So I know that my supplements are causing no problems and at least helping to some degree. It seems the withdrawals are what is at issue, plain and simple.

I’m angry and sick and tired of all psychiatrists and doctors — conventional, natural, holistic or orthomolecular. Virtually every doctor I’ve seen have had such huge ego involvement that when their suggestions haven’t worked they’ve had the gall to blame me for my problems. That somehow I wasn’t following their directions just right. That’s infuriating as I am the most “compliant” alternative medicine patient you can imagine. I feel I’m on my own now. I always have been I realize, but it’s good to come to terms with understanding my care is truly in my hands.

I have to say here as an aside, people who choose similar alternative means of care as I have, don’t in general have these same problems because they haven’t had to go through such an extensive and frankly, dangerous withdrawal process. These solutions do work for many many people. It’s the complicated withdrawal that is making my situation, well, so complicated.

I am seeing one more Integrative Psychiatric PA. I’m seeing him only because I want a Lyme disease test done. Just to rule it out. The extreme fatigue accompanied with some psychiatric symptoms can be associated with Lyme and I’ve lived in tic infested areas my whole life. I exhibit at least half of the possible symptoms of Lyme. It’s been suggested a number of times that I get it checked out.

I also intend to utilize this doctor as someone to knock my ideas up against. I asked the receptionist if he would be open to this. I explained I had it with looking to find answers from doctors, but that I needed a partner to occasionally draw blood or ask about specific dosage amounts of supplements, etc. She said he is willing to work that way. I’ve been to this practice before and was less than enthused with the care I got, but I’ve not met this man yet and I also put myself at their mercy in the past which I refuse to ever do again with any doctor. For now I’ll just get my Lyme work up and continue on.

I still, of course, still have my conventional doctor who prescribes the meds I’m tapering and as they say in the south, “bless his heart,” he trusts me and believes in my self-determination. He is the most generous and egoless doctor I’ve had—and yes he is a conventional psychiatrist. He is an exception to all the psych docs I’ve ever seen in my life.

Eventually I hope to be so exhausted I simply can’t help but fall asleep good and hard night after night.

50 thoughts on “Coming off meds: Part 1,234,031

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  1. for my thumbnail you have to be a member of wordpress and you can upload a picture from anywhere…you know you could become a wordpress member…just sign up to have and account…then you could have a picture..

  2. Yah, I am steeling myself for the withdrawals. I have been through some really nasty ones with these psych meds but I don’t think this will be anywhere near as bad…hoping.

    So back to the thumbnail. Is that one of your own pictures and if so how do you do that? Is it an option when you change your email address?

  3. Hey Krystal,
    stopping prozac cold turkey might give you some nasty withdrawals…it’s the least likely SSRI to cause withdrawals because of it’s long half life, but if you start feeling sick just know you can cut it down slowly and not feel sick.

    the thumbnail is determined by email address…unless you change your email address you get the same monster…

  4. I think you are right about the misdiagnoses Giannakali! My husband and I were just talking about that the other day. I was reading my book and thought…man a lot of these PTSD symptoms are bipolar symptoms.

    I think it is really hard to tell if someone is actually bipolar versus severe PTSD.

    I started really looking into it. They always say with bipolar there is a strong familial component. My mom was diagnosed, but only after I was. She knew how to answer the questions and what symptoms to present with since she had already seen me dealing with it for the first time.

    She is a major drama queen so even if she had nothing she would milk this to the bitter end. While I think she is bipolar she is also a sociopath so its kinda hard to sort through all that.

    I believe my brother is bipolar as well but he has self medicated with drugs and alcohol for so long its hard to really tell there either. So I took a long hard look at the fam (which is never fun) and remembered the way my mom was when she was younger and my brother and how much he changed in his late teens and then knowing myself and how I cycle I am pretty sure I got the right diagnosis.

    Ironically from what I was reading they treat the symptom’s of both PTSD and bipolar disorder with the same drugs so I guess it doesn’t matter really what the diagnosis is.

    SO BIG NEWS!!!! My doc just took me off Prozac…hopefully for good. I have come off Prozac before without a problem but this time around…coming off all these meds…I have had withdrawals from things that I found very odd so for now I am just crossing my fingers.

    Anyway we discontinued it today and I am excited and terrified…just like any new venture.

    I really enjoy talking with you guys!! Thanks for listening to me ramble on.

    Oh, and giannakali…how do you get your thumbnail to be something different?

  5. Krystal I know virtually nothing about homeopathy…

    I don’t believe I have PTSD—not full-blown in any case, but I’ve lived a lot of trauma…

    I do think that PTSD gets misdiagnosed as bipolar all the time though…

  6. I think one of you has mentioned homeopathic ways that might help this. Have you had any success?

    And as far as diagnoses go…I am definitely bipolar. I also have PTSD.

  7. Thanks for all of your input. I have to say I was much more functional (worked, went to school, had a social life) before I was diagnosed and put on a lovely drug cocktail.

    The book is called The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Source book by Glenn R. Schiraldi.

    Do you guys have PTSD?

  8. No, I haven’t…but it sure would be a rather odd coicidence…that’s kind of frightening.

    That’s cool about the Buddhist temple…seems even cooler, in some ways, that you can’t understand a word they are saying. Seems fitting since meditation is way beyond words anyway…How brave of you to go regardless of whether it’s in English or not.

    I’m glad you have a healthy distrust of authority and want to figure things out for yourself. I”m sure you will.

    What’s the PSTD book called?

  9. I will definitely check out those books. I read all the time.

    I know everyone says meditation, letting go and finding some peace with what is going on is so helpful but it is so difficult for me. Letting go is not in my natural personality. haha I’m a fighter and my initial reaction to anything is strategy and action.

    And this is a horrible trait but I hate being told what to do. I will go out of my way to not do what someone tells me to do even if I know it is ill-advised or harmful to myself. My dad is the exact same way…bad family tradition.

    I’m not saying you guys aren’t doing that at all!!! And I appreciate your input immensely. It is so nice to talk to someone who has been through this and knows what it is like!!!

    It’s just that when some idiot counselor or doctor that I have no respect for in the first place starts telling me what I need to do I will run in the absolute opposite direction. I have to figure out things for myself. That is how I have always been.

    I have started reading this book on PTSD that has really helped me. I am getting better about not reacting so harshly and instead evaluating options suggested to me to determine their merit instead of instantly dismissing them.

    I have recently started going to a Buddhist temple. Unfortunately I live in Oklahoma…the Bible belt…and while you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Baptist church Eastern religious worship is harder to find. The only one I can find is all in Vietnamese. So I really enjoy going there but I don’t understand a word of it. haha I have started trying to learn Vietnamese and luckily it has an English alphabet and such so I have gotten to where I can follow along with their prayers. Don’t understand them but can follow along. They have meditaion services in English and I am going to start attending those.

    I do have a “disease” related question. Ever since I have reached a “therapeutic” level of Lamictal I have had chronic bronchitis. They were treating it with antibiotics and it wasn’t working so they did blood tests and found out it is viral. My general practitioner thinks it may be something in the same line as mono. Something called cytomegalo virus (CMV).

    Among Lamictal’s possible side effects is bronchitis. I talked to my psych doc and he said while that is possible it is extremely rare and he doesn’t think that is what is causing the problem but he would do some more research on it before I meet with him next week.

    Have you guys ever heard of anything like this?

  10. Krystal,
    I, like Doe, don’t judge people for the paths they choose. That being said, most of the emphasis in our culture is on meds being essential and bottom line they don’t work for everyone. There are people who swear they saved their lives, but there are many people like us (Doe and I—I’m not including you as I know you need to figure this out) who find they exacerbate and make life much more complicated.

    I know the juncture in which you find yourself is very painful and it’s likely to take some time to work out. Just know others have gone before you and many of us recover in time even after having lived chaotic difficult lives for many years.

    We have to believe we can recover and we have to be active in our recovery but it can be done.

  11. PS. Here are two of my book recommendations for this type of point of view..very easy to read, very user friendly, and even humorous at times…

    1. The Fear Book, by Cheri Huber

    2. The Depression Book, by Cheri Huber

    Cheri Huber is a Buddhist monk who was diagnosed as bipolar early in her life, but never took meds for it…she met a monk in the monastery that helped her to work with her mood states.

    If you end up liking those and want more recommendations, I have plenty more!

  12. I second what Gianna says. My moods can fluctuate rapidly too…which is what caused me to be diagnosed as bipolar originally. Again, I think this was mostly caused by a cocktail of drugs coarsing through my system and my nervous system was freaked out.

    I also learned to handle these disturbing feelings with meditation and changing my relationship to them…rather than my former relationship which is “I must make this go away” panicking over these feelings…Like Gianna, I try and center myself, lean into, rather than away from, the feeling (with compassion), and also watching my thoughts, noticing them…but not be attached to them/involved. I pretend, sometimes, they are leaves on a stream, and I am watching them pass by, one by one…rather than getting caught up in white water turbulence.

    A major breakthrough with healing and handling drug withdrawal for me came when I no longer believed that my thoughts and feelings were me. In fact, everyone’s (bipolar or not) thoughts and feelings and physical energy is changing through the day…it’s just not as fast.

    However, having said that, I don’t pretend to know what you’re going through or how severe it is.

    I would just say don’t automatically believe everything you hear from doctors…question what is true for you.

    Diagnoses are kind of like bibles….people act as if the bible was produced by a bolt of lightening coming out of the sky, by God himself. But men wrote the bible, and they are as flawed as you and me. People act as if a diagnoses came from a bolt of lightening too…but human beings came up with these labels…and they are flawed and not perfect and don’t know everything…science isn’t always unbiased, they’ve found.

    Anyway…I just believe we all have to find for ourselves our own salvation/healing…I don’t really have any judgements on anyone’s path…If you find medication is the best way for you, than great…If not, that’s fine too.

    I really wish you well and hope that you find some peace…however fleeting it is. My peace is a very fleeting thing, but I guess the key thing is is that I’m okay with that.

  13. well, I don’t pathologize my mood and/or energy states so I wouldn’t label it the way you do. I don’t consider myself manic or depressed, but if I my experience was to be picked apart my a psychiatrist they might call me that.

    My energy fluctuates dramatically at times. And yes it can happen several times a day.

    I meditate when it feels uncomfortable and center myself that way. This is not easy but it heals people. Here are some examples.

    Diet and nutrition is another major theme of this blog and there are resources to get educated on how to help yourself that way to. I can help direct you if you are interested.

  14. Do you guys know anyone who has ultradian rapid cycling? I can cycle between mania and depression four or five times a day. My doctor (who really is good…I’ve had enough bad ones to finally know the difference) is trying what he can but says he has never seen anyone cycle so fast. Any thoughts?

  15. So I guess I’m probably not “fully functional” in the way that society defines it…but I think working 40 hours a week is pretty crazy for everyone…even if they have optimal brain chemistry. I think even if I were completely well, mentally, I would still want to work part time if I were able to swing it financially.

    Amen! Even at my best I never want to rejoin the rat race. Living sane in my mind means not living the way this society thinks we should…

  16. Yeah, I guess I should clarify…I’m not trying to get my meds straight, my goal is to be off of them, if possible. Like I said, I’m pretty happy to be able to be functional at 5 mgs prozac.

    I would say the most intense part of my flailing around being really screwed up on a bunch of different meds period lasted 9 years (from ages 29 to 38…and sometimes I still get wacky).

    But we are all different. I could go through another wacky couple of years the lower I try to go on the prozac.

    I am functional in that I can work part-time, and I am not in physical pain, I’m in a steady long-term relationship, and have many friends. I also write freelance articles, get paid for them, and play in a band. My boss thinks I’m great.

    Probably, if I were to attempt to work full time (at this point), I could not do it. Unless it were a job that I totally loved, and maybe not even then. I get worn out doing errands I think more so than the average person…sometimes don’t feel I can deal with getting groceries, etc. I get worn out from too much stimulation in general…need lots of still time.

    So I guess I’m probably not “fully functional” in the way that society defines it…but I think working 40 hours a week is pretty crazy for everyone…even if they have optimal brain chemistry. I think even if I were completely well, mentally, I would still want to work part time if I were able to swing it financially.

  17. I’ll pipe in here…Hi Krystal,
    what Doe says is very wise.

    I tried to get the meds right for about 16 years…never happened…no such thing for me…now I’ve been withdrawing for 4 years…not sure how much longer…but if we come to peace with our health being a journey that, yes, takes years, we feel much better with our lives…patience is difficult but key in all of this.

  18. Really…years? I have already been through about six of trying to get meds straight. From what you said…I am up for several more?

  19. Yeah, I got that bonus too, I guess…PMS being much much severe..50% of the month…

    I’m not sure what to say Krystal…I don’t have any answers for anyone…I just feel compassion for what you’re going through, and believe this all takes years…

    I wish I could just fast forward those years for you, so you didn’t have to be right smack dab in the really hard, painful, horrible part that feels so impossible…or I wish I could show you an image in a crystal ball of how much better it could be in a few years…

    but I know that hearing “years” sometimes isn’t much of a comfort…I remember when it wasn’t much of a comfort to me.

    Now it actually is a comfort for me to know it can happen in years, because I came to think it was impossible at all…so years is fine…as long as it can happen.

    I have also grown to think a lot more is possible when we can feel okay with that (with the fact that this may be a much longer process than we had hoped).

    But realistically, feeling okay with something, for me, usually means fighting against it tooth and nail…banging my head against the wall of reality, until I’ve exhausted myself into acceptance…

    How old are you, if you don’t mind asking? I’m going to be 40 in August.

  20. Oh…and as an added bonus because of something in the new meds I am taking I now have a severe form or PMS calld PMDD. I have NEVER had anything like this before. So for half the month I am either homicidal (just kidding I would never hurt someone else) or suicidal. Welcome to Wonderland.

    I told my doc I was going to come live with him and his wife while this is going on. He’ll figure out a cure very quickly then.

  21. Doe

    I will try to be brief also…good luck huh? haha

    I have had depression and suicidality since I was 13. I had an extremely traumatic and abusive life so I always thought that was the cause and I am still not convinced that what I experience isn’t at least partly PTSD and partly bipolar disorder.

    I didn’t like taking anything as a kid…not even allergy meds so I resisted my mother’s constant attempts to get me on an antidepressant. When I was 19 my depression go so bad it started interfering with work, school, social relationships etc…so I gave in and tried Prozac even though I didn’t think it would work. Within two days I was a totally different person…which all the doctors said it wasn’t possible for it to work that quickly and it must be placebo but since I didn’t expect it to work and was only taking it to prove my mother wrong I know it wasn’t a placebo effect.

    I never had a script for it…my mom would just give me some of hers so I was never monitored whatsoever.

    For the next six years I would go on and off Prozac at will when I was feeling better and I never had withdrawals from it. My depression became episodic so when it was bad I would take it and then go off it when I was better.

    I self medicated a lot. I never took drugs but I started drinking when I was 12. Like I said I had a bad life so everything that was going on I attributed to that.

    Looking back I can obviously see the ups and downs of bipolar disorder but I was young at the time and to everyone else I just appeared to be spontaneous. That was a lot of fun for my friends. It would be like two in the afternoon on a Wednesday and I would just decide it would be a really good idea if we all went to Dallas (I lived in Tulsa, OK at the time). So we would go. I was always the party girl and people were always happy to go along for the ride. I never let anyone see me when I was depressed so I would drop off the grid for weeks at a time but no one really thought anything about it because my behavior was rather erratic anyway.

    I crammed so much into my schedule because I was manic so much of the time that I never even had time to think…until I crashed.

    I knew there was something very wrong I just had no name to put to it. I knew when I was on the extreme highs that I would eventually crash into horrible depression if I didn’t do something to keep me stimulated.

    I finished my bachelor’s degree and was on my way to meds school when I had what I thought was my first major break down. Looking back I now know it wasn’t my first. It was just the first one I could identify. It was at that time I started having major social anxiety. I couldn’t even stand to go to the grocery store because there were way too many people around. I had to go on disability.

    I was finally diagnosed seven years ago at the age of 25. At the time I thought GREAT!!! I finally know what it is, there are meds, I can fight this. Oh the naivete of youth.

    So my first psychiatrist tried to kill me…inadvertently I’m sure. But after him almost overdosing me on Depakote and Klonopin I switched doctors.

    I thought I was so lucky because my new doc was from my hometown and had actually been my pediatrician. He went back and did a psych residency when he was bored as a GP and he became my new psychiatrist. Because of the history I completely trusted him. HUGE mistake. Like you said we have to be in charge of our own health care.

    Anyway, for the next four years he had me on seventeen meds. Yes, that was no type-o seventeen. I was never stable but I was so drugged you couldn’t tell. I slept about 14 hours a day. I didn’t know this was wrong and like I said I never doubted him.

    About 18 months ago I started having heart problems because of all the meds he had me on so he started switching me constantly. Would switch my atypical evey week and on and off different antidepressants too. Even put me on Effexor which I believe to be the most evil drug in the world. I was going through constant withdrawal but didn’t know that and he kept telling me it was all emotional and I wasn’t working hard enough in therapy. I love it when they blame the patient because their ego is too big to admit they either made or mistake or just don’t know.

    For four months I went through the most hellish anxiety I have ever even heard of. I threw up all the time, I couldn’t stay home because it freaked me out and I couldn’t be around people either. The only place I felt safe was in the car. So my husband would drive me around for hours every day just so I didn’t slit my wrists.

    I became completely suicidal to the point that my therapist insisted (as in I will call the Sheriff if you don’t go willingly) I go inpatient. I went to a place in Dallas and was absolutely terrified!!! My husband took six months off work with FMLA and was with me the whole time. He is the only reason I am still alive. When I went inpatient I had one maybe two days left before I killed myself. It just wasn’t worth hurting that much.

    Well, they of course just doped me up even more but did actually find meds to control the anxiety. I was in there for three weeks. I now have a whole new load of PTSD just from being there. Most of the people in there had criminal records and a majority had been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder.

    I came out and found a new psychiatrist who is actually a good guy and does try to help. But I am EXTREMELY sensitive to any med changes and go into withdrawals really easily. He didn’t listen or realize when I told him that at first so he just started crashing me off meds. I spent five months in withdrawal hell just trying to exist and counting the minutes until I could take my night meds and get a small reprieve.

    He finally figured out he was going way too fast and slowed things down so I am not in withdrawals now and he is much more cautious but there are still five meds I have to come off of. I am looking so forward to that. haha

    I rapid cycle…not over a matter of months…I go from mania to depression to mania to depression in one day. My doc is trying to find a way to get that under control but I have tried most of the drugs and psych drugs are just nasty. I’m not in a big hurry to put something new in my body that there is a good chance I am just going to have to withdraw off of in a few weeks.

    Basically I am very quickly running out of options.

    I am always suicidal. Not always to the point that I want to act on it but it never goes away. I feel like I am just taking up space. I am a very ambitious person so the limitations that i now face are just about unbearable.

    I’m a positive person but hope is slipping through my fingers very quickly. I learned that i couldn’t have children and the way it looks I will not get to finish my education or have the career I wanted. My days are spent cleaning house, watching tv, reading and surfing the net. Never what I imagined for myself.

    So that is my sob story. Sorry it is so long.

  22. Krystal…

    Thanks for your comment. I’m curious about your whole story as well…However, these stories get so long and convoluted, don’t they? My spans over so many years…let’s see if I can try for a brief version of some sort.

    I’ve probably always been extremely “sensitive”, especially socially…always felt like my emotions, because they were so strong and easily evoked, were “wrong” somehow, “not right”.

    Other people who operate more logically or don’t feel so deeply (often the people in power, the authority figures) would concur with that assessment.

    I think I eventually became a depressed person because of my so-called “over” sensitivity and because my natural emotional self was so shamed over the years, and I became to internalize all that criticism and do it to myself quite harshly. This will lead to depression. Because you “depress” your feelings.

    At any rate, when I was 23 years old, prozac came out and I thought it would be the answer to all my problems. Indeed, I responded robustly to it, did really well on it, was much less anxious and functioned better in society.

    My real problems with diagnoses and so forth came when I’d been on prozac for 6 or 7 years and it went generic and it stopped working for me.

    This happened to coincide with a new job that I was really excited about (but was also a very stressful situation) and being engaged (I ended up breaking off the engagement and relationship b/c of all the stress that ensued…and I basically changed into a different person that neither I or my finance’ recognized).

    I changed from being just a sleepy, depressed, gloomy sort of person to an agitated, anxious, pacing around kind of person. I felt like I could barely stand to be in my own skin. It was an anxiousness that I couldn’t contain…not at work or anywhere. I couldn’t sit still. I would go on 3 hour hikes and cry the whole time, planning my suicide.

    I had job and relationship problems as a result. I had never been suicidal before, even in my worst depressions, pre-medication.

    This led a psychiatrist to diagnose me as bipolar and put on a myriad of different drugs…mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and different antidepressants.

    I quit seeing that doctor when she suggested lithium. I never quite fully believed the bipolar diagnoses…I didn’t have it in the history of mania or bipolar..I’d just been depressed, that’s all. Never done anything crazy to land me in the hospital…just your average depressive.

    But I was feeling so agitated and suicidal and it was so unnerving and hard to tolerate, I didn’t know what else to do but be open to the fact that maybe this psychiatrist knew what they were talking about…I took the bipolar and antipsychotic meds for a few years…they never really helped me much, but one drug in particular (Topamax) made me EXTREMELY depressed and suicidal….it felt drug induced…but it took me awhile to realize that.

    Over a period of years, I quit all those bipolar meds and antipsychotics. It wasn’t terribly hard….in part b/c I was unemployed and also in part b/c I wasn’t educated about all this stuff…I don’t think I attributed my exhaustion, etc. to drug withdrawal, and somehow that made it easier for me…sometimes I think when you know too much you become hypervigilant about every little symptom and…I don’t know…for me, it was better to not really know…I can’t really explain why. Probably it had mostly to do that I wasn’t that “addicted” to those drugs….they never did much other than sedate me. My antidepressant was a different story.

    I’ve always “failed” at trying to get off my antidepressant…probably because I’ve been taking it for so long (17 years) and my body is so adjusted to it that it’s traumatic whenever I try and quit. It’s taken me years (and this is where being educated about drug withdrawal HAS helped me a great deal) to realize that I have to go way, way slow. Way slower than I ever would have dreamed of, and way slower than any doctor or stuff I would find on the internet or books would suggest. Even though I’ve been trying for so long, it’s only been in the past year that I ever heard the 5% to 10% rule about reduction…That has been helpful information for me.

    However, I’m down to 5 mgs of prozac, which is the only drug I take, and that’s pretty good. I’m not suffering physically. I am feeling socially anxious, but this is something I felt pre-medication…it’s why I basically started taking medication…so now I’m back to my “original self”, but trying to deal with my social anxiety in a different way. The medication didn’t cure it, it just masked it.

    It might take me 5 years to get off 5 mgs of prozac, as slow as I’m finding I have to go. I’m okay with that. It might never happen. I’m okay with that too. Happy about it?–no, not at all. But I can accept it.

    This obviously was NOT the brief answer! It’s hard to be brief with this stuff.

    But basically, I was never bipolar and that misdiagnoses really threw me off track for many years…and almost caused me to take my life a few times. All those years ago, I think I was just going through drug w/d, it was making me anxious, and I got diagnosed as bipolar and then I got WAY out of whack!

    If I would have known, at 23, that it would be so hard to get off this drug, I would have taken a different route, I think.

    Anyway, thanks again for your comment, and I’d love to hear your story too.

  23. To Doe:

    If you are still reading this…I just want to say that you just stated my exact feelings. I’m tired of doctors pretending to have all the answers and when their answers are wrong or their solutions don’t work it is somehow my fault. And I love when they say…well this must be emotional and you need to work harder in therapy.

    I had one doctor tell me in the same conversation that I obviously needed to work harder in therapy and then turn around five minutes later and say I was working too hard and putting myself in psychological danger by pushing too hard. I have heard better logic from my cocaine addicted brother.

    I feel like I am at an impasse. I have no idea where to go from here. I am not improving…at least not enough to be a functional human being…even though I comply with everything they tell me to do. The drugs aren’t working for me so they switch me and I just get to go through a constant cycle of withdrawals. I am beginning to feel like this can’t be the answer.

    How long have you been diagnosed and dealing with this?

  24. Yah, I know. I have to talk to my doctor. I meet with him this week. While the Lamictal hasn’t completely stabilized me I am better than when I started taking it. But my previous doctor had tried to kill me (inadvertantly and according to him completely not his fault) and I was just out of a psych ward. They had me so drugged up it would have been hard to do anything but improve.

    The major issue I have is that out of the blue I have PMDD. I have never even had PMS before!!! All of a sudden two weeks out of the month I am either extremely irritable and angry or suicidally depressed.

    I’m just tired. As I am sure every one else on here is.

    When I was diagnosed I was actually relieved. I could put a name to what was going on and thought…well now I can fight it. But it’s five years of this med and that med and suicidality and mania and severe anxiety and I am almost worse than when I started.

    And I swear I am going to rip the head off the next person who tells me to just think positive and all my problems will go away. hahahaha

  25. well, that doesn’t assure you won’t have withdrawals…but it makes it less likely—I’ve heard of people on it only a month or so who have withdrawals—but they are more common the longer one is on it…I was on it for 10 years…

    anyway…I don’t want to encourage you to withdraw either—that is by no means my place to do…

  26. Hey Krystal,
    400 mg is not unusual but it is on the high side. I was on 400 mg too. The most common dose is 200 mg for bipolar but the dosing ranges from 50 mg – 500 mg.

    I’m on 125 mg now…I’ve had horrible horrible time withdrawing from it and am on a break from all withdrawals.

    Some people report absolutely no problems withdrawing from Lamictal and others have very serious problems, myself included. So there is really no telling how you might respond to withdrawal.

    This is a post where people tell some of their horror stories…but again I’ve spoken to many people who report no difficulty at all:

    How long have you been on it? that would determine to some extent how difficult it might be too…

    good luck.

  27. I am on 400 mg of Lamictal. I have had experience coming off some of these other nasty meds. My doc has no plans of taking me off Lamictal. Is 400 mg standard…normal…frightening? When I got on it I thought I was relatively safe but now I am hearing horror stories about coming off it and wanted some input.

  28. Krystal,
    all these drugs can effect all body systems including the hormones. Some people have serious menstrual problems associated with Lamictal—usually heavy bleeding. It’s entirely possible that it is effecting your hormones premenstrually.

    I personally have always had PMS…but when I started Lamictal my periods had ceased as a result of high doses of Risperdal…so I just don’t know if Lamictal made me worse.

    I can tell you I’m almost off Risperdal and menstruating again and I’m still on 125 mg of Lamictal and I have worse PMS than ever…

    I actually hope that what you say is true for me and that when I get off the Lamictal the PMS will back down…

    good luck finding your answers.

  29. I have just recently reached a “therapeutic” dosage of Lamictal. I at the same time have started having EXTREME PMS something I have never in my life had before. Has anyone had any experience with the two being connected or know anything about it?

  30. Cheers everyone! I hope you all know I am always eternally grateful for all your comments!! I don’t always respond directly but they mean so much to me and I know they help others too…

  31. “I’m angry and sick and tired of all psychiatrists and doctors — conventional, natural, holistic or orthomolecular. Virtually every doctor I’ve seen have had such huge ego involvement that when their suggestions haven’t worked they’ve had the gall to blame me for my problems. That somehow I wasn’t following their directions just right. That’s infuriating as I am the most “compliant” alternative medicine patient you can imagine. I feel I’m on my own now. I always have been I realize, but it’s good to come to terms with understanding my care is truly in my hands.”

    My favorite part of the whole post…I think this is a very healthy attitude…sometimes it takes getting pissed off to get there! And I can certainly relate to it. I’m sick of them all too. And I’m done with giving them what little money I have for basically lame ass results. They can’t know how we feel inside our bodies, _we_ are in our bodies, and somewhere inside of ourselves, we know how to heal them. We can’t keep putting our salvation into the hands of others. It aint gonna happen…particularly people who ask for money. This, to me, feels like a spiritual journey…our bodies are connected to our spirits, in my opinion. The people who have helped me the most have never charged me anything. I think there may be something to that. I’m know sure what…but I think there may be 🙂

  32. An Easter Message –

    This is such a wonderful blog Gianna – you offer so much hope for so many – and it bring us together in such an important way – through true caring…..

    May each of you have a wonderful weekend – an Easter filled with peace – surrounded by the ones you love.

    The ones who love you back – unconditionally.


  33. Hang in there Gianna. During withdrawals, I witnessed some symptoms fade only to return full force in later months. Eventually everything balanced out and I lived a semi-functional life for awhile. I’m noticing that after the adrenal crash, I’m experiencing most of the old withdrawal symptoms and in the order that I experienced them back then! It’s crazy.
    But hang in there. These symptoms will pass.

  34. Gianna,
    you’re not alone. I know how easy it is to feel that way. And i know it’s just on a computer screen, but we’re here and we know what you’re going through.

  35. Good luck with the Lyme Disease.

    …it should be a priority to do whatever you can to find the Good Sleep, you know how essential that is. It took me a long time and more than a few tries to find a doctor who I could work with, so if you’ve got one hold onto him. I think the one thing you’ve got on your side, after a decent doctor and a strong will, is that there are no surprises left. You know what’s in front of you, and you know you can deal with it because you’ve been winning all the battles so far.

  36. Hi Gianna!

    I think you’re being very sensible, taking a deep breath and a long pause, before doing anything radical. The withdrawal must have traumatized your nerve pathways. They need time to adjust and de-sensitize. A return to stability could be some months away yet. There’s no rush though.

    It sounds like a good idea to rule out Lymes disease, but I would guess that your fatigue is entirely due to the neurological trauma of discontinuing and/or reducing the psych-toxins.

    I hope you find the source of that nausea, too. Perhaps it too is yet another withdrawal detox symptom. Whatever the reason, let’s hope it proves transient, very shortly.

    I don’t suppose it helps you physiologically, but you can be sure that every one of your avid readers is rooting for you, Gianna!


  37. “Dr Paul Fink, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, has acknowledged that Lyme disease can contribute to every psychiatric disorder in the Diagnostic Symptoms Manual IV (DSM-IV). This manual is used to diagnose psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), antisocial personality, panic attacks, anorexia nervosa, autism and Aspergers syndrome (a form of autism), to name a few. Lyme borreliosis causes, mimics, is manifested as, is misdiagnosed as, or is a contributing factor to many conditions.”

    Work in progress:

    Tracie Schissel is a wonderful Lyme Advocate if you have any questions or need any help… Lymefighters is her site…

  38. this is a tough road your going, but you’re not really alone. you have all of us. you are doing the best you can so i hope you just hang in there. sometimes we seem to loose some battles but it doesn’t mean we won’t win the war. i’m so sorry that you’re having such a horrible reaction…again. it can feel so hopeless and lonely…detoxing is hard enough but to have what energy to do have, zaped with horrible symptoms…well i don’t know of many things worse than that.

    my fibromyalgia came back hard over the last few weeks as i’ve been trying to wean off the med. luckily the lamictal went away quickly (but not without symptoms) so did the neurontin and wellbutrin but the konopin! well i’m down to 1 mg.

    i recently had extensive renovations done in my earrly 1900’s farm house (and i live in the “mold” belt), so i went for a lead test but it came back 1 with 1-19 being “normal” range. the cleaners found mold in the back of the living room! gosh, this may sound horrible to some, but sometimes you wish an MRI or lead test etc would come back showing something just so you could have something concrete (in the medical world) to treat and be treated…ya know? i dread going in to the doc and tellng her about my symptoms because 1, i think she thinks i’m a hypochondriac or 2, i’m drug seeking.

    i think, for me, my fibro/cfs came back because my body is in a sort of shock/detox and that triggered it. i went several years without symptoms and it’s crushing when they come back and hit you like a mac truck. there are just too many better things to do in life than to be slave to drugs, doctors, pain, and all. it’s hard. to want so badly, to get out and be doing things… especially with spring finaly about here.

    i’ll keep you in my prayers and really hope you can find yourself back on trac and feeling better soon. you help so many of us with your blog.

  39. Good luck with that Gianna. I’m still withdrawing from Lamictal, and still suffering from chronic depression as a result. Have you tried rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy). Like snake serum it treats the problem it creates. But thats not my point here. It can be found in your local holistic and organic foods market. It is said to have MANY benefits, including treatment for headache and nausea. The stuff I got is from France. It comes in a tube that is the size and shape of Chap-Stik. Inside are these little pellets that you put under your tongue and let dissolve.

    I can’t say for certain that it is offering support for my depression, except for the hope alone, but it would be worth you looking in to. I CAN say that it has had an effect on treating a skin condition I have, which is another claim that it provides.

  40. I don’t know what to say – is there anything someone can say to make it better for you?

    I hope this new doctor works for you. It shows promise that he is willing to let you have control and just be someone to “bounce ideas off of”.

  41. I really wish you were not suffering so enormously. Good luck with the Lyme testing, that’s something definitely worth looking into, and have you thought about lead poisening? if the doctor is willing to run lab work, go for all of the tests that can cause these issues is my thought. Also, MS and Lupus. You’ve really done a lot of hard work removing so many medications, you are amazing in your endurance. It also makes me think about how good you felt [or better] in California via your writings; and wonder if location is a part of this awfulness you are going through.

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