lobster

☼ lobster: fight or flight

605 posts in this topic

Hello, I'm new to the forum. I've been having a lot of trouble with sleep. This started 2 years ago (Nov. 2011) after my father passed away. I started waking up panicking every time I would start to fall asleep. I was put on 20 mg of Lexapro and 5 mg of Zyprexa. Everything stabilized and was good for 2 months until I developed a rash on my legs. I was told to stop taking the Lexapro immediately. I stayed of of it for 1 1/2 months and wasn't taking any medications.

 

Then I started having fever like symptoms, extreme anxiety and just felt horrible. A psychiatrist introduced Zoloft to me at 50 mg. It drove me out of my mind with anxiety. At this point I was put back on 20 mg of Lexapro and my sleeping problems began again. I was given Xanex to take as needed. Every time I would start to relax and fall asleep I would become shaky, panicky and my heart would race. For the next 3 months I had no natural sleep.

 

I was put on Seraquil, Lithium, Elaville and Trazadone. I had the startling, shaky, panicky heart racing feeling anywhere I tried to sleep except for the spare room. I stayed on 20 mg of Lexapro for quite a while, it was put up to 30 mg but it didn't help so after a few weeks I came back down to 20 mg. Then wellbutrin was introduced, that also made the anxiety terrible so that was discontinued.

 

At this point I decided to wean myself off of the Lexapro dropping 2 1/2 mg every 2 weeks. I got down to 2 1/2 mg in March of 2013 and my anxiety became unbearable. I went back up to 5 mg of Lexapro. I was put on Prozac, stayed on it only a few weeks because of increased anxiety yet again. I remained on the 5 mg of Lexapro until October 2, 2013. At that point I hadn't taken any sleep medication in about a year. I still could only sleep in the spare room without the panicky feeling when I started to fall asleep. 10 mg of Propranolol was added 3 times a day and I dropped from the 5 mg of Lexapro to 2 1/2 mg. The panicky feeling went away when I was relaxing to fall asleep.

 

I decided to drop down to 1 1/8 mg around Nov. 2. Things were getting better, I was able to sleep in my bedroom with my wife again without the panicky feeling when going to sleep. I was feeling great! 6 weeks into that last drop all that changed. My anxiety is horrible, I can't sleep at night without medication leaving me feeling drugged the next day. I'm back to sleeping in the spare room but I even get that startling, panicky, shaky feeling in there now. My heart pounds so hard it makes my hand go numb.

 

Last night was horrible, I had to take 50 mg of Elaville and 50 mg of Trazadone. This is left over from the 3 months of sleeping without natural sleep when they tried so many medications to try to put me to sleep. I'm extremely upset about the progress I feel I've lost with my sleep because now I feel like I'm right back to where I've started. I just don't know what to do about my central nervous system that is triggering the fight or flight response every time I try to sleep. The only thing that works to take away that panicky feeling is xanex but I don't take it that often because I don't want an addiction problem. Thank you in advance for your ideas to help.

Edited by scallywag
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Wow, I'm sorry! Your original problem sounds like something that happens on anti-depressants sometimes when an area in the brain is over-stimulated. Maybe someone can direct you to that essay, I can't remember right now. I realize yours was not med related, but starting ADs was probably in the top 5 of worst possible solutions.

 

Someone more knowledgeable than me can help you more on getting off of them.

 

There is a lot of info on sleep in the symptoms forum. Your autonomic nervous system is "out of whack" right now.

 

I have learned a lot from the website www.psycheducation.org. Particularly, there is some talk of panic disorders in the lower left section. However, therapy is not going to help with the med issues you are facing right now.

 

I am so sorry...this on top of the loss of your father is very hard.

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Thank you I don't know what to do I didn't mention when my father passed I had to preform cpr on him he was only 55 and my best friend. I ended up in the hospital over night because I couldnt sleep becauae of the flight or fight response this was a few months after he passed. I hadent slept in 3 days. They couldnt get me to sleep and when they finaly did I woke up and passed out because they dropped my blod pressure to low. Just discouraged dont know what to do. We have a 12 year old son and this is impacting him

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Wow, I'm so sorry. You may need treatment for PTSD. One of our mods has a website that speaks to trauma, beyondmeds.com

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Thank you I have been in counselling for 2 years and it hasent helped much. The problem is the sleep problem they just dont understand. I have gotten beond every thing about my dad dont hardly think about that any more. I just want peace to sleep and no meds for it! I feel defeated when I cant sleep normal and my anxiety is horrendous about it. It was ok even sleeping in the spair room with out meds but now I cant and im in crisis mode. My appetite is going and thats not good. Im so scared about the sleep problem. I know its hyper sensitive nerves causing fight or flight and it wont turn off when I relax to sleep. I dont know how or if it will.get better again I feel hopeless. Sorry don't mean to be so negative :-)

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That's not negative. If you're down to sleep and meds, you are doing well. Your meds have probably greatly amplified your problem. There are people on this forum who can help you.

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Welcome, lobster.

 

I'm so sorry you're going through this and are now in a vortex of polypharmacy, adverse effects, and withdrawal syndrome.

 

My guess is you had a bad reaction to 20mg Lexapro -- a high dose of an antidepressant, by the way -- and developed withdrawal syndrome after abruptly stopping it.

 

This destabilized your nervous system and made it hypersensitive to the Zoloft, which further destabilized your nervous system. And so forth.

 

The startling when you start to sleep is a typical hyperalerting reaction. Your destabilized nervous system is inclined to fight or flight, as you've observed. It needs calming down overall, but drugs will tend to trigger a paradoxical hyperalerting reaction.

 

Are you taking trazodone regularly? Do you still take 10mg propanolol 3 times a day? Do your symptoms have any daily pattern?

 

While small in absolute terms, a decrease from 2.5 mg to 1 1/8 mg Lexapro is a 50% drop. You might find some relief by updosing slightly even to 1.5mg. If that helps, let your nervous system settle down for a while, perhaps a couple of months, then taper more gradually.

 

This link explains why we recommend tapering by 10% on a monthly basis:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

About tapering Lexapro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Is your spare room, by the way, darker and quieter than the other rooms?

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Thank you so much:-) I've always had some anxiety but could just dismiss it. Now its a constant with this sleep issue wich preceded the meds. All the drs say is your an usual case with the sleep problem and we dont know what to do. The last two monts have been good it felt weird to have it gone and now its back bad and im scared its here to stay. I dont know if I should go back up some on lexapro or stay put. If I dont take meds my body wont let me sleep

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It's the nervous system dysregulation, caused by going on and off drugs, that won't let you sleep. This will get better in time. Give your nervous system stability, and you'll be able to go off the drugs.

 

Your last decrease in Lexapro was too big. Please consider updosing slightly. At your dosage level, think in terms of tenths of a milligram. Do you have the liquid?

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Yes my spare room is darker and quieter I sleep with a fan on. I have been down to 10 mg Propranolol for almost 2 months once a day and last night was the first night in over a year for trazadone. I havent taken any sleep meds for over a year except occasional xanax maybe 2 times a month and that was because I wasnt tired to sleep and I know if I dont sleep I'll panic. The spare room has been the only place I could sleep. But about two months ago the panic stopped and I could relax and sleep any where. I have been sleeping with my wife again its been good. Now I cant sleep any where and the spair bed room is just the same. I will not take xanax but a fiew times a month and I dont know what to do now if I dont take something my body wont let me sleep. I never had this problem prior to my dads passing I could sleep any time. Im scared about tonight and dont know what to take if anything thank you :-)

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I dont have the liquid have been using a pill cutter should I go back up tonight? I take my pills in the morning. And what should I go back to? Should I take any thing to sleep if I cant? I appreciate all the help :-)

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I also have had a bad reaction to the generic lexapro. I experienced extream anxiety and it has had to be name brand. I feel so out of control I think I have been at one and an eighth mg since around nov2

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Was wondering if any one has any advice on sleep. I have a hyper sensitive nerve center that wont let me sleep every time I relax and start to sleep my body jumps to attention I end up all shakey and my heart pounds. This happens all night if I dont take something.Xanax works the best but I only take it sparingly as I dont want to become addicted. This problem has recently gotten better and stopped. But now is back after dropping from 5 mg lexapro to 1 1/8 mg I went back up to 2 .5 mg last night the drop was to much to fast I should have known better. I have made my nerve center unstable I have taken trazadone and Elavil the last two nights to sleep. Is it bad to take something to sleep is it hindering my nerve center from stabilizing. As I said if I dont take something I dont sleep. In the past I had no natural sleep for 3months and had to take a lot of diffrent sleeping meds. I dont want to take sleeping pills I just dont know what to do. Im very up set I feel like I have ruined all my progress. I had very little sleep last night even with trazadone and Elavil thank you for your help :-)

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You can make a liquid. Please read about tapering Lexapro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Your nervous system wants less stimulation. This is why you sleep better in the spare room. Do this for a while and your system will calm down.

 

You might want to put up blackout curtains and shades in your bedroom.

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Thank you I went up to 2.5 mg is that to much? Is there any thing I could take to stop the adrenaline rush as I fall asleep? Or try to sleep that is. Do you think the reason the sleep problem preceded the meds was because of to much stress as a result of loosing my dad? Im even getting the adrenaline surges in the spare room now. I can handel most any thing else but this is hard to deal with. I just wish I had gone slower. I try to keep calm threw the day hoping to sleep ok and not jolt awake. Thank you for your help very much :-)

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I think people have kind of covered this but I thought I'd run over it again. This is my take on what's going on for you:

 

It sounds like to me you had a normal anxiety/PTSD/grief reaction when your father died and you tried to save him and lost him, it sounds rather suddenly. (By the way, I have a daughter who went through something similar, and my heart absolutely goes out to you.)

 

That initial reaction would probably have subsided with time and support and maybe some counseling. but then they threw you into the psychopharmaceutical vortex (as Alto says). Now your problems are not due to some inherent problem with you, rather they're due to the drugs and the way they've messed up and destabilized your nervous system.  

 

Sadly, this is a classic story which I've lived myself and heard over and over from hundreds of other people on this and other forums.

 

At this point probably the first thing to do is see how stable you can get on what you're already taking, possibly with a slight reinstatement (it sounds like you're having a withdrawal reaction now). Then once you're pretty stable, to reduce doses via slow tapering until you get improvement that you are satisfied with, or off the meds, or whatever you want along those lines. 

 

It doesn't sound to me like psychiatric drugs were ever an appropriate treatment for what was a normal reaction of a normal, healthy mind and body to a painful and stressful and grief-filled situation. But now, unfortunately, you've ended up in the same shape that a lot of us did, and for much the same reasons. Your brain and CNS have remodeled to try to adapt to the drugs, and you're going to need to slowly reduce and remove them, slowly enough to allow your brain and CNS to re-remodel itself to be stable without them. This involves what I call "growing a new brain."

 

This is something you can absolutely do, but not quickly.

 

Can you post your entire drug history, as much as possible, in your sig line? Like this:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

If you can tell us as exactly as possible what you took when, for how long, when you changed and switched, how quickly you switched, how you tapered, etc. it will help us give you better advice.

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oh and I highly recommend getting a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. It will give you some social and historical perspective about what's happened to you. You're not alone.

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I will try to do my best with the drug history. My house looks like a pharmacy lol :-) it was a sudden passing we had been together working on my house all day he went home and I got a call an hour later from my mother to come over he wasnt breathing so I rushed over. There was nothing I could do I tryed. The trouble for me began 4 months later. One night I was sleeping and jumped right out of bed and started running my heart was racing and that continued for the next three nights with 0 sleep. I was despeate I had no idea what was going on with me so I went to the dr and thats when I was started on meds. I had no idea about antidepressants I thought it sounded good I would take them for a while then just stop wrong! I am truly sorry about your daughter! This has changed me for ever im only 33 and have had a lot to deal with. This has affected my wife and our son. I realy think if I had a dr just say its ok your going to be fine and explain what was happening to me I would have been fine. I am diagnosed with ptsd but its not about my dad its about the drs. I am over what I went threw. But have been damaged by the drs I know they were trying to help but wish they had warned me before I ever started lexapro. I will get a med history tomorrow thank you for caring :-)

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No my symptoms seem the same on 2.5 anxiety not to bad still sleep issues last night I took trazadone and Elavil and still jumped every time I started to fall asleep. They didnt help I fell asleep after a while I didnt think I was going to.Not sure how much sleep I got. My anxiety was realy bad on Christmas day and has subsided a lot. I thought I was ok I went to 2.5 mg on oct 2 and stayed there untill nov2 then went to 1 1/8 mg I guess I should have stayed at 2.5 longer

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The decrease to 1 1/8mg was too large a decrease.

 

Please read the links posted for you up above.

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The only advice I would have would be to look into a mindful, muscular progressive, relaxation techniques. If you are ok trying on your own simply crawl into bed and get comfortable. Starting at your toes (eyes closed) tighten/curl the muscles in your toes and arches. Notice any sensations you may have. You might find heat, cold, pain. Inhale deeply and on the exhale release tension quickly. Again, notice sensations. Move up and do your ankles. Roll them slowly, point your toes and pull back up on them (not with your hands). Notice sensations. Then release, let them wobble a little. Move right on up to calf, knees, thighs, hips, If your can do your peritoneum (area between anus and testicles/******) then by all  means. Move on to your  abdomen, belly, chest. Then move to your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, back lower then upper, come back to your chest, then neck, jaw/mouth, and face. If you aren't peacefully asleep by then, repeat in opposite direction. Still not asleep - know that you have just given your body a nice treatment. Breathe in on every tighten and out on every release. you may breathe normally between tighten and release. You'll "know" when it is time to move on.

 

I don't understand medication enough to even guess at a route to take. I, personally wouldn't want to add anything to mine but I understand the value of sleep. I wish I could have some ideas for you on that.

 

I hope that you find some rest tonight.

 

Also, just my opinion. If I am correct many of your sleeping/alerting problems began with the death of your father. Perhaps looking into EMDR (you can fins some references here at this site) might be beneficial. I have used it for specific incidents and found it very helpful.

 

Best wishes to you.  

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This is my med history as best as I can remember it:

March 1 2012 10 mg Paxil

March 6 2012 stopped Paxil

March 7 2012 20 mg lexapro, 10 mg zyprexa

March 21 2012 20 mg lexapro

March 30 2012 stopped Zyprexa

July 6 2012 stopped lexapro

August 12 2012 50 mg zoloft

August 26 2012 75 mg zoloft

August 29 2012 stopped Zoloft, 1 mg xanax as needed

August 30 2012 20 mg lexapro

September 1 2012 25 mg Seroquel

September 6 2012 50 mg Seroquel

September 11 2012 100 mg Seroquel

September 17 2012 150 mg Seroquel

October 4 2012 75 mg trazodone

November 1 2012 stopped seroquel and trazodone, begin to taper lexapro 15 mg

December 1 2012 10 mg lexapro

January 1 2013 5 mg lexapro

February 1 2013 2 1/2mg lexapro

February 18 2013 5 mg lexapro

March 15 2013 1 1/2 mg tenex

April 1 2013 30 mg Propranolol

October 2 2013 2 1/2 mg lexapro

November 2 2013 1 1/8 mg lexapro

December 29 2013 2 1/2 mg Lexapro

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It took me and my wife most of the after noon to do this. It might not be exact but its close I guess my memory is ok lol

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Thank you for responding :-) I will try the relaxing technique tonight. My problem did begin after my dad passed. Hindsight is 20 20 if I had known then what I know now I would have never taken any thing for medicine. The sleep is definitely my worst problem I can start to sleep but just as im relaxing it hits me like a bolt of lightning. Im to scared to stay awake and see what would eventualy happen weather I would sleep or the hyper alerting would win. The first time it happend it was 72 hr with no sleep my anxiety was so bad I ended up in observation at the mental hospital where they gave me so many meds to try and get me to sleep I woke up at 2 in the morning thirsty and passed out with low blood pressure. It traumatized me im from a small island town with out many people. So going to the city out of my element and ending up there was not a good experience. So I put a lot of stress on my sleep and I know that doesn't help. Im not sure if any meds would help the startled response to sleep. I started taking cod liver oil today.It can't hurt I guess my grand parents swear by it lol.hope all is we'll :-)

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You might want to review the information on sleeping problems here:

 

Important Topics About Symptoms, Including Sleep Problems

 

Please note that I merged your topic on sleep with your Intro because it's about you and your withdrawal problems.  The 'Symptoms' section is meant for topics of general interest that might apply to any number of members. No harm done.  I just wanted you to know what happened.

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Thank you I read threw the information :-) I started taking fish oil today. My body tries to sleep but it wont let me if it wasnt for the adrenaline rush as im falling a sleep I could sleep. Once I get to sleep im fine. My room is dark I go to bed the same time each night. I get up early each morning around 4.30 because of my work. I dont have any caffeine at all I just feel defeated and it makes my anxiety worse I used to love to sleep now its filled with anxiety

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Thank you for responding :-) I will try the relaxing technique tonight. My problem did begin after my dad passed. Hindsight is 20 20 if I had known then what I know now I would have never taken any thing for medicine. The sleep is definitely my worst problem I can start to sleep but just as im relaxing it hits me like a bolt of lightning. Im to scared to stay awake and see what would eventualy happen weather I would sleep or the hyper alerting would win. The first time it happend it was 72 hr with no sleep my anxiety was so bad I ended up in observation at the mental hospital where they gave me so many meds to try and get me to sleep I woke up at 2 in the morning thirsty and passed out with low blood pressure. It traumatized me im from a small island town with out many people. So going to the city out of my element and ending up there was not a good experience. So I put a lot of stress on my sleep and I know that doesn't help. Im not sure if any meds would help the startled response to sleep. I started taking cod liver oil today.It can't hurt I guess my grand parents swear by it lol.hope all is we'll :-)

I am so sorry. I've had those times of 2,3,4-days of no sleep and it messes with absolutely everything! Insomnia and disturbed sleep is a pretty common thing and the link Jemima posted will offer you lots of ideas. Weird question, have you tried sleeping in a chair or with the light on? I know it goes counter to everything about sleep but if fear is such a big factor maybe you can "trick" your body into relaxing since it won't be in "must go to sleep" mode. Certainly not a long-term solution but I've had nights where I've kept the light on. The harder you try to sleep the more elusive it becomes. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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Thank you a nother bad night.I have been taking melatonin didnt take it last night though. Wasnt anxious at bed time but I just lay there then my muscles twitch then as I drift to sleep wave after wave of the panic feeling washes over me and im fully awake as soon as I open my eyes the feeling is gone. Had to take xanax to get any sleep. Im so fustrated will this ever go away I cant take pills for ever to sleep. I keep rotating the pills thinking I wont get addicted to one specific pill. I will try to get the magnesium glycinate thank you Alto

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I have a hard time geting to the drug store as I am on an island with just a small general store. And have to take a ferry to the main land. I hope the magnesium works not shore how much more of this I can take. Do you think lamotrigine might help?

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Hi lobster,

 

It's understandable that you would want to take more medication but if you read through some of the other members threads and the Symptoms and Self Care topics you'll see that adding more medications when you are unstable might not work. Sleep does slowly come back, it moght take some time. It is more helpful to spend time just resting if you can, using soothing music or I sometimes repeat something mentally, like a prayer. It seems to calm me down and even if I only doze, my body is getting rest.

 

Can you have the magnesium shipped to you from Amazon? I use a powder that mixes in water that I can sip throughout the day and take before bedtime. It is called "Calm".

 

Best wishes to you! We know hard this is for you, believe me..... and we are all sympathetic to your plight even if we don't post in your thread.

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I would say taking Lamictal for insomnia would be overshooting the problem almost as bad as taking Propofol (that lead to Michael Jackson's death) would be. Have you read everything on insomnia/sleep in the forums? Are you getting a bit of exercise everyday? Wearing amber glasses before bed? (Those come from Amazon too). Are you keeping a strict sleep schedule? (This has turned out to be my #1trick for holding depression at bay).

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Hi lobster, It's understandable that you would want to take more medication but if you read through some of the other members threads and the Symptoms and Self Care topics you'll see that adding more medications when you are unstable might not work. Sleep does slowly come back, it moght take some time. It is more helpful to spend time just resting if you can, using soothing music or I sometimes repeat something mentally, like a prayer. It seems to calm me down and even if I only doze, my body is getting rest. Can you have the magnesium shipped to you from Amazon? I use a powder that mixes in water that I can sip throughout the day and take before bedtime. It is called "Calm". Best wishes to you! We know hard this is for you, believe me..... and we are all sympathetic to your plight even if we don't post in your thread.

T hank you I under stand about more meds for my sleep. I have read threw the other posts about sleep and mine some how seem diffrent my body thinks initiating sleep is bad and as I start to fall a sleep I can feel the relaxation in my chest and I wake all panicky. It only lasts a few minutes but I makes me fully awayke and unless I take something I wont sleep. And this happens every time I start to sleep. I can take a ferry to the main land to get the magnesium. I pray every night and it does help Thank you again :-)

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I would say taking Lamictal for insomnia would be overshooting the problem almost as bad as taking Propofol (that lead to Michael Jackson's death) would be. Have you read everything on insomnia/sleep in the forums? Are you getting a bit of exercise everyday? Wearing amber glasses before bed? (Those come from Amazon too). Are you keeping a strict sleep schedule? (This has turned out to be my #1trick for holding depression at bay).

Yeah I wasnt shur about this medicine is my sleeping problem insomnia?as its a physical thing as im falling a sleep that wakes me my body has no trouble starting to sleep just seems I cant get there from here. I am a commercial lobster man so my job is physically hard. I do keep a strict sleep time. I just dont know my body is doing what it wants and I dont seem in control of it. I have a hard time just letting go and seeing where the chips may fall :-)

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Lamotrigine is a very tricky drug and takes a knowledgeable doctor to prescribe it and watch for side effects. Most doctors will not have a clue and dose it at too high an amount.

 

Are you feeling any differently now you've increased Lexapro?

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