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RealMe: Fighting depression/withdrawal from Abilify, Trintellix now on Prozac

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RealMe

Although I spent the morning over-sleeping, the rest of the day thankfully felt like a window.  I went to the gym very briefly because I am afraid to ramp up tinnitus which seems to happen when I exercise.  That the exercise endorphins would heal my brain was a contrary idea that ultimately won out, but I kept the exercise to a very moderate 20 minutes on a slow treadmill followed by a gentle walk in the sunshine.

 

I want to feel proud of myself because I am only on fluoxetine 10mg after an onslaught of medications and withdrawal.  At the same time, I feel like I have such a long way to go because Fluoxetine 10 mg. is a boatload of AD to be on.  Always conflicted.

 

I have been trying to reach out to people instead of withdrawing and isolating.  I always feel like I'm play-acting or being dishonest with people when I'm not acting sad or talking about my symptoms, but it's easier on me anxiety-wise when I keep my feelings to myself.  People ask me how I am, and I say "doing well or ok."  A month ago, I was so obviously depressed, I couldn't hide it; so I withdrew.

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RealMe

One of my symptoms I forgot to mention is feeling alternately hot and cold.  I'm beyond menopause, so that's not it.  At times I am so cold, I have to bundle up in sweaters and blankets, and suddenly I become hot and sweaty, throwing off the sweaters, blankets and wearing just t shirts and light clothes.  I don't see any triggers involved.  It just happens.  Once I went to hot yoga which I used to do years ago, and I became so hot I almost fainted and had to leave.  I couldn't do any poses, needless to say, but I was surprised that I couldn't even remain in the room.  Also, I recently read that the dull, foggy, depressed, lethargic, wanting to go back to sleep, feeling drugged sensations I feel in the morning may be related to dopamine--not that I have any idea what that would mean.  Any ideas of how to combat that?  I can't function before noon, no matter what time I go to bed at night.  I have no trouble falling asleep even when I don't get up till after 10 am.  Also, no desire whatsoever for physical contact.

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RealMe
On 11/13/2017 at 9:15 PM, AliG said:

The really dark morning depression lifted for me after a few months and has never returned.

I don't know if I'm communicating properly.  I just keep adding to my intro but I don't get many responses.  Anyway, I was wondering if the lifting of the heavy dark morning depression lifted before or after you tapered?  I'm still on Fluoxetine 10 mg.  The other day I had a window, but it was followed by two awful wave days, including today.  My worst symptom is the tinnitus and the secondary fear I learned about from reading Claire Weekes' stuff.  I feel like I could cope if not for this.  It makes me feel like I'm not going to make it.

 

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Boysmommy2

Hello! I'm not one to give advice because I'm still trying to figure out myself and my many problems lol. Just wanted to say hi I'm fairly new here and I sometimes wonder the same thing if I'm posting correctly or does anyone even read these? But they do and one of the mods suggested talking and commenting on other people's posts and we can all help each other🌞I've talked to some very nice people and learned tons! Good luck with your journey🌞

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RealMe

Thank you, Boysmommy2.  It's good to have someone to talk to.  I started on this site in October, and I have learned quite a bit as well.  I'm having a rough time of it today, so I can't think of anything positive to share right now.

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baroquep

Hi RealMe, sorry to hear that things aren't going well at the moment ... I can certainly relate.  It can be very challenging to stay positive when in the throes of withdrawal.  I have not experienced tinnitus but can imagine that it is a very difficult symptom to deal with and I wish I knew of something that could help.  It sounds like you and I are in a similar place as I'm going through a very difficult time right now and it is really hard to stay focused on anything positive ... but like battle weary soldiers, I think we both have to try and gather a bit of hope and hang onto it.  I also experience temperature deregulation and it looks like it is a common withdrawal symptom and like most symptoms, it tends to lessen as time goes by.  As well, I did experience low moods when I first started to taper, so low that I had to push myself to put one foot in front of the other for many many months until it did finally lift.  The only thing I can recommend with respect to the fear, is to try not to let it grab hold of you, push it away when necessary.  Believe me, I know it's difficult, I'm finding it very difficult at the moment to remain positive and keep up the hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.  I thought I'd attach a few links that you might find helpful and hoping you feel better soon.  

Body Temperature Dysregulation / Fever / Chills / Shivering / Too Hot / Too Hold

"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms

Anhedonia / Apathy / Demotivation / Emotional Numbness

Neuro Emotions

Fear, terror, panic, and anxiety

 

 

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RealMe

Thank you, Baroquep.  I read all the links you suggested.  I forgot to add one more withdrawal symptom to my list of complaints--the crying.  I don't suppose I cried in years until I withdrew from all those meds.  Now I'm like a sobbing, side-shaking faucet.  I have to hide from my husband because he is so worried about me.  I went to work today and used "change the channel" several times during the day, changing from fear and despondency to "puppies and kittens."  The students make me act like I've got a grip.  I don't act out when I'm working.  Everything I read about habituating to tinnitus says to not react emotionally to it.  I am trying.

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RealMe

Has anyone tried acupuncture for symptom relief?  I'm thinking of it for tinnitus.  I'm not going to try anything without checking this site first.  Also wondering how much magnesium is advisable?

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bheb

I've tried it for akathisia and not sure if it helped. Surprisingly when the needles were in I was able to keep still. So there was some kind of momentary relief maybe just concentration that distracted. But like anything, I've heard of bad reactions.

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Littlegrandma

Hi Realme

I tried accupuncture several weeks ago for anxiety. I felt so much worse right after the treatment and for a couple weeks after. It could have been the quack administering the treatment, though he was highly recommended by an acquaintance. But when I asked my GP about accupuncture, he said it often works just don’t go to dr.Xxxxxx.  Oops too late. Research the dr. 

  I have been taking magnesium citrate or malate for months. Today I switched to magnesium glycinate. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but by this evening my anxiety was so much better than it has been in months. 

  And I cry. A lot! I can’t control it. It just pours like a faucet. Depression is just a WD symptom. I think these emotions have been stunted by meds for so long, they just start flooding out now that the gate is open. 

  Take care.     Lg

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AliG

Hi RM. I haven't heard about acupuncture for tinnitus specifically but apparently it can be helpful generally for certain conditions. Some find it to be a useful therapy, as an adjunct to their healing modalities. There is a discussion on the topic linked below:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/136-acupuncture/

 

Body temperature dysregulation is a withdrawal symptom;

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/2271-body-temperature-dysregulation

 

On 11/28/2017 at 9:47 AM, RealMe said:
On 11/14/2017 at 12:15 PM, AliG said:

The really dark morning depression lifted for me after a few months and has never returned.

I don't know if I'm communicating properly.  I just keep adding to my intro but I don't get many responses.  Anyway, I was wondering if the lifting of the heavy dark morning depression lifted before or after you tapered?  I'm still on Fluoxetine 10 mg.

 

To answer your question, I had very severe depression during some of the months after ~ cold turkey off my last antidepressant. This was before I found SA. I was never told by any of my doctors to taper. I also had SI as a result and would face dread/ depression each morning.

 

However, it was quite clearly a withdrawal symptom as I haven't experienced that level of depression since. That is not to say, that I haven't had extremely low moods or sadness over the course of withdrawal, but it feels completely different. Having experienced both, I know that one is a withdrawal symptom and the other is a normal reaction to life stressors, whether they are emotional or physical in origin. There is a difference.   

 

If you are careful and slow with your taper, you should be able to minimize the effects and hopefully this depression of yours will lift over time. It is a withdrawal symptom and therefore temporary.

 

Hang in there,

Ali

Edited by AliG
added link

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RealMe

From what I read, I'm going to postpone acupuncture for a while.  The first thing I want to do is taper off this Fluoxetine 10 mg.  I feel like I can't begin to heal until I'm off everything, but I'm trying to be patient and make sure I am stable enough to begin tapering.

 

Another symptom I have is my reactions to people.  I love my sister, but she is very bubbly, and I can't seem to tolerate talking to her on the phone for more than a few minutes.  I don't want to hurt her or have her worry about me; but I just can't stand the upbeat chatter.  I'm glad she's happy.  I wish I had lived healthy the way she did and does.  Maybe that is why I have a hard time because her healthiness reminds me of my AD journey.

 

As far as my husband, I have not been able to be affectionate since I started detoxing in August.  He has been very supportive, even though he doesn't understand it the way people on this forum do.  It makes me feel guilty for not being more loving.  I've been irritable and short-tempered and withdrawn; but he's still here.  I know I am lucky.

 

 

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ChessieCat
On 28/11/2017 at 10:47 AM, RealMe said:

Anyway, I was wondering if the lifting of the heavy dark morning depression lifted before or after you tapered?

 

I used to feel dread upon waking every morning.  It began to ease as my dose got lower.

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RealMe

I have lost 4 pounds in the past month.  My weight is not really an important issue.  It's only noteworthy because my appetite has improved, and I have actually been eating more than I had been.  I don't know if this is related to WD. 

 

Today I had a window.  I didn't go back to bed; I made my bed.  I made chicken soup.  I went out and saw some friends at church briefly.  When they asked me how I was, I said I was doing ok.  I guess I had complained to more people than I realized, or my just being withdrawn and weird for so long made them realize I have problems.  I didn't cry or feel suicidal all day.  That is sure something to be grateful for.

 

I have been taking Fish Oil, Vitamin D and Magnesium.  Making sure to eat my vegetables. Yesterday I took a walk in the sunshine. I didn't exercise today, but hopefully tomorrow.  I keep distracting myself from the tinnitus as much as possible.  Today it didn't frighten or bother me as much as usual. Thank God.  Hope I keep on habituating.

 

I am getting so much help here.

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wantrelief

So great to hear, RM!! :)

 

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Scorpio

Hi realme

i am not sure if you missed it but i have responded to your message to me on my thread. Hope it helps. 

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RealMe

Thank you for the support, Scorpio.  It does help.  I virtually live for the feedback I get here on SA.  Some days that is all that keeps me going.  I like hearing about how you love your grandson.  I have 7 grandchildren from 16 to 6.  I miss cuddling my babies and getting pleasure from all of their activities!  It is hard to feel any pleasure.  Yesterday I had a window, and I am glad I learned that recovery is not linear because today is a bit of a setback though not as bad as it had been.  I find the tinnitus to be one of the most distressing symptoms, and I hope and pray I can habituate to it.  Everything I read says, ignore it and don't give it power, especially with an emotional response.  That's like saying, don't visualize a pink elephant; but I am trying.  I don't talk about it at all to anyone except here.  The few people I did tell keep asking me, so I tell them I'm ok.  I hope they will stop asking me.  Today is my 8 year old granddaughter's birthday, so that will force me to socialize.  That will help keep me from sitting and ruminating.  How are you feeling?  I wish you lots of windows!

 

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AliG

How was your granddaughter's birthday? How are you? I hope it went well.

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RealMe

Hi AliG. 

Her birthday is today at 12:30. After air trampoline kids party 5 grandchildren, 2 adult children and their spouses are coming here. I ordered Italian food because I can't cook. Having something like this going on helps me not to think so much about my symptoms.  How are you, AliG?

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AliG

 It's Ali or Alison. I'm great, although I do have continual and ongoing "windows & waves". It is what it is!

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Scorpio

Hi realme

i hope you have a wonderful time with your granddaughter celebrating her birthday .  If anyone can pull us out of our misery it is the children. The tinnitus will get easier for you to bear I promise. What noises do you hear and yesterday when you were feeling a window did the noise lessen. The fact you felt better is so good and let’s you have hope you will have more good days. 

After todays hectic party maybe tomorrow you will find time to put your feet up and rest. 

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RealMe

Hi Scorpio,

Yesterday when I had the window, the noise did lessen.  It's a combination ringing and screeching.  At the party, there was a lot of noise, and the tinnitus didn't bother me.  My tremors were acting up, but not the T.  Now that I am home, the noise is ramped up.  I just keep telling myself not to be afraid.   I thank you for the words of hope.  Hope is what I am clinging to.  We just got back from church, and I will be putting out the dinner now.  How are you today?  

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RealMe
2 hours ago, AliG said:

 It's Ali or Alison. I'm great, although I do have continual and ongoing "windows & waves". It is what it is!

Are the windows and waves better than they used to be?  I hope so.  I hope we get stronger to cope with the waves!  I didn't think I would ever see a window.  Today is a wave, but I remember yesterday and hope it will come again.  

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RealMe

Yesterday was really bad. Today was still a wave, but better than yesterday. No crying. I took a short walk. Appetite is getting bigger. I think that is the fluoxetine.

 

My doctor wouldn't renew the prescription without my coming in to see him, and I am almost out of fluoxetine; so I made an appointment for next week which I intend to cancel after I pick up my prescription.  I just don't have the whatever it would take to deal with him.  He didn't help my depression, and I went through holy hell withdrawals because he didn't think it would be a problem for me to stop taking what I was on.  He told me to stop taking Abilify because of dystonia and tremors.  He then prescribed meds that I believe caused tinnitus.  Anyway, I'm stabilizing on fluoxetine 10 mg. and intend to slowly taper.  I have no desire to discuss my plans with him because he called my withdrawal symptoms "depression."  I hope and pray I will be able to be drug free some day.  I am not militant to the point where I want to fight big pharma or the psychiatric community, but I am certainly convinced that I am ultimately responsible for what goes into my body and brain.  Nobody is holding my hand when I'm in withdrawals or coping with side effects.  This irritability is unusual for me and is probably healthier than medicated numbness and submissiveness.  I don't want to discourage anyone from working with their medical provider.  I am speaking strictly for myself.

 

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RealMe

Yesterday was very emotional funeral. I consider him the lucky one.

Preoccupied with grief and spiked tinnitus. Oversleeping to escape. Dystonia still a problem. Tremors in hands and also feel internal tremors. Alternately hot and cold. Increased appetite. Itchy scalp. No pleasure. Improved concentration in the afternoon; actually read a book, Glenmullen's Antidepressant Solution.

 

Questions:  Why does Glenmullen say Prozac can be tapered from 20mg. to 0?  Does SA disagree with Glenmullen that Prozac is an exception to the rule of not skipping doses on alternate days?

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Marmot

Hey Realme,

 

I don't think that I've posted on your thread before, but I've been reading it. I just wanted to say that I hope you're feeling better today, it sound like yesterday was really difficult. Did the sleeping help? How was the glenmullen book overall? Hopefully a mod will be by to help you with the Prozac question. 

 

Take care,

Marmot 

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RealMe

Hi Marmot,

Thanks for responding. I escape-overslept again today. Feeling a little better than yesterday now. I guess I am lucky that I can sleep.  I read that others have trouble with insomnia.  I don't have that, just a dread of waking up in the morning.  I usually can concentrate better in the late afternoon.

 

The Glenmullen book just validates so much of what I have experienced and what I have learned on this forum as well as provides helpful ideas for recovery from ADs.  I have trouble not fixating on all the wasted years on mind/brain/emotion  numbing drugs because I didn't know about withdrawal syndrome or tapering safely and neither did my medical providers.  I have had 4 psychiatrists, 3 therapists, and 1 gp in my long psychiatric history.  I got started down this road with valium for panic attacks when I was only 19, then imipramine (tofranil) for depression and anxiety.  I managed to get off those for a while, then in a family crisis I accepted Prozac, which was fairly new at the time, from a gp.  Over the years, nobody ever suggested I stop taking it.  They just kept upping the dose until I maxed out at 80mg.  I was taking it long after it pooped out.  

 

When my brother died and I retired from teaching, I was experiencing intense grief and Prozac 80mg was not helping (why would it?), so my gp referred me to my current psychiatrist.  I was prescribed a few different ADs until Trintellix and Abilify which I stayed on for about 2 and a half years until tremors surfaced.  The psychiatrist told me to just stop Abilify, then a quick taper off Trintellix, followed by a series of meds until my current fluoxetine 10mg. which I asked for.  Until I found this forum, I believed I would be on medication for a "chemical imbalance" for the rest of my life.  Even my current therapist espouses that.  I'm going to see if she will work with me, or I will find another therapist.  I postponed my appointments with her as well as with my doctors in light of my recent withdrawal syndrome as well as changed beliefs about myself and ADs.

 

I am struggling with tinnitus, tremors, dystonia, ruminating, death wish, anxiety, over-sleeping, lack of energy or pleasure, crying, irritability, feeling alternately very hot and cold, lack of interest in hygiene.  In spite of these symptoms, I feel like I have improved compared to where I was a short time ago.  I have hope when I read entries on this forum that I might be able to recover from neuro emotions and habituate to some of the physical symptoms like tremors and tinnitus.

 

 

 

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Marmot

Ya, neither over-sleeping or under-sleeping feels all that great. I like to justify my own over-sleeping to myself as 'giving my brain a chance to heal' but I don't actually know if it works that way, lol. 

 

I just looked up the Glenmullen book, it seems neat. I see why you're asking about the fluoxetine, 20 to 0 is a big drop, still hoping the mods will see this and have an answer for you. Oh, the wasted years issue - when did your views about yourself and ADs start to change? What was the catalyst?

 

I'm so sorry to hear that the grief of your brother's death led to this complicated medical situation. Did you end up getting real-life help with the grieving?

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RealMe
13 minutes ago, Marmot said:

 

Ya, neither over-sleeping or under-sleeping feels all that great. I like to justify my own over-sleeping to myself as 'giving my brain a chance to heal' but I don't actually know if it works that way, lol. 

 

I just looked up the Glenmullen book, it seems neat. I see why you're asking about the fluoxetine, 20 to 0 is a big drop, still hoping the mods will see this and have an answer for you. Oh, the wasted years issue - when did your views about yourself and ADs start to change? What was the catalyst?

 

I'm so sorry to hear that the grief of your brother's death led to this complicated medical situation. Did you end up getting real-life help with the grieving?

 

 

Boy, that last question brought me up short.  I do have two sisters, and we did share our feelings about him quite a bit.  I went to therapy, but the focus was always on my depressed affect and behavior and of course complying with the psychiatrist and medication.  I had for a long time bought into the idea that I had a chemical imbalance and would need medication for the rest of my life.

 

The catalyst that changed me--I can remember the exact moment--occurred during a phone call with the psychiatrist when I was in hellish withdrawals from the anti-psychotic Abilify which had been prescribed as an AD augmentation for "medication resistant major depressive disorder."  He then prescribed Seroquel because of my symptoms.  The therapist also encouraged me to take that as well.  I took it for 3 or 4 days, was little more than a zombie, and told him that.  He said, "we'll get you through this depression."  I said, "isn't Seroquel also an anti-psychotic?  I'm not psychotic."  He said, "I know you're not."  I didn't know where I was going or how, but I knew from that moment he couldn't help me and that I was responsible for myself.  

 

Nevertheless, I did take the next medications he prescribed with more hellish effects.  Then I asked him to put me on Prozac which is what I was on 2 1/2 years ago before the Abilify/Trintellix combo.  I said, maybe it will work again since I have been off of it for some time.  I probably got the idea from googling.  Around October I found SA.  Although I had already dangerously withdrawn from several drugs, I was advised by the moderators to stabilize on the last one, prozac 10 mg.  So that is what I am doing.

 

I ruminate about the first psychiatrist who gave me Valium for panic attacks when I was away from home at college for the first time and got dropped by a boyfriend.  And about the psychiatrist who gave me Tofranil for depression when I couldn't cope with three little children, a cranky husband, and a stressful job with a bunch of misogynists.  And later the gp who gave me prozac when my daughter was assaulted in her teens.  When each of these life situations changed, I think I might have gotten drug free with the right help.  But I know now that I need to face reality and keep learning.  You know the character Harvey from Suits?  He says, "when your back is against the wall, break down the g-d damn wall!"

 

 

 

 

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Marmot
19 hours ago, RealMe said:

Boy, that last question brought me up short.

 

I didn't mean to surprise you with that question! It's really great that you had your sisters to talk to. I asked because I'm wondering if part of staying off meds could be figuring out how to make peace with the stuff that led us to them in the first place. I don't know for sure, but I'm gradually starting to untangle the original problems leading to my first depression many years ago. Lol, I wish that I had done it back then. I don't think that we can blame ourselves though for accepting pills which we were told could take us out of the darkness, especially seeing the big challenges you were facing at the time. I've never seen suits, but I'll look up Harvey; I like that quote :)

 

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Marmot
19 hours ago, RealMe said:

I had for a long time bought into the idea that I had a chemical imbalance and would need medication for the rest of my life.

 

What's your opinion on that now? 

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RealMe
55 minutes ago, Marmot said:

 

What's your opinion on that now? 

 

Your question about getting help with the grief over my brother's death just emphasizes for me that I didn't go to the source of my depressive symptoms before going to the meds.

I do think that untangling the problems that cause us distress is better than medication.   Instead of trying to fish out all the bodies downriver, we could try and find out why and where they were all jumping in the river in the first place.

 

My opinion about having a chemical imbalance that requires lifelong medication?  I now believe that was untrue when I was first diagnosed; however, I worry that because of years of drug use, it might now be true.  I just hope and pray I can taper off psychotropic medication and live a normal, albeit overly sensitive and emotional, life.  My sister says that she remembers when we were children that I always "over-reacted" to things.

 

 

 

 

 

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RealMe

Still suffering morning depression, though not as bad as it was when I first got here.  I wake up with such dread and can't really function till around noon when it starts to lift.  I feel groggy, heavy, and hopeless.  Then I was able to eat, get dressed, make my bed, and go to the gym.  I then went shopping.  I used to enjoy Christmas shopping, but at least I did it.  I got a little bit of pleasure from it.  Two of my granddaughters are here for the night.  I gave them a quickie dinner and played games with them.  Now they are asleep.  I made my husband's dinner (a sandwich) and ate my dinner standing up (cold meatloaf).  I am trying to ignore the tinnitus, trying not to think negatively about it.  It's the worst.  I surf this forum for helpful ideas about recovery from cns impairment.

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Marmot
On 08/12/2017 at 7:43 PM, RealMe said:

 I now believe that was untrue when I was first diagnosed; however, I worry that because of years of drug use, it might now be true.

 

I worry this too sometimes, but then I think that the only way to give it a good chance is to believe for now that it will get better. I'd rather be wrong and know that I gave it my all. So for the time being, this quote gives me strength:

 

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right" - Henry Ford 

 

That being said, don't let this thinking bring you down if time goes by and you're really really convinced that you can't! It's a quote, not science, lol.

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Marmot
29 minutes ago, RealMe said:

I wake up with such dread and can't really function till around noon when it starts to lift.  I feel groggy, heavy, and hopeless.  Then I was able to eat, get dressed, make my bed, and go to the gym.  I then went shopping.

 

Great work getting going. It's never too late in the day to turn things around. I was super cranky today until around 6pm, moving slowly and upset with my partner over little things, now finally turning it around too.

 

I hope that your tinnitus becomes more bearable. :wacko:

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Kristine

Hi Marmot,  how are you travelling?  Just letting you know I'm thinking of you.  It's like being stuck in friggin quick sand! K

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