Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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My med story katia

Posted by BarbaraCat on May 26, 2004, at 14:37:36

In reply to Re: New to Board: Frustrated with Lamictal BarbaraCat, posted by katia on May 24, 2004, at 2:49:15

HI Katia,
> and you? How long ago did you seek out help for meds for the first time?

**I remember periods of weird feelings of sadness and gloom starting at around 10 but my childhood was very difficult because my father was severely mood disordered and was alternately depressed/raging. PLUS toxic Catholicism (from which one never entirely recovers). So I figured my moods were understandable psychological problems given my early conditioning (which they were of course, but not entirely). I was able to maintaine life, school, work, etc., but nothing much helped the severe incapacitating spells that hit now and then. Long term but infrequent cycling with good periods in between. Probably my earliest medication was lots of self-medicating with meth in my late teens. Made me feel better but I know it caused some major brain miswiring. Plus some horrific acid trips taught me how to be nightmare psychotic. No, my druggy hippie daze were not good for my growing brain with my family history. I started in therapy in early 20's and tried Elavil during this time but hated the side effects and was mainly limping along on nothing.

In my early 30's during an awful episode I found a good psychiatrist who prescribed a TCA, Surmontil, and I was amazed at how it pulled me out of a suicidal depression within a few weeks. I then went on to Trazadone which was the new kid on the block - don't remember why I switched because the TCA was working pretty well but I think it started pooping out, plus my shrink retired and I got a 'new school' shrink. Trazadone helped the anxiety part but I was left with a lethargic dysthymia and didn't like the morning tiredness. Switched briefly to Prozac when it first came out but it was too activating - then Zoloft in 1986. It worked pretty well for a few years but the severe depression would always break through and my dose would increase until I was up to 300mg which I think was way too high for a long-term course.

Of course, life doesn't stop and I also had my share of very traumatic incidents throughout my entire life including two near-fatal accidents, a stillbirth, substance abuses, financial, job, and relationship problems, etc. that added to the anxiety level. Soul-less stressful jobs as well, working long hours in more and more demanding positions in high-tech companies (which SUCKED). Arrrghh! Truly challenging life circumstances that went on and on and got more and more complicated with every year. Stress piled upon stress with a growing sense of hopelessness about my ability or desire to cope in a harsh hostile world. I think a person can go through just about anything as long as there's even a little hope. But I had very little, felt unfixable and unlovable. I believe it was this wit's-end hopeless despair that caused things to eventually break.

By mid-90's I was starting to unravel but still maintaining. I'd always had good energy and vitality except for the 'nutter' times, but I think perimenopause started the downhill physical trend, sleeplessness which was always a problem become more so, and the mixed states stuff was becoming more frequent. And let's not forget the nightly coupla glasses of D swampwater to cope! I was shuffling around trying to find a good pdoc but all anyone thought to do was to try another SSRI med and give higher doses when it pooped. I'd stop meds every so often, do OK, then somthing destablizing would happen and I'd get scared enough to try again. My pattern had been healthy stretches and highly functional hypomanias with a crash thrown in now and then, but the panicked mixed states were taking over and eventually stayed pretty constant.

Then in 1999 I went under and had a breakdown and spent 2 weeks in a psych unit. My health really started suffering - I felt toxic and wired and sick - with the eventual fibromyalgia dx. No one can live in that exhausting state for long and something had to break down, as in multiple systems pain/fatigue syndrome that gets called fibromyalgia. I became convinced that there was something off physically and not just the typical depression neurochemicals 'cause what I had wasn't typical 'depression' but something else. I'd been on-top of everything it could possibly be with many doctors - thyroid, candida, epstein-barr, hypoglycemia, lyme disease, mycoplasma, etc., etc. On and on but no remedy ever 'took'. Also tried Zyprexa but it made things worse.

I had to stop working in 2001 and spend alot of time trying to learn and piece things together, follow threads. It was my idea and not any pdoc's that SSRI's didn't seem to be doing me much good, and given what was now known about SSRI's and bipolar and the fact I'd had some whopper hypomanias, perhaps I was Bipolar? I never considered myself bipolar mainly because I'd had a misinformed idea of 'mania'. It didn't occur to me that my father and his family's dysfunction now looks alot like bipolar mixed states. Makes me wonder how things would have evolved had I had a good mood stabilizer instead of only high-dose SSRI's early on.

So, the experiment with lithium and Remeron, then lithium and lamictal began, was pretty good for a time but quit working and lithium exacerbated the hypothyroid. Close but no cigar.

Probably the most successful of my meds were the TCA's but the side effects were intolerable. I suspect our current arsenal of psych meds, no matter the type, dosage or combinations, are not the answer for me and only create additional physical burdens. Since January I'm off everything (even quit recent St. John's Wort trial which was started to spin me into that ol' agitated feeling). I occasionally take Neurontin which helps if I don't take it consistently. Occasional anti-anxiety meds, nutrition, exercise when I can do it, and lifestyle things that calm my nervous system seem to be the keys. Right now I'm concentrating on getting out the mercury (my lab levels were reallly high and that's GOT to be contributing - mad as a hatter).

So my quest is now to answer: What's going on upstream that's keeping this brain/body malfunction locked in? Addressing the symptoms hasn't worked for me. So here I am, barenaked in the psych med department, doing all I can to learn and assist Mama Nature in getting me healthy. Probably the greatest healing has been learning to tolerate and honor the impacted grief and fear that needed to emerge - which it did bigtime this past Winter. Letting it flow up and out transformed alot of that despair and taken away much of the stuck toxicity. Learning to trust that I'm not 'wrong' to feel such pain and proably won't die from it until it inevitably transforms (bless Eckhart Tolle!) has probably been the greatest medicine so far and may end up being worth the getting there. But first the ol' bod had to get alot stronger cause detoxing from all that stuff that wasn't working was a wild ride! And of course, haaving a best friend husband - he surely has his own toxic stuff he's working through, but he and our furry ones have been my rock. I'm amazed he's stuck it through with me.

Well, that was interesting. I think I got more puzzle pieces in the process of recalling all that.
> If you're ever in Cal. we should meet up.

**Ohh, that would be a hoot! We'll have to make it so.




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