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Posted By : kellyinCali - 8/20/2017 6:16 PM
Hello HW family. I have found that I spend countless hours trying to learn about the drugs I am being prescribed / taking. Reviews are always mixed. I am definitely "med sensitive." I was taking the starting dose of Lamotrogine (Brand: Lamictal) and thought I got the Lamictal rash but it turned out to be SHINGLES. More research and the FDA has added Shingles. Female in my age range (53) to be most affected.

My question is, when you are in a deep depression and your doctor wants to help you but throws "many" different meds at you at the same time, how do you determine what is working? What is not working? And, what med is causing you the side effects?

For example, I started to get better but I had only been on Latuda 20mg. for a week and a half. I had also upped Prozac from 40 to 60 a month before that. Which do I attribute the success too? I tell the P-doc that I'm doing better and he tells me to go "DOWN" on the Prozac and "UP" on the Latuda. I was also given a med for underactive thyroid. I started the increased dosage of Latuda from 20mg to 40mg and the new med for thyroid (Levothyroxine) 0.025 and reduced the Prozac from 60 to 20. On day TWO, I experienced severe neck rigidity and severe headache (cluster or migraine or occipital nerve) and VERTIGO when turning head on pillow and getting out of bed. I stopped "both" the Latuda first and then a couple of days later, still having the vertigo and headaches, I stopped the Thyroxine. I searched for "spinning, vertigo with Levothyroxine" and enough people commented using the most catastrophic word "vertigo" so I figured, it's probably that med.

I have gone DOWN again. I'm crying again and isolating again and the whole vicious cycle of being mad at myself for not accomplishing more. I read your posts here but they make me sad. I'm not even sure it's good for me to expose myself to everyone's sadness. I care and empathize "too much."

I know that so many here and on the Bi-polar and on the Anxiety forums have been through the "Med roulette." Do you have advice about how to handle this and how to talk to the P-doc who is giving me all of the meds that leave me questioning ALL of them only to be stuck in "analysis paralysis." confused

Posted By : Myself 09 - 8/20/2017 6:50 PM
Medications, especially psych meds, impact the functioning of the brain. Reported side effects might OR might not be a result of the medication. There is no easy way to determine what is causing either side effects or feeling better or worse. Only a period of time at the same dosage will result in knowing how your brain chemistry is responding to a medication. Generally,4-6 weeks is necessary to know if the medication helps or not. Scary side effects take 10-14 days to subside or lessen.

Changing dosages or stopping and starting throws the brain into confusion. Always check with your doctor before changing and/or stopping/starting. Realize--there is NOT an easy or fast way to get to an effective dosage. Only time will get you there.

That being said--follow the doctor's instructions. Often, our anxiety about feeling better exaggerates our reaction to a new med or a change in dosage. That does not mean that the reaction is all in our head--it is a very real reaction. And several meds make the situation even more difficult--as they might not play together nicely.

One way to use that anxiety to good effect is to keep a reaction diary. Same time each day--scale of 1-10, note everything and anything.
Ulcerative Colitis 2003, Fibromyalgia DX 2005, Crohn's 2013, Enteropathic arthritis, 2013. Family History of Fibro--2 out of 3 siblings diagnosed. Started SCD-June 2013. *There are three kinds of people in the world: ones who see the glass as half-full, ones who see the glass as half-empty, and others who see a big crack in the side which is leaking all over their %$#@# foot

Posted By : kellyinCali - 8/20/2017 7:35 PM
you wrote: //Only a period of time at the same dosage will result in knowing how your brain chemistry is responding to a medication. Generally,4-6 weeks is necessary to know if the medication helps or not. Scary side effects take 10-14 days to subside or lessen//

This is what confuses me. Was I feeling better as a result of an increase in the Prozac (for a longer period of time) or was I feeling better as a result of taking the Latuda (for a short period of time? I had a scheduled appointment with my P-doc on Monday but they called to push it back another week on Friday (no notice). I want my P-doc to understand that while I know he is trying to pull me out of a depression, I don't know what is helping and what is causing the unwanted side effects. I fear that my brain is confused now by all of these changes and I just don't know what to do.

Thank you for your response. I do keep a reaction diary. I think I become overwhelmed because it's not just one med at a time I'm dealing with.

On a side note, I am very down that I am a "mentally ill person." I don't want to be mentally ill. I feel sorry for ALL OF US who have to go through this. This is the first time I've been on such a Med roulette. It is also the deepest and longest depression I have ever experienced. It's understandable that P-doc is desperate to help me and perhaps feels we don't have the luxury to "wait 6 weeks." It's very scary to be in this situation. I'm really scared. I don't want to live this way and I think mental disability is very very very sad and I'm sad that some of us have to suffer so much.

Posted By : getting by - 8/21/2017 2:59 AM
Try not to think too much. Let the doc do the work. Just take things one day at a time and go from there. Over thinking is dangerous for us.

Keep track of what is going on if you wish, just try not to dx yourself all the time. It is what it is. Nothing more.

Take the luxury of the six weeks to determine what is going on. It is your body and mind after all.

Try not to label yourself as "mentally ill". Many people take antidepressants. It is not as uncommon as it use to be. There need be no stigma. We are who we are. We only go around once. Try to be happy while you are going around. It is up to us. It can be done.

I hope you have a good day...

If the forum is triggering, by all means, don't read. Many of us are messed up but you shouldn't get messed up from reading. Just share as you need to. Such is life I guess.

Hang in there Kelly. Have a good day...

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

Posted By : Myself 09 - 8/21/2017 8:44 AM
There is no way to know right now what is causing the side effects or the feeling better. I would agree with Karen--let the doctor worry about this. Your concern with this is wasted energy--as you can do nothing to impact it. My rule of thumb is if I can affect outcome or issue--then my anxiety is useful. If there is nothing I can do--then I need to let it go--the worry hurts rather than helps.

As far as having an illness goes--many people have illnesses, and more than one. My chronic illness issues started in 2003. I did not like the idea of having a bowel disease for life. But--my feelings were immaterial. It was there, whether I wanted it or not. What I could do is take steps to manage it to live well, or to ignore it.

Then another condition (Fibro) happened. This time, I needed to focus on both medication and lifestyle choice management. It was harder--and finding a treatment that worked took a lot of time.

Even under treatment--I still have colon flares and bad pain days. I have been off-balance all weekend--I fell off my bike on a ride yesterday, and lost balance but did not fall on Friday. I am trying to recover from this, but have a LOT of pain where my muscles tensed to try to stay upright. Shoulders, legs, back, and neck. Pain killers are not really helping--but I am still working, and plan to head to an eclipse event in a few hours.

Life does not work out according to plan--and this bites. It is hard to accept- and the reality of it makes me frustrated. But, I am not defined by my illnesses, and am not less because I have them. They just are factors to be dealt with in order to live my life.

Posted By : RobLee - 8/21/2017 9:35 AM
someone said...
Try not to think too much... Take the six weeks to determine what is going on. It is your body and mind after all. Try not to label yourself as "mentally ill". Many people take antidepressants. It is not as uncommon as it use to be. There need be no stigma. We are who we are.


All very true, and poignant. Kelly, focusing on your condition or "illness" can lead to a downward spiral of diminished self worth. Anxiety and depression come in many flavors and so do medications. It takes a while to find the right "fit", as most have varied physical as well as mental properties.

Reading your O/P I automatically felt a great deal of admiration for you. You sound very cogent and I find myself wondering what could possibly be wrong this person? I wish I was as together as you appear to be.

Let me say that you probably need to do as much research of your own into these types of drugs and their various properties. Others here may disagree with this entirely. In my case, I had to make the choice of my own medications as I felt that none of the doctors I was dealing with were doing anything to help me.

Whether there is a higher reason as to why each of us has been put into this position where we are afflicted with our conditions is more of a spiritual question, but I found that once I dropped the presumption that feeling depressed meant that there was something "wrong" with me and instead addressed it as just another problem that needed to be solved, then suddenly the pieces started falling together. But it was a big hurdle to overcome.

Post Edited (RobLee) : 8/21/2017 9:45:16 AM (GMT-6)


Posted By : kellyinCali - 8/23/2017 2:08 AM
Karen - thank you. I am definitely an "over-thinker." I get "analysis paralysis" which can trigger anxiety because my personality prefers to come to a decision.

You wrote: //Try not to label yourself as "mentally ill". Many people take antidepressants. It is not as uncommon as it use to be. There need be no stigma. We are who we are. We only go around once. Try to be happy while you are going around. It is up to us. It can be done.//

Wise words my friend. I am trying to be more cognizant of the words I am using to describe myself. We need to have "self compassion." It's very important in depression recovery. The rest of the world is going to throw out quotes and platitudes but we have an illness that is complex. Mental illness cannot be "simplified."

================================================================

Myself09: you wrote: //My rule of thumb is if I can affect outcome or issue--then my anxiety is useful. If there is nothing I can do--then I need to let it go--the worry hurts rather than helps.//

You are using your WISE brain. smile Thank you for the reminder.

I am so sorry that you other chronic illnesses. I do too. I also have Fibro. I think many more people have a worse case than I do but it's REAL and it's a challenge. What have you found works best for you?

Take care.

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RobLee: You wrote: //Kelly, focusing on your condition or "illness" can lead to a downward spiral of diminished self worth.//

Wisdom. It's good I'm being confronted in these comments to look at how I am responding to my own self image as a result of being mentally ill.

Thank you also for your compliment. It means A LOT to me that you would notice my strength (my mind) which can also be my weakness. I am learning to understand this double edged sword and use it to be WISE instead of purely logical or purely emotional.

You wrote: //do as much research of your own into these types of drugs and their various properties. In my case, I had to make the choice of my own medications as I felt that none of the doctors I was dealing with were doing anything to help me.//

I have been on the Med Roulette since February and I have learned a lot. I will continue to do my own research because honestly, I am the C.E.O. of my health. This merry go round of meds has not helped me. In fact, I got a serious and painful rash, Vertigo, and akathesia, and blurred vision to the point of being disabling. I think I am going to be a person who must buck up and try one med at a time, realizing that I will likely suffer in the period of time waiting for the med to reach therapeutic level or unwanted side effects that do not go away until I stop the med. No easy answers.

You wrote: //Whether there is a higher reason as to why each of us has been put into this position where we are afflicted with our conditions is more of a spiritual question, but I found that once I dropped the presumption that feeling depressed meant that there was something "wrong" with me and instead addressed it as just another problem that needed to be solved, then suddenly the pieces started falling together. But it was a big hurdle to overcome.//

I commend you. Between you and I, the "spiritual connection of our thoughts and our health" is a topic I learning about. The mind is the soul. The mind can change the brain. smile

Posted By : RobLee - 8/23/2017 9:27 AM
kellyinCali said...
I got a serious and painful rash, Vertigo, and akathesia, and blurred vision to the point of being disabling.


Akathisia and and blurred vision are two very common side effects of neuroleptic medications. These are generally characterized as anti-psychotics or "major tranquilizers" and are broadly prescribed for schizophrenia. You do not come off as exhibiting anything along those lines.

I do not recall your specific meds, but I would say (and I am not a doctor) that if any your meds fall into that category and you have never been diagnosed with clinical psychosis, perhaps you may be better off without that particular med.

Sometimes they are prescribed as an adjunct to anxiolytics or in a broad spectrum of treatment, but are sometimes capable of doing more harm than good. Just an observation on my part, so please take it with a grain of salt. And good luck going forward!

Posted By : Myself 09 - 8/23/2017 1:56 PM
There is no way to compare with Fibro, really, because there are so many variables. Age,health, gender, environment, support system, etc, etc, etc.

I have found that the more active I am, the better I can maintain my energy without pain. Yes, I feel pain afterwards, but that is momentary. I also find that the more intellectually stimulated I am,the stronger my energy and memory.

I worked fulltime at a challenging job until 2013. I have noticed that since I left that job, my brain just does not function as well as it used to. I also go through more sedentary periods, and have a much harder time physically.
Ulcerative Colitis 2003, Fibromyalgia DX 2005, Crohn's 2013, Enteropathic arthritis, 2013. Family History of Fibro--2 out of 3 siblings diagnosed. Started SCD-June 2013. *There are three kinds of people in the world: ones who see the glass as half-full, ones who see the glass as half-empty, and others who see a big crack in the side which is leaking all over their %$#@# foot

Posted By : kellyinCali - 8/23/2017 11:02 PM
RobLee, you wrote: //You do not come off as exhibiting anything along those lines. //

You are correct. I do not even think I am bipolar because I do not have "mania" or even "hypomania." I do tend to become a little "obsessive" (not with people) though. Only when something is intensely interesting to me or things that compel me to do research.

I was put on Abilify, Lamotrogine and Latuda. I have decided to not take antipsychotics because I am not schizophrenic and the SE's are serious and potentially dangerous. I am taking a more active part in "spiritual healing" and continuing with my counseling (about 2x/mo) and recently went back "up" on my Prozac. Having a plan (self controlled) has helped me so much already. I am very hopeful that I am on the upswing. smile

====================================================================

Myself09: Interesting insight about your "brain" and intellectual stimulation. Makes a lot of sense. The brain is an ever changing organ.

Posted By : getting by - 8/24/2017 4:37 AM
The abilify is very helpful if you are taking that. It is good for mood stabilizer and to help you not to think too much. A lot of meds are good for more than one purpose.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

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