Holy shit.

Since I think August I was on a drug called Lyrica – usually used for nerve pain, but sometimes also prescribed for anxiety.

Lyrica was probably my favourite thing I’ve ever been on for my mental issues (most of the other meds I’ve tried were SSRIs if anyone cares). I felt a zillion times more functional almost immediately and the only side effect I recall is weight gain/leg swelling. And possibly loose stools, but unsure if correlation or causation.

But recently the Lyrica stopped working. Initially I upped my dose a bit, but really, when shit stops working it’s the beginning of the end. Upping the dose will make a drug work for me again for a little while but then it stops again and I have to go even higher. The thought of pumping myself full of more and more drugs was depressing (and would mean spending more and more money…) and I was tired of the swollen legs and also I forgot to take my pills for a couple of days so ehhhh fuck it. I just decided not to bother anymore.

Now granted, this was right around the same time I was PMSing. But holy shit my anxiety got ratcheted up to ridiculous levels. Heart pounding, feeling like something bad was going to happen to me any minute, being constantly on the verge of tears. All day. This is not typically how my anxiety manifests. At least, I was pretty sure it’s not typical for me. I wondered whether I just wasn’t remembering right, though. I’d been doing pretty well on Lyrica for a long time.

On a whole separate note, I’ve been having bad headaches lately.

Also my vision has been annoyingly blurry in a way that made me wonder if I scratched up my eyeballs again.

And today I worked for the first time in weeks and I noticed that my balance was slightly wonky and I felt a bit spinny.

Tonight it occurred to me to Google “Lyrica withdrawal.” Hey you guys guess what quitting Lyrica cold turkey can do to a person? Give them panic attacks, headaches, dizziness, and blurred vision (also a whole shitload of other awful things that I am not experiencing, thank god).

So. That’s happening.

From what I can tell, withdrawal starts off horrible and then gets better in a linear progression. Ergo, the worst is over. I shall stay the course.

Stupid leg swelling hasn’t gone down yet though.


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10 responses to “Holy shit.

  1. Agh, stopping right cold like that is the worst! Even if the meds aren’t working anymore to their full potential, you still should gradually take smaller and smaller doses. I feel your pain. I’ve done the same, had the exact same thoughts (except my meds were working… so well I couldn’t orgasm anymore, so). The headaches were so bad I was scared of dying. I hope that you’re almost out of the woods! Also, I hope you have some new good coping skills after being free of angst for a while. It sucks that you can’t find a pill that wouldn’t eventually stop working.

    • What really bugs me is I’ve asked all my different doctors over the years if it’s possible to find a drug that keeps working or if the body always overcompensates and fucks it up. NONE of them gave me a straight answer, only a vague pep talk. I don’t understand why they can’t talk to me about this like I’m a grownup.

      I’ve heard that exercise is as good (or almost as good?) for anxiety/depression as medication is, so my coping mechanism is that I’ve just bought a $400 exercise bike.

      It needs to be assembled and I keep putting it off. But if I can ever fucking put the thing together I have high hopes for it.

      • Hey, I used to have a bike too! I’d watch shows on my laptop and ride anxiety away. I have an idea who could help put the bike together… 😉

      • Maybe the research isn’t conclusive about that, and that’s why the doctors just try to cheer you up? You know, people react in such different ways. They say that it takes 2 weeks for SSRI to start working, but for me the timeline was 24 hours of no anxiety, then if I would take another dose, the tears would stop after 30 minutes – so the time it takes for it to get into my blood, I think. I’ve met people who don’t believe it can have an effect like that, sigheeeees, but it did for me. And NONE of the doctors believed it could. Maybe, it could be, that you just need the right medicine? Or then this IS your brain chemistry, that tricksy little hobbit who always finds a way, and you just have to keep changing the meds from time to time?

        • If research isn’t conclusive about it I would want a doctor to SAY THAT instead of giving me a cheerful nothing-answer.

          I already have anxiety so this shit makes me feel like there’s some kind of conspiracy against being honest with me.

          My personal theory – when I’m in low spirits, anyway – is that my brain hates me and wants me to die so it will adjust to whatever medication I throw at it.

          • “My personal theory – when I’m in low spirits, anyway – is that my brain hates me and wants me to die so it will adjust to whatever medication I throw at it.”

            I’m truly sorry to hear that. ❤ Brain chemistry is a motherfucker.

            Three years of therapy helped me, but I know that sometimes that's not enough. People do need to take antipsychotics etc for the rest of their lives. Sometimes the brain can't learn new ways. When my hormones are changing (like after I stopped breastfeeding) it has been more difficult to stay on top of the angry, hurt and anxiety, but the tools are there more than they used to. I can steer myself now, even if it's hard. And I learned it both because of the therapy AND the meds. Intellectually I learned how to handle emotions that go POOOOFFFFF and then physically my brain learned that "aahh, there is a way of NOT responding to stimulus like this".

            Ps. Docs never want to let on, if they don't know something. Pfffft. Imma google it and read the research myself. I don't need them. (Except for the prescription part. That's important.)

            • “Talk therapy” has not been particularly useful to me but I have an appointment soon for cognitive behavioural therapy and we’ll see how that goes. I already have been using some cognitive behavioural therapy to talk myself down from anxiety – on instinct, without exactly knowing what it was.

              • That’s good! I guess any therapy method that can give you tools to survive on your own is good – you just have to find the right fit for you. Which is exhaustingly difficult. Let me (us, your readers) know what you think! 🙂

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