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troop111

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  1. @DammitJanet you'd say "sure" to what? My problem is I don't have the luxury of going on and off different drugs because I have such bad withdrawals coming off of them. The ECT doctor I saw called me a "2%er," meaning I fall into that slim margin in drug studies as being someone who can't tolerate coming off the drug. I could try a new drug, stay on it a month, and if it doesn't work I'm screwed trying to come off it. I've had awful withdrawals from every drug I've ever been on save the Zoloft. It's as if I get dope sick, like I'm coming off heroin or something. I'm currently stuck at my dose of 225mg of Lamictal/day, down from a slow wean-down from 600mg, and I can't go any further. I'm stuck. And it's not as if my "previous conditions" are simply flaring up because I'm coming off the drug used to treat them, as some doctors have postulated, because the withdrawals I go through have symptoms and feelings I've never experienced before. It's like a scene from the Basketball Diaries, if not worse. And I'm not over-exaggerating. It's BAD. And the reason I'm coming off whatever drug it may be is because it's stopped working (I'm extremely medication-resistant, hence why I'm exploring Ketamine and ECT). And yes, my titration schedules are by the book in terms of being slow and steady. Slower than most, I make very conservative cuts. And even then I get devastated. It's horrible. It sucks so bad, but I can't do trial-and-error with medications. Which is why I've given up on them (except for my A/D which helps so much with my OCD). The pain and suffering I've gone through over the past 16 years of going on and off drugs has been, in some ways, almost as bad as my mental illnesses themselves. The withdrawals are excruciating. troop
  2. I can't read anything that @grendelsmom's wrote, it's just blank, but I can read the topic name. I have horrendous Lamictal (Lamotrigine) withdrawals. Absolutely awful. One pdoc called me a "2%er" because of the withdrawals I get coming off meds. I've been able to come from 600mg of Lamictal/day down to 225mg/day, and I can't go any further. It makes me want to kill myself ... that's literally the withdrawal symptom, I want to kill myself. And it's not like a prior condition is flaring up as I wean down, because before my experiences with coming down on the Lamictal, I wasn't like that. I didn't really get suicidal. And it's not just suicidal; the withdrawals all-around mess me up BAD. Mail me if you want to talk more. troop
  3. @Iceberg I'm just not sure what to do. I get like 4-7 good days from a Ketamine IV booster, at 125mg (they say that's a very high dose for my weight - 160lbs). The doc says "We can't just keep running around in circles doing these boosters every week. This isn't a benign procedure. It's as if we're just putting band-aids on the problem without getting any real, lasting results." And like you, I also have BP, but it's BP II. He keeps pushing the need for me to get a therapist as if that's the be-all and end-all, and I've been trying, but shit, a therapist isn't going to rewire my brain for me. He's adamant that if the Ketamine booster can nudge me into steady therapy then everything will be okay. I don't think it works that way ... plus I take 225mg of Lamictal/day and 12mg of Valium/day, both of which he says can diminish the effects of the Ketamine and make the treatments less efficacious. Yeah I need therapy (many do), but how am I supposed to go to therapy if I can't get out of bed. I've been trying, and I've had to miss two therapy appointments so far, one of which charged me $40 for the cancellation. Is this kdoc out of touch or what? Is he just going by standard protocol? I don't understand. After reading @DammitJanet's story with ECT I sure don't want to go that route. My goodness. What should I do? troop
  4. You're referring to Ketamine infusions right? So your Ketamine doc (kdoc, lol) said that there's only a 14-day window of feeling good after the original infusions or after a booster, and then the depression (or whatever one is being treated for) returns? I assume you trust your kdoc? Since this is such a new, relatively unregulated, and lucrative thing (Ketamine infusions), there are a lot of shyster doctors out there who I'm sure push for infusions whenever they think they can get away with it. I mean, it's $450 a pop for an infusion. Since I'm assuming this is the same kdoc who told you some of her patients needed weekly infusions, do you trust her enough as a kdoc to believe her, or do you think she's either pushing/allowing these patients to get extra infusions when they may not need them, just to make money? @IcebergThese things I'm asking you Iceberg are of paramount importance to me because I intend to use your anecdotal evidence when I meet with my kdoc this week. My kdoc says after the initial 6 infusions, his patients are usually good for at least a month, that they kind of coast along feeling good, and then they may begin to "slide back" and will require a booster infusion. He said, as if fact, that someone should only need a booster every 1-3 months, and if someone needs them more frequently (such as my plan of 2 infusions a month) then the Ketamine isn't working as it should.
  5. I'm so sorry to hear that Are any of those negative side effects beginning to lift? What kind of ECT did you have done the first time (frontal, from the sides, etc.) and then what kind did you have done the second time? I know there are different ways to do it, so I'm wondering if they used a more outdated method the second time you had it done? Everyone always says how much ECT has improved over the years, and yet I keep hearing horror stories such as yours and it makes me not want to do it, especially since I'll most likely need a lot of boosters, given how many I've needed with the Ketamine. So you went through with the Ketamine infusions? Have they worked? Have you needed any boosters? You said they were more effective than ECT? How so? How long ago did you have the ECT done? Did you have ECT boosters? Can you elaborate on your experiences with both? That will give me a better idea of how the two worked on the same person. Sorry for the machine-gun questions, lol I've gone through the initial 6 Ketamine treatments, but I've needed 4 boosters in like 2 months. It seems that a Ketamine infusion gives me about 7-14 days of feeling good (I actually feel like a normal person and want to do things other than sleep), but then I backslide into a deep depression again. The Ketamine doctor is getting a bit wary. Can anyone shed some light on this? I mean, I am clearly a "Ketamine respondent," but the effects don't last long. Most people don't need a booster for 1-3 months, if that. What should I think of me needing one every 10 days? I could probably get by with two booster infusions a month. Should I just give up on the Ketamine? I know in theory it's supposed to have a cumulative, restorative effect on the brain (rather than a band aid approach such as using a med), so maybe it will help long-term and it just hasn't come to full fruition yet? But like @Iceberg said, it appears some people just need it weekly, or close to weekly. That some people's brains are just so stubborn that they need it more. I'm doing better overall since I started with the Ketamine in early July, ... but I still need those boosters every 10 days or so. I have a special medical credit card for the Ketamine. I'm very afraid of doing ECT. I know things have gotten better as relative to how things were 10 years ago, but still I keep reading and hearing bad things about it. And I have a feeling I'll be needing frequent boosters just like I need with the Ketamine, which I definitely don't want to do with ECT. I'm done with medications (other than the Luvox and Valium - See what I wrote below as to why I'm done with meds), I've tried Ketamine, which works, but only for a short while (unless that cumulative healing thing is legit), and I don't want to do ECT. Even if I do do the ECT, I have a feeling I'd be getting boosters all the time, given my experience with all the Ketamine boosters I've needed. What do you all think? In summary, I've been playing this B.S. game for 16 years and nothing is working. I can't experiment and go on-and-off drugs like most people can ... my brain won't allow it, and I'm so medication resistant that it's like I'm getting punched twice. It's like I get dope sick coming off this crap ... every drug but Zoloft. Like I said earlier, my pdoc says I'm considered a 2%er when it comes to weaning off drugs. All the withdrawals I've had to go through over the years are almost as bad as the mental health issues I have to begin with ... almost. It doesn't matter how slow I taper off, I get devastated and sometimes end up in ER. I'm a rare case when it comes to coming off of meds ... I just can't do it. And both the Lamictal and the Valium I'm on will lessen the effects of the ECT if I do have it done. And even if the ECT works, am I supposed to just stay on the Lamictal the rest of my life? Or am I supposed to have bi-weekly ECT boosters? That can't be good. I know I wrote a lot and I greatly appreciate all you guys' help and your willingness to read all this. I'm floundering here. I feel I'm at a turning-point in my life. I'm not grabbing for attention when I say I'm close to pulling the trigger. troop
  6. You did one round of ECT (6 sessions?) and it worked like a miracle, and then you started to slide back into depression and had to do another 6 rounds of ECT but had to stop after four treatments because you got messed up? How long was the interval between the two treatments. You say you're still recovering from its effects - how long ago did this happen? Overall, would you do it all again, both sessions, just because of the benefits you gained from the first session? And with your memory and cognition issues from the ECT, can you please elaborate on that for me? Have you lost chunks of your life/memories? Are all these treatments you had Ketamine or ECT treatments? You guys are great and helping me SO MUCH! troop
  7. Regarding medication and me, I can't really do trial-and-error. The Lamictal I'm on, for instance, it stopped working 4 years ago, but the withdrawals are such that I can't just pop off it and try something else. The pdoc said people like me are called 2%ers. Otherwise I could try med after med, but I can't. I'm stuck on the Lamictal. The WDs kill me - I went from 600mg/day down to 225mg/day, and I can't go any further. The meds I have been on haven't done anything that lasts, minus my anti-depressant which, thank God, keeps the OCD under control. I just have a feeling that, although ECT is completely different than how Ketamine infusions work, that based on my experience with the latter (see first post) I will be going in and out for ECT boosters like a rotating door. Especially if I resume cutting the Lamictal ... I'll be getting ECT weekly, lol.
  8. The ECT doc told me I'm a 2%er, insofar as not only am I medication resistant, but I also follow into that 2% category of having horrendous withdrawals when coming off my meds. I'm stuck. And anti-psychotics have never worked for me and have landed me in ER twice.
  9. Greetings, I recently had the initial 6 treatments of Ketamine infusions, and that helped my Bipolar II depression (which is treatment-resistant) for about two weeks. Then I had another booster infusion, and that held for a week, then I had another booster infusion, and that lasted a week. These "boosters" shouldn't have to be given more than once every 1-3 months, yet it seems I need one weekly. So the Ketamine failed to provide prolonged relief. My only other option now is Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which I don't want to do. I know it's gotten better vis-a-vis memory issue side-effects, but I just don't want to do it. I don't like the idea of having my brain electrocuted (however little the electrical charge), and I don't like even the idea of me potentially losing cherished memories. My question: If I had such a poor experience with the Ketamine, needing weekly boosters, does that bode poorly for ECT therapy? I know ECT also frequently requires "boosters." I don't want to have to go in weekly for an ECT booster. I'm tired. I've been through the ringer for the past 16 years. I'm just tired of trying to get better. I'm tired and worn down. Please share your experiences and insights, I'd much appreciate it. Thanks! Troop
  10. ECT - My First Time

    Thanks guys for your thoughtful and very helpful responses! I'm beginning to get freaked out about the memory thing and ECT, after hearing about your story @gb84 and from others who experienced similar things. @Iceberg and @mikl_pls what do you think? @Iceberg which did you have done first, the Ketamine or the ECT? I'm assuming that one didn't work for you and the other did. The memory issue is freaking me out because the same thing (10 years wiped out) happened to my Mom's friend's sister-in-law, and a comedian who came through my town said she had 6 months worth of memory loss. Another woman I talked to a while ago in my old pdocs office talked about her long-term memory getting messed up too. I'm scared about that and am wondering if I should just take out a loan and do the Ketamine infusions. The problem is that when I wean off the Lamictal, like I am now, I become unusually depressed because I'm going through withdrawals ... It's so frustrating that I'm so sensitive to coming off meds while others aren't, lol. That's why the ECT doc said I'm a 2%er. So if I took out a big loan for the Ketamine, then come time for the Lamictal and benzo withdrawals I would imagine any benefits from the Ketamine infusions would be reversed and I'd just be left with a big loan to repay and still miserably depressed. Any thoughts? Thanks so much you guys are helping me out so much! And btw, I'm having an insurance issue and my first ECT session has been moved to Wednesday. Seriously though, even though I'm in a profoundly acute depressive state, I'm becoming increasingly wary about the memory thing. The more anecdotes I'm hearing and reading from sources I trust the more I'm afraid to do the ECT. I look forward to your continued help. This is a big life decision for me and your insights and advice are invaluable, as I really have no one else to talk to about this. Troop
  11. ECT - My First Time

    Thanks for all your replies This is definitely "Emergency ECT" as my depression and suicidal ideation are so acute. @Iceberg my ECT doc brought up Ketamine as a possible anesthesia, and he rattled off about 5 other things they could do, lol. I couldn't follow all of it. He seems to know his stuff really well. But what is waking up "rough"? Using Ketamine as an anesthesia can cause this? Is it rare? Also "... yes I know Valium is long acting but I had no problem with seizure induction/strength when holding it for 24 hours." - Would you not take your Valium for 24 hours prior to the treatment? Since the procedures are Mon, Wed. and Fri, I'd be worried about going into withdrawal. I was thinking of skipping my Lamictal the night before, or possibly taking the Lamictal and Valium at an earlier time the day prior to treatment to help with the seizure induction process. But then upon reflection, and as you read below you'll see what I mean, I'd be concerned about going into withdrawals if I skipped or even lessened the Lamictal and Valium doses that many days in a week. I take Lamictal twice a day, and the Valium twice a day. Perhaps on Sunday (and all the off days when I won't be doing the ECT - Tues, Thurs, Sun, etc.) I could take the second doses of those two drugs way earlier in the day, and obviously wait until I got home on ECT days to take that day's drugs as I normally would. So on ECT days I'd take my normal round of meds (after getting home from the procedure of course). @mikl_pls I don't want to go on an anti-psychotic because I have such a hard time getting off the drug when it stops working. I'm medication-resistant and have ended up in ER from coming off Zyprexa, and I had bad effects from Geodon (again had to go to ER because I lost consciousness) and Abilify (public breakdown, it was weird). I'm like this with every drug it seems. The Withdrawal Project is a group online who have members with the same condition. I just call it Hyper Withdrawal Syndrome. My ECT doc said I'm a 2%er vis-a-vis withdrawals - I'm in that small percentage who get devastated. https://withdrawal.theinnercompass.org/ The ECT doc's "ECT Coordinator" said that the "right kind of seizure" might not be able to be induced, or something like that, which speaks to what you said "... the therapeutic efficacy of the seizures." I thought that any seizure would be the "right kind" ? @gb84 that is very disturbing. Can any of you speak to his post? @sming can you elaborate on what this means from your post: "... there's a parabolic relationship between charge and seizure"? Also, in terms of my doses of these meds, I take 250mg of Lamictal/day and 12mg of Valium/day. Those are relatively low doses for both drugs aren't they? I'd rather just do Ketamine infusion therapy, which to my understanding has a similar success rate as ECT, but is much less invasive. But since it's not FDA approved, my insurance won't cover it ... and it's expensive, lol. I'm having my first session of ECT on Monday, so you guys' continued advice and information would be so much appreciated! Troop
  12. Greetings, I have been struggling with my Bipolar II depression for years, and am now going to pursue ECT due to my being medication resistant. I take 250mg/day of Lamictal (an anticonvulsant), 12mg/day of Valium, and an anti-depressant. I had a consultation with the ECT doctor, and he said that not only will my Lamictal make it difficult for him to induce a proper seizure, which I was already aware of, but that Valium, a benzodiazepine, also prevents seizures. I never knew that, but apparently paramedics use a benzodiazepine nose spray for people having seizures. So I got hit with two barrels when I was only expecting one: Not only will the Lamictal hinder ECT, but so will my Valium, a benzodiazepine. I have hyper-withdrawal syndrome, so I can't just drop the Lamictal (which stopped working years ago) and begin ECT. I'm also at a good Valium dose which I don't want to mess with. The doctor will have to increase the electric charge sent to my brain (as relative to someone not on two drugs that prevent convulsions) in order to induce a seizure. I'm understandably wary of having electricity sent through my brain, but given my particular circumstances, I have nothing left to lose. But as stated above, a larger-than-normal charge of electricity will need to be used. I worry that such a high voltage could have lifelong negative side effects, like chronic migraines for instance. Have studies even been done using such potentially high electric charges in modern ECT therapy and what kind of unknown dangers that could elicit? Bipolar patients usually have an AC in their med regiment, as well as a benzo of some kind, and I'm sure lots of people with treatment-resistant BP II depression have had ECT. How did they do it? The doctor also said that as treatment continues (Mon, Wed, Fri. for a couple weeks) even a normal person not on seizure-inhibiting drugs has to have the voltage increased with each treatment, as if the brain develops a type of tolerance to the procedures. For the sake of simplicity, let's say the voltage scale is from 1-10, with 1 being the typical charge sent into an ECT patient's brain who's not taking two drugs that inhibit seizures. As stated above, the doctor told me it's not uncommon to have to increase the voltage for a regular person not on the drugs I'm on as treatment progresses. Well, I'm taking 250mg of Lamictal and 12mg of Valium daily. For me, let's say instead of 1 voltage, it takes 4 for the first procedure. By the time the entire ECT regiment is finished, let's suppose a regular person will have ended up on a voltage charge of 5. For me, with my seizure-inhibiting drugs, let's say I end up at a 10+ voltage charge. That's what I'm afraid of. Relatively (in the modern sense) untested ECT territory and its effects on the brain. I'm aware of the side effects for ECT for regular people, and I'm not bothered. Like I said, I need help desperately. But in my case, essentially taking TWO anticonvulsants, could my brain be permanently damaged by electric charges that could end up being substantially greater than 95% of people who have this procedure done? Do I need to worry that I'll develop side effects, potentially lifelong? Side effects/damage that would be very rare for someone receiving normal, low-voltage charges? Chronic migraines, ticks, general cognitive defects, noticeable loss in creative ability, writing ability, etc. I'll be receiving high-voltage charges, potentially much higher charges than 95% of people who undergo ECT. And as like normal patients, each treatment should require an ever-increasing charge to induce the seizure. What should I think about all of this? What should I do? I'm in an acute depressive state right now, so treatment may begin in just days. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks! Troop
  13. Alright, he prescribed 20mg Adderall/day, but he strongly warned that over time this drug can completely deplete my brain's storage of feel good stimulation chemicals. He said it's equatable to how heroin and ecstasy drain your brain of the "feel good" chemicals, which leads to a depletion once the drug is is stopped. Are any of you familiar with this? Thanks troop
  14. You guys are great and I'm so appreciative for all your replies! I'm going to see him in a few hours, I'll report back troop
  15. I see my pdoc today, any last thoughts before I go would be much appreciated. Bottom line: I just need a kick-start to get me out of my depressive episodes. I don't want anything that I have to take daily, only as-needed. Which is best? As always, thanks troop
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