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  1. Okay so I just started abilify yesterday at 2.5mg for 4 days then 5mg until I see my doctor again next month. I took it last night and very quickly I was restless but also very exhausted and out of it, as well as really uncomfortably nauseous. it's 24 hours later and I'm still nauseous and still a bit out of it. I did also take .5mg of klonopin last night and that just made me even more exhausted and didn't do very much for the anxiety, but surely that one's worn off by now? Anyways, I'm worried about the side effects. The nausea/loss of appetite and the dizziness/general out-of-it feeling. It hasn't gone away in over 24 hours since my last dose. Anyone else have side effects from abilify? Did they go away really quickly? I'm worried about how I'll be able to handle going to work tomorrow. I could barely handle driving 15 minutes this afternoon I felt so sick. Edit: I also have a killer headache today, don't know if that's related. Tylenol did seem to help, though.
  2. Hi all, I've done a search but I'm just wondering if there any active users of this who can tell me what they experienced from it when first starting it? Mine is the "prolonged release" 150mg version. I've tried the usual SSRIs, SNRIs, Tricyclics, Remeron, etc. I've been med free for some time now but struggling to cope so Wellbutrin is my next stop... it is actually an off-label use in my country but I understand it is one of the more commonly used medications for depression other countries. What can I expect?
  3. Anyone else have issues with anxiety? Is it a part of your bipolar disorder or is it its own separate condition? I think mine separate, either completely on its own or a part of my thyroid condition. It's especially killing me right now, I'm all shaky and on edge and it hurts to take a deep breath, not to mention I feel like I'm about to cry constantly, even when I'm sort of in a good mood. I'm having a hard time figuring out the distinction between anxiety with depression, bipolar disorder, and bipolar disorder with anxiety. Ugh. Anyways, mainly just the two questions at the top!
  4. Even if they're my own relatives, it feels like it throws me through a loop and like my personal space is being invaded. We just hired a couple guys to cut the lawn and I'm hiding out in the den. When I had to get up to go the other room I actually stooped so I wouldn't pass by the window.
  5. Hi there, Anyone get spooky around windows? I always find my agoraphobia kicking in when I have the blinds up in my flat. I challenge myself by keeping a couple of them up during the day, but some days I can't even do that. Or go outside during the day. I get this rush of anxiety/panic...I thought it might be brought on by seeing people and cars pass and knowing that they could see me. Anyone else get the jumpies around their windows?
  6. I take Nuvigil for fatigue first thing in the morning and Klonopin for anxiety soon after, but I'm trying to find out if anyone had advice on good timing for taking these two. Nuvigil usually takes about an hour for first feelings of effect, and I take with food (or I get bad stomach gurgles). I haven't quite figured out the best timing for them to both work at their best (w/o) interfering too much. And advice on dosage is welcome too. I take lower doses than prescribed to maintain more of a hold on how the medicine is working (and potential negative side effects).
  7. Hi I'm new here. Don't really know why I'm posting...I just know I'm having a hard time I guess. I've been experiencing high anxiety for over a year it started at work, it was a very mentally and physically demanding job working with special needs children). I had mentioned my anxiety to my doctor however, she told me she couldn't prescribe me anything to help me with work stress because "everyone has work stress". I now know the stress of that came home with me but I honestly didn't recognize or realize that at the time. Early this year I discovered that my husband (together for a total of 10 years), had been seeing someone behind my back for nearly a year. He blamed my anxiety/depression/work situation and stress for it even though he never once talked about anything being wrong. I've carried the weight and blame for the ending of a marriage I never thought would fall apart. Within 3 months of our separation, my stepdad committed suicide in the same way my dad did 10 years prior. I had my mom come live with me in the house (my husband was staying elsewhere). Less than two weeks after that, mom fell down stairs in the house, resulting in a 3 week hospital stay and a traumatic head/brain injury. During her hospital stay, my husband started doing things to purposely affect me mentally and emotionally. Silly things like watching for when I left to go to the hospital so he could cut the power to the garage and all outside lights as well as telling me my mother could not stay in "his house". He also went so far as to come over with a friend at a time he knew I would be asleep, and just start video taping me after I was terrified that someone was randomly in the house but of course the video stopped before he punched me in the face (no mark so police couldn't do anything). I ended up leaving, but couldn't get all of my belongings before he found out and changed the locks on me. Anyway, I ended up applying for university in September because I can not afford to live on my own with a grade 12 education. I quit my terrible job and started taking courses but have since been denied student aid. I'm now struggling in the courses, it's overwhelming to be in school after so long. I know that I can't do this. I'm not saying that because of the depression, I just know deep down that I can not do this. I looked at jobs today and there is nothing that will pay the bills. I'm so overwhelmed with the events in my life this year, on top of not being able to do these courses, pay for the courses and pay the bills. I feel like I'm drowning. I feel like I fail at everything I wan/ttry to do. I literally feel like the weight of the world is right there on my shoulders. I can't sleep. Every muscle in my body is tense. I feel like I can't breathe, I can't relax and I have to pretend I don't feel this way because no one can help me in any way that can calm me down.
  8. Hey, I have really bad religious OCD. When I was seeing a CBT therapist, it was a lot better (years ago), but it's relapsed lately and it would help to get an outside perspective to see what is religious guilt and what is OCD. Right now, I am working a job that requires a lot of mentoring and advising students, have a steady boyfriend, and am strongly involved in the church. But I also struggle a lot with a couple of things: masturbation and reading the scriptures. Every once and a while I'll slip up on the former and the latter, I'm trying to get a lot better at. Here's where the OCD comes in: I get a lot of anxiety that if I do or don't do a certain thing, then it will have eternal consequences. Like if I slip up on the first thing, then I'll think "I will never get married because of this, God is going to punish me" or "because of this, I won't be able to have the spiritual strength to guide the students in my job." Same if I miss a day of scripture study. I get so anxious that if I mess up, it will have irreversible consequences and result in loss of blessings (very specific ones, too) that I can never gain back. It's getting to the point where it's everything. Listening to a song that has a bit of swearing--eternal consequences. Not being as giving and kind as I could be--eternal consequences. Skipping Sunday School because the teacher is boring--consequences. Forgetting to say a prayer before bed--consequences. But mostly the main two things mentioned above, I've just noticed it's spreading lately. How do I know if these are feelings that God or the Holy Ghost are prompting or if it's just OCD? I feel really guilty for doing these things and am trying to stop, but it's hard to separate what is guilt and what is OCD. Does God revoke blessings permanently for messing up or take away the ability to do well at one's job? What can I do to deal with these thoughts?
  9. Too in your head to be voices, too loud to be normal thoughts? MAybe i'm talking about different things here... Do you know what I'm saying if I say thoughts that won't stop talking? Not always a bad thing, but I'm very unresponsive to outside stimulation when I'm like this. It's llike all this information just goes into your mind like BAAM BAM usually accompanied by visuals in the brain (not usually literally visual) just being supper "absorbed" idk is that the right word? sometimes its random "voices", "loud thoughts" NOT auditory. saying something just plain random.ex "Jerome, I kow you aint been at the grocery store!" or. .. "that's why old ladies don't buy eachhothers facewash" etc... maybe I'm all over the place here maybe I'm looking for some direction. ALso idk I this is EVEN RELATED but hearing the wrong the wrong words out of people's mouths. Like, they say "something" nd I hear "what a fuckin bitch" or I hear "that was in ur head" and I say "wtf did u just say?!" and they sa y "something"..................... one more thing is that I SOMETIMES INVOLUNTARILY repeat the same phrase over n over(in my head or outloud) . why. if u have ny insight into one or more of these things I woud like to hear about it.. thnx for reading ttyl
  10. Hi I have just joined here out of desperation. It's a long story but feeling as if I can't carry on at the moment. I had severe post natal anxiety, insomnia and depression 10 days after giving birth 4 years ago. was put on mirtazapine 45mg which got me back to myself for a year. I tried to go on contraceptive pills microgynon and loestrin both of which sent me spiralling back into the worst depression. Stopped these and couldn't really get over the hormone problems so added venlafaxine 37.5mg to mirtazapine which worked great for a year. Since December 2015 I have had to increase my venlafaxine 5 times so now I'm on the top dosage of both venlafaxine and mirtazapine. My relapses always happen 10 days before my period and I get so bad I can't even function and have suicidal thoughts so I have to increase my tablets. I am 4 days in to my last increase and 5 days before my period and I just can't cope. My doctor has given me a prescription for a progesterone only mini pill, he has said to take this after my period so middle of next month when I'm feeling better but I am PETRIFIED that it will make me even worse and I can't increase my anti depressants. I honestly feel if this gets any worse I will have to hospitalise myself as I am so tired of fighting this awful thing and it never gets better. I have cervical erosion since the birth of my daughter and had this frozen two months ago and since this my last two periods have been hell and I feel as if I'm having a breakdown. My GP says this procedure wouldn't have affected my hormone levels. I also take supplements Agnus castus, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, vitamin d, evening primrose oil, vitamin b complex food supplement and exercise when I am feeling well. I just don't know what to do anymore should I take this contraceptive pill? If anyone has any experience or advice please please contact me I am desperate. Thank you
  11. I have a theory about anxiety and I wanted to see if anyone else has a similar experience. Sometimes when I'm hypo/manic, I feel very similar to anxiety except it's positive: I feel on edge but like exciting things are going to happen, I'm fidgety, my body feels like a coiled spring ready to go into action. So my theory is that a part of my bipolar is sometimes experiencing an excess of nervous energy (for lack of a better term) and if it comes while I'm in a low mood that's anxiety and if it comes in a high mood there isn't really a separate word for it but it is a distinct feeling. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
  12. Hey there, new user here. My doctor started me on Effexor XR, 37.5mg once a day. I took my first dose today around 5, after a couple days reading up on it. I don't know if my mind is just making it seem like I'm having side effects already or what, so I was just curious if anyone experienced the side effects a couple hours after taking it as well. I feel like I'm already getting sweaty, and my vision seems to be getting blurry as well. My heart also won't stop pounding but that could just be because I'm worried about starting the medication. Any feed back would be nice, as well as your personal experiences with it over all. The doctor also prescribed me propanalol to take as needed when I feel anxious and I haven't seen many stories of experiences with it for anxiety, so thoughts on that would be nice as well. Thank youuuu
  13. Hi all! I've been lurking around the boards for about 2 years now and decided to make my introduction because I'm FINALLY seeking help. Not for my cat addiction...although I do love cats. My mom has told me that I came out of the womb anxious but I've never sought help because of financial issues. Lately, my anxiety has escalated to a point where I don't recognize myself. It is 2016 and the US Government still doesn't recognize MI as LEGIT illness so I've decided to rack up some debt and get my butt to the nearest psych clinic. Intake is scheduled for October 4th. I'm sure that you'll see me on the Anxiety boards (among others) so this is how I see myself... I am a certified geek and member of many fandoms including: Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Firefly, Star Wars, The Walking Dead, Sherlock and Harry Potter. I am also a gamer (formerly World of Warcraft, currently PS4 RPG's) and an avid viewer of online cat cams (because I love cats). I fancy myself a comedienne, although it has been hard to laugh lately. Do you know Chandler Bing? I'm pretty sure that he's my spirit animal. I've had a pretty terrible night and I've had some wine so I thought it might be therapeutic to make my introduction (which I've been thinking about for weeks). I'll see you guys around the crazyboards! ...Did I mention that I love cats?...
  14. Today I had a total breakdown at work. I'm talking ugly crying while my boss held me before sending me home to "rest". There's been some staffing issues and I've had to take on a lot of extra responsibilities so I think the stress finally pushed me over the edge. Right before I had this weird experience where it was like everyone was speaking in slow motion or maybe I was thinking slowly? I don't know. I could barely follow a normal conversation and completely blanked out at one point (just a minute or two but still). Afterwards I could tell that I had still been working during this time but I didn't remember completing it. Then it was like I could hear mumbling and indistinct whispers that were so loud it was hard to focus on the actual people in front of me. I'm not sure if I was hallucinating or having an anxiety attack or some combination. Has anyone else had any episodes at work or other public places? I am beyond embarrassed to show my face again after this melt down. There's a difference between someone knowing you have a mental illness and seeing the reality. Anyone have any advice on how to deal?
  15. Hello everyone. I find lately I've been getting random moments of panic attacks, suddenly feeling overwhelmed. Seemingly caused by the most innocuous things. Just today it was windy and rainy off and on at the dog park where I take my dog scraps. it was seemingly going fine till one of the tent poles started creeking and popping which scared scrapsy to death so we decided to hang back in the parking lot over viewing the lake and I could feel it coming on so I rushed home and end up curling into a ball on the chair trying the relaxation response while repeating words to lift me up, I don't know whether it helped or not I'm kinda still dealing with the fallout. I was just wondering if anyone gets random episodes like that,sorry if it's a dumb post I just don't know much about any of my conditions.
  16. I started taking Risperidone for anxiety from PTSD however, it has had horrible side effects. I started lactating and gained 15 pounds within a month of being on it. I knew from the start that weight gain was common so I began to diet and exercise vigorously however it has been to no avail. My period is 3 weeks late(negative pregnancy test) and I'm starting to get very concerned about how this will affect me in the long term. I'm hoping to stop the medication cold turkey. I've been on it for about 6 weeks, at a dose of 1mg(with benztropine 2mg to ease side effects); is it likely that I could have severe side effects? Could continuing the benztropine help to ease withdrawal symptoms? Also, are the metabolism changes permanent and if not, how long until things start getting back to normal?
  17. Over the past year, I've worked for maybe a total of...11 and a half weeks or so, divided up into five jobs. Prior to my being in the working world (if you can even call my 11 weeks that) I struggled through school, eventually dropping out and getting my GED, and then attempting college only to not attend classes and drop out after 2 months.I can't take anything I perceive to be criticism, and while from a logical perspective I understand that if nobody tells me how I can improve or anything like that, I'm never going to get better. But even a gentle nudge and a small demonstration can leave me fighting back tears. My therapist and I have been exploring this for awhile now. I'm really at my wits end. I've tried different fields of work, different schedules, different amounts of hours... My longest job was 5 weeks, but it was only 15/hrs a week, so really not beneficiary on a financial end of things. I'm only 19 years old, and so obviously SSDI is out of the question. My therapist thinks applying for SSI would be a waste of time, because I have such little work history. I've been in and out of treatment for a decade now (mostly in), and I would think with my extensive school records and such that perhaps I would have a tiny shot if I had enough people on my side to support my case. I struggle with getting majorly depressed when I'm not working, I feel unproductive and like a failure. But when I am working I feel extremely anxious and stressed and it consumes my life until I shut down. I just can't seem to make progress on any part of my life- professional, mental, social... I feel really inadequate and immature. I know it's not good to make comparisons, but my friends all have plenty of stressors in their lives and manage to hold down steady jobs (and in some cases also go to school full-time) including those who have MIs. I'm tired of doing things that don't work. I need some other avenue. Does anyone have any similar experiences, and if so, how did/are you deal with it/ get through it? Any insight? I can't live at home forever (and I wouldn't want to!)
  18. I have binged as far as I can remember, eating in secret all type of food that was "not allowed", just because I could at that instant. If it was then needed to have two dinners, I did for nobosy to notice. Then I moved to eat as much as I could when I was alone. Finally, in the unciversity I crashed, and I got topiramate and fluoxetine for my anxiety and depresion. After that I got better, but I gained 30 kg that I haven't been able to lose (200 pounds, 5" height). Now I am in treatment again with lamictal, and waiting for therapy for the binge eating. i have got the different steps to start working on my own (diary the food, eat more meals, plan the meals ahead, etc.). But I just don't do it. How can I be so stupid? I plan my meals but then I have a hamburguer instead. I pack to swim, or decide to walk but I just don't do it. It feels I fight against me, and I just gain more and more weight. I am starting to have problems to do the dayly things, I now I could die for this... But I do nothing. I really don't know how to stop destroying myself.
  19. Good evening, ive been in therapy for 18 years with only mild improvement. I'm 31. I've been diagnosed with many different things. I've tried about 25 different medications since I was a kid. Recently diagnosed Schizoaffective with PTSD. Main issues- my entire life I've had odd frightening thoughts and ideas (which don't seem odd to me) mainly revolving around paranoia. I was scared I was being poisoned as a kid. I worry I'm the only person in this universe who is real and I was put here to suffer and I'm under the control of evil forces. SEVERe panic attacks landing me in ER. Feel like everyone is always talking badly about me. All this interferes with my day to day functioning. Could these thoughts be nothing more than ocd? I have manic symptoms including crazy mood swings, inappropriate laughter, bursts of energy even with little sleep, pressured speech etc. medication controls this. meds: Lamictal, Prolixin, Zoloft. prolixin quiets the scary thoughts but doesn't get rid of them. help!
  20. Hello all. Wow, a lot has changed around here. Well to start, I'm currently taking Lamictal 450mg, Geodon 20mg/80mg, Klonopin 2mg x2, and Adderall ER 30mg My Bipolor has me much more depressed and I haven't been manic since 2013. I've been struggling with my depression for a while. My depression keeps getting worse and worse. My pdoc suggested that I take 40mg of Geodon in the morning instead of 20. I tried and nothing. In the past, Lamictal was my saving grace. It really helped me and got me back on my feet. Now I think it's pittering out. I've tried Abilify and that made me angry. Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I try and change the Lamictal? I don't know what to do anymore.
  21. I've recently realized that I have been for many years (decades?) settling for just "good enough" results from my medications/treatment. I suffer from MDD that has been my constant companion since adolescence, ADD Inattentive-Type, and PTSD (with a side of insomnia) from a horrific experience with Anesthesia Awareness during major surgery. I was completely conscious/aware, and able to hear, feel, and smell every second of the painful surgery, but was unable to move or communicate because of the paralytics that were administered. And I thought I had issues before that nightmare. Anyhow I think I've been settling for two reasons: As a teenager and young adult I saw how my mom suffered every time her pdocs changed up her cocktail. I guess since she never told them, "yes, this is the right treatment for me, I feel great", the well-meaning doctors were always trying something new, with sometimes terrifying results. I still remember her pleas and prayers that they would just leave her medication alone (they did -- eventually). We don't share a diagnosis, but I can see now how her experiences might have instilled in me the perhaps subconscious propensity for settling for treatments that offer only so-so results, for fear that the new, unknown medication(s) would make things worse. Before I became a stay-at-home dad I worked in a demanding, executive level position. Fear of changes to my medications, or rather the possible unpleasant side effects of new medications -- and the possible impact on my job kept me telling my pdoc everything was fine. What if I got so discombobulated I needed inpatient treatment? What if I freaked out at work? Besides, my consistent schedule and support system at work and home allowed me to get by with coping mechanisms honed over the years. I had external, structural, and social crutches to augment my half-assed medication. Cue Music and Begin Cheesy Movie Montage Segment: Met and married a wonderful guy Bought and renovated an awesome house Fostering (adopting soon) a bright healthy toddler Left the rat-race to be a stay at home dad End Cheesy Movie Montage Segment My crutches are gone. There is no one to cover for me or pick up the slack. I can't reschedule things I don't have the energy for, or delegate things that make me anxious. I can't sleep half the day if I need to. It's me, my kiddo, and my broken brain. Now, because I've had a big life change, I know some might suggest that perhaps not "doing what I love" or "contributing" has worsened my depression. I can safely say that isn't the case. I have always hated working. If you'd asked a young me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I might have said "retired". I worked because I needed to, was fortunate enough to have some marketable skills and did well for myself, but the moment I no longer had to work, I was out of my office so fast I left a puff of cartoon smoke behind. I do not miss working and I do not feel any less worthy/valuable on account of it. And yes parenting is hard, but I never expected anything less. I think I simply have more time "in my head" and without the distractions and crutches I've realized that I've never truly had a good handle on my mental illness, and I'm scared. Worst of all I realize I am to blame. Every time I told my doctor my symptoms were better controlled than they were in reality I was doing myself a disservice. I know I need a serious cocktail change. What will happen? Will I get worse? What will I tell my pdoc -- that I have been lying for years? Help.
  22. Not sure if this is the right area for this but just thought I'd try here. Does anyone know how a medication like Risperidone works for bipolar? Is it more the Dopamine receptor antagonist or is it the 5-ht2a antagonist, that works for controlling bipolar disorder? I know there are other antagonists for the serotonin receptors but the 5-ht2a seems to come up a lot. One of the reasons I ask is because I was put on Risperidone and cymbalta (while in a psych hospital) and being diagnosed supposedly with bipolar/mixed state.(Even though I feel depressed alll the time) Straight SSRI/SNRI medications alone tend to give me a somewhat agitated euphoric feeling when I would yawn...not sure why, and its tough to explain. I don't feel good off of any SSRI's alone that I have tried and would just leave me the same... more Anxious and depressed. I didn't stay on that combo long because I landed in the ER because I couldn't settle down at night to sleep (literally flipping around in my bed)and cause my heart wouldn't stop racing.(my guess from the norepinephrine). While I did notice positive things from it in the beginning like I felt better about myself and wanted to socialize more, which is strange for never feeling like that ever. Anyways, if I was diagnosed bipolar why would a doctor stick me on an SNRI while on a medication that should control it alone like RIsperidone? Wouldn't that just in turn make me manic from all the extra serotonin? It just doesn't make any sense to me. That's what had me confused on which serotonin receptor is at work to stop manic episodes, and level you out. With the new psych doctor Im seeing, I don't have a full diagnosis yet, but was put on Seroquel XR at 50mg, and guess work my way up. The mental health person who did my partial diagnosis(before being able to see my new psychiatrist) said that it was more towards major depression/social anxiety disorder though. I had the genetic test done from 'genomind' to try to find a medication that wouldn't give me so many issues. (been on about 14 so far) My old doctor had called them and they recommended that but I was afraid to keep taking a AP due to the side effects. No I have accepted it and giving it another try. Still dont feel anything from it but I figure cause Im not upto the target dosage. The new doctor is trying to get a hold of the company to see what other medications might help. So, if anyone who understands this better, please feel free to explain how this med combo works, and all the receptor stuff. Sorry for rambling on as well.
  23. Sometimes I get really bad anxiety when I have to go somewhere. I went to a play once and could not handle the anxiety. I had to take .5mg clonazepam to calm down. Basically I felt like everyone was watching me, like the orchestra section was staring at me. I just could not get comfortable without a med. Is this plain anxiety, or something else? I go to an event like this and I feel like the spotlight is on me and everyone is staring at me. I'm not even in the play. Move to the anxiety section if need be.
  24. I'll try to make this relatively brief, but the context may be longish. I hope this isn't TL:DR because I am really hoping someone will give me some advice (and comfort). My immediate problem is that I keep having sudden, intense, unignorable panic attacks, with my whole body and my mind overcome by a feeling that I am imminently going to leave my body. This is sometimes accompanied by a temporal distortion, feeling as if the present moment is a very slow-motion recall of a past moment of my life--that I am in the process of dying, and reviewing my life. Then my mind kind of goes into a loop thinking about how "now" is always slipping into the past, and how my childhood and everything in the distant past is just barely more than a dream to me. The feeling is as if everything--my whole life--is happening in a moment and also coming to an end in that same moment, and that the more I realize that, the more I realize I'm dying or dead. This is a new phenomenon, but I know where it began. Here's the overall mental (and physical) health context: I know that I have severe lingering anxiety and depression from my adolescent years. I am gay, and I was severely abused by my peers in school, going from a happy childhood to an entirely alienated, friendless, and abusive adolescence (7-12th grades). I developed a deeply entrenched suicidal pathology over those years and in any little uncomfortable situation from that time forward, I began to default to "I can escape this by dying." I made progress after high school, dated (sort of, but never developed any real romantic relationships). I have bad acne scarring and other scarring (I'll get to that) all over my body and these have been hurdles I've never overcome self-esteemwise--and as a result, I've never been able to get close to anyone romantically. I avoided drugs all throughout my youth, but that changed recently because... In my early-mid 30s, I developed a severe neurological disorder of unknown origin. After about three years of intensive medical visits, multiple sclerosis, ALS and other disorders were ruled out. But the symptoms persisted--from partial paralysis to cluster headaches to excruciating nerve and joint pain, fatigue, and panic attacks that I had never had before. I started drinking a lot after this happened, and also started seeing a psychiatrist (at a neurologist's recommendation). For a time, I was having mental visions of my body going over the edge of my apartment building roof, just playing on a loop. It terrified me. My shrink put me on Zoloft, Klonopin, and Wellbutrin, and after about a year she also put me on a low dose (25mg) of Seroquel to help me sleep. Several years later, she told me that I have an adjustment anxiety disorder and possibly bipolar II, but nothing extreme like bipolar I, borderline personality, etc. My health continued to decline and I was drinking even more and wanted to change my life, so after being more or less bedbound (able to work, but that's all--my social life came to an end because of fatigue and pain), I spent about 18 months reading about ayahuasca (a potent psychedelic plant medicine) and took a leap of faith in trying it. It's the first drug I had ever taken, and I did it as a last-ditch effort to regain my life, or at least to come to terms with dying--at that time, my declining physical health really made me feel like I was dying. And I was praying for that, to be honest, because of the pain. My first ayahuasca experience literally severed my interest in drinking alcohol. Since I took ayahuasca, I tend to become nauseated at the thought of being drunk--the thought of it--and I have never had more than three drinks at one time since then--and that's only been once or twice. Shortly after having taken ayahuasca, I was re-diagnosed with Lyme disease, as well as bartonella and babesia coinfections. My doctor explained that Lyme can cause inflammation of the brain and CNS and very often causes severe panic attacks as a result, besides the depression and anxiety that come with being so ill. After about six months on antibiotics, my physical and mental health problems improved 80-90 percent, with intermittent flare-ups. My psychiatrist, who I've seen monthly for six years now, has told me that she has witnessed a remarkable change since I began treatment for Lyme and has since reclassified my diagnosis and told me I've developed a "melancholic" personality, but that I'm not mentally ill in any profound or serious way. She's now encouraging me to be more outgoing. I didn't take ayahuasca for years until this winter. My father had a major heart surgery and I was scared to death about it, and I thought ayahuasca might help me come to terms with the life-or-death consequences. I took it shortly before his surgery and the experience, unlike previous enlightening and life-affirming ones, was terrifying. I had hallucinations that I'd never had before, and I felt (and still feel--the sensation was so real) that I actually died during the experience. And it was terrifying because 1) I didn't want my life to end and 2) I was in this timeless void in which everything was just pure information, and I flashed back and forward on my life and other lives and saw some horrific things--and in the end, it was just too much to handle. I could not believe it when I actually awoke the next morning. When I did, I didn't believe I was alive for the entire day until I finally told a friend what I had done and she confirmed that I was really there. I was grateful for everything, even gravity. So this last ayahuasca experience was life-affirming in the sense that it "scared me straight" and made me want to just live my life. Just live, live, live. Unfortunately, I am still often very unwell because of Lyme disease--but I am better than I was before I found treatment. Now I WANT to live--and paradoxically, that's where my anxiety is coming from. I am no longer afraid of people, but I am profoundly afraid of dying. I got a medical cannabis card because I had read that cannabis can help people who have Lyme. I had never tried marijuana before. I got two tinctures, one very low in THC and high in CBD--and so it should have little to no psychoactive effect. The first few times I took it (a half dose), I felt a mild temporal distortion and relaxed. And then the couple of times I took it after then, this tiny amount of cannabis sent me back into that ayahuasca void and I was certain that I was dying and dead. And since then--it's been a few weeks now--that feeling has occurred spontaneously without any trigger. I'm almost certain I will never take ayahuasca or any form of cannabis again. I'm back on my psych meds, but my psychiatrist prescribed a quick-acting benzodiazepine to treat my severe impromptu panic attacks--and taking it just seriously amplified my panic attack. It's that same thing: a feeling that I am imminently going to separate from my body, and like time is collapsing in on itself. I've even started questioning the reality of the world vs. a "Matrix"-like holographic/imagined reality, and I am so afraid of my death now that it's got me on edge ALL the time. I've never in my life been afraid to die in any conscious way. In some ways, I actually interpret this as a positive thing because at age 38, with a chronic illness that causes a lot of real life challenges, I have never wanted to live more than I do. Yet, in keeping with that, I am afraid that I'm going to lose this life and the people I love. Have I developed some type of dissociative/depersonalization disorder? I keep feeling like I am jumping outside of my body's time, and like I am in extreme denial about no longer being alive, and I'm afraid that at some point I'm going to let go and just zip away from this world. And of course, I know that I am going to die just as everyone else does and there's no way of knowing when it'll happen. But I am scared to death that it's going to happen any time now, and it seems that even benzodiadepines intended to calm panic actually contribute to it now. I feel like there's no way out--but the last thing I want to do is commit suicide, so I guess that's the silver lining? Any words of advice for this crazy person? (Aside from "don't do drugs"! I am fairly certain I never will again.)
  25. Does anyone else have a similar experience? I have a lot of physical health issues, and I think that they can nearly all be traced back to my GAD. Migraine headaches, muscle pain and spasms, stomach issues, dizziness, general fatigue -- it just feels like a constant onslaught. While the rational part of my brain knows that I am a very healthy person - the only "real" illness I've had in the last few years is a kidney stone this past month, which is just compounding the situation because it's quite painful - I still feel like a very sick and broken person, even though I know my issues are mostly anxiety-related. My boyfriend is very supportive of me, even when I'm throwing myself a pity party, but I still wonder, who would put up with someone like me? And are there other people who deal with these problems? Or am I just, like, incapable of handling life's stresses?
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