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  1. What Mark G says is so true. I can promise you whatever you tell your therapist, it will not be the worst or most challenging thing s/he will have ever heard, or will hear in the rest of their careers. And it won't be the least troublesome, either. It's what they do... all day long, with people on a continuum who are in therapy because they really want to be, and people who are there as part of a court mandate, and could care less. Do you have children? If so, for me, it was a way of modeling for my kids that I was doing what I had to do to take care of myself when I needed help. One of them eventually ended up in therapy, and the other one runs away as fast as anyone suggests it. They both suffer from anxiety, too, like me, but it manifests itself in very different ways. I do wish the younger one would be more open to it. I do feel like my helicoptering parenting (as a result of my own anxieties) contributed to theirs and I just want them to break the cycle.
  2. feelsthethreat

    Xanax to Valium switch

    I met with a second psychiatrist this week after feeling like the first one I met was non-committal when it came to consulting with my previous psychiatrist. I've tried a lot of different anti-depressants and I don't want to start over again and she hemmed and hawed about how full her schedule was, and the time difference in trying to reach my previous psychiatrist. So I found someone new, and at the first appt., he didn't even bring up a long-term plan of taking me off of benzos. He was one of the most thorough p-docs I've ever met, and instead is approaching the anxiety with adjusting anti-depressants, so I feel like I have a bit of a reprieve. I see him again this coming week. I know he's already reached out to my new marriage counselor and new therapist, and maybe my old psychiatrist (also will probably reach out to my old therapist because he knows me better than any of them) I really hope I notice a difference in my anxiety with the new anti-depressant. Can I just say, one thing that drives me nuts about Xanax is how I get the hiccups so much more often when I'm on it. I don't know if it's the same with other benzos, or just Xanax. And it always seems to happen fairly soon after I take my bedtime dose, which is frustrating when I'm trying to go to sleep!
  3. feelsthethreat

    Antidepressant DNA test

    Exactly... they only tell you how well your liver metabolizes the medication. It won't tell you if it will work or not. I did the test about two months ago and found out a longer-acting benzo I was switched to from Xanax, then weaned from in 2.5 weeks, was in the red category, which could explain why I developed such severe diarrhea for at least four weeks. I'd say my GI system is probably back to 80% of being what it was before the benzo substitution, so it was a BAD choice. Xanax is in the yellow category for me with a footnote that my liver metabolizes it slowly, so I need less of it to get the same effects as someone else (and yes, it does work for me) My psychiatrist at the time (we just relocated so I have a new p-doc) met with the representative of the company (GeneSight) and when push came to shove, he had to admit it doesn't tell you which drugs will work or not... just gives you clues as to which ones you might have side effects with; she also said none of her colleagues at the teaching hospital she is on staff with are really using it. So in a way, it can help you rule out certain medications, but it doesn't mean those in the green category are going to work... it just means your liver metabolizes it appropriately. My new p-doc that I met this week was very interested in the test results, and I think is using it (along with my history of the many meds I've tried in the past) as he considers which approach to take with me. I'm green for the Pamelor and Remeron I'm on now, but they aren't working, so he's weaning me off of the Pamelor and introducing Effexor, which is actually in the yellow category. The footnotes for why it's in the yellow category basically say again serum levels could be high (because my liver metabolizes it more slowly, so it stays in my system longer), so I would likely do better with a lower dose, if it's going to work. Remeron is in the green. He started me on the lowest dose possible of Effexor... 37.5 mg. Medicare is covering the costs of the test. I had it done when I was at an inpatient facility, so I haven't seen a bill. I hear it costs around $1400 if you submit it to insurance, but if your insurance doesn't cover it, the company charges under $400. I think as time passes, the tests will become more refined and offer better information. My H is a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, and explained it all to me, and says hopefully the day will come sooner rather than later that refinements of these kinds of test are more precise and reliable. If I had to gauge, though, I'd say it's years away from that.
  4. feelsthethreat

    If it’s not one thing, it’s another

    I know when I'm anxious I swallow more often, thus more air gets in my belly, so yea, I burp more. It took me many years to realize I do this, but once I started paying attention to it (my anxiety when it's particularly ramped up), I just sort of expected the burping to come along until my anxiety settled down. In fact, sometimes when I feel bloated, drinking water will help, because it helps me get the air out when I burp, so I feel less bloated. But yea, try to pay attention if you're swallowing more when your anxiety is higher than usual. Then it would make perfect sense. BTW... I also have GERD but it is fairly well managed with meds.
  5. feelsthethreat

    High Anxiety and Can't calm down. Help needed friends

    Hi, I'm a newbie here and just finished reading through this entire thread. Was wondering if anyone had any updates they'd be willing to share, particularly the Effexor use. For the last five years, a very low dose of Pamelor and Remeron was all I was taking for anxiety and depression after having ECT. But in the last 18 months, there has been a LOT of PTSD in my life and the debilitating anxiety returned. On top of it all, my husband and I relocated less than two months ago, 2000 miles away after living in the midwest for almost 30 years, so I had to find a new 'support' team, including therapist and psychiatrist while still trying to process all the PTSD events. The psychiatrist I saw this week was incredibly thorough, and felt like he needed to start some sort of medication change at that first visit because I was so desperate. Unfortunately I don't have the list of all the meds we tried prior to my agreeing to do ECT, but he was very upfront that he was going to reach out to not only my psychiatrist back in the midwest, but my therapist, too to get whatever information he needs. But this new guy asked so many more questions than anyone (other than my previous psychiastrist), and said he really has so many more questions for me that he didn't have time to ask this week. So I see him again next week. He actually weighed me (I've lost quite a bit of weight with this latest bout of anxiety) and took my blood pressure. He has had good luck with Effexor and Remeron together. So I am lowering the Pamelor and this morning took my second 37.5 Effexor (I think it's the extended or sustained release). I've heard horror stories of how difficult it is to come off of Effexor when people have wanted to (hey, if it works, I have no problem being on it the rest of my life), so I was a little reluctant, but am trying to remain open-minded. Thankfully as I go through this, I am also on .5mg extended-release Xanax, twice a day (AM and PM), and have short-acting Xanax I can use for breakthrough anxiety. But I'm in my late 50s, in a brand new world with really no friends here, and tend to obsess about medication changes because I don't feel all that motivated to get out (although I do run some sort of errand at least once a day), and we're in a temporary apt. until we close on our new home at the end of the month. I do not work. So I've turned to the internet. I am hoping everyone who has posted here about their new meds will chime in and provide an update that will offer me some hope. Oh, I did provide him with the results of GeneSight testing I had done a couple of months ago, and he was very glad I had already done that and made copies for his file. I also have been attending, on average, two DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) meetings a week, which has been helpful some nights, and just so-so other nights.
  6. feelsthethreat

    Has anyone taken Fluoxetine before? Has it worked?

    Due to a relocation, I am in search of a new psychiatrist and one that I've interviewed recommended this drug - I'd never heard of it before, despite thinking I'd been through almost every SSRI out there. I confirmed with my psychiatrist back at home the indications for this medication, and she says she uses it, so I would definitely be interested in hearing anybody else's experience with it. No one has ever officially diagnosed me with OCD, although I'm learning mental health professionals sort of see OCD as on a spectrum, and I am probably low enough on the spectrum that an official diagnosis of OCD wouldn't apply to me. Right now, the majority of my anxiety is exacerbated by things that are completely out of my control... major losses (including three deaths) in the last 18 months, as well as diagnosed chronic health problems due to a genetic mutation, and this relocation 2000 miles from where we spent 30+ years of our lives. With the little googling I did, though, it did say there could be an issue with taking it and certain benzos. My current cocktail is 60 mg. Pamelor, 30 mg. Remeron and .5mg extended release Xanax twice a day, with occasional .25mg. of Xanax in an orally dissolving tablet for breakthrough anxiety. I probably take it for breakthrough about half the days of the week. Yes, I know my Pamelor really isn't in within therapeutic range, but I was put on it after having ECT in 2013 because it is shown to work well in conjunction with people who have had ECT. I did so well after the ECT that I didn't feel it was necessary to increase the Pamelor. The first psychiatrist I met with left me with a feeling that she wasn't committed to talking with my previous psychiatrist back home before making changes, and I'm not OK with that, so I am having a consultation with another psychiatrist this afternoon.
  7. feelsthethreat


    Yes, anxiety can DEFINITELY cause diarrhea. It gave me really bad diarrhea for four weeks - I even ended up in the ER dehydrated and with very low potassium. Now, I was at a residential treatment facility that doesn't believe you can do the deep therapeutic work if you are on any dose, no matter how small of a benzo, so they weaned me off of a low dose of Xanax in 2.5 weeks (which I have since learned is basically inhumane - it should be done over many, many months). I actually developed colitis from the unrelenting anxiety I was experiencing. I'm doing better now, but I'd still say my GI system is not 100% despite being back on Xanax. So yes, anxiety can cause major GI issues, or visa versa, having major GI issues can cause anxiety. In my case, my GI system was fine until they weaned me from the Xanax. I did eventually have a abdominal CT scan, which showed the colitis, but because I just had a colonoscopy in May, no one is jumping in to recommend another one right now, and again, the GI issues are better than they were a month ago.
  8. feelsthethreat

    Not dying right?

    I have to disagree with the thought that no one died of feelings - I absolutely believe that Debbie Reynolds died from stress related to her daughter's death. There is substantial medical literature out there that shows death from a broken heart is a well-established occurrence. Now, how often does it happen? Probably not very often, but for someone like me who has had a LOT of major loss and PTSD in the last 18 months, I do worry about it, particularly because my mother was my age when she had a silent heart attack, one of my brothers was my age when he had a stent put in, and another brother died from his second heart attack in two years just eight months ago. Heart disease runs in my family, and any physician will tell you one of the number one things you can do to reduce your risk for a heart attack is to reduce the stress in your life. But when you've experienced everything I have in such a short amount of time, it is completely unrealistic to have that kind of stress NOT impact your health. I am working through it as best I can in therapy, but part of my additional stress is that we just relocated 2000 miles away from the area I called home for 29 years. That's where my therapist, psychiatrist, marriage counselor and entire support system was, and now I am having to start over. I've never felt so alone in my life, but other than taking baby steps and hoping things improve, it's a fact of life that my stress level is off of the charts devastating. I developed such bad GI problems that I ended up in the ER incredibly dehydrated and with incredibly low potassium. Had I not insisted I go to the ER (I had some medical people calling into question my need to go even though they knew how often I was going to the bathroom), that low potassium could have wrecked havoc with my heart. So yea, feelings that are unmanageable because they are so overwhelming can contribute to early death. By the way, I did not create my own problems... everything that I am coping with now happened to me and was completely out of my control - three deaths of people very close to me in a very short period of time, finding out my partner had cheated on me with three women in a two-year period of time, and finding out I have a genetic predisposition that puts me at a 50% risk of developing colorectal cancer in my lifetime... PLUS relocating across the country to an area where I have to recreate a new support system. All the literature says the infidelity will take an average of three years to recover from. I haven't even begun to deal with the loss of two of my brothers 12 days apart because there are too many other crises on my plate. Every time I turn around, another crisis slams me in my face and all the previous crises get put on the back burner. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has been dealt such a traumatic hand in life, and I hope that I can get the help I need sooner rather than later. And I'm one of the proactive people who seeks out support groups, or whatever might be available to alleviate the stress. But sometimes it's just too much.
  9. feelsthethreat

    Xanax to Valium switch

    Due to cross-country move less than two month ago, I have a new psychiatrist. I LOVED my psychiatrist who is still in touch with me until I fully transition to the new psychiatrist - the meds I'm taking were prescribed by her, so she feels an obligation to me until the new psychiatrist has fully assessed me (three full appts.) and is willing to start writing scripts. I have PTSD due to many events of the past 18 or so months (details are in my post in the Introduction forum) and have ended up on a dose of .5 mg extended-release Xanax twice a day... once in the AM and once in the PM. But even taking the two a day, I have breakthrough anxiety a few times a week and occasionally have to take an additional .25mg or .5mg. I have somewhat isolated, which is not good when you move to a new area and need to make new connections with people. So the new psychiatrist has said that's the problem with Xanax (and I know it)... is its short half-life. She started planting the seed for a switch from Xanax to Valium, hope it stabilizes, and then start switching around my anti-depressants to see if something else will help with the anxiety (current anti-depressants are Pamelor - very low dose - and Remeron). In a previous episode of severe anxiety and depression from 2011-2013, I went through a LOT of medications and none work. I eventually had ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) and it worked... took away the depression and anxiety so I no longer needed Xanax. It wasn't until this recent string of traumas began happening 18 months ago that I slowly started using it from time to time, until within the last couple of months I'm back on Xanax on a prescribed (as opposed to PRN) dose. I hate trying new medications, and the new psychiatrist isn't telling me I have to do this right this second, but she seems to think I will have more stable coverage of a benzo if I'm using Valium, which has a much longer half-life, than Xanax. Wondering if anyone here has made a switch from Xanax to Valium and what it was like. At one point many years ago I did attempt a switch from Xanax to Klonopin, and the Klonopin just didn't offer the same anxiety relief as Xanax, so that's one reason I'm afraid to switch to Valium.