It's nearly impossible to be sure what helped me, because I was on a very low dose of Zoloft when I began in mid-May to have panic attacks -- for the first time in my life. I did not know what a panic attack was until two months ago.
My psychiatrist's recommendation was to steadily increase Zoloft to as high as I needed to get rid of the anxiety. Oh, I was free from panic attacks by the time I was on 250 mg of Zoloft, but the depression increased horrifically. The next step he and I took was to reduce the Zoloft. I stayed sick and felt just awful, crying all the time. No anxiety, though.
On July 1, I sent from 200 mg of Zoloft to zero Zoloft, and each day I feel better, though I feel so good now that it's hard to say I feel better each day, but in fact I do!
So, what was my problem? I don't know. The original anxiety might have been caused by strictly psychological and emotional issues. One month ago I began twice-a-week therapy. Somehow, things are changing for me within the therapy experience itself, so I think that therapy has played a major part in my recovery (or remission, or whatever we should call this).
But cessation of all drugs seems to have been key in removing depression. But maybe I'm bipolar and will get depressed again. Fine. I can deal with that. We'll just take another antidepressant if that happens.
But here's something interesting. Last night I was working late (it was really this morning, around 3 or so). I had a flicker of what I recognized as "anxiety," but it was just a flicker that came and went. Then it came back and I started to feel a bit odd. I broke down and took a drug -- two Advil Liqui-gels, which work amazingly fast. What might have felt like a flicker of panic was just tiredness and was easily handled by the Advil.
So, maybe you could try something like Advil when you start feeling bad and see what happens. I have just discovered the similarity between tiredness and the onset of panic. They are nearly identical.
However, last night I posted what might be even more like what you are looking for.
Basically, I stopped the downward spiral by CHANGING SOMETHING -- by stopping what was proved to NOT BE HELPFUL -- the high dosage of Zoloft.
Whatever you are doing for yourself now -- if it is not helping -- change it. But change only ONE THING AT A TIME. I stopped the Zoloft, but I decided that I would take Ativan if I needed it. After all, Ativan cannot make one feel anxious!!!!! Or depressed!!!! (At least I don't think so.) So, I said to myself that if I got a panic attack, I had the Ativan to fall back on temporarily (small dose -- .5 mg.).
So, for example, if you are on a specific dosage of an antidepressant, tell your doctor that you want to try to change ONE THING to see if it might help.
See if you can find that post I wrote last night, okay? I hope this helps you, but I don't know that I've presented anything really worthwhile at all.
What will help you recover is to:
- Discover your own "gut sense" of what your being is asking for. I wasn't sure that I was taking too much Zoloft; I just had a feeling about it. You can always begin taking more of what you reduce if you discover you want to go in the opposite direction.
- "Observe" yourself to the degree that you can get a sense of what DOES make you feel your symptoms less -- but if NOTHING does that for you, think long and hard about changing something. Not changing something means literally that NOTHING WILL CHANGE. If you've given the drugs enough time to work and you are still not feeling any better, you MUST DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY. Whether that's reducing drugs, having more frequent therapy, or something else, there's no escaping the reality that if you don't change SOMETHING, nothing will change.
- "Follow the Pain" -- Instead of running FROM the pain we experience, we must run TO it and let our bodies and our minds feel it fully. DP is probably the embodiment of the desire to avoid emotional pain. We get our desire fulfilled, but at what price? Life itself. That's no deal, is it.
So renounce the desire to avoid pain, particularly emotional pain, and learn to love your tears, your heaving sobs, your feeling of utter bottomless grief. These are gifts to you from God for your HEALING.
We all deserve peace and joy, and I believe we WILL enjoy it -- ALL OF US.
Run to your pain as the "savior" that it is -- and like Christ said, "The truth will set you free."
You may, as I did, cry and cry, and when asked by your therapist to explain what you are feeling, find nothing to say but THIS truth: "It just feels good....." Feeling good from crying is as old as time. Become as a child again -- one who simply trusts himself and the way he feels and doesn't prohibit his body/mind from being WHAT THEY ARE -- gifts from a Giver who seems to elude us all but whose love we can nonetheless feel with our souls and see in the faces of those who love us.