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Could Lamotrigine be causing me to feel like I'm a pressure cooker of feelings now? Let me explain.

I can remember sometime back having a cry or a yell or a vent and that would "cleanse" my feelings and get bad feelings/pressure out of me emotionally/mentally. It seems since I have been on Lamotrigine that every single little and big thing is now securely contained within my soul with no form of venting/cleansing whatsoever.

I have been on 50mg Lamotrigine daily for about 5 months now (for controlling mood).

I have a diagnosis of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Depression). I also take Fluoxetine 20mg for depression and 1mg Clonazepam for sleeping at night (i used to have no problem getting to sleep).

I have told my Pscyh doctor I feel like my feelings cannot escape/be cleansed but she wants me to continue with them & even up the dose, however all the meds I am on now make me way too sleepy and far less functional now.

I feel like taking all these meds help for awhile and then I get serious kicking side effects. And I have found no doctor that truly understands these side effects ARE serious and hell to go through.

All I am told is that I am sensitive to medication, and my dosages keep going up and down, which really knocks my body and mind about trying to adjust, so get all the readjustment symptoms e.g. headaches, nausea, blurry vision, peripheral vision problems, dizziness, sleeping 12 hours again etc.

I am finding it hard to even formulate words, concentrate and remember from moment to moment nowdays! Concentration and memory have always been problems, but not as big as they are now, and although I know that Anxiety and Depression are very closely interlinked, I do feel my biggest consistent problem since I was a small child was mostly Anxiety.

I am told I am on a low dose now. When I was first introduced to Lamotrigine I had severe suicidal feelings the 1st night I took it. The 2nd night was nowhere near as bad. All I can think is that a mood controller is making me like a pressure cooker, yes able to feel now, but feelings cannot "vent out" anymore either. Anybody else felt like this???? Please reach out, I feel like no1 can work it out anymore and I am so sick of the mental health system/meds with so many very bad, traumatic consequencs to these drugs! Don't get me wrong I am thankful there is someone there is try and help, but I feel they just don't know what to do with me and don't have any answers that actually help in the long term.

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Honestly, if I were you< i would check with either a pharmacist or another doctor to make sure that there's no drug interaction. It sounds to me like you might be having one and it would be worth your while to find out. Can you let me know how that goes for you?
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Thanks heaps for your reply HealthnFitnessGuy. Yep will check with my Senior Pharmacist. They don't like to challenge the Psych doctors (behind their backs so to speak, just in case they are quoted), but I will ask him anyway. (I am surprised they have allowed me to stay on Clonazepam for sleep for so many months now, it being addictive and all ).

I have followed every instruction by the book my Psych Doc has advised me for 6 months now and I don't have the energy to debate her or make things any clearer to her on what ARE "serious side effects" (I am told mine are NOT serious, but believe you me I have had other meds that have had even worser side effects!).

So last night, in a moment of initiative, curiosity and desperation, I made the decision to lower my Lamotrigine by half a tablet today (so now on 37.5 mg instead of 50mg). So far, so good today.

There have been on and off times when my vision has got so bad I scarily thought whoa I should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle (comes on suddenly). I can handle the headaches, the nausea, the total confusion, sometimes can handle the feeling of my brain feeling swollen, but sometimes ya do wonder whether you'd be better off without so many of these drugs...

The Doc has referred me to get x2 different scans/images of my brain from the hospital system & possibly seeing a neurologist (cost about $300!). So I am going to try to lay low until that has come up with anything conclusive...that is hard though when your strongest desire is just to get on with your life and somehow retrieve your mental clarity, memory and concentration back and starting walking forward in your life...making steady progress! (Not 1 step forward, 3 back, and then not being told you are dwelling on the negative too much!). I can clearly point out alot of positives in my life for which I am tremendously grateful, however I will squeak when there IS something off...

I want to see for myself if my feelings "free up" so to speak and are able to vent out, instead of being stored/mood controlled/stabilised (they are also used as a Mood Stabiliser but generally for Epilepsy, which I don't even have). I can't even hurt my toe now and have a good swear word or vent to get the pain out - ridickdoo's!

At the end of the day they just keep "practising" and trying different levels of different very powerful drugs and my body just can't handle the long term side effects of so many changes - they cannot understand that, nor can they understand how UNACCEPTABLY DYSFUNCTIONAL these drugs can make a person. If all these things happened to them, I am quite sure all of a sudden they WOULD become more than "minor side effects". It is not as if I am not clearly explaining or being articulate enuf either....

I think there comes a time when a person should FOLLOW THEIR OWN GUT INSTINCTS, instead of putting so much power and faith in doctors....(I do still thank God they are there) but I always used to advocate people following their intuition, because it is generally right on the button!

Thanks for your time HealthnFitnessGuy.... :) It may seem like I am fine but this has taken me well over 45 mins to compose! Oh by the way I think you answered one of my posts ages ago - regarding "numb thumb". Well I am now very pleased to announce that without doing anything apart from a special rubbing of a metal "accupressure instrument" - my numbness is now almost completely gone, after all these months :D
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Ruthie that's great news! I am so glad that you've gotten feeling in your thumb again!! WHo knows what it was anyway--probably just some temporary nerve damage. How did the meeting go with the pharmacist?
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Hi again HealthnFitnessGuy :) , Yeah amazing re my thumb ay?! Truly good news and yeah I think you are right, it was temporary nerve damage, thank God it healed! I actually forgot about talking to the pharmacist last time I went up, because I got there and it was closed (Saturday afternoon), so by the next time I went to get my repeat I clean forgot.

Re meds - I go to see my Meds Doc (Psych Doc) this coming Monday 26th October anyway and will be assertively asking for a decrease of meds (at least in the Lamotrigine for now), but knowing my extreme sensitivity to meds, will go off them alot slower than they recommend and probably in smaller doses than they recommend too.

Good to hear back from you! Thanks for replying. Hope all is well with you there....Kind Regards from Ruth in New Zealand
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Hi there! I'm doing just fine, thanks for asking. ;-) As for going off the drugs slowly, the slower the better. You can always go faster if you feel comfortable but if you don't, forget it! Go slower and you should be just fine. Let me know how you're doing after you go up next time and you're able to see the pharmacist, okay?
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Hi there again HealthnFitnessGuy. Thanks so much for your reply/help. Yep I agree, the slower the tapering, the better. However I have only been given enough for 14 days as a taper-off period for the Lamotrigine. But thank God she did at least listen this time. She was keen to ask if I had been on any others though (which I never have, and never desire to!) (Sounds like she wanted to try me on some different "mood stabilisers", but I think less medication would be more helpful, not more as I am far too unacceptably sleepy/unproductive on what I have been on).

I found out the hard way that you don't "state facts" to them either! After being asked the usual procedural "safety" questions which were all "nope I'm fine" etc, I made one little comment about, "there are ways around that ya know" just simply stating a fact (that you could save up meds). Well, she took me so seriously she has now ordered me via prescription to get my medication every week, to surrender all other medication I had at home and to return any unused stuff every week too. How insulted I felt! I felt slapped in the face because I AM trustworthy, not a loose canon. I explained to her that she needed have taken me so seriously, however that did not change her mind. (Someone explained to me they have a "duty of care" if they have ANY worries, however I still think she jumped off the deep end).

The pharmacist said to me she had a similar situation with her father and that he too said something similar in jest/stating facts to a mental health professional, and they wanted to commit him to hospital right on the spot! She said she and her mother knew he was only joking/stating facts, but they refused to listen to his motivation as well.

The pharmacist suggested I go along with this "order" for a month or so and then request it be lifted. Quite frankly I am getting more than fed up with the whole government mental health system and feel (if I could afford it) that I would be better off with a one-to-one GP that specialises in the area of Anxiety/Depression, at least then, they get to know you and don't over-react, as they see more "balanced" people in a day rather than all seriously ill people. Anyway, so for the next 2 weeks I am laying low, as it feels like someone has "pulled my plug" energy wise anyway. I will be glad to get rid of all those bad side effects, thats for sure!!!

Hope you are doing well. By the way, what country do you live in? Sincerest Regards, Ruth in New Zealand ;-)
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Hi there again HealthnFitnessGuy. Thanks so much for your reply/help. Yep I agree, the slower the tapering, the better. However I have only been given enough for 14 days as a taper-off period for the Lamotrigine. But thank God she did at least listen this time. She was keen to ask if I had been on any other mood stabilisers though (which I never have, and never desire to!) (Sounds like she wanted to try me on some different "mood stabilisers", but I think less medication would be more helpful, not more as I am far too unacceptably sleepy/unproductive nowdays).

I found out the hard way that you don't "state facts" to them either! After being asked the usual procedural "safety" questions which were all "nope I'm fine" etc, I made one little comment about, "there are ways around that ya know" just simply stating a fact (that you could save up meds). Well, she took me so seriously she has now ordered me via prescription to get my medication every week, to surrender all other medication I had at home and to return any unused stuff every week too. How insulted I felt! I felt slapped in the face because I AM trustworthy, not a loose canon. I explained to her that she needed have taken me so seriously, however that did not change her mind. (Someone explained to me they have a "duty of care" if they have ANY worries, however I still think she jumped off the deep end).

The pharmacist said to me she had a similar situation with her father and that he too said something similar in jest/stating facts to a mental health professional, and they wanted to commit him to hospital right on the spot! She said she and her mother knew he was only joking/stating facts and even when they also explained this, they too refused to listen to his motivation for his comment as well.

The pharmacist suggested I go along with this "order" for a month or so and then request it be lifted. Quite frankly I am getting more than fed up with the whole government mental health system and feel (if I could afford it) that I would be better off with a one-to-one GP that specialises in the area of Anxiety/Depression, at least then, they get to know you and don't over-react, as they see more "balanced" people in a day rather than all seriously ill mental health people.

Anyway, so for the next 2 weeks I am laying low, as it feels like someone has "pulled my plug" energy wise anyway. I will be glad to get rid of all those bad side effects, thats for sure!!!

Hope you are doing well. By the way, what country do you live in? Sincerest Regards, Ruth in New Zealand
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Hi ruthie! I'm an American, first and foremost. Hi! I'm glad to hear that you got someone who was pretty sympathetic and was able to help you do the tapering with a bit of information this time around. Can you tell me how tapering goes for you? i'd like to hear about how it goes. Thanks! :-)
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:) Hi HealthnFitness Guy. Well so far, so good (tapering off). Soon to go down to half a tablet, but I don't anticipate any problems really. It was more the introduction of Lamotrigine and the continuation of it that gave me problems/side effects. So there we go. Which State do you live in? I used to live in the U.S. when I was a young girl. Went to school there and all. We stayed for four years whilst my dad was going to University. Lived in Dallas, TX, Tulsa, OK and Spokane, WA. (I liked Spokane the best). Hear from ya later....Kindest Regards, Ruth
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That's good to know that all your side effects have gone away. Or at least reduced! I think it's the worst trying to taper off a medication...



I live in Connecticut actually, not too far from NYC so I go to visit often. Did you pick up an accent in Texas? :)
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Hi HealthnFitness Guy

Thanks for your reply and thanks your comment is comforting reading what you wrote about "it's the worst tapering off medication", because I am now on the third day of NO lamotrigine and have emotionally been through so many heart wrenching tears, mixed emotions and terrible mood swings galore.

Haven't had as much of that today thank God, but it is still very very hard to understand. If they could just tell you what to expect, it would make it easier to bear, but then yeah I know - everyone is different.

I really hope that my emotions are just swinging back into some kind of BALANCE because from going from being mood-stabilised/controlled to having them move of their own accord and swinging so tremendously is just so scary and draining mentally and emotionally!

Yep have definitely got to the point where I will not be open to trialling any more new types of medication whatsoever because the "minor side effects" and supposed "non addictive" drugs just totally upset my emotional and mental system, whether going onto OR off them. Their only answer to that is that I am more sensitive to medication than most.

Are you a doctor or a mental health survivor or what? Where do you fit into the picture on this subject?

OK CT, not far from NY, so you're an eastern guy. I certainly did pick up an American accent whilst in the States, but not as strong as the southern TX accent (thank god lol) sounded more like I was from Washington State. My american accent took me years to lose when I got back to NZ and although I sound like a kiwi now, now and again some people still ask me where I am from! If I am talking to an American it's amazing how my american accent just kicks in unconsciously!

Hope this post finds you well and thanks again for sticking in there and being a great empathetic, genuinely interested and listening ear....that means an enormous amount to me and restores some level of faith in humanity to me. Kindest Regards, Ruth in NZ
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Well, actually I am a GAD sufferer so I do know what it's like coming off medication. I used to be on Paxil and after I stopped taking it I had to deal with a lot of mood swings afterwards and my mood didn't really stabilize for quite sometime so I do sympathize. I am glad to hear that it's getting better for you though. How is your mood doing today?

I'm really glad to hear that my posts have in some small way been helping you along too ;-) Hope you're feeling better and better!!
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Hi HealthnFitnessGuy - ah ok, so you know first hand what all this is about. Didn't know whether you were a doc or what.

Thanks for sharing and telling me of the mood swings you suffered afterwards - because that is precisely what I am experiencing, it feels like a living emotional/mental hell. Don't even really want to go out of the house for fear I will just end up bursting into tears at whatever. And although not comforting, I am glad to know the truth that it took quite sometime for your moods to stabilize (even though I'm sorry for you), because as you will know when you are in it/there - it just feels like it will never end. And it just feels like ya get to new levels of worse.

I know everyone is quite different in their body/mind/emotional reactions to these different drugs/"meds" (being on OR tapering off) but it is strangely comforting to know I am not the only one who has experienced kicker side effects on AND tapering off these drugs - because the message my doc and nurse give me is that I'm just sensitive to meds, so ya feel like it works for everybody else, and you're the odd one out, why isn't it working for you, it just raises so many questions.

My mood is all over the place today still and I am finding it really hard to take things in/listen/concentrate/focus/be productive (but that's been consistent for a long time now). I'm almost wondering whether we are better off WITHOUT these drugs?! What do you think? Are you on anything now that helps or are you completely off meds? Has anything else helped for you? Like exercise etc or a support group or getting out of the house - whatever? I really appreciate you sharing and listening.

And yep your posts have in a huge way been very very helpful, because I have no-one else to talk to who actually understands, and my doc and nurse just tell me I'm more depressed and so want to put me on more drugs. I don't trust their advice or drugs anymore!

Will look forward to hearing back from you when you can manage it. Hugs, Ruth from New Zealand
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