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Relapse of anxiety/panic/depression

M

MamaMax

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Hey guys, I'm new and I need your help. I had my first severe depressive episode with acute anxiety around 7 years ago now. I went on sertraline to 100mg for a year and a half, then came off it. About two years after that I had another episode and went back on sertraline 50mg. I've been on that dose ever since.

About five days ago now, I took my sertraline at night as usual and went to bed. It gave me really bad heartburn and I ended up vomiting quite hard. My chest was sore after that so I ended up awake most of the night then eventually fell asleep for a couple of hours. The next day my chest still hurt and I began to have thoughts that there was something wrong, like a heart attack. I started having crying jags and then the anxiety attacks began. Over the next two days I became extremely nauseous and began to have diarrhea and the chest pain vanished.

I was totally heartbroken because I was certain with me being on sertraline, I would not have to deal with anxiety, panic and depression again.

Morning to lunchtime is the worst, I feel anxiety as soon as I wake up and can't eat a thing until the evening. I usually do okay for the first hour of the day, then start to feel the tears threatening. Eventually I will end up crying and feeling terrified, thinking thoughts like my sertraline must have stopped working, how will I get better now, i will be a burden to my husband, mother and kids, why am I so worthless and so forth.

By late afternoon (so now) I am feeling better and by evening it's like I'm totally normal again. Then I go to bed and the next morning it starts all over again.

So I phoned the doctor thinking he would probably tell me to increase my dose and although that really frightened me, the side effects etc, I was prepared for him to say this. However he said he doesn't want me to increase my dose. He thinks I have had a gastric bug which has triggered the anxiety/panic and it will settle back down soon. He said it's only been five days. It feels like five years to me.

So I no longer have my crutch as such, of sertraline will fix this, and instead I'm supposed to just hang on in there until this settles, if indeed it does.

So I feel very alone. My husband is supportive but I hold back from telling him how I'm feeling because I don't want to get him down. My mother is supportive but she has so much going on in her life that I don't want to add my mental health issues to it. I spend most days trying to hide my distress from my children.

Can I overcome anxiety/panic/depression on my own?

Has my sertraline stopped working and that's why I am feeling anxiety/panic/depression?

I need to hear success stories, I really need reassurance. All I've ever had is medication so I really feel lost at sea. Thanks.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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Ok, so...it does sound as if you had some kind of stomach bug, and us naturally anxious people try to control things in an attempt to ease the anxiety so connecting it to the Sertraline is not an unexpected thing to have done in this case.

Also, chest pain is common when experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, AND very common after having vomited. All sorts of muscles hurt after that. It's traumatic for the body (and the mind.) It's also VERY common when we're feeling panic and anxiety to have chest pain. It seems to have gone away after a few days though, so it was likely caused by the heartburn and vomiting.

Also, if you indeed had a bug, including both vomiting and diarrhea, the doses of Sertraline you were taking during those days would likely not have been properly absorbed, which could cause a bit of an emotional (and maybe physical) rollercoaster, as you basically unintentionally went off them for a few days.

It could take a while to re-settle back into the routine.

Another thought I had is, I noticed you said you take it at night. Have you always done that? Do you take it shortly before bed or several hours before? Does it make you tired generally?

I took Sertraline for several years and always took it in the day / when I got up. I've always found, no matter what antidepressant I've been on, I feel worse in the morning, it improves as the day goes on, and then I feel a noticeable relief around 6pm and then night time is my most relaxing / comfortable time.

Apart from that, I wonder if while your body is getting used to the Sertraline again, it could be acting differently in your body. Like...if you take it at night, like right before bed, then technically in the morning and the day, you feel worse while it's working, and you start to feel better when it's wearing off almost 24 hours later. This is not how you used to feel on it though, so I really don't think it will stay this way.

I think, since you feel like Sertraline is all you have, you're feeling really scared that it's now suddenly stopped working, that it will never work again, that nothing else will work, and that everything is doomed. Which is understandable, but untrue.

Sertraline does not suddenly, after years of regular usage, make you violently ill, it does not suddenly just stop working overnight. If these meds ever stop working, it's gradual. Always.

I would talk to someone. Your husband, if possible. It will help you not to feel as alone. It won't be a burden for him. He would want to know.

Give it a bit more time (just a bit. I know it feels like forever), and try to trust the Sertraline again. Your body's ok now. And your mind and the Sertraline will be too, very soon. Big hugs for you.
 
M

MamaMax

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Inverness
Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of that and give such a kind reply. I really appreciate it.

I have always taken sertraline at night, as I was always convinced I would sleep through any side effects and I think I probably did.

It's interesting that you say maybe my body is getting used to sertraline again as I wondered that today, the nausea, lack of appetite, increased anxiety, frequent yawning and jaw clenching, they were all my start up effects. But would this happen after about two days of a bug?

I've joined moodgym, a CBT self help app recommended from the NHS so I'm going to work on that. If anything this relapse has shown me that I do need more than medication, I need to develop proper coping skills and fight back against these horrible thoughts about myself. I feel guilty having had a relapse because I have three additional children that need the best of me, not depressed panicky mama. Thanks again.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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I wish I could help more!

Yes, even "going off" these meds for a few days can cause the body to have to kind of start again a bit. When I first went on Sertraline in early 2013, I was just a bit queasy, quite sleepy, and I would wake up shivering but I wasn't cold. It didn't worry me. I assumed it was the meds and went back to sleep. After a few days, that stopped.

After being sick, your whole body is thrown out of balance, and that can add to the instability of how any medication might function during that time.

It's good you're looking into some other techniques to try and help. I too tend to rely on medications and have become quite cynical over the years!
 
Fairy Lucretia

Fairy Lucretia

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hi just wanted to welcome you and send love x sorry you had a bad experience ,it must have been frightening x here to listen x Lu x
 
M

MamaMax

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Thanks for the replies it means a lot ❤

So its morning again, last night I took my sertraline as usual but didn't go to sleep as quickly as usual and after about an hour, I got that anxiety feeling in my chest. I ignored it and went to sleep though it was quite broken.

This morning is much the same. I feel on edge and tensed up, that sicky feeling and trying to remind myself this is just anxiety and it will be okay. I keep telling myself that every hour that passes is another hour closer to feeling better. Last night I was totally my old self, laughing, eating, chatting, finishing my craft projects.

It's so so disheartening to wake up feeling bad again. I want to keep busy but I'm not sure how I can. Im at home all day so once the housework is done and the kids are off to school, it's just the baby needing cared for and he is quite easy to look after. I don't really know what to do with myself. I will take the baby for a walk with the dog shortly which will pass a little time. The things I usually enjoy doing don't give me any pleasure in the mornings, so it all feels like everything I'm doing is to avoid anxiety, which in turn plays in my head that that is what I am doing and creates anxiety as a result.

I know I've just got to hang on in there and I am really hoping that this is a blip caused by some sort of bug that affected sertraline and now it's passed, the sertraline will kick in again. I'm not sure how I will cope if that isn't the case.
 
ShySparrow

ShySparrow

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I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. Life is hard with anxiety symptoms. I too have woken up with anxiety, as I do most mornings. Like you I get relief at some point in the day, usually evenings, then the next morning I am back to square one and I feel overwhelmed that I have to start all over again.

I had a panic attack a few months ago which triggered a decline in my mental health and has me thinking that my medication has stopped working. I've been taking Mirtazapine for quite a few years. My doctor put me on beta blockers last week to see if that could help, I don't know if it's working, some days I feel worse.

We are all in this together. I am really sorry you're suffering. None of us deserve it. I say to my wife I'd rather have broken bones than my depression and anxiety. When we're ill, sometimes nothing we do can make us feel better, we just have to wait for relief to come by itself.

You need to talk to your husband about this, as stevie said. It will help you greatly.

I'm sorry I can't offer much advice as I am quite ill too. I'm struggling with the physical symptoms of anxiety as much as the emotional symptoms at the moment.

Please continue to share your thoughts and feelings on here with us.

Sparrow
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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I was thinking about this last night while brushing my teeth, and sometimes when you have bad anxiety and are first starting an antidepressant, the dr will also give you a short course of benzodiazepines, to "tide you over" and take the edge off until the antidepressant kicks in better.

If your feelings keep going, maybe this might be an option? (I don't mention this lightly. I started taking benzos, self-medicating at first, due to my relentless anxiety, and 4 years later I'm still on them.)
 
M

MamaMax

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I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. Life is hard with anxiety symptoms. I too have woken up with anxiety, as I do most mornings. Like you I get relief at some point in the day, usually evenings, then the next morning I am back to square one and I feel overwhelmed that I have to start all over again.

I had a panic attack a few months ago which triggered a decline in my mental health and has me thinking that my medication has stopped working. I've been taking Mirtazapine for quite a few years. My doctor put me on beta blockers last week to see if that could help, I don't know if it's working, some days I feel worse.

We are all in this together. I am really sorry you're suffering. None of us deserve it. I say to my wife I'd rather have broken bones than my depression and anxiety. When we're ill, sometimes nothing we do can make us feel better, we just have to wait for relief to come by itself.

You need to talk to your husband about this, as stevie said. It will help you greatly.

I'm sorry I can't offer much advice as I am quite ill too. I'm struggling with the physical symptoms of anxiety as much as the emotional symptoms at the moment.

Please continue to share your thoughts and feelings on here with us.

Sparrow
Hi Sparrow, thank you so much for reading and replying. I wish I could reach through this screen and give you a big hug and tell you everything is going to be okay, because it IS going to be okay. I know this because we have both got through this before so there is no reason at all why we won't get through it again.

I'm trying to work on challenging my thoughts which are usually full of things like, but what if the sertraline doesn't start working again, what if I get worse rather than better, what if my husband gets fed up and leaves me, what if my kids develop anxiety and depression too, is this how the rest of my life is going to be?

Any of that sound familiar? When I am aware I am thinking these things, I tell myself how silly those thoughts are, or I actually try to work through the what if. So what if the sertraline doesn't start working again? Well I will need another med probably and that means a longer period is suffering but there is not a whole lot else to be done so needs must.

Honestly I feel like a fraud because I tell myself these things but believing them is another matter. I guess we have to be kind to ourselves and accept this is going to take time.

Feel free to talk to me anytime okay?
 
ShySparrow

ShySparrow

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You are not a fraud. You are very brave. Thank you for encouraging me, I really appreciate it.

I don't know your husband but I know that anxiety and depression tell us lies, I think you know that your husband wouldn't leave you. I'm sure you love each other very much, and he would be glad to help you just like you would help him if he came to you for help.

Your children are safe and well at this moment in time. We can only live one day at a time and many of our greatest fears never happen. Just concentrate on yourself for now and don't think too much about the future. You are not destined to be ill forever, you will recover.

Enjoy your relief when it comes and don't worry if it doesn't come when you expect it to, it will come eventually.

Sparrow
 
M

MamaMax

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Location
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I was thinking about this last night while brushing my teeth, and sometimes when you have bad anxiety and are first starting an antidepressant, the dr will also give you a short course of benzodiazepines, to "tide you over" and take the edge off until the antidepressant kicks in better.

If your feelings keep going, maybe this might be an option? (I don't mention this lightly. I started taking benzos, self-medicating at first, due to my relentless anxiety, and 4 years later I'm still on them.)
Hi Stevie, thanks for replying again. I wish I could take benzos in a way, but I know I won't. Ive been prescribed them before once in the past and I took one, but hated the feeling it gave me. I can't even take propranolol because I panic over my heart going too slow. I'm really my own worst enemy.

I guess this is why I've had so much faith in sertraline and fear losing it so badly. It's literally been the only thing that has dragged me out of anxiety and depression twice. I'm still struggling to understand why the doctor didn't want to increase my dose, I just assumed that's what happens if you begin to experience anxiety and depression again.

So overall I'm still feeling quite lost and trying to find some self esteem in myself to believe that I can get through this without med changes etc.

I just took my son to the doctor as he has been poorly for some days, just a virus apparently. I really wanted to ask the doctor to check me over too, but I didn't because it wasn't an appointment for me. I haven't been seen by a doctor since this started, just a telephone call. I have a phonecall from the mental health team tomorrow so hopefully that will be helpful.
 
M

MamaMax

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You are not a fraud. You are very brave. Thank you for encouraging me, I really appreciate it.

I don't know your husband but I know that anxiety and depression tell us lies, I think you know that your husband wouldn't leave you. I'm sure you love each other very much, and he would be glad to help you just like you would help him if he came to you for help.

Your children are safe and well at this moment in time. We can only live one day at a time and many of our greatest fears never happen. Just concentrate on yourself for now and don't think too much about the future. You are not destined to be ill forever, you will recover.

Enjoy your relief when it comes and don't worry if it doesn't come when you expect it to, it will come eventually.

Sparrow
Thanks again sparrow, that's a lovely reply.

It's a bit complicated with my husband, he is a lovely man but I worry that leaning on him too much will cause issues for him. He is a recovering alcoholic you see, sober two years and eight months and is on sertraline too. And my mother is also on sertraline, a functioning alcoholic and caring for my alcoholic grandfather who is in heart failure. So I don't want to add my relapse on to either of them.

I wish I could say I have friends I could lean on but sadly I don't. Past issues have meant I struggle with socialising out with my children, husband and mother and mostly avoid it where possible.
 
ShySparrow

ShySparrow

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Well done to him on his sobriety! He sounds like a strong man, it takes great strength to break an addiction. He may have some words of wisdom to share with you when it comes to coping. It might make him feel more valued and give him greater determination to remain sober knowing that you rely on him. Just be open with him, it might speed up your recovery.

You know him better than I do, so I will leave it with you.

Sparrow
 
ShySparrow

ShySparrow

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I'm not good at all tonight. I've had a few moments of being ok today but I just feel so hopeless again. My anxiety and depression are just too much for me to bear at the moment. I can't think straight, I'm just overwhelmed with sadness. I've just had a good cry, really hysterical. When I'm like this I can't think, I can't do anything. I've calmed down enough to share my feelings on here. I just needed to share my feelings, that's all I can think to do.

I can't feel anything but pain. I feel bad for my wife, she works so hard for us both and I just want to be in good health for her sake as much as mine. She hates my illness as much as me but loves me with all her heart, as I love her.

I can't imagine ever feeling well again when I'm like this, and this is what makes me despair.
 
ShySparrow

ShySparrow

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She hates my illness as much as I do, I mean.
 
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