17:10 – Pregabalin (Lyrica) for anxiety… anyone?

1 Aug

Sorry I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks, to be honest my head has been all over the place and I’ve been spending almost all my time self isolating recently. I still haven’t seen CPN#2 but I finally found some courage and phoned to request another appointment. I was only on the phone to her for about three minutes and all she talked about was how it would be beneficial if I could at least read the first chapter of the Compassionate Mind/Compassion Focused Therapy workbook thingy before I see her again. She said this is to prepare me for doing structured work with the psychologist but I have to admit I just sat here rolling my eyes thinking “what a load of bull” as she spoke. Anyway I said I would try and read some of it and the first appointment she could offer me won’t be until the 9th of August, so next Friday.

She didn’t ask why I haven’t been in touch with her for the best part of ten weeks; I did try to apologise but she just said “that’s your decision whether or not you want help” which kinda left me feeling like she thinks I’m not arsed about getting help from them. Of course there are some days when I’m not arsed, equally there are other days where I know that whether I like it or not I have to try this therapy stuff and just see what happens with it. The one thing that did confuse me though was the way she said I was working with her to prepare me for working with the psychologist – does this mean that when the psychologist finally starts working with me again that I’ll no longer have a CPN? I don’t know. It kinda sounded that way though. To be honest I obviously don’t feel much benefit from seeing her or I wouldn’t have let the past couple of months pass without getting in contact with her. So maybe that question answers itself.

Moving along to today and it was my second appointment with the new psychiatrist. I haven’t been sleeping great lately and looked like shit (felt like shit too with the combination of extreme tiredness and a bucket load of anxiety). My support worker came along to it with me which was a massive help because I felt more confident in talking about the points I raised with him in the letter I sent after meeting him for the first time. I told him about my concerns over stopping taking the daily Diazepam and how I understood that I cannot stay on it long term but at the moment it is doing something to help me and if he takes that away then there is nothing in it’s place to help me cope with the agoraphobic related anxiety and to a degree, social anxiety. I told him I’d also spoken to my GP about this whole coming off of the Diazepam stuff and how she agreed with me that it made much more sense for me to start the Compassionate Mind stuff and at least start learning the basics before withdrawing what is essentially my safety blanket. He didn’t say anything, in fact he barely looked at me. He scribbled some notes down and made the same comment as last time “you are only scared to withdraw from it because you are addicted” – well if I am addicted it’s the fucking fault of my old psychiatrist for leaving me on them for almost three years!!!

He asked about my social life (what social life??) and I told him I had been self isolating a lot lately and I told him I missed a few days of medication (twice) in the past couple of weeks and how disappointed it made me to realise that the voices were still there underneath the elastoplast band aid also known as Quetiapine.

I didn’t like my old psychiatrist much, I admit that, but at least he gave appointments that lasted around an hour not fifteen minutes. He would ask me about the voices, what they were saying, how they made me feel, how they affected me, what I thought they wanted, etc. But this new guy? He didn’t ask a single question.  He skimmed over my medications again then said he would agree to leave my Diazepam dose at the current level of 16mg a day for three more months before I have to start withdrawing and leave my Quetiapine at 750mg a day but he then said that he thought I was experiencing low moods and wanted to increase something to help me (Quetiapine is already maxed out) so he asked me if I’d like to move up from 30mg Mirtazapine a day to 45mg a day. I said I’d give it a go.

Then he said something which surprised me a little – he asked if I wanted something for the anxiety that I could take on a longer basis than any benzodiazapine? I asked him what he had in mind and the medication he recommended was Pregabalin. I told him I’d never heard of it before and he simply said just to try it and if I didn’t like it then I didn’t need to take it. This was another thing that annoyed me – the old psychiatrist would have taken five or ten minutes to explain what type of drug it was, what possible side effects there could be and answer any questions I had about it. This new psychiatrist, however, offered no information at all and simply told me to go to my GP next week and get a prescription for it, as well as for the extra dose of mirtazapine.

Of course as soon as I got home the first thing I did was consult Dr. Google about what the fuck Pregabalin actually is. It seems that it’s primarily a medicine for epilepsy, an anti-convulsant, which is also used for neuropathic pain (conditions like Fibromyalgia) but the more I read the more articles I came across for it also being an effective treatment for anxiety. I’m not sure what dose he is starting me on, I’m pretty sure he said 75mg but from all the reading I’ve done this afternoon it seems like most people need at least one if not two or three increases as a lot of people say it seems to lose effect after a while.

I’m apprehensive about trying it but if they are determined to wean me off the Diazepam starting October/November time then at least it gives a good period of time for the Pregabalin to build up in my system. I think the withdrawal off the Diazepam is going to take several months and I can’t lie, of course I would much rather stay on it, but I know I can’t, so if the Pregabalin works then that would be super.

I’m still experiencing bursts of laughter, uncontrollable giggles, and silly childish remarks off and on from little Berry but the voice of Sasha has well and truly gone. However I am still struggling a lot with urges to self harm. I’m on top of it at the moment but things do feel a lot like they are sliding backwards a lot of the time. Oh, that reminds me, I actually asked the new psychiatrist if he thought the voice hearing had come back almost like a rebound psychosis because I suddenly stopped taking my medications for a few days and he didn’t even answer me! I actually found him to be a little bit rude because I was talking about something personal and instead of listening to me he started writing me out another appointment card. At the moment I rate his communication skills as poor, his ability to display empathy or understanding as non-existent, and his 15 minute appointment sessions are just a joke. I know GP’s are limited to about 10 minute appointments but the ones with the psychiatrist are supposed to be anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Grrr.

I thought that by writing him a letter and explaining everything it would be beneficial to both him and me but now it sort of feels like a waste of time. Even though he wrote a short letter back thanking me and saying he understands my mental health better now. I don’t even think he remembered the letter until I mentioned it and even then I saw him flicking through my notes and speedily reading through it. Unfortunately I live in such a rural area that he is the ONLY psychiatrist I can see. I am very thankful that we have the NHS in the UK and receive free healthcare treatment but sometimes it’s extremely frustrating when you have to work with people who you feel no benefit from seeing but you carry on going to the appointments anyway because you know that if you don’t then you just won’t have a CPN/Psychiatrist/CMHT.

I think I have rambled on enough now but it would be great to hear from anyone who has tried Pregabalin for anxiety purposes (I believe it’s called Lyrica for my friends across the pond) and what you’re experiences of it have been – good or bad!

For now, I suppose I had better try and face the outside world and go buy some dinner for me and the doggies. Hope you’re all well xx

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6 Responses to “17:10 – Pregabalin (Lyrica) for anxiety… anyone?”

  1. Amy August 1, 2013 at 19:02 #

    Heya 🙂 I’ve been reading your posts for a while now and came across this one which mentioned Lyrica (Pregabalin). I take it for Fibromyalgia at 150mg (75mg daytime, 75mg night-time). I’ve not been diagnosed with anxiety (although I am on the waiting list for a couple of therapy programs due to symptoms of depression and possibly anxiety) so I’m not sure if this is helpful to you, but I find the morning dose does calm me down a little so you may find some use from it.

    I do hope the psychiatrist gets his act together!

    • bourach76 August 2, 2013 at 08:06 #

      I’ve been taking pregabalin for anxiety for about a year and honestly it’s changed my life. I went from being unable to leave the house to going back to work in a fortnight. For the first week or two it leaves you a bit foggy and dizzy but that wears off and I haven’t experienced any other side effects. At the moment I take 150mg morning and night and 75mg at lunch time. I initially started at 75mg and worked my way up. I still do have anxiety problems and panic attacks but nothing at all like what I used to. I would really recommend it.

      You’ve nothing to lose – give it a try but I’ve genuinely never heard anything negative from anyone who is taking it for anxiety.

      (Your psych sounds like a cunt.)

      • mycrazybipolarlife August 2, 2013 at 12:41 #

        Thanks for commenting, I feel a bit better about trying the Pregabalin now. Slightly worried about starting it at the same time as increasing the Mirtazapine up to 45mg and also being on 750 of the Quetiapine which in itself leaves me with brain fog a lot of the time. But on saying that, I am determined to overcome the Agoraphobia and if this helps even just a little then it will be worth it! That’s over 8 years I’ve lived with constant anxieties and have missed so many significant family events because of it. So I will definitely try it out! Thanks again 🙂

        (P.S. My psych is a cunt)

  2. Stewart Mitchell October 29, 2013 at 22:50 #

    This will be my third year on and off lyrica. Having had major anxiety disorder all my life Lyrica did work but at a cost. I have been on all modern anti depressants and can tell you one thing. No medicine can permanently fix issues of mind. They may offer rest bite but that’s all. There is more and more study suggesting this and even the NHS is waking up to this. Medication for mental health is becoming a last line defence. What’s taking its place is CBT and MBCT. You are not addressing the root cause and the root cause is your mind. No amount of drugs will ever resolve only what mind can.

    Lyrica is the hardest thing I have ever tried to get off. Just Google Lyrica Hell or youtube. Please try and seek alternative means.

    You may find comfort in googling spiritual awakening. Meditation will heal you and it doesn’t need to be religious. Its more about connecting with a higher self.

    I am here for you if need any help with anything.

    • mycrazybipolarlife October 30, 2013 at 22:55 #

      Hi Stewart,

      I actually wrote that post back at the very beginning of August and had horrendous side effects from the Lyrica so I think I only lasted a matter of weeks on it before stopping taking it. We have since worked out that I have an allergy or severe sensitivity to anything containing Gabapentin so I definitely won’t be taking it again.

      I am due to start seeing the psychologist again soon (I’m now top of her waiting list) so hopefully this Compassion Focused Therapy programme that she wants to do with me will help some.

      Thanks for commenting and hope you are well 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. This Week in Mentalists – The ‘I See What You Did There’ Edition | The World of Mentalists - August 4, 2013

    […] …whilst My Crazy Bipolar Life is wearing an equally WTAF, MH Professional?! expression after meeting her new psychiatrist. […]

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