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return of panic attacks/meds management?

Hi, everyone.  I've been in the trench with chronic anxiety for 3 and 1/2 years.  Currently on 150 mg of zoloft, and in the process of titrating off daily xanax: 1/4 of 0.25 tablet in AM, 1/2 at PM.  I also have 100mg capsules of gabapentin to use PRN if needed.

My biggest triggers are exhaustion and big change.  I've been doing GREAT the last many months!  Can't remember the last time I had a full on panic attack.  However, the last few weeks, I've started having trouble getting to/staying asleep, so my fatigue has been high.  Then, the big change: I got a puppy last Wednesday night.

As a single girl, it gets a little lonely sometimes.  I've always dreamed about having a little fur face to come home to.  But I didn't do enough thinking about a puppy vs. an adult dog.  She pees everywhere, I have to watch her every minute - and I do mean *every* minute.  She doesn't sleep, which means I'm not sleeping.  She's having trouble eating, which is stressful for me.  When I come back from work, she's absolutely destroyed her playpen area I've set up for her.  I've already had to call in sick once because the panic attacks were so bad: dizziness, weakness, shakes, nausea, hot/cold flashes - the works.

I do NOT need puppy advise - I've had plenty of that.  I've made the decision to rehome her, which has been hard.  One of my challenges with this illness is that my dad and sister just don't get it that it's a real illness.  So, in this instance, they don't understand what my problem is - in their words, it's just a puppy.  Which makes it worse for me.  They're not wrong.  I had a breakdown in Target on Saturday - had to sit down, full out ugly crying.  I've really been struggling with feelings of being weak, a failure, or a coward.  All just my anxiety talking because I know we warriors are some of the bravest bada$$es out there.

I've given myself permission to take the whole 0.25 mg of xanax - that was mine and my psychiatrist's whole goal, was to get me off of it so I could use it for emergencies.  I'm seeing my psychologist tonight for a therapy session.  I've clung to my small circle of people who *do* understand and support me 100%.  Eating is hard - I'm sticking to mostly cereal.  Sleeping is hard, too.  Deliberate exercise makes it worse, but running laps in my apartment helps.  

One of my other stressers is where do I go from here with the xanax?  Will I need to start over titrating?  Does this mean I need to up my zoloft, or is my body just responding to the enormous stress?

I'm exhausted, mentally and physically.  My parents and little brother are watching her for me last night/today so I could sleep.  It doesn't help that she's as good as gold for them, and my brother is begging me not to give her up.  Ugh!

Any advice and ecouragement you fellow warriors can share would be VERY appreciated.  Blessings to all of you~~~
1 Responses
Avatar universal
My guess is you're suffering withdrawal from stopping the Xanax.  If you do take that pill again and everything gets better, that's the culprit.  Benzos are very hard to stop taking, and you have every symptom of withdrawal -- trouble sleeping, stomach problems, crying jags -- pretty classic stuff.  I'd suggest a much slower taper off and see if that brings you back to a more even disposition.
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