Fun with Pristiq


Druish Princess
May 25, 2005
Columbia, Maryland, United States
Copy/pasta from my online headache group.


So a few weeks ago my neurologist increased my dose of Pristiq and that's when my life got turned upside down. I've had mental health problems in the past and dealt with them. At the time of this increase I was relatively happy other than the fact that I have daily migraine. But suddenly I wasn't happy anymore. Random thoughts kept popping into my head like "It would be interesting to drive my car off this bridge" or "I wonder what it would feel like if I sliced this vein open from the end of my arm to my elbow" or "I could just shove this pen into my eyeball and into my brain and wiggle it around until it killed me. I wonder how long it would take." This is not me. I'm not unhappy with my life like that. I have a wonderful husband who loves and cares for me and he and I have so much fun together. I have good friends and a great family. I have no desire to die, but these thoughts were really scary.

The scariest part was that when I was thinking these things I didn't really care. I was completely apathetic. Fortunately I didn't act on any of these impulses. So I told my neurologist what was happening and she told me to stop taking the Pristiq right away. UGH!!! Suddenly I was sick to my stomach and achy and my emotions were out of control. I was afraid to be alone so my family and friends rallied to my side. The doctor said it would only take two days to work its way out of my system and I thought I could tolerate two or three days. I made sure I wasn't alone ever and just waited.

Two days went by and nothing changed. Then the weekend came. Nothing changed. I still felt horrible and was still having the thoughts. On Monday morning I called my doctor again and she said that obviously it couldn't be the Pristiq causing all this and that I needed to see a psychiatrist. She then referred me to a pdoc that didn't accept insurance and cost $375 for an initial visit. I decided this wasn't really cool since I only have a $100 copay for ER visits. We couldn't find any other psychiatrist that was willing to see me on short notice. As a group, my husband, best friend, sister and I decided that walking in to the ER was our best option. So I did. I described my symptoms and what was going on. They immediately sent me to the behavioral health unit and it was determined that I was a danger to myself. I voluntarily committed myself to a mental hospital thinking I could get to a safe environment until we could figure out what was going on.

This turned out to be a mistake. I got sent to Sheppard Pratt which is supposed to be one of the best mental hospitals in the country. I had been there before back when I was actually having mental health problems. It has decayed a lot over time. Not only that but they weren't equipped to handle me. There was nowhere for me to go to a quiet and dark place because of my headaches. I was suddenly thrust into a situation where I had to deal with schizophrenics and sociopaths and anti-socials. They don't really give a damn that screaming for an hour isn't polite around a person with a headache. In addition to that I suddenly became unable to have access to PRN meds when I needed them. Sometimes I would have to wait an hour to get a dose of Migranol which really works best at the onset of a migraine, not when it has become a full blown issue. My headaches generally go from beginning to excruciating in about 20 minutes.

I also didn't have access to very much food that I could eat. Day after day, meal after meal I was marched to the cafeteria and forced to look at delicious food that I couldn't eat. I wound up on a diet of microwaved baked potatoes and the occasional starchy vegetable. If it weren't for my husband bringing me food during visitor hours I really would have been starving. I never did get to see the nutritionist they promised me I would see. They also couldn't understand that taking my anti-nausea medication 5 minutes before eating wasn't really very effective and it would be nice to take it at least 30 minutes before the meal. On my last day there, they finally got that. They never let me have the dissolving kind of anti-nausea medicine despite the fact that I provided them with it. I had to take it in pill form. Sometimes I managed to keep it down for long enough to digest it, but not often.

So I'm at this mental hospital being miserable and still having suicidal thoughts. I'm supposed to be on suicide observation so they are supposed to check on me every 15 minutes. This didn't actually ever happen. The second day I was there one of the tiles in my bathroom fell off the wall (this place was literally falling apart!) and I was alone in my room with this thing that I knew I could hurt myself with. Nobody knew until the next day when I told them. Then another tile fell off my bathroom wall. I told them immediately. Then they accused me of pulling the tiles off the wall myself. They didn't believe they fell off the wall. I'm still trying to figure out how that would be possible considering I wasn't allowed to have anything sharp. I wasn't allowed underwire bras. I didn't have shoelaces or drawstring pants or any clothes with zippers or even a plastic knife to cut into my baked potato. How am I supposed to be removing tiles from a wall? Anyone?

So then I was informed that I wasn't allowed in my bedroom except to sleep. So I had to spend miserable days in the common room with the florescent lights and the loud people and no place to lay down. I'm sure you all can appreciate how fun that was. I got the feeling that this was the way that the mental health workers were dealing with my complaint that nobody was doing their job by checking on me when they were supposed to. They were all afraid for their jobs at this point since I had shown that I had opportunity to hurt myself and nobody noticed for something like 16 hours. Whatever.

At this point my husband started trying to get me out of there. I was better off at home where people actually cared about me and I could be medicated properly. I requested to be released and my 72 hour hold started. That was Thanksgiving Day. While everyone else was eating turkey and celebrating with their families I was watching other people eat and begging for some relief. At least I wasn't having crazy suicidal thoughts anymore.

My husband finally yelled loud enough that I got out on Saturday. Completely unrelated to all of this was that I got a vaginal infection while I was in the hospital and they prescribed Flagyl for it which I had a very bad reaction to. On Saturday I wound up in an insane amount of abdominal pain and I've been throwing up pretty much constantly since then. Woohoo! Guess I'll have to see a gynecologist tomorrow. Good times.

Anyway, something that I prayed would help me ended up being a nightmare. I'm not sure how many more nightmares I can have in trying to make my head better. I'm tired and desperate and frustrated.
Wow oh wow. I can't believe you survived all of that. How long total were you in the hospital? Is it possible to report them for being shitty employees?

I am super glad you aren't experiencing those thoughts anymore. Hopefully you can keep some food down soon. :heart:
wow... good luck getting all that sorted. hopefully something gives soon.

at what age did your migraines/mental problems/etc. start?

also, on a completely unrelated note, i'm going to start calling people vaginal infections when they piss me off.
wow... good luck getting all that sorted. hopefully something gives soon.

at what age did your migraines/mental problems/etc. start?

5 for the migraines I'm sure of, 12 or so for the mental issues I'm guessing. The vaginal infections didn't start until I started gettin' busy and I'm not telling when that was but its not like I've had one ever since then or anything.

They clear up.

I swear.


Stop judging!

April has herpes!

Okay, that was mean.

April, I love you and your herpes and any time you are done with that geezer just come on over to my place sugar.

We'll have some real fun.

And I'll probably give you an infection.

Sorry 'bout that.
Wait, so it's abnormal to just be driving down the road and have a dissociative thought on what it would be like to drive off a bridge?
Wait, so it's abnormal to just be driving down the road and have a dissociative thought on what it would be like to drive off a bridge?

Nah, not really, but if you start having these thoughts every day all the time and have a history of depression and suicidal tendencies with ptsd and dissociative disorder it's something you might want to look in to.
much love, babe. hope everything is getting better. :heart:
you should've gotten a big indian to throw a water fountain out the window of the common room to make your escape :D
After I slipped into depression following the three month claustrophobic encounter with my sofa and living room ceiling after multiple surgeries I realized what a serious matter mental health is and I'm amazed at what you deal with. I couldn't begin to imagine how I would handle being in your situation. I have never experienced something as horrifying as not being in control of my own brain. And my episode didn't even come close to yours. I had cabin fever x 1,000,000 but you've got a serious psychosis. Or whatever. And that's scary. Where's polo?
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In general he never berates mental health issues, thankfully.

I'm on my third week off work now with depression and it's not much better, I haven't once felt like I'm able to go back to my office yet.

3 weeks off work? not to make light of the situation but I'd practically give a testicle to be off work for 3 weeks
3 weeks off work? not to make light of the situation but I'd practically give a testicle to be off work for 3 weeks

Got next week certified too, not sure if that'll be as long as it is or whether the doc will sign me off for even longer. It'll be a month in total which I believe is my longest non-working period since I was 15 or so.

I always thought it would be horrible not to work and I'd be bored and depressed but I kind of prefer not working, I'm busy enough and the time is flying by. Doc has signed me off so I can get on a good regimen of medications and get happier/more able to cope with life. Previously I've kind of been anti-meds but I think I need them now.