I Had No Idea That Gabapentin Could Do This…

Gradually reducing Clomipramine in a safe manner and successfully overcoming the challenges of drug withdrawal, I truly desire this narrative to revolve around myself. My expedition took an unforeseen detour, as often happens in life. However, subsequent to encountering COVID-19 for the first time, I had no inkling that my experience with psychotropic medication would transform into a horrifying ordeal.

I Had No Idea That Gabapentin Could Do This…

After speaking with my general practitioner, I decided to give the drug Gabapentin a try. I continued to grow annoyed with this persistent malady, but the pain was tolerable for the most part. I started searching online for a medication that could help me. About two weeks after my Covid illness, I developed painful muscle spasms and nerve pain throughout my legs. Although I considered it to be a mild case, I ended up contracting Covid and entering school a few weeks later. However, I had done everything I could to prevent the infection. I enjoyed returning to work as a Bible teacher at an outstanding Christian school in August 2021.

I remember my mom telling me a few years ago that if I never took any medicine, I should never read the side effects. I headed partway for her advice.

In 2021, I decided to take a higher dose of my medication because I realized that I was feeling unsteady and nauseous on Christmas day, which was the last day of my previous dose. I also noticed that my vision had become blurry. After speaking with my new neurologist, we agreed to increase my dose to 300 mg twice a day, as the lower dosage didn’t seem to be helping me after two months. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, as this was the dosage prescribed by my doctor. So, at the end of October 2021, I began taking 300 mg of Gabapentin once a day.

I experienced intense suicidal ideation, worsened symptoms, and a day later, I drove to my dad’s house because I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time and felt nauseous and restless for straight 3-4 days, which was unlike anything I had ever felt before. On January 3rd, I went to see my neurologist and asked him what could possibly be causing what I was experiencing and if it could be related to the low dose of the drug I had been on for the past two months, Gabapentin. He flippantly replied, “No, you’ve only been on the drug for a low dose for two months.” I asked him again what could possibly be causing what I was experiencing and if it could be related to stopping Gabapentin, and he replied in the same dismissive manner.

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After a week of starting Gabapentin at a dosage of 200 mg (taken at 100 mg in the morning and 100 mg in the evening), I decided to reinstate taking it. I posted some of what was happening to me in a Facebook group called “Lyrica Survivors,” seeking direction and wise counsel from people in the group. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, as thousands of people had experienced trouble coming off either Lyrica or Gabapentin. Desperate to find some help, I turned to the internet.

Once again, I was mistaken. I believed that I would be fine and therefore did not have to abruptly quit this time. All the information I found online seemed to suggest that I could handle it. I assumed that reducing my dosage from 200 mg to 100 mg would be acceptable. Since I had only been taking it for a few months, I was determined to attempt another decrease in dosage two weeks after stabilizing on 200 mg. Believe me, I still didn’t feel good. After finally stabilizing on Gabapentin, I returned to my job. I had taken the first two weeks of the semester off because I was not able to function at a high level. I still couldn’t understand what had happened to me.

After speaking with my girlfriend, sister, and dad, I decided to go to the hospital for help. I had returned desperate for more assistance with my insomnia, which had once again increased my suicidal ideation. Finally, I realized that I was suffering from akathisia, a symptom that was caused by my medication. I was suffering from horrible symptoms every single day, and my life felt ruined. Emotionally, I was a wreck, so I requested a leave of absence from work. This began in February when I dropped my dosage back down to 100 mg, as increasing it was causing more problems for me. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t take the exact dosage for another week, and I started up-dosing, which was a mistake. I had been led astray by medical journals, websites, and online articles that I had followed for advice. After about a week, everything broke loose and I was in hell. But at first, I seemed fine after dropping my Gabapentin dosage down to 100 mg on January 20th.

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1. Once I reassured her that I had no intention of ending my life, the psychiatrist reluctantly discharged me. 2. Without wasting any time, I dialed my sister’s number and implored her to rescue me from that place. 3. She disregarded my plea when I informed her that I had attempted it previously. 4. She guaranteed me that they would discontinue my Gabapentin medication once I was transferred to the psychiatric hospital. 5. The psychiatrist I encountered at the hospital insisted that Gabapentin could not be the cause of my distressing experiences. 6. It was an utterly dreadful ordeal. 7. During this duration, I received minimal attention and care. 8. Consequently, I spent four days confined to the Covid wing of the hospital due to this situation. 9. The inability to transfer me to a psychiatric hospital resulted from this circumstance. 10. I returned with a positive Covid-19 test result. 11. My admission to the ER was accompanied by a Covid-19 test due to the prevailing pandemic. 12. On February 1st, I voluntarily checked myself into the emergency room of a prestigious hospital located in Atlanta.

On the days that followed, I found myself lying on my couch in despair, just praying to be taken away. Every doctor I spoke to, whether it was at the hospital or through a conversation with a nurse, said that my ultimate problem was either my mental illness or the Long Covid symptoms I was suffering from. No medical professional fully believed my story. I felt so hopeless and alone. That’s why, after a conversation with a nurse at the hospital, I decided to stick with this dose of Gabapentin, taking 200mg, and on 4th February, I was back in my apartment.

Following a four-month gradual reduction, I opted to discontinue at an extremely low dosage on May 25th, 2022. I had no intention of remaining on Gabapentin for an extended period. As I gradually decreased the dosage, I encountered internal tremors, vibrations, dizziness, nausea, ear pain, burning skin, akathisia, and vision issues. It was far from enjoyable, but my confidence in successfully discontinuing Gabapentin grew. Consequently, after stabilizing on my dosage for a month, I initiated the tapering process. They suggested reducing the dosage by 10% each month. Numerous individuals had faced challenges while discontinuing Gabapentin and Lyrica, but somehow managed to overcome them. Hence, I decided to give their tapering approach a try. I concluded that the only reliable source of assistance would be the Facebook group.

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Things are far from being normal. They have improved, but my hearing and vision are still not back to normal. I still experience burning sensations in my skin. I deal with daily internal tremors throughout my back and head. I have not experienced withdrawal problems, and it has been a few months since I stopped taking Gabapentin.

I had never been through anything this traumatic in my 34 years before, so I decided to spend five weeks in intensive outpatient therapy to help restore some of my mental health.

I chose to share my story to shed light on the dangers of psychotropic drugs, hoping that it may spare thousands upon thousands of people from daily suffering. I must admit that I have had a difficult time offering forgiveness to the doctors and pharmaceutical companies who prescribed these medications. I have been shocked to learn about the many lives that have been destroyed simply by taking medication. My goal is to never take another psychotropic drug for the rest of my life and to get off antidepressants in the next few years.

This is the end of my story now, and I hope that someone out there, who may benefit least from it, can at least find some hope. What we see is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal, so we should fix our eyes on what is unseen. So, we should focus on achieving the eternal glory that far outweighs all the momentary and light troubles we face. These words were written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth in the first century. I would like to conclude with these two verses that have been an anchor for me this season, but I understand that you may not share the same faith or religious beliefs as me if you are reading this.

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