I’ve been on Amitriptyline 10mg for about two months now. It’s helping, just not with what the GP intended it to help with!
These days, I have to be feeling uber shite to visit the GP, as I rarely leave the place with the help I need, and I always leave thinking ‘why did I bother’. It takes me an eternity to get the buggers to answer the phone, then I have to convince them its an urgent need, as otherwise I have to wait for 3 weeks for a ‘routine’ appointment. I’d love to know what exactly constitutes an ‘urgent’ appointment? I guess routine is perhaps a discussion on nutrition for IBS, urgent is ‘I’m leaking something really weird’ and emergency is ‘the world fell out of my arse, turned it inside out and now its dragging on the floor’…perhaps.
In this case, I have been having some weird, throbbing numbness, occasionally stinging sensations coursing through my mellon, down the side of my face and feels like it is pushing my eyeballs through the back of my face before causing a build up of a weird, seizing feeling which can only be eased briefly by twitching my head until I feel a snapping sensation at the base of my skull. Shit my pants the first time I heard that snap; not literally, that’s another blog post.
It started out as an off & on annoyance, and is now present all day and night; Paracetamol & codeine have zero effect. Trying to describe this to a doctor, who is reading my massive medical history and clearly thinking to himself, this woman is batshit crazy, was not easy. I knew how it sounded, and expected the usual; referring me to someone else to deal with and handing over a box of pills; which is exactly what I got.
At home, I read through the leaflet enclosed in the box of Amitriptyline. It is an antidepressant and prescribed for people with mental disorders. Interesting. I’m not depressed and I don’t have an anxiety disorder (my PTSD is only an issue when faced with triggers, which is a rare occurrence these days). I read on further and discovered that a 10mg dose is effective for treating migraines, neuropathic pain and insomnia. Ok, I can see why he prescribed it then. I then read that I cant have alcohol when taking this month long course (OMG), nor can I take my antihistamines and apparently, it can make it difficult to pee, poop and may make me feel suicidal, alongside a list of other possible side effects. Hmmm… I wondered as I sipped a heavily lemonade’d shandy, is this for full dose people or can us 10mg’ers get away with it?
For the first week, I only noticed one effect of the drug. Serious sleeptime. The first night, I remember taking the pill, telling my bloke to put a decent programme on the telly and saying “These things are supposed to knock me out apparently, but inth thee meanshtime, lets whatsshhh somefink elsh….” gone. I am usually a lightsleeper, as I’ve never managed to switch off my Mummy alarm, which goes off at the slightest creak of a floor board or sniffle from their room. On Amitriptyline, I am DEAD to the world and trying to wake up the next day is near on impossible until at least 11am. I literally feel like I am dragging my face across the carpet all morning! Who knew that eyebrows could weigh so much??
After a week however, I noticed too that I had so much more energy, my joints were less painful and my lethargy was minimal after lunchtime, whereas I usually wake each day feeling like I have already run a marathon and then deteriorate from there. Is this as a direct result of the Amitriptyline, or simply as a result of getting lots of decent sleep? I don’t know. What I do know though, is its had absolutely no impact on my weird head issue which drove me to the GP in the first place. It has worked miracles for a friend of mine’s migraines apparently, so why no brain strain relief for me?
A few weeks later, and I was having a brew with my Dad, holding my head and apologising for being distracted, but the weird head thing was making me feel nauseous. He replied “I know what you mean. It’s just nerve endings firing off and causing ….” he described my symptoms perfectly. In all likelihood, I just had a trapped nerve which needed time to work its way free. Well, that made good sense and since he was the only human that understood what I was trying to describe and not look at me like I was a hypochondriac, then I trusted his suggestions, which were 1. Head and neck massage, 2. More Paracetamol, 3. Increase to two tablets of Amitriptyline at night, but be prepared to be an absolute zombie 4.Patience until it works itself out. Two months on and I am still waiting, the symptoms getting worse, but since my head hasn’t fallen off, I’m pretty sure I am not going to be classified an ‘urgent’ enough case yet!
For more information on Amitriptyline visit the NHS website linked here Amitriptyline