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mycatzara - introduction


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I'm new to the site. You can see my withdrawal history below. This time I've managed to successfully taper from 10mg to 1mg escitalopram with only a few nasty hiccups along the way but am concerned at managing the last 1mg, particularly as I've become progressively less motivated over the month - not sure if this is a withdrawal effect or not. I think I need to keep much better records of how I'm feeling. I have downloaded some info from another part of the site for this.


Also about to start seeing a psychologist for some help dealing with the fallout of a period of bullying in a social  group which led to me leaving the group about 12 months ago and consequently losing a large part of the social support network which I'd painstakingly built up after the breakdown of my marriage (which was contributed to both by depression and the sexual side effects of SSRI's). I am aware that this could stir up a lot of trouble emotionally, but this is something I will discuss early on with the psych and prepare for.


You may wonder why on earth I am trying to go off antidepressants at the same time as dealing with other issues. It's complicated, but basically there is no 'right' time to go off antidepressants - there is always going to be something to deal with - and the side effects are causing problems. 

So I thought this site might be helpful, and more constructive than pouring my heart out on social media sites at 2am to friends who really don't understand the problems of depression, let alone withdrawal.


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome mycatzara,

Thank you for sharing your story and for filling in your signature. I'm sorry to hear about everything you have been through, you've had to deal with a lot in a short time, I'm sure being able to work with a psychologist will be helpful.


Its good you are using the escitalopram liquid, that will make it much easier to make the small cuts we suggest, as the dose gets lower.


Unfortunately, you may have been tapering too fast.  1mg - .8mg is a 20% cut.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising.  A slow taper will not only minimize withdrawal symptoms, it will give you the best chance at getting through the post-withdrawal year or two without having to go back on the drug.  What we recommend is a taper that's based on a percentage of your current dose not of your original dose.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)


I suggest you hold for a while now, to let your nervous system catch up with the recent reductions.  Perhaps reinstate back up to .9mg and hold for at least 4 weeks, to see how you feel.  Its your decision, but if you feel you are having significant withdrawal symptoms, going back up a little in dose, if you have been tapering too fast can sometimes help you to re-stabilize faster.


Here are our tips for tapering off escitalopram:




The information in this topic may help you understand the difference between withdrawal and the recurrence of a previous condition:

What is withdrawal syndrome?


You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want,  you will find a lot of friendly help and support here.





I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hiya   mycatzara , good to see you here.


So many people on this site who've done very gradual , steady tapers , seem to get into trouble at those tine doses.


I was reading a thread recently from a guy who had gone from 7 beads of Effexor to 6 beads (after tapering for years) and got hit hard with wd symptoms.   So you're not alone in your reaction.


There's a "room"  for Australian members if you want to register , and keep up with the local goss.


Best wishes from Sydney ,    Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • 5 months later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Mycatzara!


How have you been?  I've "lost" your drug history / signature.   I'm here responding to what you were saying about your therapy in the Neuro-emotions thread:


It's awful to hear you were bullied by the very support system that you hoped would help you transition from "married" to "single."  


You wrote in the NeuroEmotion Thread:




On the one hand I am tempted to stop therapy because of it causing intensely painful and prolonged emotional responses that I have limited resources to deal with, but on the other hand it would be pretty stupid to stop when I am intermittently suicidal. Although these issues are currently separate, I am concerned about the possibility that at some point the mental pain/hopelessness/suicidal thoughts will coincide with the agitation/recklessness/out of control feelings, leading to a suicide attempt.


Pasted from <http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/137-neuro-emotion/page-8



I said I would come here and offer some suggestions, after seeing this post. 


My first question to you is this:  after the "intensely painful and prolonged emotional responses" you get from therapy - are you unburdened at all?  Lighter, freer?  Do you feel like you've gotten some resolution?  The CBT "coping skills" - are they applicable?  Or are you and the therapist just wrestling about "good thoughts" and "bad thoughts"?


The reason I ask this is, because many therapists are, well, diggers.  They love to dig up the stuff, but they're not always sure what to do with it to resolve it, to help you heal from all that dirt.


There are therapies - like CBT, DBT, and ACT (gotta love the acronyms) that are more about giving you coping tools and strategies, than in digging around in current and past traumas.  It seems like, in your case, I would recommend ACT, as it does look at these things, but it has a different approach for how to process them.  And it is good for your relationships with other people.


(FYI, CBT and DBT are more internal, great for dealing with intense symptoms or cognitive distortions, while ACT addresses how you interact more.  All of them are supposed to be "mindfulness based.")


OH.  WAIT.  Your therapist IS using CBT?  And is hammering you with it?  Again.  Maybe this is the wrong therapist.  There's only so much you can "hammer thoughts into correctness" without addressing how they feel, or why they became a coping strategy for you to begin with.


For example:   If I was sick a lot as a child, I might have learned that getting sick is a way to get coddled, get attention, get my way, and thus becoming sick became a coping strategy, as well as a means of expression - when I was afraid or having trouble, it was the clearest choice to "get sick."  CBT could BLAME me for being sick all the time, saying my thoughts of sickness were reinforcing my problem, and CBT would try and substitute thoughts of wellness, might tell me I'm somatacizing (my emotions become physical problems).  But that does not address the fact that I *FEEL* sick, nor does it address when the sickness is REAL.


Instead, maybe I would need a therapy that enables me to go - oh.  Tummy problems.  I am doubting my right to be in this world, I am having trouble "digesting" something in my life - and the therapy needs to address the ISSUE behind the "tummy problems" that I may be somatacizing.  Maybe I really am somatacizing, but behind that, is the reason I'm doing so - maybe it's because I'm afraid of a bully, or I don't have friends in this school, or something else - but hammering on the "I feel sick" thought with CBT is not going to get me anywhere.  That's just an example of where CBT might not address the difficulties appropriately.


ACT, as I understand it, would look at the tummy ache, accept that I have a tummy ache, and then help me to choose a course that will help the tummy ache get better - whether it's "somaticization" or not!


That said, ACT can be used as blunt hammer, as well.  The therapist and therapy who is right for you - is as individual as you are.


I hope you are still coming around, and wonder how you are doing with your taper - the post in May said you are finished tapering.  How has that gone?  You are about 2 months out from then, what is happening with you?  Please let us know!

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna


Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.


My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.


A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.

The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/



I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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