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  1. Hi guys, Figured i'd join this community for support and to support others. For a bit of background I was prescribed Escitalopram for OCD in early March this year. (Tried regular citalopram first but it was gross and refused to take a second pill) Worked my way up to 15mg of escitalopram by the fourth month. The whole time i was wary of being on them and wanted to get off sooner rather than later, always felt like they were bad news but was essentially out of options. Over this time period I worked extremely hard in therapy/ERP and made a lot of progress with my OCD in that time to the point where it was mostly under control. I was actually pretty happy. Month 5 i dropped down to 10mg. Noticed some mild symptoms (sweating, increased heart rate) but nothing major and they subsided quickly. A few weeks later i dropped down to 5mg. Definitely noticed some more intense symptoms this time, but still nothing that bad. I waited for a further 3 weeks before making the final jump to zero. Unsurprisingly this transition was when things got pretty bad. The first few days were fine, I actually laughed to myself and thought i'd got away with not having many withdrawals. You guessed it, i was wrong. I'm about 7 weeks off now, my memory isn't great atm but from what i can recall the first month was extremely uncomfortable. I can only really describe it as intense emotional pain/anxiety sort of burning inside my chest coupled with racing thoughts. I was extremely irritable, to the point of rage, had very broken sleep, vivid dreams, wild mood swings, sweats, very deep depression. I think around week 5 i had a sort of baby window where for 2 days i felt pretty good. Was stupid enough to drink on that night and woke up back in the pit (if not worse than it was before). I'm currently just over 7 weeks off, the rage has been replaced with irritability, my sleep has somewhat improved, however i'm far from recovered. Still experience very intense emotions (mainly depression, anxiety, anger and sadness), moments of overwhelming impending doom, brainfog, paranoia. There's more but i'm sure you get the point. Anyway, i'm aware i've tapered off far quicker than I should have done. But given all i've been through i'm reluctant to put that stuff back in my body. I'd rather just take the pain. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where i don't have much responsibility right now, however i obviously want to get back to living my life as this past year has been hell with the OCD and then w/d. Hoping given the relatively short time period i was on them for it won't last too long. However 6 months on the drug, i wouldn't be surprised if i need 6 months to recover, maybe more but hopefully not. So yeah, i'm here for the ride with you guys. I know how isolating of an experience it is. My family don't really believe that i'm still withdrawing nearly two months later.
  2. Long story short, I been on and off antidepressants since I was 15, I’m 32 now. The last 2 times I have started back on have been the worse I have felt in my life. Depression, Anxiety, insomnia have been unbearable. I’ve had mood swings where I’m very depressed in the mornings but as the day goes on I’m fairly better, more so by the evenings. Iv been paroniod and obsessing that I’m “bipolar”. I’m starting to feel some normalcy after about 4 weeks back on the Lexapro but still not stable. After these last 2 experiences with Lexapro, I don’t trust these meds at all anymore. But at the same time, I can’t get out of my head that I’m gonna experience some bipolar episodes or loose it without it. I hope to be off these meds one day.
  3. Hello everyone, I started taking Lexapro 5 mg back at March 1st until September 11th. During the last month before I quit the medication, I started getting stomach issues, malaise, fatigue issues. I was also diagnosed with thrombocytopenia (low platelet disorder). With all these issues, I told my psych that I was getting these bad side effects, he told me I could quit or taper off in 1-2 weeks. Since the side effects were getting too much, I decided to withdraw. Initially for the first two days, I was feeling good, just had to go pee a lot. However, for the next 8 days, I was dealing with bloating and stomach pain. It went away though, and then I had a clean window of 10 days where I felt perfectly normal. However, I started to feel bad in my stomach again, and it seemed to coincide with having a irregular sleep schedule (days where I would range from 3 to 6 hours of sleep). I also started noticing I was getting more gas and belching more than usual, but it didn't really bother me. On October 5th, I noticed I started getting major sinus issues and had to clear my throat many times. By October 9th, I started to get major anxiety, which culminated in insomnia for the weekend. On October 11th, I noticed that I started to taste acid in my saliva. On October 12th, I started taking Protonix due to the suspected gastritis and acid reflux. Two days later, I was getting bad heartburns two consecutive days in a row. Even though I started eating less, having a non acidic diet, and changing my habits, the stomach issues never went away and I still would be getting reflux. I started seeing a chiropractor on October 20th and he noted that my entire left side of my body was tense, and he proceeded to adjust parts of it including my stomach, which has been helpful. He also taught me ways to relax my stomach. I was also advised by a nutritionist coach to start having a diet with no wheat, no processed grains diet on October 21st. While the diet has worked to eliminate the reflux, I noticed that my insomnia and bad anxiety came back on October 23rd and 24th (maybe due to lesser carbs?) However the anxiety lessened on the 25th when I ingested a bit more carbs. I was also able to sleep more as I took a 5 mg melatonin supplement with 5 mg GABA and 50 mg L-Theanine. I was able to sleep from 9:40 PM to 2:00 AM, and fell back asleep around probably 2:30 to 5:00 PM.
  4. I tapered off Lexapro 20mg over the course of a few months with the last dose in June 2020. I started getting constipated shortly thereafter (only other time I had constipation was after weaning off for a couple years in 2011). I also started experiencing brain fog, irritability, and unintended weight loss over the course of 8 months. this year I was diagnosed with Sibo and have been treating it for months. Slow motility is a cause of Sibo and I’ve read other stories of people getting sibo after withdrawing from an Ssri also. The Sibo has brought my anxiety back with a vengeance (I’m also obsessive compulsive) and it’s been miserable. I’d like to find out from others: 1. Does anyone know why getting off lexapro would affect digestion/motility? Could it be the serotonin being taken out? 2. Will it ever go back to homeostasis or is my motility ruined? 3. For those who’ve experienced this, Is it possible to get rid of sibo and keep it gone without having to go back on the antidepressant? Im being encouraged to go back on by several doctors including my psychiatrist and GI doctor as my anxiety is worse than it’s ever been. I have honestly been considering it but I don’t want to go through all of this again when I try to taper off again. Would appreciate any insight!!
  5. Hi. I am sheepish to share, because I am starting a process which makes me vulnerable. I have been on SSRI's since the age of 12. fluoxetine (prozac)from 12-19, and escitalopram (lexapro) from 19-current. I am in week 2 of my tapering process and decided I need a support group. I started at 20mg of lexapro and am down to 15 . I took my last 20mg dose at 6am october 14. I am trying to consume any and ALL articles, videos, stories, words of encouragement ; and tips and tricks on tapering/ withdrawal coping. I am finding immense solace in distracting myself with other peoples stories and success . I have been documenting my process as so to have record of it and to swap stories with fellow patients. Please take a moment to share any tips or tricks on sleeping during withdrawal , as I am having great trouble with this especially. I have attached my week 1 update and hope you can link me with any of your vlogs, blogs or stories so I don't have to feel as alone in this as i currently do. Thank you so much for your time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFVKDNUg4Mo&t=954s
  6. Hi everybody. I wanted to give a quick introduction here. I'm a long-time "lurker." I found SA before starting Lexapro in March 2018. I read through the withdrawal accounts with some trepidation. Before starting my SSRI medication, I thoroughly grilled my doctors about withdrawal—both primary and neuro. Both insisted there was no SSRI withdrawal syndrome and that suggestions to the contrary were a myth. In short, I believed them over you. This was a mistake. I didn't have depression. I wasn't suffering from anxiety. I had chronic cluster headaches. Like clockwork, each and every afternoon I would experience a stabbing sensation through my left eye, accompanied by ptosis, lacrimation, and agitation. This is some of the worst physical pain imaginable. It's abrupt and severe. It feels like you're being stabbed in the eye. I had tried a number of other invasive therapies before the escitalopram ("Lexapro"). I was initially resistant to the idea of an SSRI antidepressant, given the medication's poor reputation. I wasn't depressed, and my life was going very well apart from the daily pain sessions. But eventually I caved. My neurologist was insistent that the SSRI could help me, when everything else had failed to control the headaches. The pain was having an impact on my life, and I wanted to do everything I could to get out from under it. I trusted my doctors. This was a disaster. Instead of any change in headache control, I got emotional blunting, bouts of chest pain, lethargy, and overall lack of motivation in the evenings (which I had used to write novels after work). - So I asked my primary about stopping escitalopram after 3 months. That's when things got bad. There aren't words to describe the sensation of pure, electric horror that runs through you when you reduce a Lexapro dose by 50% (on a physician's instructions). Having browsed the SA forums, I knew the taper might not be so easy. But I was still skeptical. The "drug effect" of Lexapro hadn't been too strong. I wasn't depressed before, so it hadn't done much (apart from side effects). The withdrawal, though... well, the closest word is Hell. I kept thinking of Rowling's description of Dementors in HP. I reinstated at 10mg after 3 days, then brought the problem to my doctors, primary and neuro. Both initially rejected my symptoms—though this was tough, as I didn't have any psych issues to begin with. To his credit, my primary really tried to find me a specialist to help with the taper. There were none. In the end, I insisted on a liquid solution and tapered, initially ~10% recursive per month. I was able to go a bit faster than this, in the end. It wasn't an easy process, but it seemed to get easier the further down I went. I was off the med by December 2019. I listened to my body and observed my symptoms with a one-month delay. I don't mean to deviate from Alto's guidance here. Patience is critical. Having been through this, I find it easy to believe that you might cause enduring damage to your neurology by tapering too quickly. I have experienced more mood problems since using Lexapro than in the rest of my life combined (especially during the taper and in the first ~3 months since stopping). The main issues I encountered were sleep issues and reactivity. It's almost as if the tapering brain has to re-learn how to regulate its sleep and emotional processes. These are not good substances. I am doing well now. I am as productive as I was before the Lexapro, COVID-19 notwithstanding. Through this, I have learned a lot about my mind and body, about our society, and about the relationship between industry, medicine, government, and public health. It's surprising that doctors continue to deny the existence of this problem. This site is more important than it has ever been. I want to thank Alto, everyone who set this up, and everyone who maintains it. - 8 things that helped me and might help you too: (1) A supportive partner/family - this process is disconcerting in the extreme, and you may need someone to help guide you through it, as a "constant." (2) A good medical team, and knowledge of how to find it. If a doctor denies existence of the withdrawal problem, find a second opinion. (3) Patience - this process takes time, but the brain has an unbelievable ability to heal itself. You need to go at your body's pace. (4) Meditation - 10 minutes daily, preferably guided. I find Jeff Warren's sessions on Calm/YouTube excellent. VR meditation is also nice, if you can manage it (5) Sleep - tracked with a wearable. Ideally, you want resting HR, HRV, and sleep phase estimations I use Oura, but there are a ton of options in this space. (6) Light exercise - a short walk every day (4,400-7,500 steps) seemed to help so much. (7) Nutrition/supplements - I use several supplements and a particular diet (most of this is probably more applicable to my headache condition, though some supplements seemed helpful in withdrawal also). This site has a pretty extensive supplement section already. I'm new here, so I won't bring these up in detail. (8) Soft music in the background (helps mood more than you might think).
  7. Basically I have been on and off antidepressants for 15 years. But, the last 3 1/2 years have been on them constantly. I have tried to get off two times (within a 6 week period) and after about 6 weeks it was way worse than before. So I got back on. I'm so glad to have found this site...because I have hope that I can actually get off Lexapro for good this time! This site is hard for me to navigate...but I'm learning.
  8. Hello all, Several months ago I was brought to the ER for bad vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. Had a pretty traumatic experience in the hospital room when I was gave an anti nausea med. I had extreme akathesia towards the point when I needed to escape!! The doc said all of the results came back fine.... the next day I had panic attacks due to the experience. Contacted another doc and told him that I used lexapro like 12 years ago and it helped panic. He prescribed me Lexapro. The next 2 months on Lexapro was crazy. Depression, increased panic attacks, GI issues, DP/DR, and the lost goes on. I continued taking them for the weeks because I was told it can be worse before it's better. After those 2 months, I did a quick taper in about a week. I was only on 5mg. I've been completely off Lexapro for about 3 weeks, and I am still having these symptoms but they've kinda morphed. These past few weeks I've been having extreme intrusive thoughts, and some paranoia. I've been thinking "what if I am the only person who is alive, and everyone else is basically just a robot". I question whether my family is truly alive, and can really feel me... Those thoughts lead to this feeling of hopelessness... Ive never had these feelings before. I am thinking that Lexapro changed there ingredients, because I didn't have these issues years ago... I feel like there have been some windows, but i am still scared.... would appreciate some input. Thanks Zach
  9. Currently 70 yr old On psychiatric meds most of my adult life ie.benzos and antidepressants. Started weaning off ER .5 mg 2x day in June 2018. Finished taper Sept 2 2019. Started weaning Lexapro 20mg 1x day in July 2020. Took last one Aug 18,2020. Took both Meds for Appx 15 Yrs. currently on NO psychiatric meds. Hoping my age doesn’t make withdrawal more difficult. Insomnia most nights. Everything irritates me. Digestive issues, Depersonalization. Developed a psoriasis type very itchy rash on scalp, and collarbone area. 2 months after my last Xanax. Have no clue if skin and digestive issues are indicative of withdrawal. Hoping this sight gives me more insight. Will it all eventually stop?
  10. Hi there- Looking for reinstatement advice. After having a panic attack in mid-March 2020, I was prescribed klonopin for acute episodes, along with Lexapro to take on an ongoing basis. Before the panic attack, I was having symptoms of general anxiety (difficulty relaxing, circular thoughts, insomnia, etc), though I never felt depressed. I did not heavily research these drugs before taking them. The klonopin was effective in calming me down and allowing for sleep, and in late March 2020, I began taking a very low dose of the 10mg Lexapro that I was prescribed- about 2.5mg for a week, up to 5mg for 5 weeks or so. At first, I felt great-- I could sleep, my thoughts were logical and clear, and I was able to remain positive despite being in NYC during the height of the pandemic (and working an incredibly stressful job). In early June 2020, I increased the dosage to the full 10mg pill. By late June, my brain was hazy, I had rapidly gained about five pounds, I was extremely tired, and I was having a difficult time orgasming and decreased sexual thoughts- though I still had some libido, lubrication, arousal, etc. I consulted with my doctor and decided to come off the Lexapro, and though she said to decrease the dose over 2-3 weeks, I did not think too much of it. I dropped down to 5mg for a week and felt improvements in my sexual desires/sensitivity. The week after I dropped to 2.5mg, and then stopped altogether. For about a week or two, I felt the withdrawal- I felt anxious, depressed, and agitated, but attributed it to coming off the drug. August 2020 until about 14 days ago, I felt incredibly flat- no strong emotions, along with severe sexual dysfunction (numb clitoris, inability to orgasm, no libido, no lubrication, no sexual thoughts, etc). Upon reading this and other forums, I have concluded that I must have PSSD. I decided to reinstate with my doctor's guidance; I started at 2.5mg 14 days ago. The first two days I felt an increase in my libido and emotional functioning, but that initial bubble has since stopped though I have continued to take the low dose. I'm looking for advice if I should continue at this dose, increase to 5mg, or try to slowly taper back down? This has been incredibly distressing so appreciate any guidance (and hopeful stories!). Many thanks.
  11. Hi, I am 18 and have been on Lexapro for 12 months. I tried to come off about 5 months ago, but now reading this site, i realized i didnt taper/went too fast. (it was what my doctor told me to do). the main reason i want to stop lexapro is it makes me very tired. i saw a different doctor today who practices more integrative medicine. She suggested I consider medicinal cannabis to help 'mask' the symptoms of Lexapro as i slowly taper off over a 10 month period (0.5 MG every 2 weeks). She is a a trained psychiatrist and can prescribe it legally. does anyone have experiences, positive or negative, in using cannabis under guidance from to taper off lexapro? is it something i should try?
  12. Hi. I was on Lexapro for 20 years, 20 mgs at the end. I went off pretty much cold turkey about 6 weeks ago - tapered for about two weeks to try other meds. Didn't know about this site or the implications. Did not really go forward with other meds. Using small doses of Mirtazapine to sleep. Went on Lexapro 20 years ago for Anxiety. Depression kicked in a year ago and has gotten much worse. Hence, time for a change from the Lexapro. Was told it "pooped out." Since going off, Anxiety is back. Also dizzy and nausea. Symptoms not as bad as I have read about from others, but I don't want to go back to the Anxiety for sure. Very hard to explain some of the withdrawal effects, but not pleasant. Don't know what I should be doing at this point. I would like to try and reinstate. The Anxiety was well dealt with on the Lexapro. Can I reinstate parts of the 20 mg tabs with a pill splitter? Or should I ask for a low dose Rx? Can I reinstate after 6 weeks? Should I Reinstate? I would reinstate to go back on, not to taper off. I stopped at the worst point of the depression. Completely upside down logic. I wish I just stayed on.
  13. Hi everyone, I am glad I found this web-site. I did read some of the topics similar to mine, still it seems each case is unique. Thank you for reading my post. I was on 10 mg of Lexapro from July 2017-July 2018 for anxiety and mild depression. Felt good right from the start, no side effects from taking it. From July 2018- June 2020 I was on 5 mg of Lexapro. Felt good too. I started tappering in June 2020 with very little knowledge as I can see now. I was impulsive and wanted to get it over with. So, over the course of the next 3 months ( or little less since I can’t say for sure) I would take 5 mg every second day for a couple of weeks, then 5 mg twice a week for a couple of weeks, and lastly once a week until I stopped August 1st 2020. First 2 weeks after I stopped were emotionally hard since all the fears that I haven’t had before, like losing people I love, to getting dying old in matter of seconds, to just being scared for no reason. Next 2 weeks were physically horrible, from the constant trips to the restroom, nausea, my whole body tingling, chills and just wanting to reap my skin off. I survived it. I must mention that during this time I visited homeopath and was given some kind of remedy that possibly made it worse for me as remedies of this type tend to do. Next 5 weeks has been just mix of everything, with physical sympthoms lessening but also changing. Like my body doesn’t tingle anymore ( hands from time to time) but back of my head feel tight and I feel chill there too. Emotionally, it just seems that I can’t shake off some of the fears I mentioned at the begining of my post and sometimes I think they make my body feel worse. It feels like I am getting better but it feels like micro mini steps. I need to be patient I realise. I am still wondering, do I just continue like this with no drugs OR should I try to go back on a smaller dose then tapper much more slowly??? 10 mg Lexapro from July 2017–July 2018 5 mg Lexapro from July 2018– June 2020 Tappering from June—August with 5 mg August 1st 2020– drug free
  14. hey everyone! how can i put this mildly. mom of 2 handsome boys and a wife to a husband who has stood by me through helllllllllll. life evaporated. in a heartbeat. off the offending meds now for 1.5yrs but Jesus. my symptoms are long and probably some of the worst youve ever heard. did wayyyyy too much reaching for help that is for sure and it bit me like a snake. ooof. lost my loved career and my motherhood and marriage as i had it has been ripped away. went to the behavioral help hospitals a few times. we all still live together but ive been sick so long and done so many unforgettable things. in a nut shell. not the mom i set out to be. anyway im going to take a peek around and probably just camp out in the success stories. maybe one day i can be one! i feel like ive touched the 40% healing line. maybe? symptoms that have fallen away or are fading: psychosis (gone) paranoia fading terror gone akathisia fading nightmares are rare intrusive thoughts somewhat better but how could i know for sure whem the memories are so fresh? emotional lability ehhhhh better burning feeling (now having huge windows) not being able to recognize family is getting better i can cook again (dang it lol) i can drive yay connection to family is getting better but it all feels like its been through a hail storm. feel less than (not really a symptom) constantly think (everyone knows im mentally ill) wasnt before this though sometimes it feels like someone is pulling a rubberband from the right side temple area. feel evil is getting better but still there looping words names thoughts i am missing a ton of symptoms i know but they all blur together. oh and ocd symptoms agoraphobia cannot look at myself in the mirror which is weird dp/dr hard to say bc im in so much shock for lack of better words. not sure that life will ever be ok again but im willing to find out. still struggling hard most days. my support system sucks. thanks yall! off to take the kids to soccer and other assorted Thursday activities. doing my best to ignore my symptoms problems and bad memories. i have aged 15yrs i bet any tips, chatting, and love from those who have been this bad and are better would be great...if there is a better. my brain is healing but will my broken heart? love ya- K
  15. Hello there, friends. I Have been on Lexapro 20mg and 150mg Buproprion XL since 2011. I have always developed brain zaps and dizziness even when I’m just a few hours passed my regular dosage time - though I am symptom free when I am at my normal dose and taking them at the proper time. I don’t suffer from much side effects that I am aware of, perhaps some weight gain. in general, the meds had been a literal life-saver in the early years of taking them, But I have always wanted to try going off to see how much I do or do not need these drugs long term, and because physical dependency on them feels disconcerting. This month I tried a taper for the first time. Half doses daily for a week and then half doses every other day for a week, and then fully off for a few days now - this was the recommended taper from my physician. Symptoms following the drop off were intense brain zaps, dizziness, sudden bursts of weeping, feeling like a truck hit me, feeling like my lower back or kidneys had taken a beating, intense eye weakness and eye strain, anxiety, insomnia, and disassociation. Symptoms got so bad that after a few days of being fully off, I went back to a half dose of both, which has almost immediately helped the symptoms subside (some). I am currently at half doses daily for both meds and seeking advice on whether I should go up to the full daily dose before trying a proper taper or if I should see if I can stabilize on the half doses for both. I don’t want to create a situation where I wait too long and going back up to full dose will no longer work, but being able to begin a proper taper at 10mg of Escitalopram and 75mg of Bupropion would be nice. I want to take the least painful path forward - the withdrawal symptoms were not something I want to ever feel again if I can avoid them. So if going back up to full dose is the wiser choice, even if it means double the length of my taper, I’d rather that than to try to stay lower and risk something I don’t fully understand.
  16. Bethechange2020

    Bethechange2020: introduction

    Hello all, I am a 60 y/o woman and after beeing on psych meds since my twenties I decided to get off of them as I have been stable for over a year, and also as a person who is always concerned with the health of my mind/body/spirit, and soul, I had too many concerns about the harm these psychotropic meds could be doing to me. I am currently off all of my medications since 30 days. I was taking Lexapro, Gabapentin, Mirtazapine, Lamitrogine, and occasionally Xanax. Getting off the Lexapro was so positive for me. I started to have more emotions of all kinds, which made me feel more alive and whole. The negative aspects of getting off all of my meds started to kick in once I got off of everything else, with the worst of it beginning, and still going strong, when I got off the Lamitrogene. My current symptoms, in order of horribleness, are insomnia, wailing for 15mins straight, no appetite, exhaustion, rages, panic, and a myriad of sensorial sensitivities to smells, sounds, touch, and sights. If I see a bug in the house it makes me burst into tears. At times I want to rip my skin off or jump out of it, and other times I feel completely dead inside. Basically, it's Hell, and if I thought there was no end to this I wouldn't be able to take it. I am really lucky to have a loving partner, and to live in beautiful North Carolina where I can take a walk in nature alone. I am working with a psychiatrist who is wholistically oriented, and thinks I may have issues with hormone levels, and/or my endocrine system. I also am part of a medical practice that has a yoga teacher who I feel hopeful will be teaching me some restorative excercises. I studied food and healing, and know the importance that it plays my own mental stability. I haven't had sugar, gluten, caffeine, dairy, or refined foods in a month, which I am 100%certain has kept me from being hospitalized! I also stopped using industrialized "heart healthy" oils like canola and sesame, and use only virgin olive oil, ghee, and coconut oils.I briefly tried a Paleo diet because of the leaky gut theory of depression, but felt horrendous, so now I reintroduced around 1 serving daily of a non glutinous grain such as amaranth, quinoa, or millet, and feel better. I want to incorporate daily walks and yoga into my routine, which is a struggle for me as I often veg out for hours watching Netflix, etc. I don't judge myself for it, but I just don't think it helps one bit, and in fact think it makes me feel worse. It's like something that promises to help me to feel better, but actually has the opposite effect. So that's all for now. Thank for letting me join your group.
  17. Hi good people🙂 Sten from Norway here. Living outside Oslo, am 59 years old, and have 2 kids ( 24 and 27). English is not my native language, so please bear with me. I have always been a very senitive person and did grow up in a familiy with 5 brothers. I am nr 3. My father was struggling with mental issues, and my mother was a emotional distant person. Not much comfort and love there. I got meningites age 10 and almost died, but came back. When I started to get anxiety problems ehan I wast 18-19 years, my father took med to his doctor to get this fantastic pills. That is where my Paxil period started. I was using them for many years, while studying, but still had a lot of problems with anxiety. Worked with som psycoterapists, but it did not help much. After 10 years I was told that it was a new drug that wast much better, and I started with Seroxat. It is hard for me to remember how long iI did use them, and how many times I managed to stay off, but in 2001 and managed to quit. I then started on a acupuncture education, much because I thought it could save me from the drugs and help with my anxiety. Ii was hard, and I also had a wife that never understood my problems, so in 2012 my GP said it was best if I started with Cipralex, that was sooo much better than Seroxat. I used them for 5 years, felt totally numb, flat, did not feel anything. I then tried to taper and quit, went through hell, so my brothers that also use Cipralex convinced me to restart. That was the worst month in my life. Then after attending av Joe Dispenza workshop in Scotland I decided to try quitting again. I tapered down from march to September, and tomorrow it is one year without any drugs. What is special is that I was allowed to move in to the acupuncture school where I had been a student 15 years ago. After I quit I have had a lot of Acupuncture treatments, with focus on cleansing my blood, reduce stress and strengthen my Water energy. This is where fear and anxiety is signals of imbalance. I have had tinnitus for 20 years, and also Insomnia during this winter. It really did help with liquid melatonin from the health food store. I also take Ashwagandha - an ayurvedic supplement, and also Vit D, Ginko Biloba, and after reading this site, I have started with Milk Thistle, Vit B Complex and Fish Oil. Have had a lot of muscle pain, and it is so good to read that many of you have the same. I am optimistic, and must say it is interesting to start feeling again, having all kind of emotions and my kids tell me that I am much calmer and nice to be with. I hope that I can manage the coming waves, and also that I can enjoy the windows. Sending love and good energy from now colder Norway.
  18. Hi all, In 2013 I received the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder when I started having therapy for the first time in my life - I was 23 then. I've been anxious through my teens and early adulthood, and also suffered from bouts of low mood, but did not think much of it - I thought it was just how I was. In 2013 because I was at a particularly bad phase in college, I went to a psychiatrist through which I started taking 20mg Lexapro (I take the generic - Escitalopram). Everything improved a lot. Anxiety greatly reduced, mood also better, more drive to do stuff. And basically no side effects. So I kept taking it religiously, and basically forgot about it. About 3 years later, it started to bug me that I was taking a drug to keep myself mentally stable. I knew nothing about how bad the withdrawals from this type of drug were, and I felt good, so I just cold turkey'd - 20 to 0. You can imagine how this goes. After some days I was hit by what I thought was the worst flu I had ever had. I could not leave bed. That was odd. Didn't think just stopping that drug would cause that, as the effect of the drug is pretty much non-noticeable (it's not like taking a benzo where you feel drowsy and so on) and you just feel pretty much like the normal you. Either way, just to be safe I went back on the 20mg and all the symptoms disappeared after some time and again I did not think much about it anymore. I think I attempted cold turkeying again after some time just to experience exactly the same symptoms. So I thought "alright, this really is the Lexapro, not a flu". From then on I started being more uncomfortable for taking the Lexapro. Here's this drug that apparently makes me feel stable, but I stop taking it and I'm completely wrecked. This doesn't feel right. So in 2018 I started a slow tapper, or at least what I considered a slow tapper. I was reducing around 2.5mg every month or every other month. I was going linearly - no percentage reduction. That was the logical thing for me to do as my doctor never told me about the liquid form of Lexapro and with the tablets available where I live it's impossible to do a precise lower division lower than 2.5mg. Throughout the tapper I felt what I now acknowledge as withdrawal symptoms, but again I did not think much of it. I was in a difficult life situation, living abroad and always extremely stressed, so I thought the life situation was what was causing that. In May 2019, I was down to already 2.5mg. Not feeling that well, but that was such a low dose that I thought it was insignificant and dropped to zero. This overlapped with a break-up and with starting a job that was really quite demanding. That's when I got into hell. I started waking up at night with panic attacks. In the morning my arms and legs were burning - I felt the anxiety burning my body. I just wanted to leave my body and my mind, that feeling was just too unbearable. Crying non-stop, huge feelings of rage - I just wanted to destroy stuff and just felt this huge urge sometimes to beat up anyone that did something even mildly annoying (and mind that I've always been quite a controled person - this was not at all me). I also had muscle spasms, couldn't digest anything properly and lost a bunch of weight. I had never been so thin in my life. That's when I started thinking I had to have something serious in my brain - I even forgot about the Lexapro then - I thought I was developing a neurological disease. This person was not me. My psychiatrist had tried to put me on other antidepressants - Fluvoxamine and Mirtazapine. None of them worked. Then I was put back on the Lexapro (only 10mg). And I wasn't seeing much improvement on my state. I started becoming suicidal. I did not want to go through the realization that I had a disease that would invalidate me for the rest of my days. I was going to doctor after doctor, doing exam after exam, and they didn't seem to find anything wrong which left me feeling even more helpless. I thought that was never going to end. I started thinking every day about suicide. That's all I thought about. I just could not bear that reality. That's when I told my parents - "I need to be checked in at the hospital. I won't last much longer like this." So I was checked in at the hospital. Even the doctors who checked me in did not believe I was in such a bad state - I guess even in that state I kept my composure. I spent 2 weeks there, in what was the most horrible experience of my life. The people there were for sure much worse than I was - most of them had even lost touch with reality. But deep down I know this was the experience I needed to snap out of it. While I was there the doctor who was supervising me increased my Lexapro dose to 20mg. I became reeeaally sleepy after that. Just as I had become the first time I went into 20mg back in 2013. By then I still did not believe I did not have a horrifying disease. It was really hard to believe this was coming just from a psychological source. And it took quite long for me to become convinced that was the case. The months right after the hospital were tough. I was sleeping a lot - around 12 hours a day. Very, very slowly things started improving. Too slowly for me to even notice a difference. But little by little I started sleeping less, recovered my appetite, some days even saw a glimpse of contentment. At some point I was feeling good more often than I was feeling bad. I started exercising every day, having psychotherapy twice a week, taking supplements, getting sun light, meditating. Everything I could do to improve, I did. Around April of this year, I was already entering a pretty stable stage. Some days I still had energy and mood breaks which I had no idea where they came from and were pretty demotivating - now I realize they are likely something akin to the "waves" that I've seen mentioned here at SA. I also still had some lingering symptoms such as some vague leg pain here and there, as well as teeth pain. But those bad days and lingering symptoms started becoming more and more rare. So for some months I was doing really good. Feeling drive and contentment with life. Optimistic. Last month I had an appointment with my psychiatrist, and as I really want to be med-free he suggested that I attempted a new reduction again. At first he suggested me to drop to 15mg, but I thought it was better to go first down to 17.5mg instead. And that's the dosage I'm at right now. The reduction was not that large, but I can for sure feel the withdrawals - even though I know the reduction was larger than the 10% recommended here at SA - my next drops I will follow that guidance. After the drop to 17.5mg, I started having more of those down days. Also the days right afterwards I had rebound anxiety, which has already disappeared. Some days my energy and mood breaks. And I'm more irritable, less drive, etc. Also those lingering pains I mentioned are back sometimes. Furthermore, I feel like I can't train at the gym at the same level I did - even though my body weight and composition is exactly the same as it was before the drop to 17.5mg, I feel significantly less strength some days. So for now I will stick with cardio. Now I know much better than I did in the past and will wait to fully stabilize from the current withdrawal until I attempt another reduction. I am also building a sauna at my place, which I have read has many benefits for mood, so that's another resource I will have to deal with the tapering process. Hope this post can be useful for someone.
  19. Looking for some advice on what I should do with my Escitalopram (technically taking Escitalopram but Lexapro is easier to remember so I'm using that a lot here) dosage.. Made a lot of mistakes last week. Basically I'm a short-term Klonopin user (3 months total) who had a very rough time getting off of it. I had very extreme anxiety and burning sensations where I was basically limited to a couch. I was taking it as needed, and didn't realize I was putting myself through inter-dose withdrawals every few days. Doctor said it was my anxiety returning, and then I ended up on Lexapro because of that which made me take more Klonopin. Thankfully I found this forum else I would be in an even worse place with no hope. I tapered off the Klonopin roughly 1 month ago and I felt great for 3 weeks after. However, I'm pretty sure I've screwed up my withdrawal from Klonopin or my Lexapro taper or both. I'm hoping for a second opinion to guide me in what I should do next. Long story short I knew much better but I drank alcohol only 3 weeks after jumping off Klonopin and while fast-tapering Lexapro. I tried alcohol 1 night, thought I got away with it. And got excited to feel normal again and then drank a few more times over the week 1 or 2 drinks a night. Never felt bad the next day. Roll around to last Monday. I had a dentist visit for a cavity and received novocaine (or something like it, I don't know what they gave). A few hours after the novocaine I started getting some returning anxiety. I thought nothing of it, until the next morning I woke up feeling like I was going back into acute benzo withdrawal with extreme anxiety again. I've now been in this state for 5 days. At first I blamed myself for drinking and the novocaine, but now I've realized I've tried to taper my Lexapro too fast as well. I dropped from 9mg to basically 3mg in about a month. I know the 10% rule, I guess I just felt invisible since I was dropping fast and was a short-termer (1 month or so on 10mg when I started tapering) and seeing no withdrawal effects. My questions: 1) Is Lexapro withdrawal as anxiety intense as benzo withdrawal? Or do they feel the same? I have severe burning in my back / neck /arms and basically either sit in a ball, lay down, or have to pace the house. 2) Given that I definitely tapered Lexapro too fast, what amount of Lexapro should I updose to, to start over @ the 10% every month? If I should be updosing at all. Right now I have a pretty bad headache from going up today. I feel like I'm making all sorts of mistakes trying to fix this problem since the anxiety is pretty unbearable and unlike my previous withdrawal a few weeks ago it lasts all day with basically no windows. Any help is appreciated. I left my complete notes below. But if they need to be improved let me know. 5/24 - Started .5mg - 1 Klonopin as needed 7/20 - Started Lexapro 5mg (still on Klonopin) 7/27 - Lexapro 10mg 8/5 - Started tapering Klonopin stabilizing on a daily dose of .25mg 8/17 - Jumped at .065 (fast taper... but it seemed to work) 8/17 - Lexapro to 9mg (time to get rid of the next drug..) 8/29 - Lexapro to 6.5mg from 9mg (probably too fast but I had only been on Lexapro for a month so I felt like I could get away with it) 9/8-9/13 - Had alcohol all week sporadically (1 to 2 drinks) because I was feeling so much better. I tested with 1 drink, got away with it, and just kind of got excited.. ugh 9/13 - Lexapro was down to 2.78mg (so 8/29-9/13 6.5 to 2.78mg) way too fast I know. 9/14 - Had a dentist appointment, received probably Novocaine 9/14 - Had mild anxiety in the afternoon after Novocaine wore off 9/15 - Feels like I'm starting back into acute benzo withdrawal 9/16 - Definitely very back into acute something, feels like Benzo withdrawal with extreme feeling of anxiety and burning sensation on skin, doing laps around the house. 9/17 - Updosed Lexapro to 3.9mg 9/19 - Updosed Lexapro more to 4.46mg
  20. Hi everyone, After many months of reading and gaining some hope and encouragement from the stories here I decided to join your great forum. Sorry, but this is a very long story. Im a 39 year old male from Australia and I have been taking ssri’s for GAD for the last 10 years. I started on Paxil 20mg for around 18 months and was switched to lexapro 10mg due to weight gain, sexual dysfunction and fatigue. Lexapro was a little better but I really didn’t feel like it was doing much apart from keeping the weight up and the motivation down. I am 6’2 and was always skinny, I never could bulk up. Paxil took me from 78kg and healthy to 100kg and always sweaty in around 12 months. I tried a few times to simply stop the meds but had no idea about withdrawal or tapering and always ended up reinstating due to awful side effects (rage, crying spells etc). The drs always said thats just how you are off the meds...... keep taking them for the rest of your life. They also upped my dosage a few times but I quickly went back to 10mg. In 2017 I felt lexapro wasn’t being effective so the dr straight swapped me to Valdoxan for a few weeks and I felt awful. They then straight swapped me to Prozac and around 4 days into taking that I woke in the middle of the night to terrible ringing in my ears. This was my first introduction to tinnitus. I freaked out and asked to be put back on lexapro. I reinstated at 10mg again and everything calmed down after about 7-8 weeks of hell. The tinnitus that was in both ears and the middle of my head reduced to a tiny amount only in my left ear. I now know this was likely my last chance at reinstatement working for me..... more on that soon. So another few years went past and the side effects of weight gain, heat intolerance, sexual dysfunction and the general feeling of “blah” were just too much for me to handle. I began a taper in January of 2019 and went from 10mg to 7.5mg for 4 weeks. I then went to 5mg for 4 weeks and finally 2.5mg for 4 weeks. I felt okay during the taper, my tinnitus was a little bit louder but not enough to bother me, I was more irritable and I had brain zaps. The real “fun” began around 12 weeks after the taper off the medication...... I had a panic attack and fell into one of the episodes that put me on meds in the first place. These were purely anxiety driven and I never felt depressed. I’ve had them since about 13 years of age and I always recovered from them and they lasted from 1 to 3 months usually. They would encompass intrusive thoughts, shakes and shivers, anxiety and panic only. So I decided to jump straight back on the lexapro 10mg thinking all these drs are right and I’m doomed to be on meds for the rest of my life. But something happened that didn’t happen before..... they didn’t work. After a few weeks I felt worse and my ears started to really scream, I had awful insomnia and a really bad eczema rash appeared on my chest and legs. I now know this as a severe reaction to the meds after too fast a taper and too fast of a reinstatement. If I had not jumped straight back on the meds I likely would have had to deal with wd symptoms only and not so many physical ones as well. So after 6 weeks of hell my dr upped my dose to 20mg and I waited another 5 weeks. That didn’t work either, just got worse. My dr referred me to a psychiatrist at this point and things got really bad. He upped my dose to 40mg lexapro, I stuck this out for another 5-6 weeks and it made me no better, actually worse. He then said ssri’s don’t seem to work for you now so let’s try Effexor. We cross tapered that with the lexapro over only a two week period and then all the way to 150mg of Effexor in only 3 weeks. I was desperate and wanted the pain and suffering to just stop. I did consider suicide a lot during this period and I had never been like this before when taking medication. My beautiful partner kept me here with her love and grace. I stuck with the Effexor for 7 weeks and it was just hell, dizziness, insomnia and mini seizure type things were a daily occurrence. I was couch bound and I still had tinnitus screaming away every day. He wanted to up the dose more but by this stage I knew that my body was not accepting any of these meds, I even said to him I think I am having a reaction to these meds. His answer was always that they just make you feel worse before better and that we can keep upping the dose...... That was the last time I saw him, I went back to my GP and asked to try Zoloft in a last ditch attempt to gain some stability and sanity. She cross tapered me to Zoloft and it seemed to calm things down a tiny bit but I was still so, so sick. I made it up to 100mg and was on Zoloft for 3 months before massive amounts of diarrhoea hit me (colitis) plus I was still struggling with SI, tinnitus and now bad depression for the first time in my life. All the fun stuff that comes along with bad reactions to these meds. My Dr CT’d me off the Zoloft and started me on Remeron 30mg..... this one was ok for my sleep issues but made me irritable as hell and didn’t have any effect on the SI, depression and tinnitus. I lasted 6 weeks on it before breaking down again and seeing the Dr. She mentioned Paxil...... like I said, I was desperate and since it worked 10 years ago maybe it would pull me out of this living hell I was in. Since the first episode after WD in June of 2019 and the living hell my life has been, I started Paxil 20mg in April 2020..... this lasted all of 12 weeks and I CT’d the Paxil in July 2020 due to all the above still happening. I happened to come across the SA website in June this year After desperately searching for answers. I’ve read and learnt a lot from everyone and now understand what has happened to me the last 12 months. How I should have tapered waaayyyy slower, how I should have reinstated waaayyy slower and how screwed up our medical system and the makers of these drugs are. I have been med free for 9 weeks and even though I still have loud tinnitus, depression and a host of other Awful symptoms, I have improved more then any time I was on meds. I’m bloody scared of what’s ahead but I will NEVER touch another psych med again in my life. I assume reinstatement is beyond my body now after what it has endured. I hope to be able to vent a little here on my bad days and keep reading the encouraging stories of success whilst pushing on with my life and the healing process. Thanks for taking the time to read my book.... 😂 And thanks to the creators of such a great site.
  21. Hi everyone. Thank you for reading my introduction. I've had an odd initiation to psyche meds. I'm middle aged and was rather healthy prior to my breakdown. I exercised five days a week, numbers were good, was generally 'relaxed' and comfortable in my skin and had a great marriage. Then, in the summer of 2015, I decided to try meditating. I had been studying Buddhism for awhile and a book I was reading stated that, if you really want to study Buddhism, you need to start meditating. So, that's what I did. I went to our local community meditation center and began a small meditation practice. About six months into it I started getting very anxious. I had no idea why. My blood pressure went up and I was put on the first regular prescription I've ever been on: Lisinopril. The anxiety continued and began increasing. My blood pressure kept rising. I asked my doc if it could be the meditation. He said "Not possible: meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety." I started seeing a therapist (first time) and asked the same question. I received the same response. I knew I should quit meditating, but everyone I talked to said that couldn't be the issue. So I continued. In the winter of 2016 I had what I call my 'Long Night' which was actually a week of altered mental states, completely unbalanced thought patterns and anxiety that went through the roof. I kept working and tried to keep my act together, but it was very difficult. The meditation teacher at the community meditation center said I was going through something called 'Dissolution' and congratulated me. He put me in touch with a more authoritative teacher (a person widely known in meditation circles) who confirmed this. Unfortunately neither of these people were much help. I looked all over the Internet and in books for answers, but the altered states kept occurring (even without meditation), my blood pressure was through the roof, I wasn't getting any sleep and my personal life was falling apart. I kept going to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. One morning my wife asked me if I was going to work and I broke down crying. She took me to the ER. The doctor there had compassion and said he thought he knew what was wrong with me and gave me an Ativan. For the first time in months, my blood pressure went down and I felt better. I went to see a psychiatrist in the spring of 2016. He put me on Celexa and Klonopin. He gave me some Ativan for my panic attacks. The Klonopin was needed until the Celexa reached a therapeutic dose. When I was ready to get off the Klonopin he introduced Buspar. Tapered off the Klonopin (no problems). I was on both of those for about two years after I quit the Klonopin. Everything seemed OK. In January of 2019 I started getting nausea and a headache. Just low-grade stuff, but consistent. And they slowly were getting worse. By the summer of 2019, it was pretty bad. I talked to my psyche doc about coming off and he agreed. We started with the Celexa and that taper went fine; however, Buspar was another story. I tried coming off that and I got very sick: felt like I had the stomach flu. I was home for three days. And that was just by cutting Buspar down to 30 mg from 45 mg. So we reinstated and decided we'd try Lexapro. I was sick on Lexapro, but gave it a couple of months. Quit it cold-turkey. He moved me to Zoloft in January 2020 (which I had high hopes for as my wife takes it), but that also made me sick. I decided to 'ride it out' for 3 months to see if the side effects went away, but they didn't. During this time I reinstated Klonopin (0.5 mg per day) as only the Buspar was treating my anxiety. I finally decided I was done with Zoloft and tapered off. My psyche doc retired. I got a new psyche doc. He decided we should wipe the slate clean and start new. He recommended I get off the Buspar as I may be experiencing 'Serotonin Resistance'. Began tapering that this summer (July 2020) and, after three months, I am off it (last dose 9/8/2020). I feel terrible, but not all the time. Depression seems to be 'soul crushing' around lunch, but slowly gets better. I feel anxiety when I wake up, That slowly gets worse, but kind of 'ebbs and flows' throughout the day. Muscle pains, cramps, dizziness, but no problem sleeping. Seems like I have problems breathing at times, but I actually don't. I feel bloated and full most of the day, but still manage to eat a bit. My chest hurts (I have a cardiologist so my heart is fine), guts burn and stomach is as hard as a rock at times. Other times (like now), not so much. I exercise when I can (was on the treadmill yesterday and took a long walk Monday). Evening and night seem to be OK. That is when I typically exercise (summer in AZ). My wife and I watch our shows and go to bed. I took 7.5 mg of Buspar this morning just to see what would happen. It seems like I had less physical symptoms such as my stomach, chest and gut felt fine most of today. The 'soul crushing' depression came and went. For that I usually just disassociate with the feeling, watch it as a disinterested third party and it eventually goes away. At least that is what works for now. The anxiety: that remains fairly consistent. Comes and goes in waves. I've been anxious since I was a kid, so I'm kind of used to it. I feel it a lot more since I had my breakdown. The depression SUCKS! I'm not used to that at all. Buspar withdrawals SUCK! Not used to those either. My marriage is still great. It would be nice to have sex again. That is my story. Thanks, again, for your time.
  22. Hello all. I was prescribed Lexapro 10mg for heart palpitations and blood pressure. Never struggled with anxiety but the cardiologist determined my heart rate issues were from anxiety and I even argued with him over it and his reply was that my heart was anxious. So I attempted the Lexapro as the palpitations were uncomfortable. 3 hours after taking the first dose I had my first ever panic attack. Kept having panic attacks upon waking and started having bad anxiety. Stopped the lexapro after a week. It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve been off the lexapro. The anxiety is bad still. It’s interfering with my work and life. I have moments I feel like I’m going to pass out and get really dizzy. I’m 26 and have been married for a year. I was loving my life and now I don’t feel happiness towards much of anything. My husband is out of town for work and so I’m living with my mother because I don’t even care enough to take care of my dog and cat whom I love more than anything. I loved my job and was saving for a house, now the idea of going to work makes me anxious and the idea of being off work makes me equally as anxious. How long until I get back to normal?
  23. When I look back on some of the 'major life decisions' I made while I was 'spellbound' by all those psych drugs, I am filled with regret and even shame. Anyone else relate to this? These tides rush in, frequently in the mornings, and just crush me against the rocky shore. For example, I was in a management role at my last company and essentially demoted myself. I was so sick and frankly out of my mind that I thought it was the 'right' thing to do. The new role turned out to be a complete disaster that eventually drove me out of the company. I left on my own terms but I now wonder if I could have found a way to stay. I blame myself for not 'seeing' the complexity of executing a job move like that. I was so numb and disoriented by the drugs and WDs I just couldn't see anything clearly. Now looking back I wonder if I should have been more honest with the people I worked with about what I was going through. At the time, I didn't fully understand how powerful those drugs were and what havoc WDs cause on our interior lives. I thought I was just 'defective' and that it was 'all my fault' so I did the best I could and never told anyone what I was struggling with. Another example is while in the fog of ADs, we built a house that we really couldn't afford. My 'normal' alert systems were completely offline due to the drugs. If I had been in my right mind, I would have been able to feel the 'warning' signs like anxiety and such that could have informed my wisdom that 'maybe this ani't such a great idea' or 'slow down and think about this' but it was like I was mesmerized and totally fixated on accomplishing the task. I've not had suicidal thoughts that all the warnings talk about but I think these things were similarly spellbinding. Over so many years of those drugs, I didn't realize that I had become a different person. That person did a lot of things that I still can't understand...and yet wasn't that 'me'? If not, who the heck was it? Part of what makes this journey off of drugs so hard is it can feel so 'unique' and lonely... Any and all thoughts welcome. Thanks.
  24. Hi there! Thanks for your help! I took lexapro for about 5 months (Jan 2020-June 2020 including 1 month of taper) for some physical symptoms I was going through last year Oct- this year Jan. The physical symptoms included lump in my throat, racing heart beat that came on for no particular reasons, headache... so my doctor put me on lexapro starting at 5mg for about 1.5 months and the dosage was increased up to 10 mg for 2 months). Two weeks into medication, I developed physical symptoms including weak legs (thighs), sluggishness, vivid dreams, jaw muscle pain, muscle twitching. First I thought they were some side effects that would go away, but they never went away during my medication. At two months into medication, I asked my doctor whether these were side effects, he said no, these were just results of depression and anxiety, so I kept on taking until I realized that these physical symptoms were making more anxious. During my medication, due to these physical symptoms, i became worried and was coming down with an illness so I went through many clinical tests including MRIs (brain, shoulder and knee) and whole body x ray, 6 times of blood tests, 2 urine tests and NCS, EMG and many more. But all the test results came back normal, so then I realized that I was not sick, but lexapro was making me ill. So I talked to another doctor and he took me off lexapro through a month of taper. I thought stopping lexapro would resolve all the physical symptoms soon, but till this date (it's been already close to two months), I still am still suffering from the same physical symptoms and developed more physical symptoms. Currently I am suffering from the following; 1) weak legs (thighs) - this has improved slightly but still there and this was started after beginning lexapro 2) muscle tremor/twitching - this has improved slightly but still there and this was started after beginning lexapro 3) jaw muscle pain - this has improved slightly but still there and this was started after beginning lexapro and I have been seeing a chiropractor for this. 4) swelling on my upper left eye lid only - I started to get this during my taper and it's been two months since and have gone to two eye doctors, they both said there's nothing wrong with my eye. during a day, the size of the swelling varies (worst in the morning, towards the day, it gets better but it has never gone away for the last two months) 5) Low energy - I started having this after I came off lexapro, my arms and legs feel really heavy, sometimes it gets better during a day, but I have been getting this since coming off the medication. 6) Nerve pain/muscle tiredness - started having this since the stopping of the medication, mild - intermittent level of nerve pains in arms and shoulders, it comes and goes. 7) Random eye strain/nausea - started having this since the stopping of the medication, it comes and goes.. I was wondering whether the physical symptoms are the side effects or WD of lexapro, given that I was on it for 5 months, how long will these last? I hope these physical symptoms are just from lexapro, and praying that they will go away eventually. Thank you so much for your help! PS: I have been exercising by walking 8-12 km for my mood/health.
  25. angelicus

    Angelicus: intro

    Hello all, Let me first say that finding this site (mentioned on Dr. Brogan's own site) has been incredible! I've been scrolling through a bit last night and today and finally thought to make an intro. Here's a history. In 2017 I experienced a panic attack on a flight back to school. Was out late drinking the night before, had some fast food at the airport. Took a nap at the beginning of the flight. Woke up feeling quite odd, shooting sensation up my left arm, heart was beating like crazy, thought it was a heart attack. Luckily, there was a doctor on the flight (he said it was a panic attack) and another passenger had Klonopin, so the rest of the flight was just about getting me calm. Not fun. After we landed I went to the ER to see if it was anything with my heart, all was well. Next few weeks was constantly on edge, worried I was going to have another attack. Then one morning I woke up with some derealization. Again, had no idea what was going on at all. Went to the ER maybe a few days later, was given some ativan, doctor told me it was just high anxiety. A few months later (after I graduated), I went to my PCP and told him about my derealization symptons, to which he promptly prescribed me lexapro (10mg). Since this was a long time ago I'm not sure how I exactly took it at first, I think I started only taking 5mg to start and then worked my way up to 10mg. Don't recall any terrible side effects besides maybe just feeling "odd." Derealization didn't fully go away, Doctor prescribed me with 20 mg. However, I kept only taking 10mg (I don't know why, maybe some intuition?). Anyways, the derealization eventually went away after I drove back to school for my master's program (a 12 hour drive, quite on edge for the first hour or two!). I kept taking the lexapro throughout the year. Things were fine, but again I'm really not sure whether it was the lexapro or just my brain being fine with the derealization being over. Anyways, that summer, I was having some sleeping problems (caused by the lexapro, in my view), and I went to see a psychiatrist and she prescribed me klonopin (a neighbor gave me some one night after I told him about lexapro issues). Was prescribed 0.5mg. After finishing my master's that summer, I went to another school to get another master's (overkill, lol), and was running out of klonopin so I was naturally worried I wouldn't be able to sleep. Went to school doc who prescribed me the klonopin and referred me to a psychiatrist. Continued on this (intermittently, I could go a month or so without it and be okay) and the lexapro for the whole 2018-2019 school year. Took 20mg of lexapro for a month or two but it was too much and went back down to 10mg. I was pretty consistent with my doses of lexapro, though occasionally would miss a few (and would avoid taking it some nights I knew I was going to drink; I never drank on klonopin). In January of this year, I decided, without the advice of my psychiatrist (imprudently, I know) to taper myself off the medication. I believe it was a quicker taper (my memory is just so hazy). Went from 10mg to 5mg for a bit, then just managed to stop. Same with klonopin, started to take only .25mg and then just stopped when I ran out. The withdrawal was real, and I wish I tapered more carefully, but I was just in such a rush to get off the meds. Went through a strong depression for 1-2 weeks after stopping, but tried to eat a lot healthier and exercise (weightlifting, walking). Both of those helped and I eventually got out of the depression funk, though I still experienced anxiety (even it wasn't fully calmed during all the medication). Fast forward to about a few weeks ago, I was driving back home from my apartment by my school and had a panic attack on my drive back, which freaked me out. Was on edge for a bit, constant fear of driving alone. Called my psychiatrist to see if I should go back on medication which, to no surprise, he said yes and prescribed 10mg Lexapro and 0.5mg klonopin (I tried to only take 0.25mg even when necessary) which I began on 8/11. The first few days were fine, but on the fourth day I had some severe anxiety and stomach problems (a frequent theme throughout my anxiety/panic attacks). Anyways, went for a walk, came home and ate some lunch, but a few minutes after I threw it all up. Body felt like it was on fire and I had an intrusive suicidal thought that just freaked me tf out. Luckily, I'm here with my family so I went to the ER because it felt like the worst panic attack ever. ER trip wasn't really fruitful, high BP (148/89 or something close to that), they took blood and urine but didn't do any tests. Next few days were horrendous, same high anxiety symptoms/panic attacks/stomach problems and I started to develop depression. I called my psych asking if I could stop taking the meds, he advised me to just split my dose. I thought that would cure everything, but could not be more wrong. Next two days were extremely brutal, same problems of debilitating anxiety/depression/stomach issues. Wanted to split my dose again into 2.5mg thinking that would do the trick, but woke up the next morning with extreme stomach pain and was back in the ER again. Took the klonopin (0.25mg) in the morning and later when I got home. Thankfully, some actually tests were run (urine/blood) and everything came back fine. Called my psych to see if I could stop and he said yes. Rest of the day I felt extraordinarily depressed, called my psych again to see if I should check myself into a psych ward as I was having intrusive suicidal thoughts. He advised I take my actual dose of klonopin of 0.5mg to see if that would help. It did a bit, the depression went away after I napped, but was still extremely jittery. Called my psych again to see if there was anything else I should try, he prescribed my seroquel which I picked up and absolutely refused to take. These past 6 days of the lexapro have been...not fun. Anxiety high, depression (a very physical one, feeling it throughout my whole body), intrusive/obsessive thoughts, and terrible GI condition. Each day I've really wanted to reach for the klonopin, but I fought it off, knowing it would be worse in the long run. Finally went to see a naturopath today. She was great, but I'm not sure of the supplements she gave me. One is "GI Revive" which contains a bunch of different herbs (I feel this might be too much for my system to handle, and I felt odd after taking it earlier, though less anxious, perhaps due to the chamomille in the mix) as well as glycine (powder, take ever morning). She also gave me magnesium glycinate if the glycine didn't help after two weeks. Based on what I'm reading here I think it might just be better to go straight for the magnesium and ask her for just gluminate for the GI problems. Hoping these will at least help during this process. I was just really freaked out over all this, as I had no previous adverse reactions to lexapro and for my system to react this way after only 10 days just reallllly has me freaked. But reading stuff here has been extremely helpful as I'm seeing these adverse reactions can happen. My psych was also perplexed calling it "odd." Anyways, my main symptoms seem to be High Anxiety Hyperarousal/Hypersensitivity Depression No motivation Intrusive thoughts Obsessing over my future (I had to take a term withdrawal this semester, which I'm fine about), but just constantly ruminating over "will this happen again in future?" "will I ever be able to function again?" "will these feelings last forever?") Catastrophizing (which I've always done, even before my first 'official' panic attack) Intense GI problems (I think the Lexapro exacerbated these, as I've been dealing with some problems here for the past month or so) I've definitely been trying to cope with all this. Like I said, it was and is such a weird and quite debilitating. My main coping mechanisms have been prayer, walking, distracting myself on the Internet (kind of good, kind of bad) and reading a bit. I've always tried to adjust my diet to maximize mineral/vitamin content from food. I've always begun psychotherapy with my psychiatrist, but am contemplating looking for a Catholic therapist to help with the spiritual dimension of this (I'm Catholic). Unfortunately I am a smoker (pack/day), but I am working to taper off that as well, as I know the stimulant exacerbates things. it's an awful coping mechanism. The past three days have been better, though I definitely have my ups and downs throughout the day. Any advice/encouragement you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. Again, I'm really glad I found this forum and disappointed I didn't see it years ago when I was first going through the stuff and I know me not consistently taking the doses at times was not the smartest. Nevertheless, ruminating on my past mistakes isn't the most beneficial, so I'm trying my best to look towards the future. I don't expect it to be easy, but just trying to take it one day at a time. I've probably missed some aspects of my history/symptoms/etc., but this post has been quite long so my apologies! Thankfully, I'm with family, and they have been so accepting/understanding. I appreciate all that ya'll do here, and will definitely recommend it any friends who think about taking these meds. -angelicus
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