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Introducing Zinnia


Zinnia

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Long time viewer, first time poster...

I had my very first panic attack the second day after having my fourth child. I had no previous history of anxiety or depression. So I struggled for a year and half to fix what became a vicious cycle of depression, anxiety, panic, and various physical symptoms. I saw many doctors and tried many natural therapies. I started lexapro in December of 2013 but didn't hit my therapeutic dose until February or March of 2014. It took many months for me to feel somewhat normal. I knew about 4 months in that lexapro had done its best and I was at about 70%. It wasn't perfect but it was way better than what I had been experiencing. After about a year and half, I decided to go without it. I always felt that hormones were to blame so I thought that maybe since I had finished breastfeeding during my time in lexapro maybe I would do better without it. I also put on some weight.

Now, the good stuff, my first two tapers were fine. I did with some odd brain zap things but they went away quickly. Went I got down to zero the brain stuff started immediately and felt generally sick. This went away after three weeks and then I had my first big panic/adrenaline rush in two years. I would experience a week of high anxiety and then a week of depression. I just had my second big time panic/adrenaline attack last night and now I am petrified. I feel that everything I am currently experiencing is similar to what put me on the meds in the first place but hitting me all at once. I am stuck in a very hopeless place. I'm not sure if I am suffering from withdrawal or relapse or both. I want to ride it out but I no there is no guarantee that it will go away- especially if it's relapse. Anxiety is the absolute worst and i know I am lacking perspective but this feels so out of control.

Lexapro 20 mg around February 2014

Tapered to 10mg in August 2015

Tapered to 5mg in September 2015

Tapered to 0 on October 9 2015

One month apart for the tapers

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Zinnia,

 

Welcome to SA. As a long time reader I suspect you know you have tapered way quicker than what we would recommend which is 10 percent of the previous dose every 4 weeks or so. That would have you on about 7.29 at the start of November just based on your August dose. (It's not clear from your signature and discussion how long you took to go from 20-10).

 

Withdrawal can be delayed so even if it goes ok earlier it can still hit you and I would say that's what has happened. Have you had any other symptoms?

 

You could try reinstating a very small amount - 2mg and see if that helps then taper very slowly off that. Given that you are now 2 months off the success of a reinstatement is a little unknown but starting at a very low dose will lessen the risk of a bad adverse reaction

 

There is a thread about reinstatement here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/ Have a read of that and come back here to ask any questions. Can I also ask you to fill out a bit more of your signature in terms of how you got to 10mg

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Thank you for your reply. I read the article you linked. I am a bit nervous about reinstating because I am afraid of an adverse reaction. What can an adverse reaction look like? I have been off of the Meds almost 7 weeks.

My symptoms included brain zaps and brain fog for two weeks. This cleared up for two weeks and then returned. Can they be affected by hormones? After about three weeks, the mental stuff kicked in. I experienced a panic attack about a month ago. I have had anxiety since then, being more keyed up at times than others. I have had depression mingled in as well. Like, I said I had some really high adrenaline last night that lead to shaking, this lasted for an hour and a half. All of this is familiar to me as pre- lexapro symptoms, but I feel that it is more intense now.

I want to tough it out but I am petrified that I am in the middle of a relapse and not withdrawal.

 

 

will fix my signature but I dropped from 20mg to 10 mg on August 19 in one shot.

Lexapro 20 mg around February 2014

Tapered to 10mg in August 2015

Tapered to 5mg in September 2015

Tapered to 0 on October 9 2015

One month apart for the tapers

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  • Moderator Emeritus

An adverse reaction can look like a ramping up of your current symptoms or the introduction of new ones.   Given how fast you have come off and the fact that you experienced symptoms when you went off I would say this is withdrawal rather than relapse.    

 

Many people find that a very low dose reinstatement can be enough to address withdrawal and has less risk of triggering an adverse reaction.   However there are no guarantees.   The other option of 'toughing' it out also has risks.  Some people find these symptoms persist for a very long time.   You symptoms are telling you that your brain is not coping with your rate of taper.  You might want to read up on withdrawal to understand what is happening for you - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

Going from 20 to 10 in one go is not a taper, it is a partial cold turkey.   If you were tapering according the the 10% rule you would be between 13 14 mg now.   If it was me I would try the very small dose reinstatement but you need to make the decision about what you are comfortable with.

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Thank you. Would 5mg be too much? I was comfortable on that dose during the taper- at least for the 3-4 weeks I was on it.

Lexapro 20 mg around February 2014

Tapered to 10mg in August 2015

Tapered to 5mg in September 2015

Tapered to 0 on October 9 2015

One month apart for the tapers

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Also, what if I get better tomorrow or the next day? Am I giving up on potential progress by reinstating? It's so hard to think rationally and have decent perspective during this.

Lexapro 20 mg around February 2014

Tapered to 10mg in August 2015

Tapered to 5mg in September 2015

Tapered to 0 on October 9 2015

One month apart for the tapers

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I would start with 2 mg if you are going to do it.   you can go up to 5 if 2 goes ok.

 

The idea of reinstating is to have another chance at tapering slowly so you aren't giving up on the prospects of recovery.   I dont know what's going to happen tomorrow or the day after, neither do you.   You have to make decisions in the face of very imperfect knowledge.  Unfortunately, that is something we all share

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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Thank you for your advice. I guess I was asking more rhetorical questions. I know I am probably not alone in asking those silly questions. It's a tough place to be. On one hand, being off of lexapro gives me hope of healing 100% versus the 70% I felt when I was on it. But when I feel this terrible anxiety and depression, and all perspective is lost, I question why I even got off of the Lex in the first place. I will take 70% all day long over this. I guess ultimately I am scared that this is what my future looks like- that this a relapse and not a withdrawal. It's all so similar to what I experienced before but compounded.

Is it possible for withdrawal, symptoms to be affected by hormones? The brain zaps and brain fog went away and came back at the same time in my cycle.

Lexapro 20 mg around February 2014

Tapered to 10mg in August 2015

Tapered to 5mg in September 2015

Tapered to 0 on October 9 2015

One month apart for the tapers

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Withdrawal symptoms are definately affected by hormones.  Mine get worse when I have my period, and PMS seems worse too.  Boy, w/d added to PMS :blink:.

 

I don't think what you are experiencing now is a picture of what your future will look like.  But I do remember being in the same place you are and totally despairing that I'd be like that forever.  You won't - it changes.  You'll work out your stabilising then tapering plans and gradually move into them, and one day you'll realise than things have started getting better. 

 

You can ease your mind about 'relapse' by finding ways to manage anxiety and depression.  Sometimes in our lives there is good reason for these to show up.  Learning the tools and finding what non-drug support is around you can get you through these times.  I'm not saying there are easy answers - it takes time and energy, but it can be done.  You probably already have some tools in your 'arsenal' so maybe now you can be looking for things to add to it.  Be really pro-active on managing anxiety/depression.  

 

Do you see a counselor?  That's the best way I've found for getting some perspective and for help with learning to manage anxiety/depression.  Otherwise I tend to 'fall off the wagon' so to speak.  I've been in counseling regularly both before and during w/d.

 

I think it's important not to forget there are more than the two options of relapse or drugs.   

 

I'm so glad you're here for support,

Wishing you all the best,

KarenB

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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