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Olivialet: 2 years on Cipralex, 6 months off, withdrawal depression keeps coming back


olivialet

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Hi everyone and thank you for this website. I have been a passive observer since I stopped taking Cipralex and finally decided to join. 

 

Unlike many of you on this forum who took SSRIs for many years I have only taken Cipralex for 2 years right after my kid was born. Getting on this medication while having a newborn was not easy, which my doctor failed to mention, of course ) It took about 6 weeks to feel ok after a great deal of anxiety and just wanting to kill myself. Once I was on I felt great and energetic. During the two years of medication use I felt like my personality changed. I felt self-confident (not my stronger quality without drugs) and non-envious (envy is my big enemy normally). I never felt comfortable taking drugs however, and finally decided to start taking myself off. Of course nobody told me about proper tapering, and I took myself off 10 mg within 2 months (in retrospect too soon). 

My acute withdrawal lasted 2 months, with no physical side effects except for feeling cold all the time. During this time i suffered from great anxiety, depression, insomnia and just feeling hopeless. After two months these acute symptoms lessened and I had a 3 week window of being ok. Then it started again, with lessened symptoms, and then again a couple of weeks window of being ok. 

Its been like that for 6 months and even though there seems to be a pattern of windows and waves its never linear and never predictable. I think what is the most difficult part of this withdrawal hell is the depression. I learned to deal with anxiety, I am learning to deal with insomnia (my biggest enemy) but I cannot find a way to cope with depression. And God, I am so afraid it will never pass. 

I am reading a lot about acceptance, but when you are in the hopeless kind of state, with no motivation, nothing to look forward to, nothing to enjoy (even my kid) how can one live like this? I read somewhere on this forum that one has to create an imaginary second personality, the non-withdrawing personality, the "normal me", so to speak. This second me has to always remind the "suffering me" that what I feel right now is in my brain, and its not really me. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I lose faith and I fall into the notion that this depression IS the new me and I have to do something about it. Leave my family, go to hateful office job, etc... 

I guess I wanted to ask if its normal for depression to be lingering for such a long time and if anyone has other tips coping with this? Wouldn't it be so much easier if someone would secretly whisper you the answer to just how long this will last? 

 

 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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Hi, welcome to SA.

 

I read your post and see some similarities.

Took Lexapro for similar amount of time, was taken off too fast(2 months would have been a blessing for me)

Lucky you didn't get dragged into another ad like i have been, i wish i was 6 months off of everything.

I don't know how to cope with this debilitating depression, i had depressions in the past but nothing like this.

I have to hope that this will pass as brain adjusts as this is something clearly withdrawal induced.

I have never felt so hopeless. As you, i do get better days but never to the point of feeling totally normal.

 

It will get better for you and for me and for others

10/2012 - Lexapro 10mg

2013/2014 - Started experiencing visual disturbances, like visual processing was slow, feeling drunk all the time

9/2014 - Lexapro 5mg, didn't notice any withdrawal, drunk feeling went away

2015 - Drunk feeling came back

5/2015 - Lexapro 2.5mg - 1.25mg - insomnia started

6/2015 - Lexapro 0.625mg

7/2015 - Severe symptoms started, in desperation on advice of pdoc restarted 5mg Lexapro - total disaster

8/2015 - Lexapro 5mg, disoriented, sleepless zombie

9/2015 - Very reluctantly started transitioning to Zoloft

as of 10/10/2105 - no lexapro, 37.5mg Zoloft

12/14/2015 - 35mg zoloft, 1/16/2016 - 34mg

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Ok you've just convinces me to join. Honestly this site scared me A LOT:(

 

even the success stories aren't great.

 

I had to quit my SSRIs when i find out i was pregnant ......it was bearable but now the anxiety is TOOOOOOOO high, i'm terrified and i'm developping bouts of crazy depression too, i'm only 7 weeks off this thing :(

 

I'm scared i can't do this :(

2009 August: started on 20mg Deroxat + half a pill of remeron for insomnia (stopped remeron in 6 months)

2011- failed attemp at stopping meds

2012- miserably failed attemp at stopping (weaned waaay too fast)

Febuary 2013- made switch to Anfralin 75mg

March 2013- raised dose to 150mg

2014- back on 75mg

2014-2015- slow taper

June 2015- on 10mg every 5 days

August- September- back on 10mg every day

September- breakdown

October- switch to deroxat

December- went cold turkey due to pregnancy

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Hi Olivia. Welcome. Thank you for adding your signature. :)   Were you put on this for post-natal depression ? ( medical term for stressed Mum with uneven hormones & lack of sleep .) You've been experiencing 6 months of " windows & waves" ?  You're right . It's never linear or predictable. To answer your question, yes , it is normal to have lingering depression. I won't go into details , right now, but it is a common W/D symptom. It can go on for a while. Please read through this link :  It has a lot of good ideas for getting through this in the best possible way.

http://Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms ..

This is your thread to ask questions and keep track of your progress.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Hi, welcome to SA.

 

I read your post and see some similarities.

Took Lexapro for similar amount of time, was taken off too fast(2 months would have been a blessing for me)

Lucky you didn't get dragged into another ad like i have been, i wish i was 6 months off of everything.

I don't know how to cope with this debilitating depression, i had depressions in the past but nothing like this.

I have to hope that this will pass as brain adjusts as this is something clearly withdrawal induced.

I have never felt so hopeless. As you, i do get better days but never to the point of feeling totally normal.

 

It will get better for you and for me and for others

 

Thanks Sratcontol! 

I have seen you around this forum. I don't think you should beat yourself for going back. I am reading about acceptance and it really helps with dealing well with everything. Just letting things go and accepting the fact that its YOUR way of dealing with this situation. I thought I was going to go crazy when I came off AD, the only thing that let me pass through those two horrific months of crazy withdrawal was my stubbornness. As you mentioned i still don't get totally normal days. I feel like it might be a long time till I do, but i am reminding myself that this is not me,  this is not me, this is not me. Thanks for your reply, you are doing great! 

Do you find that external factors influence your depression in any way? like stress? 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

Link to comment

Ok you've just convinces me to join. Honestly this site scared me A LOT:(

 

even the success stories aren't great.

 

I had to quit my SSRIs when i find out i was pregnant ......it was bearable but now the anxiety is TOOOOOOOO high, i'm terrified and i'm developping bouts of crazy depression too, i'm only 7 weeks off this thing :(

 

I'm scared i can't do this :(

Hi Ouarezki,

I feel your pain, I wouldn't suggest reading stories of others (unless they are absolutely positive and hopeful) at all while you are in this state of mind. I would suggest getting into a habit of meditating every day for at least 20 minutes. When I say meditating i mean sitting down and concentrating on your breathing. (Tons of literature on this). This should offer you at least temporary relief from anxiety. 

Also I want to tell you this very important thing about being preggo and depressed and anxious. This mood will never effect your child no matter what others tell you. I went through 9 months of depressed sleepless and anxious pregnancy. I was so afraid that I will have this anxious little child that never smiles. Instead I got the happiest kid on the block.

You can absolutely do this. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Remember! 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to s/a Olivialet,

 

Sounds like you've done a lot of reading and now have some good understandings of what w/d is like.  Would you say there is gradual improvement, if each wave is not so bad as it's previous one?  

 

I may have understood this wrong, but did you finish tapering in August, meaning you are now 5 months out?  You've probably read the thread on reinstatement and seen that it's a bit iffy this far out.  What were your thoughts on that?

 

I've had a lot of depression in my life, which SSRIs only made worse, but I can say today that I have learned to manage it.  If you want you can have a look at my blog (link in my sig.) - it tells my whole story of struggling with depression and how I started to heal.  I believe we are so much stronger than doctors give us credit for.  You'll be able to get out of this.  Start building up one strengthening thing at a time, weaving each new thing into the last, to build a solid healing core.      

 

There are lots of ideas in the Non-Drug Techniques to Cope with Emotional Symptoms topic.

 

It is normal for depression - either regular depression caused by life-troubles, or w/d induced depression - not to shift quickly.  And that means our responses to it need to be deep and lasting.  It can't be got rid of by a 'quick-fix'.  (Not to say you were looking for one).  I wrote the following in answer to another member struggling with depression:

 

I've built up a combo of things that together have helped me manage depression.  I think of it as weaving a nest, weaving a held life. 

 

My 'feathers and twigs' include restorative yoga - which also helps you learn to listen to your body; eating whole foods; learning to meditate; finding time to be playful; regular counseling; writing; crying; developing deeper connections with a few close friends and asking for help; resting more; saying 'no' more; singing; dancing...

 

If you start to look, you will be able to build things into your life that uniquely support you.  It will be different to my list.  Eventually you'll be able to spot depressive waves as they approach, and you can be prepared for them.  That way they don't bowl you off your feet so much.   

 

There's no 'single' answer to depression; it requires changing one's life to a nurturing and supportive life.  It requires us to no longer try to push on through.  It requires us to listen to our body and soul, to create quiet places where our thoughts can come out to us, and where we can then acknowledge and respond to them.  

 

The more I've done this, the more the joy in my life has increased.  This is an immense change from where I once was.

 

 

 

I hope some of that helps.  Feel free to come back to this thread to ask more questions. 

 

Hugs,

Karen

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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Hi, welcome to SA.

 

I read your post and see some similarities.

Took Lexapro for similar amount of time, was taken off too fast(2 months would have been a blessing for me)

Lucky you didn't get dragged into another ad like i have been, i wish i was 6 months off of everything.

I don't know how to cope with this debilitating depression, i had depressions in the past but nothing like this.

I have to hope that this will pass as brain adjusts as this is something clearly withdrawal induced.

I have never felt so hopeless. As you, i do get better days but never to the point of feeling totally normal.

 

It will get better for you and for me and for others

Thanks Sratcontol!

I have seen you around this forum. I don't think you should beat yourself for going back. I am reading about acceptance and it really helps with dealing well with everything. Just letting things go and accepting the fact that its YOUR way of dealing with this situation. I thought I was going to go crazy when I came off AD, the only thing that let me pass through those two horrific months of crazy withdrawal was my stubbornness. As you mentioned i still don't get totally normal days. I feel like it might be a long time till I do, but i am reminding myself that this is not me, this is not me, this is not me. Thanks for your reply, you are doing great!

Do you find that external factors influence your depression in any way? like stress?

Hi again,

 

I went back in hopes to do a proper taper but it made everything worse :(

I am now on zoloft and I am not sure it is helping much.

I will pm you as I want this thread to be about you :)

10/2012 - Lexapro 10mg

2013/2014 - Started experiencing visual disturbances, like visual processing was slow, feeling drunk all the time

9/2014 - Lexapro 5mg, didn't notice any withdrawal, drunk feeling went away

2015 - Drunk feeling came back

5/2015 - Lexapro 2.5mg - 1.25mg - insomnia started

6/2015 - Lexapro 0.625mg

7/2015 - Severe symptoms started, in desperation on advice of pdoc restarted 5mg Lexapro - total disaster

8/2015 - Lexapro 5mg, disoriented, sleepless zombie

9/2015 - Very reluctantly started transitioning to Zoloft

as of 10/10/2105 - no lexapro, 37.5mg Zoloft

12/14/2015 - 35mg zoloft, 1/16/2016 - 34mg

Link to comment

Welcome to s/a Olivialet,

 

Sounds like you've done a lot of reading and now have some good understandings of what w/d is like.  Would you say there is gradual improvement, if each wave is not so bad as it's previous one?  

 

I may have understood this wrong, but did you finish tapering in August, meaning you are now 5 months out?  You've probably read the thread on reinstatement and seen that it's a bit iffy this far out.  What were your thoughts on that?

 

I've had a lot of depression in my life, which SSRIs only made worse, but I can say today that I have learned to manage it.  If you want you can have a look at my blog (link in my sig.) - it tells my whole story of struggling with depression and how I started to heal.  I believe we are so much stronger than doctors give us credit for.  You'll be able to get out of this.  Start building up one strengthening thing at a time, weaving each new thing into the last, to build a solid healing core.      

 

There are lots of ideas in the Non-Drug Techniques to Cope with Emotional Symptoms topic.

 

It is normal for depression - either regular depression caused by life-troubles, or w/d induced depression - not to shift quickly.  And that means our responses to it need to be deep and lasting.  It can't be got rid of by a 'quick-fix'.  (Not to say you were looking for one).  I wrote the following in answer to another member struggling with depression:

 

I've built up a combo of things that together have helped me manage depression.  I think of it as weaving a nest, weaving a held life. 

 

My 'feathers and twigs' include restorative yoga - which also helps you learn to listen to your body; eating whole foods; learning to meditate; finding time to be playful; regular counseling; writing; crying; developing deeper connections with a few close friends and asking for help; resting more; saying 'no' more; singing; dancing...

 

If you start to look, you will be able to build things into your life that uniquely support you.  It will be different to my list.  Eventually you'll be able to spot depressive waves as they approach, and you can be prepared for them.  That way they don't bowl you off your feet so much.   

 

There's no 'single' answer to depression; it requires changing one's life to a nurturing and supportive life.  It requires us to no longer try to push on through.  It requires us to listen to our body and soul, to create quiet places where our thoughts can come out to us, and where we can then acknowledge and respond to them.  

 

The more I've done this, the more the joy in my life has increased.  This is an immense change from where I once was.

 

 

 

I hope some of that helps.  Feel free to come back to this thread to ask more questions. 

 

Hugs,

Karen

 

Thank you Karen for replying to my post. 

 

Just to clarify my last 2.5 dose of Cipralex was July 7, 2015. So it has been 6 months since. I would definitely say that I am gradually improving, though the depression part is still hard to manage. I think being a mother and working from home doesn't help the situation. Sometimes i do wonder if it would have been easier if i had a full time office job and no kid. I have to remind myself that it doesn't matter and it is what it is. 

On the other hand, you said that "it is a bit iffy this far out". I read that some people have a major return of symptoms around 4-6 months off? Is that what you meant? I feel like I am in the persistent wave right now (i really hope it won't be a long one) but so far I notice that its mainly depression that I struggle with on daily bases. Anxiety is better, sleep is kind of better, but depression hits in the morning every day and then lessens for a couple of hours and then begins again until evening. Better at night. Its like somebody turns the switch, such a bizarre feeling. 

I hope you are doing well and thanks again for replying. 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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I also wanted to add that one of the most effective ways to feel a little better and fight off anxiety is to go hiking in the forest and just be part of the surrounding world. Unfortunately i don't have a chance to do it often but its one of those magical pills for me to get past the hopelessness part of withdrawal. It being a winter here in Canada doesn't make this any easier. 

I would imagine gardening would have a similar effect for some... 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Olivialet,

 

By 'iffy this far out' I meant that reinstatement is less likely to work this far after your last dose.  Sorry to be confusing :).  I think the improvements you've had so far are very encouraging for you.  You are healing.

 

Sometimes people do get waves of symptoms months afterwards, but it really does vary from person to person. 

 

The daily pattern of symptoms you are noticing fits with the general pattern of cortisol being higher in the morning and lessening off during the day.  I also feel much better in the evenings.  Normally cortisol helps to wake a person up and get them going, but once we are in w/d and destabilised somewhat that same cortisol is too activating for us and makes us feel worse.  More fun facts for you ;).  

 

Perhaps walking in the morning (when the weather and kids allow) would help?   

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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Hi everyone and thank you for this website. I have been a passive observer since I stopped taking Cipralex and finally decided to join. 

 

Unlike many of you on this forum who took SSRIs for many years I have only taken Cipralex for 2 years right after my kid was born. Getting on this medication while having a newborn was not easy, which my doctor failed to mention, of course ) It took about 6 weeks to feel ok after a great deal of anxiety and just wanting to kill myself. Once I was on I felt great and energetic. During the two years of medication use I felt like my personality changed. I felt self-confident (not my stronger quality without drugs) and non-envious (envy is my big enemy normally). I never felt comfortable taking drugs however, and finally decided to start taking myself off. Of course nobody told me about proper tapering, and I took myself off 10 mg within 2 months (in retrospect too soon). 

My acute withdrawal lasted 2 months, with no physical side effects except for feeling cold all the time. During this time i suffered from great anxiety, depression, insomnia and just feeling hopeless. After two months these acute symptoms lessened and I had a 3 week window of being ok. Then it started again, with lessened symptoms, and then again a couple of weeks window of being ok. 

Its been like that for 6 months and even though there seems to be a pattern of windows and waves its never linear and never predictable. I think what is the most difficult part of this withdrawal hell is the depression. I learned to deal with anxiety, I am learning to deal with insomnia (my biggest enemy) but I cannot find a way to cope with depression. And God, I am so afraid it will never pass. 

I am reading a lot about acceptance, but when you are in the hopeless kind of state, with no motivation, nothing to look forward to, nothing to enjoy (even my kid) how can one live like this? I read somewhere on this forum that one has to create an imaginary second personality, the non-withdrawing personality, the "normal me", so to speak. This second me has to always remind the "suffering me" that what I feel right now is in my brain, and its not really me. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I lose faith and I fall into the notion that this depression IS the new me and I have to do something about it. Leave my family, go to hateful office job, etc... 

I guess I wanted to ask if its normal for depression to be lingering for such a long time and if anyone has other tips coping with this? Wouldn't it be so much easier if someone would secretly whisper you the answer to just how long this will last? 

Hey, I'm in the dumps right now. I would never ever go back on the meds, after 5 failed attemps really this is a miracle

 

I'm 13 weeks pregnant and I'm anxious about EVERYTHING, everything is scary, now i can't eat because i get a panic attack.

 

Through all of my setbacks never have i had it this bad. I feel completely disconnected and i like i can't control my thoughts its terrible.

 

I'm trying medidation for the first time but closing my eyes just reminds me i'm in a terrible state and I can't let go.

 

Can you offer some advice?

2009 August: started on 20mg Deroxat + half a pill of remeron for insomnia (stopped remeron in 6 months)

2011- failed attemp at stopping meds

2012- miserably failed attemp at stopping (weaned waaay too fast)

Febuary 2013- made switch to Anfralin 75mg

March 2013- raised dose to 150mg

2014- back on 75mg

2014-2015- slow taper

June 2015- on 10mg every 5 days

August- September- back on 10mg every day

September- breakdown

October- switch to deroxat

December- went cold turkey due to pregnancy

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  • 2 weeks later...

I wanted to write an update to my symptom's diary so I keep track of my state and also see if anyone else experienced this. My symptoms has returned back exactly at 6 months being off drugs and they are steadily continue being part of my everyday life. It started 3 weeks ago with very pronounced anxiety and depression. Before that, I only experienced one huge hellish wave of symptoms in the beginning of my withdrawal journey for about 2 months. After that it was anxiety and depression mini waves with clear-ish windows in between. Now i have entered, it seems, a big wave of everyday anxiety and depression that lessens as the day goes by, but begins again every morning. This new wave is not as crazy as the first one in the beginning. But still, every night I feel so good, almost normal. Every morning i wake up dreading the day. The everyday symptoms are not getting any easier so I am afraid i am in this for a long time... Anyone else has any experience with this 6 months wave? I know there is a topic on waves and windows with different stories, but perhaps someone has a similar story to this? 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

Link to comment
  • Moderator

There is a very common phenomena often referred to as the "10 month wave". It's a wave that hits between six and ten months after a person finishes their taper.  It is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors as a return of your original condition with their recommendation that you restart the drugs because you need to be on them for life.  Most of the cases of it that I am familiar with have passed in a few weeks leaving the person feeling better than they did before it happened.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • 1 month later...

I decided to update everyone on the progress I am making, in hopes that it would help others in the same boat.

It has been 8 months since I tapered aggressively my lexapro use. I am now feeling better, of course. Nothing in comparison to the first three months. I still struggle though on daily basis with depression. Like all of you know, it's really hard to see the progress one is making when you are in constant suffering. But depression still persist with occasional outburst of anxiety. I must say depression is becoming milder and milder but my fear is always with me- what if this journey of hell will leave me depressed for life? I feel and hope that I am in the end of the withdrawal proceeds ( who knows). But I wonder how does that last stretch of withdrawal feels? Do you wake up one day and say - wow this feels so good. Or do you need an external push, right circumstances. Going back to the question- how do I know if my current life is not making my depression worst? And if it's here to stay, how do I learn how to accept it and live with it?

Ps. I am reading "Radical Acceptance" and while I understand the idea, I find it hard from a practical point of view to accept yourself with compassion.

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

My two cents worth:  I believe depression is just one of the many things that ebbs and flows through our lives depending on circumstances and how we have dealt with things.  Your inner instincts will probably tell you which things in your life are conducive to healing and which are not.  Sometimes I get a vague awareness that something isn't right, but I don't want to change it, so I ignore it.  Then later when I am ready to face that thing, I do, and it does usually turn out that my instincts were spot-on.

 

I'm learning to act sooner when my instincts give me an inkling.  Do you feel you are getting more 'finely tuned' where your ability to listen to what your body is telling you is concerned?  It is a lovely feeling - one of the rewards of all this slog.  

 

Learning to love ourselves - it used to make me want to puke when people said stuff like that!  But it's so true that we need to learn how to do it.  Usually because our childhoods taught us the opposite.  Well, in my case anyway.  But it must be a foundation of healing. 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Olivialet,

 

One or more of these might be helpful.  Dr Claire Weekes is excellent.

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 

Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Olivia .  

 

"What if this journey of hell will leave me depressed for life? I feel and hope that I am in the end of the withdrawal proceeds ( who knows). But I wonder how does that last stretch of withdrawal feels? "

 

I think  there is a tendency to  question ourselves in this respect , particularly if you have a propensity towards depression , whether chemically induced or inherent.

The drugs seem to amplify these thoughts , and then can exaggerate them to the N'th degree. Unfortunately , this is one of those withdrawal symptoms , that's extremely hard to deal with . It's different for everyone, but particularly dominant , in those who have struggled with this condition , in the past. It seems to be very hard to say one way or the other , whether it's permanent or not . I do believe personally , it's not .  The drugs induce " depression" long term .  However, I believe after a certain period of time  ( each person , being different ) , that this eventually  recedes into the background, of your life , as you adjust to a life off drugs and at the same time find coping skills , to manage what once would have been a short - term problem  - depression  , if the drugs, had not turned it into a long - term chronic condition.

 

I think yoga, meditation , sleep ,exercise, sunlight , diet and lots of love , can turn this around !

I'm hoping so .

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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  • Moderator Emeritus

However, I believe after a certain period of time  ( each person , being different ) , that this eventually  recedes into the background, of your life , as you adjust to a life off drugs and at the same time find coping skills , to manage what once would have been a short - term problem  - depression  , if the drugs, had not turned it into a long - term chronic condition.

 

I think yoga, meditation , sleep ,exercise, sunlight , diet and lots of love , can turn this around !

 

Beautiful post, Ali!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

;)

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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  • 3 months later...

It has been awhile since i updated my thread. I actually was considering writing a success story on this forum but.... I am now at 1 year mark. Since my last update i was doing well. In April I started taking probiotics and excluded gluten from my diet and that helped greatly. I started experiencing my old self where I functioned and felt almost 90 percent myself. Unfortunately, when in withdrawal, like many of us know, the good stuff passes and the bad stuff eventually comes, now at 1 year another wave hit and I am in the dumps! I don't know why or how it was triggered (I stopped taking probiotics for 2 weeks so maybe thats why?).

 

It all started with a sleepless night (my initially depression and anxiety was triggered by insomnia) and now i hardly sleep and anxiety is back. I feel (or hope) that this anxiety is not as deep as it use to be in the beginning of withdrawal, but it sure feels very real and disempowering. The nights are long, i try to occupy myself but anxiety won't let me relax. If i don't sleep in the beginning of the night i won't sleep till sunrise. The worse part is that it effects my mood for the next day and makes me depressed. 

Does anyone know if the 1 year wave is common? I have been on Lexapro for 20 months, I suspect it might take just as much to recover from this withdrawal. I heard some people that successfully came of these drugs and didn't have withdrawal at all, why does it effect some people more then others? 

 

I am so frustrated and sad...

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Olivia, A wave is very common 9 - 12 months out.  Your windows will return and then a wave after that.  It should continue as you've experienced: windows getting longer; waves less frequent, less intense, and shorter. :)

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Olivia, A wave is very common 9 - 12 months out.  Your windows will return and then a wave after that.  It should continue as you've experienced: windows getting longer; waves less frequent, less intense, and shorter. :)

Hi Scally,

thank you for your reply, i was wondering if you know if these 9-12 months wave are suppose to be as bad as the initial wave. I feel like I made a huge step backwards, my anxiety seems to be skyrocketing and it hasnt been these bad for awhile. 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Olivia, everyone is different. I wish I could tell you how others compare their initial w/d symptoms with a 9-12 month wave. Let's hope some are still reading and posting here and can jump in to comment.

 

Now that I think about it someone started a topic in the Success Stories in the last month and wrote that it his/her experience wasn't all sunshine and roses. You might have a look there.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • 2 weeks later...

Please give me an insight! Its has been a year since I quit Lexapro and I thought I was doing better, had 3 months window where I felt entirely myself. But then almost three weeks ago has a couple of sleepless nights (i am prone to insomnia) and my bad wave slowly started creeping in on me. I don't feel as bad as in the beginning, but its definitely stronger than the last waves I had... Now feel fear and anxiety almost on daily bases. Did anyone else experience this at one year mark. You would think that by now I know i am getting better, but we all know that when in the bad wave one needs as much reassurance as one can get :( 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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Olivia.  It sounds like you are experiencing the normal " windows & waves" pattern of recovery.  I'm off 2 yrs 2 months and it's improving incrementally. Like you , I experienced some very intense waves particularly at the 12 / 18 month mark. As well as the usual up /down pattern , I found the intensity varied as well. In fact at one stage I was cycling in and out of windows quite rapidly. I still do . When I look back now, I see that I was healing at a fast pace as well. Sometimes this can be a good sign. 

 

You actually sound like you're doing well . Keep the faith. You will get there in time.

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Olivia.  It sounds like you are experiencing the normal " windows & waves" pattern of recovery.  I'm off 2 yrs 2 months and it's improving incrementally. Like you , I experienced some very intense waves particularly at the 12 / 18 month mark. As well as the usual up /down pattern , I found the intensity varied as well. In fact at one stage I was cycling in and out of windows quite rapidly. I still do . When I look back now, I see that I was healing at a fast pace as well. Sometimes this can be a good sign. 

 

You actually sound like you're doing well . Keep the faith. You will get there in time.

Thank you for replying Ali, 

I think the hardest part to accept is that I only was on the drugs for 20 months and my withdrawal is lasting more than half of that! But I learn to accept and not question. Do you know why the 12/18 months wave is so intense? Wish you all the best.. 

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am nearing 13 months off meds and, frankly, feeling not very encouraged. After having a great 3 months window it seems I have gone back to where I started. I feel so down and real difficulty of sleep. Unlike other bad waves this one seems to be much more steady without crazy ups and downs but also with no mini windows that I use to have in other waves. I feel constantly down, constantly hopeless and constantly wondering if I ever be better. I know I need to believe and trust the process of life. It just seems that all of this is worthless. Worse thing nobody gets it.

Nov 2013 - July 2015 - 2 years on 10 mg of CIPRALEX 

"weaned off" in 2 months even though doctor said I can quit in 2 weeks (haha) 

No physical withdrawal symptoms 

Emotional anxiety, depression withdrawal since August 2015. On and off 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Olivia, we get it :).  But I know it's hard, keeping going for the long haul, thinking people around you must be wondering what on earth's going on...

 

This wave will end, just like the others did.  Are the symptoms anxiety and depression, as in previous waves? 

 

Here is a site I find very encouraging and inspiring.  It is full of very practical ideas for healing, and for building the resilience for going the distance.  It's written by one of our members, GiaK, and is called BeyondMeds.  Specifically it would be a good idea to read this section It Gets Better:  Living Well while being Sick.

 

I really hope you take a look, cause even just seeing that someone else is ahead of us down the road can be comforting.

 

Hugs,

Karen

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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  • 1 year later...
On 7/26/2016 at 5:22 PM, olivialet said:

I am nearing 13 months off meds and, frankly, feeling not very encouraged. After having a great 3 months window it seems I have gone back to where I started. I feel so down and real difficulty of sleep. Unlike other bad waves this one seems to be much more steady without crazy ups and downs but also with no mini windows that I use to have in other waves. I feel constantly down, constantly hopeless and constantly wondering if I ever be better. I know I need to believe and trust the process of life. It just seems that all of this is worthless. Worse thing nobody gets it.

Hi Olivia,

 

I just wanted to see how you are doing and if your symptoms ever went away completely? You're experience sounds similar to the experience that I've had with withdrawal so far, so knowing that you eventually recovered would be a huge encouragement for me!

  1. Started Wellbutrin 75 mg IR the end of 2015.
  2. Tried quitting cold turkey in June 30th- July 3rd 2017.
  3. Had severe withdrawals.
  4. Was placed on Wellbutrin 100mg SR so I could taper without withdrawal.
  5. Stabilized on 100mg SR for most of the month of July.
  6. Started tapering on July 17th,  2017.
  7. Completed taper on August 8th, 2017.
  8. Currently experiencing severe withdrawal.
  • Symptoms- Currently experiencing anhedonia, depersonalization/derealization, concentration/memory issues, chronic congestion, chronic dry eyes, dry skin, dislocated TMJ joint from teeth grinding during C/T withdrawal, waves of depression, anxiety, nausea, morning cortisol spikes, insomnia, agitation, food sensitivities, no tolerance for caffeine and chronic fatigue, burning muscle pain in upper and lower back and occasional tinninitus.
  • Supplements- Omega-3 fish oil supplement twice daily, 100 mg of magnesium once daily. 
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