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Themixeur: Two months of a bad Lexapro tappering, derealization still going strong


Themixeur

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Hi, my name's Alexis, I'm a 21 years old male from France, and I made a good amount of mistakes in the past few months as it turns out.

 

Let me start by presenting myself as the "before" me. I was always, always the happy guy. I was bullied during all of high-school (leading me to redo a year because it was to much) but this was all behind me. The bullying led me to have creepling social anxiety but other than that I was really happy with my life, I had learned to live with it and not stoping me to live a full life. I didn't like going clubbing or anything invoving a lot of people at once but going to college led me to meet people who would like the same things as me. I was never alone, I made good friends. I am -or was- the kind of guy who would like all things linked to creativity. Be it video montages about my video game "life" or a lot of writing.

 

In college, I started playing games a lot on my pc, met a lot of great people online and so even when I was going home in my little appartment, I was never alone. I messed up one of my college years and switched from studying physics to studying computer science but that was pretty much it as for desapointments. That and my love life which was bleak at best thanks to me being really really shy (never kissed a girl yay !). I am the romantic kind of guy, and burned myself hard on a middle school crush wish led me being afraid of girls my age and what they could do to my poor heart. But I had come to terms with it. I had all my life to fix this problem after all. And things started to look better on all fronts. I started going out more (movies, friends parties at their appartments).

 

Then came along the possibility of an abroad school in Canada. A school for 3D modeling and design in video games. I always like creating stuff on my computer. Video montages. 3D scenes. Just because I could and it was a way to create from my feelings. Anyway, the school in question required a big dossier to accept postulants so I started working night and day to improve my skills in this set of themes. Digital painting, 3d modelling or even scene creations. If we had my work for my computer science class, all in all I was working 15h a day minimum. I stopped loging online to talk to my online friends as I was always working. I too started missing my college classes to continue working on this stuff. To be honest I was feeling possesed. Always always thinking about ten stuff related to the subject at the same time. Sleeping like a mad man whenever I felt like it. It started at the end of September 2015. Looking back at it I feel like the biggest moron in the universe.

 

It all came down crashing at the start of November. It was a friday and I had a one hour QCM to take in the afternoon. I had weird feeling about a week before. Like my chest was being constrained and my heart was going to burst out. But I didn't make anything of it. I just continued working oblivious to my bodies signals. And so during this test I almost clollapsed. My head started feeling weird, I felt like ants on my hands but most of all my chest was constrained, i couldn't breathe and I was sure my heart was going to stop. I managed to hold until the end of the test and went home. Things calmed a bit but I started getting really afraid of what was happening to me (little did I know I had a panic attack like the sleep deprived mal nourished idiot that I was). The thing is I'm kind of an hypochondriac with obsessive tendencies. When something is wrong I focus on it like my life is depending on it. So during the week end I started having panic attakcs. I was having chest pain and everything. The monday, still having my chest pain and feeling like my heart was going to stop I went back to my mom's. Took 3mg of Bromazepam and my blood pressure was still through the roof. After that, I started taking benzo daily in the form of 6mg of Bromazepam throughout the day. But then I started taking more and more, eveytime I tried not taking it, a feeling of dread and iminent doom was taking me away in panic attack land.

 

A month went by and I couldn't live without my daily benzos doses so I decided to start seeing a psy. After discussing, she prescribed me 10mg of Lexapro to take every morning. She also said to keep taking benzos while trying to slowly limit them. It was the start of December 2015. 15 days later I had cut my benzo intake to 3mg a day and I was feeling like myself again. My first thought was to stop taking benzos. So the 18th I stopped benzos all together. I was back at my mom's, my week of exams was over and I was feeling nearly normal again. Took me 3 days being on the edge but the  withdrawal from benzo was over.

 

I then fixed my eyes on my next objective : stopping meds all together. See, I'm a real proud kind of guy. I really don't like the idea of having to take meds to "survive". Even before, when I had a headache I was really reluctent to take anything to make it stop. I prefered powering through it. So taking pills was like a failure mark. I had to get rid of that. So I said to myself, you go back in classes the 4th of january. You take one week taking your Lexapro 10mg pills every two days for a week or so and then you stop. And so I did. I started going every two days somewhere around the 10th of january, stopping all together one week after that. For the next part, the timeline start getting fuzzy so bear with me for a little longer.

 

One week after stopping everything I started feeling weird. Feelings that I would later call derealization. the world wasn't making sense anymore. Reality had become a question. But a 5 days in, as soon as it had started it stoped. I hadn't even have the time to understand what it was. Even now I can't remember what I felt like. One or two weeks later on the other hand, since got really really bad. I was hit by the worst things I ever felt all at once. Things like a massive derealization spree, emotional anhedonia and bad anxiety. At the worst of it, I had to get rid of all the sleeping pills in my appartment afraid to make a mistake. What made me survive it was me calling my mom every nigh and talking for an hour or so. She couldn't understand half of the things I felt but she helped me just survive it. Told me to start making my life a habit. Making plans for the next day and stick to them. Like going to classes or jogging for a little while. Eating better. That sort of stuff. So I did all of these. Not because I wanted but for her. One week and a half after the start of tha episode it was over. I remember one day my derealization being bad with occasionnal moments of calm and the next it feels like it was over. I can't for the life of me figure out what changed. All I know was that I was back.

 

Then two weeks went by. My school year was already unretrievable and I couldn't go to sleep before 4am in the morning, and get up before noon was an impossible exploit. All in all my class attendance wasn't the best, but I was still able to think about the future. I am supposed to start a 4 month internship at  the start of april and the timeline looks bleak at best. 

 

I am talking to you from the middle of another wave of derealization I guess. I feel bad now, but less bad than the last wave. I "only" have to face derealization now. Not a strong one but a snicky derealization. During the past two weeks I have been plagued with unanswerable questions like : what the point of life at the end ? What's the point of reality ? This kind of stuff. But no anhedonia. And a lot less of the need to be alone then last time. The problem is the fact that it is way longer than last time. It's the end of the second week and it has been three days now that I feel like life is a trap. I'm tired of thinking and living this crapshow of a life. My latest derealisation is that. A few time an hour I will be hit in the face by this weird thought that life is a ******* trap. And that's is weirdly not that real or something like that. Yeah I don't feel as excited as before about stuff but I guess it's not a strong anhedonia as before. And time perception is less distorted than before. Since this wave is hitting me with less strength I don't feel the small good moments inside the wave as such. The line between normal and bad is a all lot blurrier. And I'm not sure this one wave is going to end, ever.

 

I'm afraid because I'm not sure it's normal to have waves being longer and longer (while hitting with less strength each time maybe). I'm afraid that i's not normal, nearly two month after having stopped taking lexapro for ONLY a month and a half having still these kind of symptom. But most of all I'm afraid not to be afraid of death anymore. I long the days where death was that dreadfull thing that I could be afraid of. It was my freedom to run from it. And it's my hell not to fear it that much anymore.

 

In the hope that you can maybe reassure me. Thank you to everyone taking the time to read my too long text and my bad english.

-Nov 2015 : Started taking Benzo 6mg a day.

-Dec 2015 : Started taking Lexapro 10mg a day.

-18th Dec 2015 : Stopped benzos alltogether after gradually going down to 3mg a day.

-~10th Jan 2016 : Cut Lexapro to every two days for a week then stopped completly.

-Feb 2016 : Still having bad derealization week on week of.

-March 2016 : Milder derealization but holding steady for two weeks now.

 

Notes : ~10 cigarettes a day since 2010 / no sport for 4 years until one month ago, joggin at least once a week

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Themixeur.   Welcome.   After approximately  two months off , it is probably not too late to reinstate a small amount of the drug to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.  This is the only known way to help with withdrawal  symptoms.

Unfortunately , you tapered too fast & also alternately , which destabilizes the CNS.

Have a read of these links & see what you think ,

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

You could reinstate , and then taper using the 10 % method.

This is your thread to ask questions and monitor progress.

Please come back with any questions you might have .

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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Thanks for the quick reply.

 

Since I have stopped for a while now, wouldn't it be easier to power through it now ?

 

I just want to be sure it wil one day be over. I don't care how tough it is or will be, if I now that one day it will be all over, I can go through it.

 

Am I just one of the unlucky one to have this kind of bad withdrawal even if I'm a small fry compared to some of the other poor people going through withdrawal from a drug taken for longer ? 

 

I can't make sense of the fact that one month and a half of the stuff could mess up my brain that badly.

-Nov 2015 : Started taking Benzo 6mg a day.

-Dec 2015 : Started taking Lexapro 10mg a day.

-18th Dec 2015 : Stopped benzos alltogether after gradually going down to 3mg a day.

-~10th Jan 2016 : Cut Lexapro to every two days for a week then stopped completly.

-Feb 2016 : Still having bad derealization week on week of.

-March 2016 : Milder derealization but holding steady for two weeks now.

 

Notes : ~10 cigarettes a day since 2010 / no sport for 4 years until one month ago, joggin at least once a week

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Totally up to you . Your call .  No. You're not unlucky . Most here have gone through this. It really doesn't matter how long you have been on the drug . The effects can be the same, whether it's days /months/ years/ .

Your brain will come good . It's only temporary . It hasn't messed up your brain. It will just take a while to stabilize.

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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Thank you. Just the hope coming from knowing that it will end is what I need to wait for this to be over.

 

I will keep updating as I have news.

 

Thank you so much !

-Nov 2015 : Started taking Benzo 6mg a day.

-Dec 2015 : Started taking Lexapro 10mg a day.

-18th Dec 2015 : Stopped benzos alltogether after gradually going down to 3mg a day.

-~10th Jan 2016 : Cut Lexapro to every two days for a week then stopped completly.

-Feb 2016 : Still having bad derealization week on week of.

-March 2016 : Milder derealization but holding steady for two weeks now.

 

Notes : ~10 cigarettes a day since 2010 / no sport for 4 years until one month ago, joggin at least once a week

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Themixeur,

 

You might like to give more consideration to reinstating - powering through doesn't help anything when you are waiting for a brain to slowly heal itself.  You could be in for a long haul if you just try to wait it out. 

 

Did you read the links Ali gave you?  They have good information and discussions. 

 

From what I've seen on this site, most people do not want to reinstate at first, but then later most really wish they had. 

 

Of course, there will be support here for you whichever way you go, we just want to see you get better.

 

Best wishes,

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Themixeur

 

Welcome to SA.  What a lot of people don't realise is that the drug changes the brain.  The brain then has to adapt to not getting the drug it has been used to getting which is why slow tapering is recommended by this site.  It gives the brain a chance to adapt slowly and helps to minimise withdrawal symptoms.  If you don't reinstate your withdrawal symptoms might get worse and last for months or even years.

 

The longer you leave reinstating the less chance it has of being successful.  Please also note that because you have been off Lexapro for 2 months, your brain will already have made some changes.  If you do decide to reinstate  DO NOT go back on the full dose of 10 mg.  It would be too much.  You will need to take a low dose.  The staff here can suggest a dose that you could start back on.  It takes about 4 days for the drug to reach full strength in the blood but you could possibly feel some relief from your symptoms within a few hours of taking it.

 

These might help you, like they helped me, to understand what happens to the brain and why people suggest that you reinstate:

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

Brain Remodelling

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from July 2021:  Pristiq 0.13mg

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 Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

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Hi everyone and first thank you so much for your advices :)

 

Today is one of the not so bad days, derealization is bearable and I feel like I'm reaching the end of this bad wave. If I were to be reinstating, during the next wave maybe, what would be your advice on a dose to take ?

 

Thank you again for reading my posts, it helps a lot !

-Nov 2015 : Started taking Benzo 6mg a day.

-Dec 2015 : Started taking Lexapro 10mg a day.

-18th Dec 2015 : Stopped benzos alltogether after gradually going down to 3mg a day.

-~10th Jan 2016 : Cut Lexapro to every two days for a week then stopped completly.

-Feb 2016 : Still having bad derealization week on week of.

-March 2016 : Milder derealization but holding steady for two weeks now.

 

Notes : ~10 cigarettes a day since 2010 / no sport for 4 years until one month ago, joggin at least once a week

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  • Moderator Emeritus

As it's been two months since your last dose of Lexapro, it would pay to reinstate at 1 or 2 mg.  Your brain will have partially adapted to lower doses, so going back on the original 10mg may cause adverse reactions. 

 

The sooner you reinstate the more likely it is to work. 

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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Feeling me again as of today. I think I'm done with this wave.

 

Good thing to know, no matter how bad this derealization messed my head (like not believing in life and all), well it's all back to normal now.

 

Which means, no matter how bad my derealization might get again, I will always freaking go back to me. And I'm super happy about that.

I have hope now, and I know I'll be fighting this thing off.

 

For those hurt by derealization that might read this, well, just keep yourself occupied to the best of your abilities, and it will go back to normal at one point I swear.

It can't permanently make you go crazy. Your brain will go back to what it used to be. You'll even feel more appreciative of life as a whole (that's the way I feel now).

 

A good piece of advice I read somewhere around here, if it ever goes bad : Fake it till you make it.

-Nov 2015 : Started taking Benzo 6mg a day.

-Dec 2015 : Started taking Lexapro 10mg a day.

-18th Dec 2015 : Stopped benzos alltogether after gradually going down to 3mg a day.

-~10th Jan 2016 : Cut Lexapro to every two days for a week then stopped completly.

-Feb 2016 : Still having bad derealization week on week of.

-March 2016 : Milder derealization but holding steady for two weeks now.

 

Notes : ~10 cigarettes a day since 2010 / no sport for 4 years until one month ago, joggin at least once a week

Link to post

Terrific news! I believe it really makes a huge difference for short time user!

Keep the great progress and get out of this hell fast!

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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