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jayd: My story about depression and the worst drug in the world, LEXAPRO.


jayd

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Hello Everyone,

 

This is my first post.

 

My oh my, where to start.  I guess from the beginning.  I'm a 24 year old male.  A year and a half ago, while still in college, I would smoke weed almost everyday.  I had only started smoking about a year before that, so I would consider my experience with it slightly amateurish.  I'm a normal kid, but I'm definitely shy, more than the average, introverted I guess. I'm also very sensitive.  I don't like to be shy, I just care too much about what others think.  I think this is why I turned to weed.  It gave me happiness I guess you can say.  I never had any serious problem with weed until February of 2015.  Someone that I went to elementary school with committed suicide.  He wasn't a friend but I knew who he was and when I heard the news, it really stunned me, I got really sad.  Anyways, I carried on with my normal life and smoked a big blunt with a friend that night.  I got really high, too high.  All of a sudden I felt a big shift in my consciousness, something clicked in my brain.  Everything felt very dull.  Thoughts going through my head such as significance of life, purpose of anything, thoughts that I never thought about in my whole life, and anxiety that felt like a 20 lb weight on my chest.  I thought to myself could this happen to me what happened to the kid who committed suicide.  For the first time in my life I felt depressed.  I didn't know what to do, I felt like I was on a different planet, everything just seemed really peculiar.  The next morning was a Saturday, and all I could think is I need to see a psychiatrist, of course had to wait till Monday to make any calls.  I just felt like crying because I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so mentally unstable.  

 

Let me fast forward a little.  I finally got to a psychiatrist, after already meeting with a psychologist who recommended this psychiatrist.  I told her all about how I was feeling and She prescribed me 10mg of escitalopram and 2.5mg of abilify because I was having racing thoughts.  The escitalopram made me really tired, but it did help with the depression/anxiety. The abilify made me feel really weird.  I got off of the abilify within a couple of months.  By the summer of 2015 I got up to 20mg of escitalopram, going from 10 to 15 to 20.  I guess you could say my depression and anxiety was pretty much gone by then, but I was always out of energy and I was already gaining weight.  In September of 2015, now I've been on the lexapro for 7 months, I decided I really want to get off this drug.  I would tell the psychiatrist that I just don't feel myself on it.  The depression was gone, but I wouldn't laugh as much, couldn't cry, just felt very flat, and felt what some people call brain fog.  I just don't want medication to help me function.  I want my body/brain to heal itself naturally with time/diet/exercise/yoga/therapy/ anything that will help.  

 

I drop down to 15mg from 20 without telling my shrink.  After about a week, I started feeling depressed.  I talked about it with my psychologist( i was going to therapy weekly).  Eventually telling my shrink, she recommended i go back to 20, but I didn't want to and after a couple of weeks, the depression subsided.  I stayed at 15 for a couple months and i was feeling fine and still encouraged to get off this drug.  I told my shrink I want to do this, so she gave me a taper schedule: go from 15 to 10 for 6 weeks, then 5 for 6 weeks, and then i can just stop.  I had already been reading up on tapering and how difficult it is so i knew this would probably be too fast, but i dropped down to 10 anyways.  Everything was fine i didn't feel any withdrawals.  After those 6 weeks, i figured 10 to 5 is just too fast, so I dropped to 7.5mg instead.  Again, everything was fine except for some dizzy spells i got once a day that would last about 10 minutes.  I took some motion sickness medicine daily after feeling those withdrawals and the dizziness subsided.  After those 6 weeks i dropped to 5mg.  After about a week, I started feeling depressed.  I couldn't handle the feeling, i had to stay strong because i'm an accountant and i have to work long hours sometimes.  I called my shrink and she says "I think you were doing better at a higher dose and you should go back to 10mg".  I just couldn't keep going backwards, so i just went back up to 7.5mg and i stayed there for about a month.  After researching more, I found the 10% rule.  I called the shrink and had her call in a prescription of the liquid form of lexapro.  I dropped down to 6.75mg, i felt a little melancholic for the first week of dropping but i've leveled out, been going to the gym everyday, doing hard cardio.  

 

This is where I am now as of March 18, 2016.  I plan to drop another 10% on April 1st.  This has already felt like a really long road.  If i continue with 10% reduction per month, I won't reach zero for a year and a half.  Will it really take that long to get off of this drug??? that's longer than I've been on it.  

 

I'll never go on an SSRI ever again. I think this is a very pre-mature antidepressant and should only be prescribed to people who have a chronic illness that can only be fixed with medication.  I never felt right while on this, and it feels close to impossible to get off of it.  It's very easy to understand how people get stuck on these drugs for several years, to decades, or possibly indefinitely.  

 

To wrap this up, I'm on 6.75mg, following the 10% rule, Exercising daily, I still don't feel like myself before I ever took lexapro, but hopefully I will go back to myself When I reach zero.  I haven't lost any of the weight that I've gained so that's even more the reason why I want to reach zero.  I'm tired of the lack of energy, flatness, weird dreams, weight gain, etc.  I'm sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give  the whole story.  For anyone who read till the end, Thank You!

started on 10mg of escitalopram in February 2015, eventually topping out at 20mg. Added Bupropion XL 300mg. Have been tapering the escitalopram since October 2015, and currently at 6.75mg (liquid lexapro).

Link to post

Welcome, jayd,

 

I'm so glad you found about "slow" tapering (10% drops - or however small and how ever long intervals necessary; more on that in a moment). Unfortunately most doctors are absolutely clueless about how to taper these meds in harmony with the individuals' healing ability (recovery from changes the meds have made to our systems), and that causes needless for many people. Good that you questioned what the earlier drops were doing to you and found out that there are far better ways to do it!

 

Others here have much more to offer in tapering advice. I know all too much about withdrawal but tapering methods etc. are not my strong point. But I want to point out a couple of things. The 10% "rule" is not a rule - it's a guideline that works well for many or most people. But some people find that smaller drops and/or longer intervals between drops works better for them. That doesn't lengthen the recovery time like it sounds, since in the long run it can lead to less healing time, as well as minimizing symptoms.

 

As I said, others will give you more guidance and specific links relevant to your case, but I want to throw out the possibility that you might need to take slightly smaller drops (your last drop was much better but still larger than 10% actually, it appears). There are ways to make very precise smaller doses (people in withdrawal have become very resourceful at developing such methods!), and if 10% is  too much, you will be able to make slightly smaller drops that are consistent from day to day til your next drop, which is very important. You also will learn to identify your body's "rhythms" of when to drop next, Some people make very tiny drops and hold longer between drops. There are various methods for all this and people here will give you a lot of help with this. It's especially important to "go slow" at the lower doses.

 

Again, welcome!

I was "TryingToGetWell" (aka TTGW) on paxilprogress. I also was one of the original members here on Surviving Antidepressants

 

I had horrific and protracted withdrawal from paxil, but now am back to enjoying life with enthusiasm to the max, some residual physical symptoms continued but largely improve. The horror, severe derealization, anhedonia, akathisia, and so much more, are long over.

 

My signature is a temporary scribble from year 2013. I'll rewrite it when I can.

 

If you want to read it, click on http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/209-brandy-anyone/?p=110343

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi jayd & welcome to SA.

 

It's really good that you have found this site.  There is lots of information and the members are supportive and the volunteer staff are very knowledgeable.

 

I can understand you being surprised that it will take you longer to get off the drug than you were on it but the idea of doing a slow taper is so the brain can adapt as you go to not getting as much of the drug, which means that withdrawal symptoms are minimised.

 

You mention Bupropion in your signature.  Are you still taking that?   Could you please put start/stop dates in your signature so that we can see if you are still on it.  Also, where you have put currently at 6.75, please put the date you dropped to that dose.  To enable the staff to make suggestions for your individual situation, it helps if ALL drugs are listed with dates, drug, dose and how you decreased/increased.  It is a good idea to update your signature as you change your dose so that it can be seen as a glance by other members and they don't have to sift through your topic to find the information.  Thanks.

 

It's also a good idea to keep note of any symptoms or improvements on paper.  It helps you to see if there is a pattern and also helps you to provide accurate details for the staff if issues arise.  This link contains various formats of Checklists for a Month that you may like to use:

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

Also these might help you to understand why a slow taper is recommended:

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

You can use your Intro/Update topic to ask questions and to journal your progress.

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 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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.

Link to post

Welcome, jayd,

 

I'm so glad you found about "slow" tapering (10% drops - or however small and how ever long intervals necessary; more on that in a moment). Unfortunately most doctors are absolutely clueless about how to taper these meds in harmony with the individuals' healing ability (recovery from changes the meds have made to our systems), and that causes needless for many people. Good that you questioned what the earlier drops were doing to you and found out that there are far better ways to do it!

 

Others here have much more to offer in tapering advice. I know all too much about withdrawal but tapering methods etc. are not my strong point. But I want to point out a couple of things. The 10% "rule" is not a rule - it's a guideline that works well for many or most people. But some people find that smaller drops and/or longer intervals between drops works better for them. That doesn't lengthen the recovery time like it sounds, since in the long run it can lead to less healing time, as well as minimizing symptoms.

 

As I said, others will give you more guidance and specific links relevant to your case, but I want to throw out the possibility that you might need to take slightly smaller drops (your last drop was much better but still larger than 10% actually, it appears). There are ways to make very precise smaller doses (people in withdrawal have become very resourceful at developing such methods!), and if 10% is  too much, you will be able to make slightly smaller drops that are consistent from day to day til your next drop, which is very important. You also will learn to identify your body's "rhythms" of when to drop next, Some people make very tiny drops and hold longer between drops. There are various methods for all this and people here will give you a lot of help with this. It's especially important to "go slow" at the lower doses.

 

Again, welcome!

Hey Brandy,

 

Thanks so much for the reply!  Thank you for the advice.  It seems odd that it's more important to go slow at the lower doses.  In example:  Getting down to 1 mg and then reducing that my 10% is .9mg.  That is such a small reduction! and then stay at that for another month? right now going from 7.5 to 6.75 is a bigger drop ( .75mg drop)  It's just so crazy how powerful this drug is.  Thanks again!

 

Jayd

started on 10mg of escitalopram in February 2015, eventually topping out at 20mg. Added Bupropion XL 300mg. Have been tapering the escitalopram since October 2015, and currently at 6.75mg (liquid lexapro).

Link to post

Hi jayd & welcome to SA.

 

It's really good that you have found this site.  There is lots of information and the members are supportive and the volunteer staff are very knowledgeable.

 

I can understand you being surprised that it will take you longer to get off the drug than you were on it but the idea of doing a slow taper is so the brain can adapt as you go to not getting as much of the drug, which means that withdrawal symptoms are minimised.

 

You mention Bupropion in your signature.  Are you still taking that?   Could you please put start/stop dates in your signature so that we can see if you are still on it.  Also, where you have put currently at 6.75, please put the date you dropped to that dose.  To enable the staff to make suggestions for your individual situation, it helps if ALL drugs are listed with dates, drug, dose and how you decreased/increased.  It is a good idea to update your signature as you change your dose so that it can be seen as a glance by other members and they don't have to sift through your topic to find the information.  Thanks.

 

It's also a good idea to keep note of any symptoms or improvements on paper.  It helps you to see if there is a pattern and also helps you to provide accurate details for the staff if issues arise.  This link contains various formats of Checklists for a Month that you may like to use:

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Symptoms Checklist

 

Also these might help you to understand why a slow taper is recommended:

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

You can use your Intro/Update topic to ask questions and to journal your progress.

 

Hey ChessieCat,

 

Thank you for your reply!  I am still on the Bupropion, but I didn't elaborate about it because I really don't think I've experienced any side effects from it.  I will update my signature ASAP with all the start/stop/reduction dates.  Thank you for the links also, I will definitely check them out!

 

Jayd

started on 10mg of escitalopram in February 2015, eventually topping out at 20mg. Added Bupropion XL 300mg. Have been tapering the escitalopram since October 2015, and currently at 6.75mg (liquid lexapro).

Link to post

Hi Jayd:

I am new on this site.  Unfortunately I have been on AD for 14 years.  I want to feel again.  Together we can do this.  Thank you for sharing your story.  :)

Beatrice

January 2002 Effexor (the beginning)

Changed to Lexapro, added Wellbutrin (unsure of dates)

March 2015 Lexapro 20 mg. once a day (generic)

Wellbutrin XL 300 once a day (generic)

 

 

Link to post

 

Welcome, jayd,

 

I'm so glad you found about "slow" tapering (10% drops - or however small and how ever long intervals necessary; more on that in a moment). Unfortunately most doctors are absolutely clueless about how to taper these meds in harmony with the individuals' healing ability (recovery from changes the meds have made to our systems), and that causes needless for many people. Good that you questioned what the earlier drops were doing to you and found out that there are far better ways to do it!

 

Others here have much more to offer in tapering advice. I know all too much about withdrawal but tapering methods etc. are not my strong point. But I want to point out a couple of things. The 10% "rule" is not a rule - it's a guideline that works well for many or most people. But some people find that smaller drops and/or longer intervals between drops works better for them. That doesn't lengthen the recovery time like it sounds, since in the long run it can lead to less healing time, as well as minimizing symptoms.

 

As I said, others will give you more guidance and specific links relevant to your case, but I want to throw out the possibility that you might need to take slightly smaller drops (your last drop was much better but still larger than 10% actually, it appears). There are ways to make very precise smaller doses (people in withdrawal have become very resourceful at developing such methods!), and if 10% is  too much, you will be able to make slightly smaller drops that are consistent from day to day til your next drop, which is very important. You also will learn to identify your body's "rhythms" of when to drop next, Some people make very tiny drops and hold longer between drops. There are various methods for all this and people here will give you a lot of help with this. It's especially important to "go slow" at the lower doses.

 

Again, welcome!

Hey Brandy,

 

Thanks so much for the reply!  Thank you for the advice.  It seems odd that it's more important to go slow at the lower doses.  In example:  Getting down to 1 mg and then reducing that my 10% is .9mg.  That is such a small reduction! and then stay at that for another month? right now going from 7.5 to 6.75 is a bigger drop ( .75mg drop)  It's just so crazy how powerful this drug is.  Thanks again!

 

Jayd

 

Jayd, I see now that the drop I referred to was 10%, not larger. I apologize. (I'm dealing with some vision problems - not related to withdrawal - and occasionally some characters in computer fonts get slightly blurry for me - the 7.5 looked like 7.2 to me, as I recall. Something like that.)

 

But the principle about many people's need to go slowly and carefully at the lower doses still holds. Many people can keep doing 10% drops with no problem. But if having problems, modifying those now-tiny drops once reaching the lower doses often makes a huge difference for some people. Not just in severity terms of symptoms while still tapering, but in terms of how one feels after the last dose. (So although going slow and continuing to taper down seems like it takes longer, actual recovery and avoiding protracted withdrawal ultimately shortens the process.) It seems to boil down to tapering at rates that correspond with the healing process, and that process varies from person to person - and also with the stage of recovery during the tapering process.

 

I haven't read this thread http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/ in years, and I have to admit that being somewhat scientifically challenged lol, I found it hard to grasp some of it even then. But I got the gist of it and more, and it clarified for me loud and clear some patterns I'd been seeing often in people's posts in withdrawal groups for many years.

 

At least I think that link is the thread I was thinking of. If anyone more familiar with the site knows of a more appropriate one on this topic, please post the link!

I was "TryingToGetWell" (aka TTGW) on paxilprogress. I also was one of the original members here on Surviving Antidepressants

 

I had horrific and protracted withdrawal from paxil, but now am back to enjoying life with enthusiasm to the max, some residual physical symptoms continued but largely improve. The horror, severe derealization, anhedonia, akathisia, and so much more, are long over.

 

My signature is a temporary scribble from year 2013. I'll rewrite it when I can.

 

If you want to read it, click on http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/209-brandy-anyone/?p=110343

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, that is the correct link.  There are some graphs linked which show that the SERT occupancy is not linear (as shown by the curve).  I, too, don't understand it fully, but it does seem to make sense and seems to correlate with the real life experiences.

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 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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.

Link to post

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