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Persephone: Tapering off Cipralex without doctor's support because of migraines


Persephone

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Hello, I have been lurking for a few days on the forum. There is some incredibly useful information here, so thank you to all who have taken the time to share your experience and wisdom.

 

I have been on Cipralex (Lexapro) and Wellbutrin for a few years, and now want to at least reduce them because of increased migraines. I have spoken to my family doctor about this and she does not agree, but did agree to refer me to a neurologist and to a psychiatrist.

 

However, the wait times for appointments are long. I have had to go on medical leave because I am getting 2-4 migraines a week, so I have decided to start tapering one of the antidepressants on my own.  (Both Cipralex and Wellbutrin may cause migraines. I am already doing diet and lifestyle changes, but to no avail. I have tried two types of triptans, which did not help, and I would rather take less meds than more. Migraine meds plus antidepressants can lead to serotonin syndrome.)

 

In the past, I have only made changes to medication under the supervision of a doctor, so I am feeling a bit like a renegade right now.

 

I decided to start with the Cipralex. Last night I attempted to take 90% of my regular dose by making a liquid. I found the tablet dissolved quickly enough but it wasn't a true dissolution, and I couldn't keep the particles evenly distributed enough to feel that I got an accurate dose. I will try to get my hands on some of the Ora-Plus.

 

When I reduced the dosage of Cipralex a few years ago (under doctor supervision), I did not taper it and experienced some withdrawal symptoms. I hope to minimize the symptoms this time.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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Hi Persephone. Welcome.   I'm pleased that you found us. It's good to have you here .

 

Thank you for doing your drug history signature.  It helps  us to see where you have come from, and to offer more concise advice.

 

I'm not sure if you will need the  neurologist or the psychiatrist , as they will most likely just throw more drugs at you .  We recommend tapering by 10% , as you seem to know , already .  Have a read and see what you think .

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

Why taper by 10% of my dosage

 

This is your thread to ask questions and journal 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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Thank you, Ali, for the warm welcome.

 

I managed a much more accurate dose last night after doing more reading in the forum and learning:

  1. The particles that won't dissolve are likely filler.
  2. Removing the excess 1ml from my container and disposing of it is much easier, faster and accurate than trying to syringe up the 9ml dose. (Feeling kind of stupid for not figuring that one out on my own!)

I think that much of the support I will need right now, is help believing that I am doing the right thing. Until the migraines started, I had no intention of trying to get off the antidepressants. Now, I am starting to read more about antidepressants and thinking, hmmm...

 

I am going to ramble on a bit here, just getting my thoughts down. 

 

- My own experience has been that Cipralex stopped the suicidal feelings. It was very effective in doing that for me.

 

- It didn't make me less depressed, though, that is true. In fact, I got more depressed and dissociative as I started to work through things with my therapist. In retrospect, that seems inevitable. And normal.

 

- Also, as the Cipralex dosage went up, the exhaustion and fatigue increased and added to the depression. Hence the addition of Wellbutrin. Seems like this is a common story.

 

- The Zyprexa: added to keep me grounded when I felt like I was floating up to the ceiling. Effective, yes, but also stopped me from feeling anything at all. And I gained a massive amount of weight. Abilify was better, but I was still out of touch with emotions. Muffled in cotton padding. I think I was prescribed these drugs because my doctor was extremely uncomfortable hearing about a dissociative state. Using simple grounding techniques is much better than being on the drugs.

 

- I think the relief from depression has happened through time and patience, through the work that I have done in therapy, and through becoming more mindful and reflective. So my therapist keeps telling me. I am starting to believe her.

 

- I can see now how I internalized our cultural norm to get back to work as soon as possible and be a "productive" member of society, instead of taking the time to being productive in healing myself.  

 

My therapist's advice to look after myself first is starting to sink in. I am going to take the time I need to solve this migraine problem, and at the same time, revisit where I am in my depression and medications. I have a lot more tools and support now than I did before.

 

As for the neurologist and psychologist, you are likely right, Alia. It is undoubtedly naïve of me to think that they will enthusiastically agree that reducing the antidepressants is the answer. I need to stop being a "good girl" who does what she is told.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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Welcome. We are on the same path, it seems. I am on Lexapro and Wellbutrin and just started 10% taper of Lexapro.

 

I also was experiencing migraine headaches and doctors wanted to add nortriptaline to my Lexapro/Wellbutrin combo to treat headache. That's what prompted me to consider tapering. I just started taper with liquid Escitolapram . I suspected ADs might be related to migraine but couldn't find info on it. Where you find data that Lexapro and Wellbutrin could cause migraine? Would be nice to see my suspicions acknowledged by outside source(s).

Wellbutrin XL 450 mg (2005ish to now)

Escitalopram:  20 mg (2002ish? to April 2016).

Spring to Fall 2016. Pretty smooth taper down to 8 ml. from April 2016 to Oct. 2016:

  • April 1: 18 ml; May 4: 16 ml; May 25: 14 ml June 29: 12 ml;. Aug. 1: 10 ml; Sept. 15: 9 ml; Oct. 19: 8 ml; Nov. 23: 7 ml

Winter 2016-17.Then things got trickier from  November 2016 to Jan. 2017 and finally stabilized at 7.8 ml and held there until spring:

  • 11/23/16: 7 ml ;11/25/16: 8 ml; 12/7/16: 7.8 ml; 12/14/16: 7.6 ml; 1/29/17: 7.8 ml

Spring 2017. April 2017  started tapering again and held at 6 ml at the end of June; felt really good at this dose and didn't want to push it:

  • April 1: 7 ml; May 19: 6.3 ml; June 20: 5.7 ml; June 26: 6 ml

Fall 2017:  Dropped and then updosed and did a long hold for winter because winter has always been harder emotionally

  • Oct. 10: 5.4 ml; Nov. 9: 5.6 ml

Spring 2018:

  • March 28: 5.2 ml; April 11: 5.3 ml

Spring 2018:

  • June 24: 5.2 ml

Fall 2018-Winter 2019

  • Sept. 26: 5 mlNov. 20: 5.1 ml; Jan. 4: 5.2 ml; Feb. 11: 5.3 ml

June 8, 2020: 5.2 ml; June 14, 2020: 5.28 ml

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Hi LucyLou. So glad to meet you!

 

I first came across Lexapro and Wellbutrin as possible migraine triggers in the book, Heal Your Headache: The 1-2-3 Program, by David Buchholz.(You can view an extract here, but unfortunately it does not include the section about migraine triggers.) For antidepressants, he lists SSRIs, SNRIs and bupropion (Wellbutrin) as possible migraine triggers, as well as several other types of medication. FYI, Dr. Buchholz's recommendations are considered to be controversial by some people because they are not backed by research, but based on clinical practice.

 

I have not been able to find many other references about these two antidepressants being potential migraine triggers. This is what I have found so far:

  1. One is Questions and Answers for Migraine Patients from the UCLA Headache Research and Treatment Program (the site looks amateurish, but I checked through the UCLA main website and it is really the official site). However, there is no reference to where they got their information.
  2. Unfortunately, I have misplaced second reference, and it was the better one. I will keep looking for it. (I printed it out to show my doctor, so it is around somewhere!)
  3. However, in looking for it, I found this dissertation on ProQuest: Drugs that may cause headache or aggravate migraine in veterans referred to a transcranial doppler laboratory

 

I actually found more references to Lexapro and Wellbutrin as possible migraine preventives, although the general consensus is that they are not effective. Tricyclic antidepressants are commonly suggested as migraine preventatives, though. Hence, your doctors wanting to prescribe nortriptyline. 

 

In the online research that I have done on migraines, the only thing that people seem to agree on is that 1) the causes of migraines are still unknown; and 2) migraine triggers vary for each individual. There is also a lot of support for the migraine trigger threshold concept that triggers add up until they reach an individual's threshold and then the person gets a migraine. This explains why something can seem to be a trigger at one time but not at another. It depends on what other triggers the person is being exposed to at that time. It also explains why studies indicate chocolate, caffeine, etc. are not triggers, but many people know that they are, indeed, triggers for them. 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Persephone,

 

I really enjoyed reading your intro and other posts - you've really cottoned on fast to what is happening to you and what you need to be doing now. 

 

It's so true that taking your own health seriously will start to make a difference for you.  You deserve to have the best treatment there is - and that will come from yourself.  You might have seen this page already, but just in case:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/page-2  That's my favourite page on this site.

 

Have you read a book called Anatomy of an Epidemic?  It would really help you know that you are doing the right thing by getting off drugs. 

 

I'm not sure if I ever had migraines, but I used to get very bad headaches.  These stopped when I stopped eating food with white flour or sugar, and started eating sourdough bread and soaking all my grains.  Different for everyone...

 

Anyway, welcome to s/a, it's lovely to have you here.

 

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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Thanks Persephone for links re: migraines.

Wellbutrin XL 450 mg (2005ish to now)

Escitalopram:  20 mg (2002ish? to April 2016).

Spring to Fall 2016. Pretty smooth taper down to 8 ml. from April 2016 to Oct. 2016:

  • April 1: 18 ml; May 4: 16 ml; May 25: 14 ml June 29: 12 ml;. Aug. 1: 10 ml; Sept. 15: 9 ml; Oct. 19: 8 ml; Nov. 23: 7 ml

Winter 2016-17.Then things got trickier from  November 2016 to Jan. 2017 and finally stabilized at 7.8 ml and held there until spring:

  • 11/23/16: 7 ml ;11/25/16: 8 ml; 12/7/16: 7.8 ml; 12/14/16: 7.6 ml; 1/29/17: 7.8 ml

Spring 2017. April 2017  started tapering again and held at 6 ml at the end of June; felt really good at this dose and didn't want to push it:

  • April 1: 7 ml; May 19: 6.3 ml; June 20: 5.7 ml; June 26: 6 ml

Fall 2017:  Dropped and then updosed and did a long hold for winter because winter has always been harder emotionally

  • Oct. 10: 5.4 ml; Nov. 9: 5.6 ml

Spring 2018:

  • March 28: 5.2 ml; April 11: 5.3 ml

Spring 2018:

  • June 24: 5.2 ml

Fall 2018-Winter 2019

  • Sept. 26: 5 mlNov. 20: 5.1 ml; Jan. 4: 5.2 ml; Feb. 11: 5.3 ml

June 8, 2020: 5.2 ml; June 14, 2020: 5.28 ml

Link to post

Thank you, Karen, for pointing me to the Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms page. I hadn't come across it yet, and I think it will become a favourite for me, too. 

 

In one of those unexpected moments when everything goes right, I was able to find an ebook copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic online from my library. I downloaded it and started reading it right away. It is quite a compelling read. I am glad you suggested it.

 

Confession: Last week (when I still was an uninformed dupe) I started the Cipralex taper with the intention of replacing it with amitriptyline (for migraine prevention). Now I realize that plan could be extremely harmful in the longterm.

 

Feel like I joined this forum just in the nick of time!

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Update on the first week. I am definitely feeling more tired. What is interesting is that I am feeling sad and down for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long. I hadn't realized how flat my emotions were all this time.

 

It now strikes me that it is extremely bizarre to be having all these migraines, yet not feel down ...

 

Hallelujah for the return of emotions! 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Sounds good Persephone - so glad you are feeling down :P:blink:

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.

Link to post

Friday afternoon, I had a long healing nap. It felt like my brain was being gently rolled open and all the excess sparks released. Like a brain zap, but so ever more gentle and very relieving. 

 

I had another nap yesterday, hoping to have the same experience, but no luck. I just woke up grumpy!

 

Mild insomnia started last week and is slowly getting worse. I am working on naturally bringing up my serotonin levels at night. Blackout drapes are no longer enough, so I am limiting blue light (less computer time in general, and no devices after supper) and lowering all the house lights slowly after supper.

 

I think I punched my husband in the middle of the night when he checked the time on his cell phone. He turned it on under the covers but it was still like someone flashing a bright light in my face in the middle of the night. He has since purchased some red LED lightbulbs, ostensively for me, but mostly because he has been having a hard time finding the bed at night! The lights are great. If he turns on his bedside lamp to find the bed, it no longer bothers me, and I can write or read by lamplight just before bedtime without being exposed to bright light.

 

I AM trying to expose myself to bright light first thing in the morning, though. Either the light therapy lamp for 15 minutes, or if the sun is out, sitting at the kitchen table with my face to the sun (sometimes with my face plopped against the window trying to stay awake - it must look pretty odd to anyone passing by ...) Again, the theory being that lower serotonin levels in the early morning will help increase the serotonin at night. I will see how this plays out. Fingers crossed. 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

i don't know if I can really feel changes in my brain or if these are dreams as I am falling asleep. Last night in bed, it feel like my brain was moving and rearranging in a clunky steampunk kind of way. But just in the upper left front corner of my head ...

 

I am very tired and sleeping a lot: 11 hours a night for the past week. But also waking up a lot during the night. Very little energy during the day, mostly I stay on the couch resting, getting up now and then to do a bit of housework. No energy today to even sit in front of the light therapy lamp this morning.

 

Today my goal is to eat more vegetables. (I am keeping my goals very simple these days.)

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Persephone-- we have had quite a few people report that they feel like part of their brain is moving around inside their head.  Your description made me see a steam powered walker trying to find a comfortable spot in the countryside and has to keep shifting around to settle in.  Those same people also report that the sensation does go away.

 

I'm so glad you're sleeping well even though you're still tired.  Sleep is very important.  If you're not having trouble getting to sleep and your sleep is good, might I suggest teaching yourself a suggestion sequence.  Every night as you're ending your ablutions and getting into bed say quietly to yourself, "it's time to go to sleep, I want to go to sleep, I will start falling asleep by giving a big yawn."  Then give a big yawn (force it if need be by just opening your mouth really far and holding it there for a few seconds). Then don't think about it and just let yourself fall asleep.  By doing this every night for several weeks the mind/body will associate the suggestion sequence with the act of falling asleep.  In the future, by stating the suggestion sequence and yawning, it will be possible to trigger sleep when you need it.  Which can be very handy.

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.

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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Your description made me see a steam powered walker trying to find a comfortable spot in the countryside and has to keep shifting around to settle in.  Those same people also report that the sensation does go away.

 

Yes, that's exactly what it was like - my brain trying to find a new, comfortable position. No reoccurrence so far.

 

Love the yawning sequence suggestion. I will give it a try.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

I had a chocolate sleep the other night.

 

I have been working hard on eliminating all sources of light in my room at night, dimming and avoiding bright lights a couple hours before bedtime, and no devices after supper. Aucun, nada, zippo. As in "Don't text me after 6 pm - I won't answer. But you can phone me on the landline."

 

And then the sweet reward: I briefly woke up the other night as I was drifting off. There was no difference in light between having my eyes open and closed. And I thought, "This is better than chocolate." I admit, that thought briefly woke me up. What? Better than chocolate, wow! But luckily, I drifted back to sleep immediately.

 

I haven't had chocolate in many months because of migraines, so here's hoping for more chocolate nights.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Saw things from a frightening new perspective yesterday, after seeing another doctor for my migraines. He wanted to prescribe Topamax, an anti-seizure drug, to prevent the migraines. He casually mentioned that it is also used to treat bipolar disorder.

 

Insight #1: Any medication they prescribe for migraines is going to affect my brain. Duh!

 

Insight #2: Prescribing medication is the modern equivalent of bloodletting. The panacea for all health problems. They have no idea what they are doing.

 

I realize that most of you have already figured this out. I am getting there ...

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Extreme cold and fatigue yesterday. I have never felt such coldness from with before. A long, hot shower, followed by putting on my cosiest clothing and fluffy bed socks helped.

 

I did not push myself at all yesterday, except to take a slow, short walk. (I am determined to take a walk every day if I can, to help stop the migraines.)

 

I have only recently learned to trust myself enough to ignore those guilty feelings of "If only I pushed myself harder and got up, I would feel better." After all these years of depleted energy, I know that I will get up, naturally, as soon as I can. And I will slowly and steadily get the house, laundry, finances, family back into order. So good riddance to feelings of guilt about laziness or lacking motivation. If I lie on the couch all day in PJ's, it's because I really need to lie on the couch.

 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Persephone, I just read through your posts and love how positive you are being. Your lovely attitude will get you through this and you will come out the other side feeling great.  :)  Reading this reminded me of the cluster headaches I had when taking effexor, they were crippling but I can't even remember when I last had one! Certainly not since I had my last dose 15 months ago! Side effects tend to lessen as the dose gets lower, but be careful not to speed things up because you are feeling better, or the side effects will be replaced by withdrawal. 

 

I'm glad I read this, I'd forgotten about the headaches, when I think back to how I was it is amazing what has changed! 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to post

P.  You might have had extreme cold and fatigue , but the feelings of guilt  that you " kicked to the kerb" , are priceless.  Well done.

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
.
         

Link to post

Hi Persephone, I just read through your posts and love how positive you are being. Your lovely attitude will get you through this and you will come out the other side feeling great.  :)  Reading this reminded me of the cluster headaches I had when taking effexor, they were crippling but I can't even remember when I last had one! Certainly not since I had my last dose 15 months ago! Side effects tend to lessen as the dose gets lower, but be careful not to speed things up because you are feeling better, or the side effects will be replaced by withdrawal.

 

I'm glad I read this, I'd forgotten about the headaches, when I think back to how I was it is amazing what has changed! 

 

P.  You might have had extreme cold and fatigue , but the feelings of guilt  that you " kicked to the kerb" , are priceless.  Well done.

Ali

 

Thank you Ali and mammaP for the positive feedback. It makes such a big difference. (I am trying to remember this with my daughter - and my dog. Give positive feedback!)

 

MammaP, I've highlighted your advice not to speed up, as a reminder to myself. I'll admit, the first week I thought, "Oh, I can probably do this faster than the others ..." I bet everyone thinks that! But I've been reading a lot on the forum, and I've smartened up my thinking. I really do not want to risk making myself feel any worse than I have to.

 

I have been stumbling and struggling with keeping a routine in my habits. Since starting the taper, I have been taking my meds at the same time every day for the first time ever. I used to take them whenever I got up and whenever I went to bed - which was extremely variable.

 

Now, I am trying to eat my meals and take my supplements at regular times, too. And trying to remember to meditate and not hang out on the computer for hours. I am thinking of setting an alarm on my phone: Eat! Supplements! Meditate! Get off the computer!

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Persephone, you've really gotten yourself round to such a healthy and positive way of thinking.  I love on this site when I read of people really taking charge of their healing, and putting things in place which support good healing.  Beautiful! 

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.

Link to post

Definitely down today. Got whomped with really bad migraine when I had been doing so well. It started last night and hasn't gone away yet. I thought I would be able to return to work next week, but obviously it is too soon. I haven't got off the sofa today, but at least I showered and dressed, even if in baggy jeans and an old cotton t-shirt of my husband's. Keep telling myself, "This is not depression." It feels so similar when I am incapacitated like this. The sloppy clothes and bedhead (sofahead?) don't help, but comfort is key for me, right now.

 

On the positive side, before I got the migraine, I had an evening of clear-headedness and it was wonderful. I hadn't realized how muddled I was, until it went away. I set up some reminders on my phone and an alarm to help with the eating, supplements, meditation, etc.

 

I did not go for a walk today, but I will not berate myself about it.

 

Also, I will stop minutely examining the last few days, obsessively trying to figure out what I did wrong to cause a migraine. Sometimes we feel bad. It's not necessarily because we did something wrong. I keep thinking I am almighty, and the source of all good and evil that happens to me. I must remember to be more humble!

 

Persephone, you've really gotten yourself round to such a healthy and positive way of thinking.  I love on this site when I read of people really taking charge of their healing, and putting things in place which support good healing.  Beautiful! 

 

Thank you, Karen. I really appreciate all the support and information from you and all the other moderators.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Not complaining, just noticing, recording, accepting...

 

Really feel down today. Wish I could cry, but that would make my head hurt more. 

  1. Realized with a shock yesterday that all the brain changes I have been reading about on this forum, apply to me, too. Somehow it had just been information before, not real life.
  2. Funny, dark purple and black kaleidoscope visual, zooming in and out, as I was falling asleep last night. Reminded me of the movie, Dumbo.
  3. Felt extremely lethargic and brain foggy today, as though I'm not eating enough, even though I am. It feels like the nutrition isn't getting to my body. But I remember feeling like this when the ADs and APs were at the highest doses. Maybe the energy is being diverted to healing the brain ... 
  4. Big whoosh of disorientation this evening as I was making supper: where am I? what am I doing again? Reminded me a bit of how I was feeling after the Cipralex was increased, just before I was put Zyprexa. Remembered that I have tools now to deal with this. Grounded myself okay. Got me thinking that maybe the Cipralex caused the need to be on the Zyprexa.

Feels like I am going backwards towards depression. Have to remind myself that I am not. I am going forward towards healing.

 

Sat outside in the sun, went for a short walk, ate nutritious food, meditated. Had to push myself, rested a lot in between, but did it.

 

Tomorrow is another day, filled with possibilities.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Remembering that when I was feeling the most lethargic and incapacitated on ADs, I figured out that I could still have a kind and loving attitude towards others. It made me feel that I was doing something, even though I didn't have the energy to get out of bed. It also helped curb the tendency to get too self absorbed.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I have to say Persephone, I'm getting a lot of inspiration and perspective from reading your thread - so thanks for sharing these things with us all.  I know others will be benefiting too. 

 

Karen

x

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.

Link to post

I found my authentic voice again yesterday.

 

I did some very light yoga in the evening, and afterwards, when my daughter came home, I realized that I was greeting her slightly differently. It wasn't just that my voice was lower, but the tone was different. Very down-to-earth, honest, no expectations.

 

I hadn't noticed that my authentic voice had disappeared and been replaced with a let's-be-perky-and-make-everything-all-right one. It took so long to find that authentic voice. I am glad I found it again.

 

How I first found it: I used to teach yoga. Often the first pose that I did was on the ground on all fours with the head and neck aligned. And then, just softening the heart. That's it. Just softening the heart. It is more of an attitude change, but it has physical effects throughout the body.

 

As I would say "soften your heart", I would do it myself. My whole body would relax and my voice would change slightly.

 

That authentic voice is a clue to how I am doing. When I have that voice, I know that I am not hoping for a certain outcome. I am not trying to please anyone or control anything. I'm just letting things be.

 

It also has an effect on others. They recognize, consciously or not, that I am being authentic and not trying to push or manoeuver them. It makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Persephone.

I love this phrase : " soften your heart".  :)

As I would say "soften your heart", I would do it myself. My whole body would relax and my voice would change slightly.

 

Not complaining, just noticing, recording, accepting...

 

Feels like I am going backwards towards depression. Have to remind myself that I am not. I am going forward towards healing.

 

Sat outside in the sun, went for a short walk, ate nutritious food, meditated. Had to push myself, rested a lot in between, but did it.

 

Tomorrow is another day, filled with possibilities.

You are practicing extreme self- care and maintaining a positive attitude.  You are nearly there !

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

I'm going to remember this:  soften my heart... :wub: ...thank you

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.

Link to post

New doctor yesterday (because my family doctor is away right now). Before I went, I thought a lot about what attitude I wanted to take into the appointment. This is what I came up with:

  1. Go in with no expectations about what the doctor will be like, what she will advise, or how the appointment will go.
  2. Know my purpose: to extend my medical leave for a least another week, to see if the headaches continue to be as mild as they have been this week.
  3. Stick to factual truth that cannot be argued: I don't want to add a sedating drug for migraine prevention because I am already on antidepressants that sedate me.
  4. Recognize the person in the doctor.

And this is how it went:

  1. The doctor was very quick - rapidly firing questions and taking notes - but friendly enough. Trying to quickly get the history of what was happening. But later, she slowed down, and even suggested that it might be time for me to come off antidepressants (more below), unlike my regular doctor who doesn't want to even consider changing my meds.
  2. My medical leave has been extended for another week and a half, until the day after my next appointment with my family doctor, who will reassess the situation then. 
  3. This doctor, like all the others, mentioned Topamax as a migraine preventative, but I was ready with my undeniable truth that it would be adding another sedating drug on top of antidepressants. She agreed, and even asked me if I thought it was time to reduce the antidepressants. Yes! Score! I didn't mention that I am already tapering. Not my goal for today's visit. I will save that one for the psychiatrist appointment in a few weeks (where my goal is to get liquid Cipralex).
  4. Recognizing that the doctor is a person was very successful in that: 1) It puts the doctor on the same level as me. She is not an authority over me. She has different knowledge than me, but not necessarily more or better knowledge; and 2) It helps me understand where she is coming from, and react accordingly. Where I live, there is a shortage of doctors, so doctors have more patients than they can handle. I was able to recognize that her rapid fire questions came from the stress of having to deal with an extra patient. I let her get the information that she wanted, and patiently waited to say my piece when she was more relaxed. Very big and adult of me, I must say! The visit ended on a good, personal note, with a conversation about the lovely shade of turquoise that she was wearing.

So, where did this approach come from?

  1. Letting go of expectations: yoga
  2. Having a specific purpose: from reading on this site. Go to your doctor with a specific goal that only he/she can do (prescription, medical leave), but don't expect more than that.
  3. Using the truth as a starting point for a conversation: a workshop by Robyn Jackson on giving effective feedback when training people. By "truth", she means something that is factual, that no one can reasonably disagree with or argue about. Cipralex is sedating, Topamax is sedating. Robyn Jackson's work is about education, but I find the strategies she gives are useful in personal life, as well. 
  4. Recognizing that the doctor is a person: from a presentation by Gordon Neufeld. He says to connect with people before you try to redirect them. He was talking about relationships with your children, but I have found it useful advice for interacting with everyone.

Also, I have been hugely influenced by the advice of Alto and the moderators to take responsibility for my own healthcare decisions. I am a grownup and in charge. 

 

 

 

 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post

Note to myself on the posts that helped and motivated me this month:

 

  • Rhiannon's post on the importance of consistency in tapering doses in How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules:

Precision Versus Accuracy:

When tapering, precision is more important than accuracy.

For this sentence to make sense you need to know the difference between "precision" and "accuracy." It's not a distinction commonly made in everyday speech.

Accuracy is how correct a measurement is. If you measure using a certain container or syringe, is the amount you measure really correct? You could have a container that's off, that says it holds 10 mL when it really only holds 9.5 mL, or says it holds 2 cups when if carefully checked it actually holds two and an eighth cups. If you measured using those, your amounts would not be accurate.

Precision is how close and how repeatable a measurement is. If you have a measuring device that says it measures 1.5 mL but when you use it you actually get 1.4 mL, it's not accurate, but it can still be precise. If when you use it five times you get, say, 1.41 mL, 1.4 mL, 1.415 mL, 1.39 mL, and 1.385 mL, that's pretty precise, even though it's not accurate. But if you get, say, 1.7 mL, 1.2 mL, 1.85 mL, 1.6 mL, and 1.1 mL, it's not only not accurate, it's also not precise [...]

The important thing with tapering is that the measurements need to be consistent and repeatable and done the same way every time, so you don't get big variations in dosage, and they need to be done using equipment that's designed to be precise [...]

 

  • Alexjuice's post on his topic, SIX Mistakes I've Made in Withdrawal, especially #4. 

Navigating withdrawal from antidepressants -- in my case antipsychotics and benzodiazepines as well -- is a daunting task. There is no guidebook. I am 18 months into my journey and have learned a ton. Unfortunately, I learned many of my lessons through experience. Many of these could have avoided had I only possessed better knowledge or (sometimes) better sense.

I've made many mistakes thus far, so many that I have decided to share my errors [....]

Here are my top six mistakes [...]

4. "I'm All Better!"

This goes back to abruptness. I've made the mistake of confusing a good day for a return to permanent good health. When I enter into a good 'window' and feel okay, a wave of excitement grips me. I immediately start planning to make up for lost time, to get back on track. I start perusing the jobs and apartment listings.

When this has happened, I have, in my excitement, overexerted myself. After my brief "all better" periods, a setback has always followed.

I now try to exercise caution. If I proceed cautiously, I have better success holding my gains. My recovery will always be more gradual than I would choose it to be. But my reality has been that recovery is non-linear and that feeling "All Better" for a couple hours doesn't mean much.

I stay the course [...]
--
Those are six mistakes that I've made since I decided to stop taking my medication.

Alex.i

 

  • Purcy51's post on awakening:

I need to get something out of my system. I've journaled about it, but it is still bubbling up. Like I need to share it with people. I've been likening this whole process to an awakening. Coming back to life. That's the only way I can describe it.

 

Sometimes it's fun, like when I'm laughing like I haven't laughed in awhile. Other times it is scary, like when I get angry. I haven't been angry in some time, until recently, and it was exhilarating (as I think I mentioned in an earlier post) but it is also scary b/c I felt on the verge of losing control. WOW! Quite quickly after that, I was drained physically and emotionally. But, I chalked it up to my body not being used to that rush that you get when flooded with emotion.

 

I listened a song the other day that I hadn't heard in some time, and the lyrics went straight to my heart, but in  a good way. I actually started tearing up, with grateful tears. It was good to have that feeling again. No, it was GREAT to have that feeling again [...]

 

 

  • This meditation video from GiaK's post on the Guided Meditations, Calming Videos, Sleep Hypnosis thread:

A relaxing, 10 minute meditation narrated by Baylissa (Bliss) Frederick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyCAvdnBcU0

 

 

  • Alto's post on coaching yourself through extreme fatigue on the Severe Fatigue thread:​ 
  • For quite a while, I always had to coach myself through things: "You can do this." "One foot in front of the other." "Now pick up the toothbrush." "Put your jacket on and go out the door." We do need to keep active, for mind and body's sake.

 

  • Alto's tough love stance and insistence that we must take responsibility for ourselves: 
"One thing this condition teaches us is that we all must be Zen Buddhists. Please learn how to meditate to calm yourself when you have a wave. I cannot fix you when this happens. You need to manage your symptoms yourself." 
 
And,
 
"One thing that's absolutely essential about this site: If you want to go off psychiatric drugs, you must take responsibility for it. If you can't do that, you end up leaving decisions to other people, probably doctors and hospitals."

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

Link to post
Persephone

Zyprexa and Abilify question: I'm having a "holy crap, wait a second!" moment. I did a very quick taper of Zyprexa which was replaced with Abilify. Much later the Abilify was decreased in half, and then stopped with no taper.

 

Right after replacing the Zyprexa with Abilify, I got shingles. With the shingles came this intense 'flu-like pain that debilitated me. It would come for a day or two and then go. This went on for about 3 years. I initially thought it was a weird shingles symptom, but eventually I agreed with my doctor and psychologist that it must be part of the depression, and that having these pains was allowing me to avoid "something".

 

Could these mystery pains have been withdrawal? I was on 5 mg of Zyprexa and of Abilify at different times. For the Zyprexa the tapering was done over 4 weeks at 2.5 mg while starting 2.5 Abilify. For the Abilify, the dose was cut to 2.5 mg for about 7 months, and then stopped maybe over a week. (I will have to look up my old journals.)

 

I am starting to feel rather pissed. Throughout my depression the intense fatigue was also often attributing to avoiding "something", and now, the migraines as well: "Think about what the migraines may be allowing you to avoid." Initially, with the "depression pains", I was open to the possibility that it was part of the "illness", but the problem was, I was so fatigued and in so much pain that often any task, thought, relationship, memory was overwhelming for me. But that is not the same as avoidance.

 

I feel like swearing, and I don't swear. Even saying the words "crap" and "pissed" is strong language for me. But the circumstances call for strong language. Just imagine a string of colourful expletives right here ...

 

Thanks for letting me rant. 

 

 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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Persephone

The growing "To Read" list:

  • Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker (started)
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.
  • Lights Out by T. S. Wiley 
  • A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan M.D (starting tonight)
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
 
"We can slow down so we can hear the voice of texts, feel the movement of sentences, experience the pleasure of words--and own passages that speak to us."
 ― Thomas Newkirk, The Art of Slow Reading

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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Persephone.  Many do get " flu- like" symptoms, as well as some of the symptoms related to  Fibromyalgia . I was going to send you the link , but after reading a little there, I see that you have already found it, and commented.    :)

I like your list of books. I have read a couple .  Anatomy of an Epidemic , is a must , and I can recommend The Power of Now. You have your work cut out for you , but I am guessing that you are an avid reader , so I'm sure you will enjoy working your way through them .

Happy reading .

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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  • 1 month later...

A quick check-in to say that the tapering is going really well for me. With each cut, I get a bit more energy. I have not been having any withdrawal symptoms lately. I have started to exercise regularly and I am back at work. I'm still doing the meditation and practising mindfulness, and now I have enough energy to do a bit of daily yoga, as well.

 

I recently realized that my cuts were not exactly 10%. I was reading the syringe markings wrong. I am beginning to realize how dull my brain was. I am pretty sure the antidepressants take away quite a few IQ points! I certainly notice more things now, and figure out better ways to do things.

 

I have started reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. I am really taken by it. It is all about being authentic, and also confronting shame head on. I highly recommend it. Who doesn't have shame to work through?

 

Also, I am reading Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, but in very small bites. It needs to be enjoyed slowly.

 

Does anyone else feel a twinge of excitement when the day to taper your dose approaches? I am always thinking, "What new changes will happen this time?" Good or challenging - it is always a step forward on the path.

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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  • 3 years later...

Just a quick update to say that I have been off all antidepressants since 2017.

 

I continued to taper off Cipralex very slowly in the summer and fall of 2016. My energy level increased with each taper.

 

I took a short break before tapering off Wellbutrin in early 2017. The Wellbutrin taper was non-eventful and easy. Interestingly, I got even more energy as I tapered off of Wellbutrin, despite the Wellbutrin being prescribed to me because it was supposed to help with the fatigue.

 

I found that it still took me a couple of years to get completely back to my pre-antidepressant level of energy. It was only last year (2019) that I really began to feel like myself.

 

I work at staying grounded and present. I do a morning meditation every day and I journal every evening. I read books that help me stay centred and mindful (anything by Pema Chödrön is a favourite!) I try to eat healthily, get exercise, and have lots of contact with friends. In the past couple of years, I have really worked hard on nurturing friendships, and that has helped. Last year, I focussed on being more positive, and that also made a huge difference. My family has gone through some hard things recently, and the depression did not come back. This is amazing, because I have struggled with depression since I was a teenager.

 

 

1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Off Cipralex late fall 2016 after a slow taper.

Off Wellbutrin late winter/early spring 2017 after a taper.

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