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Lex1992: 4 months off Lexapro, extreme anxiety/ruminating, can't function properly

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DrugfreeProf

Another positive update on Lex1992's withdrawal journey. As I write this, she is out on the town with friends celebrating at a bachelorette party, as one of her best friends is getting married next month, and Lexi is one of the bridesmaids. Lexi's long (going on two years) WD story is available on this thread and so I won't reiterate it here.  I (her mom) have been the one to make most of her posts because she has been too overtaken by WD symptoms to do so herself. After stopping Lexapro too quickly (but not CT) in Feb. of 2016 along with a failed, quite disastrous RI attempt in July 2016 and a forced drugging in August of 2016, she spent many months suffering from DP/DR, high anxiety, terror, etc., especially in the first year of withdrawal, and then spent the next year pretty much bed (or couch) ridden with almost all of her time devoted to watching youtube videos, generally in complete silence.   BUT as I posted a couple of months ago, around the beginning of 2018, she at last began to s-l-o-w-l-y and gradually emerge from her withdrawn, silent, frightened state, and as began "looking" more normal and expressing a range of emotions. She also, finally, is showing her sense of humor, which was always wicked and delightful, one of her best characteristics pre-WD.

Best of all, when she went to her friend's bridal shower a week ago, she dressed, looked, and acted COMPLETELY normal, as though WD had never occurred. As her mother and her carer, seeing her in a normal state like that is like revisiting heaven. Although she is not yet her old self, that old self is finally, finally re-emerging. 

As I've said before, time, and TLC, heals.

In the meantime, this incredible ordeal has led me, as a psychology professor for the past 26 years, to teach very different material to my students than I did in the years before I vicariously experienced Lexi's horrific withdrawal process. In fact, just this past week, I taught my students a module named after Peter Breggin's wonderful book, Your Drug May Be Your Problem. I tried to attached the powerpoint slides to this post but the file is too large.  If you are interested in seeing this powerpoint presentation, which is an easy to understand, basic guide as to the dangers of using SSRIs, feel free to PM me. 

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LexAnger

You are a true hero, as a mother, pchocology professor, and a human Being!

 

Congratulations to Lexi and you for surviving this most horrodous war and thanks for the inspiring update!

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Miracle123

Hi Drugfree Prof, You are such a wonderful, strong and so caring mother. I really paid my respect to you for your effort of taking care and helping her to going through withdrawals and recovery  journeys. This is a hard task and really not easy as you have to going through yourself with your daughter. Thanks you for your updated and everything about your daugther recovery process make me feel i also can feel better and healing one day like your daughter too. Its such a inspiration and great stories for me. Keep it up and i hope one day u can post you and your daughter successful stories. Congratulations.

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Glosmom

So happy to have found the story about your daughter! I am helping my daughter taper off risperidone.  It is wonderful to hear that Lexi is enjoying life again!  I wish and dream that my Glo will one day return to her former self as well.  Peace to you!

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FarmGirlWorks

The Lexi update is inspiring as is your shifted perspective on teaching psychology!

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DrugfreeProf

Thank you for your kind feedback, Miracle123, Glosmom, and FarmGirlWorks!  Being the parent and carer of a person in withdrawal is an ordeal from hell. My many hours of despair and anguish over Lexi's condition and constant uncertainty about what would hapopen next  must be similar to the very WD symptoms people like Lexi experience. Almost two years ago, I watching my odaughter, merely as a result of tapering off Lexapro over the course of a year,  go from being a very sane, high-functioning person and successful artist to losing touch with reality, losing all sense of who she is, becoming paranoid, crazy-anxious, and wholly negative, with the only silver lining being that we had already found this site when she began diving into the depths of WD and I was able to clearly see that what she was going through was, indeed, withdrawal. This site has been the only roadmap I've had while going through this treacherous territory.  You literally have to make up the map as you are going along.

I really believe there are parallels between what someone goes through in WD and what the carer--a parent like me, or a partner or spouse--goes through as they walk through hell with the person in WD.  I know oftentimes I felt like I "caught" some (not all) of Lexi's symptoms as she was going through them--the sadness, lack of motivation, spaciness, inability to eat, etc.

NO ONE should have to go through this--not the person in WD and not the people who love and are caring for the WD sufferer. 

This process has been so incredibly slow and incremental you can hardly detect any changes, although I know that they have been going on in the background. In the meantime, though, today she served as a bridesmaid for one of her best friend's wedding, and her stepfather and I were there with her. Seeing her and watching her interact with everyone looking perfectly normal and very much her old self was really an uplift. You'd never know she'd been through withdrawal--she was, today, the same Lexi everyone has always loved.

 

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bhasski
On 4/21/2018 at 7:33 AM, DrugfreeProf said:

As I've said before, time, and TLC, heals.

In the meantime, this incredible ordeal has led me, as a psychology professor for the past 26 years, to teach very different material to my students than I did in the years before I vicariously experienced Lexi's horrific withdrawal process. In fact, just this past week, I taught my students a module named after Peter Breggin's wonderful book, Your Drug May Be Your Problem.

 

Hi,

It feels great to hear about your daughter on recovery. And how as a parents you stood up with her.

 

But I appreciate you working for society. Wish your efforts can create a stir.

 

Psychologists are the first hand referrers to drugs saying  parallel effective  treatment. It happened to me and millions others .

May this change spread.

It bites and hurt more - when you think your helper, saviour  is in fact - the killer of you.

 

 

 

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Justcope
On 7/5/2016 at 4:00 AM, daveycrocket said:

Hi Lex. I just wanted to say welcome and that I 100% understand what you're going through; the experience of withdrawal has brought me to a non-functioning status. I do my best to remember these symptoms are just withdrawal and that everyday I am in fact healing. However, there are days where I get desperate and would do anything to feel a sense of relief. I am clinging onto a hope that it will in fact get better and things will slowly improve. "This too shall pass."

This too shall pass... it’s my motto too! I’m exactly with you. Still tapering off 20mg of lexapro- on 5mg and was a bit fast because I’ve had many emotional symptoms- a lot of which I didn’t have before starting lexapro, plus the ones I did have- mainly anxiety. Those desperate days are the worst, it’s the self doubt, the feeling that you’ll never feel normal again, that maybe this is me and I’m just crazy, maybe I need meds forever.  Then there’s those small windows, that give hope that we can live without it. That the crazy thoughts and anxiety are lies. That we do have the ability to feel sane and normal again. Hold on to those moments.. 

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Hopefull

How is Lexi doing now?

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Miracle123

Hi DrugfreeProf, How are you recently? How was Lexi progress now?...I hope you both fine, great and good recovery in your healing progress.Take care.

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DrugfreeProf

Hello, and thank you so much for asking about Lexi's progress out of the nightmare of WD.   I had planned on writing a more extensive update when she is at her 2 year point of being completely off ALL meds, which would fall around Oct. 1st.

 

She continues her very slow, gradual, but definite recovery. Her worst symptoms, all documented in her thread, are GONE. No more DP/DR, no more insomnia, acute anxiety, akathisia, deep depression, deep fear, need to be babysat, etc. All of those symptoms slowly but surely resolved.

Where she is at right now is that she is not yet back to normal functioning. She generally stays home, on the couch, watching funny videos, commenting on videos, and sometimes chatting on youtube Discord channels with a bunch of other young people.  When she does the latter, she looks, sounds, and acts perfectly normal, like her old self.  She was a bridesmaid in her best friend's wedding in May, and she pulled it off perfectly, as though WD had never occurred. And she is able to go out with friends from time to time and relate in a normal manner.

 

What I've done over the course of the past year and a half is to let her be, give her a stress-free environment, help her eat and sleep in a healthy manner, and generally just accept where she is at. No demands, no judgment, and no expectations.

 

She is most definitely getting there. It's taken longer than we would have liked or expected--but in WD, what else is new?

 

Will update again in a month or so. 

 

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Miracle123
9 hours ago, DrugfreeProf said:

Hello, and thank you so much for asking about Lexi's progress out of the nightmare of WD.   I had planned on writing a more extensive update when she is at her 2 year point of being completely off ALL meds, which would fall around Oct. 1st.

 

She continues her very slow, gradual, but definite recovery. Her worst symptoms, all documented in her thread, are GONE. No more DP/DR, no more insomnia, acute anxiety, akathisia, deep depression, deep fear, need to be babysat, etc. All of those symptoms slowly but surely resolved.

Where she is at right now is that she is not yet back to normal functioning. She generally stays home, on the couch, watching funny videos, commenting on videos, and sometimes chatting on youtube Discord channels with a bunch of other young people.  When she does the latter, she looks, sounds, and acts perfectly normal, like her old self.  She was a bridesmaid in her best friend's wedding in May, and she pulled it off perfectly, as though WD had never occurred. And she is able to go out with friends from time to time and relate in a normal manner.

 

What I've done over the course of the past year and a half is to let her be, give her a stress-free environment, help her eat and sleep in a healthy manner, and generally just accept where she is at. No demands, no judgment, and no expectations.

 

She is most definitely getting there. It's taken longer than we would have liked or expected--but in WD, what else is new?

 

Will update again in a month or so. 

 

Thanks for your great updated. So good to hear Lexi recovery progress.I feel so inspiring and happy to know she is doing a lots better and improvement in her healing. You really such a wonderful and caring good mother. Hope you both well, heathly and happily. Take care and hugs for you both.🤗

 

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DrugfreeProf

Quick question:  I know many of us have come across programs designed to help people with protracted withdrawal from ADs and with other psychoactive drug withdrawal problems--most of which SA has concluded are not helpful or worth trying.

Has anyone heard of, or had experience with, Point of Return?  https://pointofreturn.com/pages/protracted_withdrawal

I was alerted to this program by the mother of one of my young clients who is undergoing the agonies of protracted AD withdrawal.  She wants her child to try it.

Of course, her child, who is actually quite savvy about WD issues, is terrified to put anything into her body that might further disturb her already-destabilized equilibrium.

Does anyone have any input on this one?  It looks like it uses  nutraceuticals/food based supplementation.  Lots of positive testimonials, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.

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LexAnger

I used their products/program in my initial taper. 

 

At that time I was ok to take 2 of their products, support and mood, but not the other 2, sleep and relax. Don't know if any of those helped though

 

 

Their tapering schedule is way too fast, like 10% every 2 weeks or so.

 

I tried the support again in my later taper, found it was too stimulating due to my then sensitized system. I called the owner and found out vitamin B is part of the ingredients of support, which I became sensitive to by then

 

 

 

 

 

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DrugfreeProf

As I suspected. This mom spoke to a company rep and of course the rep was enthusiastic and swore to the mom that the program would help her daughter and has helped many people. Mom studies WD topics and was persuaded. I referred her here to look up these topics for herself. I also hadn't heard of Point of Return before so thought that maybe this was something new and different.

BTW, a licensed nutritionist I know who seems to understand the WD process insists that the main problem with supplementation for people in WD is when people use synthetic vitamins rather than food based ones, which she swears has helped her clients in WD. She maintains that food-derived supplements do not have the same negative impact on sensitized nervous systems.  Not sure I buy that, but even if that's the case, at best, I haven't seen supplements make WD go any better, or faster.

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LexAnger

I feel if not for the vitamin B, the support can be beneficial. It's main ingredient is glutathione.

 

 

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Kiaza

Good to hear that Lexi is doing fine. I began my withdrawal in 2014 and was a high functioning person until Autumn 2015. Now three years later I’m going back to university next week to finish my studies. This Summer I have taken quite big steps physically and mentally. I’m not 24/7 scared and have been able to go to work few times on my own without losing it. I was in our summer cottage with my grandma and went hiking and swimming ALONE many times and kept my own household in my own cottage. I can sleep on my own without needing somebody to babysit me. I mostly live with my parents still but I have my own apartment again and I’m planning to go to India or Portugal ALONE in December. In a year Lexi will be back to her normal self, no doubt about it. I hope she has some sort of withdrawal goals so that she can see how she is progressing and get some feeling of accomplishent and lift for her self-confidence. Best of luck to you in the months to come!

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Glosmom

Appreciate hearing about Lexi's continued healing so much!  Thank you for returning to post these positive words and I look forward to hearing more in your 2 year status in October.  It reassures me that it is possible for Glo to return to either her former self, or a closer version of her former self, than she currently is under the influence of this drug and the withdrawal symptoms. Thanks again for taking the time.....it means alot!  glosmom

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DrugfreeProf

So good to hear from you, Kiaza and Glosmom. Kiaza, congrats on getting so far along in your healing process!  You sound like you have made great strides since we have last interacted. Very encouraging for me and, I'm sure, all of us to hear your positive update. And glosmom, rest assured your precious daughter will continue to heal as time passes and you provide her with a stress-free, nurturing environment. I believe from my experience that it is very much the case that the brain wants to heal and that time is the key.

I will post an update for Lexi as we reach the two year mark. I'd guesstimate that, right at this moment, she is about 75% healed.

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jonnypeters1234567

HI DrugfreeProf,

 

I hope Lex is recovering well.

 

I keep seeing you say Lex is not like her pre wd self.

 

She wont return to her pre wd self, itll be pre meds. Character on meds slowly recedes.

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DrugfreeProf

HI, JP.  Thanks for this! Actually, interestingly, when her "real" personality shines through, which happens more and more frequently these days, she seems in many ways to be similar to her pre-WD self--but not entirely, and I can also see remnants of her pre-med self, as well. Everything about her recovery has been very, very gradual, and it still remains to be seen what aspects of her personality will ultimately emerge and remain constant. It's all incredibly weird and unpredictable.

At this point, her intelligence, articulateness, and sense of humor are all intact although she does not express herself in the same ways as she did pre-WD. And she is not yet back to doing her incredible art work, which she has pursued relentlessly since the age of 6--long before she went on the terrible damn drugs. 

If only we knew then what we know now. . .

I appreciate your being in touch and your observations, and I hope your recovery is progressing well and quickly. 

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jonnypeters1234567

It really is a confusing journing, it is like you have two characters competing against each other, your pre med self v you med self.

 

The way I described it to my mum today is my old character is locked in a bubble, controlled by the bubble and has to change and adapt to how the bubble wants to work.

 

I was very stubborn and strong minded pre meds and i dont think i was very adaptable so im finding it hard.

 

Like Lex I have had periods when i thought i was a narcissist. Characteristics come through very strong. Its like we get parts of the character through at one stage but not others

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DrugfreeProf

Ha ha, JP!  Pre-WD, and also pre-meds, Lexi was the farthest thing from a narcissist you can imagine!  Very giving, extremely friendly, and easy going even though she also had a mind of her own. Right now, she is quite self-absorbed, not flexible, and very assertive about her needs.

What a strange trip this WD is. Thanks again for the interesting feedback.

DFP

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Kiaza

It’s funny how similar experiences I’ve had. I thought I was borderline narcissist. I became a raging lunatic and complained all the time that nobody in my family has never listened to my needs and I’ve never been able to do things I’ve wanted since my father is so controlling and mom is over protecting (not quite true but not entirely false). And I hated my friends to the core since they have never let me be myself, well I havent been myself because I’ve been drugged. And I feel like I have two different personas in me. Real me and the drugged me, and as an adult I can’t behave like a 15-year-old real me but I don’t want to be overly relaxed calm ”nothing ever bothers me” adult me. Weird stuff.

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DrugfreeProf

Kiaza, I can certainly relate to what you said, in light of how Lexi's healing has progressed. She is so much more herself these days, meaning the person that she was before she went into WD, but her demeanor and actions also are very "young," much younger than her chronological age, which is now 26. She has always been mature beyond her years, including before she started taking ADs and throughout the time she was on them. Now she has reverted to being more like a mid-to-late teenager. Very weird!  I continue to believe that healing is inevitable although very gradual--like watching and waiting for water to boil--and my hunch is that the more refined and mature cognitive capacities are the last ones to re-emerge during the healing process. Keep the faith!  You are doing great, and you will get there.

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marconyc

DrugFreeProf, you and your daughter’s story is inredibly inspiring. Thank you for continuing to share the journey with us.

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Kiaza

I think I lost all of my cognitive capacities in wd. I forgot how to speak Swedish (my second language) and I almost forgot all I’ve never known about English language (I studied English as my major in uni), but somehow old skills are coming back to me. I have zero emotional skills  so I behave very childishly often and my decision making ability is on the same level with a 15-year-old. I started to smoke two packs of cigarettes at one point because I was rebellious towards my parents. Somehow I can get my act together when I’m around strangers. WD is definitely very weird. The biggest challenge is to grow up again. It’s frustrating because you’ve done it once but don’t want to do it again and it’s a bit shameful to be 25+ but you act and feel much younger. Everyone else is living their lives and thriving (presumably) and you are just stuck and want to live your life all over again to be able to live teen years the way they should have been lived without drugs and not end up in this point. And also for the first time I, not drugs, am responsible for my feelings and actions and how I react on them.

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jonnypeters1234567
On 9/8/2018 at 10:13 PM, Kiaza said:

I think I lost all of my cognitive capacities in wd. I forgot how to speak Swedish (my second language) and I almost forgot all I’ve never known about English language (I studied English as my major in uni), but somehow old skills are coming back to me. I have zero emotional skills  so I behave very childishly often and my decision making ability is on the same level with a 15-year-old. I started to smoke two packs of cigarettes at one point because I was rebellious towards my parents. Somehow I can get my act together when I’m around strangers. WD is definitely very weird. The biggest challenge is to grow up again. It’s frustrating because you’ve done it once but don’t want to do it again and it’s a bit shameful to be 25+ but you act and feel much younger. Everyone else is living their lives and thriving (presumably) and you are just stuck and want to live your life all over again to be able to live teen years the way they should have been lived without drugs and not end up in this point. And also for the first time I, not drugs, am responsible for my feelings and actions and how I react on them.

 

I feel robbed of all skills i aquired before i went on the drugs. i have a complete memory blank from the time on the drugs. Most notably i lost all connections i knew with people before i was on the drugs. Old friends were just people, there was no memory connection there

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Carmie

Hi Lex, 

 

How have you been doing?💚

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