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Leilani17: 12 years on now 7 months off Prozac/Lexapro


leilani17

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Hi everyone, I want to express my gratitude for this online community. I have returned to this site multiple times over the past six months and have left it *somewhat* more reassured.

 

I am a childhood incest survivor and when I was in high school my mother died and left me behind with my father abuser. At 18, I somehow made it out of my town of origin to attend UCLA. When I was 21, I was hospitalized (UCLA medical system) for 3 months for an eating disorder (bulimia) + suicide attempt and while inpatient, was force-fed prozac 60mgs. About a year or so in on the Prozac, I developed severe irritable bowel syndrome to the point where medical professionals thought that I had Chron's disease. I was given a battery of tests and everything came back negative.

 

For the following two years, I had to drop out of pursuing my undergrad degree at UCLA because I was so severely ill. It was a miracle that I was able to return and complete my B.A. education. At around 25, I moved up to San Francisco and decided to taper off of the Prozac. At the same time, I began teaching 1st grade at a Jewish school and dating a man 20 years my senior and this combination triggered many memories of the childhood abuse that I had pushed down in order "to survive" resurfaced as did severe PTSD. My IBS did go away though. Oh the joys of trading one ailment for another. I was barely able to hold down my job so I sought out a mental health professional who suggested that I start EMDR with her to release some of the trauma I had experienced as a child. The sessions were so/too intense. She suggested that I start Lexapro to buffer/titrate the incredibly difficult material that I was processing. Healing and progress was made.

 

From age 25-34 I have been on 10 mgs of Lexapro. Unfortunately, life has not been much easier these past nine years. In 2010, I was the victim of a targeted drug-facilitated stranger rape that I reported and that law enforcement ignored. I had to write a play and perform about my mishandled rape investigation publicly PLUS sue the city of San Francisco in order for them to pay any attention to my case. The lawsuit is still ongoing. 

 

In 2016, my sister had a baby and despite having zero sex drive as a result of the Lexapro, I still got massive baby brain. I decided that I wanted to get off the Lexapro sooner than later because-  god willing (I'm still dating and 100% single) - I'd like to have a child of my own. 

 

At 34, I began tapering down in August of 2016 and by December 15th, 2016 I was totally off. Fast forward to today, July 5th, 2017. 

 

WHAT THE **** HAVE TWELVE YEAR OF MEDS DONE TO MY BRAIN?! 

 

This process might be actually harder than the aftermath of my assault. Or at least on par. Everyday, I long for that 10 mg of Lexapro pill to dull the onslaught of life all away. Here are the symptoms I am having:

 

- derealization

- depersonalization

- complex post traumatic stress 

- depression (waking up feeling a ton of bricks on me and not feeling any semblance of alertness until the afternoon)

- anxiety that easily progresses to emotional crying fits 

- NO resiliency to everyday stress like, whatsoever

- massive acne outbreaks on my upper back, neck, and in between my breasts (the only way i got this under SOMEWHAT control was by cutting out carbs, dairy, sugar, alcohol, weed, caffeine. I basically eat healthy fats, meat, veggies and a little bit of fruit/low sugar ark chocolate BECAUSE WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME PLEASURE IN LIFE, RIGHT?!

- brain zaps have returned a bit. had them at the beginning, then they went away, now they've resurfaced.

 

The only progress I seem to have made since stopping the meds is my sleep. I sleep 7-8 hours every night. THANK GOD. 

 

In terms of supplements, I take Inositol 6-8 Grams a day and vitamin D3. I'm doing acupuncture 2x a week and trying to do high interval training workouts 3-5x a week to get my endorphins going. I also try to meditate everyday for at least 5 mins.

 

So after reading through these forums, is the main takeaway that "time is a healer?" Am I just to remain "mindful" of all of these symptoms and hope for the best while doing "self-care?"

 

If only there were a way to sue these drug companies. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

 

2002-2007 Prozac 60mg for Bulimia and Major Depressive Episode. Bulimia remission 2003-present. 

Fall, 2007 - Tapered from 60 mg Prozac 

2008-2016 Switched to Lexapro 10mg for complex PTSD

August 2016: Tapered Lexapro 5 mg

October 2016: Tapered Lexapro 2.5 mg

November 2016: Tapered Lexapro 1.25 mg

December 2016: Tapered Lexapro 1mg

January 2017: OFF Lexapro

 

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  • KarenB changed the title to Leilani17: 12 years on now 7 months off Prozac/Lexapro
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Leilani - Welcome to SA,

 

You might find it reassuring to read about neuro-plasticity and brain restoration.  It gave me a lot of hope when I first came here.  Brain Remodeling   What is Withdrawal Syndrome?  Neuro-plasticity and more neuro plasticity.

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages etc. so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately.  Thanks.

 

7 months off is a while in terms of possible reinstatement, but still worth considering if you are struggling badly.  We have a thread that discusses it here: reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  If you decided to reinstate, it would be of a very small amount, say 1mg, and once you were stable again you could taper off according to our 10% monthly guide.

 

Otherwise, as you say, it is about self-care and time.  I know that's hard to accept, and it can feel like you're doing nothing.  However from personal experience, and being on SA for two years now, I know it makes a huge difference to how you get through it.  I would caution you to be careful about the high-energy exercise, as it can actually ramp up your symptoms.  Gentle exercise is the go. 

 

Many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful during withdrawal.   
Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

 

The troublesome thing with SSRIs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain.  (For the source of that simile, plus further discussion, see http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/)

 

For some people - most unfairly - w/d does take longer to end.  There are other members here who are also waiting a long time.  Are there supportive people in your life, or things that you are doing to get yourself through this difficult time?  Melt into your own life

Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions.

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

 

Edited by KarenB
added white space cause it keeps disappearing!

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Karen,

Thanks so much for your greeting and these resources. Since I last posted, I have made significant progress all via one small shift in my day: when I wake up, I've increased my meditation to 20 minutes. Every day. No missing days! 

 

This has changed my WD symptoms radically, especially the depression. The depression is gone. I feel energy vs. lethargy/hopelessness in the AM and throughout the day. My stress resiliency is increasing. I feel joy and gratitude for life. I am able to notice anxiety/fear as *just* anxiety/fear throughout the day and see/notice it pass.  I will definitely keep on this trajectory. Are there any forums on here for folks who have had success with WD via meditation? I'd be very interested to learn others' experiences. 

 

 

Onwards and UPWARDS! 

2002-2007 Prozac 60mg for Bulimia and Major Depressive Episode. Bulimia remission 2003-present. 

Fall, 2007 - Tapered from 60 mg Prozac 

2008-2016 Switched to Lexapro 10mg for complex PTSD

August 2016: Tapered Lexapro 5 mg

October 2016: Tapered Lexapro 2.5 mg

November 2016: Tapered Lexapro 1.25 mg

December 2016: Tapered Lexapro 1mg

January 2017: OFF Lexapro

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Leilani.

 

We have several topics about meditation in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum. Please do share your experience, many will be interested.

 

Do your symptoms have any daily pattern? Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your supplements, and how much.

 

For some people who have been sensitized by withdrawal, inositol and vitamin D3 can be activating, especially in high doses.

 

Please consider fish oil and magnesium, see the links KarenB posted.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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