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Bubbles

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Altostrata

Great news, bubbles, thank you. You listened to your body, that's the way to do it.

 

Please do give us more detail when you have time.

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bubbles

I keep meaning to do an update here, so here it is.

 

It's now been 5 weeks since I discontinued. I feel well.

 

The first few weeks were a little rough emotionally, and there were some wobbly patches during the taper. (Hitting zero with the meds also coincided with events that would be considered stressful by most people.) I am putting this down in the interests of strict accuracy - they were so mild that they were easily got through, but they did exist. I had some minor zaps for a few weeks at zero, but they were the kind of "zaps" I've had pre-meds from just being exhausted. Still, they existed and I list them here.

 

I had a few nights where I slept poorly, when I was stressed. Probably not related as I am an insomniac from way back, but I mention it here anyway. I have some coping mechanisms in place. Some of them contradict the sleep experts' advice, but oh well, they work for me.

 

Side effects have improved, which is to be expected. My memory has certainly improved and I am now remembering to take my thyroid meds daily again - I was always forgetting previously, and they are important. That tip of the tongue thing where you don't know the word, that's improved hugely. I now usually can remember words like "table". I still do it, but everyone does, sometimes. It was a real PITA though, and embarrassing, at the frequency with which it was occurring. I have enough motivation to be losing weight (about 8 pounds in a little under 4 weeks), so I guess the apathy has lifted. I think these meds put about 25-30 pounds on me, so the weight loss is a positive start (not falling off me, though, I'm working at it). Bruxing is lessened, I think. I have noticed some other improvements too.

 

I am pleased to be off, but feel like the next months or year are an interim stage. It seems that may people seem to go back on them again fairly quickly, hence this being considered an interim stage. It seems to me that this allows enough time for the brain to "heal" from whatever the drugs have done though I have just plucked that figure out of the air, LOL. In about July of next year, if I am still off without symptoms I will consider myself properly off.

 

This site has been so helpful to me. Thank you to everyone, especially Alto.

B

 

(PS sorry it is such a long post... Lots to say...)

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Altostrata

So good to hear from you, Bubbles. Thanks for keeping a journal in this topic. It will help others tailor their own tapers.

 

Please let us know how you're doing. I hope it gets better and better for you.

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bubbles

Another update, as I'm another month out from my taper.

 

I'm very pleased to be off, despite a rough month. I have, however, had several months which have been very stressful - building a new house, renting a house with a landlady who was trying to sell it and finally moving into the new house which is currently surrounded by sand. Every step has been positive, but also stressful, if that makes sense.

 

I have also goofed with my thyroid meds and am currently off them for the last 2 weeks, and have a week before I can see my doctor to get a new script. Bit silly of me, and could be contributing to the mild anxiety I'm feeling at the moment.

 

Best wishes

Bubbles

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peggy

nice to hear from you Bubbles - you did a fairly quick taper, it is good you are feeling OK - try to be careful though, i think sudden stresses can put a lot of pressure on your system and you want to be extra gentle if possible. i hope you get your thyroid meds sorted soon

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bubbles

Quickie extra update...

 

Dental visit today, I realised that the pain I was experiencing, courtesy of the worsening of my bruxing... HAS GONE! Yay! I was wearing a splint, but after coming off the Lexapro I have been experimenting with not wearing it. I do still brux, but always have, but the worsening I had with the Lex has improved. The pain from the bruxing was a big driver in my decision to come off the AD and the decision to taper more quickly.

 

I will actually wear the splint more regularly now, but I think this was an interesting experiment - especially when I consider how stressful the last few months have been. If I can survive this time sans ADs and without destroying my teeth... well, things must be on the up!

 

Got my script for thyroid replacement today as I have been accidentally off meds for a few weeks. Doc will experiment with me on dose to see if we can get me more optimally treated so that's on the up too.

 

B

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Altostrata

Wow, Bubbles, so that clenching was caused by Lexapro?

 

How are you feeling? Do you have any other withdrawal symptoms?

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bubbles

Hi Alto

 

The clenching wasn't caused by the SSRI, but I feel it is likely that it made it worse. Within a few weeks of starting it I was at the doctor with headaches, which were deemed to be tension headaches and I went off for physical therapy. Fast forward a few years and I'm looking up bruxism, as I'd had to have a root canal repeated and having other dental pain. I learned that bruxing can cause all the tension headaches I'd been having, and was sometimes related to SSRI use. The pain started to improve after I got the splint, and I actually forgot about it! I had been forgetting the splint after we moved, and then left it as a bit of an experiment, and the pain hasn't returned. (I will wear it, though, damage to my teeth due to bruxing has a long history, I just thought it was interesting that the SSRI appeared to make it worse.)

 

No WD, I think. A little in the week or two before and after finishing, I think, but none for at least a month. I have had a lot of stress in the last few months and although I've certainly been stressed, I'm actually coping quite well. I'm having ups and down but that is normal, and moving house is one of those major stressful life events so I think I'd be stressed anyway.

 

B

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Altostrata

That's very good news, Bubbles. You've done so well with your taper! Please come back when you can and post your success story.

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Barbarannamated

That's great news, Bubbles!

 

Zoloft caused me to brux very badly. Never made the connection until years later and disabled from the head/neck pain.

 

So glad to hear you're doing well!

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bubbles

I have crashed. I have had a long period of stress in the last few months and am just not coping. My mood has been worse and worse these last few days and today, experimentally, I have taken 5mg of Lexapro.

 

I am inclined to think this is not withdrawal, rather my next episode. But... I figure that if it is withdrawal setting in at this late stage, a smallish dose might well help fairly fast and thus is worth a try. If it is not withdrawal, just my next episode (and there have been so many, there will be a next episode... depressing though that is to say) then after a few days I'll discontinue it again and rethink.

 

I have an appointment with the psychologist on Thursday (but she eventually "encouraged" me into meds, so I'm not sure that is a useful appointment), followed by a naturopath appointment (who has a psych background), and a GP appointment about a week later. If I need to see GP earlier I may be able to, but I wanted to book a long appointment so I can get through what I need to and that was the best option for that. GP is supportive of my trying alternatives to SSRIs, but realistically, that is the likely outcome as they don't really have much other to offer.

 

Exercise etc isn't really an option as my general non-well-being has left me exhausted and unable to do much. I had a lovely few hours strolling at a zoo the other day and came home so shattered I had to take some headache pills and sleep, so even that was too much for me. :(

 

During my previous, much longer, taper I also reached much the same point but I was still taking the SSRI at that stage. At that point I didn't feel I could try anything else, as I was still taking the SSRI, and I reinstated. At least this time that isn't really an issue and perhaps something milder might be the go (like hypericum, perhaps).

 

I'm sleeping fine, though waking exhausted and needing a rest in the middle of the day. I'm anxious and depressed and obsessing.

 

We got a kitten yesterday; even that isn't cheering me up. I can see that it's cute, just not getting any pleasure out of it.

 

B

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peggy

Hi Bubbles

I am sorry you have crashed :(

I too have had multiple episodes of depression, each self limiting and i return to normal functioning within about 6 months. The last time i went on an SSRI and i have never got off - i used to think i was relapsing, but i know now that i was most probably in withdrawal - everytime i came off i would 'relapse' within a shorter time frame - i think my nervous system was just getting more and more irritable. When i come off this time, going slow i am not expecting the same thing to happen.

 

I don't 'expect' depression again - even though i have had many episodes - i have learned A LOT over the past 2 or 3 years about depression and me, about better ways of thinking and looking after myself to avoid it in the future. I am sure this can also be true for you.

 

Looking over your withdrawal signature, you did go quite fast - even though you didn't seem to have withdrawal symptoms, we know that they can emerge within a few months after a fairly fast taper - couple that with stress and it makes you even more vulnerable. I think you were wise to try reinstatement quickly - hopefully it will have a positive effect. In the meantime, try to practice some meditation, good nutrition and plenty of rest.

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bubbles

Thank you for your supportive message, Peggy.

 

My depressions were intially self-limiting, but eventually they got worse and closer together and the last one didn't lift and was really bad - I was non-functional by the time I caved and took the SSRI. And there have been *so* many. For most of them there were no meds involved so there was no withdrawal.

 

This just feels like that time, before meds, where I'd rollercoaster down and eventually up and stay up for a while and then sink again. The symptoms are the same, no neuro-emotion or different physical symptoms. Still, I think reinstating is a worthwhile experiment.

 

I still suspect thyroid/hashimotos is an issue for me and that unless that is really resolved, mental health issues will continue. Long story, which I won't go into here.

 

Actually, I still feel as though if I could get a break of even a few days, that I could break the cycle and not hit rock bottom. Tomorrow I am getting a haircut and I will find a sunny bench at a park somewhere and drink coffee (decaf!) and see if that helps. Thursday will roll around soon and I'll be busy with my appointments, if nothing else. (And, maybe those two appointments will give me a placebo lift.) Saturday will be a fun day with a local club, where we do fun outdoor activities with our kids (climbing walls, archery - and okay, I won't be able to do most of it, but I'll be there with other people and it will be nice anyway).

 

I am feeling a bit better now. Too soon for the Lex to have made any difference. Kids have come home from school and I'm always better when they come home. Kitten is pleased to see them too.

 

B

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Barbarannamated

Bubbles,

 

Just wanted to say hi and hope you are feeling better soon.

 

B

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bubbles

Thanks, Barb.

B

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bubbles

Hi everyone

 

V. quick update. I am a lot better than I was last week, but now flat.

 

I had a visit with a naturopath who is interested in the "whole me", not just one symptom. She's ordered some saliva hormone testing. She's keen to treat the Hashimoto's to prevent it damaging my thyroid even more. She didn't think I was experiencing w/d. She suggested 5HTP as a short-term measure, which I have tried, very cautiously (quarter dose). I do think it helped, and it seemed not to have any ill effects. She also gave me a herbal preparation to try to give me some energy. I have put that on hold for a bit while I work through the other stuff, but will try it cautiously (again, quarter doses).

 

I took 2mg of Lex yesterday. Again, I have the hideous dry mouth (on 2mg! you gotta be kidding!) and no other change.

 

Best wishes

B

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peggy

Thanks for the update bubbles. It sounds as if you are feeing a little better this week.

 

Maybe it would be a good idea to create a log to keep track of symptoms and medications taken. Does your naturopath have any experience in recognising withdrawal if it is present?

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bubbles

Peggy, thank you. A log is an excellent idea. I am a lot better than a week ago; just now I feel fairly well (house full of kids, mine and an extra - always helps). I have been up and down but are having more ups than I have previously had (way back when...), but I am trying to nip it in the bud a bit, this time so that could explain that.

 

The naturopath - short answer, don't know. Red flags went up a bit when she said she thought it was too late for w/d - she thought it would have set in straight away, not some months later. Having said that, though, I feel as though if I take her some evidence (and I've found a useful case study on a woman who's w/d set in after a month of zero symptoms) that she would listen to me. And she was knowledgeable about everything else I discussed with her so I think I will call it a win, overall.

 

I can't stand the dry mouth and throat! I don't remember it from when I first went on them... Even when I've had a glass of water it is still dry - like it missed on the way down.

 

B

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Jemima

I have to agree with Peggy that your "taper" was awfully fast, especially when dealing with an unusually strong drug like Lexapro. I think the symptoms you've been having are due to withdrawal, not relapse. Much of what has been diagnosed as relapse in the past has been drug withdrawal symptoms (for lots of people) and it's all part of the mythology of "chemical imbalance".

 

I suggest staying right where you are with the Lexapro dosage, even updosing a bit if necessary, and then coming down really, really slowly this time. And please don't skip the Lexapro for a day or keep changing the dose. Get stable first and then plan your next taper very carefully.

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Altostrata

Very sensible, Jemima.

 

Bubbles, the naturopath may be kind and knowledgeable in many things, but saliva testing for neurohormones has no validity. Ask her for more details, what she expects to find and what she'll do with the information. If your budget is tight, you may not wish to pay out for it.

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bubbles

Hi everyone

 

(Quickie post. I did write something else but it disappeared...)

 

I'm *much* better. I'll pop back another time and give a few more details.

 

B

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bubbles

Another quick post...

 

I have decided that I have got off the SSRI with really no ill effects and no withdrawal beyond a bit of minor discomfort during the taper, mostly in the last few weeks. And, truly, it was very minor.

 

I have now returned to pretty much exactly how I was prior to SSRIs (maybe even a smidge better?) with no different symptoms. This is encouraging.

 

More later

B

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bubbles

Hey everyone

 

I haven't been here in ages, so I thought I'd post a quick update. I'm actually doing really very well.

 

I did go onto sertraline in about December 2012 (working my way up to 100mg) and have now spent the last 18 months tapering off that. I'm currently on 35mg and expect to drop to about 33 in the next week or two. I'm doing very well. Each drop is a bit wobbly, but the smaller the drop, the shorter the wobble. I'm tending to stay on each drop for about six weeks (I've got compounded capsules in the correct doses). That gives me - roughly - a week where I don't notice anything, a few days where I feel rough, then about a month of feeling normal before my next drop. If the next drop coincides with what I think might be a stressful time, then I hold it a little longer.

 

This taper has been erratic. I dropped over a week from 100mg to 75mg, but then held that drop for six months. (That was very rough, but it was a considered decision to trade off that against the side effects, which were intolerable at 100mg, but manageable at 75mg.)

 

I then went down from 75 to 50 over a few months, and held that for a few months. Currently I'm on 35mg and think I'll drop about 2mg every six weeks from here until 25mg where I might sit for a while. That's a bit of a pragmatic decision - 25mg is half of a tablet, so it is an easy and cheap spot to hold for a while. The odd amounts require a compounding pharmacy and are expensive. Not the end of the world, but if I'm going to hold, then it might as well be at a convenient dose. :)

 

Overall, I'm doing really well. My mood is great and I generally feel much as I used to before the first depression. I'm working a little and studying a lot and parenting and other stuff. This is much buch better than in my Lexapro taper, which was more rapid, but now that I've figured out a reasonable solution to the most bothersome side effect (the bruxing) the urgency is no longer an issue. I've also made some dietary changes, which I feel have made a big difference to my mood, so that's good too.

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Petunia

Hi bubbles,

Thank you for coming back to let us know how you are doing and to update your tapering situation. It sounds like you're doing great :)

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bubbles

Thanks Petunia

 

I think I forgot to mention the solution - for me - for the bruxing. I have always bruxed, it is just "me" - although it's caused me some dental damage over the years prior to SSRIs, the SSRIs make it much worse. It was botox. Not for everyone, but a good option for me when I really needed it. I'm glad my physical therapist suggested I talk to my dentist and my general practitioner about it.

 

Bubbles

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bubbles

I picked up six weeks of 33mg capsules yesterday. I'll start these next week. I tend to dose out meds in two week lots into weekly pill organizers as this makes life easier, so that also means I don't think of dose changes in time amounts of less than that.

 

I have the next script for 31mg and also a repeat for both, so my plan is to drop to 33mg and then wait for 3 or 4 weeks before I think about which dose to refill. This is being done in consultation with my doctor and gives me the option of quickly backtracking if there is a need.

 

Mood is currently very good. 

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bubbles

I dropped to 33 mg on Sunday and promptly forgot to take it at all the next evening (I take it at bedtime to get it away from my thyroid meds, which I take in the morning) so I had to mess about and fix that up. I've taken meds for so many years that I don't ever really remember if I've taken them - you know how you automatically turn off the oven or lock the door and then don't remember doing it? Like that. So I dole them out into weekly organizers so I can see at a glance it is has been taken or not.

Today I have a headache which is probably unrelated to the dose change. I'm tired and am sitting in front of the computer for the second day in a row - I'm ploughing through some boring journal articles for my university studies. I can't be bothered this semester (all three units hold no interest for me - I'm just doing them because they're hoops to be jumped through in order to complete the degree, if that makes sense; eight units to go including these three.).

 

I also feel unmotivated but I think that can be safely put down to the aforementioned 'don't want to do these units' and some vague feelings of 'what am I going to do as a middle-aged graduate with a fairly useless degree'. Ah well! I have a backup plan for the studies (a post-graduate course that will probably get me employment) and I just need to suck it up and get into the swing of things. 

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bubbles

Very quick update. I'm a little scattered. This may be unrelated - I've got stuff going on and the study units haven't miraculously become more exciting, though one isn't looking quite as bad as it did at first. Mood is fine. 

 

I feel like once I've grown accustomed to every little drop (about 6-7% of previous) the world is a little brighter and things are a little clearer, so that's got to be a good thing. I've already reached a stage where the most troublesome side effects are much reduced, so even if I get no further, I've achieved something worthwhile. That's a nice feeling. 

 

B

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Dan998

I've already reached a stage where the most troublesome side effects are much reduced, so even if I get no further, I've achieved something worthwhile. That's a nice feeling.

 

B

That's very reassuring to hear that we dont have to get to zero to start feeling better. It's all too easy to just blame everything on withdrawal and forget about the side effects.

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apace41

Good to hear you are doing well, Bubbles!

 

I would note with regard to your "convenience" approach at 25mg.  Sertraline comes in 25mg in addition to 50mg so you don't even need to do 1/2 a tab to hold at 25.  It also means 12.5 can be a nice target down the road.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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bubbles

Thanks Andy and Dan. 

 

Andy, I know that technically sertraline/zoloft comes in 25mg tablets, but I can't find them here. Perhaps they don't exist in my market but I'll ask the pharmacist to follow it up next time because that would be very easy. It's a few months away, anyway. I haven't seen the liquid zoloft here either, but my doctor initiated the reducing doses via the compounding pharmacy, so that's a good option for me.

 

Cheers!

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bubbles

Today is decision time as I'm coming up to the four week mark on this dose drop. I'm going to stay on this one for the full six weeks, perhaps longer.

 

I'm doing okay but I had a period of stress (related to my studies and addressed now) and I don't want to go down too soon.

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ChessieCat

Good idea to hold if you are recovering from outside stressors.  I've had to go slower than 10%, but thankfully I am feeling improvements with my old self starting to reappear, eg enjoying things and looking forward to things.

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bubbles

Thanks ChessieCat. I have a general sertraline question, which I might ponder for a bit and add to the general zoloft thread. I tried to write it out now and realise that I need to think it through a bit first!

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bubbles

I've decided to another few weeks on 33mg. Am tired, have headaches and at present a bit of an upset stomach. I doubt it's related to the drop (under 7%, and a month ago) - I think I'm mainly not getting enough sleep. I'm going to prioritize that a little more. Am also going to refocus on my diet - I was doing very well with eating reduced carbs and they've crept up again. (Not everyone's thing, but it was working for me to reduce them.)

B

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ChessieCat

"I doubt it's related to the drop (under 7%, and a month ago)"

 

Don't discount it.  After reading around this site there is not much that would surprise me about ADs and withdrawal.

 

Over Easter I found I had trouble digesting hot cross buns which has never, ever been an issue for me.  There are many areas in the body which are affected by the sensitised CNS.

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