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Tom37

Tom37: Lexapro taper

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Songbird

Relaxation exercises are great for calming the nervous system, helping to reduce anxiety and encouraging sleep.  Examples: progressive muscle relaxation, gentle yoga, calming breathing exercises, meditation, guided visualisation, etc.  You could try a few to see what works well for you.  They work best when done regularly – daily is good – but if your system is very agitated then multiple times a day can be helpful.  You may have good results immediately, but don’t give up if at first they don’t seem to be doing much, as it could take a week or so to see significant benefits.

 

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep-hypnosis

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xyz

hi tom,

i am a lex taperer as well. at 3mg that was when the symptoms hit me really hard. before that i was able to cut pretty consistently without too much side effect except few cries here and there.

i had to hold for few weeks before resuming my taper at a much slower rate. like someone said it seems that the last mgs are the hardest.

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Tom37

Thanks guys.

 

Got some sleep last night (not much but better than nothing) which was nice and managed to feel quite relaxed for most of the night apart from the feeling of just being so unwell.....I kinda compare it to when you have a really bad virus going on....it’s horible and nothing relieves it. I guess it’s the body adjusting to the increase in dose.....kinda feels like when I started taking the drug.

 

Thanks

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mdwstrx

Hi Tom,

Praying for you that you feel better.  I'm in the same positions after stopping 2.5 mg, RI initially 2.5 and then dr said updose to 5.  Moderator here said too big a jump.  Waiting to hear if they think I should knock it back. Had a couple of decent days and then the anxiety/ insomnia hit again yesterday/last night.  Today is better.  I am a firm believer in prayer and giving it to the Lord has been my biggest hope, relief.  No sermons but I  thought I'd share my coping technique.   It does get better. 

 

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Tom37

I guess a bit different since your reinstating which I know can be tough. Im sure though with time the body will adjust. It has done so after every previous drop so surely it can do the same when increasing. I have seen symptoms subside almost completely so body must be doing it’s thing.....just never does it fast enough. 

 

 

All the best to you and I’m sure you will find some relief around the corner.....even if only for a short while to start with as it will give hope.

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Tom37

So had a really good day yesterday.....the chemical ‘anxiety’ was about 90 percent gone, the horrible feeling of just been so unwell went and was just left with a bit of nervousness/jittery feeling in my body which was minor.

 

Then today comes and it’s back to struggling again. Anxiety and unwell feeling has stayed away but feel really unwell in other ways now!

 

Its been 8 days now since these symptoms started and while yes symptoms have gone still feels like a million miles away from ever being normal again.

 

Also no idea if these symptoms are from my reduction or the up dose which is so frustrating.....do I stay at this dose to ‘attempt’ to stabilise or should I just get on with it and reduce again to finally get off this stuff and let the real healing begin?

 

Also since the updose I have dry mouth, sleeping problems and no appetite which I didn’t have after the reduction.....some nights I sleep 5 to 6 hours others it’s 2 or 3 with really vivid dreams or nightmares. Is this my body adjusting to the updose?

 

i just hate the thought of staying on this dose for months with no consistent improvement and then where too? A long taper down to zero feeling like I do or worse.

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ChessieCat
On 11/29/2018 at 6:06 AM, Tom37 said:

 

Ok will do so but it was Wednesday the 7th November that I up dosed back to 4mg from 3mg.

 

The symptoms from the drop to 3mg ended on 11th November and then this lot started 6 days ago. Was feeling perfectly normal in between.

 

i did take 4 nights of diazepam from 10th to the 14th 10mg, 5mg, 2mg, 2mg.

 

Also took diazepam for three nights from this Sunday 7mg, 5mg and 2.5mg. Although being honest they didn’t really do much during this current episode.

 

Had been sleeping as normal until Friday just gone when got sick again....5 to 7 hours per night. Currently not sleeping much with last night hardly anything due to weird thoughts that were not my own if that makes sense plus bit of physical anxiety caused by the drugs. Night before slept well and got 5.5 to 6 hours with no diazepam.

 

i don’t like to use any medication but used the diazepam as was struggling so muchwith the agitation that I was constantly pacing around all day/night. This has since eased considerably.

 

First time I have ever used a Benzo other than using some ambien when I was dealing with panic attacks which got me on this medication in the first place in 2007.

 

 

Please add dates and doses to your drug signature for Lexapro so that we can see the history at a glance and not have to read through your posts.  Stating weeks does not make much seen as time passes.

 

Also please include the information about your diazapam and ambien use.

 

It's going to take a bit of time for things to settle down, especially since you have also stopped the diazepam.  You need to be patient.  You are getting a reasonable amount of sleep which is good.

 

You need to learn and use non drug coping techniques to get through the times of discomfort instead of turning to a quick fix.  Acceptance and Non-drug techniques to cope

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Tom37

Sorry I thought I had done a drug signature?

 

I used ambien for a few months back in 2007 and not since.

 

i try to use coping techniques but when you see your life falling away from you it’s hard to remain positive. Expecially when this is most likely a long term situation.

 

Thanks

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ChessieCat

Yes you have done a drug signature but we need additional information.

 

Started tapering DATE approx 12 months ago from 10mg to 9mg then 8 then 7 then 6 then 5 then 4 then 3.

Held for approx 4 to 6 weeks min on each reduction.

Hit severe symptoms two weeks after dropping to 3mg.

DATE Back to 4mg and stabilising.

 

And please include the information about diazepam which you mentioned in the post quoted below:

 

On 11/29/2018 at 6:06 AM, Tom37 said:

i did take 4 nights of diazepam from 10th to the 14th 10mg, 5mg, 2mg, 2mg.

 

Also took diazepam for three nights from this Sunday 7mg, 5mg and 2.5mg. Although being honest they didn’t really do much during this current episode.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Tom37

I have updated my signature as best I can.

 

Cant remember exact date I started tapering but over 12 months ago.

 

Thanks

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ChessieCat

If it was about 12 months ago from now, put it is as "about December 2017".  In 6 months time the statement 12 months ago isn't going to make any sense.

 

Please also add the year 2018 to the diazapem.  Thank you.

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Tom37

Updated 

 

Thanks

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jozeff

Hi Tom, 

 

How are you today?

 

I'm sorry you're feeling this way.

 

I was tapering in April/may/June 2018 and went from 25 to 16.5 mg citalopram in 3 months. I did great until I crashed at 16.5 mg and updosed a few weeks later.

 

I recognize your struggling and you are not alone in this. Doesn't cure you but maybe it'll help a bit. Is Lexapro twice the strength of citalopram? 

 

What symptoms do you have? This "one day ok then next day crap" is very common I think. I struggle with that a lot.

 

What do you do when you feel like in a wave?

 

Keep things clear and write down symptoms and dates. This might help overseeing things!

 

Hope you got a window soon.

 

 

Jozeff

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Tom37

Hey,

 

Symptoms seem to be mainly physical and have come and gone since it started.

 

The constant physical agitation, shaking, bad hot flushes, nausea, anxiety have almost gone but still have this feeling of just been really unwell. Also the body kinda feels a bit jittery if that makes any sense. Those are the main symptoms.

 

Sleep has also been affected but seems to be improving.

 

No real mental issues other than trying to not let the situation get me down or panic about it....how long will it last etc.

 

Have you seen any improvement in your symptoms over the 4 months you have been holding?

 

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Tom37

Hello,

 

So today I woke after about 5 hours sleep which is not bad at all for me. First time since this started I fell asleep quite quickly and then fell back asleep during the night.

 

Decided I needed to try to go back into the office today as avoiding it was only re enforcing negative thoughts about not being capable.

 

Anyway work went relatively fine and while still not well I managed. Today was all about just feeling really unwell again with a little bit of weird anxiety which is nothing like I have ever felt before. Also more tired than have been but I guess that’s to be expected  when your body is going through this.

 

So I’m pleased I went in but until I get some form of stability with symptoms there is always the wonder what will tomorrow/tonight bring which leads to will I be good enough for work tomorrow?....so trying to work on that secondary fear with all the cbt I know plus I guess not being too hard on myself.

 

So day 8 since this started and yes things have improved but still very up and down.

 

Also working on ‘accepting’ my situation and realising that it more than likely will be months and not weeks before I’m somewhere back to where I was.

 

Not sure how long you give an up dose to stabilise before realising it’s failed. And what do I wait for? Symptoms still there but significantly less but consistent every day? Symptoms basically gone? A return to how you were pre symptoms?

 

 

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Benzhelp

HI Tom37, 

 

I am sorry you feel unwell. It is Inspiring you could go to work in the midst of it all, that is courageous. Acceptance is the first step, you are on the right track. It is a good idea to not be hard on oneself as you say, being gentle is the most successful way to cope with drug issues/tapering I've found. Best wishes on your Tapering journey.

Not an expert here but I think the time varies to stablise after an updose. Patience is key. Meanwhile maybe you could do things that are helpful, enjoyable or meaningful for you? Doing any simple self care activity had helped me in w/d. I hope you find all the answers you seek. Take good care <3

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Tom37

Hello,

 

So has quite a good day yesterday after a decent sleep which was nice as big day at work. Symptoms where well reduced and didn’t feel ‘unwell’ at all.....only annoying symptom was the bit nervousness physical feeling in my legs.

 

Doesnt feel like windows and waves as described.....more just a day of the body stopping fighting against the drug and now back into it again....still don’t understand how I felt so great for ten days after symptoms from the reduction stopped until this started. I mean it was the best I’d felt in quite a while.

 

But back to feeling horrible today and quite possibly had a period of feeling the most ‘unwell’ I have so far. Hardly slept last night too as it was a really hot night and windy plus could feel the symptoms started to rev up again.....constant ruminating thoughts, feeling unwell etc. 

 

Totally fed up with this and how it’s so up and down. I guess I should be grateful that I do have ‘good’ days but on the bad days I can barely work.

 

i guess my biggest fear is losing everything I have worked for if I have to stop working and don’t know how I will cope with that.

 

So feeling very miserable about everything today along with the thought of not being able to ever see myself feeling better.......will I ever be stable again so I know I can relax at night about tomorrow.? Who knows......I guess I need to keep ‘holding’ at current dose even though it feels like Ive been poisoned.

 

Apologies for being so negative but that’s how I’m feeling and all the self help techniques in the world some days just don’t work at all.

 

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mdwstrx

Hi Tom. Dropping by to check on you.  I know how terrible the up and down days are but I believe it’s showing signs of healing.  I felt so bad last night that I had to be reassured by a moderator I should hold my current dose steady and not increase.  I then slept 8.5 hrs. Today, I almost felt normal.  Bizarre how that can happen in such short time periods. 

 

You are are getting better and the clouds will part.  The sunshine isn’t far off. Don’t borrow worries from tomorrow. You only need deal with today.  And today; you are managing.  Praying for your/our quick healing.  

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ikam
8 hours ago, Tom37 said:

 

 

i guess my biggest fear is losing everything I have worked for if I have to stop working and don’t know how I will cope with that.

 

 

Hi, I was always worried about losing everything... If you could treat this as worry thoughts, not really based on reality but assumptions that you may not be able to cope... 

When things, even the worst scenarios come, we do cope there and then... 

Try as much as possible to be in present, here and now, and deal with the present aspects... 

I like a little relaxation that follows a script of "I (breath in) am (breath out) here (breath in) and now (breath out)", repeat five or more times... 

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Tom37

Hello,

 

So it’s been a few days since I posted so time for an update for the people that have commented and helped me so far.

 

So on Wednesday last week had an absolute terrible day and probably felt the sickest I have since this started however......since then I have felt significantly better and have had five days of improvement to the point where probably back to 80/90 percent of my ‘withdrawal normal’. 

 

For me withdrawal normal is very tolerable and can function as normal at work and outside of work. It still means I’m not a hundred percent but it’s not far off with just minor symptoms.

 

So hopefully this means I’m stabilising after my updose and hopefully continues at this level or if it moves then a little up or down is fine.

 

Thats me for now anyway and hopefully in a week or so can post again as above.

 

Thanks

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jozeff

Hi Tom!

 

Good to hear you are ,most probably, stabilizing!

 

Well, a horrible day here and there is acceptable right? As long as you know the next day will be better it is manageable. 

 

So you are still stabilizing on 4 mg of citalopram? No need to hurry right?

 

You did a wonderful taper so far!

 

To me it sounds like you are pretty well stabilizing. I am still on 18 mg citalopram so I'm a little bit jealous 😉😉

 

Posts like yours remind me of taking it slow. That's why this forum is so helpful.

 

I wish you all the best and I hope you will stabilise soon and continue your taper.

 

cheers

 

Jozeff

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Tom37

Hello,

 

So now at day 8 of being back to my ‘withdrawal normal’ so feeling a lot more confident that I have stabilised and should continue to do so.

 

Symptom wise it’s very consistent each day and very minor compared to what I was dealing with so work and general life is no problem. Haven’t got back into excercise yet other than walking/golf but that won’t be far away and nice and easy to start with.

 

Currently plan on holding at current dose or 3.87mg of Lexapro till at least March/April as need to get through busy and stressful period at work.

 

Is there a guideline on how long to wait before tapering again after stabilising from a big crash? I can’t put myself through what I just went through again.

 

Definitely plan on very small reduction when I do start anyway. 

 

Thanks 

 

 

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Gridley

There is no specific guideline.  I generally feel comfortable with a 3-month hold after you've stabilized before tapering again.

 

It sounds like you have a good plan and I'm very happy things are working out.  Do take it easy on re-introducing the exercise.  Congratulations on stabilizing.

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Tom37

Hello,

 

Well unfortunately it looks like I haven’t stabilised after all as it seems last night I entered into a wave!

 

started with a weird headache then could not sleep at all, starting feeling hot all over and weird random thoughts to finish it off and today just feel pretty horrible like I’m sick or something and was extremely lightheaded this morning.

 

Just don’t understand how can go from 8 days of continued improvement to feel almost normal for 5 of those 8 days then go back to this.

 

 Guess I’m dealing with windows and waves although mine seem to go from one extreme to the other.

 

Just praying the shaking, agitation and anxiety don’t start up again.

 

At least I know good periods happen although when in a wave it doesn’t seem to matter about the past as you always think it will never end!

 

Hopefully the wave will be less intense this time.

 

Really didn’t think this could happen when trying to just hold a dose.

 

 

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Tom37

Well day two of this wave and it’s not good at all.

 

Another  night of barely any sleep mainly due to how horrible I feel. Just a constant flu like internal feeling but way worse. And head is definitely not right.

 

Think it will be a minute by minute day today. At least no shaking or agitation or physical anxiety so far which is how the last two started.

 

Actually feel just like being in bed today that’s how horrible I feel.

 

Hopefully I’m dealing with the worst of it and in a few days will start easing up but who knows how it will go.

 

Just have to try to remain positive which is easier said than done especially when you feel there is no way out of it. Sometimes you even think you can’t handle it anymore.

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mdwstrx

Hi Tom. 

I am so sorry it took a downturn and another wave hit and you are feeling so bad.  Thank goodness it's a weekend so that you can remain in bed if you want!  So many others have to fight their way into work and be strong.  I read BrassMonkey's posts and was amazed that he worked all through tapering with some heavy w/d symptoms.  How he remained focus is beyond me and gives me great admiration and strength to know we have it in us if we have to if we break it up into moments.  

 

I feel rough today as well but more of the inner agitation.  I actually charted my symptoms.  See below.  I have found a very low dose of 5 mg Propranolol does wonders for me with the agitation so if I need to, I will resort to that. However, the Propranolol seems to cause me nausea and a fuzzy feeling for me so I've avoided it yesterday and today.  Maybe why today seems worse.  I also do 250 mg Magnesium like most others. 

 

image.png.b69323c87ec119f7b31520f9665a2984.png

 

As for remaining positive, distraction in the form of exercise, cleaning, working or getting out works well for me as does prayer and reading His word, especially Psalms.  Knowing that this is TEMPORARY and that the waves will be broken by a window gives hope too!  You have seen some great improvement as I have.  Be strong and have hope, friend.  Today you are handling it like many others on here.  And we will get better and better.  We have this!  Recovery is coming. 

 

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Tom37

Thanks.....

 

Normaly distractions are good and yesterday was well enough to go out for a couple of short walks, do bit of work and watch some tv until it starting hitting in the evening. 

 

Today though just feel too bad to do anything and not even resting provides and real comfort of reduction in symptoms. Even just having a shower this morning was difficult.

 

Your right about improvements being made and I honestly thought this wouldn’t happen again since I was feeling so good so that has scared the life out of me. I do know that this too shall pass and even though feel terrible today this wave has less symptoms than previous ones so far. 

 

Glad your seeing improvements and long may it continue.

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mdwstrx

I'm sorry to hear its been such a struggle.  I remember one bad wave where thoughts in the shower just made me want to get out.  So I get it.  It can be very frightening!  I also know the feeling where comfort is elusive, no matter .... But really, alot of the coping techniques they have on here have helped me ride the waves.  The Clair Weeke's audios especially... although I think she sounds like Mary Poppins! Great thing to listen to for addressing fear.

 

I know, like me, you're very grateful to see improvements but accept knowing it could yet be awhile before things stabilize.  I am trying my best to  accept that because, the windows, great relief as they are, set us up pretty high to be knocked over by the waves.

Enjoy the windows but plan your schedule assuming waves.  At least that's what I'm doing.  Had to cancel several upcoming things as they grow closer and let others know I'm just down for awhile.   

 

 

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Tom37

So I managed to get out for a short drive around by the ocean but just wanted to come home really. At least got out as didn’t think I would earlier today.

 

In New Zealand so in summer time which normally is nice but not too great when your not well.

 

Windows do set you up for a big fall that’s for sure but also give you a break from the fight that is dealing with a wave.

 

Anyway back to resting for me as takin it out of me...tomorrow is another day but will be preparing myself for another few tough days to come before I see some relief.

 

From what people have said the waves get less intense the further you go so I hope that is true as getting my arse kicked right now!

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Tom37

Another horrible night with only a couple of hours of light sleep and feeling the same as yesterday.

 

Just feel so damn terrible and can’t see any end of it in sight.

 

Will do some work from home this morning as don’t even think I could drive in let alone be at my desk and look ok.

 

Really struggling with all this today.

 

From being so good to so unwell is just ridiculous.

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Gridley

You might want to consider a hold where you are at 4mg for around 3 months.  Your taper was a bit fast and you may be experiencing symptoms catching up with you from months back.  A hold allows your CNS to get accustomed  to the lowered dose.  Also a hold could lessen your need for the Diazepam, which is a slippery slope.

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Tom37

Definitely holding and have been for almost a month.

 

Have no intention of reducing for quite some time after being stable which at the moment seems a million miles away.

 

Only ever used the diazepam for sleep and never more than three nights in a row then at least 10 days in between using it again.

 

What are you meant to do when you cannot sleep at all due to symptoms or the wave itself.

 

Thanks

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Gridley

 

14 minutes ago, Tom37 said:

What are you meant to do when you cannot sleep at all due to symptoms or the wave itself.

 

 

Your problem u fortunately is all-too-common.  This link provides some information that may be helpful:

 

 

 Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

Melatonin has helped me.  It's very important to start with a very low dose, 0.25mg to 0.5 mg.  Higher doses can have a paradoxical effect and prevent sleep.

 

 

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Windsor77

Tom- hang in there. I am just getting over a too fast drop from 6.5 to 5mg of citalopram.   I ct’d lexapro last October and reinstated Zolodt last December, then switched to celexa in June.  Been reducing (too fast) since then.  I just updosed to 5.2mg a couple of days ago.  It takes 2 weeks for the changes to hit me too.  I get the shaky feelings too.  It’s hard.   

Hang in there.  Healing happens.  I was in bad mental shape from June - September and now the physical stuff is my only real issue.  It’s a nuisance.   But it is a long road. 

You will stabilize  give it time.  Take it from my mistakes, listen to Chessie and every other Mod. They know what they are talking about!!!

 

Sending hope and healing

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Tom37

Thanks Windsor.

 

its just so frustrating not knowing when the bad of the good periods will start or end.

 

Actually feeling a bit better so far through today with the horrible feeling of being so ill greatly reduced. Just feel bit lightheaded and not right in general.

 

The not sleeping part is what scares me the most especially when it’s days at a time. Last week when well was sleeping 5 to 7 hours every night of good sleep then the wave hits and can’t hardly at all!

 

Hope your doing ok and hang in there as we all know it gets better but can be hard to believe when feel so bad.

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Tom37

So had a better day today, actually a lot better than yesterday so while that is good still keep thinking it will turn to being bad again tomorrow instead of continuing to improve. Had these better days in waves before only to be back to square one the next day. Or maybe this wave is on the way out? Who knows.

 

Still had some of the symptoms from yesterday but they have been far more reduced and most importantly haven’t felt so terribly flu like ill that just want to be in bed.

 

Managed to go out for a 30 min slow walk along by the ocean and another small drive this afternoon. Did work from home so that was good.

 

Just struggle so much with not knowing how tomorrow is going to be, how long before I feel good again etc....makes it hard to enjoy the better moments.

 

I guess just take it each day at a time but easier said than done when you feel at times like it’s s life or death situation.

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