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Iowan

Iowan: Lexapro / escitalopram taper, need help and support, reassurance

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Iowan

Since I'm weighing my daily dosages of Lexapro on my AWS Gemini-20 scale, any time I speak about dosage weight, I am speaking about actual physical weight of the complete overall dosage.

 

On 4/7/19, per suggestions from @manymoretodays, I bumped my dosage up to 0.055g from 0.050g. I can't absolutely confirm that this increase leveled me out, but I did level out soon after. I've been holding steady at 0.055g since 4/7/19 and have been doing pretty well until this AM. High anxiety and even bits of panic have set in. My brain is mush. I am working on getting it under control, but understand that I may be in for riding out the next few days in a wave. Time will tell. Work stress triggered it, I'm pretty sure.

 

I didn't updose months back after I'd made a 50% cut because I was already months into that taper and I was petrified what updosing could have possibly done to me.

 

Per advice, I've backed off of my aggressive goal to be off of Lexapro by the end of Summer. Instead, I have decided to do monthly 10% tapers, or as least as close as I can get to them. Below is my plan:

 

    g         Date

0.055  4/7/19

0.050  5/7/19

0.045  6/7/19

0.036  7/7/19

0.032  8/7/19

0.029  9/7/19

0.026  10/7/19

0.024  11/7/19

0.019  12/7/19

0.017  1/7/20

0.016  2/7/20

0.014  3/7/20

0.013  4/7/20

0.011  5/7/20

0.009  6/7/20

0.008  7/7/20

0.007  8/7/20

0.006  9/7/20

0.005  10/7/20

0.004  11/7/20

0.003  12/7/20

0.002  1/7/21

0.001  2/7/21

0.000  3/7/21

 

My windows last days or weeks and can be almost 'normal'. My waves last 7 days or less, but can be absolute Hell. I count my blessings that I experience the windows that I do and hold onto them as I ride out the waves. I totally understand now that it's a time thing. It's just going to take time to get through this and there's no sense in rushing it. So, 10% tapers for me through March of 2021 is the new plan and I'm stoked to be Lexapro free in 2021! Thank you ALL for all of the feedback and support that you provide.

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RichT

Hi Iowan,

 

sorry to hear you’re in a wave. Sending you warmest wishes that you come out of it soon.

 

R

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Iowan

Thanks @RichT. Yeah, I'm in a full blown wave. Went to bed a little before 9:00 and woke up around 12:30. I moved to the couch and got in a 20 or so 1 to 10 minute cat naps, watching Modern Marvels on TV. I would wake to alertness with my last abstract thought shoved to the front of my mind with high anxiety, or panic, tied to it. I've suffered from this within my waves from the beginning, but it is getting better. Initially, I would jolt awake, like I was being shocked with high voltage. It would hit me every time as I'd drift off to sleep. I am still awakened now, but the big electric shock is gone and it's much less of a jolt to my system. The intrusive thoughts and absolute panic aren't quite as bad either. I tell myself, "Yep, abstract thoughts and no sleep. This is just part of it and has to run it's course. I'll feel better in a few days.". That's what it's going to take. Time, a slow taper, and God. Lots and lots of God.

 

I had totally forgotten that I was really busy on Saturday and meant to take my Lexapro on several occasions, but totally spaced it for the day. Then Sunday afternoon, I made a 4 hour round trip to buy a part for my truck and I drank an energy drink to help me stay awake. I woke up feeling funny on Monday, like a wave may set in, and then new work stress really kicked off the panic. I'm not saying that I wasn't due for a wave anyway, but I think that my actions contributed to this one, for sure. I'm praying the next few days go as smoothly as possible and I don't sink any further down into this one.

 

I've read some stuff about Kratom, and part of me kind of got excited about it, but most of me realizes that there is no shortcut to withdrawal and it's probably not worth trying. What are peoples thoughts on Kratom?

 

Time, a slow taper, and heavily relying on God seems to be the only way through this withdrawal process. Therapy, supplements, vitamins, good diet, regular exercise, and naturopathic remedies all tend to help, but none of them alone or combined are cures for withdrawal. The rough part is that when I'm in a wave, it's nearly impossible to eat or exercise. I'm just stuck and am forced to endure and wait it out. Well, I guess this just a time in my life that I have to get through. I look forward to the changed person I will be on the other side of SSRI's when I'm off of them, and I realize that it may be further out than 3/7/21. I will try to live in the moment and count my blessings along the way. And I'll try to treat myself kindly and not miss any more doses of Lexapro along the way.

 

I apologize if I'm repeating myself and for not responding more when I'm not in a wave. When I'm functional and operational, I tend to try to get as much done as possible because I don't know when my next wave will hit.

 

God bless you all!

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Gridley
3 hours ago, Iowan said:

What are peoples thoughts on Kratom?

 

SA does not advise the use of Kratom.  Please see:

Beware of Kratom - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

I see in your signature you take a B-complex.  While it is often a first response to stress to take a B-Complex, in withdrawal it can be overstimulating.
 
 


 

 

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Iowan

Oh dear Lord Jesus Christ, please have mercy on my soul!!! I am struggling to function today. I won't take Kratom and I was told a B-complex with no folic and no paba would be safe to take. I don't believe my supplements throw me into my waves though. It's totally SSRI withdrawal related.

 

HELP! I really damaged myself with my initial July 2017 50% taper from a 10mg pill to a 5mg pill of Lexapro. I hadn't completely gotten through that withdrawal taper before I made my next much smaller taper. (0.060g to 0.050g on 3/18/19 and then back up to 0.055g on 4/7/19.) This wave is crushing me today. Do I stay the course? Do I updose back up closer to a full 10mg pill and begin my 10% slow taper all over again? I'm a strong person, I think, but there's only so much of this that any person can take.

 

Please Help! Sorry for short message, my brain isn't working very well.

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Iowan

The cloud and anxiety are lifting a bit. My brain isn't quite as mushy as it was. I just received some advice from a moderator in another group that I belong to. I should hold at my current dose of 0.055g until I stop experiencing withdrawal symptoms. I should not taper when experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It puts too much strain on an already taxed central nervous system.

 

So, I'm still suffering withdrawal symptoms from my initial 50% taper from a 10mg pill to a 5mg pill in July of 2018, and I shouldn't have attempted to taper until those symptoms subsided. With how my cycles of waves and windows have been going, I'll be sitting steady at 0.055g for months or years to come, I suspect, before I'm able to start my taper again. This isn't the news that I wanted to hear, but it's the truth and I accept it.

 

Has anyone else experienced this? A long hold at a certain dose, due to too big of an initial taper/cut? Like more than 9 months hold?

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Iowan
Posted (edited)

Topic title:  Withdrawal Symptoms or Tolerance Side Effects

 

In June of 2018, I suffered a week long wave from what I now believe was me reaching tolerance, (Lexapro 10mg pill daily - 2.5 year reinstatement after quick taper and hospital stay in Dec 2015). I took my 10mg of Lexapro daily, like clockwork. In July of 2018, working with my Naturopathic Dr, I began to taper off of Lexapro. Per her suggestion, I cut my dosage in half and dropped to a 5mg pill daily. The next few waves after that were absolutely waves of withdrawal, but many of the extremely harsh withdrawal symptoms, (e.g. brain zaps and electric shocks), dropped off as months and waves came and went. My waves started to match the week long wave that I initially had when I wasn't tapering.

 

So, my question is, how do I know if my wave symptoms are Tolerance Side Effects, or if they are truly Withdrawal Symptoms?

 

The reason I ask is because I've been told that I should not continue tapering if I am experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms. I've also been told that Tolerance Side Effects won't stop until I'm completely off of Lexapro. So, if I'm confusing Tolerance Side Effects for Withdrawal Symptoms, and I'm holding at my current dose, waiting for them to subside before I continue tapering, I'll never begin tapering again because they won't subside while I'm still on Lexapro.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
a

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Peachy
On 4/24/2019 at 9:13 AM, Iowan said:

 

So, my question is, how do I know if my wave symptoms are Tolerance Side Effects, or if they are truly Withdrawal Symptoms?

 

Exactly! This is exactly where I am, and I have been struggling with this question and confusion for 3 years now. 

Mine started at my full dose of 20mg Lexapro. Going lower doesn’t help, and waiting it out doesn’t stabilize me. Everyone keeps telling me to “stabilize”, but his has never happened for me. I’ve even held for 6 months at a time. Others

keep telling me I won’t heal and feel better until I’m off. 

Im so sorry your experiencing this, but you are not alone. I’m also at 4.5mg of my Lexapro. 3 years in. Utterly stuck. 

I would also love for someone to answer this question! 

 

 

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Iowan

I empathize with you @Peachy. I've come to my own conclusion that I'm suffering both. Tolerance side effects AND withdrawal symptoms. If you're suffering from the same, it puts us in a bit of a predicament. Speaking for myself, getting completely off of Lexapro is my ONLY option. I figure that if I actually reached tolerance in June of 2018, like I think I did, then I would have continued having waves even if I hadn't begun my 'stupid' 1/2 dose taper in July of 2018. (I now know that it was too much of a cut.) But because I held at that tapered dose for nearly a year and continued to suffer regular waves, I have determined that I can't wait to level out because I don't think I'm ever going to truly level out while I'm still taking Lexapro, at any dose. Waves have gotten a bit better, but they're still pretty brutal. I'm currently in day 3 or 4 of a wave now, and this one is actually one of the easiest ones I've had, but it still sucks.

 

Forward, always forward... I decided a few weeks back to begin my taper again. I tapered nearly 1mg in actual weight, and that was too much of a cut, due to the horrific wave I experienced. So, I updosed by 0.5mg and came out of that wave pretty quickly. That put me at 5.5mg of actual weight. I held there for a month prior to beginning my taper again. I'd been reading about @brassmonkey's taper schedule and liked the idea of it, so I implemented it. It's to cut your monthly taper into smaller weekly tapers. For me, this means to cut my early goal of 0.5mg monthly reduction into quarters or fifths. So, when I began again, I tapered to 5.4mg. The next Sunday, I tapered to 5.3mg, and today, I tapered to 5.2mg. So far, so good. I'm in my 2nd of 2 waves that I've had since I began tapering down again from 5.5mg. I hate waves, but as long as they are remotely tolerable and only last a few days, I am going to continue with my taper schedule. If I encounter a BIG wave that knocks me on my butt, I'll pause, but will try not to updose if possible.

 

Once I get lower in my overall dose, depending on how things are going, I plan on cutting my dose by 0.1mg once every 2 to 3 weeks or even monthly. I can't cut my dose by any less than 0.1mg because my pills are ground up into powder grains too tiny to count out and my scale doesn't measure any smaller than 0.1mg.

 

So, my plan is basically this: Taper weekly from toady (5.2mg) by 0.1mg, and occasionally 0.2mg early on, every week. If any wave gets really bad, stop tapering and hold for roughly a month. All depending on how things are going for me, once I get down to around 2.0mg or 1.0mg, I still plan on cutting by 0.1mg every taper, but adjust my taper from every week to every 2 or 3 weeks or once a month. If everything works out the way I have it laid out, I might be able to reach ZERO in December of 2020.

 

I don't imagine it will be a smooth road between now and ZERO, and I don't believe that I will be completely recovered until well after I reach and hold at ZERO, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am working diligently to go after recovery. I want my life back!!!

 

I truly appreciate all of the good advice and feedback that I've received from members of this group. My heart aches for you all, because I know exactly what you are going through or have already endured.

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brassmonkey

Hi Iowan-- I like the idea behind your planned taper, but I'm finding the numbers a bit funky. To make things clearer in my mind would you tell me a few things?

 

Which scale are you using?

Is the 5.xmg that you are talking about the actual weight of the powder on the scale?  What does the readout actually say, all the zeros, numbers and decimal point?

What is the weight of a whole tablet?

What is the strength of the tablet as listed on the bottle?

 

Thanks it's really appreciated.

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Iowan
17 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Hi Iowan-- I like the idea behind your planned taper, but I'm finding the numbers a bit funky. To make things clearer in my mind would you tell me a few things?

 

Which scale are you using?

Is the 5.xmg that you are talking about the actual weight of the powder on the scale?  What does the readout actually say, all the zeros, numbers and decimal point?

What is the weight of a whole tablet?

What is the strength of the tablet as listed on the bottle?

 

Thanks it's really appreciated.

 

Sorry if I made any misstatements @brassmonkey. Brain no worky well while going through waves... So much for this one being an easier one. I've been up since 1:00 and every time I drift off, I'm jumped back into alertness. It's exhausting. I'm taking my first full FMLA day today, as I can't function to capacity and I perform some highly technical computer work.

 

I'm using the AWS Gemini-20 scale. I started out talking about a 10mg pill and then a 5mg pill of Lexapro. The 5mg pills weighed roughly 6mg or 0.060g on my scale. When I began to taper down from the 5mg pill, I ground up my pills and started weighing my doses on the scale. I initially tapered from 0.060g to 0.050g, but that was too much, so I bumped back up to 0.055g and held for a month. When I began tapering again, I went from 0.055g to 0.054g. The next week, I dropped to 0.053g. The tapered dose that I began on Sunday (yesterday) read 0.052g on my scale.

 

My pill bottle doesn't list the strength of the tablets. It simply says Escitalopram Oxalate 5mg tab. So, I'm working with what I have and I'm only using actual weight of the dosage to do it. My scale has different settings, but only the one setting for grams, so that's the one I'm using. The smallest gram unit it measures is 0.001g, so I can't cut my doses by anything less than that. At my current dose weight, I can cut 0.001g weekly and stay within a 10% monthly taper. Once I get down to lower dose weight, I will go to cutting 0.001g every other week, then every 3rd week, then every 4th week. That's the plan anyway, and like I said, I'll stop and hold if I hit any major roadblocks.

 

A new thing that has hit me recently is Tech Neck with a considerable lump on the back of my lower neck. It's burning pain and is contributing to some major headaches. I'm going to the Dr. for it today and praying that it's just buffalo hump or dowager's hump, caused from poor posture sitting at my workstation. I'm not in great shape like I used to be, but I am still fit and strong. I get to the gym whenever my waves allow me to, so I am kind of concerned. I imagine my Lexapro withdrawal is contributing to it in some way or another.

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brassmonkey
2 hours ago, Iowan said:

I'm using the AWS Gemini-20 scale. I started out talking about a 10mg pill and then a 5mg pill of Lexapro. The 5mg pills weighed roughly 6mg or 0.060g on my scale. When I began to taper down from the 5mg pill, I ground up my pills and started weighing my doses on the scale. I initially tapered from 0.060g to 0.050g, but that was too much, so I bumped back up to 0.055g and held for a month. When I began tapering again, I went from 0.055g to 0.054g. The next week, I dropped to 0.053g. The tapered dose that I began on Sunday (yesterday) read 0.052g on my scale.

 

My pill bottle doesn't list the strength of the tablets. It simply says Escitalopram Oxalate 5mg tab. So, I'm working with what I have and I'm only using actual weight of the dosage to do it. My scale has different settings, but only the one setting for grams, so that's the one I'm using. The smallest gram unit it measures is 0.001g, so I can't cut my doses by anything less than that. At my current dose weight, I can cut 0.001g weekly and stay within a 10% monthly taper. Once I get down to lower dose weight, I will go to cutting 0.001g every other week, then every 3rd week, then every 4th week. That's the plan anyway, and like I said, I'll stop and hold if I hit any major roadblocks.

 

Oh I understand the ol' brain not doing what we want it to, I was an R&D Engineer the entire time I was in WD.  Took some real concentration at times.

 

AWS Gemini-20 scale. That's the one I used and many other members are using.  It will work fine.

 

The above quote gives me everything we need. It looks like there is just a bit of confusion on terminology and decimal placement.

 

Escitalopram Oxalate 5mg tab:  This is the type of medication and the strength. 5mg means that each tablet contains 5mg of active ingredient, we refer to it as 5mgai

 

The pills weighed roughly 6mg or 0.060g:  This is half correct.  The number is fine because that is what you measured on the scales. 0.060g would be correct, but this would be 60mg not 6mg.  An easy mistake but can cause a lot of trouble during a taper.

 

1.000 = 1 gram

0.100 = 1 decigram

0.010 = 1 centigram

0.001= 1 milligram

so 0.060 would be 60mg. Because this is the actual weight of the pill we refer to it as 60mgpw (milligrams pill weight)

 

You first reduction from 60mgpw to 50 mgpw  would have been about 17%.  No wonder you had problems with it.

 

Going beck up to 55mgpw made for a total reduction of about 8% which should treat you a lot better.

 

Because ever medication and every type of pill is different we prefer that people report their dose by talking about the weight of the active ingredient. For your 55mgpw dose that would be 4.6mgai or written out the long way 0.0046g.  Using the short form is best for reporting and record keeping.  You'll want to keep a record of both the pill weight and the active ingredient weight because you are going to weight out the pill weight amount for your dose, but you will talk about the active ingredient weight. It's a pain, but really is the best way to do it.

 

You can calculate both with the same formula.  mg X .92 = weight  (this gives an 8% reduction use .90 to get a 10% reduction)

60mgpw X .92 = 55mgpw

5mgai X .92 = 4.6mgai

 

We find that it is best to do a percentage reduction instead of an Xmg reduction.  For one it ends up being easier to calculate. But the biggie is that an Xmg taper moves in a straight line and can quickly lead to making reductions that are too large.  While a percentage  reduction moves in a curved line that makes smaller reductions as you go along which is much gentler on the system and causes many less symptoms.

 

The taper you outline is workable, but a bit tedious and will take a very long time, and because of the above reason will cause problems eventually.  I highly recommend the Brassmonkey Slice method.  Many of our members are having great success with it.  This is getting to be a  long complex post, so if you want more information on the Brassmonkey Slide let me know and we can talk about it.

 

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Iowan

Please forgive my ignorance @manymoretodays and @brassmonkey, when it comes to these weights and measurements. I am currently (daily) taking ground up Lexapro powder that weighs 0.052g on my AWS Gemini-20 scale. What does 0.052g convert to in mgpw and what does it convert to in mgai? Once I figure that out, I can properly calculate and report my #'s.

 

The smallest weight measurement (in grams) that my scale measures in is 0.001g. Because of this, how do I accurately do a 2.5% weekly or 10% monthly reduction on 0.052g? At my scales smallest measurement, if I cut from 0.052g to 0.051g next week, it's a 1.92% cut (too little), but if I cut to 0.050g, it's a 3.85% cut (too much). A 2.5% cut would put me at 0.0507g, but I can't accurately measure this on my scale. I'm trying to err on the side of caution and go too little than too much. But when the doses get down between 0.020g and 0.010g, it will basically become impossible for me to continue measuring out and staying within even the 10% monthly cut.

 

@brassmonkey, I'll look for it, but do you have an active link for the Brassmonkey slice method? Thank you!

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Iowan!

 

And thank you brassmonkey for looking on in, and guiding Iowan too!  B)  Much appreciated. 

 

It's not ignorance Iowan.....it CAN be confusing all the math and weighing. 

Really important is that you stick with a consistent method, which you are, with your scale weights and crushed pill powder.

 

Okay we are going with your 5 mg dose strength(or active ingrediant 5mgai) weighing 0.060 gram in pill weight(0.060 gmpw).

 

0.060 grampw is equivalent to 60 milligrampw(60 mgpw)  ( Grams to milligram converter by weight, just keep in mind this IS NOT the same as dose strength or what we refer to as active ingrediant, or ai )

 

So you presently are, by weight, taking .052 gmpw : 52 mgpw  (  the : is for equivalent here)

 

You have 5mgai per 0.060 gmpw

Therefore you then have 4.3 mgai per .052 gmpw( again, this comes out to be 52 mgpw)

This is your present dose strength 4.3 mgai

 

You do want to go slowly and carefully now with your Lexapro taper. 

Below the 5 mg dose, is often when the dose changes can really be felt, or that was what I found.

And it's so great, that you are able to carry on now with work and such. 

 

On April 7 you had updosed to .055 mgpw : 4.58 mgai. 

So you have done an approximate decrease to your present dose and weight of 7% since then.

 

So.....you might be going a bit fast with your taper now.  🤓

Symptoms that you attribute to WD can be a good guide for you too.  You have reported some that are fairly intense and so you might consider slowing down a bit. 

Don't worry too, too much about the final tapers and the .001 gram readings on your scale just yet.......you've got a ways to go before you get there.  I think that brassmonkey did some simple eyeballing of his piles of pill powder, at that point, and just kept dividing them on down, finally jumping off at a pill strength dose less than 1 mgai.

 

I did the make my own liquid with my last medication taper, and jumped off finally, at a higher dose than 1 mg, but the dosing and nature of my medication was different(it wasn't even a AD) and I did okay that way.  I just got familiar with my bodies reactions to each taper and how long the WD symptoms lasted, and did okay.   I do have my own Gem20 now too.....I might use it to taper my melatonin further.

 

The link to the brassmonkey slide method topic is here:  my post to you on April 9

Also a link to microtapering in general, about half way down in that post back on page 1.

There's also some more explanation regarding tapering and how to calculate that might help you pull the information altogether eventually.

You ARE getting there.  I know I could not wrap my head around much math when I got here so don't stress it too much for now........just consider slowing down a bit with your taper.  Does that sound okay?  You are doing real well at this point in time. 

 

Again......no race to the finish line!!  The rule of 3KI's, simple, slow, and stable

And consistent.

 

You're doing great.

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

 

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays
grammar, additional, pw change to ai

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Iowan

By implementing the true brassmonkey slide on my next taper (5/19/19), my best case scenario will be that I will be extending my taper completion date to 5/16/21. I believe my withdrawal symptoms / waves are as bad as they are because they're a combination of both tolerance side effects (since I believe I reached tolerance in June of 2018) AND withdrawal symptoms. So my body is both rejecting and craving Lexapro at the same time. That's why I want completely OFF of this Satan spawn drug as quickly as possible! I need to get to zero before I can truly begin healing. 2 more years of these debilitating waves before I reach zero, and then the real healing can actually begin... I've already endured nearly one full year of Hell on earth going through tolerance and withdrawal to this point, and most of that I was paused on my taper, waiting to level out, but never did. This is literally going to suck me dry, and that's IF I can even make it. I mean, how much suicidal ideation can one person endure in week long waves that are dropping now at a pace of more than once per month? This withdrawal process is ridiculous!!! I wasn't even diagnosed with clinical depression when I was prescribed this crap! My GP Dr. just said, here, try this, and I've never been able to get off it. At this point I think I could have started smoking meth and had a better shot at beating addiction and fully recovering at a quicker pace than I do from a small daily dose of Dr. prescribed Lexapro. WTF!!!

 

If I sound angry, it's because I am. I am a broken, BROKEN shell of the man I once was. I've got a loving wife and 4 loving children, ages 6 through 12, that all depend on me. And every few weeks, I have to check out of life while I go into panic attack lock down mode for a solid week. It's only a matter of time before I loose my job, my wife leaves me and my children come to despise me. Thanks a ton Western Medicine and BIG Pharma!

 

I'm trying to attach my taper schedule but not sure if it will take or not.

Iowan Taper.xlsx

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

 

Oh Iowan,

The anger is okay.  And I don't blame you.  neuroemotions

Good expression of it all.  I'm sorry Iowan.  I'm sorry for all of us who just did not know then what we know now and have to suffer/struggle along.

 

1 hour ago, Iowan said:

2 more years of these debilitating waves before I reach zero, and then the real healing can actually begin... I've already endured nearly one full year of Hell on earth going through tolerance and withdrawal to this point, and most of that I was paused on my taper, waiting to level out, but never did.

 

You reported doing okay on the 4.58 mg dose.  (.055 gmpw : 4.58 mgai).  Do you think you might settle better just updosing again and then HOLDING for a couple of months?

Like I said......it can be tough for some, once getting below a 5 mg dose of Lexapro.  And it was for me.  I ran to the hospital voluntarily, because I had no idea what hit me then.

 

The healing is happening Iowan.....even right now.........I mean in that way that your receptors and transmitters slowly recalibrate after the medicine/drug onslaught for years.  You are adapting your trellis so to speak.

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

I was able to view the taper schedule you did.  I could not copy it over but it is viewable. 

Can you make a note in the 3rd column over, as to the dosages in mg or mgai?

And it's okay to be still tapering 2 years from now.  It is Iowan.  Especially if you can reach a better WD stable in the meantime.  So you are not feeling so much like a broken shell of yourself. 

 

In any case.  Keep up the healthy expression......it's good to get it out.  

Don't be negative forecasting on losing it all...........I will wave my wand and dispel that notion now!

 

Best to you Iowan,

L,P, H, and G,

mmt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays
removed longer quote

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brassmonkey

MMT is giving you a ton of great information, but there is one other link that you should read through: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/17909-are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take/?tab=comments#comment-354114  This is just one chapter of a much longer post but pertains directly to what you're feeling.  When you get a chance it would be a good idea to read the entire post.

 

ADWD can be a very long and frustrating process even when it's done right.  But it's not all pain and suffering.  Once stable and carefully reducing the dose a person should feel improvements as they progress and enjoy a better quality of life.  If a taper is rushed then all sorts of symptoms can spring up and take a long time to sort out.  We have found that it is much quicker to take it slow than to try and get off of these drugs right now.

 

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Iowan

Thanks again @manymoretodays and @brassmonkey. I suffered my first week long wave in June of 2018, while I was on my full dose of 10mg Lexapro that I had been taking this time for the past 3.5 years straight. I was NOT tapering. It was a REALLY BAD wave that I believe was due to reaching tolerance. It lasted a week and slowly faded away. Per the stint that I spent in the hospital late 2016/early 2016, I recognized that it was due to Lexapro, and wanted OFF and NOW!!! Per recommendation from my Naturopathic Dr, I actually began my taper a month later (July 2019), after I had experienced roughly a full month of a window. My recommended taper was a 50% drop, from a 10mg pill to a 5mg pill. (I realize TOO great of a cut, but too much time went by before it was recommended I updose.) I have cycled through so many week long waves and weeks long windows between that July 2018 taper and 3/17/19, when I began my taper again, that I lost track. Waves overall were getting better, I think, but they were still lasting roughly a full week and were awful. I was NOT leveling out. Not even close. I'm not going to risk updosing anywhere close to 10mg again either. The risk is too great, and I believe it would be counter productive because I believe I reached tolerance, like I said. I'm also unwilling to pause for months or years again in a futile attempt to level out.

 

So, I suffered my first wave when I wasn't even tapering. I wasn't leveling out as I paused my taper for 9 months. I'm not leveling out now as I have continued my slow taper. So, in short, I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I've decided that the best plan for me is to continue tapering at a rate that I will undoubtedly keep suffering week long waves with, but am at least able to survive. I can't wait to level out, because leveling out just ain't gonna happen for me. At least not until I get to zero, or well past zero. And then it's not even a guarantee, but it's the ONLY thing I have to shoot for.

 

I realize I am at least partially 'healing' now as I am going through my taper process, but because I'm still suffering week long waves with suicidal ideation, among other horrible things, I won't consider it actual healing until my waves become MUCH more manageable. And again, because I believe tolerance is contributing to my waves, I'm not optimistic that my waves will let up much until I get this poison completely out of my system. I will do back flips if I'm wrong, but I have my well justified reservations.

 

Does this make sense? I am not going to pause for months or years, just to continue suffering week long waves of Hell. I don't know how long I could endure that torture, but I'm certain it would be a finite amount of time before I reached my threshold. And I can't/won't do that.

 

That's why I've decided to continue pushing through this, even though I'm not leveling out. My 2nd overall taper on 3/17/19 from 60mgpw to 50mgpw was more than I could tolerate, so because only 3 weeks had passed, I updosed to 55mgpw and quickly pulled out of my wave. Now, that wave had already lasted about a week, so I can't guarantee that I wouldn't have pulled out of it like all others prior, or if the updose contributed to ending it. But, a couple weeks later, holding at 55mgpw, I ended up suffering another week long wave, so I didn't level out after updosing to that point either.

 

So, I will continue manageable tapers until I reach zero. If I suffer waves that are more than I can handle, I'll pause, but don't plan on updosing unless absolutely necessary.

 

I'm so focused on pushing forward with this because of the fact that I'm dealing with a double edged sword. (1) I will continue to suffer 'Tolerance' side effects / waves as long as I have Lexapro in my system. (2) I must taper extremely slowly, or my 'Withdrawal' symptoms / waves will become worse than what I can endure. (3) I will continue suffering 'Withdrawal' symptoms / waves until I have reached zero and be completely off of Lexapro for some time. (4) It's no guarantee that I'll EVER stop suffering these waves even well after I reach zero.

 

Again, I truly appreciate all of the help and feedback, but I am clear minded this afternoon and the only emotion I feel regarding this entire withdrawal process is ANGER!!! I smoked a little MJ when I was younger and drank like a fish for a few years, but I never touched hard drugs. My ******* Dr turned me into a damn crack addict by prescribing me this stuff. Worse than a crack addict. And I NEVER had a single one of the symptoms that I experience within my waves. Nothing even remotely close. A 3 minute consult and then, "Here, try this, it seems to work for some people." Then a pat on the back and sent me on my way... 17 years later, many attempts to get off of Lexapro, several disagreements with my Dr's about Lexapro, one stint in the hospital, and a year of dealing with Hellish waves of suicidal ideation later, and here I am... Still a minimum of 2 years out from being off of this crap, and probably another year or few to fully recover beyond that, IF I'm able to fully recover.

 

Sorry for the rant. I've tried to remain optimistic through all of this. Today. Today, I'm angry.

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RichT

I don’t blame you for being angry!

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Iowan

I got nearly a full nights sleep the night before and I did get a full nights sleep last night. I'm still shaken and feel pretty beat up and blue this morning, but it will pass in time. I am confident that my current wave is nearly or completely OVER! Praise God!!! So, overall, this wave was better than most, to date, and it did not run for a full 7 days. So, I'm counting my blessings!

 

I want to again Thank MMT and Brassmonkey for providing their feedback yesterday. After reading through my posts, I apologize for being so repetitive and negative (angry). I am where I am, and I need to make the best out of that, no matter where it may be. I look forward to the day that I stop suffering from these debilitating waves. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if it takes me another 2+ years to reach zero Lexapro, as long as I continue recovering. My #1 goal is to simply get there.

 

This entire WD process has changed and continues to change me. I look forward to the man I will be when this is all finally over. I'm confident he won't be anything like the man I was just prior to WD.

 

Don't get me wrong, I do have some anger about my situation (and our situations), but I'm not letting it dominate my state of mind. Every once in a while, it does tend to best me though. Like yesterday afternoon.

 

God Bless!

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Longestroadhome

Hi Logan, I don’t visit here much these days but was having a sleepless night and decided to check the site. I too was a heavy drinker but with God’s help I have been sober for two and a half years.

 

I also spent eleven years on lexapro. The one thing that struck me with your post was the tremendous amount of fear that you experience through the withdrawal process. I can definitely relate and also spent a lot of energy fearing what would happen to me. 

 

Can I just encourage you by saying that the withdrawal process is different for everyone. Try not to think the worst. Read the success stories. There is one by a lady called Nadia that I read over and over because it blessed me so much. Try to stay positive. You can do this.

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manymoretodays

No need to apologize Iowan.

And yes!  So glad your wave has passed!

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

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Iowan

Quick update: On Sunday 5/19/19, I tapered from 52 mgpw to 51 mgpw. (It's difficult to weigh it out to the exact single mgpw, but I just weigh out my dose multiple times if I have to.) I was grumpy the first few days after I rolled out of my latest wave, early last week. Since then, I've been going to sleep pretty early and waking up early. I'm waking up feeling quite melancholy. It's tough to shake. The weather has turned chilly and rainy again these past few days, so that affects things. I'm also not getting good daily exercise lately either, so that's another thing. And I am extremely unhappy in my job. I'm just taking things a day at a time, trying to get into The Word as much as possible and keep myself busy. I'm trying to play games with the kids in the evenings instead of watching TV too. TV is such a complete waste of time.

 

I've recently cut my supplements down to only taking Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) and magnesium, per following advice from reading other SA posts. I sometimes take a probiotic as well, to help with any gut issues I may be having, and Ashwagandha if I'm super stressed out. I'm trying to completely cut soda out of my diet and am consciously making an effort to decrease my overall sugar intake as well. I'm far from being sugar free, but I'm making improvements every week and month. I still drink 1 to 2 cups of coffee daily, and may try cutting that out as soon as I successfully cut soda out. When I roll into a wave, I stop eating and drinking pretty much all together, so I have those times where the caffeine and sugar gets purged from my system. One of the few positives of waves.

 

I'm trying to treat myself well and weathering this storm the best that I can, and chipping away at my daily Lexapro intake, slow and steady.

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Iowan

5/30/19 Update: I rolled out of my last wave on Tuesday, 5/14/19. It lasted 5 days, and was bad, but manageable. Following the wave, I had a week or so of feeling general anxiety and melancholy in the AM, but it would wear off once I got moving. I had to fight my grumpiness all day though. As that faded, I've started waking up at 1 to 2:30 AM and not being able to go back to sleep. Low general anxiety and my mood is pretty good, overall, I just can't go back to sleep. If I do, it's for like 1 to 5 minutes at the most. So, like little cat naps until morning rolls around. I'm pretty tired and am ready for bed at the end of the day, but I'm not exhausted, as my body and brain are still getting rest, even though they're not getting deep sleep, and I don't have the high anxiety and stress kicking the crap out of me all day long.

 

On Sunday, 5/26/19, I tapered from 51 mgpw to 49 mgpw (Lexapro daily), so I'm officially below 50 mgpw!!! YES!!! One small step closer to being off of Lexapro!!! I've attached an updated, and hopefully final, copy of my taper schedule. I'm quickly approaching one year of living within this nightmare of Lexapro tolerance and withdrawal, and I'm finally gaining some confidence that this plan will work and I will eventually be antidepressant and wave free. Again, I appreciate everyone's feedback. If I'd have been doing this by myself, with only the help from my 'medical professional' counsel, I'd be in a MUCH worse state than I am now. I truly appreciate SA and all of you. Thank you.

Taper Schedule.xlsx

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manymoretodays
20 minutes ago, Iowan said:

On Sunday, 5/26/19, I tapered from 51 mgpw to 49 mgpw (Lexapro daily), so I'm officially below 50 mgpw!!! YES!!! One small step closer to being off of Lexapro!!!

 

Hi Iowan!

That's awesome!!!  Small steps should pay off well.

Based on 5 mgai per 60 mgpw.  I come up with your present dose strength of Lexapro to be 4.08 mgai per 49 mgpw.

Rounded up your current dose is 4.1 mgai of Lexapro.

 

Sounds like you are soldiering through the WD, including insomnia/sleep disruption, like a astronaut trooper! 

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

 

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Iowan

Thanks @manymoretodays. Going back isn't an option and I know I have a full blessed life ahead of me that I want to live, so soldiering through is my ONLY option. Surviving / enduring the waves is the roughest part, of which I've had some whoppers, but hopefully, with some much needed grace from God, the worst of my waves are behind me. Moods of general anxiety, insomnia, irritability, melancholy, etc. that come go, aren't pleasant, but are manageable, and quite frankly, may be something I experience throughout the rest of my life. I think that's actually fairly normal, and I can handle it, as long as they don't become overwhelming. Thanks again.

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RichT
1 hour ago, Iowan said:

Thanks @manymoretodays. Going back isn't an option and I know I have a full blessed life ahead of me that I want to live, so soldiering through is my ONLY option. Surviving / enduring the waves is the roughest part, of which I've had some whoppers, but hopefully, with some much needed grace from God, the worst of my waves are behind me. Moods of general anxiety, insomnia, irritability, melancholy, etc. that come go, aren't pleasant, but are manageable, and quite frankly, may be something I experience throughout the rest of my life. I think that's actually fairly normal, and I can handle it, as long as they don't become overwhelming. Thanks again.

 

What a great attitude! I wish I was more like that!

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mdwstrx

Hello Iowan.

Another escitalopram taperer here.  Watching your progress and rooting for you!  I'm currently at 5.5 mg and holding on the Brassmonkey slide for another week before I'm due to cut again.  I really needed the break as the last cut bothered me more than usual.  I'm using liquid so it's been interesting to try to compare our progress. Appreciate MMT translating it all above.  Congrats on getting to 4.08 mg!!   

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Iowan

@RichT & @mdwstrx, I'm happy to contribute. I encourage you both to continue working your tapering schedule and to keep your attitude positive. You are not alone. Setbacks happen and are difficult to endure, but when you're able to pull back and take a higher perspective of the overall WD experience, (above the recent wave or setback), you will see that you have made noticeable improvements since beginning this WD journey. I'm a guy who tends to get buried in the weeds (details), so I have to force myself to take the higher vantage point on things. It has helped me to keep things in perspective. I'm praying for you both.

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RichT

Thanks Iowan!

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Iowan

Turns out the AM insomnia and melancholy I was experiencing last week was actually a manageable wave. It lasted about a week and faded. I still wake 1 to 3 times at night, but I'm able to go back to sleep after I use the restroom, and my melancholy is almost nonexistent. I've just about completed my week at 48 mgpw, and I taper to 47 mgpw on Sunday, June 10th. It feels really good to be chipping away at this and making progress every single week.

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan.

Just saw your May 30th message above to Rich T and I.  Apologies as I didn't see it before.  Thanks for your prayers and support!!.  Much appreciated and needed since I've been on a two week hold from hell.  Having a.m. insomnia and much melancholy as well as inner tension etc.  Preaching to the choir... I know. lol arghhhh

 

Very happy for you that you are set for another cut.  I was due for one today but no way am I able.   Not sure when next one will be.  Have you had to have long holds? If so, did they clear, I'm pretty miserable and hard to be around due to my negativity.  I am posting happy thoughts on my intro to break the cycle since it's not really my natural disposition.   Going to go back over your thread and follow for awhile.  Thanks for the encouragement!  ... and wishing you smooth success on the next cut!

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Iowan

@mdwstrx Yes, my original cut from a 10mg pill of Lexapro to a 5mg pill in June of 2018. Hindsight, now that I've got a ton more support and info, it was too big of a cut all at once. Since I was well past 3 weeks into the cut, I never updosed. I simply held steady at a 5mg pill for nearly a full year. Horrible waves came and went, but I never stabilized. Because of this, and the fact that my first wave came before I ever started to taper, I decided to continue my taper, just at a MUCH slower pace. I decided that if I'm going to be suffering waves no matter what I do, I may as well continue my taper and work towards getting off this poison, instead of continuing to stay put, hoping to stabilize. As long as my waves are not completely debilitating, I will continue tapering. So far, it's working for me.

 

My waves still suck. Some are really bad. Some are pretty mild and very manageable. For me personally, my waves last roughly a full week and then fade. Then I tend to have a few weeks of window before my next wave hits. Right before my waves hit, I actually feel pretty good, if not really good. Almost normal. So I KNOW I am healing and will eventually be 100% healed. It's just gonna take time.

 

Best of luck to you! Keep at it.

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Iowan

I've experienced some rougher than 'normal' mornings the last couple of days. Yesterday was rough almost all day in general. Early morning insomnia. Mush brain. General feeling of anxiety. Manageable, but kind of hit me out of the blue. I feel like I've shaken it for the most part as of now, but will see how I feel tomorrow AM. Since I've become much more religious (Christian) recently, my eyes have been opened to how much I actually sin. I woke up yesterday morning and my anxiety fixated on some of my recent intentional sinful actions. I know, it sounds hokey, but it really jammed me up. I think it would be a non-issue if I wasn't going through Lexapro withdrawal. My feelings of anxiety just found something to cling to and I haven't been able to completely shake it yet. But, it has been fading.

 

I believe that the Brass Monkey taper method is working well for me. I'm making roughly 1 mgpw weekly cuts in my daily dosage. This past Sunday, I tapered to 47 mgpw. I believe I am experiencing less major waves and higher highs. I'm experiencing more days of general anxiety and early AM insomnia. That's MUCH more manageable than debilitating waves. I don't feel 'normal' most of the time, but I'm not having waves of being locked in the fetal position, crying my eyes out anymore. So, I'll take it. Not saying that I won't have any more of those nasty waves, but so far, so good.

 

I had an a couple of interviews with a different company yesterday and today that went pretty well. The 1st really well, and the 2nd so-so. I think this sparked or added to my anxiety. I have another 2nd interview within my current company next Friday. I'd prefer to stay within my current company, but will see how everything plays out. I'm unhappy within my current position since we transitioned to from the Waterfall methodology to the Agile methodology a year ago. I'm wanting a change, but have anxiety about the possibility of being even more unhappy in any 'new' position that I may take.

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Iowan

Ugh! Insomnia sucks! Fell asleep around 9:00 PM and woke up a touch after 3:00 AM. 6 hours of sleep is much better than no sleep, but these repetitive 3 o-clock mornings wipe me out. Too groggy to read in the early morning hours, so I watch a lot of TV to pass the time. Any suggestions for the insomnia I'm enduring? I've read that low doses of melatonin, such as 0.3-0.5 mg at bedtime, will be helpful. Is melatonin a no-no, like 5HTP is, at least until I get completely off of my Lexapro? Lack of sleep exacerbates all of my other crummy withdrawal symptoms, so if I could just get some help in this area, I feel it would greatly help my withdrawal and recovery process.

 

I updated my signature just now too.

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Kostas

What if you simply try gradually to sleep later on, towards midnight, and thus wake up much later, around 6 a. m? 

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