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

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Iowan

2.000 mgai / 31 mgpw / 90% Taper COMPLETE!

 

I hit a milestone on Sunday. I have officially completed 90% of my SSRI taper and only have 10% remaining. The GREAT news of my new job beginning a week from today has taken SO MUCH stress off of me. I am really looking forward to getting started. I also stopped drinking coffee cold-turkey on Friday the 13th. I can't tell you all how much better I'm sleeping now that I've alleviated some heavy stress and eliminated a majority of my caffeine intake, (I still drink a soda from time to time). I almost immediately went from getting up 2 to 3 times a night to urinate to getting up only once, and it's right around 5:30 AM. It's AWESOME!!!

 

I still have high shoulder / low neck pain right on my spine that comes and goes, but as long as it isn't constant, it's manageable.

 

Can't wait to be 100% complete with my taper. I know it's not the end of my healing process, but it's a goal I'm shooting for nonetheless.

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PH1

That is great to hear, Iowan!    You've come a long way!

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ChessieCat

Adding this here for your record:

 

5 hours ago, Iowan said:

@brassmonkey THANK YOU!!! I had attempted to read your essay within some pretty heavy initial waves, and I just couldn't wrap my brain around it all. Now that my ADWD has improved and I've stabilized, I've been able to read and digest the entire thing, and it all makes SO MUCH SENSE now!!! I've experienced most of what you've written about and if I would have just read and followed this to begin with, I could have potentially avoided a good majority of the pain and suffering that I've endured. Slow and steady wins this ADWD race. I'm at a 90% total reduction of my SSRI this week with the remaining 10% ahead of me. I realize the next few years won't be without their waves, but I've fully accepted the situation that I'm in and believe that the worst is behind me. Thank God!

 

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Iowan

1.871 mgai / 29 mgpw

 

So, I've had a really good 2 to 3 weeks. I started my new job strong last Monday. But, I made a mistake. With this job change I decided to switch the time I take my Lexapro from before bed (PM) to before work (AM). On Thursday, I began feeling the glitch of a wave coming on. Friday was kind of rough, so I switched back to taking my med to before bed Friday night. Friday, Saturday, and now Sunday nights, I've woken up around 2 and have been unable to go back to sleep. High anxiety and insomnia the first 2 nights, and mostly just insomnia and random thoughts the 3rd. I spent a lot of time on my couch this weekend. Ugh... I know it's temporary and I'm weathering the storm, but it's still very unpleasant. Now that I'm in the last portion of my taper and my dosage is low, I know that any minor changes can really mess with my progress, including switching the time I take my med. I'm a bonehead sometimes.

 

Since I only had my AM schedule for 4 days, I'm going to keep my PM med schedule for a couple of weeks to see if I level out again. I imagine I will, but it's just going to take time. My CNS is a little upset with me and I'm suffering the consequences. All in all, it's a manageable wave, so far, but it still stinks. One of these days, I'll only have memories of this time in my life, and won't be living these dreadful waves anymore. I thank God for carrying me and not abandoning me through this. I also thank God for directing me to this group. I'd be in a much worse spot if I didn't have this resource and all of you.

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Gridley
3 hours ago, Iowan said:

I decided to switch the time I take my Lexapro from before bed (PM) to before work (AM).

If you want to switch from PM to AM, we recommend moving back the time you take the drug by one hour a day.  For example, if you normally take it at 10PM, take it at 9PM for one day, 8PM for one day, etc. until you reach the AM time you want.

 

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Iowan

1.742 mgai / 27 mgpw / 91.29% Taper COMPLETE!

 

I ended up leveling out after about 5 days, for the most part. I won't be switching my dosage time from PM to AM again. My new job is going well and I've been cutting & splitting wood and building fence in my free time, trying to get it all done before the snow starts to fly. I'm an avid outdoors man and hunter. Archery deer season started October 1st. I had Columbus Day off and a cold front moved in, so decided to take a day for myself and go hunting. My first full hunt of the season and I harvested the highest scoring buck of my lifetime, just before sunset. I didn't realize I could still get that excited! It felt GREAT, and lasted for days! I keep coming back to the thought that God blessed me with that experience due to the past 18 months of Hell that I've endured. I am so grateful that I didn't submit to the darkness and demons, and that I'm still here to enjoy the life that I've been blessed with. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm happy and know that I can overcome any bump in the road that I encounter.

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan.  I'm so happy for you!  Your posts really inspire me to continue to taper.  1.7 mg is great!  I'm at 4.6 mg so it will  be awhile for me.  Are you you still doing 2.5% weekly tapers on the bm slide?  I am only able to do an average of 2% weekly.  The last 2 weeks hold is usually a bit of a rough patch for me but nothing like acute wd.  With the holidays coming up, I may need to slow down a bit so as not to disrupt with any mood issues.  

 

I also love the outdoors.  God is good and it's where I feel the closest to Him usually. :) 

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Iowan
6 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Hi Iowan.  I'm so happy for you!  Your posts really inspire me to continue to taper.  1.7 mg is great!  I'm at 4.6 mg so it will  be awhile for me.  Are you you still doing 2.5% weekly tapers on the bm slide?  I am only able to do an average of 2% weekly.  The last 2 weeks hold is usually a bit of a rough patch for me but nothing like acute wd.  With the holidays coming up, I may need to slow down a bit so as not to disrupt with any mood issues.  

 

I also love the outdoors.  God is good and it's where I feel the closest to Him usually. :) 

 

Thanks @mdwstrx. I'm sticking to a version of the BM Slide taper method. I say 'a version' because once I hit 31 mgpw, I decided to try tapering 1 mgpw per week, where the BM Slide was showing that I should hold there for an additional week before I tapered to 30 mgpw. So, today, I'm at 27 mgpw, where the true BM Slide would have me at 29 mgpw. For the month of October, I will have tapered 13.33%, where the BM Slide would have had me taper 9.68%. I'm not condoning this for anyone else, and if/when I ever run into issues with it, I intend on holding until I stabilize and re-instituting the true BM Slide again at that time. If I'm able to stay the course with tapering 1 mgpw weekly from this point forward, I will shave roughly 14 months off of my entire taper. I imagine as I get into the lower dosages, (e.g. 10-1 mgpw or even sooner), I'll have to increase my hold times between my 1 mgpw tapers. It's working well for me so far, so I'm going to stay the course until I run into trouble.

 

I LOVE seeing God in his creations.

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Iowan

1.355 mgai / 21 mgpw / 93.23% Taper COMPLETE!

 

Just dropping by to check-in. I'm a couple of months into my new job and am still pleased with it. Every day is an adventure. That comes with its share of stress, along with its share of enjoyment. The stress is nothing compared to my previous position, and my recently developed coping skills help me deal with it more productively. Waves still come and go periodically, and still last roughly 5 days, but they continue to become more and more manageable. I believe higher stress levels have something to do with kicking them off, or maybe I've got higher stress (at least in part) due to my SSRI taper. Whatever the case, I tend not to have waves if I'm able to keep my stress in check. Once a wave gets started though, it's almost guaranteed to last the full duration. They rarely ever stop short. I'm operating at nearly 100% most of the time outside of my waves now (in my windows). I see the light at the end of the tunnel, to a time in the near future where I no longer have waves. Just one big window. It's tough for me to read back through my notes and search my memories from the past year and a half or so. (I understand why many people on here disappear once they get on the road to healthy recovery. It's just too dang hard to take yourself back to talk about what you've been through.) I was in a REALLY bad place and I can honestly say that outside of God carrying me through the roughest patches, the people and information on this SA website have been the best help and guidance I have received through this journey. I thank you ALL. I will continue to check in periodically and leave a status update. If/when I run into any bad waves or real trouble, I will simply hold my taper for an extra week or few and weather the storm. This entire process has taught me patience. God Bless! Iowan

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan,

Good to hear your recent update! It's great that the new job is still pleasant and an adventure. :)  I'm especially happy to hear the taper is going well. 

You have come this far so tread cautiously!  They say the lower the harder the wd.

 

I'm now at 4.1 mg. and holding until after the holiday so as not to complicate it with WD.  Afterwards, the Lord willing, I plan aggressively stick with

the 2.5 mg weekly reduction to make some headway.  

 

Please keep updating and wishing you a very Merry Christmas! 🎄

Md

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Iowan

1.097 mgai / 17 mgpw / 94.52% Taper COMPLETE!

 

If all goes well, I will be complete with my taper in 4 months, (April 25th). Exercise and low to now caffeine, especially after 12:00 PM, are key components for me. I can tell if I don't get enough exercise in a day, or if I had caffeine past mid morning. I wake up several times at night, don't get many total hours of sleep, and spend my early morning hours dealing with moderate to high anxiety. Anxiety dissipates quickly once I get moving and busy. Everything has been extremely manageable for me over these past few months though, so I don't have any complaints. I'm not suffering ANY of the severe WD symptoms like I have in the past. My waves are continuing to become more and more subtle and manageable. The last one I had was more of me just being grumpy and restless for a few days. I SO can't wait to be done with Lexapro! There are a few more months of winter left, and the lack of sunshine and warm weather does tend to grind me down in February and March, but I have no doubt I'll make it through to spring with flying colors. I'm loving life and enjoying every day I'm allowed to make progress. God bless you all.

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jozeff

Hi Iowan,

 

good to hear your tapering is going ok!

 

Ive been having a lot of doubt about my caffeine intake as well. I try to taper that at the moment.

 

I drink about 6 cups of coffee (125 m (4.2 oz) each and about 1400 ml (50 oz) of diet coke every day and  I have the feeling that might be getting too much for me somehow.

 

I have been drinking this for years but somehow it doesn't feel right. Lots of anxiety and feeling very low after few hours but very happy right after drinking coffee. It is hard not to drink ik because it makes me feel great for 20 minutes or so.

DId you have mood symptoms due to caffeine intake?

 

another question: how fast did you taper from 10 mg to 5 mg lexapro? It did take a year or so to level out is that correct?  The reason I ask is that I never ever felt stable on citalopram except for the first half year or so. Have been tapering for 1.5 year with an updose on between to stabilize. After how many months on the same dose did you feel stable?

 

I hope you will be tapering down to zero in april!

 

Great to hear you are loving life again after such horrible symptoms

 

good luck and cheers

 

Jozeff

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mdwstrx

Congrats on getting so low with such little symptoms!  Very, very happy for you.  :) 

I pray things go well for you but also for all of us who are following in your footsteps. 

We're cheering you on but... we also want you to be safe and cautious.   This drug

is powerful and you've come so far.  Pls, don't take unnecessary risks...  you're almost there!💜

 

 

 

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Iowan

 

@jozeff, out of all the supplements and vitamins I've taken over the course of my WD, nothing has compared to cutting back on my caffeine intake. I know what you're saying about it making you feel great for like 20 minutes after you drink it. Coffee and energy drinks do the same for me. I know if I ever would have tried hard street amphetamines, I would have been hooked for life. It's hard to believe that your daily caffeine intake can impact your sleep at 1, 2, 3, etc. in the AM, but it can and does. The best way to put it to the test it to cut it out for a day or two and see how much better you sleep and how much less anxiety you have when you wake. I can't say I have suffered any mood symptoms decreasing my caffeine intake, but I can say that if I over do it, I get extremely irritable.

 

Unfortunately for me, I tapered from 10 mg to 5 mg in one 50% taper. One of the stupidest things I've ever done. Nearly broke me mentally, physically and emotionally. I held at 5 mg for 8 months and don't think I ever stabilized. I ended up continuing with my taper at that point, figuring I had nothing to lose because I had already cooked my noodle. Things did eventually get better in time, but I have to give credit to the BrassMonkeySlide taper method for that. It made all the difference in the world for me.

 

Thanks and best of luck and prayers for you as well.

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Iowan

Thanks @mdwstrx. I'm taking it slow and steady, ready to hold at any specific dose if/when things ever go haywire again. Life could throw me a curve ball, but I'm betting I can make it to zero by April. That's the goal I'm shooting for anyway. Other than brief moments of CTing my Lexapro in the past, I will be able to be absolutely free of this poison for the first time in something like 18-1/2 years. Dang that doesn't even seem possible! My life is already so much better and improving daily. I can't wait to see how I feel this time next year, and the year after that.

 

Occasionally, I'll repeat in my head what my Dr's said to me, "You have a chemical deficiency and you need to take this. It's like a vitamin for you, that you need.". I can't believe that I and SO MANY others fell for these lies. When what we really needed was help in getting off of this junk, that I for one, shouldn't have been put on in the first place...

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Iowan

0.968 mgai / 15 mgpw / 95.16% Taper COMPLETE!

 

Just stopping in to provide a quick update. Life is rolling along pretty uneventfully, and that's fine by me. It's COLD here in Iowa today and I'm catching a cold, but both will pass in time. I'm leveling out more and more day by day. I just weighed out my dosage for today at 0.015 g, and in case you're wondering how much a 2" square Post-It note weighs, it weighs 0.414 g. I'm SO close to getting this demon monkey off my back, I can taste it. All my best to those of you who are currently enduring or have endured the long and arduous task of tapering off of this man-made AD poison. I thank God for this group. I tell anybody who will listen, that if you're going through something, the best advice will come from those who have been there before you. Seek out a quality group of people who have gone through or are going through something similar. Dr's will simply write you a prescription for a drug they know little or nothing about and send you on your way, forgetting your name before you ever walk out their door.

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mdwstrx

So happy for you Iowan!  It must be such a relief to know you're almost there.  

My calcs put me a year out from where you are assuming I can manage a 10% monthly taper.

Praying it all goes smoothly for you from here on out.  Really appreciate the updates as it gives us all hope.  

md

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PH1

Great update, Iowan!    You are definitely getting close to being off Lexapro.    God bless you moving ahead and thanks for sharing your journey.

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Iowan

0.581 mgai / 9 mgpw / 97.10% Taper COMPLETE!

 

I wish all of my updates could be good news, but they aren't. I've been making great progress up until late last week. Heavy work stress has kicked off another wave, and it's a pretty bad one. Insomnia, loss of appetite, racing thoughts, irritability, etc., the whole gambit. I am working my way through it, but dang do I look forward to not having to endure these anymore. I am SO TIRED, but sleep eludes me. Adrenaline has me alerting to wake every time I begin to dose off. It's so unpleasant.

 

It may be time for me to increase the time I stay at each taper level. I've been making 1 mgpw drops every week from 30 mgpw to where I'm at today, 9 mgpw. A 1 mgppw drop is now a 10% cut at these lower dosages. I think I'll hang out here for 2, 3 or 4 weeks before beginning my taper again.

 

God bless to all still struggling. Hang in there. It sucks, I know, but it's worth it. The long windows I've been having have been treating me well and bring me comfort that I will get through this wave, just like all the rest.

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Iowan

INSOMNIA!!! I got maybe an hour and a half of sleep early in the evening, but then woke up and wasn't able to get to sleep the rest of the night. The same as my early gut wrenching waves. I would start to drift off and then be jolted back awake by an adrenaline rush associated with a random off-the-wall thought. I experienced this maybe 1 to 2 times per minute through the entire night, so I am absolutely EXHAUSTED. I'm in ROUGH shape today. I dropped my dose from 10 mgpw to 9 mgpw on Sunday, so I think I'll bump back up to 10 mgpw and stay at that dose for 2 to 4 weeks. I was doing SO WELL too! I got through all of the waves to this point and I'll get through this one too. Please pray for me that I pull out of this wave soon, or that it at least eases up a bit and allows me to get some sleep.

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Junglechicken

@Iowan

 

You've GOT THIS!!!

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Frogie

@Iowan

 

YOU will make it! 
 

We are all rooting for you!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx

Prayers sent Iowan!  🙏

 

 

@Frogie is such a great source

of encouragement (among others), 

when you look at her successful taper! 

We will get there too. No need to rush.  :)

 

Md🌼

 

 

 

 

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Frogie
11 minutes ago, mdwstrx said:

Prayers sent Iowan!  🙏

 

 

@Frogie is such a great source

of encouragement (among others), 

when you look at her successful taper! 

We will get there too. No need to rush.  :)

 

Md🌼

 

 

 

 

@mdwstrx

 

Thanks. Made lots of mistakes, but I will be off 11 months the end of this month.

 

If everyone follows the mods suggestions, as they are the experts here, you will have a successful taper!

 

Like you said, nice and slow 😊 you WILL get there!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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jozeff

You will be perfectly fine. Just read all your comments again and although this is pretty rough for you now. ..you will absolutely succeed.

Just make sure not to rush things right now.

 

9 mgpw doesn't sound like an awful lot but make sure to check the receptor occupancy for Lexapro. From more than 1 mg per day to zero is quite a big step and personally I wouldn't do that in a couple of weeks.

Don't want to spoil things for you. Just take it slow. You have come such a long way! No need to go too fast near the end.

 

Keep up the good work!!!!

 

 

Cheers

 

Jozeff

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PH1

You’ll get through this!   It’s just a bump in the road and you’ll be looking back at this before you know it.  Praying for you, Iowan.

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Iowan

Update: I began pulling out of my wave on Thursday night when my brain allowed me to get some actual sleep. Thank God! It was a horrible one, but only lasted a handful of days.

 

I've bumped back up to 10 mgpw and intend to hold here for a total of 1 month. From here on out, I plan to do my 1 mgpw increment tapers once per month, so I should be done with my taper around the end of 2020. With the powder form I'm using, 1 mgpw is the smallest unit of measurement my scale is capable of calculating. I don't intend on going to liquid, so this is the game plan I'm sticking with.

 

Thank you all for your support! Iowan

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Iowan

Covid-19 talk everywhere I turn. I'm personally not too concerned, but it's an atmosphere of stress and fear everywhere, and it's getting to me too. I blew up on my kids on Sunday afternoon for consistently not doing what they're told. I was so angry, I thought I might suffer a heart attack.

 

Sunday evening, I felt ashamed of my words and actions. Then I couldn't sleep past 2:30 AM, due to anxiety and beating up on myself. My brain barely functioned all day Monday. Then last night, I woke up at 11:30 PM and fell asleep and woke up hundreds of times. Repetitive abstract thoughts would shock me awake. Then vomiting started around 5:30 AM.

 

I'm so ready to be done with this. I took melatonin b4 bed last night. Nothing seems to work for me when I'm in these waves. I just have to suffer through them, and they're awful. Getting through this post is almost impossible.

 

My waves are few and far between, unless I'm stressed out. What do others do to combat the insomnia? I pray I don't continue experiencing these types of waves after I'm done.

 

God bless.

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan.

Sorry to hear about the insomnia.  It can be a beast if it gets out of hand.

I've read where moderators have encouraged folks to hold for some time

if things get tough at the lower levels.  Are you at 1.097 mgai now? 

Your signature suggest this.  

 

I'm at 2.65 mgai.  I taper weekly and hold for two.  I notice that each taper 

brings nights of broken sleep shortly after the taper.  It usually resolves 

by the next taper.  It's happening a bit more often as I get lower.

 

I can't give advice but I'm sure if you ask a mod by using the @ symbol, 

you'll get an answer.  Also Brassmonkey is working on the end game

taper article in the tapering section if you haven't seen. 

 

Md 🙏

 

 

 

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Iowan

Seems like a broken record for me lately, but dang, I am in the throws of another BAD wave. I'm down to 5 mgpw and I'm struggling. I'm not handling stress well at all and the world is full of it. Thank God I still have my job, but working from home adds more stress, because I never get a break from this place or my family. COVID, riots, and basically everything in the news gets me all wound for sound. So, I try to keep it as simple as possible. Even with that, I'm still going through withdrawal and my taper. I started wigging out late last week. Then on Saturday and Sunday, I fixated on fixing things and cleaning around the house. The more I did, the more I uncovered that needed to be done. I got totally spun out on Sunday and haven't had more than a few hours of sleep since Friday. Same old story of easily falling asleep, then waking up at 1, being exhausted, but being shocked back to awake every time I start drifting off. It's absolutely maddening. My brain is NOT functioning the way that it needs to in order for me to do my work. I spent a good hour with my face in carpet around 4 this morning, crying my eyes out and begging God to take this from me. I feel SO lost. I pray this wave comes to an end in the next day or two. Sorry for the rambling, I'm not running at full capacity. Please pray for me. I'm continuing to make progress, but this last little bit has been kicking my butt. Every wave that I endure, I say that I don't know how much more of this I can take, but then I make it through. I still don't know where my limit is, but dang is it being pushed every time. Yep, I just dozed off there for 20 seconds, to be waken with an electric shock. Lovely. I pray this wave passes and that I stop enduring these eventually after I get completely off of this stupid Lexapro.

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan.

I continue to pray for you.  I had an uncharacteristically rough time after my last taper and was advised

to hold a couple months.  Day 40 of hold and I'm emerging from the turbulent place I was  in.  You may

also want to consider a hold.  I was reminded the right attitude is to see how low you can go functionally,

not how fast. That perspective helps me immensely, especially knowing the Lord has this for 

us both. 

 

Md🌤️

 

PS: If you're not aware of the Headspace app - it is awesome.  Helps me immensely.

 

 

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Iowan

I appreciate the advice @mdwstrx, I truly do. My brain/body not allowing me to go back to sleep (being jolted awake as I drift off), drives me absolutely mad. My wife had to literally monitor me last night to make sure I didn't leave to go put myself out of my misery. I hate to admit that I was at that point again last night, but a person can only endure so much, and I am not functioning correctly. I am scared and exhausted. I am tapering slowly, I'm just toward the end of my taper and REALLY struggling. I don't know what to do. I call on God constantly, but I get to points where I want stop enduring this Hell on earth and just go be with God instead. I'm in a really bad place right now. I'm sorry to dump on everyone with my current situation, but I feel like I've reached the end of my rope. Thanks for listening, Iowan

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mdwstrx

 

7 hours ago, Iowan said:

 I call on God constantly, but I get to points where I want stop enduring this Hell on earth and just go be with God instead. I'm in a really bad place right now. I'm sorry to dump on everyone with my current situation, but I feel like I've reached the end of my rope. Thanks for listening, Iowan

 

God hears you.  But you know that. Nothing can separate you from Him but your own doubts and fear.

These neuro emotions that you're experiencing and what I am emerging from, is our reality during them.

But it's a reality that is chemically induced.  It will stop.  There is light at the end.  

As emotionally and physically painful as it is, it's temporary.

 

When I first entered into acute w/d, I saw a YouTube video of a gal in extreme w/d from CT that terrified me.  

That was in 11/18.  She was the worst case I've ever seen.  I stabilized but continued checking on her

agonizing journey, praying for her improvement. Suddenly, in the last two months, she is stabilizing and

returning to her old self!  Over three years for her but she is now rejoicing... it's temporary!  Praise God! 

 

Iowan, please listen to your intellect over your pain and don't make a temporary thing permanent.  🙏💜

 

@brassmonkey  is currently writing guidance on the endgame taper and maybe he can give you insight

as he did for me a couple of weeks ago.  His excellent advice is working for me.

 

Md

🌼

 

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brassmonkey

Hi Iowan-- I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble. I've got a feeling that a 2.5% Brassmonkey Slide may have been too aggressive. What would be your view on updosing just a bit to say 1.2mgai followed by a long hold?

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Iowan

Praise Christ!!! I got sleep last night! My brain rolled out of red alert / panic mode and allowed me to sleep! Thank you @mdwstrx. You hit the nail on the head with your comments and I read it yesterday just when I needed it. I had to wipe my tears of despair away to make it through the end.

 

@brassmonkey, I'm currently sitting at 5-mgpw which equates to 0.323-mgai, so if I bumped up to 1.2-mgai, I'm pretty sure it would completely destroy what little delicate brain I have left. (I need to update my signature.) I think it's best that I just do a LONG hold where I'm at, since my last taper was from 6-mgpw 3 weeks ago. Since my next taper brings me down to 4-mgpw, I'll have reached the limitations of my scale. I'll have to eyeball out my taper cuts down from there. I pray all goes well over the next few months.

 

This has been one hell of a ride! If I had a choice, I'd have gotten off LONG ago.

 

Thank you all for your words of advice and prayers.

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brassmonkey

@Iowan-- please forgive me. I appear to have gotten lost in the numbers and have told you a number that is way to high for the reinstatement.  If you are currently taking 0.323mgai  then upping the dose to 0.5 would be more appropriate. I've gone back through your recent posts and can't find where where I came up with that higher number. I don't think the single time of taking the higher dose will cause any problems though.

 

Please let me know how things work out.

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