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Iceman: Intro and open to advice


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Hello everyone - the amount of discussion on this forum is substantial - having a hard time combing through it all, so I'll just state my situation and if anyone has advice, I'm open to hearing.  Thanks for your time.


Age - mid 30's now.  11 years ago diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder.

Paxil - 6 years straight, 20 mg.  Really helped.  Hated side affects though.  Low drive, some emotional flattening, and weight gain.  Gained 40-50 pounds.

Nothing - 5 years. felt I could handle without it, tapered in 3 weeks, seemed okay!  5 years were good, always had background anxiety, but handled it.  It was low and do-able. Lost weight (mostly due to lost appetite though, heh)

Celexa - 10 months, 10 mg.  Had a family crisis (ish), Anxiety peaked and didn't go away. Took meds, leveled things out again.  Going on was weird, had a weird brain fog thing that lasted a couple of weeks. Low drive, weight gain happened again.  Always hungry. 

Nothing - 2 months. Felt like I had it under control.  Tapered in 2 weeks. Struggled hard.  Lost lots of sleep. Restless. Sleep finally got better (using topical magnesium on legs, actually helps to keep legs quiet).


Current situation: Been going to chiropractor for 4 weeks so far (2-3 times a week)- not helping. Stable, loving family with wife and kids. Fairly even, low/medium stress job (i've had worse).  No crushing debts or anything.

Current symptoms:

Restlessness (I move a lot, bounce my leg, rock back and forth, etc.  Always have to be honest, but more pronounced now, and annoying). Doc says its not akathesia cause its always been there.

General Fatigue - been fairly pronounced the past 2-3 weeks.  legs, arms, hands are tired, feel weak. Fully functional though.  No loss of balance or anything like that.

Anxiety - comes and goes in waves, but in general, pretty high.  I still go to work and function though.  No depressed. Just that anxious feeling of "I'm about to take a final exam" all the time feeling. 


Doctor says the restlessness and fatigue are due to the physical manifestations of the anxiety, its toll on my body. He recommends going back on the meds.  he is offering non-weight gain option, like effexor. All lowest doses, of course. 

I'm concerned about going back on meds. But guys, somethings got to change. This anxiety is really sucking my life away it feels like.  At least on the meds, it was evened out and I found more joy in life than what's going on now.  This anxiety is a constant block on my life and it affects my family. I just hate the side effects. Wish I could go back to the days (that 5 year period) where I didn't need anything.  My body's not having it though. 


Advice?  I assume there will be no advice on WHICH med I go back on, if I do.  I'm also interested in what some people thing about what causes it - there has been quite a bit of discussion about how anxiety is NOT a chemical imbalance, but haven't seen much info on what it IS though.  That is a side discussion though, really just looking for advice on my situation right now.  Somethings got to change, and if I can't find the answer, then back to the meds I go (unwillingly, but for the good of my family). I fully understand you guys aren't doctors, but you're survivors and if anyone found solid ways to remove anxiety without the meds, I'm open. Its not enough to get off the meds, I have to get rid or minimize the reason I went on them to begin with.


Thank you in advance.  

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  • Administrator

Hi, Iceman.


Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.


From what you wrote, it looks like Celexa was your last antidepressant and you've been off it for two months. Is this correct?


If so, you may wish to reinstate. Antidepressants are notorious for a delayed withdrawal, especially for people who've been off and on them before. It causes a kindling effect to the nervous system, so subsequent withdrawals can be worse.


Here is some information should you decide to reinstate a small amount and then do a slow taper off: 


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Tips for tapering off Celexa (citalopram)


2 hours ago, Iceman said:

Advice?  I assume there will be no advice on WHICH med I go back on, if I do.  I'm also interested in what some people thing about what causes it - there has been quite a bit of discussion about how anxiety is NOT a chemical imbalance, but haven't seen much info on what it IS though. 


Anxiety can be many things. Too much sugar or caffeine. Could be alcohol, even social drinking for people who have sensitive nervous systems. It could be unresolved trauma and / or grief. Could be nutritional deficiencies. Or it could be that you had some anxiety and / or depression that brought you to a doctor for a drug, and those emotions may have resolved on its own, but the drugs made them chronic. Please see:


Now Antidepressant-Induced Chronic Depression Has a Name: Tardive Dysphoria



History We Can’t Overlook Anymore: Details Before the Anti-Depressant Era


Also, once you go on a drug to treat a patch of anxiety or depression, you don't have the opportunity to learn from it and develop better coping skills for future life adversities. So many of us find ourselves in need of learning new skills once we're off these drugs. We refer to these as non-drug coping skills:


Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms


Many of us find mindfulness to be especially helpful for feelings of anxiousness. As my favorite mindfulness guru Mooji says, "Your thoughts are just visitors and you are NOT a hotel! Don't invite them in!"


In other words, just let your anxious thoughts pass by. No need to engage. Let withdrawal be an opportunity for you to practice this. 


Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a regular go-to for people going through withdrawal, especially his body scan: 


Jon Kabat Zinn Body Scan Meditation GUIDED MEDITATION video (45 minutes)


And breathing exercises are also very helpful: 


The Breathing Space by Jon Kabat Zinn video (4 minutes)


Try this at night to ease you into sleep and away from anxious thoughts:


Guided Meditation Deep sleep | anxiety and insomnia relief | relaxation before bedtime video (21 minutes)


 We don't recommend a lot of supplements, as many members report their nervous systems are simply too fragile to handle them. However, magnesium and fish oil tend to be calming to the nervous system and many people report they do help. Please only add in one supplement at a time and at a small dose. For more, please see:


 King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker


Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

As you provide more information, we can better guide you in deciding whether to reinstate or not and provide other information, as well. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 


My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.


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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Iceman, from me too.   In addition to the excellent sources Shep has recommended, we have several non-drug coping skills that have helped many members deal with anxiety.


Dr. Claire Weekes was a physician who did pioneering work on coping with anxiety.  The links here are only a sample of what's on the Internet, so I encourage you to Google her for more.  She has helped me and many other members deal with anxiety.


VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
I've used the following restorative yoga pose to good effect in dealing my anxiety:







Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Iceman: Intro and open to advice

Hi @Iceman & welcome to the group!  I would highly recommend cognitive behavioral therapy! You can find a ton of free resources online they have daily worksheets they talk to you about ways to handle anxiety and just everyday issues even if you end up reinstating for a short time until your symptoms calm down, I would still recommend this because it will help you in the future as well hang in there and stay strong! Sincerely laydefish


Edited by ChessieCat
unbolded font

2 years Drug History Prior to Tapering:

Between 2011 & 2018 I had approximately 58 dose changes between the 4 main medications I took as well as 14 new medications add & taken away.

Prozac (Fluoxetine):(Aug 2016-Dec 2016: 60MG),(June 2017-Nov 2017: 60MG),(Dec 2017: 80MG),(June 2017-Sept 2 2018: 60MG),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 5 2018: 40MG),(Sept 6 2018-Sept 8 2018: 20MG),(Sept 9 2018: 0MG).

Cymbalta:(Jan 2017-May 2017: 60MG).

Cyclobenzaprine: (Aug 2016: 30MG,(Feb 2017: 30MG).

Diazepam (Valium):(Aug 2016-Sept 15 2016: 30MG),(Sept 16 2016-Oct 2017: 15MG),(Nov 2017-Aug 19 2018: 6MG),(Aug 20 2018: 0MG).

Gabapentin:(Aug 2016-Aug 3 2018: 2400MG),(Aug 4 2018-March 26 2019: 2000MG),(March 27 2019-March 30 2019: 1600MG),(May 1 2019: 2000MG)

Hydrocodone:(Aug 2016-Oct 2016: 10-325/4daily),(Nov 2016-Feb 2017: 10-325/3daily),(March 2017-April 2017: 5-325/4daily),(May 2017-April 2018: 10-325/3daily),(June 2018-Aug 25 2018: 10-325/5daily),(Aug 26 2018-Sept 2 2018: 4.5daily),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 10 2018: 10-325/4daily),(Sept 11 2018-Sept 18 2018: 10-325/3daily),(Sept 19 2018-May 1 2019: 10-325/3.5 daily).

Oxycodone: May 2018: 10-325MG/4daily). 

Please see my Intro for full drug history.

         **Forgive Yourself For Not Knowing What You Didn't Know Before You Knew It!  -Maya Angelou/

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The getselfhelp uk site has some excellent resources.  It can be hard to find things on the site, so I use google and add the site name to my search to find specific things.


Anxiety Self Help - getselfhelp.co.uk
Depression Self Help - getselfhelp.co.uk
Mindfulness - getselfhelp.co.uk
Stress Self Help - getselfhelp.co.uk
Relaxation - getselfhelp.co.uk
Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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