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Smokeandmirrors22: citalopram freedom

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Smokeandmirrors22

Hi all,

 

I've been struggling for 2 months now, completely unable to function and go to work. I had been on citalopram 20 mg for 6 months when I did a 'taper: over the course of about a month which started with skipping some days and then alternating 10 mg with 20 mg days for some of it, going back to just 10 mg for a bit. I had my last pill 12th April and the brain zaps stopped about 3 weeks after that. This coincided with a  nasty virus I had, so not sure what symptoms are from what, it's a very blurry period. Now I know that this wasn't the right way to taper but it's too late.

 

I still am extremely fatigued and it took me a while to think that might be due to the WD. I had started thinking that I have developed CFS/ME from the stress. I have started monitoring my HR with a Fitbit and it goes up to 120 if I speak to people or get up or walk. This makes me feel quite unwell so I feel bedridden currently. I find it hard to differentiate between physical and mental symptoms and my health anxiety and insomnia are through the roof. Sound familiar to anyone? I feel so alone.

 

My doctor prescribed 20 mg citalopram again to me and I have taken 10 mg for two days now (this seems stupid, but I don't know how to break the pills into smaller doses...) Any tips for what to do, e.g. a better way to reinstate in this situation? I feel like I'll never be able to go back to work again. :(

 

Thanks for reading and big hugs! (I don't take any other drugs)

 

ETA: my experience on the drug was extremely positive the first time around, I only stopped because I thought I didn't need it anymore and I was too lazy to get a new prescription.... 

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Smokeandmirrors22

Hi everyone,

 

I'm really glad I found this site. If only I had found it before I started my taper.

 

My short history: 

I'm 25, I had been on citalopram 20 mg for 6 months since October 2018 when I did a 'taper: over the course of about a month which started with skipping some days and then alternating 10 mg with 20 mg days for some of it, going back to just 10 mg for a bit. I had my last pill 12th April and the brain zaps stopped about 3 weeks after that. This coincided with a  nasty virus I had, so not sure what symptoms are from what, it's a very blurry period I was sleeping a lot, flu like symptoms, I couldn't concentrate. While on it, I felt pretty good it wasn't a huge change in how I felt but I felt happier.

 

Now I know that this wasn't the right way to taper but it's too late.

 

I have been struggling with lots of symptoms since then and I am/was? convinced that I have developed CFS. I am terrified of not being able to support myself since I live alone in a foreign country. I have been unable to go out, I feel so bad physically, fatigued etc 

I have suspicion that I have developed POTS. Just walking and talking to people makes me feel light-headed and HR shoots up. This is extremely isolating. I find it hard to differentiate between physical and mental symptoms and I feel like noone takes me seriously. My health anxiety and insomnia are through the roof. I have been looking up my symptoms online (stupid I know)

 and I want to get tested for some autoimmune diseases and viral markets ro see whether I still have an infection. But maybe all of this is WD???

Also my lymph nodes are quite swollen for months now around my neck and armpits? Anyone else get that?

 

I have taken 10 mg of citalopram for 2 days now because i thought it would be worth checking to see whether my symptoms improve from this? A smaller dose might have been better but I don't know how to physically break the pills?

I ?think? I feel a bit better since I started again but my insomnia is worse.

(It's hard to tell, I do t know if I can trust myself)

 

 

I have a flight back home on Sunday to get some blood tests there, it'll definitely make me feel better to know I'm negative on them. I'll also try to take 1-2 months leave off work because I can't deal with the stress of just being there. (My work is not stressful, it's my anxiety)

 

Drug history: I have been taking B12, D3, probiotics, CBD oil semi regularly since March.

I recently took 2 adrafinil (I think 300 mg each) in two consecutive days to get me through an interview.

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Songbird

Hi Smokeandmirrors, welcome to SA.  The symptoms you describe sound like they could be from citalopram withdrawal.

 

It would be helpful if you could please create a signature containing a summary of your med history, including all drugs, doses and dates (starting and stopping).  Your signature appears below every post you make, and allows us see your situation easily without having to read your topic from the top every time.   You could look at my signature for an example. 

 

Instructions for creating your signature are here: Please put your withdrawal history in your signature. 

You can edit your signature here: edit your signature in Account Settings

 

I think your reinstatement was a sensible idea, but I agree the dose may be too high at this stage as you've been off for a while.  I believe citalopram liquid is available in some countries if you can get your doctor to prescribe it.  If this isn't possible, you should be able to create smaller doses by making a liquid yourself.  Another option is to use a digital scale to weigh doses.  See these topics for more detailed information:

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

Using a digital scale to measure doses

How to calculate dosages and dilutions? Spreadsheets and calculators

 

Choosing a reinstatement dose can be tricky, as you want to avoid adverse reactions which can occur when reinstating after a period of being off the drug.  Please read this topic thoroughly, especially the top post:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

It can take quite some time to restabilise after a reinstatement, with ups and downs along the way, so you'll need to be patient.

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Smokeandmirrors22

Thanks for reading!

 

Yes 10 mg is probably quite high, but I think I will keep going for a bit and hope that I can get to sleep soon.

I definitely feel more like myself and it's only been two days since I reinstated!

Going to see a cardiologist today to hopefully get some insight into why my HR is so high doing mundane things.

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Maca44
10 hours ago, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

ETA: my experience on the drug was extremely positive the first time around, I only stopped because I thought I didn't need it anymore and I was too lazy to get a new prescription.... 

This is exactly what I thought/did with mirtazapine and it worked much better than I thought now my dose is lower. I really have to keep a lid on the HA as its bad at the moment and messing with my dosage isn't helping. Keep the med at a steady dose for some time and try not to panic.

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Smokeandmirrors22
3 hours ago, Maca44 said:

This is exactly what I thought/did with mirtazapine and it worked much better than I thought now my dose is lower. I really have to keep a lid on the HA as its bad at the moment and messing with my dosage isn't helping. Keep the med at a steady dose for some time and try not to panic.

That's a very human mistake we made!

What is HA? Hope your body is adjusting ok!

 

Yes I plan to keep this dose for now. My blood pressure is incredibly low, can barely stand up/walk but I will survive. 

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Maca44
15 hours ago, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

That's a very human mistake we made!

What is HA? Hope your body is adjusting ok!

 

Yes I plan to keep this dose for now. My blood pressure is incredibly low, can barely stand up/walk but I will survive. 

HA is health anxiety.

All part of my many anxieties 😀

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Smokeandmirrors22

 

On 6/4/2019 at 8:44 AM, Maca44 said:

HA is health anxiety.

All part of my many anxieties 😀

 

Oh yes, health anxiety is the worst. Have you been stabilising at 15 mg? How long have you been on this dosage now?

 

It's my 5th day back on citalopram (10 mg rather than 20 mg which is what I was on before).

Horrible anxiety and insomnia since I started again but at least most of the physical symptoms are gone so I can feel like myself again. I guess I should ride it out for a couple more weeks?

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Smokeandmirrors22

This is my 5th day of taking citalopram 10 mg . I have been breaking the 20mg pills by hand which is not good. I can definitely see that I'm not breaking them up evenly.

 

I think I'm better.... I feel like myself again just a very very anxious version of myself. Falling asleep has been super hard, I can feel lots of heart palpitations for most of the day.

 

Can anyone give some advice if I should alter this 10 mg dose to something else? Does the increased anxiety and insomnia mean I'm not reacting well to it? 

 

On the bright side, I've gone back to work a couple of times and it's definitely nice to kind of be back to normality. Definitely very fatigued. 

I can feel all my unhealthy mental habits blossoming such as catastrophising, etc. I'm terrified I'll be like this forever.

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Maca44

Been on 15mg for a few days now but was on 12.5mg ,just need to get dose up asap as its not doing me any good being like this so I'm getting back on it and accepting that I just need meds to keep me well.

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KMart95

Hey ! I literally have the exact same symptoms as you. I was on Citalopram for 10 years & then Prozac short term. I've had POTS since withdrawal along with debilitating fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.. I could have wrote that intro myself. I try to remind myself that these are withdrawal symptoms and my nervous system needs time to catch up to the big change. 

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Songbird
On 6/6/2019 at 7:16 AM, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

This is my 5th day of taking citalopram 10 mg . I have been breaking the 20mg pills by hand which is not good. I can definitely see that I'm not breaking them up evenly.

 

You'll need to find a way to make more accurate doses.  Did you read the links I gave you about the various ways to measure doses?

 

On 6/6/2019 at 7:16 AM, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

I think I'm better.... I feel like myself again just a very very anxious version of myself. Falling asleep has been super hard, I can feel lots of heart palpitations for most of the day.

 

Can anyone give some advice if I should alter this 10 mg dose to something else? Does the increased anxiety and insomnia mean I'm not reacting well to it? 

 

It's hard to tell as you've reported improvement in other symptoms.  What time of day do you take your dose?  You won't be able to alter your dose to something else until you have a way to accurately measure doses. 

 

It sounds like overall you are feeling better, so I would probably give it a few more weeks to see if you get more improvement over time.  It can take a long time to restabilise after reinstating so you need to be patient.

 

If you're having a lot of anxiety, I highly recommend books and recordings by Dr. Claire Weekes, along with regular relaxation exercises to calm down the nervous system.  See:

The Dr. Claire Weekes method of recovering from a sensitized nervous system

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

 

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Smokeandmirrors22
On 6/8/2019 at 5:46 AM, KMart95 said:

Hey ! I literally have the exact same symptoms as you. I was on Citalopram for 10 years & then Prozac short term. I've had POTS since withdrawal along with debilitating fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.. I could have wrote that intro myself. I try to remind myself that these are withdrawal symptoms and my nervous system needs time to catch up to the big change. 

Hey!! It's comforting to hear that but also I'm really sorry you're suffering!

 

Hope your withdrawal goes well, how long has it been? Have you had any medical help for POTS? Or are we supposed to just get on with it? You're so brave to get off after 10 years!

 

I've reinstated 10 mg a week ago and the POTS and fatigue are gone but my lymph nodes and throat are still very sore! :( I feel like myself again but I'm also so traumatized by this experience.

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Smokeandmirrors22
On 6/8/2019 at 11:03 AM, Songbird said:

 

You'll need to find a way to make more accurate doses.  Did you read the links I gave you about the various ways to measure doses?

 

 

It's hard to tell as you've reported improvement in other symptoms.  What time of day do you take your dose?  You won't be able to alter your dose to something else until you have a way to accurately measure doses. 

 

It sounds like overall you are feeling better, so I would probably give it a few more weeks to see if you get more improvement over time.  It can take a long time to restabilise after reinstating so you need to be patient.

 

If you're having a lot of anxiety, I highly recommend books and recordings by Dr. Claire Weekes, along with regular relaxation exercises to calm down the nervous system.  See:

The Dr. Claire Weekes method of recovering from a sensitized nervous system

Relaxation exercises, guided meditations, calming videos, sleep hypnosis

 

 

Hello!

 

Thanks so much for reading, yes I've been reading this website non-stop haha. I got 10 mg pills from the doctor's so at least my dose is accurate for now. I take it around 8 pm, is that ok?

 

It's been a week now since reinstatement and the fatigue, POTS and anxiety are gone. Have had sore lymph nodes since this whole ordeal started but I guess that could be unrelated?

Anyway, I guess I'll stay a couple more weeks on 10 mg before I take other action. I've missed almost two months from work so my priority is keeping my job

 

I was taking a huge number of supplements but I've stopped that and only take fish oil and magnesium now.

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KMart95
3 hours ago, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

Hey!! It's comforting to hear that but also I'm really sorry you're suffering!

 

Hope your withdrawal goes well, how long has it been? Have you had any medical help for POTS? Or are we supposed to just get on with it? You're so brave to get off after 10 years!

 

I've reinstated 10 mg a week ago and the POTS and fatigue are gone but my lymph nodes and throat are still very sore! :( I feel like myself again but I'm also so traumatized by this experience.

I am 1.5 months back on 1mg Prozac. Reinstated after withdrawal symptoms hit me hard. I haven't had any medical help with POTS but it has improved so much over time. I drink a ton of salt & water, make sure I get light exercise everyday and sometimes wear compression socks to prevent the blood from pooling in my legs. Exercise is the best thing but it's tough when you're so exhausted. We are both brave ! It is a very scary process and it's frustrating being in this position but we will get there! Send me a message if you ever want to talk more :)

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Smokeandmirrors22

Guess it's time for another update.

 

I have been back on citalopram since the 1st and my energy is back and I feel good physically, I sleep well.

However, I have got some blood tests done and my lipase and amylase are high. The doc said my pancreas looks fine so it must be from gastritis. And prescribed PPI to me. I am scared to take this at the same time as citalopram. If this is result from the pills can I just follow a diet (not sure what that would be?) and monitor them. I have seen other people on the site talk about these same enzymes, can anyone share their experiences?

 

I can't help but think my health issues are a result from taking these pills. The doc said my liver is too big for my age too.

 

At the same time, I am  incredibly traumatised from how I felt when I had stopped taking them. I cannot imagine feeling healthy off them.

From what I've read on the site, it looks like it's possible I might get a auto-immune disease when I stop taking them and I definitely had the symptoms when I wasn't on them.

 

It feels like whatever I do, I will suffer. 

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Smokeandmirrors22
I thought  I would write up an update on what's happening with me. 
I have been stabilised at 10 mg for almost two months now, still have some withdrawal symptoms: shivering, random pains, burning skin, weird feeling in my right eye but they are manageable. 
Still have some pretty strong derealisation moments but nothing I can't handle.
When I was in deep w/d and getting tested for everything under the sun, we found that my pancreas enzymes, lipase and alpha-amylase are too high but hopefully that should improve with a non-fatty diet. Funny that my GP in the UK said that she had never heard of them and that 'we don't test for that in the UK'. Ok... British people don't have pancreases I guess??
 
I have been thinking about getting the HPV vaccine but I am scared of how my body will react now and I don't know if it's worth the risk. A vaccine is a stressful experience for anyone's body, let alone someone like us. Also, it might not even do anything anymore as I am too old and have had sex.
 
My eyesight has gotten worse and I was worried that is connected to citalopram use but the optician looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested it.
The overbearing fatigue is gone, I am not back to my energy levels from before but I am ok. I am back to work full time, I have found it hard to concentrate but that could be due to a number of things. I know that I was reading all the papers I could find on citalopram, so obviously I can focus when it's something I care about.
I have started accepting and forgiving myself for putting myself in this situation. I am much more grateful for the small things in life like showering and doing laundry without having to lie down afterwards feels pretty good!
Obviously, 10 mg is still in the so-called therapeutic range so that helps to make me feel good. Maybe the worst withdrawal symptoms are yet to come. Or maybe (hopefully) with a controlled taper and an understanding of what is happening to me, the worst is behind me!
 
The big news in my life is that I am moving to Spain in a few months to pursue a PhD. The beginning will be difficult as my Spanish needs a lot of work, I am scared about finding a place to stay, a PhD is obviously lots of work etc etc. There is a little voice in my head telling me that I am not able to work as hard as before to earn a PhD. That I can't concentrate anymore.  
But before the citalopram I wouldn't have thought twice before accepting this offer, so I am not going to let these pills make me scared of pursuing life. I started taking them to improve my life, not to ruin it!
 
There is the temptation not to try to taper until I have graduated but future me will hate me if I did that. I will need to make sure my vitamin levels (B12 etc) are in range and I am in a good place mentally and physically before I attempt a taper.
I will need to settle down there first, see how the medical system works but I've read on here that the citalopram liquid is easier to get there which is promising. 

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ChessieCat
4 hours ago, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

There is the temptation not to try to taper until I have graduated but future me will hate me if I did that.

 

You can always do a slower than 10% taper.  The Brass Monkey Slide method is good because it gives you the chance to hold for a bit longer.  It is 10% reduction over 6 weeks instead of 4 weeks, so a monthly average drop of 6.66%, but you can do an even smaller reduction.  For example 7.5% over 6 weeks = 5% monthly.  Or 5% over 6 weeks = 2.5 + 1.25 = 3.33% monthly.

 

Even though it would be very smaller reductions at least you would be heading in the direction you want to go. 

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Smokeandmirrors22

Thank you Chessie, I will start doing that once I'm registered with a GP in Spain and get ahold of liquid form of citalopram.

 

In the meantime, I've been having bladder pain for the last 2 months which I'm starting to suspect is withdrawal related. Even though I was sure I was stabilised at 10 mg.

It just feels like a low grade UTI and pain in the womb/bladder area. But it goes away some days?

 

ETA: it was worse last month when I got my urine tested and they didn't find any bacteria.

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ShiningLight

Glad you're feeling better!

Please consider independently researching the HPV vaccine. I heard some bad things about it. I wish I could cite the source but I don't recall. The vaccine wasn't tested that well, from what I recall about it. I think maybe it was on Dr. Breggin's web site, I know he usually writes about psych drugs so maybe it wasn't there. I don't know.

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Smokeandmirrors22
4 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

Glad you're feeling better!

Please consider independently researching the HPV vaccine. I heard some bad things about it. I wish I could cite the source but I don't recall. The vaccine wasn't tested that well, from what I recall about it. I think maybe it was on Dr. Breggin's web site, I know he usually writes about psych drugs so maybe it wasn't there. I don't know.

 

Thanks for your message! 

 

I have heard bad things about it too unfortunately. I don't think I will go for it since it's probably too late for me. I'm already getting weird pap smear results. 

 

Frankly, I feel a lot of my mental and physical health problems are connected to being a woman. My depression got much worse after being on different contraceptive pills etc etc I have PCOS too

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Onmyway
3 hours ago, Smokeandmirrors22 said:

 

Frankly, I feel a lot of my mental and physical health problems are connected to being a woman. My depression got much worse after being on different contraceptive pills etc etc I have PCOS too

Lots of birth control pills have depression/dysphoria as a side effect. It's not clear they actually treat PCOS.

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