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Nsr99

Nsr99: stopped Cipralex / escitalopram 3.25 years ago. Doing much better, hoping to reach the finish line.

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Nsr99

Hello

 

I live in Saudi Arabia. Male, mid 50s, married.

 

I had taken SSRI (Cipralex 25mg) for 6 years. I tapered it for 5 months, then stopped it completely on March 29, 2016.

 

Just to give you some background, I was living happily, never thought of taking AD drugs ever. However, one day, I was subjected to severe conditions that was beyond my control. This situation has caused me insomnia, because of the tremendous stress, and therefore, I started taking SSRI. The doctor, who prescribed it, was not so professional, because he wanted to give me any drug that would work for me, performing trial and error on me.

 

I know that AD drug is not a treatment, but rather a chemical stuff that would screw up brain chemicals to calm me down so that I can go to sleep, and also to improve my mood. I was very much concerned with the withdrawal symptoms, but the doctor reassured me that it would last only 2 to 3 weeks. I believed him, but I wish I did not. He did not provide me a true honest advice.

 

While taking the AD drugs, I developed some side effects: such as fever and PVC. Six years down the road, I noticed that I always want to go to sleep, even if I had just woken up in the morning and had my coffee. This has annoyed me and scared me, as I was afraid that this drug would cripple my life. At this point, I decided to quit and live my life free of AD drugs. The journey of WD suffering started on October 31, 2015. I tapered it for 5 months, and stopped it completely on March 29, 2016.

 

Here is a time line along with my WD suffering:

1-6 months: things were bad, but tolerable. I experienced difficulties falling asleep, with anxiety.

 

6 mo-1.5 years: Severe symptoms began. It was so severe that I was thinking of going back to AD. I took it for one day, but then regretted that I did, and felt so bad for going back to the drugs. I decided to fight and continue my journey no matter what. I am glad I did.

I do not know how I was able to cope with WD symptoms, but it has to do with my faith. Prayers, reading Quran, and reading positive comments that I used to write to myself.   

 

1.5 – 3.25 years: Incremental improvements. Now, I can enjoy coffee and tea, and do my hobbies. I am not 100% recovered. I still have nasal congestion and tinnitus both of which have improved slightly.

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Altostrata

Welcome, nsr.

 

Thank you for giving us that background. Do you recall your tapering method? What symptoms did you have in the first 6 months off escilatopram?

 

After that 6 months, how did your symptoms change? How was your sleep?

 

I am glad you found ways to calm your nervous system. Did you do a lot of meditating, in your faith?

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baquejohn

Other than the nasal congestion and tinnitus would you say you are 100% back to normal? if not what symptoms do you still have? i am guessing if you do have other symptoms they are not bad? You where on the maximum dose for the whole 6 years? What other symptoms did you have over the 3 years in withdrawal? i am very interested to know everything because my situation is very similar. I was on meds for 6 years. Tapered for 8 months. Now med free for 2 years and 7 months. I recovered at least 50%. But i feeling like i will never be 100%. I am hoping to be 100% by the 4 year mark. My main symptoms are a constant hangover feeling that gets worse after exercise, extreme lethagy and exhaustion, anxiety, akathesia, insomnia, and skin senations like itching, burning, tingling, stringing. Did you have any of these syptoms? If so which ones. I was on Prozac for 6 years straight. With the addition of Effexor, Wellbutrin and Geodon for short times. Since i was on additional meds i would expect my recovery to take slightly longer than yours. I just hope not too much longer. Thanks for any information you can share.

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Nsr99
10 minutes ago, baquejohn said:

Other than the nasal congestion and tinnitus would you say you are 100% back to normal? if not what symptoms do you still have? i am guessing if you do have other symptoms they are not bad? You where on the maximum dose for the whole 6 years? What other symptoms did you have over the 3 years in withdrawal? i am very interested to know everything because my situation is very similar. I was on meds for 6 years. Tapered for 8 months. Now med free for 2 years and 7 months. I recovered at least 50%. But i feeling like i will never be 100%. I am hoping to be 100% by the 4 year mark. My main symptoms are a constant hangover feeling that gets worse after exercise, extreme lethagy and exhaustion, anxiety, akathesia, insomnia, and skin senations like itching, burning, tingling, stringing. Did you have any of these syptoms? If so which ones. I was on Prozac for 6 years straight. With the addition of Effexor, Wellbutrin and Geodon for short times. Since i was on additional meds i would expect my recovery to take slightly longer than yours. I just hope not too much longer. Thanks for any information you can share.

 

baquejohn,

 

Here are my answers to your questions:

As far as giving a percentage for my recovery, I would say I am in the range of 70%-80%. I am not 100% recovered yet. I am now 3.25 years into this awful journey. 

The symptoms I still have: nasal congestion, tinnitus, brain zap, and occasionally some anxiety. They are not too bad; I try to ignore them.  For the sleep, I get, on average, 4-5 sleep per night. Some nights (not that often), my anxiety gets triggered, and this would impact my sleep duration. I have always tried to take a nap in the afternoon, but not always successful. 

 

For Cipralex, I was not on max dose for the whole 6 years. It was only partial. I do not remember how long. 

The symptoms that I experienced throughout the 3 year period, beside the ones I mentioned above, had to do with extreme anxiety, depression, insomnia, feeling tense always, palpitations, electric chock in the head, lack of desire to do anything. My feeling system was screwed up, and strange. No emotions whatsoever. I had some itching on my legs but rarely.

 

I did not have the symptoms you mentioned above. I guess because I was not on additional meds like in your case.

 

Regarding the brain zap: it is electric shock or like an electric current on the lower part of my body, I feel like I am on a roller coaster. It is intermittent though.

 

Since you are 50% better, then it is a matter of time before you reach recovery. I know the pace is so slow, it is like a turtle trying to travel 100km journey.

 

 

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baquejohn

thank you for the quick reply. i am also only able to sleep for between 3 and 5 hours in a row most nights. then i wake up for a few hours and sometimes go back to sleep for a couple more hours. sleep is def messed up in ssri withdrawal. which is strange because i never had sleep issues or anxiety until i started taking them. everytime i would increase the dose this would happen and then i would level out. and now  in withdrawal i am getting the same sleep issues and anxiety. I never got a brain zap at all but i hear they are very common. I guess everybody is slightly different. also you where taking a different ssri than i was. . keep in touch and let me know how your recovery progresses

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Nsr99

 

This is to register an episode that happened to me recently that made me uncomfortable. I would appreciate it if anybody has gone through a similar situation and can share his or her experience, or can afford some advice.

 

Around May 10, 2019, I was doing ok, I was in my 3.25-year mark in this awful journey, my sleep was ok, enjoying life and doing brisk walking every day. Nonetheless, there were some rare occasions where I had very short waves. I was happy that I was marching toward the recovery finish line.

 

I was not accustomed to taking my sleep during the day. I always make sure that I go to bed at night time only, specially while going through this WD.

 

However, up until that time (May 10, 2019), I was forced to switch my sleeping time from night to day for about 30 days. This has triggered my WD symptoms, and caused it to surface more and intensify, as I am not used to going to bed in the morning. My anxiety has elevated and this has caused me insomnia for most of the 30 days.

 

When the 30-day period was over, and I wanted to go back to my normal sleeping habit, I faced some difficulties. I struggled for the next 30 days to program myself to accept night as a sleeping time. I tried to relax and do various techniques to do the re-programming, but it was very gradual and tiring process, and I had to go through tough times. I noticed that I became depressed, not interested in doing things I used to do, even my brisk walking exercise I could not do. My thinking was foggy. No concentration. Vivid dreams resurfaced for some time, though not always. Tinnitus has increased. And body zap became more apparent.

 

Now, I am almost 1 month into this thing and I do not know how long it will last. It looks like that it is a wave. My sleep is Ok now has improved a bit, but not like before May 10, it is less.  This is strange. Maybe it needs more time before I can settle and go back to my normal life again as I used to (the big long window).

 

Anyway, this is what I am going through at present. 

 

Has anybody gone through such thing before? Does anybody know what is going on? Any help would be appreciated

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ChessieCat

Was the thing which made you change your sleep pattern stressful?  It may be the stressful situation and/or a combination of both things which have caused the recent issues.

 

The good thing is that you have noticed improvement.

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

 

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Altostrata
8 hours ago, Nsr99 said:

Now, I am almost 1 month into this thing and I do not know how long it will last. It looks like that it is a wave. My sleep is Ok now has improved a bit, but not like before May 10, it is less.  This is strange. Maybe it needs more time before I can settle and go back to my normal life again as I used to (the big long window).

 

 

Yes, your body runs on a circadian clock, see What is the sleep cycle?

 

As you've probably experienced, sleep is very fragile after an adverse drug reaction. Your nervous system also got upset by the change in sleep schedule. You might find melatonin helpful to re-establish your sleep, see Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

Also see

 

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration

 

Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

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Nsr99
On 7/11/2019 at 1:36 AM, ChessieCat said:

Was the thing which made you change your sleep pattern stressful?  It may be the stressful situation and/or a combination of both things which have caused the recent issues.

 

The good thing is that you have noticed improvement.

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

 

Thank you ChessieCat for your feedback. To answer your question, no, the thing which made me change my sleep pattern was not stressful at all. 

 

Yes, you are right, I have seen lots of improvements, and I actually began enjoying life again. But this thing about changing my sleep pattern somehow agitated whatever is remaining in my system. I am looking at it positively, though. I believe it is squeezing my brain more and re-training it to accept out-of-the-ordinary situation. 

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Nsr99
On 7/11/2019 at 2:46 AM, Altostrata said:

 

Yes, your body runs on a circadian clock, see What is the sleep cycle?

 

As you've probably experienced, sleep is very fragile after an adverse drug reaction. Your nervous system also got upset by the change in sleep schedule. You might find melatonin helpful to re-establish your sleep, see Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

Altostrata

 

Thank you very much for your support and help.

 

The WD symptom  that stands out most out of this recent problem is anxiety, which is affecting my sleep. Like you said, my nervous system got upset by the change in my sleep schedule. Anyway, I will wait and see.

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Nsr99

Things have improved for me recently. I am doing much better now than 45 days ago.

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Nsr99

Hi

 

7 days ago I hit a wave; I hope it will be very short. FYI, now I am at 3.5 year mark into WD journey. 

 

It seems that my nervous system needs more time to rebuild and heel. Main complaint is anxiety which has somehow affected my sleep. Last night, while at bed, I was like in a battle trying to fall asleep. I tried to relax with deep breaths and positive thoughts but not successful. But slept maybe 2 hours in the morning. Anxiety is triggered on stupid things, things that are natural on humans, for example on unconsciously imagining stories while trying to sleep, which is normal thing in humans. How to convince my brain that this is normal!!?

 

Lack of sleep is bothering me because I need some energy to do my daily activities.

 

Somehow I feel like I am not me, I am not like I used to prior to this wave. Emotions and my thinking pattern, and feeling of enjoyments of the surrounding are not there now!! Maybe it will improve. I need to give it time. We learned from this awful WD journey that patience and perseverance payoff tremendously. 

 

Any thoughts (specially from the experienced moderators)?

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shawny

@nsr99 : is ur tinnitus continuous or it comes and goes  ?

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Nsr99

Hi shawny

 

my tinnitus is not continuous. If I am not feeling well, it is obvious and loud, but when I am doing fine, it is very low, undistracting. Right now, I am doing fine and enjoying my life, after going through some bad times lately. Good luck to you shawny.

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Armorall

@Nsr99 what is PVC?
Also, because you can enjoy coffee, tea and hobbies, do you feel like it is because your CNS is now stable when you are in a window? I miss coffee, tea and hobbies. Even in a window, I can't really ingest much media. Either I'm afraid it would make me too anxious, or I'm too sad that it connects with my old life of underground music/arts. 

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Nsr99

Armorall, here is what PVC means (from Google): 

Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) are extra heartbeats that begin in one of your heart's two lower pumping chambers (ventricles). These extra beats disrupt your regular heart rhythm, sometimes causing you to feel a fluttering or a skipped beat in your chest.

As for tea and coffee, there were times were I would not take em because of WD and the suffering I was going through. Now, I am enjoying it!!! 

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