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SurvivingOnAnime: Dealing with CT from Lexapro

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SurvivingOnAnime

@leavingorganon Thank you for your kind words. :)  I certainly hope you have an easier time.  If I could go back in time, I would certainly taper!

 

It would be best to look forward to the good evenings rather than despair over the difficult mornings, but I haven't got the knack of that yet.  I put a funny video on in the morning and get disappointed when I don't laugh.  I'm realizing that it's optional torture, and I should knock it off.

 

I really enjoyed the first Fruits Basket, and the new one is actually really good too.  Too good.  Watching during WD, I was a bit afraid of the emotions it would bring up.  It's second season is coming out soon, so the story will be completed.  Before WD, I really enjoyed shows like Death Note, Psycho Pass, Attack on Titan, Parasyte, but they are too much for my system right now.  I even had trepidation watching My Hero Academia.  I started with shoujo anime, but what's been keeping me going is actually the sports anime: Haikyu, Ahiru no Sora, Hinomaru Sumo, and Chihayafuru - the last is about poetry cards, but I think it still counts.  I will definitely check out the ones you've mentioned - Evengelion, of course, will have to wait. :) 

 

Things are getting better in this WD journey, and I'm hoping that it won't take years.  But if it does, it does.  In scouring the forum of another withdrawal website, I've found that there are a lot of people who feel better or even healed in less time than many of the recovery stories here.  We can't know how things will play out, but it gives one some hope! 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Yesterday was weird.  The morning anger gave way to afternoon irrational fear which gave way to a 2-hour depression in the early evening.  My brother, knowing it wasn't real depression, sat with me and encouraged me to cry it out.  I don't know if it helped or was a coincidence, but 15 minutes later, I was easing back into my evening window (emotions were good, though I had more body pain than usual).

 

I slept 8 hours, and woke up today without anxiety and minimal physical symptoms.  So far has been a pleasant day and such a relief.  It does seem like when I get hit with a rough wave (even short-lived), I feel better afterwards.

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leavingorganon
On 3/19/2020 at 10:41 PM, SurvivingOnAnime said:

Things are getting better in this WD journey, and I'm hoping that it won't take years.  But if it does, it does.  In scouring the forum of another withdrawal website, I've found that there are a lot of people who feel better or even healed in less time than many of the recovery stories here.  We can't know how things will play out, but it gives one some hope! 

 

My understanding is that protracted or extremely painful withdrawal is not 100% or even the majority of the cases. I keep this in mind as a source of hope. Places like survivingantidepressants.org is set up for/attracts people who are having a particularly hard and prolonged time in their withdrawal, but this doesn't communicate the variance in experience. I recommend reading the recovery stories chapter in Baylissa Frederick's book Recovery and Renewal as it presents stories of people who recovered from various methods of going off meds through a variety of circumstances. (The book is mostly geared towards people who are getting off of benzodiazepines but I think it  still applies to us.) 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@leavingorganon I should probably read that book!  I keep hoping that my recovery will be on the shorter end of the spectrum, for my own well-being of course, but also so I can give others hope.  I imagine these are thoughts that a lot of us have in a window.

 

Today, I'm back at my WD normal baseline, but I think my situation is slightly better than it was even a week ago.  Slightly restless today and not happy like yesterday, but I'm not depressed. 

 

I hope you are doing well today. :) 

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SurvivingOnAnime

Argh! Today is yuck.  I'm going to vent my stress a little bit here, so maybe I can move on and get on with my day.

 

Last night, I ended up with the muscles in the back of one thigh knotting up.  I was able to get enough sleep (thankfully!), but I woke up many times in pain.  Using a heating pad on and off today is providing some relief, but it's painful and very distracting.  And I so desperately wanted to go for a walk. 

 

Neuro-emotions are playing with me again today.  I started off hopeless and depressed.  Even though I know that these are lies, I could only cry and cry.  I, also, haven't had the best conversations with my dad today.  I'm a combination of hurt, angry, and guilty.  I feel hurt and angry because I can tell that he is fed up with me, and he doesn't seem to get that I am going through something serious and can't just power through or focus on having fun.  What is fun?  I remember it vaguely, but it is not available right now.  I feel guilty because I know that he is doing his best to cope with his own situation right now.  His company at the beginning of March was sold off to be liquidated (if I'm using that word right).  They promised the employees 60 days of further pay and healthcare then, but no, they laid them all off 15 days later.  No one is hiring right now because of the virus.  I wish I could be the supportive and capable daughter that he needs right now.  It's hard.  

 

I know this virus situation is hitting everybody hard, so I won't go on and on about it.  And I know that the pain (physical and emotional) I'm going through today will pass.  It's my dad's birthday tomorrow.  I had a window a week ago on my brother's birthday, and I'm hoping the horribleness of today will ease me into a tolerable tomorrow.  If it's no good tomorrow, I will have to try and fake it.

 

I wish my brain would give me more positive emotions.  I don't intend to run amok with them and do too much.  Okay, enough venting.  I will now return to positive self talk and try to focus on other things.

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leavingorganon

SOA,

I hope you're feeling better now. Things are getting strange with all the COVID-19 stuff going on. Hope things are stable where you are. 

 

 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@leavingorganon  I'm doing okay.  How are you?  I hope you and yours are healthy and safe.  We are living in interesting times.  It's hard to maintain all the self care and anxiety soothing measures during this pandemic.  My brother works in an office supply store and has been deemed an "essential" worker.  He knows that he's lucky to have a job when so many are losing theirs, but he's angry that his company is putting them at risk for supplies that can be easily purchased online.  He doesn't want to risk my parents' health.  He's helping to support the family while my dad is out of work.  And President T. is currently holding a grudge against my state's governor, so that doesn't help.

 

I've been WD normal for most of the past week.  My leg healed in three days, so I've been able to walk.  I'm still largely anhedonic, but walking seems to lift one or two levels of heaviness off it.  Apathy turns into slight interest.  It doesn't sound great, but it actually makes the day much better.

 

I hope you stay healthy and safe and keep healing. :) 

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SurvivingOnAnime

I thought I would try to update this thread more on a weekly basis.  So I'm going to give a sketch of my past week from my journal.  One consistent thing: my sleep has been at least 7 hours every night.  Last Tuesday and Sunday, I had moments of anxiety when I woke up in the night, but these passed in minutes.  The other nights, I did not have anxiety.  If I've had any windows, they were brief, but my WD normal has been tolerable.  I only had crying spells on Monday and Thursday, and they didn't last too long.  Mostly this past week, I've been cycling through feelings of agitation, boredom (from the anhedonia), and I have had more fatigue this week and body aches.  On the positive side, I feel like my anhedonia is one shade less.  I wish it was over, but it's more bearable.  My ability to imagine or daydream seems to be intact.  I was worried that I'd lost it, but it's there.  The anhedonia really stifles it and creativity, but I'm confident that, when that lifts, my imagination and creativity will be fully present.

 

This morning, I'm extremely irritable and my body aches all over, but I know that I'm do for my period tomorrow or the next day, so that could be the culprit.

 

My pessimistic feelings:  Will there ever come a day when I'm not so aware of time?  I remember how I used to be able to immerse myself in things, whether it was a project, a conversation, a book, music, or tv show.  I distract myself, but I'm still somehow always aware of time and its relative slowness.  I remember when I could laugh at myself and not take things so seriously.  I didn't have to plan my day or work so hard to find things to occupy me.  I don't know how much I can accomplish in a day without it becoming too much for my system.  When I'm feeling low, I think that this will be how my life is now.

 

BUT: this thinking itself is a withdrawal symptom, isn't it? And while time feels like my enemy every day, it is actually, more than anything else, what saves us all.  Time is the healer.  I have read it often enough in the success stories here and elsewhere.  So many times, people have said that they got to a point where life was livable, and they accepted that that would be good enough.  But they found that more healing would come and they would feel better than they ever imagined they could feel.  I cling to this.  I've been collecting pieces of their stories in a file to read when I'm feeling desperate.

 

And I do acknowledge that my situation has improved greatly from even a month ago.  I still, every night, thank my brain for healing.  I tell it that I'm sorry it has to work so hard, but I know that everything it's doing is to heal me.  I tell it that I'm grateful for the progress that it has made.  I even ask my brain not to give me nightmares or intense dreams that will wake me up.  There have been a few exceptions, but my intense dreams did settle down almost immediately after doing this.  (Could be coincidence, but I do believe this helps.) I thank my body too.  And I pray.  I try to end every day with positivity and gratitude.  I've been doing this for  months, and even though all this stuff seems weird, I feel it has made a difference.  Oh, and I use EFT tapping for when the virus news gets to me.  Three rounds of tapping is usually enough to settle the fear or worry.

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SurvivingOnAnime

I thought I would post how my last several days have been.  The day of my last post was kinda terrible emotions-wise, but it was the first day of my period.  Things settled down in the evening, but it was a tiring and stressful day.  I felt very depressed and hopeless, but I suspected that a much better day would follow. 

 

Tuesday was a good day.  I had some life stress, but I was able to handle it.  I felt like my WD normal was slightly better than before.  The afternoon even brought about a window.  I had some ankle pain, but that couldn't get me down.  Wednesday and Thursday were WD normal with only slight anxiety here and there and some more fatigue than usual.  Evenings were windowy.  Friday was up and down but mostly up.  I started off feeling sensitive, improved, and then had a mini wave for three hours in the afternoon, very emotional, frustrated, and a bit angry.  But I felt better by 6pm and was laughing and smiling by 8pm.  Today, despite having a headache, I felt pretty good.  I had some low-level anxiety come up about an hour ago, but it's manageable.

 

To sum up: these past several days, my anhedonia seems to have lightened up by another degree or too.  I have been able to listen to music every day, and I find my distractions more interesting than in the past.  My evenings have been more enjoyable, and I feel like my thoughts have been less busy and I'm better able to focus on whatever I'm doing.  My sleep has been consistent in that I get at least 7 hours, though I wake up 2 or 3 times.  I feel like I've had slightly more anxiety in the night and during the day than I was expecting, but it is not overwhelming and definitely manageable.  Aches and pains and fatigue have been more noticeable, but that might be because the emotional and mental issues are a bit better so the physical is getting more attention.

 

I've still got a ways to go, but I feel like I am seeing some progress.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Today has been a bit of a challenge.  I will preface this by saying that I know this will pass, and I'm sure I will feel much better tomorrow.  The anhedonia was a little heavier today and I was achy and had a big headache, so I knew that it was possibly going to be a difficult day.  I definitely have been in a wave today.  It's frustrating because I am really trying to manage it.  I put a lot of effort into being calm, and I told those around me that I was going through neuro-emotions, so they should understand if I need to excuse myself from situations and not get mad at me if I start crying.  No one every really seems to get this, no matter how much I try to spell it out.  I'm always hoping that they will understand, but I'm usually disappointed.  Instead of being told to "not start" or "stop crying", I wish that they would just say: "This will pass.  It's just a wave.  It means more healing is happening.  You'll be okay." 

 

So, when I can settle myself again, I just say it to myself. 

 

Sorry to be a downer.  It's hard to have a good perspective during these times.

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SurvivingOnAnime

I'm going to resist the urge to post here for a week, but I wanted to put something positive down first.  Yesterday was rough, and I was sad the whole day.  But I was still able to sleep well enough.  This morning, the sadness left me after about an hour of being awake.  The anhedonia hadn't let up, but today has been manageable.  Right now, I feel okay, and I suspect I will have a happier evening.  Yesterday, I felt like everyone was against me, but I don't feel like that today.

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Gaebbi

Hey survivingonanime,

I just discovered your topic and it seems like we both have to go through the same horrible anhedonia-state. You explained it exactly as how I feel it - the constant look on the time and the urge to plan things for the day or for the next day. I couldn‘t explain it any better!

I also find it extremely hard to meet other persons, because I always have the urge to go home again - don‘t know if you also experience this? That‘s why I‘m not even mad about the quarantine right now.

 

I‘m experiencing this anhedonia for about 4 1/2 months now, without a single window. There are times when it‘s better or worse but it never lifts completely. But it seems that I made a bit more progress than you, I‘m not checking the time every few minutes anymore and I was also able to distract myself with video games at least for a few minutes. It seems like my anhedonia lifts very very gradually. I was WAY worse about 2 months ago.

 

we will go through this together - in the end we will all heal!

 

greetings, hope you have a better day today :)

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Gaebbi  Today is a bit better. I'm able to laugh at some silly videos online.  Anhedonia seems to have levels to it, doesn't it?  I'm glad being aware of the time is getting better for you!  Also, about meeting people but feeling the urge to leave, I'm not sure if it's the same, but I used to feel like I couldn't sit down and talk because I kept feeling like I just had to leave the room.  Being somewhere other than my room or the kitchen made me feel trapped.  That feeling went away, I think, about a month ago.

 

I hope you get some wonderful windows soon!  I seem to get mini ones.  I only remember having a full-day window once.  But all of this does get better.  And yes, we all will heal. 😀

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Gaebbi

Yes it definitely has different levels! Few months ago all I could do was browsing this website to maybe find something that gives me hope! Or I would lie in my bed, starring at the wall, because everything I did felt like absolute torture! It was pure hell! All I did was waiting until the day was over!

I still don‘t feel joy but the things I do don‘t feel like torture anymore! Also the planning of what to do today or tomorrow has gone away!

I think in another 2-3 months I may be feeling like I did before all this started. Hopefully!

 

I find it interesting that I also stopped taking lexapro and have nearly the same symptoms - I also had the terror feelings, feeling of doom, especially in the dark!

interestingly, nearly all my symptoms subsided when the anhedonia came. I don‘t have anymore panic, dr/dp or other symptoms, it‘s just the anhedonia (And depression) for >4 months now.
it‘s one hell of a drug.

 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Gaebbi I'm also optimistic about how I'll be feeling in a couple of months.  I hope the depression lifts for you soon.  I seem to get it now in waves of about an hour or two, rarely for longer than that.  But I had it quite steadily before that.  It does seem like the anhedonia comes in when some of the other major symptoms depart.  I had anxiety return this past week after having been mostly gone for awhile, but it was at a low level and seems to have gone away again today.  Irritability (which I hadn't considered a distinct emotion before) has been more present these past couple of weeks.

 

It is both interesting and terrible that we go through the same horrible and weird symptoms.  Even though some symptoms might revisit at a low level, I feel like the anhedonia is the last big hurdle to healing.  Once the happier feelings come back, I don't think it will be so bad going through whatever fine-tuning our brains have to do after that. 🙂

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SurvivingOnAnime

Here's an update of my past week.  First, the negative aspects:  Body aches and pain, headaches nearly every day, and I feel like my brain has been a little duller this week.  But, the physical stuff hasn't really stopped me from doing anything.  I just kind of get on with it.  And the dullness has made me take a break for a few days from editing, but I know I can still push through if I need to.  I've had some emotional lows, but I have been able to recognize them right away and distract myself until they pass.  My anhedonia is still there, but I am able to be interested enough in things and I can listen to music every day without distress.  So, the negatives are not horrible for me this week.  I feel like I'm in a bit of a holding pattern, but I'm not discouraged.

 

Okay, now the positive:  I've been getting enough sleep for quite some time now.  I still wake up once or twice, but I feel like I am experiencing deeper sleep. The anxiety that came back last week has stayed away this week.  Oh, and I really want a piece of cake.  I'm not going to have one, but I feel encouraged that I actually want something.  I'm managing stress better.  I think of the future hopefully now.  I'm getting close to being six months off Lexapro.  I have high hopes for how I will feel at nine months off.  I know it's likely that I will still have days in the near future that will knock me down a bit, but I'm less afraid of them now.

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Happy2Heal

hi @SurvivingOnAnime

just came across your thread

I love  your positive attitude

 

so sorry for your suffering, for the hard parts but your perspective is great and I love how you keep focus on the good stuff

 

 

sending warm healing thoughts your way

❤️

 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Happy2Heal Thank you! I appreciate it.  I have read and found comfort in your success story and different posts.  😀

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SurvivingOnAnime

Okay, I wasn't able to wait another week before writing something, but I just wanted to jot some thoughts down.  Firstly, I am irritable as heck today.  It's not a big deal, and I'll get through it, but I am annoyed by everything.  However, I didn't come here to complain.  

 

Monday was a decent day.  The aches and pains of last week reduced in intensity by a large margin, and my dull brain was a bit sharper.  I've been able to get back to my editing work and my language learning.  Tuesday was about the same.  They were uneventful days in a good way.  Even though I'm moody today, it doesn't change a recent realization that I've had.  I have believed that I will heal, but it felt somehow distant and abstract.  Now I believe it in a more concrete way.  I'm not sure how to describe it.  I just know it will happen, and I know I will be able to handle the days ahead until it does.  I feel this way even though I'm not in a window.

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SurvivingOnAnime

Time for an update.  For the past week, I think I've been pretty consistently in a wave.  My evenings are, as always, better than my mornings, but I haven't had any mini windows in awhile.  I've felt more anhedonic - not as bad as February and March, but heavier than most of April.  I've been frequently irritable and have cried a few times (for only a couple of minutes each time).  My physical aches and pains continue, and I'm dealing with a lot of fatigue.  I think I mostly feel frustrated and impatient for another bit of healing to happen.  As I've expressed before, all of this is still doable.  I'm feeling sorry for myself and feel the urge to wallow in it, but I know that does me no good.  One of the lies our brains tell during these times is that we're worse or we're never going to reach the finish line.  Just looking at my journal is enough to remind me that I what I'm going through now is so very much better than the acute phase or the first four months.

 

I am not discouraged.  I still believe in my bones that I will heal.  But, man, I could really use some happiness right about now. 😐➡️😄

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SurvivingOnAnime

I forgot to mention something very positive!  I realized that I haven't had the internal vibrations/shakes for several weeks now.  Also, my thoughts haven't been racing like mad for quite some time as well.  When people mention that symptoms improve/leave gradually, I get it now.  When both of the above symptoms abated, I assumed they would be back, so I didn't get too excited about it.  They haven't come back, but it took me awhile to notice (even though they had been so distressing before).

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Happy2Heal

sorry about your wave, but good for you for noticing that some things are better  :)

 

 

1 hour ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

As I've expressed before, all of this is still doable.  I'm feeling sorry for myself and feel the urge to wallow in it, but I know that does me no good.  One of the lies our brains tell during these times is that we're worse or we're never going to reach the finish line.  Just looking at my journal is enough to remind me that I what I'm going through now is so very much better than the acute phase or the first four months.

it's perfectly understandable to feel sorry for yourself,  WD is awful and no one should have to go thru it.

and wallowing.... well heck sometimes it's not a bad thing to do, esp if you put a time limit on it,

I know when I was really really tired of the symptoms, I'd let myself have a good long wallow... It kinda got it out of my system, like some kind of a purge or cleanse, if that makes sense. or like a good cry, you know?

1 hour ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

They haven't come back, but it took me awhile to notice (even though they had been so distressing before).

 

this reminds me that when I was going thru WD, I told myself, I'm never going to forget how bad this has been, and when things are good, I won't take them for granted like I used to (before WD)

but you know what, things are so good now and I mostly don't think about how bad they were in WD and I do take the good times for granted now

I guess it's just  human nature *shrug*

 

 

 

 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@Happy2Heal  A short cry when I'm feeling frustrated does seem to help! 🙂

 

And about taking things for granted: It seems kind of like a good sign.  Because you're not in the grip of WD, you don't have to hold on to the positives quite so tightly.  You've moved far enough away from the darkness that you're not constantly thinking of the contrast.  I want to get there too! 😃

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Happy2Heal
42 minutes ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

I want to get there too! 😃

you will, you will! :)

 

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leavingorganon

SOA,

That you’ve noticed some of the symptoms disappearing makes me happy. That’s definitely a good sign I believe.

 

I’m curious, do you find any form of exercise or a particular diet helps? I’m not sure if I read in your thread that you’re doing any exercise but I thought I’d ask. 

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SurvivingOnAnime

@leavingorganon  I started taking short walks in December to deal with the akathisia (though I didn't have a name for it at the time) and claustrophobia (another symptom that passed in February or March).  When I started feeling a bit stronger, I increased to walking about 50 minutes every day.  As for diet, I think it's the obvious things. I don't have alcohol, caffeine, artificial drinks like soda, not much sugar, and I avoid preservatives as best I can.  When I upped my protein in February, I started feeling better.  I had been following a vegetarian diet, and it was making me worse.  I eat the same breakfast every day: oats with pecans, coconut creamer, and a dollop of maple syrup (that and occasional fruit juice are the only sugar I have).  I just try to avoid eating anything that affects my skin.  If my brain/body doesn't like it, I get a rash on my face.  It's not cute.

 

I hope you're doing well on your taper. 🙂

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NoMoreLexapro
On 4/22/2020 at 12:25 PM, SurvivingOnAnime said:

@leavingorganon  I started taking short walks in December to deal with the akathisia (though I didn't have a name for it at the time) and claustrophobia (another symptom that passed in February or March).  When I started feeling a bit stronger, I increased to walking about 50 minutes every day.  As for diet, I think it's the obvious things. I don't have alcohol, caffeine, artificial drinks like soda, not much sugar, and I avoid preservatives as best I can.  When I upped my protein in February, I started feeling better.  I had been following a vegetarian diet, and it was making me worse.  I eat the same breakfast every day: oats with pecans, coconut creamer, and a dollop of maple syrup (that and occasional fruit juice are the only sugar I have).  I just try to avoid eating anything that affects my skin.  If my brain/body doesn't like it, I get a rash on my face.  It's not cute.

 

I hope you're doing well on your taper. 🙂

Hi- I've run across your thread and really appreciate your updates.  I was on lexapro for 9 wks and have been off for 5...am really struggling.  At one point in your WD did you notice things starting to improve?

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SurvivingOnAnime

@NoMoreLexapro  I'm sorry you're having such a tough time right now.  Firstly, don't believe anything you're going through is permanent or that you won't recover.  It will get easier to know this is true as you get further along in your recovery from this awful drug.

 

I quit lexapro some time toward the end of October.  I didn't pay attention to exactly when because I had no idea what was going to happen.  I'll try to give a sketch of how things evolved, but if you want more detail about anything in particular, let me know.  February was a big turning point; many more improvements came in March; and this month has been slower in progress, but things are continuing to improve.

 

I think I pulled out of acute in early January. I started getting the dark thoughts (SI) in February, but these resolved in a couple of weeks.  The deep depression started in February, but after a couple of weeks, became more intermittent.  I still get occasional bouts of this, but it doesn't last long.  The terror and existential fear lasted from November until February when I learned how to take the power out of it.  Anxiety started off insanely strong in the acute stage, but got weaker and weaker in February.  When I get anxiety now, it is very low-level and doesn't last longer than an hour or two.  The cortisol mornings stopped in March.  Also, my stomach issues got increasingly better since February, and all of that is normal now.  Dizziness for me was strong in the acute stage but was much better after a month, and I only had two short (30 minute) instances in January.  Intrusive thoughts started to get less and less in March, and I don't struggle with that really at all now.

 

I figure insomnia should get it's own paragraph as nearly everyone has this at the start.  Firstly, this started to improve significantly in January, and currently, I sleep about 8 hours and only wake up once or twice in the night but can easily get back to sleep.  At the start, I couldn't sleep for days, and then when I started to fall asleep, I would jerk awake in fear.  I would spend too much of the night frantically pacing.  I started to just lay there and literally say, "I surrender."  I told myself to trust that I wasn't going to die, and that even if I couldn't sleep, I was still getting some rest by laying down.  I started to have broken sleep (sleep an hour, wake up, sleep 40 minutes, wake up, repeat).  I established a sort of "winding down for sleep routine," and this improved things further by the end of December, getting much better in January.  I now fall asleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time.

 

Other things that gradually improved and have gone away (February/March) are over-sensitivity to sound and light, akathisia and internal shaking, fear of being alone, claustrophobia.  I don't freak out over violence on tv anymore.  Although I can get a little foggy in waves, my mind has been much sharper for awhile now.  I can tolerate music now (can't quite feel it yet) and am able to play non-stressful video games.  I'm probably forgetting some things, but this post has turned into a novella already.

 

The remaining symptoms I currently have: anhedonia (my biggest concern), strange body pains and muscle aches, food sensitivity, irritability, and occasional crying fits that don't last too long.  Oh, and my left ear does some weird popping thing still but not all the time.

 

To sum up, just because I (or anyone else) have had a symptom, it doesn't mean you will get it.  Your recovery may progress more quickly than mine (I was on it much longer), but even if it takes longer than you anticipate, you will be able to handle it.  

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NoMoreLexapro
3 hours ago, SurvivingOnAnime said:

@NoMoreLexapro  I'm sorry you're having such a tough time right now.  Firstly, don't believe anything you're going through is permanent or that you won't recover.  It will get easier to know this is true as you get further along in your recovery from this awful drug.

 

I quit lexapro some time toward the end of October.  I didn't pay attention to exactly when because I had no idea what was going to happen.  I'll try to give a sketch of how things evolved, but if you want more detail about anything in particular, let me know.  February was a big turning point; many more improvements came in March; and this month has been slower in progress, but things are continuing to improve.

 

I think I pulled out of acute in early January. I started getting the dark thoughts (SI) in February, but these resolved in a couple of weeks.  The deep depression started in February, but after a couple of weeks, became more intermittent.  I still get occasional bouts of this, but it doesn't last long.  The terror and existential fear lasted from November until February when I learned how to take the power out of it.  Anxiety started off insanely strong in the acute stage, but got weaker and weaker in February.  When I get anxiety now, it is very low-level and doesn't last longer than an hour or two.  The cortisol mornings stopped in March.  Also, my stomach issues got increasingly better since February, and all of that is normal now.  Dizziness for me was strong in the acute stage but was much better after a month, and I only had two short (30 minute) instances in January.  Intrusive thoughts started to get less and less in March, and I don't struggle with that really at all now.

 

I figure insomnia should get it's own paragraph as nearly everyone has this at the start.  Firstly, this started to improve significantly in January, and currently, I sleep about 8 hours and only wake up once or twice in the night but can easily get back to sleep.  At the start, I couldn't sleep for days, and then when I started to fall asleep, I would jerk awake in fear.  I would spend too much of the night frantically pacing.  I started to just lay there and literally say, "I surrender."  I told myself to trust that I wasn't going to die, and that even if I couldn't sleep, I was still getting some rest by laying down.  I started to have broken sleep (sleep an hour, wake up, sleep 40 minutes, wake up, repeat).  I established a sort of "winding down for sleep routine," and this improved things further by the end of December, getting much better in January.  I now fall asleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time.

 

Other things that gradually improved and have gone away (February/March) are over-sensitivity to sound and light, akathisia and internal shaking, fear of being alone, claustrophobia.  I don't freak out over violence on tv anymore.  Although I can get a little foggy in waves, my mind has been much sharper for awhile now.  I can tolerate music now (can't quite feel it yet) and am able to play non-stressful video games.  I'm probably forgetting some things, but this post has turned into a novella already.

 

The remaining symptoms I currently have: anhedonia (my biggest concern), strange body pains and muscle aches, food sensitivity, irritability, and occasional crying fits that don't last too long.  Oh, and my left ear does some weird popping thing still but not all the time.

 

To sum up, just because I (or anyone else) have had a symptom, it doesn't mean you will get it.  Your recovery may progress more quickly than mine (I was on it much longer), but even if it takes longer than you anticipate, you will be able to handle it.  

I can't thank you enough for this.  It gives me hope and it couldn't have come at a better time.  My dad is in the hospital w/COVID, my mom has dementia/MS, and I just started a new job in a new state less than a yr ago...all of this on top of WD.  Can I ask you- what kind of GI problems have you had?  I've NEVER had any kind of GI problems in my 45 yrs- I could dump any food, in any amount and my stomach would take it.  But starting 3.5 wks ago (or, 3 wks after I stopped lexapro) things changed: now I have intermittent problems with nausea and get horrible, intense throbbing pains in my stomach, bladder, intestines area that wakes me up.  I can take zofran for the nausea but idk what to take for the pains- tylenol?  Did you ever have anything like this?  How long did it last?  I hear that the most serotonin is in the gut so maybe this is the lexapro absence impacting it?

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SurvivingOnAnime

@NoMoreLexapro  I hope your dad gets better soon and that your mom is doing okay.  These concerns, along with work, would cause a lot of stress during the best of times.  It's not easy what you're going through, so make sure you give yourself credit for how well you're doing.

 

Okay, my GI/bladder issues:  I think I started having bladder issues once I reduced my lexapro from 10 to 5 mg.  I would bolt out of bed and barely make it to the bathroom.  When I quit the drug, this issue cleared up within a couple of weeks.  After the lexapro, the stomach issues I had did involve some cramping and pains like I was being jabbed with a needle.  When I would eat anything or even just have a glass of water, I would have constant diarrhea.  This got progressively better week to week, and I stopped having all of those problems by late March/ early April.  I only had occasional bouts of nausea, so this wasn't as big of an issue for me.  And pain: this may not be comforting, but I don't take anything, not ibuprofen, tylenol, anything.  My tolerance for pain has increased, and I am able to just notice it and distract.  I'm not saying you have to be this way, but someone else may have to advise on what otc medications are tolerated well during withdrawal.

 

These medications cause such varied and weird symptoms, but again, they're not permanent.  You just get through each day as best you can, and the symptoms will lessen, leave, maybe revisit briefly in a weaker state, and than fall away again.  You might have windows and waves in your healing, or you might just improve gradually in a more linear fashion - or it could swap between the two.  The brain heals in unpredictable ways, but what is predictable is that it IS healing. 🙂

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NoMoreLexapro

Thank you so much for this! When were things the worst and when did you feel like you were finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel?

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SurvivingOnAnime

@NoMoreLexapro

The first month was the worst.  The third month brought a lessening of many symptoms.  In the fifth month I started to believe I would get to the other side of this.  And in the sixth month (which I just finished), I felt certain that I am going to heal.  I'm just waiting for the anhedonia to lift.  The rest I can deal with for however long it takes to resolve. 🙂

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SurvivingOnAnime

I was trying to see if I could hold off updating for a while, but I'm having a tough day today and need to write it out.  In my last post, I was still in what would be a two-week wave.  It let up for three days, and I could tell my baseline had risen again.  I got pulled back under for four days and then surfaced for another WD normal day.  Yesterday I had a mostly physical wave.  I had a lot of pain, but my mood was okay, and today, I don't have any pain but my emotional issues are kinda bad.

 

I am having trouble with anger, frustration, and I'm crying about everything.  When my WD normal baseline raised, I felt a little more at ease, but I still have not recovered my positive emotions.  I haven't had any mini windows in what seems like forever.  I still am, on the whole, accepting of the situation, but the bad days really make me weary.  I know this will all continue to get better and will ultimately end, but I feel soul-tired.

 

Though my emotions are still exaggerated and sensitive, I can't categorize these as completely irrational neuro-emotions.  These nasty ones are all me, and it has become clear to me in the past few days that I need to work on myself a little more.  Since this whole excruciating brain-rewiring process is leading to a kind of rebirth anyway, I've been thinking seriously about what kind of person I want to be on the other side of this.  When I feel bad, I am too quick to feed the part of me that gets angry, critical, and feels victimized.  I am trying instead to question all those thoughts.  When I do, I see that they are hollow and serve no one, least of all me.  Unfortunately, these realizations also make me feel really disappointed in myself.

 

I am going to try to wait a while before posting again.  There won't be much to report until I get my good feelings and motivation back.  Ah, anhedonia, so many of us want to know when you will leave and how you will depart.  When I fantasize about writing a success story in the future, this is the one symptom that I want to be able to write in detail about.  So many of us want reassurance about this, but we are usually met with vague and responsible answers.  I know all our timelines for healing are different, but give me some dang details already.  Did happiness visit and then leave for weeks, months; did it grow slowly in strength over four/thirteen/twenty-two months until you realized it was back; did you go from a wave of apathy but then one day find that a light inside had suddenly turned on?

 

I hope the above doesn't sound ungrateful or bratty.  I'm working on myself, but I haven't fixed any of it yet.

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