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Heidi1: citalopram cold turkey withdrawal


Heidi1

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Hi!

Was hoping someone would be able to give me any advice as I’ve been going through withdrawals for weeks now.

I was put onto Citalopram 10mg in October 2019 for mild anxiety, I had no symptoms of depression. I was doing fine on this and felt good. I stayed on this until June 2020 when my anxiety got a bit worse and I upped to 20mg. Within a few days my anxiety had gotten worse, my mood was much lower and I then began to have suicidal thoughts. My doctor changed me to Venlafaxine 37.5mg even though I didn’t want swap to another drug, but trusted their advice! After a couple of weeks I decided I really just wanted to go back to Citalopram 10mg as this had worked for me before and for some reason when I began taking Venlafaxine I began to have very repetitive thoughts that I didn’t seem to be able to control.

After starting Citalopram again, within a week the exact same thing happened as before- my anxiety was a lot worse, my mood was worse, I began having suicidal thoughts. All of these drug changes happened within about a month.

A different doctor told me to stop taking Citalopram cold turkey, saying that I needed to be off it completely. I just went with what she’d said as I didn’t know what else to do, this was on 20th July (6 weeks ago). She said absolutely nothing about withdrawal symptoms.

Within a few days I really started to feel very very down, my anxiety worse, I started to not feel motivated to do anything, not myself at all, nauseous, more tired and then began having repetitive and intrusive thoughts about self harm and suicide. A couple of weeks back I had a few days of feeling quite happy, but after this it was like my symptoms got worse, the obsessive thoughts got a lot worse and are still there now (though have now improved from that they were). My other symptoms are still there, though sometimes I feel them getting a bit better, but then find them getting worse.

Just wondered if anyone had any advice. I’m guessing obsessive/repetitive thoughts are due to stopping the medication as they happened not long after but part of me worries I’m paranoid or something and it’s not a symptom of withdrawal?

 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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This link explains why the "physiologically out of your system" explanation misses the point entirely.     Brain Remodelling     

@Gridley thanks for your reply, I apologise for asking when I know that you did already respond previously. I just have been having such an awful few days that I have felt quite desperate and just wan

Waves and windows going on.Happens to me even after 2 years which I mark this month, even if I force myself my symptoms would ramp up for some time.

Also, will the fact that I changed medications a couple of times affect my withdrawal symptoms? 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Heidi1: Citalopram cold turkey withdrawal
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Heidi1.

 

You've undergone a lot of drug and dosage changes in a short time, leading to the withdrawal symptoms you're experiencing now. It's impossible to untangle what exactly causes what when there are so many changes, but  I'll try to explain some of the symptoms you've been experiencing.  First, anxiety is a known side effect of Citalopram, and the increase to 20mg was likely too much for your system.  Second, switching to new drug doesn't guarantee you won't have withdrawal from the old, so your switch to Venlaxafine likely contributed to Citalopram withdrawal, Third, your cold turkey of Citalopram would also have been a factor in Citalopram withdrawal. Fourth, when you went back on Citalopram and experienced worsening symptoms, this was likely due to an adverse reaction, which means the drug has now become poison to your system.  Adverse effect symptoms are very similar to withdrawal symptoms, and those you describe--feeling very down, anxiety, lack of motivation, nausea, fatigue, repetitive intrusive thoughts--are typical of withdrawal/adverse effect.  

 

So you have a better idea of what you've been experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and the healing process.  You will heal, though unfortunately we can't predict how long it will take.  The fact that you've had some good days and improved symptoms is a very encouraging sign of healing.  

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

When we take psychiatric medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  

 

These explain the healing process really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Brain Remodelling 

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

Here are some links to help you with anxiety.

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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  • Moderator
4 hours ago, Heidi1 said:

Also, will the fact that I changed medications a couple of times affect my withdrawal symptoms? 

 

Yes., very likely.

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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Thanks so much for your reply, my doctor never said about how drug changes could have an effect. So the best thing is just to wait until it gets better, as I’m guessing re starting on any Citalopram would be a really bad idea? 
I’ve also been experiencing feeling really disassociated from everything and I kind of feel like I’m living in a dream, which I’m guessing is also a symptom?

Just really want to know that all these things will clear up as some point! 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Moderator
8 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

So the best thing is just to wait until it gets better, as I’m guessing re starting on any Citalopram would be a really bad idea? 

 

Yes, my recommendation would be to wait until it gets better.  Time really is the cure as the brain repairs itself.  Because you've had a bad reaction to the Citalopram, I wouldn't advise putting any more of it into your system.

10 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

I’ve also been experiencing feeling really disassociated from everything and I kind of feel like I’m living in a dream, which I’m guessing is also a symptom?

 

This is a typical withdrawal symptom and is completely "normal."  It will improve in time.

 

12 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

 

Just really want to know that all these things will clear up as some point! 

Yes, they will.

 

 It's a good idea to eat as nutritiously as you can, avoid stress as much as possible, do gentle exercise likes a 30-minute walk in nature, and stay away from caffeine, alcohol and sugar.

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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 Heidi1: citalopram cold turkey withdrawal

Thanks for your advice that’s really helpful.

I just read something that said adverse reactions can take a really long time to heal and it’s made me really worried that all of this will take a very long time to go away?

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

Link to post
christianjw12

Hi @Heidi1, I'm also having the same symptoms as you describe.

FYI, I was diagnosed with pure o ocd in november 2019 and I started taking Lexapro in January 2020 (at 5 then 10mg/daily). I withdrew this drug in April and I am experiencing withdrawal like you : constant brain fog, having repetitive random thoughts all day (a memory of me when I was a child, a sentence I said to someone like 10 years ago...), there aren't even trigger to them. There are no way I start to think about them since there are no triggers. But there's really nothing we can do, only time can heal it.

Don't worry about your symptoms (even those are suicidal thoughts, it's very scary but you just don't have to act on it). What my psychologist taught (to treat my pure O OCD) is to learn to observe my own thoughts and not to pay attention to them if they are not relevant. If you start to pay attention to those repetitive thoughts, they will just persist over and over. Believe you'll heal and if it's possible, do never go back on using these drugs, even though sometimrs reinstating a little dose can help. But if you feel like you can survive it then don't do it.

 

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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Hi @christianjw12 I’m sorry you’ve been having symptoms too. I completely get what you’ve said and I know that letting the thoughts be there without paying them attention is what helps, but sometimes that’s so hard to do especially when they’re so serious. When they get bad I can think into them and then start really panicking about something bad happening. 
Have your symptoms and thoughts got better in time?

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Moderator
23 hours ago, Heidi1 said:

adverse reactions can take a really long time to heal and it’s made me really worried that all of this will take a very long time to go away?

Adverse reaction actually heal in a more linear pattern (general progress upward toward healing without so many ups and downs).  Every person is different and there is no way to tell how long it will take for anyone to heal.

 

 Just take good care of yourself and try NOT to catastrophize and worry.  You are off the drugs and your brain is healing every moment.  Those are the kind of thoughts to keep in your mind.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added NOT

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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christianjw12
13 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

Hi @christianjw12 I’m sorry you’ve been having symptoms too. I completely get what you’ve said and I know that letting the thoughts be there without paying them attention is what helps, but sometimes that’s so hard to do especially when they’re so serious. When they get bad I can think into them and then start really panicking about something bad happening. 
Have your symptoms and thoughts got better in time?

 

My withdrawal symptoms started around 1 week after I ended Lexapro (last dose was 5mg which is considered pretty low by my psychiatrist).

What I experienced was this list of symptoms :

- repetitive random thoughts so I have 0 concentration (couldn't read, couldn't watch TV and even socializing with people was hard because I was constantly trying to be present and my mind wandered almost every second).

- tremor

- nerve pain

- muscle spasms

- music which replay over and over again in ly mind,

- burning skin

 

- fatigue (even when I sleep 10 hours, there's a time in the journey, I'll feel very sleepy but I force myself not too)

 

I even started to dislike walking alone in the streets or in the nature (things I liked the most) because my mind was constantly wandering to the past and get some random thoughts. At work (I'm a financial analyst in a bank so we have to think a lot), I could hardly concentrate, it was impossible.

It was like that 24/7 from May to the beginning of August. Since August, I noticed slight improvement, I think I started to enter the waves and windows pattern. Some days were not too bad but 2-3 days after, I will enter in a wave and it feels like I made 0 improvement from the beginning. But I'm confident those symptoms will fade away if I believe I'll heal one day.

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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1 hour ago, Gridley said:

Adverse reaction actually heal in a more linear pattern (general progress upward toward healing without so many ups and downs).  Every person is different and there is no way to tell how long it will take for anyone to heal.

 

 Just take good care of yourself and try to catastrophize and worry.  You are off the drugs and your brain is healing every moment.  Those are the kind of thoughts to keep in your mind.


That’s good to know it usually goes in a linear pattern, hopefully it’ll get better bit by bit. Thanks for all your advice.

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

Link to post
55 minutes ago, christianjw12 said:

 

My withdrawal symptoms started around 1 week after I ended Lexapro (last dose was 5mg which is considered pretty low by my psychiatrist).

What I experienced was this list of symptoms :

- repetitive random thoughts so I have 0 concentration (couldn't read, couldn't watch TV and even socializing with people was hard because I was constantly trying to be present and my mind wandered almost every second).

- tremor

- nerve pain

- muscle spasms

- music which replay over and over again in ly mind,

- burning skin

 

- fatigue (even when I sleep 10 hours, there's a time in the journey, I'll feel very sleepy but I force myself not too)

 

I even started to dislike walking alone in the streets or in the nature (things I liked the most) because my mind was constantly wandering to the past and get some random thoughts. At work (I'm a financial analyst in a bank so we have to think a lot), I could hardly concentrate, it was impossible.

It was like that 24/7 from May to the beginning of August. Since August, I noticed slight improvement, I think I started to enter the waves and windows pattern. Some days were not too bad but 2-3 days after, I will enter in a wave and it feels like I made 0 improvement from the beginning. But I'm confident those symptoms will fade away if I believe I'll heal one day.

 


I know what you mean about your mind wandering and not being able to focus on things, that’s something I’ve struggled with!

Like you said, I think the best thing you can do is just believe that at some point they’ll fade away and that you’re making steps towards feeling better. 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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christianjw12

Don't ever go back on antidepressant ! I've seen another psychiatrist (not the first one because he initially told me to stay on Lexapro for at least 1year.. I almost noticed 0 improvement since I started Lexapro and it even made me suicidal and while I told him this, he told me to upper my dose to 15 or 20mg) and the second psychiatrist didn't even want to hear me. He only said : there's no way Lexapro cause withdrawal, if you have brain fog, it means you have depression... And when I visited his cab, there were prizes like Best young neurologist and best psychiatrist awards heearned like 20 years ago, this guy knew nothing about withdrawal, he only advised me to take a second class of SSRI antidepressant. I told him the meds were the problems but he didn't listen. Those were 50€ wasted in 10mn..

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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That’s so bad, all they seem to want to do is give you higher doses or change your medication to something else. I told my doctor about my withdrawal symptoms after about a week and said I was really struggling, she laughed and said it’s fine, there’s no way they’d last more than 2 weeks!

 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

Link to post

Hi Heidi!

 

I had a similar reaction to Lexapro (called "citalopram's big brother" by someone on here) and I can definitely relate to some of your symptoms, especially the "feel like they're better, but then find them getting worse." My psychiatrist yesterday also gave me a similar reaction saying "the drug is completely out of your system, its physiologically impossible for it to still be affecting you." So frustrating!

 

Hang in there, I've definitely seen improvements even in the two short weeks I stopped taking the Lexapro, but viewing it in terms of improvements by weeks instead of days has been somewhat helpful for me. We can do this!

 

May/June 2017-around January 2020: Lexapro, 10 MG (20 mg for a few weeks in that time frame) - Rapid taper, depression side effect for ~2 weeks (maybe a bit more); Klonopin 0.5mg (usually only took 0.25mg for sleep), rapid taper.

Feb-July 2020: Melatonin, 2.5mg for most months, later 1.25mg. 
August 2020: Lexapro 10mg for 7 days (8/11-8/18), 5 mg for 2 days(8/19-8/20), 2.5 mg for 1 day (8/21). Klonopin, 0.5mg: 8/11-8/19 (Usually .25mg, ~2-3 times at .5mg, 8/14 and 8/21 at 1mg), 8/14 (1 mg).  GI revive for 1 day, glycine for 1 day. 

 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:2)

 

"Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

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  • Moderator
12 minutes ago, angelicus said:

"the drug is completely out of your system, its physiologically impossible for it to still be affecting you."

This link explains why the "physiologically out of your system" explanation misses the point entirely.  

 

Brain Remodelling 

 

 

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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.

Link to post
10 hours ago, angelicus said:

Hi Heidi!

 

I had a similar reaction to Lexapro (called "citalopram's big brother" by someone on here) and I can definitely relate to some of your symptoms, especially the "feel like they're better, but then find them getting worse." My psychiatrist yesterday also gave me a similar reaction saying "the drug is completely out of your system, its physiologically impossible for it to still be affecting you." So frustrating!

 

Hang in there, I've definitely seen improvements even in the two short weeks I stopped taking the Lexapro, but viewing it in terms of improvements by weeks instead of days has been somewhat helpful for me. We can do this!


Hey @angelicus, I just read your intro! My symptoms do sound similar to yours, especially the intrusive thoughts. I think looking at things by weeks is a good idea. For me, for the first few weeks off Citalopram I just felt so depressed and tired, with no enjoyment or motivation. Then on the fourth week it lifted and I had some happier days. Then my fifth week was quite a bit worse, my anxiety was a lot worse and I had a constant feeling that something bad was going to happen, which scared me as well as having the intrusive thoughts. Then now in my sixth week, although I’ve been having much more derealisation, some of my other symptoms have got a bit better, yesterday I noticed that the intrusive thoughts weren’t there half as much as what they had been. So I guess they kind of change as time goes on. Keep going, we will get there!

 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Moderator Emeritus
19 hours ago, Gridley said:

Just take good care of yourself and try NOT to catastrophize and worry.

 

I just corrected Gridley's omission of the word "not".

 

Edited by ChessieCat

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.328 mg

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 Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

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christianjw12

@Heidi1 @angelicus what really helped me to go through is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It's an efficient CBT Therapy to cope with every sort of psychological disorder. You can learn more in the book written by Russ Harris : The Happiness Trap ! The goal is to learn to defuse your negative thoughts and feelings. So everytime I get a suicidal thought, I'll be watching this thought instead of BE in this thought like "Oh mind, you want us to suicide, thanks I heard you but no thank you".

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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christianjw12
Just now, christianjw12 said:

@Heidi1 @angelicus what really helped me to go through is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It's an efficient CBT Therapy to cope with every sort of psychological disorder and even physical pain. You can learn more in the book written by Russ Harris : The Happiness Trap ! The goal is to learn to defuse your negative thoughts and feelings. So everytime I get a suicidal thought, I'll be watching this thought instead of BE in this thought like "Oh mind, you want us to suicide, thanks I heard you but no thank you".

 

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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5 hours ago, Heidi1 said:


Hey @angelicus, I just read your intro! My symptoms do sound similar to yours, especially the intrusive thoughts. I think looking at things by weeks is a good idea. For me, for the first few weeks off Citalopram I just felt so depressed and tired, with no enjoyment or motivation. Then on the fourth week it lifted and I had some happier days. Then my fifth week was quite a bit worse, my anxiety was a lot worse and I had a constant feeling that something bad was going to happen, which scared me as well as having the intrusive thoughts. Then now in my sixth week, although I’ve been having much more derealisation, some of my other symptoms have got a bit better, yesterday I noticed that the intrusive thoughts weren’t there half as much as what they had been. So I guess they kind of change as time goes on. Keep going, we will get there!

 

 

Heidi, it's so frustrating at times, especially the intrusive thoughts/feeling something bad was going to happen. Honestly I think the mental symptoms are just the worst. I had such a bad spell of derealisation 3 years ago which put me on the Lexapro (oh how I wish I knew about this forum then), and it just feels so weird! 

 

I think Gridley made a really good point that I'm trying to hammer into myself: "The fact that you've had some good days and improved symptoms is a very encouraging sign of healing." This forum has really made me appreciate the sheer complexity and outright beauty of our brains, I try to envision the up and down swings as our brain trying to fix itself. It's kind of silly, but each time I eat something really healthy (I've never tried to eat so healthy in my life), I tell my brain I'm helping it heal with these nutrients, etc. Again, silly, but I think it's just good for positive reinforcement. The brain heals every single second, we just have to be patient and one day things will return to normalcy! Keep on fighting.

 

May/June 2017-around January 2020: Lexapro, 10 MG (20 mg for a few weeks in that time frame) - Rapid taper, depression side effect for ~2 weeks (maybe a bit more); Klonopin 0.5mg (usually only took 0.25mg for sleep), rapid taper.

Feb-July 2020: Melatonin, 2.5mg for most months, later 1.25mg. 
August 2020: Lexapro 10mg for 7 days (8/11-8/18), 5 mg for 2 days(8/19-8/20), 2.5 mg for 1 day (8/21). Klonopin, 0.5mg: 8/11-8/19 (Usually .25mg, ~2-3 times at .5mg, 8/14 and 8/21 at 1mg), 8/14 (1 mg).  GI revive for 1 day, glycine for 1 day. 

 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:2)

 

"Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

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5 hours ago, christianjw12 said:

@Heidi1 @angelicus what really helped me to go through is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It's an efficient CBT Therapy to cope with every sort of psychological disorder. You can learn more in the book written by Russ Harris : The Happiness Trap ! The goal is to learn to defuse your negative thoughts and feelings. So everytime I get a suicidal thought, I'll be watching this thought instead of BE in this thought like "Oh mind, you want us to suicide, thanks I heard you but no thank you".

 

 

Christian, I appreciate the recommendation! I've been looking for books on these various topics (my interest in my usual studies has greatly diminished, unfortunately), so I'm definitely trying to soak up everything I can on how to cope/heal. I just ordered Dr. Claire Weekes's Hope and Help for Your Nerves so I'm excited to dig into that.

 

I actually just scheduled an appointment with a new therapist (my therapy sessions with my psychiatrist were meh), so I'm hoping he'll be able to provide additional techniques as well. I'll definitely put the one you recommended to the test. Cheers.

 

May/June 2017-around January 2020: Lexapro, 10 MG (20 mg for a few weeks in that time frame) - Rapid taper, depression side effect for ~2 weeks (maybe a bit more); Klonopin 0.5mg (usually only took 0.25mg for sleep), rapid taper.

Feb-July 2020: Melatonin, 2.5mg for most months, later 1.25mg. 
August 2020: Lexapro 10mg for 7 days (8/11-8/18), 5 mg for 2 days(8/19-8/20), 2.5 mg for 1 day (8/21). Klonopin, 0.5mg: 8/11-8/19 (Usually .25mg, ~2-3 times at .5mg, 8/14 and 8/21 at 1mg), 8/14 (1 mg).  GI revive for 1 day, glycine for 1 day. 

 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:2)

 

"Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

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2 hours ago, angelicus said:

 

Heidi, it's so frustrating at times, especially the intrusive thoughts/feeling something bad was going to happen. Honestly I think the mental symptoms are just the worst. I had such a bad spell of derealisation 3 years ago which put me on the Lexapro (oh how I wish I knew about this forum then), and it just feels so weird! 

 

I think Gridley made a really good point that I'm trying to hammer into myself: "The fact that you've had some good days and improved symptoms is a very encouraging sign of healing." This forum has really made me appreciate the sheer complexity and outright beauty of our brains, I try to envision the up and down swings as our brain trying to fix itself. It's kind of silly, but each time I eat something really healthy (I've never tried to eat so healthy in my life), I tell my brain I'm helping it heal with these nutrients, etc. Again, silly, but I think it's just good for positive reinforcement. The brain heals every single second, we just have to be patient and one day things will return to normalcy! Keep on fighting.

 

 

It’s really not nice is it and feels quite scary, was there anything that helped you with derealisation?

That doesn’t sound silly at all it’s a really positive thing to do, you’re just taking care of yourself so you heal quicker! I tell myself things like that too, like every time I do anything to look after myself I think that’s it’s just another step in the right direction.

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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8 hours ago, christianjw12 said:

@Heidi1 @angelicus what really helped me to go through is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. It's an efficient CBT Therapy to cope with every sort of psychological disorder. You can learn more in the book written by Russ Harris : The Happiness Trap ! The goal is to learn to defuse your negative thoughts and feelings. So everytime I get a suicidal thought, I'll be watching this thought instead of BE in this thought like "Oh mind, you want us to suicide, thanks I heard you but no thank you".

 


Thank you, that’s really helpful! I’ve learnt that as I’ve gone along, the more you think into it and analyse it you just end up giving it power and it scares you. I think it just takes time to train yourself to observe it and know it’s just a symptom, it’ll pass at some point.

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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Unfortuntately, I don't have any tips on how I managed my derealization as I went on meds maybe 1-3 months after taking them. And I certainly wouldn't recommend any drug for them!

 

I think my derealization was caused by a panic attack I suffered which naturally caused me anxiety for weeks/months after, so I suppose that anxiety is the cause of the derealization. Thus, if we can manage the anxiety, we can manage the derealization. This forum has a ton of coping techniques and I'm sure some can help you there. 

 

But you're right, we have to emphasize the tiny, baby steps we take to get better. I've caught myself trying to push myself a bit, which sometimes it works/ends up badly. So I think we just have to take it slow and gradually work our way back up to our normal selves!

 

May/June 2017-around January 2020: Lexapro, 10 MG (20 mg for a few weeks in that time frame) - Rapid taper, depression side effect for ~2 weeks (maybe a bit more); Klonopin 0.5mg (usually only took 0.25mg for sleep), rapid taper.

Feb-July 2020: Melatonin, 2.5mg for most months, later 1.25mg. 
August 2020: Lexapro 10mg for 7 days (8/11-8/18), 5 mg for 2 days(8/19-8/20), 2.5 mg for 1 day (8/21). Klonopin, 0.5mg: 8/11-8/19 (Usually .25mg, ~2-3 times at .5mg, 8/14 and 8/21 at 1mg), 8/14 (1 mg).  GI revive for 1 day, glycine for 1 day. 

 

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:2)

 

"Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

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  • Administrator

Hello, Heidi.

 

You've been off citalopram for about 6 weeks. How have your symptoms changed over that time? Are they better or worse now? How's your sleep?

 

What do you mean by "derealization"?

 

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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47 minutes ago, angelicus said:

Unfortuntately, I don't have any tips on how I managed my derealization as I went on meds maybe 1-3 months after taking them. And I certainly wouldn't recommend any drug for them!

 

I think my derealization was caused by a panic attack I suffered which naturally caused me anxiety for weeks/months after, so I suppose that anxiety is the cause of the derealization. Thus, if we can manage the anxiety, we can manage the derealization. This forum has a ton of coping techniques and I'm sure some can help you there. 

 

But you're right, we have to emphasize the tiny, baby steps we take to get better. I've caught myself trying to push myself a bit, which sometimes it works/ends up badly. So I think we just have to take it slow and gradually work our way back up to our normal selves!


That makes sense, I’d heard before that it’s an effect of anxiety or low mood, so I guess managing that will help it like you say.

Definitely, I think that’s a good thing to do. Let me know how you get on!

 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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christianjw12
46 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Hello, Heidi.

 

You've been off citalopram for about 6 weeks. How have your symptoms changed over that time? Are they better or worse now? How's your sleep?

 

What do you mean by "derealization"?

 

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

@Altostrata,

Derealization is an anxiety disorder. People often experience it when the anxiety is too overwhelming that the people start to feel disconnected to the world. I had it while I had pure O OCD, I remember one day, suddenly started to feel weird, I felt like I was in dream but I was sure I wasn't dreaming. The color seems to be clearer and I felt like there was a fog in front of my vision. It can be very scary for someone who experiences it for the first time.

 

23rd of January 2020 - Started taking Lexapro at 5mg daily.

29th of January 2020 - Upped to 10mg of Lexapro daily.

9th of April 2020 - Reduced to 5mg of Lexapro daily.

23rd of April 2020 - Stopped Lexapro at 5mg daily.

Withdrawal since ~

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40 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Hello, Heidi.

 

You've been off citalopram for about 6 weeks. How have your symptoms changed over that time? Are they better or worse now? How's your sleep?

 

What do you mean by "derealization"?

 

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.


Hi! 
I’ll summarise my symptoms for the past 6 weeks:

First couple of days coming off Citalopram: Generally felt okay, a bit tired and not quite myself, but generally okay. I’d say my symptoms started on about the 3rd day.

Week 1: I started to feel really down, like nothing at all could make me happy. My anxiety got worse and I kept feeling as though something bad was about to happen. Fatigue, nausea, brain zaps that were quite bad, agitation, restlessness, lack of motivation and I also started to get angry about little things which isn’t how I’d normally be. Towards the end is when my obsessive suicidal/self harm thoughts started, I realised I just couldn’t seem to stop them happening. I also kept feeling like everything around me was unfamiliar, it felt like I couldn’t recognise my house or my room.

Week 2 & 3: I had pretty similar symptoms, although I felt more depressed than the first week. 
Week 4: The depressed feelings lifted, I started feeling like I was more content and even started to enjoy some things a little bit. The obsessive/repetitive thoughts were still there every day but they weren’t as intrusive or aggressive, so I felt like they didn’t bother me so much. Towards the end of the week is where I’d say I started feeling more derealisation, for me it feels like I’m not connected to anything around me, and like I’m not ‘quite there’ wherever I am, if that makes sense. I’d say it feels quite like I’m living in a dream, everything just feels very surreal. 

Week 5: After about 4 days of feeling more positive, I noticed my obsessive thoughts beginning to get worse. In the next few days they got a LOT worse, I kept having intrusive images in my head, and they gave me massive anxiety that something bad would happen (I also had a few panic attacks). For a couple of days the thoughts and anxiety felt so bad it actually felt painful in my head. The disassociated feelings were still there quite strongly, at one point I was sitting with my boyfriend’s family, who I’ve known for years, and I felt like I really didn’t recognise them. 
Week 6: At the start of this week I still felt very disassociated, but the anxiety has felt better, I haven’t really had any feelings of bad things going to happen. I felt quite flat, still as if things that would normally make me happy just don’t excite me and the obsessive thoughts were there, though slightly better than what they were the week before.

Today and yesterday, though, I’ve felt my mood lift again, and have noticed that the obsessive thoughts haven’t been half as bad, though definitely not completely gone. I’ve felt more positive and done some things that would normally make me happy and have been more relaxed spending time on my own, so both my mood and anxiety have improved this week. Weirdly, my brain zaps have come back, as they’d gone for the last few weeks, but have noticed them starting to happen again.


I’ve read about the ‘windows and waves’ and didn’t know if my few good days followed by bad days were a sign of that happening?

I’ve been lucky with my sleep the whole time, I’d say I’m more of a light sleeper now than I was, but I’m able to get a full night’s sleep (at least 8 hours) pretty much every night.

 

Thanks for your advice, I’ll give those a try! 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Administrator

Yes, you're having waves and windows. It seems on the average, you are improving slowly. This is normal, and it's a good sign.

 

Your nervous system is recovering but it will be fragile for a long time. I would avoid stress as much as possible and things such as alcohol, caffeine, and overdoing activities, those might interfere with recovery. Be sure to get good sleep, fresh fruits and veggies, etc. Fish oil and magnesium might help.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Yes, you're having waves and windows. It seems on the average, you are improving slowly. This is normal, and it's a good sign.

 

Your nervous system is recovering but it will be fragile for a long time. I would avoid stress as much as possible and things such as alcohol, caffeine, and overdoing activities, those might interfere with recovery. Be sure to get good sleep, fresh fruits and veggies, etc. Fish oil and magnesium might help.


That’s good to hear, so normally the waves get a bit less and the windows get longer?

Thanks for your advice, I’ll give those a try.

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Administrator
Just now, Heidi1 said:

That’s good to hear, so normally the waves get a bit less and the windows get longer?

 

Yes, that's what we expect.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Administrator

@Heidi1, how are you doing?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi @Altostrata. I had a good few days over the weekend where I was able to enjoy myself, laugh and relax more. But then a couple of days later I began feeling really down again and my negative thoughts got worse, and has been like that since. I think my main symptoms are just depression, anxiety and negative repetitive thoughts. 

October 2019- started on 10mg Citalopram

June 2020- increased to 20mg but had bad side effects.

July 2020- switched to 37.5mg Venlafaxine, then switched back to 10mg Citalopram after 2 weeks.

Came off Citalopram 10mg completely on July 20th

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  • Moderator Emeritus
9 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

I had a good few days over the weekend where I was able to enjoy myself, laugh and relax more.

 

That is a good sign.

 

9 minutes ago, Heidi1 said:

But then a couple of days later I began feeling really down again and my negative thoughts got worse, and has been like that since.

 

That's what happens.  Recovery is not linear it happens in a windows and waves pattern.

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

From this topic  what-is-happening-in-your-brain

 

On 12/27/2015 at 6:37 AM, Altostrata said:

 

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were [...] to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and [...] to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while [...] is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made. 


And just like the Twin Towers- it's possible - but the building is a major effort -and it takes a good year or more sometimes.

 

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.328 mg

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 Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

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