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VivaLaVida Is this withdrawal (vs. "relapse")?


VivaLaVida

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VivaLaVida

Hi everyone,

 

I have been lurking here for a few months, and I am at a point where I want to introduce myself and see what everyone thinks of my situation.

 

Here is my history:

December 2019: Panic attack out of nowhere. Never even knew what I was feeling. It was terrifying.
January-February 2019: Anxiety slowly set in and became so severe that I worried for my life. Prescribed clonazepam that I took when feeling anxious. It helped in the beginning but my anxiety kept ramping up to multiple panic attacks a night, severe anxiety by day. Quit my job. Tried THC which gave my psychosis (lasted for the duration of the "high"), and 2 days later (mid February) I took myself to a psychiatric hospital because I was desperate - didn't know what to do.
At the hospital many health tests were run: several blood tests, CT scan, etc. Everything came back normal. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. Although the doctors had no idea what caused it or how to help it with anything other than medication. 
February - March 2019: Escitalopram 20mg (from 5mg to 10mg to 20mg over the course of 5 days), Zopiclone for sleep, 0.5mg Clonazepam at night time for sleep as well
March -April 2019: Was discharged in March. Had 2 crisis where I ran back to the hospital (felt unsafe). First time I was given clonazepam (for what was believed to be internal akathesia by one of psychiatrists there), and the second time I was prescribed Abilify 4mg (because even after around 6 weeks at that point I hadn't felt much better). Suddenly felt much better after 2 days and stayed stable until I started tapering the Escitalopram in July. At that time I had also discontinued the Clonazepam at night. Shortly after I also discontinued the Zopiclone.
Stayed on the Escitalopram 20mg and Abilify 4mg until April 2020. Discontinued Abilify slowly - 1mg per month. Felt totally fine after discontinuing.
July 2020: 15 mg escitalopram
August 2020: 10 mg escitalopram
September 2020: 5 mg escitalopram
October 2020: 0 mg escitalopram

 

November - Early January: horrible physical withdrawal effects. Brain zaps several times a minute, balance issues, tinnitus, dpdr, lots of very strange feelings and experiences (like feeling like falling through the ground) - I honestly don't even remember everything, it was so bizzarre. I went to the doctor to get an MRI test to see if my brain is O.K. Everything is fine...

 

Mid January: Physical withdrawal symptoms greatly improved. No brain zaps anymore, minimal dizziness, minimal everything else. Anxiety and depression started. They have been ramping up since. At this point I'm not very functional. Thankfully I am working from home, but I wouldn't be able to go in person. I feel defeated and like at "square one" again. 

 

Lifestyle: I have been doing yoga and meditating for years. I am a "fit and healthy" 33 year old otherwise. Anxiety and depression affect my eating in that I have no appetite, I have lost a lot of weight due to this. 

 

So my question is: Is this still withdrawal (vs. "relapse")? Considering my physical symptoms have steadily improved and are mostly gone....

 

At this point I just want some relief. Everyday is a struggle with severe anxiety and depression. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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  • VivaLaVida changed the title to Is this withdrawal (vs. "relapse")?
VivaLaVida

Just to add: I will be starting CBT tomorrow with a therapist over Zoom. Not sure how much that helps (I know there are several studies that show that CBT is just as helpful as ADs in depression - but I feel like my depression and anxiety are not due to poor thinking patterns...), but I'd really like to get out of this without having to take medication again. 

 

Anyone who also experienced a re-emeregence in anxiety and depression months after stopping ADs, I'd appreciate your input in what worked/what didn't, etc. Also, any input of experience with CBT to help symptoms would be appreciated as well. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Altostrata

Welcome. Viva.

 

On 1/31/2021 at 8:35 AM, VivaLaVida said:

Mid January: Physical withdrawal symptoms greatly improved. No brain zaps anymore, minimal dizziness, minimal everything else. Anxiety and depression started. They have been ramping up since. At this point I'm not very functional. Thankfully I am working from home, but I wouldn't be able to go in person. I feel defeated and like at "square one" again. 

 

Yes, many people here have the distinct initial acute withdrawal symptoms, as you did, and later have less defined symptoms that may be mistaken for relapse.

 

How do you feel this anxiety and depression? Are they constant? Do they have triggers in thoughts or external events?

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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  • Altostrata changed the title to VivaLaVida Is this withdrawal (vs. "relapse")?
VivaLaVida

Thank you for your reply Alostrata.

 

The depression/anxiety come on without notice, with no descernible triggers, thoughts or external events! Suddenly (within the span of a minute) I would just feel very anxious for no reason and it ramps up to the point where it is severe and very uncomfortable physically. Usually it stays for several hours and then goes down. Same with the depression - I could be just sitting there reading something and I would just suddenly feel depressed until it is severe (it is almost like I can feel the shift of chemicals in my body and brain if that even makes any sense! It is the strangest thing). I have been timing these episodes - about 5-6 hours each, sometimes I would have both a day, sometimes it is both depression and anxiety at the same time... 

I am also still experiencing physical symptoms, like shakiness, weakness (I used to be very active physically, but now I can only really manage walking), "head fullness" that comes and goes, pulsating tinnitus, air hunger, RLS (which was quite bad during the first bit of withdrawal)...on the whole though my current problems are mostly psychological. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

That symptom pattern is characteristic of post-acute withdrawal symptoms. You are also having physical symptoms. You can assume both are from withdrawal and not relapse. They should very gradually fade over months.

 

From a therapist, I would seek coping strategies for these symptoms. You may have to surf them until they go away.

 

If they become intolerable, you may wish to reinstate a very small amount of escitalopram, such as 0.5mg, to reduce those symptoms and "do-over" the last bit of your taper. You'd taper off by miniscule amounts later.

 

Please let us know how you're dong.

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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VivaLaVida

Thanks Alostrata.

 

Just had my consultation with the therapist. She said what I am going through sounds chemical (and possibly what I went through the first time around? But she doesn't know). She said CBT won't help me because there is nothing we can address in our sessions in my life that is causing the anxiety and depression...(like I said, they even FEEL like a chemical shift!). I mentioned PAWS and she said he isn't in a position to say for sure.

 

At this point I feel like I know HOW to cope with these feelings (not well at all when in the middle of one, but can anyone really deal "well" with such severe shifts? I also don't think a therapist at $200/hr is going to tell me anything I don't already know about "breathing" and "going for a walk"). 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Hi. Have you had your hormones / testosterone levels checked? Even if you are young hormones can get out of whack and cause these problems. 

 

 

Paxil  07/1997 - 10/1998 Quit CT  

Neurontin, topamax, trazadone,  ssri AD (don't remember which one) 12/1998 - 06/1999 CT everything

Eflexor Xanax  04/2000 -08/2000 CT  ***01/2008-05/2013 on/off lexapro, lamictalseroquelsaphris, pristiq  Start/Stop CT at intervals 

Zoloft 200 mg 07/2013  WD 04/3/20 - 04/8/20 Quit

Seroquel 800 mg 07/2013 2013 *400 mg 07/2019  *** WD 04/15/2020 - 06/19/20 Quit

Ambien 10 mg 07/2013  WD 5 mg 04/29/2020, 2.5 mg 12/24/20, 1.66 mg 01/21/2021, 1.25 mg 02/16/2021 *** 02/22/2021 Quit

Xanax  2 mg prn 07/2013 - 04/23/20 Quit CT

Lamictal 150 mg 07/2013 WD 05/06/20 -06/11/2020 Quit

Propranolol 03/21/2020 - 04/20/2020 Quit CT

Hydroxyzine  12/14/2020 - 12/27/20 Quit

Allegra 24 hr 01/11/21 Flonase Nasal Spray 01/11/21

Magnesium Glycinate 100mg x3 daily D3 5000iu daily 

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VivaLaVida

Thank you for chiming in Lucy.

As far as I know, they gave me “all” the tests when I was hospitalized - not sure if that included a hormones one. I also don’t seem to have any of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance that I see online. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata
4 hours ago, VivaLaVida said:

Thanks Alostrata.

 

Just had my consultation with the therapist. She said what I am going through sounds chemical (and possibly what I went through the first time around? But she doesn't know). She said CBT won't help me because there is nothing we can address in our sessions in my life that is causing the anxiety and depression...(like I said, they even FEEL like a chemical shift!). I mentioned PAWS and she said he isn't in a position to say for sure.

 

At this point I feel like I know HOW to cope with these feelings (not well at all when in the middle of one, but can anyone really deal "well" with such severe shifts? I also don't think a therapist at $200/hr is going to tell me anything I don't already know about "breathing" and "going for a walk"). 

 

That is actually very well-informed, Viva. CBT can be useful if you have intrusive thoughts as a withdrawal symptom, but that may not be her style.

 

Stress reduction techniques such as meditation can help. See

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Neuro-emotions

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

 

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

 

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

 

@Lucy1983 Vida's symptoms are classic protracted antidepressant withdrawal syndrome.

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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VivaLaVida

Thank you Alostrata.

 

I have been trying to tune in to pinpoint more of the shifts happening, and they’re not just anxiety and depression. I get this shift where I just feel “terrible” but it isn’t anxiety or depression. I also get this shift that I noticed yesterday that is “too” good - well “good” isn’t a good word for it really, it is like a surge of energy in my body and head and it makes me feel “better” but it isn’t like a normal “good.” It is hard to describe. I almost feel like I’m going to lose my mind! I breathe through it and it eventually passes.

 

Thankfully I have been getting decent sleep (around 6-7 hours) and then waking up with either the terrible feeling or the anxiety.

 

I went off the medication in hopes of getting pregnant. At this point this is definitely not a option while I’m going through this.

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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VivaLaVida

Has anyone else gone through these emotional shifts like this? How long did it take for them improve? Really in need of hope that this isn't just how I will be for the rest of my life...

 

Currently I feel angry and unhappy (and a little out of it)- I am not sure if it is another emotional shift or just me being angry at this situation I find myself in. My head hurts and I have these surges to the top of my head, I almost want to grind my teeth. My visual disruptions are also back which I had for a few weeks early on (illusory palinopsia). 

 

I am not sure what I should do. Ride this out? Tell my psychiatrist from the hospital? I don't know if they'll have any solutions for me (other than medication). Last time I spoke with them, right after I stopped the Escitalopram, I told them about the brain zaps, and they basically said "well that shouldn't happen." They're a nice person, but not sure if they'd recognize this as PAWS. 

 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Kingfisher86

Hi Viva,

 

I just wanted to say that things do get better... as for the timeline it is very hard to say since we are all so unique. I belive it is somewhat good not knowing, beacuse it helps you go day by day.

 

I started very rapid tapiring May 2020, so even then I started experiencing milder symptoms of what was to come. You could say I strated suffering progressively since then. But wow time is running us over even when it is rough. We endure. Acute phase of WD is the worst and for me that was 3-4 month (started later in August 2020) after completly stopping lexapro. It was pure hell. Brain zaps, whole body shaking, nausea, headache... but it passed for me.  February 1st was my  6 months aniverssary off med. It has gotten MUCH better. No physical symtomps any more, but still working on my emotions. I did not believe 100% it wouldget better. I mean I wanted to believe but it was hard. Sometime emotions got progressively  better for me. Sometimes I would just feel great, like no fear every existed. Normal, whatever that meant:) Periods of where I feel just good are getting longer by each month. There are days where I feel off but I from experiance I just know now that I will get better all the way. 

Brain just needs time and love.

 

I believe psychoterapy could help a lot! Even when anxiety or depression are chemical, they can get worse or better depending on our thought process. Plus, sensitive NS need all the support because regular problems can hit twice as hard. I hope you can find more affordable therapist, if you decide to go down that path.

 

It is very important for anybody to make sure their body chemistry is right... like some of my female hormones were a huge problem for me. Some people have vitamin or mineral deficiencies. It seems like a small thing but it could make a huge difference.

 

As for thinking about relapse... the way I think of it is... were the anxiety and depression before medication just a natural response to something bad that happend to us? Could it be that things piled up during years of some kinda a hardships? Could we try to go through those seasons of pain and greiving with help of psychotherapy? With help of the family and friends.... Trama asks to be digested, we need, unfortunately, to feel some pain...but for limited time.

I am not a doctor... I can only tell you what I went through and hope it gives you some insight.

Things will get better!

 

 

July 19th 2017—July 2018: 10 mg Escitalopram

August 2018— June 2020: 5 mg Escitalopram

 

Tapering started:

June 2020—1st of August.

Lowest dose was 5 mg (5 mg every second day for a couple of weeks, then 5 mg twice a week for a couple of weeks, and lastly 5 mg once a week until I stopped)

Drug free: August 1st, 2020

 

I was on 500mg Metformin for PCOS for the last two years. Stopped on 7th of August 2020.

 

Supplements:

Magnesium citrate 2x200 mg, Vitamin C 3x1000 mg, Omega3 – 3x1000 mg, Zinc 5mg.

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VivaLaVida

Hi Kingfisher,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. Seems like you are two months ahead of me in this process. Today has been especially rough this morning (severe agitation, I feel like wringing my hands and clenching my teeth :(). I have decided to take a leave from work and focus on healing. 

 

I am currently in a rollercoasted of emotions and sensations. I hope it gets better. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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VivaLaVida

I made an appointment with my psychiatrist from when I was hospitalized. My husband is very worried about me (poor guy), and suggested that I do that.

 

Would it be really harmful to reinstate Escitalopram at 5mg (like I think the psychiartist will say to do?). I was actually never really supposed to be on such a high dose of 20mg since I am a very small person (around 110lbs). 

 

I don't think the psychiatrist will appreciate that this may be PAWS, and will just see it as a relapse. I already know they won't be prescribing me anything less than 5mg, probably in 10mg form that I break in half...

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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PerAsperaAdAstra

Hi @VivaLaVida! I'd really take Altostrata's word for it and if you were to reinstate Escitalopram only reinstate a very small amount like 0.5mg. Escitalopram is quite potent so reinstating to 5 mg in one go might confuse your CNS more.

Perhaps the reinstatement might give your body the rest it needs now. And after stabilizing you can choose to taper 10% each month or even use the Brassmonkey slide method.

 

I wish you all the best in taking a wise decision!

Antidepressant history

2001 - 2018: Paxil / seroxat (20 mgs), several failed c/t and taper attempts.

2018-September: last failed c/t attempt.

2018-October: reinstated Paxil (30 mgs)

2018-October thru 2019-January: Short-term Oxazepam & Diazepam use. Tapered off very slowly. Jumped 10Jan2019.

 

Brassmonkey Slide Method stats

Started taper in 2020-03-28. Currently in week 1 of slide 9. Down to 12,5912 mgai / 0,1499 mgpw. 58,03% done. 

 

Supplements: C, D, Magnesium, NMN, PQQ+CoQ10

Miscellaneous: low on alcohol (1/2 times/year). No substance abuse. Lower carb diet with cheat days. Wim Hof Method. Buteyko. Calisthenics. Hiking.

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VivaLaVida

Thank you PerAsperaAdAstra, I was having a particularly bad couple of days... Suprisingly today was generally fine! Some physical symptoms, and some anxiety in the morning, but otherwise completely tolerable. I have to get used to the up and down rollercoaster of this withdrawal and not let what I think during the hard times colour what I truely want to do long term, which is be off the meds for good (I had some very bad side effects on them - dpdr basically full time. I don't even really remmeber much of the last two years, I was zombified). 

 

I have come up with the idea of writing myself some cue cards to read while I am going through anxiety/depression/physical symptoms/aggitation. One cue card for each "state", to tell myself what to do during those times to float through it and make it "easier."

 

I have also decided NOT to go on leave from work for now. I should only make decisions like this when I am more balanced and not going through one of my "states."

 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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VivaLaVida

How is it possible that I am doing (much) worse at 4 months than at 1-3 months off the Escitalopram? Both physically and mentally at this point. Different physical symptoms have crept up over the last few days...

 

I will be on a leave from work because it seems unpredictable when I feel ok, and when I am nonfunctional. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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VivaLaVida

Back to experiencing "only" physical symptoms over the last few days. The "chemical" (no trigger, reason, etc) anxiety/depression have subsided, which is great! I have been sleeping well - about 7 to 8 continuous hours a night (I think wearing a sleeping mask has helped a lot). 

 

I have definitely seen (VERY SLOW) improvements in the physical symptoms over the last few months (one step forward, half step back) but I am feeling discouraged by just how slow this process has been. I was hoping to get off the meds and try to get pregnant right away - Looks like I'll be waiting a while.

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Kingfisher86
1 hour ago, VivaLaVida said:

The "chemical" (no trigger, reason, etc) anxiety/depression have subsided, which is great! I have been sleeping well - about 7 to 8 continuous hours a night

@VivaLaVida this is really good news🥳 know we only need to remember these good moments when we hit a rough patch👌🏼

 

1 hour ago, VivaLaVida said:

been. I was hoping to get off the meds and try to get pregnant right away - Looks like I'll be waiting a while.

Yeah, not easy putting off some things. But time is passing and your future baby needs you to be at the top of your game. One day this will be behind you☀️

July 19th 2017—July 2018: 10 mg Escitalopram

August 2018— June 2020: 5 mg Escitalopram

 

Tapering started:

June 2020—1st of August.

Lowest dose was 5 mg (5 mg every second day for a couple of weeks, then 5 mg twice a week for a couple of weeks, and lastly 5 mg once a week until I stopped)

Drug free: August 1st, 2020

 

I was on 500mg Metformin for PCOS for the last two years. Stopped on 7th of August 2020.

 

Supplements:

Magnesium citrate 2x200 mg, Vitamin C 3x1000 mg, Omega3 – 3x1000 mg, Zinc 5mg.

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VivaLaVida

Thank you Kingfisher! I keep reminding myself that this is temporary and as difficult as it is now to accept that I may actually feel good someday, I'm not letting go of the hope. It has been 4 months... which doesn't sound like much, but for going through withdrawal day in and day out it can definitely be exhausting. 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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VivaLaVida

I had a phone coversation with my gp and told him generally about my symptoms (there are honestly too many to list). He said he agreed that it is probably related to going off the medication. He was surprised it lasted this long, but he said it may last a year. I am glad that he recognized this as withdrawal. He also said I should consider taking magnesium for the anxiety/brain function. I asked him if he has had other patients with the same thing, and he said not to this degree, and that other patients just "ignore their symptoms."

 

I started therapy yesterday. We will be doing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as well as some exposure and challenge for OCD/intrusive thoughts (not sure if anyone else gets these, but things like "I will never get better," "this can't be just withdrawal, it's too severe," and such thoughts). We'll see how it goes. 

 

 

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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  • 2 weeks later...
VivaLaVida

This week has been significantly better than last week. Each day has been slighly better than the last. Still many physical and psychological symptoms but much of the time they have been mild enough to be in the background while I push through and do other things. 

 

Has anyone had experience with pregnancy while going through withdrawal? Not something I am planning on right now, but in a couple of months if things are even better, but not fully there... does pregnancy make it better or worse? I know this is a difficult question as who can predict, so if anyone has experience please share :).

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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Hello Viva, I cannot answer about the pregnancy side of withdrawal.  I am also withdrawing from lexapro after being on it for only 7 weeks and having side effects that the GP kept saying 'just get over the hump'. I stopped at 5 mg 3 weeks ago and have experienced debilitating anxiety, low mood and jitteriness all the time, a little bit of insomnia is now kicking in.  I never experienced any of this (mild anxiety and depression when I lost my mum) the anxiety just comes out of nowhere and can be very intense. At the beginning I was also restless and was worried about my thoughts thinking I could not go on like this anymore.  This has calmed a little although jitteriness , tight chest, what feels like heart palpatations and intense anxiety.  My GP said lets 'just get it out of your system', I am also angry about this but know that I just have to ride it out.  I have taken time off work as not ready to commit to work yet.

 

I read your post with interest that we will get better, good luck I am cheering for you from the sidelines.

November 2015 0 15mg Mirtazapine for 5 weeks and GP changed me to Effexor 150mg titrated up slowly as very sensitive.  Change was due to GP worried about weight gain on Mirtazapine.

 

Started to wean off Effexor over 16 months period and I had no issues at all. Stopped June 2020.  Unfortunately, I was under chronic stress from 4 deaths (1 was my mother) in the family amongst other things  and sunk back down in October 2020.  Rather than accepting this was chronic stress and grief, I panicked and went to GP.

 

October 2020 prescribed Vortioxetine 10mg for 1 month and then increased to 15 mg on for 7 weeks in total.  Had suicidal thoughts and off the wall anxiety.  Changed to Lexapro in mid December 2020, slow titration from 2.5mg up to 10mg.  After 7 weeks again off the wall anxiety, I did have side effects on all drugs from starting to take them.  I decided to go 'au natural', GP advised to 'lets get it out of your system.' I did 1 week at 5mg and stopped.  Last med was 02 February 2021.  

 

I honestly did not realise after a short period of time I would experience such high anxiety, suicidal thoughts etc.  I was prescribed Diazepam to manage the symptoms but have only taken 3 when absolutely desperate.

I exercise, cold water swim and take magnesium, st Johns wort, valerian, VIt D and B12 and Omega 3.

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VivaLaVida

Hi BooBoo! Thank you for your reply. Yes, it is definitely a tough challenge getting off these medications... When I went off in October I didn't even know what I got myself into! I have a couple of friends who were also on Lexapro and they can go on and off them with no problem whenever they want - I don't really understand why some of us tend to have such a hard time.

 

Yes, my doctor just says that time and patience is what will get rid of this. I reccently read the book DARE, and it has been really helpful with the anxiety aspect of things! I highly reccomend it. Cheering you on as well, here's to feeling better :).

 

What do you do for exercise if you don't mind me asking? Before all this withdrawal I was really active, working out intensely 3-4 times a week and doing active things on the weekends. Now I feel so sensitive to even walking quickly, and I want to figure out how to build myself back up.

February - March 2019: 20mg Escitalopram, 7.5mg Zopiclone, 0.5mg Clonazepam, & 0.5mg-1mg Lorazepam - All given in psychiatric hospital under supervision for 3 weeks (hospitalized for sudden onset of severe anxiety and depression). 

April - May 2019: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify. Tapered down and discontinued Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Zopiclone one at a time over a few weeks with no problems. 

May 2019 - May 2020: 20mg Escitalopram & 4mg Abilify (not great, but "well tolerated" many very strange side effects).

May - July 2020: Tapered down Abilify 1 mg/month and discontinued with no problems.

July - October 2020: Tapered down Escitalopram 5mg/month (20mg, 15mg, 10mg, 5mg and then 0mg). 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 2/21/2021 at 7:16 AM, VivaLaVida said:

Yes, my doctor just says that time and patience is what will get rid of this.

I absolutely agree with this.  I tell people TIME is what helped me with anxiety, insomnia, and depression.

Lexparo 10mg user for 2.5 years. Last dose was 2/27/2008 after a fast 1 month taper. Recovered around 2011. Had issues with depression, anxiety, akathasia, inner restlessness, vertigo, insomnia, loss of appetite, eye floaters just to name a few. Basically rode it out, employing the Dr. Claire Weekes method.

 

Took Cipro in July of 2014 and have been having set backs with nausea, vertigo, anxiety (racing thoughts), and depression the last half of 2014.

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Hello Viva, before my withdrawal symptoms started I was running 5K three times per week.  When WD hit it was not possible but I try and run 2K six times per week.  I also swim in the sea regularly (even in winter in the UK) but again when WD hit, I have not done that since.  I hope that helps that I am the same , exercise took a hit.  I spoke to a specialist nurse yesterday who has kept in touch to monitor me and the WD symptoms.  I asked her if this was typical for the anxiety to last this long and so intense, the reply was, 'I do not know as you are the first patient who has perservered, every other patient could not cope with the anxiety and went back on them'.  Unbelieveable, for a prescribed medication is said and she totally agreed.  We will get there - eventually.

November 2015 0 15mg Mirtazapine for 5 weeks and GP changed me to Effexor 150mg titrated up slowly as very sensitive.  Change was due to GP worried about weight gain on Mirtazapine.

 

Started to wean off Effexor over 16 months period and I had no issues at all. Stopped June 2020.  Unfortunately, I was under chronic stress from 4 deaths (1 was my mother) in the family amongst other things  and sunk back down in October 2020.  Rather than accepting this was chronic stress and grief, I panicked and went to GP.

 

October 2020 prescribed Vortioxetine 10mg for 1 month and then increased to 15 mg on for 7 weeks in total.  Had suicidal thoughts and off the wall anxiety.  Changed to Lexapro in mid December 2020, slow titration from 2.5mg up to 10mg.  After 7 weeks again off the wall anxiety, I did have side effects on all drugs from starting to take them.  I decided to go 'au natural', GP advised to 'lets get it out of your system.' I did 1 week at 5mg and stopped.  Last med was 02 February 2021.  

 

I honestly did not realise after a short period of time I would experience such high anxiety, suicidal thoughts etc.  I was prescribed Diazepam to manage the symptoms but have only taken 3 when absolutely desperate.

I exercise, cold water swim and take magnesium, st Johns wort, valerian, VIt D and B12 and Omega 3.

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