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siderale: escitalopram healed me, and I'm trying to live without it again: overcoming withdrawal symptoms


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siderale

Hello everyone. I want to start this off by stating that I'm not a native english speaker so if something is unclear in my wording, please let me know! I'm gonna tell my story a bit because I'm hopeful I'm on the right track, but I need to exchange a bit and maybe be reassured.

 

Medication really did help me on many levels. I have had anxiety problems forever, even as a kid although I wasn't aware it was anxiety at that time. It grew worse with teenagehood, saw diffrent therapists, and the only thing that put me on the "healing track" was in 2017, at 21, when I started seeing another therapist who told me I did not need benzodiazepins but antidepressants - to which I answered "but I'm not depressed!", but turns out I did need those antidepressants for anxiety lol. I have also mild OCD/intrusive thoughts, which I wasn't aware of at the time. Long story short: I took Escitalopram for a bit under 1 year, from 2017 to 2018. It really helped me, and we tapered with 1 month on 5mg per day, then 0mg. I had 0 withdrawal syndrome, but sadly relapsed 6 months later with the obsessive thoughts coming back full force.

 

So I saw another therapist (I had moved cities for my studies) and went back on Escitalopram 10mg + cognitive behavioral therapy, from november 2018 to january 2021, so 1 year and 2 months. It went well, I spent the most stable year despite the pandemic and a lot of isolation (I live very, very far from my closest friends). I learnt to accept anxiety and control it (rather than straight up try to suppress it), to focus my thoughts when I have intrusive thoughts, took healthy habits, fixed my sleep schedule.

In january, we reduced to 5mg. In february and to mid-march I only took 5mg of escitalopram one day out of two: I did notice at that time I was weirdly tired when taking 5mg one day out of two although I did not change my sleep schedule, but that was it. I figured it was maybe the change of season or something like this.

 

As for right now: I therefore stopped Escitalopram completely around march 13 (I don't remember when I took the last pill!). Things went fine and after one week of calm began what I figure are the withdrawal symptoms, that I never experienced after my first treatment -although I did stop it way more brutally than this one!-. I had a lot of gastrointestinal symptoms (I thought I ate something bad, maybe it's the case, maybe it was both things mixed together..), nausea and trouble sleeping. 10 days after stopping Escitalopram, I had a VERY weird episode of night tremors that I talked about in this reddit post, at that time I was very confused and a bit scared because I never had anything like this before. Luckily this only happened once.

 

But since this particular night, I have general anxiety again, sometimes in big spikes, bouts of crying (my intrusive thoughts come back although I can control them way better than before), trouble eating (loss of appetite). But I figure it is withdrawal because this is not how I was before, even with my then-anxiety.

But I keep going : I'm in the middle of my masters' studies with a thesis I'm invested in, exams are coming in a week, I try to go out for a walk every day, I clean around, I do my stuff despite the pandemic and the lockdown. I still feel in control (which is reassuring and helps me looking forwards) but I am "physically" so, so unwell. Waking up with your stomach heavy and your head heavy with unshed, unexplained tears is tiring and still, those are quite "mild" symptoms compared to what I could read in here :( It's gonna be one month I completely stopped Escitalopram in 2 days, and I know withdrawal can last for much longer, so I'm trying to prepare for lasting symptoms still - but gosh, it's hard. It's so hard. On april 2nd I finally could see my therapist, who told me withdrawal syndrome shouldn't be *that* bad, and prescribed me amitriptylin (because I can take it in very small doses) BUT I did not take it because things were going a bit better and I wanted to believe I could pull through without it, I had 2-3 good days but fell back into this weird state...

 

It seems like my state "evolves" by waves. I am in a huge "anxiety" wave these past 3 days. I see my therapist again on friday - sadly can't reach him before, I live in a very busy city and you cannot contact therapists outside of appointments. I'm afraid he's gonna tell me I should have taken the amitriptylin but for some reason my stubborn self doesn't want it. It seems more adapted to evening/night anxiety and troubles and it's not my case I reckon (but I'm not a doctor!...).

 

So that is about it. I have no idea if this works as a (long!) introduction post. I hope to read about similar cases that hopefully recovered from this syndrome, especially because I am aware that my symptoms are very mild compared to people trying to taper off way longer, way heavier treatments. I wish to be reassured about the mood swings and bouts of crying, the uneasiness. I wonder if temporary but regular benzos could work since it seems like it's mostly anxiety, but I'd very much like to avoid it.

I want to hold on to the idea that it'll get better. I hope you all are doing well in your recovery, and wish you a good day! Thanks for reading me!

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to siderale: escitalopram healed me, and I'm trying to live without it again: overcoming withdrawal symptoms
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getofflex

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  What you describe sounds like classic psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms.  Few doctors or therapists understand how hard it is to get off these drugs, nor do they understand the nature of the withdrawal that often comes with it.  

 

First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history?  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we taper by 10% of the current dose, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.  Anything faster than this could be too fast.  The brain has to go back to it's predrug state as we are tapering off, and this is a very gradual process.  When we taper too fast, the nervous system can't keep up, and we develop painful symptoms. 

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

Also, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable.  I believe you are wise to avoid taking the amitryptiline.  That could further destabilize your central nervous system.   If it were me, I would not start taking benzos.  This could further destabilize your nervous system, and benzos are highly addictive.  

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

To keep things stable, it is important avoid skipping doses.  (taking the drug every other day). 

 

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 

 

Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

You could consider doing a reinstatement by going back on a very small amount of the Escitalopram.  This is best done very carefully.  There is some risk involved, and we need more specifics about your drug history before we can suggest a good dose at which to reinstate.  Here is some information about reinstatement.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and mull it over, and we will take it from there. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and take heart.  We in this forum have been through this, and we understand first hand the pain and discomfort you are going through.  Please know that the brain is amazing in it's healing abilities.  It takes time, but healing can and will happen. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Thank you so much getofflex for all this information. I hope the way I put down my signature now works! I am lucky I don't have a "long" history of drugs. I do have to mention I took some magnesium supplements last month, unsure it helped but I might take some again. Never heard about the omega-3 fish oil: I'll look it up !

 

I eyed the "waves and windows" post a bit earlier : it's also how I see things, and it's never a bad thing to be remembered of it because it's a good representation of recovery I'm sure. It's what helps me still feel in control although I'm feeling bad "for now". I know recovery is a bumpy road, but I am also aware of just how much I've grown and it's a solid ground to walk on. I am definitely keeping all the threads to deal/ease the withdrawal symptoms under my hand, thank you for the link. The spontaneous weeping always takes me by surprise (I notice I haven't had any today which is great!)

 

My therapist did tell me that my brain had to readapt without the meds, hence the tough effects - which is understandable. I believe I'm experiencing withdrawal now and not after my first take of the drug because I went past one year of treatment this time, but maybe there isn't even a reason and I was just lucky the first time I stopped escitalopram.

 

I do take the very occasionnal benzodiazepin (oxazepam 10mg. peremption date was last month, I had them prescribed when I first started taking antidepressants but barely ever used them) but I absolutely do not want to deal with benzos withdrawal syndrome or take them regularly. Anyways, as I've noticed, it's not helping much when I do feel bad bad. So when I say occasional it's like 1 pill every 5 days or so, I took a grand total of 4 since mid-march and I intend to keep it that way *at most*.

I noticed that breathing exercises or taking a walk help sometimes, and they're much better than taking medication.

 

I'm actually looking at some phytotherapy stuff, like some prescription free, pharmacy valerian root pills, and I do make a point of keeping my schedule stable (even when I'm not struggling, I am a creature of habit!) but I push myself a bit to see other people when I get the occasion: as I live on my own in a 20m² apartment I think it's also important I maintain that social link especially since I can't go see my (very supportive) parents due to the lockdown over here :(

 

I will of course discuss this more with my therapist as I see him next thursday. Time between appointment passes slow when you're not doing well.

So, thanks again for all those links and for your reply.

 

As for today's "diary", since I intend to keep this thread updated: (it's the end of the day for me) I felt downright terrible all day long. It feels like I have been in a constant anxiety attack for the past 48-72 hours, with the occasional spikes that I try to control by moving around, making breathing exercises. I sweat so much it's insane, and still have some gastric problems. I did a bit of yoga, breathing exercises, played some video games and ate at lunch even if it was painful due to nausea: if I don't eat I'm even more prone to get anxious. My head hurts right above the eyes: typical "anxiety" headache. Right now it's a bit better than earlier, and tomorrow I believe I'll get some valerian root pills at the nearest pharmacy (it's very "'mundane" you can buy them in every pharmacy!).

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex
Posted (edited)

Thank you for creating your drug signature.  It sounds like you are handling things well, and doing some good research.  Yes, windows and waves are a classic pattern for withdrawing from psych meds.  

 

I suggest you consider trying a small reinstatement of the Escitalopram instead.  I suggest starting with 1 mg, and take this every day.  It takes about a week for the effect to be felt and registered by the brain.   It is not suggested to skip doses by only taking them every other day, or take alternating doses (for example, 1 mg, then 2 mg, then 1 mg, etc).

 

Don't Skip Doses to Taper

 

You say you are taking an occasional oxazepam.  These are highly addictive, and I hear withdrawal from them can be pretty nasty.  Also, taking them on occasion puts another powerful psychoactive substance into your system, and this can possibly confuse your nervous system and cause some problems.  Addiction can happen in as little as 2 weeks.  If it were me, I would not take these anymore.  

 

I also would not suggest starting on the Amitryptiline.  We don't suggest starting a new drug to deal with withdrawal from a previous drug.  This could possibly make the withdrawal symptoms worse. 

 

Here are some good audio programs to help with anxiety:  

 

Claire Weekes on Anxiety

 

This thread has several very good posts about the various issues around tapering and withdrawal: 

 

Withdrawal - How Long Will it Take, etc.

 

It's a good thing you are maintaining your social life.  It sounds like you are doing a lot of good self care.  🙂

 

Since you are thinking about trying Valerian, here is some information about valerian and supplements.  Are you wanting to take them to help you sleep, or another reason?  If you do it, start with a low dose at first to see how it affects you, and don't add any other supplements or taper at the same time.  

 

Valerian

 

Supplements, Tests, Treatments, Diet

 

I'm sorry you had a rough day today, I truly am.  Hang in there, it takes time, but things will get better. 

Edited by getofflex

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Thank you for your reply! I'll talk about the possible small reinstatement of escitalopram with my psychiatrist on thursday, I had no idea it existed in smaller doses than 5mg but apparently it does exist in liquid form so you can really adapt to your needs. I'm a bit afraid it would be "too late" to reinstate as it will be 1 month off escitalopram, but I'll see what my doctor says.

 

I am definitely against replacing it with another substance (the amitryptiline), and I take note for the oxazepam: it is my aim to not take any, and given how poorly effective it is on my current state I believe I'll completely drop it indeed, it's not worth. I've seen how quickly benzos can become addictive with friends of mine...

 

Self-care is how I placate myself. If my mind is rough on my body, might as well help as much as I can. I think it's what allows me to stay afloat although the symptoms are overwhelming and long. I can only advise anyone reading this to try and keep a normal life hygiene even if the body says "no, you'd feel a little less worse in bed" (cause that's not true!), but I also know it can be extremely hard.

As for valerian root, it is mostly to manage anxiety along the day. I can't shake this off : I always wake up feeling exactly like "I must not feel bad today again" and it has the opposite effect (classic), and I therefore always get up tense, anxious, nauseous, and it lasts all day to the evening. I keep doing breathing exercises though, it never hurts.

 

The phytotherapy pills I'm talking about are composed of valerian / passiflora / black horehound / hawthorn. There exists a formula with melatonin for sleep, but I do sleep well (which again is fantastic), probably because the constant anxiety tires my body so much. It has been quite constant ever since the symptoms started so I believe I'll continue sleeping well, fingers crossed. The formula I'm willing to try is stated to be for "managing low anxiety" so I expect it to be a crutch to help me walk rather than a substitute. The phytotherapy pills aren't miraculous and I will start with the lowest dose especially given how upset my stomach is in my current state.

 

I keep my head up and look forward to better days, I know they will come, for me as for others. Thanks again for all those resources and for taking the time to reply to me!

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

From Post #1 of tips-for-tapering-off-escitalopram-lexapro:

 

On 5/27/2011 at 12:16 PM, Altostrata said:

Although the so-called usual starting dose of escitalopram, 10mg, is equivalent to 20mg-30mg or more of, for example, paroxetine (Paxil), your doctor may have moved you to an even higher dose. If you are taking 20mg of escitalopram, you are taking a hefty dose of an SSRI.

If you are taking 5mg of Lexapro, it's not tiny, it's equivalent to 10-20mg Paxil or Celexa.

 

 

It is possible to make your own liquid from tablets.  Also from Post #1 of tips-for-tapering-off-escitalopram-lexapro

 

 

On 5/27/2011 at 12:16 PM, Altostrata said:

Do-it-yourself liquid
People report that they can make their own liquid from Lexapro tablets and water.

It is sparingly soluble in water, see http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB01175 -- stability (shelf-life of dilution) is unknown.

 

 Escitalopram oxalate occurs as a fine, white to slightly-yellow powder and is freely soluble in methanol and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), soluble in isotonic saline solution, sparingly soluble in water and ethanol, slightly soluble in ethyl acetate, and insoluble in heptane. According to RxList,com.

 

Your best bet would be to use a homemade isotonic saline solution (9% salt in water) which is made by dissolving 9 grams of table salt in 100mL of water. This mixture will last for a month or so in the refrigerator if you haven't added the drug to it.  Once the drug is added it will keep for about a week.


See How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

 

 

So close to the end!!!

🏁

Current from 16 October 2021:  Pristiq 0.005mg

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 full 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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siderale

An update, as I saw my psychiatrist on thursday. I told him I was a mess right in the middle of exams and thesis stuff: he gave me the choice, either to take escitalopram 5mg again or to keep going on as my brain will slowly adapt and develop its "independance" towards medication. I thought the latter was the best option because "I still have fight in me" even though it's excruciatingly hard. My therapist encouraged me to keep going.

Yesterday something minor awoke my past fears and ever since I've been shaking, cold, unable to eat properly... It's not going well, but I'll bounce back eventually. It's like I'm on stairs going up, but each step is like 1 millimeter high and 5 kilometers long, and yet sometimes I manage to fall down a bit. I keep track of my bad and "okay" days, lately there has been more bad days but I believe this will turn around. The exams period definitely isn't helping all of this.

 

I see my therapist again in june only: he told me to "prepare" to feel like this until the beginning of the summer. It is true that I will be proud of myself for passing my exams and writing my thesis despite being in this state but I hope it's worth it.

I keep wondering if I took the "right" decision to continue like this rather than take antidepressants again. I don't think there's a correct answer to this, though...

 

I have a big deadline and appointment on monday regarding my thesis, so I have to work hard this week-end, my state (anxious mess, crying, barely eating) definitely isn't helping but I'm making a bit of progress. I definitely have to keep my healthy routine, going out to walk, continue eating regularly, and not let myself drift off. I think the hardest part is the nausea/lack of appetite: I'm extremely thin (like, too thin) and seeing myself lose weight this past month has been terrible. But I keep moving forwards.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Hello again.  I'm sorry to hear that your psychiatrist was not willing to allow you to do a small reinstatement, such as the 1 mg we suggested.  You are brave and strong in staying off of the psychiatric medications.  I don't know if you have the possibility of going to a different doctor who would support you in doing a smaller reinstatement.  The purpose of this would be to try to reduce your painful withdrawal symptoms.  Once you stabilized on that, you would then very gradually taper off of it.

 

How is your sleeping?  When you say "It's like I'm on stairs going up, but each step is like 1 millimeter high and 5 kilometers long, and yet sometimes I manage to fall down a bit."  can you please explain what this means?  I'm concerned about your inability to eat properly.  Your brain and body need proper nutrition to heal, and to get you through your thesis and exams.  

 

In a previous post you mentioned a physiotherapy pill containing valerian / passiflora / black horehound / hawthorn.  We at SA do not suggest taking pills with multiple supplements.  This is because if you have trouble with it, you won't know which ingredient is causing the problem.  Here is a link about that:  

 

Supplements, Tests, etc.

 

Have you tried the omega 3 fish oil or magnesium supplements?  

 

Please hang in there, and keep us posted on how you are doing.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Hello again! First, regarding food, I still do take 3 meals per day, they're just "small quantities". But it is so important to remain in a healthy body in order to heal, so even with nausea I try to eat as much as I can, keeping it varied (carbs like pasta, or rice at the very minimum, even if small quantities, plus meat and/or veggies when I can). I would not let myself fall into too bad shape, though these past days it has been hard eating anything. I believe this is one of the toughest symptoms for me, but in the past weeks my appetite did come back some days, especially in the evening, so I hope it evens out soon.

 

I have to admit I did not think about talking to my psychiatrist, about making a very small reinstatement, I believe it's not common at all hence why he didn't talk about it either. As for seeing another psychiatrist, where I live it's awfully hard to find one (as in, one that can prescribe medication) still accepting new patients within a reasonable delay. My current psychiatrist only has like one appointment every 1.5 months it's crazy. I cannot find another one, I can try with my GP but I'm afraid she won't want to/won't be able to prescribe anything regarding a mental trouble I did not see her for :( I might try, though.

 

The worst, but also "only" symptoms are the constant anxiety (which causes crying bouts over anything minor) and the nausea/lack of appetite, and I know both are very linked to one another. I believe those are my "only" symptoms: my other problems have calmed down (diarrhea, headaches, that I had 1-2 weeks after stopping Escitalopram), I'm a bit tired but that is most likely due to constant stress. A very important and great point is that my sleep is perfectly fine (finally, good news !!) : I sleep 8 to 9 hours almost uninterrupted and fall asleep quite easily - in the evening I am usually exhausted. Waking up is daunting : "another day being in a miserable state..." but I repeat to myself, like a mantra, that it's bound to ease off. I'm usually feeling a bit better in the evening.

 

My "stairs" analogy is that I believe I am feeling overall less bad than a couple weeks ago, but on some days it's particularly hard (stress from exams, or sometimes just unexplained feeling of dread, I believe most of you sadly know the drill!) and when one day is hard it seems like it takes me at least 24 hours to "bounce back", and my balance when I continue to advance is very fragile. But I know I'm still able to get up.

 

I did try magnesium supplements, a two-week intensive program of some sorts, through the end of March. Did not notice any improvement I believe, but it was also coupled with B-vitamins, so also something that isn't really recommended here. I ought to look at magnesium only supplements...

I did not try fish oil yet, but I have seen it did help some people here on SA. It seems a bit harder to find/more unusual around where I live, though, but I could manage to find some.

As for the phytotherapy pills I take note of what has been stated. For now I have not noticed an improvement, but no "worsening" either : these particular pills are known for their lack of secondary effect (and maybe lack of effect at all?!)... I can maybe stop taking them and see what happens.

 

I will of course continue to document my journey through recovery, because anyone could go through the same thing and it also allows me to look back on my progress.

I am sad to see the state I'm in, arguably worse than before taking antidepressants (but different!), but also proud at how much I manage to keep moving on. I have hope to see those symptoms ease off as I progress in my work and a bit of the "stress with a reason" (reason = my academic results!) alleviates.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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Gridley
29 minutes ago, siderale said:

The worst, but also "only" symptoms are the constant anxiety (which causes crying bouts over anything minor) and the nausea/lack of appetite,

These are two of my main symptoms.  I've found the restorative yoga pose in the following link helpful with anxiety.  You're young and likely limber, but if it's difficult to get your legs up on the wall, lying on the floor with your legs hooked over a chair also works.

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

It sounds like you're doing a very good job with working to get your nutrients.  I don't have nausea but have very little appetite and have to push myself to eat.  

 

Congratulations on your sleep.  That's an enormous plus in healing.

 

 

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Oct 13: 8.1 mg 

Taper is 56.8% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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getofflex

I'm very happy to hear you have good sleep.  This is a huge plus.  Major insomnia is a terrible thing.  I'm also thrilled to hear that you are better now than you were 2 weeks ago.  It think you are going to be just fine someday.  The healing will probably be very gradual, because the nervous system is very complex and multifaceted.  

 

Yes, you could try the magnesium without the B vitamins.  See the link above. (in my first post)

 

Here are some other links to help with anxiety: 

 

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/music/FirstAidPanicF.mp3

 

http://www.junior-anxiety-depression-exchange.org.uk/relax.html#HowToRecover

 

https://anxietystuff.weebly.com

 

Gridley gave me these in my intro post 2 years ago.  🙂  

 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale
25 minutes ago, Gridley said:

.  I've found the restorative yoga pose in the following link helpful with anxiety.  You're young and likely limber, but if it's difficult to get your legs up on the wall, lying on the floor with your legs hooked over a chair also works.

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

Hello and thank you for the suggestion, I will definitely try this exercise! Amidst this month of difficulties, I took a good habit, I do 30 minutes of yoga per day and I aim to continue once I'm feeling better. Fact is, I'm young, but not flexible at all (I have quite a bad hyperlordosis), so yoga is a good all-in-one to work on flexibility, breathing, and focus. For this specific posture though, I don't have a wall fitted for it (the joys of living in a 20m² flat) unless I'm on my bed, which doesn't sound so bad. I'll try!

I hope you're managing with the lack of appetite, forcing yourself to eat never feels good, you have all my sympathy and I sure hope it gets better little by little. Eating when you're feeling hungry ? Elating feeling!

From what I gather in your signature, you're off antidepressants, so first of all congrats, and best of luck with the rest of the meds!

 

8 minutes ago, getofflex said:

I'm very happy to hear you have good sleep.  This is a huge plus.  Major insomnia is a terrible thing.

 

Definitely! This is also what helps me differenciate my current state from the state I was in before taking antidepressants. I did not have insomnia back then, but I just wouldn't fall asleep, either due to anxiety or to obsessive thoughts, it was so terrible. Antidepressants fixed my sleep and my sleep schedule, my friends make fun of me because I go to sleep and wake up earlier than them (all in good spirits though, not to worry)

 

Thank you both for your kind words.

 

A constant and reassuring observation is also that I usually feel better/lighter in the evening, it has been like so for I'd say 1.5 week. It's when I can feel a bit of my appetite coming back, overpowing the nausea. The anxiety sometimes comes back in spikes, but not always, and even if it does I'm usually able to make it pass. The uneasiness stays but is lighter, even if the morning after it's difficult.

I decided to see my GP next week, maybe she will have recommendations regarding supplements/dealing with the symptoms. For now I am stopping the phytotherapy pills (again they're super light and I have taken them for a few days, stopping them CT is okay, it's what happens when you do finish the box anyways!)

 

I have to remind myself every minute to unclench my jaw. If you read this, maybe you can also unclench your jaw. Have a lovely day or evening.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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siderale

Today has been one of the best days in a good while. Huge contrast compared to yesterday. I stressed out over my thesis, on which I worked all day long with more or less success, but I managed to focus on the present again. I did not have appetite, but I did not have nausea either (!). I hope this continues for the next few days, but I feel much lighter not having spent my day with crippling anxiety. I wouldn't know if it's *just* stopping the phytotherapy pills, or if I am just currently in a "window" state where I can take a breather, but I for sure won't be the one to complain !

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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Willfinish

Hi siderale, good news!  
 

What are your withdrawal symptoms after a month ? 

Cipralex 2 years treatment (January 2017 to March 2019, with a brief interruption). 

 

Cipralex 10 mg : January 2017 - July 2017.

Cipralex 5 mg: August 2017 - March 2018.  Start tapering 1 mg a month. 

Off the medication: August 2018.  Too fast tapering, crashed, doctor reinstated considering relapse. 

Cipralex 5 mg: September 2018 - December 2018.  Tired of emotional numbness, start tapering again, 1 mg a month (didn't know it was so fast, following my doctor advice). 

Off the medication: March 2019. 

PSSD and painful withdrawal symptoms: January 2020 until now. Some improvements but still struggling. 

 

Supplements: some Omega 3 and probiotics, a bit better. 

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getofflex

I'm very happy to here this, siderale.  It could be some of both a window and stopping phytotherapy pills.  This means that you brain is healing. Gradually, you will probably experience more waves and fewer windows, and gradually the waves will probably be less severe.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale
18 hours ago, Willfinish said:

What are your withdrawal symptoms after a month ? 

Hello! So indeed it has been approximately one month since the symptoms started showing (and one month and one week since I stopped escitalopram). So far, symptoms that are still there are :

- lack of appetite and/or nausea

- constant feeling of uneasiness, with sometimes anxiety spikes

- bouts of crying (I get like one or two every 2-3 days)

- general exhaustion, but it could be nerves due to being stressed almost 24/7 and also the fact that I eat less.

 

2 hours ago, getofflex said:

Gradually, you will probably experience more waves and fewer windows, and gradually the waves will probably be less severe.  

 

This is what I keep in mind, healing takes time and is slow, but that is how it happens. Already one month behind me, I go on and continue!

 

---

 

Sadly, today is contrasting badly with yesterday. I feel so tired (although, again, I sleep correctly and the same amount every night), and I look so awful, this whole state really took its toll on me. Despite me going out and having taken consistent meals since yesterday, I'm pale as a ghost, the dark circles under my eyes are unmatched, and I'm constantly cold again. I'm wondering if I could get some hyper-caloric meals from the pharmacy, maybe, I'll ask my GP, as I see her on wednesday. Won't hurt to have another professional advice to help dealing with those symptoms.

My appetite is gone and I'm anxious again ever since I woke up, although I did submit what I had to do to my thesis director, and earlier than I planned. I still stress for an appointment regarding said thesis so it probably doesn't help, but I was hoping submitting the most of my work would have alleviated my mind. I will go back to my parents' wednesday too after a bit more than one month, they're aware of my current state but I still am sad to be in this state because I wanted to relax a bit before exams period start in 1.5 week.

Today is one of those days where I'm really just so sad and exhausted to be in this state, but tomorrow is another day and maybe in one month I'll be so much better than right now.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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getofflex
6 hours ago, siderale said:

I'm wondering if I could get some hyper-caloric meals from the pharmacy, maybe, I'll ask my GP, as I see her on wednesday.

This sounds like a good idea.  

 

6 hours ago, siderale said:

I still stress for an appointment regarding said thesis so it probably doesn't help

Stress can definitely ramp up withdrawal symptoms.  At least it does for me. 

 

6 hours ago, siderale said:

Today is one of those days where I'm really just so sad and exhausted to be in this state, but tomorrow is another day and maybe in one month I'll be so much better than right now.

I certainly hope so. It sounds like the windows and waves pattern.  Your positive and hopeful attitude is a big plus. Hang in there, it will get better.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Update of the day. Today has been the opposite of the usual day for this past month (some variety!): I woke up without the usual spike of anxiety that usually lasts until mid-afternoon. I started my day as usual, even could take a small breakfast & had appetite for lunch, I got out and saw a friend for a bit, and past 4PM once I got home I've had an unprompted "comeback" of my past obsessive thoughts/deepests fears which sent me into a huge crying bout (with no clear trigger, it just randomly came to me).

Since 6PM I haven't cried (and I was actually hungry for my dinner, again, an improvement) but I have a lump in my throat that isn't going away and my head hurts (it's currently 9.30PM), it feels like it's full of tears (maybe I should cry, but I don't even know why). I really feel like my obsessive thoughts are, like, right there, ready to resurface and just barely controlled. This is one of those evenings where I think I may have to continue cognitive behavioral therapy, but maybe it is "just" withdrawal pushing these toughts to the front.

 

The fact that I felt better this morning is very reassuring to me, because it didn't happen for a good while. Change from the usual feeling is welcomed, even if I did end up feeling weird tonight (but yet again it's not really anxiety, just some weird, intense sadness). I'm still a bit anxious, projecting myself in a few days where I will maybe feel bad again, but I try to remind myself to focus on the present: stressing in advance is suffering twice. When we suffer from withdrawal and its effects, it's one step at a time, I'll worry about tomorrow... tomorrow.

Speaking about tomorrow, I have quite a long drive to go live with my parents' a bit (change of routine, can be both good and bad, but I'm happy to be spending time with them) and I also see my GP, I'll exchange with her about symptoms, maybe she will have advice for fish oil supplements!

 

Thank you again getofflex for your kind and encouraging words: I hope you're doing alright ! I do not venture out of my thread for now, I'm a creature of habit...

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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getofflex

I'm glad to hear that you had an anxiety free morning.  I can relate to most of what you are describing, because I've experienced it myself.

 

It's great that you are taking things one day at a time, and staying in the present!  

 

I'm hanging in here, lots going on.  Thanks for asking.   

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale
13 hours ago, getofflex said:

I'm hanging in here, lots going on.

Best of luck, I hope you're surrounded with loving people and that things will even out soon for you !

 

As for me, yesterday I saw my GP. My blood pressure was very low, and I lost a few kgs and am now way too underweight :( But on the bright side, my appetite is slowly coming back. Both yesterday and today (so far, I just finished lunch) I took actual meals, even if in small quantities it's still more than in the past month, and I actually felt like eating. My GP advised to take multiple snacks during the day as well, not easy to think about it when you're barely hungry but I try to do so!

I also have a weird physical symptom (my eyes are yellowish) that could indicate a liver problem apparently. I get a blood check tomorrow, I truly have no idea if it could be a consequence of this tough withdrawal or not (I hope it is just due to me eating way less than before, because I sure as hell don't want to deal with any kind of actual health problem right now!!)

 

My anxiety is still there, "in the background", but it seems like the anxiety spikes I get are really mild since ~48 hours. Not quite there yet but it's still quite early, I'm "only" one month & one week into withdrawal, so that is definitely improvement. I will keep this thread updated as things progress, now back to studying!

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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getofflex
11 hours ago, siderale said:

my appetite is slowly coming back

I'm so glad to hear that! 😀

 

11 hours ago, siderale said:

My GP advised to take multiple snacks during the day as well

Sounds like a good idea.  

 

11 hours ago, siderale said:

I also have a weird physical symptom (my eyes are yellowish

I"m glad you are getting this checked out by the doctor. 

 

It sounds like you are doing really well.  You are a warrior.  Keep up the good work.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

So, my blood test came back pretty much OK despite my physical state, which is reassuring... But also leaves me wondering why the white of my eyes still has that yellowish hue. Even my GP is stumped, I'll make other exams if it worsens/stays for too long, but this is very mysterious especially as I don't take any medication now lol. But my general state isn't so good, I am very underweight still and I have a small anemia. So maybe it's a "consequence" of all of this, we'll see if it ends up going away.

 

I had fairly good days on wednesday-tuesday, and ate a lot more than usual (I had appetite!). Yesterday (friday) I woke up anxious again :( I couldn't eat breakfast, but took lunch, dinner, and mid-afternoon snacks. Today (saturday) I also woke up super anxious, I believe worse than yesterday. I had a very hard time eating during the day, though as per usual I did, but in smaller quantities again; I was hoping my appetite was steadily coming back. Guess it's all still unsteady - which makes sense, but of course like anyone I just want to feel better soon lol, and this also impacts my physical health.

 

I keep a mood tracker on my phone that helps me "monitor" the waves, the highs and lows of my recovery (the app is called daylio if you're interested). The waves/mood swings continue indeed, but I distinctly feel, especially when I look back, that they are "flatter" than last month, meaning I "go" less low. Since yesterday I do feel anxious almost all the time, and I don't have appetite, BUT the associated nausea is less strong (ie. I can actually eat, even if without any pleasure!), and as for the anxiety, it's also less strong, it's just there and, well, I can't wait for it to go away to truly be able to take a breath and go "I feel good", even if it's for a few hours. 

So overall, it's still going better, even if on the harder days like today it's difficult to truly feel hopeful, because you tend to think you're spiraling back or losing your progress: this is why it's so important, at least in my case, to look back and keep in mind that I'll get there eventually.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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siderale

Some updates about my symptoms :

- I still wake up completely "eaten" by anxiety every day, this doesn't change. My routine before getting out of bed is therefore to lie on my back, calm my breathing, and focus on the fact that it gets better during the day. Some days don't follow this, especially if I have something important to do (explained by my current state: anything minor becomes a mountain to climb instead of a field to cross), but usually it does get better during the day, the anxiety lightens and sometimes even disappears in the evening. I do get light mood swings during the day still, but I can call them mood swings and not "panic/anxiety spikes" anymore.

 

- My appetite is steadily coming back. I still have a way to go before putting on actual weight to go back to my usual, but I am finally hungry again. Even when stressed in the morning and having no appetite I can eat - the nausea is almost gone nowadays -, and for both lunch & dinner I am usually actually hungry. I missed this so much lmao. I am still "full" quicker than I used to of course, but it's a matter of time, I'm taking bigger and bigger meals and pay close attention to having proper nutrients.

 

- In the evening, some obsessive thoughts come back, and when I feel okay I "let them in" to try and familiarise myself with having, BUT rationalising them. I have no idea if it's a good thing to do, I have to talk about this with my therapist as it's very recent: I am able to do this as I don't immediately go full crying/panic attack upon having said thoughts, that, as a reminder, were the reason why I started taking antidepressants at all. So that is an improvement. I just turn the thoughts in my mind as they are, remind myself that "hey, when you're okay, they're just negative thoughts that anyone can have, and they don't affect you to your core because they are not relevant".

 

It's still hard to wake up and feel like I'm still not in my normal state. But things are getting better. One month and a half off Escitalopram 5mg now. I always have that "fear" that I never truly go back to normal but it's still early and the progress is there, so I shall worry about later when it'll be later. For now, I can only look back and see that I'm in a better place. To whoever read this, stay strong and take care of you.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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Jadenatalie

Hello Siderale! We are around the same amount of withdrawal, i came off my SSRI fully on 10th March. I've had a couple of very short 'windows' but mainly been in waves, i'm in a very bad wave at the moment of nausea, aching, shaking, anxiety and crying bouts! i'm praying for a window soon as i'm in hell 😢 I've been on the meds 5 years. xx

2016- August 2020 Fluoxetine 20mg 

 

August 2020 - December 2020 Sertraline 50mg

 

December 2020 - March 10th 2021 Citalopram 20mg - STOPPED cold turkey. 

 

Fully med free since 10th March 2021. 

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Siderale, it sounds like you are using some very good non drug coping techniques!  I'm very happy to hear that many of your symptoms are improving!  I applaud your patience and your acceptance.  For me, acceptance is the primary way I have dealt with this.  It makes it much easier to bear.  

On 4/28/2021 at 2:13 PM, siderale said:

I always have that "fear" that I never truly go back to normal but it's still early and the progress is there

I feel confident that you will continue to feel better and better.  I'm in my 4th year of Lexapro withdrawal, and I still continue to improve very slowly.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

Link to post
siderale
On 4/30/2021 at 9:51 AM, Jadenatalie said:

i came off my SSRI fully on 10th March. I've had a couple of very short 'windows' but mainly been in waves, i'm in a very bad wave at the moment of nausea, aching, shaking, anxiety and crying bouts! i'm praying for a window soon as i'm in hell 😢 I've been on the meds 5 years. xx

Hello Jadenatalie! First of all, congrats for trying to push through, you are so strong for trying to live without meds after five years. Crossing fingers for you to recover fast from the withdrawal, it will take time but get easier - just painfully slowly! I am sending you all the strength I can, we have stopped around the same date indeed which is amusing. Best of luck!

 

On 5/2/2021 at 12:47 AM, getofflex said:

 I'm in my 4th year of Lexapro withdrawal, and I still continue to improve very slowly.  

As long as you do improve! I'm impressed by your journey. I really hope things do get lighter and lighter for you, and that one day you'll be able to look back and consider yourself as healed. I wish for you to find more and more peace of mind. Thank you again for being so encouraging.

 

 

Acceptance (of feeling bad and recovering slow) definitely is super important to approach any coping method.

 

As for me, yesterday and today I woke up without the usual anxiety spike, just a vague uneasiness but way less intense than it used to. But two days ago it was super intense, so again, I am expecting it to come back sometimes, it's okay, the road is bumpy.

 

I also have a funny anecdote: I wasn't a huge coffee drinker, but coffee has always been part of my routine - 2 expressos per day, one after breakfast, one after lunch. Around march 18th, when the nausea/withdrawal symptoms appeared, I stopped coffee: although I doubt one or two small expressos could effectively worsen my state, when I feel bad I know even imagining coffee being rough on my stomach would make it rough on my stomach. I am extremely somatic.

So I lost my coffee routine, because I didn't feel good enough to drink coffee again, especially as for a solid month I had nausea during the first half of the day. My therapist encouraged me to try coffee again one month ago (he knows I hold it in my heart!), and I did, but felt ill immediately after (somatic much, again!). After that I tried one or two times, without success, feeling nauseous right after.

But 4 days ago I went on a short walk and stopped by a tableware shop: I found such a beautiful expresso coffee cup. I just had to buy it. And since then... I have been drinking coffee every day, not in the morning where I still feel a bit nauseous, but after my lunch. Just because I want to use my beautiful new coffee cup 😊 and so far I haven't been ill. I believe it makes me a bit twitchy but it's manageable, and doesn't seem to affect my stress levels (again, it's only one small coffee, but still - stress makes everything intense).

 

Things are really getting lighter for me, I also believe I have been putting a tiny bit of my lost weight back, since I have been steadily eating for a bit under 1 week now.

I am aware that I'm definitely lucky to notice improvement so fast. No one reacts the same, I mean, even myself, a few years ago when I stopped Escitalopram for the first time I didn't even have to deal with withdrawal at all.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex
On 5/3/2021 at 6:56 AM, siderale said:

Acceptance (of feeling bad and recovering slow) definitely is super important to approach any coping method

Yes, this has been a major part of my non drug coping skills.  

 

On 5/3/2021 at 6:56 AM, siderale said:

yesterday and today I woke up without the usual anxiety spike, just a vague uneasiness but way less intense than it used to. But two days ago it was super intense

I'm sorry to hear this.  Hopefully, it improved as the day went on.  

 

On 5/3/2021 at 6:56 AM, siderale said:

I have been drinking coffee every day, not in the morning where I still feel a bit nauseous, but after my lunch.

I can understand your enjoyment of coffee - I used to enjoy it very much.  However, caffeine intake can activate a sensitive nervous system in withdrawal. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine.  I was drinking decaf several months ago, but gave that up.  Ever since I gave up caffeine completely, I have been sleeping better and feeling less anxious in the early mornings.  Just something to think about. 

 

On 5/3/2021 at 6:56 AM, siderale said:

I am aware that I'm definitely lucky to notice improvement so fast.

Yes, this is a very good thing indeed.  I'm so happy to hear this. 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep for no reason in particular. But soon enough I was super focused on my heartbeat, "listening" too much to it (which makes it quicken, vicious circle). I was exhausted... but nervous. I fell asleep after a few hours but woke up feeling unwell this morning. Today was bad, I have been anxious almost non-stop. I have however been able to work a bit and then went out for a 30 mins walk, I also did some yoga, called a friend, it helped but only temporarily. Today is just one of those bad days, after a few days of feeling lighter it definitely hits hard, but I know it's temporary and tomorrow is another day.

 

A good thing is that despite my mental state I was hungry at lunch and dinner. I'm still having weird physical symptoms (my period is quite "unusual" looking, my eyes are still yellowish) but since my blood check from 2 weeks ago was almost perfect I try not to worry too much (I initially started therapy for uncontrollable fear of having an illness, hence why it is so important for me to rationalise such things). I believe my body is still impacted by the weight loss as it takes very, very long for me to gain weight back, as far as I see despite eating almost normally for 1-2 weeks I am not putting on weight. But at least I'm not cold 24/7 like I was when I ate very few! I hope I get back in shape soon. Tonight I will be sure to relax before going to bed (or relax in

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex
2 hours ago, siderale said:

but I know it's temporary and tomorrow is another day.

It sounds like you are keeping this in perspective, which is very good.  🙂  And, it sounds like you are slowly getting better.  It's great that your appetite is improving.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • Mentor
Yesyes123

You will definitely recover. I have been through literal hell because of escitalopram and I'm currently doing much better after reinstatement.

I'm now slowly tapering off, following the guidelines and advice on this website.

Please listen to what the moderators say here as they really know what they're doing.

If they say something that goes against what your doctor says, please believe the moderators here.

They have decades of real life experience with these drugs and they literally saved my life.

 

Peace and healing

July 2015 - Started Escitalopram 10mg (Lexapro) at age 15. Took it everyday until July 2020 (5 Years)

July 2020 - Turned 21 started tapering off until August (TOO FAST TAPER/ ALMOST SAME AS COLD TURKEY)

August 2020 -  Clear Manic episode (nothing absurd or life threatening)

September 2020 - Start feeling a bit weird

October 2020 - Crashed. The absolute worst time of my life. 

Late October 2020 - Reinstated Escitalopram 10mg. Perscribed Antipsychotics (Lithium, Seroquel) REFUSED

Early November 2020 - Psychiatrist wrongly upped the dosage to 15mg. Still taking 15mg / day as of today. 

 

22 January 2021: 

Beginning to stabilize on 15mg/day Escitalopram (Lexapro) 🧠

Taking 25mg Magnesium Citrate 4x per day / 2000mg Vitamin C Prolonged Release + Kiwis + Fresh Fruit / Salmon everyday for Omega3 Fatty Acids

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siderale

Thank you Yesyes123!! I hope things will ease off on your side soon, take it slowly! I'm sorry to hear it has been so harsh, and crossing fingers that your slower taper off will help!

 

As for me a small update. I don't take it as a "regression" of my state, because if recovery was linear everything would be perfect of course, but today has been one of the worst days in a good while - and this while yesterday I had honestly one of the best days in a while! Not everything has to make sense, it's like that. But yeah, today I have basically been having a panic attack all day long (but it wasn't immediately after waking up, it "settled in" one hour after. Another change in the "withdrawal routine", so a proof that it's moving!).

It's a bit unusual of a "day long panic attack" though, no fast heartbeat/quickened breathing, but a lump in my throat (this is kind of new, I have had this quite a lot during this withdrawal syndrome) and feeling feverish. I suspect it has to do with the fact I had a shorter night, due to a thunderstorm. Usually, a shorter night shouldn't put me in this state, but recovering from withdrawal never makes anything easy.

Nausea was also back all day long, eating at lunch has been difficult and I also felt bad/anxious because I'm still not putting up weight (and I shouldn't check it so often because I know it can take way more than 2 and a half weeks of eating barely normally to start putting up weight again in my case).

 

Like every other day I try to remain focused on my things, I do my work and try to eat multiple portions a day, even if small.

Tomorrow is another day. Chances are that it will be better, costs nothing to at least imagine something to keep you moving fowards :)

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex

@sideraleI'm sorry to hear that you are having a rough day.  It sounds like you have a great attitude, and that you are being patient with it.  When I feel bad, I find it helps to do some type of task with my hands that doesn't require thinking, like cooking, or knitting, or gardening.  Walking also helps - a gentle, short walk.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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siderale

Third day in a row with my appetite gone again and some weird dizziness. Luckily my anxiety is under control : no crazy heartbeat, no excessive sweating, I sleep okayish at night.

But I feel super weak, a bit dizzy, nausea is back, and on this part it doesn't get better in the evening like it used to...

Today I did some manual tasks (gardening), and yesterday I drove for 2 hours without feeling on the verge of passing out (I wouldn't have taken any risk anyways !!), but as soon as I sit down or stop moving it's back. I truly feel super weak, though it can be a consequence of reduced eating again. My blood pressure is normal, and I don't have any fever... But it's terrible to feel so weak for no reason. I'm getting my covid vaccine tomorrow, I expect to feel a bit down but I don't "fear" it since I don't have a fever or muscle pain. I'm looking forward to feeling protected from this virus lol.

 

I hope I will bounce back soon. It's weird having these symptoms while everything was getting better consistently, but I figure it's not *that* unusual. Today marks exactly 2 months since I stopped escitalopram!

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex

It sounds like you may be in a wave.   Please be patient, these waves come, and then they go.  I suggest just trying to take it easy when you can, and slow down, if you can, and get extra rest.  

1 hour ago, siderale said:

I hope I will bounce back soon

I hope you do too!  

 

1 hour ago, siderale said:

Today marks exactly 2 months since I stopped escitalopram!

Congratulations!  Keep up the good work!  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

Link to post
siderale
46 minutes ago, getofflex said:

It sounds like you may be in a wave.   Please be patient, these waves come, and then they go.

Yes. While typing my message I had come back to the topic you linked with the waves & windows post. It does help put things in perspective, this is also why I can't call my current state a regression or something too concerning. Since I am a creature of habit, I just sometimes am worried easily, and as the dizziness was super new and appears 2 months after withdrawal I was a bit down.

I keep moving forwards as usual, I am lucky enough to have the mental energy to do so and I'm determined to push through. Thank you again, getofflex, for your kind words. I hope you're alright ♥

 

I still don't take any supplement but I don't believe I absolutely need any,for now I let my body adapt on its own. Should this state prolong too much into the summer I will think about it, especially fish oil.

Aug 2017 - May 2018 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. June 5 mg and then stopped. Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.

Nov 2018 - Jan 2021 -> Escitalopram 10 mg. Jan-Feb 2021 - 5 mg, daily (1 month).  Feb-March 2021 - 5 mg, one day out of two (2-3 weeks). No withdrawal symptoms during taper.

--- Since March 13th, 2021 -> Escitalopram 0 mg.

Withdrawal appeared 8-10 days after last dose: introduction topic

Benzos occasionally: Prazepam 5mg (last intake: aug 05).

Profile image: Edward Robert Hughes' "Night"

 

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  • Moderator
getofflex
On 5/13/2021 at 10:05 AM, siderale said:

still don't take any supplement but I don't believe I absolutely need any,for now I let my body adapt on its own. Should this state prolong too much into the summer I will think about it, especially fish oil

I think this is wise of you to let your body adapt on its own.  In my opinion, time and God are the best healers.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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