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KittenLePurr: Tapering Celexa to End a Long, Sordid History with Toxicants (Especially Psych Meds)


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KittenLePurr

KittenLePurr, here. Thank you so much for maintaining this site and for welcoming me here❤️

 

I was put on psych meds as a child, at age 12. I'm still working through a lot of anger around that. My parents did the best they could but, you know, they were traumatized by their parents, who were traumatized by their parents, etc., and they were all taught to blindly trust doctors and to essentially live in fear of their bodies. Thanks, Western medicine. Anyway, so, as a highly sensitive child who felt deeply depressed and uncomfortable in the world, I presented quite a set of challenges to my parents.

 

I had a month-and-a-half-long period at age 11, so my mom took me to an OBGYN who did no tests or anything to see what was up with my hormones; she just wrote me a prescription for birth control. 🙄 My mom was concerned about that but gave it to me. I became even more depressed after that and, when I was 12, told my mom I thought I needed help. She took me to a counselor who suggested I see a psychiatrist, who wrote me a prescription for Zoloft. Oh, and talk therapy. The gold standard of care. 

 

Zoloft and therapy didn't seem to help, so I was then put on Prozac...and then, on a whole host of other meds. I took a jumbled handful of different cocktails I can’t even remember, including Effexor, Wellbutrin, Trazadone, Remeron, and a number of mood stabilizers. It was a rollercoaster on top of the hormonal rollercoaster I was already on, being a preteen on birth control. At age 13, things felt increasingly bleak, as I was having issues with my friends at school and felt unloved and completely hopeless, and I decided it was time to end it. I took as many pills from the medicine cabinet as I could without throwing up and lay down in my bed, waiting to die. But it took too long; I got impatient and decided maybe I didn’t really want to die...not if it meant lying there, excruciatingly nauseated. So when my dad got home, I told him I needed to go to the hospital and they pumped my stomach.

 

The pills I'd taken the most of were Effexor leftover from my brief stint on it months prior. I thought I was going to throw up the charcoal until a social worker put a cool washcloth on my forehead, and the nausea passed and I felt this giant wave of relief and joy from still being alive. I told my psychiatrist about that, and she took that to mean Effexor was a good med for me. So I went back on it and stabilized on Remeron, and over the next few years, things did get a little better. Meaning we were sort of managing my depression. But I was still deeply, deeply troubled. 

 

I was attracted to drugs and alcohol because I was so depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin and altered states felt better to me. I was on a constant quest to find the best and most complete escape from the pain of normal, everyday life and started partying and skipping school to smoke pot and take drugs. I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, which gave me horrible side effects but also appeased my longing to escape sobriety, so I took more and more of it. Up to 120mg a day. I flunked out of public school and my parents sent me to private school, at which point I finally chilled out on the partying and graduated. I was managing my symptoms a little better. 

 

In college, I had a serious boyfriend who pointed out it was not normal for a girl like me to have such severe sexual dysfunction. I’d never been told anything about that by my doctor or even realized it was abnormal, and when I found it was a common side effect of antidepressants, I was outraged and decided to stop taking my antidepressants, cold turkey, between doctor’s visits. I’d never heard of withdrawal symptoms. But I didn’t experience any! Different biology?? I don’t know. When I told my doc I’d stopped taking the meds, she was pretty surprised that I seemed okay. This was the most stable period of my life. I wasn’t “happy” or even well-adjusted but I was managing, even after I got off the meds. I wonder why my more recent experiences have been so different. 

 

I’d developed TMJ my senior year and in college, guzzling Adderall and stressing out, my anxiety and jaw pain got much, much worse. I would have flare-ups where it felt like my jaw muscles were being stabbed with an ice pick. I went to the emergency for a particularly bad episode and asked my psychiatrist if there was anything she recommended. She prescribed lorazepam. I started off only taking that here and there for my jaw but eventually, it became a daily habit for anxiety. Life was just better when I took it. It’s what I’d always been searching for: peace. I vowed never to take antidepressants again but benzos were okay in my book because I had no idea they also came with a slew of negative side effects, and they made a much bigger difference in how I felt. For a while, anyway. Eventually I graduated to Klonipin and was taking 1-2 mg a day, every day, sometimes more.

 

I dropped out of college to pursue a music career and my love of getting inebriated spiraled out of control. During a particularly low point in my life, I started taking pain pills to get through work and got addicted to them. I spent the next few years battling opioid addiction which progressed to heroin addiction. I checked myself into rehab in 2012 and during that month, I was put on Lexapro for depression and Seroquil for sleep. Seroquil made me feel frightened, so I talked to the doctor and he put me on Remeron again. I was like a zombie. And I couldn’t stop eating the junk food they had there. I felt AWFUL. So, as soon as I got out, I stopped taking all the meds. Not sure whether I had withdrawals because, unfortunately, I also relapsed.

 

I battled my addiction a while longer until my beloved boyfriend at the time OD’d and died in front of me. I was obviously crushed and blamed myself. I was more depressed than ever but didn’t want to die, so I entered a methadone maintenance program and stopped doing street drugs. I’m so grateful for that methadone clinic...it saved my life. But the doctor there kept urging me to get back on an antidepressant and I didn’t want to. Because I knew it would only be harder this time. But I still had no other coping skills and had these health professionals telling me I had a chemical imbalance and the only way to fix it was with medication, so I relented. I was on 75mg Effexor and 1.5mg Klonipin. 

 

My doc lowered my dose of Klonipin a few times over the next few years; he wanted me to get off of it now that the FDA released a black box warning about cognitive effects. In 2017, I switched from Effexor to 20mg Citalopram, which he thought would help with my anxiety. It didn’t. And she tapered me off the Effexor over the span of about a week and a half...it was brutal! I knew better by that point, too, but I chose to just trust her anyway. I barely slept and the anxiety was incapacitating.
 

It took me a couple of years to connect the dots but Citalopram gave me horrendous brain fog. I’m a writer and musician, and I had a health and wellness blog I really took pride in. Once I was stable on the Citalopram, I stopped feeling able to write or make music entirely. I could barely think straight. For 3 YEARS. And for the first year and a half of that, I thought I was just tired and lazy because my doctor said it wasn’t related. 

 

But in 2017, I discovered holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan on a podcast and learned the truth about antidepressants and learned I was not the only person whose creativity was stunted by them. I learned game-changing lifestyle practices that actually DID help with depression and anxiety--unlike the meds--and I underwent a huge health transformation and had an awakening around the medical system and society at large. And I got to a place where I felt more centered, joyful, and more MYSELF than I’d ever thought possible. I vowed to get off meds for good--this time, not to just “manage my mental illness” without meds, but to live a full, vibrant, healthy life. 

 

I was most eager to get off the things that stifle my creativity, so I microtapered off my remaining 0.35mg Klonipin in Spring of 2020. I got through it using my lifestyle practices--clean eating, meditation, intentional movement, grounding, EFT/tapping and emotional regulating practices/shadow work--and had only a few severe panic attacks. The brain fog was INTENSE and I’m so grateful to have been laid off from the lockdown because I could not have worked. I basically lay around all day for months, aside from doing my self-care practices. I tried to move right into tapering Celexa because I want OUT but my body said NOPE just about immediately with severe insomnia, crippling anxiety and even worse brain fog.  I’ve been balancing out over the past year and am feeling 9,000,000,000 times better than I was right off of Klonipin. I’m ready to get off of Celexa.

 

I’ve lowered my dose of methadone over the past several years, too, and I’m at half my original dose. I know this isn’t a forum for that but it’s part of my journey...and getting off an opioid is no walk in the park but I’m honestly concerned that this Celexa taper is going to be even harder. That’s why I signed up here. I’m currently at 14.35 mg; my original dose was 20mg. I don’t really know what to expect (aside from anxiety and sleep disturbances) but I know I’m going to need support. Figuring out the math to do each cut feels really difficult. My brain fog is still really thick. I’m honestly disappointed it hasn’t  improved more by now, having been off Klonipin for almost a year. I’m taking lion’s mane mushrooms, which definitely help but it’s still a challenge.

 

I’m still unemployed and have been hesitant to cut my dose because I keep expecting to lose my unemployment and have to be able to perform, create, be productive, etc. I don’t feel comfortable going to a workplace with what’s going on out there now, so I started learning copywriting last year during lockdown and was planning to start a freelancing business but kept going back and forth between prioritizing that and my healing. I couldn’t write during Klonipin withdrawal; I don’t know if I’ll be able to during this taper. I have so much fear around this. I’m doing a lot of inner work, a course called Core Wound Healing and lots of shadow work, which I know will help me through this. Still, it’s difficult. So much fear!

 

But since I only have 1 ongoing freelance client and it’s really easy work, I’m back to prioritizing my healing, and I cut my dose by 10% this morning. I’m just telling myself “I got this” over and over. Going to see how I feel in a few days, a week, 2 weeks. And I’ll go from there.

 

Thank you so much if you made it to this point!! I know this was a novel!! (I'm a writer...I edited this about 10 times but brevity isn't one of my strong suits😬)

Edited by Gridley

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

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  • Moderator
Gridley

Welcome to SA, KittenlePurr.  Thank you for completing your drug signature.  I'm sorry you've gone through so much but you really seem on the right track now.  Congratulations on being Klonopin-free.  That's a big accomplishment.

 

Regarding the Citalopram, we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  In terms of calculating your dose, if you multiply your current dose by 0.9, that will give you your next dose.  You might be able to go faster that 10% every four weeks or you might have to go slower.  It's best to taper slowly and conservatively.The following link gives you tips on how to determine the tapering rate that's best for you.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The following link is specifically about tapering Klonopin, including how to get the nonstandard size doses you'll need for your taper.  There are several methods to taper Citalopram, including using a prescription liquid, making your own liquid and using a digital scale to measure tablet doses.  The prescription liquid is probably the easiest and most accurate, but the other methods work well also.  What method are you using to get down from 20mg to 14.35?  

 

Tips for tapering off citalopram (Celexa)

 

The following links will give you a better idea about withdrawal and the healing process.

 

 

 

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

 

These explain the healing process really well.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

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

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

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • Gridley changed the title to KittenLePurr: Tapering Celexa to End a Long, Sordid History with Toxicants (Especially Psych Meds)
KittenLePurr

Thank you so much for all these wonderful resources! I forgot to mention I've been making my own liquid solution. So thankful to have learned to do that for tapering Klonipin. Makes it so much easier...but the figuring out of how to measure out the new dose can be really tough. I spent like 20 minutes doing calculations and confusing myself over and over the other day! I'm also still working with 20mg pills for some reason, which makes it a little more difficult. Going to call my doc and get 10mg pills first thing Monday. 

 

Once I heard about people making a liquid solution, I started taking 10mg (half a 20mg pill) and diluting 5mg (1/4 pill) in 20ml of water and just measuring out a little more every few days. Did that between Nov. 2019 and March 2020 or so. I guess I just didn't want to do the math at first. Finally started actually calculating and got down to 14.35mg before realizing that was going to take way longer than tapering completely off Klonipin and I was eager to be taking 1 less prescription. So paused that and tapered off Klonipin. That was so much easier as far as math goes...or, rather, the method I used didn't involved much math. I diluted it in 300ml water and just removed 1ml a day. It was tough but at least I didn't have to think super hard! This taper feels so much more complicated for that reason...because figuring out how to get to 12.92mg felt absolutely impossible at first.🤦‍♀️ But I got there, eventually.

 

I was so anxious and all over the place when I initially started tapering Celexa and then when I was tapering Klonipin, I kept adding more supplements to my arsinol, hoping it would bring me peace. I'm still taking Tryptophan, 5-HTP, magnesium (citrate, though--never tried glycinate so that's intriguing,) inositol and phenibut, which helped tremendously with the benzo withdrawal but is addictive in its own right, so that's a concerning thing now🤦‍♀️ Oh and ashwagandha. I've tried cutting some out here just to simplify, and every time, within a few days, I start feeling horrible--anxious and on edge, and sometimes like I'm disconnected from my body. A lot like benzo withdrawal. So I always get back on. I guess I'm just going to stay on the whole gamut until I've balanced out more or realize something isn't working anymore? Have you heard of anyone else having that experience?

 

Thank you for your support and for making it through my life story...I've come to find meaning in every single thing and believe it all kind of had to go down this way in order for me to find my way home, so to speak...and I can't wait to get there. Although I obviously wish it hadn't cost my former boyfriend his life. It's a wild ride, this life.

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

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  • Moderator
Gridley
15 minutes ago, KittenLePurr said:

But I got there, eventually.

It sounds like you're doing a great job.

 

16 minutes ago, KittenLePurr said:

(citrate, though--never tried glycinate so that's intriguing,)

Glycinate has a good reputation for absorbability and lack of laxative effect.  If you decide to switch, make only that switch so you can ascertain which form is better for you.

 

18 minutes ago, KittenLePurr said:

Oh and ashwagandha. I've tried cutting some out here just to simplify, and every time, within a few days, I start feeling horrible--anxious and on edge, and sometimes like I'm disconnected from my body. A lot like benzo withdrawal. So I always get back on.

It sounds like the regimen is working for you.  Stability is important.  Again, if you try to eliminate a supplement, only eliminate one at a time so you know what's causing what.  There's nothing wrong with staying on the whole supplement gamut if it's working for you.  

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

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

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

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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KittenLePurr

Thank you--this helps more than I can express. I question and pressure myself way too much... It's like there's always this nagging voice in my head that says I should be doing better. And withdrawal makes it loud. Definitely going to try magnesium glycinate and see if my sleep gets any better. I take Benadryl sometimes when I feel like I won't sleep and I know long-term use of that is bad.

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

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So I was feeling OK and then last night, I was eating and suddenly got this wave of derealization. It felt as if I had smoked marijuana and got paranoid, the way it came on so suddenly. Maybe because I started thinking about it and got fearful? Very bizarre. All the hair on my arms stood up and I seriously wondered if I had been drugged. I hadn't been, of course. I calmed myself down by talking it out with my partner and breathing but it was just so strange. 

Still feeling a bit like I'm in a dream today. And the aches and pains have started, although not intolerable. My chronic pain had improved over the past year and now I'm hurting in those same areas. Not too bad though. Just having to be really conscious of where my thoughts go because I can start fearing that this feeling is going to intensify exponentially and it'll be too late to balance out and then I have to pull myself out of it. I don't really know if I should slow down and shoot for absolutely no withdrawal symptoms and take a really long time to do this or if I should stay at 10%. I'm moving soon and possible 4 hours away from my current city and things really feel stressful but I want so badly to be done with this toxic crap, I don't want to draw it out longer than necessary. I know that's not a good priority to have...just thinking aloud here. I feel so impatient right now. 😕 

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

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  • Moderator
56 minutes ago, KittenLePurr said:

I don't really know if I should slow down and shoot for absolutely no withdrawal symptoms and take a really long time to do this or if I should stay at 10%. I'm moving soon and possible 4 hours away from my current city and things really feel stressful but I want so badly to be done with this toxic crap,

Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms is not the goal, but WD symptoms should be mild and fade within a few days.  If not, you're going too fast.  What you're experiencing sounds more severe than what is going to work for you.  I would hold where you are and see what happens within the next few days.

 

If symptoms do not fade, that means you should hold until they do, which could take quite a while (perhaps months).  Going too fast in the long run is going to lengthen, not shorten, the process.  

 

We all on this site without exception want off these drugs (I know I do) but going faster than your body can tolerate is not the answer.  10% every four weeks is likely too fast for you.

Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

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

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

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Wow, your story is amazing and much of it resonates with me. It’s incredible how far you’ve come, I want to acknowledge that with you. I talk about acceptance a lot, for me it’s the foundation. If we can truly accept what is happening we can rise above our symptoms. Along the way I found that it was my reactions to the symptoms and not the symptoms themselves that were causing my suffering. I have recently started to go deeper in presence work, finding and connecting with that calm and stillness within us. In this place you can experience all manner of things but it doesn’t grab you, you are merely the awareness observing what is happening.

Don’t be afraid of symptoms, accept them and feel them without the thoughts or stories attached to the symptoms. Basically allow yourself to feel whatever is happening in the moment and stop listening to what your mind is telling you. A daily meditation practice has helped me to create space between my true self and my mind. I highly recommend it, especially for anxiety. The key here is it must be done daily to create the space and slow the thoughts down.

Anxiety, insomnia, brain fog and depersonalization were my biggest issues during w/d. I say were because even though I continue to experience them they have absolutely no power over me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many of us have deep spiritual awakenings as a result of coming off these medications. 

Been on medication since 1999. Previous medications include Remeron, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Lamictal, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Ability.

Amitriptyline: 50 mg 2015-5/20. Decreased 50mg to 25 mg first week in May, 25mg to 12mg second week in May, 25mg to 10mg third week in May, 10mg to 8 mg fourth week in May. Stayed here for a month and reinstated 2 mg in July. 1/21 -4/21 9-0 mg Amitriptyline 

Klonopin: .5 mg since 2001

Supplements: Magnesium citrate: 250 mg; Fish oil: 1200 mg

 

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  - Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

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On 5/1/2021 at 1:09 PM, Gridley said:

Absolutely no withdrawal symptoms is not the goal, but WD symptoms should be mild and fade within a few days.  If not, you're going too fast.  What you're experiencing sounds more severe than what is going to work for you.  I would hold where you are and see what happens within the next few days.

 

If symptoms do not fade, that means you should hold until they do, which could take quite a while (perhaps months).  Going too fast in the long run is going to lengthen, not shorten, the process.  

 

We all on this site without exception want off these drugs (I know I do) but going faster than your body can tolerate is not the answer.  10% every four weeks is likely too fast for you.

Thank you, Gridley. I actually felt SO much better yesterday and only had a brief moment in the afternoon when I felt tense and anxious and I did some EFT and the wave passed. I slept a little better last night, too. I think my fear of the derealization and anxiety getting even more intense compounded with what I was feeling to make it what it was. I have to remember to surrender.

So if I continue feeling better today, should I still hold for another few weeks? Not that I was going to decrease again right away, just curious. I know it's likely different for everyone but maybe I should feel more balanced for some time before going any further, since pushing too hard could be challenging to re-stabilize from. I need to keep remembering that going faster will make it take longer, not less time.

 

On 5/2/2021 at 8:09 AM, Mia1 said:

Wow, your story is amazing and much of it resonates with me. It’s incredible how far you’ve come, I want to acknowledge that with you. I talk about acceptance a lot, for me it’s the foundation. If we can truly accept what is happening we can rise above our symptoms. Along the way I found that it was my reactions to the symptoms and not the symptoms themselves that were causing my suffering. I have recently started to go deeper in presence work, finding and connecting with that calm and stillness within us. In this place you can experience all manner of things but it doesn’t grab you, you are merely the awareness observing what is happening.

Don’t be afraid of symptoms, accept them and feel them without the thoughts or stories attached to the symptoms. Basically allow yourself to feel whatever is happening in the moment and stop listening to what your mind is telling you. A daily meditation practice has helped me to create space between my true self and my mind. I highly recommend it, especially for anxiety. The key here is it must be done daily to create the space and slow the thoughts down.

Anxiety, insomnia, brain fog and depersonalization were my biggest issues during w/d. I say were because even though I continue to experience them they have absolutely no power over me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence so many of us have deep spiritual awakenings as a result of coming off these medications. 

Thank you, Mia1! YES--my reactions to the symptoms absolutely are the cause of suffering!! The fear of the fear is the big one for me, fear of being even more afraid than I am in the moment and what it will mean. I think I'm going to get back to doing meditation that allows me to observe the present without attaching story; for a while now, I've been focusing on visualizations geared toward manifesting because I was so inspired by Joe Dispenza's Becoming Supernatural...but the motive behind which this is wanting something different in my life. And this practice can be great but I just realized it is basically me not wanting to accept things that are happening right now?! Acceptance is really key and will make this so much smoother and empowering. Thank you for that. That's amazing the symptoms don't have power over you anymore! Do you do a guided meditation or just on your own? I'm going to explore some options.

 

I agree, it's not a coincidence. Kelly Brogan uses John of the Cross' term "a dark night of the soul" to describe what people experience in the taper process. It can be a gateway to transformation. I can be really neurotic and tell myself I'm missing out on a truly transformative experience by taking Benadryl to sleep instead of accepting insomnia and just going with it but it's not about that, right? I think I'm already going to awaken more deeply through this just by learning to accept whatever comes my way. Symptoms, losing financial support, fear in general.

Thanks for this. I really appreciate both of your support so much. Going to take whatever comes today. 

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

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1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

I've been focusing on visualizations geared toward manifesting because I was so inspired by Joe Dispenza's Becoming Supernatural...but the motive behind which this is wanting something different in my life. And this practice can be great but I just realized it is basically me not wanting to accept things that are happening right now?!

You TOTALLY get it. I’m a fan of Joe Dispenza, read his book Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself. Visualization is a great add on but ultimately we have to roll up our sleeves and do the actual work. 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

Do you do a guided meditation or just on your own? I'm going to explore some options.

I started with guided meditations from MindfulPeace on Youtube but now I just do 30 minutes of a “do nothing” technique I learned. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and just observe what is happening. If you find you’re getting too lost in thought you can always focus on your breath or a sound. As you play around with it you’ll find the perfect way for you. Remember to have fun with it!

As I said, it does take time so stick with it even if your mind gets bored. It’s by far the most transformative tool I have. It also helps so much when practicing presence. The key is practice, practice and then practice some more.

 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

I can be really neurotic and tell myself I'm missing out on a truly transformative experience by taking Benadryl to sleep instead of accepting insomnia and just going with it but it's not about that, right?

I actually agree, it is all a transformative experience if we allow it to be. Personally I only take supplements to aid with physical recovery. I recently did a really fast Amitriptyline taper, and although I do not recommend it, it was the right thing for me to do. I went so deep into acceptance that it didn’t matter what my symptoms were/are or how long they last. I continue to do this every day, all day. And the funny thing is that I originally took Amitriptyline for sleep and even though my sleep is disrupted at the moment, I always fall back asleep because I’m so deep in acceptance I don’t care if I sleep or not. Resting is always my goal, not sleep.

 

2 hours ago, KittenLePurr said:

Symptoms, losing financial support, fear in general.

You can apply this to anxiety and fear as well. As counter intuitive as it may feel acceptance will set you free.

 

2 hours ago, KittenLePurr said:

Going to take whatever comes today. 

Always be the river and remember if there’s resistance it’s the ego!!

 

I would love to hear more about your klonopin taper. I’m going to wait 2-3 months and then taper that drug, it’s my last one!!

Been on medication since 1999. Previous medications include Remeron, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Lamictal, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Ability.

Amitriptyline: 50 mg 2015-5/20. Decreased 50mg to 25 mg first week in May, 25mg to 12mg second week in May, 25mg to 10mg third week in May, 10mg to 8 mg fourth week in May. Stayed here for a month and reinstated 2 mg in July. 1/21 -4/21 9-0 mg Amitriptyline 

Klonopin: .5 mg since 2001

Supplements: Magnesium citrate: 250 mg; Fish oil: 1200 mg

 

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  - Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator
5 hours ago, KittenLePurr said:

I think my fear of the derealization and anxiety getting even more intense compounded with what I was feeling to make it what it was. I have to remember to surrender.

Here is something I posted to another member about fear.

 

"Fear takes a lot of energy.  It is much better to assume it will work out fine.  Your body knows what you are thinking and internalizes it right down to the cell level.  Let your system internalize hopeful optimistic feelings and you will be doing yourself a big favor and helping your recovery quite a bit.  Attitude is very important."

 

5 hours ago, KittenLePurr said:

should I still hold for another few weeks?

I would and then you can re-assess.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

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

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

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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KittenLePurr
21 hours ago, Mia1 said:

You TOTALLY get it. I’m a fan of Joe Dispenza, read his book Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself. Visualization is a great add on but ultimately we have to roll up our sleeves and do the actual work. 

 

I started with guided meditations from MindfulPeace on Youtube but now I just do 30 minutes of a “do nothing” technique I learned. You sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and just observe what is happening. If you find you’re getting too lost in thought you can always focus on your breath or a sound. As you play around with it you’ll find the perfect way for you. Remember to have fun with it!

As I said, it does take time so stick with it even if your mind gets bored. It’s by far the most transformative tool I have. It also helps so much when practicing presence. The key is practice, practice and then practice some more.

 

 

I actually agree, it is all a transformative experience if we allow it to be. Personally I only take supplements to aid with physical recovery. I recently did a really fast Amitriptyline taper, and although I do not recommend it, it was the right thing for me to do. I went so deep into acceptance that it didn’t matter what my symptoms were/are or how long they last. I continue to do this every day, all day. And the funny thing is that I originally took Amitriptyline for sleep and even though my sleep is disrupted at the moment, I always fall back asleep because I’m so deep in acceptance I don’t care if I sleep or not. Resting is always my goal, not sleep.

 

You can apply this to anxiety and fear as well. As counter intuitive as it may feel acceptance will set you free.

 

Always be the river and remember if there’s resistance it’s the ego!!

 

I would love to hear more about your klonopin taper. I’m going to wait 2-3 months and then taper that drug, it’s my last one!!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It's really inspiring to hear that you've mastered acceptance to the point that you're just blasting through this...or at least that's my perception of what you're doing! Anxiety is my #1 symptom from literally everything, always. And while I have my tools in my toolkit to deal with it (deep breathing, EFT/tapping) it still really plagues me. Fretting about losing sleep and feeling like crap, and just fretting about the usual stuff even more intensely. 

So, with your meditation, you do nothing...but do you focus on your breath and sensations in your body or your thoughts? I've always felt like I needed to pick something specific to focus on... But this is sounding like a much-needed transition for me to make, away from focusing on change/attracting new things. I think I used to be more focused on being present and accepting whatever comes up until I read Joe Dispenza and a bunch of other works that say to focus only on what you want and I sort of got confused. I kinda doubt Dispenza's advanced students who manifest things just by thinking of them are withdrawing from psych meds, so, different strokes? 😬

 

I was really feeling the fear yesterday. My partner and I are looking at moving to a beach town 4 hours away from our current home so we spent all day in the car and all my money anxieties got really stirred up. It was really confronting and emotional and I just kept thinking, "I surrender," and I didn't have a a panic attack. Thanks for that! :)  This morning, it was more of a depression wave that set in, and I just let it out. Thankfully, I didn't have a lot of work to do, so I could lie in bed and cry it out. Be the river...

 

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

Link to post
KittenLePurr

Oh, and Klonipin taper..I started off cutting off chunks of pills but quickly realized that was not working well; way too much anxiety and insomnia! I dissolved it in 300ml of water and just removed 1ml a day. I saw that method in a YouTube video someone sent me. I was only on 0.35mg so while it wasn't easy, it wasn't as bad as I'd kind of expected it to be. I also took a ton of Gaba and some phenibut, which helped immensely. The hardest symptom part was the brain fog. It got so thick, I couldn't comprehend things I read. But Klonipin and Citalopram do that to me anyway, even when not in withdrawal. So it took me 300 days, which had its intense moments but was manageable. 

 

Actually, the hardest symptom was the panic attacks but they only happened right before my period. I didn't realize Klonipin affected the hormones?? And my blood sugar was SO unstable, if I went 3.5 hours without food, I'd feel completely surreal and have a panic attack. So I stayed on top of that. Had to. I guess it's been 9 months now and I've felt stable again for several. Not sure how long it took before the blood sugar stopped being an issue. Still taking more Tryptophan than I was before I started tapering it. So my nervous system probably won't be 100% back to normal for a while...especially since I'm tapering another med. 😧 Whoops

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

Link to post
KittenLePurr
On 5/4/2021 at 2:30 PM, Gridley said:

Here is something I posted to another member about fear.

 

"Fear takes a lot of energy.  It is much better to assume it will work out fine.  Your body knows what you are thinking and internalizes it right down to the cell level.  Let your system internalize hopeful optimistic feelings and you will be doing yourself a big favor and helping your recovery quite a bit.  Attitude is very important."

 

I would and then you can re-assess.

Thank you--fear DOES take a lot of energy. It's my body's go-to; I've memorized the fear response so well, my body starts shaking before I've even finished having a stressful thought. I'm really working on retraining myself to be an optimist...I was a pessimist and a worrier for so long and inherited it from my mom. She is the BIGGEST worrier EVER. 

1990s Zoloft, Prozac and a litany of other drugs including mood stabilizers

1998 Effexor 140mg and Remeron 40mg (I think) - quit cold turkey 2006 and was fine! Oh, to be young again...

1999 Adderall 60-120mg - quit CT 2010

2004 Lorazepam 0.5mg; switched to Klonipin 2010

2010 Klonipin 1-2mg/day - decreased gradually down to 0.35mg 2016-2017; microtapered myself off 0.35mg in Spring or 2020

2012 Lexapro and Seraquil/Remeron - quit CT 2012 after 1 month of use

2013 Methadone - battle w/depression led me to heroin addiction; clean but back on antidepressants :( - gradually lowered from 80mg down to 24mg 2015-2021

2014 Effexor 75mg - tapered too fast by doc 2017

2017 Citalopram 20mg - started tapering 2020, got down to 14.35 mg then paused to taper Klonipin

Cut Citalopram by 10% today. Hoping to do it smoothly and put this behind me! Resisting the urge to do it quickly...

 

Link to post
1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

Fretting about losing sleep and feeling like crap

This was a big one for me, I actually developed sleep anxiety and a fear of insomnia in the beginning. I would have these all day long obsessive thoughts that I wasn’t going to sleep and that I would feel terrible and not be able to function, etc. Because I was basically worshipping my thoughts back then it would scare the crap out of me and of course cause me to not sleep. By accepting the thoughts and not reacting to the anxiety they caused this eventually lost all power over me. It takes practice but the key here is to allow the feelings to come without reacting to them. They are only feelings and will not kill you even if they sometimes feel like they will. Do this enough times and it will be laughable that you ever gave it any power. 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

So, with your meditation, you do nothing...but do you focus on your breath and sensations in your body or your thoughts?

I observe my thoughts, my body and the sounds in my environment. If I feel like I need to anchor I focus on my breath. 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

I kinda doubt Dispenza's advanced students who manifest things just by thinking of them are withdrawing from psych meds, so, different strokes? 😬

LMAO 😂 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

It was really confronting and emotional and I just kept thinking, "I surrender," and I didn't have a a panic attack.

It was definitely more conceptual for me in the beginning, like yes okay I surrender. With practice this acceptance goes to the cellular level where nothing can touch you if you truly accept. Nothing came to me overnight, I did a lot of work. It sounds like you are too and doing an amazing job!!

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

Actually, the hardest symptom was the panic attacks but they only happened right before my period. I didn't realize Klonipin affected the hormones?? And my blood sugar was SO unstable, if I went 3.5 hours without food, I'd feel completely surreal and have a panic attack. So I stayed on top of that. Had to. I guess it's been 9 months now and I've felt stable again for several. Not sure how long it took before the blood sugar stopped being an issue. Still taking more Tryptophan than I was before I started tapering it. So my nervous system probably won't be 100% back to normal for a while...especially since I'm tapering another med.

Thanks for sharing this with me, I had no idea about the blood sugar levels. 

 

1 hour ago, KittenLePurr said:

I've memorized the fear response so well, my body starts shaking before I've even finished having a stressful thought. I'm really working on retraining myself to be an optimist...I was a pessimist and a worrier for so long and inherited it from my mom. She is the BIGGEST worrier EVER. 

I believe most of our behavior is memorized and that is why meditation is so helpful. It raises our awareness so we start to see what our programmed responses and behaviors are. We learn most of this behavior from our parents. With the awareness we can change it. For me the most powerful thing I can do is sit with my feelings until they pass. That reconditions the body and mind. I can now feel anxiety as energy, not this scary monster to be afraid of. 

 

Been on medication since 1999. Previous medications include Remeron, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Lamictal, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Ability.

Amitriptyline: 50 mg 2015-5/20. Decreased 50mg to 25 mg first week in May, 25mg to 12mg second week in May, 25mg to 10mg third week in May, 10mg to 8 mg fourth week in May. Stayed here for a month and reinstated 2 mg in July. 1/21 -4/21 9-0 mg Amitriptyline 

Klonopin: .5 mg since 2001

Supplements: Magnesium citrate: 250 mg; Fish oil: 1200 mg

 

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  - Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

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