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tomatosquasher65: Windows and waves from brief Lexapro usage


tomatosquasher65

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Hi everyone, just joined this forum today and was hoping for some advice. Back in January 2022 I was diagnosed with a panic disorder and put on 10mg Lexapro/day. As a preface, I had no symptoms of depression at all at this time, it was just anxiety that I did not know how to handle which would spiral into panic. I have been going to therapy since mid January and now feel much better about handling the bits of anxiety that previously caused panic.

 

I had pretty bad side effects for the first two weeks of Lexapro, mostly bad nausea and insomnia, but nothing horrible. The next two weeks were great, no panic attacks or anxiety at all, I thought I was getting back to normal. Then during the fourth week I got absolutely ravaged by side effects. It felt like brain zaps, horrible ruminating/negative/depressive thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, heightened anxiety that all kicked in about 5 hours after I would take the medication. I didn't notice this until about the fourth day of side effects, but I looked back and observed the pattern. After about the fifth day of these horrible side effects I decided to half my dose and 5 hours later my side effects were the same, but noticeably weaker - so I decided that I would cut it off completely. I tried to get in touch with my psychiatrist who prescribed me the meds but he was super unhelpful and said I needed to wait until he had an opening to meet in a week before we changed up dosages, which was incredibly frustrating due to how bad my mental state was at the time. Anyway, cutting it off cold turkey made me feel better almost instantly the next week, with minor similar side effects occurring 5 hours after I would normally take the dose, these were much more manageable. After that first week I had a relapse of pretty strong depressive and anxious feelings, which I completely attribute to cutting if off cold turkey. It's interesting that most of my windows have been during the week and most of my waves have hit during the weekends, the pattern has been pretty consistent since I cut the Lexapro off cold turkey.

 

I would love input on anyone who was in a similar boat of having an SSRI work really well for a while and then getting punched in the mouth by it. The last week I was on it, it definitely felt like my brain was reeling from changes being made in a terrible way, and I definitely feel like it needs to heal after that experience. I don't mean to exaggerate, but it was one of the most traumatic things I have experienced in my life.

 

Has anyone else dealt with withdrawal symptoms after short term use?

 

Thank you

 

Jan 29-Feb 29 10mg Lexapro/day - cut it off cold turkey

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to tomatosquasher65: Windows and waves from brief Lexapro usage
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Hi, Tomatosquasher. Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

Unfortunately, being on an antidepressant for 4 weeks is long enough to develop a dependency. But it sounds like you're dealing with a mix of side effects, possibly adverse reactions, and also withdrawal. 

 

You may benefit from reinstating a small amount, even just 0.25 - 0.50 mg to test how you do. We need to get more information from you, such as if you've ever been on psychiatric drugs before and what other drugs and supplements you are currently taking. But I'm going to leave some reinstatement resources for you here to read over. Whether or not you reinstate, this information is good to have to explain why you're feeling so poorly. 

 

Here is information on reinstating and on Lexapro tapering:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

The reason I mention such a small amount for reinstating is because (1) you may have been experiencing an adverse reaction and (2) Lexapro is an extremely potent drug, 2 to 4 times stronger than other SSRIs. 

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

As you provide more information, we can discuss if a reinstatement is the right call. Please continue to use this thread to ask questions and document your taper. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Hi @Shep thank you for the input. I think I have my signature right? I have no prior use of SSRIs in my past. I was at first prescribed Ativan for my panic attacks but I only ever took it twice in the month of January because I hated how it made me feel the next day, and it wasn't helping me get to the root of what was causing me to panic. I've thought a little about reinstating, but quite frankly, even a small amount of the side effects would be pretty annoying to have. I think I am content with just waiting this out. The windows have gotten progressively longer over the last month. I did have a pretty bad episode a week ago today and I still think I'm in a wave from it, but I feel pretty confident that I can get through this.

 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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On 4/1/2022 at 8:25 PM, tomatosquasher65 said:

I've thought a little about reinstating, but quite frankly, even a small amount of the side effects would be pretty annoying to have. I think I am content with just waiting this out. The windows have gotten progressively longer over the last month. I did have a pretty bad episode a week ago today and I still think I'm in a wave from it, but I feel pretty confident that I can get through this.

 

This sounds reasonable. Very glad to read you're already getting windows. 

 

Are you taking any supplements? We don't recommend a lot of supplements, as many members report their nervous systems are simply too fragile to handle them. However, magnesium and fish oil tend to be calming to the nervous system and many people report they do help. Please only add in one supplement at a time and at a small dose to see if your nervous system can tolerate it. For more, please see:

 

 King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Since you've been having periodic panic attacks in the past, is it possible what you experienced a week ago may have been the reason you went on the drug (and not withdrawal)? It's possible withdrawal made it worse, but if you can find ways of coping with the root cause of your panic, that may not only help you get through withdrawal, but through life in general. You may want to go through your diet and see if what you're eating may be causing problems, such as too much caffeine or alcohol or fast food and processed food. Are you getting enough water every day? Are you exercising? Are you taking time to work on hobbies and hang out with friends? Are you getting in some nature time in parks? Are you dealing with health anxiety during the pandemic? All of these can lead up to the body being overwhelmed with adrenaline surges (i.e. anxiety). This area of the forum may be helpful:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Let us know how you're doing over the coming days. Hopefully the windows will grow longer and longer. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @Shep just wanted to respond to you and give an update. I've been taking magnesium, B12, Omega 3 and a once daily vitamin that has B6, D and a few others. 

 

In response to your other question about the panic: I know for a fact it wasn't my prior condition, the truth is I developed a panic disorder due to dating this girl who I knew wasn't right for me. Once I ended the relationship a lot of the panic ceased, I developed a fear of panic attacks and certain things like an elevated heart rate would set me off. That's why I got on in the first place. I haven't had a panic attack since getting on the SSRI because it helped me create new positive memories with past events that normally would've triggered me. This alongside with about 6 weeks of CBT with a therapist have been super helpful in enabling me to manage stress.

 

Anyway, I've had less and less emotional symptoms over the last two weeks. I have had a pretty persistent migraine that came out of nowhere right at the 1mo off meds mark which is interesting. The windows and waves have become more frequent but the waves haven't been as bad as before, nowhere near as bad as the first few I had. I'm hoping I'll be good to go after this migraine subsides, as I'm almost positive it is from WD. (I know I'm not dehydrated and I don't have a history of migraines.)

 

I haven't been through anything I can't handle over the last few weeks so I really thing I can get through this. I'd love your input/if anyone else has been on an SSRI before getting really bad side effects from it.

 

Thanks

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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13 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I'd love your input/if anyone else has been on an SSRI before getting really bad side effects from it.

 

Many, if not most, people get bad side effects from SSRIs. That's why so many people end up on either benzos or antipsychotics to control these symptoms and then are gaslighted into believing they have a severe "mental illness." It's great you did your research early in the game and escaped the polypharmacy trap. 

 

In this article on Prozac from 1999, the journalist at The Guardian writes:

 

Quote

The minutes further state that "in future studies the use of benzodiazepines to control the agitation will be permitted". So, from that point on, Lilly's trial subjects would be put on tranquilizers to get them over the akathisia experienced by some in the early days on the drug. Yet once Prozac was on the market, there was no warning to doctors that such action might be necessary. Source - They said it was safe

 

Decades ago it was known that SSRIs could induce severe anxiety, even akathisia, and in the drug trials, they had to use benzos to calm down the people in the research trials. 

 

And that was Prozac. You're taking Lexapro, which is a much more potent SSRI. 

 

13 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I've been taking magnesium, B12, Omega 3 and a once daily vitamin that has B6, D and a few others. 

 

13 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

 

Anyway, I've had less and less emotional symptoms over the last two weeks. I have had a pretty persistent migraine that came out of nowhere right at the 1mo off meds mark which is interesting.

 

Did you recently just start any of these vitamins? The reason I'm asking is to see if that coincides with the start of the migraine. Some people become very sensitive to vitamins during withdrawal, so if these are new additions, you may want to reduce them for a few days, especially the B12 and possibly the D, as these can be stimulating to the nervous system. Hopefully the migraine will fade out soon. 

 

Very glad to read that overall you're doing better. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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@Shep I've been supplementing almost all of it since before the migraine started. I had a tetanus shot last week which I think made it worse for a bit, but honestly it's nice to feel like I'm at 70% with a migraine vs. having really horrible depressive episodes once a week. I really don't know what to make of it and I've never experienced anything like it before. I'm hoping that the migraine is my brain resetting itself and it will go away after a bit. I've still been having coffee and alcohol on and off for the last month so I'm definitely not doing everything in my power to heal faster, but I don't want these withdrawals to control my life or give me a victim mentality. 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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19 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I've still been having coffee and alcohol on and off for the last month so I'm definitely not doing everything in my power to heal faster, but I don't want these withdrawals to control my life or give me a victim mentality. 

 

Thanks for your honesty here, Tomato. From what we see on the withdrawal forums, alcohol can cause major setbacks for people because of its affects on the nervous system. It actually has a large impact on many areas of the mind/body. It's up to you how you go through your withdrawal and recovery journey, but avoiding alcohol and keeping caffeine to a minimum will go a long way toward getting well sooner.

 

Doing everything you can to heal your mind/body is the best way to feel empowered and not fall prey to a victim mentality.

 

You may want to avoid alcohol for a few months and then if you do decide to have it again, try a very small amount on a full stomach to test the waters. Give your nervous system time to heal first.  The short time you spent on these drugs coupled with taking a few months off of alcohol is still a relatively short time in your life. Once you completely heal, you'll be able to do a lot more of the things that you used to do and this whole experience will fade into the background as new, happier memories are built.

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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@Shep this is really good advice and I’m going to do just that! I think you were right about the B12 causing some anxiety, I stopped the supplements for a few days and have felt better. I’ve also completely cut out alcohol and am keeping caffeine to a minimum. 
 

I’m curious if this has any implications for my recovery trajectory? Meaning, if my nervous system is sensitized enough to not be able to take a supplement, is that indicative of a long path to recovery? I’ve already accepted that I could very well be in this for the long haul but I’d love to hear if you’ve seen anything similar. 
 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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@tomatosquasher65

 

Thanks for checking in man. Glad you're managing. I'm still in randomville as well, some days I feel better then things seem to swing around again.

 

I was doing okay Friday/Saturday, but yesterday was anxiety city. Today isn't so bad though, still symptomatic but it's more mild.

 

I just want off this ride though. It's only been just over three months for me but I'm getting pretty sick of this. Here's hoping it's wrapping up soon. 

1998- Fluoxetine

2012- One dose of Escitalopram causes suicidal ideation. Started Venlafaxine. Successfully discontinued using a Fluoxetine bridge.

December 2021- 4 days of 5-HTP. Had some severe dysphoric symptoms trying to discontinue. Started Fluoxetine 10mg. Provided with five 1mg doses of Ativan as well.

January 6th- Continued to take Fluoxetine 10mg. Experienced deepened depression and suicidal ideation.

January 9th- 5mg dose. Experiencing deepened depression and suicidal ideation.

January 10th- Quit Fluoxerine CT

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I feel that man, I'm only at the 1.5mo mark myself so I have no idea what I could potentially be in for. Currently in a window and trying to soak it up. 

 

We'll get through this man.

 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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20 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I’m curious if this has any implications for my recovery trajectory? Meaning, if my nervous system is sensitized enough to not be able to take a supplement, is that indicative of a long path to recovery? I’ve already accepted that I could very well be in this for the long haul but I’d love to hear if you’ve seen anything similar. 
 

 

Yes, it may be a number of months of dealing with difficult symptoms. But giving up alcohol and minimizing caffeine will go a long way toward speeding things up. Make sure you're eating healthy, limiting sugar, getting enough protein and veggies and drinking plenty of water. If you're sensitive to supplements, etc., you may also be sensitive to MSG and other food additives, so try to only eat clean foods that aren't processed.

 

Gentle exercise, such as walks and stretching or yoga, can also be helpful. The goal is to build yourself up to be able to handle whatever life sends your way. Most of us walk away from this experience much stronger than we entered.

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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@Shep Thank you for your input. I’d like to hear your advice on potential reinstatement as well. I’m talking to a doctor tomorrow as it seems my symptoms have worsened over the last two weeks. 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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18 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

@Shep Thank you for your input. I’d like to hear your advice on potential reinstatement as well. I’m talking to a doctor tomorrow as it seems my symptoms have worsened over the last two weeks. 

 

But you just reported a window:

 

On 4/18/2022 at 7:03 PM, tomatosquasher65 said:

Currently in a window and trying to soak it up. 

 

 

Sometimes it's hard to gauge what you're at during withdrawal and recovery because when you go into a wave, that's all you can see.

 

If you do reinstate, I would do so at a VERY small amount. This was suggested earlier in your thread:

 

On 4/1/2022 at 8:51 AM, Shep said:

You may benefit from reinstating a small amount, even just 0.25 - 0.50 mg to test how you do. We need to get more information from you, such as if you've ever been on psychiatric drugs before and what other drugs and supplements you are currently taking. But I'm going to leave some reinstatement resources for you here to read over. Whether or not you reinstate, this information is good to have to explain why you're feeling so poorly. 

 

Here is information on reinstating and on Lexapro tapering:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)

 

It's now 19 days since that earlier post was written, so if you do try a reinstatement, I would not go more than 0.25 mg. The further out you are from being on a drug, the more likely your nervous system is to hyper-react, so this is why you'll want to keep the dose very low.

 

Since you were dealing with a lot of side effects and possibly adverse effects, you may find the side effects worse than withdrawal, especially with a destabilized nervous system that may hyper-react.

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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Hello everyone, just wanted to post an update. @Shep yes I was in a bad state of mind when I posted that comment, it seems like my windows and waves have come in and out more frequently since April started. I still have that persistent headache and go back and forth between feeling pretty good and not so great. 

 

I wanted to ask specifically if there's anyone else on the forum who felt like they completely stabilized on an SSRI and then had really bad side effects, I've used the search bar as well as google, but I really haven't found anyone with a similar story. I guess I'm just trying to understand how it could work so well for a week and then completely fall apart. 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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2 hours ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I wanted to ask specifically if there's anyone else on the forum who felt like they completely stabilized on an SSRI and then had really bad side effects, I've used the search bar as well as google, but I really haven't found anyone with a similar story. I guess I'm just trying to understand how it could work so well for a week and then completely fall apart. 

 

This may be hard to parse through, Tomato. Not because people don't have bad side effects, but because it's hard to tell side effects from withdrawal symptoms. I don't think it fell apart, as you say. I think you're having classic windows and waves, which is quite normal and quite common. 

 


The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

As far as the drug working well for a week, that may have been the placebo effect. 

 

Irving Kirsch and placebo effect on 60 Minutes 2/19/12 video (58 minutes)

 

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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@Shep Well my side effects got much worse while I was taking it. As in the last week I took it, I had really bad brain zaps and depressive episodes 5 hours after I would take it. I guess I'm just curious if I should expect a recovery more similar to a traditional wd pattern or an adverse reaction pattern.

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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Probably a bit of both. You're recovering from an adverse reaction but you were on it long enough to become dependent. However, you likely won't have as long a journey as someone who took the drug for decades. You're already getting windows, which is a very good sign! 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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@Shep This is really encouraging, thank you so much for all your help. I had a really great window of a few days this week and on Thursday I went to take a bathroom break, looked in the mirror and realized I felt completely myself. I almost broke down right there at work! 

 

I know I could definitely still have a long way to go, but I am remaining optimistic. 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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@tomatosquasher65You may want to print out the posts where you talk about having a window. Those will be good to have on hand if you see any more waves. It proves your brain isn't broken and you're healing. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to post an update: had a really great window last week into the weekend. I felt great and ended up having a cigar with my roommate that made my headache way worse and I think threw my into a wave. Overall I’ve still been up and down but I do think my condition is improving. My headache almost went away entirely before smoking that cigar! 
 

Something I wanted to ask the forum is how you differentiate between symptoms and your own anxiety. I really didn’t have depressive symptoms/episodes before getting on the medication, but I feel like I had some sad spells and so I wanted to ask what people do to figure that out. Thanks guys!

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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"Sad spells" or what I call periods of "lower mood" are a normal part of being a human being.

 

I have a friend who has never ever taken a psychiatric drug and she has told me that she goes through times of low mood and feeling down.  It is just a normal part of life.  I think it is important to assess what is happening in our life when we feel lower than we have been feeling.  Sometimes it is simply a case that we haven't been sleeping as well, or we might be suffering a simple virus or have an infection, sometimes it can be that we have overdone things and need some down time.

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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Hi all, I wanted to post another update: Still definitely having windows and waves and my headache is still very much present. I’ve had some strange hot flashes and weird feelings in my arms and legs, not painful, but definitely strange. I definitely have had them since getting off, but I didn’t really notice them  until now. I know that windows and waves can be very inconsistent, it’s just very frustrating feeling completely like myself for almost a full week and then having a wave for almost the same amount of time. 
 

I think I’m also learning a lot about accepting suffering and not making it worse than it is. I can have really frustrating intrusive thoughts, which I think I had before getting on the drug, and I’m learning to observe them without judgement. All that is very encouraging, I just hope to be on the upswing again soon. 
 

I really hope I’m not like this for years. I’m praying for a miracle, not just for myself, but everyone I’ve met on this site as well. 
 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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1 hour ago, tomatosquasher65 said:

I think I’m also learning a lot about accepting suffering and not making it worse than it is. I can have really frustrating intrusive thoughts, which I think I had before getting on the drug, and I’m learning to observe them without judgement.

 

This is really good to hear.  When we can accept and observe it is not as stressful on us because we aren't "fighting" the situation.

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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@ChessieCat absolutely. I thought of a question I wanted to ask you/the other admins: is a lack a physical symptoms any indication of healing? As in, I had some brain zaps in the month off, but since then my only physical side effects have been the migraine and those occasional strange tingling in my arms/legs. I’ve just read a lot of folks who have had more physical symptoms and was curious if it is any indication of healing. 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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I don't think there is any definitive answer to this, simply because there are so many variables.  As Alto says, we are all an experiment where N=1.  But I have noticed from the experiences of other members that symptoms don't always stay the same, in form or severity, which is why it is called Windows and Waves.  For example, even though we might not be noticing any symptoms, the brain might still be making adjustments which we don't know about.

 

I think the main thing is to not stress trying to find an answer to something which might not have an answer but just know and remember that the brain is always working on balancing things out and trying to regain homeostasis.  Some members feel that they should be doing something to try and speed up / help their recovery and feel that doing nothing means that are not doing anything.  But it is doing something, but not actively; it is giving the brain the time it needs without interference to do what it needs to do.  Keeping stress to a minimum and looking after yourself (eg being careful not to overdo things, not drinking alcohol, limiting caffeine, trying to get enough sleep) are ways that you can help your own recovery.

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery
 

And:

 

  

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

Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are [...] to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

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

 

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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@tomatosquasher65

 

Sucks to hear you're in another wave man. The same thing has happened to me; was stabilizing for a bit and then started having more symptoms again and I'm back in it now.

 

I get the temptation to try to find an answer. It sometimes really gets to me that there isn't a solid, empirically supported theory of what we're going through. No one can give us a definitive explanation for why we're experiencing what we're experiencing. It means we have to muster a lot of courage to stay calm in the face of so much uncertainty, and that's a really hard thing to do. Our medical system is so often characterized as being able to "treat everything" and I think most of us grow up with the naive position that if we're ever really sick, there will be a cure for what we're going through. It's hard to face the cold reality that for us, there is only an indefinitive period of suffering that will eventually resolve of its own accord. 

 

It's good to hear you're experiencing some capacity to non-judgementally accept what you're experiencing. It really does seem to be the only way. You're gonna make it man, it's probably just going to be more uncomfortable and take longer than you would have hoped. Keep going!

1998- Fluoxetine

2012- One dose of Escitalopram causes suicidal ideation. Started Venlafaxine. Successfully discontinued using a Fluoxetine bridge.

December 2021- 4 days of 5-HTP. Had some severe dysphoric symptoms trying to discontinue. Started Fluoxetine 10mg. Provided with five 1mg doses of Ativan as well.

January 6th- Continued to take Fluoxetine 10mg. Experienced deepened depression and suicidal ideation.

January 9th- 5mg dose. Experiencing deepened depression and suicidal ideation.

January 10th- Quit Fluoxerine CT

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@Scrountz I appreciate the kind words, and likewise man, I’m sorry you’re experiencing the same thing. It’s nice knowing we’re not alone in the suffering. 
 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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Just wanted to post a quick update: I had a drink on Sunday evening and it threw me into a massive wave yesterday afternoon! Honestly, I wasn't even thinking when I drank it, I was on the phone with a friend of mine and was handed it and didn't think anything of it. Big mistake!

 

It's really weird because I haven't had that adverse reaction to alcohol since getting off the lexapro, but I think my nervous system is super sensitive right now. I had that B vitamin in April which also threw me for a loop. Thankfully I feel back to "normal" withdrawal today, manageable symptoms like my headache, some intrusive thoughts, anxiety etc. 

 

I definitely felt really hopeless yesterday, as much as I tried to observe my feelings rather than judge them, I definitely failed and ended up calling my mom in tears haha.

 

I feel a lot better today and now know how seriously I need to avoid drinking for the time being.

 

Here's to hoping it's only another few months cause I'm already missing Dos😂

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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Hello, @tomatosquasher65

 

On 3/21/2022 at 9:35 PM, tomatosquasher65 said:

I had pretty bad side effects for the first two weeks of Lexapro, mostly bad nausea and insomnia, but nothing horrible. The next two weeks were great, no panic attacks or anxiety at all, I thought I was getting back to normal. Then during the fourth week I got absolutely ravaged by side effects. It felt like brain zaps, horrible ruminating/negative/depressive thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, heightened anxiety that all kicked in about 5 hours after I would take the medication. I didn't notice this until about the fourth day of side effects, but I looked back and observed the pattern. After about the fifth day of these horrible side effects I decided to half my dose and 5 hours later my side effects were the same, but noticeably weaker - so I decided that I would cut it off completely.

 

It seems to me that you are a member of a small group of people we have here who never did get along very well with the antidepressant. Most have had severe adverse drug reactions (ADR) within a few doses. You happened to have persisted longer.

 

These people, who are tagged "immediate ADR", have symptoms that are like protracted withdrawal syndrome but they don't have withdrawal syndrome, they have similar symptoms because their nervous systems were upset by taking the drug. Their recovery is slow, with frustrating waves and windows, like people with withdrawal syndrome. Since they had a serious ADR to an antidepressant, they probably should not consider reinstatement.

 

It appears that you are recovering fairly quickly except for the drinking episodes and the upset caused by the cigar. If I were you, I'd avoid both, plus recreational drugs, completely until you are 6 months completely symptom-free. The hypersensitivity caused by your period of ADR and possible withdrawal symptoms may last even longer.

 

Even if you sometimes feel well, if I were you, I'd treat my nervous system very gently. Don't interfere with its healing, help it along by avoiding all alcohol, nicotine, recreational drugs; minimizing sugar and artificial food additives; eating fresh fruit and vegetables; drinking plenty of water; and getting regular sleep and exercise.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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@Altostrata I think you hit the nail on the head. I still don’t fully understand how my body could tolerate it so well/I feel amazing the third week of being on it and then completely fall apart the fourth week. Tbh I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand, and that’s okay. 
 

I’m getting some lab work done this week just to cover all my bases, but I’ve already come to terms with how I’ll need to live for the foreseeable future and expect the results to come back with nothing significant. 
 

I’m in another window today which I am incredibly grateful for. Most of my symptoms have been frustrating, but tolerable even in waves (except for when I make them worse by drinking or smoking!)

 

I’m optimistic for a full recovery! 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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  • Administrator

Many people find these to be helpful:

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

You might try a low dose of one at a time to see what it does for you.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just wanted to post an update: Magnesium has really stabilized my mood over the last 2+ weeks (knock on wood)

 

I've still had symptoms, some days worse than others, and my migraine has remained pretty constant over this period of time as well. I think the magnesium has made a huge difference in mood/symptoms. Going to continue to take 200mg a day until I am healed! 

 

Not sure exactly why it works so well, but it has made my waves much shallower/shorter lasting. I've had some really great windows as well since my last update.

 

The symptoms that remain are as follows: migraine that gets worse and better, but is almost always present (it goes away at night and usually doesn't return until mid morning), some intrusive scary thoughts/ahedonia that I never had before getting on the meds, some weird dizziness that usually comes and goes in a couple of seconds, some pins and needles in my arms and legs every once and a while, fatigue that comes and goes

 

I'm very optimistic as I write this as it seems like everything has very slowly been improving and I haven't had a horrible depressive episode since getting on the magnesium. I'd say I'm operating at 98% during a great window and probably 70% in a bad wave. I'm living life pretty normally right now, I've been going to work, exercising regularly and eating pretty well.  

 

I'm also trying to spend as little time as possible on this site/thinking about my condition. The less I think about it, the better I feel for the most part. I've also been better about not ruminating/leaning in to the suffering and accepting it when it comes. I know how much easier said than done this is, especially since my symptoms have been so much more manageable lately. 

 

I also hope that my recovery trajectory is encouraging to others who have suffered through an ADR to SSRs. I know thinking that this could take years to heal was a terrifying subject to think about, but now that I'm about 3 months into it, I'm understanding further that there are good days even in withdrawal and soaking them up is vital in getting through the bad days.

 

If anything changes in symptoms I'll be sure to post about it.

 

 

2022, January 29th - February 29th: Lexapro 10mg/day, stopped cold turkey

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  • Administrator

Thanks for the update, tomatosquasher. Glad you're seeing improvements with the magnesium and seeing some windows. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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