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Wingbatty

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I've been on Lexapro for about 5 years. At the time I started I needed something - I had two little bitty kids and we were moving every 6-15 months with my husband's job (oil business). I had no support, no help, no backup. And hubby was gone for extended periods of time. Every time I made a friend we moved away. Family on both sides was extremely demanding & difficult, no help at all. I got into such bad shape I had suicide ideation. That was when I sought help.

 

So I'm thinking of tapering off again. I tried it once, over a period of 90 days (two years ago). I ended up depressed and went back on it.

 

The thing is, on my full dose now sometimes I feel like I did when I wasn't on it. Is this typical for longterm use? I'm sitting in my house not wanting to do ANYTHING. Nothing appeals to me. Not one thing. I put off friends, I don't want to write, or sew, or read about topics that interested me before. I don't want to be bothered by anyone or have a conversation. Too much trouble.

 

Not to mention, I've gained 50 pounds, developed insulin resistance, and haven't had a sex drive in half a decade now. Now I see where SSRIs are related in ins-res and it makes me really mad. I'm now having to take metformin to balance my blood sugar and change my whole diet... and I feel like I'm on this never-ending road of MORE DRUGS, LESS HEALTH, MORE DRUGS, LESS HEALTH, MORE....

 

I ordered some supplements to try, based on the site the road back .org. Has anyone else tried this? I don't want to fall prey to a different kind of drug shill, but my body is so out of whack that I wonder if it would help the transition. Until I'm seeing my blood sugar stabilized and my weight going down as a result, I know I'm going to be an emotional mess anyway.

 

Anyway - this site helped me see that maybe I don't have a "chemical imbalance" that I can never overcome! Maybe I can do this! Thanks for that.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Adding - please don't be offended by a long time to respond from me. As you can see in my sig, I live in the middle east. It is bedtime for me now -

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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  • Moderator Emeritus

How much Lexapro are you taking?

 

The apathy you describe is very much typical of antidepressants. They change the way the brain works (please note that this is reversible over time) and blunt the emotions.

 

90 days is not enough time to taper off a drug, especially one as strong as Lexapro. I got off 10 mg. Lexapro over about the same time period and am still suffering some withdrawal symptoms more than a year later, among them, blunting of the emotions and neuro-emotions. (Neuro-emotions are false and usually strong emotions triggered by misfiring neurons rather than reality).

 

There's a lot of info on tapering off of antidepressants in our Tapering discussion and here's one of them specifically about Lexapro:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

When you have a chance, please put your drug history in the signature area of your profile:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Welcome to the forum. You'll find lots of good information and friendly, gentle support here.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Oops, I missed one question. Re: The Road Back supplements are basically what you can buy in a drugstore except they're a lot more expensive. Some people have actually found the supplements to be far too stimulating, which made them feel worse. They are intended for people who are already tapering off their meds.

 

Most supplements are not a good idea when tapering off of antidepressants with the exceptions of magnesium and fish oil.

 

Magnesium: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Fish oil: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/page__st__90

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Administrator

Hi WB

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

The thing is, on my full dose now sometimes I feel like I did when I wasn't on it. Is this typical for longterm use? I'm sitting in my house not wanting to do ANYTHING. Nothing appeals to me. Not one thing. I put off friends, I don't want to write, or sew, or read about topics that interested me before. I don't want to be bothered by anyone or have a conversation. Too much trouble.

 

YES! This is normal after long term use ... many of the stories on this forum have this theme.

 

Check into the link Jemima provided that provides information on tapering your particular medication and fill us in on your overall med history. You'll find lots of support here.

 

Love and light,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg - 11/28/21 - 150 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Thank you for the great replies. I have updated my signature. I have never gone cold-turkey except for once when I forgot my pills on a 3-day trip and couldn't replace them. THOUGHT. I. WAS. GOING. TO. DIE.

 

I just started back to taking Magnesium yesterday - but for other reasons (it helps with, um, constipation... :unsure: ). I will keep that up.

 

I'm also tapering DOWN my coffee intake. I think the coffee seriously increases my anxiety levels.

 

Jemima - this was really good to know, that 90 days is not enough! I had no idea! I'm freaking out a little about your experience, still suffering. And neuro-emotions. OMGsh! That's just what I need - because I had trouble managing just the ones I get on my own, now I can deal with FAKE ones? :o:angry:

 

I'm starting to see why people get angry, the more they know. Holy cow.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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What I did read on that site was that Vitamin E is necessary with high doses of fish oil, because omega-3 binds to vit-E & will deplete you, or something.

 

I haven't looked that up for myself yet, just putting it out there.

 

???

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Just thinking....

 

In November I was diagnosed with PCOS and Insulin Resistance.

 

Long before I went on the psych meds, my cycles were getting longer & longer. Every other month I had a difficult cycle that would last 40+ days. I was using the fertility method for birth control, so I saw my body unable to ovulate, and the hormonal problems that were going on.

 

None of my doctors paid my any attention. Since I had managed to get pregnant twice, no one cared that I was having these difficulties, no doctors listened.

 

Even the psychiatrist who finally gave me the Lexapro said, "I think at the base of this is hormonal issues, but you're too young for that to be treated without putting you at high risk for cancer, etc." She suggested I stay on Lexapro until my kids were all in school.

 

She called L a "clean drug" and I think she had no idea what mortal hell it was going to be for me to go off of it.

 

Sometimes I think the Lexapro helped me to be a sane & stable mom through a very difficult time in my life, but I wonder how things would have gone if the hormonal issues had been recognized earlier, taken seriously.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Using this as a journal, sort of.

 

One of my problems with going off Lexapro is that when I do taper down or go off, I feel like a little kid emotionally.

 

What I mean by this is that with the emotional blunting, I am able to respond to people in a way that seems very mature. I don't get excited or freak out, I don't break down. I basically have NO response, and I go home to think it over & decide how to react. I think this in itself seems strange to people, that I have no response at first, but it does save me some trouble.

 

When I go off Lexapro, if someone is mean to me, or acts inappropriately, I react right away. It's very hard to manage the emotions PLUS decide how to respond rationally.

 

In many ways I feel the drugs have EMOTIONALLY STUNTED me, that instead of having another 5 years of learning how to deal with people, I've had five years of nothing, just a lack of social/emotional learning. As soon as I lower my dose, I feel very YOUNG... and not in a good way.

 

We currently live overseas, and every day I deal with an Arab culture - plus the cultures from India/Pakistan, because so many of the people here are workers from those countries. I've become very aggressive by my own standards. I've had SO many instances of people pushing & shoving me that where I used to be very shy, now I will say, "EXCUSE ME! I was here first!" or "Hello! You are jumping the line!" It's either that or go crazy, I guess. I worry about how I will deal with all this without the numbing effects of Lexapro.

 

The difficulty with Arab culture is that it appears no one cares to do anything. They are worried about family relationships and tribal affairs, not work. We have had to deal with things like vital paperwork that should be done within 1-2 days taking 18 months or more, simply because the person won't do his job. It is a culture that seems (by American standards) very insincere & dishonest, simply because it is so concerned with saving face, not having disagreements or confrontations. How will I handle an Arab lying to my face that "insha'Allah this will be done tomorrow" when I know he has no intention of doing it EVER, when I'm not emotionally blanked out?

 

I guess I will have to learn at 33 what I should have learned years ago...

 

I wonder if it will help, to be able to diffuse those emotions that hide inside until the feeling of injustice overwhelms me? We call this "my bull$#-- meter pegged out today". Maybe it will actually help to be able to diffuse this a bit at a time, instead of becoming overwhelmed by hidden emotions that I don't even know I have.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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My husband loves my Lexapro. I used to be a total nympho. He loved that. It was 30 seconds to the finish line for me. This is the only drawback, that I can't do this anymore. Or anything. But as long as I seem okay with it, he's okay with it. What he loves is my lack of emotion. Loves it! After 5 years he has accepted this as normal. If I'm unhappy about anything - OMG! Did you take your pill!! That must be the reason! I know he is not truly happy about my lack of "highs" now, that I don't laugh or joke around anymore. But he doesn't think about this. He's just happy that I never cry anymore, that we rarely fight, even when we probably should.

 

He grew up with a mother who emotionally manipulated every member of the family. Everyone tiptoes around her and does exactly what she wants, because she can go from All Sweetness & Light to the DEVIL in an instant. She is SO mean and SO emotionally destructive in her devil state that everyone lives in total fear of her. Do what she wants! Keep her smiling! I believe she is a narcissist. My FIL can't even decide what he'll eat or how much will go on his dinner plate. She controls every aspect of his day. He spends a lot of time finding ways to get away from her for 15 minutes so that he can race to the convenience store & belt down a Sprite. OMG! A sprite! She would DIE if she knew.

 

If I'm upset, he goes into total lockdown. *JUST SURVIVE UNTIL SHE STOPS* because that is how he grew up. He can't deal with negative emotions from me. Even in our early marriage I learned quickly that I had to deal with him very even-keeled and not get upset, or he would just shut down for days. He used to lie & tell me whatever I wanted to hear. I decided early on that I would rather have an honest marriage than a fake one, so I had to learn to deal very calmly with information I didn't like.

 

Now he does what he wants, and I don't make any attempt to control him. I'm not always happy about how much he wants to drink, or ride his motorcycle or go with friends (he doesn't drink & ride at the same time!) - but he is completely faithful to me & works SO hard at his job. He is Mr Responsible. Knowing what he dealt with growing up, it is super important to me that he feels he is in charge of his own life, makes his own decisions, that he doesn't feel controlled by me, or anyone else. I know he does things sometimes just to show himself that he can do what he wants, even now.

 

He will never support me going off the Lexapro. To do it, I have to do it alone, and learn to manage myself REALLY WELL, or my marriage will suffer. I want it all. I want the highs, the nympho part, my old wit - and I want to be able to manage my negative emotions so that he doesn't feel like he is married to his mother.

 

Most of all - I have seen in the past 5 years how, with the Lexapro, I can't appreciate him. I feel nothing. No love, no positives. The negatives build up in the back of my mind until they overwhelm me with their sheer numbers. It seems logical that I should just leave him sometimes, even though I know this isn't logical at all. I would regret it every minute of the rest of my life. I want to feel love for him again, for real. I don't want to act. I want to FEEL like sitting next to him on the couch and rubbing his head when he's had a hard day because I sympathize. Not remember, "oh, I should do this seeing as how he supports my lifestyle" and do it as a chore. I want to feel it again. I think he deserves it as much as me. I think deep down he misses the real me, I see it sometimes. But I think he lives in terror of Depressed Me. Anxious Me. Freaking out Me. :(

Edited by JanCarol
Paragraph breaks for ease of reading

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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I so know how you feel.

C/T Celexa and Trazadone on Jan.29th 2014
Prescribed 1mg of Klonopin every 6 hours on Jan.29th
Began tapering Klonopin April 18th..stretching time between doses...at first one hour for 2 weeks then a half hour for app.10 days then another half hour 10days later.
Presently at .25 three times a day..6 2 and 10pm. Trying to stabilize.
Also still taking gabapentin 300mgs 2xs a day..

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I have gone down to 10 mg of Lexapro (from 20 mg) in the past, as a way to mitigate the "numbness" and lack of O. I've been up at 20 mg for a while

 

I'm wondering whether I could do the faster taper to 10 mg that I've done before, and stabilize here for maybe a month, then do a slow taper from there? Has anyone else done this before?

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Wingbatty

I just moved this from tapering to your own thread in introductions so people can read all your posts in one place about your situation when responding.

strawberry

*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***





http://prozacwithdrawal.blogspot.com/
Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.

 

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WB....I have taken Lexapro in the past. Please don't drop from 20mgs. to 10mgs. We do not recommend that from people who post here who have done just that.

 

Lexapro causes many side effects while on the drug and while getting off of it. Yes, ssri's can cause blood sugar issues.

 

If you would like to get off of it, why not try a 1mg. drop in dose. Give it 2-3 weeks and see how you feel. I hope you can get the liquid so your drops in dose are accurate. This is important.

 

Everything you discussed most of us have been thru. These are very potent medications.

 

It doesn't matter what age you are, you can have your blood drawn for a hormone profile.

 

Good luck and drop your dose in little increments.....

 

Nikki

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Hi Wingbatty, and welcome.

 

What happens when you decrease the Lexapro from 20 mg to 10 mg? That's an extremely large drop. Is that when the emotional distress that upsets your husband occurs, or is that happening anyway? What makes you decide to go back to the full 20 mg dose?

 

I'm working on getting off benzos at the moment, but am taking 10 mg of Lexapro that I hope to taper eventually, so I'm very interested in your experience.

 

Sparrow

2009-2011: tapered off Trazodone, Namenda, Lamictal, Dextroamphetamine, Zyprexa; cold-turkeyed Pristiq; reduced Lexapro dose 50%.
On clonazepam since 2004, 0.5 - 1.0 mg daily PRN. Three failed (too rapid) partial tapers, 2010 - 2011.
Dec. 2011 - March 2013: Tapered off 0.5 mg clonazepam (Klonopin)

August 2013: Switched to liquid escitalopram (Lexapro) and began tapering from 10 mg.

January 2014: 4.5 mg escitalopram

March 2014: One year off benzos

May 2014: 3.0 mg escitalopram

June 2014: severe depression, updosed to 4.0 mg

Sept 1, 2014: 2.7 mg

Dec 7, 2014: Can't get below 2.5 mg without unbearable symptoms. Doing an extended hold (I hope)

March 2015: TWO YEARS POST-BENZO

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Wingbatty.

 

You are quite the writer! Thanks for telling your story.

 

Even if you've made big cuts in Lexapro before and not suffered withdrawal symptoms, you might not be so lucky this time. Here's a topic about tapering Lexapro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

You might be able to get to 10mg fairly quickly, but if I were you I'd plan on 10% cuts per month below 10mg.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Jemima - this was really good to know, that 90 days is not enough! I had no idea! I'm freaking out a little about your experience, still suffering. And neuro-emotions. OMGsh! That's just what I need - because I had trouble managing just the ones I get on my own, now I can deal with FAKE ones? :o:angry:

 

If I had it to do over again, I'd taper over a year or more, if necessary, and I was only on 10 mg. At 20 mg., it will probably take longer, although not necessarily twice as long. By the way, 20 mg. of Lexapro is a *very* high dose. Doctors tend to forget that Lexapro is probably the strongest SSRI on the market, roughly twice as strong as other antidepressants. It's no wonder at all that you feel so emotionally detached.

 

If you taper slowly and carefully, you may never experience neuro-emotions. Those of us who either cold-turkeyed or tapered too fast, however, are quite familiar with them.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Wingbatty, and welcome.

 

What happens when you decrease the Lexapro from 20 mg to 10 mg? That's an extremely large drop. Is that when the emotional distress that upsets your husband occurs, or is that happening anyway? What makes you decide to go back to the full 20 mg dose?

 

I'm working on getting off benzos at the moment, but am taking 10 mg of Lexapro that I hope to taper eventually, so I'm very interested in your experience.

 

Sparrow

 

Feel free to ask me what NOT to do. :blush:

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Okay, you guys convinced me.

 

Obviously I have failed at tapering in the past, and I would rather go SLOW than fail again! I wonder if I could go slowly enough that my husband doesn't notice?? :P I can totally imagine a day months from now with him saying, "you know, you have been able to O lately - what's up?" and me saying, "WELL! Turns out I've been off Lexapro for two months...." :lol: I should make this my goal.

 

Because of where I live, I can walk into a pharmacy & purchase Escitalopram directly. However, it only comes in 10 & 20 mg pills. I will search a bit & look for 10 mg. Also the pharmacists here are very helpful to talk to, and if I tell my local one that I am trying to wean, I might be able to get him to split some pills for me. Or help me locate smaller doses. He keeps asking me if I'm *sure* I want that big 20 mg pill.

 

-----

DIET

-----

 

With the help of a really good pharmacist here I went on an elimination diet - and found out that eliminating gluten cleared up serious stomach problems, migraines, and other long-term problems. Later testing showed me to have intolerances to wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, some types of beans.

 

Basically, I'm a mess!

 

Right now I'm working on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (minus dairy) to see if I can heal my gut & heal some of these intolerances. And along with it - get rid of this Insulin Resistance problem that has cropped up!

 

I have read that 90-95% of serotonin is made in the gut. Aren't SSRIs trying to increase the serotonin in the brain? What if the real problem is that we are MEANT to have most of our serotonin in the gut - and if we don't because poor diets have wrecked our guts - and forcing the brain to have more is like putting a band-aid over a major wound? Only temporarily putting off some symptoms, and creating worse ones down the road?

 

How much can we heal our emotions if we heal our guts?

 

I have had a hard time sticking to restrictive diets. Sometimes I get so frustrated - already I feel so restricted! I just want to be able to eat anything. But right now I'm even more disgusted by feeling like I'm broken, when I have been so healthy & active in the past. Can I fix it with diet? I will do my best, and report back.

 

And today I'll go chat with the pharmacist about cutting pills...

 

-----

 

It's complicated, and maybe it's all interwoven - the food intolerances, mood disruption, insulin resistance, hormonal problems... maybe these are all pieces of a big puzzle that says FIX YOUR DIET, DUMMY. B)

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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PILL SURGERY - and How to Proceed??

 

I figured out today that the smallest I can cut any of the available pills is to 2.5 mg. At this point they start to crumble. Even then, it's pretty hard and they aren't all exact. That worries me a little.

 

My first plan of action is to start taking 17.5 mg, today. I have enough on hand to do this for 37 days right now. I want to stay at 17.5 for at least that long.

 

Some of you who have tapered before... Is this long enough? Should I stay there longer, or just see how I feel?

 

How on earth am I going to do this after this point? Do I need to get a small scale & start shaving the pills? :o No, seriously! If I will need this, I need to know now - it will take me a few weeks to get one here.

 

For a slow taper, 20 -> 17.5 is a big start. I'm worried about going 17.5 -> 15, that this will be too fast. If I can do this by stretching out each drop to 2 months, or whatever I need to do, I can do that instead. Just worried about how to proceed.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Hi WB,

 

That is a link to tips for tapering Lexapro.

 

You mainly need to see how you feel as you taper, holding for a few weeks after each taper. The larger cut you make means you would likely need to hold longer to give your brain time to catch up. It's easier on your CNS to make smaller cuts, it's not as shocking to your system (brain).

 

You can get a scale to weigh cut pieces but most people find liquid to be a better option. If liquid is not available there, you could make your own liquid. There are topics in the "Tapering" section that will give you lots of valuable info.

 

Hope this helps,

 

T

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Dear Wingbatty,

 

You can do it. And don't fall prey for "chemical imbalance" scenario. This imbalance you didn't have before 5 years. Don't fall for it. Try starting your day with a fresh banana! Try getting back to nature. Fruit and vegetables are wide available in Oman. Try Omani Halwa :D it's great. Enjoy the better small things in life. Try thinking about NOW not past nor future. I hope you tapper off gradually not cold turkey. You can do it, because you have the well but firstly remember that you should have a plan. I mean that when you go off, you don't want to go off and deal with the same problems you turned to meds for. Go off and start a new life style, you deserve to be happy, get a massage, go to a spa. You aren't meant to be depressed and waiting. You already deserve to be appreciated by yourself.

 

Hope and prays go for you.

 

 

Respectfully,

Sal.

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PILL SURGERY - and How to Proceed??

 

I figured out today that the smallest I can cut any of the available pills is to 2.5 mg. At this point they start to crumble. Even then, it's pretty hard and they aren't all exact. That worries me a little.

 

My first plan of action is to start taking 17.5 mg, today. I have enough on hand to do this for 37 days right now. I want to stay at 17.5 for at least that long.

 

Some of you who have tapered before... Is this long enough? Should I stay there longer, or just see how I feel?

 

How on earth am I going to do this after this point? Do I need to get a small scale & start shaving the pills? :o No, seriously! If I will need this, I need to know now - it will take me a few weeks to get one here.

 

For a slow taper, 20 -> 17.5 is a big start. I'm worried about going 17.5 -> 15, that this will be too fast. If I can do this by stretching out each drop to 2 months, or whatever I need to do, I can do that instead. Just worried about how to proceed.

 

The easiest thing to do is to get Lexapro in liquid form. It does come that way, although I don't know if it will be available where you are. Failing that, here are instructions on how to make a liquid from a tablet:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/

 

If I were you, I'd stay at the 17.5 mg. level for a month. It's possible that you could go faster, but as a survivor of Lexapro withdrawal I don't think it's worth taking the chance.

 

The important thing is NOT to get off the drug as fast as possible, but to support your brain and central nervous system while you get off. Someone here described cold turkey as ripping a trellis away from a plant that had become accustomed to it, and I think that's a good analogy. Antidepressants actually change the structure of the brain into something abnormal. Withdrawal is a result of taking away the drug too fast and having the brain flounder around trying to get back to normal without any support.

 

I'm glad to see that your pharmacist questioned the very high dose. Do you not have to have a prescription in your current location? It's really scary to think that a person can walk into a pharmacy and buy this stuff like it's aspirin. It's scary enough when it's prescribed.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Wow!!! Wingbatty you've got some great responses. Your writings are spontaneous and humorous. I enjoy reading your posts! Hope you are doing well, susu

on SSRI's/benzo for 25 years plus, recently pull off them too suddenly by Pysc nurse

last year was switched from lexapro, zoloft, viibryd,paxil. Got sick trying to go back

on. My system is messed up and is hypersensitive. Nausea, anxiety Quit clonipin and take .5mg ativan.1xday So withdrew from klonopin and SSRI.

Off SSRI for 2 mos.

Take 50mg. trazodone for sleep along with melatonin

12/26 -liquid paxil 2mg.

12/29 1mg ativan

 

“I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

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You guys are AMAZING! I may try to make my own liquid after I stabilize at 17.5, so I can go down very slowly from there. I'll be at 17.5 until at least Valentine's Day (5 weeks).

 

THANK YOU!!!

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Hi Wingbatty - is it possible to ask your pharmacist to make a liquid for you?

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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I asked one yesterday and he was confused. I have to see my endocrinologist about the PCOS/Insulin Resistance this month, so I'll tell him what I'm doing & ask if there are any compounding pharmacies in town.

 

It is very difficult to ship in liquids- I looked at having the suspension brought in. Yesterday I ordered a scale on Amazon so that I can crush/measure dosages. I guess I will measure out dosages when they are not at a convenient 2.5 mg increment. That is okay.

 

I started reading "Anatomy of an Epidemic" - and now I'm off to see if there is a topic about this already (guessing there is!). I now understand why it is so important to go so slowly!

 

SSRIs change the brain SO dramatically, damage it so much. I had no idea. I'm fighting being really angry - but I keep reminding myself that 5 years ago I was so isolated & desperate, and had no tools for dealing with everything on my own. We're in such a different place now. I'M in such a different place. I stay positive by reminding myself that however much I've been blanked out & dumbed down... it held my marriage together during a very fragile time & it helped me be a level-headed mom to my kids while they were very little.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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WITHDRAWAL QUESTIONS

 

Last night I took my second lower dose (17.5 mg, down from 20 mg). All day yesterday I was irritable off & on, but I fought it. I exercised, did yoga & meditation, and ate GAPS all day.

 

During the evening I felt SO happy! Just energetic & happy. This was interspersed with irritation (LOL). During the night I woke up at 3 a.m. and couldn't sleep for a long time. It took me a long time to go to sleep, too.

 

And I started during the night having very vivid imagination. This was always true for me, but it stopped while I was on Lexapro, completely.

 

So:

 

1) is it possible that after 48 hours I'm already having enough withdrawal for these changes? I've been having to sleep on the couch b/c of hubby's outrageous snoring. Maybe I'm just couch-sore and tired. :lol:

 

2) Maybe I'll start another topic about #2.... or see if a topic already exists....

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Before I was ever on Lexapro/escitalopram, I was a writer. I wrote all the time. Kept a blog, wrote on my own - all kinds of things.

 

I have always had a very vivid thinking pattern - and I think this is what started me on the road to depression. After my son was born I was very anxious, and with every creak in the house I would imagine a long, terrifying scenario about intruders/burglars. I thought through every possible escape route, reaction, how to keep the kids safe, etc. It was exhausting. This was before SSRIs.

 

When I was writing, I would get so into my writing that when I was working on fiction, I would FEEL whatever I was writing. If I was writing a section that was sad, I would become sad. ETC.

 

Last night I was awake at 3 a.m. and heard a funny sound. Not unusual here. I mentally, immediately, created a whole scenario and story line in my head, very vivid.

 

I'm excited about the idea that my writing might come back, because it is such an essential part of me. I miss it. Part of the reason I wrote so much is that I was constantly creating stories/ideas in my head, and I had to get them out or go crazy. Now my head is EMPTY.

 

However, the downside of this is that when someone hurts or offends me, I relive it OVER and OVER and OVER. Recently I had an extremely stressful set of events with several family members, different dramas, and I found myself having the repeating thoughts, reliving the chain of events endlessly in my head, even talking to myself, imagining better ways I could have dealt with it all. Even on my full dose of meds!

 

Does this mean I'm a little OCD? :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Anyway, I'm still able to catch this, distract myself, move on. I'm really worried as WD continues, that this will worsen. It is actually the #1 thing that keeps me going back to the drug, is my inability to deal with negative events any better. It is worse now, with WD, but it was always there.

 

How have you guys dealt with this, vivid re-living of events, imagination, obsessive thinking?

 

If I can conquer that I would not need medication.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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mmmm - maybe it is too much of a decrease - 10% of 20mg is actually 18mg, so that would be a better dose to reduce to. Sometimes when we have reduced off too quickly, we become hypersensitive to changes and we need to be a little more gentle with our withdrawals - i would watch over the next few days - if you don't settle, you may need to go back to 20mg until you can get the scales to be more accurate. It is best to do it right - remember the tortoise and hare....it's of no benefit in the long run to reduce too quickly if you have to keep going up to stabilise all the time.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

You can make a liquid yourself with the tablets and water. Please read the relevant topics in Tapering.

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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Wingbatty,

 

I moved your post about vivid imagination to your Intro thread, not realizing you'd already started the topic here as well.

 

I agree with Peggy that you may have cut your Lexapro too much. At this point you can either wait to stabilize where you are or go back up to 20 mg., stabilize, and try coming down in smaller increments. I would be inclined to go back to 20 mg. Don't wait longer than a few days to updose, either. The longer you wait, the more likely the higher dose will also be irritating, and there's no point in aggravating your nervous system. You've been on a very big dose for a long time so it may be necessary to decrease your dose in less than 10% increments. Can you get liquid Lexapro? That would make accurate, small reductions much easier. If not, here are directions for making a liquid:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/

 

Believe it or not, I learned to deal better with anxiety and negative self-image as a result of going through withdrawal. Keeping in mind that I tapered too fast, withdrawal seemed to exaggerate my emotions to the extent that even I could see that they were out of proportion to the situation and I looked into ways to get them under control.

 

As for getting so emotionally involved in your writing, I think that's normal for a fiction writer and it's not the same thing as tormenting oneself with anxious thoughts. The latter is self-punishment. I know that my inclinations to self-punish came from a father who thought perfect wasn't good enough and I've got a long way to overcome that, but at least I'm aware of it and working on it.

 

I think getting rid of the panicky thoughts might actually improve your writing. Have you ever considered writing a story about a woman who torments herself with fearful thoughts? That might be really therapeutic!

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Regarding obsessive thinking.... i get this a lot in withdrawal - but usually it's about me and my condition -' like how bad will this get and will i cope' sort of thoughts.

 

I have found meditation to be very helpful. See if you can get a book called "the mindful way through depression' - it teaches you mindful meditation and has a CD with different meditations. For me, i have found that trying not to engage in the thoughts to be the best remedy - to recognise them, acknowledge them but not engage.

 

It is not easy and it's good to practise when you are not in full on withdrawal so it becomes a little more familiar - it is very hard to do it when the thoughts are 24/7

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Thanks for that reference, Peggy. I'm going to get that book ASAP.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Well, it is still only a few days but the irritability seems to be being tempered a lot now by the GAPS diet and the yoga/meditation. I'm leaving space for myself to do small asanas or meditation if I get tense during the day. Also learning that if I put off something I hate like cleaning the kitchen until it is nearly bedtime, I'm REALLY grumpy about it! :lol: I have to leave the evening for calmer things.

 

Right now I don't feel a need to go back up to 20 - and I hope that remains the case. I'm going to sit here for a long time because it IS a big initial jump. My scale should be here by the time I want to move doses again, and I'm thinking I may go 1 mg at a time. This time I'm WAY more concerned about being off without going crazy, than any deadline. I don't care how long it takes. I want those seratonin receptors & brain structure to HEAL and go back to how they are supposed to be.

 

I'm reading Anatomy of an Epidemic right now, and just finished the section about Benzos last night. A few years ago I had a pinched nerve in my shoulder and went to the ER because it was so bad I couldn't breathe properly and it was 3 in the morning. The ER doc kept insisting I was just having a panic attack because I said, "I'm here because I'm getting an intense pain when I take a breath". At the time I didn't know it originated in a muscle near my shoulder blades and was caused from sitting too much at a desk (now I know and know how to work out knots before they get this bad). I kept telling him I certainly knew what a panic attack was & this wasn't one, and he kept saying, "you just need to relax" and prescribed me Valium.

 

It made me SO mad that he wouldn't listen that I threw the scrip away. Reading here, and reading this book... I realize how close I came to real peril.

 

I feel so grateful that Lexapro is all I have to deal with. When I feel a bit irritable I think, "thank God that's all it is" and work on myself. I keep reminding myself that I have 5 years of emotional learning to make up for, and it won't be easy.

 

But I see how relatively easy my journey is. I'm grateful, and my heart goes out to everyone who is dealing with benzos, or multiple meds, or worse drugs period.

 

And I so badly want to give this book to my friend whose son is hospitalized for schizophrenia. They believe his recovery hinges on him taking his meds. I am reading that the medical community has known this to be false for more than 30 years. I'm so SHOCKED by how corrupt and evil the medical system in the USA is. I've been learning how bad it is on the nutrition side of things - but I had no idea how extensive the corruption was in all areas. People's lives are being lost for the sake of drug company shareholders.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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The last few days I've been feeling...

 

Amazing.

 

I started wanting to sort out my house, get things done. I haven't been feeling as tired. How much of this is from eating better? How much of this is from sleeping far away from my husband's snoring lately? :lol:

 

Yesterday when I took my pill I noticed HOW MANY are left at this dosage. It seems like so many. But I'm resisting the urge to go down again.

 

One thing I really do believe? FOOD has played a huge role. I see such a difference depending on how I've eaten. I would recommend SCD to anyone. It's worth a try.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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