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Sunita

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Sunita

Hi all! I am happy to have found this site and am looking forward to both receiving and giving support as I taper off Celexa.

 

I started taking Celexa for depression, anxiety and PTSD in 2007. I've suffered from chronic depression since I was 10 years old due to some very traumatic experiences that happened at that time. Celexa helped significantly with anxiety and PTSD, and it did reduce the depression but I was still depressed.

 

In September 2011, by a miracle I discovered a book called The Depression Cure (by Stephen Ilardi) which has a 12-week program for curing depression through 6 lifestyle changes (Omega 3, engaging activities, light, exercise, social support and healthy sleep). Within 6 weeks of doing this program, I was depression-free for the first time in 30 years. It is quite amazing. I actually can't even believe it myself. I am happy to say that I am depression-free today, and facing the challenge of tapering off Celexa. I would love to know if anyone else has read this book or done the program, actually--it's hard to make lifestyle changes and to stay with them. It would be great to talk to people who are doing the same program so we could support each other.

 

My withdrawal symptoms have included anxiety, restless sleep, irritability and obsessive thoughts. The symptoms got worse after the cut to 10mg, but they still feel manageable. I found Celexa very sedating and calming, so I think some of the anxiety is just that I'm not being sedated anymore. The most wonderful thing is I am still depression-free, and that makes me feel I can handle the withdrawal. The increased symptoms at 10mg made me realize though that I needed more support, so I joined this forum.

 

Thank you so much for listening and for your support--I feel better just writing down my story and what I'm experiencing with the withdrawal. I do have real life support, but it means so much more when people understand what you're going through.

 

Sunita

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peggy

Hi Sunita and welcome to the forum,

 

It's great that you have managed to incorporate positive lifestyle changes to influence your mood....however you will still need to reduce off the remaining Celexa slowly. We recommend 10% per month. The fact that you are experiencing some anxiety now is not likely because celexa was sedating and this is your normal self - it is more likely that you are in withdrawal. How long have you been on 10mg and what symptoms are you experiencing?

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strawberry17

Hi Sunita

Welcome to the forum, no I've never read the book that you talked about, it sounds like you've done great putting some strategies in place because it's not a given that depression/anxiety will be gone forever so it's always good to have some other tools to use. However I do agree with Peggy that what you're experiencing is most likely withdrawal, withdrawal can feel very similar to the original depression/anxiety (which is a bit of a mind f***).

Also, looking at your signature, you have made quite massive cuts from 40 to 30 (25%) and then 30 to 20 (33%) pretty fast. Gawd I hope my maths is correct LOL it really is best to make 10% or less and forget calendars and schedules, make the next cut when you feel really good again.

strawberry

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hippopotamus

Welcome Sunita,

 

Great you found alternative ways to battle your depression that are working, even so much that you feel you can handle withdrawal! I think its a wise and sensible decision to look for extra support with the process of withdrawal.

 

If you start reading around the forum, you'll see that a slow withdrawal-process is consistently recommended, since that seems to give the least amount of withdrawal-complaints. If I were you, I would consider not tapering off any further until you've felt stable for a while on the current dose.

 

Also I wonder, how's the PTSD? Do you feel like you've worked through and resolved the trauma's, or is that something that's still in need of attention?

 

Good luck on your way!

 

hippo

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Sunita

Peggy, Strawberry17 and Hippopotamus, thank you so much for your replies and for your support.

 

Yes, I do feel I'm experiencing withdrawal. And I agree with you that it would be best for me to stay on 10mg for a while and not make any more cuts until I'm sure I'm okay. It's hard to tell what is withdrawal and what is just that the Celexa was sedating.

 

I've been on 10mg since Tuesday and it was after that cut that the withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, obsessive thoughts, irritability, restless sleep) got much worse. I feel though, like my old vitality and energy is returning too. It's like the Celexa was a blanket muffling everything. At the time, I was suffering so much that I welcomed the blanket. Now I don't want to be sedated anymore. For that reason, I don't want to go back up a dose. I'm hoping that if I up the self-care and get more support I'll be to able to stay on 10mg and eventually make another cut.

 

Hippopotamus (by the way, I like your screen name!), thank you for asking about the trauma and PTSD. I haven't had any symptoms of PTSD as I've been tapering off, which is very encouraging to me. I did get a lot of help with the original trauma. I had never told anyone about this trauma or gotten any help with it until 2006, when it began really coming up because of my meditation practice. I had two years of therapy and during therapy began taking Celexa because I was so overwhelmed by the flashbacks I just couldn't function.

 

You never "get over" a major childhood trauma, I think. But I've done a lot of healing work since 2006--therapy, somatic coaching, meditation, support from loved ones, life changes, affirmations, keeping a gratitude journal--and I do feel I am healed enough to have a good life and be grateful for what I have now and not dwell on the past.

 

Again, thank you all so much for your support and for reading. It's helping me so much to write about all of this and feel like people here know what I'm going through.

 

Sunita

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Altostrata

Welcome, Sunita.

 

I agree, hold off on dosage reductions until your nervous system stabilizes, then carefully slide off 10mg Celexa.

 

See this topic for tapering tips http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2023-tips-for-tapering-off-celexa-citalopram/

 

Also, please add that very interesting-sounding book to our list here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1445-recommended-books/

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hippopotamus

Wow Sunita, you sound like you're taking really good care of yourself and like you are a very sensible person. I think that will help you lots with withdrawing.

 

The effects and the 'how to's'of working through trauma's are major interests of me. Starting to work through my childhood trauma's has changed and probably even saved my life. If you ever want to exchange thoughts and experiences on the matter, I'll be very happy to do so.

 

Good luck!

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peggy

Sunita, i just noticed in your signature that you went from 20 to 10mg on February 5th? We recommend 10% cuts every 3- 4 weeks or so, based on that, your reduction should have been down to 18mg, not 10mg. I would be inclined to go back to 18mg and hold until stable and then continue with the next cut down to 16.2mg. It is important to keep your nervous system out of withdrawal because it can make it more irritable and sensitive.

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Altostrata

Or maybe reinstate to 15mg, as symptoms are "manageable" now.

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Sunita

Thank you all, so much for your support and feedback!

 

I am feeling better this evening after taking the day off and taking care of myself and think I am going to remain at 10mg for now. Though I am prepared to go back up if I need to. I guess I'm reluctant to go back up now that I've made the dosage cut--I know from experience that going up and down tends to confuse my body and make me feel worse. I'm hoping that I will adjust to the 10mg if I stay on it a bit longer. Though Peggy and Altostrata: I think your advice about going back to 18mg or 15mg is wise. I will see how I do and consider that if the symptoms continue.

 

I know that I was tapering a bit fast--that was partly because it would be difficult for me to get more Celexa, due to geographic location and insurance reasons. So I was trying to get down to 10mg, and then stay there for a while if I needed to--mainly because I have enough medication left that once I'm on the lower dose what I have left will last a long time.

 

The other reason I was tapering a bit fast is I just want to be off this stuff. I know that I no longer need it, so it's frustrating dealing with all the side effects--weight gain, reduced sexual interest, fatigue. I gained 30 pounds on Celexa, despite working out a lot, and I just could not lose that weight. Just getting down to 10mg has been wonderful, even amid the withdrawal symptoms. I have more energy, my appetite has dropped and I'm naturally exercising more without even trying. I just feel more vital, passionate and energetic.

 

Hippopotamus: thank you so much for your kind words. I'm sorry to hear that you too have experienced significant childhood trauma. But glad that you've gone through your own recovery process and that it's helped you so much. I think what's hard for people who are not trauma survivors to understand is that this doesn't go away unless you work through it, no matter how much time passes. Working through my trauma was the hardest thing I've done as an adult. It was so awful that there were times that I was sorry I ever started the process. But today I can say that it is worth it.

 

Sunita

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flower

Welcome Sunita,there are a few of us tapering Celexa. We are in this together here. I have just begun to stabilize after 6 weeks of waiting at 10 mgs. Patience is a virtue.

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Nikki

Hi Sunita

 

I am originally a Native New Yorker and I am tapering Celexa. The 10mg. drop is a biggy.

Going back up in dose is something we all do when we make a deep cut in dose and WD becomes too much.

 

I am interested in the book/program you mentioned and will look it up. Thank you.

 

I haven't had depression in a very long time, but I WORRY about things.

 

Nice to meet you.

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Sunita

Flower and Nikki, nice to meet you too. It's so helpful to me to talk to other people who are also tapering off Celexa. I would love to know more about your progress and experiences so I can support you too--is the best way to look up your introductions?

 

Flower, it's encouraging to me to hear that you are stabilizing at 10mg after 6 weeks. What withdrawal symptoms have you had?

Nikki, it's great to meet another New Yorker. I am not a native--it was my dream to live in NYC and I moved here as part of the life changes I made during my trauma recovery process. I'm glad you are interested in the book--I highly recommend it. If you do read it, please let me know--it would help me to talk about it with someone else. Where are you now in your Celexa taper process?

 

I am convinced now that all of what I'm experiencing is withdrawal--which actually makes me feel a lot better. I'd originally gone on Celexa because of depression and PTSD (and PTSD-related anxiety caused by triggers and flashbacks). I've been monitoring myself closely and promising myself that if I saw any sign of depression or PTSD, I'd go back on the Celexa.

 

I've been doing depression self-assessment tests (they're in the Ilardi book) once a week while tapering off. On the test, 10 or below is depression-free. Yesterday I scored a 5, one of the best scores I've ever gotten. When I started the program, I was on 40mg of Celexa and I scored a 23. Sadly, that level of depression (mild to moderate) was good enough for me. After suffering from depression for 30 years and trying pretty much everything, I'd given up on feeling better than that.

 

I am not experiencing any PTSD at all. I can't even tell you how happy this makes me--I thought I was recovered from the trauma, but while I was on Celexa I couldn't be sure. I will continue to monitor how I'm feeling, but so far so good.

 

So basically, I have not experienced any of the symptoms for which I started taking Celexa. Actually, the fact that experiencing withdrawal has not made me depressed is really encouraging to me too.

I said earlier that my symptoms were anxiety, obsessive thoughts, restless sleep and irritability. I've been taking valerian to sleep and for me that has done the trick--I've been sleeping pretty well. I read elsewhere on the site that natural remedies are not necessarily recommended during tapering, but I've taken valerian in the past and I think my body is used to it. To my symptoms I also wanted to add mild confusion and scattered thoughts. It feels manageable so I'm going to stay on 10mg for now. I will update if I decide to go back to 15mg.

 

Thank you everyone for your support and I hope it's okay that I'm writing such long entries! It's helping me a lot to just write out everything that is going on. Thank you to everyone who wrote and am sending all of you so many good wishes in your own tapering processes. I am wishing for all of us to be healthy and happy.

 

Sunita

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Nikki

Sunita Bless your heart for how far you havecome in spite of the trauma you suffered.

 

It's good to remember that you took steps to help yourself and they have paid off.

 

I did have anxiety and depression years back. I had a huge meltdown and had panic attacks and at that time I had no idea what on earth they were.

 

If you feel at any time that you would like to bump up or change that 10mg. drop in dose then do it. 10mgs. is quite a hefty dose to drop. I would recommend updosing and not to make large drops again.

 

Now look who's talking :P Me. I make 5mg. drops in dose. I wait a long time in between drops (months). The only reason I can do this is because I am taking Imipramine which is an old tricyclic which offsets or greatly reduces WD. Some people call it crossing over or bridging.

 

Like you I am trying to discern between medication anxiety issues vs. life. I don't want to blame meds when it may not be the case.

 

For me in 2009 it was protracted WD from Lexapro (grueling WD) and then job loss and all the nerve racking stuff that follows. Alot happened and when I cried I thought I was a weakling, loser, just awful. The truth is, I was coping and crying, well anyone would have cried.

 

Yes, there is a protracted WD for most folks here which is why the suggestion is to make smaller cuts in dose to try and offset the protracted WD process. Again, Sunita, the 10mgs. was hefty. Wait a few months before dropping again and make it a smaller cut.

 

I don't mean to sound like Miss Know It All. It's just that stuff happens with the meds. They have a mind of their own.

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flower

Sunita ,for me the anxiety is the worse part of WD.. I take Trazadone to sleep but at times that doesn't help. I always feel good for a bit when I taper,energy, slightly manic even..Then it begins. I hurt myself with cuts that were to big..10mgs in 6 weeks. So I wait until my next Doc visit.. Hopefully we can help each other in these times of trouble..I'm going to youtube to check out some meditation...I see it helps some. have a peaceful day ladybug...flower.

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Sunita

Nikki and flower, just wanted to thank you for your support. And also update that I'm doing well--I stabilized at 10mg and made another cut and am not having withdrawal anymore. The solution for me was vigorous exercise--I was already exercising, but I increased the amount and frequency and that seemed to take care of most of the anxiety and obsessive thoughts. I know that many people here don't feel well enough to exercise, but wanted to share my experience in case it's helpful to others.

I am still obsessing a bit, but if it starts I just take deep breaths and tell myself that nothing is more important for me now that being depression-free and medication-free. Whatever I'm worrying about is less important than that.

Thank you everyone so much for your supportive comments! I will keep updating as I continue to taper. Good wishes to everyone going through this process.

 

Sunita

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hippopotamus

YES! Really happy that you're doing so well. Great you found out that exercizing is so helpful for you. :)

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strawberry17

Just caught up with your thread Sunita, glad to hear you're doing well although you've made quite big drops, I find exercise really really helps as well, I just have trouble fitting it in sometimes.

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Jemima

I just finished reading The Depression Cure and am planning to start the program in the next few weeks, after I gather the necessary supplies. Since none of the suggestions in the book have any harmful side effects, it's certainly worth a try.

 

Glad to see that you're doing so well!

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