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Zvezda: 4 years off Lexapro, still struggling


Zvezda

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Hello everyone, I'm Zvezda and I'm 23 years old. I've been lurking this forum for almost two years(!) but never had the time and energy to register. First of all, I would like to warn you that English is not my mother tongue so please bear with me. :D Anyway, my psych med story began in 2007 when my psychiatrist prescribed me for Lexapro (10 mg).By the time this happened I was 16 years old. I had initially sought help for dissociative symptoms (although I wasn't even aware of the condition at that time). It all started when I was 15 years old and suddenly felt emotionally numb. I was puzzled because it was something I had never experienced before. I couldn't get any pleasure from the things that I used to enjoy before (reading, music, socializing with friends, creative things) or anything else for that matter. What was even stranger was that even the negative and neutral feelings (anger, sadness, boredom, fear, surprise etc.) were blocked. This state of apathy persisted for weeks but then my moods started to fluctuate a bit. I was still emotionless but now  I started to get episodes of restlessness. It was almost as if something was trying to come out or "break through"the barrier of apathy during these bouts of restlessness. Sometimes it got so bad that I couldn't sit still or sleep properly and eventually I reached the point when I started to question my own existence. That's when the depersonalization/derealization set in. The whole cocktail of symptoms had been present for a month and a half when I finally asked my dad to pick up the phone and call the Psychiatric Clinic of Young People. (I won't elaborate on this subject anymore: I just say that my emotions came back after three months of therapy sessions and that the anxiety and intrusive thoughts that followed were so terrible that I agreed to start a medication a couple of months later.)

 

But back to 2007. I took my pills and for a while it seemed like things were getting better. The anxiety and intrusive thoughts gradually subsided (TO BE CONTINUED)

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

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... I was a careless, happy 16-year-old, thrilled by freedom and life. But then, as time went on, I started to feel too drugged and numb. I wanted to get my old self back so I started tapering in 2010. My tapering process was really rocky and I reinstated the drug and tapered again - way too fast. Ever since I quit my meds (in September 2010) I've been suffering from the following withdrawal symptoms:

- Head pressure (it was almost gone by the time of the 2 year mark, but came back

- Visual distortions "auras" and after images

-Anhedonia/ Emotional anaesthesia (although I've had windows during these years)

- Muscle twists

-Tinnitus

- Problems with memory and concentration (sometimes better sometimes worse)

.. to name a few

BUT FINALLY, to the point :D: I'm scared that this might be a permanent state. My emotions are still not normal and right now I feel quite unhuman. I'm also pretty much constantly analyzing myself (am I feeling this, oh I didn't feel that, oh now i have this symptom) which doesn't really improve my situation. I just want to know if I have any hope of recovery left.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

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  • Moderator

Welcome Zvezda!

 

I believe you can still have withdrawal symptoms after 4 years, though that's one of the longer ones.  I also believe you can have damage - BUT I believe that can heal over time, too.

 

You are young.  The brain is really flexible and wants to heal, but some things take time.

 

Have you considered fish oil?

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

 

Or Magnesium?

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

 

these might help smooth your symptoms some.

 

But Withdrawal Syndrome can be protracted, and it may be better to go through it than back:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

I will stop with the links, but please one more - if you would kindly put your history in your signature line:

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

 

Then, wherever you post, everyone will know where you are coming from.

 

Welcome, you will find a sympathetic, supportive place here, and look around the "Self Care" section of the forum to learn more about how other people cope with these "effects"  (they aren't "side effects," they are the main effects of the drug!) as they have them.  The reference material here is really top notch.

 

Don't worry about your English - it's probably better than mine!   ;)

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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Have your symptoms improved at all in 4 years? Do you have a windows and waves pattern?

Paxil 10mg 2004-2011

7.5mg 4months

5mg. 4months

2.5mg.8 months no wd issues

Dropped pax 4-10-12

5-9-12 started prozac to alleviate symptoms (no relief)

5-22-12 reinstated paxil 2.5mg

5-28-12 5mg pax (couldn't tolerate sides)

6-22-12 Pax 2.5

6-30-12 Pax O

Cerebrolysin to help with wd at 29 months. Horrible decision much worse.

Still suffering sever Brain fog, Confusion, slow thinking,And just feeling sick and weird (hard to explain),facial twitching, weakness, shaking and jerking

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sending support your way........

neurologically challenged

Copaxone, Baclofen Oxybutynin and L.D.N. for multiple sclerosis and on Dilatin for seizure disorder Celexa 20 then 40 for at least 7 years Started first reduction in Jan 2015, but with generic- bad idea. Lasted 3 days

Started again Feb 1 2015. 

Feb 1-  40 to 37.5

Feb 24-  37.5 to 35

March 24- 35 to 32.5

April 28- 32.5 to 30

June 9- 30 to 27.5

July 1- 27.5 to 25

July 27-25 to 22.5

Aug 18- 22.5 to 20

 

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Thanks for your replies! JanCarol: I've been taking fish oil for two years now but perhaps I could try another product. fj929: The head pressure started to lift after two years but unfortunately it came back. :( I've felt anxiety, depression and sadness during these years and sometimes I cry a lot. (Not sure if that is a good sign or not) There have been times when I've felt more emotional and even somewhat inspired by things. I don't know, it's quite hard to describe... JayPea: Thank you for your support! Hugs. :)

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

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JanCarol: Are there any specific fish oil products that you can recommend?

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

I'm off Lexapro for one year now.

 

I'm currently going through the head pressure/tinnitus thing. (see my recent post, "Off Lexapro for one year....hooray?") 

 

I also have some numbness on my left side (leg and arm) at night. Since the ringing is worse in my right ear, it makes sense that the left side of my body would be affected (damage to left side of brain affects left side of body and vice-versa). 

 

I have good days and bad days.

 

Years ago, I went through bad WD from Prozac. That took about four or five years to clear up. Different symptoms than Lexapro WD, but severe.

 

My protracted Prozac WD included severe mental fatigue, sensitivity to light, brain fog, restless legs syndrome. All cleared up but took 4-5 yrs. 

 

So, for people like you and I, this protracted WD can last for many years, but it can also clear up.   

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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correction to above post: damage to left side of brain affects RIGHT side of body and vice versa....

 

Is there a way to edit posts after we post them? Do we have an hour or so to edit them once we post? Anyone? 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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clearday: Yes, that's probably the case. Sometimes it's just so hard to stay positive... I believe that the fact that I went through such a rocky tapering plays a big part in this(see my signature below)I'm sorry to hear you've been so ill lately, let's hope things will change for you soon!

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

Is there anything else I could do to speed up my recovery?

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

thanks, you too....

 

I spent eleven years not knowing that all my symptoms which began in 2003 were in fact from Prozac WD back then.

 

My doctor had no clue, he even told me to "knock it off" when I kept insisting for months that something had gone seriously wrong four months after he OK'd my cold turkey from six years of Prozac.  

 

I had all these medical tests done, spent all that time wondering what was wrong with me. What a waste of time and energy.

 

It is so important that thanks to folks like you, I can be assured that my symptoms are from these poisons.

 

There are so many people out there suffering that still don't know that SSRI WD is causing them all this horror.

 

The medical community is "asleep at the switch" when it comes to Protracted SSRI WD.

 

My friend's doctor said it is "impossible" to have WD symptoms one year after stopping SSRIs.

 

Sadly, most doctors are clueless. 

 

They are supposed to be smart and educated. 

 

But on this, they are ignorant and negligent.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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Is there anything else I could to speed up my recovery?

 

I guess avoiding stress and eating properly may help.

 

It seems to me that the brain has it's own timetable on healing itself.

 

It seems that TIME is the only thing that really heals the changes caused in the brain by these drugs.

 

But other folks on here may have suggestions to speed up the recovery time.

 

I can only speak from my own experience. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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Possibly mild exercise and gut healing, if you need it. Minimize stress, maximize positive socialization and doing things you love, or used to love, even if they don't feel good. Anything that reduces cortisol production, Keeping regular sleep and meal schedules. Just what every 23-year-old wants to focus on...not!

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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BTW, even people who go through long slow tapers often have a very hard time with WD symptoms.

 

So while doing a long slow taper is the best way to go to avoid sudden catastrophic symptoms, it is no guarantee to avoid WD symptoms.

 

I did cold turkey off these drugs because I didn't know any better.

 

But in the long run, I'm not sure if it makes any difference in long term healing result.

 

Some people in long slow taper are so eager to avoid any discomfort that they wind up re-instating and never getting off the drugs.

 

Everyone does what they have to to get through this hell, and each person's experience is different.

 

I never had the severe WD anxiety, so I was lucky I could handle the cold turkey.

 

The long slow taper is best advice I believe. 

 

I'm so glad to have these drugs out of my system for good.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Is there anything else I could do to speed up my recovery?

 

I would say, the usual same advice we always give: gentle self-care and stability. I'm sure it's tricky when at your age most people are partying, indulging, staying up late, and pushing their bodies with sports etc. You need to treat your body like it's 50.

 

Very regular schedule, sleep and wake same times every day, preferably following the natural schedule of night and day as well as you can. Gentle exercise daily, on a regular schedule. Meals and snacks at regular times, nutritious food; gut healing, as Meimeiquest mentioned, may be helpful (see Symptoms and Self Care area for discussions of gut and diet and probiotics). 

 

Have you seen the website Beyond Meds? Gianna has recovered from some pretty serious damage due to long term use of high doses of various psych drugs. She has a LOT of good healing advice from her own experience--lots of good stuff there.

 

The idea is to give your nervous system as much consistency, nurturing and stability as you possibly can, so that it can get on with the business of healing itself.

 

At your age your brain is not only healing itself, it's also going through the typical changes of maturing as well; the brain matures into its normal adult functioning around the mid 20s. So it's got a lot of work to do.

 

Also, I would definitely continue (gently) with the work in therapy, etc. to deal with the original problems of dissociation, DP/DR that led you to the drugs to begin with. Your story is pretty typical; the drugs help at first, but over the long term they just make things worse, and the problem is that it's hard not to take them long term since they are so hard to get off of due to withdrawal. In the long term, drugs are just not a sustainable solution.

 

What works is therapy, often body oriented trauma type therapies to get to the underlying issues, which often you can't really get to with just talk therapy. It's a long term project, really a lifetime project, but it is SO worth it to get REAL healing of the underlying issues, substantial healing that you can really count on, real growth.

 

Edit: Just to make it clear, at this point gentle stability is more important than really digging stuff up in therapy, if the therapy seems to stir up your withdrawal symptoms, but as you go along hopefully you will be able to balance the two. 

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator

Clearday, you can edit your post for a short time after posting - just hover your cursor to the left of the "multiquote" button, and you will see an option to edit come up.  If it is gone, then the post was made too long ago.  (that's my baby understanding, anyway, I'm not the smartest chip on the motherboard!)

 

Zvezda, I cannot recommend any particular fish oil.  It's kind of controversial - apparently there are fish oils and there are fish oils, and some of them are contaminated with heavy metals, and some of them don't even contain what they say they do!  All the recommendations, from SA, from my Doctor, say, "Use 'high quality' fish oil!"  But there are no criterion to determine what that is!

 

 In the US there is a group called "Consumer Labs" which tests all supplements to see if they contain what they claim.  

http://www.consumerlab.com/

 

One of the things they found is that expensive brands (such as Solgar or Nature's Sunshine) are no better, and are often worse, than inexpensive brands (such as Puritan's Pride or Wal-Mart).  I haven't paid for an updated report lately. I will join so that we can share the information.  Of course, these are only USA brands, but iHerb carries most of them cheaply and worldwide.

 

About 2 years ago, I added Krill Oil to my fish oil, and now it is the only fish oil I take.  It is a smaller animal, lower on the food chain (fewer toxins), usually from cold waters, and easily absorbed.  It can be expensive, though, and because of my doctor's findings, I now take 3 vegetable lipids in addition to the krill oil (Flax, EPO, & Hemp seed).  But that's JUST me.

 

Rhi and MeiMei are so right.  Time is the best healer.  

 

For me the MOST important thing would be for you to be gentle with yourself.  Don't make important or stressful changes (jobs, moving, having children, ending relationships) unless you have to.  Set a gentle routine.  For me, my routine involves a walk in the sun. EVERY day!  Like with our dosing, when we are tapering, our wellness and support needs to be stable, consistent.  Every day.   Maybe your routine would be gentle stretching to some uplifting music for 15 minutes once or twice a day.  

 

Do you have people in your life who support you?  It helps me to make it a point to get outside of my head at least once a week and see a real person, face to face, and listen and chat.  Sometimes I don't want to share my problems - but always, the act of listening to another helps me feel more stable.

 

There is a huge section of this forum dedicated to helping with symptoms, of making things as gentle as possible. 

 

Here is a list of things to look at to deal with emotional symptoms:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

 

This may be one of the only places on the web where we accept that you may still be having withdrawal symptoms 4 years out.  Here, you will find acceptance, wisdom, research, and support - and you will benefit as much as you choose to.  Maybe you only want the research?  Maybe you just want to talk to someone?  Maybe you want to find a new way of looking at things?  Or look for a new doctor, therapist, or type of therapy?  

 

I will repeat fj's question:  do you have waves?  times which are harder?  and then windows?  when you feel better?  Have you noticed a pattern to these cycles of up and down?

 

Are you in the care of a physcician now?  Or a natural thereapist of some kind?  

 

Are there things that you find make your symptoms worse?  Or even better?

 

I will keep listening as long as you are talking!   :D

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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JanCarol: Thanks for the tips! I will probably have to order the fish oil via Internet - it's very hard to find a quality product here where I live. I must admit that I haven't done much to improve my situation: during these years I have partied, ate poorly, consumed alcohol, stayed awake for long periods of time etc- not to mention the stress due to my poor choices of men! :D It has been only recently (the last couple of years) that I have started to pay more attention to my lifestyle, although I've still had times when I've been more careless about my health, which raises the question: Have I done more harm to my nervous system by not taking proper care of myself? Are my chances of healing diminished because of all this? (okay, I shouldn't go down this route again, I know...)

 

As for the stressors, well, I'm studying (or at least trying to study) for the entrance exams of Uni. There are really no people who I could talk about my WD issues and my parents are already a bit tired of hearing about it. However, I do have some friends but they all live elsewhere so we don't get to meet that often. I attend language courses in folk high school and the people there are really nice and the atmosphere really warm.

 

You asked about waves and windows... I believe I've experienced them but they can be quite subtle sometimes and thus hard to identify.  The first time I started to notice some real changes was two years ago. I can't really see a pattern, although I know that stress tends to make matters worse. Sometimes I wonder if I ever had any windows at all and if I've made that much progress.

 

I'm not seeing any specialist at the moment.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

Rhi: Thank you for the links! I checked out the BeyondMeds website, pretty enlightening. I've been seeing a therapist for two years now. She's not specialized in body oriented methods but she's very supportive - though not that much when it comes to withdrawal. I agree that right now it's not the right moment to dig up old stuff and that's what my therapist thinks too.

 

Meimeiquest: Yeah, this sure is tricky when my friends live like typical 20-somethings. Luckily I'm not in uni right now so it's going to be much easier to avoid temptations;).

 

Clearday: Doctors can be so ignorant... My psychiatrist once wanted to me to take tricyclic AD's and SSRI's simultaneously... Thank god I refused. I also remember one incident about two or three years ago when I was at the Psychiatric Clinic (long story, I was dealing with anger issues, mood swings and hallucinations, which, in retrospective, were at least partly withdrawal related) and the shrink was trying to persuade me to start taking antipsychotics. I told about my medical history and how I didn't like the side effects of the previous drug I had been on but she was really dismissive and insisted that the side effects were due to my depression! Yeah right, like I couldn't tell the difference between the Lexapro induced narcotic drowsiness and normal tiredness...

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

I hope you feel better soon. Have you tried magnesium? Fish oil & magnesium are the two most suggested products to help with WD.

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

Link to comment

coldturkmama: Thank you! I haven't tried magnesium yet but I'm planning to.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Hey Zvezda!  Thanks for listening!  I have great hope for you!

 

It says a lot about our culture when we are encouraged to drink alcohol mindlessly and take all these drugs just to survive in work and home.

 

I will tell you a secret:  there are not many people here who can drink any alcohol at all!

 

but it's hard, isn't it, when you go out, you want a glass of wine, or visit friends and have a drink - and your friends will encourage you!  Like MeiMei said - it's especially hard when you're young.  But that will slow your healing.

 

I love a drop of this or that, I do!  But I can't with a clear conscience tell you that I think you can get away with it!  

 

When they told me no alcohol, it was easy - I'm not a big drinker.  But as I got sicker and sicker, other things had to go:  wheat.  sugar, honey, grains, dairy.....

 

so maybe you won't have to learn the hard way, like me.  If you go to a party and you feel you have to pretend to drink, then pretend.  People want everyone to drink because they are insecure.  It is threatening when someone says, "No thank you, I'd like water, or juice" and people sometimes even feel hurt by that?  Like you don't trust them, or you won't get intoxicated with them.

 

But you will find you are better off without it.

 

And if you cannot find magnesium (please read the article to find best kind) you can eat lots and lots of leafy greens and nuts!  They will help!  :)

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

Link to comment

coldturkmama: Thank you! I haven't tried magnesium yet but I'm planning to.

 

Good, hopefully it helps.  I think there is a thread in the self help/care section about the best types to magnesium to take. :) 

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

Link to comment

I must admit that I haven't done much to improve my situation: during these years I have partied, ate poorly, consumed alcohol, stayed awake for long periods of time etc

 

 

When I got suddenly very sick with WD four months after cold turkeying Prozac back in 2003, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

 

I had been sober for six years before I got sick with WD. I valued my sobriety more than anything else.

 

But after  a year and a half of feeling very sick with WD, I reluctantly went back to alcohol, hoping it might trigger some changes in my biochemistry, to get me feeling the way I used to. That's how misguided and desperate I was. Four different doctors failed to recognize that my symptoms were CLASSIC SSRI WD.

 

So I figured I was doomed with some unknown terrible illness, and gave up all hope of getting better.

 

It was horrible. My alcoholism came back with a vengeance. I terribly abused my body and mind for two years until I hit another bottom and got sober again.

 

So rather than helping my body heal, I probably prolonged my recovery from SSRI WD - as you may have. 

 

It would take me another few years of finally taking care of myself before all of my Prozac WD symptoms went away. 

 

 

I gave up all sugary foods and avoided processed foods, trying to eat whole foods. I had to quit my stressful job.

 

 

But they all went away, about four or five years after stopping Prozac.

 

Those years-long unrelenting symptoms were: brain fog, mental fatigue, inability to multi-task without getting exhausted, sensitivity to light, inability to handle stress, depression, restless legs syndrome.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

Link to comment

 

I must admit that I haven't done much to improve my situation: during these years I have partied, ate poorly, consumed alcohol, stayed awake for long periods of time etc

 

 

When I got suddenly very sick with WD four months after cold turkeying Prozac back in 2003, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

 

I had been sober for six years before I got sick with WD. I valued my sobriety more than anything else.

 

But after  a year and a half of feeling very sick with WD, I reluctantly went back to alcohol, hoping it might trigger some changes in my biochemistry, to get me feeling the way I used to. That's how misguided and desperate I was. Four different doctors failed to recognize that my symptoms were CLASSIC SSRI WD.

 

So I figured I was doomed with some unknown terrible illness, and gave up all hope of getting better.

 

It was horrible. My alcoholism came back with a vengeance. I terribly abused my body and mind for two years until I hit another bottom and got sober again.

 

So rather than helping my body heal, I probably prolonged my recovery from SSRI WD - as you may have. 

 

It would take me another few years of finally taking care of myself before all of my Prozac WD symptoms went away. 

 

 

I gave up all sugary foods and avoided processed foods, trying to eat whole foods. I had to quit my stressful job.

 

 

 

But they all went away, about four or five years after stopping Prozac.

 

Those years-long unrelenting symptoms were: brain fog, mental fatigue, inability to multi-task without getting exhausted, sensitivity to light, inability to handle stress, depression, restless legs syndrome.

 

 

 

As horrible as it is that you suffered...it's really nice to be able to read that you healed too. :) 

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

Link to comment

Clearday is a true survivor.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

 

 

I must admit that I haven't done much to improve my situation: during these years I have partied, ate poorly, consumed alcohol, stayed awake for long periods of time etc

 

 

When I got suddenly very sick with WD four months after cold turkeying Prozac back in 2003, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

 

I had been sober for six years before I got sick with WD. I valued my sobriety more than anything else.

 

But after  a year and a half of feeling very sick with WD, I reluctantly went back to alcohol, hoping it might trigger some changes in my biochemistry, to get me feeling the way I used to. That's how misguided and desperate I was. Four different doctors failed to recognize that my symptoms were CLASSIC SSRI WD.

 

So I figured I was doomed with some unknown terrible illness, and gave up all hope of getting better.

 

It was horrible. My alcoholism came back with a vengeance. I terribly abused my body and mind for two years until I hit another bottom and got sober again.

 

So rather than helping my body heal, I probably prolonged my recovery from SSRI WD - as you may have. 

 

It would take me another few years of finally taking care of myself before all of my Prozac WD symptoms went away. 

 

 

I gave up all sugary foods and avoided processed foods, trying to eat whole foods. I had to quit my stressful job.

 

 

 

But they all went away, about four or five years after stopping Prozac.

 

Those years-long unrelenting symptoms were: brain fog, mental fatigue, inability to multi-task without getting exhausted, sensitivity to light, inability to handle stress, depression, restless legs syndrome.

 

 

 

As horrible as it is that you suffered...it's really nice to be able to read that you healed too. :)

 

Indeed! Clearday is a true survivor.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

Oops, double post...

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

thanks, coldturkeymamma and Zvezda, for the vote of confidence -

 

After reading so many stories of suffering on these blogs, I consider myself one of the lucky ones, for sure.

 

I never had the horrific anxiety that plagues so many on here. I can totally understand why someone would disrupt their taper or even reinstate after a long period of hard-earned SSRI abstinence if they were encountering impending panic attacks. I was never faced with that kind of dire feeling. My ordeal was largely just a terribly long, drawn out life of brain fog and fatigue - made so much worse by not knowing what caused it. Seriously, some of the suffering revealed on these blogs is heart wrenching.  

 

Rather than hijack your thread, Zvezda, I continue this response on my thread, in case you are interested...

 

We are all survivors here !!! 

 

May you all find the strength to crawl through this hell and come out the other end..... :) .....

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

Link to comment

clearday: Thank you, your comments have been very helpful. :)

 

I must say that the past few weeks have been quite tough. The thoughts about permanent damage have plagued me 24/7 (at least on a subconscious level). I spent one weekend crying because I felt so empty. There are moments when I really need someone to tell me that this will all pass... 

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

I must say that the past few weeks have been quite tough. The thoughts about permanent damage have plagued me 24/7 (at least on a subconscious level). I spent one weekend crying because I felt so empty. There are moments when I really need someone to tell me that this will all pass... 

 

I read through your story again. I can relate to a lot of it -

 

I think we all wonder about the permanent damage. The WD lasts so long, we just want it to end, and get on with our lives. You have waves and windows, so that means your body has the ability to feel good. For most people, the waves get fewer and less intense, and the windows get longer. Slow progress over time. 

 

It's also important to try to recognize what symptoms are clearly due to WD (e.g. tinnitus, head pressure) and what may just be you being you.

 

Before you went on any of these meds, you had the apathy and anhedonia, etc which prompted you to go on the drugs.

 

So the emptiness you feel lately could just be you being you. While depression is definitely a WD symptom (I had it bad from Prozac WD), it is not always due to WD. It's hard to tell, you'd be in a better position to figure that out.

 

Memory and concentration problems are also hallmarks of depression. I could barely do remedial math or follow a complete sentence during my one and only Major Depression, which happened  during my Prozac WD years, triggered by other life events; WD didn't trigger it, but being in WD didn't help.

 

So you have to figure out if your classic symptoms of depression are from Lexapro WD or just you being the same you that you were before Lexapro.

 

I am largely back to the same old me. That means I struggle with a low-grade dysthymia (low grade depression) always waiting to pounce on me, I can feel it lurking. That's the same old me, pre-SSRIs. So I take heart that I am still ME, intact, even after all these SSRIs. 

 

Many with experience here say that just because we are off these drugs for good, it doesn't mean we are supposed to feel great. We now have to deal with the problems that made us jump into the arms of SSRIs but without the crutch of the drugs to support us. We now try to deal with these afflictions in other, less damaging, more natural ways, if at all possible.

 

Just something to consider.

 

PS - It is great that you are off Lexapro for four years, and that Lexapro was your only drug. I've been reading so many stories here of folks on multiple different drugs, which take years to wean off of and who are going through some real brutal WD. You discovered EARLY in life how dangerous these SSRIs are. It took me eighteen years of experience involving TWO of these drugs to finally figure out that they are to be avoided if at all possible, and I'm in my 50s. So there is a good side to your story compared with many here. That is small consolation when you're suffering as you are right now. But I hope you can see that as a silver lining. :)  

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

Link to comment

 

I must say that the past few weeks have been quite tough. The thoughts about permanent damage have plagued me 24/7 (at least on a subconscious level). I spent one weekend crying because I felt so empty. There are moments when I really need someone to tell me that this will all pass... 

 

I read through your story again. I can relate to a lot of it -

 

I think we all wonder about the permanent damage. The WD lasts so long, we just want it to end, and get on with our lives. You have waves and windows, so that means your body has the ability to feel good. For most people, the waves get fewer and less intense, and the windows get longer. Slow progress over time. 

 

It's also important to try to recognize what symptoms are clearly due to WD (e.g. tinnitus, head pressure) and what may just be you being you.

 

Before you went on any of these meds, you had the apathy and anhedonia, etc which prompted you to go on the drugs.

 

So the emptiness you feel lately could just be you being you. While depression is definitely a WD symptom (I had it bad from Prozac WD), it is not always due to WD. It's hard to tell, you'd be in a better position to figure that out.

 

Memory and concentration problems are also hallmarks of depression. I could barely do remedial math or follow a complete sentence during my one and only Major Depression, which happened  during my Prozac WD years, triggered by other life events; WD didn't trigger it, but being in WD didn't help.

 

So you have to figure out if your classic symptoms of depression are from Lexapro WD or just you being the same you that you were before Lexapro.

 

I am largely back to the same old me. That means I struggle with a low-grade dysthymia (low grade depression) always waiting to pounce on me, I can feel it lurking. That's the same old me, pre-SSRIs. So I take heart that I am still ME, intact, even after all these SSRIs. 

 

Many with experience here say that just because we are off these drugs for good, it doesn't mean we are supposed to feel great. We now have to deal with the problems that made us jump into the arms of SSRIs but without the crutch of the drugs to support us. We now try to deal with these afflictions in other, less damaging, more natural ways, if at all possible.

 

Just something to consider.

 

PS - It is great that you are off Lexapro for four years, and that Lexapro was your only drug. I've been reading so many stories here of folks on multiple different drugs, which take years to wean off of and who are going through some real brutal WD. You discovered EARLY in life how dangerous these SSRIs are. It took me eighteen years of experience involving TWO of these drugs to finally figure out that they are to be avoided if at all possible, and I'm in my 50s. So there is a good side to your story compared with many here. That is small consolation when you're suffering as you are right now. But I hope you can see that as a silver lining. :)  

 

Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. You're right about the underlying problems resurfacing after the meds - we can't escape them eternally.Sometimes it's just so hard to tell what is the chicken and what is the egg, isn't it? I guess only time will tell.

 

I'm sorry to hear that you suffer from dysthymia. How do you deal with it from day to day? Are you seeing a counsellor?

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

Link to comment

 

Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. You're right about the underlying problems resurfacing after the meds - we can't escape them eternally.Sometimes it's just so hard to tell what is the chicken and what is the egg, isn't it? I guess only time will tell.

 

 

I'm sorry to hear that you suffer from dysthymia. How do you deal with it from day to day? Are you seeing a counsellor?

 

 

Yes, it is CRUCIAL to be able to tell the difference between what is SSRI withdrawal and what is our own inherent tendencies. For a number of reasons, it's easy for me to know that head pressure, tinnitus, sweating spells, brain zaps, etc are withdrawal symptoms. It is less easy to tell if a feeling of anxiety is due to withdrawal or just my natural anxiety level. Same goes for symptoms of depression. Speaking with others on here clears up that confusion very well.

 

Prior to being on psych meds, in 1996 I had decided to see a psychiatrist for the first time to address a short list of symptoms I had. I wrote down that short list, and it included some pretty difficult problems. I recently looked at that list from 20 years ago, I found it in my drawer. I realized that I could not blame any of those symptoms on the use of SSRIs and subsequent WD. I realized that list is what my baseline is. It was a relief to know that perhaps these SSRIs hadn't caused me as many problems as I suspected. It was also a relief to know that I am still my same old self, even after all this SSRI use. And too, it was tough to know, that I will always  have to deal with these challenges, medications or no medications. Yet for me, this SSRI WD has caused me more harm than all my inherent symptoms ever could have. I should never have been on these medications. They are the main culprit for derailing my life plans and causing me years of suffering. But I move forward.

 

My dysthymia went away immediately upon using Lexapro, and stayed away all those years on Lexapro. It has not come back yet and I am one year off Lexapro. I would not say that Lexapro "cured" it, however. Lexapro "bumped" me out of dysthymia. I now feel the way I did most of my life - I can feel the dysthymia lurking, waiting to pounce. And some days it does creep in. But for most of my life, I was able to manage it. I have no need of counseling at this time. My main problem right now is the darn head pressure and ear ringing, and occasional restlessness clearly due to Lexapro Wd. Thanks for asking!

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

Link to comment
  • Moderator

On the flip side of that coin, I don't know how to tell if it is damage from the years on the drugs, or withdrawal from the drugs, or my own brain:  to me - it doesn't matter.

 

HOW it got there does not always tell you how to make it go away, or heal it, or live through it (as is often the case).  Being able to say, "Oh, it's just withdrawal," certainly is helpful, and feels better, knowing it's not YOU, it's the drug.

 

Maybe it's easier when you are younger, to tell the difference.

 

I can tell you that most of us have *some* permanent damage.  But sometimes that's a food intolerance, blurry vision, or sore joints - things that you might get from aging, anyway.  Believe me, there's not a one of us who would trade our clarity of mind, with a few setbacks, for going back to that life on drugs.

 

I'll tell you what I told another.

 

 

You are walking through a dark forest, of scary trees and hoot owls and coyotes, and your spine tingles with fear and every shadow seems to jump out on you.

 

If you identify with the forest, and say "I am the forest," it will get worse and worse until you think you are the forest, and never come out the other side.

 

If however, you realize, "this is the forest, I am NOT the forest, I am (Zvezda)" then the shadows will amazingly become silly, and the dark trees and chilling coyote calls will seem less threatening.  And eventually, (Zvezda) will see through the trees to the sky ahead (a window) and realize that even though there may be 10, 20, 100 valleys (waves) in between here and the clearing - eventually - you will come out of the clearing into the light of day.

 

All you really have is the path ahead of you.  Yes, you will still have symptoms for 3, 6, 9 months, a year, 2 years, or life.  But those symptoms will decrease over time.  Really they will - you are in the depths of that withdrawal forest right now - but you are not the forest.

 

Ruminating on "should I, would I, could I? what if?" is only going to keep you in the forest longer.

 

 

You are NOT the withdrawal, you are passing through it.  You are Zvezda.  And it may take years, but you will come out on the other side of the forest.  Soon, you will see a clearing, and it will give you hope.

 

Don't worry about days, or weeks.  When you look at months, you will start to see a difference.  It is my understanding that it takes 2 weeks to grow a new neuron.  

 

All you can do now is wait, be gentle on yourself, and learn some techniques for self support, distracting yourself from the agony, and waiting some more.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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clearday: It's great that you're coping with it so well. :)The head pressure and tinnitus can be equally depressing though.

 

JanCarol: I like your forest allegory. :) Perhaps I should write it down and read it whenever I get hit by a bad wave. What is worrying me the most is the anhedonia part - I guess I could take the vision problems and head symptoms if I only knew that I will be emotionally whole again.

on Lexapro 10 mg 2007-2010

started tapering in March 2010, took 7.5 mg for two weeks

5 mg for three weeks, 2.5 mg for a couple of weeks

felt fine for several days, then the symptoms hit

couldn't take it anymore, upped my dose to 5 mg

stayed at 5 mg dose for a couple of weeks

upped my dose to 10 mg, followed my shrink's advice

and took 10 mg one day, 5 mg the other day

5 mg for a month, 

5 mg every other day

DRUG FREE since September 2010

in protracted withdrawal ever since

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Anhedonia sucks, I have been there. It is a classic symptom of depression. I had it during my first two years of Prozac withdrawal, and it was due to the withdrawal.

 

I also had it during my one bout of Major Depression, and it was due to the depression, not the withdrawal.

 

I thought it would never go away, but it certainly did go away.

 

I can find pleasure in many things during my day. I am a little blunted, from years of this struggle,and from natural aging.

 

Many folks who never popped an SSRI pill suffer from anhedonia, for whatever reason. It's very common.

 

But I certainly do enjoy life and am motivated to seek pleasure and upon seeking such pleasure I do find it. 

 

In your case, since you are drug free for so long - I would try to treat it as a symptom of depression, and try natural means to restore the ability to feel pleasure. 

 

Yes, I know that is a very tall order, indeed it seems impossible. I know what it's like to feel depressed, to be mired in it. It seems like it will never end. And there is just so much we can do of our own will to break the cement of entrenched depression. But try we must.

 

Depression is a tough nut to crack. Relief may come of its own, or it may have to be hard won.

 

Activity is certainly one way to keep our mind off the depression. For many healthy people. happiness is strictly a by-product of activity. When we are forced to be busy, it is at moments we least expect it that we all of a sudden realize that for a moment, we feel happy. I have found that the more I look for happiness, to force it, the more elusive it is.

 

The type of activity also matters. Being active in a job that you hate may not be the best way out of a depression. You would have to figure out what type of activity could have the power to bump you out of an entrenched depressive response.

 

And if we can feel happy for a moment, then we learn how to get more of that.

 

I don't know what else to say, other than depression sucks, and I've been there. But you are alive, and if you've ever felt happiness before in life, then perhaps your body will relearn how to recapture some of that. It may take some work.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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