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Chanttojah: I had no idea


Chanttojah

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I am typing this with newly assembled hindsight.

Hindsight that I have only (within the past few weeks)  been able to piece together.

 

Ive been sober since July 2001.

 

in 2003 I met a woman (who is also sober about as long as I).
We fell in love but were not totally compadible with each other.

As a result of our couples therapist's belief that I was suffering from depression and anxiety,

I was prescribed Lexapro in 2005.

I was very hesitant to go on Lexapro and argued with our therapist, as I was in a recovery group at the time that preached against Medication.

I began taking Lexapro, partially because I wanted to save my relationship and knew that the symptoms of this "deperession" and "anxiety" were destroying it.

My symptoms cleared immediately and we enjoyd some piece together. I felt tremendous relief. We bought a house together, got engaged and got married in 2007.

Our relationship began to suffer again. I began to look for all sorts of external conditions to explain this.

I was also in a high-stress, deadline oriented career (for over 2 decades) which matched and even cooperated with my anxiety.

Without this base level of anxiety (removed by the Lexapro) I could no longer function in this career and I quit my job in 2008.

Having some freedom from my anxiety and depression, I was craving more creativity in my life and took up photography and started a small business as soon as I left my corporate career.

 

WIthout the very subtle and very specific mental and moral compass (that I belive lexapro shut off) I made a series of very poor and very poorly timed decisions which all but destroyred my entire life.

 

One week after I left my job we found out that we were pregnant.

Three weeks after I left my job the economy crashed.
I made the decision to cash out my sizable retirement fund to support the business and our mortgage.

 

Although I was not able to feel or recognize it, the poor timing of these decisons caused myself and my wife much finacial stress.

 

Our Daughter was born in 2009 and I fell in love all over again.

Coupled with the reality that I had become almost totally withdrawn and obsessed with my small business, but not feeling any of this,

my relationship with and marriage to my wife began to suffer at a time when we needed to be more together than ever.

 

When my daughter was 9 months old, my wife and I separated.
 

I went to live at my office under my desk.

I could not access any of the emotions througout any of this and was convinced this was all my wife's fault.

 

I began to see an individual therapist who doubled the dosage of the Lexaro from 10mg to 20mg

 

My wife and I divorced in 2011. My ex-wife got our home all of our possessions and full cusdody of our daughter.

Not becuase of a court battle but because I gave everything to her.

I was not able to access any emotions, sencse of urgency or any deep sense of reality.

 

My business began to fail and in 2011 I went back to a corporate position while operating my small business.
I could not at the time understand the apathy and the despair that I was living with.

I closed my business and took a different corporate position.

I moved into an apartment 3 blocks from my Ex-wife and Daughter.

I lost the ability to get out of bed in the morning. Luckily my new job was work-from-home.

I answered many emails from bed and often went days without turning in any work.

I rarely left the house.

 

Not recognizing the apathy brought on by years of being on Lexapro,

I started to wonder if I had ADHD as the symptoms I was experiencing seemed to be a match.
I was prescribed Adderall. My natural motivation to work was replaced with a the hyper-active, speedy-ness of the Adderall.

I became very productive but hated the Adderall crash, which made me sleep for 48 hours every 2 weeks.

 

I swithced from Adderall to the Nootropic Nuvigi.
I expereinced more productivity than ever before and I found myself working my corporate job as well as taking on large freelance assignments.

The incresed productivity was no match for the finacial ruin I caused myself.

I more than exhausted my retirement fund, my credit score crashed and I was working only to pay rent and child support.

I could no longer afford nor was I interested in paying any of my bills.

 

Meanwhile, my ex-wife and daughter re-located out of state.

I gave up my apartment to crash at a friends vacant apartment (that had no kitchen) to save money.

 

I was now on Lexapro and NuVugil.

The focus and increased energy from the Nuvigil was only countering the apathy from the lexapro.

Soon the apathy from the lexapro won and I quit my job.

 

Luckily I was offered a freelance position in Los Angeles and with only my car and a suitcase with some clothing to my name I relocated.

 

I have been technically homeless for almost 3 years, (I have free living quaters at my job)

I lost a marriage, I lost custody of my daughter, I lost two careers, I lost all my posessions,  I lost all my money and I have filed chapter 7 and lost my credit.

 

WIth no more insurance and a desire to get off all medications and try to rebuild my life, I tapered off of Lexapro for 3 months and quit Nuvigil cold turkey.

By September of 2014 I was off all medications for the first time in 9 years.

 

I went through the very difficult few months of emotional rollercoaster and crying jags.

Most profound was the years and years of unprocessed emotions that have attacked me and continue to haunt me in my quiet hours.

This has almost desroyed me.

 

I have begun a very serious Yoga practice. Changed my diet drastically and have returned to my 12 step groups.
(During my time on Lexapro I had also lost the ability to identify in my recovery groups and all but stopped attending.)

 

Today,

My personality is still far from what I believe to be normal, I have much fear, guilt and shame and overall I am still feeling totally defeated.

However

I have my health, my sobriety, and although separated, I have a very strong relationship with my 6 year old Daughter.

I have a new career that doesnt pay much but is incredibly rewarding in other aspects.

 

I also have some hope.

 

What I have found most shocking thorugh all of this is that I am only within the past few WEEKS begining to make the connection to Lexapro and the total and complete collapse of my entire life.

 

I am writing this because although medication free for 9 months I have experiecned as recent as last week, waves of extreme negative thoughts and feelings of hopelessness.

This latest wave made me wonder if getting of medications has done any good what-so-ever. I discovered this forum and was given much hope as a result.

 

My hope is that this disclosure will help someone.

Sober since July 2001.
Prescribed Lexapro in 2005,  Adderall in 2012 for 7 months, NuVigil in 2012.
Tapered off Lexapro in April 2014. Quit NuVigil cold turkey in August 2014.
Medication free scince Sept of 2014.

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Chanttojah,

 

Firstly, welcome. You are very welcome here and will receive much deserved support from people who have experienced similar and understand.

 

I have been on Lexapro for just a few years, but numerous SSRIs for approaching 15 years. I can identify and empathise with the losses that you have experienced and are now feeling profoundly. My heart goes out to you.

 

Take comfort in the fact that you are resourceful and one of life's survivors. These drugs take so much from us, but you have managed to sustain a loving relationship with your daughter through sheer determination. This in itself is such a huge achievement to be proud of. I salute you.

 

You will pick up the pieces of your life and thrive again. What you are experiencing now is akin to a grieving process, which I too am experiencing. Feel free to use your journal here on this forum to express your feelings and daily struggles and receive support. 

 

None of us here should have experienced what we have as a consequence of prescription drugs that we were told were essential to help us to function in one way or another. But we are here and have each other to support each other through.

 

You will find support, strength and compassion here that will see you through to the other side and next chapter of your life. 

 

I wish you the best of everything in your journey.

 

Be kind to yourself.

 

Tilly x

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.

 

"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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Wow, what a journey.

 

You have determined that a lot of your thinking and your emotions while you were on Lexapro were manifestations of the drug, not your true self. 

 

Many many of us on this website have recognized that much of what we think and feel during long term withdrawal from antidepressant medications are the drug effects/withdrawal effects/healing effects.  Not our own true selves and personalities.  This continues to occur months after cessation of the drugs.  Strange but true. 

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

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Thank-you Tilly!
 

Sober since July 2001.
Prescribed Lexapro in 2005,  Adderall in 2012 for 7 months, NuVigil in 2012.
Tapered off Lexapro in April 2014. Quit NuVigil cold turkey in August 2014.
Medication free scince Sept of 2014.

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Thank-you Tilly!

 

You are more than welcome, Chanttojah.

 

You will gain so much insight, understanding and strength here. Not to mention the likelihood of making genuine friends here who understand and offer support.

 

Your yoga practice will benefit you greatly. I have practised yoga for over 20 years and qualified as a yoga teacher and trainer for children and adults. I can attest personally and professionally to the scope of benefits that yoga practice brings.

 

You are on a good path, as painful as it can be, keep moving forward. The positive results will come with time and patience.

 

Namaste, my friend.

 

Tilly x

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.

 

"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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You are not along in having lost so much--wealth, people, jobs, self-confidence--after going on psych drugs. The blaming of others that you described was experienced by others here, too. A lot of us have had to get used to a new "lifestyle," and are hammered by regret, despair, anger, sadness, the whole gamut.

Making it harder is that withdrawal adds its own flavor to the ordinary reactions. The depression can be darker than anything felt in the past, and anxiety is more like dread. It is qualitatively different for many of us. It was for me.

 

Glad you made it here!

 

2009: Cancer hospital said I had adjustment disorder because I thought they were doing it wrong. Their headshrinker prescribed Effexor, and my life set on a new course. I didn't know what was ahead, like a passenger on Disneyland's Matterhorn, smiling and waving as it climbs...clink, clink, clink.

2010: Post surgical accidental Effexor discontinuation by nurses, masked by intravenous Dilaudid. (The car is balanced at the top of the track.) I get home, pop a Vicodin, and ...

Whooosh...down, down, down, down, down...goes the trajectory of my life, up goes my mood and tendency to think everything is a good idea.
2012: After the bipolar jig was up, now a walking bag of unrelated symptoms, I went crazy on Daytrana (the Ritalin skin patch by Noven), because ADHD was a perfect fit for a bag of unrelated symptoms. I was prescribed Effexor for the nervousness of it, and things got neurological. An EEG showed enough activity to warrant an epilepsy diagnosis rather than non-epileptic ("psychogenic") seizures.

:o 2013-2014: Quit everything and got worse. I probably went through DAWS: dopamine agonist withdrawal syndrome. I drank to not feel, but I felt a lot: dread, fear, regret, grief: an utter sense of total loss of everything worth breathing about, for almost two years.

I was not suicidal but I wanted to be dead, at least dead to the experience of my own brain and body.

2015: I  began to recover after adding virgin coconut oil and organic grass-fed fed butter to a cup of instant coffee in the morning.

I did it hoping for mental acuity and better memory. After ten days of that, I was much better, mood-wise. Approximately neutral.

And, I experienced drowsiness. I could sleep. Not exactly happy, I did 30 days on Wellbutrin, because it had done me no harm in the past. 

I don't have the DAWS mood or state of mind. It never feel like doing anything if it means standing up.

In fact, I don't especially like moving. I'm a brain with a beanbag body.   :unsure:

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You have gone through such a tough time. But you made it through and are doing your best to rebuild your life.

 

Here you will find so many kind, friendly and supportive people to aid you on your way to recovery.

 

Best Wishes from Flowers xxx

15 yrs on 20 to 30 mgs CITALOPRAM.  MAY 2014 Increased to 40 mgs per day.SEPT/NOV 2014 tapered in 6 weeks down to 10 mgs as per Dr instructions due to violent nightmares/palpitations.Given Noctamid (lormetazepam) to help with anxiety. On average took 2mg per day for 8 weeks.No taper was advised.DEC 2014 WD severe. Nervous tic in eyes and limbs, muscle pain,fluct  temp, weakness, dep and anxiety, nausea, giddy, unstable when walking. Different Dr suggested taking 20mgs CIT. BROMAZEPAM 3mgs up to 3 x daily for anxiety.DEC 9 2014 Updose CIT to 30mgs. Only taking BROMAZEPAM in emergency.DEC 31 2014 Settling at 30mg CIT - helping with depression. No Brom for 2wks.Found SA.APR 2015 Trying to stabilise on 30mgs CIT.  JAN 2016 Started Cit Taper reducing by 5% per month.  28.5 mgs 
FEB  Taper held bereavement. APR Taper resumed 27mgs . MAY 25.50 mgs .  JUNE 24 mgs .  JULY I stupidly mixed up my BP meds with CIT. Consequently took no CIT for 3 days and doubled my BP meds. Waiting for the fallout....Holding for a while until any chance of repercussions have abated. SEPT taper resumed to  22.5 mgs . OCT 21 mgs .NOV 19.95 mgs DEC crashed. 2017: FEB 3rd updose to 20.5 mgs to try to stabilise.FEB.switched over to 75mgs of Venlafaxine XR for 3 weeks.Too stimulating so switching back to Cit. 12 March 37.5 Ven and 20 Cit. 21 March 18mg Ven 20mg Cit. 4 April 9mg Ven 20mg Cit. Xanax .50mg when needed.  13 April 0 mgs Ven, 20mg Citalopram. Xanax .50 mg per day. 5 May reinstated a small amount of Ven to stabilize  1 mg twice a day. 20 mg Citalopram at night. Xanax .25 mg twice per day.Other Meds: Losartan (BP)Started 1993 at  50 mgs at night.  Seretide (Asthma) Started 1996 at 1 puff twice a day. Jan 2019 Antibiotic Ceclor 500mgs twice a day for bronchitis and  Atrovent 2ml capsules twice a day for asthma. Finished the course of both Jan 17. 

XANAX  Jan 27  - Feb 3 2019 Failed Valium Crossover.   Feb 14 2019  Updosed Xanax by .0625  Feb 17 2019 Decreased Xanax by .0625. Back to .50mg daily.  Update Xanax 28.2.20 tapered to .1250 mg 8am .25 mg midnight.

Current Meds 28.2.19: CITALOPRAM  20mg  taken at midnight. VENLAFAXINE  .9 mg twice a day at 8am and 10pm.  XANAX .50 mg split into 4 doses per day. 10am .0625mg / 2pm .1250mg/ 6pm .0625mg / midnight .25mg. LOSARTAN 50 mgs taken at midnight.  SERETIDE 1 puff taken at 8am and 10pm.   7.7.19 VENLAFAXINE UPDATE: Started tapering 10% every 4 weeks. Currently .4 mg twice a day at 8am and 10 pm.  2.9.19 .36 mg x 2. 1.10.19  .32 mg x 2. 26.11.19 .29 mg x2. 26.12.19 .26 mg  x 2. 23.1.20  .23 mg x 2.  20.2.20 .21 mg x2.20.3.20  .19 mg x 2. 21.4.20 .17 mg x 2. 19.5.20 .13 mg x 2.  18.6.20 .11mg  x 2 .18.7.20.10 mg x 2.1.9.20.09 mg x 2. 30.9. 20 .08 mg x 2. 1.11.20 .07 mg x 2.  2.12.20 .06 mg x 2.  8.1.21 .05 mg x 2.  4.2.21 .04 mg x 2. 9.3.21 .03 mgx2.  7.4.21  .02 mg x 2.

 

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