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Holl: Lost and in need of guidance


Holl

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Hi Everyone. I am grateful to have found this forum. Something has been wrong with me for a long time. I feel broken. Hollow. I can only really feel anger and it's very volatile and quick. This is not like me. I am not myself.

 

Recently I read something on XOJane and came across the term Tardive Dysphoria. I have no idea if this is actually what is wrong with me, but when I read the author's description it just clicked.

 

I've been depressive since I was very young. I cut myself and cried a lot. I tried to be a functional adult, and was successful for a while. Something happened and I dropped everything in my life and moved across the country. I thought about suicide.

 

My first medication was a generic for Wellbutrin. I'm unsure of the dosage, but it was a sunny yellow. My insurance appointed therapist wasn't given enough time for each patient and talk therapy was limited to group therapy. Pills seemed easier at a time when my life was falling apart.

 

Next was a stronger dosage, a pale purple pill. Finally, I sprung for time release, which was only available in the brand. Wellbutrin XL 300 mg.

 

I started rebuilding my life, relying on that little pill every morning. The thing that has messed me up the most was the Lexapro. I was feeling tremendous anxiety all the time. A hard knot lived in the pit of my stomach. My primary care doctor gave me a prescription for Lexapro, 10 mg. She insisted that I not read the side effects, her concern was that I'd ruminate over all the possibilities and negate its positive effects. She ended up increasing my dosage to 20 mg and this is where I stayed for 7 years.

 

Last year, I decided to get off the Lexapro. My sex drive has been dead and buried thanks to this drug. I want a healthy sexual relationship with my husband. Not wanting sex sucks. I cut my 20 mg pills in half last summer and became a terror to be around. I was not a nice person. The difficulty of reducing my dosage prevented me from trying to reduce it further for another year. Three months ago I quartered my 20 mg pills.

 

I know I'm still messed up. My brain is foggy. I feel wrong. I know this feels like depression. my husband doesn't understand.

 

Where should I start? Could someone please help me?

-2/2007 generic Bupropion 150 mg

-6/2007 generic Bupropion 300 mg

-6/2008 Wellbutrin XL 300 mg, Lexapro 10 mg

-9/2008 Lexapro 20 mg

 

Taper:

-6/2014 Lexapro 10 mg

-6/2015 Lexapro 5 mg

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Hi Everyone. I am grateful to have found this forum. Something has been wrong with me for a long time. I feel broken. Hollow. I can only really feel anger and it's very volatile and quick. This is not like me. I am not myself.

 

Recently I read something on XOJane and came across the term Tardive Dysphoria. I have no idea if this is actually what is wrong with me, but when I read the author's description it just clicked.

 

I've been depressive since I was very young. I cut myself and cried a lot. I tried to be a functional adult, and was successful for a while. Something happened and I dropped everything in my life and moved across the country. I thought about suicide.

 

My first medication was a generic for Wellbutrin. I'm unsure of the dosage, but it was a sunny yellow. My insurance appointed therapist wasn't given enough time for each patient and talk therapy was limited to group therapy. Pills seemed easier at a time when my life was falling apart.

 

Next was a stronger dosage, a pale purple pill. Finally, I sprung for time release, which was only available in the brand. Wellbutrin XL 300 mg.

 

I started rebuilding my life, relying on that little pill every morning. The thing that has messed me up the most was the Lexapro. I was feeling tremendous anxiety all the time. A hard knot lived in the pit of my stomach. My primary care doctor gave me a prescription for Lexapro, 10 mg. She insisted that I not read the side effects, her concern was that I'd ruminate over all the possibilities and negate its positive effects. She ended up increasing my dosage to 20 mg and this is where I stayed for 7 years.

 

Last year, I decided to get off the Lexapro. My sex drive has been dead and buried thanks to this drug. I want a healthy sexual relationship with my husband. Not wanting sex sucks. I cut my 20 mg pills in half last summer and became a terror to be around. I was not a nice person. The difficulty of reducing my dosage prevented me from trying to reduce it further for another year. Three months ago I quartered my 20 mg pills.

 

I know I'm still messed up. My brain is foggy. I feel wrong. I know this feels like depression. my husband doesn't understand.

 

Where should I start? Could someone please help me?

 

There's going to be a number of responses to your thread but I'd like to just share my opinions.  If I were you, I would stay at your current dose and just wait until you stabilize.  If I were you - No matter what you do, do not go back up on your dose.  You don't want to end up on this stuff for the next 5 years.

 

In my opinion, you will have to taper your dose over time like you've already been doing, and then wait for your brain to heal itself over time.  This latter part can take months, or years.  But recover is possible so long as you are not continuing to take the medication or at least actively tapering.

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  • Moderator

Hi Holl-- welcome to the group.  I sorry to hear about everything you've been going through, it's really the pits.  It sounds to me like you have a good case of the WDs brought on by taking too big of cuts in your dosage.  Even if it was months ago, it takes a while for it to catch up with you.  No need to panic though it will eventually sort itself out.  Like Osk suggested, it would probably be best to just sit at the dosage you're on and let things work them selves out instead of trying to adjust dosage to make yourself feel better ( that rarely works).  We have a ton of good information here and I would suggest that you read these threads to start getting acquainted with it;

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Wellbutrin, SR, XR, XL (buproprion)

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

That's enough to get you started and raise a bunch of questions.

 

Also it would be great if you would fill out a signature block, it will really help us see what is going on;

 

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

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Holl and welcome from me too.

 

I just ran the two drugs that you are taking through drug interactions checker and it reported a major interaction. It shouldn't scare you but it I hope it will just explain while you are struggling with this particular combination. Seizures are rare and you didn't develop them and won't develop them but this part can be applicable to you:  buPROPion can increase the blood levels of escitalopram, which may increase other side effects. Plus 20 mg of Lexapro is a high dose so it's great you were able to come down to 5 mg. Unfortunately the kind of response you got from your GP and tretament from other Health care professionals is common nad the reason we had to take things into our own hands with the help of this site.

 

In addition, you are on the right track with reducing. I would however like to modify Osk's advice: don't taper your dose like you have already been doing. It was a way too fast and it caused additional symptoms you are experiencing now. After 7 years of being on Lexapro and 8 years on Wellbutrin you have to regow a new brain which is done through a taper of 10 % of your current dose with at least 30 days of holding between cuts. As you go down in dose the side effects you have been experiencing for a while will decrease and you will avoid often debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

 

I wouldn't start tapering until you again feel stable after that very big cut. Although the interaction is significant removing the drugs from your system rapidly could cause even more problems. Much more. I agree with Brassmonkey and Osk that 3 months after the cut it would make more sense to continue to ride out withdrawal symptoms rather than updose. But if the symptoms continue to get worse you might continue a very small updose.

 

Finding this site for all of us meant the beginning of taking back control for our lives from the drugs. So I'm happy for you that you have found us.

 

However for most of us drugs are only a part of the problem so I really hope you will be abel to find soem affordable form of talk therapy to get to the bottom of whatever issues led you to taking the drugs in the first place.

 

Interactions between your selected drugs
interaction-3-big.png bupropion ↔ escitalopram

Applies to: Wellbutrin (bupropion), Lexapro (escitalopram)

Talk to your doctor before using buPROPion together with escitalopram. Combining these medications may increase the risk of seizures, which may occur rarely with either medication. In addition, buPROPion can increase the blood levels of escitalopram, which may increase other side effects. You may be more likely to experience seizures with these medications if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol during treatment. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Keep us posted.

 

Best,

 

Bubble

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Yes, 5 mg of Lexapro should be a good dose to stabilize on right now.

 

Lexapro is a strong drug, and 5 mg is actually a very effective dose.

 

After you stabilize on 5 mg for awhile, then best to go very slow using the 10% taper method if you want to get off Lexapro.

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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You'll find a lot of collective wisdom here. People a bit further down the path who have passed through the stages you're going through at the moment. The only thing I would add at this point is make sure you share info with your husband. Help him to understand the process so he can be supportive. Hang in there it does get better.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Holl.
 

Are you still taking Wellbutrin? If not, how did you go off?

 

Since you've been taking approximately 5mg Lexapro, how have your symptoms changed?

 

You may wish to be more precise in your dosage, see Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram) for ways to do this.

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

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

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