Alice1: Lexapro withdrawal

144 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hello everybody. I was on lexapro 20mg for 20 months due to a high stress situation. after months of therapy for stress management I decided to come off lexapro as I felt I had dealt with the issues. Both my therapist and doctor came up with a 6 week taper method . I am now 6 1/2 months off and I am suffering dearly with severe anxiety , fear , depression , and a very odd depersonalized state , plus other symptoms. I know now I tapered way too fast and I am very much past the window for reinstatement. I've had to quit work and can barely function at all. I have noticed that everyday seems like it's getting worse. I used to get windows that were half of a day long , but those have stopped two weeks ago. I'm looking for hope and encouragement as I have a little girl who needs her daddy to be alive. I fear that I'm going to die or become severely disabled for EVER. I'm trying to accept that this will take a very long time to heal from , but I am very very scared that I'll never be the same. I don't take any other drugs , but I do use an ecig with only 1 mg of nicotine. which is about 5% of a regular cigarette. Is it normal to get worse after 6 months off ? Will it get even more worse later ? Does it reach a peak and then get better ? I am very grateful for this site. I only wish I found it before I chose to come off.

Edited by scallywag

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Posted (edited)

 Hi, Alice 1. Welcome to SA, the club to which no one really wants to belong!  This is the best site on the net, though, for people going through AD withdrawal. I am sure a mod will be by shortly to help you sort out what you are going through. It sounds to me like you are definitely experiencing protracted withdrawal symptoms due to coming off Lexipro too quickly. What the doctors typically advise you to do in order to "wean off" is generally not only totally wrong but dangerous to boot. Even much slower tapers than the one you did sometimes result in intolerable symptoms such as what you are going through.  And my what I have experienced, Lexipro is a particularly difficult and evil drug to get off of, due to its relatively short half life* (see note below), and WD from Lexipro also seems to be accompanied by harsh cognitive symptoms, like the depersonalization you mentioned. I am very sorry you are dealing with this, and it underscores the crucial importance of getting the word out about the need to very s-l-o-w-l-y taper from ADs or risk being debilitated like you are, and like my daughter has been for the past eight - nine months or so.

It does get better, though!  The symptoms will change and morph. There are a few things you can do to help yourself, including using non-drug techniques like meditation, tapping/EFT, epsom salt baths, and things to divert your attention away from the dark thoughts. Keep reminding yourself, especially, that what you are going through is withdrawal, nothing more and nothing less. There is nothing "wrong" with you, and in the long run, you WILL get better, AND you'll have the advantage of being drug-free!


* Lexapro's half life is OVER 24 hours (27-32 hours to be exact).  Please see this post.

Edited by ChessieCat
Added note re Lexapro's half life.

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Thank you for the responses guys. I'm so frightened by this. The FEAR and anxiety is so strong I feel like I'm going to pass away. Is this normal ? I can't leave my house and do anything. I think I have Akathisia too. I can barely feed myself. My family is taking care of my daughter. I keep thinking about my daughter and how she's losing her daddy to this FEAR. I keep thinking that this will be me forever. I've read many stories that are similar to mine ,but I'm wondering if I'm not doing enough to get better. Is it even possible to do anything to help myself get better in early withdrawal ? Or do I have to wait awhile for my CNS to heal before I push myself out of the house. I have a hard time trying to not worry about my withdrawal too. I know that the worry makes it worse but I feel like I cant stop worrying.

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Thank you for the responses guys. I'm so frightened by this. The FEAR and anxiety is so strong I feel like I'm going to pass away. Is this normal ? I can't leave my house and do anything. I think I have Akathisia too. I can barely feed myself. My family is taking care of my daughter. I keep thinking about my daughter and how she's losing her daddy to this FEAR. I keep thinking that this will be me forever. I've read many stories that are similar to mine ,but I'm wondering if I'm not doing enough to get better. Is it even possible to do anything to help myself get better in early withdrawal ? Or do I have to wait awhile for my CNS to heal before I push myself out of the house. I have a hard time trying to not worry about my withdrawal too. I know that the worry makes it worse but I feel like I cant stop worrying.

hi Alice,

yes the fear is very common, also the anxiety. It's awful, I know, but it will get better.

the things you can do to help with the healing process are things like, taking very good care of yourself, eating a healthy diet, not drinking caffeine (it's a stimulant and can make you jittery or interfere with sleep)

you can try meditating or distracting yourself, if you are able to read or watch tv (something light, not anything dramatic or scary) or even listen to soothing music


have you tried an epsom salts bath? that can help with anxiety.


check out the section on self care if you haven't already, it's full of great ideas


you will get thru this. I had well over 40 symptoms back in October and now I am down to just a handful of annoying ones, the fear/panic/dread are gone and most of the other troubling symptoms.

Some people notice changes come in spurts, for me, I have had at least one thing get better each and every day. It might not have been a huge change, but it was a change that I noticed.


My advice to everyone is to be on the look out for those good changes, for the lessening of symptoms or for some symptoms to stop altogether. celebrate them and focus on them- the more you focus on the good, the more good will come.


I am reading a book called Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, it's a very easy read and gives WONDERFUL suggestions on how to help your brain register and hold good things in the foreground even when there are bad things going on.

I highly recommend it.

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Thank you catnapt. Thank you all. I realize I'm in the worst part of this. Not knowing how long until it improves makes it worse. I'm a 6'4" tall dark and handsome (and recently terribly thin ) man and I've cried more in the last 3 months than in my whole life. Sometimes I watch my daughter play on the computer and just cry (inside). I'm scared that the negative thoughts will keep me stuck here. No matter how hard I try to ignore them they're still there. Probably a wd symptom I know , but man. What makes this so bad is that only 6 months ago I was perfectfly functional , a superhero to my daughter . Now I'm a shell of a man trying to survive moment by moment. I so angry at my therapist and doctor for their tapering methods . I realize that a slower taper wouldn't promise anything either but I'm sure it would be a lot smoother than this .. I literally have to read success stories every hour just to keep hope .. People like Laura Delano , Alto , and Aeroman etc are my lifeline right now. And of course ALL of you who are going through this with me ..I imagine that a time will come where I'm partially recovered and someone will be on their early wd journey and I'll be encouraging them. I don't mean this in a bad way but I can't wait for that moment.

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Hey Alice,


I too CT'd off my medication - Prozac. I have had the most horrifying experience coming off and still going through the thick of it. I am 5.5 months out and am barely getting by. Just surviving on basic necessities - food, water, and sleep (but sleep has definitely been a BIG problem...the insomnia is just bad). I used to get windows too during the first 2-3 month after I quit. They would last a few days which was amazing but now I get absolutely 0 windows. I do get brief moments of clarity and a huge drop in symptoms but I would say 90% of the time I am going through withdrawals. I also got worse and worse since the beginning. I am praying no more symptoms will add up on top of what I'm already dealing with but of course, we can't control what happens. 


I'm sorry to hear you're going through this too but please hang on. We're all suffering here and I'm here for you if you need. 

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Alice1, I assure you, you will get better, you will not be stuck in this horrible early WD state--from my experience, early WD is the WORST, with its acute anxiety, insomnia, agitation, akathisia (which I think you have), and horrible dread and obsessiveness. it will change, the symptoms will get better, and even if you still have symptoms they will not stay as bad as they are now.  Virtually everyone experiences a diminishment in the horrors of early WD.  So please hang on to your hopes, my friend.

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Thank you Drugfreeprof and anongrl.

It's so nice to have people on here that give encouragement and who can understand this nightmare. I have been thinking about WORRY. Worry is obviously a big time booster of symptoms right ? I mean the last 4 months I have worried myself blue in the face about withdrawal and what it might (has) do. Do you think if I can somehow accept wd and not worry so much the symptoms would die down aliite ? I do understand the neuro-emotions thing but there has to be some kind of "mind over matter" capabilities that can be applied.

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Hi, Alice.


Welcome to SA from me, too. 


I'm sorry you're struggling so much, but what you're describing does sound like antidepressant withdrawal. 


Here are some resources to get you started:


What is withdrawal syndrome? 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization



Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery - Video



While many of us find our nervous systems are really sensitive to many supplements, some people do find fish oil and magnesium to be calming to the nervous system. It's best to only add one supplement in at a time and at a small dose. Here is more information:


King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker


You may find some non-drug coping skills that can help with your symptoms:


Non-drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms


You mention severe anxiety and worrying, so you may wish to check out the non-drug coping techniques involving mindfulness. 


I like using guided mindfulness videos to help calm my thoughts down in the evening. I'm listening to one right now, so I'll link it for you:


Guided Meditation for Detachment From Over-Thinking (Anxiety / OCD / Depression)


For really anxious times or during times of akathisia, walking meditation can be very helpful. Here's more information:


What is walking meditation?


How to do walking meditation - A simple guide


I'm not sure whether to recommend a small reinstatement at this point, so I've asked the other moderators to weigh in. You mention that it's "past the reinstatement window" and it's true that reinstatements are less likely to work the farther out you are. However, if you are struggling and nearing a crisis state, sometimes a very small amount may help. 


Even though you are struggling now, you will feel better in time. It does get a lot better. 


Please use this thread to update your symptoms and ask plenty of questions. 

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Worry is a huge problem in AD WD, probably one of the core symptoms, along with anxiety, fear, dread, feelings of doom, self-loathing, etc.

I strongly suggest you read Eckhart Tolle's books, The Power of Now and A New Earth. He has a ton of material online, including on his website  It does cost to to join the site, but it is excellent material and well worth it. Or you can probably find free videos of him on youtube, and just reading one of his books over and over again can provide just the strategies and inspiration you need. One of his main emphases is accepting what is, developing inner peace despite what's going on in your life, and strategies for living in the present moment--all of which would be very helpful to practice during withdrawal.

I have had to practice all of this myself intensively and constantly while supporting my daughter in the awful withdrawal syndrome she'd been going through. Doing so has gone a long way toward keeping me sane.

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Thank you Shep and Professor.

I forgot to mention this lastest symptom I've had the last two days. In the afternoon I suddenly feel very very weak , and my chest feels heavy or like it's going to cave in , and I get this feeling like I'm going to collapse , followed by a litte panic of course. I am concerned about this symptom but I know its just wd. I've had the blood tests , I've had the CT scan. And you guessed it , everything normal. But I'm still concerned because it's in my chest and even now there is a dull pain , not really pain but a dull sensation in there. My heart has been palpitating for 4 months now which doesn't bother me but still. Any thoughts ? Does anyone have a symptom like this or near this ?

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Hi Alice1 -

I was also on and off lexapro for much longer period. I had various symptoms off and on . I recall having heart palpitation symptom . It felt like I was aware of each heart beat like it was loud or something and I also had this other weird symptom like my heart was skipping a beat it was a bit freaky I thought it was my anxiety but I think it was most likely withdrawal related . Hope you feel better soon . For me what works best is keeping busy eating healthy getting much needed sleep and also accepting that what I am feeling is not dangerous (I also had all possible tests you can imagine and everything comes back normal ) . The more you think what is wrong with me am I going to get better and so on the sicker you make yourself . Take it a day at the time. Focus on positive and it will be okay . You were on lexapro for only 20 months I am guessing it won't take that long for you to go back to pre medication state .

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Ok. Why is the song "heart of glass" in my head ? Lol. Holy smokes. I just laughed. Wow. How did that happen. Anyway. Thank you blondiee for your comment. Yeah. I know I'm in early withdrawal but something is telling me that my uncontrollable worry is fueling this monster. You know ? If I didn't have my precious little daughter I would be like " go ahead and eat me alive wd" but I absolutely HAVE TO get through this for her..At least acute. Geez. I should fire my therapist (who actually IS acknowledging my wd ) .. Maybe he should give me free therapy for life for suggesting the 6 week taper.


You know ? My daughter can tell I'm in distress. The other day I looked her in the eye and apologized for not being awesome anymore , and you know what she said ? " you're still awesome to me daddy" ...... Niagra Falls at that point.

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Hey Alice - welcome to SA!


Here's the information on reinstatement:

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Stop Withdrawal Symptoms


You will see that it's a mixed bag.  How long you were on the drug, how strong the drug is, and how quickly you came off, as well as who you are, individually - are all factors that affect the success of reinstatement.  Reinstatement is for those who have had the drugs hook into them enough, that the body still needs it in order to function.  Our slow tapers of 10% or less per month or longer - are designed to sneak the drug out from the body & brain, so that it doesn't notice it missing.  


If you are finding that your symptoms are completely intolerable, that you do not have windows (little glimpses of better things - like your laughter at Blondiee's "Heart of Glass"), that you cannot function in your current life - you may consider a reinstatement.


If, however, you are having windows, that you have moments where you breathe a little better, where you appreciate your feelings, and you find you are able to function at around 50% capacity - then - I would tough it out.


You did a fast taper.  Since docs think that "withdrawal" only lasts 3 weeks, they think that 6 weeks is a "long" taper.  They are wrong.   


But only you can decide how difficult your symptoms are.  I can assure you - whatever you are experiencing now, it can get worse.  But I can also promise you that it will get better.


You will heal from your fast taper, whether you reinstate or not.  A reinstatement gives you the possibility of reduced symptoms while you are waiting.


If it were me, and I felt I could not live another day without reinstatement, I would consider reinstating Celexa.  It is kin to Lexapro, and easier to deal with.  It is not as strong, and has a longer half-life.  Additionally, you might notice that we reinstate tiny tiny amounts of these drugs - amounts that your doctor would laugh at and say "That's not therapeutic!"  (then how does it improve my symptoms, Doc?)


If I were you, and I had to reinstate, I would consider 1 mg of Celexa.  Of course, the smallest tablet is 10 mg, but fortunately, Celexa comes in an oral solution, which makes it easier to take a small dose.  If you tell your doctor you just want "minimum possible," and you heard this drug is not as strong as what you were on before.  He may prescribe 5-10 mg or even 20 mg a day - but if you say "what if half of that works?" he might just go for it.  Then, when you have your script for liquid - take it how you want.  Like I suggested, start at 1 mg per day, to see if you get improvement.


If he doesn't give you a liquid, if he insists on a tablet, we can teach you how to make the liquid.  But getting the pharmaceutical liquid is the easiest in the long run.


But if I were you - I'd also make sure before reinstating, that I really needed it.  I would take a hard look at my life; many of us can "get by" on just 50% capacity - amazingly so.  Reinstatement doesn't work for everyone, and sometimes the process of trying it becomes an upheaval which makes things harder.  Only you can decide - but if you come to a place where it is too much, reinstatement is a possible option.


Again, if I were you - and - even if I weren't you - I would strongly suggest making great use of Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms before considering reinstatement, including Magnesium, Omega 3, daily walks, seeking out beauty in nature.  These are more effective than antidepressants for controlling depression.


I hope you see the sun today!


ps - I was born in Cin-City!  I had lunch on top of the Incline last November!  My husband and I had our first date, walking in the shadow of the Roebling Bridge (on the Kentucky side).  My family always loved that city, and both my Dad and brother measured their success as "when I get good enough, we're moving back to Cincy."  Of course, life happens, and they will never return except to visit.  And I ended up in Australia!  Egads!

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ps again - crying is AWESOME GOOD.


It releases all kinds of endorphins which will heal you.


It is when we suppress the crying - like with the drugs - that we start to lock down into an unhealthy state.


You are HAVING FEELINGS of an almost HUMAN NATURE (Pink Floyd quote)!  Celebrate them!

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Alice, your story is heartbreaking and so unfair - as many others that has been put on antidepressants.


It's especially hard to be a parent in this state that you are in (we are many parents here), but dont be so hard on your self. You seem to have a lovely communication with your daughter. Children can handle "sick" parents. Just be open about it (on her level), tell her often that you love her and that you will be fine, but not right away. Try to be calm about it, because you will recover.


I know your distress and fear, I have children my self, and there are many times I have cried for not being the mum they deserve. But we do what we can!


You will feel better. And you will come out of this. Take care of your self in the best way you can in the meantime.


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Thank you JC and Amyk.

At being 6 1/2 months off I have this terrible morning DREAD and its very very hard to overcome. I can't seem to get up and get going like I used to. Then I lay in bed and fear , fret , ruminate about what if this is what it's going to be like for ever or at least a long long time. I feel like I should be doing something to train my brain like a job or a structured routine. My symptoms at the moment made me quit my job 2 months ago. It's really cold out this week so I've just stayed in my room all day the past 4 days. I've gone out to run an errand or two but come home soon after. Does getting past early wd make it easier to get up and out even if some psychological work is involved ?

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Hello Alice1


I am so sorry that you have found yourself in this awful situation that we know and understand only too well.


The worst time for a lot of people is on waking and then things tend to settle down a bit as the day goes on. All the things you are experiencing are normal in WD.


I think you just have to be gentle on yourself and not force yourself into doing anything that will make you worse. When I was first in WD even getting up to shower was a huge effort.

It did make me feel better though! I always got dressed and sat in the lounge even if my husband had to help me. Although there are physical and mental symptoms the brain and body is still working and likes routine.


How do you feel when you go outside? I couldn't manage that for a while as it was all too stimulating having to speak to folk and traffic noise etc. When I started to feel better I would go for a gentle walk in the fresh air which I found very beneficial.

Of course I didn't if the weather was awful so can understand your reluctance to go out if it is cold!


Things will fall into place eventually and you will find something that you like to do each day to distract yourself from thinking about all this.


I think the most important thing I learned here was to be patient and accept what has happened. Take each day as it comes and try to find something to distract you.


I think it is great that you can get out to do the errands etc. It took me months to be able to do anything like that.


No one knows how long this will take to get better but you can make the time in between easier by just reading the info on this amazing site that will help you cope better on your journey to healing.


Love from Flowers xxx

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Hi flowers.

Yes. I wish I had a routine of some sort. Especially one that paid something. I had a full time job and had to quit because is was too much . Then I got a part time job but it became too much . Now I'm at home (not necessarily bed bound) watching tv or talking about wd with my father or on SA reading. The morning dread is scary. It feels like forever. It can't be forever. I need to recover from it for my daughter. She's growing up fast. When I go outside I feel OKish but I have other symptoms that complicate things . Dizziness DR and a weakness feeling. From what I read on here early wd eases up with time but we all know that's not the case with everybody.or is it ?. I'm trying to apply the acceptance thing as I've stressed about wd hard core for 4 months ( due to the horror stories ). So I'm thinking that the acceptance may calm things down a little. I hope. I also know that if I start accepting that it will still take some time just for the stress reduction factor to kick in. I'm a very pro active person so naturally I feel like I have to be doing something to aid recovery and healing (which is probably adding stress). that last 6 1/2 months feeling like this feels like a enternity. If I could just notice some improvement it would fuel my patience.

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Hi Alice


I understand totally how you feel. What happened to me that led me to SA was a too fast taper given to me by my Dr at the time. I went down from 40mgs to 10mgs in 6 weeks after being on them for many years. I was able to updose/reinstate and it took me a long time to stabilise until I could begin my taper which I am enduring and will hopefully continue after getting into recent difficulties.




I just want you to know that my situation is totally different to yours but we still get the same symptoms!




You have so much on your side, you are young and were only on one drug and not for many years. It seems like your father and family are trying to support you so that is wonderful.


Going into WD is very frightening - SA has been my constant friend! I have and have had the weakness, DR and dizziness which are horrible to live with. Things will improve but none of us know how long which makes it so much worse. It's not like a broken leg!


Accepting is the best advice I can give you. You can't change what has happened but you can change how you are coping with it. I have been where you are as have most of us on SA. You have to get your mind focused on something else preferably something that will help you to relax a bit and cope better.


Before this happened I had never tried relaxation exercises or mindfulness but tried it out and they really help get your mind off the fear and dread and focus on more pleasant things.


Are you well enough to help with things around the house? Maybe help your Dad with something?


I am 64 soon but have always been active too and to be left almost crippled by this was devastating. I found it helped so much to channel my negative energy into positive ways to get well. Taking small steps at first and then building on them. To do too much was counterproductive and left me feeling worse so don't push yourself into doing something you can't handle or commit to.


I accepted I was ill and have had to build on my patience skills to get a better hold on how to cope. Everyone is different and you will see lots of success stories on here about people who are doing really well. We may feel awful but this will improve. We are alive and able to do a lot of things others can't. You have a wonderful little girl.


My symptoms did ease but it took a while and somedays I would have different symptoms to other days. I would plan tasks on a list that needed doing and when I was able I would tick them off. That made me feel so good!


I am not sure what the answer is to you working as it sounds like it may be too much for you right now. Are there any places nearby that you could do voluntary work once you feel able. That way it doesn't matter so much if you are not well on occasion.


Lots of people on SA have made new lives for themselves as a result of being in WD and it has been for the better.


I know you are struggling with it all right now but things will improve. Why not have a look at some of the links the mods have given you. Have you tried magnesium or fish oil supplements. There is advice about that too.


I really hope with the support you get here things improve for you. I am happy to help you in any way I can.


Flowers xxxx

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P.S. You mentioned the morning dread - it might be worth it to start the day practising something relaxing to clear your head. I am happy to give you any info on progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness.

I do this in bed each day before I even get out of bed! Give it a go!!



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Yes thank you flowers. I'll take anything that might help..this afternoon I was lying in bed watching tv and the most awful feeling took over my body. I think it was Akathisia but not sure. It consisted of intense anxiety all throughout my body but it wa in my head too.. It felt like acid running through ALL my arteries. My head was heavy and I was dizzy. Blurred vision. Is this Akathisia ?

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Hey Alice1


Does getting past early wd make it easier to get up and out even if some psychological work is involved ? 


Not really.  In fact, another mod and I were talking about how it seems (this is just a feeling, right, not a fact) that the ones who get the late onset withdrawal get hit harder than those who get it out of the gate.


Or maybe it's the shock of it seeming to creep in out of nowhere.


Someone who suffered early withdrawal becomes accustomed to a certain level of suffering, so as the intense 6 month period sets in, maybe it's not as shocking, than the one who had an easy early withdrawal, but gets hit with a ton of bricks later.


Bottom line: we don't know.  Fast taper, CT, none of these seem to protect like a slow taper does.  And even the slow taper is not a guarantee, just harm reduction.


On morning dread:  learn about your cortisol cycle.  In normal healthy people, it's a gentle curve, but in people in withdrawal, those highs and lows become spikes and cliffs.  Read more, here:


It may not feel like anxiety or panic to you - it might feel like, well, like dread.  Check in with your nervous system - palms clammy, heart pounding?  Look for signs that it may be a spiky cortisol cycle.  Then, when you feel it hit - you may be able to say, "oh, it's just cortisol again," instead of the rumination that the world is coming to an end.


Catastrophic thinking is a sure fire way to make your symptoms worse, and drive you down.  But you can't just change your thinking, right?  I mean, really, your brain is designed to think, that's it's job, what it does.  This is very true.  But what you can change is your relationship to your thinking.


Oh.  Thinking again.  Catastrophizing again.  Ruminating again.  Okay, it's just a thought.  


If you fight the thought, you make it stronger.  If you gently accept it - let it be, don't attach, just identify it - let it go.  Then you can survive it better.  This technique is based on Mindfulness and Acceptance.  


An image that I've used for decades now is clouds in the sky.  The clouds come, they go.  They can't stop being clouds, any more than your thoughts can stop being thoughts.  Let them come, let them go.  The sun is always there, and above the clouds is blue sky.  You know it is there, even when it's covered in clouds.  Eventually, practicing this enough will lighten the clouds, diminish their power over you, and maybe even diminish their existence in the sky.  But don't worry about that.  Thoughts are clouds.  Let them come, let them go.  How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?  How do you change a thought?  


Not possible.  But you can watch them, identify them, be curious about them.  And their power to make you miserable will diminish over time.


I hope you see the sun today!


ps did you read the thread on reinstatement?  What did you think?  I think you can make it without reinstatement - especially since you are not working right now - but - I am not you.

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thank you JC.

Yes. I agree with you on thoughts. I've spent so much money on therapy for this kind of thing , and I'm baffled on how HARD it is to apply the necessary strategies in early wd. I'm guessing it gets easier in later stages of wd . Can't wait to find out. I can't reinstate . I know what start up effects lexapro have and to think piling that on top of this is scary. Plus , I'm not really interested in losing my investment of 6 1/2 months into this. Now if it was gaurenteed to work that would be different. My therapist and doctor came up with the 6 week taper. I soooo wish I found this site before I came off because I would've done the 10% rule. Today was bad but I did manager to put in 4 hours worth of light retail work . I promised myself that no matter how bad I felt I would just "float" with it and NOT WORRY. I pretended the hell was like a jacket and wore it. it didn't make it any lesser of a hell for me but I did get a mini window starting at 730 pm and I am currently in bed watching pre season baseball felling relaxed and at ease. I also promised myself I would do one small enjoyable thing tonight which was going out for a sandwich with family and watching the sunset with my daughter. I felt I completed a small victory in NOT WORRYING today. I wasn't perfect but I was so much better at it today. Probably 80% better. The little bit I did worry I just told myself "people heal" and continued to wear the symptom jacket. Tomorrow I'll try the same but I'm going to focus on that tomorrow. Not tonight.

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Hi Alice


It seems like you are doing really well with your coping mechanisms to not worry.


Glad you got a window and watched the baseball.


Flowers xxx

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Well done, Alice!

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OK , now I'm confused. I have been reading through this site and I've been running into stuff from people suggesting that healing is not gaurenteed .. I mean , isn't this site supposed to provide hope and encouragement to those who are suffering ? Forgive me but I'm pretty new at this .. Is recovery the natural outcome or not? And if it is (which that is my belief) why are some people suggesting that it isn't promised to everyone ? granted it was a couple of random posts but holy cow. I'm trying to "desperately" reduce my stress and tension and I read stuff like this. C'mon. Is there a point when one must not be on here so much ? I guess I'm searching for hope so much that I'm running into the negative stuff .. I've heard people say that they had to distance themselves from these forums because of stuff like this. I like this site . I love you people who are battling this wd like me. Does anyone relate ? Is there anyone who can validate that people recover from what they've seen over the years ? Obviously I've not been able to contain my worrisome behavior tonight like I did yesterday. Gotta keep at it I guess. I can't expect to be perfect at containing my worry overnight while in wd.

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Ok ok. I'm sorry. I just wish I did a better job at coming off this med. I wasn't my fault. I just did what I was told to do. I had no idea that this was going to happen. Even when I came off , the first month was a little dizziness , then the second month was the same with some anxiety , then the third month was more anxiety , then the forth month the panic/fear cycle started , than the fifth month the DR started , then the sixth month I found SA and realized everything. Truthfully , I've been thinking about rolling the dice of reinstatement , but it's like gambling with your life. My rational mind says " tough it out" but then I find when I think about reinstatement a vision of my little girl crying and saying "no daddy ,please don't . you're gonna make it worse ". So depressed tonight. I'm sure you all can relate. Btw. What's the typical norm of recovery from fast taper/CT. 3-5 years ?

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There are a few things to which there are no answers when it comes to psychiatric drugs, including why, how long, what will happen if I do this or do that.


What works for or happens to one person may not work or happen to someone else.  What worked for someone previously doesn't always work for someone the next time they try something.


One thing that you have to realise is that this and similar sites, are a microcosm of people experiencing difficulties.  The people who have healed or are healing well rarely hang around because they are off living their lives.  If you are going to read other members' topics it is better to read the positive ones like in Success stories: Recovery from withdrawal.  In the Intro forum members who are doing well have a "here comes the sun"at the beginning of their topic name.


Please put the date or month and year when you last took Lexapro in your signature.  Thank you. Create Your Signature

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Hello, Alice.


Like you, many people on this site are frightened and worried, and some don't get past that, being temperamentally inclined to expect the worst -- even while they admit that some symptoms have improved. 


We tell everyone that healing tends to be very gradual, halting, and frustrating. This is what we see. But when we say it's very gradual and can take a long time, we mean you won't see improvement day to day. Maybe when you look back to where you were 6 months ago, you will see improvement.


What is your symptom pattern? As JanCarol kindly explained, the early morning dread is caused by a rise in cortisol, which is triggered by early morning light. You may be able to reduce this sensation by darkening your bedroom with blackout shades and curtains and using a sleep mask. 


This may lower your reaction to cortisol and put your system in the way of rebalancing.


Please read the link JanCarol gave Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes


Are you sensitive to light? How is your sleep? Are you eating? 

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Hey Alice1 - 


 I can't reinstate . I know what start up effects lexapro have and to think piling that on top of this is scary. Plus , I'm not really interested in losing my investment of 6 1/2 months into this. Now if it was gaurenteed to work that would be different. 


First, I didn't think that reinstating Lexapro is a good idea - it's a bear to come off of, and Celexa is a weaker, longer cousin of Lexapro.


Second, we do not recommend reinstating at the doses that docs do.  We recommend tiny tiny reinstatements, trying to stay under the radar of side effects, to take the edge off of symptoms.


Third, you don't "lose' your 6.5 months, you may gain your control over your life again, with just a small reinstatement.  


Celexa comes in a liquid so you can take these tiny doses to see if it helps.


Of course, there are no guarantees.  It's up to you to decide you have nothing to lose and get an appointment to try Celexa liquid.

I'm posting some stuff here from our PM, with your permission:

 I know you can't tell me when I'll recover but based on your experience from reading stories, is recovery for everyone ? Based on my drug history and fast taper , is it possible to start feeling better soon . If I could just feel a little better it would boost my confidence tremendously. Deep down I know I'll recover but right now I just need hope that it will ease up a bit. Is it typical to feel worse at 6 1/2 months ? Should I be prepared for a worsening later before it gets better ? I know you can't answer these questions but what are your thoughts on someone like me and my drug history ? Also , I use a ecig with only 1 mg of nicotine. Will that prevent my recovery ? 


I will tell you that it gets better.  

I will tell you that it takes awhile.  6 months out is a common time for feeling awful.  Horrible.  


It's why we keep thinking that "oh, I'm sick again" and go back on the drugs, because by the time the worst withdrawals kick in - we've forgotten that we quit the drugs 6 months ago....(and it doesn't even register on doc's radar!)


Healing comes in Waves and Windows - it gets better, it gets worse, it gets better again, it gets worse again - until gradually - the windows get longer, and the waves become less significant.


Your mindset and attitude towards these is vital to your recovery.  Approaching symptoms with curiosity and detachment is a helpful approach.  


Your drug history is typical.  We've seen far worse in here.  My own is much worse than yours - 1988 - 2016.  Multiple drugs, multiple withdrawals, all drug classes represented.  I'm never going back!


The e-cig - withdrawal is no time to quit smoking cigs.  They may alleviate some of your symptoms.  You don't want to do withdrawal from cigs on top of withdrawal from Lex.  When you get more stable, you can address that - and it is important that you do so.  But for now, don't worry about it.


Then you asked:

Thank you so much for helping me. I feel so so stuck. 90% of my symptoms are SEVERE mental. I was never like this before. I had a little anxiety sure but this now is terrifying. I'm so so scared about this. Is it normal in withdrawal to have most of your symptoms mental ? I'm afraid to do even the simplest tasks. I'm afraid to go outside. I force myself outside everyday but it seems like it's getting worse. Are these kind of symptoms resolvable in time ? I feel like I'm creating a self fulfilled prophecy or something which is terrifying. I've read other stories about fear and dread being very very pronounced in withdrawal. Even some success stories. Are you experiencing these type of mental symptoms too ? When you say "curiosity and detachment " does this apply to the mental fear and dread ? 


If your symptoms are so severe, then it might be worth it to try reinstatement.


But before you do, I must ask - do you take Magnesium and Omega-3 fish oil?  Please read these threads and learn about the amazing ways these 2 supplements can help you.


Of course, because you are in crisis, you may be sensitive to them, so work up to a regular dose gradually.  This is easy with fish oil, as it comes in liquid, and you can build up to a whole capsule.  I would start with fish oil first, build it up to the dose you want to stay at.  It is not likely to be something you feel - but it can soothe healing, make it easier.


These are 2 things you can try before a reinstatement - but bear in mind you are past the 6 month mark.  We have had successful reinstatements past 6 months - but the longer you wait, the window of opportunity for reinstatement closes.


If it were me, and I were suffering as much as you, I would go for the 1 mg Celexa.  Then, as my nervous system settled (hopefully), I would work on getting my fish oil and magnesium up to speed.


Curiosity and detachment applies to all symptoms, emotional and physical.  If you can explore fear and dread, pain, heat, chills, with curiosity and detachment - and realize, oh, this is just dread, pain, fear, etc, then the symptom will have less power over you.


Moderator BrassMonkey has expressed a number of helpful ways to think about it:

One very effective technique to use is referred to as AAF. Acknowledge, Accept, Float. 


First the situation/symptoms need to be Acknowledged.  Through no fault of your own you are now very sick and there are going to be a lot of very unpleasant symptoms to deal with, and like any major illness getting better will now be your primary focus.  Mentally explore the situation, feelings or lack there of, symptoms etc. and get to know them.


Secondly you have to truly accept that is happening.  The symptoms and feeling or lack there of are going to happen no matter what you say about it, there is nothing you can do about them or the situation.


Lastly, let the symptoms and unpleasantness float off as you go on about your life as best as you can, believing that it will get better in time.


Here is a list of possible symptoms you may experience.  If your symptoms change, check with this list to see if it is there, a common withdrawal symptom.  Or you can print out a bunch of these, and use them to track your own symptoms.

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's Most Common symptoms of Withdrawal


One last caveat - many of us find in withdrawal that we become sensitive to any number of things.  Pay attention to what calms you down, and pay attention to what revs you up.


Examples of things that I have heard people being sensitive to when in withdrawal:  Light, sound, rhythm, music, TV (fast screen switches), news, Facebook, gluten, dairy, cheese, smells, exercise, caffeine, alcohol.  In fact, ALL recreational mind altering should stop:  no alcohol, no recreational drugs, until you are stable. 


I know it doesn't sound like much fun - but - when you start making headway, you will find it helpful to cut out those things which you are sensitive to.  If it helps you to wear a blindfold when you sleep - then do it.  If it helps for you to only listen to gentle music, or only watch old TV shows (slower screen switches) - then, maybe that's what you should do.  It's very different from the normal American lifestyle, but hey - it's that lifestyle that got us into this mess, right?


I hope you see the sun today!

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Thank you alto and JC

First-  I am sleeping , and though its difficult to eat during the day I still eat , but at night I have more of an appetite , but I have lost 60 pounds... I seem to be slightly sensitive to light but not overly sensitive .. I don't have too many physical symptoms but I have a few .. I'm really stuck between reinstating or not because I don't want to get worse if it doesn't work .


my symptoms are -- morning dread , dizziness ,severe lack of motivation ,depression (over the current situation) , inner restlessness (sometimes severe) , trembling , non visible shaking , hopelessness and despair ..anhedonia , fatigue , heart palps , FEAR , akathisia ...


I'm not entirely non functional , I am typing this from a part time job location , but I feel so so crappy and scared that I could easily be home bound , but when I'm at home doing nothing I feel 10 times worse .. trying to not worry about w/d is a daily struggle ,and when I do break down in despair the next day is worse .. the thoughts of how this has changed my life are so depressing ..


again , I'm afraid to reinstate , especially being 6.5 months off , but it seems like its getting worse and worse , or maybe its just changing and morphing ..  


if I reinstate and it fails does that mean I'm going to be so bad I cant leave the house ?  I know nobody can answer that ..I actually get tremendous hope when people say if they were me they would tough it out , and when people tell me they would reinstate I feel panic .. I know only I can make the decision .. I know people heal , but not knowing how it will go , or how long it will take makes it hard .. I keep thinking that rapid tapers are going to take longer to heal . is this the norm or is it a random individual thing ? Ive heard that method of discontinuation doesn't predict duration or severity later on ... thoughts ? ..

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I also would like to add that I do see little positives. Last week I had this terrible symptom which made me feel like I was going to collapse .. My chest got real heavy and I felt real weak. That has gone . Probably coming back but it's gone for now. Also my DP DR is 90% gone for the time being. I'm having periods where I can fake it a lot easier .for example , I was doing some light retail work again today and although my inner restlessness was severe it didn't stop me from interacting with customers and when I was helping customers I was able to comp stet forget about wd for a minute or two. Now I'm home and feel 60-70% better than this morning


I do however find that when I'm at home doing nothing I'm at my worst.


I've been told to meet this recovery half way by doing whatever I can without going overboard. If I can do that and contain my worry and apply the non drug coping techniques maybe I can help my CNS repair itself.

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Just my humble opinion, but I would not reinstate if I were you. You are indeed pretty far out from your last dose; many people have found Lexipro to be an extremely nasty drug, with awful protracted/delayed withdrawal effects, and you have already had some windows; to boot, and in my experience, the reinstatement can go badly and cause additional side effects and possibly limbic kindling as a result of further destabilization of your CNS.

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Hi, Alice.


I tend to agree with what DrugFreeProfessor just wrote. 


It's great that your dp/dr is better. That is a very difficult symptom, so seeing improvements is great.



I do however find that when I'm at home doing nothing I'm at my worst.

I've been told to meet this recovery half way by doing whatever I can without going overboard. If I can do that and contain my worry and apply the non drug coping techniques maybe I can help my CNS repair itself.



Since you know that doing nothing is a trigger for you, you may want to make a list of the non-drug coping techniques that spark your interest and then do them during those times when you're at home with nothing to do. 


Perhaps a couple of guided meditations, a walk in a park, playing a favorite piece of music, doing a yoga video, etc. Having a list to check off ahead of time may help in giving yourself a bit of a regular routine, along with helping you not "go overboard" as you write. I'm guilty of doing that myself. 


I'm glad to read you are seeing improvements. 


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