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Hudgens

Hudgens' Success Story

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Christian

Hi. I quit Lexapro over the summer after 15 years. I had two one week failed attempts to get back on it in September and late November. The last 30 days have been so bad I have taken the advice to reinstate at a low dose 3 days ago. My last week has been non stop anxiety and insomnia. However today the anxiety is controlled better but still exhausted from no sleep. To answer your question, my cognitive ability is impaired. So much that I had to decline a very good opportunity today that would be very demanding on me if I took it. All I want is the insomnia to go away. I hope then I can concentrate again. Best of luck

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Hudgens

Hey, LT2, just saw your post.

Well, I had the brain fog and memory problems and a lot of the searching for words and forgetting what I was talking about stuff for the first 8 months after ending my taper.

I had it off and on during the tapering itself, too.

Being in my late 50's, I worried about all of this stuff, of course you always think-Alzheimer's- but

Occam's Razor says withdrawal symptom.

Mine cleared up around 8-10 months after stopping.

I was never sure what part the insomnia played it in it- but doesn't really matter, and anyway the

insomnia was cause by the withdrawal-so, I mean, withdrawal was at the bottom of it regardless.

 

My guess is that what you're experiencing isn't anymore permanent than any of the other symptoms.

Do your best not to worry about it-annoying but harmless.

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Hudgens

Christian, Hope you're feeling better.

The insomnia was my most persistent withdrawal symptom-started after my second year of a four year taper and only  

starting letting up about 5-6 months ago. I guess I had it for 2 and a half years-0-4 hrs of sleep a night.

It does go away eventually, like all symptoms.

One thing I did was to just stop worrying about it-

You're not going to die from it-no matter how bad it gets-

and any cognitive symptoms aren't going to be permanent either.

If you can't sleep-just lay there "as if" you were sleeping- 

You can get up to 80% the benefit of a actual night's sleep this way!

Worrying, of course, just adds Cortisol to the too much  Cortisol that's already keeping you awake. 

Relaxing-even if you don't get to sleep-always reduces it-which is good no matter what else.

Remember in general that it's not your age-but what you DO that makes the difference.

And that things eventually do get better-even-as in my case-back to normal.

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NewMe

Thank you for the insight! So good to read these first hand accounts. Your help in sharing your experience has given me renewed hope as I continue to taper.

 

I had withdrawal when switching from brand effexor to generic no matter when I was switched (happened a few times). Did you ever experience this? What is solid form effexor (generic)?

 

I have insomnia but attribute it to other issues in my life.

 

Meditation sound of rain or binural beats seems to help quite a bit so that resting alone is acceptable enough. Arguing with insomnia just drives up stress, as you mentioned.

 

Thank you again  :D

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Hudgens

Solid form just means white pills (generic) instead of the capsules with beads.

No, I was lucky. The switch from capsules to generic was no problem,

I just took half in am and the other half in pm.

Anyway it all can be done, though some suffering no matter how slow.

Toughest part is feeling awful and not being able to remember how it feels to be healthy.

You have to get to healthy again to realize it's worth hanging in there for.

But somehow we all get there again eventually.

best of luck and don't hesitate to ask a question or if there's anything I can do.

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manymoretodays

Only one time with the brain fog and such?  For you Hudgens?

 

Mine comes and goes with a vengence.  Over a year off Lexapro and over six months of Adderal.

 

So I guess mine will be a permanent re occurrence?

 

It doesn't detract from how great is that that you have felt a fine window of wellness since October.

 

I am just frustrated with my own healing and withdrawal discomfort.  Starting to drift towards........I must be mentally ill beyond repair.........:-(

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Hudgens

The off and on -means it's not permanent.

I had it other times too-at end of 2nd yr tapering-and bouts of real confusion, too. 

Also for the first half yr to eight months after stopping for good, though.

Anyway-I'm very familiar with it and it's variations!

There's no permanent anything from any of this stuff-

just a long waiting for brain to right itself.

Trust me.

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manymoretodays

Okay.  Thanks.  I will trust you.

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GirlfromD

Ten and one half months after ending my taper from Effexor (75mgs) I have returned to the normalcy and health which I generally enjoyed before taking any antidepressant. The last of my withdrawal symptoms-insomnia, lightheadedness and mild brain zaps-are gone. All food, drug and exercise sensitivities-are gone. I don't see any evidence of permanent damage of any kind.

 

I had to go very slowly. I took 3 years and 11 months to taper, and, although I eliminated a lot of suffering this way, I don't think it's possible to get off one of these drugs without some suffering. Still, there was only one period of a month or a little longer maybe, that I look back on as a true living hell. It happened because I began to taper too fast (3 50% cuts in a row), and everything went back to manageable within a few weeks once I realized my mistake and made a small reinstatement.

 

I began my life with antidepressants on September 12th 1992 and took my last dose on October 31st 2014. And so I was on one antidepressant or another for 22 years. What's important to me is that all of that stuff is behind me; for others, what's important is that it can be done.

 

Thank you to all who offered advice and encouragement through all of this. God bless this important site. I will always check back from time to time in case anyone has a question.

Wow thats an truly amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing!! Did you have any psychological symptoms too, and in that case did they go away to? I am battling through wd at this point, having crying spells, repetitive thoughts,confusion/agitation etc. And especially the psychological ones are frightening.

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Christian

Christian, Hope you're feeling better.

The insomnia was my most persistent withdrawal symptom-started after my second year of a four year taper and only

starting letting up about 5-6 months ago. I guess I had it for 2 and a half years-0-4 hrs of sleep a night.

It does go away eventually, like all symptoms.

One thing I did was to just stop worrying about it-

You're not going to die from it-no matter how bad it gets-

and any cognitive symptoms aren't going to be permanent either.

If you can't sleep-just lay there "as if" you were sleeping-

You can get up to 80% the benefit of a actual night's sleep this way!

Worrying, of course, just adds Cortisol to the too much Cortisol that's already keeping you awake.

Relaxing-even if you don't get to sleep-always reduces it-which is good no matter what else.

Remember in general that it's not your age-but what you DO that makes the difference.

And that things eventually do get better-even-as in my case-back to normal.

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Christian

Thanks Hudgens. Good advice. And great news on your recovery !

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Hudgens

Hi, girl from d, I had lots of psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Confusion was one of them. Anxiety is of course the one everyone has-and so many others are just variations of this.

Depression and a really horrific bad felling I dreaded and still don't know what to call or how to describe to people.

Racing thoughts and images as I would try to fall asleep.  during the after taper I had some temporary fear of heights as well as unwanted thoughts. They all are gone now. 15months post taper coming up fast. For me there has been nothing permanent about any of the withdrawal symptoms. my bouts of confusion were so bad-I'd wake up in the middle of the night and not know who I was or what had been going on in my life for up to 45minutes. Absolutely frightening.  But as I said-all gone now.

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LT2

Hudgens,

 

Thank you for your reply to my earlier post. It is comforting just to know that we are not alone and that others have walked and are still walking this journey.   I feel like I can deal with with anxiety and panic (mostly experience the first couple hours after waking and at night before going to bed) .  I just dismiss it to myself as clearly a withdrawl symptom since I never had anything remotely like this before or during Effexor.  And, that has decreased in intensity over time.  I am lucky in that I have rarely had problems sleeping in my entire life, and I don't seem to experience insomnia now.  I do find that I wake up maybe an hour or so earlier, but still usually can get a good 6 hours sleep.  The cognitive stuff is bad, even after seven months off.  It is the loss of higher level thinking processes and and knowing what to say or respond to people that is most scary.  I used to have creative thoughts and insightful ideas and be able to write well and all that-even my ability to spell correctly--has severely declined.  I can still do basic, tasky things and get by at work by printing everything out and making lots of lists but unable to really participate in brainstorming sessions or direct strategic initiatives anymore.  I am always reading a book of some type, but can rarely remember the content a week later.  None of this seems to have improved.  I am going to read any posts by Occam's Razor that you mentioned.  I just appreciate that someone is reading/listening and that I am not alone.

Thank you!!

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downtongirl

Christian, Hope you're feeling better.

The insomnia was my most persistent withdrawal symptom-started after my second year of a four year taper and only  

starting letting up about 5-6 months ago. I guess I had it for 2 and a half years-0-4 hrs of sleep a night.

It does go away eventually, like all symptoms.

One thing I did was to just stop worrying about it-

You're not going to die from it-no matter how bad it gets-

and any cognitive symptoms aren't going to be permanent either.

If you can't sleep-just lay there "as if" you were sleeping- 

You can get up to 80% the benefit of a actual night's sleep this way!

Worrying, of course, just adds Cortisol to the too much  Cortisol that's already keeping you awake. 

Relaxing-even if you don't get to sleep-always reduces it-which is good no matter what else.

Remember in general that it's not your age-but what you DO that makes the difference.

And that things eventually do get better-even-as in my case-back to normal.

 

Hey Hudgens...so great you are doing so well!  I was reading this reply to Christian and I was intrigued about your statement about the benefits of just lying there and resting and getting up to 80% the benefit that way.  I have done research on this at various places and some places say if you have laid there for over a half of an hour and can't get to sleep or back to sleep that you should get up.  Most of the time when I just lie there I get ticked off that everyone else in my house is soundly asleep and I am wide awake.  Do you know of any sites whee I can find what you are referring to about the 80% benefit so I can read for myself?  I am not saying you are not correct I would just like to learn the reasoning why this would still be beneficial for my own knowledge.  Thanks!

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Christian

Hi, girl from d, I had lots of psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Confusion was one of them. Anxiety is of course the one everyone has-and so many others are just variations of this.

Depression and a really horrific bad felling I dreaded and still don't know what to call or how to describe to people.

Racing thoughts and images as I would try to fall asleep. during the after taper I had some temporary fear of heights as well as unwanted thoughts. They all are gone now. 15months post taper coming up fast. For me there has been nothing permanent about any of the withdrawal symptoms. my bouts of confusion were so bad-I'd wake up in the middle of the night and not know who I was or what had been going on in my life for up to 45minutes. Absolutely frightening. But as I said-all gone now.

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Christian

Hudgens,

you are probably still celebrating but I have decided to read your post every day until my symptoms go away. This is one of the best success stories I've read. Thank you again for sharing not just that you are better but also some details on your journey. The details help a lot of us ones struggling just knowing there is a light somewhere in that tunnel.

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Hudgens

LT2-

The razor is just an expression referring to a medieval philosopher who said when you have more than one possible cause of something-the true cause will be the one that's the simplest and most obvious.

For example if you never had insomnia before tapering from an antidepressant-it's most likely a withdrawal symptom-rather than say, a brain tumor.

Your cognitive problems are from withdrawal and will get better over time.

I've never seen one case on this site where there was any permanent brain damage from taking or even cold-turkeying antidepressant(s)!

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Hudgens

Downton girl-

 

How do you like the 5th season so far-I love it!

 

About 5 years ago I heard about the 80% thing on a radio therapist's show while driving somewhere.

The name of the therapist is Joy E. Brown-I think she's still got a show.

I remember she kept repeating that statistic over and over because the caller was so desperate and not

paying attention after missing 3 nights of sleep in a row.

Anyway, there are different ways to handle insomnia-pretending to be asleep -always worked for me.

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downtongirl

Downton girl-

 

How do you like the 5th season so far-I love it!

 

About 5 years ago I heard about the 80% thing on a radio therapist's show while driving somewhere.

The name of the therapist is Joy E. Brown-I think she's still got a show.

I remember she kept repeating that statistic over and over because the caller was so desperate and not

paying attention after missing 3 nights of sleep in a row.

Anyway, there are different ways to handle insomnia-pretending to be asleep -always worked for me.

 

Thanks Hudgens....btw I love this season of Downton Abbey as I have loved all of them.  How long did your insomnia last?  Thanks for the information.

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Hudgens

From Sept 2012 through about April 2015.

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downtongirl

Oh my! How did you function?  How many hours do you think you averaged a night?  What was the longest you went with out sleep?  I understand everyone is different but that is incredible.....2 1/2 years!

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Hudgens

I averaged about 3-4 hrs per night.

Many 1 and 2 hr nights.

But only felt really desperate maybe 4 times after no sleep for 2-3 days.

Anyway-I got through it fine-I never got big bags under my eyes, for example.

I think the worst part was not the fatigue but the anxiety you add to it-like thinking

you've lost the ability to sleep-and panicking over that.

 

I'm watching the repeat Downton episode before new episode tonight!

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downtongirl

I am so sad this is the last season

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Ali

Hi Hudgen's

 

Your story is inspirational and gives me so much hope of recovery. I thought I'd been on the drugs too long to ever successfully make it off, but I now have more hope.

 

When you next check in, would you mind sharing a bit about how mindfulness helped you through the depression? (You wrote about it in another thread). I have tried mindfulness a few years ago when I was severely depressed, but don't recall it helping to lift me.

 

Thanks,

Ali

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Irvingkirsch

Ten and one half months after ending my taper from Effexor (75mgs) I have returned to the normalcy and health which I generally enjoyed before taking any antidepressant. The last of my withdrawal symptoms-insomnia, lightheadedness and mild brain zaps-are gone. All food, drug and exercise sensitivities-are gone. I don't see any evidence of permanent damage of any kind.

 

I had to go very slowly. I took 3 years and 11 months to taper, and, although I eliminated a lot of suffering this way, I don't think it's possible to get off one of these drugs without some suffering. Still, there was only one period of a month or a little longer maybe, that I look back on as a true living hell. It happened because I began to taper too fast (3 50% cuts in a row), and everything went back to manageable within a few weeks once I realized my mistake and made a small reinstatement.

 

I began my life with antidepressants on September 12th 1992 and took my last dose on October 31st 2014. And so I was on one antidepressant or another for 22 years. What's important to me is that all of that stuff is behind me; for others, what's important is that it can be done.

 

Thank you to all who offered advice and encouragement through all of this. God bless this important site. I will always check back from time to time in case anyone has a question.

 

Hi, so glad to hear you have recovered. I've been taking antidepressants for 23 years and about 7 years ago I developed severe insomnia out of the blue . I just took my last dose of luvox a few days ago. Did you happen to develop your insomnia while still on an antidepressant after many years? I'm wondering if somehow I will recover from the long term damage to my brain that resulted in this insomnia. Thanks so much.

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Hudgens

Ali-I've never been absolutely sure what I felt was depression -I really never identified the problem which was just this absolutely awful feeling-though not anxiety-sometimes I thought it was depression other times not so sure! Mindfulness helped everything I tried it for not get any worse and also not seem so bad until it passed. Sitting or lying down and just being focused without and judgmental thoughts and especially the breathing-just always worked for me. The natural reaction to feeling awful is to distract yourself (run away) or get upset (attack)-the best way is to just let it be what it is and simple awareness of it. Counterintuitive, but the best response. The other two alternatives make things worse.

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Hudgens

Hope you didn't just stop cold turkey.

I got insomnia about the end of my second year into my taper- from dropping too fast-trying to bring things to and end. 

didn't know I had 2 more years to taper!

The insomnia was the last thing to go after having it for 2 and a half years.

It does go eventually-no apparent permanent damage-

the fear of that is part of withdrawal and brought on from the insomnia itself.

If you're worried about how it will effect your brain health- try the "Mind Diet" and other things like learning to read a new language.

I learned to read German up to about a 4th grade level-amazing for me even under normal circumstances!

No matter how long the insomnia lasts -it will eventually go away.

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Ali

Ali-I've never been absolutely sure what I felt was depression -I really never identified the problem which was just this absolutely awful feeling-though not anxiety-sometimes I thought it was depression other times not so sure! Mindfulness helped everything I tried it for not get any worse and also not seem so bad until it passed. Sitting or lying down and just being focused without and judgmental thoughts and especially the breathing-just always worked for me. The natural reaction to feeling awful is to distract yourself (run away) or get upset (attack)-the best way is to just let it be what it is and simple awareness of it. Counterintuitive, but the best response. The other two alternatives make things worse.

Thank you for this. I have been doing some mindfulness but never when I've been in that state. I usually take to bed because I'm so lethargic and just want to sleep off the awful feeling. I agree it seems counterintuitive, but next time I think I'll definitely give it a try. Really need to find constructive ways to deal with the intense feelings.

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Hudgens

Just be careful not to call them "Intense" or anything else good or bad-

Just be aware of them and make sure your breathing is diaphragmatic.

You can also just follow your breath in and out- or pretend it's filling up your whole body

like a balloon.

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Ali

Just be careful not to call them "Intense" or anything else good or bad-Just be aware of them and make sure your breathing is diaphragmatic.You can also just follow your breath in and out- or pretend it's filling up your whole bodylike a balloon.

That's a very interesting remark, I'd never thought about that. It's hard not to label the feelings so negatively in that moment. Or even now. I'll remember that advice well into the future, I reckon. Great to have a source of wisdom. Thanks for sharing and helping in the process.

Ali

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Irvingkirsch

Hope you didn't just stop cold turkey.

I got insomnia about the end of my second year into my taper- from dropping too fast-trying to bring things to and end. 

didn't know I had 2 more years to taper!

The insomnia was the last thing to go after having it for 2 and a half years.

It does go eventually-no apparent permanent damage-

the fear of that is part of withdrawal and brought on from the insomnia itself.

If you're worried about how it will effect your brain health- try the "Mind Diet" and other things like learning to read a new language.

I learned to read German up to about a 4th grade level-amazing for me even under normal circumstances!

No matter how long the insomnia lasts -it will eventually go away.

 

Hi, thanks for responding. I've had insomnia that has beat the life out of me for 7 years. I started around the time I stopped drinking as much and went off my meds. I was also doing a bunch of coke prior to that. I have no idea what caused it, but within a month or so I was on a different med and have continued on SSRI's ever since. I'm just wondering if these drugs have messed up my brain and  I need a break to recover proper functioning. I didn't cold turkey this time and it has been the easiest withdrawal experience I've had so far. Hopefully, I'll be better in a couple years. I've already wasted 7 years of my life so what's a few more. I graduated from one of the best colleges in America 7 years ago and until the insomnia hit I was on my way to doing something with my life. Insomnia has a way of destroying your dreams literally and figuratively. 

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Hudgens

Did you try mindfulness or any kind of meditation?

 

it helps control the excessive cortisol over-production-the reason for insomnia.

 

How long was your taper and how long since end?

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Irvingkirsch

Did you try mindfulness or any kind of meditation?

 

it helps control the excessive cortisol over-production-the reason for insomnia.

 

How long was your taper and how long since end?

 

Hi, I essentially do minfulness during the hour or so that it takes me to fall asleep. I never called it Mindfulness exactly, but when I'm lying down and trying to go to sleep I'm basically doing Mindfulness. It hasn't helped unfortunately. Do you have any tips on how to get to sleep othern than Mindfulness, sleep hygeine practices, and exercise? Thanks so much.

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Hudgens

Make sure you're doing real mindfulness before giving up on it.

Other than that I found the best thing was to act "as if" I were sleeping.

I got a lot of the benefits of an actual night's sleep if I just went through the motions.

Worrying about it produces more cortisol-which makes it worse-

You have to get to the point where you just let what happens happen-

You're not going to die or go insane-

Some suggest blackout curtains, but I never noticed it made any difference.

Like any other WD symptom -it eventually goes away.

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Laughing

Hi Hudgens. Thank u for sharing your story. It gives me hope. Do u know of any other sucess stories like yours? I have been reading through the sucess stories here and they are pretty scary. It seems alot have tapered too fast, which would explain the difficulties they are having. Just having a hard time finding other stories like yours who did a slow successful taper with minimal symptoms.

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Irvingkirsch

Make sure you're doing real mindfulness before giving up on it.

Other than that I found the best thing was to act "as if" I were sleeping.

I got a lot of the benefits of an actual night's sleep if I just went through the motions.

Worrying about it produces more cortisol-which makes it worse-

You have to get to the point where you just let what happens happen-

You're not going to die or go insane-

Some suggest blackout curtains, but I never noticed it made any difference.

Like any other WD symptom -it eventually goes away.

 

I really appreciate the advice, Hudgens. I'll certainly work on it.

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