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Honza

Honza: Poor stress tolerance and hypersensitivity after citalopram withdrawal

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Honza

Hi all, I'm new here and would like to thank everyone for sharing their experience and helping others. I wish every one of you success on your path to recovery!

My story and symptoms:

2 years ago I tapered off citalopram/escitalopram, because after 6 years taking it I built tolerance to it, as well as some unbearable sinusitis-like side effects. I was prescribed this drug for GAD treatment (for details see my signature below)

During the 5th year on citalopram I started to feel its antidepressant effects slowly vanish, and I also noticed I couldn't handle much stress anymore. Actually, my working name for this problem is "impatient stress" and it's one of the most unpleasant symptoms.

I would describe the feeling as a mix of impatience and stress without any apparent stressor. I rush to finish whatever I'm doing, but my muscles are clenching and I'm feeling strong physical and emotional unease, sometimes to the extent it feels I'm going to faint or have a heart attack. Kind of stress over-reaction to even simple tasks like chores. My body and mind force me to stop, although there is no apparent stressor.

2 years after getting off meds, this poor stress tolerance doesn't seem to get better, in fact it seems to be worse these days.

I try to help my body deal with this artificial stress by supplementing vitamin C and magnesium, but it doesn't seem to have much effect (although it probably does help a bit)

Somehow related to this is perhaps my extreme sensitivity to stimulants (tea, coffee, even chocolate). Even small doses make me agitated and anxious next day. At the moment I seem to be even more sensitive than I was a few months after withdrawal. Maybe it's because now I tend to really avoid stimulants as much as I can, which is probably making me more sensitive to them... But is my body going to readjust if I never expose it to such substances? Or is it better to avoid all stimulants and wait if my brain heals from hypersensitivity over time? What's your experience?

For example, last week I tried two adaptogenic herbs (ashwagandha, rhodiola) for just a few days, in very small doses. Although I only ingested one capsule of rhodiola (which is 1/2 of recommended daily dose) it made me feel like a new person for two days in row! I felt great and focused.

The next morning I had an erotic dream (which I normally don't have) and just when the dream got too exciting, I woke up with a terrible spike of agitation, which pretty much resembled the stressed-out feeling, but much more intense and terrifying. It only lasted a second, but it felt like I was losing my mind, as if I'm going to faint or vomit. Extremely unpleasant feeling. (It wasn't a panic attack though, these are completely different. I'm also familiar with these morning cortisol surges, but this was more like a momentary shock.)
I could feel my heart beating strong. I never experienced such a strange shock and I was quite scared. Perhaps the single small capsule of Rhodiola (which apparently is a MAOI) messed up neurotransmitter levels too much?

I would love to know what's your experience with hypersensitivity to stimulants following SSRI withdrawal. Did stimulants also trigger anxiety for you? Did you register any change over time?

For the last 4 months I seem to be having some kind of anxiety episode triggered by emotional stress and accidental ingestion of green tea. The anxiety is getting worse every day, my sleep is getting shorter and shorter, giving rise to more anxiety. Is there a way to escape this vicious circle?

Sometimes I have pinkeye. Not sure if it's something to worry about, I guess it's linked to sleep problems.

There's also this sharp "pulling" sensation which I get from time to time in my hands or legs. Feels like if my veins were being pulled into body, shortened. Anyone experienced this?

Just recently I started to have occasional chin twitches, although very subtle, hardly noticeable. I hope they'll go away once I manage the anxiety and bodily tension.

And the last problem is lower back pain which I have ever since I discontinued SSRI, which makes me think that the physical damage to my back was done probably much earlier, but the pain has been temporarily suppressed by SSRI. Is it possible? Or maybe my lower back isn't damaged that much, but the elevated stress hormones intensify pain signalling in the body. I came to this hypothesis because last week, when I was in better mood for two days, the back pain almost vanished.

I've practiced daily meditation for 2 years since withdrawal, I underwent 6 week CBT course, tried fasting, self-help books, supplements, etc. Meditation and CBT provided some help and I'll definitely keep using them. But still... these days I feel so anxious, sensitive, unstable... scared. Since I cannot handle any work load, I had to leave my job. I moved to my family's house, and recently I applied for disability pension (I hope I'll need it just for a few years). Everything has turned upside down for me. I feel I'm doomed to suffer for the rest of my life. I'm worried every day that the taper was too fast (I was so stupid to rush it), and I'm afraid my brain will never recover from the dependency on SSRIs, which terrifies me so much!

Can you please help? Any ideas what might be happening with me in regards to the poor stress tolerance? What is actually going on there? Your experiences regarding any of these symptoms will be much appreciated! Do you think the damage is permanent? It's been 2 years now.

Thank you!


PS: As I'm rereading this post, it all seems so negative... But there are positives also - I'm no longer depressed these days. The depression transformed into anxiety 4 months ago, and although that's not necessarily a great thing one would desire, at least I know something is going on and I can feel motivated again.

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JanCarol

Hey Honza!

 

Congratulations on escaping Citalopram.  It was good of you to see the tolerance and walk away - instead of trying to increase it or add drugs to it.

 

I'm sorry it's still a struggle after 2 years.  That's not uncommon, to still be struggling with Sleep & anxiety.  It's awesome that you meditate and CBT and all that practice - that's a great start!

 

Pink eye is usually caused by hand-eye contact - bringing bacteria / virus from your hand to your eyes.  If you can refrain from touching your eyes, or wash your hands more frequently, this might help. 

 

Or it might be a histamine imbalance.  Do you have allergies?  Do you eat wheat or dairy?  Some foods cause high histamine reactions, you can learn more here:  Histamine Food Intolerance

 

To take your stress response to the next level - I would recommend a physical meditation, like walking meditation, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or even more vigorous martial arts.  Weightlifting is good for stress reduction, especially slow lifting combined with breathing.

 

When you learned meditation, have you learned much about breathing?  Breathing is the key to anxiety.

 

And light - may be a key to sleep.  Do you get some sunlight every day?  Walking in the sun every day (I mean:  every day!) is an excellent mood stabilizer, and helps reset your melatonin clock.  And even if it is cloudy, daylight is better than indoor light for this.

 

I'll throw you a few links to see what you think, see if you can find anything here which might help you.

 

Important Topics about Symptoms Including Sleep Problems

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/33-early-morning-waking-with-panic-or-anxiety/

 

Dr. Claire Weekes - Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

I hope you see the sun today!

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Pepita

Hi there Honza, 

today, I can really feel with you and exactly understand your worries. Today I keep these constant nagging thoughts and fears in my head that I´ll never fully recover and that I might have damages my system forever. I quit SSRI about a year ago and after going through hells of WD I can defenitely see tons of positive changes. BUT - there are still waves and symptoms that I´d soooo love to be gone for goof finally!! Sometimes I feel so tired of having to deal with this crap all the time and I long to be a person that never has known such horrible psychological "madness". Specially stresswise I can totally relate to what you are saying. Generally I´d say I can handle my life pretty well now but I am absolutely sress sensitive and the things that are stressing me out are often things ..well, yu can´t avoid as a human being. Of course I can do my best to keep stress down at work, reduce working hours, whatever - but sometimes I get stressed meeting friends or being in a very busy street - well no one can avoid those things at all times. 

 

What is GAD?

 

I do think that AD´s have a horrible, long lasting impact on us and that it takes a long time to heal. And speaking for myself I think that I am an overly sensitive person and I guess I would be even withought ever having been on meds. I also think that I´d be on a better path if I had found a way to deal with my troubles without ADs as my troubles have doubled since I started taking any.

 

I guess that we are impatient, because of course we don´t want these symptoms. And we feel like that 1-3 years is really enough time of suffering. But compared to the many years that we have influenced our brain with these toxic substances - we need to be more EVEN MORE loving and patient with ourselves. BELIEVE ME! I KNOW HOW HARD THIS IS! Some days I just want to scream at all this misery and unfairness - but all of that doesn´t help. 

 

You say that after a long phase of depression you went into anxiety - since your off meds, have you ever had times of release where you had no symptoms at all? Because if so - this is prove that it doesn´t always HAVE TO BE this way, and that things are slowly improving. 

 

Reading through my answer I have to say it sounds quite negative as well :D I am sorry for that! I guess we´re both having a bad day ;) 

The question I always ask when confronting myself when having these horrible "will I always be that way-thoughts" is: If so, what´s my alternative? 
Medication defenitely not. So there is simply no way other than acceptance and learning to deal with it. 

What kind of meditation are you practising? I meditate every so often as well and I absolutley find it very helpful (though on days like these, as you say, it´s helpful but no resolution). 

I hope you´re feeling better soon and that you can see a more positive side to all of this!

Best, 
Pepita

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Aelius

Ahoj Honzo,

 

welcome to SA! I was wondering if I ever run into a fellow citizen here. I believe you will get much useful information here. Take care!

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Honza

Or it might be a histamine imbalance.  Do you have allergies?  Do you eat wheat or dairy?  Some foods cause high histamine reactions, you can learn more here:  Histamine Food Intolerance

 

To take your stress response to the next level - I would recommend a physical meditation, like walking meditation, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or even more vigorous martial arts.  Weightlifting is good for stress reduction, especially slow lifting combined with breathing.

 

When you learned meditation, have you learned much about breathing?  Breathing is the key to anxiety.

 

Thank you so much JanCarol!

your post gave me like 150% relief when I first read it! For a moment all the anxiety and fears went away, as there was a spark of hope.

 

Histamine - I had my blood histamine levels checked back in 2015 and they were pretty low - 2.6 nmol/L in the reference interval 1.8-9.0. But maybe that itself doesn't prove I don't have histamine food intolerance. I'll research this more.

 

Meditation - started to meditate daily in 2015 in order to address the anxiety and dread during tapering off. The more anxious I was, the more I practiced meditation - and it worked pretty well. After some 6 months I underwent S. N. Goenka's Vipassana meditation retreat and started meditating 2 hours every day... but after 1 year I couldn't keep up with it any longer, since my lower back started to hurt. So these days I meditate only occasionally, 1 hour in a lying position, but that's not nearly as powerful (although it still provides a great relief)

 

 

And light - may be a key to sleep.  Do you get some sunlight every day?  Walking in the sun every day (I mean:  every day!) is an excellent mood stabilizer, and helps reset your melatonin clock.  And even if it is cloudy, daylight is better than indoor light for this.

 

Good point, JanCarol. I try expose myself to daylight as much as I can, I also bought blue-blocking glasses which I use in the evening in order to help regulate my circadian rhythm. The thing is - my sympathetic system is way too active since the anxiety started, and what's probably waking me up so early is cortisol surges. No matter how exhausted I am, I still wake up around 3am, and sleep pills don't seem to help too much either.

 

What I should mention is that after tapering off, for a period of 18 months the only symptom I was experiencing was moderate depression.

Then one day, after a series of stressors (exams, illness and death of a relative, etc.) the depression was fairly quickly replaced with anxiety. That was 4 months ago, and the anxiety and agitation are getting worse, leaving me with little to no sleep. My memory and concentration are very poor, I cannot focus on simple tasks. Often I forget what I was just about to do. I try my best to calm down my hyperactive sympathetic system (meditation, supplements, CBT) and regain my sanity, but it keeps getting worse and I don't know what to do. Actually last few weeks I've been so agitated I couldn't practice any meditation - it was impossible, my mind was racing with unpleasant obsessive thoughts that kept coming back. I'll have an appointment with another CBT psychotherapist soon, but not sure if CBT can help enough. Maybe melatonin would provide some relief? I guess it's a matter of escaping the vicious circle. I just hope to somehow calm down my sympathetic system before the agitation turns into chronic fatigue syndrome.

I was born a sensitive person, but wasn't nearly this sensitive before going on meds. I truly hope my CNS will desensitize over time. Thank you for the link to Dr. Claire Weekes, I'm going to buy the book. I also found Ashok Gupta's Amygdala Retraining and Annie Hopper's Dynamic Neural Retraining System, but not sure how much they can help. Have you ever heard of them?

 

 

Hi there Honza, 

today, I can really feel with you and exactly understand your worries. Today I keep these constant nagging thoughts and fears in my head that I´ll never fully recover and that I might have damages my system forever. I quit SSRI about a year ago and after going through hells of WD I can defenitely see tons of positive changes. BUT - there are still waves and symptoms that I´d soooo love to be gone for goof finally!! Sometimes I feel so tired of having to deal with this crap all the time and I long to be a person that never has known such horrible psychological "madness". Specially stresswise I can totally relate to what you are saying. Generally I´d say I can handle my life pretty well now but I am absolutely sress sensitive and the things that are stressing me out are often things ..well, yu can´t avoid as a human being. Of course I can do my best to keep stress down at work, reduce working hours, whatever - but sometimes I get stressed meeting friends or being in a very busy street - well no one can avoid those things at all times.

 

Thank you for your soothing words of compassion, Pepita. I think we all are on the same boat. It's good to see I'm not alone going through this hell, and I'm happy to hear that you can see things changing for better!

Yes, I can totally relate to what you're saying about stress sensitivity.

Maybe the above retraining programs would help you?

I wonder... do you think this stress sensitivity is changing for you somehow? Was it any different let's say 6 months ago?

 

 

What is GAD?

 

Generalized anxiety disorder

 

 

You say that after a long phase of depression you went into anxiety - since your off meds, have you ever had times of release where you had no symptoms at all? Because if so - this is prove that it doesn´t always HAVE TO BE this way, and that things are slowly improving.

 

There were few days of near-euthymia, yes, but that was more than 4 months ago, before the anxiety started - since then it's getting worse and I don't know what to do to reverse this progress and start healing. I'd like to believe the body is slowly healing on its own and it's just a matter of time and surviving these horrible waves. But I don't know... watching my anxiety getting worse, I'd like to help my body somehow.

 

 

The question I always ask when confronting myself when having these horrible "will I always be that way-thoughts" is: If so, what´s my alternative? 

Medication defenitely not. So there is simply no way other than acceptance and learning to deal with it. 

What kind of meditation are you practising? I meditate every so often as well and I absolutley find it very helpful (though on days like these, as you say, it´s helpful but no resolution).

 

For me, medication is not an alternative either. I can see what harm it can do to myself and other people.

As far as meditation goes - see my first reply to JanCarol.

 

Thanks again to both of you for your help.

 

Take care!

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Honza

Ahoj Honzo,

 

welcome to SA! I was wondering if I ever run into a fellow citizen here. I believe you will get much useful information here. Take care!

 

Zdravím! Thanks Aelius, I already did actually. Loads of useful information. I wish you good luck on your road to recovery!

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AliG

I have to agree with JC that some meditation walking , yoga or weight training would be excellent as well as tai chi and /or pilates. Extreme sensitivity to stimulants is to be expected. Most of us suffer from this to some degree in W/D. 

 

So, you're 2 yrs off ? What do you feel is helping? How is the meditation?  

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Pepita

Hi there, 

oh yes, stress sensitivity has changed a lot! In the beginning of my WD I was happy if I managed to go to the supermarket and that was enough stress for one day. Only the thought of meeting friends somewhere in a public place or to go to a party/restaurant whatever would rise my adrenalin/fear/stress...all of that improved LOOOOOTS...I can sort of lead a normal life now. Sure, some days it gets really hard to go on with daily business or to attend meetings, whatever but at least I CAN! 

So it definitely got better by far! 

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Honza

I have to agree with JC that some meditation walking , yoga or weight training would be excellent as well as tai chi and /or pilates. Extreme sensitivity to stimulants is to be expected. Most of us suffer from this to some degree in W/D. 

 

So, you're 2 yrs off ? What do you feel is helping? How is the meditation?  

 

AliG, my biggest fear is: "What if my over-reactive fight-or-flight mechanism (stress response) will stay like this forever? My taper was fairly quick. I'm 2 years off, and I'm still unable to handle any stress. Even smallest things can kickstart my fight-or-flight mechanism."

The fact that I'm 2 years off makes me worry even more that the stress response will never return to normal. I'm scared.

 

Anyway, what often helps me when my body entered the fight-or-flight mode, is still meditation. But not every time I'm able to calm myself down to stay still. In these situations I'll try the walking meditation that you and JC mentioned.

When anxiety strikes, I also find it helpful to use slow breath technique or some self-talk "You've been there many times, this too shall pass. It's just anxiety tricking your mind, it's harmless."

 

 

Hi there, 

oh yes, stress sensitivity has changed a lot! In the beginning of my WD I was happy if I managed to go to the supermarket and that was enough stress for one day. Only the thought of meeting friends somewhere in a public place or to go to a party/restaurant whatever would rise my adrenalin/fear/stress...all of that improved LOOOOOTS...I can sort of lead a normal life now. Sure, some days it gets really hard to go on with daily business or to attend meetings, whatever but at least I CAN! 

So it definitely got better by far! 

 

That's great, thanks for giving me a bit of hope! For me it's been 2 years and no improvement in stress tolerance, but it's good to see people actually getting better with time.

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Pepita

Hey there - yes my recovery came more or less "fast" but I was on a small dosage compared to many others and quite short term - so you can be sure - it will get better:) It only seems like forever to us 

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AliG

Honza. None of us really know the answer to that question. A lot of us have over reactive fight /flight mode. It comes with the territory. It seems that your meditation is helping to a degree. If it is I would persevere but maybe you could ramp it up a notch or two with some other exercise - be it yoga/ pilates / weight training and/ or whatever else interests you.

 

Take it easy to start with , if you do. As always start small and work your way up in intensity. 

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Honza

OK guys, here's an update:


I came to the conclusion that my poor stress tolerance is (and was) rather a manifestation of recurring anxiety I was diagnosed with as a teenager. It seems that during the 2 years post-withdrawal I've progressively returned to some "baseline" level of anxiety.

 

BUT the good news is that other than this anxiety (which I need to cope with somehow), the withdrawal depression and mood swings have much improved during the recent 5 months to the point where I can say the withdrawal symptoms are virtually gone. It is difficult to decide whether the time has really come to write a statement like this, but I did so because I find my mood during recent few months to be more or less the same as it was before taking ADs.

 

And one more thing - it was quite difficult for me to return to this website to even write this update, because it reminds me the painful moments I was going through. So there might be people out there who got better but didn't return to let us know (-:

 

Stay strong everyone!

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Madeleine

Glad to hear you are felling much better! Thank you so so much for taking the time to give us your positive update. It's much appreciated by me and I'm sure many others. 

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Martina23

Honzo, ja taky zdravim ze Slovenska (Honzo, I am also greeting you from Slovakia). I will write more later.

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Martina23

Honzo, I have also this hypersensitivity. I am two years off the drugs and since the withdrawal started, I can not have any coffee, cola, tea, ice tea, MSG, local or any other anesthetics, alcohol, any drugs or chemical products.

 

So it is really normal. Sweets I can have, without sweets it would be too much torture for me :-)

 

If it disappears, it is a good question. Here on SA the mods say that everything which came with withdrawal will leave one day eventually, but I dont know. I still have it. But if I keep some kind of discipline, I can live with it till now. Sometimes I miss glass of beer, in our countries it is almost traditional to have sometimes a glass of beer, but I can not have it so I adapted on it. But, yes, sometimes I miss it, such a good beer, mjam, mjam, mjam.

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Honza
On 17/08/2017 at 3:58 PM, Martina23 said:

Honzo, I have also this hypersensitivity. I am two years off the drugs and since the withdrawal started, I can not have any coffee, cola, tea, ice tea, MSG, local or any other anesthetics, alcohol, any drugs or chemical products.

 

So it is really normal. Sweets I can have, without sweets it would be too much torture for me :-)

 

If it disappears, it is a good question. Here on SA the mods say that everything which came with withdrawal will leave one day eventually, but I dont know. I still have it. But if I keep some kind of discipline, I can live with it till now. Sometimes I miss glass of beer, in our countries it is almost traditional to have sometimes a glass of beer, but I can not have it so I adapted on it. But, yes, sometimes I miss it, such a good beer, mjam, mjam, mjam.

 

Martino, thanks for your input. May I ask what effect do things like coffee or tea have on you? Do you get the same adverse reaction from caffeine, anesthetics and alcohol?

Some 18 months ago I couldn't even have a bit of chocolate or cocoa without being too agitated and nervous afterwards. Today, these things only give me a little but noticeable kick without much nervousness or agitation. Some people have to buy 3 espressos a day to experience the same kick I get from just half a bar of chocolate (-;

So I guess it does get better.

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Martina23

I dont notice any problem with chocolate, but for example coffee or tea makes me terribly agitated, I have the feeling as if I wanted to run around the whole neighbourhood maybe 50 times, I feel almost manic, jittery, I want to scratch myself and basicly wait until the effect is away. I can not even ice tea, I tried two times, but I could not sleep and felt as if manic even if I am not bipolar.

Alcohol I didnt try in the last time, but I had dental anesthetics year ago and it was terrible for one month, I thought I wouldnt survive it, I had suicidal depression, suicidal thoughts all the time, intrusive thoughts went worse, I had brutal derealization and if it would last, I wouldnt survive it. But after one month my brain cleaned itself from anesthetics and I felt again ok, with the symptoms which I always have (which did not clear itself by now).

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Pepita
On 20.3.2017 at 10:14 PM, Honza said:

Hi all, I'm new here and would like to thank everyone for sharing their experience and helping others. I wish every one of you success on your path to recovery!

My story and symptoms:

2 years ago I tapered off citalopram/escitalopram, because after 6 years taking it I built tolerance to it, as well as some unbearable sinusitis-like side effects. I was prescribed this drug for GAD treatment (for details see my signature below)

During the 5th year on citalopram I started to feel its antidepressant effects slowly vanish, and I also noticed I couldn't handle much stress anymore. Actually, my working name for this problem is "impatient stress" and it's one of the most unpleasant symptoms.

I would describe the feeling as a mix of impatience and stress without any apparent stressor. I rush to finish whatever I'm doing, but my muscles are clenching and I'm feeling strong physical and emotional unease, sometimes to the extent it feels I'm going to faint or have a heart attack. Kind of stress over-reaction to even simple tasks like chores. My body and mind force me to stop, although there is no apparent stressor.

2 years after getting off meds, this poor stress tolerance doesn't seem to get better, in fact it seems to be worse these days.

I try to help my body deal with this artificial stress by supplementing vitamin C and magnesium, but it doesn't seem to have much effect (although it probably does help a bit)

Somehow related to this is perhaps my extreme sensitivity to stimulants (tea, coffee, even chocolate). Even small doses make me agitated and anxious next day. At the moment I seem to be even more sensitive than I was a few months after withdrawal. Maybe it's because now I tend to really avoid stimulants as much as I can, which is probably making me more sensitive to them... But is my body going to readjust if I never expose it to such substances? Or is it better to avoid all stimulants and wait if my brain heals from hypersensitivity over time? What's your experience?

For example, last week I tried two adaptogenic herbs (ashwagandha, rhodiola) for just a few days, in very small doses. Although I only ingested one capsule of rhodiola (which is 1/2 of recommended daily dose) it made me feel like a new person for two days in row! I felt great and focused.

The next morning I had an erotic dream (which I normally don't have) and just when the dream got too exciting, I woke up with a terrible spike of agitation, which pretty much resembled the stressed-out feeling, but much more intense and terrifying. It only lasted a second, but it felt like I was losing my mind, as if I'm going to faint or vomit. Extremely unpleasant feeling. (It wasn't a panic attack though, these are completely different. I'm also familiar with these morning cortisol surges, but this was more like a momentary shock.)
I could feel my heart beating strong. I never experienced such a strange shock and I was quite scared. Perhaps the single small capsule of Rhodiola (which apparently is a MAOI) messed up neurotransmitter levels too much?

I would love to know what's your experience with hypersensitivity to stimulants following SSRI withdrawal. Did stimulants also trigger anxiety for you? Did you register any change over time?

For the last 4 months I seem to be having some kind of anxiety episode triggered by emotional stress and accidental ingestion of green tea. The anxiety is getting worse every day, my sleep is getting shorter and shorter, giving rise to more anxiety. Is there a way to escape this vicious circle?

Sometimes I have pinkeye. Not sure if it's something to worry about, I guess it's linked to sleep problems.

There's also this sharp "pulling" sensation which I get from time to time in my hands or legs. Feels like if my veins were being pulled into body, shortened. Anyone experienced this?

Just recently I started to have occasional chin twitches, although very subtle, hardly noticeable. I hope they'll go away once I manage the anxiety and bodily tension.

And the last problem is lower back pain which I have ever since I discontinued SSRI, which makes me think that the physical damage to my back was done probably much earlier, but the pain has been temporarily suppressed by SSRI. Is it possible? Or maybe my lower back isn't damaged that much, but the elevated stress hormones intensify pain signalling in the body. I came to this hypothesis because last week, when I was in better mood for two days, the back pain almost vanished.

I've practiced daily meditation for 2 years since withdrawal, I underwent 6 week CBT course, tried fasting, self-help books, supplements, etc. Meditation and CBT provided some help and I'll definitely keep using them. But still... these days I feel so anxious, sensitive, unstable... scared. Since I cannot handle any work load, I had to leave my job. I moved to my family's house, and recently I applied for disability pension (I hope I'll need it just for a few years). Everything has turned upside down for me. I feel I'm doomed to suffer for the rest of my life. I'm worried every day that the taper was too fast (I was so stupid to rush it), and I'm afraid my brain will never recover from the dependency on SSRIs, which terrifies me so much!

Can you please help? Any ideas what might be happening with me in regards to the poor stress tolerance? What is actually going on there? Your experiences regarding any of these symptoms will be much appreciated! Do you think the damage is permanent? It's been 2 years now.

Thank you!


PS: As I'm rereading this post, it all seems so negative... But there are positives also - I'm no longer depressed these days. The depression transformed into anxiety 4 months ago, and although that's not necessarily a great thing one would desire, at least I know something is going on and I can feel motivated again.

Hi Honza,

I can relate a lot to what you are saying! I have to admit that I had been very easy over excited and stressed out since I was a teenager. But that kind of stress intolerance that I am experiencing since I quit Cipralex is no comparison. 

I am off almost 2 years now, had been on for about 3 and luckily I do get long lasting windows in which I feel stable and "like a normal person" (though I think I'll never know what a "normal person" really feels like😂) anyway.. you know.. times where I feel emotionally stable and able to handle every day average stressors, work etc. 

 

BUT when I am in a wave (and about 6-8 months going into WD) I get stressed out by everything... EVERYTHING. To a point where I feel my head will explode. It runs hot somehow... like a feverishly sensation and I want to escape immediately from this situation.. followed by anxious or adrenaline rushes, I don't know what it is exactly. Sometimes when my nerves are already agitated, suddenly my vision changes, everything gets really intense, strong colors + tunnel vision, all noises too intense to bear and so on. 

The intensity of these feelings hasn't really changed a lot the last 2 years but the phases in which I get them become less and less. It still scares me to death when those feelings come

creeping back because everytime I feel better for a certain time period I tend to forget how dreadful it can be. 

 

back pains I know too well. Indon't know how many times I was 100% certain that there has to be something physically wrong with me but each and every test came back negative. 

 

when stressed I get twiching in my eyelid and finger. 

 

As for supplements: personally I think it's better to leave everything that impacts nerves and brain chemistry. It just doesn't feel right and I habe tried 5htp and had very weird reactions to it once.. no thanks:) before I make anything worse once again I prefer to just let my body do what it needs to do.

 

When in an agitated mode/phase I change coffee for decaf coffee because I just can't live without the taste;) that does help. 

 

I am sure that your system will heal! You have been on meds for 6 years, that's a long time for your body to get used to it. 

Each and every symptom that came with intolerance and withdrawal will pass! i think we have to be realistic (at least I do about myself) that issues that were present before taking meds might persist or come back as they have other reasons for being existent than withdrawal symptoms. for example I will always have to be very mindful about work loads and stress in my life as I have been very highly sensitive since forever. And stressful times always resulted in being very emotional or a little anxious. But NEVER E V E R in the way withdawal presented it to me;) 

 

it will ger better and eventually you will heal! reading through your text it sounds to me that you are very active in your recovery process (meditation and therapy) which is wonderful! Maybe sometimes you are putting too much pressure and responsibilities on yourself? how long your body takes to heal is not in your hands. You can do a lot to help, for sure!!! but it sounds like you're already doing all the best for yourself to help your recovery. 

 

when I fall into a wave I sort of get this (once again stressing) motivations where I go: ok, I'll meditate every day twice and soon this will be over) .. but thats just not how it works😂

 

You'll get to where you want to be! In the meantime I'd suggest that you let go as much as you can:)) 

 

 

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Honza

Thank you @Martina23 and @Pepita for your responses.

 

@Martina23, during last few years on SSRIs, as well as some months after withdrawal, I also felt almost manic after a cup of coffee or tea.

 

It is kinda comforting to see that I'm not alone experiencing these states and that they are quite common.

 

@Pepita, you mentioned meditation. It worked for me for about 18 months after withdrawal, but then too many stressors came together and I became so anxious that I couldn't focus at all. Now it's much better. But yes, meditation is not always enough or even possible.

I'm going to try EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) which one nice guy recently mentioned to me as a potential treatment for anxiety.

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