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ruthy

ruthy: Introduction

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ruthy

Hello,

 

Just wanted to quickly introduce myself. Feels a little weird, like I don't know where to start, so I'll start with the facts/stats:

 

  • 49 year old woman. Virgo. Scorpio Moon. Scorpio Rising. haha. Just added that for levity.
  • Took an SSRI (started with prozac for many years, then switched to Lexapro) since I was 23 years old, for depression. 26 years. Whoa.
  • Tried many, many times to get off these drugs. One of my major mistakes was to see a psychiatrist to try to "do it right" when it came to withdrawal, you know see an expert. Got slapped with a bipolar diagnosis (which if you knew me, you'd know was really ridiculous...down and depressed, yes--bipolar...naw...never got manic, just anxious) and put on multiple drugs. This happens to so many of us!!
  • Eventually got off those additional drugs (a mood stabilizer and an anti psychotic) without a whole lot of problems, probably because I took them for just a year or two) but never could get off the SSRI, even with glacial tapers and micro doses. 
  • Stayed on a very low dose (5 mgs) of Lexapro forever--for probably half of those 26 years. Probably wasn't doing much for me, but kept me out of withdrawal.
  • For whatever reason, I was able to get off the Lexapro in September of 2016, and I've been off now for a year and 2 months.

 

I've been enjoying getting educated about how long the healing process can take, neuro-emotions, the way the CNS heals, etc. Well maybe enjoy is not the right word :-) But it's been useful and informative. Seems to vary a great deal for everyone. 

 

The success stories have been awesome. And give me so much hope. Though sometimes not when I see that people are still struggling for many, many, many years and don't seem to be getting better. That's super depressing/discouraging/sad. You never know where you're going to fall on that spectrum and it's scary.

 

Though I've been off the drug for a bit over a year, and I'm mostly through the hard-core physical/emotional volatile stuff--I still struggle pretty profoundly.  I went on the meds when I was 23. I loved how they gave me social ease and a thicker skin. Every time I tried to go off, I got scared because I felt like I was a less loving person off medication. And that's my highest value--to be a loving person.  Now I don't feel nearly as outgoing. I don't know what to say to people half the time socially. I'm not sure how much of this is still withdrawal and how much is just "the real me". I hear others struggle with this a lot too, people who have taken the drugs long term, since they were young.  Maybe you have to give up on knowing.  Hard to know.

 

Going off the meds has put me in touch with a whole slew of stuff that's very scary. One thing it uncovered pretty big time was childhood trauma, ptsd.  I'm sure those issues were probably why I went on the drugs in the first place, I just didn't know it at the time, that it was trauma I was struggling with and causing the issues I was having.

 

Even though I'm struggling, I'm hanging in there because I do feel, on some level, that some of this stuff is just real stuff that needs to be dealt with. No, I'm not the same person I was on meds. For instance, I'm not as social anymore--not as able (or willing) to always be the one to initiate contact with friends. This has, in a way, brought to light who my true friends are. The childhood trauma stuff needs to be felt and dealt with. I have a bunch of stuff that needs to be really, really felt, in a real and raw way.  And I'm going to let myself do that. I guess I'm just really afraid I'm going to lose everyone because I'm not as fun or loving anymore. But I almost feel like maybe I need to face that demon too.

 

I feel like I'm grieving so many things right now: my youth, the ease I had on medication, the years lost on medication, the stuff tied to my childhood trauma. But grieving feels appropriate and right. But also isolating, lonely, dark and scary. That doesn't mean I shouldn't feel it though. I just hope it gets better. I don't want to be stuck in it. Another unknown.

 

Anyway, at the end of the day, the jury is out on whether I will stick with this or not. I'm telling myself that I'll give it 2 years. If I feel like my life has just deteriorated and gotten bleaker rather than better, maybe I'll resign to life on meds (if they still work...there's that...). I really don't know. I guess I don't have to know. It's one day at a time.

 

Another thing that keeps me hanging on is that while things, for me, are much harder emotionally and socially off drugs, I feel better physically than I ever have. That has to mean something. 

 

Rambling post, I know. But here it is, my intro.

 

Ruth

26 years on SSRI (prozac then Lexapro)

Off meds for 1 year and 2 months as of 11/18/17

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ChessieCat

Hi ruthy and welcome to SA,

 

1 hour ago, ruthy said:

maybe I'll resign to life on meds (if they still work...there's that...)

 

Psychiatric drugs can also cause the issues that we are told they are supposed to "fix".  I suggest that you do lots of research and learn about the drugs so that you can make an informed decision.

 

Two books which are well worth reading are Your Drug May Be Your Problem by Dr Peter Breggin and Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.  Both of these authors have YouTube videos.

 

These are eye openers:

 


Interview:  Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher (51 minutes Gwen Olsen - ex pharmaceutical representative)

 

My website has links to various things that I have found on the internet:  adwithdrawal.weebly.com

 

So that we can see your history at a glance please create a drug signature.  The following is the preferred format:

 

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

You might find these interesting:

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

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ruthy

Thanks so much, ChessieCat, for the welcome and all the useful links!

 

I tried to edit my signature to fit the format you requested.  My history is so long that I'm afraid I don't remember many details from that far back, but tried to do my best to at least get the last 24 months correct.

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ruthy

I'm currently feeling pretty bad, so I'm sorry if this isn't detailed enough, but--I've just reinstated Lexapro (2.5 mgs) after being off for 1 year and 3 months. I felt I needed to go back on bc I started a new job and was having such overwhelming anxiety that I couldn't think straight or really take in or understand anything anyone was telling me.  I felt like I was panicking over nothing, small things. I was panicking because I was panicking.These are nice people, not mean, so this is very confusing to me.  I need this job, I need the money, and I'm beginning to wonder if I can even function in the working world.  I've been a bit isolated for the last year and a half (and for a year in a half before that, my office job was pretty isolated--just in a cube all day not talking to anyone). I'm also suspecting that I'm dealing with un-dealt with ptsd from my childhood.

 

Not wanting to take Lexapro again (because of sexual side effects) I got a script for a low dose of Buspar. It knocked out my anxiety but after about a week I realized I was having suicidal thoughts that I felt were caused by the drugs. So I stopped it after a week. And the thoughts went away, but the anxiety was back. I went back on a low dose of Lexapro, and felt better the first day, but again, as time goes on (it's probably been 5 days or so), I feel anxiety, a lot of tension in my body, and numbness in my face--and depressed and hopeless feeling.

 

I don't know if I need to give it a chance, or if I'm too sensitized to it and need to take less--or if I should just stop taking it altogether. I hate the feeling that I'm poisoning my body and doing myself more harm. But I'm afraid I'll lose my job if my anxiety goes up to the level it was at before.

 

Any guidance at all would be helpful. I did do an introduction a few months ago at some point, so there's some information there.

 

I did make an appt. to see a therapist that is specialized in ptsd, so I'm hoping that will help as well.

 

I guess I could use specific guidance on reinstating and whether I should be taking less than 2.5 mgs. Maybe it's too strong. 

 

 

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Altostrata

Hi, Ruthie. I merged your post here because it's a continuation of the discussion in your Intro topic. Your Intro topic is the place to post about your ongoing saga. Please follow it or bookmark it so you can find it again.

 

You took Buspar for a bit, then quit and started 2.5mg Lexapro?

 

What time of day do you take 2.5mg Lexapro? Since you reinstated 2.5mg Lexapro, do the anxiety and other symptoms follow any daily pattern?

 

If it is overstimulating, it is possible 2.5mg is too much for you. Since it seems to have some benefit when you start it, you might do better on 0.5mg or 1mg to start. Yes, even these low amounts can help. Please let us know how you're doing.

Edited by Altostrata
updated

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ruthy

Hi Altostrata,

 

Yes, that’s correct.

 

Actually when I thought about it more clearly, I took Lexapro (2.5 mgs) for 5 days. Didn’t want to take it bc of sexual side effects and thought I’d ty low dose Buspar instead. I took Buspar for 10 days.

 

Buspar helped with the anxiety but I felt depersonalization happening which by the end of the week turned to suicidal thoughts. Luckily I’ve had drugs do this before and knew it was the drug causing it. Stopped the Buspar. Felt better by the next day.

 

Started taking Lexapro (2.5 mgs) and started feeling progressively lousy (panic, sore muscles, super bleak outlook that felt very Neuro-emotion, numb face) and quit taking it today (after 5 days of use).

 

I take Lexapro in the morning. Anxiety and physical numbness usually starts after an hour or so. It lets up a bit at night, but still anxiety turns to depressive/bleak thoughts and can’t sleep and have muscle soreness. Feel better in the am but then take the drug and pattern repeats. This leads me to believe it’s too stimulating, though not sure why it took a week to start feeling that way.

 

Today I didn’t take Lexapro and had a significantly better day. Felt calmer and more positive about life and muscle soreness and lip numbness still there, but much reduced.

 

I’m wondering if I should just not take it and let it lessen in my system. If I start feeling panicky after a couple of days, maybe take .5 mgs? I bought a syringe so I can make the liquid if I need to (have done this is the past). I just hate to take it since not taking it today seems to feel so much better.

 

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