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☼ piscesrising Is it still Lexapro Withdrawal 9 months later?

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

My name is Natalie and I've been on an anti depressant of some sort since I was 16, I"m 29. For the first time in my life I got off Lexapro 5.5 months ago after tapering for 3 months. Things seemed a little more manageable after the horrific first few months but the past month or so it has been very bad again and I"m scared. I cry all the time, I have insomnia, I have a hard time working-super tired/anxious/irritable. Sometimes my anxiety is debilitating. Lack of hope or motivation. Lots of fear. My fear is this is either just how I am without them or I was on them for so long my brain needs them to be at least moderately functional and if I don't get back on I will end up on disability or something.

Has anyone experienced this? Does it get better? Does it just take longer? Or am I kidding myself?

It was so hard to get off of them I feel like if I get back on them I will be committed for life, but I also don't want to have to check into a psych ward either :/ lol, funny but not really cause I"m not really kidding :)

 

THANKS!

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

Hello piscesrising,

 

I'm sorry to meet you here but I think you're in a good place. Hang in there if you can.

 

I went off Effexor over about 10 weeks and developed many problems including anxiety, sexual dysfunction, food sensitivities, and various other problems. That was 2010 when I stopped Effexor. I have learned tremendously about my true self and this learning has been very, very important to me. I started on Drugs when I was 18 and by 2010 I had been in various institutions and returned to live with my parents. I really didn't know myself at all. It's complicated, I know you know this, because it is hard to tell what is me and what is the drugs.

 

If I were in your shoes, I'd think a while before restarting the medication since you took it for so long and you've never gotten a chance to be you yet.

 

A positive in this situation is that you will get to make this decision for yourself. If you are like me, you haven't been able to make as many decisions for yourself as you should have in life.

 

As for your present symptoms, they could definitely be related to your discontinuation of Lexapro. I can't tell you exactly how to quickly remedy them, though the more you participate here and discuss your history and present health issues, the better the posters will be able to relate and possibly share experiences that can help you.

 

One thing I am 100% sure of, however, is that this present extreme distress you are experiencing will not last forever even if it feels like it will.

 

So hang in there and welcome to the forum.

 

Alex

Edited by Altostrata
substituted screen name

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Rhiannon   
Rhiannon

Hi Natalie--

 

Alex is right, it won't last forever.

 

I would add more emphatically that yes, what you are experiencing is probably due to the brain changes caused by the drugs that you took for so long (and starting before your brain was even fully mature, while it was still developing, and don't get me going on what a crime that is!)

 

Not everyone knows that before the advent of the "AD age" depression was understood to be fairly rare and self-limiting; most people recovered in six months or less and usually they never had another incident, or it was rare. Nowadays, since the widespread pre$cribing of AD$ for everything from "social anxiety" to toothache, it's been redefined as a recurrent disorder. That's because of what you're experiencing right now. Most doctors will define that as a "relapse." We here understand it as much more likely to be a delayed reaction to the use of drugs that screw up your brain chemistry.

 

Sometimes a small reinstatement (much smaller than the dose you were on before) will relieve these withdrawal symptoms, and once things settle down you can then taper off very slowly. Your taper was quite fast, alarmingly so for someone who had been taking the drugs for so many years and started at such a young age, in my opinion.

 

Alto or someone else who knows more than I do about reinstatement protocols will be along here soon and you can discuss it more.

 

You are not permanently broken. Your brain can and will heal and normalize itself. This sometimes takes a couple of years for folks. If you take new psych drugs or go on and off on them or up and down on doses, it will drag the process out, though. (I lost 20 years of my life that way.)

 

I recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker for more information about how these drugs can actually do more harm than good for many of us. The works of Peter Breggin are also good, in particular Your Drug May Be Your Problem and Medication Madness. Those are my faves.

 

Good luck. You've come to the right place for support with this.

 

--Rhi

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thank you both. I was only on 15mg of Lexapro at the time, but maybe I still did go kind of fast considering the normal/highest dose for lexapro is only 20mg.

Sometimes I wonder if this was my 'normal' to begin with, and why I needed to get on meds in the first place, but I don't recall it like this, I was too young to know! It scares me that my brain wasn't full developed, I don't think that is something that I can repair...I'm going to try to stick it out and hopefully be able to keep my job in the mean time lol. Considering I was on them for 13 years, being off of them for 5.5 months isn't that long!

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Jemima   
Jemima

15 mg. of Lexapro is actually a high dose. Lexapro is an especially strong antidepressant, roughly twice as strong as most others, so 10 mg. is the "normal" dose.

 

I "tapered" off of 10 mg. Lexapro over three and a half months, ending on December 14, 2011, and have gone through nearly seventeen months of withdrawal so far, although I am almost back to normal at this point. The first six months were a horror, the next six months were still pretty rough, and it's only recently that I've begun to feel somewhat like myself again. I'm still easily upset and thrown off-balance and my emotions and creative talents are somewhat blunted, although they're almost all the way back.

 

During recovery, there is a pattern of "windows and waves". Your brain is healing itself from the damage done by antidepressants, but it does so in a rather random and jerky way. Here's a topic devoted to this pattern that may be helpful:

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Recovery

 

You might also want to read my Intro topic which details my journey through Lexapro withdrawal. I think you'll find some comfort there knowing that what you're going through isn't at all unusual. It's painful and frustrating, but it's withdrawal, not you. (Just click on the link in the drug history area of my post).

 

Going back on Lexapro is probably not the answer. In fact, nearly six months out from stopping the drug, you'd stand a good chance of having a bad reaction and having to taper off all over again. You might want to look at our 'Symptoms and self-care' section for tips on non-drug ways to feel better:

 

Symptoms and self-care

 

By the way, your relative youth is in your favor in terms of the time it will take to heal. No one knows how long that will be, but you haven't ruined your brain for good, not by a long shot!

 

Welcome to the forum. The solid information and friendly support here have been a godsend to me these long months.

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thank you so much, I will look into all those things.

My symptoms had me analyzing everything and thinking maybe it's hormonal or adrenal fatigue too and it might contribute, maybe it's all connected.

Has anyone tried Brainwave Optimization treatment?

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Jemima   
Jemima

Antidepressant withdrawal does wreak havoc with hormones, particularly the adrenal glands, and often hormonal problems can be misdiagnosed as depression. The state of medicine, alas, is still more of an art than a science, much as mainstream medicine and Big Pharma would like us to believe otherwise.

 

My personal opinion is that many physical problems are being diagnosed as depression and dosed up with antidepressants accordingly. My last and very severe depression was the result of taking Lipitor which reduced my overall cholesterol level to 134. There was a well-designed study published in 1990 which concluded that cholesterol levels of less than 160 would result in depression and any number of other ailments. Why did my doctor not know this???

 

I've never heard of Brainwave Optimization treatment. Most of us here have tried any number of expensive cures - exercises, supplements, woo-woo cures - and found that the good old-fashioned standards of healthy diet, exercise, sound sleep, and social activity work best, although they are not at all quick or dramatic.

 

My advice is to save your money and concentrate on learning patience!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, piscesrising.

 

Reinstatement after such a long time is a toss-up. It could help, it could make you worse.

 

If you decide to try it, you might want to carefully try a tiny amount, such as 1mg. You can get liquid Lexapro. See this topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Have your symptoms lessened since you went off? How have your symptoms changed?

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alexjuice   
alexjuice

Hi pricesrising,

 

In my opinion, over time you will learn how best to give your body what it needs. I take a biological approach, as do many of our posters and moderators. By taking this approach, I look at the human body and imagine the optimal nourishment the body has evolved (or was designed) to handle and put to good use by repairing itself, providing energy, etc.

 

Right now your body is trying to cope with stresses that it doesn't have innate defenses to easily overcome.

 

Over time, I have learned a lot about my body and learned to think in terms of giving myself what I need to be closer to optimal.

 

Unfortunately, I can't tell you how long your distress will last or exactly what to do to make it go away. I do suggest you read throuh the posts on this forum and learn of some of the things that have worked for others and which may help you too.

 

Also, a lot of our members have other health issues, and keep record of some basic health metrics such as their thyroid function, their diabetes risk, and food allergies, for example. Their are many threads relating to these issues. I believe that everything is interrelated and you might be quite twisted up as a result of taking medication for so long, and in areas in which may seem disconnected but are actually quite related, such as digestive health.

 

Good luck,

Alex

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

I was crying hysterically again tonight for an extended period of time and I was going through my head and thought of no one I would call because I don't even know what I would say. I did text someone, and when they asked what was up with me I stared back at the screen...how do you answer that for the millionth time, it's embarrassing 'well I"m a basket case, I feel incredibly alone and greif stricken and I"m not sure why, remember how I got off my meds I was on for 13 years 5 months ago, well it probablly has something to do with that." Because I'm tired of saying it to people, because they don't understand or think I"m crazy or should be over it or tired of hearing it.

But I do, I feel so lonely and depressed and scared, about the future and that I will never climb out of whatever I am in and therefore simply barely survive but the idea of starting a relationship in the future or anything of the sort sounds impossible, not when I"m like this. And my friends are all in love and got their dream job etc and I don't know what I am doing...I get scared there will not be a light at the end of the tunnel, but if it's always going to be a struggle like this and anxiety up and down and crying and depression etc..well..I can't do that.

I"m sorry for being so emo.

I just remembered this site and I thought well if I can't think of someone to call who gets it I can just write about it on here.

 

My heart goes out to everyone going through similar experiences. <3

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Petunia   
Petunia

Hi Piscesrising,

 

I'm sorry you are feeling lonely, depressed and scared at the moment. I get it. You don't need to apologize for being emo, that's what this place is for. I'm fairly new here and struggling with the same kinds of issues, protracted withdrawal from A/Ds and other life problems which are made worse by the intense emotions which are one of the symptoms.

 

When we are in this negative emotional state, its easy to look at other people and believe that their lives are perfect, while not being able to see any positives in our own lives. But no relationship or job is perfect and everyone eventually goes through difficult times.

 

If the thought of being in a relationship feels impossible at the moment, then you are probably not ready for being in one and need to learn how to be in a supportive relationship with yourself first. I'm in the same situation. I feel lonely and scared at times, start to think that another relationship would make me feel better, but knowing honestly, that at the moment, I don't have anything to give.

 

The best relationships are when people have learned how to be whole and self-nurturing so that being together is a choice, rather than from dependency and neediness.

 

I hope you feel better soon.

 

I think you need to write a little bit about your medication and withdrawal history but someone else should be along to help with that.

 

Petu.

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thank you.

I did an initial intro. post a few weeks back, I didn't know where to post new ones, so just did it in the intro site.

5.5 months off lexapro, was on some sort of SSRI for 13 years...

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tezza   
tezza

Hi picesrising,

 

Please locate your thread with your name and add to it all updates. The Intro section is fairly long so we only allow one thread per member here.

 

Your thread had moved down to page three, I located it and merged your new posts with it.

 

I'm sorry you're struggling :(

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

I think I just reply to this versus starting a new post?

I'm just reaching out. I feel hopeless and it scares me. I"m having a really hard time functioning and cry every day, sometimes to the point of throwing up. I feel lonely and burnt out at my job and trying to find a new therapist or get referral to DBT but the system is making it really difficult, almost impossible and it's hard enough for me to pick up the phone let alone try to navigate it. 

I get scared because I feel like I've tried so many things and been struggling for so long that it seems it will always be this way and I can't do this anymore. 

My naturopath has been working with me for 2 years to no avail and she even said she was soo worried about me and told me about a psych ward and said she didn't think she could help me.

Last week we got test results back that showed low estrogen, and oddly enough really high seretonin and dopamine (which isn't a good thing)...low epinepherine too. She didn't even know what to say or do and said she would get back to me. The idea of starting over with ANOTHER doctor etc seems so overwhelming and pointless. 

I'm embarassed to reach out to friends anymore because I have been struggling for so long I feel like they are tired of hearing it or don't know what to do and I don't want to be such a downer. 

I feel like I"m losing my will to keep trying. 

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Narcissus   
Narcissus

Piscesrising, I hear your despair and recognize it immediately.  This feeling that your life is ruined, that things will remain as they are now forever, is very common during withdrawal.  When we don't see a way out of our struggle it seems pointless to keep trying, but their is a way out and it opens slowly and of its own accord.  Things are terrible now but they will get better, I promise.  I would not worry about your naturopath not being able to help, this doesn't mean that your case is somehow hopeless.  Anti-depressant withdrawal confuses professionals of all sorts, no one's quite sure how to treat it or what they're treating.  It doesn't really matter though because your body will repair itself if you treat it gently.  Some very good advice has been given here in this thread, try to look over it again when things take a bad turn.  As Alto said, reinstatement is always an option, although it's not a sure thing, especially when months have passed.  If you feel that you're on your last legs I would give it a shot with the very low dose of 1 mg that Alto suggested.I've been recommending that people who are struggling and concerned about their recovery take a look at the success stories here:http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/28-recovery-success-stories/I'm so sorry that things are so awful, many of us have been where you are now and have since moved on to better places.  It does get better.  Stay in touch. 

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Rhiannon   
Rhiannon

Just want to echo Narcissus. I have seen so many people go through what you're going through, and at about this length of time out from a too-rapid taper what you're experiencing is not uncommon.

 

If you can hang in there, read the Symptoms and Self-Care section and try to follow the suggestions there, you will get through this time and heal and recover. Please try to resist the urge to take more drugs, at least until you've given it a couple of years for full recovery.

 

As young as you are, your brain has a strong ability to heal and rebalance itself. But that process can be pretty painful.

 

I'm so sorry for your suffering.  Hang in there.  I anticipate you will be feeling much better in less than a year from now.

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thank you, even just writing this last night and putting it out there and being heard, even if just by 2 people helped a little and I'll take a little!

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Lilu   
Lilu

Be happy that you are going through this at 29 and not in your 40's.  It's a lot harder to make new friends, find a job, or find a man in your 40's than in your 30's.  At least in my experience.  The next 10 years of your life are crucial. Focus NOW on getting better. Do everything you can that doesn't involve drugs, to feel better.  When you feel awful, even crying - WRITE in a journal. Express ALL your feelings, and darkest thoughts.  DO NOT reach out to those who have not experienced what you have. They will NEVER understand.  Not your best friend, and not your mother.  That is what my experience has been.  I've lost and/or alienated all my friends and relatives.  It's best not to email or text when you are not in a good mood.  Nothing good ever comes of it.

 

Reach out for help to appropriate sources.  You wouldn't talk to your dentist about your GYN problems, would you? Or to your Gynecologist about your teeth.  Same thing with friends.  Don't talk to them about your mental health issues.  That's what psychologist and psychiatrists are for. Call a free suicide hotline just to chat with a counselor.  Write about your feelings in a journal or here on this website, or maybe a mental health chat line? ( I haven't looked into this, but I'm sure some sites will have it.) 

 

I used to think that my best friends and relatives would love and respect me no matter what, boy was I wrong.  If I knew what I know now, when I was your age...I'm think my life would be different.  But hindsight is 2020, and the most I can offer now, is my experience.

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

I've been feeling so extremely depressed and hopeless but also very tense and anxious and irritable and lonely. I got off of Lexapro about 11 months ago, I was on it for 13 years (or a similar type of SSRI). Recently things have seemed to get worse. I was feeling very alone in the world and then remembered this site. My mind spins about how I will always feel this way, because it's been hard for a long time and I can't remember the last time I had a 'good' day. I've lost many friends not only just because they moved away but because no one wants to be friends with the person who is all doom and gloom or strange or crying. I get tired of reaching out and feel people are tired of me and no one knows what to do, so I stop. I don't see a future for me, I feel like a failure and I don't know how to get out of this cycle and can't imagine in my state being able to work towards goals (figure out what those are first, especially with career/school) etc. I'm 30 years old and it scares me, I feel I might need to get on disability but that frightens me and I'm afraid it's like giving up in my mind, but I am not functioning and am close to losing my job because of melt downs at work and exhaustion and sleeping on floor during lunch and not being able to show up. 

I see a naturopath for years now and she doesn't know how to help me, we have TRIED SO MANY THINGS and I feel like nobody knows what they are doing or cares enough to figure it out. I didn't want to give up hope completely, so I tried supplmenets one last time and had a saliva test done that showed extreme ELEVATED DOPAMINE and high ELEVATED SEROTONIN. Too much of these things is not good and similar to very low and explains the anxiety. Also signs of adrenal fatigue and low estrogen which was strange. And I was called an undermethylator which was their motivation for some of the supplements, to help start methylation. So Saber Science who did the testing creates these mixed powders and creams specifically for you. I took 3 products at once and freaked out because of affects and didn't know what was doing what. I got off everything for a few weeks then started again on one 

Day Powder: Vit C (237 mg), L-Serine (138mg), L-Asparagine (90mg), Magnesium Malate (61mg), L-Citrulline (60mg), L-Taurine (52mg), Inositol (48mg), Vit B6 (30mg)

I take 1/2 tsp 2x a day

They want me to take a night cream with GABA and small amount of 5htp but I rarely use it.

I have also been taking 200mg SAM-e for about 6 days now

There are 2 other products I haven't introduced yet. Does anyone have an opinion or know about these things? I am the annoying patient who asks a ton of questions and calls and emails because it didn't all make sense to me with my test results but the assure me (and I"m not a nuroscientist) 

Bottom line is I"m scared nothing will help and it's such a long road and I"m so tired of trying, trying just so I can be normal and I have high expectations for myself and it's so far from where I am vs where I think I should be and I"m not getting any younger. Sometimes I wonder if I have to just stay on prescription drugs, if this is just my baseline now and I can't get better...but I don't even know if the SSRI's will work on me now. 

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Roads   
Roads

You just broke my heart. I know that it doesn't change anything for you, but you are not alone, because I think of you. I know that I am not there, that I a am stranger to you, but if I was there, and if you would accept it, I would never get tired of you. It is impossible, because I love you. I am here for you. I can do very little in the place and the state I am. Maybe nothing. But, still, if you need something, just ask. I hope I could make you some good in some way.You are not a person who is all doom and gloom, or strange or crying. Maybe this is all what you feel. You are free to feel whatever you feel, even if I wish you felt pleasant things. But in you I see Beauty. I see Highness. I see a Gift. I also see a person in dire need, and it feels me with sadness. You are not a failure. You can't be a failure. You are just who you are, and this is an achievement marvelous enough. Even when you feel low. You are not, never was, and never will be a failure.

I will pray for you.

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thank you, you just made me burst into tears <3

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Trfielder   
Trfielder

Sooty I don't know anything about your meds or going natural...I posted earlier. Feeling pretty crappy myself. Reading you post helped....maybe this is our "normal" and maybe the people who have walked away aren't worth your friendship... I didn't know before taking my meds that there was an addiction possibility no one told me...imagine. I have a very hard time withs meds. Side effects etc.my husband keeps telling me to go natural..good for you for trying something else besides the chemical cocktail drs just want us to take for the kick backs they receive.... As for your goals. Small steps seem to be the best...good luck to you and thanks for posting it helps knowing I'm not the only strange one out there....just keep swimming

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piscesrising   
piscesrising

Thanks Trfelder, where is your post?

 

2016-June-18: piscesrising posted a success story

Edited by scallywag
add success story link

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Trfielder   
Trfielder

I'm in the introduction section...hope you are having a better day! I thank God I found this site it saved me yesterday and I know it will again and again as I get off all the meds.

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KT38   
KT38

I know this is an old post, but if you are still on the site can you please give us an update of your progress?  I hope you are doing better.  Thank you!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Sometimes sending a pm to the person will work better for a response.

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mamaleo   
mamaleo

How are things going for you now Piscesrising? I just ran across this as I am looking to a begin a taper in a month or so. I was hoping you found some relief somehow.

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