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bubble: tapering off Lexapro and Xanax

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Hello everybody,

 

I found this site through google search after I entered 'escitalopram withdrawal' and I liked what I found here so much that I decided to create an account.

 

What you are saying is very close to my experience compared to what doctors are saying which could basically be summed up as: you see you can't do without anti-depressants.

 

I was in a rush so didn't write down my whole history with anti-depressants but mosty focussed on my current problem. To sum up I have been almost continuously on anti-depressants since 2000. I could say that after I stopped taking each of these my depression would return worse than before combined with other very painful and unbearable sensations which led me to start taking anti-depressants again just to put me out of my misery.

 

First it was Prozac, then Zoloft. My doctor just told me: anti-depressants don't make you dependant and you can stop taking them just like that! Discontinuing Prozac didn't cause any problems: I was depressed all the time basically, even while taking it. But with Zoloft I was in a great period of my life, feeling very stable and after 2 weeks following discontinuoation in 2 steps (as advised by my doctor) I was suddenly and completely out of the blue hit by the worst depression ever which led my doctor to put me on Escitalopram (at that time I would eat crocodiles just to get some relief! My brain was thrown off the cliff as somebody here said.

 

Then I started doubting my docor and started reading about anti-depressants from the perspective of users so I learnt that such abrupt discontinuation could actually explain my depression.

 

I realised discountinuation had to be much more gradual but didn't know about the 10 % rule ;(

 

So after taking Escitalopram 10 mg for 2 years I cut 10 mg into half and was on that half (5mg) for 6 months doing OK. After that I cut the half of the pill to get 1/4 and was taking it for 2 weeks when the pharmacist said there was shortage of Escitalopram so I was forced to discontinue. After a few days I started experiencing extreme irritability and out of body sensations. These symptoms gradually dissipated but the general sense of emotional instability and vulnerability deepened. Around 45 days later I experienced a strong panic attack and went back to 1/4. All along I've been on Xanax which I recently brought down to 2 times 0.25 mg.

 

I'm not from UK and in my country they don't even have 5 mg tablets on the market, let alone liquid solution ;(

 

But i saw somebody here wrote I could make the liquid from tablets myself.

 

Since my doctor has no clue, I would very much appreciate your opinion: what to do now? 2 months after complete discontinuation. I went back to 1/4 5 days ago and already feel a certain relief. My plan is to see if I will stabilise on this and if not, go back to half that is 5 mg and then after I stabilise try 10 % discontinuation as you advise here.

 

Thank you very much for being around and sharing your experiences because left to doctors and pharmacists, we are worse than being alone ;(

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Hello, bubble.

 

We will move your post from this topic to the Introductions forum as your Intro topic.

 

In the meantime, you might stabilize on 1/4 tablet (that would be 2.5mg escilatopram?) or more, if needed, for a couple of months to make sure your nervous system is comfortable, then make the liquid to taper very carefully off that amount at 10% per month, as described in the first post in the Tips for Tapering Escilatopram topic. Even though it's a very small amount, your nervous system may be sensitized to reductions in dosage.

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Jemima   
Jemima

Topic moved from Tapering section.  Welcome to the forum, Bubble.

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thank you very much for your advice and welcome!

 

Find this forum has been extremely important for me because I really had no one to turn too regarding this tapering, just saw something was very wrong the way I did it.

 

Now I have carefully read all your brilliantly clear and logical guidelines and understand what went wrong and how I should proceed next time. And most importantly, how to get my brain back off the edge where all this has thrown it.

 

Feeling a bit more bearable at 5 mg and intend to stay there until I feel completely stable and then order the liquid (which I never knew existed!) and do the 10 % thing.

 

In the meantime I went to see a psychiatrist who is a homeopath (!). It was quite disappointed. After literally interrogating me for over 3 hours (!) he gave me a little bottle of flower essences and told me to come in 3 weeks. After 3 hours I was too exhausted to ask any questions...

 

I've been taking omega 3 pills, magnesium and intend to buy a B12 supplement. But what definitely helps is fast walking up the hill. What definitely doesn't help is sitting in y office trying to concentrate on tasks at hand. Have no idea how I've managed over the past 2 weeks: living of the past glory I guess. 

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My work involves a lot of writing. After I had a panic attack on 20 September, going to work every day has been a heroic endeavour and trying to do my writing feels like having to run with a broken leg.

 

I am very fortunate that my boss has been very kind to me lately and appreciates all my hard work an dcommittment which I show when I feel better. In almost 5 years of working there I have been on a sick leave on mental health grounds only once, at the beginning after a work-related burnout when my boss was pushing me too hard. She got scared when she saw in what kind of state her pressuring got me and was a lot gentler with me afterwards. And I also learnt to respect my boundaries. The system here is that the sick leave form that a GP sends to the employer gives the code of a diagnosis due to which the sick leave is opened. So my boss of course saw it and said: I didn't know you had SUCH problems when I was employing you (which felt like: if she knew she wouldn't have employed me). My labels are anxiety depressive disorder and emotionally unstable personality (which I am mostly not paying much attention too).

 

We are a small team and i have 2 colleagues I really like but the other day I was thinking I would rather die than tell them... what exactly? that I have psychological problems, that I'm on antidepressants...? They must notice that sometimes I'm energetic and loud, take firm stands, even aggressive and other times I'm quiet, withdrawn, unintersted in office debates... I guess that when I'm unwell I put a lot of energy (all the energy I have) into covering up how I feel and focusing on creating an impression that things are under control.

 

I can't help worrying if I will be able to work and repay my mortgage. Do I have the luxury to go off my meds and jeopardise my job? I can only go off meds in such a way which will not affect my functionality too severly...

 

I might have chosen the nick name blabber  :)

 

today is Saturday and I'm having a duvet time and being introspective. I even wrote down on a few pieces of paper milestone events that have been happening to me over the years as I have been on drugs, to notice correlations. It's been a long, long while since I stopped and took a stock of my life. I feel it was important for me to do it and get a kind of perspective on things..

 

I've also been reading a lot here on the forum and enjoy it's positive and supportive energy. 

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I went from 2.5 mg of Escitalopram (we here use a different generic name, probably equivalent to Lexapro) to zero in 2 weeks. Immediately felt very bad reaction but decided to stick it out.

 

Also came down to twice 0.25 mg of Xanax.

 

After 44 days of struggling had a panic attack. Increased Xanax but decided to stick it out on Lexapro. 

 

6 days after the panic attack, couldn't take it any longer and went back to 2.5 mg of Lexapro. Things got more bearable but still awful so after another 8 days I upped Lexapro to 5 mg. Was relying on xanax (following old piece of advice by one psychiatric which kept me away from panic attacks for years: when first symptoms appear, take 3 mg of Xanax a day for 5 days. Then stop. She didn't say how but I would stop by 0.25 every few days).

 

I've been back on 5 mg of Lexapro for 8 days now, 0.5/0.25/0.5 Xanax and struggling badly. I introduced magnesium citrate 400 mg twice a day. seems it gives me some relief.  Today is Saturday and I mostly spent it in bed. Wanted to go to the pharmacy to buy some good fish oil and vitamin B 12 but couldn't motivate myself. Just felt so very low on energy. 

 

I'm probably stabilising but it's taking really slow. But since I gave my nervous system such badgering is hardly surprising.

 

I felt it was beneficial for me to stop trying to be active and just obey my body and mind today. But I also felt guilty conscience over not taking a more active approach.

 

I would say my worst symptom at the moment is this big lack of energy and motivation to do things. Also cognitive slowness and difficulty concentrating. I just want to lie and not to anything. But I go to work every day and tomorrow I'm going on a business trip out of town for a few days so I hope it will be better for me than sitting at the office. 

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CFSBoomer   
CFSBoomer

You and I are in similar places Bubble:, both hooked on Lexipro. But you are in Europe and I am in Los Angeles. California, USA. I wish both of us luck getting free of this chemical. It's been very hard so far. Have a good business trip out of town for a few days. Good luck.

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Thank you for your kind words, CFSBoomer.

 

We know well about LA :)

 

I'm happy for you that you have found this forum. I'm picking my brain after having thrown it off the cliff by going from 2.5 to 0. Although I was immediately hit by nasty symptoms I was trying to stick it out for over 40 days until I experiennced an awful panic attack.

 

Even then I wanted to stick it out and just upped Xanax. Only after reading things on this forum did I realise how wrong this approach has been. 

 

Now I know we should take very small reductions, as small as possible. And only when we feel OK on that, we can make another little step.

 

As far as i'm concerned, after torturing my brain for over 40 days I now went up to 5 (although 2.5 might have been enough but I was in an awful state) and learnt the lesson the painful way: the symptoms can't be stuck out. If they appear, you are going too fast and have to go one step back asap. Sticking out will only destabilise you further...

 

I wonder how long it will take for me to start functioning better, the way I did before. 8 days on the previous dose is definitely not enough but it has made a huge difference. (And it is scarry to see how powerful these things are!)

 

We don't have Lexapro in a liquid form here (we even have a different generic name for it) but tapering is now not my priority. I'm exploring supplements and other coping techniques such as meditation and yoga.

 

Since you have the liquid, make as small reductions as possible and stay on them long.

 

The best of luck to you!

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Petunia   
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Thank you for posting on my thread Bubble, I've been reading yours. 

 

I admire your ability to be able to continue working and keep up with your writing while going through this.  Is there a lot of creativity involved in what you have to write?  Withdrawal seems to dry up creativity for a lot of people.

 

I think its a good idea to hold at 5mg until you are feeling stable again, before tapering. 

 

I was on 5mg of Lexapro for a long time before I began my too fast taper back in 2010.  I went from 5mg to 2.5 to 1.25 over the course of about 2 months, then I did the alternate days thing and jumped off a couple of weeks later.  I had a difficult few months, but seemed to handle it ok, then I actually felt pretty good for 2 months.  Then symptoms started, I got a new diagnosis and new medications, but that's another story, I just wanted to share my Lex tapering experience.

 

If, when you are ready, you want to try liquid for tapering, here is a link which explains how to make liquid from tablets:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/

 

Petu.

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To tell you the truth, I admire my ability to continue work myself :)

 

but since my condition started when I was 19 I have learnt to study and work with it to survive (psychotherapy helped me a lot in that: for 2 years I didn't take any meds, only talk therapy... I was lucky (and knowledgeable at that age!) not to go to drug dispensing doctors. It was me who actually asked my therapist to prescribe me something to help me cope with a job after a bad break up. I also asked him to put me on Prozac. The one I asked before, refused and just continued talking to me...- now I started thinking if I actually needed meds, whether they did anything for me.)

 

I read somebody here describing how working actually helps: gives structure to your day, you are involved with people. the flow carries you... I just tell myself that I'm taking a sick leave at work and do things slowly. It's hard to explain how I manage. In my previosu job I used to teach when I was very depressed and anxious and there were some groups with bad atmosphere who would say I was slow but others were very happy with me even in those states.

 

The writing I do now is more of an administrative nature and requires focus and concentration (which is in such a short supply: I remember you writing about trying to proofread your daughter's essay... this withdrawal is strange in the sense that I haven't lost my cognitive nor even creative abilities entirely: if I find the required focus, I can deliver. Although I have difficulty with asking for half a loaf of bread in the store :( I even did some work on the side to earn a bit extra money involving editing and a bit of creativity. And I managed! I didn't mind focusing on detail, I'm so lost in details anyway. i suffer from cognitive indecisiveness. I get so much lost in detail and feel uncertain about everything that i feel unable to for instance buy a book for my friend's birthday because I can't decide... But i realised some time ago that it is a part of the 'state' and that it will go away once my general condition has improved and this realisation helps...

 

(I've been thinking about the toxicity in your family you ocassionaly refer to... I would there say most of us come from toxic backgrounds. I'd like to explore this more when I have more time. I don't know how I would've been able to cope with that particular toxicity if it wasn't for the psychotherapy, 17 years of psychotherapy! and continuing)

 

I was inspired here on this forum by something that Alto wrote :)

 

I hope it's not forbidden to paste something I posted on another thread. since this is 'my thread' I feel like having it here :)

 

Lots of love to you!

 

Altostrata, on 24 Mar 2011 - 6:05 PM, said:

I agree with Healing.

It's important to treat yourself gently in the midst of withdrawal syndrome. You may not be able to handle difficult situations that you've always handled before.

Focus on stress reduction, it's very important. Learning how to protect your nervous system from abrasive people is a good skill to learn and will serve you well in the long run.

Being pushed to take care of ourselves is, I guess you could say, one of the benefits of this awful condition.

This is so very true!

 

It is precisely this clash with 'abrasive people' that has brought me down again. Ever since my Gestalt therapist remarked that I have difficulties dealing with people who have 'aggressive energy' as she put it, I started thinking about it and found it extremely helpful. For the time being I'm just avoiding them since I don't have better coping mechanisms but awareness is, I guess, the beginning of learning. Now it seems incredible that this simple realisation has been evading me for all 36 years of my life. I used to be so strict with myself and felt awfully bad about being such a shrinking violet. Now I'm learning to embrace the violet in me and see the importance and value of being who I am although I would maybe still prefer to be tougher. (Not maybe, I would :) I'd rather be a hammer than a nail :) But I'm learning to celebrate myself, as Walt Whitman would say.

 

Also 'being pushed to take care of ourselves' as a benefit of withdrawal is such a valuable insight. There is value and importance in the suffering we are going through. Although it has constantly been present in my consciousness that I've been on and off (mostly on) various anti-depressants for many years, and using every window to taper (but always stay on or quickly go back) I am only now doing the painful math that this has been going on for 13 years!

 

After my first breakdown at 19 I read about transcendental meditation and thought how this is the very thing that would help me; my sister bought me a Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, I've been occasionally taking supplements, started doing yoga, etc. but only now when I am sprawled on the floor in agony did I go through over 100 pages of the book that has been lying on my shelf for years (and recognize and appreciate my sister's well hidden concern and love for me); only now have I started doing 15 minutes mindful breathing before sleeping and taking conscious effort of being mindful of the world around me on the way to work;  only now am I studying the benefits of taking supplements in the right way, the importance of a serious focus on tapering; only now am I religiously going up the hill and resuming my yoga classes although every cell in my body would just like to be glued to bed for what seems like for every (so we made a compromise: one day we lie, next day we push ourselves up the hill to feel that anxiety-relieving and mind clearing endorphin rush because I have learnt that you have to listen to your body and soul when it asks you for rest but not humor it completely)...

 

All of this wouldn’t happen; I wouldn't be on this forum if I haven’t been 'pushed by this awful condition'. 

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Jemima   
Jemima

Please be careful about using supplements.  I know how tempting it is--I spent lots of money on them hoping for a quick fix in early withdrawal--but there is no such thing, and most supplements will actually aggravate our already damaged, sensitized nervous systems during withdrawal and often for some time afterward.  The only supplements that seem to help nearly everybody are high quality fish oil and magnesium.  There are discussion about both of these in the Symptoms and self-care discussion area.

 

As you can see from my drug history, I was also a victim of Lexapro. I tapered in much the same way as Petu and am still recovering after 22 months.

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Thanks a lot Jemima! 

 

This sight has helped me to learn a lot more about supplements, their right dosage and their possible effects. 

 

In retrospect I think I might have stayed at 2.5 after being completely off for 44 days but the symptoms were so awful I couldn't wait to get a relief. 9 days after reinstating it's a bit more bearable. Now I will just stop for some months until I'm fully recovered and then go to 4.5 and also be carefl with supplements as you suggest.

 

I'm really learning a lot which I had no chance of learning anywhere else!

 

all the best!

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insomnia. It's 3 am and I have been awake since 1 after sleeping an axhausted sleep for 3 hours. It feel like it was a deep anxiety that woke me up and as this sense of being fully awake kicked in, anxiety abated.

 

I was at a conference the whole day and left xanax at home so missed the midday 0.25. Did that cause all the havoc?

 

I'm slowly absorbing the wisdom of these pages: keep a journal to find a correlation and pay attention to how your body and mind react to drugs.

 

The brilliance is in small, down-to-earth things which I read about in Alto's reply to someone else. So coomon sense but can't say it ever really ocurred to me, let alone in such detail: keep a record and note down. Everything has its cause, nothing came out of the blue.

 

Last night was also anxious so took additional 0.25 and it helped me to fall asleep. I had to spend the whole day at the conference so couldn't put myself through an increased agony. Woke up with high anxitey so upped my morning dose by 0.25 to 0.75.

 

I used to attribute my anxitey to extrenal stressors and see xanax as a way of coping with them. Now I'm starting thinking xanax and my manipulations with it might play an important role in my anxiety levels.

 

The journal in which I will from now on follow my symptoms will be a big notebook with plenty of space for as much detail as possible. 

 

I've been taking morning and evening dose of magnesium citrate, 2 x 200 mg. It gave me stomach pain and diarrhea and not sure whether it has any influence on my anxiety level. Except for my relatively firm belief that it does after reading Alto's scientific explanation of what it does.

 

11 days after reinstating Lexapro windows of functionality are extending and the waves or better to say whirls into which I'm pulled are not so deep and are at their worst around 2 pm when I feel like fish out of the water: cognitive functions very low, extremely edgy, nothing around me makes sense and all the efforts, activities, topics discussed seem entirely futile and irrelevant so I detach myself from them and just exist without being involved, shift to the auto pilot and use all my energy to appear 'normal'. I follow the lead of the people around me and it calms me down. I stop following my neurotic instistance on perfection and satisfy myself with lower but achievable standards of excellence that I see other people accept. 

 

felt like I have no option but take another 0.75 mg of xanax. will see what it does  if anything. started reading the bezo subforum eagerly hopeful I will get some clues as to what to do. i see I'm making awful blunders (based on the advice given by my doctors, of course)...

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Petunia   
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Last night was also anxious so took additional 0.25 and it helped me to fall asleep. I had to spend the whole day at the conference so couldn't put myself through an increased agony. Woke up with high anxiety so upped my morning dose by 0.25 to 0.75.......

......I've been taking morning and evening dose of magnesium citrate, 2 x 200 mg. It gave me stomach pain and diarrhea and not sure whether it has any influence on my anxiety level. Except for my relatively firm belief that it does after reading Alto's scientific explanation of what it does.

 

 

Hi Bubble,

 

Please be careful with the Xanax, its such an easy drug to get addicted to.  It has a short half life and can often cause very bad rebound anxiety, especially in a sensitized nervous system, this makes you need to take even more next time to get the same calming effect. 

 

I had this experience myself with Xanax when I went into withdrawal, but I've always been terrified of getting addicted to a benzo, so I stopped taking it on a regular basis, which wasn't helping my recovery, but at least I didn't get myself addicted to another medication.  That all happened long before I found this site.

 

The other thing I wanted to mention is the magnesium, in too high doses it does cause diarrhea, you need to find the right amount for you because everyone is different in the dose they can tolerate.  I take 200mg twice a day, and that seems to be just about right for me.  I've tried taking more and I get diarrhea.  I don't know if you mean you are taking a total of 400mg per day or 800mg, but try cutting it down a bit and see how you go. 

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Thank you Petu!

 

Unfortunately it might be the problem I have with Xanax is even bigger with Lexapro :((( 

 

I am aware that I am seriously addicted to it: have been taking it continuously since 1999!!! My doctor sometimes tried to deal with it by putting me to some other benzos in a bizzare attempt to break the dependency but nothing worked like Xanax. I used to have most debilitating panic attacks that would make it impossible for me to leave my roon for months. And I was 22 and had to study to keep my scholarship and a dorm. Without that I would be forced to go nack to my parents who were abusing me along with for of my younger brothers and sisters. I marked the path for all of them to leave that harmful environment and couldn't risk going back.

 

After one doctor told me that if I take large dosage of Xanax (1 mg + 1mg + 1mg) for 5 days at the onset of symptoms, I could prevent them developing into u full blown panick attack that would make it impossible for me to function for months. And it work! I haven't had a panic attack for years after that and I credited Xanax for that.

 

I was fully aware it creates dependency and that it is highly addictive but i felth like I had no choice. the only thing I was able to do is immediately start reducing the dosage when I would feel better. But at best I would bring it down to 1 or 0.5 mg per day. Maybe 1 month free in all those years.

 

I'm in a serious trouble with Xanax :(((

 

I'm reading pages on benzo tapering and am desperate to develop a strategy that would work for me.

 

I'm taking 400 mg magnesium altogether in two dosages and I have no problems any more, seems my system adjusted.

 

This forum gives  me hope I will finally after all these years manage to do something about Xanax (and ADs)

 

thank you once again for replying and hope you are doing fine

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My energy level is sooooo low. I feel like I could just lie in bed for months doing nothing.

 

It takes me what seems enormous will power to make myself move around...not many windows today. just this wave of lethargy. But I had 3 very busy working days so I guess I coud have treated myself to a few hours of lethargy.

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Meimeiquest   
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THAT is the symptom that plagues my life. Much more serious and/or bizarre things have happened, but that is the problem that never goes away. And my whining does nothing to help you....wish I had more to say!

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Meimeiquest,

 

there were times in those 17 years when I had energy to do things. I would also describe it sometimes as manic but it was there. I also had the tendency to think of myself as bipolar but since I would never do anything 'crazy' or 'strange' just had an unusual and difficult to control rush of energy, my doctor declined to think of me as bipolar.

 

So I in a way started thinking of this as a 'natural' cycle of my functioning in extremes: consuming my energy too fast and getting overexcited about things that leaves me depleted after a while.

 

This lethargy I'm going through now I almost physically feel to be a kind of neuro-emotion and not a product of my internal psychological functioning.

 

This site has already helped me to better understand what I've been going through especially what meds are doing to me.

 

I hope it does the same for you. I feel we will pull out of this dark hole. I only wish we wouldn't rush to the other pole too soon...

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Meimeiquest   
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I had a manic-y reaction to Cymbalta, and in withdrawal, from Wellbutrin. But even then, the energy was only in my head. My body was beyond exhausted....but at least that kept me out of serious trouble. But mental illness is threaded through my paternal grandmother and her descendants, so I don't know where I'll land in the end. I keep finding things that steal my energy; changing them helps for awhile, but then my energy sinks again. But right now I think I'm still "missing" Wellbutrin.

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I'm sorry to see that you have been suffering for so long. I also started early, when i was 19 and really envy people who got depressed later in life :(

 

Lately I started listening more to people who say that there is no such thing as mental illness. Also we are not genetically programmed to get 'mentally ill'. We just inherit a certain sensitivity of our nervous system which makes us more prone to adverse circumstances in our environment. the way we are causes us pain but there must be (there is :) a value in that.

 

I also don't like that we describe our experiences and the way we feel using psychiatric terms. Some time ago (long time ago) people were melancholic while now we are depressed, etc. What actually happens when you say you are manic-y?

 

 

I'm glad to report that 2 weeks after reinstating I feel a bit better: my windows are bigger and clearer and my waves are less rough.

 

Yesterday I pulled down the blinds in my bedroom and I didn't wake up with that suffocating anxiety: still can't believe it did the trick!!!!

 

I can't wait to see if the same thing happens tomorrow. It felt comforting sleeping in a complete dark although I always preferred to be waken up by a natural light...

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Good to hear darkening the bedroom helped. We recommend blackout shades and curtains, and using a sleep mask to make it as dark as possible.

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thank you! will do so because it really makes a difference

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Natura sanat: nature heals.

 

(medicus curat: the doctor treats)

 

Yesterday I spent 4 hours in nature and that made me physically tired so that I went to bed early and slept peacefully for 10 straight hours. At first I was walking alone and was practicing a kind of mindfuless which I found very beneficial. Then I came across a young couple that had wandered off the trail so I spent the remainder of my time with them and found it stressing although they were very nice. I just seemed to have trouble focusing my attention on anything else except my internal processes. 

 

In the morning I was anxious, my mind was racing. Going to the meeting point I felt so fragile and unwell. But then after a few hours in the woods filled with autumn coloured leaves, picking chestnuts with my friends... I felt like a renewed person, blissfully calm. When I got home, I was able to start working on a piece of writing which I had been postponing and couldn't face for 3 weeks! Unlike nice people I met yesterday, today I was in the company of my friends and especially a close one who knows me well and we were able to talk a bit about my withdrawal. But it was great to have others around esepcially a boy of 5 not to be focused entirely on my unwellness.

 

This blissful feeling has its expiry time: lasts for around 5 hours at most but it is more than a welcome respite! What a difference between before and after states!

 

While browsing through the forum today I came across this website were I started reading success stories which gave me hope: http://recovery-road.org/success-stories-2/

 

Also I feel happy because I managed to eat healthily: quinoa with vegetables, salmon and green leaf vegetables.

 

It feels good to be good to oneself.

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Yesterday i had such a big window: felt so stable, calm, appropriately energised, was able to give a lecture at work, cook a meal, do the dishes (I haven't cooked for 10 days  due to extreme lethargy and lack of energy but luckily I was on a business trip so there was no need to cook).

 

I also spent the third day in a row in autum woods.

 

But this morning I woke up at 5.30 feeling anxious (despite sleeping in complete dark), after an hour of tossing and turning I decided to take the morning dose of my meds earlier and was then able to fall asleep again for an hour.

 

Now my head feels foggy and I'm struggling with my focus and concentration badly. This kind of feeling always makes me check the biometheorological forecast: and it is bad for meteoropaths today. They focus on people with cardiovascular conditions and add a note on increased irritability in general while on one site it even says  Тhe most pronounced among meteoropathic reactions could be headache and increased anxiety.

 

weather is in general a very significant factor for me and I realised I was very sensitive to changes in atmospheric pressure. I never studied the mechanism as thoroughly as Alto does, but have now read that changes in the atmospheric pressure influence pituitary gland to produce ACTH which is a stress hormone that causes anxiety (that coudl explain why I had this reaction).

 

Due to global warming and extreme and rapid weather changes everyone is additionally adversely affected by them and especially people like us so we should definitely put the influence on weather into our equations. 

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My window shut so unexpectedly and with a very loud bang which left me shaking in panic. It again struck me in the bathroom but this time I woke up after midnight, barely 2 hours after falling asleep and when in the bathroom had that awful rush of thoughts which felt like they were going to engulf my mind in darkness. So very frightening!

 

I immediately focused on breathing but also reached for Xanax to save me.

 

Why did it happen? Was I reducing Xanax too fast? The weather is atrocious: 10 degrees warmer than natural for this time of the year. I got overwhelmed at work yesterday having so many things to finish before the business trip. So I guess it's a combination of all these factors. Not even spending time with my adorable 16 month old niece and sister who was very supportive was able to save me from that horror during which it appeared I was losing my mind and was just being flooded by uncontrollable thoughts which were devoid of real content. It was as if their content was just some inexplicable pressure, urgency, a sense that what I have on my plate is just too much for me and that i can't cope with it. The sense that there is a weight around my neck pulling my down.

 

And that weight are some (too many!) positive developments: a possibility of getting a well paid job in a foreign country that would resolve my financial instability (and I so much enjoy changes, international and more cosmopolitan environment), another potential employment opportunity so that I might be in a position to choose, the possibility of going to an international conference as a renowned expert in my field... A lot of professional gratification actually with a tiny little factor: that I cannot hold my liquor so to speak.

 

Or it could also be that I'm used to and know how to deal with adversity but when things are positive, I don't know how to cope with it...  

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Petunia   
Petunia

Or it could also be that I'm used to and know how to deal with adversity but when things are positive, I don't know how to cope with it...  

 

Positive changes and events can be just as stressful as negative ones.  But usually, when our nervous system is stable and strong, this kind of stress is experienced more like excitement.  When you really think about it, the physical sensations of anxiety and excitement are very similar.

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bubble   
bubble

Thank you for 'dropping by' Petu ;)

 

I was also reading your post describing how being on the forum is sometimes counter productive for you... but it is always nice to hear from you. And thank you for this positive perspective.

 

When I was on a business trip 2 days ago, there was a second hand book store just across from the conference venue with the English section. What I was able to fish out during my rushed search is The Power of Now (which I've been planning on reading for a long time...)

 

'The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is. On the level of thought, the resistance is some form of judgement. On the emotional level, it is some form of negativity. The intensity of the paon depends on the degree of resistance to the present moment... '

 

Tolle at times appears too harsh to me in his wisdom with a lack of sympathy for human frailty... I keep wondering (and reading on) how to accept the present momement filled with anhedonia and the rest of the package. But it is a powerful tool realising you can simply observe your thoughts and emotions, be present with them without judging them. This presence should then act as light that will dispel the darkness of thoughts and emotions.

 

Indeed, amidst a panic attack I'm fully present in the moment and don't bother myself with either past or future. I'm just focused on surviving in the now...

 

To end on a positive note, my brain was restless and foggy today again after being surprisingly clear yesterday. However, i will remember the moment of lying on freshly fallen leaves reading the book and sitting on the grass next to the murmuring stream with the sun on my face...

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bubble   
bubble

I haven't been on this thread for a while because I've been focusing on my xanax issues,which I plan to continue of course,but also not losing focus of lexapro.

 

a friend borrowed a laptop after mine broke down but now had to take it and i still don't have money to fix it.rather,i will invest it in a meditation workshop and type on the phone.

 

It seems that my symptoms have stabilised and for some 2 weeks follow the same pattern.i'm not regular at journaling but reading one of Rhi's posts motivated me strongly so i took a notebook and started writing down.

 

One of my symptoms I actually haven't seen mentioned around is perfectionism.i have such tendencies at all times of course but notices that in times of general instabiity attention to detail becomes an absolute must.i'm blessed that it's not totally debilitating and it actually contributes to the quality of my outputs at work although it of course slows me down.however,since i have a great hard-earned reputation at work,my peiods of mulfunctioning are still escaping notice or are attributed to regular tiredness,stress,fatigue with highly emotionally charged content of my work,etc.rather than a 'psychiatric symptom'.

 

That said,my journal gets too detailed so i rather don't do it since i'm not able to simply write,a sentence or 2,let alone a numerical indicator.i can consider myself lucky that around 20 senences suffice,could be a lot worse i think ;) and I don't bother with style,just telegraphic writing.

 

Now my symptoms.I'm actually writing this thanks to my insomnia.Due to irregular record keeping I can't saywhen this pattern set in,but for the last 3 days,although today is weekend,i wake up at 4 am unfailingly as if woken by an alarm clock.it's almost 4 am sharp every day!then i'm fully awake for at least 2 hours and i can't tell when exactly i fall into a slumber but then have to wake up at 7 to go to work.

 

I browse the forum,feel like the inside of my head has been scrubbed,especially the frontal part and i do all sort of thinking, from work,future plan and of course my affliction and meds.

 

i also have vivid dreams,especially in that last morning shallow phase and usually wake up or actually wake up at 4 am,or 5 or 6 with anxiety,depression and painful dread.i think this is stronger if waking up is later(cortisol?i sleep in a completely dark room.

I try focusing on breathing and meditation with great difficulty and that helps a lot especially if i manage to calm down my thoughts and really put energy into focusing.that's why i feel the urge to attend that 5-day Art of living workshop on meditation,breathing and something else;)

 

yesterday morning i had that calm feeling that lasted for hours as if i my soul was put on a strong analgetic and experienced a pain relief,like a relief from acute physical pain.

 

I didn't have energy or focus to do much focused work but luckily i had to attend a workshop with colleagues from other regions who i see rarely.i was able to feel joy at seeing them and some of them even complimented my radiant look!(a bit of make up does wonders).

 

after few hours i got characteristically emotionally and cognitivly withdrawn,as if fatigued and only being able to be superficially present while my focus turned on how I'm feeling.After suffering from this for over 17,that is almost half my life,I got very adept at that kind of outwatd/inward functioning.

 

What was very interesting is that i was able to emotionally engage and feel clearly for my friends,be in touch with them emotionally with 4 of them:2 on the phone and 2 on chat and my dear baby brother is visiting with his dog.that was a true blessing.

I even got sightly melancholic that my posts here get so few comments which I see as a sign of my emotional detachment,among other things;)

 

but luckily I m not too bothered about that I feel like I m writing for myself,to be in touch with myself.

 

also i don't have calls for help at the moment.things are hard but bearable,I've clenched my teeth(the expression escapes me) and i endure.i know it will pass.I have experience of that.things would pass.I would function almost 'normally'.And then crash.and build up myself again.it has become my identity especially since it started so early in life.

 

now it's actually 5.30,I think this has been a loooong post.

 

Another interesting thing is that I started feeling hungry,have to use the toilet.I think i will grab a bite,also take the morning xanax and fall asleep reading.9 o'clock is a scheduled hike with my brother and his dog that i look forward to.look forward to-what a blessing!not emotionally numb just lethargic..

.

Tomorrow or actually later today should be a big day-i have everything prepared to make my first batch of liquid xanax to enable me to spread my dose over 24 hours and hopefully experience the miracle of morning dread disappearance.spreading out dosages equally throughout the day has made a very significant change to my life-i must have suffered from interdose withdrawal for years think that I WAS JUST A VERY ANXIOUS PERSON.inerdose withdrawal became a significant part of my identity!

 

After reading things on this forum and following advice from skyler and areyouthere my identity has change...

 

Hard to put that into words...

 

Going to proceed with my morning routine.

Edited by Altostrata
added paragraph spaces for readability

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Petunia   
Petunia

Hi Bubble,

Thank you for updating here, it sounds like you are doing fine in your recovery process.  I relate to a lot of things you write about because I tend to be a perfectionist and have experienced high anxiety most of my life.

 

The early morning waking with increased morning symptoms is something which I've had through my withdrawal, it was much worse at the beginning, I would wake at 4 or 5, suddenly, like an alarm went off in my head, and be suddenly wide awake and full of anxious thoughts.  It does get better over time.

 

I still wake automatically, but later and the anxious thoughts are much less intense these days and don't last as long.

 

I hope you have a good day.

 

Petu.

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bubble   
bubble

Dear Alto and Petu,

 

thank you so much for keeping an eye on all of us. I can't tell you how much this support means to me in complete absence of anyone around me who would understand withdrawal and psychotropic medication. As I said, this site gave me hope after many years that I will manage to do something about these drugs and my condition in general.

 

I so much admire your dedication: I was typing from my phone so didn't know how to make paragraphs and Alto edited even that!

 

I read the posts on morning anxiety and it means a lot to me to know I'm not the only one experiencing this as well as understanding the causes. 

 

I have finally made the water titration of xanax which enabled me to spread my daily dose over equal intervals including the night. Today was my second day of the knew regime with a syringe and this morning I woke earlier (at 6 and not 4) but the anxiety wasn't there!

 

I still find it hard to believe...

 

Also I will start a five day Art of living programme this weekend with breathing exercises, yoga and meditation which I found to be very helpful. Today I have a headache but my concentration, focus and energy is better so I'm so happy I will be able to pull in a lot more work at work than previous days.

 

Let me get on with the work before the window closes ;)

 

bubble

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Petunia   
Petunia

I'm so glad the new regime is working, thanks for letting us know :)

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Good to hear, thank you.

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bubble   
bubble

Tomorrow I have to give a lecture to a group of university students (which I do several times a year).But now I feel like I want to crawl into a mouse's hole as we say in our language and standing in front of 40 people for 3 hours is at such odds with this need that I was getting frighteningly overwhelmed.

 

I brushed up my presentation,was even creative in making it more interactive and pass on the work to students to engage them but I can't feel the sense of accomplishment.

 

It's a strange for of a stage fright arising from the knowledge that I can't be sure whether a window will open for me at that time or will I be hit by a wave,but of course expect both.

 

That sort of puts the content in the second plan...

 

On an entirely different note, what I notice as a distinct characteristic of my emotional state lately and which is in sharp contrast with my more medicated or not-in-withdrawal self is that I am so much more emotional,swept by strong feelings of care,love,worry,compassion for my dear ones as well as the Philippines survivors...I haven't felt like this for such a long time.It resonates so much with things written on neuro emotions as well as what I read from other people being swept by yearning,longings,memories evoken by something akin to Proust.It is incredible how sights,tastes and memories move me.

 

Now I wonder if this is real me or that emotionally detached highly AD-ed person.It is scary since this is my personality I'm talking about.After so many years of AD,I forgot how warm,caring and compassionate I used to be.This is a hightened state,I feel something is not right because I feel I could cry although I can't. but at the same time it brings out and puts me in touch with something that is definitely me and that those AD somehow disconnected me from(I'm reinstating but had 44 days off and it seems they made a difference.

 

What I read here helps me so much to make sense of what I feel and actually notice and explore these feelings instead of label them as symptoms that have to be erased by meds...

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bubble   
bubble

I see I haven't been on my thread for quite some time which means things were improving,stabilising,normalising...I even started thinking about how I might begin tapering slowly soon...

 

But for almost a week now I've been feeling so horrible.not sure I can describe it.I am so painfully irritable,feel like a bubble about to burst.I almost feel physical pain of my nerves and have a visual image of them being bruised,wollen and so sore.

 

I avoid contacts with people,just want to be on my own,doing nothing,reading and sleeping.but i go to work,i struggle,wait for Friday,endure,hope it will go away.

 

If only I knew what was happening....I had a job interview which is of course stressful but shouldn't be so much since I already have a job.I was physically ill,some kind of viral infection that made me very weak,coughing and running a slightly higher temperature.Or could it be premenstrual?There's this pain in my belly for days but it's still not happening..

 

I bought a fresh supply of omega 3,vitamin E,magnesium,yesterday started taking vitamin B12...

 

The good thing is that in all my misery I had a thought of taking more xanax but quickly dismissed the idea...

 

This forum is so much comfort and strength.

 

Maybe it's just a very bad premenstrual case which should unfold any moment now...

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tezza   
tezza

Bubble, I'm sorry you've been hit by this after feeling better! It's a big disappointment, I know. Physical ailments and the cycle can aggravate WD symptoms.

 

I'd probably wait a little longer before beginning to taper, just to be safe.

 

I hope you feel good soon!

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