1 year out, still feel horrible

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hello everyone,

It’s been just over a year since I’ve taken any medication, and every day for an entire year I’ve been suffering, hoping one day I feel relief and start to feel like my old self. I’m 38 years old, and never felt any of these symptoms in my life.

I was put on Celexa because after one year of marriage, I found out my wife was having an affair.  It absolutely destroyed me, as I was completely in love, extremely happy, and totally blindsided.  After a few months of being in the dumps with minor anxiety, my GP suggested anti depressants.  I was extremely hesitant to say the least, but eventually decided to give it a try.

I followed directions and started at 10mg for 7 days.  I felt ok for the most part (some shakiness, crying spells).  On the 8th day I started 20mg.  After a few days at 20mg I experienced the most severe and unbearable side effects that I can’t fully explain to anybody.  I had brain zapping so severe it felt like my brain was being electrocuted upwards of 12 hours a day.  I had major crying spells, memory loss, confusion, extreme difficulty reaching orgasm, and even suicidal thoughts.  At that point I was so scared I wanted off the meds asap.  My GP advised me to stay on, so I did for another 2 weeks, everyday suffering the same brutal side effects until I tapped out.  I was told if I wanted off, to wean down to 10mg for a week, then stop.  In total, I was only on Celexa for 21 days.

During the 21 days I went to the ER 3 times because the effects were so severe I thought I was losing my mind.  Each time to be told it’s just the stress of my situation and has nothing to do with the medication.  After a few weeks of stopping, I had bad insomnia, and some nights had extreme loud voices and noises in my head, almost like a horror movie... eventually that stopped, the brain zaps eventually stopped, and the other effects slowly subsided.  About a month later, however, I distinctly remember waking up one morning feeling completely detached from myself, and I felt severe tingling in both legs.  I felt so off I can’t even describe it.  I almost felt hyper aware of my own existence, mixed with a bad hangover feeling, grogginess, pressure in my head, and feeling very panicky.

The tingling in my legs lasted for another 6 months, and now is very minor.  Then I went through a phase where I had difficulty reading, and cognitive skills were poor, which lasted about a week or two, but eventually went away.  Then I went through a phase for another 2 months where I would wake up in extreme gut wrenching panic.  Thankfully that also went away.

However, for the entire year I have been living with constant panicky thoughts and have fearful/terrorizing thoughts about anything that comes to mind.  I still have the head pressure and sometimes get severe headaches every few days.  I have felt this way every day for a year now, with no relief in sight.

My wife and I are still together trying to make things work, but it just hasn’t been the same between us.  The affair destroyed us.  Everyone tells me it’s just the stress of the situation causing all these symptoms but I never experienced this before taking Celexa, so I have my doubts.  Does any of this sound like withdrawal even over a year later?  How much longer will I have to suffer before l’m back to myself again?  Thanks in advance

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  • Posted

    Hi Dobber80,

    We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around self-harm. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologise for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.


    If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The organisations below can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen. If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to one of these organisations who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.


    There are several helplines in the US which can help you.


    They include the Crisis Call Center on Phone: (800) 273-8255;


    Hopeline Network on Phone: (800) 422-HOPE (1-800-422-4673)


    and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on Phone: (800) 273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).


    Please do reach out - there are many good people who can help.

    Kindest regards,


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  • Posted

    Hi Dobber80. So extremely sorry and sad to read your story. It sounds similar to mine in a lot of ways. I was 37 and feeling low for a long time after the birth of a baby, but after a horrendous argument with my husband it sent me over the edge. I started Citalopram 10mg and 20 mins after the first tablet the horrendous symptoms started. Shaking so bad I couldn't hold a drink or write with a pen. Head pressure and what felt like fireworks shooting off in my head all the time. Unbelievable tiredness, confusion etc etc. On day 15 the tinnitus started, very loud ringing and auditory hallucinations. I then couldn't sleep because of the noises. I took the drug for three more days before I made the connection that Citalopram was causing this. I stopped cold turkey and then doctor agreed to get this drug out of my system. Then severe withdrawal symptoms started. Unable to sleep, fitting lasting several hours, fireworks in my head, buzzing and ringing ears and bizarre thoughts started, wondering what it would be like to stab myself with a knife, not checking for traffic when I crossed the road. Also had screeching train brake noises and the sound of crickets in my head. This was 9/10 months ago after my last dose and I am now only just beginning to feel my old self again with most of these symptoms going. It can take a very long time for the body to correct itself again after this drug. I would definitely say what you're experiencing is a result of this drug. I found it helpful to write down my symptoms in a diary and found comfort in the fact that they were improving, albeit very slowly. I hope you'll be feeling better very soon x

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your story.  How long did you stay on Citalopram for?  Its been almost a year since your last dose and just starting to feel better now?  I'm at the point where I'm starting to freak out thinking I somehow did permanent damage and that I will never start to feel the same again...  Every day I feel very panicky and so off from my normal self.  Its been so long that I dont even remember what it feels like to be normal

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I started 10mg of Citalopram in October 2017 and stopped cold turkey 17 days later around the start of November 2017. From memory it took about two months for the head pressure to stop, about five months for the shaking to stop, the shooting fireworks in my head stopped about a month ago. Screeching train brakes sound about 5 months. I am left with buzzing ears and the sound of crickets in my head which gets louder/quieter. I have noticed the following makes symptoms worse... alcohol and worrying/being stressed.

      I know how you feel, I worried that I had created permanent damage. It was the not knowing which worried me. I have been reading threads on here about it, but have only found the strength in the last week to talk about it. It makes me angry that my Doctor just said all this would go in a week or two, what rubbish!

      Are you noticing any gradual improvement in symptoms if you compare one month at a time? x

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    • Posted

      Does this eventually all go away? This is absolute torture... I was only on this garbage for 21 days, how can it literally ruin my life for so long... 

      For me, I am still in a very stressful situation, still living with my wife, not knowing if we are divorcing or not, and I'm worried about losing my house.. We have been living in limbo for quite a while, and I worry to death about starting my life over at 38.. I'm not sure if that all has any effect on my symptoms, but all the doctors I've seen certainly think so and completely deny the medication is causing this.

      "It would have been out of your system within 6 weeks"... thats what 3 doctors have told me...  Very frustrating when I KNOW what i'm experiencing, and I know for a fact didn't feel like this prior to taking any medication...

      I'm just scared because its been over a year feeling like this, nobody has a rough idea how long this will last.. and I've yet to read about somebody going through this and completely recovering

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    • Posted

      It might be out of you system .but not out of your brain..and from what I know it can take a really long time to get it out of your brain..did you Google PAWS..?
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    • Posted

      Hi Dobber80. I have no idea if all the symptoms will eventually go away. It's been 10 months now, I only took 10mg for 17 days. I am only just starting to feel I am conquering the withdrawal effect. The last couple of nights my ears have been buzzing and ringing. I just hope that will do one one day.

      My withdrawal symptoms get worse if I am upset and stressed, you're going through a hell of a lot more, so it may possibly be upsetting your withdrawal symptoms further. Does your wife know what you're going through at the moment and is she being supportive? x

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    • Posted

      Hey there, I experienced some similar and some different symptoms than you, all which are very unpleasant.  And yes, it's extremely frustrating when my doctor tells me theres no such thing as withdrawal and that it would have been out of my system within 6 weeks.

      For me, it is hard to tell if my stress is amplifying my symptoms because I am still living in limbo with my wife, not sure if we are able to make it through the affair or not.. but a lot of the pressure rides on me as I'm still unsure if I can get over her affair or not.... I stress about it everyday, and I worry constantly about whats going to happen, and what my future holds without her.  So I'm sure this does not help at all.

      However, all of my symptoms started after I stopped taking the medication, that is a fact, and I know i did not feel any of this prior to taking citalopram.  The only thing I experienced before taking medication, was a rapid heart beat that last for 4 months (Probably from the trauma of discovering the affair) and I was very mopey/depressed for a few months.

      I'm to the point where I'm scared I've ruined my life and don't know what to do.  I kept a journal and a log in the beginning stages to monitor my symptoms and how long they lasted, but it got to a point where nothing has changed or improved, and now here I am one year later still have head pressure, and still have very panicky and fearful thoughts. Its scary, and nobody understands

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    • Posted

      That's definitely frustrating about your doctor, this drug is very difficult to withdraw from. I took it for the first time about 8 years ago. I was well enough to stop after two years, but it took me a whole year to withdraw from 20 mg to nothing, cut the dose back very very slowly.

      I really feel for you and your personal situation. You have a lot on your plate. Do you have the option to live elsewhere for a while to get away from it all for a bit? Or have you tried relationship help services? I don't know what you have where you are. It sounds like you need to decide what you're going to do, whether that is to forgive or move on, otherwise the stress of it all is going to continually eat away at you. I wish you all the best in whatever you decide.

      I had head pressures too... when I laid down in bed, it felt like I had something heavy on my head and I was being pulled downwards, a bit like the feeling you get on a rollercoaster. That did go after a while, but it did take a few months. At the moment I am off to sleep now and both my ears are buzzing again, never had this before citalopram grrrr x

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