2nd time around .....

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New to this (any) site, so not sure how to start! I think I've suffered from anxiety most of my life although I didn't recognise it as such until the last few years. As I've become older (now a 54 year old) I think it's actually become worse. At the beginning of last year (2017) after battling seemingly endless illnesses and spending months trying to establish what was wrong with me (headaches, muscular skeletal aches and pains, lack of energy, ringing in ears etc.) I became depressed. Dr (anyone of many - never seem to get the same one twice) suggested that this may all be anxiety related. Started on Sertraline (3 days) at too high a dose and nearly blew my head off. I changed to Citalopram (20mg) and spent 6 weeks off work trying to get through the side effects of elevated anxiety and almost total insomnia. To cut an already long story short I finally began to feel much better and life almost returned to normal (except perhaps for feeling a little numb to most emotions, not simply anxiety). After 6 months I (stupidly) decided that I had recovered sufficiently and could come off. Within 2 or 3 months I was almost back at square 1! I've spent the last 12 months slowly but surely falling apart physically (and now mentally) all over again. I have finally decided I should probably go back on the meds but I can't face going through that 6 weeks of hell I went through last year. I started this morning on 2.5mg (a quarter). So the reason for this monologue is to ask how I should do this in an attempt to avoid the worst of the side effects. Go up by 2.5mg each week until I'm back at 20mg? Anyone had any experience and can help me?

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  • Posted

    I can relate. I was on 10 mg for over a yr, felt good than weaned off and felt bad again. I did that twice until last fall than went back on again. Now I am increasing to 20mg and dealing with the sideeffects again as well as increased anxiety. I'm not sure you can avoid side effects and I'm sure your dr is giving you advice. When I started it was at 5mg before going to 10. But I still had side effects anyway and took about 12 weeks till I felt better. My dr gives me lorazapam which I try to take spareingly when it becomes to much and I need to calm down. That's the only way I can get thru somedays. Everyone on this site has positive stories and good advice. Just know that it will be gradual and not immediate. But we all are trudging along with you!

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    • Posted

      Thanks all of you. Amazed anyone read, let alone replied! Difficult isn't it. I remember the first time i went through this Dr recommended Piriton for the insomnia. Didn't touch it (not surprisingly. I don't fancy getting on a drug merry-go-round, one thing trying to counteract another. Just spent the last 3 months on antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs. I didn't say before but in April this year I'd made the same call. I took 5mg of Citalopram and didn't sleep (at all) for two nights. So i abandoned the idea of chemical help and decided to just try and by myself. So, I think I'm inclined to go with Mike's advice and just take it slowly, though I'm thinking it could take ages with possibly no improvement. I'm glad I have people to ask though. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  • Posted

    hi john every time u go up a dose u r at risk of side effects so start on 10 or 20 mg . i started on 20 and went down to 10 eventually . It seems to take a bit longer 2nd time around well it did for me anyway its really difficult to stay strong but u will get there . I listened to an end anxiety app as much as i possibly could which helped ask your doc for something to help take the edge off the side effects i had propronol

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  • Posted

    Hi John, i was in the same boat & im a simular age, I worked my way down to 5 mg & have been on that for the last 4 months, so rather than rushing your dosage up to quick, once your on 5mg why not try to keep on that fir a month see how you feel, its great to have some emotions & still keep the anxiety at bay a little bit.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the quick response Mike. It's very easy to think you're the only one going through this, so it's reassuring to know you're not alone. Is it an age thing? Teenage kids that don't need you anymore, stressful job that I feel like I've been doing forever, wife who (and I can understand) whose patience with me is quite thin. I know I have a lack of happiness in my life that wasn't there before. Feeling a little lost I'm afraid!

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  • Posted

    Thanks all of you. Amazed anyone read, let alone replied! Difficult isn't it. I remember the first time i went through this Dr recommended Piriton for the insomnia. Didn't touch it (not surprisingly). I don't fancy getting on a drug merry-go-round, one thing trying to counteract another. Just spent the last 3 months on antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDs. I didn't say before but in April this year I'd made the same call. I took 5mg of Citalopram and didn't sleep (at all) for two nights. So i abandoned the idea of chemical help and decided to just try and by myself. So, I think I'm inclined to go with Mike's advice and just take it slowly, though I'm thinking it could take ages with possibly no improvement. I'm glad I have people to ask though. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  • Posted

    HI John.,by you coming off it because you felt better was not a good idea,so if are are going too give another go ,i would suggest that you start from 10 mgs first and stay on that dose for 1/2 weeks as if you do what you think was best ,you will never stop having side effects ,so by going onto what i suggest ,you may find that the side effects will not be too bad

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  • Posted

    HI John.,by you coming off it because you felt better was not a good idea,so if are are going too give another go ,i would suggest that you start from 10 mgs first and stay on that dose for 1/2 weeks as if you do what you think was best ,you will never stop having side effects ,so by going onto what i suggest ,you may find that the side effects will not be too bad

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  • Posted

    So, first night on only 2.5mg (as I said). Even on this dose just spent the whole night more awake than asleep, sweating all through the night. I'm not sure why people say at this low dose it will have no positive effect - yet it comes with the negatives? Scared to even take another 2.5 again today as i struggle at work with following sleep deprivation. Shouldn't be this difficult!

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  • Posted

    Hi John

    I was in a similar situation to you. Was doing good on Citalopram so much so that I thought I could come off them. Big mistake. I've been yoyo'ing with my dosage for months trying to find a happy medium and have caused myself both withdrawal and start up effects more than once. I have all the symptoms you describe and I really mean ALL of them plus more. I don't know if it's anxiety itself, the withdrawal and start up effects, the medication itself or a combination of everything. It's my own fault I know that much. My blood works are fine so that is reassuring me and the posts on this site.

    I am now on 7.5 mg for a week from 10 mg and I am going to stick with this. Starting again is sometimes harder for some people but I would rather have six weeks of discomfort rather than years of wondering what is wrong with me and going through hell.

    My husband is patient but I feel guilty for not wanting to go places like I used to. We used to walk a lot but I can't do that right now because of the zombie like state that I often feel.

    I agree with one of your replies here, every time you change your dosage you will have side effects. 2.5 is quite low to start and mean as though you have been on 20 in the past I would have gone a little higher personally.

    If you have already started 2.5 then see how that goes for a couple of weeks first. The thing is it's different for everyone so as much as I would like to give you the advice you need, it's trial and error I'm afraid. Don't make the same mistake as me though yoyo'ing with your dosage.

    I really do feel your pain.

    Best wishes

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    • Posted

      Hi Jayn and thanks,. I don't know what to do to be honest. I took another 2.5mg this morning (so second day only) and had the weirdest most horrible day at work. I have such a huge headache I can hardly think. I'm also so tired after last night's poor sleep. I have really struggled. I know 2.5mg is a very small dose, so how come it's having such a profound effect! I'm not sure I can maintain this whilst trying to function at work without telling them what is going on. I had to do that at the beginning of 2017 and it was a real palaver. Plus I don't want them thinking that I'm so flaky. I honestly feel so much worse than I did before I started. I know that's to be expected. Do all SSRI's have this effect?

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    • Posted

      Oh, by the way I know exactly what you mean, wondering what is side effect, real, anxiety, etc. That's why I don't want to take drug combinations (ie sleeping pills to counter insomnia). It's also the reason why I don't want to take anything. Another thing is this website global? Are you in the States?

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      I just typed out a lengthy post and lost it all, somehow??? I'll try again. I'm in the UK. Internet tripping out.

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    • Posted

      For me, when I first started, my side effects were as you described. I did spent 2 days in bed. I would Definitely try to get a prescription for xanex or something. It will help. I am very cautious and take .5mg when needed. Today is the first day I feel as though I don't need it.

      If it is affecting your job, you may want to tell your boss. It will be a load off your mind to just be hi est about what your going through.

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    • Posted

      Hi again

      Unfortunately headaches are one of the main side effects of citalopram, I get them too. They should wear off once your system has adjusted to the med. Increased anxiety is another side effect to begin with. Although 2.5 mg is a low dose we shouldn't underestimate the power of this med.

      Not all SSRI's are the same. They all increase serotonin levels in the brain but their components are different. I have no doubt that each type comes with its own side effects which have different effects on us as individuals because we are all different. For example, I switched once from citalopram to sertraline and felt good on them for a few days but I had blood in urine with them so had to go back to citalopram. Many people here have similar side effects on citalopram but there are variations .

      I used to take mine in the mornings but after I started messing with the doses I found that mornings no longer suited me. I was getting headaches and dizziness the second time around. Someone here suggested taking it later in the day preferably after food, so that's what I do and it suits me better. I am still getting withdrawal effects at the moment but I keep reminding myself it will pass with time.

      I get insomnia too and tinnitus, I listen to delta wave music on YouTube at night, very quietly, and it sometimes help. ENT advised that. Magnesium is something you might want to consider to help you relax. If you don't like taking supplements try increasing it in your diet. Cocoa is high in magnesium, it may help you some at bedtime.

      At work you'd be surprised at how many people are on meds. I worked in an office with three other people a few years ago and once we got talking it turned out we were all on anxiety meds. Maybe there is a particular colleague you can confide in then at least you have someone to chat to if you are feeling low. "A problem shared is a problem solved". I do hope your side effects are short-lived. Here if you need to chat. Take care.

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    • Posted

      Jayn, Thanks again. I think it's so good of people to take the time to chat to strangers to try to help.

      This latest 'urge' to go back on meds was due to a surge in anxiety at work last week where i ended up with intermittent sharp pains in the left side of my head that were getting progressively worse as the week went on. Over the weekend these became like bands of pressure around my head. This was the archetypal 'straw that broke the camels back'. I put this down to anxiety and my inability to not let this work pressure affect me. Difficult not to when people are requesting complicated pieces of work in overly short timescales.

      However, having only experienced 2 days of feeling this awful, and let's face it, on only 2.5mg, I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to continue taking these meds. I do however need to fight to change these and other overly stressful demands in my life.

      I've been so buoyed by the responses here - not least that I'm not so alone! So thanks once again to all who responded.

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    • Posted

      Hi John

      Sounds like you had work related tension/anxiety headaches. Work stress, which is all too common these days, could explain your symptoms. If you can control your feelings without meds all the better.

      I hope things settle for you soon.

      Take care.

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    • Posted

      Hope you find a solution that works best for you. I'm taking a course on energy medicine by Donna Eden. Found it through mindville academy on facebook. It's a great resource for lots of personal development. BtW... I'm in the US.. Pa.

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