3 weeks on citalopram feeling awful!

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It's a very long story but I have recently been working 2 jobs and probably burnt the candle at both ends. I have a 2 year old boy that I adore and I'm trying to work my second job to enable me to stay at home with him. I started feeling funny about 10 weeks ago and realised I was having panic attacks as I have suffered previously in the past.

I was put on 50mg of sertraline and to say I felt awful would be the biggest understatement! Dizzy, sick, palpitations, tummy upset, suicidal you name it I felt it. After 3 weeks I couldn't take anymore and went to the doctors who said I could swap into citalopram (I've used this in the past and it saved me, with no side effects)

This time was not the same! I weaned off sertraline and started citalopram 3 weeks ago on 20mg. My anxiety is definitely worse than last time and I've had all the same side effects of sertraline and worse! Week 2 was last week and I felt fab, the dizziness passed and I was ready to go back to work after a month signed off. I'm now just past 3 weeks on the tablets and 3 days back at work and I feel like I'm back to square one. Dizziness, horrific headaches, spaced out, foggy and totally exhausted. I've been in bed at 7 every night. I'm paranoid I'm dying of every illness going and I've been back and forth to the doctors almost daily! Please tell me this is normal? I've never had this when taking it before and while I appreciate my situation is harder now as I'm already a stressed out mum I didn't think I would get side effects this bad. And I'm paranoid it's not the tablets and there is actually something really wrong with me. I know the tablets take time but when I've taken them before I've had no side effects and felt better much quicker. I just want to know I'm not alone and I want my life back to enjoy my little boy as this is why I started all this in the first place!

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  • Posted

    Hi Leighanne

    Yes this is perfectly normal feeling like this - usually your symptoms get worse before they get better.  I'm taking these for the 2nd time around too and I also had a tougher time restarting them this time.  I'm now back to normal btw.

    All SSRI's give you side effects, and most people do suffer for a while unfortunately.  Yes they do take time to work and 3 weeks is very early days.  Sometimes it takes 3-4 months or longer for some people, but don't let that discourage you - you know they worked for you before and they will work again.  There is no quick fix, and increasing your dose doesn't make it any quicker either.  Just keep going x

    Just keep persevering - you'll get there.  Just remind yourself that you're not well, and you're body is healing very slowly.

    K x

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much K. I'm doing my head in wondering why I'm so dizzy and why I have these headaches and I want to ask the doctor to give me scans and everything just to prove I'm not dying of a bean tumour! The rational part of my brain is telling me this is all my anxiety but I think because I feel so physically unwell as well as mentally I'm just stressing and making myself worse. My jaw is so sore where I think I'm clenching my teeth and that's giving me a constant tension headache. I think deep down I am not well enough to be at work but I'm scared to be off too long.

      Thank you for your advice xx

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    • Posted

      It's definitely the stress making you tense and clenching your jaw, and probably adding to the headaches.  The medication can also give you headaches initially, and once they start to kick in you'll find you'll relax more, the tension will ease and the headaches will go.  Steveo is right, try and get as much sleep as you can, try and avoid mobiles, iPads and computers etc as these can also give you eye strain and headaches.

      Sometimes it's good to be working as it gives you a routine, plus being with people often helps.  Of course don't be afraid to a get some time off too, as it will help just to be able to catch up on relaxation time.

      Try and take some time out for yourself (I know not easy with a little one) but after he's in bed maybe turn off the TV, read a book, have some relaxation. music on, take a relaxing bath ....... just a little something just for you.

      When we become ill and stressed, our nerves become trigger happy and are ready to fire off at the slightest exaggeration ........ over time as the medication builds up in your body, it calms the nerves, relaxes you, stops all the worrying, stops the anxiety and depression.  It takes time, but try and remind yourself that everything is fine, you are healing inside and you have to wait a little while.  I'm sure you haven't a tumour, but of course there's no harm in talking to your doctor of your fears.  I'm sure many people fear things when they don't feel well, and rightly so, but everything will start to settle soon.

      K xx

       

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much. Talking to people who understand has really helped to settle me and I do feel a bit better today. It's my last day at work this week as I have Friday's with my son so I'm going home tonight and turning off from the world! My friend has given me a hypnotherapy audio for anxiety so I'm also going I listen to that tonight. I'm definitely feeling more positive today and I'm trying to reassure myself that the physical symptoms are just a side effect of the tablet x
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    • Posted

      It's the best thing, talking.  Most of us thought we were the only ones with this illness, making us feel isolated, scared and just generally confused.  Being kind to yourself, making time for yourself is good whilst you wait for the meds to work.  Enjoy the audio, and enjoy Friday with your son.  In time you'll begin to fell better as the meds begin to do their work.

      Keep in touch xx 😉

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  • Posted

    Hey Leighanne,

    The stress of working long hours and worry about son would be a big driver in your health worry is the worse thing for depression/anxiety the meds will take a while to work and we all change not having side effects previously may have been due to something else? Hang in there you are doing pretty incrediable matey!

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    • Posted

      You'll make it! What you have done already is probably the hardest part things may calm down once you get onto of things stress is a big trigger for both anxiety and depression we need to keep ourselves healthy make sure we give ourselves some time out even a few minutes a day it all helps I learnt this the hard way! Sleep is also really vital in these stages so getting good sleep is a big step forward.
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  • Posted

    Not having a great day today. Woke up feeling fine then half an hour after taking my tablet the dizziness started again. Going to try taking it at night tonight and see if I can maybe sleep off some of the side effects! Generally felt light headed, sick and jittery all day. Really wanted to enjoy my day with my son and it's been overshadowed with this crappy feeling. Luckily he doesn't know and we've snuggles most of the day. Been dreaming up all sorts again about what is causing the dizzy feeling. Just want to wake up and feel normal! I have enjoyed being at home today though and so glad I didn't have to work today! Got to take the rough with the smooth I guess. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day again. It is Friday 13th after all!!
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