My experience 1 month in

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Hi hope everyone is doing ok. Just thought i would post as I have made it through my first month on Citalopram and I am pleased to say I am doing better. I know I am still at early days of this but things are looking positive and I am working hard to recover so i just thought i would share it.

The last 30 days have been an absolute rollercoaster full of ups and downs. The first 2-3 weeks were the worst. I had really bad insomnia, complete lack of appetite, headaches, muscle aches, heightened anxiety, really low mood, brain fog, dizziness, weight loss and the worst fatigue I've had in my life. I spent the majority of the first 2 weeks in bed. But I perceived and can definitely feel the good side of things now. The only side effects I have at the moment are the odd headache every now and again but paracetamol solves that, my sleep is still abit affected but that could because of the weird vivid dreams and my anxiety still gets the better of me somedays but not as much as a month ago.

Ive been reading alot on depression and anxiety the last few months and its really helped especially this forum and all the people on it. Below are just a few things I found really helpful in the first month on Citalopram. I hope it helps everyone, even if its just a little bit.

+Start a journal of how you are feeling and try to write in it everyday. I downloaded an app for my tablet and write mine before bed at the end of the day. Just record how you are feeling, what side effects you have experienced, what your moods been like, energy levels, anxiety levels. You'd be surprised how much this helps.

+Exercise more or at least try to get abit more physical. I know its easier said than done especially in the first few weeks but it really does help. I slowly started going back to gym after my second week and felt I had more energy and overall just a better mood. If you can't face exercising or just don't have the energy like me, I started small and just did little jobs around the house, washing, cleaning, hovering. Anything just to get me out of bed and active. I eventually started going for short walks even if it was with a friend or taking the dog out.

+Eat more and drink plenty of water. This one is a real duh one but like i said i barely ate in the first two weeks because of my lack of appetite which contributed to my fatigue and weight loss which affected my mood so it was a sort of vicious circle i thought i wouldn't break. But again start small. I always had a bottle of water next to my bed and slowly sipped it throughout the day. I ate little meals and tried to snack as often as possible, even if it was stuff like chocolate or toast just to give me abit of energy. I ended up getting a protein powder and started to drink one everyday which i found really helpful. I also started to take Berocca, the mulivitamin tablets and vitamin D. I found it took a while to feel the effects but I do feel alot more energetic now.

+Probably the best thing I did was to accept I had health anxiety and depression. Just accept this is nothing to be ashamed of as it far more common than you think, keep thinking positive about things and most importantly talk to other people. I was very surprised at amount of people I talked to who were also on or were on antidepressants. At first I was abit hesitant to tell people at work but when I eventually did every single one were understanding about it and a few were even in similar situations which made me feel alot better about myself. Now we openly talk about it which feels so much better than keeping it to myself, which brings me to my next one.

+Learn about it. At the start I just didn't want to accept or even believe I had anxiety or depression as I thought theres no way thoughts can make me feel this way but since accepting it I have read up a lot on health anxiety and depression and even how antidepressants work and I can honestly say I feel better because I now understand it more. Things are less scary when you know how they work and that includes the body and mind. In fact I have just applied to go on a free 4 week course about anxiety, stress and depression with the NHS to better understand it which I'm quite looking forward to.

+Be kind to yourself. Probably the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. You're only human so don't beat yourself up about anything. I know its hard with anxiety and depression because the truth is you are your own worst enemy but don't feel guilty or bad because you are going through a very tough time. Healing takes time, a very long time in fact and you've got to do what you've got to do to heal. Even if that means taking some time off work or sitting in bed or on the couch watching your favourite feel good shows all day or even binge eating on junk food for a day or two. Anything to get you through those first few weeks a d bad days. You have to do what makes you happy and keep reminding yourself, especially during the bad days, that these bad feelings will pass.

Sorry for the long post but I found reading these forums really comforting especially on my bad days when I was stuck in oblivion but knowing that what I was going through is normal and to not be scared of it. I will keep you all posted on my journey and wish you all strength in the days to come.

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42 Replies

  • Posted

    Brilliant post Carl. It's really helpful and should be a must read for those starting on Citalopram and anyone with anxiety depression. One question, what app did you use to write your journal. I could have used that when I started back on Citalopram. Thank you for this post. Ron

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    • Posted

      Hi Ron hope you're doing ok. Its called Journal by Scott Conger on the app store. Its very simple and basic but its exactly what I was looking for as I tried a fair few but just found others to be more over complicated but i guess its to each their own.

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  • Posted

    It was really interesting and helpful to read about your experiences in the early days of taking Citalopram. You were very brave to keep going with all those side-effects! It is so hard when you have to get worse before you get better.

    I would agree with you about taking exercise. It does help. Also, it is good to keep busy, as ruminating over negative thoughts is so debilitating.

    I still have insomnia to some extent after taking the tablets for 2 months. I find it useful to go to sleep to a guided meditation. There are loads on YouTube.

    I hope it continues to get better for you.


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    • Posted

      Thank you very much Jill. I would say the insomnia made it 10 times more difficult at the start as nothing feels worse than being both physically and mentally exhausted.

      I agree with the meditation as it really helps the mind relax. I listen to nature sounds on my phone like rain or the ocean. When things got really bad I took Kalms Nights. Found it worked quite well but felt hungover the next morning.

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  • Edited

    Thank you for this post, great tips and generally great to see you are feeling better, it gives the rest of us hope.

    I'm personally just under two weeks in and still feeling rubbish. I'm longing for the day I wake up without anxiety. This forum is very helpful when it feels like that day will never come.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and best wishes!

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    • Edited

      Hi Marketta thank you very much. The first few weeks are truly awful but you have to believe everyone on here when they say it will get better. I expected my recovery to come in leaps and bounds but thats not how is works sadly. Its small steps forward and eventually you do end up in a better place. Hope your journey is a smooth one 😃

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  • Posted

    hi carl

    i read your post and it was so comforting knowing its not just me suffereing with this cruel disease

    i used to on cit for yrs but last july all my anxiety came back out of the blue i was so scared as couldnt believe it all came back

    so my gp switched me to sert and never felt like me again

    so i was on sertraline for 10 months

    i managed to get a app with a psy and she told me to switch back to cit 10mg which i have switched direct

    its been 7 days now and i am feeling dizzy anxioys

    blurred vision and no apetite its awful and feel like i am dying

    any advice plz

    also i am taking diazapam



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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria.

      I'm sorry to hear your anxiety has come back. It really is a horrible thing to live with but the good news is you can beat it and live a normal life again.

      How did you find cit the first time you were on it?

      The first few weeks for any dose of Cit will always be the worst as this is just your body getting used to it as it really is a slow acting drug. So you just have to keep reminding yourself that these side effects are normal and will gradually pass.

      I had awful dizziness and brain fog the first few weeks but I understand now that my anxiety made my symptoms alot worse especially because I was constantly thinking about them. The dizziness and brain fog had stopped around the 2 week mark for me which is also when my appetite gradually started to come back and when my worst side effects disappeared I found myself able to start working towards a better me.

      I would suggest give it another few weeks on 10mg and see how you feel. Plenty of people have recovered on 10mg whilst others need a higher dose. I started on 20mg and that seems to work well for me at the moment. Just be careful if you do decide to increase as ive heard the side effects will come back like starting over again.

      Just do what you have to do to get through the first few weeks as those are the hardest. I spent the first 2 weeks vegging in bed watching and reading harry potter. I eventually moved out the bedroom into the living room and even that little change I found helpful as it got me up and moving, i was closer to the kitchen for food and closer to the garden which I would just sit outside every morning.

      Just be kind to yourself in the next few weeks and just try and help your body as much as possible to recover. Remember recovery doesn't come in leaps and bounds. Its very small steps forward and sometimes even backwards but the bad days will pass and you will feel better.

      I am by far an expert compared to all the great people on this forum but I found this place very comforting especially in the first few weeks and reading everyones success stories gave me the drive that I can and will get better. Your always welcome here and we're all here to help.

      Kind regards


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  • Posted

    thank u so much for ur kind response

    i was cit for around 5 yrs it was a miracle i had no side effects and recovered quickly

    but last july as said i woke up with full blown anxiety i was sooo scared

    i was also on my monthlys so not sure if all that was the cause

    my gp switched me the nxt day from 25mg of sertraine up to 100 after 10 months i was little better but i have noticed i seem to get severe anxiety when near my cycle never used to have this

    anyway gp switched me straight from 50 mg sert to 10 mg of citrapram

    its been 7 days and my monthlys are everywhere

    i feel so unbalanced when walking and just weird al day long

    i am 47 so not sure if all this started last july had something to do with hormones

    i had a blood test last july and all normal

    i had this before starting sertraline

    i feel soo low and scared that theres something serioysly wrong with me

    i can handle panic but its the feeling of unbalanced when walking scares me the most

    i was also wondering if i am still withdrawing from the sert in my system too

    i just dont know anymore

    i seriously sometimes think i wish i could escape all this

    sorry if sound bleak but i feel this is crippling me

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  • Posted

    my psy told me to switch

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria.

      From my experience some doctors don't know alot about antidepressants especially the timescale and side effects of things. My doctor literally told me nothing about citalopram or even the side effects that come with it but luckily I learned alot from this place.

      Lois is one of the wonderful people on here who has alot of experience with this kind stuff so shes probably right about you having withdrawal from sert. Plus i have read from others that your monthly cycle can affect how you feel and make your symptoms worse i.e. hormones.

      Im glad to hear cit worked for you before. The being unbalanced sounds alot like a side effect of the drugs so i wouldn't worry too much about that as it should start reducing as time goes by.

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  • Posted

    thank u for replying

    its a great comfort

    well i am day 11 on 10 mg of cit

    my syptoms of unbalanced feeling still there and worse if go out walking

    i seem to wake crack of damn with that doom feeling its awful

    i am hoping the sert is out my system now and cit is kicking in

    my appetite is zero

    horrible horrible x

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria

      The symptoms could very well be combination of side effects of both coming off sert so quickly and starting cit plus it could also be due to the anxiety as it really is a horrible thing that creates all sorts of symptoms.

      I used to be exactly the same with my sleep. I sometimes used to dread falling asleep because I was scared I wouldn't wake up and even when I did I'd wake every hour in a panic. The good news is though after a month my sleep patten has gone back to normal except for the vivid dreams.

      The same goes for my appetite. Completely disappeared in the first 2-3 weeks but now its back more than ever.

      Just try and get drive through the first 4-6 weeks and see how how you feel. Just remember to be kind to yourself. Healing takes time.

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    • Posted

      i had side effects from other ssris withdrawls and startup from celexa for eight long months.sometimes for some people these side effects mimic anxiety so well that our doctors confuse it to often.

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    • Posted

      hi carl

      your replys are so comforting as i really feel something bad is going to happen to me

      its the worst feeling ever .

      i also work whivh i find so hard to do and face people at work and trying so hard to act normal

      but inside i am incomplete fear of like just dropping dead

      i have noticed now that when i try sleep i get weird thoughts and heartburn and seeing werd figures when i close my eyes like everything is rushing

      its so hard to explain

      and also every single morning i am waking up at exactly 5.30am and have to get out of bed quick and put tv on

      its like its a set time my body wakes and i hate it

      y am i getting up at exactly 5.30 am every morning then feeling so tired most of day

      i am praying that all this goes away as its really affecting my life

      i am also scared as i seem to be taking diazpam everyday now normally only small amount of 1mg in morning and 1mg around 5 pm

      i am now worried if i am getting addicted to this

      everything scares me atm

      i am on day 12 of 10mg of cit . do u think that my other ad is out my sysstem yet ?

      i feel so alone and so scared

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    • Posted

      hi lois

      do u think that my old ad is out my system yet its been 11 days since switching from sert to cit

      and can i ask if taking diazapam is becoming addictive but its the only thing that helps me a lil

      also i have to work everyday which i find so hard to do esp when feeling fuzzy and judt weird

      i dont take much only 2mg a day but do you think i should stop this and if this is effecting my unbalanced feeling

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    • Posted

      Hi Victoria

      Feeling of dread or doom and intrusive thoughts are normal with anxiety especially at the start and end of taking these meds. I had exactly the same experience. I was constantly on edge waiting for the worst to happen. Everytime I got a headache or a weird sensation I would say to myself 'this is it. Its happening' then I was perfectly normal again. I just kept reminding myself that my doctor has given me an all clear and Im not actually showing any true symptoms that theres anything seriously wrong with me. The worst thing possible I did was google about all the life threatening things I thought I had which convinced me that I had them even though I wasn't showing any true signs of them.

      I did the same waking up early. I would always wake up around 3am for the first 2 weeks. I did take kalms nights which helped me get a full nights sleep some nights. I also started to take a hot bath with lavender to help me relax and help my brain shut off before bed.

      I don't really know much about diazpam as I've never taken it but I have heard it is only for short term use as you can become addicted to it. If you feel like you are starting to depend on it a little to much you should go talk to your doctor as I'm sure they can offer you some better advice on it.

      With regards to the sert I read it can take upto a month to be out your system but I think it depends on the dose and how long you were taking it. My turning point was 3-4 weeks with cit so just do everything you can to push forward until you start feeling better. The good days will come eventually and you have to help yourself to get there.

      You are definitely not alone with this. So many people are going through this even if you don't see it. We are all here to help you get through the bad times so you can start sharing the good times.

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    • Posted

      your old ad is not out of your system yet.swapping meds takes a toll on your nervous are definitely going thru start ups all over again .not only are you going thru withdraws but also startup from the celexa all at the same you have to count months not days or weeks to start feeling relief.thank goodness you have your benzo.dont be afraid of becoming addicted.your doctor prescribe them for a regards

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    • Posted

      thank u so much for getting back

      i was on sert for around 10 months started at 25 went upto 100

      then i got this weird brain zap thing and gp lowered me to 50 i was on that till 11 days ago

      i just hate feeling not in control with my own self and that scares me

      going to work is horrendeous too

      just wanna feel normal and happy again

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    • Posted

      thank u

      i was thinking the diaz was mucking me up too

      i was on sert for 10 months goung up to 100

      then coming down to 50

      so yeah ur prob right my brain doesnt know if its coming or goung

      my gp said to stay on10mg of cit for 3 days then up to 20 but so scared too

      thank u for supporting me

      it means so much to me truly

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    • Posted

      I completely understand about work. I work in a hotel as a receptionist so I'm constantly around people trying hard to keep myself together. Its tough but trust me when I say it does get easier.

      We're all here to help and give advice. Everything will be ok just keep faith in yourself and dig deep.

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    • Posted


      sorry to keep asking

      but should i go up on cit as i am still on 10mg only

      was wondering do i need more to get better

      i was meant to go to 20 after 3 days but i didnt

      i stayed on 10

      any advice

      thank u soo much x

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    • Posted

      Holland and Barretts sell 100% pure lavander oil but its abit pricey. Boots sell it alot cheaper.

      Lavander has a natural calming effect so give it a go and see if it works. Its sort of trail and error to see what works best for you.

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