New to all this, could use some advice...

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Hi guys, 

I'm VERY new to all this anxiety/depression stuff and am just looking for a few answers or if anyone has gone through something similar for advice.

Going to be a long post so if you've got a minute to read i would greatly appreciate it...

I have just recently been experiencing sever anxiety/depression. This all stems from what the doctor thinks of a masking type situation. I lost my father to a massive heart attack when he was 41, he had his first when he was 34 when i was 15 and really lost direction after that. I'm 25 now and am still in the same funk now as i was then. I began absuing alcohol at an early age (17) and never really stopped until about 2 months ago. I have a 2 year old daughter and had my blood pressure checked and was told i was having sympotms of a stroke. Day after my last bender I thought I was having a heart attack and decided to stop drinking cold turkey cause i want to be here for here. After that day, the anxiety and depression has hit SUPER hard. It goes from thinking i'm dying every 2 mintues to wanting to just end it all and be done. I have times i want to be around for my daughter then i have times where it seems like it wouldn't matter if i'm here or not. I'm experiencing sever vertigo and dizziness, heart palpatations, werid pains, and pretty much anything you could think of. I decided enough was enough and went to the doctor last week and he decided after about 15 minutes of talking, my problems were treatable with Celexa/Citalopram, the doc also took 2 viles of blood and did a urine test and everything came back clean except for high liver function but that's to be expected and yet i still think i'm dying and am afraid to go to sleep cause i dont know if ill wake up..I have never taken anything close to this type of medication. I grew up in a small town where the motto is just rub more dirt on it if you get hurt, worked in the oilfield for a while and have just recently started my own trucking company. Not like I have a lot to be derpessed about but damn it's always around. Like i said my anxiety at times is almost su unbearable i can't stand it, then i'll have good days where life is awesome..I guess i'm just looking for some advice as to what to expect and any general ideas of good habits to form while taking this stuff. I was prescribed celexa 20mg to be taken every night and i'm starting my first round tomorrow night with a follow up visit to the doc on the 23rd..

My blood pressure has been coming back down and seems more managable now...just looking for and advice or comments..anything helps me think im not crazy or dying...thanks for taking the time to read this means a lot and feels good to get it down out of my head..hope everyone has a good day!


1 like, 12 replies


12 Replies

  • Posted

    First I have to ask, have you been in therapy at all for these issues?  It seems pretty clear that the panick and anxiety surround your father's death, but to a depth that can't be controlled by your thinking.  In fact, it's the thinking that causes greater suffering.  CBT can help you learn how to deal with and accept stress such that it doesn't impact you so strongly.  Everyone has anxiety, fear and depression in response to bumps in life, but some of us have bigger bumps and are more sensitive.  Still, it is life.  It is how we think in response to the bumps that makes the difference, and it is possible to learn healthier thought patterns.  I strongly suggest you look into CBT even if you start the medication, because ultimately, the medication is a band-aid, not a cure.  You will still need to do the work, but it will be worth it.

    I have been on other ADs, not Cit, but from what I've seen on these forums, anxiety and depression gets WORSE in the beginning of taking this drug and can sometimes last for several months before it gets better.  You should know this going in since you are already dealing with anxiety and panick.

    I wish you well and hope you get relief soon.  No one deserves to feel so horribly, no one.

    • Posted

      I have not been in therapy, never really thought I needed it and I dont have insurance and unfortunately kiddos arent cheap...
  • Posted

    Hi mharley

    We all have different paths that have led us to this, but the paths all seem to end at the same place - anxiety and depression.

    Agree with Betsy.  CBT will help with some issues, and the medication will help too.

    Citalopram does make your symptoms worse before they get better, and the heightened anxiety can last a few weeks, sometime longer ...... but it will ease off.  Your sleep might be affected for a while too, nausea is another side effect ...... but all these wear off in time.

    Recovery on these meds is slow, really slow ..... but it's worth the wait as they will really help.  Recovery comes in patches too - feeling good maybe for an hour followed by feeling low again, then feeling good for maybe a day or 2 again followed by feeling low.  This can happen for a few months and each time the good feeling will get longer and stronger and the low feeling weaker and less.

    It is hard when a parent gets really sick and dealing with this when you were quite young too, and then of course losing a parent is devastating.  I lost both my parents within weeks of each other and it absolutely floored me.

    Well done for giving up alcohol.  👍  😊

    It it can take 3-4 months to start feeling anything, though some people start feeling well much earlier than this, and some it can take longer.  There is no quick fix, and upping a dose won't make you get there any quicker.  You just have to be patient.  Everyone suits different doses, but you have to give your dose lots of time before you know.  I recovered on 20mg btw.

    Each dose increase often gives you side effects for a short while again.

    Whilst you wait for the meds to start working, try and keep your regular everyday routine going, sleep if you can, eat well and just generally be kind to yourself.  Remember, this is an illness and you are recovering.

    Wishing you well xx


    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply, im really hoping it will help soon..really starting to take a toll on me..I havent found the courage to start taking it yet, today was a pretty bad day and didnt want anymore piled on, didnt know if I could handle it..but letd hope soon...thanks again, hope you have a good day
    • Posted

      If you're worried about taking the meds, maybe ask your doctor if you can start on a smaller dose and build up slowly.

      K x

  • Posted

    Hi Mharley, 

    Are you starting on 20mg or are you slowly increasing to 20mg? My doc had me increase from 5mg to 20mg in a week, which proved to be too hard on my body (I had really strong side effects, but read that it's normal when first starting on them). These lasted about a week for me. It was a hard week, but I got though it, and now things are getting better. I would advise not planning anything too much that first week, try to keep your normal routine, but if you feel worse than usual, give yourself some rest and watch light hearted movies till it passes. My doc gave me xanax to take occasionally during the transition period which helped a lot with the panic attacks. 

    I'm on about week 4/5 of Celexa now, so I'm really no expert, but things are starting to get better. I still have rough times, but they're becoming less frequent. (I was prescribed for anxiety and anxiety attacks, which can sometimes have a slower time getting the positive effects from the med). 

    I would advise looking into some form of therapy if it's available to you. Also, let a close friend or family member know when you're starting your med so that you have someone to call who knows whats going on if you are having a hard time and need someone to talk to. Support groups and forums like this can be really helpful I've found as well. Sometimes it's just nice to know there are other people going through similar things!

    Congratulations on seeking help -- it takes a lot of courage. I really hope you start feeling better soon. sending you good thoughts. xx

    • Posted

      He started me out on 20mg still havent found the courage to take them yet..thank you for the reply I hope it will help when I di take it
  • Posted

    I would never recomend anyone to take this or any other antidepressant of the ssri type, I have been on cipramil for 20yrs, trying to come off again now (have tried and failed 10 times over the years). I am not depressed anymore, but I can not get off these pills owing to the severe withdrawals. I am on 10mg a day from 40mg, over a period of 9 months. 3 weeks ago appro I reduced again to 10mg one day and 5mg the next, after the 3 weeks were up I felt so ill with flu symptoms, brain fog, dizzy headache, sore throatr, loosing my voice ...... but not depression. I have had to go back on 10mg a day for the time being just to be able to function at all. I joined the group to try to get help and support in coming off, only to find most people are saying how wonderful these drugs are, ffs. Any one out there ever succeeded in getting off them and staying off them ?
    • Posted

      These meds are wonderful for people who need them, and some people really do after trying just about everything else.  Everyone is different.  Coming off meds can be hard - I have come off Citalopram twice.

      First time I came off was 2 years ago and reduced them by half each time over many months.  I had withdrawal symptoms but coped ok.  Sadly I felt the need to restart my meds when a family member became ill and I felt myself slipping under the stress, so restarted last year.  I have since reduced my meds once again but this time I've done it by reducing by 5mg each time over many, many months from 20mg to 5mg and have had no withdrawal effects at all this time.  Next year I plan to stop altogether.

      When I was off meds completely I took a natural SSRI called 5-HTP which needs to be taken with l-tyrosine.  Both can be bought from Holland & Barrett (if you're in the UK) and you need to take them both.  Read a book called 5-HTP The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity by Michael T Murray ........ it's a really interesting read.

      You need to be off SSRI's completely before starting 5-HTP as they must not be taken together.

      We all take these meds for different reasons, some of different types, and all have different experiences of starting and stopping them.  For most people they are truly a life saver.  Meds are there for a purpose just as any other meds for any other illness are.

      I was ill for 15 long dark years and eventually was put into SSRI's which I stayed on for over 15 years and don't know what I'd have done without them.  I recovered and have stayed well since.

      Ask if your medicine comes in liquid form.  That would be a great help in minimising your dose somewhere in between 10mg and 5mg.

      xx ❤️ 

    • Posted

      Hi Pauline, I totally get what you are going through! I'm sorry you have suffered so much trying to come off.  I'd been on ADs for 20 years when I finally realized what the heck am I doing on them still?  No one ever talked about getting off; the docs just kept refilling scripts, no quesitons asked.  

      I was on Effexor for the last 12 years of it and tried to come off last year, must too fast.  The physical WD symptoms came first and overlapped with menopausal type symptoms so I thought that was what the problem was.  It wasn't until many months out that I had the most severe depression, anxiety and insomnia I'd ever had in my life!  I still didn't realize it was WD! It was terrifying. In desperation, I went to a p-doc who put me on mirtazapine since I couldn't sleep or eat.  It helped with those issues, but useless for the depression/anxiety, and I ended up back on Effexor, which worked within an hour, a sure sign of dependency since it's supposed to take four or more weeks to work!

      So, now I'm on two ADs, not one, and finally learned that all my problems stemmed from protracted Effexor WD!  Withdrawal tricks everyone into beiieving it is relapse!

      I have learned from others who have been through this that getting off the pysch meds has led to them feeling better than they ever have felt in their lives, being able to FEEL again!  Life has it's ups and downs for all of us; it is how we process them that makes the difference.  The drugs just blunt us, make us not care so much.  And they have negative effects on our health when used chronically; the research on these drugs was never done for more than a couple of months, so we long-term users are the guinnea pigs!

      I won't discredit the fact that these drugs can be helpful for acute situations; and they should be used until the person is stabilized, then withdrawn, PROPERLY!  They should NOT be prescribed for people who are having situational depression/anxiety in repsonse to a life stress.  

      I was floored when I learend that when SSRIs were tested on HEALTHY  subjects, a portion of them BECAME suicidal!  That is why there is the black box warning on these drugs about suicidality!  

      I am always amazed at the fact that new patients are expected to ride out horrific side effects for weeks and months.  

      The problem is, the doctors know how to get us on these drugs, but they haven't got a clue how profoundly our systems are impacted by them and how to get us off of them safely!  They always go too fast! It isn't a matter of getting the drug out of the system; the drug's effects causes our system to remodel due to the action of the drug, so when the drug is increased or decreased, more adaptation must take place as our system tries to reach balance again.  Nobody seems to recognize this; everyone thinks that once the drug is "gone" that everything will be back to normal, but in fact the physiological changes are still there and it takes time for the system to remodel back again.

      And for you and me, whose systems adapted to their presence for many years, our systems don't just reboot automatically once the drug is reduced/withdrawn.  It can take a very long time for our systems to return to the factory default. 

      I'm sending you a link to a support forum that is so very helpful in getting off these meds for those who wish to do so.  They recommend a 10% taper per month, and long time users such as ourselves, this is the most sane approach to take.  This site has tons of info about how to do such tapers with your particular drug.

      As for all the people popping on in support of staying on the drugs, I think that is because in part they want to feel ok about being on the meds.


    • Posted

      thank you Betsy, at last someone who knows what I am going through, and who has been on the drugs for a long time. I was given efexor once, it made me better and so i went to my gp to say i wanted to come off them, he said I did not need to taper off, as they were not addictive. I had the worst withdrawals ever, and I was away vissitting family. I went to my daughter's doctor, who said I should have tapered off!!!! So I was given the wrong advice by my doctor. My daughter's doctor gave me some valium to calm my system down. When I got home i told my gp about it, and said i didn't think these drugs should be on the market as they cause such havoc. he was hostile towards me for saying it. I then went catatonic in my other daughters flat for monts until she pursuaded me to see her doctor, who arranged a home visit by the phychiatric crisis team. he pursuaded me to go back on anti depressants, and said cipramil was a new drug (then it was), and that it was less drastic. So I did so, and am still trying to get off them. I wish I had been allwoed to just sleep and rest as long as it took, instead of going back on the drugs, but my daughter had had enough of me, and i had no one else to look after me. At least then I wasn't feeling so ill, just tired and sleeping all the time. What's so effing wrong with that. Efexor is like speed, I must have been exhausted. 

      Feeling a bit better today as it's day 3 back on 10mg a day, where I will stay until way after the new year. I know about 5HTp, and was planning on using it.

      Did you leave me the link fof the other support group.

      Many thanks


    • Posted

      My brain hasn't worked normally in years, something else I attibtute to chronic AD use!  I just sent you the link :-)

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