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Herald

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  1. Many years later 🙂 Interesting to read back and see where the journey has gone. Over the 9 years I have been on and off citalopram dependent on what has been happening around me (and off coffee for much briefer periods!). At the beginning of this year, off citalopram, multiple life and work stress situations came together which culminated one night shift with a fairly strong panic/anxiety attack in May after which I left work. We are in a fortunate position where this month I am resigning from the job on medical grounds. This was the biggest impact hit on me yet in terms of impact. Hopped on to both Citalopram and Valium intermittently. The relatively regular valium pretty much a first for me. My capacity for doing anything, was very low and I had low level panic/anxiety attacks in relatively minor situations. The citalopram, as always for me, was effective at reducing the depression, but came with the usual side effects and breakthrough depression and low mood. Valium was good for when the fibromyalgia flared or anxiety threatened. My concern was that I was still not coping sufficiently despite all the other life situations going well and years of accumulating self-help strategies. So if something external did actually go wrong, I had no additional options or strategies. Where to from there? Psychology student daughter suggested I might have bipolar 2 instead of depression. Interesting thought, and certainly some life evidence to support it. I knew I didn't have the really high euphoria of Bipolar 1 but had never considered Bipolar 2. The other change to my mood was that it was now primarily anxiety related rather than depression, which was a change. So, referral to Pdoc to discuss. He decided I didn't have Bipolar 2 but changed the med from Citalopram to Venlafaxine 11 days ago. An easy transition and I am enjoying the difference to my mood. At the moment I describe the difference as my mood a more dense, smooth, deep, soothing calm and not as sharp as on citalopram. The description really does not make much sense, but it is how it feels. No depression and very rare spikes of anxiety which are easily dismissed. So, for now, all is excellent. Quite a turn around in 4 weeks, so a good start. Oh, something else that made quite a difference, prior to the Pdoc and Venlafaxine, was starting a low carbohydrate diet (Keto) which, to my mind and mood, stopped the low, down, tired, flat feeling I often had after eating. Now, after eating low carb food, my energy levels and mood remain stable. Pdoc said there was evidence to suggest that was actually a thing. What I have learnt: Time to reduce the underlying stressors where I can. I have allowed situation where the stress is so much, and the impact so high, that I have been 'forced' to tell others they need to help me. Asking for help is not something I historically do and I tended to do everything for everyone despite a negative effect on me. Current mantras : 'I can be well and ask for help' and 'It is their journey'. And our journey! Wishing everyone well! Herald
  2. Hi all, Hiya Seapup 😁. Having not dropped in on forum for a few years, it was fun to drop in and see that the details in my post of my journey 9 years ago was still helpful. We sound very similar in terms of life experience and where we are at, including the shift work, life events, meditation and coffee! Over the 9 years I have been on and off citalopram dependent on what has been happening around me (and off coffee for much briefer periods!). At the beginning of this year, off citalopram, multiple life and work stress situations came together which culminated one night shift with a fairly strong panic/anxiety attack in May after which I left work. We are in a fortunate position where this month I am resigning from the job on medical grounds. This was the biggest impact hit on me yet . Hopped on to both Citalopram and Valium intermittently. The relatively regular valium pretty much a first for me. My capacity for doing anything, was very low and I had low level panic/anxiety attacks in relatively minor situations. The citalopram, as always for me, was effective at reducing the depression, but came with the usual side effects and breakthrough depression and low mood and did not do much for capacity or anxiety. Valium was good for when the fibromyalgia flared or anxiety threatened. My concern was that I was still not coping sufficiently despite all the other life situations going well and years of accumulating self-help strategies. So if something external did actually go wrong, I had no additional options or strategies. Where to from there? Psychology student daughter suggested I might have bipolar 2 instead of depression. Interesting thought, and certainly some life evidence to support it. I knew I didn't have the really high euphoria of Bipolar 1 but had never considered Bipolar 2. The other change to my mood was that it was now primarily anxiety related rather than depression, which was a change. So, referral to Pdoc to discuss. He decided I didn't have Bipolar 2 but changed the med from Citalopram to Venlafaxine 11 days ago. An easy transition and I am enjoying the difference to my mood. At the moment I describe the difference in my mood as more dense, smooth, deep, soothing calm and not as sharp as on citalopram. The description really does not make much sense, but it is how it feels. No depression and very rare spikes of anxiety which are easily dismissed. So, for now, all is excellent. Quite a turn around in 4 weeks, so a good start. Oh, something else that made quite a difference, prior to the Pdoc and Venlafaxine, was starting a low carbohydrate diet (Keto) which, to my mind and mood, stopped the low, down, tired, flat feeling I often had after eating. Now, after eating low carb food, my energy levels and mood remain stable. Pdoc said there was evidence to suggest that was actually a thing probably related to insulin spikes, glucose and serotonin I would think. What I have learnt: It is time to reduce the underlying stressors where I can. I have allowed situations where the stress is so much, and the impact so high, that I have been 'forced' to tell others they need to help me. Asking for help is not something I historically do and I tended to do everything for everyone despite a negative impact on me. Current mantras : 'I can be well and ask for help' and 'It is their journey'. And our journey! Wishing everyone well Herald
  3. Hi all This post was started August 2009 while I was contemplating the struggle of getting off the citalopram after 10 years on and wanted to update the post for completeness and to show one path taken for getting off the meds. Four years on I am confident my body's independent neurotransmitter equilibrium has been regained. The outcome of which is that I no longer feel the need for routine supplements to try and get a balance. For those following my mum's path. She halved her meds from 40mg to 20mg and is content with that. She is well. In summary, 18 months to get off the meds in a fairly stable state. And two and a half years more to be drug and supplement free with a balanced mood. Wishing everyone the best of health in body and mind.
  4. Figured this series of posts needed a couple of summaries. Firstly one person's (my) path from 40mg citalopram to zero (approximated time frames) . Starting dose - 40mg Month 1: 35mg Month 2: 30mg Month 3: 25mg Month 4: 20mg Month 5: 15mg Month 6: 10-15mg Month 7: 10mg Month 8: 5mg. Supplements started and continued to current time. Month 9: 5mg Month 10: 2.5 - 5mg Month 11: 5mg every 2nd day Month 12: 5mg Month 13: 5mg. Increased variety of supplements Month 14: 2.5mg Month 15: 2.5mg Month 16: 5mg Month 17: 5mg Month 18: 2.5mg Month 19: 2.5mg Month 20: 2.5mg December 2010 : Month 21: 0mg. Secondly some of the main posts which I think may be some of the most helpful. Posts: #1 Withdrawal and why the abrupt withdrawal side-effects are so severe #2 Hard to beat summary of advice #5 Why the last 5-10mg are hard to get off. #19 Lexapro vs. citalopram #27 Why clever and strong people get depressed (horse in the paddock) #28 Dosage reduction - percentages vs total #29 Trap - "I feel so good I am going to stop these meds" #36 & 37 "What the hell is going on?" The broken mood. #38 Even reducing slowly it may be too fast #41 Re-emergence symptoms, new episode or give it time? #46 Straight talk - avoiding discontinuation syndrom #49 Choosing meds or less stress? #50 Other neurotransmitters and depression - the Edge Effect #55 Is changing thinking enough? #60 Sleep issues - too much or too little? #77 Game changing chemicals, high dosages and side effects #80 Sequential use of meds #82 The kindle effect - once depressed, lower tolerance #85 Why did I start the meds?
  5. Hi again Rahul Again I look a little harder and the game moves in multiple directions. I very quickly concluded that the research definitely needs a decade or two of focus and is way out of my pay grade. Fascinating, all the same. Cheers
  6. Hi Rahul Thanks for the info.. A couple of interesting things. The first is the method of action claimed by the drug. Begs the question whether it is serotonin deficiency or serotonin overload that causes what we call "depression" symptoms. Or whether both do. Following through the links and threads to various topics sometimes I feel the more I find out, the more confusing the picture becomes. A couple of decades of research will help. I haven't looked much into the other drugs available for depression. A search on these forums brought up quite a few topics discussing Tianeptine. As far as withdrawal goes, from a brief look,Tianeptine doesn't look like an exception from the withdrawal difficulties. Reasonably often I question again the wisdom of starting these drugs in the first place. The answer I come up with every time is that they were a 'life-saver', in my case perhaps not literally, but certainly figuratively. I do wonder if perhaps for some people, myself being one, it only puts off the future fight for balance and a break from stressful lives by deciding to start on the SSRIs. Going back to 'when it started' I can see that acknowledging and changing the situation I was in would almost certainly have meant no depression. Then would have been the more sensible time to fight for balance and reduce stress. The difficulty in having the 'back then self' listen to reason is probably exactly the situation many pdocs face. Stubborn lot we can be but many situations feel, and are, hard to leave and things hard to give up.
  7. Thanks for the feedback Rahul. It stimulates discussion, keeps me on track and I learn new stuff. In your post I found the name for something I had come across before - the kindling effect. "For those who struggle with more chronic depression, the effects of stress may be more complicated. A stressful event such as a job loss or the death of a loved one is more likely to come before a first or second depressive episode. After that, further depressive episodes may develop spontaneously. It is not certain why stress may lead to depression in this way. However, researchers have theorized an explanation called the "kindling effect," or "kindling-sensitization hypothesis." This theory surmises that initial depressive episodes spark changes in the brain's chemistry and limbic system that make it more prone to developing future episodes of depression. This may be compared to the use of kindling wood to spark the flames of a campfire. Since early episodes of depression make a person more sensitive to developing depression, even small stressors can lead to later depressive episodes." This was certainly true for me. A bit like being less tolerant to pain when tired. Once I knew about the theory/hypothesis of the kindling effect I was not quite so hard on myself for not being able to handle much lower relative levels of stress than I could historically. Beating myself up for being weak didn't help. Cheers
  8. Hi again Rahul Thank you for the best wishes. I did talk with Mum the other day and let her know she was mentioned on a blog on a depression forum. She said the whole process of withdrawal sounds very daunting and that she wouldn't even try if she hadn't a good reason. In her case, the reason being the higher dosages linked to heart arrhythmia. She had moved back to 1 7/8 tablets (37.5mg) daily after she recognized increasing anxiety and agitation with no outside cause. I did think that getting to mood stability on 25% reduction of dosage (1 3/4 tablets) after 4 weeks was surprising so wasn't surprised that there were recognizable withdrawal symptoms. She is happy to leave it at that for a bit until the lower dose feels comfortable. Rahul's path, which he shared with me in private message, was thought provoking and may have some similarities to others on the forum. With his permission partially reproduced here: " i've had no history of any mental disorder till age 35 (i'm 46 now). when i was 35, i started using xanax (0.5 mg) recreationally and developed an addiction but never increased my dose. 6 years later my doctor made me quit it cold turkey. i was not aware of benzodiazepine withdrawals (have become aware only in the last 2 weeks!!) and went into severe suicidal depression. after 2 weeks of suffering, the doctor diagnosed that i had a psychiatric illness and started an ssri (lexapro) and reinstated my xanax. i got OK. this year i started getting mild depression (tolerable) but revisited my doc and he increased my ssri dose (10 mg to 20 mg lex) and cut out xanax. again i went into severe withdrawals from xanax (benzodiazepine) exacerbated by the AD start up. meanwhile i searched the net and read about benzodiazepine withdrawals. then i had my doc reinstate my xanax. he made me cross over to chlordiazepoxide (another benzo with a longer half life) and i instantly became OK! now my point is this. with the knowledge i have gathered in the last two weeks, i am now able to look back on my history and see how i have been misdiagnosed. the path ahead is to gradually taper from the benzo and then quit ssri. being on a benzo long term causes mild depression too (tolerance develops and you start suffering from mild withdrawal symptoms like depression) which explains why i felt depressed while still on the benzo and ssri. Quite a few interesting things here. I was reminded of the story/song "there was an old woman who swallowed a fly, I don't know why she swallowed a fly" The song goes on to say she then swallowed a spider to catch the fly, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow and a horse all to try and catch what went down previously. With medications of any sort there is a danger that the medicines themselves, as Rahul says in his case, can cause a further issue which further medications are then prescribed to fix. So we have a benzodiazapine to fix the original problem (the fly) with a side effect profile which may have caused depression. In comes the SSRI (the spider). Sequential use of medications can be an important treatment and diagnostic strategy (Dr Gregory House is a fairly extreme example of its use) and can also be very important when the initial drug is an essential treatment and the following drugs help with unavoidable side-effects. When it is not warranted it is called polypharmacy and is a big problem in the treatment of the elderly. Which is not to say that it wasn't warranted in the clinical situation for Rahul. Just saying. What it does mean is that it is sometimes much easier to just add a drug to the mix rather than fix the initiating cause. In the old woman's case I am amused to see that part of the song is "I don't know why she swallowed the fly". Perhaps if they had found out why she swallowed the fly the whole course of the song would have been changed. The danger with adding drugs to fix other drugs is self evident. The next step might be more drugs to counteract any side-effects of the SSRIs. And the more drugs you add the more confusing logical treatment gets. The other way it relates to Rahul's post he says he started the benzodiazapines recreationally. It somewhat implies we don't know why he swallowed the fly. The really fascinating thing about the human body is that as an organism it is very canny at finding ways to find nutrients it needs. Take the example below of the guy adrift in a boat for weeks (haven't been able to prove a hoax or real but a great example regardless) "Not knowingly, but I watched something on TV about a man who was cast adrift in a life-boat for months, short of food he was forced to eat the Eyes of the Fish he managed to catch and ate these the last because they were so unpalatable. But after a while he began to like the taste so-much-so that he then ate these last because they were to him at the time a treat. It turns out, after he was rescued that these Fish Eyes contain some nutrients or vitamins that his body (I think it was his Brain) needed to survive and were not available in any other part of the Fish he caught. In essence his Brain played a trick on him it forced him by means of a craving to eat these Fish Eyes in order to survive. We like to think that we are in total control of our bodies but in a sense we only reside in these bodies ie the Brain, and to survive our bodies including our Brain can play all kinds of tricks on us to get what they want to survive even if it means eating what we would consider disgusting food. The man by the way who is now well fed and fit again, now considers those Fish Eyes that he once craved for while adrift disgusting." Pregnancy cravings and other strange eating behaviors are well documents. In my case, when I was a child I used to eat the leaves of one particular type of tree. Don't know why and I tried the leaves a few years ago and they are yuk. So, for Rahul, its conceivable his body found the equivalent of fish eyes for him (The benzodiazapines work on the GABA neurotransmitters with a different action to the SSRIs). This is supported in that the benzodiazapines also seem to work effectively as Rahul says to "instantly become ok". Here's one of the things about treatment of mood disorders. We are used to using drugs that fix the problem and then allow us to move on. For example, we get a bacterial infection, take antibiotics, most usually the bugs are killed, we stop antibiotics and move on without them. On occasion we might need to take them for an extended periods (few months) but the expectation is they will fix the bugs. If they don't the diagnosis goes deeper. Is there an immunity problem? Is there a hidden node of infection? Find the initiating cause and fix it is the essential goal. With the mood drugs I think we would all prefer we could do the same thing. Take them for a few months and fix the bugs, leave the drugs and get on with life. Unfortunately the drugs don't fix the initiating cause and stopping the drugs means whatever caused the mood disorder is then given free rein again. If whatever the initiating cause was is not removed and/or the damage to the factories (in my example) cannot be reversed then the mood disorder almost certainly will return. So, swallowing spiders will not fix the swallowing flies disorder. The guy in the lifeboat fixed his initiating cause in that he got other foods which satisfied his nutritional needs and now he won't eat fish eyes. After the baby is born the cravings generally don't recur. I don't eat leaves off plants any more probably for the same reason as the lifeboat guy. My question to Rahul then (and to all of us) is, before you come off the drugs, have you fixed the initiating cause? Perhaps supplementing with something with a lesser side-effect profile (other nutrients/supplements/foods) or compensating sufficiently (removing stress, exercise). If not, then reducing the dosage will probably get you back to square one and needing the drug again for the same reasons as before. Hard to argue that if nothing changes, nothing changes. Maths equation: Situation + 0 = Situation All has a purpose I guess. I have always found it hard to see when you are in the middle of it. Cheers
  9. About 6 weeks ago my mid-70 years old mother took a tumble down some stairs, broke her collar bone and ended up in hospital for about 5 days. (All well now and arguably, due to the follow up changes, she is in a better situation going forward). The relevant part of which, from the perspective of this forum, is that she is 50kg (110lb) and was on 40mg of citalopram which she has been taking for 15 years. A fairly high dosage given her body weight. The fall was not seen as caused by tripping, rather as a "drop attack" with a loss of consciousness as the initiating cause. One of the causes of which is heart arrhythmias. So, as part of the diagnostic work-up to assess the reason for the fall she was on cardiac monitoring equipment for a few days. Citalopram then became in focus due to the recent findings with respect to dosages over 40mg being linked with heart rhythm issues. No issues were found during heart monitoring. Even so the specialists made the decision that a lower dosage of citalopram was appropriate and recommended reducing the 2 tablets immediately by half a tablet with the medium term objective to reduce the dose to as low level as possible. Quite logical as prior to the fall my mother was in a good space, with a stable mood, great support and most of the stressors contributing to her depression were no longer around. Theoretically a great idea. But. (I knew you knew a "but" was coming so put it here for completeness) From a step aside and watch perspective I thought a couple of things would prove interesting with respect to the withdrawal from citalopram. Although I do fight to present a relatively unbiased assessment what I actually thought when I heard this was "Arggghhhh! Good idea, poor way to deliver the outcome " Applying this sort of judgement may be out of place. And the only way this could at all be applied to this group of highly educated, well trained, dedicated, relatively selfless and excellent group of people is because of the extremely high standards of expectations we place on them to know absolutely everything and get everything right regardless of anything else going on anywhere. On the outside I sighed and said "Well, they are the specialists." Why I thought the plan was not quite right was for two reasons. Firstly, no surprises for me to consider that an immediate 25% reduction in dosage was significant and likely to cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Half a tablet doesn't sound much, is probably the accepted routine way to reduce SSRI, may even be how it is recommended by the pharmaceutical companies and for most drugs which have minimal or normal withdrawal issues is completely appropriate. As an example, the other drug they recommended my mother reduce was a sleeping tablet (she was taking too high a dose and too regularly). It has fairly minor issues with withdrawal. She cut it out within a week with no apparent ill effects. For the citalopram reduction, there were no discussions with her about the possible side-effects. Just, see how you go with it type of advice. And if it is too much, just stay on the 40mg. Secondly she had just had a week in hospital, a broken collar bone and was needing to cope with not being able to drive for a year due to the seizure/drop attack issue. A stressful situation and one in which even more care in reducing stress relieving medications would be a rational response. I figured there was good support for mum and so even if the outcome of the citalopram reduction was a withdrawal crash and burn it would not be an irretrievable situation. As she was an experienced SSRI taker who had previously tried to reduce the amount taken (with withdrawal issues) I just reminded her to watch for the symptoms and recognize them if they happened. I found that when you haven't done withdrawal for a while the symptoms can start to express and and you think they are just part of a difficult patch of life, accept them and try to move on. Then they escalate to intolerable and can then be recognized. One week or so later, the withdrawal issues manifested. Reading the forums it seems that withdrawal symptoms manifest in many ways. For me and my mother it is intense mental pain. Mental pain is an interesting concept as obviously there is no real pain. Still makes you want to pull your brain out to get rid of it. The impact of which is that for many people I am sure it feels worth staying on the drugs forever rather than risking or going through the anguish of withdrawal. This was where my mother got to. Fortunately, from my experience, I was able to say I believed she could reduce the dose without risking the withdrawal, if it was done slowly enough, as I did. My suggestion was 2 (40mg) tablets one day, 1 3/4 (35mg) tablets next day, alternating through this way for a while to see if that was okay. When that was okay 2 tablets, 1 3/4 tablets two days and then alternate. She stabilized her mood back on 2 tablets and then started this process. She checked with the specialist team to check that a slow reduction was okay (it was) The additional, and interesting to me factor, is that she went to see her general practioner. One of these older, very life experienced and often very practical generalists who see and hear and listen. When my mother mentioned withdrawal issues with citalopram he said he agreed with her cutting down very slowly and that he had success in his patients coming off the drugs and that he often recommended that his patients shave a bit of the tablet each day. Slowly shaving a bit more off the tablet over time. I quietly cheered to myself for some practical and experienced advice. Where is my mother at now at 4 weeks from the withdrawal crash and burn? Stable mood on 1 3/4 tablets and holding there for a self-determined period of time. Probably a month or two I would think. Getting to the same outcome, different approach. So far, so good. Best wishes all :yinyang:
  10. Hi again Rahul Thank you for asking about how things are doing. When I have a rough run (like the last week) I amuse myself by looking back at various pronouncements I have made about how I am doing and the stages of thinking they show. I see that just over a month ago I felt I was in a great space and had figured I didn't need the various neurotransmitter supplements. As a consequence I dropped them off and pretty much stopped taking them. What followed was a slow mood crash over a couple of weeks which I finally recognized a a week ago and started supplements again. Yesterday my mood was fairly depressed. Today the wave has lifted. Lesson for me (again) and one which I don't like - to maintain a stable mood I still need supplements/drugs I think you are very correct in suggesting that serotonin is not necessarily the game changing chemical. From the research I am doing and with playing with supplements I think mine is primarily dopamine. Here goes more theory . Lets say the game changing chemical for me is dopamine. And adding in this comment from you a couple of posts back " we know pharma cos. market them as serotonin re-uptakers but that is not how they actually treat depression (it's still a mystery) but treat they do. " It is likely that some of the effects of the SSRIs is that they act (re-uptake) on all the neurotransmitters in the pool. This gives them their very variable side-effect profile and would make them somewhat effective for anyone who's game changing chemical is not serotonin, but one of the others. Less effective for these other neurotransmitters, but somewhat effective. 50-100 years ago cancer like symptoms were lumped together under a general term of "wasting disease". With further knowledge medicine now has separated wasting diseases into numerous categories with specific treatments for many. Almost certainly medicines were given which may have been effective for some of the illnesses but not others. In the same way, due to the lack of current knowledge, mood disorders could be seen as often being lumped together as serotonin related depression. As time goes the different causes will continue to be teased out and specifically treated. In the meantime, I may be one who has a dopamine related mood disorder. I take an SSRI which sees a moderately good initial effect on my mood. As it is most specific to serotonin, it is less effective for dopamine. I take higher dosages to try and get the effect on dopamine, eventually reaching both a plateau in what is considered a safe level of medication but without a full effect for mood. Additionally, because of the high dosages a much higher degree of side-effects than is needed. It is feasible. SSRIs are an excellent drug, there will be better. Sunny day, heading outside :EuroBiker:
  11. Hi Rahul I had a quick look (read Google) and couldn't find the studies. Which doesn't mean they don't exist, nor that what you said isn't true. I.e. It may be that normal people deprived of serotonin (in studies) do not get depressed. They would probably need to be huge, double-blind trials with control groups and over quite a long term trials to create usable data. I am not sure, apart from sleep deprivation, how a study would serotonin deprive a study population unless they found a large population with already low serotonin levels which is quite possible. Not quite sure which part of the discussion would be completely wrong? Probably the concept that if an individual has low serotonin levels then they will automatically be depressed? If so, I agree with you. It is quite possible that some people can handle low serotonin levels without depression. Could be where the lifestyle and stress levels come in. In time I would imagine medical research will sort out some way to measure levels of neurotransmitters. Then there will probably be a range of 'normal' just like glucose and a better way to measure it with some handling it okay and others not. Aside from that, I think the general theory in this blog is well enough based in science, and certainly in experience, to be a useful concept. Might be all wrong, most likely neither all right or all wrong, definitely not all right. Cheers and best wishes
  12. I thought it might be interesting to add that Lambvet first posted this note fairly soon after I started cutting down on the drugs. I did not take it very well. As I was already 6 months into a very slow withdrawal program (after 10 years at 60mg) and felt I was already tapering off many, many times more slowly than any usual recommendation and therefore how could it be that the detox was progressing too fast. It was too ugly a truth to know it may take as long as it needs and there was not much I could do about it. In retrospect, nearly 3 years later, having finished with the medical drugs and pretty close to finally getting rid of all the various supplements, this advice was very wise. A belated thank you Lambvet
  13. Hiya again Tekgrl Glad the analogies are helping. 15 months off meds for me now and feels like a new phase is beginning. I am dropping some of the neurotransmitter precursors as well without crashing as a consequence. Perhaps the chemical balance is finally starting to come right without me needing to prop it up. Within the analogies it means that the factories are almost fully repaired and the vacuum cleaners reset for normal living. Having said that i doubt it could have been done within the life and working environment I had when the depression formed. If I hadn't changed those I am confident I would have been still on meds and still uncontrollably depressed. I still like the analogy of the horse in the paddock who doesn't or can't leave when the bear comes. Now I have got rid of most of the fences and when I recognize a bear heading towards me I head for the hills. >>>>> Hills
  14. Hi Spritual Wanderer :) A google search of SSRI and muscle pains gives 3 million hits. Apparently not an uncommon side effect of SSRIs although not one I had myself. I hope it resolves itself as the body balances itself out. Best wishes
  15. Hi Kels, Scout and Tekgirl :) :) :) Great to hear that you have found the thread useful. Writing it was so helpful for me as well. I have been fully off prescription meds now for about 10 months and have never felt so good physically or mentally. Still take a lot of neurotransmitter precursors and I feel it if I stop them. Scout, your journey sounds so close to mine with much the same path followed. I recognize the same changes to the sleep pattern, emotions and mind racing. I also needed to do as you suggested "I guess I need to make a few more changes in my life". It took about 6 months I think on 2.5mg for me before I could come off. Favorite books for the minute are "The new earth" Tolle and "The Art of Happiness" Dalai Lama Thank you for adding your stories. With more successes perhaps more success will follow. Cheers Herald
  16. Hi Jon and Situational - good to touch base with you both Jon, I see a lot of similarities between your path and mine. I haven't had the exact sleep issue you have. All the same I have two thoughts following your description. Firstly the sleep insomnia pattern. For me, I differentiated between my sleep pattern insomnias to assess whether the symptoms I was having were excess SSRI or too little SSRI. When I was excessively tired, went to bed early, slept immediately but woke in the middle of the night with negative cycling thoughts it was too little SSRI. When I went to sleep at a normal time and woke in the night and just lay awake for a couple of hours for no logical reason I considered it excessive SSRI. Adjusting the balance in either case removed the symptoms. Secondly I think many of us are too focused on only serotonin as the neurotransmitter we are deficient in. Some way back in this post I note that the other three neurotransmitters give very similar symptoms and are affected by the SSRIs in ways which are not fully clarified. Once I decided I wasn't depressed anymore then it seemed illogical to focus on serotonin exclusively. For example, since taking gaba pre-cursors I sleep a solid 8 hours and no longer toss an turn. If I miss the gaba then I start to get broken sleep and an hour or two awake at night. I would not be off the SSRI without precursor supplements (including those to serotonin) I would suggest going to the pathmed dot com site run by Eric Braverman and take the Brain Quiz. It is free. Take the tests, and your number of true answers will show you where other neurotransmitters may be deficient. The Supplement Tables that follow will show you what supplements and nutrients can replace what your body needs. It is logical medically and in my experience the supplements showed results very fast. Not sure if you had a question Situational but thanks for reading. Always happy to try. Best wishes to all of us!
  17. Hiya :) Figured I would add an update as have now been off the citalopram for 2 months and have not had a reversion to depression symptoms. Beginning to think that coming off these drugs is possible. There have been a couple of times where I would have liked what I call the 'mind deadening' effect but those patches didn't last long. Still using all the neurotransmitter precursors. Going off those has a definite impact as my sleep becomes broken again, weight control becomes an issue and my memory becomes less accurate. Quite a journey. About 18 months to come off citalopram. Reading 2 books - Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) and The Art of Happiness (HH Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler) Best wishes to all and your families for your journeys in the new year. :EuroBiker:
  18. QUOTE (felicidade @ Jul 8 2010, 07:59 AM Amazing book. Good luck Leila
  19. Hey Surfergirl :) Good to hear from you again. Sounds like you have found a space you are comfortable with. I am at the same decision, for at least the medium term future. About 6 months now on status quo of 5mg citalopram and the general concoction of supplements. It seems that once the balance gets upset that for most of us it takes a long time to settle again. I still have a very stable mood, energy, sex drive, weight and my mind not in a fog. I originally wanted to come off the meds because all of the previous were too out of balance to be acceptable. Now I am very hesitant to upset the balance by trying to move off the low dose again. Maybe I will get courageous enough in the future to risk a return to instability, but relative mood bliss with all side effects well in control is a peaceful outcome for now. Best wishes
  20. Hi Jerrica Sorry for the delay in replying and I understand where you are coming from. I feel I could have written your post myself and I suspect many on this forum have/had the same question/s. I sure have so here is my take on them: The short answer is yes because human beings are so predominantly driven by their thoughts. And those thoughts can set of a cascade of neurotransmitters which then lead to a physical response. Depression then is far more common in those who are deep thinkers. And then you have to add a big "but". Sensitive animals (e.g. dogs, primates) in a stressful situation will show significant signs of anxiety and what we would call depression. As far as we know they don't think in the same way as people. They just respond to the present. They would not for example be worried that signs of depression might come back. So... if we change our thinking it can significantly change parts of the depression that are related to thinking. I have had CBT, use many techniques, best friend is a CBT, read dozens of books on psychology, self-improvement... and still do... reading 3 at the moment lol. Love them and they make a huge difference. What it does not change is the outside stressors. I have, in the past and to a lessor degree I am sure I still do, used changing my thinking to accept aspects of my life which I don't like. The most significant one for me was to overhaul my entire personality to become the opposite of what I am i.e. a passive personality. Doing so is what drove me into the deepest depression of my live. So, take care that in using the powerful tool of your mind you are not trying to cover up for what shouldn't be. Changing your thought pattern might not be a full or appropriate solution. If you missed the story about the horse in the paddock back through this post, that might be a good analogy. I have found a lot of peace in changing my thought patterns, but only when they are faulty, not to cover up a problem.Second time when CBT cannot be the full solution is when you have an absolute, or relative, lack of serotonin. CBT cannot help a diabetic for instance. Probably don't need to say much more there. This effect is why it took me over 12 months to cut down the meds. If you go really slow you know that it is not withdrawal. Then you can realistically assess the other treatments, changes in lifestyle, changes in thinking as to whether or not they are effective.You sound strong in yourself, I expect all the best for you. Look forward to hearing how you find the CBT. Cheers Herald
  21. Hey JennaD Thank you - so far the process seems to be following the analogy. Most annoying for me is my own prediction way back at the beginning about the final few mg of drug. I am still frustrated by the tiny piece of powder lol. "Exactly. The first is the fact that you state that the "actual cells that produce serotonin" (Factories in my example) "have been shut down and often damaged by both depression and the use of SSRI's." This would help in an explanation why so many of us get to a very low dose of the drug but find the last 5-10mg necessary to keep our mood stable. If the last 5-10 Factories of our standard 100 are too damaged to respond to the body call to produce serotonin then there will be a deficit. In my case I was VERY pleased that the cells have responded as well as they have. From 40mg, 10 years, I am feel lucky. I am expecting exactly this "damaged cell" scenario when I get to the last few mgs of drug to drop. " Best wishes
  22. Hi all Two and a half months - guess I am not so compulsive anymore either :) Figured I would update with the expectation that I will be able to report some day that the withdrawal is complete. For anyone new to this thread I was on 40mg for a period of 11 years. Started coming off the meds about a year ago. All is still as it was in the last post. Additionally my enthusiasm for the exercise high has come back and weight is just off ideal BMI. What is different about both of these is that I haven't wanted to exert a muscle unnecessarily for years and even previous to 3 months ago I was on a weight plateau that wouldn't shift even after 6 months of fairly focused effort. Lots of supplements as before, down to 2.5mg citalopram which I am confident is not needed (partner enjoying the new me way to much to want me to risk the drop of the last 2.5mg ) Seems to me, for me, I have found the right way out. Would be interesting to see if anyone else is on the same track? Cheers
  23. Hi Chica I have found the low doses (2.5mg) do seem to have a therapeutic effect for me. I came off 40mg to 2.5mg which is where I can stay without relapse. Placebo effect? Maybe. In theory it is not a therapeutic dose, in reality it seems so for me. With respect to pregnancy, I would think that the impact of the body changes associated with depression would be more dis-advantageous to the baby (and you!). The body changes I am specifically thinking of are the stress hormones. Ideally, yes, no meds while pregnant. Think of it like a diabetic mother who would have no choice but to continue meds for both her and her baby's sake. If she didn't the high glucose levels are dangerous for both of them. So, when you say "here the benefit of my meds definitely outweighs the risk for my baby" it may be that the meds are the better choice FOR the baby (as well as for you). Be well and I am sure there will be a beautiful bonny baby in due course
  24. Hi all 5 weeks since the Running Dog post and time for an update and onto the next chapter of the journey. The Stop Running Lil Doggie worked to a degree. Basically it stopped a downward depression spiral. What stayed was what I consider the frustrating and annoying effects of an unstable mood profile - the poor sleep, the thinking all over the place and the overall low mood. I am/was confident I was not depressed so why all these annoying issues? So back I went into research mode again. Taking what I have read about on this forum and the ideas already posted in here. This is how it went: Do these symptoms look familiar? Low sex drive and/or difficulty achieving orgasm Aggression (paradoxically) Anger Depression Inability to handle stress Guilt or feelings of worthlessness Excessive sleep Mood swings Slow thought processing speed Forgetfulness Attention deficit disorder Hyperactivity Failure to finish tasks These are not necessarily serotonin deficiency. This is a partial list of the signs one of the other 3 basic neurotranmitters. Interesting. This lead me to a forum called Imm.Inst.org. From that forum it lead me to an MD called Dr Eric Braverman who, after decades of experience and research has come up with the information I wanted. Good of him really In summary, he outlines the biochemistry for mood (among other factors), the neurotransmitter basis for disorder and gives a self diagnostic technique (questionnaires) for deficiencies and treatment options (supplement pre-cursors to the neurotransmitters in my case). The guy's web site is pathmed, his book The Edge Effect. 4 weeks later for me with a full supplement regime as per the chart? Excellent results. The most marked are very stable mood, exceptionally clear and accurate thinking, sleeping all night and being able to get back to sleep, overnight I went from 15 cups of coffee a day to maybe 1-2 and handled an influx of 20 family members over Xmas for 9 days and enjoyed it hugely. For my partner who was not sleeping well due to chronic pains - started sleeping solidly through the night. Quite remarkable all around. From my perspective it explains why I may be stable on the serotonin meds and still be experiencing other mood related symptomology. Here is a little of the theory which will help in decisions on whether this is something to take further: The Edge Effect explains that brain chemicals generate the electricity that carries instructions to the rest of the body, defining life itself (the Brain Code
  25. Have you ever had things slowly add up until finally you see them from a whole new perspective? Here is one which has been sneaking up on me for a month or so. These are a few of the factors to the sum. Pdoc, when I told him I was working on the dose to nothing said "Don't take on too much (more)". The gal who inspired the horse in the paddock scenario has been made redundant from her position, was offered another, less advantageous position. Her Pdoc said that he would not release her medically for the position unless she agreed to start medication for depression. An overworking buddy needs a serious shoulder massage every week to undo the stress-related knotted back muscles which give him dynamite headaches. I used to run, a lot. My ankles started to give so I went to an orthotic specialist and got custom shoes.. then my knees started to go.. went to an orthopedic surgeon who said give up running...took anti-inflammatory meds an hour before running and pain killers after running...hip started going... I assessed this somewhat annoying complication and made the decision than I would still like to be able to walk when 60 and to actually be able to climb stairs without pain at the current time. Gave up the running. I put all these together and finally got the picture. I had been looking meds from the perspective that I need them to keep going, keep pushing, keep balancing and juggling. Just as I needed to keep running. To keep doing either I needed the meds. I saw that most clearly in the gal who has the choice - take the job and take meds *or* don't take the job. That is the decision many of us make. Not necessarily with a job. Many other areas of life - do this or don't do this, I must, I should, I have to. Any of these are the mental marathons we run. When the mental pain sets in, just as the physical pain of my running set in we do have a choice. We usually don't like the option of giving up the job, facing down the bully, leaving town, dealing with a marriage which isn't working... whatever it is. Most of those I know lol. So we chose the drugs, as I did the pain meds, to keep us going. It may, but it doesn't deal with the underlying cause. Probably can hold us as long as we don't keep on running or finding new marathons. I chose to change my perspective. As I said I was looking at the situation of final withdrawal from the drugs from the opposite end to where I currently see them. I have been choosing the drugs to help me handle the lifestyle choices I am making. I choose instead to see that I am overdoing my threshold for stress when I need the upgrading of the drugs to keep my mood stable. From there I could top up the drugs, I am going to run with reducing the stressors. Everyone will have a different threshold for excessive stress. Each a different set of circumstances which reach that level. Each of us are different in how much we feel able to reduce the stress in our circumstances. I am fortunate in that the majority of stressors for me are simple at the moment. I.e. no major issues with money or spouse. I have been through all or the previous, I know how hard it is to move past them. I also know, even although there seems no choices in those situations that there are, just not nice ones. Usually doesn't stop the final outcome, just stretches it to the future. Hence the drugs to cope. So.. today.. a good start to the new plan - cancelled a business meeting and dinner. Knowing it would disappoint a few, inconvenience a few... was the right thing for me and that was how it has to be. Feel better already. Stop running lil doggie :::::::
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