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  • I took Lexapro once and I'm still on it...miracle? Here's the whole story.

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    Old 05-05-2004, 10:19 PM   #1
    dolphinboy
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    I took Lexapro once and I'm still on it...miracle? Here's the whole story.

    I have a long history of depression. LONG.

    Back when it first came up, I was on tricyclic meds, but to be honest, I was young and I don't know whether they ever worked or whether my life just was less stressful and when good times came around, I stopped taking the meds anyway and just moved on. Irresponsible, yes, but I was just a kid and the constant use of peri-colace just to stay on a med wasn't something I felt extra motivated to do, especially while still trying to fit in with my peers.

    I was having problems again, back when Prozac was still new and the wonder drug. The SSRI was something that probably prolonged my illness more than anything else, because for a long time it was the only choice, but my reaction to it was so bad and so swift and at so low of a dose, that again, I just avoided the medication that might have made my quality of life better.

    I just couldn't tolerate the SSRI's. One Dr. gave me some of the lowest dose pills of Prozac that were out and he told me to take it home, open up the capsule, and pour out half of it into a glass of orange juice. Within minutes, I was feeling "Freaked out" and "Jittery" and completely out of control. My head hurt, my stomach was hurting, and these symptoms were just beyond belief and I'd have to ride them out. So it was engrained into my head that I never wanted to go through that again.

    I avoided medication and took Xanax and tried to live as normal of a life as I could. I even did ECT. I'm game for anything, but as more and more SSRI's came out, when I got my sample and cut it into an even lower dose than probably any other human had taken, the same things happened. My Dr. even said she though I was allergic to the meds in that class.

    As meds that weren't totally in either class came out or were tried, I had pretty much the same reaction as the Prozac reaction and, therefore, since the very early 90's, despite all kinds of mental illnesses (depression, panic, ocd, nightly vivid dreams, insomnia, racing thoughts, self hate, etc), I haven't been on an anti-depressant since the last tricyclic I took in January of 1991.

    I managed to do ok for years (albeit by very low standards, but at least I got out and lived a little). But in early 2000, the walls of problems came crashing down. Where only 1 or 2 problems were really bothering me badly at a time and even then I could control them some, now they all were happening at once and they all got much worse. Since 2000, my life has been no life at all. I have nothing. I do nothing. I am nothing. That's not just the illness talking, it's also true. I sit in a small apartment with only one joy, my dog Piper, and I am sick and lonely and depressed ALL THE TIME. And having been around people like this before, early in my life I did the psych hospital and treatment center routines many times, I did notice that many of the more "ill" people didn't seem to be aware of just how bad they had it. Which isn't to say that their problems are better, just that they didn't "seem" to know how bad it was. I do. I have dreams of what I want to do and every day I just get older and nothing changes but the years as the steamroll by.

    I've always had IBS, really, really bad IBS which just complicates everything even more. The pain is beyond anything I can describe and it's every day now. And while I now my depression and anxiety are related to it, there are many days where I think that if GOD came down and offered to take away one problem, the IBS or the Mental disorders, that I'd probably choose the IBS. I won't try and explain to you much more, but if you can believe that's the choice I'd make, you can probably guess how bad the stomach problems are and how it affects my everyday life.

    I've never had two pyschiatrists agree on what's wrong with me. It's a good thing cardiology is more of an exact science or people would be dropping like flies. But in 2001 a Dr told me to give ECT a shot again. Now, I'm phobic about going out and the worst thing that can happen is a severe panic attack. I just call them 10's. A 10 means I'm going to the emergency room and it's the scariest feeling in the world when one happens. Back in the mid-90's I had a Dr. who let me having a standing order for a shot of valium if I had one, because they didn't happen that often and she trusted me. The shots worked wonders and just knowing they were there helped me have even less attacks. Of course, not one other Dr., even knowing that story, has ever offered to do the same thing, because you just can't have something that works so well, but that you don't happen to agree with.

    Ok, so the new Dr. says ECT and mood stabilizers. He knows I will freak the night before the procedure and a have a 10 going to the hospital, so he prescribes thioridazine to take to keep me calm before the ECT procedures. This helps...not like a shot of valium...but I got to the hospital. But after 3 procedures, my head was hurting from the shock so badly and I wasn't feeling any better, and had no idea and couldn't even get an answer why he was even trying this (maybe because my insurance covered it and it made him a pretty penny) and so I stopped. But I've always kept some of the Thioridazine around to keep me from having to go the the ER when I've had really bad attacks (it can handle 8's and most 9's, a 10 is still a guaranteed trip to hell and the ER). I've only made one trip in 3 years.

    I've told drs. that this thioridazine somehow is tolerated by me and helps me, but have been told it can't be used as an everyday treatment because it's not safe. Figures. The only HORRIBLE side effect of it was that I could hardly get up in the morning. Of course, even without the drug, I don't sleep, I wait till I pass out and I still find it very difficult to get up. I would actually say it hurts me to wake up. Just another problem that I live with (correction, I don't really think of what I do as living, it's exisiting).

    I finally told my family practice dr. that I couldn't go on like this anymore. He doesn't have all the training of a psychiatrist or all the time to talk, but he suggested Lexapro. I knew it wouldn't work, I knew it would be like all the others, but I had to try. I have nothing to lose, because I have nothing. But I am running out of years and I want to someday work on or near the ocean and right now I'm heading towards being found dead in an apartment living in the middle of the desert.

    I read about Lexapro and there were all the posts I dreaded seeing. The ones about the massive weight gain and the side effects that I had with every other SSRI "miracle" pill. I will not be able to tolerate weight gain of massive amounts, nor will I be able to handle feeling like I'm on speed. But, the more posts I read, the more I found that person after person said it was helping them. Not everyone, but the percentage of things I read where people were saying it was helping and used the world miracle was higher by far than I'd ever read about anything else. I had to try it.

    I saw that some people were trying 5mg to start, so to be safe I cut that in half and started at 2.5 mg. I know it's pathetic and nothing can help me at the low of a dose, but if I could tolerate it, then it would be something that never had happened before. Certainly, that had to be worth trying. If I was going to have the same reaction as I've always had, it would happen with 2.5, it just wouldn't last as long or be as severe. I stared at the pills for several days and today I took one. And I'm ok!

    Now my life is still in shambles and it's hard to be happy about anything, but I still have to find some shred of happiness that this is something to take note of. Maybe I will be one of the ones who will write about being happy again and use the word miracle. Because if this does help me, it could be nothing less than a miracle.

    I did feel a tiny headache, my stomach was a little freaky, and the "rush" feeling was there, but not enough to make me scared or feel any need to not take the drug tomorrow. That's never happened before. So, is this something or is this just the pathetic 2.5 mg dose? Has anyone ever started so low?

    How long would you stay on this low dose to be more than just safe, but extra safe that my body was getting used to the medication before putting a higher dose in? Why jeopardize this by being in a rush to get to 5 mg? I've had no life for years, it certainly seems like if something can help me get it back, I should be extra careful with it, especially with my history.

    I will not worry about weight gain. No, that has to be something I tune out right now. I want to be on the medication and on a dose that most people respond to and see what it does for me before worrying about extra pounds. Just the idea of feeling happiness again, makes me feel that I can cross that bridge and make that decision as a happy person, rather than worry about it as a miserable person. But I do "feel" the medication. I feel like I'm on something and I wonder if that's anyway to live life, even if it's a happier life. Will it go away, this feeling? Why do some many other people take their meds and have no problems?

    Has lexapro been the last resort for anyone else? How has it worked for you? Will I wake up feeling better one day? Is that a great feeling? Will I be able to sleep at night and wake up in the morning? Will the racing thoughts stop or just become more managable? Will the anxiety and fear of life and fear of death and fear of pretty much everything go away? Is there any hope that I might be the person that I used to be again? Has it happened to anyone here? What's it like? I really want to know because I have lost hope and I desperately would like to have some hope again. Can this pill help me be the person who I once was or even something close? Share your stories of lexapro "miracles" if you've got them...

    Thanks for your time.

     
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    Old 05-05-2004, 11:30 PM   #2
    Portia26
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    Re: I took Lexapro once and I'm still on it...miracle? Here's the whole story.

    Wow, what an incredible story of tenacity and courage! Whether or not you see that, I certainly do. Now, the first thing I want to say, not to discourage you in any way (lord knows you've seen enough of that), is not to got overly excited here. It is FANTASTIC that you have tolerated the lexapro so far. But I see that after this one low dose, you are already projecting this victory to every realm of your life. Take a step back. Focus on right now. I say you should stick on this low dose for a week, see how you feel, then move on to the 5 mgs. And so on and so forth. As I'm sure you know, you shouldn't really feel any therapeutic benefit for a few weeks, at least. But for now, enjoy this big step you've made. Congratulations on making it! I know it must have taken a lot of courage and strength for you to do so. As for the "medicated" feeling, this is definitely normal in the early stages of these medications. I certainly felt that way. Never enough for it to stop me though. And now I don't feel it at all. I think as well, you must certainly feel some anxiety because you have taken this med, and you are being hypervigilant in checking yourself for symptoms, etc, and checking how you feel. The fact that you can say the present feeling of being "medicated" won't stop you from taking tomorrow's dose is a VERY good sign. Take it day by day, and make sure your doc checks on you regularly at this important time. Congratulations to you. I am thinking good thoughts for you. Please write back as often as possible and tell me how you're doing!
    Best wishes,
    Portia

     
    Old 05-06-2004, 01:07 AM   #3
    dolphinboy
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    Re: I took Lexapro once and I'm still on it...miracle? Here's the whole story.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Portia26
    Wow, what an incredible story of tenacity and courage! Whether or not you see that, I certainly do. Now, the first thing I want to say, not to discourage you in any way (lord knows you've seen enough of that), is not to got overly excited here. It is FANTASTIC that you have tolerated the lexapro so far. But I see that after this one low dose, you are already projecting this victory to every realm of your life. Take a step back. Focus on right now. I say you should stick on this low dose for a week, see how you feel, then move on to the 5 mgs. And so on and so forth. As I'm sure you know, you shouldn't really feel any therapeutic benefit for a few weeks, at least. But for now, enjoy this big step you've made. Congratulations on making it! I know it must have taken a lot of courage and strength for you to do so. As for the "medicated" feeling, this is definitely normal in the early stages of these medications. I certainly felt that way. Never enough for it to stop me though. And now I don't feel it at all. I think as well, you must certainly feel some anxiety because you have taken this med, and you are being hypervigilant in checking yourself for symptoms, etc, and checking how you feel. The fact that you can say the present feeling of being "medicated" won't stop you from taking tomorrow's dose is a VERY good sign. Take it day by day, and make sure your doc checks on you regularly at this important time. Congratulations to you. I am thinking good thoughts for you. Please write back as often as possible and tell me how you're doing!
    Best wishes,
    Portia
    Thank you so much for writing that. It meant a lot to me. I'm not only hypersensitive to meds, but also to other people. I don't have any friends or family anymore, so my confidence is low and I tend to assume no one will like me. Funnily enough, the one thing (literally the only thing) that I still know is that I'm a good person. Not that it's ever meant anything to anyone, including me.

    You really seemed to understand most of what I was expressing, which is tough, because you really can't expect people to understand your own personal tone which doesn't come across well, always, in writing, the way it would if you heard it or know someone already. My own style of writing can be a little sarcastic and goofy, because that's just the way that I am. But, like most other things, I always think it's going to offend people.

    The only thing that might not have come across is my victorious reaction to making it through one day and one dose. If it came off too terrific-sounding, it's probably just my sarcasm, sometimes I can't even see it in my own writing. But, trust me, I'm not overly happy and going overboard.

    I'm still very realistic, probably pessimistic even. That's the way that I am normallly and it's hasn't changed. Although, I do also think at this point and after so much pain, that I think I could also be easily called a realist. My feeling that only bad things happen might not work for most people and it may be reinforced by my depression, but my life, at least for over 10 years, has been a string of bad things happening one after the other. So, to me, that's just realism.

    It's even kind of funny that you wrote that, because I have been extra depressed after my post while watching tv. That's the one thing I do to numb myself as much as possible. I'm lucky that my own disease actually keeps me from drugs or drinking. I do neither, but try and escape in movies and tv. When I'm really into other people's lives (even fictional ones), I am not thinking about my own as much.

    But I was just thinking about how long of a struggle this will be...EVEN IF this med does work. Weeks and weeks, followed by months and months of going through the side effects and the fear, waiting for something to happen that might never happen and then I wonder if I'd even know it if I was happy anyway. It's been so long, would I remember or would I know what to do if I did? So, while it's not a happy story, trust me, I am pretty grounded (buried, actually) in the realistic fact that nothing much has changed and that I'm still sad and lonely and scared.

    It just felt right to tell that story now. I may never have written or spoken about all of that with anyone, but taking a med and not having to quit after the very first dose, even as low as it was, it just seemed to make me feel like now was a time to take some more chances. Again, as I wrote, I have nothing to lose. I am already on the bottom. I tried this because I don't want to be here, but I have little confidence it will work. But a little was more than I had before I took the Lexapro, so who knows?

    Tencity? Maybe. I don't hate myself because I want to, it just doesn't seem like there is another option. The same can be said about fighting the good fight (tenaciously), I don't have another option. But, courage? I don't know if that applies and, if it does, it's not for me to EVER say. I only know my life and I don't feel courageous just because I chose not to kill myself, which is really the only other thing I could do. Number one, it's just not something that I think I could do...meaning I'd be too cowardly to do it and the types of problems I have tend to make me super phobic of death. I am painfully afraid of dying, I think about it a lot, it scares me in ways I'm sure that I don't even realize and the ways that I do realize makes me crippled emotionally, so, ironically, I have all these problems and because one of the bigger ones, like the phobia of age and death, I don't see myself as being capable of choosing that way out. So, I don't see courage in existing the way that I do. I don't see that I really have any other choice. I do appreciate the kind words from you and something about the way you write makes you seem like a very comforting person.

    I will take your recommendation to go very slowly with the 2.5 mg dose. You know, even if it works and even if I do wake up one day and realize that life isn't so bad, I'm not sure that I'd even know what to do then. It's like this has been my whole life, it's all that I know, and it owns me and defines me. I never go through a day wishing to not be happy; I know that I want to feel that feeeling again someday. I just don't know what I'd even do if I felt it, because I've spent most of my life like this. There doesn't seem to be anyplace for me among the "normal" people and I guess it's all stirred up now because I took this med and it didn't make me sick and, for the first time in a very long time, I took a step forward and one that I didn't expect to take at all.

    Thank you.

     
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