The serotonin blues

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Earlier in the month, I started weaning off lexapro, my anxiety medication. After a week of feeling like shit, I decided to stop cold turkey and get it over and done with.

I already felt awful, I figured it couldn’t get much worse…


Boy was I wrong!

When I started on lexapro, I was pretty naive about the entire process. I knew I needed treatment for my anxiety. My symptoms had accelerated and not only was I suffering, my marriage was suffering and my son was suffering.

I knew it was time, but I knew it wasn’t forever. And I told my doctor that.

So, 18 months ago, I started on lexapro (escitalopram). For about six months, I used a generic brand of the drug and it worked wonders.

It was amazing.

Then, I changed pharmacies and therefore changed aftermarket brands. The medication changed, it wasn’t as good.

I never put the two together.

Fast forward another few months and I’d moved to Melbourne, used several different generic brands since and was generally having a shitty time with my anxiety. There I was in a new GP’s office about to up my dose when he told me something I should have been told a LONG time ago:

The drugs in escitalopram are so sensitive that even changing brands can completely change the result of the medication.

LIGHTBULB!

That’s when I stopped using after market brands and switched to lexapro brand ONLY. I didn’t have to up my dose, I just had to stop changing the brand. That.damn.simple.

After two weeks I was back on top of the world.

At that point, I probably should have spoken to my new (and amazing) GP about the medication as a whole and if it was right for me, but I didn’t.

I still blindly followed my original doctors advice. My anxiety had settled so I was happy.

Fast forward to now. James has been home for four months, Oliver’s behaviour is better than it’s ever been and I am feeling pretty damn fine.

I knew it was time to kick the lexapro. I wanted to keep it up my sleeve for when life throws it’s next set of hurdles at us.

So I went and saw my GP. She talked me through the symptoms- nausea, sweats, headaches, fatigue, the shakes and the list goes on. Like 20% of people, I might go through SSRI withdrawal.

Yup, lucky me…

It was horrendous. Imagine the flu, whilst highly emotional and suffering a bout of gastro.

It was tough. It was really tough.

But I did it, and I feel fucking great!

Do I regret going on lexapro? Not exactly, I just wish I’d conducted my own research and found a more suitable drug for me. Check out what NPS says about lexapro it here!

Will I be going on it again? Heck no!

It helped me through a really really shitty time in my life and for that I’ll be forever thankful. But gosh, I really think my GP probably should of told me that I will never exierience anything tougher than going off lexapro- even childbirth (yup, I said it)!

I don’t want to put you off either. Seriously, I have never felt better than I have felt in the past couple of days since my serotonin kicked back in. I’ve got my groove back.

I did it, you can do it. And you’ll be great! But I’m not going to lie to you, it’s tough!

And if you are looking into treatment for your anxiety, ask plenty of questions, do plenty of research, and trust your body!! Don’t be scared of medication, it’s a wonderful thing. Just know what you’re putting I’m your body.

So, what was your experience like with lexapro? Would you ever go back on an SSRI?

If you, or someone you know is suffering from anxiety- seek help from professionals, don’t go it alone. I am by no means a professional. Check out Beyond Blue for resources! 

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One thought on “The serotonin blues

    Stop stressing, it’s fine.  | said:
    August 6, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    […] I went off my anxiety medication— which was an SSRI. It was probably the most difficult week of my life, but the risks of staying on the medication far outweighed the risks for me. So I weaned, and I […]

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