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Recipe for a New Misery
by Jetsam
Citation:   Jetsam. "Recipe for a New Misery: An Experience with Escitalopram (exp112574)". Nov 28, 2018.

T+ 0:00
10 mg oral Pharms - Escitalopram (pill / tablet)
  T+ 0:00 0.5 mg oral Pharms - Alprazolam (pill / tablet)
  T+ 24:00 10 mg oral Pharms - Escitalopram (pill / tablet)
  T+ 0:00 0.5 mg oral Pharms - Alprazolam (pill / tablet)
  T+ 0:00   oral Pharms - Trazodone (daily)
  T+ 60:00 5 mg oral Pharms - Escitalopram (pill / tablet)


Background: I'd stopped my first antidepressant (Celexa) five years earlier after using it for 1.5 years. With menopause and other life stressors intensifying, I started Lexapro at a psychiatrist's recommendation. I was warned that my anxiety would get worse at first and told to continue to use, as needed, trazadone for insomnia and xanax for anxiety.

First dose (Friday): 10 mg before bedtime.
Some sweating that night woke me up, thoughts kept me awake so I took .50mg xanax and got back to sleep. I felt tired and a little sickly as the next day went on but I was able to socialize and do regular activities.

Second dose (Saturday): 10 mg bedtime.
Severe sweating that night, more intense and persistent than any hot flash, and diarrhea woke me at 3:30am. I then had the worst anxiety attack ever, shaking and sweating under the covers until the sun came up. I took .50mg xanax at some point but I don't recall whether I got back to sleep. My thoughts were concerned only with the uncomfortable physical sensations, not my usual 4am thought loops.

I cannot remember very much of Sunday: nausea and fatigue got worse throughout the day, I was sweaty all the time, could only eat about five bites of food at a time. I couldn't tell my husband what my thoughts were, but my anxiety was sky-high. I took .25mg xanax late afternoon. By then, I was pale and felt very shaky and weak, especially in the legs. Although I didn't experience nystagmus, my eyes simply wouldn't work when I tried to read. I had intense feelings of wanting to throw up or cry but couldn't do either. All I could do was curl up in a ball under a blanket and feel awful. I could not keep my eyes open or head upright by evening, jaw tenseness had started, my short-term memory was 'off'. My husband says I became “combative” at some point but I have no memory of the exchange being like that. Breathing became harder and needed more of my attention. I felt and looked bad enough by evening that he asked if I needed to go to the hospital (no).

I skipped the third dose that night and took my usual trazadone to get to sleep. Again, severe sweating woke me up and I got very little sleep. I cannot recall what was going through my mind. The physical and emotional sensations were overwhelming and impossible to process.

Third and last dose: 5mg after breakfast.
Of course I couldn't go to work Monday. I called my psychiatrist who said to cut back to 5mg for the next week and stop the xanax as it was “mixing badly” with it. I would've appreciated being warned about that possibility from the beginning!
I called my psychiatrist who said to cut back to 5mg for the next week and stop the xanax as it was “mixing badly” with it. I would've appreciated being warned about that possibility from the beginning!
Jaw clenching got much worse, just like taking too much MDMA, but I felt less shaky as the day wore on. Still, I could only shuffle when I walked, and I would've spent the entire day huddled under a blanket if not for my husband's efforts. He's seen me in some deep psychedelic spaces over the last three decades and had never seen me in such a “pathetic” state. I was still nauseous and could force down only very small amounts of “sick food” (crackers, applesauce). I was extremely drowsy all day but couldn't sleep, clammy and sweating the whole time.

Tuesday I still could not go to work. My husband had to force me to my feet to shuffle around in the sunshine so I wouldn't sink into despair, yet my thoughts were clear. I couldn't explain why I felt so terrible. My body still didn't feel right, especially when I tried some seated yoga, eating was painful (reflux had started), and my eyes could handle only short stints of reading. These physical after-effects persisted for 2-3 days.

Twelve days later, my digestive system remains out of whack. The reflux/heartburn that started after the second dose of Lexapro has only intensified, much as it did six years ago when I tried Celexa. Back then, I and my doctor thought the reflux was caused by my PTSD/anxiety but I now wonder if it was the Celexa.

I also have a new level of compassion for my son's struggles with his mental illness and meds, and how both conspire to keep one in bed all day, unable to shower, prepare meals, hold down any kind of job. I'm grateful to have my usual negative thought loops reappear; my familiar 4am friends are back. Nothing like new miseries to make me appreciate the old ones! This experience also confirms that my 15-year reluctance to do any more MDMA is well-founded, even after dialing back the dose to 75mg. My body had been telling me all along what my mind could not.

Exp Year: 2018ExpID: 112574
Gender: Female 
Age at time of experience: 54 
Published: Nov 28, 2018Views: 3,540
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Pharms - Escitalopram (304) : Combinations (3), Difficult Experiences (5), Depression (15), Medical Use (47), Not Applicable (38)

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