Hello all. I hope someone can relate to what I'm going through or give me some sort of advice. I am going to call my doctor tomorrow for an appointment but I need to get this off my chest.
I had been on lexapro for 10 years (since I was 16), originally prescribed for panic attacks that seeemed to start out of the blue, although I've always been an anxious person. I stayed on the medication for this long bc of depression. I haven't had any major panic attacks in several years and I felt like my depression was better, so 3 months ago my doc said it was ok to start tapering off lexapro.
I reduced my dose gradually over the course of approximately 8 weeks but I still got withdrawal side effects, mostly severe nausea, chills and crying spells. Around week 8 my doctor had me quit lexapro altogether and take prozac 10mg for a week, and then quit that too.
Its been about 4 weeks since I've been completely off SSRIs and I've been having serious insomnia. At first I ignored it because I also had a bad cold for two weeks so I thought that could be the cause, but I still cannot sleep. I went two days without any sleep and the other days I have lay awake for up to 5 hours, tossing and turning. A lot of the time I feel like I'm halfway between consciousness and unconsciousness. When I finally fall asleep its for 2-4 hours and poor quality.
My general practice doctor gave me Ambien a few days ago and I was able to sleep with it but I am worried about dependence, I really don't want to take it. OTC sleep aids, warm baths, hypnosis/subliminal message stuff hasn't worked either. I am afraid that I would just be switching from an SSRI to a sleep aid and I don't want to do that.
Also when I can't fall asleep and I'm just lying here, I start to have strange thoughts. Like I will imagine I see a face on the wall, or hear a noise, or I will picture something violent and scary in my head like a car crash. This is really worrying me, I don't know if these thoughts are because I'm so tired, or if I am having them because I'm no longer on an SSRI. I'm worried that I'm "going crazy" or that I have a serious mental illness that means I need to get back on an SSRI forever. Again these thoughts are almost always at night, when I'm alone in bed. However I have had flashes of scary and/or violent thoughts during the daytime too. Like I will be doing the dishes or something mundane and then randomly picture myself falling off a cliff or something.
Sometimes I also feel like my body is full of energy, like negative energy, and I need to expend it. Like I can't sleep and I feel like I need to go run a few miles or scream really loud to get the energy out. I don't know if this is just anxiety bc it doesn't feel like any anxiety I remember having before. But again I've been on Lexapro since I was 16 so how can I remember?
I'm sorry this is so long, I just needed to vent. If anyone wants to share experiences of quitting SSRIs or has any input on whether my experiences are normal/typical then that would be helpful. Do these scary/strange thoughts sound like normal SSRI withdrawal or do I need to get back on Lexapro? Ugh.