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My Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

Antidepressants are the New Skittles

Antidepressants are the New Skittles

Antidepressants.  The thing half of Americans are taking and prescribed so easily.  SSRIs have become almost like the new multivitamins of our century.  Maybe even like Skittles.

When my life took a dramatic turning point I decided it was time to try something else.  What I was doing to fight off depression clearly wasn’t working.

One of the first things I did was take antidepressants.  Citalopram, or Celexa, was the first drug I was prescribed.

My Experience with Celexa

Topics Discussed:

0:53 – Would you like paxil, celexa, or zoloft?
1:40 – My libido went through the roof
2:40 – Weird feeling of being good but not sure if I was good
3:20 – Completely losing my mind on a high dose of celexa
3:55 – New psychiatrist and forcing lithium onto me
5:05 – Road rage on lithium
6:00 – Getting off celexa cold turkey (or so I thought)
7:45 – Getting the zaps while weaning off celexa
8:50 – Waking up one morning with a realization
10:05 – What are the root causes of your depression?

The Best Way To Get Off Celexa

I go up to the front counter.  A slightly overweight woman who looked at me with so much compassion it was like I was her own son asked me what I came in for.  I said, “I feel depressed.”  After filling out a short questionnaire I took my seat.  I rated myself on a scale of 1-10 on various factors such as how often I had suicidal thoughts or if I liked myself.

Various pictures were set up around the room.  Some were about self-esteem.  Others inspirational.  Overall, I felt really comfortable.

A slightly short woman who’s genuine smile was so authentic came into the room and said, “TJ?”  I began to stand up, she reached out her hand with the warmest smile I’d come across in weeks, and introduced herself.  I shook her hand and hoped that she didn’t mind it was a little sweaty.  Then again, she probably shakes a lot of sweaty hands.

Inside her office she asked me about my symptoms. She told me about a couple of antidepressants.  She asked me which one I would like to try.  “Would you like Zoloft, Paxil, or Celexa?  Celexa is the least likely to cause sexual side effects.”  I picked Celexa, otherwise known as citalopram.  I didn’t want sexual side effects, even though at the time I had been pretty isolated and it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

I got my prescription, went to the local pharmacy and filled it for a couple bucks, and I was on my way.  I felt the affects almost instantly.

How Does One Get Off Celexa? You Don’t If You Feel This Good!

I didn’t know what people meant by antidepressants taking weeks to take affect.  Within days I was writing poems about how I was so awesome I could escape Alcatraz.  I started calling up friends to hang out.  Things were good.

Oh and the sexual side effects? My libido was through the roof.  This was great.  Not only was I not depressed, I had the reverse of what many people experience on antidepressants.  Instead of Celexa ruining my sex drive it basically ramped up my sex drive to heights I didn’t know was possible.  I felt good.  I wanted to go do stuff, like play guitar up in the mountains with friends.  So I did.

I remember on our drive up the mountain we saw some women.  Well hello women, this is TJ, the man who is no longer depressed.  We invited them up to our campfire to play guitar and hang out.  Wow.  A few months after making my suicide agreement I already cured my depression.  Things were good.

If It Stops Working, Just Increase The Dose (And Get High Off Celexa)

Taking Celexa was a weird sort of feeling.  It was as if I was ok, but my emotions weren’t really full and rounded.  I simply felt fine, but I’m not sure I felt much, if that makes sense.  I didn’t care anyways.  Comparing that state to the state that I was in, I’d take an antidepressant all day long.

Best way to describe it is the feeling you get for the rest of the day after you ride the most intense roller coaster.  You feel good, but nothing really affects you anymore because it can’t compare to the roller coaster ride.  That is how being on antidepressants felt.  I already rode the ride and was just sitting in the half numb half satisfied after glory.

Unfortunately, after about a month and a half, the effects started to wear off. Hmm… That’s weird.  So I went back to the Psychiatrist.  She greeted me with the warmest smile I have ever seen and invited me back into her office. After discussing my symptoms, she assured me that this happened all the time.  They just needed to increase my dosage.

I got my new prescription and went on my way. I started taking my increased dose.  New poems were written and new heights in sexual drive were attained.  Not too bad.

Then the same thing happened again.  After another few months, I started falling back down into a slightly depressed state.  Uh oh.  How far can they increase the dosage?  Can I just keep increasing the dose over and over again?

Can You Get Off Celexa?

They increased my dosage again.  This time it was beyond amazing.  I had so much energy I had no idea what to do with myself.  I stopped sleeping.  I didn’t eat as much.  I started 10 new projects at once.  I went to the mall and got every woman’s phone number there.  I made out with a girl outside the Apple store.  I was on fire.

About a half a week later the sleep deprivation caught up to me.  Either that, or the lack of eating.  I crashed pretty hard.  I realized that it probably wasn’t normal to have that much energy and confidence suddenly.  So back I went to the familiar lobby with soothing pictures on the walls and people that cared about me.

“Sorry TJ, she no longer works here.”  Damn.  My psychiatrist moved on to another institution. They said there was another psychiatrist that could see me this time.  Great. A man greeted me.  There was no warm smile.  Not even a handshake. Maybe the first psychiatrist was on Celexa and this one wasn’t.

As I entered his office, there was no smile filled with warmth.  Only an authoritative gesture for me to sit down. He told me that I was bipolar and needed to take additional medication to counteract the effects of Celexa.  He said I should take lithium and he could write me a prescription.

Lamictal - What I Was Denied Access To

Lamictal – What I Was Denied Access To

I had done my research on lithium before and someone in my family had taken it and it hadn’t affected him very well.  I didn’t think it was the best choice for me.  I told the psychiatrist I’d rather take something like lamotrigine.

He promptly told me that lamotrigine was a lot more expensive than lithium and that I should take lithium.  I questioned him further.  He pulled up a wikipedia page on lithium to answer a few of my questions.  After a while he finally told me, “Lithium is only $4 at Walmart.  It is the better choice.”

I guess I should just take the lithium then.  I got my prescription, went and filled it at the local Walmart pharmacy, and I was on my way.

Two days after taking lithium I developed severe anger. Some drunk people pulled up to me at a stop light and started saying some random cocky stuff to me.  I leaned out of my truck and yelled, “F!@* I’M GOING TO KILL YOU” just as the light changed color.  They turned left and I cut across the lane to make the left turn.  I started chasing them, but they got away.  My plan was to run them off the road.  This is coming from someone who has never had road rage in his life.

I promptly stopped taking Lithium and began to question whether or not it was wise to continue taking Celexa.

Getting Off Celexa Cold Turkey

I decided I was going to stop taking Celexa.  So I did.  No weaning off of it slowly.  Just straight up stopped taking it.  I didn’t know it was such a big deal.  The next day I’m in my internship and everyone keeps looking at me and asking, “TJ, are you okay?” and “TJ, what is wrong?”  Nothing is wrong.  Well, wait a minute…  I haven’t done anything for an hour.

They keep asking me questions and I can’t make sense of it all.  So I just declare that I’m going home and get out of there.  Halfway home I break down sobbing.  Not just crying, I mean sobbing.  Where your tear ducts are emptying every last ounce of tears humanly possible.

I make it into my home, walk into the living room, and fall down on the ground.  As I’m laying there, I keep thinking to myself, “TJ… You’ve got to get up. You’ve got to get UP.”  I laid there for 2 hours… Telling myself to get up for 2 hours (I know because of what time I left the internship and what time I finally made it into the kitchen).

Think Twice Before Quitting Antidepressants Cold Turkey

Think Twice Before Quitting Antidepressants Cold Turkey

I had to start taking Celexa right after that.  Now it wasn’t a question of whether or not to take Celexa to beat depression. It was either take Celexa and function or don’t take Celexa and become a vegetable.

So now I’m in a slightly depressed state, right where I was before I started the Celexa, and dependent on a high dosage of an antidepressant.  Uh oh.  I didn’t have as much time before my suicide agreement date.  Back to square one…

Get Off Celexa Safely

After reading numerous books, I finally got off of Celexa successfully with minimal withdrawal in about 2 or 3 weeks using vitamins and amino acids.  One of the weirdest things I experienced were the “zaps”.  Yes, they are real.  I can’t really describe what they feel like.  You only really know if you have experienced them before.  It feels like an electric pulse that goes through your body.  It usually felt like it came from my head and my brain area and I’d feel it go down my back.

Even after not having any withdrawal symptoms at all and feeling completely normal I’d get the random zap.  It just kept happening.  I sort of accepted I might have the zaps forever.  Maybe I’ll start naming my zaps.  Then I remember about 2 months after quitting antidepressants realizing, “Hey, I haven’t felt a zap in a while.”

Getting Off Celexa Symptoms

Other than brain zaps, getting off of celexa was one of the weirdest experiences of my life.  I was either feeling fine or had brief moments of fear.  I was either laying down on my bed listening to music or wandering about the day aimlessly wondering if I had permanently screwed up my brain.

While I was on Celexa, I used Moodtracker.com to track my mood.  The purple bars represent my mood, the green line represents how much sleep I got.  You can see how I would be really messed up, stabilize for a while, then feel like crap again.  That’s when they’d up my dosage and the cycle would repeat itself over and over until finally the side effects were too severe for me.

You can see in March, 2011 I’m all over the place.  Finally in April I start to stabilize a bit.  In May I start to be slightly depressed everyday.  Then the blue section represents me upping my dose from 20mg to 40mg.  June 2011 I am stabilized for a month, then in July I’m all over the place once again.

March 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

March 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

April 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

April 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

May 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

May 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

June 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

June 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

July 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

July 2011 Experience Taking and Getting Off Celexa

Best Way To Get Off Celexa

It might sound like I’m against medication, but I’m not.  I took it at a time where if I wouldn’t have, I don’t know what might have happened.  At the very least, I learned a lot about myself and I finally had the energy to read a bunch of books on the impact that nutrition has on depression.

After my experience, I realized that antidepressants should be used after trying to figure out the root cause of the problem first.  If someone doesn’t have enough Vitamin b12 and folic acid in their body, throwing an antidepressant at them is potentially dangerous, as the real reason they are depressed still exists.

It’s important to view medication as a bigger decision. Right now you can walk into a doctors office, say you don’t feel good, and 5 minutes later you have a prescription for an SSRI.  SSRIs have their time and place and work great for some people.  But for others they can be a scary road, especially when you try to get off of them.

The best way to get off Celexa and other antidepressants is to get the core fundamentals of depression down.  You need to know the root cause of your depression to actually solve the problem and be able to get off the antidepressants and citalopram in the first place.  Celexa affects serotonin receptors, so you’ll need B-Vitamins, a few other vitamins and minerals, and 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan to wean yourself off.

And if you are coming off your antidepressant now, rest assured, eventually the zaps do stop.

If you want more information on getting off your antidepressant, check out my most popular post here on how to do so.

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