Dealing with Accidental Citalopram Withdrawal


This isn’t a How To or informative post on how to deal with an accidental withdrawal it is just my ramblings of how I currently am dealing (and have dealt with) with a fairly painful and scary withdrawal from Citalopram. Hopefully writing it down will help me to remember how horrible it is and not let it happen again!!

I am on (and have been on for nearly 4 years now I believe) a medication called Citalopram, it is an SSRI which helps me to live my life as ‘normally’ as I possibly can whilst living with Bipolar Disorder. I love it, I don’t know where I would be without it…which makes it so silly that I have forgotten to get a repeat prescription not once, but twice in this past year.

The first time around was around a week and a half before our wedding (I think I had just got busy with wedding stuff and forgot to call the Drs) for the first few days without my tablet I feel ok – it’s normally a day or so after my last tablet that I realise that I’ve run out and my brain suddenly goes ‘Woo look at us living medication free, we’re doing so well, we probably don’t even need them anymore!’ my brain is wrong…very wrong. Yes, I could live without them and I am planning to be off of them before the end of the year BUT to get to that stage requires 6-8 months of weaning off of them not going cold turkey (albeit accidentally)

Here is a few lines of what I wrote on the 23rd October 2016 about what I had been feeling the few days before, I never published it because I took a tablet that night and felt better so it seemed silly to post..

There is nothing more frustrating that trying to hold a conversation or even string a sentence together when your brain feels like this. It’s like the fuzzy head you get when your drunk but so much worse, I had to close my eyes and cover my ears just to focus earlier and get the words out to tell Dean that I was going to take a nap.

My body feels weird, I feel numb like when you’ve laid on your arm funny and the feeling isn’t quiet there but all over my body – I had a shower to see if I could wake myself up and it felt like I was showering with my clothes still on.

I can’t see properly, I have to blink a few times to focus on something. It hurts all over, it feels like my nerve endings are on fire one minute and then tingling the next like there is little bolts of lighting zipping around my body. Laying down is painful, sitting is uncomfortable and I’m too unsteady to stand up for long.

I remember saying last time how horrendous I felt and I feel sorry for drug addicts going it to rehab because if going cold turkey from a medication was this painful and disorientating then I can’t imagine what hard drugs would be like.

This time around I ran out of my tablets last Monday, I was supposed to book a Dr’s appointment or put in a repeat prescription the week before but I got distracted with the puppies. I don’t know why I didn’t call the Dr’s straight away when I realised I had run out, if I had I might have only missed 2-3 days at the most and felt a bit rough but then been ok again. Instead I left it until Friday lunch time when I was sitting at work and realised that I almost felt like I was drunk (thats how it starts), so I called Dean and asked if he could go to the Dr’s right away and put in a repeat prescription for me and seeing if they could rush it as it was fairly urgent (they can’t).

Fast forward to last night (Friday Night) and I have nausea, stabbing nerve pains, stomach ache, restless legs, brain zaps..basically all the really nasty stuff you’d rather not have. I decided to have an early night to try to see if I could sleep through the worst of it. I was far too hot in our room, even with the windows open and was tossing and turning trying to get comfortable which was no fun for Dean so I decided to sleep in the spare room. I was probably in there for about 40 minutes struggling to get asleep before I started to get auditory hallucinations and falling in and out of nightmares (it felt like I was passing in and out of consciousness into them as they’d start and then I’d jolt back to reality and then they’d start again)

I’ve never experienced sleeping issues like that before and it felt like it took forever to summon up the courage to climb out from under the covers and go back to our room, I was crying at this point as I couldn’t work out if I was really awake or still dreaming, I then had to look at my phone and scroll through Pinterest for around 20 minutes as I was too scared to go back to sleep.

It probably wasn’t a good idea to sit and type this out at nearly 10pm on Saturday night as I’ve now reminded my self how horrible last night was and I’m scared to go to sleep again! Luckily I did find 1 spare tablet in a pack at the back of the drawer earlier and I felt in less pain and a bit clearer headed about 2 hours after taking it. I’m hoping it’s effects will carry over into tomorrow and Monday so that it at least takes the edge off of things until I can get more.

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