Is it normal to feel worse before you start to feel better when starting an antidepressant?

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Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 4/20/2012 5:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Notably I've had a lot of different medications pumped through my veins over the last month of hell before landing on Lexapro, but now I'm so depressed. And I keep waking up jittery and afraid. And I wake up often. Maybe it's because I keep taking Ativan on and off. Maybe it is because I am having difficulty deciding what to take and when and keep switching the routine. Anyway for the past four days or so I've been taking a Lexapro and a low dose calcium/magnesium supplement with dinner with or around bedtime when I take my Topamax and Prilosec. Whether or not I take an Ativan at night doesn't seem to matter at all. I still wake up feeling jittery and restless and wide awake and a little afraid. However it works alright during the day. Also, I am pretty depressed. There could be a lot of reasons for this but my brain just doesn't seem to be recovering from its last bout of madness. It always bounces back. But now it's not. I'm afraid the Lexapro is doing this and that I will never feel normal again. Maybe I will never be able to think like I used to. Maybe I'll be depressed and scared and empty-headed forever!!!! I feel broken. I know I need to give the medicine a chance to work but it's so hard when I feel like I was normal before... at least sometimes.

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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 885
   Posted 4/20/2012 6:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes this is normal. Don't worry it will go away within a couple weeks. And you will start to feel better each day. Good luck and hang in there

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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 4/20/2012 8:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Your feelings are normal for where you are at so trust me when I say that you will get better and yes you will have those not so good days but this is how anxiety and depression work. 
I have been struggling since the end of December and feel like I am finally seeing the light - at least a glimmer and I will keep my eye on that light as living in a dark hole is not something I will accept. 
For many people insomnia is a side effect of Lexapro.  Perhaps taking this med every morning would work best for you just be sure to take it at the same time everyday. 
My depression is very resistant to many of the AD meds so I have been on many over the years.  I understand your fears and sadness.  Keep on working with your Dr. and with a therapist as you deserve to feel happiness.  

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 4/20/2012 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I just started Lexapro this week and feel just about ready to jump out of my skin. I have horrible insomnia even without the Lexapro, so I can't comment on that part of it. Tonight I am going to have to take Ambien also as I have to work tomorrow and can't feel sleepy yet jittery like this.

I was also wondering why these drugs (SSRIs) increase the anxiety in the beginning, and I am just praying it goes away.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 4/21/2012 5:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Yeah I don't like the jitters. I think my topamax helps. I've been drinking camamile tea before bed. You could try Melatonin or a benadryl to help with the insomnia. I can't because they make me angry.

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Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1080
   Posted 4/22/2012 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   
When I began Lexapro -- I think it was about 5 or 6 weeks ago -- I had the jittery feeling every morning.  I also had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.  I needed to take Benadryl and sometimes xanax for sleep.  I hated the morning jittery feeling.  I was on 10mg Lex, to begin.  I then cut back to 5mg.  Now I sleep fine, without Benadryl or xanax, and I do not have the jitters in the morning.  The initial period was a bit rough, but what everyone told me turns out to be true -- your body adjusts.  (Now if I could only get rid of the annoying chest cold I have -- but I can't blame that one on the Lexapro!)

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 429
   Posted 4/23/2012 5:41 AM (GMT -7)   
I have very similar experiences with Lexapro as medved has. I started taking it um.....I really don't know my memory is pretty shot these days lol. Maybe like 6-7 months ago? Hard to put an exact number on it. That's probably about right though, and I had terrible insomnia even before starting the lexapro though. I wouldn't be able to sleep at all and I'd stay up and watch pointless movies all night because I couldn't sleep. I went out and bought a bottle of 5 mg melatonin that you can buy over the counter. It's an over the counter sleep aid, and if it was really bad I would take the melatonin, give it an hout to try and fall asleep and if I still didn't fall asleep I would take a xanax. I did this religiously for about 1-2 months and every night was different. Some nights I would need the xanax, others I wouldn't. In the last 2 months though I don't need the xanax anymore, some nights I don't even need the melatonin. I still do take a melatonin though if I get aggravated from tossing and turning. I started doing some things different in bed though (dont worry, i know it sounds creepy worded this way lol). Instead of just lying there and watching sports, movies, tv shows, etc...after it hit 10 o' clock I would put the volume all the way down and roll over facing away from my tv. Sounds like a ridiculously easy idea, but when my anxiety was really bad I would just keep WATCHING tv and that focus would make it harder for me to fall asleep. By looking away from the tv and just closing my eyes I would just focus on trying to fall asleep. Or you can even leave the volume where it's at and still turn away from it and just focus on listening to it. I find both ways to be a lot more relaxing then just watching TV until you fall asleep. On certain nights where I'm really struggling I'll grab my ipod and put that on, I made a sleep mix made up of all mellow and slow songs. Thank god my friends don't know this or they might question my manhood ****. Anyway, that works as well.

I still do wake up like 2 times a night though. I can't really blame this on lexapro though as I've been doing this since I've started my battle with anxiety about 2-3 years ago. It used to drive me nuts, I used to look at it like it's such a big failure and that I'm not okay. Now I'm starting to work on my perspective of it. When I wake up now, instead of looking at the clock and getting angry and getting up to grab a drink or something, I just look at the clock, try and shrug it off and roll back to my side and try to go back to sleep. I find if I get up and do anything for example, grabbing something to eat, bathroom, a drink, etc it makes it so much harder for me to fall back asleep.

Best of luck to you though, I honestly believe the lexapro has helped me. Although I still have rough moments, I think overall it has worked pretty well for me. I used to depend on xanax everyday, in the last 2 months maybe I've taken xanax a total of 15 times? I used to take it twice a day so I used to need it 60 plus times in that sme period of time when I first started the med. Hang in there.
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