Black hole

I came off Citalopram a year ago and have slowly slid back down the black hole, i cannot sleep, have no appetite, wake up at 4 am and cry. So i am going back on them, i was having missed heart beats so my doctor recommended i come off them, even they don,t understand true depression and what it feels like! Nobody does unless they experience it themselves, so tonight i start with the side effects going back on them, my age 67 doesn,t help because i don,t have the stamina i used to have.

17 Replies

  • How irresponsible of your doctor to discontinue the antidepressants without regard for the fact they were treating an illness! He should have tried a different one. I hope the side effects aren't too awful for you and that you quickly begin the slow process of feeling betterx

  • Hi

    A lot of what you write feels very familiar to me - I am 64, also came off Citalopram but have just started taking meds for fibro and they are helping with my depression.

    The missed heart beats may have related to your taking the meds but may not, was that ever investigated? If not then I would suggest it should be. You might return to your GP and say you still feel a need for antidepressants - you could take a VERY low dose of Citalopram maybe 5mg a day as although that is too low for some people you may find it takes the edge off things. You should also ask to be referred for investigation about the missed heart beats if they recur. They may be something and nothing as it is quite common to have that feeling if you were anxious, but given your age I would insist that it is at least investigated properly.


  • I truly thought i would feel better coming off them but its been a slow slide over the past year, our doctor is flooded with new patients since the immigrants flooded our town and he just hasn,t got the time to discuss things. I will hang on until i can get an appointment with my doctor Monday, if i can get an appointment! I had a packet of Citalopram in my cupboard for just in case. Thanks for your support, i do come on here on a regular basis and leave comments... I wish i knew someone similar to me and age because i feel nobody knows what depression is like until you have experienced it.

  • Yes, I similarly thought it was time to come off them but found it helpful to go back on them. It isn't a case of not having made progress, but more that coming off them doesn't solve life's problems. I don't know your situation but wonder whether there are life circumstances that lead you to slide back down - in other words maybe there are things in your life now that also make you unhappy? It's just a thought. I used to be very depressed, then had therapy and came to understand why. Then when I was still depressed I didn't understand why it didn't come to an end, but of course there are things in life that tip us back down again. I just wondered whether there are things that do that for you?

    I know what you mean about GPs not having time but think it has more to do with the cuts generally than specific populations arriving as they probably take houses that were previously occupied with potential patients anyway. I wonder whether the way the town has changed makes you unhappy generally? I live in a Northern Industrial town and do not identify with the place at all, nor with the majority of the people even though they are friendly. I find that depresses me and makes me reluctant to go out and mix, though I did make myself join the Ramblers and found some lovely people there. I have fibromyalgia and joined a local support group, and although the people there are very different to me it does help to know they understand how I feel. Also there is a womens' centre in our town and I am trying to pluck up courage to go there as they have a drop-in coffee facility with counsellors and other workers there. I wonder whether there are any similar facilities where you live? I didn't find them easily but once I did then I realise they are there, so it might be worth your while to search around - via Google, the local CAB, the mental health secondary services staff, etc.

    Sue x

  • I have always been a vulnerable person although strong in some ways, i left a 40 year bad marriage 3 years ago, i stuck it because i needed security because my childhood and teens were not good, eventually i realised the verbal abuse and put downs were becoming worse in retirement and i was desperately unhappy and if i had 10 years left of my life i needed to spend them being happy. I have felt after nearly 3 years alone that i will never find true happiness and feel quite lonely at the weekend. I think my depression is down to not having a purpose in my life anymore and i am prone to depression anyway, i had 2 major breakdowns , losing a lot of weight and not sleeping. i do find it difficult to mix with people. Everything bad that happens in life upsets me too, as we get older we are more aware and have the time to be aware of what goes on in this world. I live in Essex but originally come from Brecon Wales, my 2 daughters live nearby but they have husbands and their own interests.Thanks for being kind. x

  • Wow, good for you for having found the strength to get out of that marriage, that must have been difficult.

    Yes, I do know what you mean about lonely, I was very lonely after my divorce, then met my husband through the Guardian Soulmates column and had 7 idyllic years, but then my husband developed serious health problems including deafness so now I feel as if I live alone a lot of the time although I do not. It is frustrating and depressing a lot of the time, though I also appreciate him at times and he provides well which is lovely for me as I spend well :)

    You say you have 2 daughters living nearby, but it sounds as if you are not close to them? If so, that's sad, or perhaps you are close but just don't see a lot of them or feel you don't want to intrude into their lives though if they love you they will enjoy seeing you however busy they are. My daughter lives in Mexico City and we talk on Skype every day or two, perhaps you could do the same with your daughters, that only takes a little time and even a short chat improves my mood. But perhaps you don't get on with them that well, I don't know.

    I know what you mean about not having a sense of purpose. I also feel that. It's sad that in our society as we get older we seem to matter less to people. I try to fill the time but find it impossible to know what to do, so spend a lot of time selling (and buying!) clothes on e-bay to wear to places I seldom go to. It's hard to fill time, especially on one's own unless we are naturally self-sufficient.

    I knew that I needed to lose weight and become healthier or was at risk of developing diabetes, so went to a gym (boring and really not me at all) and lost some weight. Then completely by chance overheard someone talking about the Ramblers, so decided on impulse to join. It felt totally mad, but I decided to give it a go and surprised myself greatly by managing to walk 7 miles! That was a real shock as previously walking to the GPs just down the road felt too much, but of course that was because I was depressed. I have had the nasty virus that's going around for the last 6 weeks so haven't walked and now it feels crazy to think I can walk so far again - even though I did for quite a few walks - but I know rationally that I will manage.

    I also joined the U3A locally and they do lots of activities for older people. Joining things isn't really me at all, but I decided that I could either watch my life pass me by or do things whether I wanted to do them or not. I don't do much with the U3A, just go on occasional short walks and to the theatre even less often, but being a member gives me a sense that I am connected to things going on and can look at them and perhaps even go on them, it gives me a feeling of choice.

    I also had a breakdown - but as a child and it went unnoticed - but later I went through the process of sharing it in therapy which was difficult and made me feel as if I was re-living it for years. My guess is that you, like me, will always have a tendency to become easily depressed - but that does not mean you have to be depressed all the time.

    Are you on meds now? I didn't want to return to them, but did a couple of days ago, and can't believe how much better I feel just knowing I have taken control over how I am feeling and decided it must change.

    It's hard to find a sense of purpose. I guess the only real purpose is the fact that you want to enjoy your life, that you can choose to do things you enjoy, or not. There isn't really any other purpose to our lives once we have met the biological purpose of reproducing. You COULD do voluntary work of some kind and get a sense of purpose from that, but my guess is that is not you. It's not me either, though some people enjoy it.

    Do you have any friends locally? Looking forward to seeing people and planning things to do helps give a sense of direction to life. I think one of the most important things also is to get a sense of structure into the week. Maybe you could do that in some way?

    I'm sorry to be offering all sorts of advice, I hate it when people do that to me, often it makes me feel worse, but deciding to take some control over the depression - whether by taking meds or changing your life - is the only way it will change.

    Take care, and I hope you don't find this weekend too hard.


  • My 2 daughters live nearby but i am reluctant to bother them as they have demanding jobs and husbands, i don,t want to be a problem to them. I am not a people person and could honestly say that i think i have some form of phobia about being amongst crowds and going out, i like my flat and homeliness. The insomnia is the worst for me, i wake sometimes at 3.30 and can,t get back to sleep, these dark mornings make me feel depressed but i improve as the day goes on. I dread going to bed, i go to sleep ok but can,t stay asleep, i also get a form of sleep problem where i wake up an hour after i have fallen asleep and feel as if my heart has stopped then i have a panic attack for 5 minutes with my heart pounding. It is nice to talk to someone my age! thankyou for your kindness. x

  • I hope you can be offered some form of talking therapy in conjunction with

    the Citalopram to express your feelings. You need to get these feelings aired in a safe environment. My feeling is that you have put others needs before your own and even feel partly responsible for the failure of your marriage. I have been through similar experiences and thought I deserved all I got. This is because of the abuse you had from your husband who made you feel worthless and therefore undeserving of love and kindness. This couldn't be further from the truth! I can tell you are a lovely kind person. Please start the process of healing and ask for therapy as it has been proven to help more than pills alone. You will feel better when you give yourself permission (if that makes sense) to feel better about yourself and break free from negative feelings. Then you can be the you free from pain.

  • Thankyou for your reply, you are correct in what you say, some days i feel good about myself but there are many more days when i have very low self esteem. x

  • It's not surprising if you've suffered in an abusive relationship but there's nothing you should feel ashamed about. Life can be hard enough so don't feel too negative and I know that's easier said than done but it is possible to eventually feel there are more good days then bad. I joined this forum because I'm having a difficult time a my sister is critically ill in hospital and I did feel hopeless but little by little and it may only be baby steps I am recovering and I really didn't think it possible I ever could feel better about myself. It may take some working on to achieve it but it is possible.

    God Bless you

    Daniella xxx

  • I pray your sister will recover, i do not have anyone except my children, my mother left me with my elderly grandparents when i was a baby, they died when i was 13 and my grandad when i was 16, i have half brothers and sister but they don,t know me and i don,t know them. x

  • caught between the lesser of two evils..., shame citralopram was the only med offered, did the g.p. consider any other class of drug? Or had you tried other types of meds previously with no luck? Though they all do come with possible side effects :(

    I agree that professionals who have not had depression themselves do struggle to comprehend, and for myself i've had meds decisions made for me that left me semi suicidal, and it took several appointments with the g.p.s , getting increasingly desperate each time before they got the message and changed my meds around

  • Why a shame about Citalopram? I found it really helpful. I do think it depends upon the person and the kind of depression which med works best, also the stage of depression makes a difference, whether it's long term or more recent origin. But I agree about taking time for medics to find the right med, they don't know which one will be best and can only see how we respond to what they offer.

  • I did try fluoxetine which i think is prozac, it made me feel very sick and ill, citalopram was the best one but after taking it for 7 years i was getting palpitations and missed heartbeats so the doctor recommended i come off it,the first thing i noticed was that i couldn,t sleep and this has continued for the last year, i feel permanently washed out which doesn,t help. in the morning i am depressed but it lifts as the day goes on.

  • there are other classes of drugs to try, eg small doses of anti-psychotics are used for anxiety / sleep and help with depression.

    Personally i'd wave the flag for quetiapine, i'm only on 25mg, but it was literally a life saver when i was experiencing an awful agitated depression earlier this year. and when my meds review comes round, i will probably ask to cut back on the prozac rather than Q because i suspect the prozac was making my moods more unpredictable.

    i can't help thinking your g.p. was pushed for time and had not thought out other options.

    I'm including a link to a useful nhs website that has loads of meds info if you want to do some reading up yourself

  • Thankyou very much! x

  • I did have very bad side effects going on citalopram and i did feel i wanted to die but after a month the world looked a lot brighter, i appreciated everything and the world seemed a marvellous place. I am actually ashamed of feeling depressed and tend to hide it from my children, then when they are gone i have this incredible sadness, even they don,t understand it, my oldest daughter once said to me ,i don,t know why you,re depressed because you have everything,i never forgave her for that remark, i helped her throughout 2 bad marriages financially and mentally.

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