My doctor prescribed Citalopram to help me with menopause symptoms – night sweats, hot flashes, moodiness, and insomnia. I took 20 milligrams and did well since it resolved the symptoms of menopause I had without side effects at that point. It was nice to get good sleep without the covers on and the covers off. I didn’t feel like I wanted to stick my head in the freezer when a hot flash hit. I like to call hot flashes POWER SURGES. My significant other didn’t miss the moodiness that’s for sure.
The doctor upped the dose to 40 mg because I told her I felt “flat”. I lost my passion for life. Now I know it was the Citalopram making me “flat”.
I noticed I couldn’t smell anything. I couldn’t smell my significant other’s cologne or my essential oils. Or all my lavender plants in my garden. Not being able to smell is called anosmia and makes cooking a chore and a guessing game. It is definitely a safety problem as I couldn’t smell when food was bad. Is something burning? Hell if I know. So I became hypervigilant when I cooked. I grew to HATE cooking.
Then the skin problems started. I itched like a crazy person. I wanted to take a rake to my skin all the time. There was red circular raised rashes on my legs and abdomen that grew and itched. The doctors gave me steroid creams in increasing strengths but they only partly worked. I discovered peppermint oil in coconut oil worked the best for the itching. There were still many nights I was unable to sleep because of the itching.
The lack of passion for life was gone. I went with the flow even when it was not what I wanted. I had no desire to create anything – so out of character. I didn’t express my wants or needs for anything. If you asked me what I wanted to do or eat, I would say “I don’t care. Whatever.” So boring, right? People shouldn’t live like that.
I decided I was done taking an antidepressant. You can’t stop taking Citalopram suddenly so I cut the pills to decrease to 30 mg for several weeks. I dropped to 20, 15, and then 10. Cutting these pills into fourths is tedious. It took 6 months, and I was done.
The best part
My skin cleared, the itching was gone, and the relief was immense. Slowly my sense of smell returned. You know, cinnamon smells delightful. I’m cooking again. And I started knitting a sweater!
Photo by gusset