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River: Panicked, depressed, any help or opinion gratefully accepted


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Hi, I'm brand new to this, am surprised this is the exists and incredibly grateful to have found it. 

Basically, I've been on and off venlafaxine since I was 12. I'm now 31 and have been on it continually since I was 21, albeit for a terrible time of trying to dangerously cold turkey it.


I'm on 225mg, 300mg pregabalin (though due to depression and panic take 450 my daily)  and am yet again feeling that crappy pit in my throat, head and stomach again that we feel that is a black pit of falling hollow despair. 

I have lived the past decade in a miserable fof,  where at my best I feel apathetic, my worst I feel suicidal and can't move. I recently had tests and was diagnosed as having fibromyalgia as well as social anxiety and they believe I may be on the autistic spectrum though I haven't been tested. They've suspected since I was 17 that I may be epileptic but haven't tested for that either. I was told I was bipolar, then told by someone else it didn't look like that to them.


I have felt truly depressed since the age of 8, there is a strong history of depression running through both sides of my family. 

A few months ago i called the crisis team.... who never bothered to get back to me. Or my doctor. My doctor was on the precipice (phone in hand, finger on button) of having me committed through suicidal intention, but I have responsibilities to my parents and my dog was waiting with them in the car and only I drive so I convinced him not to section me. Not the first time I haven't been sectioned out of guilt of how it would make my parents feel.


The fog I have lived my life in on these tablets hasn't done me much good, other than managing to postpone suicidal intent at times, but when I questioned if these drugs were working at all I was switched to another type that made me sleep solidly for 48 hours and oanic incessantly when awake. Mirtazapine. So I'm back to venlafaxine and I'm desperate.


I've schooled myself in therapies from nlp, CBT,  psychology,  counselling to crystal healing and homeopathy. I have been through counselling and am trained to counsel,  yet I am now in the throws of a panic attack I've tried to damp down with numerous anti anxiety and anti depressants, and am terrified that the reason my depression has got worse and I cannot live a close to normal life is due to tardive dysphoria.


I find it hard to move, suffer CFS,  and have a constant brain fog. Any advice and or opinions I can get from fellow depressive survivors and not from pill pushers would be gratefully received. Thanks

Edited by KarenB
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  • KarenB changed the title to River: Panicked, depressed, any help or opinion gratefully accepted
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Hello River - welcome to SA,


It always breaks my heart to hear people were given drugs as children.  I am on effexor too, but only since my early 30s (still not a good scenario!) 


There is now a pattern of people being (mis)diagnosed bipolar after their systems were destabilised by SSRIs.  In particular the withdrawal symptoms of depression and high/manic feelings seem to confuse doctors.  This is documented in the book Anatomy of an Epidemic.  You might like to read some discussion about it in http://survivinganti...r-drug-effects/


There is also the ironic fact that antidepressants are known to cause depression.  I had an intensely difficult life (trauma, depression, ptsd etc) but the worst depression (and only anxiety attacks) I ever had were while on antidepressants.  The lower I get my effexor dose, the less depression and anxiety I experience.   


When did you switch to Mirtazapine and back?  Please put your withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages etc. so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately.  Thanks.  Are you wanting to reduce your dose (as this is what our site is for)?


We recommend a gentle taper, reducing by no more than 10% of your current dose each month.  This allows your brain time to adjust as you go, and lessens any withdrawal.  Tips for Tapering Effexor and Tips for Tapering Pregabalin


Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.  Lots of good stuff in there for anxiety.


Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. With time and good care, you will be able to one day be off these drugs.  You weren't given a chance to develop ways to manage life's stressors, being put on drugs at 12.  Perhaps now, with a combination of lowering your drug doses, and building on your self-care skills, you will be able to. 


Welcome to SA,



Edited by KarenB
added white space cause it keeps disappearing!

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

2023 Now on 7 micro-beads of Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops.

 'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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River KarenB is outstanding. Hang in there river! I am getting off Effexor as well. You will make it. This devil of a storm will pass and you will be glad you rode it out. Karen will walk you through this.  

150 mg Effexor xr for 2 years. (2015-2017)

Tapered to zero (04/2017-05/2017)

Was off effexor for about a month then the storm hit.

Reinstated 25 mg effexor (06/2017.

Last micro dose of Effexor on Nov 25 2017.

Been off Effexor for 11 months and still feeling AWEFUL. I feel DEAD.

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hi river welcome ,I'm also on the demon Effexor I'm torchured trying to  come off it ,but i tell you one thing that it wont beat us ,we will  get the peace we deserve .beyond a disgrace medicated like that as a child :angry: ,our suffering wont be in vain ,this brilliant site will show the world a different and more ethical way to threat people .your at the correct place ,give yourself time to navigate it .

take care


Alcohol free since February 2015 

1MG diazepam





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