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Effexorless: Hope


Effexorless

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Hi Everyone!

 

I am so happy that I found this forum.  I have so far not had anyone that could relate to what I am thinking and feeling.  In the course of the last 23 years I have been on Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor XR.  I never suffered from notable depression or anxiety while growing up.  When I was 22 I was stalked for a year by a customer who used to frequent the restaurant/company I worked for.  As a result I began to have panic/anxiety attacks whenever I was around a male, any male.  I couldn't go to school, had issues at work, I couldn't even go to the convenience store if there was a truck in the parking lot because I knew there would be a male inside.  I KNEW logically that these men I would encounter every day were not going to hurt me but my body would freak out.  I would become so embarrassed by my response to men that I ended exacerbating the problem by anticipating the reaction and ultimately causing the reaction.  I tried therapy and CBT to no avail.  Finally I was referred to a psychiatrist who prescribed me Prozac and Xanax.  I never could handle the Xanax so I never really took it.  The Prozac seemed to help so I stayed on it for about a year and then weaned myself off with no noticeable side effects.  Sometime later, maybe a year or so, I started feeling down and depressed so I went to see a new psychiatrist who decided to put me on Paxil this time.  Just like before, I took it for about a year and then weaned myself off with no real issues.  Then in 2001 I went through some major life changes.  I lost my job, got married, got a part time job, bought a house, and found a new full time job.  My marriage was volatile to say the least and didnt last very long.  Somewhere around 2003 my marriage fell apart and I had a severe anxiety attack at work one day.  In fear I reached out to my psychiatrist who tried a couple of drugs which I don't remember but eventually I settled on Effexor XR.  So began my 17 year slavery to a drug I found myself unable to quit.  Through the 17 years I found myself taking a drug that was so controlling that if I missed my dose by 1 hour I could feel physical withdrawal effects.  I tried unsuccessfully to stop twice in the 17 years I was taking Effexor XR.  I think at both times I was at a daily dose of 75mg.  I managed to quit smoking after 20 years cold turkey so in my mind this was basically the same.  Just stop taking it, deal with the withdrawal, put your head down and quit being a baby.  Just DO IT!  Well ... that didn't work.  Both attempts ended with me in my psychiatrist's office wailing and begging for a prescription, saying if I have to take this drug for the rest of my life so be it!  At different times throughout the 17 year course there were other drugs she threw at me because the Effexor wasn't helping me.  There was some Lithium, Zyprexa, and others I can't remember the names of.  All of the other drugs had horrifying results which I couldn't tolerate for more than about two days.  My sister has been my rock and voice of reason for so many years.  She always knew this drug game my doctor played with me wasn't right.  After all ... I was perfectly fine and happy prior to being stalked.  I had never needed a drug to be "normal".  She watched me suffer and want to die rather than live one more moment feeling what those drugs made me feel, always the anchor I could reach out to in my darkest hours.  So I lived in this place where my drug wasn't really helping me but I couldn't quit because the withdrawal was so awful it would actually make things worse.  We tried changing the dose up and down over the years.  I was originally prescribed "brand only" but after my insurance changed I couldn't afford the non generic.  For a while my pharmacist could find the actual Pfizer "generic" not really generic stock, but after awhile we couldn't find it anymore so I switched to generic Venalfaxine.  I can't say that I felt any difference between the generic and brand but they were both capsule form.  The last 10 years or so have been basically just existing for me.  On most days I didn't really care if I didn't wake up the next day.  I am a very devout Christian so my faith saved me from every taking my own life but I would certainly pray for it to end.  I saw no purpose in being here.  My relationships with family, friends, and coworkers have suffered greatly.  I had become basically a zombie.  I had no feelings and I didn't care.  There was no joy in life and everything, including taking care of my pets, was simply a job that I had to do.  I had found a therapist a few years ago to help me deal with a bad break up with a long term boyfriend (not my ex-husband).  I would see her off and on and she was always a little confused by the drugs my psychiatrist would want to try.  There were times she would write me a prescription and I would fill it but out of fear I wouldn't take them.  There had been too many bad experiences with other drugs.  My sister and I had reached a point that we could no longer communicate.  I was basically dead inside didn't really care.  I knew logically that I wasn't ok, but what could I do?  I was already taking a drug that was supposed to help, I was petrified of trying a new one, and I had a doctor that just kept pushing the prescription to me.  

 

Then ... about six months ago I had miscalculated my med check with my medication supply.  I was going to run short by about three days.  I knew I couldn't just stop because I had already tried that twice before.  I rationalized that I could take the withdrawal if I spread the remaining drugs and took one every other day.  I was currently taking 75mg per day which wasn't really a therapeutic dose, I simply took it because I couldn't stop.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist at this point to guess how that turned out.  I felt like I was going to die.  The brain zaps, the flue like symptoms, the nightmares ... all making me wish I was dead.  What that experience did do ... was piss me off!!  I decided at that point I would no longer be a slave to that drug.  The drug nor my doctor gave to craps about me.  I became determined to not only stop taking that drug, but any psychoactive drug.  I wanted to know who I was without any artificial influence.  I told my doctor what I was going to do.  Her response was no surprise, she advised against it.  She wrote me a prescription for 37.5mg which was the smallest dose available.  She wanted me to take the 37.5mg once per day for 4 weeks then stop.  I took the 37.5mg for just under three weeks.  I took my last dose of Effexor XR 37.5mg on November 27, 2019.  I had a four day weekend ahead of me where I didn't have to talk to or see another human.  I had no responsibilities for four days.  All I had to do was get the drug out of my system and deal with brain zaps ... right??  Surely this was just like quitting smoking and I just needed to suck it up and muscle through ... right??  I couldn't have been more wrong!!  I am happy to say that I didn't go back to the drug and I am three months and three days free from the evil hold of Effexor XR.  I didn't know until the last week or so as I started looking for answers to my feelings that I could have continued to taper the 37.5mg down even further.  My doctor certainly never told me that.  I have tried to navigate the myriad of physical and emotional fallout as it comes.  I initially had the horrid brain zaps, which after doing some looking around appear to be seizures in a particular area of the brain.  That's scary!!  The next thing I noticed was increased sweating, like constantly perspiring.  I initially got really scared to be home alone.  I would come home and check every closet and under every bed.  I couldn't go to sleep because I was so afraid.  I would set little boobie traps so that an intruder would wake me and the dogs so I could get my gun.  I finally got angry at that whole scenario and decided that I wasn't about to let my home, my safe haven, become my prison.  I refused to let myself look in the closets or under the bed and used CBT to overcome that fear.  I began to notice shuddering when I would get a little happy or excited about something.  I noticed a few people at work looking at me strangely but I would just play it off like I was cold, of course I was also sweating so ... go figure LOL!!  It was about two weeks post Effexor when I had my first ahhh moment.  I was walking my dogs which was something I hadn't wanted to do in awhile when I had the thought that I wanted to decorate for Christmas!!  I hadn't put up Christmas decorations in YEARS.  I loved to walk and look at other home's lights and reasoned that if everyone was as ba-humbug as me there wouldn't be any lights to look at.  I promptly rectified that situation and not only decorated outside, but I put up my first tree in forever.  That was the first sign to myself and my sister that something was changing in me for the better!!  One of the next changes was my desire to return to wearing makeup and business attire to work.  I work in the financial department of an orthopaedic clinic so had taken advantage of the ability to wear scrubs.  As a result I had gotten very lazy with my appearance.  I wore scrubs, wore no makeup, and stopped fixing my hair.  I had also put on about 50 lbs.  I had worn makeup about once per year over the last 10 years.  I decided to change that.  I went shopping and purchased new clothing for work.  That was another ah ha moment for me and my sister.  She called to invite me to go shopping with her.  I said I would love to and we had a great day shopping and having dinner.  After dinner she looked at me in a way that I can't really describe other than wonderment.  Formerly had she called and invited me I would have gotten angry and lashed out at her.  Why would she invite me to shop when I was horribly overweight?  Didn't she know I had no desire to dress this ugly body in anything other than a pair of scrubs??  She admitted to me that she made the invitation and was fearful of my lashing out at her, but I am so thankful that she made the invitation!!  Around the beginning of January I started wearing business attire, wearing makeup, and fixing my hair every day for work and I haven't missed a day since.  I am almost ready to burn those scrubs ... but not just yet ;).  After about a month I realized that the brain zaps and chills were significantly reduced and very sporadic.  The next challenge was unrelenting anxiety.  I noticed that I was constantly anxious, over everything.  The constant anxiety started making me nauseous, and unable to sleep very well.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and my mind would be racing.  I had the feeling that I wanted to jump out of my skin.  I had to MOVE my body!  I began to doubt my ability to do my job at work.  I have been doing that same job for 17 years, why all of a sudden did I feel unqualified?!?!  In talking this new challenge over with my sister, therapist, and research online I came up with a plan to take CBD in the morning, CBD with melatonin and night, and CBT to stay the course.  I also started trying to exercise more regularly.  The exercise is great for relieving my anxiety, it helps me sleep, and it is helping me lose weight and feel better about myself physically anyway.  The anxiety is almost under control now although I still have it, I seem to have found a way to reason it through.  My latest challenge is I have come to hate being alone.  I hate the solitude that I once embraced and I hate being alone in my head.  I used to spend the entire weekend in my house completely alone and may not have spoken to another human for the entire weekend or longer if it was a holiday.  Now I find the idea of going home and being alone abhorrent!  I don't want to go home.  I used to sit and watch tv for hours, now I can't stand the thought of sitting on the couch at all.  I have wondered if I need a drug to be "normal".  I feel that I have come so far and dealt with so much that surely I am near the end of the recovery.  I am left with thoughts of "who am I"?  Am I the same person I was before psychoactive drugs?  If I am someone new, who is that and do I like her?  Is it normal to have these thoughts??  It doesn't feel like it is normal.  I find that I am no longer satisfied by my job and wonder should I change careers.  I am angry at a system and a doctor that I feel stole 10+ years of my life.  I read back through my emails at work and replay arguments with family and friends and feel so very ashamed.  How could anyone stand me, I can't stand myself when I look back??  How did I go from a happy go lucky 22 year old to an angry, intolerable, feeling-less, zombie?  The FEELINGS!!  Oh my gosh at the feelings!!  It happens so slowly that you don't even realize it is happening, this loss of being able to feel, sympathize, or empathize with others.  So far I have refused the urge to run back to my doctor, or another doctor and get a band aid drug.  I am so happy to have stumbled across the article in The New Yorker about Laura Delano and subsequently a plethora of insight and sources to run to.  I know my story is nowhere near the level of some of the other stories I have read, but if my story can provide hope for even one individual I am thankful.  I look forward to continuing to grow and learn this new person I have become and getting to know many of you.  

1995-1996 Prozac - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

1998-1999 Paxil - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

2002 or 2003 - 2019 - Effexor XR - varied doses from 75mg to 150mg over the years

2019-November -  Effexor XR - dropped to 37.5mg for approximately 2.5 weeks

11/27/19 Effexor XR - took final 37.5mg dose and stopped CT 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA, Effexorless.  Let me offer my profound congratulations and respect for getting through what you've experienced and now, finally, being free of Effexor.  It's a remarkable accomplishment.

 

It is completely normal to have thoughts like, "Who am I?" and "Am I the same person?"  Who could go through what you've gone through and not be changed?   Many on this site who've emerged on the other side of being drugged and going through withdrawal have said they are a new person, different, yes, but stronger and wiser with the knowledge that if they could get through this, they could withstand anything.

 

So that you have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and healing.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  

 

These explain the healing process really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.
 

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium (glycinate is a good form) and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

We strongly recommend the use of non-drug skills and techniques to cope with life drug-free. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

It's great that the anxiety is getting under control.  Here are some links to help deal with anxiety.

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 22: 7.6mg

Taper is 90% complete.  

  

Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zinc, melatonin .3mg, anti-candida, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hello, I'm so happy for you. I hope you continue to heal and I'm sure you will. Your post made me cry. Thank you for posting!

June 2007- w/d from Paxil 20mg (various w/d symptoms on & off for over a year ) 

2014- started Citalopram 10mg

2019- Citalopram no longer working, random symptoms popping up.

Dec. 2019- starting weaning off citalopram.

End of Feb. 2020-completely off

 

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@Gridley, thank you so much for the congrats and the words of wisdom.  I loved ready about the trellis, that is a wonderful way of thinking about the changes in our brain over time.  Why would we think it would miraculously change back in an instant??  I guess that is the part that is so frustrating.  I never have been very good at "waiting" haha, patience is not one of my virtues.  I tend to get and idea and then take off all gung ho without a real plan in mind :).  I try to give myself a break when I get scared or frustrated.  I think the hardest part is the mental "weirdness".  I can understand the brain zaps, chills, sweating, and all of the physical feelings.  I have a hard time realizing that some of my mental struggles are related to the drug also.  The thoughts and emotions aren't a physical thing I can see or feel.  I find I get "lost" in my thoughts and can't focus.  It has made work a bit challenging.  I am also back in college and I find learning new things and retention are a real struggle.  I am going to spend some time reading through the material you have provided and see if there are any tips and tricks to help me get through this maze in my head.  

 

I did notice a few typos in my post.  Can I edit it?  I also saw that I was supposed to put my username in the title and wondered if I can fix that also.

Thank you!

1995-1996 Prozac - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

1998-1999 Paxil - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

2002 or 2003 - 2019 - Effexor XR - varied doses from 75mg to 150mg over the years

2019-November -  Effexor XR - dropped to 37.5mg for approximately 2.5 weeks

11/27/19 Effexor XR - took final 37.5mg dose and stopped CT 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
19 minutes ago, Effexorless said:

I find I get "lost" in my thoughts and can't focus.

Cognitive difficulties (known as "cog fog") are a very common withdrawal symptom(#19 in the checklist of withdrawal symptoms).   

 

24 minutes ago, Effexorless said:

 

I did notice a few typos in my post.  Can I edit it?  I also saw that I was supposed to put my username in the title and wondered if I can fix that also.

 

There a time limit on editing, an hour or two, but don't worry, we all have typos.  Effexorless is your user name and the title, "Hope" also appears above your first post, so you're fine there too.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 22: 7.6mg

Taper is 90% complete.  

  

Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zinc, melatonin .3mg, anti-candida, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hi @Maui, thank you for your response!  I do believe that we will all slowly heal and find a new way.  To me the hardest part is having to "wait it out" and let the mind heal at its own pace. 

1995-1996 Prozac - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

1998-1999 Paxil - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

2002 or 2003 - 2019 - Effexor XR - varied doses from 75mg to 150mg over the years

2019-November -  Effexor XR - dropped to 37.5mg for approximately 2.5 weeks

11/27/19 Effexor XR - took final 37.5mg dose and stopped CT 

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Hi @Gridley, so, I had a really bad weekend this weekend.  I have had nauseating anxiety for two days now.  I believe it was brought on by trying to take Ketones supplement which was a bad idea in hindsight.  That being said, I have been reading posts and have very mixed feelings about that.  In some cases it makes me feel better to read some stories but then I read some of the standard posts on how this was supposed to go and I get really frightened.  I see the three month mark which is where I am and now I am very scared.  I think I am too far gone to try any reinstatement and I honestly wouldn't want to take Effexor again.  I have an appt with my psychologist tomorrow and tried to make an appt with my psychiatrist but haven't heard back from her yet.  I really don't know what to do.  I don't want to jump to conclusions that I need a drug if it was just the stupid ketones, but yesterday was honestly so horrible I am scared.  Then I come here an read even more scary stuff.  

 

If I DID want to try a band aid drug at this point to handle the anxiety what should I try?  Prozac, since I seemed to tolerate it well and stopped before?  So frustrating and scary :(.

Thanks!

Teri

 

1995-1996 Prozac - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

1998-1999 Paxil - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

2002 or 2003 - 2019 - Effexor XR - varied doses from 75mg to 150mg over the years

2019-November -  Effexor XR - dropped to 37.5mg for approximately 2.5 weeks

11/27/19 Effexor XR - took final 37.5mg dose and stopped CT 

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  • 1 month later...

@Effexorless Hi! Just letting you know I am praying for you and if you need a support friend you can always PM me. I am a christian and going through WD as well. Many times I have wanted to take my own life but trusting in God has kept me going. Keep fighting and leaning into Jesus. He has our lives and loves us so very much. 💚

2014 - April 2019 150mg Fluvoxamine ER 

Fast taper beginning in April 2019 and ending in June 2019

Off Fluvoxamine for 6 weeks with severe WD.

12 mg of Ambien xr for insomnia.

After 6 weeks reinstated fluvoxamine 150mg Aug 2019 - December 2019

Jan 2020 able to get off Ambien and started slow taper to get of Fluvoxamine but taper was not slow enough. 10% reduction every week. still experiencing WD from first attempt.

March 2020 switch to 75mg Effexor xr

April 2020 37.5mg Effexor xr, bridged to Trintellix, and now off Effexor

 

4/25/2020 5mg Trintellix

 

 

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On 3/9/2020 at 2:08 AM, Effexorless said:

Hi @Gridley, so, I had a really bad weekend this weekend.  I have had nauseating anxiety for two days now.  I believe it was brought on by trying to take Ketones supplement which was a bad idea in hindsight.  That being said, I have been reading posts and have very mixed feelings about that.  In some cases it makes me feel better to read some stories but then I read some of the standard posts on how this was supposed to go and I get really frightened.  I see the three month mark which is where I am and now I am very scared.  I think I am too far gone to try any reinstatement and I honestly wouldn't want to take Effexor again.  I have an appt with my psychologist tomorrow and tried to make an appt with my psychiatrist but haven't heard back from her yet.  I really don't know what to do.  I don't want to jump to conclusions that I need a drug if it was just the stupid ketones, but yesterday was honestly so horrible I am scared.  Then I come here an read even more scary stuff.  

 

If I DID want to try a band aid drug at this point to handle the anxiety what should I try?  Prozac, since I seemed to tolerate it well and stopped before?  So frustrating and scary :(.

Thanks!

Teri

HOw are you doing now? 

On 3/9/2020 at 2:08 AM, Effexorless said:

 

 

How are you doing now? It's been a weird 2 months on lockdown, this has everything feeling even tougher than usual.

On Cymbalta for 10 years after PND.  Original dose of 60mg was far too high.  Tapered down over years.  Tricky journey. 

Finally off October 2018. Once over the fallout, haven't looked back. 

  • Been on 150mg Prolonged Release Zyban for 3.5 yrs.
  • It comes in blank plastic pouches.
  • The code on the pill is GX CH7.
  • The full pill weight is 0.42 grams.  

Starting tapering journey May 2020.  Cut the tablet into 4 quarters. Found the pill cutter very inexact for this kind of tablet. Sizes varied hugely.

Tried one half in morning and the other 2 quarters at regular intervals. Abandoned that plan fast, as half an immediate release made me feel like I'd had 300 coffees.
Took a quarter every few hours instead. Which meant I dropped by a whole quarter. This had me bumpy for 2 weeks.
31st July - began skipping the middle 1/4 on alternating days. VERY BAD IDEA. Doctor's advice. Thanks to Chessiecat and Altostrata and went back to the 1/4 three times a day. 
15th September went down by 10%;29th October went down by 10%;Mid December will cut 10% again. 
Approx three 10% cuts (pill weight) since January 2021 (2021). Each is pretty bumpy. 
July 2021 - Am now at 0.06 grams (pill weight) x 3 daily. (The whole pill weighs 0.42 grams)
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Hey @Effexorless how have you been? I’m also off Effexor. 5 months off. Things have been up and down. How are you? 
 

also I see you’re talking about going to other meds possibly. I wouldn’t do that. I think most people experience worst symptoms when that happens. The only drug you can go back to is effexor at a low dose. 1mg or less. Please don’t go to another med. 

Example:

2018 - Started Effexor 37.5 in Janurary of 2018
2019 January, 2nd  - Cold Turkeyed from Effexor for 3 days. Reinstated on the third day, then stabilized(It took 3 months to stabilize)

2019 June - I switched from Effexor instant release to Extended Release 37.5 for better tapering. I tapered to 50% in 4 weeks before reinstating my dosage back to 37.5(due to withdrawls). I waited 2 months to stabilize but never did at 37.5

2019 September - continued to taper in to 25% on extended release

2019 October - continued to taper to half of the beads(18.75mg)... WIthdrawls were so bad I tried switching back to the instant release at the same dosage(18.75mg)

2019 November 28th - Discontinued effexor at 18.75 without anymore tapering.

 

2020 January - Just can't sleep, have constipation, low libido and still lack of full emotion

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Everyone,

 

Thank you for the well wishes.  @Pleasehelpme4, thank you.  I totally understand ... just last Friday I wanted to die.  I am a devout Christian and between my faith and my sister I could never take my own life.  That doesn't stop me wishing this life would just be over so the suffering will stop.  @Rozon1, I couldn't be happier to have finally kicked the Effexor dependence.  That was something I had tried a few times over the 17-18 years I was on it.  How are you coming along?

 

My update is ... I had a rough couple of months.  I couldn't seem to cognitively handle my job anymore.  I was "slow" for a lack of a better way to say it.  Things that I had done for years were suddenly hard for me to calculate.  My job is currently in a very stressful period.  We are integrating with other clinics and all systems are new and changing.  On top of that I am currently in school to finish my degree, and then BAM .. Covid-19 comes into play and adds a ton to the already high load of stress I am under.  So I went to my doc and she prescribed me Paxil CR, Propranolol, and Seroquel.  I couldn't believe her, she is such a B&#%T.  I asked for a small dose of something to help me be able to concentrate at work ... and she hands me a prescription cocktail.  I hate my doc.  I started taking the Paxil and that was all.  About 35 days into that drug my life flipped upside down.  With the pandemic I couldn't get into my doc.  She finally called me and I told her I was now depressed and anxious.  I had been wonderful just having issues with cognitive ability.  She says double the Paxil dose.  I took double the next day which was last Thursday.  When I woke up on Friday I was more frightened than I have ever been about my own mental capacity.  I literally felt way out of touch with reality and I wanted to jump out of my skin.  My anxiety was to a debilitating level.  I called my sister and she rushed over to stay with me.  I still couldn't get in touch my with my doctor and was in a panic about what to do.  Was it safe to just stop the drug?  How was my body that was still trying to recover from stopping Effexor going to handle stopping the Paxil?  Did I have Serotonin Syndrome?  I had some Effexor left, should I take that since my body would recognize that?   I had no idea what to do to make it better and I damn sure didn't want to make it any worse.  I couldn't go to the ED and chance being hospitalized.  I had put in a few phone calls trying to get into another physician but at that point there was no help to be had.  I spent the weekend with my sister and it was the longest weekend of my life.  By Monday, three days off of Paxil I was feeling MUCH better.  I still had some pretty nauseating anxiety but at least I could think and my mental connection to reality was there so I could work.  I finally got in to see a new doctor on Tuesday this week virtually.  I went over my history and then my most recent terrifying experience.  She was appalled that my doctor had prescribed me Paxil, she said that for PTSD that is a number one no no.  I dropped off of the Effexor too fast and with my high stress job coupled with school my anxiety is unmanagable.  She prescribed Prozac which was the original drug I was prescribed and I tolerated it well then so hopefully I will again.  I have been on the Prozac three days now and I feel pretty good.  I hate psych drugs ... I apsolutly hate them!  I am happy that my doc is with me and a plan to be drug free at some point.  We agree that this is achievable.  She wants me to stick with the Prozac for 6 months to allow my body to adjust which is what I should have done in the begining instead of jumping off Effexor the way I did.  The six months will also allow me to get through the next stressful months at my job and then the job will become normal again and I will just have normal everyday tasks to do.  

 

I am frustrated to be back on medication.  I felt so alive and happy after stopping the Effexor!!  I don't want to go back to being the unfeeling zombie that couldn't connect with other people again.  I have made a deal with my sister that the moment she sees me start to become that person again she will raise the alarm.  

 

I struggle with envisioning a future where I am happy and "normal".  I can look back at my childhood prior to being stalked and see that I have always had some low level general anxiety but it was tolerable.  After the stalking my anxiety seems to rise to an abnormal level very quickly.  I have been working with my therapist to learn new tools to handle anxiety naturally and I hope that between my therapist and my new doc that we can get me to a drug free stable and happy place.  

1995-1996 Prozac - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

1998-1999 Paxil - do not remember dosage, tapered off and quit

2002 or 2003 - 2019 - Effexor XR - varied doses from 75mg to 150mg over the years

2019-November -  Effexor XR - dropped to 37.5mg for approximately 2.5 weeks

11/27/19 Effexor XR - took final 37.5mg dose and stopped CT 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Effexorless: Hope

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