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  1. Hello everyone, I'm not quite sure which topic the following issue and question belongs to .. so please let me know if I should post this in another topic / category. As described in my signature, I completely stopped ingesting venlafaxine after about 3 months of tapering - I know, too fast, I was never informed about withdrawals or the need of a slower taper by my physician. One week after the last pill, various withdrawal symtoms such as brain fog, blurred/limited or "constrained" vision, OCD, tiredness and vertigo all appeared at once. Everything lasted for about 1 month and then, like all of a sudden, the withdrawals just stopped or became much milder. This period, which I like to refer to as my withdrawal "honeymoon," lasted for about 2 weeks. After this, the withdrawal symtoms started to come back, yet this time much more severe. I don't know if it has to do with the 2-3 glasses of champagne I had in New Years (I doubt so), but ever since they came back, they have slowly gotten worse. In the beginning I could still work, see friends and do other things people do in the leisure time but now I am on the sick list since three months, I can barely go or stay outside very long because all my symtoms (especially my visual symtoms) gets worse and my body and brain gets tired really fast. I am home most of the time. I try to exercise and to go out but my symptoms allow me to do very little things before it gets too hard for me. Now I ask you people who know this better than me - is it common for the symptoms to get worse over a period of time (for several weeks/months) before things hopefully turns around and you start feeling better again? I know that I may be a little messy in my explanation and I have certainly posted this in the wrong topic, but please know that I am suffering from a bad brain fog and that I am trying my best. I have already visited an ophthalmologist and I did get my brain scanned and they could find nothing. Still, I'm worried that there may be something else that causes my symptoms, which in turn was caused by effexor. PS -I have tried several supplements and have found that soy protein powder and magnesium tables relieves some of my symtoms. Thank you all in advance, and sorry for the messy text!
  2. Hello everyone! I have PDA (Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia) since 15 and I´m in drugs since there (now I´m 31). I tried different medications, but I think I´m with venlafaxin and clonazepam for about ten years (clonazepam since the begining of the treatment). I have always responded well to medical treatments overall. Sometimes I was great, sometimes I was ok, but never in that big hole of being trapped in you own home again. Never had major colateral effects. My life became almost normal, thanks god. I married, had a good job and socialize. I just avoided some situations, like being all bymyself in a distant place, for example (mild agorafobia) At July 2015, after doing my first international trip I decided I was "cured" and started to withdrawn the medication. My start point was 75mg of venlafaxin and 1,0 mg of clonazepam (It wasn´t my higher dose, but the one I stabilized) I didn´t knew the 10% rule, but somehow I instinctly followed it . I made it really slow and without any visible sympton. In the beginning I discontinued it a little bit faster. In january 2016 (six months later) I was taking half of the medication without any sympton (37,5mg/0,5mg) I continued tappering slowly. From january 2016 to december 2016 I cutted another half (37,5 day yes, day no/0,25) The problem was that with that dose I started to have some panic attacks. My main symptons are: shortness of breath, derealization (which I never had in this way) and weakness overall. Six months ago I was playing soccer for two hours, now I´m having trouble walking for 10 minutes. So, resuming: Venlafaxin Clonazepam July 2015 75mg 1mg (feeling great) January 2016 37,5mg 0,5mg (feeling great) January 2017 18mg 0,25 mg (having panic attacks) Until now I´m dealing with my attacks and learning some CBT tools to fight against. I have some questions and count on your help! 1. Is there any problem taking the venflaxin day yes/day no or is better to dissolve it and start to take it 18mg/day? 2. It´s ok to tapper the two meds at once? If not, which one would be the best to start? 3. I think that my symptons are not from tappering fast, I think it´s really my anxiety/panic condition that was covered by the meds, what is your experience? What do you think? 4. If I return to my safe point (37,5/0,5) is there any garantee that I will fell better again or there is a high risk of returning to a higher dose and continue feeling bad? I could tapper it even slowly in next time with more help (now I know this site and I´m reading it a lot) 5. If there´s a high chance to return feeling good taking this dose, in how many time can I expect the effects of the reintroduction of the meds? Obs.: I have a major important admission exam in less than 2 months and that´s my real thing. If wasn´t for it, I would hold up hands down. But my fear is that it mess up my studying and my performance. 6. Anything you want to comment will help. *Congratulations for all the comunity, I hope I can add some experience with the meds, the tappering and the disease itself. **I started do read some material, but it´s a lot of thing, so, I´m sorry if I ask something that is already written. ***Hope you compreend my english, I´m not practicing it for a while.
  3. Hello. I'm posting here because, like many of us probably, I'm in pain and I'm scared. I've been on various SSRIs for about...15 years or so, Seroquel for the last 7? Latest was Effexor for a few years, coupled with Seroquel. I tapered off Seroquel for about 6 months successfully, only problem was with insomnia at the end. 2 months or so I was free. November I ran out of my script of Effexor, it had been a few days. I asked my doc for something new because my depression was worsening, but I didn't want Seroquel because I've since kinda come to the conclusion that unless I'm psychotic (never been) I don't want to be on that hardcore of a drug, because of the insomnia (I left it for insurance reasons). Doc gave me Trintellix November 20 and said I didn't need to taper off Effexor. I was wary, but I went with it. The Trintellix seemed immediately effective for the depression, but it came with side effects. Diarrhea, itchy feet for a few days, and then the one I couldn't live with - water retention. I was on half the prescribed dose for 2 weeks before I stopped because the water was starting to make my chest hurt. Went back and she put me on Zoloft...and was dismissive of my continued diarrhea and weakness. I used Zoloft for 2 weeks, then stopped that three nights ago because of the continued diarrhea, and I'm now coughing. I'm...kind of improving. I have some energy now, not going to the bathroom every few hours. But I keep coughing these tiny little coughs that come with nothing. I read SSRIs can cause something called SIADH, some sort of problem where the body makes too much anti-diuretic hormone...and I'm also on anti-diuretics, which makes it more possible to get this SIADH. So now I'm just sitting here, on nothing for depression, coughing and afraid. I know this is probably just a temporary thing until my body gets back to some sort of homeostasis, sheds whatever water I'm retaining still (which I think is why I'm coughing), I'm waiting until the 1st when my new insurance kicks in and I can see a new doctor, but the broken part of my brain makes me worry it's permanent, that my heart's been damaged. Anxiety sucks. Anyone ever had water retention issues on an SSRI?
  4. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  5. Hello guys, I already shared my story in another forum and now I thought of sharing it also in this community. My story starts about 3,5 years ago, there I was 22 years old, I broke up with my first big love and this kinda left me desperate. I tried compensating it with a lot of work, working out in the gym and partying. I was always looking for a distraction, something that made me feel good and I always played the nice and happy guy in front of the others. Somehow it worked, I liked my life back then, I loved my job (i worked in a spa center as a sauna coach), it really fulfilled me. At the same time I attended courses to become a personal trainer. But a year later (may 2017) my facade started to crumble, I had no energy and anxiety and panic attacks started to evolve. Desperate as I was, i went to the doctor and after insisting on a blood test (which was fine) he prescribed me Venlafaxin 75mg, also known as effexor, telling me it would help to get my energy back. And there the whole nightmare was about to start. Sleeping got way worse ( it took me a long time to fall asleep and in the morning i could not get out of the bed, fatigued as i was), but the worst symptom was the derealization and depersonalization. At this time I didn’t know that it came from the drugs. The doctor told me the dose was to low and he wanted to prescribe me 150mg. But I refused. At this time I had already changed job. When I came home from the job I was so tired I fell asleep for 2 hours, wacking up all dizzy. On September 17 i decided to taper off these drugs, because I didn’t feel confident at all. My doctor didn’t tell me anything about the withdrawal symptoms, he only gave me the smallest available dose of 37,5mg. I started taking them and strangely at the Beginning I felt better, I had more energy and had some better days. 1 month later, even though I didn’t feel that good, I decided to take the next step and to taper off 5 mg every week. At this time I didn’t know the steps were too big. On December 17 I reached 0mg and was looking forward to get back to normal life and by new year I felt mostly normal. But then slowly the withdrawal symptoms started to kick in. Somehow I just tried to survive day by day. Then in May 18 I decided to quit my job and to relax. I had some better and some bad days. On July 18 although I was not in the best conditions, me and my Brother decided to go on a journey, we travelled around Asia for 2 months. I hoped this journey can heal me somehow. Although it was a great experience unfortunately I was not able to get back to normal. Back home I started working for some hours, started working out and playing Icehockey. Then in May 19 I decided to get a full time job and to make the best out of my life. So I got this full time job in an office, started to get more ambitious in the gym (I changed body exercises mostly without weights) and in summer i was hiking 1x week. I tried to ignore my symptoms and just did what I liked. More or less the daily procedure of the symptoms were the same, so somehow I got used to it. Powering me out in the gym or in the mountains made me feel happy and alleviated the symptoms. But than again in September anxiety started to come back and I got some terrible headache, luckily I had 2 weeks of vacation and travelled with my friends to Asia. I was worried about me and how I could handle the vacation with my new arisen symptoms, but the end I had some really great days mostly without any symptoms. Back home the hole situation started to get worse, anxiety and headaches almost every day, I was devastated. I was not sure if the symptoms came from the withdrawal or if I got back into burnout, or overtraining. The symptoms I felt this time were different than the whole summer. Further my sleep got worse and I had some periods of stomachache. I mean I really did a lot of sports throughout the summer, but I did all those things to become more aware of my body. By now I am meditating everyday for almost a year, I added 5x/ week yoga in summer in the morning before i got to work and I worked out 3x/ week, plus I went hiking with my friends once a week. I know it seems a lot and maybe I exceeded my limits. The thing is when im feeling down I push myself and try to motivate myself, I tried to show myself and the world that nothing can bring me down. Right now I feel a little lost, I don’t know if I should give up the sport for maybe some weeks and se how it goes. All I know is that sports is my life and I would get mad if I have to quit. I already try to do less, right know I am so cowed and I am not able to make decisions. What do you think? Thanks for reading this Best regards
  6. Hello, I completed my effexor taper as of August 23rd, 2019. It was a fairly uneventful taper, any withdrawal symptoms I did experience were fairly mild and manageable. I did it slow and steady, tapered 75 mg off over about 4 months. This may be fast for some, but it was definitely slower than what my psych doc recommended, she wanted me to drop right from 73 to 37.5 for two weeks, then 37.5 every other day for two weeks and then stop!! that scared the **** out of me, so i did it my way, as i do most things, and even though it wasn't what she recommended, she was super supportive and willing to go along with what i knew was best for my body. I have been dealing with some nausea and digestive upset since the end, and didn't even relate these to withdrawal until recently. However, for the past two days I have been dealing with some fairly persistent anxiety and I am wondering if it might have anything to do with effexor at all. If it is, is this something that anyone else has experienced at more than two months off? Is this something that anyone has found resolves on it's own? Having panic disorder and generalized anxiety makes any little nervy feeling spiral out of control for me! The anxiety and fear that everything i went through three years ago happening all over again makes it worse! I just hope there is someone here that can help me out! Thanks
  7. Hi all, I am Katt, And I am weaning off of Effexor first and then will try to get off of Clonopin. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’m 59 and first started antidepressants when I was in my mid 20s. I’ve been on and off a large variety of medications, all of which either eventually stopped working or caused too many side effects. Wellbutrin caused terrible insomnia for way too long. I have tried Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac and a few others I can’t remember. I decided to wean off of Effexor after I completed the series of trans cranial magnetic stimulation which has seemed to help a lot. Now I want to get off of the anti-depressant and be sure That I am cured of my depression, or at least greatly improved. The Clonopin I take, 1 mg a day, is for help with sleep… It turns off that voice inside my head that wants to make a grocery list or remember to bring something with me when I go someplace. In other words, **** I don’t need to be thinking about at 3 AM! I haven’t figured out how to put in a signature line yet, but this is the latest information. I started Effexor in 2014 or 15. I was taking 300 mg, 150 twice a day. I am weaning down 37.5 mg every three weeks. At first I was on a two week schedule, but since my husband has metastatic cancer, my teenage daughter had a first psychotic episode, my youngest suffered recurrence of severe anxiety, depression and school refusal and I lost my job... so my psychiatrist decided a three week interval might be best. In reading through the possible side effects of Effexor, which I had read when I first began taking the medication, I now realize that it has probably been the cause of many adverse physical effects I have been blaming on other things! Below is a list, or at least a partial list, of side effects I believe are caused by the Effexor! Many things are new and, of conditions I had previous to Effexor, worsening of symptoms: Type two diabetes High cholesterol Elevated liver enzymes Elevated iron levels Gallstones Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Level two or three scarring of my liver Excessive sweating Hot flashes Night sweats Nausea Weakness Severe fatigue Very tight muscles in my neck Muscle spasms of my back, neck and legs Abnormal healing creating abnormal scars Clumsiness or loss of balance? Memory loss, confusion, working and thinking slowly? Tinnitus Heart palpitations Tachycardia Persistent edema, especially of the hands Worsening of rosacea and acne Worsening of urticaria Itchy skin Easy bruising Stiff muscles, decreased flexibility and range of motion everywhere Excessive bleeding of cuts Anorgasmia, improved a little Tingling and numbness in my feet, not from the diabetes Extreme worsening of back hip and neck pain Worse arthritis Some Urinary incontinence or hesitation Hair loss Worsened asthma Sleep apnea And a whole bunch of other things I had never heard of or made the connection to Effexor since they may not have started or worsened for a few months or years after starting taking the drug. Glad to be here and compare notes with others. The main side effect of withdrawal I am experiencing now is nausea. Luckily the brain zaps have not started and I hope they do not. I’m starting physical therapy for pain, weakness and mobility issues soon. I have a TENS unit for my back and hip pain, I hope to get a Home traction unit for my spine and a new SI belt for hip pain. Katt
  8. First of all thank you for the support you give on this site. I am from Spain, using Google translator. I started with psychiatric medications at age 16 from panic attacks, I'm currently 37. I've been trying to quit the medications for two years. Before starting the last withdrawal I was taking: EFFEXOR XR 150 mg1-0-0; TRANKIMAZIN RETARD 1mg 1-0-1; MIRTAZAPINE 15 mg 0-0-1. In January 2019 I started withdrawing TRANKIMAZIN 0.5 mg every 15 days; at the end of the cone I did not recover from withdrawal symptoms but despite that when the withdrawal of TRANKIMAZIN ends I began with the withdrawal of EFFEXOR. I removed 0.75 mg of EFFEXOR for two months. At this point I was very tired, I had muscular stiffness in my neck and many pains and had gained a lot of weight, I decided to remove MIRTAZAPINE first to see if the symptoms described above were solved. From there I eliminate MIRTAZAPINE in just one week, five months ago. There begins the greatest abstinence hell I've ever lived; panic attacks every thirty minutes, vomiting, diarrhea, sensitivity to light and sound, itching and skin sensitivity, burning eyes, lack of appetite, muscle aches throughout the body, extreme fatigue, anhedonia, depersonalization, dizziness ... As the symptoms were intolerable, reading in this forum that a benzodiazepine can help I start with DIAZEPAM. 2.5 mg - 0 - 2.5. The benzo works and the symptoms become more tolerable. the panic attacks almost disappear and I start eating a little. From this moment I try to hold on to see if the symptoms disappear. Today, sensitivity to light and sound, skin sensitivities have improved, I have no insomnia, no vomiting or diarrhea. However, I have had to abandon all my daily activities because any effort makes me feel very sick (flu symptoms). prolonged anhedonia and depersonalization have led me to a deep depression. My life is to be asleep as long as possible because the reality is too distressing, I have no appetite, I live with demotivation and hopelessness and ideas of death. I do not know if all these symptoms are an accumulation of the different withdrawals or are due exclusively to MIRTAZAPINE. I am afraid of restoring medication because my quality of life with her was very poor, the EFFEXOR caused my personality changes and psychic changes that wreaked havoc on my life. I would like to know what you think and what you would do in these difficult times. It is very difficult in Spain to find medical support that belives my story. Thanks for your support.
  9. I was 22 when I went to the doctor because of a broken heart. He put me on effexor. I had faith in our medical system then, I don't these days. He did not even think the birth control I was on was causing a problem nor did he test for any nutrient insufficiency. It was a brief few minutes. I was crying over a break up and that was all he needed to see and hear to pack me up with several trial boxes full of effexor XR. It seemed like the end of the world and I wanted the pain to stop so I put my trust in my doctor and took the pill everyday until I got pregnant a year later. It was a difficult pregnancy. I was not aware I had a genetic mutation in my MTHFR pathway. I don't even know if that pathway was studied much back then...I am 38 now. Just so you have a time line. I don't know if they were aware that antidepressants made the lack of folate worse. No wonder I had preeclampsia and was on bed rest for the entire 3rd trimester. I felt like crap and was at risk for heart attack and stroke. They had to induce 2 weeks early. She was definitely worth it. Her father, however was not. I needed to go back on effexor after the pregnancy to deal with his abuse. In the end, I wound up with PTSD and he sat 6 years in prison. I had developed a drinking problem at this time. I was out of control. The second pregnancy helped me reel it back in. I went off the meds and did not go back on them until I was unable to handle the stress anymore which was about 2 years post partum. I had 2 daughters, I was working as much as possible and in school full time. My significant other was trying to "hook up" with other girls and my second attempt at a family was failing. They added trazadone this time so I could sleep. Instead of dealing with the problem, I numbed it. My behavior changed a lot. I lost interest in the things I was working so hard for, I became compulsive even more than usual, the alcohol abuse returned. The failing of the family sealed everything. I lost it completely, cut myself so badly and tried to commit suicide. I ended up spending a week in the psych ward where they changed up my meds and added abilify and buspar to the cocktail. Apparently I had gone from just depressed to bipolar. I got off the medication after I found myself pregnant for the 3rd time. I married this one. Love him to death too. After I had my 3rd daughter and even during the pregnancy I was having what I thought were a return of my old bipolar symptoms. I went back on all the meds believing they would help me. They actually made me lose control a bit more and eventually I felt so lost and sick that I knew it was time to get off the meds and actually work towards a happy, healthy life. I was weaned off everything except trazadone. I requested to stay on it for insomnia. I had not been able to sleep for years without a sleep aid and it worked for me. The initial withdrawl was bad. I was on the couch for atleast a month after taking my last dose. I made it through. Shortly after I began developing gastrointestinal issues. I was always nauseated and would have stomach aches. No one thought it was from withdrawl or from the trazadone I continued to take. I carried on in my health quest. I began running and cleaned up my diet. I fell in love with Crossfit and added that to the mix. My gastrointestinal problems continued and got worse. I started eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. It helped a little. Then I woke up one morning with distorted vision, extreme fatigue, and a general feeling like I had the flu...but it wouldn't go away. I worked with a gastro thinking that something horrible was going on in my intestinal track. Blood work, a colonoscopy, ct scans, numerous emergency visits could not pin point anything wrong. It was a mystery. I thought I was dying at one point. Until I decided it was time to go off of trazadone...and miraculously after I was weaned off all the brain fog, headaches, fatigue went away. My gut did not improve much. But I then had an idea what was causing my issues. I was diagnosed with IBS and it was driving me nuts. I was not aware I was still going through withdrawls nor did I associate the deterioration in my mental state with those withdrawls. I thought, my gut was great when I was on effexor. Lets try it. My body rejected it twice. My gastro tried a low dose of elivil which my body also rejected. I worked out that weekend and woke up on Monday and all the symptoms I had before had returned times 10. I felt like I had fried my brain. I have been trying to recover for the past 6 months. I did see a lot of improvement after working with an integrative doctor. We are trying to increase my serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. My adrenals are shot. My cortisol curve is really messed up. The ability for my body to regulate blood sugar levels was horrible for a long time. But is better now. I can have coffee again in the morning when I need it most. I sleep more than I don't these days. Sleep hypnosis works like a charm to help with the racing thoughts at night. My gut has improved, but my diet is super clean and I try and exercise when I am feeling well enough to. I take methylfolate for my mutation and we are working on getting my body to synthesize B6 better with a ful spectrum of aminos I take as a bone broth protein supplement. I still have waves. They were manageable up until this week. I am having a really bad wave. Migraine, my thermostat is not working right (either freezing or sweating), muscle aches, horrible vertigo, vision problems, balance is off, muscle weakness, fatigue yet cannot sleep well. And the emotional roller coaster has not been fun. I can't wait to get off that ride. Horrible panic, paranoia, fear, anxiety, akathisia, and obsessive behavior, cannot handle any type of stress at all. My poor 13 year old got the brunt of it yesterday. I yelled at her because she needed me to pick her up from school because she was not feeling well. I could not handle the change in my morning plans. I apologized later that night, though. I do try and explain what is happening. This is what it is like, though. I know this is a lengthy post, but I feel it is important to tell my story and I am not going to sugar coat things at all. This whole process has been horrible. It is a nightmare for me and for my family. I just have faith and hope that one day I will wake up and I will be healed...atleast I hear that is how things are suppose to happen.
  10. I have been on and off different anti-depressants for years. I was on Effexor for many years. (I can't offer specific dates on many things as many holes are there.) I went on a trip in 2015 to Uganda and met a man with horrible trauma. He was being weaned off the antidepressant they had him on for 9 months. I asked if they ever left people on longer and the response was, "No. You have them on it short term and work with them extensively, giving them the tools to overcome. Then bring them off and work alongside them until they are ready to move on." I thought of all the 15 minute visits here in the US with a Psychiatrist, different ones over the years and how the only "tool" given me was a medication. The recheck visits seemed like a way to keep the money rolling in. Only 2 of the many I saw seemed to really care. One got sick and had to retire, the other moved away. I had also been to plenty of counseling over the years. Never did I feel like anyone actually came alongside me and helped me to live. At least not from the professionals. I may have gotten some good nuggets of information but the people over the years that have genuinely loved on me in spite of myself have had the greatest impact. After this information, I came home and began to research. I knew from prior experience that none of the doctors I know of would encourage, know how, or help me withdraw. So I began on my own. It took 2 1/2 years to withdraw from the Effexor. I let my body guide me as to how fast or slow I could go. It was a very slow process and when I would feel symptoms, I would slow it further. I have been off of the Effexor for over a year. I was also on Mirtazapine for sleep. I took 1/4 of a 7.5 mg tablet for years. How many I do not know. Unfortunately, I did not do my due diligence with this one as I thought it was such a tiny dose that it would be no big deal. I did not take into account how long I had been on it, or the fact that I just came off the Effexor. I was probably totally off of the Effexor for a couple of months at the longest when I began the Mirtazapine withdrawal. (I would NOT recommend this to anyone!) I couldn't really cut the pill any smaller than it was so I started skipping days until I was down to 3 nights a week. Then decreased further. I seemed fine, until about 4 days after I totally stopped and was out of the medication. I went into full withdrawal at that point. I had already leveled with my employer about the situation of Effexor withdrawal shortly after he hired me. (Not a conversation I wanted to have but knew I could be "off" some days.) Being in a natural health care field, he was understanding. When I had to approach him again, this last year because I was no longer sleeping and re visit the same conversation only with a different medication, he was still understanding. He referred me to a place that has helped me with the detox and I am still being treated there. It has been long, it has been hard and I wish I would have found the "Beyond Meds" site sooner than I did. I think I would have done it differently, however, there are a number of reasons I needed to get off sooner rather than later. The symptoms are still too big and I have felt so alone until finding the "Beyond Meds" site which is how I found this site. Now I see there are many like me and it has helped so much to know someone else understands and that I am not crazy. Trying to explain what I am living with to someone else is maddening as they look at me like I am crazy. My husband keeps insisting that I need to go back on medication, but the natural place I am treating at said that the medication is the reason my adrenals are in the state they are in and to never go back. I guess what I need is encouragement that this will get better from people that actually live with what I am living with. The disassociation is so hard and this whole thing has brought up truama's from my past that I thought were long put to rest. Now I am wrestling with them again like they happened yesterday. The weight loss and muscle loss needs to stop too. I am eating but still losing weight and my husband comments on that too which causes stress. Then there is the lack of sleep and utter terror that can hit me at any time. I have had to be honest with my employer about that as well since some of the terror is around him. It is undefinable and there is no reason for it but I can have a 4 alarm fire alarm go off at any moment of the day with no fire in sight! My life feels like it has been flipped upside down and I am slowly trying to piece together who it is I am supposed to be but go so derailed all those years ago by medication. I may not know dates but I can tell you that I have been married for almost 31 years and I have been on antidepressants for at least 25 of those years. I am desperately praying I will not be in this for as many years as some I have read. It feels unbearable.
  11. I tapered from effexor 150 mg over 12 days, 11 weeks ago. I experienced nearly every acute side effect eg. derealisation/depersonalisation, euphoria, vertigo, tremor, intrusive suicidal thoughts, akathisia, blurred vision, crushing pressure in head, pins and needles in forehead etc. 2 weeks ago I started to feel increasing numbness in my forehead and cognitive problems with working memory etc. consistent with chemical lobotomisation. As of 10 days or so ago I am experiencing nausea, extreme intermittent confusion, memory loss, sweating, restless legs, heart arrythmias and tachycardia. I'm very frightened and don't know whether reinstating at a low dose could make things worse although its difficult to see how things could get much worse at this point. I feel as though I'm in late stage dementia and I'm 35. I have no appetite and have lost 10% of my body weight over the last week, from 54 kg to 49 kg at 167 cm. Has anyone reinstated this late from a rapid taper and found it beneficial or did it make things worse? Please help me I'm absolutely desperate.
  12. KayB

    KayB: Hello

    Hello, I am glad to have found this forum. I have been on Effexor for 10+ years and I very much want to be off. I have tried tapering several times without success so far, still hopeful. Withdrawal symptoms are horrible. Not only have I not been able to taper, but I have also found that as time goes by, I have had to increase my dose just to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. Any advice or encouragement is welcome! I hope to encourage you on your journey as well.
  13. Hey everyone! Just wanted to introduce myself and let you all in on my journey and discontinuation of antidepressants. I am 28 years old and just ended an 11 year relationship with AD's. There was so much shame I felt being on these drugs. I felt like I was this great person because of the pills I was taking and nothing more. I wouldn't dare tell a soul I was taking antidepressants for fear that they would then see the pill and not me. Make sense? I said goodbye to Sertraline in November 2017. After completing yoga teacher training and having this new perspective of myself and my life, I started to actually feel the chemicals that weren't meant to be in my body. I had tried tapering off of Sertraline 3 times prior to the last over the past few years. The previous tries I would make it about a month or two before surrendering back to the pills to make myself feel better if I started feeling sad or uneasy. This time was different. VERY different. This time I started with intense research. I wanted to discontinue the dosage but this time was for real; I would do my homework and get off of these things once and for all. And what I found first broke my heart, made me angry and then gave me hope. The anger is still present when I try to find a reason 'why' people are enslaved to these prescription drugs. The research I found led me to this site, and I continue to research the effects and harms that these medications actually do to people, unbeknownst to them. The cause of our sadness is residual, stagnant energy trapped in our bodies from a traumatic event or life experience that changed our perspective of what is. When we take these medications, we are never actually dealing with the source of our problems, rather than masking it over with a clouded perception of reality. I used to love my prescriptions. Even after I would attempt to quit, that love would return after I felt 'better' taking them again. I was prescribed my first antidepressant when I was 16. I was missing a lot of school because I slept in too late. I just loved my sleep. Eventually, I was sent to the PCP to see what could be done about this sleeping problem.. Well, her answer was Citalopram (Celexa). This was the beginning of a battle I never wanted to be involved with but here I am. And P.S. the sleeping issue was not resolved in any way thereafter. To keep it short, I will just give you a brief history of how my dance with prescription drugs evolved after that: 2006 Celexa (Citalopram) 40 mg & Adderall XR 75 mg (a lot of the times more because I was heavily addicted) 2007 Citalopram & Ritalin (don't remember mg) .. soon after Vyvanse (don't remember mg) and finally to Amphetamine Salts due to unpleasant side effects from the Ritalin & Vyvanse.. ** indicates time period where Amphetamine Salts were prescribed 2008 ** Citalopram 40 mg-> Effexor XR 75 mg after a psychiatric evaluation (which I now understand was due to the medications and the effect they had on me mentally ... psh) 2009** Effexor XR 75 mg - Paxil (Paroxetine) 30 mg due to the INSANELY high cost of Effexor without insurance I was forced to wean myself off and switch 2010** Paxil 30 mg-> Sertraline 50 mg due to weight gain and lethargy 2011-2013 Sertraline 50 mg -> Wellbutrin (Bupropion Hcl) 75 mg due to sexual side effects and wanting to feel alive again 2013-2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg -> Back to Zoloft (Sertraline) 75 mg because the anxious side effects of the Wellbutrin made me uneasy and Sertraline seemed to be the only AD that had the least side effects at the time 2017 Sertraline 75 mg -> slow taper to 50 MG for two weeks -> halving the dosage & following this pattern until there was nothing -> 5 HTP 50 mg & 1200 mg Fish Oil NOW = 1200 mg Fish Oil and becoming accustomed to an Ayurvedic diet along with daily yoga practice**** this is HUGE and one of the main reasons I have remained clean from AD's Now, almost two months clean from prescription drugs I can say that there is still lots of work to be done. When you go through your teenage years and early twenties on AD's, you need to relearn how to interact and react as there is no longer that pill keeping you numb. Everything becomes real and raw. There are still days that I have my emotions consume my entire being in a negative way and I am still working on this. I WILL NOT GIVE UP. As of right now, it seems as though I am taking off from where I left off at 16 years old. This means emotionally and re actively along with maturity and sexuality. As many of you can relate, I could go on with this topic and how it has effected my entire life for ever and ever. There will be more posts that follow in regards to these drugs and how we can help each other become clean and free once again as we were made to be. Love and blessings to you all <3 we CAN do this..we are all in this together! LB Anti-depressants controlling tools of your system Making life more tolerable, making life more tolerable. The Unthinking Majority - Serj Tankian
  14. Sarasmiles

    Which "me" is the real me?

    SEE ALSO: identity-crisis creating-a-new-self-after-withdrawal Today I saw my therapist, who is very wary of my desire to go off of Prozac. She reminded me of how much I suffered the last time I withdrew from an SSRI. She reminded me that I cried every day, felt incompetent at work, and couldn't find joy in any of the things I normally find joy in. One of the driving forces behind my wish to be free of antidepressants once and for all is my strong sense that I am not my true or "real" self when I am medicated. I find myself thinking that my emotions are blunted and somewhat numbed. My libido is gone. I rarely cry. Who is this woman? I am easy to get along with. I am confident and relaxed at work. I am a patient, loving, fun mother. Is that the real me? If it's not "real" because I am taking a drug that changes me, then is it better than the real me? I think my husband likes me more this way. I think I like myself more this way. So why would I choose to alter myself by going off of the drug again? There is a big part of me that believes that in my previous attempts at discontinuing my drugs, I never gave myself enough time to get beyond the withdrawal. My therapist pointed out that three months after I went off of Lexapro, last year, I was still suffering. She thought that was a long time. She doesn't want to see me suffer, and I appreciate that. But since visiting S.A., I see that three months wasn't long at all, in the scheme of things. I still wasn't the "real me" after three months. I was "withdrawal me." That "me" without meds was also not "real", because I was still under the influence of the medication, or loss thereof. I also started drinking, in the past, when I was suffering from withdrawal. That me isn't the "real" me. Drunk isn't real. I want to go forward with this, but I am really pondering these questions, and wondering what other people here think. Are you more "real" without a drug? Is it better to be real, even if you are less happy, struggle more with relationships or work or self-esteem? Is there virtue of some kind in being real?
  15. I just happened upon this site and I am really glad for this resource. I am attempting my second taper off Effexor right now. I just started trying to go off 150 mg (I actually decreased from 225 about 2 years ago and never had the courage to try). I started seeing a therapist who practices energy psychology and feel I have the support now to give this another try. Already I feel tired, foggy, off balance and have had a headache for the last 24 hours (only on day two). I am taking 75 mg every other day instead of 150. The Effexor has capsules so it’s hard to cut down so slowly unless you’re a chemist. It feels good to have a place that other people are going through the same thing I am, and it’s good to know other people acknowledge how hard this can be., My doctor certainly did not warn me the first time I tried (going from 225 to 0 in about a month). Wish me luck...
  16. reask

    reask

    High BP caused by abruptly stopping Effexor and also getting worse while tapering
  17. Grayskies

    Feels like waking up

    I have just read almost all of “Prozac backlash” and It kind of blew my mind. I am sure this is old news for most of you on this site, I just had no idea. I also had tried to go off Effexor pretty much cold turkey and basically was a ball of nerves, sobbing uncontrollably the whole time. I thought at the time, “my anxiety must really be this bad, i guess i really cannot function without my AD.” OMG. I had no idea this was such a universal experience for people to go through such difficulty when trying to get off them. And to try to do this without any coping skills too? That was entering a losing battle. I am now seeing a therapist and I feel empowered to do this for the first time in my life. Having this community is really great too, to know it’s hard to do for all of us. For the first time in my life I suddenly see that this has been a lie I have told myself for years, that I need these to function. I always assumed “some people need meds for mental health and some don’t.” Reading this book demonstrating the actual figures for people who manage their depression/anxiety without meds is truly uplifting for me. I have had a rough month trying to start the taper. Someone tried to attack me at my job (this has never happpened to me before) and I was quite affected by it, starting to feel my anxiety sky rocket even on my full dose. This event set off some really tough emotions for me as I already have a stressful job and have been working on ways to move to something less stressful for me. For financial reasons, I need to stick with it for another 1.5 years. I feel pretty angry and anxious the first few days after a taper, I have noticed and the lightening strike emotions are there. I think mindfulness and encouraging self-talk in preparation for this possibility is key for me. Like positive visulations, even practice (role play) like what will i say if XYZ happens. I am on 121.5 mg of my effexor right now which is the second taper I have done. Much of my focus has been on the bad sides of my withdrawal. I go to Zumba pretty religiously and yesterday in my class I felt something I haven’t felt for a very long time—- it was joy. I felt joyful as I moved, and used my body, and felt alive. I felt free. I realized that this feeling has been covered up for some time in addition to my demons I am now facing. I was sitting in the sunshine with my dog and drinking coffee, listening to the birds sing, and I thought.. this is truly a perfect moment. It has been so difficult for me to feel moved in any way for the last 7 years. And in the back of my head I can feel my anxiety telling me “this won’t last, you could still be in trouble, you could still be unsafe...” And I am letting myself just for now to feel alive, like I am waking up.
  18. mmcdonald21

    mmcdonald21: intro

    Hey, I've been trying to get off medications for a while now, to no avail. I'm currently on 30mg Remeron, 300mg Effexor, and 10mg Abilify. I also take a lot of vitamins and fish oil with a high concentration of EPA. I don't feel very good right now, and I've had periods where I've felt good, but I'm pretty sure they were just times that were flukes. I think the things that really help me are exercise, meditation, and to some degree, my vitamins and fish oil, but I really do want to get off of the medications. For over four years I've been reliant on these medications, and still I haven't felt very good at all during the time. I started getting off of my medications by taking 75mg less of the Effexor XR (I was on 375mg). I will report back how that goes. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
  19. Hello, my name is Danielle. I am new to this site, but have been reading it for quite some time now. My parents put me on effexor xr when I was 6 years old for severe anxiety and childhood phobias. It worked great for years. I had very little side effects and life was hunky dory. I am now 24 years old and the medication is no longer working. I stupidly tried to come off of the Effexor over the coarse of 3 months under directions from my psychiatrist. Obviously, I crashed and I have been desperately trying to get my life back for the last 10 months. During those months, I was under the impression that I was ‘very ill’ and a ‘special case’ based on the severity of my symptoms, but now I am realizing what has happened to me is not my original illness resurfacing, but the effects of the discontinuation of the medication. I’m an RN and have been out of work for the last 6 months. I have read stories on here of people eventually recovering from ssri and snri withdrawl, but was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows of anyone who was prescribed one of these drugs as a child. Is there hope for me or will I have to live with the consequences of my parents decision for the rest of my life? Will these dehabilitating symptoms ever go away or are my receptors f***ed for life?
  20. Dear members of surviving antidepressants, It’s been now more than 2 years since I haven’t consulted this site. I wanted to write in order to show my gratitude to people who manage this site – it has been of tremendous help for me to understand what was going on – and to maybe, help some people to see the light through that process. Even if I’m still on withdrawal, I now consider myself as healthy and well. I’m 42 years old. I started Effexor withdrawal 6 years ago. I had then been taking it for 7 years, at a dosage of 150 mg a day, for generalized anxiety disorder, with dosage variations during my two pregnancies. When I decided to withdraw, many things in my life weren’t going right, but I was only partly aware of it. I was looking for meaning, and to find back a connexion with myself that had been lost. So I started to withdraw every 3 months, from 112,5 mg, by steps of 37,5 mg. I thought that it would be a slow and secure withdrawal At 75 mg, I had electric shocks in my neck and brain but thought it would pass. I kept on lowering the dose but even if I did it more slowly I had to bow to the evidence that I was unable to function without the medication so I reintroduced it at 37,5 mg. I had then all the symptoms of withdrawal which are well documented on this site. I stopped working because of all the symptoms. Two years after it had all begun, while discussing with a friend, she told me the symptoms I had looked like ME/CFS. I then looked at the symptoms and realized I had effectively them all. I had at that time seen three doctors and none of them had thought about that diagnosis. It took me quite a while to make the link between all those symptoms and the medication withdrawal because – being a health professional – I had learned that SSRI’s didn’t give withdrawal symptoms longer than a few days, and the symptoms were delayed a lot from the decreasing of the doses. When I knew Surviving Antidepressant, it helped me understand that all those symptoms could be caused by the withdrawal, and that I wasn’t alone. I started to use the 10% method and do long pauses. But I was still in a very bad shape, having difficulties, even if not working, to take care of my kids and to do household tasks. Brain fog, irritability and fatigue were the mainstay of my days. I was constantly trying to find new ways to improve my condition : diet, meditation, pacing, supplements, psychotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, …. And a lot of money… Some of them improved, other worsened my condition. Four years after the beginning of the withdrawal, in a moment of profound discouragement, I felt on the online program ANS rewire from Dan Neuffer. This is a program for which I have tons of gratitude. It literally helped me to regain my life, and more. The program, designed to help people with ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and POTS has all its relevance with antidepressant withdrawal as this often causes one of the syndromes above, and harms and dysregulates the autonomic nervous system. This program definitely helped me to put in place everything I needed to heal. I was very ill when I began the program and the way it is structured, watching one video a day, from your home, was very helpful. It found the program to be very supportive, so well intentioned and motivating. It makes you work on different aspects of the healing process at the same time, which has an incredible positive effect. I can now work again, exercise, share moments of joy with my kids and raise them, being connected with the ones I love, and continue to grow as a person, while still withdrawing the antidepressant. I am now taking 1,6 mg a day and I’ll probably be able to end the drug in 6 to 12 months – but this has absolutely no importance. I realized that if I wanted to withdraw my antidepressant – which made me really sick - I didn’t have just to withdraw slowly and wait but to actively take part in the healing process. I was actually already trying to do so, but in an inappropriate manner. The program helped me identify the missing pieces of the puzzle. Putting it all together, with the steps that I had already done, gave wonderful results. With hard work and patience, of course. I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am now without the program. This program aims at identifying and working on the ANS triggers and on all the root causes of the symptoms. Of course, the withdrawal of antidepressant is an ANS trigger, among others. So please, don’t be in a hurry with the withdrawal. Stop if you need to. Time to achieve it has no importance. Use the energy you have to work on your life, positively and in a structured manner. With time and patience, you’ll get stronger. With all I’ve learned on this journey – with this program, daily meditation, ACT, making place for spirituality, self-compassion – I’m getting stronger and the generalized anxiety disorder weaker. Now I have energy to dive deeper, and to jump higher. For me, thinking that I’d be happier when the withdrawal will be over was a mistake. Life is now, and this is part of your journey. There’s no problem with increasing the dosage if needed, to pause, or to decrease very very slowly. I sincerely wish the best recovering and full life living to all.
  21. Tomorrow morning I’m starting the dreadful journey of withdrawing from Effexor. Currently taking 300mg mane. I’ve been taking for >10 years, so I’m expecting the worst. My GP is very much onside, thank goodness. Over the last 4 years, I’ve taken myself off quetiapine, nitrazepam, regular lorazepam (up to 8mg per day), dihydrocodeine and tapentadol (opiate). I’m still taking OxyContin and Pregabalin. I suppose I’ll have to get off them sometime.
  22. Hello all. I've been shadowing this forum for a while, and I'd like to begin by thanking everyone involved (Altostrata in particular) for providing such a caring environment for all the battered brains out there. A lot of my questions have been answered already by virtue of all the great information here. Still, one feels a particular solace in telling their own story, and I'd like to do just that. I am twenty four, and I have been more or less continuously medicated since I was sixteen. I was a troubled and difficult teenager, and a drug addled and dysfunctional brain seems to be my reward. I've been prescribed various stimulants, but (thank god) I've mostly neglected them over the years. I've run the gamut of anti-depressants from prozac, to lexapro, and then onto Effexor. I don't really remember having any issues with the prozac and lexapro, except the sort of general malaise one experiences on those drugs. Effexor has been a different story. I've been on it now for about four years. A year ago I noticed a strange sort of free-floating despair from time to time, the sort of thing I'd struggled with years earlier in high school. But unlike before it's appearance was alarming and irregular, and it seemed somehow “unnatural”. It was clear something was changing, either my brain chemistry or the effect of the drug, or both. Whatever the cause, it didn't seem to have much to do with circumstance. A few months later I decided to come off the drug. I went down over a period of two months. The effects were highly unpleasant but not unbearable, the strongest symptom being fatigue. I was completely off the drug for about three weeks. The effects during those three weeks were slightly different than they had been while still weening. Along with the fatigue came a deep underlying anxiety, and a sort of anxious hopelessness that would wash over me a few times a day. I decided after three weeks that I couldn't deal with the withdrawal symptoms anymore, especially since they hadn't show any signs of abating. I went up to 75 mgs, and was able to remain there for one to two months. The worst was over, though I still suffered from fatigue (I would often have to take a nap in the late afternoon) and began to have cravings for alcohol for the first time in my life. I imagine that my cravings were somehow compensatory, and I've heard of other people experiencing them while on or withdrawing from these types of medications. Eventually I went back up to 150 mgs of the Effexor, and after feeling a little drugged for a few days I returned to my normal self. It took a few more months to work up the courage to try to taper off again. This time I was prescribed 40 mgs of Prozac to “soften” the effects of the withdrawal. I slowed my descent a bit and two months passed before I reached 75 mgs. The symptoms were bothersome but tolerable throughout, and I managed to maintain a diet and mild exercise routine. Great changes were beginning to occur in my life around this time. I'd rather not go into lots of detail, but I'll just say that I managed to address certain things that had haunted me for many years. As these inner tensions began to dissolve the world suddenly seemed alive and brimming with meaning. Colors appeared more vivid, and everything seemed to be suffused with a kind of mystery. This period is somewhat hazy, but I think I must have been convinced by this shift that I would be able to quickly withdraw from my drugs, so strong was my sense of well-being. I took only a month to come off the last 75 mgs, and because of some mistakes while measuring my doses, my taper was somewhat erratic. This period was pretty horrendous. The effects of these drugs come so close to your basic 'poles of being' that it's really hard to describe them in any kind of reliable way. But there was a certain manic and anxious character to this period that had been mostly absent from the previous withdrawal. Some of these new symptoms came in waves, while others were more or less constant. Twice I got into very intense arguments with my father over dinner, both of which ended with me sobbing and hyperventilating (which is quite unusual for me). Sometime before the arguments I had felt a kind of mounting irreversible tension, one that quickly transformed into aggression. There was something strangely primitive and hyper masculine about it, like my mind and body were preparing to fight off an enemy or predator. Deeply strange stuff, I've never experienced anything like it. Once off the meds I only lasted a week before deciding to go back on the Effexor. Here I made another error. I was so panicked and anxious to get rid of my symptoms that I went back up very quickly. 10 mgs for a few days, 35 mgs for two days, 75 mgs for three days, and then back up to the full 150 mgs. Somehow it didn't occur to me at the time that I might have been rushing things. The first day back on the 150 mgs was wonderful. That earlier sense of joy and clarity returned, colors had that dark and enhanced quality again. I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude. But, to my horror, the “manic” type symptoms returned the next day. They returned, and then they seemed to get worse. Two to three times a day I'd have those indescribable surges of raw feeling, and a pervasive tense/drugged sensation returned as well. Fearing that I'd gone up too fast I quickly went down to 75 mgs, which seemed to help for a bit. But the surges and the tension remained. It's been about a week and a half since I've made this last switch, and the symptoms continue. I've read on this site that it can take three to six weeks to stabilize at a given dose, so it seems like I still have some time before I can expect any kind of peace. What's complicated this whole thing is this new way of seeing that's opened up to me. Not only do I have the fear that I'll never be “normal” again, but also a fear that this recent revelation will be torn from me. In short, I feel like I have more to lose now than I did before, that returning to “normal” would be just agonizing as not recovering at all. Still, I have the sense that the transformation I experienced is real and is a lasting one, and that it's just been obscured by the effects of the withdrawal. Plus “it” hasn't disappeared entirely, and at least once a day I'll feel that sense of peace, well-being and heightened interest in things seep through. Still, it's strange how little comfort those moments provide when the hell starts. I apologized if this was overly long or indulgent in any way. I have a few questions for you guys. Firstly, does any of this sound familiar? Am I within the range of what's considered “normal” for this kind of thing? (I think I am but it never hurts to be reassured) Should these new “manic” symptoms disappear eventually? It sounds like they're the sort of nervous system issues that Altostrata describes in his/her theory, though I don't remember all the details at the moment. My greatest fear is that I somehow won't be able to stabilize at this dose, and that I therefore will never reach a comfortable place from which I can withdraw again. Also, does anyone have any idea why my second withdrawal attempt was so different from the first? The addition of the prozac maybe? It goes without saying that my next withdrawal will be much slower. I don't have any more illusions as far as that goes. Also, I should mention that I'm no longer on the prozac. Thanks in advance for all comments! Wonderful place you've got here.
  23. Hi, this is long, but I enjoyed writing it. As a boy I was quiet and sensitive, never asked for much, never got much. I lived in constant dread, not so much from family violence but from the world around me, I struggled to cope, I wasn’t shown any compassion or given the tools to help, just a bang on the ear and told to shut up, so at 7yrs old I switched off, totally switched off and observed the world around me. I systematically created an alter ego. An amazing set of personality traits that got me through the days, weeks & years. The mental shaping that took place was phenomenal, I created such a diverse set of illogically triggers and personality traits that it was easier to carry on acting than attempt to unwind the neural paths and begin building a new life I could tell you how a quiet, sensitive boy, grew into a drunk, violent tyrant with suicidal tendencies, but that’s not what this is about. We’re here because I found a way out… I had been in a deep depression since childhood, I was 53 when I went to the doctor for help with my alcohol abuse, and he was ok, told me that the signs were there… I was suffering from a deep depression, but I had normalised it to get through and drank to hide from my emotions, he said that it is not unusual for people to go through life without seeking help. I came away with an optimistic wow! Was that all there was to it, a 6-month script for Effexor XR 150 mg and a new beginning. April 2018 - Three dumbed down, libido-less years later… Quite by accident, I rediscovered something, something I had totally forgotten about. As a 7-year-old, I discovered that if I placed my hands flat on a table top, closed my eyes, and relaxed. Soon my fingers and palms would begin to flow along with my breathing, but interestingly the table would undulate (not physically) in tune with my body. This was a child’s subtle way of getting away from the turmoil, but in reality, it dawned that it was my first go at meditating, but it took over 46 years to recognise. As I sat there that day five months ago, something clicked this was a way out a simple yet effective way. Sitting there without using thoughts or mental images, there is no way to even recognise that my hands were touching some other separate thing called a table. Without the thoughts, hard, smooth, or pressure appearing, there is no way to even describe what I was feeling or know what they are just raw senses that carry no conceptual information. The table does not whisper that it is hard or smooth or your hands do not whisper sensations are appearing. All of these are just thoughts. Without these thoughts, there is only life itself, without separation between the hands doing the touching and the table being touched. In fact, without thoughts or mental images, there is no way to know that I exist as something separate and apart from this world. Oh my, what a revelation, I consulted my wife, yes I am married, with children and hold down a successful career, but I had no life balance, I am either working flat out, comatose through alcohol or a wild party animal. The happy, sad clown, with a nasty alter ego. She shrugged, and who could blame her. The very next morning I got up a 5:30am and meditated, it was a delight. That day five months ago I gave up alcohol for good. After two or three weeks of misery, I really found that I could stop drinking, why because it was my choice and nobody else’s. But… I was on the clichéd health and wellness train, and for a month or two was happy, I was still taking the “wonderful” Effexor XR, but I had my second epiphany, I realised I was substituting my new found wellbeing lifestyle for the partying and alcoholic lifestyle, I was still a junkie. I had begun this new journey, how I had taught myself all those years ago to build a façade, an alter ego that I wanted people to see, I was still that fearful child acting like an adult. I had read that I needed to make my mind still, to overcome the destructive thoughts, but believe me it won’t be still. I realised this is not meditation, it is an idea or desire to be calm, my mind was disturbed enough, and there I was making it worse by wanting to make it calm. It’s just like depression. The more we desire to calm the more disturbed the mind becomes, until we just give up. We end up fighting with our minds all the time. Oh my, this was the depression, the falsehood of curing the depression with alcohol and drugs. I dropped the yoga classes and meditation retreats. I still got up every morning at 5:30am did some basic stretching, and just sat on the floor and meditated not any fancy whizz bang modern stuff a very simple practice I simply asked my thoughts WTF. As usual, we (the mind-voice and I) started fighting because the mind-voice believed I was trying to calm him down, right away in the first minute he would come to bother me. As soon as I breathed in, mind-voice would wander off looking for a subject I had taught him, drinking, fighting, good times, bad times, and self-pity. For decades his job was done, I would take the bait. I would dwell on them entertain them. But sitting quietly I identified the problem, it’s right there, from the very wanting of these thoughts to entertain me, I saw my mind-voice is simply behaving according to its conditioning, it’s naturally throwing suggestions at me like fishing hooks, and if I take the bait, off I would go. I simply stopped taking the bait. The mind-voice was google, it didn’t know any better, simply suggesting all kinds of things. I smiled at the suggestions but didn’t bite, the mind would tempt me with something else that worked before, I would smile, on and on we’d go. We blame our mind-voice but there is no obsession with the mind-voice it chatters and plays around like a child. It’s not harmful unless we take the bait and get obsessed with it's suggestions. That’s was the real cause of my troubles. That Buddha bloke taught to look within. “Look within, don’t look outwards.” This is all it takes, a simple understanding. When I sat, I just sat, not looking for the truth, I became aware of the thoughts that destroyed me, but stopped entertaining them, the mind-voice became stronger wanting to know what he had done to offend me, hadn’t he guided me, fabricating a false world so that I could navigate life with ease. I didn’t ignore him I just stopped playing along, this caused insight to pop-up, the mind-voice was changing his tactic, he began showing during the quiet spaces the workings of the mind, the language of the brain and the ways and means of thoughts themselves, there’s nothing special about any of them. They appear, hang about for a while, tempting me with suggestions, and then just disappear. I began to see more clearly, if I held fast to things, imaginary or real, I will suffer. This is how depression, alcohol and drug abuse begin. I saw that body and mind are merely the way they are. Now I don’t recommend this, but with Effexor XR, after 3 years I went cold turkey. Straight for the jugular, cut that bastard drug right off in his prime. Suffer, I sure did, head full of sand, flashes of electricity, night terrors, (if that’s lucid dreaming you can keep it). Sweating, anxiety, anger and sadness. Coming off this drug was worse than giving up a 40-year alcohol addiction. I went on a normal healthy diet, did some gentle exercise, ignored the tantrums going on with my old mate, mind-voice. For the first two weeks, I did take 5mg of Melatonin, an hour before bed. Stopped watching depressing news stories and violent movies and dramas, I deleted all social media, told friends and family if they wanted to talk, they knew where I was. I read for pleasure, listen to music safely, music used to be a drinking binge trigger, an aid to deepen depression. Now it’s a pure joy, sure memories come up, I smile at the recognition and let it pass. I switched my life around the hard way. By unleashing a talent that we all possess. You can’t buy it in any store or online. In actual fact, it’s free, and we use this talent every waking minute, of every single day. If you can discover something simple like I did, maybe you can turn this amazing power into one of the most powerful recovery tools! The very same tool that has created your sadness and this disturbed world we live in, is the very same tool that allows us to exist. The mind. Our one and only advisor... Give it enough scenarios and mind-voice will create the world you want. Mine was at the bottom of a glass. I simply asked my thoughts WTF. I am clean, sober and anti-depressant free. I think freely and openly, with no stress on the negatives that mind-voice likes to trick me with. Ah! that mind-voice, he is quieter and seems more at peace than before. I smile at him, he smiles at me. Mind-Voice has never said why he liked me drinking or in depression, he just smiles and nods, as each day passes we are both better for it because you see, he was me. Not for everyone, but that my story. XX
  24. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  25. JulianaMoon

    JulianaMoon

    Hi! I've been diagnosed with major depression recurrant, PTSD, severe anxiety, bi polar, borderline personality syndrome and agorophobia over the 24 years I have been seeing psychiatrists and therapists after a 2nd violent sexual assualt. I still have no idea what my proper diagnosis should be, but I think major depression, PTSD, and severe anxiety would be my personal diagnosis. I was doing great on Paxil 30 mg and Ativan 2mg for many years. Than we relocated to a different state. I was put on Effexor XR 300 mg in addition to the others. I seemed to get better and was just cruising along. We moved to TN and I was doing OK. Somehow I ended up on 150 mg of Effexor. I don't remember if the Dr dropped the dosage or I did. When I was diagnosed with hyperhomocysteinemia in 2011 after a lifetime of being tired all the time, I was told to take B12, b6 and folic acid. Nothing changed. My psychiatrist put me on Nuvigil 150 mg, than 250 mg and what a difference. I remodeled my whole house myself with YouTube as my teacher. When I turned 50, everything changed and I started gaining weight and started getting very tired again. I had not changed a thing. I weaned off Paxil. No difference. Than I got high blood pressure and was put on Lisinopril 40 mg 2x a day. And Atorvastatin. Than I found out I had GERD and Barretts Esophagus and was put on Prilosec 40 mg. Than the pounds really started packing on. The more weight I gained, the worse my depression and fatigue got. Now, I am 100 pounds overweight, and never leave the house. I decided to get off of Effexor because I felt it wasn't helping, but actually making me worse. My Dr increased my dosage from 150 mg of Effexor XR to 225 mg Effexor. I got worse. So, I decided it is time to wean myself off of the Effexor and than try and get off the Prilosec. Work on my weight and try to be free of blood pressure meds. I am high stroke risk, and I think the Prilosec is adding weight to me. Anyways. I have already gone from 225 mg of Effexor to 100mg over the course of 2-3 months. The 1st 50 mg drop was bc my Dr kept forgetting to prescribe it, and the nurse insisted I was never on that dose. My pharmacist proved them wrong, but they still quit prescribing it. I felt better after 2 months, so I have actually been weaning myself off 175 mg for 2-3 months. The first drop was 17.5 mg for 5 weeks. Than 17.5 again for 4 weeks. I added 5 mg of Paxil to help with withdrawals when I dropped the 1st 17.5 mg. So I was on 137.5 mg and than I dropped another 17.5 mg for 3 weeks. Than I increased my dosage on Paxil to 10 mg and dropped the last 17.5 mg thru one week. When I dropped doses, I did every other day for a week, every 2 days for a week, than the drop to the new dose for 2-3 weeks. That last drop was 17.5 mg every other day, than the new dose, while I went up to 10 mg Paxil. It has been awful. I take 100 mg of Effexor at 10 am and 10 mg of Paxil at 6 pm. Around 9-10 pm I started crying, getting angry, crying and feeling so much despair about the death of my mother in Nov.I start making plans to auction the house off and move home. I obsess over finding a home in MI. I feel trapped in TN. I am literally having a major panic attack. It goes from mild to extreme over the course of 4-5 days. So once a week I add a 17.5 mg of Effexor, than I'm OK. So I am wondering if these are withdrawal symptoms from Effexor? Or is it because I increased the Paxil to 10 mg? Is it because the last drop was too quick? And I'm not sure what to do. I was thinking of cutting back to 5 mg of Paxil over a few weeks bc I flip out a few hours after taking it. But maybe I should increase the Effexor 17.5 mg to 2 times a week at night, than start weaning down from that. So that is why I am here. To finish the detox with others, and find out what helps during the bad withrawal days.
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