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Grayskies: new journey

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Grayskies

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...

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Gridley

Hello, Grayskies, and welcome to SA.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  Please include the type of Effexor you are taking (immediate release or extended release).
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.
Skipping days is NOT recommended by SA.  Skipping doses is equivalent to reducing your dose by 50%.  SA recommends tapering by 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  In addition, your drop from 150mg to 75 was far too much.
 
 
The half-lives of almost all psychiatric drugs are too short for this to make any sense. It causes the amount of the medication in your bloodstream to go up and down, battering your nervous system, and makes withdrawal worse.

Your brain likes stability, to be treated gently.  It is ideal if you can accommodate it to lower and lower dosages. Move it slowly down a ramp by gradually decreasing dosage by an amount it may hardly notice. .  The 10% taper method is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.
 This is explained in the attached links:
 
Here is specific information about tapering Effexor.
 
The withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing are typical of a too-fast taper.
What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

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.  
 
Please be aware that sometime withdrawal symptoms don't appear immediately after a too-fast taper.
 
Once you've completed your signature and specified the type of Effexor you are on, we can give you more specific advice about a safe taper.
 
This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.
 
 

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Grayskies

Thank you for the welcome and additional info. I really didn’t feel good going down to 75 mg. Only problem for me is that my Effexor is ER in capsules and counting out beads was quite a challenge for me last night. I am considering getting a scale.

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Grayskies

I am absolutely terrified that going off these pills will be a total train wreck for me.  I have had severe anxiety prior to meds. 

Before I was on AD, I was about 30 pounds lighter because I could barely eat from nerves. I would come home everyday and get into a ball, sobbing hysterically about things I was afraid were going to happen. I also had zero coping skills at the time. I have been through years of therapy and countless books on nutritional support. I hope those things are enough to support me while going off Effexor. 

As many have also shared, I feel blunted, not who I used to be. No libido, weight gain (despite pretty healthy diet and consistent exercise). And I almost never cry anymore. I used to be an incredibly emotional person. I am really afraid of the intensity of me. The passion-less version of me feels more manageable. 

Part of me does not miss anything about that person and does not want her back at all. 

But I know I will never know if I can be without these until I try. 

I had made one poor attempt at a taper with my PCP several years ago that had me in crying fits (it was way too fast). This had me convinced I could never be without the drugs. I have been working with an energy psychologist and doing tapping a lot which has been helpful for my anxiety and strong emotions. Made my first rough reduction last night and realized I need to buy a scale. Very nervous about this but I realize this is the time to remember all that I have learned, and practice all that I have practiced. 

 

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Gridley

Grayskies,

 

Thank you for posting your signature.  I'm glad to see that you're starting your taper at 10% (135mg).  Please take this every day.  Then, after 4 weeks, if you are feeling stable, you can drop another 10% of current dose.

 

Getting a scale is a good idea.  Many SA members use the Gemini-20 scale, available on Amazon for about $21.  You'll need some size 00 gelcaps as well.

 

Counting the beads can be tricky, but if you follow the instructions in the links I sent you, I think you'll do fine.

 
 
 
About where to post: generally, if the post is about you or a question you have or an update, please post it in the Introductions and Updates forum.  More people will see it, and all your posts will be together.
 
Gridley
 

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peng

Do try not to be frightened, Grayskies.

If you consider the taper as feeling your way cautiously along a narrow, unfamiliar pathway, you can always stop and take stock (hold on the dose for longer than the four weeks) until you feel ready to go on.

I held last year, as we had our first house move in 40 years, and I got through it to where I am now.

 

Best wishes.

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Altostrata

Welcome, Grayskies.

 

Before weighing anything, please take 75mg Effexor every day for a good while! If you feel poorly from skipping doses, your nervous system is telling you it needs stability. It needs to settle down before you start going off Effexor.

 

Please go back to 75mg taken at the same time each day, and let us know how you're doing.

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Grayskies

Hi Altostrata

I returned to 150 the following day after I didn’t feel good from taking 75 mg then reduced by 10% for the last two days which is about 135mg. Feeling okay now on this dose, day 3 now and I pretty much feel normal except a little extra irritability (I regret to say I am easily irritated at baseline though..) 

 

. I am feeling a bit frustrated that 50% method has been recommended to me by medical professionals and psychologists working with me. I don’t understand how there is so little understanding of this process by those with the power to influence it. I think it just makes me feel afraid that I just have to lean on my own ability to get resources and direct my own care. Not a lot of faith in these abilities since the onset of my generalized anxiety about 8 years ago! Appreciate the follow up and support. 

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Grayskies

Hello All- I just started my tapering 2 days ago and I feel pretty much okay physically today. The last two days I have noticed some increased irritability though and I was looking for ways to cope and soothe this. For example, my husband made me more angry than normal and when I was out in public I found myself being irritated by total strangers who were just minding their own business, walking too slowly, asking too many questions. Etc. I am able to notice when I am more irritated but I think the distance between the feeling and the reaction is shorter since I started the taper. 

I normally have fairly good ability to stop and consider. I am wondering how people cope with this on a day to day basis and how to prevent saying things to people you don’t really mean to. I am not a stranger to mindfulness meditation or tapping. I am brand new to this site and tapering in general so any thoughts greatly appreciated. 

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DMV64

Welcome Grayskies! I am glad you found this place! It is wonderful support and has helped me so much. : )

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ChessieCat

I find taking magnesium helps to take the edge off my anxiety.  There have been several times when I have missed a few days and I have noticed the difference.

 

It is best to make only 1 change at a time.  It is also better not to start taking a complex vitamin because if you experience issues you will not know what exactly is causing it.  B vitamins can be activating especially B6.  hypersensitive-to-b-vitamin-or-b-vitamin-complex  If trying anything new, start with a small amount to see how you react and build up to the recommended amount.  The only supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Try a small amount one at a time to see how you react.

 

Even with a careful and slow taper you will most likely experience times of discomfort.  It is best to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope

 

There are many existing topics and discussions on this site.  You can use the site search function on the main page of the site at the top right, or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in your search string.  I suggest you check out the symptoms-and-self-care area of the site.

 

Acceptance

 

Acceptance and Mindfulness

 

"Change the channel"

 

Irritability, Anger, Rage

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

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Gridley

I'm glad you're feeling better today. I would reiterate ChessieCat's suggestion to check out this link and try some of the techniques:

 

 Non-drug techniques to cope

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Grayskies

Well I got a little impatient and probably tried to taper too fast (Effexor Xr) thought I was doing well enough. After my last reduction, I experienced physical withdrawal (nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light). I am  3 weeks and a few days into this taper and I’ve felt so sensitive, anxious, depressed, angry etc. have had crying spells several times per week. Saw my therapist last night and feeling slightly better. I also have a very stressful job and have had a particularly challenging few weeks.. I’m wondering if I ought to just use this as a lesson to 1. Taper more slowly next time, and 2. If I notice any physical withdrawal symptoms in the beginning reinstate immediately? Based on what I have read on here it seems like reinstatement might make me worse with how sensitive I feel right now.. better to just wait it out? By the way, I had one day last week where I completely forgot my pill altogether and felt like I was having a nervous breakdown until I remembered (remember this is Effexor!)

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Carmie

Hi Grayskies, 

 

How are you doing?💚

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Grayskies

It has been quite a while since I posted on here. I made the really hard to decision today to Increase on my meds and stop decreasing because I simply couldn’t handle the stress of my job anymore without that invisible barrier. I feel sort of stunned that all this progress from the last year has come to a screeching hault as I made the choice that I couldn’t continue this way. Long story short, I have to get through the next 6-8 months of working at my job for financial reasons before I can start thinking of going elsewhere (as if that’s not also stressful). I found myself crying daily this week, completely overwhelmed by everything. I had been going steady since March last year. I feel like a failure and like I’ll be on these forever. I had all these wonderful empowering ideas like ‘the pharmaceuticals told me a lie that I believed and I could be empowered to do things differently’...I’m feeling like I’ve lost my faith right now. Glad there’s a community here to turn to because I’m feeling pretty low. 

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ChessieCat

Thank you for updating us.  Please don't feel bad about it.  We all do what we have to do in the situation we find ourselves in.

 

Please update your drug signature with the dates and doses so it is current.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

 

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Grayskies

I have updated my signature with the tapers I have been through over the last year. I know it’s not completely within the recommendations of the site. Maybe I needed to figure it out firsthand that it wouldn’t work out any other way?

I’ll be honest that I took a look at how long it would take me to go off this in the beginning (according to 10%) and I had some upset feelings about it. I hope to have kids one day (without these) and I am sort of at point in my life where that needs to happen soon if it will at all. Then again my job is very stressful and I am probably not going to get off these where I am right now. 

 

I believe I experienced how hard it becomes after the dose gets smaller — the drop feels much bigger. At larger doses I felt ok after a month of holding but the last few months, around December I would say, I started getting increasingly depressed (not happy at my job) and anxiety became unbearable between 20 and 25 mg. I saw this as feeling what I needed to feel, and dealing with my ‘stuff’ instead of blunting it with medication up until about 2 weeks ago that it became so unbearable.. I realized I couldn’t stay in the place I was in emotionally and function in the world. 

I decided to go back up to an amount that I had stability and wasn’t depressed, according to my records. I have been feeling much better. I probably could have stayed a little lower, but I felt desperate to get out of the pain I was in. Withdrawal? Just my life? I really can’t tell. The onset was about 3 weeks into 20 mg and my job had more than usual pressures. It felt painful just existing emotionally. I could barely eat during the day and I lost about 5 lbs in a week. I attributed this to anxiety as that is how I felt when I was originally put on the medication. I felt a heaviness in my chest at all times and my sleep was restless. I felt like I was carrying a rock around with me all day and the slightest stressor made me feel almost panicked. RIght now I am feeling grateful that this has been mostly alleviated and I can actually do other things other than feel miserable (eating, laughing, etc). 

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Carmie

Hi Grayskies, 

 

Yes, tapering from these meds and seeing how long this can take can be frustrating. I’ve been tapering for many years, with many more to go. I can only taper by small amounts now, I’m tapering by just over 3% at the moment. I try and always look at how far I’ve come though. You’ve done well getting down from 225mg to 45mg. That is no small feat. 

 

The jump you did from 25.7 mg to 20.56 was too big, as you know. In the past, before I knew about tapering, I did some big drops too and really payed for it. Tapering is accumulative too, if you taper too quickly, or don’t hold long enough, and you do this a few tapers in a row, it can catch up with you. You might feel okay in the beginning, but then you get hit like a ton of bricks.

 

I’m glad you’re feeling better since you updosed. When you start tapering again please go slowly. We can do this! 

 

Take care, sending hugs 🤗

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Grayskies
1 hour ago, Carmie said:

Hi Grayskies, 

 

Yes, tapering from these meds and seeing how long this can take can be frustrating. I’ve been tapering for many years, with many more to go. I can only taper by small amounts now, I’m tapering by just over 3% at the moment. I try and always look at how far I’ve come though. You’ve done well getting down from 225mg to 45mg. That is no small feat. 

 

The jump you did from 25.7 mg to 20.56 was too big, as you know. In the past, before I knew about tapering, I did some big drops too and really payed for it. Tapering is accumulative too, if you taper too quickly, or don’t hold long enough, and you do this a few tapers in a row, it can catch up with you. You might feel okay in the beginning, but then you get hit like a ton of bricks.

 

I’m glad you’re feeling better since you updosed. When you start tapering again please go slowly. We can do this! 

 

Take care, sending hugs 🤗

Hi Carmie, thanks for your encouragement and support. One thing I wonder is how do I know if it’s really the withdrawal and not just me, reacting/relapsing. I felt similar to the way I was just before I was put on medication, and naturally that increased my distress to realize how I had I felt. The difference is huge having updosed but I can’t help but feel like I have failed to cope with life and maybe never will. I also let the whole thing take me for a ride not knowing what was happening (if it was withdrawal). I tried to do all my coping strategies and tricks (medittion, tapping, going for walks, breathing, essential oils, baths..) and it all just seemed to keep it in one place but not reduce it. 

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Carmie

Hi Grayskies, 

 

You weren’t doing too bad until you made such a huge drop, so I’d say the symptoms were definitely withdrawal symptoms. In the midst of severe waves, we just have to ride them out. I know when I’ve had really intense waves, nothing much helped, except distracting myself. The distractions don’t get rid of the symptoms, but they help me cope with them. I would do DVD and Netflix marathons, arts and crafts, listen to music, go out in nature, do word games etc etc. Only time was the healer. 

 

Have you ever checked out Claire Weekes? She has videos on YouTube, and also books. She speaks of floating through the symptoms, and not adding fear on top of fear. If we stress about our symptoms that only ramps them up. We can’t change them so we need to learn how to not fear them. She suffered from anxiety and helped herself. 

 

Sending hugs🤗

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ChessieCat

We strongly encourage members to learn and use non drug coping techniques to help get through discomfort and tough times.

 

Understanding what is happening helps us to not get caught up with the second fear, or fear of the fear.  This happens when we experience sensations in our body and because we don't understand them we are scared of them and then start to panic.

 

This document has a diagram of the body explaining what happens in the body when we become anxious:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AnxietySelfHelp.pdf

 

 

Audio FEMALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Audio MALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

Dr Claire Weekes suffered from anxiety and learned and taught ways of coping.  There are videos available on YouTube.

 

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes

 

 
Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)
 
On 4/28/2017 at 4:03 AM, brassmonkey said:

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

It can take some practice, but AAF really does work.  I hope you give it a try.

 

 

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Grayskies

Hi Friends, 

feeling so much better than when I last wrote. I went back up on Effexor xr when I was experiencing severe anxiety. It was much better  within a week, and within a month I felt stable again. I know this is likely just withdrawal but standard medicine is in my head “this is why you need this drug..look how crazy you are without it..”

 

I’ve really lost my confidence in my ability to go off this drug though and I’ve been reading about the Prozac bridge. My only concern is I’ve never been on Prozac before. I’ve been on Paxil which was effective and Zoloft which made me more anxious. I’m fearful of creating a worse situation mentally by switching drugs but at the same time I feel held hostage by Effexor. I’m scared to even try to reduce again because it only seemed to get worse every step of the way.. even after waiting several months in between reductions. Mostly I’m grateful to not be in ADWD hell at the moment which is truly a gift not everyone will understand. Thanks 

 

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