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polarbear: almost done and enjoying life


polarbear

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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.

Effexor XR 150 mg started in 2006

Doses reduction during pregnancies then back to 112,5 mg
Fall 2013 : started withdrawal : 75 mg x 3 months, 37.5 mg x 3 months, 24 mg x 1 month, 12 mg x 1 month, then zero : absolutely dysfunctional, complete anergy and anhedonia. Reinstated at 18 mg, then 37,5 mg. 
Sept. 2015 : Second attempt : Cut 1 mg every week until 10 mg in february 2016 : affective dissociation and cognitive issues, up to 15 mg : way too high : lot of irritability and fatigue
Known Surviving Antidepressant, thank you.
From march 2016 : 4-5% cut every 4-6 weeks, still very difficult.
October 2016 : 10,2 mg, beginning a hold.

Slowly decreasing with pauses...

September 2019 : 1,6 mg

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to polarbear: almost done and enjoying life
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, polar bear.  Sorry for the delay in responding to your post.

 

Congratulations on getting so low on the Effexor.  As far as jumping off to zero, we recommend getting as low as you can, 0.1 or lower if possible.

 

To start, could you supply a current drug schedule?  You've already supplied some of the information.  What we need is this, all in one post:

 

Drug and dosage you're currently taking

Do you feel better or worse after taking the drug

If worse, what are your symptoms?

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can provide your requested drug schedule and ask questions.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

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

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

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

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, melatonin .3mg


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

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the missing details.

 

Here is the way I cut down the Effexor in the last years. I decreased from 1/10 of 37,5 mg/week  every 4 to 6 weeks, until I reached 2,67 mg daily. Then I made decreases of 1/20 by week every 4-6 week.

For example  :

July 8, 2018 : 1 1/10 co /week (41,25 mg / 7 days : 5,89 mg daily)

August 5, 2018 : 1 co/week  (37,5 mg / 7days : 5,35 mg daily)

September 2, 2018 : 9/10 co/week (33,75 mg / 7 days : 4,82 mg daily)...

until I reached the 13 of January 2019 5/10 co/week then I started to take 9/20 co/week for 4 weeks, 8/20....

Until now where I'm taking 6/20 co/week (1,6 mg daily) 

 

I counted all the beads I needed for the week and divided them equally (+/-) 1 bead in a pill dispenser. Everytime I count the total beads there is in one capsule to make the right proportions because as you know, the amount of beads is not equal from one capsule to another.  I didn't feel the small day to day dosages differences, attributed to both the size and number of the beads. I tried to visually separate them as equal as possible. I think I am feeling the withdrawal slightly two weeks after the decreasing of the dose, with a little bit more fatigue and irritability, for 1 to 3 days.

When I have more external stressors in my life or when I feel more fragile, I delay the withdrawal. I did holds as long as 6 to 9 months.

 

I have no particular symptoms when taking the drug and I take it everyday. I think I forgot it only once during the last year and I am not sure if I felt it. But when I used to forget it with higher doses it was quite hard on my system (fatigue, dizziness, brain fog)

 

I am now currently taking 1,6 mg daily and I am not taking other drugs. 

I take supplements : CoQ10, Vit. C, Vit. B2, Mg malate, potassium

I had histamine intolerance for a few years but now it's far better. I think I made the mistake of restricting too much my diet as I reacted to a lot of food. I am now doing a gluten and dairy free diet with no refined sugar. I can do more and more exceptions.

Effexor XR 150 mg started in 2006

Doses reduction during pregnancies then back to 112,5 mg
Fall 2013 : started withdrawal : 75 mg x 3 months, 37.5 mg x 3 months, 24 mg x 1 month, 12 mg x 1 month, then zero : absolutely dysfunctional, complete anergy and anhedonia. Reinstated at 18 mg, then 37,5 mg. 
Sept. 2015 : Second attempt : Cut 1 mg every week until 10 mg in february 2016 : affective dissociation and cognitive issues, up to 15 mg : way too high : lot of irritability and fatigue
Known Surviving Antidepressant, thank you.
From march 2016 : 4-5% cut every 4-6 weeks, still very difficult.
October 2016 : 10,2 mg, beginning a hold.

Slowly decreasing with pauses...

September 2019 : 1,6 mg

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