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Tom Successfully Quit After 18 Years On Effexor (Venlafaxine)

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Tom
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Posting this to encourage you that it can be done. I didn't think I'd recover from my horrible withdrawal. I was going to try and reinstate, but it seemed like it was too late, everything was already so screwed up and it felt like was no going back at that point. I was on Effexor for 18 years. I went on it the first year it was released in the US.  It's been almost 10 years now since my last dose. I gradually tapered over a two year period and I did pretty well up until I was down to less than 10 beads,  and then my nervous system went totally haywire and it took years to recover.

 

The two main problems I developed from quitting were very bad anxiety and disturbed sleep. I would wake up anxious after like two to four hours of sleep. Sometimes, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep at all. Both sleep and anxiety gradually improved, in an up and down manner. The anxiety eventually went away. Sleep improved, but I'm not the best sleeper. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was unable to tolerate cpap.  I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through. On good days, I'll sleep more than six hours straight through. On bad days which aren't that often, I'll sleep less than five hours. But when I don't sleep well, I no longer freak out too much about it. I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours, but it's straight through and I wake up calmly instead of in a panic. Below are a few things that helped me. Wishing you all the best of luck with your taper and great health.

 

1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on another group, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself."  http://nothingworks.weebly.com/

 

2.  For sleep, I use a sound machine. Here's the machine I originally used. Eventually I ended up making my own custom solution with an old laptop. But this machine worked well for me, and I gave one to my mother and it made a give improvement in her sleep too. Link: Lectrofan

 

3. Meditation. I started seriously meditating at some point during my taper, and never stopped. I try to do it twice a day everyday. I did/do it more for spiritual/religious reasons, but I've got to think that it must have helped in some way regarding anxiety and maybe even sleep too. 

 

 


ADMIN NOTE Tom's Introductions topic is here

 

Edited by Altostrata
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Altostrata

Thanks for returning to tell us how you're doing, Tom. What changes have you see in the last couple of years?

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Armorall

Hi Tom, thanks for writing the success story! I was asking- do you feel like your CNS is not affected anymore by things that might have affected it in the past? You mentioned you can drink coffee- what about exercise, life stressors, etc? Did you have fatigue in withdrawal?

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India
On 4/1/2020 at 6:23 AM, Tom said:

hen my nervous system went totally haywire and it took years to recover

Did you experience cognitive problems ? And assuming if you did, you have recovered these? If so, how much of your cognitive capacity have you recovered? 

 

Congratulations on getting your life back. A true gift.

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Longroadhome
On 4/1/2020 at 6:23 AM, Tom said:

Posting this to encourage you that it can be done. I didn't think I'd recover from my horrible withdrawal. I was going to try and reinstate, but it seemed like it was too late, everything was already so screwed up and it felt like was no going back at that point. I was on Effexor for 18 years. I went on it the first year it was released in the US.  It's been almost 10 years now since my last dose. I gradually tapered over a two year period and I did pretty well up until I was down to less than 10 beads,  and then my nervous system went totally haywire and it took years to recover.

 

The two main problems I developed from quitting were very bad anxiety and disturbed sleep. I would wake up anxious after like two to four hours of sleep. Sometimes, I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep at all. Both sleep and anxiety gradually improved, in an up and down manner. The anxiety eventually went away. Sleep improved, but I'm not the best sleeper. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was unable to tolerate cpap.  I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through. On good days, I'll sleep more than six hours straight through. On bad days which aren't that often, I'll sleep less than five hours. But when I don't sleep well, I no longer freak out too much about it. I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours, but it's straight through and I wake up calmly instead of in a panic. Below are a few things that helped me. Wishing you all the best of luck with your taper and great health.

 

1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on another group, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself."  http://nothingworks.weebly.com/

 

2.  For sleep, I use a sound machine. Here's the machine I originally used. Eventually I ended up making my own custom solution with an old laptop. But this machine worked well for me, and I gave one to my mother and it made a give improvement in her sleep too. Link: Lectrofan

 

3. Meditation. I started seriously meditating at some point during my taper, and never stopped. I try to do it twice a day everyday. I did/do it more for spiritual/religious reasons, but I've got to think that it must have helped in some way regarding anxiety and maybe even sleep too. 

 

 


ADMIN NOTE Tom's Introductions topic is here

 

Hi @Tom

thank you for posting your success story 

how long did it  take you to recover from wd? 
and how long did you have anxiety and depression for ? 
LRH  

 

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Tom
On 4/1/2020 at 1:14 PM, Altostrata said:

Thanks for returning to tell us how you're doing, Tom. What changes have you see in the last couple of years?

 

I really can't think of any. Basically anything related to medication or withdrawal is over at this point. It's not something I ever think much about anymore. Now it's just the physical and mental ups and downs of life. 

 

On 4/1/2020 at 1:27 PM, Armorall said:

Hi Tom, thanks for writing the success story! I was asking- do you feel like your CNS is not affected anymore by things that might have affected it in the past? You mentioned you can drink coffee- what about exercise, life stressors, etc? Did you have fatigue in withdrawal?

 

I may be more sensitive in ways, but less in some, although I'm not really sure. I've always been sensitive. My wife used to say I'm like the princess and the pea. For exercise, I walk pretty briskly, several times a week for about 30 minutes. I've been doing it for years, and I feel like it helps relieve stress. I don't recall fatigue ever being much of a problem.

 

On 4/2/2020 at 7:04 PM, India said:

Did you experience cognitive problems ? And assuming if you did, you have recovered these? If so, how much of your cognitive capacity have you recovered? 

 

Congratulations on getting your life back. A true gift.

 

I did initially, but it seems like at least some of it was actually due to anxiety. Pretty sure I recovered all or most of it. 

 

11 hours ago, Longroadhome said:

Hi @Tom

thank you for posting your success story 

how long did it  take you to recover from wd? 
and how long did you have anxiety and depression for ? 
LRH  

 

 

Hard to say how long it took. It was gradual and up and down. It seemed like a very long time before improvement started, it might have been at some point during the second year, but honestly I can't remember and I didn't keep any kind of journal. It would get better for a while, then worse again, then better, etc. As far as how long I had depression/anxiety, I can remember being depressed at times when I was child in grade school, so my whole life I suppose.

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Longroadhome
18 minutes ago, Tom said:

 

I really can't think of any. Basically anything related to medication or withdrawal is over at this point. It's not something I ever think much about anymore. Now it's just the physical and mental ups and downs of life. 

 

 

I may be more sensitive in ways, but less in some, although I'm not really sure. I've always been sensitive. My wife used to say I'm like the princess and the pea. For exercise, I walk pretty briskly, several times a week for about 30 minutes. I've been doing it for years, and I feel like it helps relieve stress. I don't recall fatigue ever being much of a problem.

 

 

I did initially, but it seems like at least some of it was actually due to anxiety. Pretty sure I recovered all or most of it. 

 

 

Hard to say how long it took. It was gradual and up and down. It seemed like a very long time before improvement started, it might have been at some point during the second year, but honestly I can't remember and I didn't keep any kind of journal. It would get better for a while, then worse again, then better, etc. As far as how long I had depression/anxiety, I can remember being depressed at times when I was child in grade school, so my whole life I suppose.

Thanks Tom 

with the depression and anxiety I meant how long did it last during withdrawal as a symptom of wd? 
 

glad you are recovered and living life 

LRH 

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Tom
36 minutes ago, Longroadhome said:

Thanks Tom 

with the depression and anxiety I meant how long did it last during withdrawal as a symptom of wd? 
 

glad you are recovered and living life 

LRH 

 

The anxiety was really bad the first year or so, and then it would go away for a while and come back. It was still coming back at times for short periods up until maybe three years ago. Depression it's hard to say, because I can't separate depression that was due to withdrawal from what seems to be my natural inclination towards depression. In other words, I was dealing with depression long before meds, during meds, during withdrawal, and now long after withdrawal. 

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Longroadhome

Thank you Tom 

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Armorall

Sorry Tom, I didn't ask my question correctly- do you feel like you still have to limit your rate of exercise due to it being too stimulating for your nervous system or risk of injury? Like, can you exercise as much as you want, or do you have to limit it like others in WD because it will destroy sleep or because WD folks are more injury prone?

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Tom
56 minutes ago, Armorall said:

Sorry Tom, I didn't ask my question correctly- do you feel like you still have to limit your rate of exercise due to it being too stimulating for your nervous system or risk of injury? Like, can you exercise as much as you want, or do you have to limit it like others in WD because it will destroy sleep or because WD folks are more injury prone?

 

No, I don't think so. I can't do the kind of exercise I would like to do, like pushups, weights, etc., but I don't think it has anything to do with withdrawal, because it was an issue prior. It's because of ongoing issues with neck, shoulders and so forth. As far walking goes, I don't think there are any limitations or negative effects. It is very hilly around here, so sometimes I will walk up huge hills that really get me out of breath, but it doesn't affect the nervous system, mood, or anything else really. 

 

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Armorall

That's great to hear! Thanks for answering all my questions. Congratulations again on your WD free life!

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SDOE

Thank you for updating everyone on your recovery.  When you stated this is your current sleep pattern, was this your normal sleep pattern before effexor and during effexor? 

On 4/1/2020 at 1:23 AM, Tom said:

I usually sleep about five or six hours a day, and sleep straight through.

On 4/1/2020 at 1:23 AM, Tom said:

I would probably say my average sleep is something like 5.5 hours,

 

Thank you

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Tom
6 hours ago, SDOE said:

Thank you for updating everyone on your recovery.  When you stated this is your current sleep pattern, was this your normal sleep pattern before effexor and during effexor? 

Thank you

 

I honestly can't remember what my sleep was like prior to effexor, which was 27 or 28 years ago, but I do remember feeling like my sleep improved a lot when I went on it. As for my sleep on effexor as compared to post effexor, I think my sleep was much better on it. I still probably only slept five to six hours like I do now, but then I would take naps for a couple hours at a time most days. And I could pretty much fall asleep whenever I wanted. 

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Lloyd

Thanks for the post Tom. I'm 2.5 years out from stopping. Just hoping it gets better. Did you have inner restlessness / akathasia?

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SDOE
8 hours ago, Tom said:

I honestly can't remember what my sleep was like prior to effexor, which was 27 or 28 years ago, but I do remember feeling like my sleep improved a lot when I went on it. As for my sleep on effexor as compared to post effexor, I think my sleep was much better on it. I still probably only slept five to six hours like I do now, but then I would take naps for a couple hours at a time most days. And I could pretty much fall asleep whenever I wanted. 

Thank you for responding to my question as sleep has been my main problem. 

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Tom
11 hours ago, Lloyd said:

Thanks for the post Tom. I'm 2.5 years out from stopping. Just hoping it gets better. Did you have inner restlessness / akathasia?

 

Not as bad as I used to read about from some people, but I would say borderline yes. I used to pace back and forth sometimes.

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Cigale
On 4/1/2020 at 7:23 AM, Tom said:

1. This article somehow really helped me with anxiety. I mean I think it made a huge difference. I don't remember if I heard about it here or on another group, but I'm glad I found it. I remember reading at the time that it had a profound effect for some other people too. It's called "Nothing Works, A Letter To Myself."  http://nothingworks.weebly.com/

 

Hello @Tom - I am new here and looking for inspiration as I work on stabilizing from a stupid-fast Lexapro taper. I really appreciate you posting your success story, especially the link to this very looooong but incredibly helpful article. It was worth the time it took me to read the entire letter! The advice is so simple and yet profound - and also funny. Acceptance is key, learning to let go and ‘float’ the things you can’t control,  finding ways to get the most out of the things you can control, and trying to find humor in it all. Thank you!

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