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Cyrosp

My relationship with antidepressants: I've been on different ones for over 20 years. The more I learn about long term use, the more I want to be off of them. I started weaning myself from Effexor about two months ago, and am on day 8 of no Effexor. I am still on Wellbutrin.

 

Withdrawal symptoms I'm currently experiencing: dizziness, brain zaps (like frequent small electric shocks to my brain), insomnia, some nausea. They were the worst at day five, and seem to be decreasing slowly.

 

How I feel now: I have a crazy amount of energy. I don't know if it's a withdrawal symptom, a no more Effexor stunting my feelings and energy level, or what. But it's pretty cool to have energy. The negatives are that I'm super irritable and little things like repetitive noises, my kids not following directions, the room being too hot or too cold, all make me want to scream or cry or rage. Literally. I'm also experiencing super surges of grief, wanting to weep uncontrollably at a Facebook post about someone's dog that died, someone's kid who graduated from college, or my mother-in-law who has lived with us for 12 years breaking the toilet or the dryer or the lock on the front door or some other thing that seems indestructible to the average person.

 

My anger at the medical community: why the hell, twenty years ago when my mother died at a young age and I got into my first real depression, didn't they say, well let's get you walking, meditating, support grouping, counseling, or anything else? "You are depressed. Here's your prescription. See you in a month." There are valid reasons for getting depressed! It is normal to be sad and cry and have a hard time moving through the death of someone you love. Physicians are quick to stifle all of this with meds rather than deal with the underlying causes of the depression.

 

My life outside of meds: I'm a special education teacher. 55 years old and proud of the work I do. I live with hubby who is also a SpEd teacher, one kid in college, one in high school, and an amazing adorable 7 year old we adopted recently. We also have a son who died at age six months, due to a stupid sucky unfair genetic syndrome he had, in 1998. And mother-in-law. I have never missed more than a day or two of school due to depression. Never been hospitalized for it. Seem to be able to fake my way outside my home pretty well, but depression comes out big time at home.

 

Also can you tell I like to write? Lol, it's very therapeutic.

 

My goal: to successfully get off of antidepressants and manage my depression through yoga, meditation, journaling, exercise, and groups like this one.

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clearday

Hi, 

 

Welcome -

 

If you go to "My Settings" of your account, you can fill out your signature to give a brief drug history so others can better offer advice. Mine below is an example.

 

If you weaned off Effexor over the course of two months, that may be too quick, depending on your history. It's hard to tell right now what your withdrawal will be like. Often symptoms strike hard weeks and months later.

 

If you read some of the threads on this forum, you'll see what can happen during SSRI withdrawal. Hopefully it will not be so difficult for you, but it is a good idea to know what might happen in the coming months.

 

A moderator should be along to discuss options as you proceed through recovery. Filling out a signature will help the moderators understand your situation better.

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Tilly

You are very welcome here  :)

 

Warmest wishes,

 

Tilly x

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mammaP

Hi Cyrop, welcome to SA. Yes the energy is a withdrawal symptom!  When I quit effexor I felt amazing, loads of energy and a clear head. I thought it was brilliant being off the poison.....until withdrawal hit me like a sledgehammer!   Reinstating a small dose should halt the withdrawal, you don't say what dose you were on but just a few mgs to start then work up to a level that is comfortable for you. Often it is a dose that is just a fraction of the original dose that is enough to keep withdrawal at bay.  When stable again you could start a slow safe taper. When you have tapered safely off effexor you can then start to taper wellbutrin if that is what you wish to do.  Effexor is one of the worst drugs for getting off, and probably why your doctor didn't want you to try. 

You are probably reading this and shaking your head saying there is no way you are going to take that drug again, no-one EVER wants to reinstate but sometimes it is necessary to keep working. 

 

Here is the topic on reinstating to stabilise... http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

How to taper effexor... http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/

 

How to taper wellbutrin (buproprion)... http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/877-tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-buproprion/

 

Many people do well with a good quality fish oil, it seems to help the dizziness and brain zaps. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

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Cyrosp

Thanks for the welcome. I'm in a happy little state right now...oh, yeah. This is not terrible. Not as bad as I thought it would be! And I'm very concerned about how the next months will go. Glad I found this space.

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ang

Hi Cyrosp  and Welcome!  What dosages were you on/are you on?

 

I could not get off the effexor, without switching to another AD.     I wish I had found this site first, I tried to taper way too fast.   All clear in hindsight, I now know I should have tapered over 3 years, not three months

 

You have done a very fast taper.  Perhaps the Wellbutrin will help, while your body adjusts to no more Effexor.

 

If you start to feel awful, please consider taking  mammaP 's advice......  reinstate an amount that helps./

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Cyrosp

I tapered in what seemed a slow way, but reading all this it looks like it was pretty fast. Was on Effexor 225, went to 150 for three weeks, then 75 for three weeks and then zero, but am staying on Wellbutrin until I'm stable. The thought of going back on even a tiny dose of this toxic drug...I really hope it doesn't come to that. I have six weeks left in my teaching/school year. Short term goal is to push my way through that time w/out Effexor. Meanwhile, I'm taking advantage of the energy and getting things done that I haven't cared enough or had energy enough to do for many years.

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Altostrata

Welcome, Cyrosp.

 

That unusual energy is called hypomania. I had it for about 6 weeks when I went off Paxil, but then much worse symptoms hit.

 

Not that that will happen to you, but to be safe I would take a little Effexor for a while to let your nervous system accommodate to the big change. Do you have any capsules left? Even 10 beads probably would help.

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Cyrosp

Your responses are helping. I'm trying to live in the moment. Enjoy the fact that I feel good right now, and not stress too much about how I will feel tomorrow. Things I'm doing that I hope will help as I move through this change:

 

Yoga. Found a small studio I like and I'm signed up for twice a week. One class is more active and one class is a restorative class.

 

Journaling: both here and at home on paper.

 

Being honest: with my doctor, my family, and myself. I'm doing this. It's going to be hard. I need their support and need to be as patient and loving towards myself as I would be toward them;

 

Leaving the room: Literally, just walking out the door when I feel crazy or like I'm going to explode about something the average person would not explode about. 

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Cyrosp

I'm at two weeks effexor free, on wellbutrin only. The brain zaps and dizziness are so much better now. Sleeping better at night. Still having surges of grief, but if I let myself cry or rage (usually in my car or the shower) it lasts about three or four minutes and then I feel better. My body temperature seems to be adjusting. I was always hot on effexor, using only a sheet at night and never wearing long sleeves. Now I'm back to using a blanket or two at night and wearing clothes about the same weight as the people around me. Very clear headed. It will be interesting to see what the next two weeks bring.

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Cyrosp

OMG I had such a raged feeling last night. I felt like I was going literally insane. Threw some stuff on the floor and walked out of the house. Stayed outside breathing until I felt like I could go inside, went directly in and to my room. Had a long shower, went to bed early and read for a couple of hours then slept super well. I hated the out of control feeling. Woke up this morning feeling teary and not wanting to come to work (I'm a special ed teacher) but got myself off the couch and am here. 

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ten0275

cyrosp, hi.

 

sorry for the rage and insanity feelings of last night. very good that despite some hardcore neuro-emotions this a.m., you were able to push through to work. that is big stuff.

 

especially as you are a special education teacher. i taught special education for 4 years and it sucked nearly every ounce of energy i had. there was a lot of gratification, but it is probably the most in-the-pit vigorous form of teaching i have encountered. i taught middle school special education. i am not certain i could have pulled that off during withdrawal. correction: i am certain i couldn't have pulled that off during the deepest withdrawal. again, that is big stuff!

 

hang in there, things will settle.

 

dave

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Cyrosp

Thank you for both of the above. The waves...last night I couldn't sleep. Came downstairs to make some popcorn and read for a while, and both of my kids smelled it and came down asking for some. (This is a regular occurrence at my house, and usually makes me laugh.) I fell apart sobbing because 1) I wanted quiet and 2) I did not want to share. Uugh. Possibly just a little overreaction? I'm finding that when I just let it go and cry it helps. But then my husband looks at me like I'm insane and need to be back on the Effexor. Take a walk. Go to yoga class. Write in journal. Breathe breathe breathe.

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Hudgens

What you're experiencing is an exaggeration of your normal feelings. That's common in withdrawal. For example, you'd normally be a little sad to see someone's dog died, but this sadness gets multiplied many times in withdrawal. I remember while watching the original version of King Kong during my 4 year taper of Effexor, getting ridiculously sad during the ending scene when King Kong is getting shot at the top of the Empire State Building. Seems comical, but I almost cried. The irritability, sometimes getting up to the rage level, works the same way. It's the same with past regrets-we naturally mull over the past from time to time and think very little of it, but during withdrawal it can get very intense and almost traumatic. It's all the same thing really-all exaggeration, and, harder to realize when you're going through and episode- it doesn't mean much.

 

   The first time I tried getting off Effexor I did it by counting beads in 2 or 3 months. I felt fantastic, lots of energy and clarity of thought. I hit the wall-more like it fell on me-exactly 2 months out. So I'm worried that you're headed for the same thing. I still had lots of withdrawal symptoms with my 4 year taper and have had some in my almost 7 months post-taper period, but mostly manageable and I've been very functional for the greater part of it all, really I feel perfectly normal most of the time. But it's important to remember that if things do go south for you that you can still succeed in getting off Effexor by reinstating and doing a very slow taper. When I hit the wall in 2008 I immediately went back on a full dose (75 mgs) and was feeling OK again within hours. You might not have to do that, you could reinstate a much smaller dose just to stop the withdrawal and stabilize. I'm nothing like an expert on that sort of thing since I went back on a full dose. But I mean that it's possible to get off Effexor if done the right way.

 

   Another thing I can warn you about, having seen it on this site again and again, do not try and "push through" "ride it out" bad withdrawal from a too fast taper with the mistaken idea that it will be over shortly. It never is, it seems to always become years of terrible suffering before things get better. Just don't do it. If it comes to reinstatement, it's not a failure but a sensible readjustment in order to reach the goal of being antidepressant free. 

 

  2 things that really made a difference for me are mindfulness (especially as a kind of first aid) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. They both take a lot of the mystery out of what's happening to you-and knowing what's happening and what you can do about it is a powerful thing.       

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Cyrosp

"If it comes to reinstatement, it's not a failure but a sensible readjustment in order to reach the goal of being antidepressant free. "

 

This is a powerful statement, and I pasted it here so that in a week or a month or in five minutes when I don't feel as awesome as I do right now this minutes, I'll see it. 

 

I'm three weeks Effexor free today. The last three days have been so much better physically that I actually took my motorscooter out for a ride yesterday. I haven't felt that I could do that safely with all the brain zaps and light headedness, and riding is one of my favorite stress relievers, so I've missed it.

 

Emotionally I'm irritable and have those pesky surges of grief (my daughter had her wisdom teeth out Friday and I had to leave the office and go for a long walk because I couldn't stop crying until she was awake again) but if I let them happen they are over in about five minutes. 18 more days of school until summer break, and that helps me get through.

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Altostrata

Well said, Hudgens.

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Cyrosp

Ugh, the irritability and mood surges are getting to me today. I am having a decent afternoon, very sleepy but ok otherwise. I go to make some popcorn (because, why not?) and my teenage daughter has taken the popcorn pan which lives on top of the stove on her vacation. What? Who takes MY popcorn pan on vacation? So I'm breathing deeply and trying not to have a total crying meltdown, and I decide, well, just use a different pan. If it gets wrecked, that's ok. Find another pan, go to get the oil. THE OIL IS GONE, too. So now I'm acting like my mother just died or something, crying and angry. Over popcorn. This is exhausting.

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Altostrata

Olive oil or coconut oil works fine for popcorn. Or even butter.

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Cyrosp

Just reread what I wrote in June about the popcorn pan. It reads as an amusing anecdote, but it is happening an awful lot. September now. I've been off all meds other than for my thyroid for three months. I am so close to calling my doctor to get some more buproprion, but I don't know if it's the right thing to do. I'm so weepy and angry much of the time. I can fake it at work, but at home I'm falling apart, crying, angry at the world, not wanting to interact with my family, gaining weight, achy and tired all the time, and just getting sick of it. I'm not sure how to deal with all this, whether I should try just bupropion (NEVER again Effexor!) or just try to power through.

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Altostrata

What has been your symptom pattern since June?

 

If you have trouble sleeping or have anxiety surges, Wellbutrin probably will make that worse.

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Cyrosp

My last post was in September. I was so down that I decided to go back on Wellbutrin. Took it for three weeks but I just couldn't deal with the side effects. I think because I've been off meds for a bit, I notice the side effects more, perhaps. So I took WB mid-September to mid-October and decided, "No more ADs."

Three months seems to be the magic challenging time for me, because here it is mid-January and last week I had a terrible four days. Cried constantly. Talked about leaving my husband. Flip flopped between sleeping constantly and not sleeping at all. Luckily it was during winter break, so there was no school. I was so down--it felt actually physical, not just emotional. After four days of that, the feeling of weight has slowly lifted over the past week. I'm still very irritable. I get tired at the noise of my life with school and family. I cry easily, but usually can get it under control pretty quickly. 

 

I'm seeing a therapist for the first time in almost 20 years next week. I'm really hoping that with therapy and yoga I'll be able to stay off Wellbutrin and other meds this time. Today is a good day. 

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Fresh

Hi Cyrosp ,  good to have an update.    

It's quite likely that the dose of wellbutrin you reinstated was too high for you.

If you're considering it again please see the thread on reinstating.

Usually 1-2mg is enough to make a significant difference , and a doctor's "therapeutic dose" is way too high , which

means side effects.

 

Good luck with your therapist.

 

bw ,  Fresh

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Cyrosp

I haven't posted here for a long time. It's been a rough year--more, actually.

AD free since October 2015.

Had a year of weekly therapy (talk therapy and EMDR), which may have saved my life and certainly saved my family and marriage.

Quit drinking alcohol.

Quit drinking coffee or any caffeinated drinks.

Quit interacting with my father and other people in my life who brought only misery. Who has time for extra misery?

Journaled often.

Started listening to music again.

Started enjoying life again. 

Still struggle with depression, but nothing as bad as when I was actually on anti-depressants!

I'm so proud of myself. You can do it. It's worth the struggle.

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ChessieCat

That's a really fantastic update.  Congratulations!!!  And thank you for coming back to update.

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