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uncomfortablynumb: Withdrawal Symptoms or Anxiety/Depression

venlafaxine Effexor

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#1 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 06:12 PM

Hi Everyone,
 
About 9 years ago I jumped on the psych med-i-go-round.  It was my last year in university studying human kinetics - I was really stressed, not getting much sleep, not eating very well and consuming way too much caffeine. I pretty much crashed and burned with anxiety and depression over probably a 4 month period.   It was possibly due to years of stress and not knowing exactly what I wanted to do after graduation (to continue studies or find work).  I was rock bottom, not being able to focus on anything and the anxiety was so bad that I isolated myself.  That is when I first saw my psych.  
 
I was prescribed Celexa and that did nothing.  It was my first drug and I was desperate and only gave it probably 3-4 weeks.  Then I was put on Effexor.  It worked wonders in about 3 or 4 weeks at 75mg or 112mg.  I was back to my old energetic self and focused.  I came out of my shell and was socializing again.  
 
I finished my degree and decided to forgo post-grad and start up my own business as a fitness trainer.  The next 3 years were going well as I was building up clientele. Outside of work I was involved in long term relationships.  Effexor was working pretty consistently. When it lost effectiveness, I would up my dose and be fine pretty soon after.  I forgot to mention I was taking a pre-workout supplement (NO-Xplode or another) while on Effexor (which is probably a no, no) to give me an extra energy boost.  Perhaps the meds were losing their potency and I needed another boost because coffee was not helping.
 
Effexor then started to poop out on me.  I would relapse into depression/anxiety for longer periods and upping doses was useless (I believe I went up to 187.5mg).  
 
We then tried augmenting Abilify without success.   Then I switched to Pristiq which also didn't work.  Then it was onto Wellbutrin to no avail.  I ended up reintroducing Effexor and it worked again with the break.  Not as well, but I was functioning. I began abusing pre-workout supplements just to keep me my normal energetic, positive self.    
 
Again, Effexor pooped out after a couple years.  Over the next few months, I tried Zoloft and nortriptyline and another med.   
 
At this point, I was sent to a specialist. He changed my diagnosis to bipolar II even though I exhibited signs of bipolarity until I was on medication.  He suggested different cocktails with lithium or Latuda.  I refused.  
 
I made the stupid decision with my original psych to try Effexor one more time. Surprisingly, another break from it and it worked again.  Not as well, but still got me up and going.  I stayed on it for a year and weaned off this April this year.  I was fine med-free for a couple months, then anxiety/depression reared it ugly head in July.  Another foolish mistake I made was to go back on the Effexor from mid-July until September.  I had to keep increasing the dose until it was clear my "go-to" drug was no longer an option.  
 
I began weaning off rather quickly by decreasing 37.5mg each week.  I went to half of 37.5mg, then nothing.  I have been completely off Effexor for the last 10 days.  
 
This is one of the longest bouts of depression/anxiety for me.  It has been 4months. I have had to stop working (as I usually do when I am in this state).  My job requires energy, positivity, focus. It is also a social job and depression/anxiety kinda make that impossible. It really is depressing that I have had so many relapses that it screws up my career.  I wonder if I didn't go on meds in the first place if I would have relapsed.  
 
I had to wean off the drug while severely depressed/anxious. I think this has made the experience worse.  I am experiencing bad insomnia, and what I think might be depersonalization (my senses seem altered, hard to describe - dream-like).  I am also feeling like my mind is blank. Usually I have a nice flow of thoughts and can start conversation but it seems impossible now.  It is very uncomfortable and I have isolated myself from friends.   I also cannot find pleasure in ANYTHING.  My concentration and memory are not very sharp.  When I have weaned off in the past I do not remember it being this extremely awful.  
 
I have a few questions: Can the brain recover and balance itself? Is there anything I can do to move things along faster?  Or is it probably best to explore other medical options?   Should I get extensive bloodwork or an MRI done?   
 
Sorry this was such a long intro.  I applaud you for reading this because it is not the most exciting story.

Edited by scallywag, 27 May 2017 - 08:21 AM.
tags

10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#2 bromor

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:17 PM

Hello.  I'm new to this site as well ~ glad you're here.  From what I've read, yes, most definitely your brain can heal. There are things that I do personally that I feel are helping me ~ but I know I don't have studies or links handy to back them up! I had the same issue with Zoloft....even after the too fast tapers and subsequent raising of the dose...I could never get back to not having anxiety.  I'm sure someone will be able to help you with your questions that has much more experience than me.  :)


On Zoloft for 10 years (50 mg) for GAD & panic attacks

Weaned off fall of 2013, terrible set back in Feb '14 back on 100 mg & trazadone to sleep.

Did CT off of Zoloft in May 2014 - bad decision!

Back on 50 mg Zoloft & Xanax as needed (was upped to 75 mg by doctor in Feb 2015)

Started to wean off of Zoloft in April 2015 ~ totally off Zoloft in Oct 2015 and now am on Buspar 11.25 mg to help with physical symptoms.

I was on a 50 mg pill & 25 mg pill - I cut the 25 mg pill in half (12.5) and took that with the 50 for 6 weeks - 1st week June 2015

 50 mg for another 6 weeks. 25 mg in half and the 50 mg in half (37.5), 25 mg mid Sept for about 2 weeks.,1/2 of the 25 mg last week of Sept/1st week of Oct then off.

Update** 9 mg Zoloft reinstated early Nov 15, along with 1.5 mg Buspar daily. On .50 of Buspar & 9 mg of Zoloft. Oct '16 - off of Buspar, Nov '16 - down to 7.5 mg Zoloft. March'17 - 4 mg Zoloft.

I also take magnesium, L theanine, Gaba Calm, L Glutamine, Vit B complex(for methyl issues), Liver & Gall bladder support, Vit K, Zinc, Whole Food Vit C & Cod Liver Oil. DARE & the bible are the tools I use to help navigate this withdrawal process.

 

 


#3 Petunia

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:21 PM

Welcome uncomfortablynumb,

Thank you for joining and for sharing your story. I'm sorry things are not going so well now. It sounds like you have reached the limit of antidepressants being helpful for you. If they work at all, most people find their benefits to be short lived, with side effects often taking over long term. I'd highly recommend reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. Psych meds can cause harmful side effects and long term, they can worsen health, increasing the risk of other illnesses. In my opinion they  should only be used for short times and very cautiously, if at all.

 

Even thought the drug was no longer working, tapering off too fast has now caused withdrawal symptoms. We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

I suggest you reinstate 37.5mg right away. Reinstatement of a small amount of the drug can often work well to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. According to medical knowledge, reinstatement is the only way to alleviate withdrawal. Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work. Once you have stabilized on a low dose of the drug, then a slower, safer taper can be started. Here is some information about reinstatement to help you decide if its something you would like to try:  About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

Also see:   Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

 

I have a few questions: Can the brain recover and balance itself? Is there anything I can do to move things along faster?  Or is it probably best to explore other medical options?   Should I get extensive bloodwork or an MRI done?   

 

 

Yes, our brain and NS can recover, it can take some time though. The only thing which will possibly help are reinstatement, stabilization and then a slow taper. Otherwise, the best I can offer by way of advice is to listen to your body and avoid those things that set off symptoms as much as possible. Aside from a high quality fish oil and magnesium, avoid supplements. (See King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker). They've been helpful to many of us. 

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

You can ask your doctor to run tests for you own peace of mind if you want to, many of us have done that, results usually come back fine.

 

Here are a couple more topics which may be useful to you:

 

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Derealization or Depersonalization - Symptoms and self ...

 

It would be great if you would put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Doing this helps people understand your context, it appears below each of your posts. Here are instructions for how to do it:

 

http://survivinganti...your-signature/

 

I'm sorry for throwing so much information at you, but take your time reading through it and post any questions here on your thread. You will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

Petunia.

 

 

 


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

 

My Introduction Thread

 

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

 

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety)

Xanax PRN

Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes animal25.gif

 

Supplements which seem to help:  High doses of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Garlic and Ginger.  Taurine, Vit D3, L-Theanine and Inositol. I'm one of the rare people who react badly to fish oil.

 

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

 

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 


#4 bigpoppa

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:11 PM

Hi there! I am fairly new to this site, and am on a similar journey (getting off of Effexor). The people and resources here have been INCREDIBLY helpful. Read, read, and read some more. There is a ton of good content here. By the sounds of it, your system may have gone a little haywire with all of these switches, on and off again meds etc. No need to worry. You CAN AND WILL recover. Sometimes I think its hopeless, but those are just bad days. I have been taking high quality fish oil lately, and they have made a BIG difference in stabilizing my nervous system.


Effexor- 8 years

Been on 75mg for as long as I can remember

Recently upped dosage to 112.5mg

Now reduced by 37.5mg to go back to 75mg and get off this stuff!


#5 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 01:23 PM

Thanks a lot Petunia for all that information.
I will add magnesium and hope that helps me sleep. Maybe the lack of sleep is contributing to my anxiety and blank mind feeling.

I agree with you that long term AD use cannot be healthy because they affect so many body systems and hormonal balance. And tolerance build up is inevitable.

Read the stuff on symptoms and it is reassuring that my situation is common. I just wonder how ppl maintain there friendships and work while going through this.

I am not going to follow the 10% drop rule. Hopefully that decision doesn't bite me in the ass. Does this just lessen withdrawal suffering or does it slow the remodelling process?
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#6 KarenB

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 06:55 PM

Hello Uncomfortablynumb,

 

(Great screen name btw).  I'm sorry to hear things have been so rough for you - no-one deserves to end up in this position. 

 

Do you think you could fill out a signature so we can easily see your situation each time you post?  It makes it much easier to answer questions.

 

On the work-front I can only say that I'm an at-home-mum, and even that has been hard to maintain while in withdrawal.  And I don't even have to leave the house...  The friendship situation I have found much easier since I've always tended to have fewer but closer friends.  So they are all now very supportive of me.  I imagine if one had more peripheral friends it could be trickier to explain why your life is changing so much.  

 

There is a small chance that ignoring the 10% rule will not bite you.  However in reality, since you are already showing sensitivities and have been on and off SSRIs so many times, that decision might just take a chunk out of you...  I'm withdrawing from Effexor myself, and while it can be done, it's not something to muck around with.  I'd encourage you to be gentle with yourself - start slow and then if that goes well, think about trying a faster rate then.

 

The 10% taper does lessen withdrawal suffering and that also means your nervous-system will be in better shape for healing and your brain will be in better shape for re-modelling.  All that leads to faster healing overall.  It's the old hare versus the turtle story.  All things considered it really is worth while taking the best care possible of yourself.  

 

Brains can heal, but it just isn't quick.    

 

Wishing you peace,

KarenB


2010 May Fluoxetine 20mg. Raging mostly stops, become more functional.
2011 February Escitalopram 10mg (sudden switch). 2012 January Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Early June Feeling great, decide to taper. Doc advises alternate days 20mg/10mg for 4 weeks.  Late June Steady. Drop to 10mg daily. Early July Not coping, raging, flu symptoms, shaky, anxious, low, spaced-out, self-destructive.  Mid July Return to alternate days 20mg/10mg - minimal improvement. Early August Return to full dose 20mg. Lost.
2014 February Switch to Venlafaxine. (First reduced Esc. to 10mg/day for a week) Feb-April Lost, 'light' self-harm, exhausted.
April Increase Ven. to 150mg/day. Dizzy. July 75mg twice a day to improve dizziness. Deep depression remains.  2015 Feb Vigilant dose spacing partially eases dizziness. Mar Switch to Effexor 75mg 2x/day. May Cut 10% to 135mg - bad w/d 2 mths, held 1 mth.  Aug 1.3% cut - bad 1mth, held 1mth. Oct 4 wkly 0.4% cuts held 6 weeks. Jan 2016 2 wkly 0.4% cuts. 8 month hold. Sept Wkly cuts: 0.5%, 3 1% cuts.  Oct 4 wkly 1% cuts, hold 3-4 weeks.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamins E & C, magnesium, iron, MSM, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.  My story of healing: ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor or counselor; please do your own research and be prepared to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.


#7 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 08:37 PM

*topic and replies moved from symptoms forum

 

Hi everyone, I am wondering if anyone has experienced the below symptoms during withdrawal off Effexor or another similar AD. I got off Effexor while in an episode of depression and anxiety because it wasn't working. I have been suffering for 4 months and I am not sure if the symptoms are from withdrawal or due to the illness. I am experiencing the physical symptoms of brain zaps, dizziness, pressure in head, sensory disturbance. These are tolerable but the below ones are driving me mad and are ruining my life. Blank mind and difficulty making conversation? This makes me uncomfortable even with family. This is causing me to isolate myself from friends. I used to be social, outgoing, curious etc. Difficulty with memory and concentration. Hard to read or even watch a movie. Loss of passions/interests, positive emotions and feelings of love. I can't seem to laugh even. Thanks for reading. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you have gone through this and recovered please let me know. Any tips to overcome this would be great.


Edited by Petunia, 13 November 2015 - 08:51 PM.
added note

10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#8 LexAnger

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 09:06 PM

Hi Uncomfortablynumb,

I'm so very sorry you are suffering so much! I can relate to all your symptoms even doing a super slow taper for years and still on the drug. You are obviously experiencing ssir withdrawal. Our mods and other more experienced members should come alone soon for guidance. Most probably reinstating the drug will be advised for relieving the acute withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawing from These drugs can be very severe and serious and it usually takes very long to be safely off. Once you are stabilized from the reinstate, a slow taper of no more than 10% is recommended.

I'm glad you found this site, the best online help cross the globe as a fact. Hang in there, you will get to the right track soon.

reading as much as you can here to learn this very complicated situation would help with good understanding and strategy.

Lex
<p>2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain; Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg, first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg, slight improvement with pain2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR2016 Feb., started fast taper for the drug toxicity caused by the one dose of 4.2mg, dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, sliding Down to 0.13mg by 2/13, then 0.07mg since 2/18, 0.06mg 2/20-3/17, 0.13mg 3/18

#9 LexAnger

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Posted 31 October 2015 - 09:17 PM

Here is the link for tapering 10%
http://survivinganti...0-of-my-dosage/
<p>2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain; Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg, first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg, slight improvement with pain2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR2016 Feb., started fast taper for the drug toxicity caused by the one dose of 4.2mg, dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, sliding Down to 0.13mg by 2/13, then 0.07mg since 2/18, 0.06mg 2/20-3/17, 0.13mg 3/18

#10 OutdoorsMan15

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 07:02 AM

I came off Effexor 10.5 months ago and had all of those problems.  I'm usually an outgoing, humorous person and all of that went down the drain a few weeks after I went off effexor.  People would say things to me and my brain just could not come up with a response, it was awful.  This all forced me to isolate too, I couldn't take the awkwardness and the embarrassment anymore.  I was in school at the time and instead of going out and socializing I just focused on my work and watched tons of movies.

 

I am not 100% yet but all of this has gotten better for me.  I am much better off than I was at your stage of the game.  Things will improve for you too but it's probably going to take awhile.  My best advice is to stay busy, whether that means working a job, finishing school or just picking up a hobby.  Just hang on and remind yourself that this is temporary.

 

As far as reinstatement goes, I gave it a shot at 3 months out but it only made things worse.  My nervous system was too out of whack at that point to reintroduce a drug too it.  I'm not saying the same would happen to you but there is probably a slim chance that reinstatement would work at 4 months out.


September-December 2012: 10mg Paxil and no long term W/D symptoms

July-August 2013: 10mg Celexa for anxiety-based(?) insomnia, no W/D symptoms

October-December 2014: 37.5 and then 75mg Effexor XR

December 18, 2014: Last dose of Effexor after ~ 3 week taper

 


#11 oskcajga

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 09:04 AM

1.  Uncomfortablynumb is my favorite username.

 

2.  Once upon a time I was also a personal fitness trainer, and I also had some "adventures" with the psych med merry go round.  For me personally, that's the most difficult profession imaginable - it's like being a TV host or something - utterly stressful and lots of pressure - although when things are going well, it's truly amazing (and quite lucrative if done correctly).  I always found the fact that I had to both 1) maintain my physique, and 2) that I had to basically fulfull the roll of therapist and motivator extremely stressful.  I wish I had not gone into that industry - the burnout ultimately lead me to psych meds, and a decade of pain and suffering.  But some people really thrive in that industry and they seem not to find it too terribly stressful - so to each their own.

 

3.  Effexor was also my go to drug - it made me hypomanic and I found that to be beneficial in some ways (although when I look back I realize that although it gave me energy, it really took away a great deal of my ability to make emotionally mature decisions - and it sapped some of my intelligence).  I also took a break from psych meds for a couple of months after being on them for years and years and then tried going back on them back in 2013, and the effects were disastrous that second time with effexor/cymbalta.  I still got that hypomania, but this time my brain wasn't able to come down off the medication side effects like it had in the past - and I've been stuck with debilitating side effects going on 2 years now (been free from antidepressants for 2 years, and amphetamines for 1 year).

 

4.  I think it's wise that you decided against going on the anti-psycotics - that class of drugs is considered to be nothing more than a chemical lobotomy by some experts.  Moreover, anti-psycotics PRODUCE psycosis in people who may have never experienced it before when they try to taper off - leading to a revolving door of more and more drugs to treat this iatrogencially induced psycosis (and other side effects).  Really really, epically, nasty stuff.  Considerably worse than the antidepressants and benzos, in my opinion.  It turns out that a number of society's misconceptions about mental illness are a direct result of the side effects of this particular class of drugs.  If you want more info on this, please refer to this book (one of the most interesting books I've ever read):  http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/1501215469

 

 

5.  The  more times we go on and off psych meds, the more "confused" our brains become - there's something called the kindling effect you may wish to research.  https://www.google.c... effect&hl=en& Although generally studied for sedatives, it's understood that this principle may apply to ANY class of drug we put into our system (including SSRI/SNRIs, antipsycotics, stimulants, etc etc).

 

6.You may wish to read this book, it's one of the most informative and easy to read books on the subject and I strongly recommend it to anyone that has experience with psychiatric medications:

 

http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/1491513217


8 Words of Wisdom about Adverse Effects and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Syndrome:

 

1.  Please do learn about this condition by thoroughly reading 1) Dr. Healy's website and SurvivingAntidepressants.

2.  Please read books like: 1) Anatomy of An Epidemic and 2) Mad in America.

3.  Success Stories do exist.

4.  Please be extremely cautious about reinstatements, recreational drugs, supplements.  Even low doses can complicate matters.

5.  Transfer all financial assets into your own name (hint: relationships end).  Do not spend money wastefully.  Keep your job as long as possible.

6.  Psychiatric drug "withdrawal" and adverse effects are serious neurological reactions to powerful "drugs" - do not take this condition lightly.

7.  These conditions almost never recognized by any medical doctors - hospitalization/appointments can be futile/potentially injurious.

8.  PSSD, anhedonia (no emotions), memory loss, brain zaps, etc are scary - don't worsen them by taking more drugs, supplements, and medications.

 

Stimulant free since September 20th, 2014; SSRI free since September 1st, 2013


#12 Martina23

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 11:35 AM

Great post, Osk.
05/2013 Lyrica 100 mg / per day for pain + PGAD resulting from caesarian delivery11/2014 started to taper: 50 mg per day/ for one week then c/tafter one month reinstated at 50 mg /per days of 10 July 2015 drug free-
symptoms OCD

#13 Altostrata

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 11:58 AM

Welcome, UncomfortablyNumb.

 

Sleep disruption is a very, very common consequence of going off psychiatric drugs too fast. As Petunia suggested, you might go back on a very small amount of Effexor, even 10 beads, to reduce this symptom.

 

Sleep problems alone may have a lot to do with your current symptomology.

 

As for the depression and sluggishness, my intuition is that you have a metabolic problem, possibly related to some extreme supplementing or other practice. If I were you, I'd review all the supplements, vitamins, etc. that you take and gradually minimize them to eliminate confounding factors.

 

If you have been prone to taking stimulating substances, they could not only be putting your system into overdrive but contributing to your sleep problems.

 

This can also be a consequence of taking antidepressants for a long time and going on and off drugs many times. The nervous system is not made of rubber, it gets fatigued.

 

Given you are very experienced with self-discipline, I believe that if you focus on gently nurturing your nervous system, you will gradually recover. Being gentle is essential -- no extreme supplementing. Get your nutrition from food. Don't try to push your body in a particular direction.


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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#14 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 12:57 PM

Hi Osk,
Thanks for the message. You have had a similar life experience. I agree, having to play psychologist as a trainer is exhausting. My hours are all over the board and that causes stress. I had to step away from work for the last 4 months since the anxiety and depression hit. It is extremely difficult and I stopped exercising myself.

I was completely off effexor only two weeks. I wanted to tough it out but today I reinstated the 37.5mg. Hoping if I taper slow I will heal better. What effects are you still experiencing? Did you take any supplements to help recover? Do anything else for self help? I am just surviving now and everything is a struggle.

Thanks for the links on kindling and the Mad in America thing. It is understandable that my brain is confused with the withdrawals and switches.

My psych suggests augmenting or trying other drugs. People seem to end up on cocktails of so many drugs. They all seem to poop out eventually. There aren't studies on cocktails. There aren't long term studies on these psych drugs. Another problem is the efficacy rates are bogus because they only publish studies with positive results.
I can't try these drugs anymore. I am desperate to get better and even researched ect and tms. They aren't that effective long term and I don't want to screw up my memory any more.

I wish there were more effexor success stories. Maybe there are but once ppl are healthy they might not bother posting in forums as they are moving on with their lives.
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#15 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 01:25 PM

Thanks Alto,

You put a lot of effort into helping ppl through this crap.

MrAnxious seemed to have a similar experience to mine.

I decided to reinstate the 37.5mg. Maybe I should have gone with less because I am feeling crappy and like a zombie anyway.

I stopped seeing friends and put work on hold. This has been 4 months! It has been so long that I feel ashamed and I don't know what to tell them. Not sure when I/if can return. I find it amazing some people can work through this. I can only hope I don't lose friends because of this. My family has taken me under there wing now so financially I am not totally destroyed.

I haven't been active and won't be taking the addictive sports stimulants. They contained acesulfame-k too. Probably not the healthiest. II do still have a coffee a day. I wonder if I killed my adrenals.

I only take a multi vitamin, b complex, and fish oil. But I don't take them consistently especially when inactive.
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#16 oskcajga

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 03:33 PM

Hi everyone, I am wondering if anyone has experienced the below symptoms during withdrawal off Effexor or another similar AD. I got off Effexor while in an episode of depression and anxiety because it wasn't working. I have been suffering for 4 months and I am not sure if the symptoms are from withdrawal or due to the illness. I am experiencing the physical symptoms of brain zaps, dizziness, pressure in head, sensory disturbance. These are tolerable but the below ones are driving me mad and are ruining my life. Blank mind and difficulty making conversation? This makes me uncomfortable even with family. This is causing me to isolate myself from friends. I used to be social, outgoing, curious etc. Difficulty with memory and concentration. Hard to read or even watch a movie. Loss of passions/interests, positive emotions and feelings of love. I can't seem to laugh even. Thanks for reading. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If you have gone through this and recovered please let me know. Any tips to overcome this would be great.

 

These are ALL typical symptoms associated with "withdrawal syndrome".  Although depression, if its severe enough, can sort of mimic some of these effects, that's probably not what's going on here entirely.  It's possible there's a combination of depression + withdrawal syndrome - but unfortunately there's nothing you can really do about this medically. 

 

Depression will resolve itself after at most, a 9 month period, generally (that's what the studies cited in anatomy of an epidemic state).  The withdrawal symptoms can take a long time to go away, but abstinence from psychiatric medications and drugs will help accelerate the healing process.


8 Words of Wisdom about Adverse Effects and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Syndrome:

 

1.  Please do learn about this condition by thoroughly reading 1) Dr. Healy's website and SurvivingAntidepressants.

2.  Please read books like: 1) Anatomy of An Epidemic and 2) Mad in America.

3.  Success Stories do exist.

4.  Please be extremely cautious about reinstatements, recreational drugs, supplements.  Even low doses can complicate matters.

5.  Transfer all financial assets into your own name (hint: relationships end).  Do not spend money wastefully.  Keep your job as long as possible.

6.  Psychiatric drug "withdrawal" and adverse effects are serious neurological reactions to powerful "drugs" - do not take this condition lightly.

7.  These conditions almost never recognized by any medical doctors - hospitalization/appointments can be futile/potentially injurious.

8.  PSSD, anhedonia (no emotions), memory loss, brain zaps, etc are scary - don't worsen them by taking more drugs, supplements, and medications.

 

Stimulant free since September 20th, 2014; SSRI free since September 1st, 2013


#17 andy013

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 04:41 PM

Hi, I just want to say you are not alone in experiencing the social problems from these drugs. One of my main symptoms throughout withdrawal has been difficulty socializing. It just feels like that part of my brain is turned off. I act awkward, weird and withdrawn in social situations and I can't do anything about it. I also found that being in social situations for several hours brings out more negative symptoms in me. I start to feel depressed as well as getting some physical symptoms. I need to avoid social interaction for a few days in order to recover. It is very frustrating.

 

Another thing that annoys me about this symptom is that often people will think it is nothing to do with the drugs. They will attribute it to social anxiety or shyness or something else. Of course you know like me that it is a problem in your brain because of the drugs.

 

I am curious, did you noticed these problems when you were taking the drugs or did they only start after you discontinued?

 

I know you said that the drugs stopped working, but was that only depression returning or did these symptoms appear as well?

 

You may have had to stay on the drug for longer after reinstating in order to stabilize. Personally I think trying to stabilize on the drug and then do an ultra slow taper is the best approach. If you stay off the drugs it could take a long long time for things to improve to the point where you can function.


December 2010: 10mg Citalopram

April 2011: 5mg for 2 weeks then cold turkey withdrawal - Extremely bad depression / no emotions

June 2011: Reinstated 10mg - After 3 weeks started getting impulsive suicidal thoughts

July 2011: Cold turkey - Withdrawal hell begins...


#18 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 05:58 PM

Hi, Sorry to hear you are suffering in this way. It seriously sucks. It is like your personality is lost. This happened whenever Effexor stopped working but it is seems worse now. I am starting the whole slow taper from 37 now. Hoping this works. Some positive sign would be reassuring. How long have you been suffering through these symptoms?
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#19 IHadPassion

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 07:15 PM

Funny you should mention it...I just had to sit through my nephew's birthday party and guess what...it was living hell.  Couldn't remember  in-laws names, who did what, who divorced who, etc.  Emotional numbness...check, social brick wall...check, feeling isolated...check.  Can't wait for Thanksgiving.

 

Unfortunately, from what I've experienced, these are most certainly part of the withdrawal/depression cycle.  I have found that forcing myself to be interactive, no matter how awkward the silences as I try to find words and feel like a moron, makes things easier overall.  I also believe it's retraining my brain to compensate for the damage done by the medications. It's not easy, but the muscle has to be exercised if you want it to be strong.


Year 0:      Social anxiety, obsessive thoughts, NO depression, NO suicidal ideations

Years 1-2: Ativan (benzo) <1mg as needed, not abused but developed physical dependence

Years 2-3: Paxil (20mg) augmented with Adderall XR (10-20mg) due to withdrawal from Ativan

Years 3-Present: Severe depression, headaches, psychiatric hospitalization, lost job, etc.

 


#20 hopealive

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Posted 01 November 2015 - 07:34 PM

Hi uncomfortablynumb,

 

It's nice to see a fellow Canadian on here, and I must say I was touched reading your story as I am experiencing a very similar thing myself. I've just started reinstating Effexor at 37.5mg (4th day now) after 3 months of anxiety, insomnia, and eventual 'depression' caused by withdrawal of the drug in April 2015. I was on it for just over 3 years along with 50mg seroquel, and while they really helped me, I always had nasty side effects and they would poop out sometimes too. Since reinstating I feel a bit better and some hope to recovery, but realize that it's going to be slow process so I'm also seeing a therapist and acupuncturist somewhat regularly (here's my intro post / personal story)

 

I'm a freelancer and was already not in the best shape financially, so this condition could not have come at a worse time for me. I'm still *trying* to work but for the past few months I have been very unfocused, find it hard to concentrate, unproductive, and zombie-like to colleagues, drawing a blank in conversations and too embarrassed to socialize... cash flow has been very slow yet I feel too down and awkward to go find new projects. I basically go through the motions to distract myself most of the day, so that I'm not holed up at home all day. Luckily I'm able to get some help financially from family now, but I also feel guilty about it. I've withdrawn from a lot of friends and social activities, only able to talk to a few people in settings that are not too social, crowded, or full of 'happy people'. I often have thoughts that I've lost a lot in my life and fear not being able to be the passionate, alive, optimistic person I once was, but I'm trying everything I can to try and keep the hope alive. 

 

I wish you well on your journey and let us know how the Effexor reinstatement is going.


  • 25mg Cipralex 2009 - 2010
  • 150mg Effexor + 50mg Quetiapine/Seroquel 2011 - 2015
  • 50mg > 25mg > 0 Quetiapine/Seroquel December 2014
  • 150mg > 112.5mg > 75mg > 37.5mg January - April 25ish 2015
  • Started experiencing worsening anxiety and depression post-withdrawal of medication from mid-July 2015
  • 100mg Wellbutrin September - October 2015
  • 25mg Quetiapine/Seroquel reinstated October 1 2015 but experiencing numbness, inability to focus, low heart rate, blood pressure, head rushes
  • Reinstated 37.5mg Effexor October 29, 2015 and trying to keep the hope alive
  • Stopped seroquel October 30, so far doing better since reinstatement but would like to taper off Effexor next year after stabilizing

#21 Martina23

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 12:33 AM

Hello uncomfortablynumb, I find it great from your family that they will support you now with the finances. I think you must have a great family. It is not seen that often. My family (my mother) hates if I complain that I am not feeling well in withdrawal. She immediately sends me to psychiatrists and urges I should take SSRI against anxiety and so on. I dont want to take anything unless I am forced to do it. She would not also help me financially. She thinks now I am adult so I have to take care for myself.


05/2013 Lyrica 100 mg / per day for pain + PGAD resulting from caesarian delivery11/2014 started to taper: 50 mg per day/ for one week then c/tafter one month reinstated at 50 mg /per days of 10 July 2015 drug free-
symptoms OCD

#22 oskcajga

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Posted 03 November 2015 - 04:17 PM

Funny you should mention it...I just had to sit through my nephew's birthday party and guess what...it was living hell.  Couldn't remember  in-laws names, who did what, who divorced who, etc.  Emotional numbness...check, social brick wall...check, feeling isolated...check.  Can't wait for Thanksgiving.

 

Unfortunately, from what I've experienced, these are most certainly part of the withdrawal/depression cycle.  I have found that forcing myself to be interactive, no matter how awkward the silences as I try to find words and feel like a moron, makes things easier overall.  I also believe it's retraining my brain to compensate for the damage done by the medications. It's not easy, but the muscle has to be exercised if you want it to be strong.

 

It's comforting to know that I am not alone.


8 Words of Wisdom about Adverse Effects and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Syndrome:

 

1.  Please do learn about this condition by thoroughly reading 1) Dr. Healy's website and SurvivingAntidepressants.

2.  Please read books like: 1) Anatomy of An Epidemic and 2) Mad in America.

3.  Success Stories do exist.

4.  Please be extremely cautious about reinstatements, recreational drugs, supplements.  Even low doses can complicate matters.

5.  Transfer all financial assets into your own name (hint: relationships end).  Do not spend money wastefully.  Keep your job as long as possible.

6.  Psychiatric drug "withdrawal" and adverse effects are serious neurological reactions to powerful "drugs" - do not take this condition lightly.

7.  These conditions almost never recognized by any medical doctors - hospitalization/appointments can be futile/potentially injurious.

8.  PSSD, anhedonia (no emotions), memory loss, brain zaps, etc are scary - don't worsen them by taking more drugs, supplements, and medications.

 

Stimulant free since September 20th, 2014; SSRI free since September 1st, 2013


#23 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 04 November 2015 - 07:46 PM

I haven't seen friends in 4 months now. I missed my closest friend's wedding too. Good for you on pushing yourself to stumble through interacting. I feel anxious and embarrassed. I literally can't start conversations now and responding with my two cents is a struggle. It feels like my brain is damaged. I used to be talkative and sociable. Hard to run a personal training business and train clients in this state. I can hardly be positive and outgoing now.
I am freaked out that I haven't genuinely laughed or smiled in months. Does this happen? I think even when I had episodes of depression I would occasionally laugh. Does it all come back?
Even crying doesn't seem to flow. I am dying inside and can't seem to shed tears. My mom recently got into a car accident on the highway and was lucky to have survived unharmed. Normally I would have bawled. I was upset but my emotions are pretty much deadened.
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#24 Maryquitecontrary

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 04:10 PM

OMG is all I can say. I am suffering the exact same thing. My mind is a blank and I can literally feel like I am in a complete stupor. I have been weaning off effexor for one month now and this blankness, brain block has gotten worse. Even though my husband has been the greatest support of my life , I can go hours not talking to him. When I am around other people, I cannot think of a thing to say. I am known as an outgoing talkative funny person, well no more, I feel as if my personality has been stolen. Today is my first day effexor free and I am bracing for what I hear to be horrific side effects. I will go through physical hell to get my mind back. I feel for you, I hope it gets better. This drug is evil incarnate and should be taken off the market! Good luck to you. Maryquitecontrary

#25 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 03:36 PM

Hi Mary,

I feel for you. It is good you have your husband around and he is understanding. My parents have taken me in. Every day i have that uncomfortable silence feeling. I would only experience this on the occasional bad date.

I haven't been able to work and wonder if and when my passion for my career will come back. I have put my clients on hold for months and there is a lot of pressure to get better. It is a powerless feeling.

What other symptoms are you experiencing? Is blank brain the main one? It is a disturbing symptom. I can't laugh or cry or feel much of anything. The headaches, dizziness, and insomnia alone are brutal. Are you experiencing them? Wish I knew how long these will last. Effexor only worked well in the beginning and my "relapses" just got longer and it stopped working altogether.

If I would have known the Hell I would experience on and off this drug I would have looked at alternative treatments or just took a break from my studies back then.

How long were you on Effexor? How did you taper? I went down fast. I tried to reinstate after 2 weeks drug-free and it made me feel even more awful. Couldn't stay on it.

It is 3 weeks off now and I still feel brain dead. Feel so disconnected and freaking out. I notice my memory has been affected (especially long term) and I find it harder to read or even watch TV because I am forgetting the meanings of words! I am only 34.

Please keep in touch and keep me updated. Fight this together.
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#26 Maryquitecontrary

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 03:44 PM

OMG is all I can say. I am suffering the exact same thing. My mind is a blank and I can literally feel like I am in a complete stupor. I have been weaning off effexor for one month now and this blankness, brain block has gotten worse. Even though my husband has been the greatest support of my life , I can go hours not talking to him. When I am around other people, I cannot think of a thing to say. I am known as an outgoing talkative funny person, well no more, I feel as if my personality has been stolen. Today is my first day effexor free and I am bracing for what I hear to be horrific side effects. I will go through physical hell to get my mind back. I feel for you, I hope it gets better. This drug is evil incarnate and should be taken off the market! Good luck to you. Maryquitecontrary

#27 Petunia

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 05:55 PM

Hi uncomfortablynumb,

How have you been feeling since you reinstated 37.5mg of Effexor?

 

Please would you add this reinstatement to your signature, it helps people to understand your current situation when reading your posts.


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

 

My Introduction Thread

 

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

 

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety)

Xanax PRN

Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes animal25.gif

 

Supplements which seem to help:  High doses of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Garlic and Ginger.  Taurine, Vit D3, L-Theanine and Inositol. I'm one of the rare people who react badly to fish oil.

 

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

 

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 


#28 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 07:24 PM

I did reinstate but for only one day. It made me feel even more horrid so I backed out. Ughh. Do you think some symptoms might ease anytime soon?
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#29 Mort81

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 08:55 PM

Hello uncomfortablynumb I am also a Canadian. I think your body has been through the gamet starting and stopping so many meds. I think its just saying it needs a break. You are going to get so much better but the problem is nobody can tell you when. Especially the doctors we have that absolutely know nothing about the meds they prescribe. It can feel like your in the twilight zone. Please don't get discouraged it will be worth it once you stabilize off meds. All your symptoms will gradually get better. Everybody heals differently. 4 months off meds is a relatively short time for people on this website. So don't be ashamed at all, I can relate with the work thing and what to tell friends. Some friends will understand others wont. Most people can't understand medications or how potent they are. And how could they when Doctors are out to lunch on the issue. Its unfortunate but we have a strong community here of support and Doctors like David Healy who are working hard to make this information mainstream. If you ever get down read the recovery stories on this site. My body went into shock when I tapered way to fast that my stomach stopped working. I couldn't eat for 3 months. I was on a liquid diet. After 10 months pain/discomfort started going away. Im just over a year off meds now and I can eat pretty much anything. I don't know if that helps but its just an example of an extreme withdrawal symptom that is pretty much gone. Goodluck you have support here

Mort
Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th Clonazapam. Currently 0.10mg daily. PPI Dexlant 20-30mg for last 29 months currently at 30mg

#30 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 09:49 PM

Thanks for the encouragement Mort. I appreciate you sharing your experience and that you recovered. Luckily I am not experiencing any gastro issues on top of everything. These are horrible meds. There really needs to be a documentary released to the masses about the withdrawal and other problems with these meds. I used to follow the all natural route until I took these devil drugs. Hopealive - if you can pls keep me updated on your situation. We are in the same boat and I am your neighbour. Sounds like you are fairing better than me as you are pushing yourself and trying to maintain normalcy.
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.

#31 Mort81

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 10:21 PM

Where are you in Ontario ? im in Toronto and just recently met with a Pychologist who will diagnose you . He sent a letter to my GP to tell her this Withdrawal sydrome is real and so everybody can be on the same page.


Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th Clonazapam. Currently 0.10mg daily. PPI Dexlant 20-30mg for last 29 months currently at 30mg

#32 Martina23

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 01:09 AM

Hello uncomfortablynumb, I am also 4 months out of meds. Also not any visible progress yet. I can work and start to make better decisions financially though. But I have mostly psychological symptoms: rage, thoughts to harm me and others, quite a strong anxiety, fear to be insane, fear to do something bad and end in prison or hospital and such "nice" things. Actually today I was a bit depressed because of it. because I wait each day that it disappears, and each day it is the same. I feel also better without drugs. I felt worse during the tapering, once the drug was away I can better manage my life but the bad thoughts are still making themselves very comfortable.


05/2013 Lyrica 100 mg / per day for pain + PGAD resulting from caesarian delivery11/2014 started to taper: 50 mg per day/ for one week then c/tafter one month reinstated at 50 mg /per days of 10 July 2015 drug free-
symptoms OCD

#33 Maryquitecontrary

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 06:17 PM

Dear numb,
To answer your questions. I did a quick taper over a period of two weeks. My psychiatrist is switching me to Zoloft so I havnt really suffered any other withdrawal symptoms, thank god, after hearing the horrific reports of others, god help those ones suffering from those. I am lucky that I have not lost my memory or had concentration problems. It's just this damn brain freeze problem. I didn't really have this when I was on the drug just emotional numbness and not feeling,that is why I wanted off. Are you getting on anything else? I am hoping the new meds Zoloft and abilify will bring my brain back soon. I am very frightened and it is driving me crazy. I really feel your pain and can totally identify with you. I am considering acupuncture. Maybe yoga too. It's good to keep trying to engage. Maybe you could find a support group, I have been thinking about that too. Hopefully we will both start to feel better. So long, Mary
Ps I was weaned from 150 mg to 0 in about two weeks and have not taking any for six days.

#34 Petunia

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 09:22 PM

Are you getting on anything else? I am hoping the new meds Zoloft and abilify will bring my brain back soon. I am very frightened and it is driving me crazy.

 

This is a site for going off drugs. It is not a site for finding out what drug to take next, comparing drug cocktails, or recommending what drug to add. This could be dangerous. People could be hurt by your advice. Its unlikely that Zoloft and Abilify are going to cure your Effexor withdrawal, but will possibly cause more side effects. Long term, these drugs cause more harm than good. Mary, if you would like help and support with safely tapering off these drugs, please start an introduction topic for yourself.

 

numb, I moved the topic you started in the symptoms forum to your introduction thread here because it was related to your own situation specifically. Please use this thread to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Please bookmark it or follow it so you can find it again.

 

I'm sorry the reinstatement made you feel worse, it was wise to stop, your nervous system is probably beyond the point where it can tolerate any drugs. You will get better, its just going to take some time.

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

Many people find  fish oil and magnesium helpful, see King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

 

My Introduction Thread

 

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

 

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety)

Xanax PRN

Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes animal25.gif

 

Supplements which seem to help:  High doses of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Garlic and Ginger.  Taurine, Vit D3, L-Theanine and Inositol. I'm one of the rare people who react badly to fish oil.

 

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

 

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 


#35 Maryquitecontrary

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Posted 14 November 2015 - 11:56 AM

I did not realize this site was for those totally getting off antidepressants. I apologize and was not giving "advice" but rather sharing my story. since this is a site strictly for those not taking anything then I will not be posting again. Thanks,maryquitecontrary

#36 uncomfortablynumb

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Posted 17 November 2015 - 04:27 PM

Hi Petunia, I am taking the fish oil and magnesium and camu camu for vitamin C. Do you know if it matters what time they are consumed? Insomnia is still brutal. Headache and dizziness is pretty much constant daily. Maybe the latter two would ease if I got got sleep. I keep my sleep environment cool and dark but it isn't helping. I end up laying in bed with random thoughts that never turn into dream sequences. I miss dreaming. Not sure what else I can do. I thought about reinstating something like 10 beads instead of a whole 37.5mg. But I am worried because the 37.5mg made me feel worse although I only reinstated for a day. I am very depressed and anxious. I feel like I literally can't think. All I can do is obsess about my crappy situation. Interacting is impossible. Uncomfortable silence is killing me. Can't get myself interested in anything I once enjoyed. Can't get myself to exercise because I feel like crap. This all makes the situation worse. The only positive is that I push myself to go outside. Mort - I am in Toronto as well. I still see my psychiatrist even though I have stopped taking meds. Were you suggesting I get a diagnosis from a psych? My doc believes my symptoms are a mix of a depression/anxiety episode and withdrawal. Martina - maybe the tough love that your family is giving you will make you stronger. You are strong. I don't know how I could get through this on my own. According to your signature you haven't been on drugs for that long so maybe you will recover faster. Has there been signs in the past 4 months off? Glimmers of hope?
10/2006 - Celexa 4 wks - not effective 10/2006 - Effexor - kicked in within 4 wks at 112mg dose. Over 3 yrs worked fairly consistently well but began having relapses of depression and anxiety. Upped dose to 150mg or 187mg and was fine. On Effexor, I was always taking workout energy supplements2009 - Effexor started pooping out and tried adding Abilify to no avail. Then tried Pristiq which also didn't help.2010 - Back on Effexor at 150mg. Surprisingly worked again, but less effective. Slowly started losing Effectiveness over 3 years.2013 - tried Zoloft, Nortriptyline, and Wellbutrin. Each separately for 4 weeks. Didn't give longer because they all were causing heart and other issues. 2014 - back to Effexor and it worked just to get me functioning. 04/2015 - off Effexor after a 2 month taper from 150mg. Was doing well for 3 months off meds but still taking pre-workout supps. 07/2015 - stopped taking my pre-workout energy supplement because I was abusing it and taking it for long periods. Stopped that cold turkey and quickly fell into depression and anxiety. 07/2015 - back on Effexor. From July to August slowly increased dose to 187mg and it didn't do anything. 09/2015 - began weaning off Effexor 37mg drops every wk. Then half of 37mg for a week to nothing on Oct. 16. Cue W/D symptoms 11/01/2015 - reinstated 37.5mg Effexor for a day and quit because it made me feel worse. Then 10 beads. Gave up. 12/01/2015 - Doc prescribed many different week trials to address insomnia Gabapentin, Seroquel, and Remeron. Settled on 15mg Remeron and was completely recovered until winter 2016. Was weaning slowly during the year. Symptoms returned especially insomnia. Reinstatement failed. After no improvement and extreme sleep deprivation March 2017, desperately tried week or less trials of trazodone, elavil, and doxepin.
Experiencing severe insomnia dizziness,headache,brain zaps. Severe anxiety and depression. Mind is mostly blank - difficulty thinking/concentrating. Hard to socialize. Poor long term memory. Depersonalization/unreal feeling. Emotional flatness. No interest or motivation.





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