Shortcake

Shortcake: Effexor withdrawal. When will it end?

220 posts in this topic

I've been in this wave for about a week and a half now.  It was triggered when I got a gi bug that was going around.  The flu like symptoms of it were like the old wd symptoms to an extent and it triggered another wave.  

 

Waking up today I feel stronger than I did yesterday so I'm hoping the wave is almost over.  

 

My symptoms while in a window are: 

Wake up for the day feeling sleepy, (my 3 year old wakes me up between 6 and 7). I take my pill 2.2mg around 10am and dont notice a difference in how I feel when I take it.  Less confidence than I used to have.  Slight anxiety/nausea with getting into cars or having to go somewhere.  My brain feels a bit off, its hard to explain but it feels different to me.  I have moments where I feel like this isnt my life.  (While going through withdrawal and not knowing it, I moved from a place I loved to a new house, which then burned down so now I'm in a new house again and it just doesnt feel like my place or my life.  My life is back in the old apartment where im happy and I can work.  This doesnt feel safe or like home.)  But I also feel moments of joy and hope.  I can feel higher levels of happiness than when on the drug, but I also feel sadder sads and angrier angers.  I cry again, I rarely cried on the drug.  Basically I have emotions again.  Once my daughter is in bed I get paranoid.  I feel very uneasy and I am convinced someone is going to break into my house.  When I start falling asleep I jolt awake quickly with panic and adrenaline. This goes on for a couple of hours until finally I'm so exhausted I fall asleep.  I probably fall asleep around midnight and up for the day at 6 or 7.  Around 1am my daughter wakes up and comes to sleep with me and the rest of the night I wake here and there.  Sometimes I wake up panicky and cant get back to sleep because in scared.  I get between 3-6 hours of sleep.  It varies.  But at the same time.  I have hope and confidence that I am on the mend.  I actually want to be social... Which I never did before.  I'm interested in life again.  Seeing things and doing things.  

 

Symptoms in a wave:

All of the above negative things times 100.  Ive been feeling nauseous most of the time, taking ginger gravols and anti diahreals.  My entire body feels like theres an electrical buzzing all over it.  Im in a constant state of anxiety.  Like a gasping feeling.  Like something bad is just about to happen.  I'm very uneasy and scared of everything.  My confidence is a zero.  I question my ability to go on like this.  The thoughts in my head are panicky.  Its hard to explain.  Its just this feeling of something being really wrong with my brain.  Like I have a real mental disorder and won't ever be better again.  I feel completely unstable.  Everything is on a hair trigger.  I have zero patience.  

 

At times I know this will pass.  This is a wave and the window comes next.  And each window is better than the last.  I feel more healed than the last one.  But 98% of the time in a wave I just feel unable to cope.  I end up having to take .5 - 1mg of Ativan a few times just to get a break from it.  

 

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Well not sure if I'm still in a wave still or not but I'm still sick!

 

It started with what I think was a GI bug and never fully went away.  Its been almost 4 weeks.  After eating I get stomach pains, I have nausea, diahrea, reflux, exhaustion, weakness, aches and pains in stomach abdomen and back.  I saw an md last night who has ordered some bloodwork and stool samples to try to figure it out, but I'm wondering if it could be stress related from the withdrawal?  I had stomach iasues when I was 14 and went through a slew of tests and seeing different specialists and nothing was wrong...  When they put me on effexor xr it seemed to go away.  Off the effexor and its back. Also found out that an off label use for effexor is IBS.  Anyway I will havr all the tests done but it just gets me to thinking... Yea antidepressants are bad for you... But this stress?  The effects of stress on the body are horrible.  I'm starting to think the effects of stress off the drug is worse than the side effects ON the drug.

 

Has anyone ever had luck with bridging with a tamer anti anxiety until the withdrawal is over?  17 years on effexor.  7 months off and its hell.  Like I feel myself getting better but not sure how much more I can take.  I can't return to work yet... I'm constantly on edge and snapping at my poor 3 year old.  I have rent to pay...  My rent is 1259 a month.  Then theres bills.  And groceries.  I only have 700 a month coming in.  My insurance money from the fire and savings will eventually run out.  I dont know how much longer I can play "wait and see".  

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You're taking Effexor as an anti-anxiety med?

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When I was put on it 17 years ago I had a ton of issues.  As a teen I was depressed.  I also had social anxiety.  First I was put on zoloft.  I believe a year or so later I attempted suicide on it.  After that I never took zoloft again (so came off it cold turkey) and was then diagnosed as bipolar and put on effexor and epival.  A couple years later a doc said bipolar was a misdiagnosis and took me off epival.  I started getting anxiety and panic attacks a couple years later.  Since coming off it... I just dont feel right.  I'm tense all the time.  Its like I can't fully relax.  My anxiety is worse than it ever has been.  I do have windows of hope and feel great but the anxiety stays with me.  And in the waves I cant handle it.  If i went back to work id have to call in sick during the waves.  Like... I just dont know how much longer I can do this.  Part of me wants to stick it out but part of me is really tired.  I have enough money to take maybe 3-4 more months off work.    

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So to answer the question.  I believe I was put on it for depression but my memory is horrible (one of the reasons I wanted off the drug).  I think anxiety happened while on the drug.  I still dont want to be on it but just wondering if there is something that can help with the anxiety so I can function again fully.  My psychologist says GAD doesnt require medication, it can be beat... But i feel like its withdrawal as well.     

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Doctors will often go to the old, reliable "tranquilizers", benzodiazepines, to "treat" anxiety.  Benzos are nasty kettle of fish, they create chemical dependence very quickly and need very careful tapering to discontinue. Some SSRIs are approved to be prescribed as anti-anxiety meds. 

 

I just noticed in your signature that you've listed "Ativan as needed."  (a benzodiazepine med) Are you still taking it as needed? If so, how often are you taking it?

 

Sometimes inconsistent dosing of a benzo causes interdose withdrawal -- breakthrough anxiety.

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Yes I still take it as needed.  Sometimes I have to take it 3 times a week (while in this wave) sometimes once a week.  If i take 1mg then i notice the next day i have severe anxiety and have to take .5mg to get rid of it.  If I only take .5mg then I dont get the "come down" from it.  But there are times I dont think I can go without it.  There are times when my anxiety and depression are so intense and I cant bear it anymore.  I cry.  I think of suicide.  I would never commit suicide as I have my daughter to take care of but I just cant handle the intense waves.  .5mg of ativan is enough to calm me down and get me out of it.  Its like a reset on my feelings.  

I work really hard tog et rid of the anxoety and I make huge progress.  Meditation, healthy eating, claire weekes methods...  And it goes great.  Then a wave hits and it resets all my progress and im so tired.  

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It looks as if taking lorazepam (Ativan) as needed or PRN is the cause of your increasing anxiety. I'll ask a benzo-knowledgeable moderator to have a look at your situation.

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8 hours ago, Shortcake said:

Yes I still take it as needed.  Sometimes I have to take it 3 times a week (while in this wave) sometimes once a week.  If i take 1mg then i notice the next day i have severe anxiety and have to take .5mg to get rid of it.  If I only take .5mg then I dont get the "come down" from it.  But there are times I dont think I can go without it.  

 

Hi, Shortcake.

 

I'd like to get some more information about your Ativan.

 

  • How many months/years have you been on Ativan (and any other benzodiazepine or sleeping drug)? Please add the dates and doses to your signature. This is a quick link:

          Account Settings - Signature

 

  • You say that after you take 1 mg, the next day you have severe anxiety - this could be a rebound effect. Does this happen every time you take an Ativan or only occasionally? Are you able to tie it into anything that is happening in your life at that time? 

 

  • Are you eating throughout the day? Withdrawal can cause blood sugar fluctuations, and anxiety is a symptom of low blood sugar. So it's important to eat a nutritious meal or snack every few hours, along with drinking plenty of water throughout the day. All of this matters in how you feel. 

It's really hard to say if you are dependent or not from what you've written, but it's certainly possible. Please note you can become dependent on benzos  even with "as needed" use in as little as 2 - 4 weeks. 

 

Are you keeping a journal of your symptoms? If not, please start today. It's important to write down every time you take an Ativan and the dose, along with your symptoms. By tracking it this way, you can better tell if your symptoms are rebound and / or paradoxical effects of the Ativan. I'm unclear what you mean by "I don't get the 'come down" from it", so it will really help to have a better understanding of your symptom pattern within the context of when you take your doses of each drug.

 

Please write them in this format:

 

Keep notes on paper about your drug dosages and daily symptom pattern

 

 

Please consider "why" you are taking Ativan. Do you feel like you are using it to help with certain situations? Are you able to go to sleep at night without it? Do you have any non-drug coping skills such as deep breathing that you can do that might help instead? 

 

Once we have a better idea of how you are reacting to the benzo, we can help you set up a game plan for coming off. If you are dependent, you may want to stay on it - taking it every day consistently - and then taper off it after you're off the Effexor. 

 

 

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I was first prescribed Ativan in 2004 (when i was 21) to be used when I had a panic attack.  From what I remember I only had to take it maybe once every couple months.  There were also actually years I would go without needing it at all.  The hard thing is that my memory isnt good.  At all.  I vaguely remember years of my life.  In the last 2 years I would say i use it on average once a month?  There are usually months between needing it though.  Its just been since coming off effexor thst ive needed it more.  I was prescribed 10x 2mg pills March 14th after the fire.  I still have 1 left.  So above average use for me.  However when Im in a window I dont need to use it at all.  But my waves are triggered by either periods/house burning down/gi bug.  And when i dont feel physically well I dwell on it and panic and cant get out of my head.  I obsess over it and become sicker.  And fhe only break i get is when i take one. 

 

The trazadone I was on... When i was 14 to 16 years old approx. (Im 33 now) Again i dont really remember.  It was a rough go those teenage years.

 

I always get severe anxiety the day after taking 1mg.  It doesnt do it if i take .5mg though.  I actually havent taken one in maybe 3 or 4 days?  The thing is with my gi problems right now i get panicky more.  If i need to go out and do something but i suddenly have diahrea then i panic.  I think "oh no what if i have to go on the way to the store?" And it goss on and on until its full blown panic.  

 

I dont believe im dependent on it as I hate taking it and use it as a last resort.  Its only when im at the point in my head where i am ready to give up.  When i feel broken down and i need peace from my negative thoughts.  The most ive taken it would be 2 days in a row.  And like i said... In a window i dont need it at all... So ill go like 4 weeks without taking it.  Its really my last resort because i dont want tobecome addicted snd i hate the feeling the next day.  

 

I usually eat very healthy but like i said this wave was triggered by a gi bug so i wasnt able to eat much.  For the past 4 weeks inhave nausea after esting, reflux. Diahrea, pains in my sides snd stomach,bloated etc.  My doctor thinks i may be lactose intolerant and celiac so we are starting testing.  Anytime i feel nauseaous or have diahrea i get anxiety.  Mostly because im trying to be a good mom and it stresses me out thst i cant take my dsughter out with these gi attacks.  

 

 

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18 hours ago, Shortcake said:

I dont believe im dependent on it as I hate taking it and use it as a last resort.  Its only when im at the point in my head where i am ready to give up.  When i feel broken down and i need peace from my negative thoughts.  The most ive taken it would be 2 days in a row.  And like i said... In a window i dont need it at all... So ill go like 4 weeks without taking it.  Its really my last resort because i dont want tobecome addicted snd i hate the feeling the next day.  

 

This is really good news, Shortcake.

 

There are some mindfulness and breathing techniques that can really help with negative thoughts. Also, Dr. Claire Weekes is a great resource for helping deal with panic and negative thinking, so please check out the resources that are available:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

The Dr. Claire Weekes Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

4-7-8 Breathing: Health Benefits & Demonstration

 

Guided Meditation for Detachment From Over-Thinking (Anxiety / OCD / Depression) - VIDEO

 

Are you able to tell what triggers your negative thoughts that can escalate to stomach upset? It seems that many of our symptoms are actually something that spiral from a minor problem into a major one. Brassmonkey, another moderator, wrote about that here:

 

Dealing with emotional spirals

 

Also, withdrawal can make us think thoughts that simply aren't true, as they take us into some really dark places in our minds. This is a great thread about neuro-emotions which explains more:

 

Neuro-emotions

 

It's important to practice the breathing techniques and non-drug coping skills again and again each day in order for them to work. But over time, most of us come out of this experience much stronger than we came in because we do have to learn these skills. I hope these ideas help and you're able to find peace and clarity from those kinds of intrusive thoughts. 

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Thank you Shep.  I love Dr. Weekes books and she has really helped me with her method I just feel like Im not getting better fast enough.  My rent is 1259 a month plus bills and food etc.  My baby bonus has just gone down to 500 a month.  Im a single mom of a 3 year old.  I receive no other money.  My savings are slowly draining.  If I dont go back to work soon I will be homeless (my lease isnt up until November so i still have to pay until then).

 

I feel like i have been trying so hard.  Meditation, Claire Weekes methods.  Trying to take care of myself.  Eating healthy.  Etc.  And when im in a window i can see it.  I can see the progress.  Then a wave hits and its hell.  Its like all progress goes out the window.  I forget all the methods ive learned and i have to relearn them all and im tired.  And Im running out of time financially.  

 

Things thst trigger my thoughts...  So many.  If i eat and feel the gurgle in my stomach... I panic thinking what if i have to go to the bathroom and it spirals into me picturing me unable to get to one, crapoing myself, etc.  My mind tells horror stories to me.  

At night ill hear a neighbour walking down their stairs, or into their apartment (paper thin walls no fire walls), and i think its someone breaking ib. And i picture them coming into my room, how do i get the baby out if her room?  It just escalates quickly into doom and gloom.  

A year ago i loved my life.  I felt so strong. I worked my butt off and as a single mom i did well.  100% on my own financially.  I have an amazing job that pays me well.  We were happy.  But now i cant work.  And i cant get my feet on the ground.  And im not happy.  And my daughter isnt as happy.  She is 3 but she has to live with me when i cant get off the couch.  She begs to go to the park and i just cant.  And i yell at her and this cant go on.

 

If i have to be on drugs to be able to care for my daughter and myself... Then that's what i have to do.  I would sacrifice myself for her.  I dont want to be on drugs and i realize they are what got me here... But i was stable on effexor.  I LOVED my life.  I was a good mom.  Some women prostitute themselves, live with abusive men, do things they have to in order to support and care for their babies.  If being on meds is what allows me to do that then that's what i have to do.  

 

Its been 7 months sibce i went off them.  6 months since i reinstated 2.2mg.  I cant give it much longer.     

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1 hour ago, Shortcake said:

If being on meds is what allows me to do that then that's what i have to do.  

 

Its been 7 months sibce i went off them.  6 months since i reinstated 2.2mg.  I cant give it much longer.  

 

Shortcake, if you need to take meds to live the kind of life you want, especially with a child, than that is not something anyone here on SA can fault you with. We've had members here who made that choice. 

 

However, this usually happens when someone stabilizes on their reinstatement and then goes back to living their lives. Unfortunately, you are like many members who find the forum after suffering from a destabilized nervous system - going back on Effexor helped, but you are still struggling and unable to return to your life and your job just yet, even with the periodic use of a benzo. 

 

Earlier in your thread, back in February, you mentioned having a supportive family. Are they able to help out with childcare? Are they able to provide you with a place to live until you recover so you don't have to go through all of your savings? 

 

I know this is not how you want your life to be right now.  If staying on drugs is what you need to survive, then you're still left with finding a way to stabilize on it and unfortunately, that doesn't happen right away. Please look at all of your options and reach out to family and friends for help. You are dealing with this while you're still young, which means you will have a very good life for many years beyond withdrawal. And you're going to be able to protect and educate your child so she won't go down this same path. So keep all of this in mind. Eventually, this experience will be behind you and you will move on. 

 

But for now, reach out to family and see what your options are. Sometimes just reaching out can help more than anything and from what you wrote earlier about your father helping you find a psychologist, it sounds like you really do have a lot of family support. 

 

 

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My family is still very supportive.  I am at my parents house now.  We spent the weekend becsuse I don't feel strong enough to be on my own.  I'm also going through some medical stuff... No idea what yet.  Maybe linked to stress or not... Dont know.  When I work my parents take care of my daughter for me.  They take her if I need a break as well.  They would for sure let us move back in but i love where I live.  I FINALLY got us a "house" with a backyard.  Its in my price range (when im working).  But theyve now added that you have to pay utilities... But I signed before that so I dont have to.  If i moved out and then moved back later I would have to pay those.  So i want to stay put.  My lease isnt up until November... So even if i moved in with my parents now, i still have 4 months of rent to pay there (over $5000).  

 

I dont WANT to go back on drugs.  Ive been trying so hard to go off them for 4 years.  Counting beads for 4 years.  I just want to be okay again.  And i know that I'm stubborn so sometimes i think me staying off them is just me being stubborn.   What if all the doctors i saw as a teen were right? What if i do need medication forever?  I struggled my whole life and finally had a life i loved between 75mg-37.5 mg of effexor.  It was the happiest i had ever been.  I was confident, rocking life.  I was doing what i never thought i could.  And now i feel like ive slipped down a hole and cant find my way out.  

 

Has anyone ever had luck going back on them? Or will i still have withdrawal?  I really dont want to but I'm tired of fighting.  It makes me so angry because i was doing so well a couple months ago... Whats with the slip again?   

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Maybe you can test waters with a small updose instead of going all the way up to the full dose.

 

Maybe you felt better than in your teen years not (only) because you were taking drugs but because you grew out of whatever was troubling you (especially if you actively worked on your personal growth). Even if you didn't we get more resilient with time.

 

The way you are feeling now that  is sending you back to how you felt in your teens is not you. Is vulnerability of the brain in withdrawal. Feeling vulnerable and like at our lowest point is one of the withdrawal symptoms. It's just that it's so hard to see it for what it is. Its persuasiveness is what makes withdrawal withdrawal...

 

You are going to make it. Maybe you will have to give up on some of your ideas of a good life (temporarily) only to become more accepting of yourself and put yourself first. The better care you take of yourself the more you will be able to give to your daughter. As they say, we can't pour from an empty cup.

 

If you feel like it, check the last two posts on our Best of where members talk about acceptance.

 

I loved what Elbee wrote: For many years, I adjusted my physiology to match the life I thought I was SUPPOSED to be living. Now I'm adjusting my life to match my physiology (the best I can). I am a unique snowflake in all of this, and I am the keeper . . . the steward of the fully-human beauty that is me. I am in charge . . . I have to make the tough calls.

 

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How much of an updose should I do?  

 

That's exactly it.  Im feeling like I did before the effexor.  But Ive come so much further.  Since having my daughter Ive been soooo good.  So healthy.  So confident.  For the first time ever.  So to crash is so heartbreaking.  And youre right, I cant see it for what is it.  In my brain I'm failing.  And Im so scared that I wont ever get back to where I was a year ago.  All i want is to be able to work and take care of my daughter.  But right now its like...  The littlest things set me off and have me in this horrible state.  Literally an hour ago i was crying and thinking if it wasnt for my daughter I would kill myself.  And thats not me.  Its these horrible thoughts that dont go away.  

 

I just dont know how to take care of myself.  All of me goes into her.  And lately ive been tired and weak.  And fighting whatever it is.  Thought gi bug now possibly lactose intolerant or celiac.  Not sure.  So i just dont feel well physically which makes it so much harder.  Im already anxious about going out and having tk go to the bathroom but whwn you have something where after you eat you become nauseous and sometimes really do get stuck in the bathroom.  Its just ugh.  Too much going on. I just need a break.  

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This is a temporary situation. But when we are in the throes of it feels like it will be like this forever. Have you read the thread on neuroemotions?

 

I've just had an idea: since you describe how supportive your parents are couldn't you really take a little break and let them take care of your daughter (you will now what will be reasonable time: a few hours per day, a few days maybe). I know very well how it feels to be like this. I feel horrible about taking time off work because I feel like I'm failing and like I will from now on be jobless (be a bad mother? But if we didn't feel like this we would see it like a little break that we need and deserve.

 

This would allow you to get to the bottom of GI issues and take a really good mindful care of yourself. Just putting yourself first and focusing on yourself, taking that little break that your body is craving could do wonders. And trying out various techniques listed here...

 

If there are no changes after let's say a week of this program we can talk updosing again. (I have no idea if it would work. I don't think anyone can say that but it's a possibility). But I'd really really like to honour your body and listen to what they are saying. And your daughter might enjoy a mini break with her parents.

 

Also, don't worry: it is possible to work in a slow down mode and you can return to work even if you are not 100 %. Just give yourself some worry free time and you could turn corner any time.

 

How does that sound?

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Thank you.  I needed that.  It really feels like the rest of my life will be like this.  I need to know it wont be.  Its so hard to get your mind to go that way though.  I recognise the downward spiral of my negative thoughts.  I need to turn it around.  This all just sucks big time.  But I guess i have to just live with it.  Find ways to cope.  I seriously feel bipolar.  Up and down.  

 

My mom is staying with me tonight because i need the support.  Im sure i could get them to take my daughter for a few hours a few days.  Take some time to meditate and read my claire weekes and louise hay books.

 

I do want to go back to work.  Not just yet but soon hopefully.  Baby steps.  Maybe 1 shift a week in a non stressful area.  I work in a hospital and day shifts can be pretty stressful.  

 

I will reread the thread on neuroemotions but for now i think i will go meditate and read.  Long emotional day and it's past my bedtime.  

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Shortcake.

2.25mg and 8mg are just numbers - relatively speaking, very small, too.

Why put yourself through living in this purgatory or hell?

We have a 3 year old granddaughter and look after her many days of the week. I worry for you and your child.

Ours does get taken to the playpark when she wants - most times.

 

I have 15 years experience of Effexor.  Most of that time my life has been tolerable.  Not great, a lot of the time, but very survivable, and I held down a good job for many years when on earlier AD.

Personally, if I were you and knowing what I know now, I would want to climb onto a less stormy, stable platform.  Reducing your Effexor can come some other day.  Time and youth are on your side.

 

Reinstatement/updosing is no shame.  The experienced mods on here will advise you on that if it is your choice.

End this suffering for a while, then meet the challenge with renewed energy and willpower, later.

 

Best wishes. 

 

PS - 1977-84 - I found Ativan's trade-off - i.e. short term relief of anxiety for depression a bad deal.  I attribute getting depression to this drug.  Who knows?

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Well Im trying hard to not updose...  But its hard and I question whether im doing the right thing or not.  I have days where I am confident and thinking i can go back to work then days where the thought terrifies me.  I just feel so unstable.  I talked to my psychologist about going back on them and he said if it were him and he knew for certain it would make things better than he would, but we cant be certain.  He said far too many people are on these drugs, but I have an actual family history of mental disorders.  His stance is basically that he supports me either way.  I just dont know if i can handle this anxiety on my own.  I dont even know if its withdrawal anymore or just severe anxiety.  

 

I'm meditating every night.  I'm rereading You Can Heal Your Life.  Its giving me hope and strength.  Its not helping that im still having stomach/side pains after eating.  That random food gives me pain and diahrea, and I'm nauseous a lot of the time.  I also get incredibly weak and dizzy. Anxiety again or something medical?  Either way it increases my anxiety.

 

So... As admins on here...  How long does "getting better" generally take?  What if this is just me? Super anxious?  I was scared of everything as a kid.  My entire dads side of the family has anxiety disorder.  Everyone is medicated.  Some have additional disorders and are on disability.  Am i fighting a losing battle?  Am i one of the ones who does need medication?  

But what if i go back on them and it gets worse?  I cant get worse.  I need to get better.  

 

All i want is to be able to live again without being afraid all the time.  Coming kff this drug has been worse than being on it ever was.  I dont want to be on it though so its a hard battle and I dont know what decision to make.  

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Understand.

Reasonable advice from the psychologist it would appear.  He probably knows he is out of his depth a bit and that the decision must be yours, Shortcake.

 

Best wishes and we will be thinking of you.

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Hi Shortcake, sounds like you are a bit of a crossroad with a difficult decision to make.  It's very frustrating not knowing wether an updose with help with the anxiety or not.  What I do know is that when I tried to withdrawal from these drugs previously, the only thing that helped with the non-stop anxiety and mental confusion was to reinstate the drug.  I wish I had been aware of Surviving Antidepressants back then, as I didn't know that I didn't need to reinstate at the full dosage to find some relief.  When we've been on these drugs long-term, the brain has become accustomed to operating with it in our system and when the drug is pulled out without warning, it fires and misfires which causes all the symptoms.  I have read on this site, that it can take years for the brain to heal from this damage.  

 

This is just my two cents, but tend to agree with Peng, 2.25 and 8mg are just numbers, the real matter at hand is how you are feeling on a consistent basis and whether or not you can live your life on a day-to-day basis.  If I were you, I'd see if a small updose would alleviate your ongoing anxiety ... while it is courageous to try and wait it out, at the end of the day we aren't awarded any medals for trying to remain strong.  All of us want to get off of these drugs but at what cost?  Personally, my state of mind is more important than a number and when I'm feeling well mentally, life is manageable and fulfilling.    

Through trial and error, lots of error, and listening to my body, I've found a tapering schedule that allows me to live my life well on a day-to-day basis.  I am so thankful to Surviving Antidepressants as without their help and guidance, I wouldn't be where I am today.  I'd probably have gone right back on the full dose of the drug after unnecessary suffering.  It may take me 10 years to eventually get off of these drugs but I want to be able to live life to the fullest during those 10 years.  

Starting from a place of stability is important and sneaking the drug out of your system slowly with long holds in-between cuts is the key.  

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I think I will try updosing.  I will wait until my mom is home from her trip and can stay with me to help with my daughter.  What would be a good dose to updose to?  Im only on 2.2mg (been there for 5.5 months) and dropped to zero from 8mg, but had been having wd for months before i got to 8mg.  

 

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Hi Shortcake, I think you are making the right decision, there is no need to suffer unnecessarily.  I'm not a moderator or admin but my suggestion would be to updose in small increments until you find you are stabilizing.  Maybe start with 2.5mg or 3mg, hold for at least two to three weeks so you can gauge whether or not you are having a positive or negative reaction before increasing again.  It's impossible to know what dose you are going to find relief from so I'd go very slowly until you feel you have reached a place of stability.  That might be 8mg or wherever you last felt you were in a good place when you were actively tapering before you jumped off at 8mg.  From my experience, any adverse reaction is usually felt within the first week (though it can take longer for the brain to catch on at lower doses).  It can be very tricky to find the dose that will stabilize you so it's best to go slowly and pay attention to your body, mind and emotional state.  In my experience the longer you hold, the better it is for your CNS.  When I have any doubts at all about whether or not I've stabilized from a previous cut, I will do a longer hold.  The fewer changes you make to find stability, the better.  Small amounts of these drugs are very powerful and I found that out the hard way.  ChessieCat reminded me to go slow, steady and stable and she couldn't have given me any better advice than that. Best of luck.  

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Start by going up that much or up to that amount?  Honestly im willong to go up to 37.5mg at this point.  Whatever will allow me to function but i want to be careful.  Hoping one of the mods can chime in on what seemed to work for others.  

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Sorry, I wasn't clear, I would start with a very small increase from your current 2.25mg to either 2.75mg or 3mg and hold there for at least two weeks to see how your system handles the increase. I'd probably increase by 0.50mg every two to three weeks until my system stabilized.  My thinking is that seeing as you were fairly stable at 8mg, my best guess would be that you will find stability at 8mg or a little higher.  I have my Effexor compounded at the pharmacy so the reductions (and potential increases) can be precise.  

 

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Okay thank you!  Ill wait to hear from one of the admins as well.  I wont be doing it until next week when my mom can come stay with me.  I cant get mine compounded because im on effexor xr :(  All i know is that 11 beads = 2.2 mg.  I lost the sheet of paper with my calculations during the fire.  

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Hi again, yes a very good idea to run everything that I've suggested by a moderator, they have far more experience than I do.  I can only share my own experience coming off of these drugs to help guide you.  I'm currently on Effexor XR and have had no issues having this version compounded and the cost of the compounding is covered under my drug plan at work.  Sounds like you have been through a lot in addition to withdrawing from anti-depressants and a very good plan to wait until your mother is back from vacation for the extra support.  If you take it slow and really listen to your body/mind before making any changes, you will get there.  Best of luck.

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Hm thats weird.  My pharmacist said it coulent be done and im pretty sure the posts on here said it cant be done either because of the coating on the beads.  

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I have mine compounded at Guardian Pharmacy in Toronto at Yonge & Davisville, the pharmacist that I'm working with is Crystal Ng.  Feel free to contact her if you have any questions, she seemed a lot more knowledgeable about these drugs than even my own family doctor.  I don't think all pharmacies compound drugs, the only other one I know of in Toronto is at Yonge and Eglinton and the name is Apex Compounding Pharmacy but I'm sure there are others all over the province.  It certainly takes the guess work out of preparing doses.  The last prescription she prepared for me is 38.24mg so they can be very precise which is helpful seeing as these drugs, even when cutting in small percentages, can have such a powerful effect.  

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Hi Shortcake,

 

Baroquep has given you good advice.  It is very important not to let the panic overtake you and end up taking too high a dose.  It is now about 5 or 6 months since you were on 8mg so your brain will have already made some adaptation since then.  I am only familiar with Effexor from being on this site, but you might find that increasing by 1 or 2 beads may be enough to take the edge off your symptoms.

 

Some/a lot of the anxiety may be from the fire.  Traumatic experiences can have a long lasting effect on us.  It is important to learn, practice and use non drug coping techniques instead of relying on drug/s.  My daughter gave me a tip about "checking in with myself" throughout the day when I was going through a bereavement.  I now use it regularly and find that it helps me to recognise anxiety and do something about it before it gets a hold on me.  You might find journalling helpful.

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Im also getting depressed now and having thoughts that I don't like.  Im just... Tired.  I've had enough and I need my life back. I can taper properly later but need something to change asap.  

 

So say go up to 3mg?  So thatd be 4 beads? 

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If it were me I'd be trying the lower dose increase of 1 or 2 beadsThese drugs are strong.  If after 2 weeks you find that your symptom/s are still as bad, then I would go up 1 more bead.  It is better to start lower and work up slower if needed.  My reasoning is why go double the suggested amount when you may only need the lower amount.

 

Another member on SA (Fresh) was taking Pristiq and sometimes she would take just a "teeny tiny" bit more and she found it made a difference.

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You posted that you are on 2.2mg and that 11 beads = 2.2 mg

 

1 extra bead is just under a 10% increase and 2 extra beads is just over a 10% increase.

 

Therefore, 4 extra beads would be about a 25% increase.

 

As I said, why take more than necessary.

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Good point.  Thank you for pointing out the math.  Now to choose 1 or 2.  I am so bad with decisions.  Is that a side effect of withdrawal?  Its like impossible now.  

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Has anyone heard of rapid cycling waves and windows?  That seems to be me right now.  One day feeling amazing and can go out and know im healing. Next day so depressed and hopeless and unable to go out or do anything.  Not sure why this is happening.  

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