Hello all brave souls surviving antidepressants:
Thought I would check in since it has been 10+ months since my last post.
The months have not been uneventful, but I am still decreasing my dose and am now down to 1.05 mgs. I've kept my reductions to every 6 weeks, which is what seems to work for me. I've discovered some things the antidepressants were covering up.
I have very serious cortisol problems. My M.D. suggested I do the cortisol test and it was a shocker. My circadian rhythms are normal-a very good thing- but, my levels of cortisol are astronomical!!! I've suspected that my mother, deceased, has serious problems with this and it was misdiagnosed as estrogen problems, diabetes and a few other things. This is one thing I would wish had an easy fix, but there isn't one. Thankfully, some of the problems like anxiety symptoms, are not dramatic.
One of the biggest helps has been using a eye mask when I sleep. I had to buy one with molded eye shapes because my tears were being wicked away and my eyes were so dry; it was very painful. But This Works.
In full disclosure, I do want to say had an an awful anxiety attack. It lasted for about 3 days. I was at my physical therapist and started shaking while she was working on me(it had been going for a couple of days before I saw her) and she prompted me not to stifle it. After about 30 minutes, the shaking quit and I felt like $1,000,000. I had no realization I was deeply upset about a life event. I learned from this and when I find myself getting wound up over something, I get busy dealing with it before it gets out of control. I've only had one other mild one since then.
The usual things I had happen after a reduction that came on within 3-4 days come after a couple of weeks. I have a temper flare up- always so much fun, yell and then I'm fine. This doesn't happen all the time, but usually.
I'm still using adaptogens to help with the cortisol/anxiety symptoms.
My doc wants me to do a neurotransmitter test. I can't see the reason for it- especially now. I think she can't believe I can get off this drug. I do have a challenging health situation that is discouraging, but we all have something! I feel no different now, with the drugs almost gone, than I did when I was taking them (most of the annoying side effects are now gone like the swimmy head; still have tinnitus that may be connected to my other drug I want gone when the time is right to get off of it).
Biggest thing I have to confront now is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. A medical friend advised me I need to change my diet, which may have been the very thing that has influenced most of my physical problems. This is a considerable feat in my condition, but I've never backed down from a challenge.
So, I'm looking forward to being off this drug! I never dreamed it would be 4 years in the process. My current reductions are at .15 mgs. I'm trying to decide if I will cut that in half to lower the impact of no drug or just keep it where it is. As long as I have symptoms, I need to keep the possibility open.
I want to encourage anyone who's in a hurry to take it easy and learn to trust your own judgement. There is an end in sight. 3 years ago when I began to have problems, I was impatient and imprudent. I am so thankful nothing too serious resulted. I am thankful for the cooler heads of those of this forum that encouraged me when I was wrapped up in my emotions and not thinking clearly.
Biggest thing I've learned getting off this drug: Life happens. Sometimes life happens and it doesn't get brighter as quickly as I want. Just reading over my posts here has shown me past events do not really have that much significance in the long term. I can't even remember why I was upset about some of the events I mentioned. I like what a friend once told me- "In the Scope of Eternity, what does it matter?" So much doesn't.
In closing I want to say the best cure I've found for just about all my troubles is laughing! It works wonders. When I get down, I find a movie or a comedian on YouTube that brings on the giggles and it is so great. Unfortunately, one of the funniest things I read was in a post on Facebook about a lady that tried to do some beauty treatments on her own at home- because she had the time, the baby was asleep, she was alone- it all went so hilariously wrong. See, even a memory of something hilarious is great because it's making me chuckle thinking about it.
I'll be back to report how things are going toward the end.
Effexor XR 75 mg since 1996(?)
Clonazepam 1 mg since 1999 for sleep disorder
Tapering 10% off Effexor XR 75 since 5/2012- every six weeks until 10/2012
Hold at 37.5 mgs. 10/2012 until 1/23/2013; 10% down (7.5mg) 1/23/2013 to 30 mg;
down to 22.5 mg 3/09/2013; down to 15 mgs 4/20/2013; down to 7.5 mgs 6/1/2013;
back up to 15 mgs 6/28/2013
All effexor tapers compounded time release
Clonazepam taper from 1 mg daily to alternating .75 mg and 1 mg every other day 9/15/2012 holding
Effexor decreased @ 1.5 mgs/ drop from 15 mgs. to 7.5 mgs. 10/13-2/14
2/14 7.5 mgs. for 90 days begin
5/7/14 6.75 mg for 45 days begin
05/07/14 6.75 mg for 45 days
06/21/14 6.00 mg for 45 days
08/05/14 5.25 mg for 45 days
09/20/14 4.50 mg for 45 days
11/04/14 3.75 mgs for 45 days
Began reductions @ .375 mgs 12/18/14 3.0 mgs for 45 days
02/02/15 2.625 mgs for 45 days
03/19/15 2.25 mgs for 45 days
0//02/15 1.875 mgs for 45 days
06/17/15 1.5 mgs for 45 days
Begin reductions @ .15 mgs. 08/01/15 1.35 mgs for 45 days
09/15/15 1.2 mgs. for 45 days
10/30/15 1.05 mgs for 45 days Still @ 75 mgs. clonazepam
12/14/15 .90 mgs for 45 days
01/28/16 .75 mgs for 45 days
03/13/16 .60 mgs for 45 days
04/28/16 .45 mgs for 45 days
06/15/16 .30 mgs for 45 days
7/30/16 .15 mgs for 45 days
09/13/16 .0375 mgs the end!