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Hi, I found this forum when I was looking for information on tapering off of Effexor. I've been on Effexor about six or seven years and stopped taking it after a brief taper three weeks ago. I first started taking antidepressants after the birth of my son sixteen years ago. After a prolonged labor, C-Section, and spinal tap that went too high, I was intubated and sustained a throat injury. I could not lie down because that would cause me to cough. I can remember trying to sleep with a cough drop in my mouth to keep me from coughing. I basically didn't sleep for about three months and sank into a depression. Prozac was a wonder drug and gave me an amazing amount of energy. Eventually the drug stopped working, and I tried Celexa which didn't work before trying Effexor. On Effexor, I was pretty happy. I felt like I developed strong coping skills including exercise, and mindfulness. I started to train to be a life coach, and I was pretty much on top of the world and believed that if we try hard enough and have good enough coping skills we can manage our emotions. My psychiatrist started being pulled away into management duties, and the office cancelled several of my appointments. Finally, he was pulled into management full, time. I also became really annoyed with the clinic, and their, "it can take seven to ten days to authorize a refill" policy. Once I went an entire weekend without Effexor and became severely debilitated, and I was thinking that I would prefer not to have to deal with that. I mentioned this to my GP, who supported my desire to get off, and wrote me a six week taping prescription which I started August 15th. Taping from 150 milligrams August 15th: 75 milligrams for two weeks Sept. 1: 27.5 milligrams for two weeks The last two weeks I was supposed to go every other day at 37.5, but I had read that would just put me on a roller coaster, so I just decided to stop. I can see that this may not have been a good choice. I think tapering all the way to 27.5 milligrams was not too bad. I experienced some dizziness and crankiness but it was manageable. Here's how it's been since then: Week one and two: The worst symptom was the feeling that my brain was sloshing around in my head with every step I took. For about three days, I was filled with rage. I wanted to get away from my husband and two teenagers because I was so irritable. I thought about going to a hotel or flying to NYC to see a friend, but I didn't do any of that. I have also had chills and nausea and hot flashes. If I had been expected to perform anything at a high level, it would have been nearly impossible. Three weeks in to this, I find that I am having crying spells. I have never had crying spells, and I have never felt as off-balance as I do now. I'm trying to figure out what my next step should be. Should I stick it out since I'm almost a month in, or do I go back on Effexor? I just finished Theresa Borchard's book, and I found it quite disturbing. She describes trying all the alternative therapies and ultimately finding a traditional drug cocktail that works. It's a great book, but I wonder if I have a brain like hers, or if I can get through the withdrawal to be the person I thought I could be, or if my serotonin is now so depleted I'll have to stay on these drugs for life.
Altostrata posted a topic in Symptoms and self-careMany people experience overpowering or disturbing emotions while tapering and as part of withdrawal syndrome. Many of the symptoms of withdrawal syndrome arise from autonomic nervous system dysfunction. The distressed nervous system itself can generate intense uncomfortable feelings -- see Neuro emotions The best way to treat this is to help your nervous system to repair itself, to return to its "factory-installed" state. Recovery from withdrawal syndrome is gradual, inconsistent, and can take a long time. In the meantime, you can help your nervous system heal by using non-drug techniques to lessen your anxiety about your condition, deal with long-standing emotional issues, and cope with symptoms. You may also get anxious or depressed about having odd symptoms because you have beliefs that add to your distress, such as a feeling of helplessness or being a failure. Or, you may feel strong emotions as the drugs no longer mask underlying emotional pain. Read these Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms for ideas that may aid your recovery. Whether they are "neuro-emotions" caused by neurological upset, distress arising from your situation, or a natural disposition towards worrying, anxiety, pessimism, or self-sabotage, learning techniques to manage them will benefit you throughout your life. __________________________________________________ WITHDRAWAL-RELATED EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization Uncontrollable crying spells during and after withdrawal Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness Disconnect between interest and action/motivation Derealization or Depersonalization "Is it always going to be like this?" What does healing from withdrawal syndrome feel like? Withdrawal dialogues & encouragement _______________________________________ UNUSUAL AND OVERPOWERING EMOTIONS Neuro-emotion Dealing With Emotional Spirals Shame, guilt, regret, and self-criticism Coping with irritation, anger and rage Fear, terror, panic, and anxiety Rebuilding self-confidence, accepting anxiety Health anxiety, hypochondria, and obsession with symptoms OCD: obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors __________________________________________________ MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system Mindfulness and Acceptance Good links for anxiety/worry Inhabiting our bodies in meditation http://wp.me/p5nnb-aSX Meditation can heal the brain which can heal the mind and body Mindfulness, Meditation, and Prayer After Brain Injury Pranayama Breathing for Anxiety and Depression __________________________________________________ COGNITIVE BEHAVIOR THERAPY Free online Cognitive Behavior Therapy lessons Best CBT techniques for anxiety, depression, or getting through a wave? __________________________________________________ FORGIVING YOURSELF Blaming yourself for mistakes? Try this. Shame, guilt, and self-criticism __________________________________________________ HELP YOURSELF BY HELPING OTHERS The Magic of Helping Others __________________________________________________ OTHER THERAPEUTIC TECHNIQUES "Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms Behavioral Activation Therapy: Getting out and doing things helps depression "Forest bathing" reduces cortisol, aids mood, immune system Virtual "forest bathing": Guided imagery for stress relief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Neuroplasticity and limbic retraining Self-directed Neuroplasticity Reframe stress to become more resilient Art Therapy Journaling / Journalling / Writing Therapy / Therapeutic Writing Music Therapy / Music for Wellness and Healing