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uncomfortablynumb: Withdrawal Symptoms or Anxiety/Depression

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

Moderator note:  link to uncomfortablynumb's Benzo Forum thread

 

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 Shep
added link to benzo forum thread

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bromor   
bromor

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.  :)

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Petunia   
Petunia

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.

 

 

 

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bigpoppa   
bigpoppa

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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?

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KarenB   
KarenB

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

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

*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
added note

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

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

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OutdoorsMan15   
OutdoorsMan15

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.

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oskcajga   
oskcajga

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.com/Mad-America-Medicine-Enduring-Mistreatment/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.com/search?q=kindling+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.com/Anatomy-Epidemic-Bullets-Psychiatric-Astonishing/dp/1491513217

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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.

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oskcajga   
oskcajga

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.

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andy013   
andy013

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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?

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IHadPassion   
IHadPassion

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.

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hopealive   
hopealive

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.

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Martina23   
Martina23

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.

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oskcajga   
oskcajga

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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.

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Maryquitecontrary   
Maryquitecontrary

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

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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.

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Maryquitecontrary   
Maryquitecontrary

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

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Petunia   
Petunia

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.

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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?

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Mort81   
Mort81

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

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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.

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Mort81   
Mort81

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.

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Martina23   
Martina23

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.

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Maryquitecontrary   
Maryquitecontrary

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.

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Petunia   
Petunia

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

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Maryquitecontrary   
Maryquitecontrary

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

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uncomfortablynumb   
uncomfortablynumb

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?

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