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mammaP

☼ Hello. mammaP checking in!

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mammaP

 

Hi, where to start :unsure: I have suffered with bi-polar most of my life, it started when I was attacked and raped at knifepoint at 14, that was horrific but I would rather go through that again than the nightmare that followed after my parents called the police! That is a story in itself and I won't elaborate any more, just that it was the start of my mental health problems.

 

From then it was one traumatic event after another with builders and mortgages etc but won't bore you with details, just that it was very stressful. Then my husband got cancer in 1993. He had surgery and was doing well but unable to go back to work so I went to work. This all sent me on a manic episode followed by the worst depression ever and hospitalisation. I was sectioned and given seroxat. Then I was obsessed with suicide. Everything was my fault and the whole world would be better if I wasn't in it. After about 3 months I wouldn't take it any more and was in and out of hospital, finally given ect after trials with many different anti depressants. It is very controversial but it worked! Then 1996 the cancer came back and my husband died. A week later I found a lump in my breast and went to pieces again, I had breast cancer but it was successfully removed. Back into psych hospital and tried even more meds but always the side effects were terrible. I refused any meds from 1999 till around 2003. I had coped quite well then had a manic phase followed by depression and the wonder drug EFFEXOR was suggested, It was AMAZING and within weeks felt much better and 'normal'

 

I enjoyed life for a while then started to get very very tired, pain and abdo problems. As time went by I went out less, stopped doing things I enjoyed and withdrew from life really. Every day was an effort but didn't feel depressed, just ill. Last year I had septicaemia and almost died but the hospital was amazing and pulled me through it. I was in there for 6 weeks. After I came home I just couldn't function and one day went to the shop across the road. I walked in front of a car, the car slowed to let me by but I hadn't seen it. In that moment I wished it had hit me and went home and sobbed. Then researched the meds I was taking and discovered that effexor produces all the symptoms I had for years! That was February 2012 and the day I decided to stop the effexor.

 

I was taking 75 mgs for years but had been removing some beads so was on 37.5 when I started to taper. ( the tablets affected my stomach so I reduced the beads in the capsule). My doctor said to reduce to every other day, then every 3 days and it would take 6 weeks. Thankfully I found this forum and another one that advised different and decided on a slow taper. I removed a few beads at a time and waited a few weeks before removing some more. Then I got to 5 beads, then a month ago took the last. No brain zaps, a bit 'spaced but nothing major. Then felt AMAZING! Much much better and began to feel again. I hadn't even realised how flat I had become, just thought it was tiredness.

 

For a few days I've been feeling down and suicidal again, then a few hours later absolutely fine. I weep at commercials, films and babies on youtube, then laughed at some rather sad news. I didn't feel a bit happy at hearing it and don't know where it came from but had to turn it into a cough! I am agitated and don't know how things are going to go. I live alone and have cut myself off from all my friends. My family are great but have their own lives and families.

 

I don't want to go back to feeling nothing but pain and exhaustion but don't want to feel like this either.

 

A huge thank you if you got to the end of my story, it is rather long and there is more, much more that I've missed out!

This will be my journal, and my way of getting from one day to the next.

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tezza

Welcome mammaP!

 

You've been through so much and I'm very sorry. I'm glad you found the forum before doing as your doctor suggested. If your symptoms are unbearable you could go back to a tiny dose and taper even more slowly from that.

 

If you don't mind adding your drug history and tapering info, it would be very helpful.

 

Instructions here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Thanks... You will find lots of friendly support here, were glad you've joined us.

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Jemima

Hello, MammaP, and welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear of all the trauma in your life and your bad experiences with antidepressants.

 

Judging from the after-effects of your getting off Effexor, I would say that you tapered too quickly and that going back on five beads (assuming that was the last dose you were taking) for a while and stabilizing would be a very good idea. Effexor is a tricky drug. There are members of this forum who've either dropped Effexor cold turkey or tapered too fast who've had nasty withdrawal set in as long as five months after the last dose. I can't explain it, but there seems to be a delayed reaction from tapering Effexor too quickly.

 

Please do give us the details of your drug history as Tezza suggested, especially dates drugs were begun and ended and the dosages. Otherwise we're shooting in the dark instead of giving well-founded advice. Everyone's journey through antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is different and there's no shame in backing up a bit and coming off the drugs even more slowly. The idea is to be as comfortable and functional as possible while tapering.

 

You might want to take a look at the discussion on Symptoms and self-care for some tips on how to feel better without drugs:

 

Symptoms and self-care

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mammaP

Thank you for your replies. My last dose was 5 beads but I hadn't actually intended to stop at that time but forgot a dose

and realised next day that I didn't have brain zaps. Anyone on this drug will know that even a few hours late can result in

brain zaps and dizziness, When that didn't happen I thought I must be ready. This morning was really bad, I coudn't wake up

properly and had no idea where I was or what day it was. It was quite scary to be honest and felt dreadful.

I seriously considered ending my life and prayed hard for strength to get up. Some friends called round and I told them

everything. They are going to support me through this and it was actually good to talk it over with someone who understands.

I decided to take your advice and took the 5 beads. Within a couple of hours I had the familiar sweats, pain and exhaustion

that I had for years. A horrible choice to have to make but have to reinstate it, if anyone had seen me early this morning

they would probably have had me taken to hospital!

 

I will try and list my drug history but my memory is shot so it will be difficult to remember what drugs and when in the

right order. ECT therapy worked like magic but sadly led to memory loss :( .

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Jemima

Hang in there. It can take upwards of four days for a reinstatement to take effect. You've gone through a lot of dosage changes in your antidepressant-taking history, some of which are likely just catching up with you. Effexor is a terror for coming back on people months after the last dose when it's tapered too quickly.

 

Thanks for completing your drug history. I hope you start to feel better very, very soon.

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Finn

Hello! I'm sorry to hear about all the trauma and pain you have endured. You must be very strong.

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Fizz

Would just like to offer some support, you have been through some terrible, horrible things which shows what a strong person you are and I really admire you. The brain zaps and spaciness are all too familiar at my end along with floating despair. This process takes time but I promise it gets better! Much love.xxxxxx

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mammaP

Thank you, it's good to know that someone else has felt this but not good that any of us

are going through it. I have a friend who stopped effexor cold turkey last July and is

very poorly with fibromyalgia now. Another friend actually died while on effexor and

a cocktail of other drugs. She also had fibromyalgia.It wasn't an overdose but they

said that she had a build up of drugs in her body because they weren't metabolising.

She was a very strong and lively person when she was prescribed them for ocd,

then the rest were added after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

My doctor thinks I have fibromyalgia too but I'm convinced it's the effexor

and intend to stay away from any more drugs. I am also going to try and stop the tramadol

but my doctor advised against it as it's the only thing I can take for pain.

I only take it at night so I can get a couple of hours pain free sleep. And that is all

I get, 2-3 hours sleep. If I manage 4 hours I think it's amazing!

 

As for being strong, I've got through things and refuse to be a victim, stuff happens

and I just get on with it. My motto is If you can change it, then do it, if you can't

change it then don't bleat about it and get on with it. No point crying over what has

happened, you can't go back, only forward. That is when I'm not in a depression,

then it's a different story, lol. It's my family who have had the worst time.

Everything I went through they went through too, and my depression was horrific

for me but they lost their dad then mum tried to kill herself, not just once but 3 times.

That makes me cry, but they are remarkably well balanced even after all that.

I love my family so much

 

I've been out for lunch with friends today, am exhausted but feels good to have done something.

Still emotional but feeling positive again.

Sorry for waffling and thanks for 'listening' :)

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Altostrata

Welcome, mammaP. You're a real survivor, and pretty close to the end of Effexor.

 

You might want to take 4 beads instead of 5, as it sounds like 5 beads is too activating for you.

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mammaP

Thanks Altro. it didn't occur to me that 5 might be too much! I'll take 4 today and stick at that for a while

I'm thinking maybe dropping a bead a month from now and see how it goes.

I had a lovely day yesterday with my family, we went for lunch and I went for a

drive out with friends for just an hour and today I am done in. That is what this drug does to me

but it was a lovely day so was worth todays pain. :)

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Hudgens

MamaP, I'm also getting towards the end of an Effexor tapper. I switched to generic Effexor before starting 2 years and 5 months ago. I think I've got between 3-5 months to go before stepping off.

 

The last few mgs are the hardest, in fact for me the first 73 mgs were easy. I'm now down to the equivalent of about one bead.

 

I also have the partial insomnia, I've averaged about 3-4 hours of sleep a night for the last 8 months.

 

More importantly, I wanted to tell you that I've had that experience of waking up completely confused a half dozen times since the beginning of my withdrawal symptoms. I'm convinced that these episodes are only part of withdrawal for some, and other than that, harmless. During the three worst episodes, my thinking cleared up in from 20-30 minutes.

 

The partial insomnia may even be the single cause of this. After enough sleep depervation, you get a night when you reach a very deep stage of sleep (to help make up for the sleep you've been missing). When you wake up from this-in the middle of the night or in the morning-you can be simultaneously half in and half out of sleep. You think you're fully awake, but you aren't, and it creates a feeling of radical confusion. But as I said, it lifts fairly quickly. Also, symptoms of stroke and mini-stroke are much different from this experience, so don't worry about those if it happens again.

 

If you taper much slower now, you'll feel and do much better. Hope you're feeling better, Hudgens

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mammaP

Thanks Hudgens, that explains the confusion!

I have had experiences of not being sure if I'm awake or not

Many times but not lasted a long as that. It's usually through the night.

I also have insomnia and whatever I try can't get more than 3 hours, 4 is a rarity.

That's been how it is for many years though, so can't really blame the effexor.

One doctor told me I'm not producing sleep hormones. I don't take sleeping pills,

I hate the 'hangovers' but read about melatonin on here so ordered some of those to try.

 

I hope you manage to stop without any withdrawal. How can you take a smaller dose than 1 bead?

My psychiatrist once told me that 37.5 is a homeopathic dose and of no benefit whatsoever!

He left a few years ago and I wonder what he would say about suffering withdrawal from 1 bead!

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Hudgens

I'm withdrawing from generic Effexor, so there are no beads-it's a solid tablet. I was just saying that what I'm down to is about the equivalent of one bead, which is close to 1/4 mg.. I'm working my way down to .10 mg or less.

 

Having no theraputic effect isn't the same as being able to stop taking a drug without withdrawal symptoms. The Effexor hasn't had a theraputic effect on me for a long time. I know this because my old self (the one I remember from before the Effexor) has been completely back for about 8 months. But that doesn't mean I can just stop the drug. If I did stop right now, I'd have pretty bad withdrawal symptoms. Some people are more sensitive to antidepressants than others. I Really hope you're feeling better, Hudgens

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mammaP

I see, thanks Hodgens for explaining. I wonder if it would benefit me getting

tablets instead of capsules and crushing them?

I'm feeling very tired and achey today, my head won't clear and I feel like I

did when I first started effexor. Hopefully it will settle again.

I have family coming for a meal tomorrow, I felt great when I invited them

and hope I feel better tomorrow or they'll be cooking their own dinner, lol.

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mammaP

Thanks Altro, I read the info and will keep going back to it, I forget what I've

read almost instantly and need to go back a few times to get the sense of it.

It is very interesting though and I am learning lots on here. Thank you for

all the effort you put in to this site, you are amazing!

 

I feel much better this morning, my head is clear again and I'm looking forward

to my family coming for dinner tonight. I haven't had anyone over for dinner for

2 years so this is a HUGE step forward!

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Fizz

MammaP and Hudgens, another member of the 3 hour sleep club here! I do still worry about it, but as you say, the best option is to just get on with it. Has been going on for so long now, the smallest of improvements now and again and also some setbacks along the way. Hope you have a really good day, doing family things will boost you! Hugs. Xxxx

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mammaP

Dinner went well and it was lovely to have family round. My daughter, son in law,

2 grandaughters and great grandaughter plus my son :) ,

I was accused of cheating because I bought ready peeled potatoes but I

pointed out that I did put the bags in the microwave myself :blush:.

All said in fun of course, no way could I have prepared everything with

arthritis in my hands!

Fizz I don't worry about not sleeping any more, when I'm laid awake I plan

things and daydream about travelling. I am fortunate that I am retired and

don't have to worry about getting to work or get children to school.

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mammaP

Exhausted again today, too much excitement yesterday!

Took ages to get to sleep, 4am. Worth every minute though

and made some nice memories. :D

 

I hope reading my posts isn't difficult, on my laptop it can

be quite difficult to read because the screen is wide so I

only type on half the page.

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mammaP

Yesterday was a terrible day, very very tired and depressed

spent most of the day in bed, drifting in and out of fitful sleep

and weird sensations. Finally got up to make food at 7pm then watched tv until 3am

Fell asleep around 4 and woke at 5.50 thinking it was much later!

Felt fine on waking and feel well today, no w/d and have been

vacuuming the house. Hopefully will have stabilised again now.

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dunerbug

I wish I had more to contribute. But I just want to show my support and say hang in there!

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mammaP

Thanks Dunerbug, it doesn't feel so lonely when

there are people in cyberspace who understand when you can't find anyone

in real life who takes what you are going through seriously, :)

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mammaP

Had a good day yesterday and my son took me out for dinner.

My grandson is a trainee chef and all the trainees took over the resteraunt

for the evening. It was great and I really enjoyed it.

When I got home I was exhausted but in a good way and fell into bed at 10-30.

I hadn't slept more than a couple of hours the night before and couldn't

stay awake any longer. I slept till 2.30, 4 whole hours of blissful

uninterrupted sleep :wub: . THEN I drifted back off and slept till 6am !!

 

This just doesn't happen so I am on cloud 9 today :).

 

Looking back over the last few months I have gone from feeling nothing

emotionally and just drifting from day to day exhausted and in pain, to

actually feeling alive and like I am getting my life back after years of

AD's. The last few weeks were a blip because I stopped too soon but now my taper

is back on track it's amazing.

 

I will never get back to good health because I have medical conditions that will

deteriorate but if this keeps up I will be able to cope with them and it will be

easier to live with them

 

Again I have to say thank you so much for this site.

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sonya

mammap, you're definitely an inspiration for me and kicking this Effexor demon :)

much love and smiles your way!

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mammaP

Thanks Sonya, that's lovely of you, hang on in there. :) .

 

I didn't sleep last night for more than an hour or so and have

been really tired today but resisted sleeping this afternoon .

I seem to be getting even more sensitive to things, like caffeine

actually making me drowsy and nauseous. I only have 1 cup of coffee a day

but have been feeling rotten after it for a few days so will go

without tomorrow and see what happens. The painkillers seem to be

affecting me more too and I've been taking them for years. I've been hypersensitive for years and have to

be careful with many things, foods included. Most meds are off limits

so are artificial sweeteners and some herbal remedies but I seem

to be even more sensitive and wonder if it's the withdrawal??

 

Mood is still stable just feeling a bit 'yuk'!

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mammaP

1.40pm Bad day today, but have to remember that it is transient

and tomorrow is another day.Sweating and hot but freezing all at the same time.

So tired and my brain won't think straight.

Roll on tomorrow!

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mammaP

Same as yesterday. Think I might have a viral infection,

or a flare up of arthritis

Cold and shivering but feel hot and sweating. Plus

eyes are dry and sore, when I wake up and my eyes

are sore and hands swollen it's going to be a rough few days.

Hopefully will be over soon.

 

2 days ago my daughter asked me to make curtains for her caravan,

She had washed them and they fell apart! With only 3 days

to their holiday she asked me to knock up some replacements.

Of course I said yes, I always do :rolleyes: but when I got home

with the old ones I went into a panic! I'm not usually prone to panic

attacks but was literally shaking at the prospect of making those

curtains. I wonder if that is because the drug had me so flat

I couldn't even panic! I made some temporary ones that didn't

need sewing so still have them to make but with more time.

 

7 years ago my girls got married with 6 months between them and

I made everything, dresses, cakes, flowers, tiaras, the lot.

And here I am panicking about knocking up a few handkerchief size curtains!

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mammaP

Another sleepless night but feel better generally, heads cleared again.

Beautiful day so maybe go to the beach and look for 'treasure', or wash the car

:unsure: . I think the beach might win :rolleyes:

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Rhiannon

Ah, the beach, that sounds lovely! enjoy!

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Fizz

MammaP, have a beautiful day, you so deserve it. Hope you feel much better, enjoy the outdoors! Lots of love. Xxxxx

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mammaP

Neither won in the end! Took my effexor and took a dive, within 2 hours was in bed.

Another wasted day :angry: . Maybe tomorrow :rolleyes:

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mammaP

A lovely day again, it's 8.20am and I'm up, dressed and

ready for whatever today brings. I feel good and hope it continues.

I have noticed a pattern the last few days and I definitely feel

worse after I've taken the effexor. I'm only 2 weeks from reinstating

so probably too soon for another drop yet so maybe it would be better

to take at night so that at least I'll be in bed! Right now, at this moment

I could live like this, if I could hold on to feeling like this I would be

a happy bunny and even stay on 4 beads forever but within hours of

taking them feel rotten!

For now I'm enjoying the moment :D

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Altostrata

In what ways do you feel worse after taking Effexor?

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mammaP

Hi Alto, I get an awful headache and feel nauseous, light headed and generally

'spaced'. And a feeling of being 'stuffed' with sawdust! (Can't think of any

other way of describing it) And a sort of cold tingly feeling on my face.

A bit faint and needing to lie down..

I took the dose about an hour ago and already have the headache and stuffed feeling.

And nausea kicking in too. I was intending to leave it till bedtime but was starting to

feel that it was overdue. I normally take it with lunch.

I've been fine today until now, a good day for me. Still pain from my arthritis and

the tiredness that goes with it but it's a different kind of tired. Otherwise been fine.

I don't mind feeling like this in bed, I don't need to think about doing anything but

I seem to remember that it prevented me from sleeping so haven't taken it at night for years.

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Altostrata

Did you try 4 beads?

....

You might want to take 4 beads instead of 5, as it sounds like 5 beads is too activating for you.

 

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mammaP

Thank you, Yes Alto. I did that 2 weeks ago and feel like I'm stabilised, not as anxious

and mood swings it's just the way I feel after taking them, I only realised

yesterday that there's a pattern. As you know I have quite severe arthritis

but when I was off the effexor ( 3 weeks when I thought I was ready and at 5 beads )

could move around better and yesterday tooknote of when my body stiffened and became

more painful and it was 3 hours after the dose. I didn't sleep too badly but had a

hangover this morning.

Am fine now so will take it later in the day like yesterday and get stuff done

earlier, just not as early as I'd like. It's always been the case that I had

just 3-4 hours a day that I could function but got better with each drop.

It's uncomfortable and not very pleasant but better than the withdrawal

and better than when I was on the full dose!

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