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newtonsmom2000

newtonsmom2000 Introducing myself

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I began using Effexor XR after a life crisis.  I needed help at the time.  I wanted to stop the drug several times over the last 16 years, but was told by one medical professional after another that this was a "good" drug for me.  I survived a serious illness as a child and the Effexor was supposedly helping with symptoms.  

 

In May of 2012, I made up my mind, found this site and heeded the advice about the 10% drops.  It was so difficult for me to count out the balls that I went the route of the compounding pharmacist. My first reductions were fine.  I noticed after 3-4 days I would have a temper outbreak- just one and yell at the cat or traffic.  That was it.  I felt so much better- I was like a new person.  My hearing got better, my taste sensations improved- weird things.  I was more energetic and focused.  Since I already had the 37.5 XR capsules, in November 2012, I decided to stay on that dose for 90 days.  Everything was going so smoothly.

 

At the end of January, I got the flu.  I couldn't quite get over it and 3 weeks later got it again.  Then the strep throat followed and and horrible fungal infection.  If I had my thinking cap on, I would have waited to continue doing my declining steps- but no- I was on a mission.

 

When it seemed I wasn't getting well, I went to the doctor.  This was the end of June 2013.  I was having nightmares, sweating at night profusely, shaking, riddled with anxiety and having gastro problems.  I never connected it with the blasted Effexor.  

 

I'm currently back up to 15mgs. for 90 days with the intent of merging in the 7.5mgs.  My nutritionist suggested I used NeuroScience Excita Plus to help with the side effects. (They diminished greatly after going back up but came back after 2-3 weeks).  I'm not sure if this is helping- perhaps to some degree.

 

I've been through so much stuff, physically.  Honestly, this is the worst thing I have ever confronted, next to a broken leg that I had to live with for 6 months!  Because of my condition, I also take clonazepam.  At one point in the reductions, I had to cut it back because I couldn't stay awake during the day.  That was a rough 6 weeks, making a minor adjustment with that.  

 

This site has encouraged me.  Knowing I'm not the only one dealing with these problems is a huge help.  My biggest worry is that it will take much longer than I expected to get off this cursed drug.  I've heard of someone that is trying to get off another antidepressant and it's been taking them 2 years.

 

Does anyone know why getting down the end is when all the stuff hits the fan?  Any recommendations about merging in my 7.5 mgs. with the 15 mg.  The doc said start with 1 a week and increase from there.

 

Newtonsmom

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Hello newtonsmom,and welcome to the forum.

I am so sorry that you are having to endure all these unpleasant symptoms.. :(

But please know that you are not alone, there are people who care,

and will be along shortly to advise you.

Meantime, please explore this wonderful site, especially the Tapering forum, where you will find informative reading, on tapering Effexor.

Please keep the faith.

Thinking of you,

Lexi

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Welcome, newtonsmom.

 

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. It sounds like the flu and other illnesses might have weakened your system further and made you vulnerable to withdrawal symptoms.

 

Has going up to 15mg helped? To what extent? How long have you been taking it? You may not want to increase any further.

 

You may wish to keep notes on paper about your symptom pattern.

 

As for the NeuroScience Excita Plus, in withdrawal I would definitely NOT take anything described as an "excitatory product." "Excitatory" is exactly what your nervous system does NOT need. This may be adding to your symptoms.

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Thanks 

 

I am so sorry that you are having to endure all these unpleasant symptoms.. :(But please know that you are not alone, there are people who care,and will be along shortly to advise you.Meantime, please explore this wonderful site, especially the Tapering forum, where you will find informative reading, on tapering Effexor.Please keep the faith.Thinking of you,Lexi

Thanks Lexi.  If it weren't for this forum, I'd still be sucking down the Effexor XR 75 every day.  Just reading the experiences of others, even if it's a different antidepressant, caused me to realize how horrific these drugs are.

 

 When I was living with the broken leg, the way I would get through each day was telling myself, tomorrow things will be different.  I learned to live with the pain and discomfort and just kept plugging along.  I wasn't sitting around thinking about how much time was going by.  Looking back on the situation, if I had known I would be living like that for 6 months- good grief, I would have been totally hopeless.  I think I would help myself now if I would look at the progress I've made rather than the problems.

 

I will be checking out the tapering forum and reading up on it.  I have read some of the posts there and that is how I figured out how to make up my reduction scheme.  There's nothing ordinary about the way my body responds to things, so I added time to the reductions- 6 weeks instead of 4, thinking I would avoid any problems.  I'm pretty sure the illness combined with reducing the effexor is what compounded the whole situation.

 

Knowing there are people out there that care and have made it down this road is better than anything that can be poured out of a bottle or scribbled on a prescription pad.  Thanks for your encouragement.

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Alto,

 

Thanks for your thoughts.  Like just about everyone else that's doing this, I get desperate to be relieved of my symptoms.  While some would consider me an example of perseverance and patience, they don't see the panic I get into if I let my thinking spiral into a swirl of negativity.  

 

I am now concerned about stopping the Excita Plus.  My nutritionist is a registered pharmacist, naturopath and licensed Clinical Nutritionist.  I wouldn't have gotten this far without him.   When I first went to him for help, I was taking 11 prescription medications.  If people think getting of antidepressants are bad, I could tell stories about drugs like Nexium and allergy medications.

 

However, he has the same propensity to suggest adding something to my routine if I hit a bump in the road.  He actually suggested I stop all my supplements for a time so that nothing was interfering with the effexor and my natural body responses and suggested the Excita Plus.  After 4 days, since I have serious problems with arthritis, I was in a lot of agony and went back on the Omega 3's.  

 

Initially going back up on the 15 mgs. helped the sweats and the anxiety.  However, I started having trouble sleeping and would be sleepy during the day, so over a few days moved the effexor to first thing in the morning (when I started my reductions I was taking it at night ).  Since I moved it to morning, I've been sleeping at night- through the night, which is a blessing. 

 

The sweating, anxious feelings(not emotional but physical shaking, heart beating rapidly type) are improving very gradually.  I've been on the 15 mg for about 30 days.  Today was the first day in months that I woke up and didn't have the anxiety stuff.  The weird thing about the sweating is I can get it to stop if I get out of bed and walk around for a minute or two.

 

Unless I run into more trouble with going down on the 7.5, I have no plans to increase back up.  I'm aiming at OFF!!!

 

I like the suggestion that I keep a chart of how things are progressing.  That would have been helpful when the problems began.  Here again, like everyone else, I was in such a fog and spiral it never occurred to me what was happening.

 

I'm still not sure how I'm going to merge the 7.5's in to 15's.  I was thinking I would start at 1 per week for a few weeks, then perhaps go to twice every 3rd or 4th day.  I'm afraid of running out of the 15's in the process and I don't want to be hurrying along as before just to get to the finish line.  I'm beginning to realize that even when I am off the pills there may be times of adjustment.

 

Any advice anyone has to offer is appreciated.  

 

Thanks for responding.

Newton's Mom

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I'm still not sure how I'm going to merge the 7.5's in to 15's.

 

I don't understand what this means. You intend to decrease from 15mg to 7.5mg? Are you taking capsules filled with beads or tablets?

 

Consider stabilizing on 15mg for a month or more before making any reduction.

 

See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tips-for-tapering-off-effexor-and-effexor-xr-venlafaxine/

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My physician suggested that rather than do a straight drop from 15 mgs. to the 7.5 mgs. that reduce by taking one 7.5 mg capsule(I have compounded time release) once a week and 15 mg. caps the other 6 days.  Then, I assume the next step would be to increase it to 2 times a week.  I'm just not sure what the "logical" way to do this would be.  My thinking was the first day of the week and then perhaps mid week.

 

I think the reason she suggested this was so that there wouldn't be a big drop off that would bring on more symptoms.  I'm not sure and I won't be seeing her in person until Nov.  

 

I would be interested in your opinion of that approach.  Do you think it will work?  Thanks.

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Going up and down in dosage is never a good idea.  It's most likely going to jar your nervous system and bring on more withdrawal symptoms. Please stabilize first, as Altos says, above.  While you do that, please read this general topic on tapering, which is nearly always done most successfully by a slow and gradual taper:

 

Why Taper By 10% of My Dosage

 

Your doctor may mean well, but unfortunately doctors get their information from drug company reps, who lie their heads off about how difficult it is to get off these drugs.  I followed my doctor's advice and I'm still suffering from some tail-end effects from a too fast taper off Lexapro nineteen months later.

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Hi Newtonsmom,

 

I understand that your are aiming for OFF ... but you need to listen to your body and take it at a pace that allows you to function.  Here is a link to logging your symptoms so that you can tell when there is an improvement or when their is a worsening of symptoms http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawal-early/.

 

It would also be helpful if you could add a brief summary of your drug withdrawal history in your signature http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/.  Your signature shows up with every post and that way moderators and members will be able to provide you with more meaningful input.

 

I concur with Jemima, you don't want to change your dosage from day to day - you want to keep the dosage consistent in your blood stream so that your central nervous system isn't destabilized.  If you are taking XR the capsules can be broken open and you can taper by reducing the number of beads you take. 

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Karma

 

 

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Ok found how to add need to know info into my signature.  Thing is, this doesn't begin to tell my whole story.  I mentioned earlier the broken leg.  This introduced a whole new cadre of drugs into my life- it got up to 11 prescrition meds per month.  What I didn't tell was all the mess I went through with other AD's prior to the Effexor.  At one point I was prescribed ambien and prozac.  I ended up having a manic episode that scared the wtis out of everyone I knew.  When I approached the doctor about it, he essentially said I couldn't possibly be having those kinds of problems.  Fortunately, it was over quickly- within about 10 days.

 

After the broken leg, a serious secondary problem arouse- a torn pelvic ligament that led to my sciatic nerve being impinged.  Of course, I was desperate since I had not slept a whit for 6 weeks so I agreed to take Fentynal.  I slept and the ligament healed but the meds seemed not to be working so I asked to be switched.  NEVER ask to have meds switched near a weekend.  The new meds caused serious problems and I ended going through narcotic withdrawal.  So, I've been down this road a couple of times.   The lesson I learned from the narcotic incident was the pain I experienced was negligible in comparison to the "fear" I had of the pain.  The drugs did nothing but make me sleep and then wreak havoc on my body when they were gone.  That was a 3 month period of hell.  Of course, I'm sure he was well meaning, but the doctor threw the pharmacy at me when this happened.  It helped, a bit, but ultimately, time was the only thing that brought healing.  

 

Since I survived that, I KNOW I can survive this.  

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Absolutely agree that taking just 7.5 one day a week and 15 the rest makes no sense--chemically setting your brain up for the roller coaster ride of doom. Much better to take the same amount every day at about the same time and gradually, slowly reduce the daily dose. This gives you smooth levels of the drug in your bloodstream so that your brain can slowly and safely adjust to the changing drug level.

 

I would add, it appears from what you have experienced that you may need to slow your taper down even more when you get to the lower doses.  This is a common phenomenon, unfortunately. It feels like it goes against common sense, that we should be able to drop those smaller doses faster, but in fact it turns out in practice that most people need to actually drop even more slowly at the lower doses.

 

And yes, it can take years to safely and successfully taper off a psych med. But people who've done it seem to agree that it's worth it.  And as you have discovered, the effects of the drug (unlike the effects of withdrawal) become less at the lower doses, so you can enjoy quite a bit of improvement even while tapering. 

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Oh and agree also about being careful about supplements. Many people have trouble with supplements during withdrawal, especially stimulating or energizing stuff--that's the last thing you need. There's a lot of info on this in the forum, if you read around the various topics and conversations over the years.

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Shoot!!!  I typed in a response and clicked on my picture icon and poof- gone!

 

So, I was saying that I appreciate both of your input about the dosage amount.  I've been mulling over the situation since Altostrata responded yesterday.

 

I'm dreading having to get with the doctor's office and ask them for a higher dose than what I asked for a week ago.  I don't exactly know how to handle this.  I don't have that much access to my doctor.  They have been great in the past and complied with whatever I asked.  This is just such an abrupt request following on the heels of my previous one.  

 

I guess I'm afraid they will say no and then what do I do?  That's what is really bugging me- a problem I am learning to address.  I wasn't really sure that was it until I wrote it down.

 

So this is where I need help- how to deal with the doctor's office.   What would you suggest I do?

Thanks

Newtons Mom

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At this point, I am inclined to agree with all that I've read about slowing down the taper.  I don't want to make matters worse, therefore, I am going to put my pride on hold and call the docs office and ask for a prescription in between the 15 and 7.5 mg pills.  It would be idiotic of me to do all over what I've just been trying to undo.

 

I appreciate all the information I have been led to from this forum and the encouragement of others.  I will keep you informed how I am progressing.

 

Newtons Mom

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If your capsules contain beads, you can count beads to taper. Think in terms of 10% decreases.

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I went the compounding route as I have a neuromuscular disorder that makes counting and chasing beads really difficult.  Plus, since  I learned that some of the beads have filler, I felt this was more reliable.

 

I have done 10% tapers since the beginning... I counted the beads and went with 10% of that to determine how much to drop.  Are you recommending that I do 10% drops from the 15 mgs since that is where I started the rebound symptoms?  I'm confused.  I've read the tapering link several times and it did not clear things up for me.

 

Newtons Mom

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Yes, 10% decreases from 15mg, calculated on the last dosage. The amount of the decrease keeps getting smaller.

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Yes, 10% decreases from 15mg, calculated on the last dosage. The amount of the decrease keeps getting smaller.

Alto,

Previously all my reductions lasted 6 weeks.  When I started having the problems I was at 7.5 mgs. and went back up to the 15 mgs.  

 

Now that I understand I need to lessen the drops, starting with 1.5 mgs down from 15 mgs., how long is recommended to stay at each reduction if things are going well?  I wasn't sure, but I thought I read that 3-4 weeks was the desirable time. Is that correct?  I've read so much over the last week from this forum that I'm a little overloaded at the moment.  I still have about 45 days of the 15 mgs. left so there isn't a big hurry.  I do still need to inform my physician of how my plans for the reductions are going to go.  I will need to write up a plan for her to approve.  Once I have that done, if I need to make any changes I just need to let them know.

 

Thanks for your help.  I feel genuinely fortunate compared to so many of the stories I've read here.  It's scary and heartbreaking how many people are messed up with these drugs.  My husband is on Pristique and would like to consider getting off, but with the stresses of his job, this is not the time to jump in.  I don't think we could handle 2 of us going through this at the same time.

 

Thanks,

Newtons Mom

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Yes, 3-4 weeks at each stage. You might speed up to every 2 weeks if no withdrawal symptoms at all.

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Wanted to update my status.  The symptoms I was experiencing, the sweating and heart racing and anxiety, have subsided.  What a relief.  It took from the end of June until about 4 days ago... so about six weeks.  I have another 6 weeks before I have to make a reduction.  

 

I keep having the urge to do a bigger jump than 1.5mgs. but the rational side of me realizes that if it goes well, I can go down in a month.  I don't want to go through that torture again so I'm sticking to the advice I've been given.  I haven't contacted my doctor yet, but what I plan to do is put the path I intend to follow down on paper so that it is clear to her what I've decided to do.  She is very good about giving me my space to do what I know is needed.  

 

I probably won't update again until I do the next reduction.  We are in the process of packing and moving, which has been great for me since it is keeping me active and occupied.  I've felt so much more energetic since I started the reductions from the beginning, which is surprising since I have fatigue problems due to post-polio syndrome.  I think the Effexor was actually making my situation worse.  

 

Newtons Mom

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Hi there - I don't have any advice but wanted to offer my support and hope for you. I am glad that things got a bit better for you. I am following others' progress as Cymbalta is similar to Effexor in some way - both SSNRI's and I too had a hard time trying to cut down from 20 mg to just around 10 mg. that was too much and I started to feel like I was going to blow in terms of my temper but couldn't really pin it on anything specific.

 

You are smart to wean slowly from all I have been reading so far provided by this wonderful site. I really messed myself up going down too fast and have spent the day in bed feeling paranoid and scared of life itself after thinking I could do this. Not fun.

 

Hang in there and continued good luck to you!

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Thanks for the update. Good luck with the move!

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Hello all,

 

I haven't posted my progress for quite some time.  A lot of life changes happened.  I'm now in the adjustment phase of the life changes. :wacko:

 

My husband decided to retire and we moved to another state.  

 

I was surprised during all the house buying stress, the packing and moving stress, the driving to the new home stress and getting life established and going forward in the new house has gone so smoothly- with the exception of one glitch.  I'll save everyone my thoughts about this matter.  It is neither uplifting or redeeming!!!  It will get worked out, just not as quickly and easily as we expected.

 

I want to emphasize I was bullheaded about taking my reductions at 1.5mgs from the 15 mg drop- but it was smooth, with a few bumps.  Considering the life stress, I would say it was stellar!!!  Letting go of getting off the drug when I planned had me in a tizzy.  It took me a while to get my mind around the benefits of slowing down rather than going at larger drops.  My next drops after the 90 days of 7.5 will be at .75 mgs.  I never dreamed when I started to get off Effexor it would end of taking nearly 3 years... provided it works out that way.

 

I am now back at the 7.5 mg dose for the past 2 weeks.  I'm having some of the same problems I had the first time around.  I wish I could recall if the problems persisted after I went back up to the 15 mg.  I think they did, but over time I just learned how to live with them while my body adjusted.  They are not perfect now.  

 

The biggest annoyance at present, since I take my pill around 7 am, is until 4 in the afternoon, I am moody, lethargic, weepy and muddleheaded.  I can hardly think my way out of a bag.  My concentration is shot!!!

 

I'm curious about this and wonder if the drug is actually causing the problems.  I have my pills compounded and they are the time release formula so I doubt it is taking 8 hours for them to kick in.

 

The sweating and anxiety are not near as bad as the first time.  I've had some wild dreams, which I recall was one thing that was very upsetting the first time.  Yesterday I got a notice in the mail of a mishap that had occurred when we set up an home insurance policy.  With no intention of fretting about this all night, I would get in a zone trying to sleep and bang!  It was if I was possessed with worry.  I have thought techniques to get my mind working elsewhere that allowed me to get a vague amount of sleep.  The loop happened several times during the night.

 

As soon as I was able this morning, I got on the phone and put the matter to an end.  I was exhausted!!!  I learned way back when I started getting off the drug not to watch upsetting things on tv or read upsetting stuff before I go to bed.  I guess that includes not reading the mail!!!

 

I'm a bit concerned that the symptoms are as pronounced on the 7.5 mg dose after the ease of the last months.  The best thing I was able to do was to remain active.  My physical status makes that quite difficult.  After our move, I hurt my back pretty seriously which has limited my mobility and activity further.

 

I am so thankful for this group!  If it weren't for the transparency of the people going through these changes, I would have given up and kept taking the drug.  My life is better for the effort I've made.

 

When things aren't going smoothly, it is not easy hearing my friends and loved ones recommending that maybe I need this drug.  I've said it so many times- I hit one of the most depressing and discouraging times of my life while taking it.  It was clear to me it was of no function then.

 

The temptation to try to find something to get me through this adjustment is overwhelming.  I'm not connected to a physician here yet, but will be in a couple of weeks.

 

I did want to say that one thing that has helped me is a remedy called Field of Flowers.  It's a Bachs flower remedy.  I haven't been taking as much of it as I was so this may be a good time to ramp it up.  I think it has been the one thing that has helped most with the anxiety.

 

I'm open for comments or suggestions.  I'm wondering if I should just push through these symptoms and give my body a chance to adapt or consider something different.  Thanks.

 

And for what it's worth, I had a conversation with the pharmacist that compounds my pills.  He had gotten off Effexor- the not recommended way- and shared what a nightmare it was for him and his feelings about these types of drugs.  He was a tremendous comfort.

 

Newtons Mom

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Good to hear from you, Newtons.

 

You've done so well!

 

It could be the accumulated stress or getting used to your new home has increased your susceptibility to withdrawal symptoms, though it's odd you seem to get them right after you take your Effexor.

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It could be the accumulated stress or getting used to your new home has increased your susceptibility to withdrawal symptoms, though it's odd you seem to get them right after you take your Effexor.

 

Altostrata,

 

I didn't say well what I was experiencing.  It does take a while for the effexor to kick in- I'd say by at least an hour or more I am aware it is doing something. 

 

Having patience while the adapting is going on is hard.  I would be a fool to not recognize the emotional impact of our changes.  Good grief, I've seen what it did to our cats; since I'm not as emotionally numbed, I'm not used to being impacted by these things until I'm overwhelmed.  They are much closer to the surface.  My life experience before the antidepressants was to stuff it and gut it- totally unhealthy.  Thus, the coping techniques.  

 

If things don't start to smooth out by at least 45 days, I may be forced to reevaluate.  Only time will tell.  Thanks for your comments.

 

Newtons Mom

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I hope someone may be able to give me some suggestions.  Since my last drop back to the 7.5 mgs. things are not going as easily.  The biggest problem I'm dealing with is nausea.  It doesn't come on until after about 90 minutes from when I take my pills in the morning.  It tends to hang on until late afternoon.  Some days it is worse than others.  Today, it has been miserable.  I've been afflicted with food smelling awful, which makes eating difficult.  We cooked some eggs this morning and the smell is still in the house.  Yuck!!!  Nothing tastes very good and I have little appetite.  This is making life difficult for my husband.  

 

I discovered if I ate some yogurt when I'm taking my pills I'm less likely to have this happen as severely.  My yogurt was just about gone this morning.  I was feeling not so great yesterday.  I searched on nausea to see what I came up with and only found using ginger or ginger tea.  I'm not good with ginger.  I was wondering if there might be other suggestions that would help.  I've got to get past this problem.  My husband has been told he is heading into diabetes and I must be able to cook.  Not eating is bad for me and may be accentuating the problem.

 

Thanks.

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Hi Newtonsmom, I'm tapering effexor too and can relate to the feeling of nausea after

taking the dose. I was fine until down to very low doses then started feeling uncomfortable. 

Instinct tells you to go up, down or even off in an effort to just do something to ease things.

Most of the time the best thing to do is nothing except wait it out. It can be several weeks or

even months to stabilise sometimes at the lower doses but it does always settle down. It is

best to wait for a good few weeks after things settle before cutting again. It gives you chance

to recuperate and is good to have the memory of feeling well between cuts.  This is based

on my own experience. 

 

It is 3 weeks since your last drop if I have read it correctly?  It will get better, it is your body

adjusting to the new dose.  Fortunately I love ginger tea, I have a jar of grated ginger in 

the fridge and use a teaspoon in hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice. 

Maybe you could try the travel sickness wristbands that are available, I have just remembered 

that my daughter used those when she was pregnant and said they were amazing. No drugs

involved. Now I've remembered them I think I'll get some for myself too! 

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Thank heavens my nausea is gone... but the reason I had it in the first place is not what I expected.

 

I spoke to my physician friend today that told me the most common drug they use in their clinic for nausea is dependent on serotonin.  What goes on in your gut is so very important to what is happening to you physically with these antidepressants.

 

What I did to relieve my nausea was to use a stool softener.  Yes, that was it.  The giveaway was I kept belching.  Previous experience told me this was the problem.  I was fooled since I thought I had diarrhea.  I changed up my routine a bit and I've been good for several days.

 

I wish that would work with my flying off the handle when things mess up- but I was having to deal with stuff that would make people who aren't withdrawing from antidepressants furious!!!

 

I am hopeful that I will be able to progress to the next reduction at the end of my 90 days.  I've learned a lot recently and dreary weather is a big problem for me so it is necessary that I get out of the house, have things to do and keep my attitude as positive as possible.  It's so much harder to dwell on your own problems when you are busy with other things.

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Yikes!!! I had a nice little post going here and I hit my mouse and poof!  

 

My purpose here is to be an encouragement to those trying to get off these drugs.  I balked at having to slow down 18 months ago as I was on the last reduction when things went awry. I still have some of the problems I developed, but not to the degree that I did.  Since the onset of the problems I have come to realize that some of it may be genetic.  I had a parent that was misdiagnosed with cortisol problems and of course, the medications of the 1970's- the mid 1990's were thrown at the situation.  None of them offered any relief to them.

 

I am doing well and the anxiety is mild.  I now understand I had problems with it before the antidepressants and that it might come back.  I am wiser about stress and in a better place mentally than I was before the drugs.  It's an effort to stay on top of things.  I do struggle with an outburst of anger usually after I reduce my dose.  It happens once and that's it.  The last one wasn't as easy to dismiss as I was pretty nasty to my husband.  I feel sure if I didn't have the neuro-muscular problems that I do, I could exercise and that would be the end of it.  

 

I've found some supplements that are helping me.  My clinical nutritionist recommended adaptogens.  They work well.  I was using a Bach's flower remedy but haven't needed it lately.  I decided to keep at my current level of reduction and I think I would have been better off to cut my taper in half.  I have also found curcumin to be fabulous in relieving inflammation.  I keep my D3 levels up there (with testing and my docs approval) and am using a high dose of omega 3. 

 

I get antsy at times and want this to be over!!! It will be into 2016 when I take my last doses.  I am still amazed at the ignorance of the medical community about these drugs and their willingness to whip out the little pad and offer you a pill for your woes.  It worries me that people look to drugs to solve problems.  It's a lot easier to say that in the rearview mirror.

 

I see the posts on Facebook and keep up with what is happening from there.  I have found the way to stay healthiest is to get on with my life, have plans, stay active, face my fears and give thanks for even the smallest things.  That keeps my head up and my worries down.  I've had a few rough moments over the last 6 months or so and have dealt with a lot of physical pain.  I've kept searching for avenues to relieve that problem and finally found what helps.  My demeanor improved when the pain knocked off.  I cannot take any pain meds but that is moot as I've found they don't really do anything but put me to sleep.

 

Now to update my signature!

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Thanks so much for checking in, newtonsmom. Good to hear you're doing well. Please let us know how you're doing from time to time.

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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.

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So glad I read this latest post - how encouraging.  Totally agree about laughing - it's magic.  Just like being playful - that's magic too.  A lovely way to heal.

Hugs,

KarenB

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So glad to hear things are going well for you.. I too will have a very long taper off of paxil. It will take a few years but nice and slow wins the race.. :-)

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This will be my last update of progress.  I survived Effexor XR.  It took 4 and 1/2 years, but I did it.  I took my last dose of compounded 0.0375 mgs. on Dec. 17, 2016.  

 

It's been a rocky road and I've learned so much along the way.

 

Here are a few of the really important things I learned when everything was going wrong:

 

I needed to change my dietary habits.  Insulin resistance contributed to the exacerbation of my trouble.  If I'd gotten my diet in order and then attempted to get off Effexor, things would have gone so much smoother.  But, I kicked at the goads and hung on to the things that were driving my body crazy and were not helping my mind.  Since I've changed my eating habits, one of the biggest adjustments has been not eating for social reasons.  I was studying to be a dietician in college- didin't get to finish, and I've always been a foodie.  Changing my mindset has been hard.  Eating has become about getting fuel, not relationships.

 

Secondly, I realize now how I ended up on antidepressants in the first place.  My body was having a mental crisis, but it was because my thyroid was going berzerk.  One doctor noticed it at the time of my mental snap and that is probably why I reached some state of homeostasis, not antidepressants.  Between the combination of the insulin problems and the thyroid malfunction- it was a perfect storm.  If you are reading this for encouragement, consider getting your thyroid levels checked... and don't rely on the standard tests of TSH.  Investigate and find out about the different thyroid hormones.  I don't like it, but just like with getting off Effexor, I had to become an empowered patient and my own advocate.  I'm gutsy enough that I got doctors to cooperate.  My current doc told me to my face she had no confidence I'd get off this drug.  I asked her about it recently- to my surprise, she had nothing to say.

 

Next, if I've learned anything- whatever is turning your world upside down today, it will be different- good or bad, tomorrow.  My life's motto has been Scarlett O'Hara's line: For tomorrow is another day.

 

Lastly, there is a reason patience is considered a virtue.  It requires faith and hope.  Prayer saved me and got me through so many times when I had no answers.  We live in an impatient world that wants what it wants NOW.  If I had known when I cut back that first dose in May of 2012 it would be 4.5 yrs later when I took my last dose, I would have been hopeless.  I realized my beginning doses were changed too frequently.  I should have slowed down.  When I got sick the first year, I should have stayed at that dose and waited until I was well to keep reducing.  I had to get to know my body and I learned that 6 weeks is a cycle for me, not 4 weeks.  Toward the end, I kept making the doses ridiculously minor and when I went off- nothing.  For quite a while, 4 days into a change, I would have a blow-up or crying jag.  Then, as I got toward the end, they seemed to happen at 2 weeks and then nothing.  I joked with the pharmacist how negligible the dose was but he understood.

 

I'm happy to say that 3 months out I've had no problems from Effexor.  I do have a benzo to ditch and I hope with the changes in my diet and my thyroid med management, it will go much more smoothly.

 

You can survive these drugs.  I understand now how important it is to recognize how you got on them in the first place.  It's so easy to dismiss physical causes, assume you're mentally imbalanced and you need them.  Getting off of them can make you feel crazy and drive your loved ones crazy in the process.  In the middle of the panic attack you think you won't survive- but you will.  I did.This isn't the first time I've overcome insurmountable odds in my life- I'm gutsy, as I said, and hang on for the bumpy ride.

 

I want to thank anyone that offered me guidance and support, especially in the early days when I felt nuts.  This forum was a life saver.  Thanks, Alto for your hard work and courage to support others.

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