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May 28, 2018 · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

Hello All,

I am on day 21 off Effexor and life is going really well. The first 7 to 10 days were the worst. Then the withdrawal symptoms began to taper off. It feels like I won the superbowl so I should head to Walt Disney World. In fact I might just do that. 🙂

I don't expect to share more on there as my journey off the medication is complete. Now it's time to build on all the positive changes and silver linings that happened over the past three weeks. If you need me please feel free to reach out. I wish you all the best on your journey. The experiences people have shared are filled with excellent insights and recommendations. Work with a doctor your trust who understands you and this medication. All the best.

May 18, 2018 · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

It's the start of day 11. I have continued the plateau that I hinted at on my last post. The nausea is pretty much gone which is awesome. My emotional levels are mellowing a bit too. I was having deeper emotional reactions to acts of kindness, deep conversations and even entertainment in general. Heck even the thought of something adorable (dog playing with a duck) get's me. I have been using my HTC Vive VR system to engage in some fun experiences. If you have access to VR tools (Google Day Dream, Oculus, etc.) I recommend it. Just going on a Google Earth VR trip can help you break free of negativity. I am going take @smccain advice about Tylenol PM if the melatonin doesn't help. I am having some trouble sleeping… this has alway been my MO since I was a kid. My dream intensity has leveled off which is nice. I am using the silver linings from the withdrawal to change my life. From shifting off soft drinks, eating and preparing more food to increasing physical exercise these lifestyle changes are all beneficial. I also believe I need to set realistic expectations that if I have a recurrence of mental health issues that using the medication is an option. But I want to understand the lifecycle of it for me. I thought I would be on effexor forever. That is what I was told when I started taking it but it lost its value over time. I feel very fortunate that this transition is going so well. I was taking 150 mg (for 10 years) and then went to 0. It wasn't a decision I took lightly like so many of you. Your openness and advice is the key reason to my success.

Tips that have worked for me:
Mindfulness and Medication – This has varied over time but I use it when I need it. I also have reminders from the Google Assistant. They seem to go beyond the basic positive platitudes.
Eating and Drinking Healthier – Getting off soda and lots of processes and quick service food has been amazing. I buying vegetables and fruit. It's freaking out people that know me.
Do What You Love – We all live busy lives and over inundated with so much content. It's important to know yourself and take care of you. Quickly name five things that make you happy. If it is a struggle then please take some time to discover this and involve people you love in the process.

The journey is the destination. Onward friends.

May 15, 2018 · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

@coloradogirl Thank you for your amazing advice on quitting effexor. You were so descriptive and clear about the complexity of brain chemistry and uniqueness of each individual. I decided to rip off the band aid and see I could do it. I am on day seven and have definitely hit a plateau. The good news is that the original horrendous experience is now manageable in less than a week. For me the key was to deal with the nausea and brain zaps. Food helped me feel better and good food was the key. Being moderately active like walking helped me. After a few days getting some more cardio focused activity like swimming helped immensely. During this past week I took time off work and making no commitments aside from this singular task. This experience has given new meaning to Netflix and Chill. I hope you can share your experiences with your doctors. I am open to answer your questions and that of your doctors too.

Onward Friends and especially to @coloradogirl whose advice gave me the basic plan to make this leap. YOU ROCK!

May 15, 2018 · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

Hello @lisalucier Yes the six weeks preceding going off effexor were very bad. Some of the darkest thoughts and the longest I have ever continually experienced. Something had to change and the blog has been so helpful in others sharing their experiences. I feel so fortunate to be able to exit the medication easily in comparison to others. I have been working on mindfulness techniques over the years and lots of types of self discovery exercises. it likely also the benefit of some genetic predispositions too. I am very fortunate and needed to make a change. Something that won't work for others. It could have epicly backfired. Thanks for reaching out. I thought that my success might inspire people to look at their options with their doctors. Perhaps creating the right setting of support and distraction could be replicated in setting more conducive to withdrawal. Over the past few years I have talked with friends who had family members dealing with addiction. I tried to step in their shoes in understanding myself even in this very different context. Long story but thanks for note and question.

May 15, 2018 · Tips on minimising withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine) in Depression & Anxiety

I quit Effexor XR aka Venlafaxine cold turkey. Yes I know that it is not ideal in most circumstances and for many reasons. It has been just under a week and I am doing well. Prior to stopping I was feeling suicidal with many dark thoughts. For nearly six weeks, I struggled to make it through each day. I had a personal epiphany that I needed to question what I was doing. I was questioning my purpose and how I was contributing to the world. Alright I had the good intentions but now I needed to stop the medication. Using the collection of advice from people above I created a plan. I do have to say that during this time I came across this quirky show, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. This show spoke to me and I realized that I could find meaning in the strangest of places. The show saved my life. Really it did. Now I needed take time off from everything and everyone so I could focus on this personal project.

Day One – I was optimistic but I could feel the start of the nausea and brain zaps. The nausea was the worst but if I got outside and exercised it helped A LOT.

Day Two – The nausea was a challenge so I needed to distract myself. I used Netflix binging and eating food as my weapons. I shifted my eating to healthier options like apples, blueberries and lemonade. I agree with people commenting that soda did spark more brain zapping activity. If there was ever a reason to drop the soda and shift to water and lemonade then this is a silver lining.

Day Three – My dreams were off the charts both good and bad ones. They were more powerful and meaningful. I love dreaming and sleeping. During this transition my sleep pattern was chaotic. I slept when I needed to sleep. I am a huge fan of sleep and napping. So when I had any room for ZZZZzzz time I took it.

Day Four – The nausea continued to be my biggest challenge. I almost started taking dramamine but instead continued to power through the discomfort. Food was really helpful in this area. I don't know why but learning to cook simple things and avoid all the processed foods was another amazing silver lining. The dreaming continues to be a fun thing. I used to be really good at navigating my dreams so I hope I can get that skill back. Having and/or remembering dreams again is very cool.

Day Five – The nausea started to subside with shorter sessions of discomfort. It's still there but not as impactful with only momentary bouts. I continued to focus on activities for how I could simplify my life. Shifting my focus from the future or past to the moment was an awesome silver lining too. I found myself more in the moment with others and myself. It's a pretty powerful shift.

Day Six – You know all those projects that never get done. Well I put them into the list that I ignored. Magically I just started to do them with no expectations or pressure. The best advice I was given by a therapist was to do the dishes. In better words and cool marketing campaign by Nike, "Just Do It". So I did and I am. Yes another silver lining. They just keep piling up don't they. The silver linings not the projects. The projects are getting done.

I am experiencing the challenges several mentioned and I am so happy they shared their journey. It helped me know what to expect. I thought I might shift my dose down but thought if I can make it through the band aid rip then why not.

I am feeling things more deeply than I can remember. That is both awesome and scary. I am trying to be very mindful and I have shared what I am doing with a few friends. I have some monitors so I don't go off the rails. I felt like I was headed down a very dark path. I no longer feel that way. But I know that mental illness in my case a lifelong journey. I cant recommend this path to others because I want you to be safe. I hope you can work with your doctors, family and friends to follow what works for you. I remember when I started on venlafaxine nearly 10 years ago. It really quieted my negative thoughts and gave me a peace that I hadn't experienced since I was a young kid free from adult responsibilities.

I am sharing my experience because the people in this chain have helped me. I wish I could wave a magic wand to help you all. The journey is the destination and I hope sharing mine will help those who helped me.

Onward friends.