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.