About Connect: Who, What & Why

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online community that connects people. In the About Connect page, find out more about members, mentors and the community. Meet the team of Mayo Clinic moderators and how the community is managed.  Review the community guidelines and learn how you can get the most from your Connect experience.

Twice a month, a member of your Connect community is featured in the Member Spotlights. Follow the About Connect page to get updates about members and the community.

PUBLIC PAGE
Mar 13 9:00am

Trading Tips and Coping Strategies to Taper off a Medication: Meet @texasduchess

By Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, @hopeful33250

Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

17.2.2020 Valerie @texasduchess.Connect member spotlight

TERESA: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?

@texasduchess: In 2001, I was put on venlafaxine to control the hot flashes I developed during breast cancer treatment. After 18 years, I thought these were no longer an issue; my oncologist agreed and explained that I should taper off the venlafaxine. I took 2.5 months to taper off 25 mg. Six weeks later, I began having withdrawal effects, as my body had used up all the drug stored in body fat. These withdrawal symptoms were very distressing, and I found Mayo Clinic Connect while desperately researching how to minimize them.

TERESA:  What motivates you to take part in the community?

@texasduchess: Other people on the site provided tips and coping strategies that helped me with venlafaxine withdrawal when I couldn’t find a lot of professional help; I want to “pay it forward.”

TERESA:  What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@texasduchess: Well, you create a username and the site lets you reveal only the details about yourself and your situation that you want to put out there. Other members are there to get and provide help on the same issues you’re struggling with.

TERESA:  What groups do you participate in?

@texasduchess: Mostly, I’ve participated in the “Tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from Effexor (aka Venlafaxine)” discussion. One of my most distressing venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms is anxiety. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and I experience episodes of dyshidrotic eczema on my hands, so I have popped into some of the other discussions, such as:

TERESA:  Who has been a special connection for you on Connect? 

@texasduchess: I must thank @richyrich for making the original post asking for tips on minimizing withdrawal symptoms from venlafaxine. Members @jakedduck1, @brightwings and @grandmar have very good suggestions. @farmboy’s extreme anxiety while trying to taper made a strong impression.

TERESA:  What surprised you the most about Connect?

@texasduchess: I have been amazed at the number of topics and issues you can explore and how much help you can find here.

TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@texasduchess: Ha, still looking for balance!  If I had known the difficulty I’d have since quitting venlafaxine, I’d never have quit. My husband has been a big support and calming influence.

TERESA:  Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@texasduchess: I am very much a reader — fiction, especially mysteries and romance.  On weekends, my husband and I eat dinner with long-time friends and family, and afterwards play games (e.g., Mexican Train, Quiddler, Hand and Foot). I also love pottery and watercolors, and often go to local art shows.

TERESA:  Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?

@texasduchess: “Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones that would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” -  Maya Angelou

TERESA:  What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@texasduchess: My closest friends have been friends since college. They have supported me through two bouts of breast cancer, hospitalization and surgeries related to that and now, venlafaxine withdrawal.

TERESA: What food can you simply not resist?

@texasduchess: Dark chocolate!

TERESA: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see cast as you?

@texasduchess: Someone younger and thinner!

TERESA:  What do you love about where you live or vacation?

@texasduchess: My husband and I are homebodies, like to sleep in our own bed and must cater to two cats; we don’t often go on vacations.

TERESA:  Puppies or kittens?

@texasduchess: Though our best friends have dogs, hubby and I are very much cat people.  At one time, we had seven — we adopted a young pregnant neighborhood stray, kept all five of her kittens and then, brought in another neighborhood cat whose owner was put into a retirement home. We’re down to two now, as the others have died.

See more Member Spotlights.

Hello @texasduchess

Thank you for the opportunity to interview you and present you to our Connect members! I appreciate all of your contributions to our Connect membership and the opportunity for us to all get to know you a bit better! (By the way, I always admire another cat lover!)

COMMENT

Hello @texasduchess — I really enjoyed reading your spotlight and getting to know you a little better. I especially like your favorite quote by Maya Angelou about family isn't always blood but the highlight for me was finding another cat person here….yippee! We have 3, 2 dropped on me by our daughter when she moved out and my newest by a neighbor who found out her son was allergic to cats.

COMMENT

@texasduchess, I have enjoyed reading your interview and I am happy that you found Connect when you were searching. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us on Connect because you inspire all of us to "pay it forward" by sharing our tips when we meet someone in need.
No cats or dogs, but Yes to dark chocolate!

COMMENT

@texasduchess Thanks for letting me know you and your likes like Maya Angelou her poetry and other writings I belong to diff. groups so won't touch base that often but it's always nice to read what others have accomplished

COMMENT

@texasduchess – Thank you for sharing your story and also helping others on Connect. We've spoken before and it is nice to speak with you again.

COMMENT

I want to taper off Benzos. I take them because I have PTSD and insomnia. Please , can someone help?

COMMENT

Re: tapering off Benzos. My psychiatrists just don’t seem to know what they are doing. I’m lost and addicted. 69;years old. Have been on Benzos for 7 years

COMMENT

You don't say why you have PTSD, why you want off benzodiazepines, or what you are taking and how much. I am not a doctor, just someone like yourself with a problem who found the Mayo Clinic Connect forum. YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE to learn more and get help.

I am sorry you are suffering and not finding help; the NORM is that doctors don't know how to get someone off a drug. Here's an article where two doctors are bucking "accepted" psychiatric guidelines for getting patients off drugs and recommending a different way– https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/health/depression-withdrawal-drugs.html.

SleepFoundation.org says, "Treating patients with PTSD for sleep disorders has sometimes been heartbreaking. Until the past few decades, people with PTSD were not treated for it, because the condition had not even been described. Today, treatments have evolved and patients can benefit from them.

"Treatment should be coordinated by an expert in treating PTSD, most often a psychiatrist. The therapies that may be effective are the 'talk therapies,' often in concert with medications. Two drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat PTSD: sertraline (Zoloft®) and paroxetine (Paxil®).

"In an exciting development, recent research shows that an 'old' drug, prazosin, originally used to treat high blood pressure, may be effective in reducing the nightmares in PTSD patients. It is believed that norepinephrine may play a role in causing sleep disturbances and nightmares in PTSD, and prazosin reduces the levels of norepinephrine in the brain."–https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/ptsd-and-sleep

You can get help. It won't be easy, but online sources have opened the world to us. Those of us here on these Mayo Clinic Connect forums weren't satisfied with our doctors' responses to our issues, or couldn't find help locally. Let me encourage you to look around this site–type in PTSD, insomnia and benzodiazepine withdrawal (or tapering off of), see what pops up and READ IT ALL. Good luck and healing to you, bubberonnie.

COMMENT
@texasduchess

You don't say why you have PTSD, why you want off benzodiazepines, or what you are taking and how much. I am not a doctor, just someone like yourself with a problem who found the Mayo Clinic Connect forum. YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE to learn more and get help.

I am sorry you are suffering and not finding help; the NORM is that doctors don't know how to get someone off a drug. Here's an article where two doctors are bucking "accepted" psychiatric guidelines for getting patients off drugs and recommending a different way– https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/health/depression-withdrawal-drugs.html.

SleepFoundation.org says, "Treating patients with PTSD for sleep disorders has sometimes been heartbreaking. Until the past few decades, people with PTSD were not treated for it, because the condition had not even been described. Today, treatments have evolved and patients can benefit from them.

"Treatment should be coordinated by an expert in treating PTSD, most often a psychiatrist. The therapies that may be effective are the 'talk therapies,' often in concert with medications. Two drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat PTSD: sertraline (Zoloft®) and paroxetine (Paxil®).

"In an exciting development, recent research shows that an 'old' drug, prazosin, originally used to treat high blood pressure, may be effective in reducing the nightmares in PTSD patients. It is believed that norepinephrine may play a role in causing sleep disturbances and nightmares in PTSD, and prazosin reduces the levels of norepinephrine in the brain."–https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/ptsd-and-sleep

You can get help. It won't be easy, but online sources have opened the world to us. Those of us here on these Mayo Clinic Connect forums weren't satisfied with our doctors' responses to our issues, or couldn't find help locally. Let me encourage you to look around this site–type in PTSD, insomnia and benzodiazepine withdrawal (or tapering off of), see what pops up and READ IT ALL. Good luck and healing to you, bubberonnie.

Jump to this post

It’s an endless loop of hell. I developed PTSD when I almost died from an Afib attack, in Feb. 2013…they gave me blood thinners, cuz I had TIA’s (suspected) and I started internally bleeding. Nightmare…that’s when parasthesias and insomnia started. No ne knew what to do. I found a psychiatrist who started me on Xanax, which did the trick. Since then, more doctors, changing recipes and…still addicted. Endless loop. Try to get exercise, but meds put on weight and I got Mor depressed. Very long, involved mess. Meditation doesn’t work. CBT therapy doesn’t help. I’m so fed up. Tried alternative therapies…acupuncture, etc. nothing. 69 years old. Retired at 65 on total disability, because of the heart, the PTSD and being almost deaf. My profession was speech pathologist…so, really needed my hearing. I’m so fed up. New psychiatrist trying new recipe with Klonapin, Spread out through the day. Works sometimes,,… not others.

COMMENT
@texasduchess

You don't say why you have PTSD, why you want off benzodiazepines, or what you are taking and how much. I am not a doctor, just someone like yourself with a problem who found the Mayo Clinic Connect forum. YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT PLACE to learn more and get help.

I am sorry you are suffering and not finding help; the NORM is that doctors don't know how to get someone off a drug. Here's an article where two doctors are bucking "accepted" psychiatric guidelines for getting patients off drugs and recommending a different way– https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/health/depression-withdrawal-drugs.html.

SleepFoundation.org says, "Treating patients with PTSD for sleep disorders has sometimes been heartbreaking. Until the past few decades, people with PTSD were not treated for it, because the condition had not even been described. Today, treatments have evolved and patients can benefit from them.

"Treatment should be coordinated by an expert in treating PTSD, most often a psychiatrist. The therapies that may be effective are the 'talk therapies,' often in concert with medications. Two drugs have been approved by the FDA to treat PTSD: sertraline (Zoloft®) and paroxetine (Paxil®).

"In an exciting development, recent research shows that an 'old' drug, prazosin, originally used to treat high blood pressure, may be effective in reducing the nightmares in PTSD patients. It is believed that norepinephrine may play a role in causing sleep disturbances and nightmares in PTSD, and prazosin reduces the levels of norepinephrine in the brain."–https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/ptsd-and-sleep

You can get help. It won't be easy, but online sources have opened the world to us. Those of us here on these Mayo Clinic Connect forums weren't satisfied with our doctors' responses to our issues, or couldn't find help locally. Let me encourage you to look around this site–type in PTSD, insomnia and benzodiazepine withdrawal (or tapering off of), see what pops up and READ IT ALL. Good luck and healing to you, bubberonnie.

Jump to this post

I read The NY Times article,…there’s nothing new there…nothing. Thanks, but no thanks,…there are no easy answers, my brain is damaged. …with anxiety and depression, which results in insomnia, IBS, balance problems, short term memory deficits, cognitive decline. It’s just hopeless.

COMMENT

@texasduchess
Howdy Tex,
The first thing I noticed was how pretty you are. I am a cat person too. We had two cats but they have both passed on now and I don’t want to get any more pets because I can hardly bear it when they pass on even though the last few times we had the vet come to the house it was still hard. I’m really sorry to hear about your terrible illnesses I sure am glad you made it and found your way here, You have helped so many people.
I like Maya Angelou, she wrote,
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. I like that saying.
Oh brother, another dark chocolate nut. What is it about that hideous tasting awful bitter dark chocolate, I’ve tried it and it is grotesque I just can’t understand why everyone here seems to like it so much,
Anyway It was nice learning a trifle bit more about you
Jake

COMMENT

@bubberonnie
Of course every drug is different for different people but Klonopin was the worst drug I ever took maybe because I took an enormous amount.
I refuse to take benzodiazepines of any kind unless I’m in convulsive status and then I have no control what they give me, better to get some of that than be in a coma.
Good luck,
Jake

COMMENT
@jakedduck1

@texasduchess
Howdy Tex,
The first thing I noticed was how pretty you are. I am a cat person too. We had two cats but they have both passed on now and I don’t want to get any more pets because I can hardly bear it when they pass on even though the last few times we had the vet come to the house it was still hard. I’m really sorry to hear about your terrible illnesses I sure am glad you made it and found your way here, You have helped so many people.
I like Maya Angelou, she wrote,
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. I like that saying.
Oh brother, another dark chocolate nut. What is it about that hideous tasting awful bitter dark chocolate, I’ve tried it and it is grotesque I just can’t understand why everyone here seems to like it so much,
Anyway It was nice learning a trifle bit more about you
Jake

Jump to this post

Thanks, Leonard. The photo was almost a deal-breaker. I didn't want to submit a photo. Luckily, that one is a few years old (my hair had come back in after chemo and was no longer a Don-King-the-fight-promoter afro). I keep asking our company photographer to use the "40 40 lens" when I'm in photo shoots—takes off 40 years and 40 pounds; he keeps telling me he's left it in his other camera bag. D*mn.

I certainly understand not wanting to experience another pet loss. It IS hard, but just about anything worthwhile is. All of ours have been/are special and I'd have hated to miss out on any one of them. (We've lost three in the past year–the downside to their being siblings.)

There's dark chocolate and then, there's DARK chocolate. I've tried some of the really high-percentage chocolates and yeah, they're an acquired taste (if you want to acquire one for that). I think most of us who like dark chocolate aren't talking about DARK chocolate. It has to have enough fat to be smooth and sugar to be sweet, but not overly so. Finding out that the dark chocolate Reese's Cups are not as good as the regular chocolate ones was a great disappointment!

Breast cancer can be a killer and its treatment isn't a beauty regimen … but it's a crisis you get over (if you find it early enough). Those of you who are dealing with life-long conditions (epilepsy), or debilitating ones (MS, ALS, etc.) have it harder … truly, grace under pressure.

I enjoyed your spotlight some months back and was very excited to see it. You were/are one of the posters I felt an immediate connection to and I liked your no prisoners/no bullcr*p responses.

COMMENT
@texasduchess

Thanks, Leonard. The photo was almost a deal-breaker. I didn't want to submit a photo. Luckily, that one is a few years old (my hair had come back in after chemo and was no longer a Don-King-the-fight-promoter afro). I keep asking our company photographer to use the "40 40 lens" when I'm in photo shoots—takes off 40 years and 40 pounds; he keeps telling me he's left it in his other camera bag. D*mn.

I certainly understand not wanting to experience another pet loss. It IS hard, but just about anything worthwhile is. All of ours have been/are special and I'd have hated to miss out on any one of them. (We've lost three in the past year–the downside to their being siblings.)

There's dark chocolate and then, there's DARK chocolate. I've tried some of the really high-percentage chocolates and yeah, they're an acquired taste (if you want to acquire one for that). I think most of us who like dark chocolate aren't talking about DARK chocolate. It has to have enough fat to be smooth and sugar to be sweet, but not overly so. Finding out that the dark chocolate Reese's Cups are not as good as the regular chocolate ones was a great disappointment!

Breast cancer can be a killer and its treatment isn't a beauty regimen … but it's a crisis you get over (if you find it early enough). Those of you who are dealing with life-long conditions (epilepsy), or debilitating ones (MS, ALS, etc.) have it harder … truly, grace under pressure.

I enjoyed your spotlight some months back and was very excited to see it. You were/are one of the posters I felt an immediate connection to and I liked your no prisoners/no bullcr*p responses.

Jump to this post

Hi @texasduchess It's so nice to get acquainted. We haven't been in the same forums so I don't know if our paths have crossed before, but we do have a few things in common – first our love of dark chocolate, although I do go for the ones over 70%!
I love the Maya Angelou quote. So very true.
If your picture is not with the "40 40 lens" then you certainly do not need that.
JK

COMMENT
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