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i'm off the effexor


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it has taken me so so long to realize that effexor was not the drug for me. it's also taken so long to wean off it i can't believe it.

but i'm done with it now. i took my last 37.5mg tablet last week. and i'm okay physically and not too bad on the crazy scale.

yay!

i know i'm gonna need another serotonin-pusher soon (only thing that chases away the suicidal monster). but i'm glad i know myself enough now to say no to the SNRIs... just stick to the simple prozac (in addition to everything else) and i'll be way, way better off.

i just feel so relieved i had to share it. i thought i was going to be one of those people who would have to take effexor forever.

-lysergia

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Hi Lysergia,

I don't know if you have already posted this somewhere earlier .. or not. But would you mind filling us in on why you are so glad to be off the Effexor? What did you feel it did (or didn't) do for you?

Thanks!

LL

duh... i never thought about posting WHY it wasn't the drug for me (though it could be for someone else)...

that would actually be useful information to share :)

my effexor story (pull up a chair, kids!):

well, first of all, no matter how we played with the dosage (for a looooong time), it never did get rid of my depression. it made me able to drag my depressed ass around and pretend at a life a little (most of time), but really that was about it. i kept on with it though, because plain SSRIs never cut it for me, so it meant that SNRIs were supposed to be doing the trick.

i thought the rest of getting "undepressed" at that time meant that i was doing something wrong, that therapy was supposed to be getting me somewhere beyond the mental cushion my thoughts could fall on (the effexor) when i was way down.... but i was getting it wrong still somehow.

being here helped me realise that i could expect more than that from a serious medication - that therapy wasn't ever going to get through to me if i couldn't even get to a place where i could hear anything other than my own (warped and miserable) head.

so i went through a period of adding and subtracting different meds to augment the effexor, thinking that might be the answer. none of that had any real success either (except for discovering wellbutrin.... yay!). but it kept me on effexor even longer.

one of the most prevalent side-effects of effexor is nausea (not everybody gets this). i had it, bad, right from the beginning. the drug itself also made food taste like cardboard. my doc's solution to this was to keep giving me zantac samples. took those for more than a year before i realised they made no difference at all. stopped taking them.

slowly, i became less and less able to keep food down because of the nausea. i didn't care because i wasn't hungry. i also didn't care because depressed people don't generally care about their health :/

so of course, i started losing weight. i was probably twenty pounds overweight to begin with, so nobody really thought anything of me not being so big anymore. i just started looking "average" i guess.

then i started thinking that this not bothering to eat thing actually felt "good" (starvation has a temporary adrenalin rush, which feels kinda good when you're miserable all the time). psychologically, i was also pretty prone to hating how my body looked anyway (after a long history of having battled with food and weight and self-esteem that was never resolved).

well, i let this go on for a long time. i got sick a lot when i did eat, but i didn't tell anybody for fear they'd take away that pill that made food go away. plus i STILL believed the drug was working right, but i wasn't doing enough, it was my half of the med/therapy deal that was the problem.

by the time i realized i had to get off effexor, i'd developed a pretty serious eating disorder. people commented on my weight constantly (unfortunately it was mostly complimentary, since we live in a thin-obsessed culture). i started weaning off, really slowly (because i already knew that particular withdrawal hell).

now i'm off the effexor, and in that in-between time when i find my own feelings again (wow!), before the crash comes back down on me. this time i'm much better off, because when demanding to get off the effexor, my doc finally let me give a mood stabilizer a chance - and it's actually helping me not fall down so hard or fast as i would have before. i know i'll still need something that pushes some more serotonin around my brain soon, but i'll never again go back to an antidepressant that interferes with my ability to eat.

anybody that identifies with this story at all should know, also, that just because i stopped taking the effexor, the eating problems went away with it. they didn't. i've done damage to my body, i still feel horribly nauseous all the time now because of that damage, and i've adopted a whole new way to deny my feelings by controlling my food. now i'll have that to battle too, not just the being depressed.

that was probably way more than was necessary huh :)

but on the off chance out there that someone else reading this is doing the same thing with their meds... put me on the poster child list for making very bad med decisions (right alongside my doc, who told me all along that i looked great ;) ).

just don't do it. and don't hide it. don't be me.

/gets off soapbox

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Lys - congratulations!! And thanks so much for sharing your story...I didn't know that's what started your ED. It was good to read it...I seriously considered staying on Depakote bc it was helping me avoid food and lose weight and well, I'm vain...really, really, really stupid, I know. The mental pain was just too much and no matter how much weight I could've lost, I just couldn't take it so went to the pdoc and got "permission" to get off of it today - so tonight will be my last pill too! We can celebrate together - WOOT! WOOT! I'll always keep your story in the back of my mind when I consider staying on a horrible med for vanity purposes. Thank you ;) .

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Hi Lysergia,

Thanks much for your response! I appreciate .. and I'm sure many more will/do appreciate your in-depth response. I belive that it is very good to know what kind of "possible" effects these SNRI's can have on someone.

In my husband's case .. it was opposite. I think he gained (at least!) 35lbs. But that is not the worst part of it. Effexor was the catalyst (IMO) in making him an alcoholic.

He is also making one bad decision after another. I think it has something to do with the Effexor taking away the "healthy" anxiety he should be feeling, so that he would be motivated to do the "right" thing.

There are many things/issues that he would get on his soapbox about (BEFORE Effexor) and NOW he has become (like) the people that he always maintained he hated.

He just doesn't care .. that about sums it up.

LL

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Hi Lysergia,

Thanks much for your response! I appreciate .. and I'm sure many more will/do appreciate your in-depth response. I belive that it is very good to know what kind of "possible" effects these SNRI's can have on someone.

In my husband's case .. it was opposite. I think he gained (at least!) 35lbs. But that is not the worst part of it. Effexor was the catalyst (IMO) in making him an alcoholic.

He is also making one bad decision after another. I think it has something to do with the Effexor taking away the "healthy" anxiety he should be feeling, so that he would be motivated to do the "right" thing.

There are many things/issues that he would get on his soapbox about (BEFORE Effexor) and NOW he has become (like) the people that he always maintained he hated.

He just doesn't care .. that about sums it up.

LL

Lucy, that's really crappy and i'm sorry you have to watch your husband behave this way ;)

i definitely believe you when you say the effexor fueled the alcoholism. the enjoyment/escapism of drinking was probably something he already liked a little, like most people i suppose. but he used to know better than to act on these kind of urges, huh :/

my first round on prozac (ten years or so ago?) sent me into six months of drinking every damned day - seriously. i had never tried an antidepressant before, and something about the way it hit me kinda put me in this state where i cared about NOTHING except getting through the day so i could drink again. and i was a single parent! i had NEVER behaved this way before with my child! and i wanted more and more alcohol and it took more and more to feel drunk. i had NO insight into my behaviour - i was oblivious, couldn't hold on to a thought for repercussions to save my life.

thank god i had people in my life who were getting annoyed with the drinking, so i stopped. as well as chucking out the prozac (which was stupid - i should have talked to a doctor instead and tried a different med).

so i feel for you watching this. i hope something comes along that turns on that light bulb for him, somehow, that things might not ever change unless he changes his meds.

thanks for reading my uberlong response :)

-lysergia

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