Friday, April 11


I started taking the anti depressant Venlafaxine (Effexor) in Feb 2013 after having a very unsuccessful 6 weeks on 20mg of Citalopram. My initial response to 37.5mg was positive. A few wks later I increased to 75mg and eventually graduated to a 150mg dose. I maintained this until mid January 2014 when I saw my Dr and asked her help to wean off the drugs. We agreed on a 6 week slow weaning. I started week one on 112.5mg a day. I felt an incredible feeling of "medicine head" sort of like I had taken a really strong pill for muscle pain. I couldn't quite explain the feeling other than a very thick mental fog. Cotton head. Often I had vertigo dizziness and was unstable on my feet, combined with this weird fog. I had what I would call brain zaps where a buzzing feeling of alarm would randomly generate in my head. A shock feeling. Jarring. And very random. 
Ten days in, I reduced again to 75mg but found the vertigo and brain zaps to be way too unmanageable. I would alternate days of 112.5mg then 75mg until I could stand a few days in a row of 75mg. 
The third week of withdrawal- roughly Feb 15 or so- was certainly THE WORST. The irritability was insane. Irate. Outbursts. All coupled with the previously mentioned symptoms of foggy head, brain zaps and vertigo. Worst week ever. 
I fumbled on. 
Late Feb I was down to alternating 75mg and 37.5mg and finally by mid March was alternating 37.5 and zero every other day. Although the irritability somewhat subsided the fog and zaps persisted. Finally by March 20 I was on my own & revisited my Dr. to report my progress. Although at zero mg a day I still had occasional dizzy moments and cotton head, but much less often than when taking my lowest dose.
As of just this past 10 days I can say the medicine head no longer exists. My more recent issues have been concentration & focus which are a real problem regaining. I have had emotional fluctuations but am working through them. I am able to swallow the lump in my throat when the overwhelming waves of sadness come. I redirect myself when I feel the anger. But my memory, my concentration... SQUIRREL! 
I know in time I can overcome this, I just am not sure how to help myself recover here at this point. 

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