my partner is coming off venlafaxine

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My partner of only 8 weeks has come off venlafaxine. we'll refer to him as Bob, we met at the start of December, we knew each other nearly 30 years ago and went out for a short time (we were just kids) When we met in december there was an imediate spark and we fell in love very quickly, this sounds like something I would never have believed in, it happens in fairytales but not real life, right?, but it happened. We have texted each other every day and obviously met up when we could, everything was very good, we had a laugh, chatted about old days, and about how we feel about each other now,  untill 2 weeks ago, suddenly there are massive misunderstandings, the only way I can describe it is how bob worded it, 'we have completely different concepts and understandings of the written word, phrases, paragraphs, the lot. none of these issues happen when we are face to face'.  Things I say seem to, in his words 'hurt' him and 'p***' him off ........based on the fact there wasn't a problem before 2 weeks ago, is it possible that I have started wording things differently? (as suggested by bob) apart from bob coming off venlafaxine, he has gone thru a really bad time. He was made redundant (altho is now starting a new job) and he lost his stepmum just after new year. He really has gone thru a lot.....Sorry this is long but, really what I would like to know is, could this problem somehow be conected to him coming off this stuff, or is it just a simple case of we shouldn't be together. If it could be conected, I want to help him thru and support him. If it's nothing to do with this then, obviously I don't want to seem like a cling on and stress him out. I really need some constructive help from anyone how may relate to anything I've said. Thanks for reading this.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    I came off Venlafaxine after 9 years.  It is a very difficult drug to withdraw from and can give nasty withdrawals if not weaned off really slowly.  Could be Bob is experiencing these withdrawals and yes it could be connected. 

    Don't give up.  You sound as if you have found something really good, and I am so pleased for you.  Sometimes after coming off an anti depressant, we find that we get depressed again. 

    Bob has been through a great deal, but I am sure your love will help him through all this.  I truly think you should be together.  He needs support from you,and needs to know you are there for him.  He may be pushing you away, but that is the nature of depression

    How long is it since he withdrew from Venlafaxine?  Has he been experiencing all kinds of withdrawal symptoms? 

    As you say, you don'twant to cling, but just support him let him know you are there for him.  He will possibly need time alone tyo cope with this, but it does not mean he does not want you.  I have been through similar and I let my depression spoil relationships.  If you can see him through this now, then I am sure everything will be OK, but it will need time and understanding on your part. 

    Take care Betty. 

    • Posted

      Thank you Anne for your advice. It has only been 2 weeks since he stopped after having the dose reduced. I will 'hang in there'
  • Posted

    Hi there - firstly, I'm so pleased that you and Bob found each other again after so many years - my husband and I did the same thing about 8 years ago and have now been married for the last 4+!  Secondly, it sounds to me that Bob is struggling to come off his Venlafaxine - it would certainly explain his mood and attitude towards you.  When your on the correct meds that keep you on the straight and narrow you can function normally and rationally, but it only takes a blip in your meds to quickly send you in a downward spiral.  Without wanting to repeat myself in great detail (have a look at other discussions I've been on for the full details, if required!) but about 6 weeks ago I was given a different brand of Venlafaxine which I was assured was the same, but my gradual spiral down into depression told me otherwise.  If Bob is regressing back into depression then he will behave exactly how you describe - it makes no sense as anyone who suffers depression will tell you.  One small part of you may want to give you the mental kick up the backside you need, but the larger, more negative part always wins out and you end up just wanting to isolate yourself from all those around you no matter how kind or good their intentions are.  My advice is to stick with Bob - offer to go back to his GP with him to show that you fully support him and are prepared to stick by him no matter what.  He may not seem that appreciative now and may even try to push you further away, but please hang in there as once he gets the help and meds he needs he will, hopefully, get back to the Bob you fell back in love with.  If you can go to his GP with him, ask about being referred for some CBT therapy - I've just started with an excellent therapist and we're going to try something called ACT - Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.  It may or may not be suitable for Bob but I'm sure he hasn't got anything to lose by trying it.  I've only done two sessions but am starting to see and understand how it works and am hopeful it will be successful as I don't want to be on Venlafaxine for the rest of my life.  Good luck to you both.


    • Posted

      Thank you Sandra for your reply,I have had 3 replies, and all very helpfull. I will let you all know how it goes.
  • Posted

    Hello Betty

    I immediately understood the speed with which your relationship has progressed, and its depth, having recently experienced much the same thing, when a friend of 33 years and I found that for all that time we had been looking for the wrong person, in the wrong place.  What we now have works, and is worth it.  A year ago we became engaged, and things just get better all the time, despite having to help each other though some difficult patches, or maybe because of that.

    However, if he is undergoing what appears to be something of a personality change, having a) suffered considerable stress recently and b) only just stopped taking Venlafaxine, it would seem very likely to me that he is experiencing a return of the original illness.  Depression may express itself in many forms, and for some it takes on the appearance of someone who is becoming over-touchy, almost to the point of paranoia.

    I am speaking as a person who has depression, and is on an antidepressant, and has been on Venlafaxine for years in the past.  I think that my illness is fairly well controlled now, as at times I am able to feel such contentment and even happiness, with my partner, and even when on my own.

    He is enormously supportive, and very understanding, which helps hugely, so please have no fears about being a 'cling on' - based on my own experiences, for what they are worth, he probably really needs you right now. 

    There is a book, usually available from Amazon, called 'Living with a Black Dog', by Matthew Johnstone.  As a man who has suffered from severe depression, he tried to describe how it feels in pictures.  People with a depressive illness often visualise things better pictorially than they do via the written word (which may be part of your problem, but see later).  It is the sequel to I Once had a Black Dog, but designed more for the partner of a sufferer, than for the sufferer themselves, although I personally think it is better.  Either way, it may give you some idea, if you are new to depressive illnesses, and their effect on people and their relationships, of what it is like, and what you are possibly going to have to deal with.  Btw, in case you don't konw, Winston Churchill, who suffered from dreadful bouts of depression, coined the expression 'the black dog'.  He used to say 'the black dog is back'. 

    There may be several reasons, if his recent change in behaviour is in fact due to depression, that this has occurred.  To my mind, far the most likely thing is that he needs to get himself back on an SSRI (anti-depressant), because either it is too early for him to stop them, which may be the case, since he still has considerable stressors with a redundancy, a new job, and a very recent breavement, or he has tried to stop them too quickly.  It can take people months to withdraw from them, without suffering from a rebound effect, with depression returning, and becoming worse.

    Many people who write on this site feel that the withdrawal from the drug itself causes terrible side effects, so again, he may have stopped them too precipitously.

    The thing from your note that strikes me most is that you have the sensitivity to ask yourself whether the problem is you - i.e. whether you are wording things differently.  I would guess that the answer is that you are not doing that at all, but in fact probably bending over backwards to say the right thing, and to be as sympathetic and supportive as you are able to be. 

    I don't use text much, but imagine that it is worse than e-mail in this respect ... the written word is so two dimensional, without the advantage of facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, or physical contact that it is so very easy to misinterpret what has been written. 

    If he is depressed, then it is highly likely that his sense of humour, particularly anything that requires a degree of self-deprecation,  has gone into hibernation for the time being.

    While I have been writing this, you have had a reply from Anne, whose advice I endorse completely.  I was going to suggest much the same approach, but would add that it sometimes helps a great deal to know as much as you can about the illness, in order to be able to help the person get through it.  Anne wrote that he 'may be pushing you away, but that is the nature of depression'.  She is absolutely right - sometimes a person with depression feels so unworthy of love, that they do just that.  Also, it is possible that he fears rejection, partly or perhaps largely because of how he feels about himself, that by distancing you, and implying that it is the way that you write things to him that is at fault, that he can therefore legitimately reject you first, even if that is the last thing that he actually wants to do.  In other words, it may be a defence.  But that is just speculation ...

    In terms of offering constructive help, I would suggest that you try to find an occasion when you are together, (from what you say it will have to be face-to-face, or he may take it completely the wrong way), when you feel reasonably comfortable about asking him about his feelings, and maybe suggesting gently that he goes back to his GP for further advice, or treatment. 

    I sounds to me as if you have a potentially flourishing romance, that until the last two weeks has been making you both very happy.  I would hang in there - it is so rare to find someone that you feel that way about, and that it is reciprocated. 

    Anne also said that 'it will need time and understanding on your part', and I absolutely agree.  If you are not only prepared, but want to make that commitment to him, then he is fortunate indeed.  It is possible, despite this being so early in your relationship, that it will make you stronger as a couple in the future.

    With very best wishes

    M x


    • Posted

      Thank you amanda. Your message is very helpfull, as are all the bits of advice given, We are making arrangements to meet this week sometime (I wasn't sure about having a 'talk' in the middle of his 1st week in a new job but, he says he wants to) we have been communicating thru text again, some questions being asked of me I feel have been leading to 'indepth' conversations, I have softly steered away from this and it seems to be ok. So when we meet we'll have a good talk, after everyones help my decission is confirmed, i will go with my heart and believe this is something we can work thru. I'm not blaming  his comming off vf for our problems, but it looks like that may be a factor along with other things, we don't get to this age without baggage and issues do we? lol and we are still getting to know each other again. Thanks again for all your help
    • Posted

      Hope the chat goes well Betty.  Glad you got some good advice here.  People are so helpful and caring of others. 
    • Posted

      Hi Anne

      I am so pleased to hear about someone else with a depressive illness who seems to have gained some control over their life, and made it a happy one.

      You are right - some people are helpful and caring of others, and you are clearly one of them!

      Very best wishes

      M x


    • Posted

      Thanks Amanda.  How are you doing?  My daughter is training to be a counsellor and the Black Dog is one that she was told would be helpful for people with depression.  I have read it myself.

      You gave wonderful helpful advice to Betty, bless you.  You sound a truly caring person.


  • Posted

    I'm on 150 a nd have Been for 10 years. I had depression pretty bad (not the first but the worst), but not as bad as others I met. Since then, I feel, venlafaxine, has massively kept from serious relapse.

    first I'd like to say, everyone is different, and this (with venlafaxine),can mean in relation to any aspect of the drug effects on the individual, and how individuals vary in how they affect the drug (it's transport, degradation etc.). I'm talking here about what is termed individual  variations in the pharmacology of a drug.

    a lot of the accounts about missing a dose and trying to withdraw fit my experience.

    neverthess I'm very grateful to venlafaxine.

    my doc said, if it works for you, don't feel guilty about staying on it. Tell that to your partner.

    the causes of depression are varied in my opinion, and I think it's possible that I belong to the so-called 'biological' class, where one has perhaps a  biochemical deficiency in serotonin. It's complicated.....

    perhaps, therefore, for me and others like me, taking an antidepressant will need to be a lifelong thing. Withdrawing might never work. If the venlafaxine works I'll keep on taking it. A bit disappointing, but nothing to the depression it's kept away very well

    about missed doses.......sometimes I forget a dose, and although usually it's ok, sometimes it's not.

    this would fit in very well with venlafaxines known short half life. It ain't perfect.

    good luck



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