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I wanted to share my experience of withdrawal with you as a hopeful message and a thank you for the tips and support I got from reading these boards.
Yesterday, I was drug free for 2 months. I have not felt this great in years and I am finally rediscovering ‘me’.
My experience has to come with a major warning – my method does not work for a lot of people and I was in a good place mentally and emotionally when I started my withdrawal. Ok, here it is: I was on 150mg Effexor having come down from 300mg and was ready to drop again.
I was at my sister’s wedding 2hours from home and left my meds at the hotel. I didn’t freak out as I knew I was seeing my Psychiatrist in 3 days and assumed I would be dropping my dose again so thought it would be ok to wait til then.
On day 2 of no meds, I got the brain zaps at the base of my head but no biggie, I’d had them many times before. On the day I saw my psychiatrist, the vertigo kicked in and I was very weepy. My psychiatrist suggested the worst was now over and if I wanted, I could stay off them.
I’ve wanted to get off these drugs for a while now and circumstances were at the best they may ever be so I jumped at this and left with an ‘emergency’ script for 75mg and a lot of excitement.
Everyone who has ever tried withdrawal will know the psychiatrist was telling a few ‘little’ porkies about the worst being over!! The following days were filled with delightful thumping headaches, nausea, poos a colour and consistency that a newborn would be proud of, weeping over limping birds and a hole in my t-shirt, vertigo and ……… The Rage! Oh God, the rage. If I wasn’t Irish and incapable of turning any colour other than blue/white, I’d have given the Hulk a run for his money.
Now, I was very lucky as the school holidays had just started so I was not at work (unfortunately, neither were my kids or husband!!). I knew the crappy side effects were temporary so I just dug in, tried to watch as many funny films as possible, played Madonna at top volume (not sure if this was a side effect or not ), and waited it out. I can honestly recommend keeping busy. Yes, I felt like dung and at times the vertigo was horrendous but just keep plodding on. The days will pass and the side effects will slowly ease. I craved vegetables (I know, it shocked me too) and felt a strong urge to walk in the sun. By Day 10, I had long periods were I had no side effects at all. The frequent, rushed and frankly, unwanted toilet visits were completely gone. Nausea was fleeting, headaches gone and mercifully the vertigo disappeared too. I was however still very, very emotional and still had bouts of Rage (trust me, it deserves a capital letter). I even left home one day! Drove 10 minutes away, cried for an hour and came home lol. I looked in my getaway bag the next day and I had packed a top, 2 nightshirts and a bottle of perfume! That’s another point, maybe lay off the Michelin starred meal preparations for a couple of weeks – concentration and common sense are not your best friends while your brain tries to remember how to cope without chemical help.
Now 8 weeks on, I can honestly say I am symptom free and very, very happy. I talked to my CPN about my wild emotional swings and she assured me it was normal and that for 11 years, I’d had numbed responses so it was my brain readjusting to actually feeling again.
I’ve lost weight without trying, I’m sleeping properly for the first time in years and I am excited about life. It has been totally worth the short term crap of withdrawal. It was a truly horrendous first 7-10 days but reading these boards and realizing that one, it was temporary and two, everyone else was feeling the same, made me stick the heels in and get here today.
Sorry for the essay, good luck with your journey, stay strong and remember there is no one right way for successful withdrawal. What worked for me might be a disaster for you. I was very lucky in that it was the right time for me, I didn’t have to go to work and I had a great support system.
Thanks for your time and I hope this helps even one person xx
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