Why did I start again?
It's been hard to write these last few months for various reasons. One for a lack of motivation and also the inability to find the words to put on a computer screen.
That motivation is slowly coming back and I genuinely put that down to coming off of the medication my psychiatrist and I decided to try.
I am in the process of putting together a couple of posts explaining my journey since April so keep an eye out for those next week.
Venlafaxine is the medication I have been taking since Mid April, starting off at 37.5mg then after two weeks upping to 75mg. A month later switching to a longer lasting version of the same medication and two weeks after that upping to 150mg and thankfully never going any higher. I want to make it clear all of these decisions were decided with a private psychiatrist and likewise with the decision to come off of it and that in a brief sense brings us to now.
After my last appointment with the psychiatrist, we agreed to drop down to the 75mg XL tablets for two weeks and then come off the medication altogether. Initially, that was the plan I was going to follow his instructions but with the past antidepressants, I had been on I had always gone cold turkey and had minimal withdrawal symptoms and been off of them before I knew it.
Unfortunately, I knew it wasn't going to be the case with these having had missed a couple of days once due to running out of medication and the symptoms started after 24 hours without a tablet.
Either way, I wasn't ready to spend another two weeks going onto the lower dosage and then stopping abruptly so of course, I was going to do my own thing.
I took the lower dosage for four days consecutively and then started on taking a tablet every other day. At first, I'm not going to lie, I felt great I went back to football training, followed by going for a run the next two days, I started eating better and sleeping better but that quickly deteriorated and I was feeling worse than I had whilst on the higher dosage.
Towards the end of the 75mg I had been given, I tried to go to one every three days but that was too difficult which brought me to ringing the doctor's surgery and asking the GP to prescribe me some 37.5mg due to the struggles I was having trying to come off of the Venlafaxine.
I took the 37.5mg three days in a row but they literally had no effect on me and I continued feeling awful and that is when I decided to stop completely.
As I said before going cold turkey wasn't what I planned but it was what was going to have to happen. The suffering was happening regardless and it was time to suck it up and get through it. However, I never expected it to get as bad as it has got. If I knew what I know now or had been told how bad the withdrawal symptoms would be I would never have started on Venlafaxine.
The third day without any tablets a headache started and then the brain zaps. I started getting restless, agitated and very irritable. (I apologise to anyone who's had to be around during this period!!) next came nausea, fortunately, no actual sick left my body but there was a few close calls and dashes for the bathroom. I noticed my anxiety taking a turn in the opposite direction and my most noticeable physical anxiety trait is an upset stomach which has been constant since. My mood had already been erratic since changing from the 150mg but I was having significantly more mood swings which have been hard to deal with. I also got really bad cravings, mainly for food which is weird because I didn't have much of an appetite on the medication and now I literally cannot stop eating. My sleep is always all over the places and I'm still sleeping a lot, with getting nightmares and waking up dripping in sweat and I'm also getting really cold and hot throughout the day and of course the occasional suicidal thought crossing my mind. I think that about covers it, so yeah kind of sucks. I actually cannot wait for this to be over.
As you can imagine with all of this going on it has affected my life massively and also the closest people around me. I'm still not currently working but opportunities are presenting themselves and I'm once again not in a position to take them for now.
I actually read a bit about withdrawal from Venlafaxine including some forums and so many people say how bad it is to get off of this drug whether it's been a few months like me or 10+ years. Having read what I have it baffles me that this drug can be prescribed especially when it's basically a trial and error drug that has no guarantee to work.
The commons information that kept coming up beside how bad it was to come off was that the main withdrawal symptoms should be gone within a week or two, in some cases longer like a month and up to a year! A lot of people were saying about using supplements to help with the symptoms including certain vitamins and omega 3 fish oil tablets. So I went out to buy some of those because I'm literally willing to try anything to make this better and even after taking an omega 3 fish oil tablet and a multi vitamin some of the symptoms have eased and enabled me to think clearer and even write this.
I'm now six days without any Venlafaxine so I'm hoping in the next few days the symptoms should ease up and allow me to get back on with my life having barely left my bed in the last few days.
To be quite honest I feel as though the last three months have been an absolute waste of time and the thought of trying another new medication is not sitting well with me right now.
I'm trying to stay as positive as possible and hopefully, this will be over soon, then we look for the next step!