A year on Venlafaxine

I have been taking Venlafaxine for a year now, I thought this would be a good time to discuss how I have been on them. I was prescribed these for both depressive episodes and anxiety. I started off on 75mg a day and was increased to 225mg a day. I was taking 75mg on a morning and 150mg on a night. These didn’t really work at first, I was still having depressive episodes but when I was increased to 225mg a day they worked like a dream for my depressive episodes and worked relatively well for my anxiety.

I literally haven’t had a depressive episode since starting the higher dose of these. I openly admit I have had times where I have felt low and thought life was worthless but this only lasted minutes and I was back to normal. I have been on several anti depressants in my time including Fluoxetine, Citalopram and Mirtazapine. Venlafaxine has hands down been the best medication for me. I totally understand that everyone is different and react differently to each medication but personally for me Venlafaxine has been a gods send.

It has helped a lot with my anxiety and I mean A LOT. Now I’m not saying it has been a miracle, it hasn’t. I still have a long way to go. I didn’t used to be able to leave the house alone before taking this medication and now I can. I can actually go out without needing my mum to be by my side. It’s amazing what they’ve done for me. I can meet friends and socialise. I still feel anxious but I can physically do it. My quality of life is so much better than before this medication. I’ve had no side effects whatsoever like my other medications in the past. No headaches, no sickness, no bruises and no weight gain.

Here comes the twist. I have Bipolar 2. Anti depressants are well known for causing manic episodes. So in January I had a manic episode probably caused by taking my anti depressants. This is the worst manic episode I have had to date and my Psychiatrist wants me off them. He doesn’t want them causing manic episodes as they can be dangerous for myself and others around me so that’s it. I’m coming off them. The medication that has kept me happy and sane for a year, the medication that is my lifeline and prevented me from being suicidal and taking my own life is no longer available to me. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to cope and that’s just being depressed nevermind the side effects of coming off such strong medication.

My psychiatrist has stressed over and over again how important it is to gradually come off these tablets because they are so strong and the body reacts badly to just going cold turkey. They are known for causing seizures aswell as other illnesses if abruptly stopped. I went down to 150mg for two week and didn’t feel much of a difference in myself. I then cut down to 75mg a day and WOW did I feel unwell. I had diarrhea and sickness, severe anxiety, shakes and sweats. I will be lowering these gradually even more untill I am completely off them.

Have you ever come off anti depressants, how did you feel?

Jenna Von x

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