I had been taking Effexor 150mg for 9 years and Ativan for 15. Prior to the Effexor I was on Luvox.
I wanted to get off of the meds for a number of reasons but I think at the end of the day I became fed up with being such a passive waste of space to myself.
My responsibilities to my family in these troubling times requires more attention to detail and I no longer want to be dependent on something that may not be available in the future. I hope I do not sound flippant as that is not my intent. As I mentioned, there were a number of reasons, but family first jumps to the forefront
It took me a long time to get organized for the plunge. After reading so many horror stories I was pretty nervous, plus I had to re-read things a dozen times to wrap myself around what and what not to do.
I initially started most of my research with the Road Back program, which has a great manual to outline the ins and outs. Unfortunately, they did not answer a single e-mail I sent with questions.
Nonetheless, I did use their manual as a guideline with my tweeks. As per the e-book, I decided to tackle the Ativan first.
There was some humor involved for sure, if you can imagine trying to split down the pills. I think the splitter is almost as big as the pills, lol. Determined, I started the taper by cutting the pill into 4 eyeballed equal parts and made my attempt at reducing a 1/4 each 2 week period. I planned a month withdrawal time frame.
The first few days, I only slept when I dropped, so to speak. All other aspects of daily life I continued as normal, just that gritty underslept feeling everyday, all day. For supplements I was taking some Nuero Endure, Fish Oil, Vitamin E, Be Calm for day and Be Calm for night, all recommended in the manual and as it turns out, produced and sold by the manual guy.
After 2 weeks of this fiasco, with broken pills, trying to remember which supplements when and the Nuero Endure melting in the container, I decided to go right down to a 1/4 or a reasonable facsimle of it. I think at this point that just a small taste of the Ativan was sufficient to keep my mind on the game plan. If you are familiar with Ativan, you will understand how much the security can be produced from the taste alone.
Suffice it to say, I actually became fed up with the whole process and stopped after the third week.
There were a lot of things going on at the same time which were making it hard to concentrate. Kids who had no idea what I was trying to do, a wife that was not on the same page at the same time and much much more. Plus we were living temporarily in a cockroach infested shack with no TV and an Internet signal like trying to listen to a radio with no batteries. The supplements, well who knows really, from a health point I did not feel any better nor any worse than I expected. Maybe the fish oil helped with smoother toilet trips and the Be calm might have made it easier to fall asleep, might being the key word.
So, once off the Ativan I decided to wait a couple of months on the Effexor XR and put a better plan in place. Obviously I had to devote a few minutes to pulling the family back onto the same page again. Beaches, pizza, moving and so forth, of course making sure the girls made to and from school, etc., etc.
As it turned out 6 months went by in the blink of an eye. Six hard months as I had wanted to start much sooner but at the end of the day the wife just could not grasp the concept of withdrawing from something so cooperation was not happening. Thus I waited until the girls finished the school year before the big quest, well almost finished.
This time around I decided to try another companies supplements which is THR in Florida. As it turns out, the guy who wrote the Back Road manual was tied into THR before going his own way, so basically, the same vitamins, just a lot cheaper in Florida.
This time around I bought what the company describes as their Nerve Package. I bought a three month supply to come off the 150mg. Additionally, I bought a weigh scale and some empty capsules from Amazon. Amazon has everything now, I bought 2 engine alternators a few weeks back, lol.
The scale was a grain scale with a maximum of 1 ounce, so very small, similar to a calculator.
Being that I am a little pain impatient I decided that my game plan was to come down off the Effexor over a six week period, 50mg every 2 weeks and take the vitamins exactly as stated on the bottles.
I then took a capsule (time release) and emptied it into a little cupcake cup. I weighed another cup for the bare weight. Then I simply weighed the capsule contents and divided it by 3. Thus, knocking of a 1/3 and refilling the capsules with the new amount.
It's not precision, but for us regular folk, it would do I felt. I have read in many places that you have to be precise to the grain, but that is BS unless you are a pharmacist.
I should note that I started the vitamin regimen a week before the taper.
So it began, the first drop of 50mg. I think the hardest part really, is the dizzyness all the time. It is similar to trying to walk from one end to the othe of a canoe, in a hurricane. It is always the second and third day that are the hardest. If you have ever missed days of Effexor, you know exactly what I mean. There is also the feeling of constant pressure on your head which is not much fun.
For myself, the first swing down lasted most of the 2 weeks, but I was eager and know where I am going, the goal lines are clear. I wasn't getting any support so I spent a far amount of time outside with my own thoughts. During that first period I would sit out there and pay attention to the sky and stars and wonder how many people actually pay attention to them anymore.
I know I had let them drift out of mine since stopping working out in the bush a few years back. My kids prefer to see the stars riding on a dragons back in a video game and the wife, her stars are in the ceiling of the mall universe. I had the thoughts about the world being a better place without me and all those other things we all fear so much.
But suddenly we were at week 3 and time for the next step down, now that was a bruiser, a seat belt tightener for sure. Down to 50mg. I dropped the wife and kids at the airport and sent them to disneyland or where ever they wanted to go as long as it wasn't running and screaming around here, lol.
The second day in I was driving down the road when suddenly I realized I shouldn't be. Wow! I would turn my head and it would take a bit of time before what was inside would catch up with it and then they would run into each other. I really got worried that maybe I would phase out or pass out, who know's. I slowed to a crawl and limped the couple miles home and put the keys away for a few days.
The 2nd drop was by far the hardest physically and mentally. The dizzyness was constant and of course a freight train of thoughts, good and bad. I am not an agressive person really, so the thoughts were pretty well confined to the tortures of my life as I saw it at any particular moment. In other words, all over the map.
What I did find in stage 2 was that the craziness ended quite quickly, within a couple of days things were pretty calm. Noise was really hectic that 2nd and 3rd day. Ripping a paper was so loud.
I thought maybe I had pushed it to far to fast with stage 2, but if you hang (bad choice of words) in there, after a few days all is tolerable and keep the goal in mind. I also found that creating a few future goals takes ones mind off of things.
As a safety notch, I was undecided on whether to split the last 50mg reduction in two, but after the 2nd one from a physical standpoint I decided to reduce 25mg one week and go clean the second week.
This is where I am at right now. I have a few more days before going off completely and all is looking good. I did find this last reduction to be relatively painless. I still have the dizzyness at times which is annoying, sometimes I think it may be an underlying problem. I won't know for sure until off the Effexor.
The supplements, well I am really kind of spotty on them at the moment. I am not convinced to much as it is impossible (for me) to tell a difference. My feet have been swelling a little which could be the amount of fish oil going in.
I will probably shut down on them tomorrow as I want to be clean of everything at the end of this to truly know any physical damages of Effexor use.
At the end of the day, all I can say so far is, if you are on it, get off it.
Thanks and comments or questions are welcome.