I have been very quiet and too afraid to write in my blog. You see for the last 6 weeks i have not been able to do anything right. I turned 45 on May 13 it seemed very clear i had reached the end of my life as I knew it. I would forget my keys and glasses, I would forget to wash my hair in the shower. I would forget to pay bills or I would overpay forgetting they were already paid!
At work it was even worse. My job requires me to write communications to the management and executive levels of my company. I was thinking one word and typing another one, I was missing words, misspelling words, forgetting to do even basic tasks associated with my role. My bosses were so upset, my team mates were embarrassed. I wrote checklists for myself, I read what i wrote out loud, i slowed down, all in desperate attempts to fix myself! I decided I was either aging far too early with alzheimer’s or their must be something neurological happening. The alternative scared me to death! Could I be going crazy?
I had no explanation for my confusion, I could not seem to apply any logic to fix it. I was on the road to losing my job and I was unable to stop that. I started realizing that if I lost this job due to the inability to do anything right , then I would NEVER even be able to get another job. You have to be able to do basic tasks consistently to be successful at any job. Therefore I decided I was likely heading to a life on disability.
I would have to break up with my boyfriend, how could i make anyone stand beside me when I am clearly going crazy. I would have to suggest my daughter go live with someone else , someone would have to take Toby for me too. I couldn’t take care of myself how could i take care of others.
I spent nights crying aimlessly. I saw no answers, no chance at helping myself. One night last week i hit my bottom, so sure i was only a pain for everyone in my life I looked into the bottle of Effexor as I poured out 3 capsules and considered it it would be easier to just swallow the whole bottle and stop this madness right now.
For me this was a lightbulb moment. I remembered that in late April I had my Effexor XR dose moved from 150mg to 225 mg. I thought back over the month of May and realized that I had almost fainted 2 times, my blood pressure had spiked, I had the worst migraine of my life and I had a constant headache. I had shakes, I had excessive sweating, I had more anxiety not less, My skin picking was way worse.
I ran to my computer and typed in Effexor side effect – confusion….sure enough I found that the memory loss, the confusion, the excess sweating, dizziness and every other symptom of the month was listed under side effect or serious side effect.
I had gone to a psychiatrist in April. I wanted to finally work through all the survival techniques I set up as a child in an unsafe home to determine which were still valuable to me at 45 and which ones did I have to learn to let go of.
I knew I wanted to stop my skin picking, I wanted to stop shutting down when I felt stress, I wanted to learn how to love myself.
So the psychiatrist suggested I join a group therapy program that I will be starting in July, This will help to teach me how to regulate emotions correctly.
Then he suggested we increase the dose of Effexor to see if would help my anxiety and skin picking. I told him i don’t like the drug. I had been on it since 2005 and gone between 75 mg to 150 mg depending on what was happening in my life.
In the end I agreed with him that we try increasing the one my body knows and then if that doesn’t work we could look at other drugs.
So June 11 I had a transient thought of suicide. for me this is always a warning sign that i am in over my head and i need help. I would never abandon my children, I would never take the steps to suicide. My mother tried to kill herself as a hobby in my childhood..images of her scraping a knife over her wrists daring my father to push down, the nights begging her not to swallow pills which she ignored and swallowed anyway. For me it is cruel to my family and not something I would ever hold over someones head to make them behave a certain way. Its just not in me to do this. For me my mother almost normalized it , desensitized me to it. When I felt like committing suicide as a teen it was to hurt my mother, but i realized she wouldn’t even care. I considered it more seriously in 2005 and that is when i was put on effexor, because the day those thoughts come i reach out and request help .
June 12 I told my manager and my team leader that i had figured out I was having a bad reaction to the increase in my effexor dose. I went too the emergency room and they suggested i drop my dose back down to 150 and follow up with the psychiatrist to let him know it caused problems instead of creating solutions.
So this is a warning to anyone whose doctors want to put them on Effexor in doses over 200mg. A second level of changes to the brain occur here and you should make sure you talk through all of those changes and the potential side effects to watch out for with your doctor.
I will look to come off of Effexor in the next year , I also learned in my research that long term use of anti depressants can impact memory as well. I have been on this drug long enough. I know all about the withdrawl effects and I know it will have to be done slowly with the assistance of a doctor.
To all those I disappointed in the last 6 weeks i am so sorry, my brain has not been working correctly and I am happy to report that today on June 17 I feel like I now have all my abilities back and I am ready to take the world on again. Happily stabalized at 150mg Effexor ….