This is my very first post.  I have never ‘blogged’ before.  I have battled anxiety probably all my life it just didn’t have an identity until I was in my late 20’s (I’m now 48).

I recently had an anxiety crash after 5 years seeming to tick along nicely on a maintenance dose of 25mg of Amitriptyline.  A few life/family/work events had all come at once and conspired to tip me over the edge.  My anxiety was on a hair trigger with adrenaline pumping continuously and the slightest noise or perceived anger from my nearest and dearest or any mildly heated discussion having me in Fight or Flight mode.  I was feeling defective, disappointed with myself, sad, a bit hopeless.  After all these years and all the different medications I was in no better shape than when I had my first ‘break down’ and started on this journey of therapy, medication and the constant search for natural remedies/therapies etc.

The initial course of action was to increase the dose to 50mg in the hope that after a couple of weeks I would have that lightbulb moment where Jo was back and all was right with the world again.  The lightbulb moment never came so back to the doctors for a Medical Review (by a medication specialist).  It seemed that the Amitriptyline wasn’t working and perhaps hadn’t been for some time so an alternative was sought.  I have tried several medications over the years trying to find the one with the least impacting side effects.  For me it’s sexual response (inability to orgasm, low libido), constipation and weight gain.  Amitriptyline seemed to have no negative impact on my sex life and I learned to manage the digestive issues with Movicol.

I started doing my own research into what was available now and what people taking these drugs were saying about them.  The more I read the more I couldn’t help thinking I wish I didn’t have to take these things at all.  Hallucinations, nausea, low libido, feeling detatched, emotional outbursts, severe weight gain…  It did not make great reading.

Venlafaxine was chosen.  37.5mg morning and night.  I took one the first night and started feeling odd after an hour so took myself off to bed.  I woke at 3am to hallucinations and feeling seasick.  I got up and once I could see past the kaleidoscope of psychedelic patterns I started researching further.  I had to get off these very powerful medications that were doing who knows what to my body long term.  Something else I had read about Venlafaxine was that people found it extremely difficult to wean off so I decided my first dose was going to be my last.  There has to be a better way.




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