All good things must come to a (venlafaxine) end

I’ve been on venlafaxine 300mg for 6 years. Aside from the usual suspects of undesireable or uncomfortable side effects, it did all the right things for me. Hit the high notes for depression, anxiety, social anxiety and OCD. I was fearless I tell you! Until recently when things started to unravel.

I had 2015 pegged as ‘my year’. The good year, the happy year, the EASY year. Although things seemed to go awry from the very beginning, I like to believe all things happen for a reason. My beloved psychiatrist retired and I was transferred to a new doc who brought with him a new set of eyes and a fresh evaluation of my diagnosis.

Thanks to a basic journal I had been keeping of my moods, it was clear to him I was cycling Way-Haaaaay too quickly – alternating from significant mania to depression from one week to the next, with chronic insomnia my nemisis, my ultimate downfall. And, he declared, Venlafaxine was the culprit. As an anti-depressant, it was doing its job in elevating my mood. But it was doing it too well. Lifting me too high and toppling me over into ongoing periods of mania. So in his words, “it was having a destabilising effect” on me.

He also diagnosed early stage symptoms of psychosis, and formulated a change of treatment – replace the anti-depressant with an anti-psychotic. And so began the tapering of venlafaxine from 300mg to 75mg over a 3 month period. I tried two anti-psychotics – olanxapine and quetiapine – neither of which I could tolerate.

My esteemed Specialist Psychiatrist now believes I’m highly sensitive to medications. Oh joy…. I hope in time this does not translate to ‘treatment resistant’. If I were psychic, I’d say its on the cards or in the stars I’ll be dipping in ‘n out a lotta niffty medication cocktails in the months to come.

Ain’t bipolar grand!

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