My experience with Effexor: March 2002

“I’m glad I got out of the merry-go-round and revolving door of more prescriptions before I was addicted. “


There was stress in my life. After an assault at a local bank machine where 2 men overpowered me, my medical employment insurance was exhausted, and I felt very stressed financially. After sharing my circumstances with my doctor, he advised Effexor to help with what he considered to be trauma, lack of employment, constant spinal pain from the assault, and financial related depression.

I am a very sensitive person, who had not taken as much as an aspirin in over 20 years. I gave them up because I could feel the effects for days/weeks later. I have experience in bodywork, and the healing arts.

Instinctively, I resisted for two days, and then reconsidered on the third day. My MD said Effexor was new technology; better than Paxil or Prozac. I just did not want to face the crushing circumstances I found myself in, and started taking them as prescribed. The first night was good. I felt lulled to sleep. And I only needed 4 hours. Wow! Great to gain so much time, after I had been oversleeping with depression.

Night two. Dreams. Unlike anything I have ever had. Clear inspiration to consider doing cocaine, heroin, whatever. This middle-aged lady has never done anything – too straight laced. In my mind there was an almost convincing suggestion that it was a ‘Great Idea!’ (I could almost taste it and smell it – as enticing as a yummy warm gooey cinnamon bun) – and I should seriously consider drugs. One part of my mind had it’s established values, and the other part was adapting a new attitude which seemed convincing and powerful suggestions without consequence – I seemed to have a carefree ‘What The Hell’ kind of attitude about it. Then there was the amazing ‘electrical jerk’ in the middle of the night that woke me up with a powerful involuntary reaction beyond any chiropractic adjustment – not like the one often experiences when just going to sleep, but a large, strong thrust from one side of the body to the other diagonally. Weird… I felt awake the following day, and seemed to start to consider tackling issues that I just did not want to face. I did not accomplish anything, but financial stuff was not a big – read stressful–issue to think about – some more of the ‘What The Hell’ attitude – ‘Bitching.’ I do not use that type of lingo in my daily spoken or silent inner talk routines. This was a totally new perspective.

Night three. Dreams. Vivid. Sexual. Wanting penises – yes, plural, any one, any where, any circumstances, with an ATTITUDE – suggestion that this is what my body wanted, and ‘Lets go get some good stuff mame’ attitude. Even lesbian encounters were embodied in the suggestions of this night of dreams. The following day, I began to consider the unusual clarity and subject matter of my nighttime visions. Usually I do not remember dreams, or have them between the first wake up and when I fall back to sleep for the last 30 minutes before rising.

Night four. Dreams again. Complete breakdown on values including suicide, killing, arson, irreverence for fundamental principal human values. My druggie perspective had no regard for my teen daughter being on her own, or other family members left behind. More sexual deviation messages with interest in S & M behaviours, desire for revenge, disregard for family or consequences of behaviour regardless of societal values. I liked the feeling of POWER, and kinda wanted to keep it secret, and just ‘Do My Thing’ and ‘Show Them A Thing or Two!!! ‘.

I booked an appointment with my doctor for the next day. I really wanted to take my pill that night. But I knew too many strange visions were occurring to take any more of this weird brain-distorting cornucopia of chemicals. I know the difference between weird, past life recall lessons, and influences and powers of suggestion by other energies. I suspect if I had used these for 5 or 6 nights, I would not have had the objectivity to discontinue them. Something in me wanted to continue to take them for I did not have to be restricted to standards of conventional behaviours and responsibilities. I was developing a great “F–K IT, or F–K THEM’ voice in my head, and found myself responding in that phraseology during the day to everything I did not want to deal with. I experienced no positive suggestions in my experiences with four nights on Effexor.

My doctor said that my experiences were most unusual, and that he had never heard of such a response, (–-Suspect he now thinks I am not only depressed but potentially crazy). I handed back the almost full bottle, 50-30 mg tablets, and said I would try to work things out myself. He suggested that it would be very difficult without assistance with a Serotonin uptake which I was probably short of thus creating the depression. Given middle age, hormones etc., I probably could not produce enough of it. I was to monitor the situation, have a friend provide feedback, and he would also monitor my emotions with visits every two weeks for objective updates to preclude/prevent drowning in desperation.

Yes, the days have been difficult. It has been 5 weeks, and I hit a trough. In fact, I’ve lost the past five days to excessive sleep. However, when reading what others have experienced, I relate completely, and will not go back on SSRI’s. I have found going out into the sun, even when I don’t want to, and sitting outside at a sidewalk cafe over a drink and scheduling a calendar, journaling, whatever, helps uplift the depression. The sun helps more when I face it rather than putting it to the back of my head chakra, which gives me a headache.

From my experience, I would caution others to consider how quickly a reprogramming of values, and other influences can take place in the brain when using SSRI’s or at least EFFEXOR. Yes, I would like to close my eyes, and have things get better, however, I will try to do it with exercise, better food – greens, veggies n stuff, and perhaps even a cleansing regime to get rid of the anger stored in my liver, kidneys, and gall bladder. This experience with SSRI’s left me feeling like there was subtle programming in these products to keep us hooked or building up large medical bills. Great if one can afford it. I can’t. I’m glad I got out of the merry-go-round and revolving door of more prescriptions before I was addicted.

I question this last round of 5 days of ‘laying on the bed in a zombie like state in front of the TV, and falling asleep morning, noon, and night. I never did this extreme behaviour before when I was depressed –- maybe a couple of extra hours of sleep, but not 14 hours a day –-. I suspect I still have Effexor stuff in my system, and will start to take a cleanser of heavy metals to try to remove it more quickly. It’s better today, The only change I made was I spent over 2 hours facing the sun which resulted in feeling like I could handle writing and turning on the computer. A link from a chat line led me to this page, and I knew I had an important story to share for anyone considering EFFEXOR and maybe even other SSRI’s. My suggestion is use extreme awareness and caution. It was not good for me.

Christine in Canada



This is Survivor Story number 27.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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