I thought it would be worth sharing my update, as I read every post on every site that I could before starting this and others may be doing the same. Special shoutout to @LAM130 who started at the exact same time as me and has a been a lifeline as a pen pal and support system!
Prior to starting Effexor, I was at the point where I was stable, functional and managing my symptoms but never 100%. I still had constant triggers and a few dizzy days a week where I felt lightheaded and unable to focus. I wanted to address the lingering symptoms, so I started at 12.5mg of Immediate Release, and slowly titrated up to what I’m on now - 37.5mg of Extended Release. The ER was night and day from the IR. I felt pretty fuzzy headed, stoned and out of it on the IR. Immediately felt better on the ER so highly recommend getting quickly to that.
I will say that 6 months in, I feel quite a lot better. I am rarely dizzy anymore, my triggers are less triggering and I’ve noticed a huge improvement. I can exercise, play the piano, do puzzles, golf. All of these even mild activities used to trigger me as I am very easily visually triggered. The Effexor has really helped me to feel more stable. I still have some bad days but they are like once a month now, not several times a week.
I have to add though that the nickname “Side Effexor” is no joke. My success has come with a number of side effects. I will list them here:
- Hair thinning - this happened to me when I tried Paxil a decade ago as well
- Insomnia - it got better over time but I still struggle to sleep unless I take a supplement at night. Highly recommend tart cherry extract!
- Caffeine sensitivity/heart racing - I’ve always been sensitive since I’m an MAVer but now I can’t have more than a cup of tea a day or my heart is racing and I don’t sleep
- Cognition/memory - I feel just a little bit off. I have trouble recalling things easily, I do dumb stuff like putting salad in the cabinet, leaving a refrigerator open in my garage all night, and leaving a candle burning when I left the house.
All that said, I’m still sticking with it because it’s working. I hope all my hair doesn’t fall out and I don’t forget to pick my kids up from sports activities or something. I hope I don’t get fired for being stupid now! Overall, the good outweighs the bad at this point. I’ve also added in Botox for my chronic headaches. I had hoped Effexor would help with headaches but it hasn’t really.