Citation: morchella. "I Am AFRAID Of My Medicine: experience with Venlafaxine (Effexor) (ID 17353)". Erowid.org. Sep 8, 2002. erowid.org/exp/17353
Several months ago, I began experiencing increasingly uncomfortabe panic attacks: tunnel-vision, light-headedness, loud and irregular heart-pounding, feelings of impending doom, and overwhelming fear of death. All accompanied by an enormous wall of denial - like if I just didn't think about it or admit it to myself or anyone else, it would go away.
Finally, I developed a condition known as 'globus hystericans,' or in plain English, 'the hysterical feeling of something caught in your throat'. Indeed. I kid you not - after a week or so of panicking about the fucking TUMOR I could feel in my throat, I freaked out and made my partner take me to the emergency room. 2 x-rays, a barium-swallow test, and a thyroid ultrasound later, I find out that it's just my goddamned MIND sabbotaging my own happiness.
One short visit to a local doctor earned me a script for Effexor, a new pharmie for anxiety/depression. Mind you, he spoke to me for all of 15 minutes, and this was my first visit. Let me let you in on a little something about the pharmecutical business in America. In America, I don't believe there's a single doctor yet who pays for his/her own lunch. No, really. Every doctor spends lunchtime being wooed by big-business drug salesmen. I work at a restaurant and we do a shitload of caterings for drug reps - on company money, of course. I imagine a free lunch everyday is only the tip of the greasy iceberg . . . but I digress.
My doc had an Effexor pen, a NICE kinda chunky spaceage pen like they'd use on the shuttle. He had Effexor post-it notes. Man, for all I know he had Effexor underwear. Ok, so I take the meds, and lo and behold, after a few days of feeling pretty cracked-out and sketchy, I started to feel, well, better, yes better and the lump in my throat melted away, and I could sleep thru the night without feeling like I was having a heart-attack. In fact, I felt pretty good: the panic attacks and fainting spells went away, and I felt like my old self again, to my immense relief. I loved my meds.
Skip ahead 6 months. I've lost my health insurance, and now I have to pay full price for the magic beans. 100 lousy dollars a month, oh, but I pay, I pay BELIEVE ME. Here's the real kick in the ass: sometimes due to poverty or forgetfullness or drunkenness, I neglect to take my meds. Sometimes I forget for two days. After two days of no Effexor, I experience very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Full body muscle tension - I find I have to constantly remind myself to RELAX and unclench my aching muscles.
A terrifying electric-shock sensation, must have something to do with adrenelin (?) - it feels like that surge of panic I get when I'm trying to fall asleep and it feels like I fall off a cliff - only when awake, and then over, and over, and over, and over, and you can't shake it off. Feeling VERY cracked-out and confused, weepy and nearly hysterical. Unable to speak complex thoughts - like you forget what you mean to say while you're saying it - very confusing and frustrating. Shaky and kinda bug-eyed and staring at nothing. Like I'm totally about to lose my shit.
I hate it. Needless to say, I ALWAYS remember my meds by the third day, and you know what? With sufficient levels of the drug in my system, I feel fine, really functional. And if that's not the goddamned definition of addiction, I'd like to know what is. So now what? Talk to my goddamned doctor? Go cold-turkey and flip out for a few days (weeks?months??). Resign to live as a functional addict FOR AS LONG AS I CAN AFFORD IT?? Goddamn goddamn bastards hooking me on their lousy miracle brain medicine and then making me pay.
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