5th full day on a lower dose of venlafaxine (Effexor), reduced from 300 to 225 mg.
It’s 7:30 in the morning. I’ve been awake, off and on, for more than two hours. I don’t get up though, but lie in bed, tossing and turning, dozing sometimes.
My dream–I think it was a dream–was all about being in E’s office and not thinking straight. It was both scary and a relief to let go and allow her see the mess in my head. I was pacing and panicking and banging my head against the wall. I was telling her my hallucinations. I don’t have hallucinations, thankfully, but in this fitful dream, I described hallucinations of a woman approaching me with a noose. I told E that I wasn’t sure if I knew how to tie a noose. Could she tell me if this was right?
Dream E could see something was very wrong and wanted to help. Call my husband, I told her. Where is he? He can take me home. She heard that but said she was going to call the hospital. Or the doctor. Or Tabitha, the new psychiatric nurse.
(Side note: In real life, I just signed a waiver allowing her to talk to Tabitha. Am I worried about that?)
I know it was just a dream. I know I don’t hallucinate or bang my head against the wall and that E is not going to send me from her office to the hospital. That’s fine. But the thing is, the pressing mental confusion of the dream is not a dream. That’s real. My head is jumbled and foggy and urgently slamming itself against my skull.
This is venlafaxine withdrawal. I know it is, because I started experiencing some version of this the first morning I started to decrease the dose, and it’s continued each day since. The morning headache is better today than some days, but the agitated disorder in my brain is worse.
I remind myself, calmly, that it is temporary; the withdrawal symptoms are temporary.
But, says the voice of Worry. But, but. But you still have a long way to go, another 225 daily mg to let go of. But you are getting tired, because every day you only really sleep for about five hours before this restless crazy stuff starts. But what if it keeps getting worse…
Ah Worry, I say, give it a rest. We have no idea what lies ahead. It might get worse. It might get easier. Our brain is playing crazy games, but we are okay for now.