How I told Effexor XR goodbye… and its cypher to Kiss My Ass

I first wrote this a couple years ago, and have now decided to throw it out there. She, the warrior princess known as Effexor XR, draws circles in my head now and then, and with everything going on these days, it’s damn hard for the effects to entirely disappear, including my sometimes desire to slip back into the world of anti-depressants. However, I am not going to do it. Meditation, yoga, exercise and a semblance of a decent diet (I had an egg on avocado toast for breakfast yesterday… followed up with blueberry pie for breakfast today) seem to be keeping me on an even keel these days. That being said…

First, thank you my darling Effexor XR. You were, for a few years, a wonderful friend. That friendship however became a crutch, a reliance tricking my brain into overwhelming desire. You, dear Effexor XR, were undoubtedly my legal cocaine.

However, behind your timed-tease bravado was a menace, an evil cypher who just wouldn’t let go. Your lieutenant held my synapsis’ at bay, poking them with her XR branding iron, destroying what was once simpatico, what had been a friendly relationship into a sadomasochistic nightmare.

After 5 years, starting at only 150 Mg, weaning it down to 75 Mg. I quit you. I. Quit. You. Not through the normal transgression of the required, and really correct, method of half-life weaning in a deliberate way to fool you, evil cypher, but cold turkey.

I had successfully gone down to 75 Mg daily without issue. However, waiting another year to bring it down to 37.5 Mg and going another year after that was not in my brain’s plan. My brain told me, and was quite correct for my own personal analysis:

“Dude, fuck her. Marriages go bad. You had two, you know this. It’s not her; NOT HER; that’s making you better. She’s a helper, like an elf in Santa’s workshop who often makes great toys, then follows up making us a Furby. The rest is up to us. We control your destiny, not Effexor XR and her psychotically evil cypher lieutenant.”

Cold Turkey. Final pill washed down with a cold glass of water. Let’s do this, brain.

It was a battle, ferociously psychotic with dreams so vile I had to force myself to forget them: demons circling the drain of what felt like my stem core of stewed thoughts; gargoyles brought to life with more menace than the wicked witch’s flying minions; my own dog in a dream salivating at what she might of thought as my now-eternal weakness. Friday to Sunday I holed up in my place, rarely leaving the couch. I slept – a lot, falling into a state of deep psychosis; alternating between fantasy and reality. Never have I gone through so much psychotic brew for such an extended period.

Eventually I had to get off the couch, but had to spend another week continuing a ferocious fight only this time while attempting to function at work. I recall going to meetings where I felt as if I were a zombie mindlessly staring right through people. A quick turn of the head would produce a hiss in my mind, a snake emitting waves where my eyes seemed to follow after the turn. Any drop of alcohol, any sort of processed sugar merely enhanced the action. My brain and I were still being held captive in a dizzying array of crazy.

But it, this tidal wave emanating from the cypher, she trying so hard to drag brain and I back into his hell? It has subsided.

It’s not gone. Battles flare up. I still feel them on a sudden turn. I’m sure they will over and over and over again. The raging fight of a creative person within is already a constant tug-of-war between what is imagined and what is real; what is genius and what is insanity. What Effexor XR embedded in me was its purpose, but said purpose in the mind of a creative can flare up into an addiction. I wasn’t having that.

Goodbye Effexor XR… take your heinous cypher with you.

PS after a couple years, I still have moments of dry swimming, my brain trying to plow forward but movements it takes are in heavy sand. Recently, rain came in buckets. Two weeks ago? Can’t recall the exact date. What I do remember is this was a crazy rain dropping straight down aided for brief seconds by gusts trying to push water through my face. Temporarily disoriented, I took a walk around the block, unable to vet any thoughts through this sieve for a good quarter hour.

Once done, I rested. Once rested, I knew the warrior princess Effexor’s tiny cypher-controlled minions so pervasively floating amongst grey matter, mostly in my right hemisphere, had retreated into whatever mysterious positions they continue to hold. I’ll feel them again, I know it. But I know the feeling will be false.

I cannot, however, recommend anyone who is on an anti-depressant kill it cold turkey. My psychiatrist was as peeved as a psychiatrist can get, which is tilting her head a tad, sighing and jotting down a note. I’m hoping the note was merely part of her grocery list, but odds are it was a bet, an ‘under’ on when I would go back on the meds. She lost.

Get help as you need it, but remember – stay true to your own id, people.

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