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About Whostolemyfunny

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    As long as I'm breathing, I always have a chance...

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  1. Hi, I value therapy myself and I also know the feeling of sometimes not being able to afford it.... So if you are asking how to effectively self treat depression, I would certainly second the Feeling Good book by David Burns, I've used those CBT exercises myself a number of times to help with negative ruminations and it does work, obviously you don't get the live feedback from a therapist. I'd also look into mindfulness practice, particularly anything by John Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness is about trying to remain in the present moment as much as possible and can help with both depression (looking backwards towards past events/trauma = not in the present) and anxiety (fearing future outcomes = not in the present). It's not quite the same as meditation, meditation is often used as an escape/release, while mindfulness is about staying present, being accepting of our current life situation (no matter how difficut), however, the two are definitely beneficial for each other. There's also Eckhart Tolle. His audibooks contain a lot of information and it can take many listens to fully understand/appreciate the messages around mindfulness / staying present. Or if you wanted to take it a step further, check out Thich Naht Hanh - he has produced lots of free seminars on youtube. You may want to google NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), it's a way of thinking/communicating and if you could find a local NLP Mastermind Group in your area, that would help massively with life goals etc. There's also amino acid therapy as pioneered by Julia Ross in her book "The Mood Cure" that uses supplements you can find in the health food / gym supplement store for treating depression as an alternative or adjunct to antidepressants. Feel free to read the 2 file attachments. Keeping a consistent, regular sleep routine - regardless of weekday or weekend, preferably in bed before midnight, it also helps to avoid TV before bed, the blue light in the tv disrupts production of the sleep hormone - melatonin. If you use computers, check out the free f.lux software and there's a phone app called Twilight, both of these apps remove the blue light from the screen, replacing it with a softer, more mellow orange glow that is more relaxing. Diet is key for combatting depression - try eating as "raw" (clean) as you can, i.e foods that are close as possible / affordable to the original source - be it crop, vegetable, pulse, seed, animal or fish (paleo / gluten free diets). Almost everyone, me included, when badly depressed seeks solace in comfort and processed foods, as they provide a high or distraction from suffering. The cruel twist is that, apart from the calories, they are the worst foods for maintaining mental health long-term, they play havoc with your blood sugar and cortisol; which triggers anxiety. They are lacking key nutrients the brain needs to get well - which leads to energy crashes, fatigue, brain fog and worsening of depression symptoms. A good fish oil high in EPA/DHA such as red krill oil will help with depression, along with a high quality circumin extract (anything with the Novaso formulation in it) helps brain function too. Exercise for the endorphins - the "runner's high", it doesnt have to be running, it can be weights or whatever, anything that gets your blood moving round your body, even better if you can combine this with being in nature, away from noise and exhaust fumes. Lastly, looking at your life and seeing if there are situations or people that consistently drain your energy and spirit - this could be work colleagues, your job/career area itself, your immediate neighbourhood, friends, negative / controlling / highly critical partner or family members. You would need to decide how you can address each of these areas to bring change. If the attitudes of others prevents this change, then asking yourself how much of a sacrifice or compromise for your happiness you are willing to make. Hope this helps!! :D B0582_MoodCure_PDF_1.pdf Townsend-Letter-NNTI article.docx.pdf
  2. The brain fog is likely a side-affect of Venlafaxine directly "increasing" your serotonin levels... SNRI's are theorized to work by slowing the reuptake of circulating serotonin (mainly) and also norepinephrine - in other words, the drug causes these neurochemicals to "pool" in your brain rather than "flow" betweeen neurons too quickly. Norepinephrine is an adrenalin-like compound, however Venlfaxine seems to only raise norepinephrine at doses of 225mg+ For doses of 150mg or less, serotonin will be more dominant, which can cause sleepiness itself (and also the complete opposite when in sharp bursts). The shift in balance will reduce the overall proportional balance of the other neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and acetylcholine. These are both stimulatory, assisting in memory formation, cognition and overall brain energy / functioning efficiency. You can boost dopamine levels using the amino acids l-tyrosine and D,L-Phenylalanine (DLPA); from health food stores. If you're prone to anxiety or psychosis, it might be best looking at boosting acetycholine instead. Eggs are high in choline, the other option is choline supplements - such as lecithin (sunflower oil or soya based like 'Lecigran') and CDP Choline. IANAD, however, amino acid intake has to be done in a measured fashion guided by results/symptoms and recommended dosages. The other thing to consider is whether either/both of you taking the Instant Release (IR) or Extended Release (XR). IR is a tablet, XR is a usually a bead-filled capsule. Venlafaxine IR has a "half-life" (the time it takes for the peak concentration of the drug to be halved) of 5 hours (+/- 2 hrs), compared to XR (15 hours; +/- 6 hours). The attached graph shows the difference in the drug concentrations between the two verisons - IR peaks 6-7 hours after swallowing, XR is around 10 hours. IR drops off much sooner and quicker than XR (which is why IR is a pig to withdraw from). This sharp drop may explain your brain fog, especially if it happens consistently in the late afternoons.
  3. I can completely understand why this is such difficult situation, especially because you were only presribed prozac as a cross taper med to get you off benzo's. For some, and at a certain time and place, psych drugs are a lifesaver. I'd rather be off them today if I could (more likely end of the year). It may have been the taper from 10 to 0mg which is causing you to feel this way presently - serotonin meds are strange in terms of withdrawals and how they affect people differently; depending on their individual genetics / neuro-biochemistry. I know you hate the idea of taking another antidepressant, however, would you consider the remote possibility of going back on the med at 10mg for a few months to see if it stabilises things? This would then give you the platform to do a slower taper (reducing your current dose by 10% each time is the recommended protocol, especially at lower doses) down to 0 mg. Is it depression or anxiety? Because if anxiety is causing your main symptoms, you might ask your GP to prescribe beta blockers, pregabalin or gabapentin instead. Anxiety is often the co-morbid driver for depression, especially when it causes poor sleep/pure insomnia. Alternatively, you can always try the more natural anti-depressant options such as Saint John's Wort, 5HTP or l-tryptophan. The last 2 are amino acid precursors that raise serotonin with far less side effects than an SSRI.
  4. In my experience, any SSRI or SNRI will actually reduce dopamine activity because of the overall percentage increase of serotonin and norepinephrine which then begin acting at the receptor sites normally occupied by dopamine. Basically, dopamine gets drowned out / diluted.
  5. Hi, You have my complete sympathy on Venlafaxine withdrawal... I may be experiencing something similar after I attempted to cross taper with Trazodone last Thurs (I lasted one night on that garbage - never again!). I've been feeling exactly those exact same symptoms you describe - anxious and depressed, plus yucky, wired and brain-stupid all rolled into one. A month is a little while to be withdrawal free, then again Venlafaxine is a strange drug, plus you're pregnant and I won't even pretend to understand all the hormonal aspects which may or may not be contributing. How fast did you come off it? I can totally understand why you would fear this impacting on your unborn child... that can't be easy, hope you don't feel too guilty - its not like you are being this way on purpose and you followed doctor's instructions. Are you afraid your baby is somehow picking up the strong feelings you've been having?
  6. Venlafaxine is the worst for those kind of side effects. I can see its been over 2 months since you posted...if you still think you need an AD at this stage, maybe speak to your GP about Mirtazapine or possibly Trazodone. Neither of these is an SNRI or SSRI
  7. 225mg to 150mg, well I've done that drop off before now without doing the midstep I recall... With these types of drugs, its my opinion that if someone is feeling well enough to consider tapering, they can get away with larger increments at the beginning, but this rate of step-down really does have to ease off as you get closer towards your target dose, especially so if that dose is 0 mg/d. I was taking 150mg for month or so and having taken Venlfaxine once previously, I knew 150 was too much for me this time round, I was able to drop it to 75mg - I felt a bit wierd for few days then found equilbrium again. I felt much noticebably better than on 150mg, I began sleeping better on 75mg. At the same time, I do take natural remedies like magnesium bisglycinate, melatonin, l-glycine and sometimes l-tryptophan to help with these step downs. I waited another 4 weeks, then dropped it down to my current dosage of 56.25mg/d (I have digital scales). Again, a bit of a wobble, stabilised, I now feel much sharper mentally, more motivated, a sense of humour returning - this may be coincidental if my symptoms are in remission anyway. Hard to say really. What I do know is that these reductions have to be done in stages, so its going to be another 2 weeks before I'm considering moving down to 37.5mg/d and I have a gut feeling I may then have to stay at 37.5mg/d for a good few months before contemplating any further reduction. There is a risk of overshooting and going to fast too soon - I want to avoid any rebound of my original depression triggered by over-eager withdrawal schedules. You get what I am saying though? Make a definite, positive withdrawal plan for your taper dosages and the time intervals between each dose drop (2 wks, 4wks, or 6wks etc), the plan needs to be sustainable for you personally and gradual in its pace. This allows you to manage and monitor without jeapordising your health. Stick to the plan, while retaining some flexibility to revisit and depending on how you're doing, either increase (sensibly) or reduce the dosage drops. If you need to adjust the timeframe between any revised tapers, this should only be an increase to stabilise any relapse or withdrawal symptoms. Some people recommend a 10% taper based on current dose, I think this is conservative at larger doses, but definitely relevant at the finer end of things, especially for tricky drugs like venlafaxine. Have a look at this attachment. Sept 2017 How to Get Off Psychoactive Drugs Safely.pdf
  8. Hi Straybeast, Welcome to the forums and I totally know what you mean about experiencing anxiety in front of people. Most people have it to some degree, the severity of it varies from person to person and also what they have going on in their life. When I'm in a good place and my life is ticking over nicely, I have little to none, but when things get tricky, its definitely more noticeable. Social anxiety is basically anticipation and worry about a future outcome, which may or may not happen, and it's the outcome that most humans fear - rejection. The cruel thing about anxiety is that it takes us out of the moment and into one just one possible future - that our mind is 100% convinced will definitely happen. The only time we can actually affect our lives is in the present moment, anxiety distracts us from these unlimited opportunities/choices/decisions and it keeps us stuck (to prevent us from getting hurt). Its a natural, inbuilt, instinctive and almost automatic, protective mechanism which actually stems from our cavemen ancestors - who lived very fraught existences with constant threats to ongoing survival. Anxiety kept them alive. I suppose a useful thing to hold onto is that anxiety is a sensation/thought process, its just something a person experiences and it only defines us by as much as we allow it. Yes, anxiety can be beat! The internet is great for reaching out to people, especially in terms of distance and instant communication, however, it lacks the spontaneity of human interaction, we only get half the story and for someone like me who is very much attuned to people's energy, body language, tone of voice, eye contact etc, the internet takes a lot of my connection-making tools out of the game. Also, its easy to misinterpret online messages, I mean you could well be assuming right now that I am on my soap box when my intention is to empathise, share some of my own personal understanding of the psychology of anxiety in the hope that this reassures you that, given what you are dealing with in your personal life, you are responding like most people would (there is little/to no need to beat yourself up, only if you really want to :) My painful experiences with toxic families led me to realise after too many years of enduring their negativity and destructive hate (of themselves, mainly), is that there is little you can do to change them, they have a position to defend and its usually driven by a very damaged ego that needs therapeutic help, lots of it, but they are unwilling to admit, or even recognise this. Trying to get them to see your point of view is like trying to catch wind - you'll drive yourself mad. I know I did and it took a long time to recover. I no longer have contact with my family, because I recognised they had long been a source of my depression, going 'no-contact' to infinity allowed me to get myself back together - it was one of my best decisions ever, wish I had done it 10 years sooner! I used to use Facebook, I got bored of people's updates like "Barry is having a bacon sandwich, Sarah just yawned" etc etc, I also felt the entire thing was quite shallow and borderline narcissistic - I'm a Facebook rebel haha... Psychologists have also recognised that Facebook can trigger depression or make it worse, because we perceive everyone else's lives are better than ours by comparison: aka FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Its obviously difficult for you and your partner at the moment and you really appreciated that your child gave you both a homemade Valentine's card. I wouldnt worry too much about the opinions of those online accusing you of being a disappointing woman for him, they sound very judgemental, insensitive nor do they know you or what you've been through - the combination of all that means their opinions are highly worth... ignoring completely. Like the above people have said, take your time on here, only sharing what, and when, you feel comfortable So, hopefully you've found my contribution helpful and... probably, very honest at the same time! :)
  9. Hi Slow River, Have you had therapy before? The reason I ask is the role of pyschiatrists where I am (UK) differs from a lot of other countries, most UK psychiatrists are employed within the government-sponsored health care system and solely to diagnose, prescribe, refer to therapy or admit (to hospital), i.e. no therapy happens. However, I understand in places like the US, psychiatrists often have a dual role - prescribing medication and providing psychotherapy in various forms. If your aim is to get an antidepressant, I expect the psychiatrist will ask why you feel you need one, so its probably worth putting together a list of bullet points around things like symptoms you've been having etc so you can stay on point during the appt. and hopefully agree between the pair of you on any medication needs. If your plan is to get therapy too, they would probably like to know the reasons, which could be related to your background or any relevant significant life events which you may or may not feel comfortable disclosing on a first visit (When I first started therapy, I used to hold back out of fear, shame, judgement, nowadays I've had so much therapy that I tend to outline everything in the first session and level the playing field right out the gate). Also, state your expectations and hoped outcomes from your therapy journey with them. Again, prepare some bullet points. Therapists in the UK are required to work to a recognised code of practice regarding ethics, conduct and confidentiality; this is usually explained in session and they are generally registered with a professional governing body. I would expect similar wherever you are. If you did find you and your therapist don't see eye to eye after a few sessions, or your gut instint tells you the dynamic is off, then its well within your right to change.. See how it goes with an open mind, remaining committed to them for only as long as the therapeutic relationship benefits you, they are there to help, utilise them as the positive healing resource they are meant to be :) I hope the above helps and good luck on your first session!
  10. no power?! that's harsh have they said when you can expect to be back on the grid? bet you're glad you don't live near the north pole!
  11. Looks like you've also been visited by the "Beast From The East" !! Although you've got a better view than me, I can see the green square garden, promptly overlooked by the side of my neighbour's house!
  12. Hi all, I just wanted to share my experiences with Mindfulness practice I've been following recently... I've been into meditation and similar things for a long time, I often thought that because I can meditate that I was also able to be mindful. The two are related and also different, they both have their roots in the Buddhist tradition, however, the practice of Mindfulness itself contains no buddhist teachings. At its core are awareness of breathing and non-judgemental observation of the present moment, it has been widely adopted in the western mental health systems over the last decade to help people better manage their anxiety and depression. Meditation usually involves sitting with eyes closed, focusing on your breath and trying to clear you mind, sometimes by escaping to an imagined place of calm Mindfulness is more often than not, practiced with eyes open, focusing on the breath to help stay anchored in the immediate moment of now. Some people find it helps to do the "balanced breathing technique", where you breath in deeply and gently through the in a controlled manner for 5 seconds (counted silently), taking the breath into the stomach and observing the expansion of the stomach. The outbreath is through the mouth, slow and controlled for another 5 seconds, observing the stomach contracting... repeating this basic cycle for however long as intended. At the same time as the breathing exercise, mindfulness practice encourages people over time to become aware of body sensations, thoughts, feelings and just observe these without reacting; in the same way a person sitting on a solid river bank would observe boats passing from upstream to downstream, in an interested but non-reactive manner. The aim of mindfulness is to become fully in tune with the present moment, accepting the way things are right now without judgement (of ourselves or others), blaming (ourselves or others), preoccupation about the future (anxiety) or ruminating about the past (depression). The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere, walking to the shop, on a crowded commuter train, sat in a traffic jam, sat at your desk, your favourite chair at home, or last thing at night. There is a brilliant book written by Jon Kabatt-Zinn and his colleagues: "The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness". which is also available as an audiobook from numerous online retailers - Amazon, Itunes etc I've been using the audiobook "Guided Mindfulness Meditation, Series 1" by Jon Kabatt-Zinn recently and it's working great You can find some of his work on YouTube. Another free resource on Youtube are the numerous mindfulness workshops and guided mindfulness meditations of Thich Nhat Hanh I hope this provides food for thought... all the best to you!
  13. SSRI's or SNRI's? To be honest, it depends on 2 things, 1/how bad is your depression? versus how much you value your sex drive? because because SSRI's and SNRI's will tank it for most people, especially at the higher doses. I find that side effect more depressing than depression itself; YMMV. Paroxetine and venlafaxine are particularly problematic... unless your doc agreed to augment with an NDRI (Noradrenaline and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor). These compensate for loss of dopaminergic activity, the only advisory being that NDRI's are often poorly tolerated by those prone to high anxiety, due to their stimulatory nature . At the same time venlafaxine does a good job at shifting depression, better than the SSRI's in my experience. Also consider depression can be caused by low dopamine or other neurotransmitters (GABA, acetylcholine, noradrenaline), most GPs and psychs treat for low serotonin. This is great if you have low serotonin-induced depression, however, if its low dopamine-induced depression, SSRI/SNRIs will tip the serotonin/dopamine brain chemistry balance in favour of serotonin and thus have little effect on depression and most likely increase it over time. Obviously, its a bit more complex than that, however dopamine and serotonin are key drivers in brain chemistry influenced mood and mental wellbeing. Would you be willing to consider alternative methods to getting the same brain chemicals boosted using amino acids like 5HTP, Tryptophan, GABA and dopamine boosters such as L Tyrosine? Obviously, going your own way with amino acids doesn't come with the rubber stamp of your GP in terms of aftercare, but the side effects are much less as these are natural compounds which directly boost the levels of the substances in your brain, whereas psychiatric meds adjust the functioning of your brain to change circulating levels of neurotransmitters. Have a look at these attached files for further consideration about options. All the best in your quest! B0582_MoodCure_PDF_1.pdf Townsend-Letter-NNTI article.docx.pdf
  14. Hi I was referred to a sleep clinic because I told my GP I felt I was being woken up with sleep apnea, I'm definitely a loud snorer at times. I was given a sleep monitor, oximeter and all sorts of wires etc to wear this weekend. I go back tomorrow with the kit and they will download the output and tell me there and then if I do indeed have sleep apnea. In terms of your CPAP falling off, you basically need some way of keeping it firmly attached to your face that is comfortable/flexible enough for you to sleep in (i.e. not duct tape!) Ideas of the top of my head that you can buy on the web: Anti-snoring chin/face straps (some of them are supposed to be effective for OSA instead of CPAP) Velcro stretch straps for luggage etc Otherwise, we are starting to get into more unusual territory like wearing some tight fitting balaclava or some sporting face/headwear - maybe those things the forumula 1 drivers wear under their helmets! Incidentally, I found this exercise for helping with sleep apnea, researched and devised by a London ENT surgeon http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/simple-workout-will-stop-snoring-improve-sleep/. It seems to have reduced my snoring induced awakenings over the last week or so, but its certainly no silver bullet, just another weapon in the armoury. Good luck!
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