... 2002 then I had a life change and was able to wing of it in 2005. In 2009 I went back on it.
This is my experience. In October of 2000 I had my first anxiety attack. I didn't know what it was. I thought I had a pinch nerve in my neck or maybe I was just going loony. They kept occurring and the only way I knew how to cope with it was to self medicate by all means necessary. Finally in 2002 on a trip to Vegas I had one of the worst experiences of my life. As soon as the airplane door shut and the wheels began to roll I freaked out and cause a scene. My gf at the time had to deal with the aftermath, including talking to the air attendants and people around us. A panic/anxiety attacks is one of the worst things a human being can experience. It is more like a complete terror attack, gripped with extreme fear. Some would say a state of madness.
Soon after I went to see a shrink who eventually prescribed Effexor XR 37.5 mg. This was the answer to all my problems, so I thought. Eventually I had to up the dosage to 75 mg. Also, during this period of my life I was drinking heavily and doing other recreational drugs. Eventually when I got sober I winged of Effexor in 2005. It was a point in my life of new beginnings.
The side effects of coming off was horrible for a few weeks. I had really bad hot and cold sweats and nightmares of melting images followed by a constant state of fogginess. The good thing was that it only lasted about a week or two and that the anxiety was not there. Prior to this, there were a few times that I had missed my dose a day or two and it was hell all over again, but not this time.
For the next handful of years there was no signs of anxiety or panic attacks. I honestly believed that it was done for good. I was free!
Then one day in early 2009, four years later, the anxiety/panic struck without a warning! I couldn't believe it! I tried meditation, breathing techniques with no luck. After a couple of months of insanity (at least that's what it felt like) I had to go back on Effexor XR 75 mg. I did not want to, but, I also didn't want to live this way either. In full fear and terrorized by my panic attacks. That is no life at all!
So my journey began all over again, but this time I also incorporated meditation, inspiration books (power of now) talking to people, writing about it. So I knew that the pill was not my only answer but an additional tool. At first it was rough, not going to lie, then life happened and had to be on 150 mg for a month but I went back to 75 mg for the next 3 years. Then more life happened with family, work and I was getting so stressed and depressed so I went on to 150 mg in late 2014. Besides these hiccups life was real good. Travel the around the country and outside. I was able to deal with life on life's terms, the good and the bad. My emotions were not numbed like some people suggest. I have been able to laugh, cry, endure pain like a normal human being without wanting to cut off my head. I'm a real emotional guy, some say too emotional. It feels great not to stress about the future or worry about the past. To live one day at a time.
The only problem with me is two things: 1. Always making sure I have a pill on me 2. Ejaculation or lack off, that is. It is very hard and frustrating at times. My gf on the other hand has had no complains about it until now, since we are trying to have our first baby. You can see where I'm going with this.
So now I have decided that it's time to reduce my dosage to 75 mg. It's been my first week at 75 mg and I can feel the withdraws but just need to be aware of them. Foggy state of mind, slow reactions at times, crazy melting dreams. My goal is to stay at 75 mg for a while, then eventually off.
Remember, this is just my experience and I also need to remember that the pill (medication) is not the only remedy. I have to be proactive with meditation, support groups, inspirational books like I mention before. The pill (medication) is only part of the equation for me to feel and be better. There is no such thing as a "magic" pill but it sure helps