It was time to go from 37.5 mg to 70 mg of venlafaxine per day, and also to switch from the regular tablets to timed-release capsules. Today is a public holiday in Germany, and with the long Easter weekend ahead, I would have a few days in a row for adjusting to the new dosage. I was prepared for the worst – more nausea, maybe even vomiting, but in the end it turned out relatively harmless. There was a bit of vertigo and some tingling in my limbs, but generally the transition was rather smooth. I can definitely tell a difference between timed and regular release, because as a capsule, the side-effects do not (sometimes violently) spike within the first 120 minutes after consumption, but create a gentler wave rather that carries you into the afternoon.
Arranging Appointments Around An Antidepressant
The good news of the day: after my therapist’s statement arrived in the mail, I was able to start the application process for welfare today and it got dated back to March 1st, meaning that once the application gets approved, I’ll get the full sum for this month already.
The bad news of the day: it’s a damn complicated process. As a university student, I am not covered by welfare – except when the student is not able to work at least 18 hours per week, which I’m currently not. But to earn the “impaired ability to work” label, I first have to meet the job agency’s doctor; until then, I count as a non-impaired person seeking state support – and as such, I cannot apply for the kind of welfare I would qualify for, because I am a student. Are you still following me? So the idea the people at the job centre came up with was that my husband needs to start the process, and put my name on the list of other people in the household who’d belong to the “community in need” (a rough approximation of the German construct “Bedarfsgemeinschaft”) instead of the other way around, and once I saw their doctor, we would switch the application over to me as the main applicant… We have another appointment on Thursday morning, which will hopefully bring more clarity about the proceedings.
Which brings me to the next problem: the new appointment is at 9 AM. Right now, I’m toying with the idea of taking the venlafaxine afterwards, because the withdrawals in the morning are generally less severe than the side-effects after taking the pill. That also means that I am going to stay on the current dose until then, because I am sure increasing it will also increase the side-effects again for a while.
Generally I am doing better; the nausea / sickness is finally gone and my appetite usually returns around 4 PM, which allows me to have a normal dinner. The only persistent symptom I currently have is vertigo or dizziness, so that I still have to lie down again after breakfast, but it feels very normal, no paraesthesias or “funny feelings”.
I am not sure if I have any positive effects from the venlafaxine yet. My husband claims I handled our financial crisis last week much better than he expected and credits the antidepressant for it. It might very well be the case; I have not had any severe anxiety recently, but on the other hand I have been so consumed with just managing every single day that there was literally no time for me to worry about anything else.
Day 4: Trippin’ On Venlafaxine
That’s the only way I can describe it. The nausea has shrunk to a 15-minute-period which sets in about an hour after taking the venlafaxine, but in the afternoon I experienced paraesthesias wandering from my brain over the back into arms and legs – a tingling sensation, not unlike the feeling when the hair stands up on your arms. It was, and here I start sounding as if being high, as if I was floating in water, or as if my body was filled with water and jellyfish were drifting through it, pulsating. My brain was the biggest jellyfish of them all, from where all activity radiated over my body.
I did not hallucinate – at all times I knew who I am, where I was and why I felt that strange. But when you go see a 3D-movie, you know that what you see is not real, yet the illusion still works, and that was how it felt for me.