Depression/Mental Health Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

I think my brain is done

I'm currently a student ready to graduate college. I've worked full time the whole 6 years while going to school full time. This may be relevant. Over the past 2-3 years I've noticed that I have a really hard time staying focused. It's almost like I am in a dream world 24-7. I took effexor and wellbution about 4 years ago for a period of one year for depression, which was mostly home sickness. No other medications but birth control for 8 years (which I currently take). No major car accidents or physical trauma. It's like I'm not even real anymore, just living in a dream world. I'm just going through the motions everyday, doing what I'm doing, and not really aware that I exist. I used to be able to "snap back into reality" and realize that I am actually "there". But not anymore. I haven't been able to for almost a year. I remember the last time my brain "woke up" and I was shocked at how the world looked. I actually realized that I was aware of my surroundings and what was going on. It's like I'm looking through a video camera all the time, you know when it looks like it's another world. My family doctor already thinks I'm crazy because I told him I want my tubes tied (I'm 23), so if I sprung this on him he might laugh, or tell me I'm just burnt out from school and work. I think this condition may have started around the time I was taking the effexor/wellbutrin combination, but I'm not really sure because it was so long ago. Please help!
12 Responses
242532 tn?1269550379
First of all, the person to talk to is not the family doctor, but a psychotherapist. I would recommend a consultation, but here's what I think may be going on. There are two things. First,you have been on autopilot for so long, being so discipline and dutiful, and determined to complete your schooling, that you have temporarily put aside this kind of conscious awareness because there were too many temptations to take you off track.  NOw that you have completed your goal, you are ready to expand again, so now is why you bring it up as a question. I believe you will be able to bounce back.

Secondly, you are a big transition juncture, and whole new future is opening up, but not yet determined. That is an anxious position.

See a therapist and talk about both ofthese issues.
Avatar universal
I worked full time and went to school full time for six years in my early twenties, so I can relate to how you feel.  When you graduate, you will feel so much better!  This feeling of being in a fog is a defense mechanism.  Also, you are facing a major life transition.  This is stressful, too.  Hang in there.  Take good care of yourself....eat right, get some rest, light exercise, vitamins, take a vacation if you can and see if things dont get better.  Give yourself a big pat on the back for working so hard and achieving your goals.  You have set yourself up for success in your life and now you will reap rewards.  Good Luck.  Anne
Avatar universal
Thanks, its good to know that others feel this is only a stage. I'm spaced out constantly, but only have a few more weeks left of school, and hope you are right that I will snap back into reality.
Avatar universal
i totaly can relate to what your going through, about 2 months ago; i decided to kick my panic in the butt, and try some medication ( i was doing great on my own and thought if i added medication to the mix it would totaly cure me!) however it has apparentley done the opposite, i started with zoloft and it made me have worse panic, then i was given resperidal (big mistake, that was like killing a fly with a bulldozer,)that made me a zombie. now im on remeron and syriquil and im having the same removed feelings you've described, i also snap out of it from time to time, usually everynight. and also like yourself im near the end of college so i think that may be a factor, but talk to a psychologist or psychotherapist, and maybe get some reading material on the subject, to occupy yourself, and ease your mind  in the mean time. im sure you'll snap out of it again. and its nice to know im not the only one experiencing these strange feelings. good luck and all the best
Avatar universal
Bless your heart, I know exactly where you are coming from.  I so admire you for all your hard work.  Everyone's advice is great, but in addition, have some FUN!

I was so glad to run across this, because I certainly needed to hear it.  I have not worked for 17 years due to Fibromyalgia.  I very, very seldom do anything except what needs to be done and always feel like I'm on auto-pilot.

I'm in the final process of getting off Paxil, and I truly think this dreadful drug has locked me up from life.  It absolutely killed my love life for 13 years.

I am looking forward to having a life again, and I just know that you will have a wonderful life as well.

God bless you!
Avatar universal
I have been on Paxil since 1995 and the many times I have tried to get off it I have had really bad withdrawals. Please advise how you are doing. Colleen
Avatar universal
i just recently started getting anxiety attacks and i am so sick of them.  i am home with a 6 year old and am afraid to have an attack when i am alone with him.  i currently take zanax when i need one.  today for no reason started to have an attack and got really scared.  i took a zanax and am feeling alittle better but still afraid.  my heart pound real fast, lightheaded, weak, dizzy.  i want to get rid of these attacks.  i dont know how.  i dont want to go out of the house b/c i am scared of having one.  on top of that, i quit smoking 2 weeks ago and have a virus that hase been going on for 4 weeks now. help me!!!
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
Hi there.....

I have been on many, many anti-depressants for over 20-25 yrs.  The last one I was on was Cymbalta (I'm told it's very similar to Effexor)........the withdrawal from these drugs can be horrible.  I'm on my second week, and am still having trouble.  No one seems to know for sure if the things I'm feeling are going to last for weeks, months, years, or never go away.

On another website, they have started using the phrase "Brain Shivers."  This is the only thing that can describe how I feel.  I am light-headed,  not really DIZZY, though....I feel as thought there are little "zaps" that go through my brain.  Especially if something has happened to startle me....even on the smallest scale.  If someone walks in the office and I look up and see them, my brain "zaps."  Some have described it as "an electrical shocky feeling that skitters across your brain."  Or a "buzzy feeling" or  "bzzzzzts" in your brain.  IF you having these, you'll know what I'm talking about.....

Take things slow.....I know what you are talking about by not feeling like you are really "there"--or "here" in the present.  I went to Europe for 2 weeks, and I never really felt like I was there.  I felt like I was watching the whole trip on a TV or something.
Avatar universal
Hi. its nice to see others have similar problems.
Although of course it would be much better if we
were all in full health. I was looking for some
help, i am pretty well versed in anxiety and coping
skills and meds. However, I started a new job recently
and was struggling but getin by. The last two weeks i
have had a bit of a collapse and missed work on thurs
an friday. And went out to dinner tonite with family
and was feeling ok but started to have anxiety symptoms
an had too leave, which is unuasual for me. I feel like
the slightest thing can set it off now and am very scared
for my job. i can potentially go on short term dis at work
however, i would have not protection, and when i would go
back i would need my dr to say what the problem was, and
think he would say anx. What has caused the exteme anx lately
is the fact that every week or so i go into a state where
my cog functioning and memory are kind of blocked ot some
degree. i have researched numbersous things and think it
may be due to me taking ativan for several years now.
anyone ever experience this. i saw a website that said cog
dis. can be caused by long term ativ use but of course youc
can find a website on anything. the cog dis at work caused
me anx and the anx cauesed worse func at work which caused
more anx, and now i am in a place where my body cant take
any stressors. I'll write back to help some of you as i have
thoroughtly studies coping skills and it would make me feel
good to help others.
Avatar universal
birth control can cause depression...  Sometimes the brain will go into autopilot when under stress to manage demands in life.  I would probably ask the birth control provider if the pill has anything to do with what you are going through.
Avatar universal
I just stopped taking Effexor about 2 weeks ago after 8 months of use. I decreased my dose slowly over 2 weeks before completely stopping. At first my body reacted to the corresponding decrease in seritonin by giving me adrenaline rushes during the day, I would conk out when I'd come home from work and sleep until the next morning, then things started to stablize.

Lately I feel kind of anxious, but mostly because I am going back to school after taking a semester off and am moving into a new place. Also, I do cry at weird times- I'm usually pretty involved when it comes to feeling compassionate to suffering I see on TV or read in magazines, but crying over an ad about America's glory is not my idea of normal patriotism. But, I expect that to go away.

I also had a similar problem with being "diagnosed." My mother is a drug rep for Wyeth, the company that makes effexor XR. I went to the family doctor, not a psych. About a year ago I went through a really traumatic breakup, returned from my first trip abroad, and went back to my grueling college all within a one week span- leading to major anxiety. Is this something that should merit drugs? No, I think not. Real human emotions happen and they are to be experienced and the person supported. Like an idiot I didn't talk to anyone about it and just "soldiered on." I know that know I should have seen an objective counselor (I did but I quit after 3 sessions, it's definitely important to find someone compatible with you) and I wish I knew that then and simply accepted the hurt so I could work through it. Now it's 8 months later I'm just getting over it after stopping the meds. I feel almost as if they kept me in an emotional vaccuum disallowing me to experience things as they really were and thus inhibiting my ability to work through life. So, I stopped taking them and I don't believe in them.

Because I have all the material for Effexor at my disposal right in my own house and my mom knows the drugs inside out, I know that one of the side-affects of TAKING the drug is that you will lose weight, something having to do with metabolism. When you come off it you will most likely experience some weight gain as your body readjusts. But I'm totally confident that you will readjust. Your body adjusted to the drug, and it will adjust away from it.

My suggestion is when you feel anxious, sad, etc. you can first turn inwards and really ask why you feel that way, and see if it is because of the chemical imbalance your body is coping with (which you can then dismiss as being a false feeling, it still sucks, but if you know it's false then you can do you best to control it and are less likely to act on it) or something you that really truly feel- in which case you can work it out through self-analysis, meditation, writing, talking to a close friend, etc.  

Secondly, excercise is excellent for eradicating Effexor. I have started studying Buddhism, Karate, and Yoga and they have inhanced my concentration and determination to beat this stuff without meds and to come through withdrawal with flying colors. Everyone's problem is unique but I firmly believe that mental, spiritual, and physical excercise combined definitely helps. Just try to stay busy, excercise, drink lots of water, and be around people you love, and especially let them know what you are experiencing so they can help & support you. Good luck to you.

Bottom line: Do what you feel is best for you and your life-style. Get objective opinions from several sources. And put in the effort to learn about yourself before you get on/go off any one of these serious medications.
Popular Resources
15 signs that it’s more than just the blues
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Simple, drug-free tips to banish the blues.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
For many, mental health care is prohibitively expensive. Dr. Rebecca Resnik provides a guide on how to find free or reduced-fee treatment in your area