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  1. Hi there, I'm new to this forum but had a read of some previous posts and it seems like a nice place with some sensible advice! I kind of need a support place at the moment, so will look forward to joining in with postings. I have been suffering from Social Anxiety and general anxiety for about 20 years now. Maybe longer. My life has been a mess because of it. I quit my job. Then university. And I haven't been able to work for the last 20 years because of it. I am now 38 and despite this, I have managed to find a lovely boyfriend (on!) who I have been with for the last 4 and a half years. I want to start a family, since I cannot envision a life without kids. After quite a lot of research on anti-depressant drugs and anti-anxiety drugs, my boyfriend and I have decided it would be best to come off my Efexor before trying for a baby. The doctors say the potential harm to an unborn child is low, but the newborn is likely to suffer withdrawal effects. However, there are many court cases where parents are suing doctors or the pharmacology company for saying the risk was low, when their babies have been born with a cleft lip or a hole in the heart. I don't trust doctor's advice on medication because they have repeatedly told me that generic Efexor was the same as brand name - however, I know it isn't because I felt terrible while taking generic Efexor. Also, the first anti-anxiety drugs I was prescribed, caused me extreme panic symptoms which lasted a week and I had to go to the Emergency Room to get Valium. This happened TWICE! Also, when they prescribed me Prozac, I was so foggy-headed I couldn't think straight or even walk properly and couldn't get out of bed for a week. So, because of my past experiences, I do not trust Doctor's opinions when it comes to anti-depressant medication. So, I really don't want to take the risk that medication could harm my unborn child and I know my boyfriend doesn't, either. I have been doing voluntary work for the past 3 months, in order to get job references so that I can get a job to support my child. It is gardening in the grounds of a museum once a week. I have been able to talk to the staff and be friendly with them, although I am still very nervous about sitting in a room and eating my lunch with them. I did this once, but most of the time people tend to do their own thing, so I'm not really required to have lunch with them. I have noticed that since I started withdrawing from my Efexor, I have been experiencing greater general anxiety. I was on 150mg and now I have been on 75mg for the last 2 weeks. In less than a week, I am due to halve the dose again, and I suspect this will make me feel quite sick. Since, Xmas I haven't been going in to my voluntary job as often as I should. It is a slow time of year anyway for gardening and they said they don't need as much help. So I said I would go in every 2 weeks. In reality I have only been managing it every 3 weeks, since Xmas. The Efexor withdrawal is making it harder for me to deal with going in to work. It is a huge step for me to attempt to work, after 20 years of not being able to. And it has taken me a lot of courage and determination to get this far. I am glad I did it, however, I now feel myself slipping backwards and giving in to the anxious thoughts again. One of the things which spooked me, was my supervisor being very NICE to me and giving me some leftover plants. I know it's stupid, but I ended up feeling overwhelmed and like I didn't know how to deal with him. From reading the signals, I also think he might fancy me, although he hasn't really done anything to overstep the mark - but I still feel uncomfortable about it and don't really know how to deal with it. I know he was only being nice and trying to make me feel that volunteering was worthwhile, by giving me plants. So that might be part of why I've avoided going in. Stupid, I know. I'm also worried that if I don't go in often enough, that the staff will start not liking me, for messing them about, because they have to work there most days whether they like it or not. It's stupid little thoughts like this which fester in my head and grow into a big problem - I have to make sure I keep on top of them by giving myself therapy by addressing the problems in writing and coming up with strategies of how to deal with them. Although that's something I've slipped out of doing the last few weeks. The Efexor withdrawal is making it harder for me to focus on making myself feel better, because of the tendency to think negatively. So, I just resign myself to feeling crap and hope that I'll feel better one day. I'm also experiencing headaches and anxiety every day, due to withdrawal. I can't help thinking that rehabilitating myself to get back into work would be alot easier if I could just keep taking Efexor. My boyfriend has also insisted that I get a job, since he doesn't want to be the only one working, to support our upcoming family, which is perfectly understandable, and I really want to be able to work too. I am 38 in a week, and I don't feel I can wait any longer before we try for a baby. I want 2 kids and if it theoretically takes 2 years to conceive each one, I'll be 42 by the time I'm having the last one! And the older the mother is, the greater the chances of there being something wrong with the baby. It took my mom 18 months to conceive me, when she was 22. And the older the mother is when she tries for a baby, the longer it takes to concieve - and I am now medically classed in the age bracket where it could take up to 2 years. So, I'm in a difficult situation at the moment. I really want to have a normal life with a family of my own and a job. If I can't have kids, I think that would spark off a major depression for me, since I would feel that my anxiety has won and robbed me of the chance of a normal life. I do not want to grow old with an empty, child-free life. I want to enjoy the company of my children and experience the joys of raising them. I know it's hard work, but I'm from a big family and helped my mom raise my brother and sister and the kids she child-minded, so I know I can cope with that side of things. I am also now able to do normal things like go to the doctor's or out for meals or go to family gatherings or go out for the day. About 10 years ago I wasn't able to do any of that, and I was completely house-bound due to my anxiety. So, I've improved a lot. I only hope I can do the last bit of trying to work, whilst withdrawing from my anxiety meds. Staying positive is probably the hardest thing for me, right now, but I absolutely need to be able to do it. I wish my life didn't have to be so difficult and that normal everyday things weren't such a struggle. Anyway, thanks for listening and sorry this post has been so long! Cherise.