You may know about CBD, you may have heard about it or you might never have heard of it but the only way to get to know it is to listen to other people’s stories as there is still a bit of controversy surrounding it. There is still a lot of research still to be done to understand CBD more and the benefits but with so many people finding a lot of advantages of using it, perhaps you can use it and find them too? Here is Jen’s story.
Who is Jen?
I, Jennifer (Jen or Jenny) Louise Tervit am one of the Directors of CBD Jenny Ltd, the main reason me and my partner Anthony set up the business is to share the benefits with others as it has had a significant positive impact on my life (and his).
I have suffered from depression probably since I was a little girl (about 4) due to various life events, personality and biological underpinnings and it has always impacted my life. I have been to my doctor more times than I can count (not recently as I lost faith) and when I was about 23 after many visits to counsellors and psychologists, I decided it was time to maybe try anti-depressants.
Do drugs work?
I was always against anti-depressants, for a few reasons; the shame, the feeling of how nothing was physically wrong with me and the fact I didn’t want to be reliant on a drug to make me happy. Anyway, if I remember correctly, I was at a really low point. I had been signed off work (the one and only time ever I had been unable to work) for 4 weeks and I was thinking what is the point, if this is life and feeling so shit then I don’t want to carry on. This was an extremely difficult thought for me as I had a 2-year-old, I needed to do something to make myself feel better. I started on 25mg of Citalopram.
In the short term, I do believe it helped me and perhaps for the first couple of years, although I did still feel pretty awful. I was referred to various psychologists through the years on the NHS and most of the waiting lists were 12-18 months. For me, this is a shocking waitlist for something like mental health which is crucial for early intervention. I had got up to about 100mg of Citalopram.
Years passed, I was married (and divorced) and had 2 more children. Again, life events were pretty hard going and I was on and off anti-depressants even while pregnant and breastfeeding. Citalopram and Sertraline. Then when my youngest was about 1 and a half I was feeling really low again and struggling to sleep and struggling to get up in the morning (there were only 18 months between my two little ones and probably had a huge factor in this but I believed in the doctors) and went to my doctor to discuss things again.
The doctor decided that it would be good to put me on Venlafaxine, I think they put me straight on 75mg and I stayed on that amount for 4 years – in total on anti-depressants for 14 years. To me, Venlafaxine is the devil of all anti-depressants and although in the beginning it did help me sleep better and get up easier in the morning the side effects were horrendous.
Side-effects of Venlafaxine
Within 6 months the physical side-effects started to rear their ugly head. I started to have quite severe stomach issues and was struggling and really uncomfortable. I went to the doctor and they put it down to IBS and stress, I’d never really had stomach problems before that that had concerned me and over the years the issues just got worse and worse to the point where I had various consultant appointments at the hospital and was going to have a colonoscopy but I refused thinking that I should change my diet first. The consultants couldn’t find anything wrong.
Not only did I have stomach issues, but my periods had become really heavy and painful to the point where I felt it difficult to leave the house during the height of my period as the bleeding was so heavy. Again, I went to the doctor, and they sent me for scans and assessments at the hospital. The consultants couldn’t see anything wrong.
There were other side-effects like headaches, restless legs, feeling really agitated and depression! I started to feel more suicidal than I ever had before and in the 6 months before I gave up Venlafaxine, I was thinking about it on a daily (more than once a day) basis.
Some Doctors are oblivious or desensitised to side-effects
In all the times I visited the GP’s about my various physical symptoms not one of them mentioned to me that it may well be a side effect of the anti-depressants I was taking. Not once.
Covid hit and we were in lockdown, I was in a bad place again even being on my anti-depressants. I called the doctor (as we weren’t allowed to go and see anyone – even now you can’t!) and instantly she said “ok, we will increase your dose”. She doubled it. 150mg of Venlafaxine. I got the prescription, but I never took it. It was a turning point for me.
Coming off Venlafaxine
I had decided it was time to come off Venlafaxine and not rely on anti-depressants anymore. I didn’t want to have to rely on them anymore and I was starting to realise that they weren’t helping me and actually making me worse. I done some research online and quickly realised that this anti-depressant (Venlafaxine) was the hardest one to come off and the best way to do it was to taper down slowly.
I called the GP to let them know my plans and the one I spoke to said to take one every 2nd day and come off them completely in 2 weeks. From everything I had read online this is a complete ‘no no’ and you need to taper slowly to avoid bad withdrawals. I listened to the online information rather than the GP (rightly or wrongly) but from what I was reading GP’s or even psychiatrists don’t seem to know the effects of coming off Venlafaxine.
It took me 6 months to taper off 75mg of Venlafaxine and some of the groups and forums I was part of online said that that is even too quick but I wanted off this horrible stuff which was clearly making me worse rather than better.
It was horrible, not just emotionally but physically I felt like I was coming off something much stronger/harder. I had the shakes, brain wobbles, sweats, I was sick and just felt absolutely horrendous. I was getting terrible headaches and feeling so nauseous, I decided to take some CBD oil to see if that would help. It did. I was really glad to have Anthony there to support me through this or I may have given up and taken them or increased my dose again.
A long 6 months later with the support of Anthony and CBD oil, finally I was ‘clean’, I felt so much better, and my physical symptoms were pretty much gone! All of them, stomach issues, period issues and others. I felt completely different physically, obviously mentally I still have some of the feelings but I wasn’t feeling like I did while on this horrible drug.
I felt that the CBD oil helped a huge amount with nausea, and I started taking it every day to see if it helped with my depression as well. I took it at night time before bed and it also helped me sleep. I’ve been taking it ever since and have now been off Venlafaxine for 6 months and feeling better than I can remember. I don’t have the physical symptoms to deal with anymore and the CBD oil is part of my daily routine – and I feel is a big reason why I feel better.
When I have a headache I will reach for the CBD oil and not the paracetamol, as I believe in this natural product rather than manmade medicines now after my experience with prescription drugs.
Doctors vs Own Knowledge/Research
Doctors obviously are well educated and trained in their field and they do help a lot of people on a regular basis but when it comes to mental health I don’t feel that there is enough information for them out there and I feel they are completely desensitized to many issues due to the vast majority of patients they see (or call for the last year and half) and don’t really look at all the medicines and issues going on fully (this is my opinion).
My advice would be to do your own research and trust your gut about what you need – obviously, listen to your doctor but sometimes you will know more about your issues than they will.