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The “Old Lady” Signature

signatureI have taken a lot of psychiatric meds over the years and I will be the first one in line to tout their benefits. For me, they work. Not always at first. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes they just need some adjusting. But they keep me sane and functioning and for that I am thankful.

I recently started taking a higher dose of Effexor XR. This is to both help my depression and, more importantly, help with my anxiety. I already take Prozac, but we decided to add this a while ago to see if it helped.

Honestly, I don’t know if it has helped. I still have terrible situational anxiety at times – driving, crowds, small spaces with too many people, loud noises, etc.

But what I have had the pleasure of noticing (sarcasm), is the severe trembling of my hands.

I’ve dealt with this before with other psychiatric meds. You start them and you shake and you quake and you get over it.

I have yet to get over it.

Today I went to CVS to fill a prescription and was asked to sign the automated tablet with my name. I swear to you that “E” had four lines just on the top of it! My mom and I joked that maybe they would think I was an old lady. Joking, but sad.

As I clutched the steering wheel to the pharmacy I noticed the shaking in my hands. Sure, I had had some coffee, but it would take a “normal” person thermos upon thermos to acquire my shakes, not a large Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with cream. They start somewhere around the elbow and radiate outwards.

They make me feel un-sturdy. They make me feel weak. They make me feel unreliable.

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend fixed our kitchen sink. He asked me to push down on the top part of the faucet as he unscrewed it beneath. My hands and muscles trembled something fiercely and I hoped that underneath the sink he couldn’t see it, couldn’t feel it. ‘Cause it isn’t normal the amount of quakes and shakes in my hands. It is a result of medication. Too much? Adjusting? I don’t know.

I do know this isn’t working. I am not old yet. I need not shake like an 85-year-old woman. I am 33. I have tons of time to get there. So, if this shaking hasn’t stopped by the time I see my psychiatrist on the 3rd, I will ask him for alternative options, because this shaking is for the birds.

And with this sentiment I urge you to be honest with your doctor. If something isn’t working you have to speak up. YOU are your own ADVOCATE. If you don’t speak up, who will?


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The “Old Lady” Signature

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2014). The “Old Lady” Signature. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Nov 2014
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