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Almost 3 years Paxil Free - kateinsocal


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kateinsocal's Introduction topic

 

 

I've had writing my success story on a to do list for a couple years now. A pandemic hit, and life got busy, but stumbled across this site today so figured it was better late than never. 

I remember someone on here when I was in the worst of my withdrawal wondering why there weren't too many success stories - so hopefully mine will give a little encouragement to all who are battling.

 

Here is my original intro post. Was on Paxil since age 14, started the withdrawal around age 27. 

My doctor thought it would take around 2-3 months. I went much slower than that (but still too fast), and everything was great until I crashed at 1.25mg. An adverse fish oil supplement experience led to an urgent care visit and eventually I came across this wonderful forum. 

After updosing and stabilizing at 2.5mg for around a full year, I did micro tapers using liquid Paxil - 10% every week or two. Eventually hopped off I think at 0.05mg in August 2018 and have never looked back. 

2019 was a rough year for me, a lot of personal heartbreak. I was challenged in a lot of ways with anxiety, but was surprised at how strong I was, and was able to push through. 

I had two blissful months of 2020, then March hit, and that came with a whole new set of pandemic-related challenges for someone who also has health anxiety. But once again, found a heck of a lot of inner strength and somehow made it through. 

 

The only thing I would do different looking back now with the benefit of hindsight is go a heck of a lot slower. If only I had known back then what I do now (everything I've learned here, combined with 2 years of therapy and tons of research online and in textbooks). And also a ton of medical professionals (doctors, psychiatrists and pharmacists) know virtually nothing about this and it's infuriating.

 

95-98% of days I feel pretty good. I still get brain zaps sometimes. I'm a little jumpier, have a harder time focusing and can't sleep nearly as well as I did when I was on Paxil, but I feel like I have my life back and being free of it has been blissful. I'll occasionally still have downward spiral mood days, but they are almost always related to something tangible and I just lean on my faith and my friends and family and make it through. Learning to manage anxiety drug free has been a ton of work, and anxiety will always be a part of my life, but I have the most wonderful support system of people who are patient and understanding and give me lots of space to talk things out. 


I've been in a relationship for almost a year now, and I was nervous to disclose to him the withdrawal process and mental hell I went through in fear of being judged or having him not believe withdrawal is this severe of a thing, but thankfully he was so open and supportive and I'm incredibly grateful. 

 

I always make it a mission now to try to provide guidance or encouragement to anyone I meet who has any mental health struggles of their own. I've also tried to be more open on my social media in hopes to lessen the stigma and let people know they're not alone. 

 

I'm eternally grateful to everyone here who offered advice or a line of encouragement when I was in my darkest times. It won't soon be forgotten, and rooting on every single one of you still going through it. 

YOU GOT THIS. 

 

-Kate

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added link to Intro

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Kate and thank you for coming back to write your Success story.  As you said, it can give other members a lot of encouragement.

 

5 minutes ago, kateinsocal said:

 

I'll occasionally still have downward spiral mood days, but they are almost always related to something tangible

 

 

This is a normal part of being a human being.  Everyone has "lower mood" periods.

 

I'm glad that you are using non drug techniques.  I have found them very helpful too.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Almost 3 years Paxil Free - kateinsocal
4 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

This is a normal part of being a human being.  Everyone has "lower mood" periods.

Absolutely! Identifying what anxieties and moods are just part of being human :)

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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Congratulations Kate and thanks for posting your success story! 😇💗

Lexapro: 2002-2006 (dose unknown)

Sertraline: 2006-April 2021 (50 mg/day) with exception of 2 failed discontinuation attempts in previous 5 years.

April - Aug 2021 (25 mg/day [half tablet]). Experienced flu-like symptoms in April. Also experienced insomnia and rage/irritability, which eventually subsided. Sept 2021 - Jan 2022 (12.5 mg/day [quarter tablet]). Feb 1-12, 2022 (~10 mg/day). Experienced depression and new onset acute anxiety. Discovered SA.org and realized I was tapering too fast. Feb 13, 2022, dose increased back to 12.5 mg/day to mitigate symptoms. April 2022 (~10 mg/day; switched to liquid formulation). May 2022 (~9 mg/day). Jun-Jul 2022 (~8 mg/day). Aug 2022 (~7 mg/day). Oct 2022 (~6.5 mg/day). Nov 2022 (~6 mg/day). Dec 2022 (~5 mg/day). Holding dose for at least 2-3 months due to crying spells and poor appetite/weight loss. Began taking Mg and fish oil supplements.  March 17, 2023 - increased dose to 6 mg/day. Feeling better. May 17, 2023 - decreased dose to 5.5 mg/day. July 22, 2023 - still haven't stabilized. Experiencing excruciating and unrelenting suffering.  July 28, 2023 - increased dose to 6/6.5 mg/day

August 2, 2023 - increased dose to 7 mg/day due to persistent dread and panic attacks.

October 2023 - increased dose to 10 mg/day.

January 2024 - Still feel bad despite 10 mg/day dose.

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Thank you for posting!! So wonderful to hear you are doing well. You are an inspiration!! 

2005 - Zoloft, 200 mg for childhood anxiety (starting at age 11)

Summer 2015 - Switched to Prozac, 40 mg  

June 2019 - Tapered to 10 mg Prozac, no adverse effects. Held for 1 year. 

June 2020 - Discontinued Prozac. Horrible withdrawal. Did not realize it was withdrawal at first. 

Nov 2020 - Reinstated Prozac 2.5 mg. Still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 

May 2021 - Prozac 2.0 mg. Still experiencing symptoms - some symptoms have improved, but situational factors have worsened.

August 12 2021 - Prozac 2.25 mg. Partial reinstatement as symptoms had worsened

June 17 2022 - Prozac 2.0 mg; Sept 13 2022 - Prozac 1.75 mg; Nov 1 2022 - Prozac 1.5 mg; Feb 1 2023 - Prozac 1.25 mg; Apr 1 2023 - Prozac 1.0 mg; June 15, 2023 - Prozac 0.75 mg; Aug 15, 2023 - Prozac 0.5 mg

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  • Mentor

Thanks for sharing! Great story :) Congrats on getting off of paxil. All the best in your future :)

I follow The Plant Paradox lifestyle by Dr.Gundry. This lifestyle has given me my life back and I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. It has enabled me to finally get off of this medication and truly live my life. Nutrition is the key to health!!!!! 

2008 to 2019  - 20 mg Paroxetine

Attempted 2 CT's around the 5-6 year mark. Were absolutely terrible and reinstated. Was never explained by the doctor the seriousness of the short half life of this drug. 

2017 - Attempted a tapered discontinuation of this drug and reinstated after being unsuccessful.

2019 - Feb. 12 - After a three month taper I am off of paroxetine. The 3 months were terrible, awful withdrawal feelings. I followed the doctors guidelines for the reduction of this drug and now know it was way too fast. 
2019 - Oct. 12 - 8 months off paroxetine. 75% improvement since coming off the drug. Definitely have had tons of challenges along the way. Let’s go!!!! 

2021 - Feb. 12 - 24 months off paroxetine. I have minor challenges now. Tinnitus/Headaches are still around but are reduced by a massive amount. 

 

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Thanks for writing this and congratulations on being paxil free.  I wish you all the best for your life. 

11 July 2018 3.75mg zopiclone 14 days missed one dose at least doubled one dose 

22 July 2018 2 mg Valium one week ish

30/july/18 quetiapine 25

31/july/2018 quetiapine 100

1/August/2018 quetiapine 200

14/August/2018 quetiapine 100

14/ September /2018 Quetiapine 87.5mg

Not doing so well on this drop. 

many changes up and down as doctors didn't believe me when I said I needed to go slowly down. Withdrawal became impossible to function and I was hospitalised. 

Feb 2021- now  10 mg olanzapine 

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On 2/20/2022 at 8:31 AM, kateinsocal said:

I always make it a mission now to try to provide guidance or encouragement to anyone I meet who has any mental health struggles of their own. I've also tried to be more open on my social media in hopes to lessen the stigma and let people know they're not alone. 


What do you make of Anti Depressants being treated for anxiety ? 


If you had a friend that was on SSRIs, What would you advise them ?
 

Thanks,

Ryder.

2008-2012: Cymbalta, Zyprexa, Valium (5 days supply),

2012 - Seroquel x 4 weeks C/T. 

2014 - Seroquel x 2 Weeks C/T. Crossed to Risperidone 3mg for 6months until December.

2014 - Stopped Risperidone. Xfer > Anti-Depressant 200mg Zoloft and 6mg Clonazepam. 

2018 - 150mg Clomipromine changed Anti-depressant. Tapered Benzo to 1mg Clonazepam. 2019 - xfer to 20mg Diazepam. 

 

Currently:

Anafranil: 75mg. 17th Dec 2022 70mg. 27th Dec 22: 75mg, 14 January 23': 70mg. 16-26th January: 50mg (too fast drop no sleep). Jan 28th 2023: 70mg. 20 Feb 2023: 65mg. 11/06: 60mg 9/08: 55mg 15/08/23 : 50mg
3/03/2024: 60mg (Updose) 25/04: 57.5mg 22/05:53mg

 

        Diazepam (V): 25th Oct 2019' 20mg. 22 Dec 19' 19mg. 04 Apr 2020' 18mg,  30 September 20' 17.5mg , 13 Nov 2020' 17mg. 01 January 2021: 16mg, 13th Aug 21' 15mg. 1st Nov' 2021 14.5mg. 1st Dec' 2021 14mg. 13 January 2022: 13.5mg, 11 Feb: 13mg.  11 April 22' 12.5mg, 12 May 22': 12mg, 6th September 2022: 11mg Valium. 9th October: 10.5mg, 25th Oct 10mg. 12 March 23: 9.5mg 2 April: 9.25mg 23 April: 9mg 12/05: 8.75 26/05: 8.5 12/09: 8.25 21/09: 8.5. 3/10: 8.25 17/10: 8mg 20th Nov Brassmonkey: (7.9.,7.8, 7.75) 5 Feb: 7.25mg. 23 Feb: 7mg. 8th April 6.9mg 16 April: 6.8mg 29/04 6.7mg 6/05: 6.6mg 13/05: 6.5mg

*.      Have tried to go at faster rate than 0.5mg but is currently too fast. 

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for writing this, Kate. It has helped me a lot today. 🙂

Sertraline (Zoloft) 2004: 50mg (Nov); 2005: 100mg (Feb), 200mg (Jul); 2006: 100mg (Feb); 2007-2010: 150mg; 2011: 100mg (Jun); 2012: 75mg, 100mg; 2013: 125mg; 2014: 100mg, 75mg, 50mg; 2015: 75mg, 100mg, 125mg, 150mg; 2016-2017: 150mg; 2018: 149mg (4 Jan), 148mg (9 Jan), 147mg (14 Jan), 146mg (19 Jan), 145mg (24 Jan), 144mg (9 Mar), 143mg (17 Mar), 142mg (29 Mar), 141mg (9 Apr), 140mg (14 Apr), 139mg (3 Jun), 138mg (13 Jun), 137mg (1 Jul), 136mg (13 Jul), 135mg (28 Jul), 134mg (11 Aug), 133mg (23 Aug), 132mg (9 Sep), 131mg (20 Sep), 130mg (9 Oct), 129mg (24 Oct), 128mg (3 Dec); 2019: 125mg (20 Jun); 2022: 123mg (9 Feb), ↘︎ 122mg (23 Jul), ↘︎ 121mg (13 Aug), ↘︎ 120mg (27 Aug), ↘︎ 119mg (10 Sep), ↘︎ 118mg (24 Sep), ↘︎ 117mg (8 Oct), ↘︎ 116mg (20 Oct), ↘︎ 115mg (14 Nov), ↘︎ 114mg (26 Nov), ↘︎ 113mg (8 Dec), ↘︎ 112mg (18 Dec), ↘︎ 111mg (28 Dec); 2023: ↘︎ 110mg (4 Jan), ↘︎ 109mg (20 Jan), ↘︎ 108mg (29 Jan), ↘︎ 107mg (6 Feb), ↘︎ 106mg (14 Feb), ↘︎ 105mg (21 Feb), ↘︎ 104mg (6 Mar), ↘︎ 103mg (13 Mar), ↘︎ 102mg (19 Mar), ↘︎ 101mg (25 Mar), ↘︎ 100mg (31 Mar), ↘︎ 99mg (11 Apr), ↘︎ 98mg (17 Apr), ↘︎ 97mg (23 Apr), ↘︎ 96mg (29 Apr), ↘︎ 95mg (5 May), ↘︎ 94mg (16 May), ↘︎ 93mg (22 May), ↘︎ 92mg (28 May), ↘︎ 91mg (3 Jun), ↘︎ 90mg (9 Jun), ↘︎ 89mg (20 Jun), ↘︎ 88mg (25 Jun), ↘︎ 87mg (30 Jun), ↘︎ 86mg (5 Jul), ↘︎ 85mg (10 Jul), ↘︎ 84mg (4 Aug), ↘︎ 83mg (9 Aug), ↘︎ 82mg (14 Aug), ↘︎ 81mg (19 Aug), ↘︎ 80mg (24 Aug), ↘︎ 79mg (2 Sep), ↘︎ 78mg (7 Sep), ↘︎ 77mg (12 Sep), ↘︎ 76mg (17 Sep), ↘︎ 75mg (22 Sep), ↘︎ 74mg (1 Oct), ↘︎ 73mg (6 Oct), ↘︎ 72mg (11 Oct), ↘︎ 71mg (16 Oct), ↘︎ 70mg (21 Oct), ↘︎ 69mg (30 Oct), ↘︎ 68mg (4 Nov), ↘︎ 67mg (9 Nov), ↘︎ 66mg (14 Nov), ↘︎ 65mg (19 Nov), ↘︎ 64mg (28 Nov), ↘︎ 63mg (3 Dec), ↘︎ 62mg (8 Dec), ↘︎ 61mg (13 Dec), ↘︎ 60mg (18 Dec), ↘︎ 59mg (27 Dec); 2024: ↘︎ 58mg (1 Jan), ↘︎ 57mg (6 Jan), ↘︎ 56mg (11 Jan), ↘︎ 55mg (16 Jan), ↘︎ 54mg (25 Jan), ↘︎ 53mg (30 Jan), ↘︎ 52mg (4 Feb), ↘︎ 51mg (9 Feb), ↘︎ 50mg (14 Feb), ↘︎ 49mg (23 Feb), ↘︎ 48mg (28 Feb), ↘︎ 47mg (4 Mar), ↘︎ 46mg (9 Mar), ↘︎ 45mg (14 Mar), ↘︎ 44mg (23 Mar), ↘︎ 43mg (28 Mar), ↘︎ 42mg (2 Apr), ↘︎ 41mg (7 Apr), ↘︎ 40mg (12 Apr), ↘︎ 39mg (21 Apr), ↘︎ 38mg (26 Apr), ↘︎ 37mg (1 May), ↘︎ 36mg (6 May), ↘︎ 35mg (11 May), ↘︎ 34mg (27 May), ↘︎ 33mg (3 Jun), ↘︎ 32mg (10 Jun), ↘︎ 31mg (17 Jun); ↘︎ = Daily micro-taper (i.e. fractions of a mg).

Temazepam 2004: ?mg.

Alprazolam (Xanax) 2007: 0.5mg - 4mg.

Quetiapine (Seroquel) 2008: 25mg - 75mg.

Dexamphetamine 2013: 5mg.

Modafinil 2017: 100mg.

 

Quit: Coffee (09 Mar '22) | Alcohol (11 Mar '22) | Vitamin supplements (14 Mar '22) | OTC medications (14 Mar '22) | Herbal and mushroom supplements (14 Dec '22)

 

"Discipline will set you free"

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Hi @kateinsocal

 

our stories are a bit similar. I was younger(age 7) when put On Paxil. Now age 28.

 

did you continue to taper despite the withdrawal? When you say you “stabilized” where you back to normal? Thanks so much. Thank you for sharing.

Medicated at age 7. Many med changes (over 20). Tapered off Xanax in 2018. 
 

PAXIL TAPER:  
2021: Feb. dropped from 20mg to 15mg Paxil. Terrible. Bedridden for 8 months.  Oct. - 14.6mg  Oct. 27 - 14.2 mg Nov. 14 - 14mg  Feb. 28 - 13.6mg March. 28 - 13.4mg April 5 - 13.4mg but introducing liquid (bad reaction)  2022:  November 14 - 13.2mg  2023:  January 4 - 13mg March 7 - 12.7mg (2.3%) April 20 - 12.4mg (2.4%) May 16 - 12.1mg (2.4%)  Aug. 30 - 12mg (.8%) Oct. 19 - switched from tablet to liquid from compounding pharmacy Nov. 12. 11.65mg (2.9%)  Nov. 30 - 11.3mg (3%)  Dec. 18 - 10.95 (3%)  2024 Jan. 4 - 10.75 (1.8%)   Feb. 10 - 10.4 (3.3%) Feb28 - 10MG!!!!!! (3.8%)  April 9 - 9.95 (.5%) May 24 - 9.7(2.5%) 

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Hi @kateinsocal

Thank you so much for writing your success story. It helps so much to read your post and know there are people who have made it through.

 

On 2/19/2022 at 10:31 PM, kateinsocal said:

I always make it a mission now to try to provide guidance or encouragement to anyone I meet who has any mental health struggles of their own. I've also tried to be more open on my social media in hopes to lessen the stigma and let people know they're not alone. 

 

Hats off to you for your courage and honesty in regards to this issue. Have you had any good experiences conveying information about the dangers of psychiatric medications? I would like to learn how to communicate clearly, persuasively, simply about what the problems are in order to be able to more effectively warn people about the risks of these drugs. I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts, as I often get too emotional and I think that gets in the way of the argument. Do you have any tips? How do you handle the subject matter?

 

Congratulations on all your hard work in recovery and building new relationships, nurturing new experiences. I'm very happy for you and wish you all the best. 

Thanks again for coming back to share your success, it means so much.

A.

1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

August 2021 - 2mg melatonin   August 1, 2022 - 1mg melatonin   March 31, 2023 - 0mg melatonin

2024 supplements update: electrolyte blend in water sipped throughout the day; 1 tsp cod liver oil blend (incl. vit. A+D+E) w/ breakfast; calcium; vitamin C+zinc

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house

 

I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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  • 5 months later...

Thank you. I so, so needed to read your story today. It’s been a rough one.

Age 16 (1995 - 2000) -Paroxetine
Age 21 (2000-2004) - Effexor 37.5mg
Age 24 (2004-2012) - Lexapro (70mg), Xanax minimum 2mg Xanax a day
About 32 (2012-2017?) - Every mood stabiliser under the sun (not at the same time) and minimum 2mg Xanax a day; occasional amisulpride 
About 35 (2017-current) - Lurasidone 80 mg, quickly titrated down to 40mg, Pristiq (50 mg), minimum of 2mg Xanax a day
About 41 (2020) Switched from Xanax to clonazepam and started tapering at 0.125 mg each reduction, tapered off Pristiq with a cross taper at the end, low dose of dextroamphetamine.
Age 42 (2021) Tried to taper off Lurasidone three times. Quick taper from 40mg to 0 mg over a couple of months the first time. Reinstated at 20mg. Tried twice more to taper from 20 mg to 0 mg dropping by 5 mg each reduction (about every 2 weeks).
Age 42-43 (April 2022) 20mg-18mg; May 18mg-16mg; June 16-14mg; September 14-12mg; September 12-14mg reinstated. February 2023 - hiccup with brand change, Back to Apotek brand and switch to homemade suspension.

Age 44 (August 2023 -restarted clonazepam taper). Start dose 0.375mg. 1/9/2023 - 0.365mg; 1/10/2023 - 0.324mg; 1/11/2023 - 0.264mg; 1/12/2023 - 0.25 mg (holding); 1/2/2024 - 0.232mg; 1/3/2024 - 0.221mg; 1/4/2024 - 0.205mg;

Health regimen: walks, hot/cold showers, ice baths, breathwork, mostly healthy diet, therapy...... Open to ideas! Supplements: Milk Kefir, Mag, Omega 3, CBD/THC.

 

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8 hours ago, Thorin said:

Thank you. I so, so needed to read your story today. It’s been a rough one.

I had many days where I felt like quitting. It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

My therapist said to me once, "do you have what you need to make it through today?"

It was always a yes. Just take it one day at a time and hang in there! Better days are ahead. 

 

A really good pick me up playlist, or podcast, and long walks helped me.

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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On 5/7/2022 at 11:33 PM, Ariel said:

Hi @kateinsocal

Thank you so much for writing your success story. It helps so much to read your post and know there are people who have made it through.

 

 

Hats off to you for your courage and honesty in regards to this issue. Have you had any good experiences conveying information about the dangers of psychiatric medications? I would like to learn how to communicate clearly, persuasively, simply about what the problems are in order to be able to more effectively warn people about the risks of these drugs. I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts, as I often get too emotional and I think that gets in the way of the argument. Do you have any tips? How do you handle the subject matter?

 

Congratulations on all your hard work in recovery and building new relationships, nurturing new experiences. I'm very happy for you and wish you all the best. 

Thanks again for coming back to share your success, it means so much.

A.

Ahh - that's a tough question because I honestly believe there's still an appropriate use for psychiatric medications - I just think they are given too easily and too often and not used in conjunction with the proper tools (therapy).

I've had a couple people really close to me struggle for long periods of time and we've had many open discussions about what the choice would look like for them. Some have opted for it, and their lives have improved greatly. Others have worked through without them (and were adamant about doing so). I also think some are worse than others. I took Paxil, and textbooks I read said it's the worst one out there for withdrawal.
If someone is miserable and struggling with life for a long period (like 3 months) and feels life is deprived of all joy, I can see a valid argument for opting in for a bit. I tell them they should be well aware of the withdrawal process and also should be used in conjunction with therapy to dive into the core issues and lead way to a easier taper off (due to a shorter duration, hopefully).  I would always recommend therapy first but sometimes it's not an option due to not having the time and/or resources to do it. 

In general I've almost seen people be offended or upset when other suggest they try medication, so I'm not often talking anyone out of it. I try not to advise on that aspect if I can help it, to be honest. I just try to understand how they're feeling, how difficult it is and try to help plan a path forward. And always am a listening ear and a safe space for processing through things.

 

BUT - it is super emotional regardless. When I told my (now husband) about it initially, I think that was the first time I cried in front of him. It was one of the darkest times in my life, but a heck of a victory and definitely a battle worth fighting.

 

 

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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On 5/7/2022 at 12:05 PM, Sunflower414 said:

Hi @kateinsocal

 

our stories are a bit similar. I was younger(age 7) when put On Paxil. Now age 28.

 

did you continue to taper despite the withdrawal? When you say you “stabilized” where you back to normal? Thanks so much. Thank you for sharing.

Sorry for the late response! 

I considered stabilized basically functioning at a manageable level with minimal side effects. I used a withdrawal symptom chart and rated how bad each symptom was every day on a scale from 1-10. 

Many symptoms at high numbers = stop reducing and find stability. When I got the wonky ones (depersonalization, vision issues, sensitivity to sound, can't get out of bed) etc I knew I had overdone it. Which really only happened during that one crash.

If it was minor (1 or 2/10) and few in number (less than 4) I would feel comfortable enough continuing. Most of my withdrawal after the initial crash peaked at 3-4/10. It was the brain zaps, crying for no reason/mood swings, difficulty sleeping etc. Nothing that interfered too much with my daily life/ability to go to work as normal so I accepted it would suck for a bit but was manageable and pushed through.

 

I found the hardest thing was knowing how long it would take to be off. I just focused one day at a time and eventually that day came!

 

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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On 2/26/2022 at 3:36 AM, Ryder said:


What do you make of Anti Depressants being treated for anxiety ? 


If you had a friend that was on SSRIs, What would you advise them ?
 

Thanks,

Ryder.

Sorry for the late reply!

In general, I ask them if life has lost all joy, and how long it's been like that. 
It seems as though we can't or don't wish to deal with pain and always jump to an easy escape (one of which is taking antidepressants). Or doctors are quick to prescribe those because it's an easy/quick fix. I think we need to get better at living with discomfort and try other methods first (therapy). However - there are times where I think they're appropriate. Life shouldn't be so hard for so long that all the joy is removed from it - I would give it a three month period. If anyone hits that, I am happy to have conversations with them about what starting a course of antidepressants could look like as I do think they can help. 
But - in my opinion it should be a temporary fix to provide some relief while the issues are worked through with therapy or other treatments, then weened off. And the patient should be fully aware that the withdrawal process could be hard and have done research into which specific drug could be right for them. And there is a trained medical professional actively following up with them (not just given and cast aside). I've had a couple people whose lives have been changed for the better since taking them. It's a very complex decision with many factors and in general I try not to persuade someone one way or the other.

 

2002-2003 25mg Paxil CR due to PTSD and severe anxiety. 2005-2016 25mg Paxil CR due to resurgence of panic attacks and severe anxiety.

Started tapering late summer 2016.

Aug 2016 - 25mg CR immediate cut to 12.5mg CR, then held 4-5 months 

Jan 2017 - 12.5mg (CR) to 12.5mg (non CR), then after a week.

Jan/Feb 2017 - 12.5mg (non CR) taper down 2.5mg/week (1.25mg every 3-4 days), and felt no symptoms at all until debilitating withdrawal effects at 1.25mg, so immediately went back up to last stable dose of 2.5mg.

Held at 2.5mg. Experienced mild/moderate anxiety waves, brain zaps, lightheadedness, feeling fuzzy, cortisol spikes, burning/prickling skin and lots of anxious energy.

Tried Omega 3s for two days and experienced debilitating anxiety and depression (+urgent care visit), so stopped that 2/19. 

Mar 12 2017 - Switched to half liquid/half pill, had a minor spike in anxiety but it faded over a couple days

Mar 19 2017 - Switched to full liquid - 2.5mg/1.25ml - experienced a spike 7-8 days in, but stabilized over next week. Another awful spike over 4/12-4/16 due to inadvertently eating a ton of flax seed, but two amazing normal weeks followed that.

Tapering off liquid - 3/19 - 2.5mg, 4/30 - 2.25mg, 5/29 - 2.02mg, (weekend of depression around 7/2), 7/24 - 1.82mg, 9/4 - 1.64mg, slow taper (.04mg/wk) until .025ml liquid (0.50mg) last dose on 8/8/18, plus melatonin almost every night. Also daily mindfulness, CB therapy, exercise, and positive self talk. 1/2 lorazepam in emergencies (not since Sept 2017). Battle random nights of insomnia, and difficulty falling/staying asleep, lapses in focus, obsessive thought.

A/O Aug 9. 2018 - PAXIL FREE.

 

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