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  1. Longroadhome

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Hi @brassmonkey Glad you got home safely. such a shame a well planned trip came to a halt with the Pandemic. Hope you can re visit another time when the world is well again. Also Hope the migraine has gone and you are better. can I ask you I am currently on 6.5mg Paxil and doing the Brass monkey taper (naturally!!) . At what percentage occupancy are we looking at, at this level? also I started in poop out and haven’t been without symptoms since Feb 2018 when I crashed from a too fast taper . I’ve held for months and now tapering despite not being symptom free. However so far so good the symptoms are manageable. Did you have symptoms all the way down or did it get better at some point? When talking about poop out you say it takes about 18 months to stabilise and another 18 months to start to see improvements why is this? you’re my hero by the way. thank you so much LRH
  2. Hi mstimc, We have something in common. We both started on Paxil (Paroxetine) in 1999. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been self managing my taper since 26th December 2019. This was after ending up in hospital twice, after two different Drs, one a very young Psychiatrist, tried to transition me onto Citalopram. Now I just tell my Local Dr what I'm doing. I previously mentioned my story in the new introduction posts. At the moment I'm on Paroxetine 5mg, Citalopram 10mg and Quetiapine 50mg before sleepy time. I plan to stay on Paroxetine 5mg for a while. It took me about 7 weeks to adjust to 5mg Paroxetine from 7.5mg. Had I joined this site sooner, I would have a tried 10% taper, as suggested by Gridley. 25% is way to bigger jump. Many thanks for your inspiration, by the sounds of things, I'm still in the early stages. Ciao, CyclistN.
  3. Longroadhome

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Brass you talk about “real recovery” happening once off medication so can I ask you; I hit poop out 10 months ago on Paxil then a too fast taper led to heightened symptoms . I’ve held at 8.4mg Paxil since Feb 2019. Do I hold now until I have no symptoms then continue Will that ever happen while still on Paxil and having poop out? You said it took you 2.5 years to navigate your way out of poop out while tapering before starting to experience some kind of stability while continuing to decrease. Therefore do I now continue to taper using the sliding scale because I started with poop out and it’s not going to get better unless I decrease and get off Paxil? In other words would homeostasis happen while still on this drug and having hit poop out, if I hold? Or indeed any kind of stability ?  I value your opinion as my journey with poop out and Paxil is similar to yours.  Thank you so much for the strength you give to us through your messages. You are my hero. have I missed the post Brass ?
  4. Longroadhome

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    I’m looking into the topical gel now so thank you. Brass you talk about “real recovery” happening once off medication so can I ask you; I hit poop out 10 months ago on Paxil then a too fast taper led to heightened symptoms . I’ve held at 8.4mg Paxil since Feb 2019. Do I hold now until I have no symptoms then continue Will that ever happen while still on Paxil and having poop out? You said it took you 2.5 years to navigate your way out of poop out while tapering before starting to experience some kind of stability while continuing to decrease. Therefore do I now continue to taper using the sliding scale because I started with poop out and it’s not going to get better unless I decrease and get off Paxil? In other words would homeostasis happen while still on this drug and having hit poop out, if I hold? Or indeed any kind of stability ? I value your opinion as my journey with poop out and Paxil is similar to yours. Thank you so much for the strength you give to us through your messages. You are my hero.
  5. Hi Alto. Here are my responses. Sorry for the delay--we're eight hours ahead of California out here.... While you were going off Paxil, did you have any problems tapering? If so, how did you cope with them? Yes, I did have problems. I actually tried tapering twice before my successful third try. My anxiety and catastrophic thinking were out of control so I had to go back on Paxil for short period to stabilize. Even on my third try I experienced huge anxiety waves, but by then I was working with my psychologist on CBT coping tools. The tools included: Reality checking: Try to step out of myself and see a situation for what it is, as a third person would. Is my "problem" or "situation" really what I think it is? Are my anxiety-driven consequences realistic or even likely? Purposefully catastrophising: Taking my negative thoughts to their extreme. With each step in the process, the negative consequences became more and more absurd until even my worst catastrophic thinking was overcome. Being my own best friend. If my friend came to me with the same thoughts, what would I tell him? Then I apply those answers to my situation'. Prayer and meditation. I'm not a very contemplative person, but have been able to stop my thoughts long enough to do brief prayers to get me through the worst thoughts. Sometimes I'd play some of my favorite music pieces and listen until the thoughts quieted. I would also tell myself "In two hours I'll feel better or even forget about it." Most of the time that would work. Keep working: I found work to be great therapy. I had a fairly complex managerial position that demanded my attention. It was also an environment I could control--somewhat. Working forced me to focus my mental energies on real, quantifiable issues; I simply didn't have mental room to concentrate on my anxious thoughts. Did you have withdrawal symptoms after you took the last dose? If so, how did they go away? It's hard to say. I certainly had--and still have--anxious thoughts and moments, but I think they are more part of my behavioral make-up than attributable to withdrawal. Do you have any residual withdrawal symptoms now? Not really. I still have anxiety, especially since we moved to Portugal, but I use the tools mentioned above to deal with them. Sharing here also helps!
  6. Congratulations Dana. Well done on getting off of paxil, it's a tough one to say the least.
  7. Amazing story! Glad to hear. I am on a similar dose/timeline as yourself. I am 1 year off of paxil. The improvements are amazing! To many more days of healing! Everyday that passes is one day closer to being fully healed!
  8. @Altostrata Hes was on 20-40 mg of Paxil and 4-6 mg of Xanax for 14 years .. He CT'd the Paxil and tapered the Xanax over a year . He was on stiff amounts of blood pressure meds as well . He smoked a pack of cigarettes a day and drank a lot of beer ( during WD ) .. He turned the corner at 24-36 months and has been off everything for 6 years .. He's a writer and a very encouraging guy ..
  9. Hopefulstill

    Happy2Heal my Victory statement

    Hi there Happy2Heal - You certainly sound intelligent and logical to me. That's terrible that you were diagnosed mentally ill. If you hadn't reacted to the awful events, you would NOT have been normal!! Well, to answer your question, I had several traumatic events happen to me all at once so I became depressed. I went to see a psychologist. It helped a lot to get his support and have someone to talk to. He phoned a psychiatrist and said he had a case that looked like major depression. She started me on Prozac which lifted my spirits a lot, but made me anxious. She changed it to Paxil 20 mg. Then another event happened to me that triggered the past hurts and I had a "break down". I admitted myself to a mental facility. I was there for 1 week. They determined I was Bi-Polar and I was put on Lithium, 3 times a day along with the Paxil. I stayed on that for 8 years. One day I decided to try to reduce the Lithium and stopped it on my own, somewhat carefully with no problems. I was afraid to stop the Paxil. Then, years later, I thought well maybe I can get off the Paxil too now. My doctor said I could be off it in 2 weeks following his instructions. I went into a terrible depression and felt totally hopeless. I went back on the Paxil, but it did not work at all. I saw a different psychiatrist. We tried 8 different a/d's. None worked. Finally, he gave me Wellbutrin, with Xanex (because I was very anxious with the Wellbutrin). It worked and I came out of the depression. Little by little I got off the Wellbutrin and Xanex and back on the Paxil at 40 mg. and it was effective. I eventually had to up it to 50 mg. when I had started having some depression come back. I got to thinking, while I probably did need an antidepressant during those hard times, I should have been taken off it after a year or so, gradually. But I wasn't. They said sometimes you just need to be on them for life. Hope that wasn't too long to read.
  10. I am almost one year off of Paxil as well. I was in a long window and just recently got smashed with a wave. It definitely sets you back mentally. But after reading of people getting through it I know it will get better! Everyday that passes is one day closer to being fully healed!
  11. Hey @Judith, so good to read storys like yours and glad you made the turn! In about 2 weeks I am 2 years off paxil and things are still very hard for me. My main symptoms like brain fog, derealization and constant feeling of being hangover are still very present. Mood swings are incredible these days like from very very optimistic to sad and depressed within a blink of an eye. However did you sometimes thought that you are the only one who will never recover or that you do not withdrawling but only being very sick? For me it´s an inner fight I consantly have and would be interesting if you or some others might relate. All the best for you Maggie
  12. My story: I started taking anti depressants about 15 years ago for mild anxiety. I saw my doctor and he gave me a prescription after about 15 minutes without any exam. He said I had a guess what? Chemical imbalance. For the next 15 years I switched a few times and increased the dosed so in the end I was on 50mg of Paroxetine CR daily. Through the years I had always had a feeling that something just wasn’t right with me, I was drinking way too much sometimes and I felt like I just didn’t think right, like a normal person. After 8 years dry, I started drinking again following my divorce. I slowly drank more and more and continued to take my 50mgs of paxil every day. I didn’t realize it but I was slowly taking away my conscience. I also didn’t realize it until recently but the paxil was actually giving me the overwhelming urge to drink. It screws up your blood sugar which creates a craving for sweets. Alcohol derived from sugar, so it satisfies this need in your body. But what happens is afterward your blood sugar crashes again which starts a cycle of craving. As a result of the paxil and alcohol I was lying to everyone including myself about my drinking but it didn’t seem wrong to me. Anti depressants and the like are very powerful drugs that not only affect us physically but they do horrendous things to our brains and our personalities. I found myself praying frequently and asking God to help me. I knew I was drinking too much but I also felt something else was drastically wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. God answered my prayer and I guess I wasn’t prepared for what it meant. He sent an angel into my life who when she learned about these drugs urged me to get off of them. We came up with a reduction strategy not wanting to go through the possible severe discontinuation syndrome, which is a nice name for a visit to hell in withdrawal. I started cutting my dose and feeling some minor discomfort every so often but nothing unmanagable. It wasn’t until about 8 months into it that I got hit by a freight train of withdrawal. It turns out that these drugs are stored in our body’s tissue and our blodd levels drop much slower than expected from redu cing the dosage. So when my body caught up my nightmare started. I know this is a benzo site, but I also know that many are in the same situation as I was so I want to talk about antidepressants as well because that is what led me into getting trapped by benzos. They sent me to hell on earth where I met benzodiazapines. So at 8 months I was thrust into full blown a/d withdrawal what seemed like overnight. I was extremely anxious, disconnected, confused and scared. Looking back I don’t know how I got through each day. Well actually it was my angel who was there for me every second that is the reason I made it through this whole ordeal. She talked to me all day long and spent untold hours doing exhaustive research to try to help me in every way possible. Through nutrition, essential oils, anxiety management techniques and on and on. My anxiety and dp/dr got worse every day and after about a month of trying certain supplements and hoping for relief, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore so I went to see my primary care doctor. He was all to willing to prescribe me something to help me with the anxiety. Xanax, .25mg, 3 times a day as needed. I was instantly addicted and very soon right into tolerance so I visited the doctor a few more times. The end result was ending up an 3mg of Ativan a day. It wasn’t long until that wasn’t enough to put a dent in my anxiety and other symptoms so I started adding more pills on the worst days. I also drank periodically to try to get any kind of relief. It got so bad that one day I actually ended up taking 8mg of Ativan along with drinking a lot of beer and wine. I don’t know how I lived through that day but my angel was there to watch over me and make sure nothing happened to me. I thank God for her every day. It takes a special kind of person to be a care taker for someone in a/d and benzo withdrawal. And she never left my side for the 2 years it took me to start the reduction of the a/d to this day as I sit hear and prespare to share my story. The benzo’s were making me crazier and crazier the higher I went. I can’t really provide too much detail for this time in my life because I was in a benzo induced haze and I don’t remember too much. I know I did some really stupid things and couldn’t take care of myself. I was starting to get really paranoid and agoraphobic. I would stay alone in my apartment in the dark, afraid to go anywhere. I was still drinking from time to time and I was also having a lot of phsyical symptoms too. I was dizzy a lot and my vision was out of focus. I felt like I was a small version of myself and that I was inside my own head looking out through my eyes like windows. I was feeling like I didn’t belong in this world and was feeling like what I was going through was surely going to result in my life being over soon. It got so bad and I got so scared I did the worst thing I could have done. I went to the hospital. I knew I needed to get off the benzo’s and I figured they could help me, WRONG!! I spent about a week in the first mental hospital while they took me off the remaining paxil and put me on cymbalta at the same time they were weaning me off of 3mgs of Ativan over the course of a week. By this time I was crazy, I was crying all the time and just thinking that my life was over. I got out of the hospital and immediately starting abusing the benzo’s again in a futile attempt to calm myself down. I was on an adrenaline rollercoaster along with all my other symptoms. After a week I realized what I was doing and went back to the hospital. A different one this time and they tried to wean me off 4mg in 4 days……4, 3, 2, 1 and done. I ended up getting out of the hospital before being completely off but I was an absolute basket case. Going to the hospital once was a mistake. Going back was catastrophic. I am very lucky that I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar or something else. The hospital was determined to get me to talk so they could diagnose me and prescribe more meds. Everytime I had to see the doctor in the hospital they would try to lead me into saying something that would confirm with them that I was mentally ill. I AM NOT mentally ill, there is actually no such thing as mentally ill. The whole of psychiatry is based on lies. These drugs do things to your brain to make you act abnormally. Take away the drugs and take care of yourself and your mental state will heal along with your body. My angel stepped in and helped me reestablish so that I could wean slowly. Right out of the hospital I had to go stay with my angel. I was psychotic and I hadn’t slept for 2 weeks. I was stupid enough to try ambien so that I could sleep. I took 9, 25mg pills over the next three days and didn’t sleep at all. Imaging taking 225mg of a sleeping pill and not being able to sleep!! There must be something seriously wrong with that, it just shows you that once these drugs screw up your brain chemistry there is only one way to heal and that is by weaning off, going through wit drawal and trying to use anything natural to help strengthen your body. At this point I was in the deepest part of my withdrawal. I was reduced to the mental and emotional capacity of a child. I was helpless to take care of myself and I was a physical and mental basket case. I was shaking from head to toe constantly. I was pacing around, smoking cigarettes and I was in a state of absolute continual panic. The benzo’s had taken away my ability to feel any happiness or normality. All I could feel was overwhelming fear and sadness. I cried continually over everything. I felt like my life was over, I could not ever have imagined feeling so bad. I know why they call benzo withdrawal hell. It put me in a state of torment, which I would have as a constant companion for the next year. My fear of everything was so intense I believe my brain shut down to some degree to protect itself but even that did not relieve the fear and sadness. I could stand the slightest noise or any kind of activity. I could watch tv or listen to music. I could barely put 2 words together. I know most of this because my angel filled me in. I don’t really remember much at all from this time period. I was on watch 24 hours a day to make sure I didn’t have a seizure or just plain go beserk. At one point I scratched my face until it was bleeding and I don’t know why. These drugs hijack your brain and body and they don’t let go. I have experience drug and alcohol dependency and withdrawal and they were like a walk in the park compared to what I was to experience with both a/d’s and benzos. With benzos being by far the worst experience I have ever had. I also had a constant fear that I was going to die. I was certain that I had some horrible illness. I was constantly thinking I was going to have a heart attack or find our I had some incurable disease. I was actually so filled with panic I was afraid to go to sleep. I could picture dying in my mind and it seamed so real to me at the time. I was like feeling death over and over. I could picture life going on after I was dead, the thought were torturous. So in this state we reestablished me on 3mg’s of Ativan a day. We started weaning a ¼ of a pill every 7-10 days. This was a pretty fast weaning schedule and I would definitely recommend to anyone going much slower, but we were determined to get me off of benzos as quickly as we could safely. And after have been forced to go cold turkey twice by the hospitals, I don’t know that it would have made a difference to me to go any slower. I was so screwed up and the damage had already been done. It took about 4 months to wean off the benzos and I had been thinking that I would not feel as bad as when I started withdrawal but I was wrong. About a week or so after taking my last dose I starting feeling so much worse. I didn’t think it was possible but it was. My body had finally gotten rid of the drug and all hell was breaking loose. I would spend the next month in the dark locked in my apartment. I would just lay there for days, only getting up to go to the bathroom. I had my shades drawn and I was wrapped in a blanket on my couch. Like a child the blanket gave me some tiny feeling of security. Every noise I heard made me jump and I would be paranoid that someone was going to come and take me away. Everytime I heard an ambulance go by I was certain they were coming for me. My angel took care of me every second. Feeding me and watching out for me, comforting my fear and gently reassuring me every day that I was not going to be like this forever, this was withdrawal and it would end. Despite her encouragement I could not comprehend the concept. I was obsessed with my symptoms and I was absolutely certain that this was the real me. A paranoid basket case. I did not see how it could be possible to ever return to feeling like a human being again while feeling the way I felt. I felt really alone because I was so disconnected from myself, my emotions and the rest of the world. I cried every day for months and I don’t mean a few tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably at the slightest provocation. I tried to distract myself with tv, but I found that the slightest emotion shown would send me into a panic or I would breakdown into the deepest despair I have ever felt. At one point I found that I could watch an animated movie and I watched it over and over again. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I watched it 1000 times. I don’t know how I still have a job today. I was constantly calling in sick and taking off days at a time. My angel is the only reason I am still employed. I couldn’t drive an she drove me back and forth to work and kept me going day after day despite my desire to just give up and loose my job. I am so thankful for what she did I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for her. During this time my angel was doing exhaustive research trying to find anything that might help me in the slightest way. Supplements, healing foods, essential oils and on and on. I didn’t realize it at the time but the foods and the oils saved me from a much worse experience and they were helping repair the damage that I did to my mind and body. I know it was extremely difficult for her because I was very uncooperative and I wasn’t doing what she told me to do with any consistency. When I finally starting following her instruction at the end I realized that I should have been listening since the beginning. Nutrition and natural remedies are the key to any real health. For the next 7 months I barely existed. I was going to work and then going home and then laying in the dark in a state of constant terror. I had a number of physical symptoms but the mental symptoms were the most unbearable. I said every day that I wished I could trade the mental for the physical. I realize I was actually fortunate after hearing of the physical suffering that so many were enduring. My mental state was totally obsessive and focused on my own suffering so I was unable to experience the empathy that I now have for others. My physical symptoms included blurred vision, dizziness, various pains, heart palpitations, night sweats and I had a rash on my face for the entire duration of withdrawal. I still have it but it is fading now. During withdrawal I saw a doctor on numerous occasions trying to explain my withdrawal and the symptoms I was having and the doctors all said they would like me to see a psychiatrist. Basically dismissing what I was telling them. Unwilling or unable to accept the idea that the drugs they prescribe were tearing me apart. They would talk to me with that all knowing condescending town offering their forced compassion all the while insisting that it couldn’t be withdrawal and implying that I had a mental disorder. One doctor told me to consider increasing the paxil. I can’t believe the willing ignorance of the medical profession in the face of such overwhelming evidence of this epidemic. I saw a psychiatrist as infrequently as possible. It was a necessity to avoid having to cold turkey off the last of 20mg’s of paroxetine. I would muster all my inner strength to tell them I was doing fine, knowing full well telling them about the withdrawal would result in a life changing diagnosis. It was until last December I was giving the name of a doctor that was practicing functional medicine. A combination of treatment by short term medicine along with long term nutritional approach to health and well being. I am so thankful because it turned out to be the turning point for me. I started out being given tests for vitamin levels and food allergies along with a complete blood panel. At first I was put on a few supplements. They didn’t have any impact and I felt worse every day. Hopelessness was growing and I was constantly wondering how much longer I could keep going. I ended making another appointment with this doctor in a desperate attempt to find the slightest bit of relief. After talking to the doctor she said she would be willing to prescribe a small dose of abillify to see if the could provide enough relief to enable me to function. What we didn’t know at the time was there was a neurologist in California that was having success treating patients with minute amounts of these types of drugs for short periods of time and seeing results. I took the abilify for 2 weeks and over the course of that time I was becoming more and more aggressive each day. It continued until I got so paranoid and aggressive that I turned on the one person who had devoted herself to caring for me and never leaving my side. I was delusional and this new drug had made me think that she was trying to control me and keep me captive in my apartment. The place that I had confined myself for the last 2 years. I have to take every opportunity I have to express my sorrow for having treated her so badly, because she saved my life and I will never forget what she has done for me. Even though my actions were induced by psychotropic drugs hijacking my thinking I still have no solace in that having turned on her like a rabid dog. That is what these drugs do to people it is disgusting. Because I felt so bad it finally made me see through the psychotic fog and I decided to stop taking the medicine. After 3 days to my absolute surprise I noticed that I actually felt a little better and over the course of the next few days I felt better and better. I actually experienced happiness which was an emotion I forgot how it felt to have. Since then I have continued to fell better and better with the passing time. I changed my diet and stuck to doing what my angel was telling me to do and as a result I am no longer in withdrawal and I am getting ready to start weaning the last of the paroxetine, extremely slowly!! We believe that the small dose of anti psychotic drug stimulated the receptors which had basically been shut down from the a/d’s and benzo’s. As a result I have lost all of my mental symptoms and I only have minimal physical symptoms. My cns is still very sensitive and I am only sleeping 3-4 hours a nite but I am eager to face each day with happiness and an undying gratitude for my life and my angel. I believe that I was divinely guided through every step of this journey and I can see now the reason for everything that happenend. I thank God each day and look forward to the future hoping that I can pay forward the gifts I received
  13. Here's a couple really encouraging success stories I pulled out of that archived thread. I can remember during my most acute phases of withdrawal back in 2013, reading these stories really helped me out so much - and helped talk me down from the ledge more times than I can count. I feel very strongly about preserving their existence here on the internet, so here's some that I have not seen posted on SA yet for people to feel optimistic over: Note: These are all success stories posted by individual users on a now defunct website (paxilprogress.org): #1. TYBR61 5 YEAR UPDATE Tomorrow it will have been 5 years since I took my last dose of Paxil. Long story short--I went from 20 mg to 10 mg to 5mg to 0 mg in the course of about a month. Found PP 6 months later when I was searching the internet with raging anxiety. Too late then to go back on the Paxil. Just had to endure withdrawal. For me, the anxiety was the worst part of my withdrawal. I also could not listen to music, watch movies, or read anything during withdrawal. I had several physical symptoms too but I didn't mind dealing with those as much. Except for the heart issues. A brief timeline went like this: 0-6 months off - mood swings, zaps, and fatigue 6-9 months off - moderate anxiety, stomach issues and loss of appetite 10-12 months off - extreme anxiety (began taking Buspar and it was somewhat helpful), stomach issues and loss of appetite, agoraphobia and other common withdrawal symptoms 14-18 months off - heart issues (that resolved once I got further through withdrawal) and moderate to severe anxiety (it fluctuated) mostly due to concern about the heart issues 19-24 months - mild anxiety, began feeling like I was coming out of the fog. Started to feel a little more normal each day. Started getting out and doing a few simple things. 24 months - today - I exercise daily (vigorously) for 30-45 minutes, go places with crowds, go to movie theatres, listen to music, laugh, etc. The one lingering effect I have is my reading. I used to be a quick reader and now I struggle with comprehension some. I think its because I didn't read for so long (while I was on Paxil I wasn't interested in reading and during withdrawal I couldn't so I went about 5 years without reading books, newspapers, etc.) It just takes me much longer to read a book than it used to and I have to reread pages sometimes. Just wanted you that are stuggling to know that there really is a light at the end of all this. It takes awhile and I know all too well that the struggle is minute to minute. It's a tough battle, I know. The best advice I have is to not think into the future. Just stay with the moment. Get through each day, hour, or minute and don't worry about what you will be like tomorrow or a year from now. One day you will realize that you are improving. It's one of the hardest things I have had to do but I will tell you that I am a better and stronger person for having gone through it. Another piece of advice is to walk if you can. I started walking at the worst of my withdrawal just to burn off some of the adrenaline fromt he excessive anxiety. If you want to know more of my story and how I got to where I am, just do a search for all of my posts and you can see my progression through withdrawal. ------------------ #2 Linlou Totally recovered at One year Anniversary I have made it to the the other side and in actuality I am better than when I started this journey. I began this madness with being polydrugged and freshly diagnosed as bipolar 2 after a too rapid taper from a 15 year use of antidepressants. i entered into what I now know was a hypomanic state from the withdrawal from the Lexapro. My mental and physical health worsened rapidly and a psychiatrist put me on many psych drugs and Klonopin. I just got worse and worse. I began to question the wisdom of my psychiatrist and stumbled upon this forum and became educated and started a taper off all drugs. Make no mistake, this is by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my 55 years. I wanted to end my life many many times over the past 4 years. My taper was very difficult with the mental symptoms causing the most anguish for me. Intrusive memories, irrational thinking, the darkest depression imaginable, and excessive rumination were with me almost 24/7. there were brief respites but they were far and few between. I knew I was going mad and would never be the same person again. I wanted to die. My physical symptoms were fatigue, insomnia, severe neck, shoulder, and back pain and spasms, hot and cold flashes, brain zaps and nausea. I lost 20 pounds during the drugging and the taper (this was a good thing!). The first 10 months after the taper ended were still more of the same. However I did start to get more and more windows but I would continually lose hope when the window closed. I felt defeated and just wished I could escape this torture. Nothing gave me joy and I lost my connection with the world. Depersonalization set in after the taper was over. I was a stranger in my world. Finally after about 7 months the intrusive memories and obsessions left overnight--I awoke one morning and they were gone. Then at about 10 months off I awoke one morning and the depression vanished. A true Miracle. It has not returned. I still have fear that it will come back but I think that will fade as I get further away from the drugs. I'm not sure what aided in my recovery but I will share with you what I did try. I exercised and got outside for fresh air and sunshine everyday. I ran 3 marathons in this journey. I did yoga and and practiced meditation and breathing exercies. I took no supplements, no alcohol (tried it a few times but it caused major depression), tried therapy (do not recommend), spent days on this forum reading, forced myself to get up and go out into the world everyday, forced myself to interact with people, and prayed. I listened to soothing music. I had the complete support of my husband which was crucial to my recovery. I snuggled with my cats. i journaled my feelings daily. Today, I awoke with anticipation of the day outside. I met friends for coffee, went cross country skiing, went grocery shopping, tutored an elementary student at the neighborhood school, cleaned my house and I feel great. I use to envy people who could just go out and be normal. That is what I am doing. Thoughts about the w/d are receding into the background finally. I have full cognitive abilities again. I am still sensitive to stress but it is amazing now that when that happens I immediately start to think about deep breathing and just letting the situation flow through me. My brain has really been trained to not overreact anymore. I appreciate all the moments of my day. Never have I lived this fully before. So yes, there have been benefits to this journey. I thought I would the one who would never heal--but I did. You will also. You must be patient and not add any more drugs to your body. Our bodies are wondrous entities that have have the amazing capacity to heal. Please give yours that chance. To all the mods, admins and members--YOU SAVED MY LIFE!! -------------- #3 TIGERLILLY (from what I can tell this is a 6 year update - this was posted in 2013, last drug was at the end of 2007) I am one of those people who has not posted for a long time. My history is too long to go into - if you are interested, my earliest posts detail it. Suffice to say, I had an utterly horrific coldturkey withdrawal from Effexor and a cocktail of drugs in 2006. I weaned off the last drug in early December 2007. I felt as if I were dead. All the symtoms you list I can fully relate to. I felt complete and utter panic that I would never ever be the same again. I am not exactly the same, but I am so, so much improved. I was in such a bad way after the withdrawal that even a psychologist conceded that it was almost as if I had suffered a stroke. I struggled to speak, could not write or spell properly, could not add and subtract, could not remember the street map of my city, was agoraphobic (which I have never been in my life), had no interest in sex whatsoever, could not watch TV (it was too painful), and generally could not relate to other people at all. Although I am nowhere near perfect I really want to encourage you because I never thought I would ever get any better. It was a HUGE struggle, and I just tried to get through each day, but gradually I am coming back to life. I cannot spell or express myself as succintly as I used to, but if I can't spell something, I just substitute another word. It has taught me patience with others I never had before (in fact, I was a spelling snob before). I can speak to others again without stammering. My brain is gradually clearing and I no longer feel constantly ill (previously I felt as if I had been poisoned within an inch of my life). I am no longer agoraphobic. I am not back to travelling out of town much yet, but go out and about now. I am a lot more comfortable in my own skin. It is not at the 100% mark yet, but compared to how I was before it is heaven (I could not even get into a bath of water because it was too painful). My confidence is gradually returning, and when it deserts me a bit, I am learning to fake it, and people don't notice a thing. Maybe I'm not the "mind like a steel trap" type I used to be. Maybe I'll get back to that, but in some ways it has made me more human. To be honest it's a lesson I would happily have done without, but it has made me more open to other people with some intellectual glitches that I would previously have (very politely) overlooked or dismissed. The other thing that has happened (I don't relish talking about this in a public forum, but I will because I know how much it bothered me) is that my sex drive is returning. I really thought it had gone for good, but it is definitely coming back. It is amazing to discover that this is possible. I really felt that life was not worth living without it. The other thing I have noticed is that it seems to be linked to creativity. As it returns, I can feel that I am looking at the world in a more intense, creative way - like I did before those evil bastard doctors got hold of me. I also could not read for a very, very long time. While it is not as soothing to me as it used to be, I have gradually been reading more and more. I am now motoring through books. My concentration is not back to normal, but is about 80% of the way there. I am able to watch TV. I have not yet gone out to movies (the last one I saw was in April 2006 before the withdrawal), but am starting to look forward to my first one in over 2 years. Even my hair is starting to look better. I have cut off all the layers that were messed up by medication. I am heavier than I would like to be, after being bedridden for a year and a half. That is my next task. I have lost a lot of strength and my body has taken a heavy beating, but I am now looking for gentle ways to get moving. Dan, all I can say is that I NEVER dreamed I would be saying these things. I really was an utter wreck. I was convinced I was permanently damaged. I just knew it. I was wrong! I'm not saying it's all sunshine and roses. If I could choose to never have gone through this I would in an instant. I did not know that such suffering was possible. But I did go through it and I am now so much better than I ever thought I could be. I have moments now where I can see the beauty in life again. Having gone throught the fire, those moments do have a more exquisite sweetness to them. My emotions are back and probably too close to the surface, but I'm sure that will even out. To care about anything at all feels so incredible. I was so indifferent for such a long time. My relationship fell apart under the strain of everything in February 2007. We tried to reconcile later in the year and it did not work out - we broke up in December 2008. It was a very difficult relationship and there was some violence towards me. I am still trying to deal with that too. My dad passed away at the age of 58 on 1 February 2008. We had a complicated relationship because of his alcoholism. I now wish I had been less tough on him. One of my main motivations for getting through all this was to spite all those awful doctors - not the loftiest of motivations, but strong nonetheless. If they had had their way I would be a drugged up, brain-dead zombie by now. I know that if I bumped into one of them now I would be able to hold my own without stuttering, or crying from anger and emotion. I know that I would quietly and confidently be able to tell them that they are destroying people's lives, and that I have survived despite them. Dan you will get there. You will get your soul back. Much love Tigerlily -------------------------------------------------------------------- #4: NOLEX UPDATE - 3 YEARS TODAY It's 3 a.m. and I'm up because I was hungry and decided to check email while eating my snack. I found I had a message from a PP member asking about my condition these days only to realize what interesting timing it was since exactly 3-years ago today I stopped Lexapro after only a 6-week trial. I had no idea that day what hell was ahead for me. I haven't posted in a long time and I owe this to any of you who have followed my story, and of course, to those of you in the thick of it. I compare my story much to Shea Carney, Lilly and a few others here that probably suffered the worst. If you want more background you can go back and read my old posts. But in a nutshell, my whole life fell apart not long after stopping Lexapro. I became horribly ill with severe depersonalization that lasted about 19 months, massive stomach and digestive issues, headaches, unreal anxiety and fear, apathy, depression...the list goes on. Luckily, I never chased after doctors to diagnose and cure me; somehow I just knew this was some type of severe withdrawal and Paxil Progress, Drugs.com and every book I could get my hands on about this gave me the strength to hold on for a very nasty road ahead. To be honest, I don't know how I made it through except for the fact that I had a loving fiance (now husband) that cared for me every second he wasn't at work. During the first year I was like a prisoner in my own home, and in my own body. In some ways, the 13 - 24 month period was worse because I was still very sick but friends and family were giving up on me. My fiance never gave up on me, but even he started to suffer from some compassion fatigue and I could see the fear in his eyes, wondering whether or not I would fully come through. I was certainly more functional during months 13 - 24 than the first 12, but still I could not work, have obligations, feel truly relaxed and plan my future. I managed to attend some functions and get out on my own and finally drive, but it was a struggle, still baby steps for sure. I guess around 24-months I realized true recovery was indeed happening, but it didn't become real until sometime around the 2 1/2 year mark. It seems like all of the sudden my shattered self started to glue back together and I finally recognized me again. I feel good most days now, but I have a few days a month where I still struggle and even a day here and there that really sets me back. It frustrates the hell out of me when that happens this far out, but I still believe I am recovering. My case was so bad, I would not be surprised if it took a couple more years to get 100% or close to it. Don't worry, I'm doing better now than I even thought ever possible a year ago! Two months ago I got married and let me tell you...the wedding was a much bigger deal than it was supposed to be! I handled the stress pretty well and felt great on my wedding day! We married two years later than we had hoped, but this nightmare actually bonded us and our relationship is stronger than ever would have been, I'm sure of it. In many ways, I'm a much better person having gone through this, certainly more wise. I learned to take care of my body, eat healthy organic food (but do cheat now and then and I can actually drink coffee again without having a negative reaction!), I'm taking my finances very seriously and we are building a large emergency fund because you just never know as we experienced, I'm more compassionate, and more skeptical about consumer marketing, drugs, doctors, etc. An experience as such will smack you in the face so hard your world view will forever change as I found out. There has been a loss of innocence and I am a changed person because of this, but I actually think I may be better. I go back and forth with that one because I still have issues and there is no excuse for what happened to me. And I would never want to go through it again even for the benefits of my new wisdom. But since it happened, at least I see a silver lining. I can't lie, I still worry. I'm too cautious these days and wish I could "let go" like I used to and I still have strange dreams most nights and before this drug I rarely remembered dreams, but I guess I can stand it with the hope it too will abate. There are few other unresolved problems I'm sure, just can't think of them at the moment, but I deal. I still react to the trauma of it all too, but I'm moving away from it all the time. My husband and I were only in our house two months before this happened to me. The house was a major fixer and what I will describe as an inhospitable environment to recover in. We managed to work on it during my recovery, but it has only become the "scene of the crime" for me and so we listed it for sale last week. I wanted to move a couple times before, but for various reasons it did not happen and in fact, I'm glad. I don't think I recovered enough to get a fresh start somewhere else, but now I feel ready. I think it will make a huge difference! I've been excited about the future and anxious for the move! Like Shea said before, there is no magic bullet, just the passage of time...and hope. And if you are still in the stage where you need Paxil Progress for comfort all the time don't beat yourself up over it, it's OK. Never fear, as you heal won't dwell on the crap that happened to you and will no longer need comfort here. You will move on and like me, merge onto your highway of life and PP will be remebered as the crutches that helped you to walk again. I no longer need to come here like before, but I hope this post helps those of you in withdrawal and thank you always to everyone who keeps this site alive and well! ----------------------------------------------- #5: ONE YEAR MCNABJ Hello. Well its been 11 months since I've been off the poison. I can't believe the hell I survived. Wow. Its amazing coming back from the insanity of withdrawal and seeing your original personality return. My family says I'm back. I feel back. I dont think I,m 100% healed but I'm very close. I just wanted to thank all them members who have posted their stories on here. This site is what saved my life. I am dealing with the realization that I pissed that last 8-9 years of my life away due to ssri's. This is tough but I feeling an amazing awakening. Most of my neurological symptoms are gone and my paranoia and anxiety are faded. Thank God and thank Paxilprogress. I am serious when I say that this board saved my life. I am scarred because I have to rebuild my life but I feel good mentally. Jesus I thought I was actually going crazy during withdrawal. This site let me know that it was only withdrawals. The doctors never admitted I was going through withdrawals for so long. They actually wanted me to continue these pills for the rest of my life. Once again its like I awakening from a dream. I have destroyed most of my relationships due to my behavior on ssir's. This is the hard part. I will struggle with the bitterness of losing 8-9 of my life. Time will heal these wounds and I have the rest of my life now to make progress and try and help others going through this misery. I am eternally indebted to you all. Thank you for saving my life and bring me out of the depths of hell. Thanks again everyone. ----------------------------------------- #6: MARBEAR 1 year update: I have not been in this site in some time, but also wanted to relate my success story. A quick history of my experience looks like this: 1. Took Paxil for nearly 10 years to control anxiety/depression. 2. Weaned off slowly for approximately 2 years and stopped completely in June 2008. 3. Six months after I was totally Paxil free (March 2009), I started to have a multitude of physical symptoms, including horrible digestion problems, extreme fatigue, muscle/joint pain, general dizziness, nausea, problems with concentration, electric zaps in my face and arms, episode of vertigo. 4. I left my full-time job in April 2010 because it became very difficult to work long hours. 5. Spent the last 3+ years trying to get my health back and I started to see improvement around the 2-year mark. Albeit, slow improvement. 6. Eliminated many food types in an attempt to control my digestion and live somewhat of a normal life (e.g. gluten, insoluable fiber, alcohol). 7. Today, now 3 years and 3 months after I first started to get sick from what I believe was Long Term Withdrawal Syndrome, I consider myself 99% recovered! 8. I am currently looking for work and feel confident I can have a career again. 9. Presently I am able to eat just about anything, but I continue to eat very healthy and I try to avoid gluten when possible. I am even back to eating a large, healthy salad every night for dinner! I enjoy fruits and veggies regularly, which were something I could not eat for a very long time. 10. I have a normal amount of energy these days and I exercise regularly like I once did prior to this epic experience! At one time during this episode in my life, I thought there was no hope. There were days I could barely get out of bed, or I'd spend hours in the bathroom because of my digestion issues. I didn't go places and my social life really suffered, but I just kept believing that maybe it would someday get better. When I discovered about a year ago (around the 2-year mark) that I was seeing small improvements, I started to get really hopeful. I would push my limits when I could and then I'd allow myself to have a bad day if necessary (i.e. let my body feel the fatigue). I practiced yoga and meditation during this difficult time and I received regular acupuncture treatments. I used "mind over matter" a lot. It's hard to believe, but that actually worked sometimes! The doctors that I saw in the beginning said I have Fibromyalgia. As many of you know, that is a catch-all term that they use when they don't know what is wrong with you. I remember asking one doctor about Long Term Withdrawal Syndrome and they completely dismissed it. Of course! Big Pharma stands to lose too much money if they admit the existence of this syndrome. In the end I stopped seeking advice from western medicine and I'm living a holistic life now. I have not seen a western doctor in almost 2 years and I'm very proud of that! I am probably healthier than I ever was since I eat so much better and I have a very good understanding of my own body. After all, when you spend thousands of hours on the Internet trying to figure out what's wrong, you learn a lot. Stay strong out there, my friends! It does get better, but I do think part of it depends on our state of mind. I have noticed that my symptoms would flare a lot more when I was feeling depressed. Obviously it's vicious cycle and it's tough NOT to feel depressed when you are feeling so ill. However, this is something we should all consider. I have become the "watcher of my thoughts" and when something pops up that makes me feel melancholy, I immediately try to focus on something else; specifically the good things I have in my life. It may sound silly, but it helps. I also have learned to accept my limitations and I have cut myself some slack for the first time in my life!! If I need to be lazy one day since I'm feeling tired, I just go with it. After all, we are human! Needless to say, I wish the best to all of you out there who are going through this struggle! Never give up hope!! Your mind is more powerful than you think and you would be surprised how much healing power you have within yourself. Keep the faith of good health alive!! Paxil free since June 2008!!! -------------------------------- #7 PAXHELL 3 YEAR UPDATE I don't know if you remember me but I used to visit this board alot. 3 years ago I quit paxil after taking it for 10 years, since I was 14. I did a stupid 2 month taper and really suffered. I had no libido, erectyle dysfunction, premature ejeculation, chronic fatigue, severe depression, anxiety, constant headache, stomach problems, brain zaps, cold hands and feet. Now, after 3 years I am finally almost as healthy as I was before paxil. I don't suffer from fatigue, no headaches, no depression, to brain zaps, not even when I'm tired, in fact, my life is great. I've been in a relationship for 2 years now and though my libido could be a little better, I still have sex 3 times a week, no premature ejeculation and I only have to use cialis sometimes. Actually I use it more to get confidence. Most of the time I have sex without it which is something I thought would never happen 3 years ago. In fact, I was sure I would never be in a relationship again, due to my sexual problems. I'm glad how wrong I was. I am very happy and look forward to the rest of my life. I remember reading about people saying they would never get better and I was sure I was one of those people. I had no hope for the longest time. When the nice people here said I had to be patient, that I would get better eventually, I didn't believe anything would ever change. I dreaded each day and I pretty much gave up. And after one year of absolutely no change, I couldn't imagine another 2 years would make any difference. I was so sure my life was over, but it turns out the best was yet to come. I now belive that even though people can suffer from withdrawl for years without change, one day, a miracle can happen. And its funny, when one problem got solved, the others quickly followed. I am very greatful to the people here who told me never to give up. This forum might have saved my life. And what made the biggest difference? Well, I took the advise of many and started to walk one hour a day, and yes, that made ALL the difference. After a few weeks I also started exercising, not too much, just once a week. I can honestly say the first year I didn't see any difference in my recovery but 3 months of walking an hour a day, there was a huge difference. I walked and walked and I could feel my libido getting better and better every day. I would never think that excercising could boost your sex drive, now I can see it can. And soon, all the other problems went away. I wasn't sure if it was the walking so I stopped for a few weeks and my libido went down and I felt a little depressed again, so I stared walking again and all was well again. Getting your blood flowing, spending time outside, exercising just a little is so important, I believe it reversed many of my problems. I had one rule when I was outside walking, and that was not to think about paxil and withdrawl. Only happy thoughts were allowed. This was my time away from all that. Another thing I did was start seeing my friends. We had alot of fun I realized how important laughter is. I laughed and laughed with my friends and looked forward seeing them again the next day, after my walk of course. I tried to stay at home as little as I could, always keeping me busy, never thinking about how my life was ruined. I tried to see the humor in everything. It may sound stupid but you can do it. And as wonderful as the people here are, spending too much time here searching for horror stories about paxil, only made things worse. When I didn't feel like seeing people, I forced myself to do it. When I didn't have the energy for the walk, I forced myself to walk. Keeping myself busy is very important. I thought you might like to hear this, if any of you still remember me. Thanks alot and if there is anything you can learn from this post, it's that the best cure for paxil withdrawl is light exercise and faith you will get better. It takes time, but it makes all the differens. When people used to tell me that a walk could change everything I was sceptic. How can one hour of walking really make any difference when you are suffering so much? Well, it really can. And don't spend too much time on the internet, go out, spend time with people and focus on your sense of humor. And remember, walk an hour a day. Wait, have I already said that? Thank you good people and good luck. Never lose hope, not even in your darkest moments. ---------------------------------- #8 AKAENEW 5 year update: Hello- I have not been to paxil progress for so long I couldn't even figure out how to post a new thread. I am now 5.5 years off of paxil after a brutal, brutal cold-turkey withdrawal. it has been 5 year since I last took a benzo. I am MUCH better and improving all the time. The turning point came when I began to sleep regularly. I see life being a happy place again. I have a good job, have traveled half-way around the world, I'm healthy and fit again. It took everything I had to get off paxil- all the way off. But now I am really getting better and I am so proud and peaceful. I though I would never heal, but it comes surely though slowly for some. Why it is so variable, nobody knows. Don't give up hope if you are in protracted withdrawal. I was very far out before I began to see signs of getting better. I believe faith in yourself is the difference between those that make it and those that don't. You aren't meant to suffer with withdrawal, and if you can keep remembering that, you will ultimately be delivered from the horror. Living can be and will be wonderful again. I feel years younger than I ever did on paxil- and after, when I truly was the walking dead. There are still some not-so-good days, but I can't believe how far I have come. Peace to all of you. It is worth the journey. ---------------------------------- #9 3 year update I haven’t posted in a long time…but wanted to give an update to let everyone that is going through withdrawal know that you will get through it. I will be off ssris three years on August 2nd. I consider myself to be one of the worse cases here on pp. I had many symptoms, but the worse for me was the unrelenting akathisia/anxiety. I posted a list early on, but even at that time there were still more symptoms to come later. I started to see some improvement at the end of month 27 although things were still difficult. At the 2 ½ year mark I experienced another improvement and things have continued to improve in a linear fashion since then. I am doing very well and consider myself to be 95% recovered. I still have what I call residual symptoms, but I am confident that they will eventually disappear as they have been continuing to improve. In the last two weeks the “brain fog” cleared. I never thought in the thick of things that I would ever be able to write this post. I’m back to just living life as before Paxil and I can even drink coffee again! I want to thank Laurie/Scotty for this form as I would have never known what was happening to me had it not been for paxilprogress. Also, there are some pp members that I have communicated with that without your encouragement and friendship I might have given up at some point and started taking the poison again…you know who you are. Thank you with all my heart. The only advice I can give is that it takes patience and perseverance. Time is the only answer. ------------------------------ #10 rickyjohnson 5 YEAR RECOVERY: Recovery update...what? almost 5 years...holy cow I thought I would never get back on this website again, because it would just bring back too many bad memories. You know what? The heck with that. I feel fine now. I went through about 2-3 years of HELL due to a combination of just using anti-depressants in general AND going cold turkey. Please don't ever cold turkey. I about died. OK, enough of the bad stuff. I honestly can say that my brain and body has completely recovered. It was no walk in the park, and it wasn't linear. My healing was up and down and all over the place. But, God has designed the body the heal itself...even when you really screw it up with meds! So, hang in there and don't ever give up. The good windows will get bigger over time, and all of a sudden you're doing OK. ------------------------------------------------------ #11 6 YEAR UPDATE/RECOVERY rangerNY When The Impossible Becomes Possible - Some Encouragement From The Other Side This is for those of you that are struggling and are not sure if you'll ever have a normal life again. I'm gonna ramble here. Just stick with me and I'll get you back home. After almost 9 full years, my last dose of Paxil was in September 2005. Things at first were not too bad, but by December 2005 I was sliding down a sleep slope and by January 2006 the wheels had completely come off. I was a total disaster. Wracked with almost constant anxiety and panic, overcome with rushes of uncontrollable emotion, dogged 24x7 by irrational intrusive thoughts, and flattened by waves of crushing depression. Sleep was light and never lasted past 4 AM. Everything from the phone ringing to the sound of my daughters playing to the smell of dinner cooking was almost too much to bear. The business I own is a technical one. It involves working with complex networks and computing systems. I'd been a pretty cool cucumber my whole life, but when I added the numbing effects of Paxil, I was virtually bulletproof. I felt no stress and no pressure. When everyone around me was freaking out and the phones were ringing off the hook because packets were not flowing beween New York and San Francisco, I was the calm guy that just fixed it. Nothing phased me. I reconfigured production routers, switches and servers on the fly with no backups and no plan B. I rarely backed anything up. Some of it was because I'm good at what I do. Most of it was because I was acting like an *** - not uncommon for SSRI users. 90% of the time (maybe more) it all worked out - at least from a technical point of view. When I hit the worst of withdrawal, that dude was lost. Gone. Nowhere to be found. It was so disheartening for me. I wanted bulletproof Drew back in the worst way. Instead, I had to read things 2-3 times to understand them. I would forgot my passwords, and actually resorted to writing them down. I couldn't recall simple commands that I used hundreds of times every day. I could barely talk on the phone without bursting into tears, so performing advanced operations on complex computing systems seemed completely out of the question. I couldn't enjoy a movie, or music, or a hockey game. Everything I had once been - even before Paxil - was gone. I recall one day very clearly. Late February 2006. A Sunday morning. I was absolutely beside myself because I had to reconfigure part of my wireless backbone linking three locations here on Long Island. A task that I would have breezed through with no advance planning or forethought seemed insurmountable. I had to actually sit down and write out the exact steps - every keystroke - needed to get the job done. I went over the plan several times before sitting at my desk to get started. I was shaking. Literally. I was cold and hot at the same time. Sweating and freezing. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The task itself was terrifying, but even more so was the notion that if I made a mistake, I might have to actually leave the safety of my house and drive 20 miles to fix it. You might as well have told me that I had to drive to the moon wearing a fishbowl on my head. Same general reaction of complete terror. I got through it, albeit at a snails pace. It took me probably 10 times longer to finish than it would have a year before. I remember getting out of my chair, basically collapsing on the sofa, and taking 10-15 minutes before I stopped breathing like I'd just climbed the Matterhorn. I was happy it was over, but I was also crushed because it took such an effort to accomplish what was really not that difficult a task. At that moment I figured I'd never be the person I once was. But, minutes, hours and days do pass, one at a time. Fast forward 6 years to November 2011. Today I spent maybe 4-5 hours moving Paxil Progress to its new home on an upgraded server. I had two monitors running, and most of the time I had no less than 8 terminal and browser windows open. I was working on three or four servers at the same time. The move plan was entirely in my head. Nothing written down. I had maybe a six different username/password combinations to work with. There was software to compile, packages to install, configurations to decipher and duplicate, data to backup and move, and a whole mess of geeky stuff going on. Spotify was running in the background, streaming music from the 80s (sorry, I'm stuck there it appears!), and I was bouncing from server to server, from task to task and back again without so much as a missed keystroke. Everything went just fine, and at no point during the process was I stressed, anxious or nervous about a damn thing. Now I know 6 years is a long time so obviously I should have changed in that many days, but working on Paxil Progress today actually made me realize for the first time that the old Drew is back. He's been back for a while now, and I just didn't realize it. In fact, he's better than the old Drew. I actually keep passwords double encrypted in two places now. Everything I have is backed up. I leave nothing to chance. As I worked today, I always had a plan B in my head in case something went wrong. I wasn't concerned with getting done as quickly as possible. I was actually enjoying the work (and the 80s music). I even took a few breaks to go outside and see what my kids were up to. The old Drew might have gotten the job done, but he would have never gotten it done in as "graceful" a way. With time comes wisdom I guess, and without Paxil comes a clearer more efficient mind. Laurie has been very gracious about thanking me for the help, but in reality I owe her - and this site - a HUGE debt of gratitude. It helped get me through the darkest of times. Working on it today made me realize that I've been so pre-occupied with life that I've completely missed the fact that what I thought to be impossible in those dark days has actually come to pass. For this - appropriately enough with that particular holiday approaching - I am extremely thankful. The point is, even if you think that you're lost forever, that you're broken beyond repair and that you're doomed, you're not. I thought that too once upon a time, and I'm here to tell you that its not going to be that way forever. Just keep breathing, keep taking baby steps forward, and keep your eyes focused down the road, not in the two feet of bumpy pavement in front of you. If I can get there, so you can you. ------------------------------------------------------ #12 32 Month update/RECOVERY GOLDENBAWLS Hey guys. well it took 32 months but i am finally all good. left it 2 months before posting this post just to make sure all was good but i feel 100% and have constantly during that time. It seemed to happen in space of a week just feeling better and better. I just want to give hope to all you guys, when i first cold turkeyed i sat with my eyes glued to this site day and night and i was a right mess,there were days when i would not leave my bed and was phoning in work sick, god knows how i kept my job but so grateful i did. i owe so much to all you guys in particular zoloft25,swede,dutchguy,pax80,cosette123,claudia76,scotia,maui and akaenew. you guys dragged me thru some very rough times. good luck and much love to all of you. ------------------------------------- #13 Rob Robinson's recovery 3 YEARS At 18 months I was crawling around as it were (with most of the flesh burned off my mind) within a few kilometers of withdrawal ground zero for about 18 months ... but bits and pieces of me managed to make it out of the blast zone. Scraped those body parts up, added a little superglue and duct tape and voila! -- the new me! ("Thanks" GlaxSmithKline ... I go into see my doctor for a tube of Neosporin, a flu shot or whatever -- and manage to walk out with a scrip for a drug that'll unleash the pharma equivalent of The Holocaust in my body. (Yes, all drugs do have side effects, don't they Mr. Garnier. Won't argue with you on that point.) I still see those paroxetine mushroom clouds in the rear view mirror of my mind every day, throughout the day and ocassionally into the night. Imagine that. At 18 months: 1) my body had largely recovered from the prolonged "shock and awe" nuclear/paroxetine bombing campaign that withdrawal is/was/can be, and 2) I began to feel like I was slowly regaining the essence of a life not warped by Paxil and, as well, a subtle but innate sense of self that existed before I was (literally) poisoned, and then annihilated by Paxil withdrawal. Here I am now closing in on three years ... and doing pretty darn good, all things considered. I'm still fried from it all, but in good spirits. After all, there's nothing like waking up and ... not being in Paxil withdrawal. You'll make it to where I am, and in all likelihood sooner than later. -------------------------- I hope these stories help bring encouragement to those who are still suffering. I apologize if I accidentally re-posted one or more of those that cymbaltawithdrawal posted here on this thread.
  14. Hi, no- I didn’t experience significant weight loss, which I wish I had because on Paxil o had gained a lotttt of weight. I’ve had to work very hard to get weight off since coming off the drug.
  15. Hey @pug, you are incredibly helpful for all of us with your detailed replies and succes story I want to thank you for this. I dont know how many times I read your story over and over again when I have these intense withdrawal days. It always lifts up my mood when I feel alone with all those symptoms because no one in my environment can relate to what I try to tell them. What you describe is so common to what I am going trough for almost 4 years now. I say 4 years because I had lots of the known symptoms from the very beginning I started taking Paxil in early 2016. It is just so unimaginable that we still suffer after all those month because nothing I ever faced in life lasts so long plus the recovery does not feel like when you haveing a flu or a broken arm. As you described it is 1 step forward 3 steps back and no month is like the other. One symptom goes the other appears - One symptom which has gone for a few month just comes back and stays again for a few weeks. I quit paxil in Feb 2017 after a very fast taper and 2017 + 2018 were just awful for me though I had windows from the very beginning. Now I am sitting here in a bad wave 27 month after taking my last pill of Paxil with intenste Derealisation,Brain Fog, Dizziness, Tinitus, Feeling Drugged / Hungover ,Head Pressure, Hot and Cold Flashes / Sweating ,Gastic Problems, Muscle / Joint Pain & intense Moodswings. While having a wave there is constantly an inner voice which is trying to tell me that this is no WD and you are just sick or permanently braindamaged which is I guess a common WD symptom itself. The worse symptoms are Derealisation combined with Brainfog and Dizziness because I feel like I am not connected with the world at all and I cant imagine anymore how it feels when you are back to normal where everynthing feels balanced and "connected". The feeling of suffering from these symptoms plus not feeling connected to your world is so awful and sometimes I really lose all my hope that it will ever stop. It such a long road until now that I sometimes think I cant fell normal again because I was to deep and too long into it but than I read your articles and I think if he could make it out of it why not me? But this motivation only lasts until I get the next intense wave. I am waiting so bad for this very first day where I have no Derealisation & Brainfog and I feel "normal" and healthy again. Where everything makes sense again and I can continue with living a normal life. All the best to everyone reading this! Maggie
  16. This is so inspirational and just exactly what I needed to see today. Thank you so, so, so much for sharing your story. You say it took about 5 years in total. But would you say you found hope periodically for longer and longer spurts, along the way? What I mean is: The 5-year mark is very significant for you, but can you speak to some good, long windows that happened prior to that, and what that was like for you? I am impressed that you did this. Paxil is a doozy to withdraw from, from what I've heard. I may check out the Claire Weekes system, based on your recommendation.
  17. I’d say the 5 year mark, or there abouts? theres not much left of my symptoms that I blame on Paxil anymore. Do I have anxiety? yup, but I am working the Claire Weekes system and feel so much better than I did. 💕
  18. Hello, coldturkmama. When would you say you fully recovered from going off Paxil?
  19. Thank you for your story! What dose did you take for Paxil?
  20. Hi Rola If I remember correctly, I did a 10 percent reduction of Paxil at each step with several weeks between each reduction. It look me almost a year and half to get to zero. I stopped there totally for several months. On the advice of my psychologist, I asked my GP for a fairly low benzo dose (Ativan at first then switched to Klonopin) of .5 mg. I used to take that about once a week, usually on Sunday nights before work--LOL! I now take it only when the physical effects of my anxiety are more than I can handle, so a 30-pill script will last several months.
  21. One thing I learned as I got near the end of my taper, is that you have to have a plan to manage whatever drove you to meds in the first place. My GP initially prescribed Paxil for my anxiety, but I didn't seek any kind of therapy to address that anxiety; I just took the pill. It wasn't until I started tapering that I sought psychological help and learned the source of my anxiety and management tools like CBT. Talk therapy helped me handle my taper, but more importantly, it gave the long-term tool I needed to recognize irrational and obsessive thinking and manage its effects. To paraphrase the old Chinese proverb, you need to name your demon to control it. If you quit meds with no coping mechanisms, you run the risk of being no better off than you were the day before you started them. I found it took a combination of CBT tools and regular therapy sessions to get to a place where I could manage my thoughts rationally. Different things may work for different people, but the point is, you need to be prepared for the rest of your life!
  22. Hi M Welcome aboard the crazy ship Good to see you quit Paxil, tough one to get off. Sass
  23. Hi Coco I honestly didn't make too many changes. I cut down on coffee during my taper to reduce my anxiety. I also took fish oil as a supplement. A caveat: After I stopped Paxil I dropped a lot of weight. I got into some bad eating habits and gained almost all of the weight back. That's when I got serious about portion control and balance. One really helpful thing I did was pre-make my breakfast (kind of egg bake/frittata knock-off), cut it up to pre-measured portions and freeze them. I thaw one overnight and have that for breakfast. It keeps me filled up till lunch or dinner, and I've maintained a good weight for the past seven or eight years.
  24. Hi Daisy I'd say it was a gradual process that lasted about 18 months from my final small dose of Paxil to the point where I could casually blow off incidents and thoughts that would have triggered major anxiety. There was no "I'm cured!" moment. It was more a realization that I wasn't reacting anxiously anymore. Once that realization hit me, I really moved forward quickly ' knowing I could handle it was truly empowering.
  25. Thanks so much for posting this, ms! Good to see you again. While you were going off Paxil, did you have any problems tapering? If so, how did you cope with them? Did you have withdrawal symptoms after you took the last dose? If so, how did they go away? Do you have any residual withdrawal symptoms now?
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