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  1. You are very welcome! I am coming up on two years off and still struggle with fatigue too. I think w/d really messes with the adrenals in a lot of people. Yes, I totally understand. I have tried to help family members or friends by giving nutritional advice and most people won’t listen. It’s hard for a lot of people to own up to the fact that you are ultimately responsible for their own health. It’s easier to blame genes and not address the bad eating, lack of exercise, and the nightly glass of wine. I wish I realized that before Paxil, but I guess sometimes it takes going through hell to make lasting changes. We will all be better for it in the end!
  2. It actually wasn’t. I was terrified of trying to get off of it. What I did was really work on sleep hygiene and stopped watching TV, etc several hours before bed and started taking melatonin. I made sure I was really relaxing and calming my body, I also got blue blocking glasses. Then I slowly weaned off the ambien like I did with Paxil. I was cutting off tiny bits every week until I wasn’t taking it anymore. Hope that helps!
  3. 1. Yes, correct. I had already been off Paxil for 4 months before any symptoms came back, so it wasn't as bad. Plus, I hadn't been on Paxil as long the first time. 1a. It took a couple of weeks for the symptoms to come from what I remember. 1b. I don't think I gave it enough time to see improvement. I can't really remember if there were improvements, I am sure my symptoms were ebbing and flowing as they do. 1c. Absolutely. I don't think you have to reinstate to get better. It may take a little longer to heal, OR it may not. I tried reinstating a second time, to go up to 2 mg two months after the 1mg reinstatement and THAT was even worse than the initial withdrawal. I got really bad after the second attempt, so it is really a crap chute. You could end up getting worse if you try to reinstate, I think how long you have been off is a big factor of whether or not it will go well for you. 2. The biggest thing I noticed was that my constant cortisol surges seemed to go down a bit. BUT I still had that ongoing high cortisol/anxiety feeling even after the reinstatement, it just seemed a little less severe. 3. I had the typical "waves and windows" pattern with microtapering. I don't actually know if micortapering is the right word. I think I was still tapering 5-10%, but the dose was so small that I was taking tiny bits of the drug at the very end. I definitely didn't have any drastic changes in symptoms, like when I first went off. 4. My main issue is that my adrenals were SO taxed for a year+ that they now have a hard time regulating my cortisol levels. So, when I get stressed I feel it more intensely than I should and the feeling lasts longer than it should. I still have that high cortisol feeling quite frequently, the biggest difference is I don't have the mental anguish that comes with withdrawal. It takes a long time to truly get back to 100%, so you just have to be patient. I am still working towards that but the mental part is so much better and for me that was definitely the worse part of withdrawal. Now I feel like everything is going to be okay and I don't freak out if I have a less-than-perfect day. Hope that helps, let me know what other questions you have!
  4. Hi Mogfish, thank you very much for returning to update. And a great update it is too. Looking at your drug signature, you've done well to get off a tablet that is not easy to make into small doses. I'm "cheating" and getting my Pristiq compounded. And the pharmacist even uses different coloured capsules 😊 I've always been thankful for that but am more so seeing your method. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for your future. You might find this topic helpful. BrassMonkey has now been off Paxil at least 1 year now and wrote some excellent observations after being a member of Paxil Progress and a moderator here on SA: are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take See especially: It doesn’t end at “0”
  5. Thanks, PennyLane. Please update your signature with the date you finally went off Paxil (and Ambien?). Looking back, what do you think reinstating 1mg Paxil did for you? How difficult was it to finally go off? Do you have any residual symptoms now?
  6. Hi! As I have mentioned, I am a paxil and diazepam survivor and suffered horrors from those poisons for years. starting them in 2001 for a neck pain, switching to paxil afterwards, went to hell and back, almost killed myself due to akathisia, had some good waves meanwhile and in 2013 full recovery started taking place. Hugs and kisses to paxilprogress friends and stay strong people here on surviving antidepressants! You can do it! It just takes too much time!
  7. Hi all, I'm 24 from Italy and I'm sorry for my English, I'll do my best. I want to share my story because I think this could give hope to other people. I've been on fluvoxamine for six months in 2013 and stopped in the early 2014 and after a months my first withdrawal started. At that time I didn't know anything about withdrawal and my doctor told me I was bipolar. So, after three months of strange symptoms, he decided to put me on Paxil. The symptoms subsided very quickly and I took Paxil till February 2015 and again, after a months with no med, I had my second withdrawal. But this time fortunately I found this forum and i've been able to understand what was happening to my body. I said good bye to my doctor and I started my healing process alone. I had a classical withdrawal with the pattern of windows and waves and all those symptoms morphing month by month: Panick attacks, DP/DR, anhedonia, weight loss, couldn't go out, memory loss, mood swings, sensation of burning brain, no libido, insomnia but also lethargy, light sensitivity and so on...The first year I've been like a vegetable, in my bedroom all the day, unable to function and also to empathize with my family or my dog. But I have to say that my first window started very soon, maybe after three months in the withdrawal and I've seen a lots of improvement also during the first year. Slowly the windows have become frequent and longer while the waves have become less intense and shorter. Anyway i'm not able to tell you specifically how my symptoms have changed every month because I can't remember and frankly, I prefer to forget it. All I can say is that during the second year my emotions started to came back and the panic attacks subsided completely, but i've seen also a constant improvement of all the other symptoms. Now I'm on month 23 and I can go out when I want, I'm doing sport, I have my sexuality back, I can empathize with people, I'm sleeping very well. I can hit a short wave every two or three months, especially after a stressful period. It last one or two weeks and generally my only symptoms are extreme tiredness, fatigue and low moods. Of course I'm not completely recovered but I'm also doing a very slow benzo's taper and I'm sure that part of my residual symptoms are from it. So, all I want to tell you is that there is hope. It is a long and painful process but as I've seen, the brain is really able to heal itself and time will adjust everything.
  8. Hello... Anybody still out there? I haven't posted in awhile...(okay, maybe years)! I just wanted to update anyone who remembers me from PP as gbass that I am still doing well! I recently ran into a couple guys who were taking paxil and I had completely forgotten how miserable life used to be!! I haven't been on this site in a long time because of that fact, but after speaking to these two men for awhile, I thought an encouraging word about life after Paxil might be encouraging!! It's been about 5 years since my cold turkey, and life couldn't be better! I guess the best thing to say is that there is hope for everyone and the best testimony I can give is that for two years, I remembered every day that I was no longer taking this drug and now I barely remember what it was like! I will try to visit this site more often in the future and offer any encouragement I can as well as just plain chat with old friends (not as in agewise old, just longtime friends! ). Hang in there everybody and as a very dear friend once told me, "If you find yourself in hell, keep walking"!
  9. Part 1. Sorry it is long. English is not my first language so please ignore spelling mistakes. 2012 was the year I cold turkeyed Paxil. It went good for about six weeks and then withdrawal kicked in. It started in New York when we made my birthday present trip. Imagine a long flight from Germany to New York and an excited boyfriend that wants to see every side of this city. It is hard to describe my trip back then, because I was just so weak.I couldn't walk and talk properly. Mentally and physically exhausted. My brain fog was so bad I thought my brain was permanently damaged. I was sitting on a park bench in brooklyn wanting to die while my boyfriend was busy taking photographs. Imagine you are in the city of your dreams and you just want to return to your hotel and sleep. Sleep as long as it may take to wake up and feel normal. The years of my withdrawal are just a blank space. Most of it I can't even remember. I was traumatised and a mess. Paxil flu hit me hard in my waves. Didn't matter if it was winter or summer I was wearing layers of clothes and shivering under my blanket. I still wear socks to bed after all those wd years because I might get cold. It is a habit I can't stop. I could not read. I didn't read for maybe three years. I cried when I watched Ally Mc Beal reruns. Most of the time after work I just stared at the walls or googled symptoms. I became Dr Google. I don't know how many scientific articles I have read, but I was desperate. Desperate to find an answer and desperate to get better. I would have sold everything for the magic healing pill, but pills got me here in the first place. The irony of life.
  10. wow I so admire your patience, going slow in your taper! I sure wish I'd had the sense to do that but I guess us "young'uns" are wild and foolish, hahahaha 24 years on paxil, that's a long time. It's interesting that a lot of ppl going thru wd/recovery mention the irritation and anger- I had that but it was really bad and intense because I had tapered far too quickly. I had rage, really, that came out of no where and scared the daylights out of me! that is actually what prompted me to do a search that led me to finding this forum and finding out that I was in withdrawal. I had no idea what was wrong with me! I'd been told for decades that I was "mentally ill" and the diagnosis kept changing, and for all I knew, I 'd "come down with" some new illness! that seems absurd to me now, but at the time I was really scared. Well, plus the withdrawal induced anxiety didn't help either. It's interesting that you say you "speak your mind more" but that you're "trying to control that"..... as long as you're being respectful when you speak your mind, I would think that is a healthy thing to do.....? I have always been fairly passive and not one to rock the boat, so I think I immediately see myself in what you wrote and wonder: what is wrong with speaking one's mind? so it's not a judgement or anything like that. if you don't mind me asking, why were you given paxil in the first place? for anxiety or depression or both?
  11. First off, THANK YOU for sharing your experience. I am in the middle of total hell and your experience is the first one I've read that has really been "wow-someone has been through almost exactly what I've been through and has made it." I was wondering what kind of difference you noticed by going back on 1mg of Paxil? I have been contemplating whether or not to put any of these chemicals back in my body. I'm assuming you were able to get some form of liquid paxil? Again, a sincere thank you.
  12. brassmonkey

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    WDNormal I see WDnormal as the overall baseline of where you are in general. The place you are when you're not feeling good, but you're not feeling bad. Sorta a rolling average of the past couple of months between the windows and waves. Watching the level of WDnormal is a good indicator that things are improving. Over time you should be seeing a raising of the standard for WDnormal. So how you're feeling now is better than say six months ago. It changes very slowly but is a really good indicator. Many people have the idea that stability is feeling good again, when in fact it's feeling the same level of blah day after day with no big swings to the better or bad. When a person does a decrease in dose there will be a corresponding increase in WD symptoms over the next few days. These symptoms will resolve themselves over the following several weeks and return the person to a slightly raised baseline of discomfort. The time frame and severity are dependent on a huge number of factors and end up being unique to each individual. But the pattern remains. This is why paying attention to your WDnormal is very important. It is also referred to as listening to your body. After a decrease in dose and the symptoms have resolved to WDnormal the person then should wait a couple of more weeks to let things really settle out (there are a lot of little unfelt changer still going on) before considering doing their next drop. During that waiting time people may think that they're not doing anything and want to get on with it. When in fact doing nothing is very proactive. It's those little unfelt things that need to be finished up before the next step can be taken. It's letting the glue harden, the paint dry, the cement cure. The things that need to be complete before the path is safe to walk on again. If these details are ignored then they start to pile up and compound each other, then somewhere down the line the foundation slips out from under us and the whole thing collapses. As good as it gets for that moment. WDnormal is a sliding scale of reference for tracking overall improvements in one’s condition. As you're learning this is a very slow process and at first changes in WDnormal are very small and slow in coming. As time passes and one’s body heals those changes become more pronounced and more frequent. But it can be frustratingly slow at first. I'll bore you with a bit of my history, so you can see how I came up with the idea of WDnormal. Many people find the time frames upsetting but I truly advocate going very slowly. I'm one of the "lucky ones" in that I was only been on one drug, all be it for 23 years, which makes things a lot easier to sort out. I originally started on Paxil for Spontaneous Outbursts of Violent Anger and it really helped. In reality I should have been through counseling instead of being drugged, but that's an irrelevant part of the story. After many years on the drug it wasn't working as well so I updosed. That helped sorta but a few years later I needed to updose again. That helped for a few months, then I started downhill. It took several years and becoming totally messed up to figure out I was in severe tolerance, or what we lovingly call "poopout". Just making the decision to do something about it was a terrifying experience but after 18 years of being drugged, my marriage on the rocks and about to lose everything (probably even my life) I decided to do something about it. Again, I was lucky and found a site called PaxilProgress before I made any changes. That started the entire process. I liked the idea of the 10% taper but made a couple of modifications to make it gentler and started with that. Nothing happened. I felt as bad as I had been. Six weeks passed, and I did my second drop. Nothing happened, except maybe I felt a bit worse. This pattern kept up for about 18 months. When one day it hit me, "I hadn't felt as crappy for the past several weeks". It took another six months before I again noticed that things had improved. During this whole time all I could do was move doggedly forward making the best of it and learning to put up with and work around the symptoms. I really had no other choice. A little after two years I had my first widow. It lasted about fifteen minutes, and it wasn't until several hours later I realized it had happened. That was the point that it sunk in that the process really did work. Except for that window the rest of the time was heavy brain fog, DR, no short-term memory, dizziness, all the symptoms we know and loath. Another window opened briefly a few months later, and I noticed that I wasn't as "out of it" all the time and that I was gaining a little control over the symptoms by Acknowledging them, Accepting them and letting them Float off as I went about my life. Finally, after three years of tapering I felt like I was making progress. I could see that I was improved from where I had started even though I knew I was by no means better. I also could see that I was doing better that I was just six months before. I realized that my "base line of feeling like crap was improving or how my WD symptoms normally felt was improving. Hence WDnormal. The last two and a half years, it will be a total of five and a half for the entire taper, brought fairly steady improvement. I was able see improvements on a month over month and sometimes week over week basis. To the point that many people would say I'm back to normal by the way I function. The last several months I know I wasn’t because I was still taking the drug. During my time on and tapering off of paxil I have learned a huge amount about myself, life and how to deal with things. So WDnormal is a pretty easy concept once you think about it. In a nutshell it’s ”as good as it gets at that time.” It’s not feeling really good, it’s not feeling really bad, but rather a consistent level of feeling crappy that doesn’t change a lot from day to day for weeks at a time. The length of time involved in seeing changes in your WDnormal is the most frustrating part. The improvements don’t happen from day to day, week to week or at times month to month. In the beginning it can take six months to a year of more just to find what your WDnormal is and another six months to a year or more to see any significant improvements. However, it is the best baseline for noting that improvement
  13. brassmonkey

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    I want to give shout out to my number one fan. My wife, Monica, has been by my side for a bit over 40 years now and I couldn't imagine life with out her there. Over the years we have faced many challenges together, one of the biggest has been my journey while on and getting off of paxil. The turn around in my life over the past eight years has been amazing. I am feeling the best I have since I started paxil all those 26 years ago. We were talking about this late last night and I was telling her about some of the friends I have made on SA and earlier on PP, and some of the things I written and people I'v helped. She has her own account here, but never uses it. She got it to lend support, but it was "your journey and I don't want to interfere", so she rarely posts. But she does get a weekly digest to see what I've been up to. While we were talking I felt a hand on my arm, we have a double wide recliner so we can sit side by side in the evening, I turned to her and saw tears streaming down her face as she said "I'm so proud of you and all you've done sniff, sniff,, sniff". We couldn't say too much for several minutes. In fact the computer is quite blurry right now as I'm trying to type. Any way, I want to say to her and everyone else, "I couldn't have done it without her, her love and support, and thank you for all of it". Now we're getting ready to go on another journey together, literally to the ends of the earth and back and I can't wait to take those next steps.
  14. cymbaltawithdrawal5600

    Recovery Success Stories from Around the Web

    An anonymous story sent via email, posted with permission 12-31-2014 After horrible withdrawal I found life again! Paxil was changing me into someone I didn't recognize, unfeeling and distant emotionally so I quit cold turkey consulting only my conscience. I had been told Paxil was safe and non-addictive, so I thought quitting would be no big deal. But withdrawal was hell. I am not sure how long it took wd to kick in or what hit first--the zaps, the Paxil flu, the weakness. I was pale, cold, sweaty, clammy and emotionally numb. I thought I was going to die. I was irrational. I was paranoid. I couldn't tell anyone how sick I was or what I was feeling or they would lock me up and say I was crazy. I was scared in my collapsing world. Each morning I made myself get up and pretend I was okay. I couldn't tell my husband life had no meaning and relationships were hollow mysteries to me. Fortunately my children were grown and my family didn't depend on my income or I would have lost everything. Getting out of bed was punishment, going to bed was punishment, everything was a punishment. I didn't know how it would end because I didn't know what "it" was. Zapping and sick I did an Internet search and discovered what "it" was, "it" was withdrawal! The zaps, the Paxil flu, the everything and there were others going through what I was experiencing! A few days after I found paxilprogress [a discontinued information and recovery support website] I told my husband I had quit Paxil cold turkey and was in withdrawal. He didn't understand but I told him I had found an online community for people like me. I told him one wd symptom-- the zaps and I read to him how someone had described them, then I told him that it was happening to me all the time. Every time I had a zap I would say "zap". He could see I looked sick but I only told him about the zaps, I was still afraid everyone (but fellow sufferers) would think I was crazy. And I was afraid to tell fellow sufferers how bad it was for fear I would be told to reinstate. By now I had thrown my Paxil away, I hated Paxil, I was afraid of Paxil, I couldn't take it again. Reinstate would mean doing all this misery again, twice as much suffering or worse-- I was not rational and felt my only option was to hang on. Cold turkey made me feel that I would never quite fit in the community that saved me. I knew I had done it wrong but was too scared to turn back. Everyday I spent hours alone looking for meaning in my life. At least I was safe when I was alone, I didn't have to pretend to be okay, in fact I could be brutally honest. At some point my wd symptoms no longer dominated my thoughts or movement. I noticed I was present to other things in my life besides paxil wd. Life was more than Paxil--how awesome is that discovery? Somehow the suffering became more distant and it faded in my memory. Lessons learned became treasures to carry forward in my life. It's hard to explain how the joy, the peace and the brightness of life returned. I didn't want my "negative" emotions masked, I wanted my emotions to be full spectrum of emotions. Death of loved ones, profound losses have come my way-grief, agony, struggles have been mine--I claim them--better than paxil numb. My spirit knows peace and stillness again. Relationships are no longer hollow. I became anchored in the land of the living again, it's a great place to be. Certainly my life is not a bed of roses but it is a garden where my spirit rejoices to be.
  15. Day 600 (March 11th 2017) 4 months shy of my two year mark. My Introduction: - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10847-%E2%98%BC-rockingchaircat-recovery-from-psychotropic-drugs-that-were-prescribed-willy-nilly/page-1 I’m a male in my early 50’s, and I’ve been on several antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Paxil, and other psychotropics (as prescribed by the pill pushing Docs): Benzos- Xanax and Ativan, and other crap. These pills do not ‘balance your neurotransmitters”, that is a lie- for there is no balance. Instead it’s more akin to a Symphony: Every neurotransmitter has its own part to play at it’s own time and place. My taper strategy was something I came up with in desperation after trying out some boneheaded strategies involving either: A) going cold turkey and then following the advice of a medical doctor. The Route: Cold Turkey- Freak Out. Go on Benzos. Reinstate Antidepressants. Taper off Benzos. Taper off Antidepressants. Lose what’s left of my mind. Try to regain it in recovery. The Cold Turkey route resulted in my freaking out, which segued me into trying out the Benzos on the advice of a medical doctor- which worked GREAT, but only for a short time. Then they stopped working completely. After a while with more of the same useless advice of “give it a few weeks” Or “increase the dose”- I got fed up with the docs and found the website: Benzo Buddies. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=122050.0 There- I learned of the Pharmaceutical Blasphemy- of the necessity of not taking pills. Then I got better advice about how to go about weaning myself off of Benzodiazepines properly. It took a few months but I managed to wean myself off of the Benzos that I was on. Then after a couple of stable months- I decided to taper off of my antidepressant ‘slowly’, as recommended by a different doctor. But, even that was faster than I should’ve tapered-. I thought at the time that my antidepressant withdrawal would take about the same time as it took me to wean myself off of the Benzos. Boy was I wrong. It took me much longer. Which doesn’t come as a surprise now- after all I’d been on more of them for longer than I was on the Benzos. My Coping mechanisms/Strategies during my withdrawal- included the following: 1) Amino acids, 2) Beans, 3) Exercise, 4) A Full Spectrum Light, 5) Hobbies, 6) The Internet, 7) Meditation, 8) Motivation 9) Music, 10) Nature, 11) (Orgasms), 12) & Sunlight. I also found it helpful to cut out chocolate, coffee, and eventually dairy products. Chocolate left me with a severe heartburn. Coffee left me an increased level of anxiousness- cutting it out decreased my anxiety by a measurable amount. And dairy foods made me sleepy- to the point that it was a miniature nasty fatigue day. My Withdrawal Problems: 1) Anxiety 2) Depression 3) Nasty Fatigue Days 4) General Fatigue 5) Cortisol Spikes 6) Mood Swings So- what was it like for me? Hell. I cannot put it any other way- It was Hell- it was the absolute WORST thing I’ve ever had to endure. Anxiety- A general fear that dogged me constantly- from the numerous times I woke up in the middle of the night, dealing with it’s intensity during the day- and then trying to cope with my existence after work and not being too terrible an Ogre to my wife, daughter, friends, and house cats. The fear had grown, to where everything wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t even read a novel- because of fear that the fictional characters were going to encounter hardship. And the boredom, despite the almost constant anxiety waves, I was bored out of my mind. Every hour felt like a day. Every night when I couldn’t fall asleep long enough to catch rest- I stared at the ceiling and tried to get my racing heart to calm down- for hours. Ironically enough- the first few hours of most nights I could sleep- until I started to dream. And when I started to dream- the Cortisol Spikes started up. But dreams are the time when you need the rest the most. Depression- will come back with a vengeance since you don’t have a pill to push it away anymore. So you must fight it. Depression is the Enemy. Depression- Lies. It will do its utmost to deny you reality. It will tell you that it’s not worth trying. But it’s all lies. Because it IS worth it, life is worth it. It’s all worth the trouble. During the early withdrawal phase- I often thought of steering my car into a tree, but I had to fight those thoughts, what I came up with: That driving into a tree was no guarantee of the release I sought. That in fact (knowing my luck) I’d be horribly injured, out of a truck, left with a massive amount of bills to pay with no way of paying for them- and lose my house, my job, and most importantly- the medical insurance my daughter needs to survive on. I refused to let myself end that way – that would’ve been a coward’s way out. In fact- just about anything and everything depression tells you isn’t ‘worth it’: IS. Try to remember this: If depression tells you it ain’t worth it- then you know it is. Nasty Fatigue- That was something I used to get on a regular basis- every two weeks or so during my early days. A depression so extreme that it was torture to get out of bed, and all I could manage was to lie around utterly depressed with existence and stare at the wall in complete and utter despair- for hours, often days. It was an effort to get up and go to the bathroom. I would eat- but only at the behest of my wife, and even then I could only manage a half sandwich- a day. Like so many other symptoms- it’s gone, but it took a while for it to go away. It didn’t so much stop as it melted away. In the depths of it- I would sleep. But it wasn’t in the least restful sleep. And the only way out of it that I could find- was to fight it. I forced myself to get up and stay awake. Words fail me- I simply do not have the words necessary to convey how difficult it was. It was stubborn- I had to out stubborn it. General Fatigue- everything was hard. I had no energy. I went so far as to have my Thyroid hormones checked. ALL of them, not just the usual ones the docs usually pawn off onto you as being ‘comprehensive’ when it’s not. But even that checked out fine. So in the end- no matter how awful I felt about it- I just forced myself to do things. Eventually, my body stopped fighting me so vigorously – and gave in. It was an uphill battle. Cortisol Spikes- During my Benzo withdrawal- I got to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night at FULL ALERT! Often- many times a night. Every time I dreamed- I woke up in a panic. Naturally- this ended up with me not having a decent night’s sleep- so I tried to compensate by increasing my napping. That didn’t work- because invariably I’d wake up after a second or two with still MORE anxiety from another Cortisol Spike. It took me over a year before I could nap again. Alas, I still have a bit of a phobia against naps now. Eventually the Cortisol Spikes increased to the point that I simply wasn’t getting sufficient rest. And in fact I broke down several times at work in hysterics- from sleep deprivation. Most, yet not all, were when no one else was around. Mood Swings- Self Pity- was the biggest one. Which often segued into Furious Rage at the seemingly endless hours of unending mental and physical torture. So how did I endure all of this withdrawal crap? By getting my Neurotransmitter Symphony working again; and how did I do that? Read on. Windows/Waves. I too got the Waves and Windows that just about everyone gets. But along the way I learned of ways to extend the Windows, and shorten the Waves. Full Spectrum Light/Sunlight- I got a window or two even during the beginning. But they didn’t occur often enough- or for that matter long enough- I’d get a few hours once a month- maybe. But there was one thing that initiated my first several day long window: A Verilux Full Spectrum light. It helped pull me out of the winter blahs and the crippling depression that came from decreased sunlight. Now though I never had another several day window start up because of it-even so it has helped in the subsequent recovery process. I’d recommend one for your own use- but I’d also recommend following the instructions- no more than a few minutes a day at first. Why? Because we’re all photo-phobic during our early withdrawal, and you might end up with a sunburn if you’re not careful. Because you need sunlight to help you get better. Our bodies- crave it. Sunlight sets our Circadian Rhythm- that same rhythm that was thrown out of whack by the pills. It helps us release Serotonin (to wake up) and Melatonin (to fall asleep), both neurotransmitters that help us. And I use mine every day. I’ve got the tan to match. Exercise- During all of my withdrawal- I exercised. For me, in earlier days (prior to my withdrawal) I had obtained and used a small work out gym set that I placed in my garage for weight training. I’m hardly buff, let alone ripped, but it has helped keep me fairly strong. And it made for a nice routine 3x a week. Additionally I had a bicycle I used for aerobic activity 3x a week. 1x a week I just didn’t do either- but even then I did something. Usually I did yard work or went for a walk. The point is- do something, anything. Even if all you can manage is one set of pushups- DO IT! Even that little bit will do you good. Walking- Walking is Good. I preferred to do that every day (weather permitting). Walking in a natural setting- it helps. I’m lucky in that I have a pine forest in which I can skirt. And the body needs that. You NEED to get out of the house. You MUST get out and get some fresh air. You’ll hate it at first, I guarantee it. But nonetheless You NEED to do that, Every-Single-Day. (And exercise is excellent dealing with the excess energy that comes with constant anxiety attacks.) Exercise comes with it’s own built in Happy Ending: The Endorphin rush. You’ll eventually get it, and crave it enough to keep going at it. Why? Because the Endorphins are another form of Neurotransmitters that you need. Amino Acids- Along about the time I started getting hysterical due to lack of sleep I was getting desperate. I was grasping at straws- and that’s when I discovered Taurine. It, along with some magnesium- was as close to a god send for my sleep as the Happy Light was for my depression and fatigue. The first couple of weeks taking Taurine/Magnesium- I was able to turn a corner and started getting something akin to a decent night’s sleep. Not much, but even that little was better than none. Nowadays- I still get the occasional middle of the night wakefulness from a Cortisol Spike- but it’s usually after a long stretch of dreaming. And with that success- I started researching into other aminos and eventually settled upon: Tyrosine, Taurine, and Theonine. They all had one thing in common. They were/are Neurotransmitter Pre-cursors. And what is a Neurotransmitter Precursor? It’s something the body can take and create a Neurotransmitter with. Now backing up a bit- what I learned at Benzobuddies- was that our brains and bodies- are inherently Lazy. Our bodies produce a Neurotransmitter called GABA. It’s used by the brain to calm things down. When we use a Benzo- the body adapts to it and stops producing GABA. That would be one thing. But our bodies are fiendish in that after we’ve gotten used to the pill- we develop ‘tolerance’- which is to say- that the pills stop working. The tolerance is when our bodies chose to stop producing the neurotransmitter we were augmenting/replacing with by using a pill. Thus if we stop using the benzo - what little defense we have against overstimulation- isn’t there in the quantities that it was prior to the pill use. This end result creates the waves and windows we all get to ‘enjoy’ during withdrawal. Our bodies still produce the needed neurotransmitters- just not often enough or in large enough quantities. And every now and again- for I’ve no idea reasons why- for a few hours or days our bodies produce just what level of them we need to feel OK. Those are the windows. But they don’t last- and the Waves of symptoms start up again. It’s the same thing with anti-depressants. The pills cause us to stop producing enough Serotonin or Dopamine (depending on what you’ve been prescribed). So what the hell are we supposed to do when we go off the pills? We need those neurotransmitters- yet we don’t produce enough of them anymore. Taking straight neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, or GABA, is counter-productive, when what we need is to get our bodies to produce them again. So after a suitable amount of self-research- I settled on the Amino Acids that are neurotransmitter precursors. Tyrosine is used by the body to create: Dopamine. Theanine is used by the body to create: Serotonin. And Taurine is used by the body to create GABA. And the nice thing is that you won’t overdose on them. Your body will use them to make ‘just enough’. The aminos helped me immensely. They didn’t cure the problem, but they took a LOT off of the rough edges and made my recovery- tolerable. It’s gotten to the point that my body does produce the necessary neurotransmitters on it’s own- that I’ve started tapering off of the aminos I’ve been taking. And on a couple of days- I’ve forgotten to take them without noticing that I hadn’t. Meditation- During all of this- I meditated when I could. Invariably during such meditations- I fell asleep. But even that helped in its own way. It helped me learn how to suppress in a small way the anxiety that did occur- a bit of biofeedback that helped me learn to calm down and distract myself. The suppression techniques still come in handy even now on day 600, and I imagine that they’ll still be doing me good for years to come. Though in the early days I often just wrapped myself in a heavy comforter, turned on the room fan, and stared off into space for hours while sitting on the bed in the middle of the night, and I’d do the same on the weekends both during the day and night. Hobbies- Do something you enjoy- or did. Go back to it. Even if it’s a mighty burden, sit yourself down and work on your hobby. Even if it takes you an hour- to do something that you have done in seconds before- do it. Eventually- you’ll remember the fun that you had with it before. You’ll notice that by immersing yourself into it- you can ignore the pain for a bit. Naturally you’ll look forward to doing it again. Me? I work on spaceship models. And from what I’ve learned- by taking the time to do even 5 minutes a day, and doing it slow- I do a much better job on them now. See- I learned something. Internet- I spent many an hour researching these conditions that fell into my lap. Such research led me to Benzo Buddies and Surviving Antidepressants. But it also made me appreciate how wonderful that the internet can be when it comes to distracting myself from my pain. I read somewhere that we all get a dose of Dopamine when we open another interesting page on the net. Hey- whatever works. Online games- such as Lumosity- give me something to gauge my progress in such things as fine motor skills, memory skills, and Hand/Eye coordination- all of which has suffered during the worst of my withdrawal. Of late- I’ve been trying the stuff I had to cut out: Chocolate, Coffee, Dairy foods. I’m back to eating those things again, and in fact it does make feel better to be able to do so. Chocolate makes me feel good after eating a bit. Coffee makes me feel good after drinking it. I had my first slice of pizza just the other day- it felt good after eating it. (I imagine that if I eat too much of the above I won’t be feeling quite so good- after seeing what my bathroom scale has to say!) Motivation- It’s what kept me going. What kept me going? My Wife, My Daughter- they are what kept me going. (And my Mom- she made me promise to keep going too). (No Dad though- that’s another story) I was needed - my family needed me. It wasn’t much. But sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going- was the thought that they needed me. I cannot remember how many times I woke up just as it was time to get up- and simply didn’t want to keep going anymore. I didn’t want to face yet another day of constant anxiety or fear. But I got up and did it anyways. Snuggles with the wife- helped me, the physical touch was something I needed. And Snuggles releases a neurotransmitter- Oxytocin. And there were some phrases that helped motivate me through many a hard day- and they’re still something I occasionally have to fall back on when things get tough mentally: 1) Be Here Now 2) Accept 3) Pain is Mandatory- Suffering is Optional These three phrases tie in with each other. #1 Be Here Now; is the motivation that you are only in the now- and for you to not fixate upon the timeline of your withdrawal. The past is done, the future will come, but it’s best to focus on the immediate now and what you can do with it. #2 is about the immediate now- refusing to accept what’s going on in withdrawal will just make it worse. By Accepting that this is the way things are- you actually gain a sort of control over it all # 3- There is the Pain of Withdrawal- you can find ways to cope with the pain. Suffering is what comes about when you refuse to accept what is. You can choose to not be the person subjected to an endless misery of withdrawal. Yes I was in Withdrawal- but I choose to be more than a person in withdrawal- I chose instead to try and enjoy life as much as I could in between the wave crests. In both my benzo and antidepressant withdrawal blogs- I griped something fierce about it all. For that I make no apology. For I also chose to try and grab onto whatever little pleasures and triumphs I could garner when I was able to. Nature- There’s something about the forest, or even alone time next to a lake that helped me to calm down after a particularly grueling week or day. I got a few spiritual moments from the interplay of light in the clouds along with the wind in the leaves. Those few moments came at a time that I needed them. Music- I remember reading in a Science Magazine- that Music gets just about every area in the brain running. And that’s something that you need. The pills make our brains ‘soft’, music helps reboot it, it’ll evoke memories both good and bad. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh. And that’s what you need to do to get your neurotransmitters kicking in again. Beans- So what’s the big to do about beans? Gastrointestinal Health is paramount. Even though all of the other stuff I’ve listed above helped- I’ve also still had a number of problems involving Cortisol Spikes, the one thing that helped me well with that (after the Taurine) were Beans. I’ve found that the addition of a couple of tablespoons worth of Black Beans with dinner- seemed to lessen the number and frequency of Cortisol Spikes. I’m not exactly sure why this happens- though I have my suspicions. From what I understand- they’re a good source of something called Oligosaccharides. I learned about them after watching a documentary about Human Breast Milk. Apparently- Human Breast Milks’ primary ingredients include: 1) Water, 2) Fats, 3) Proteins, and 4) Oligosaccharides. So what are they? They’re a form of sugar that humans cannot digest. Now why on earth would humans produce something that babies cannot digest? Apparently the oligosaccharides are digested by a form of bacteria in the human gut- Beneficial Bacteria. The kind of bacteria that not only promotes our health in our guts but also helps us from - amongst other things- getting depressed. Long story short- Beans help you calm down and helps to prevent you from getting depression. Weird huh? Orgasms- Orgasms make you feel better. Orgasms release several feel good neurotransmitters. If you can- go for it. Hitachi wands are helpful in that regard for some folks. What’s it like for me now? I still get depressive. I still have bad days. But I’m also having good days. I’m enjoying life again. My hobbies are fun again. I’m spending time with my wife enjoying the amenities that my house and internet has to offer. (Netflix!) I’m honestly laughing again. For the longest time I forced myself to. After a while- I was able to give an honest laugh. That was a relief. Laughing- makes me feel better. Now- I can laugh spontaneously. Laughter releases Neurotransmitters. Crying- that too was near impossible for me. Now- I cry every few days. Crying- makes me feel better. I’m not up to crying spontaneously- but I’m working on it. I appreciate the time I have with my wife. I appreciate the time I have with my daughter. These times are so precious to me now. Weight loss- I still get hungry and I’m inclined to overeat if I’m not careful. Somehow I’ve still managed to lose about three pants sizes. I’ve still a ways to go, but such is a nice feeling. On the antidepressants- even mild hunger felt like I starving to death. In fact, there were times that I kept shoving food down my throat despite being so full that I was vomiting out food- but I was still famished- I couldn't achieve satiation. Now- it’s not. It’s bearable. I feel hunger, and it’s easily satisfied. I’ve lost a lot of my health due to trusting the medical doctors. I now am short one gall bladder- due to the gastrointestinal upsets my body underwent from the initial cold turkey. It was a journey of discovery for me when I found out that so many medical doctors- just don’t give a damn about folks’ suffering. Compassion Fatigue it’s called. My antidepressants- also caused me to react to allergens even more violently- I now need a CPAP to breathe at night- due to an Emergency Room visit in which some idiot botched my intubation during a visit due to a food impaction in my esophagus caused by a food allergy. During that little escapade they also managed to pierce my esophagus and I came close to needing a transfusion. And it managed to screw up my trachea too, Joy. For some reason- I find I cannot trust the Medicos as much as I did before. Why should I? They give us pills when they know they shouldn’t. During my withdrawal- I ended up going to the ER at least 6 or 7 times for things. On 5 of those visits- they gave me a scrip for Oxycodone tablets. Only two of which I put in for at the time. The other 3 I just tore up and threw away. And of those I kept- I used maybe a half dozen tablets- the rest of the contents of the bottles- I threw away. Day 600. March 11, 2017. 4 months shy of my two year mark. That’s the two year mark after tapering off of my antidepressant. That’s not including the time I spent from going cold turkey to now. Let’s see, including that turns out to be: 1048 days. Nasty. I’ve lost nearly 2 decades of my life to this crap. Thanks for nothing there Mr. Hippocratic Oath. And I’ve found that I’ve been having an issue with a short temper quite often of late. It could be a form of PTSD, it could be part of my personality that I’ve always had but never learned to control or channel. If so- then it’s past time for me to learn some anger/frustration management techniques. Which I'm doing now. Now, I'm having to relearn how to be a mature and responsible adult. It's an interesting time.
  16. Hello pug I’ve read your success story a few time now and it gives me real hope I will recover. My journey started last August with poop out on Paxil. a too fast taper left me unstable from Feb this year and I’m now holding. Can I ask you , you said you had some symptoms for years was depression and anxiety two of them and did you have episodes of better and worse months with them for no reason ? As this is what I seem to be having . Last month they were relatively low but this month they are high. Thank you for posting your story it’s a lifesaver . How are you now?
  17. Thanks so much, asjf, for posting this. It's so kind and brave to come back and encourage others still caught up in this nightmare. I'm not very active on this site, as I'm still in the thick of it. I find it all overwhelming and I focus all my strength on just keeping my head on straight and getting through the days, but I come here often to read the success stories. Our timelines and meds are somewhat similar. I did a too-fast taper off Paxil in late 2015, and suffered greatly. I then ignorantly cold-turkeyed off Klonopin (clonazepam) in December 2016. I've been medication-free for almost 30 months now, and 42 months off antidepressants. Of course much has improved, but I'm far from recovered. I echo Jackie's question.... how long did it take for you to feel you'd healed? Did it take the whole five years? I know it's somewhat selfish to always ask, "How long... how long..??" But after 42 months of trying to hold on.... well, any hope you can offer would be very welcome. Thanks again - I hope you have a beautiful life.
  18. Longroadhome

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Thank you for this post Brass you keep me going can I ask a question please i have been offered steroid injections to some damage I have in my elbow and hip called Bursitis. Is a steroid injection ok to have while going through wd. Im holding on Paxil 8:4 mg from February from a too fast taper . Obviously don’t want steroid if it’s going to make my symptoms worse. one other question can anxiety and depression go up and down in severity during wd even though I’m holding and haven’t made any changes as it has worsened over a few weeks from being low level for no apparent reason ? thank you for continuing to support us .
  19. cymbaltawithdrawal5600

    Recovery Success Stories from Around the Web

    Sarah From Paxilprogress, a now defunct site Positive post and encouragement from someone who was on paxil for 10 years Hi All. Some may remember me i posted on here a while ago. I thought i would update. I was on paxil (aropax) for 10 years. I have dozens of attempts to get off and was very very unwell as many here are. I had multiple complications from withdrawal including heart problems, thyroid problems, blood sugar problems, not to mention some of the other symptoms during withdrawal such as dizziness, nausea etc Anyways i thought i would let everyone know i have not taken paxil now for just over 1 year. THe day i hit my 10 year anniversary of being on paxil i decided i had had enough and i would never take it again. i had weaned down to 2.5mg and just decided to go off it and that was it. I did suffer and admitedly through the withdrawal process which took me a few years i had jobs i had to quit because when i would taper down i was so ill. However after a short period of time i started to feel better. and ive only got better from there. to a point where i almost forget i was even on the stuff and the hell i went through on it. i go to the gym as often as i can, i eat a very healthy diet. im quite thin now which is great. my skin glows. and im generally pretty well. i dont have any specific symptoms or any residual withdrawal to date and i will not allow myself to. i dont think about it and it is no longer a part of my life. its like a distant memory. I do have some residual things such as low thyroid, not as good blood sugar control and really dry hair and skin. but at the end of the day they may be related to the paxil or they may be random and i dont care. My moods can fluctuate a bit. I can occasionally get down. but i just pull myself out and tell myself to get over it. haha generally life is pretty awesome. i never thought i would get of paxil. i was told i never would. and no one believed how sick i got until i found this site. i wasnt sure how i would go off and if i would have to go back on. but im good. im greatful to this site for teaching me how to wean off rather than the dreadful cold turkeys i tried and failed many times. i cant wait for the rest of my life. I hope everyone here continues to persue and gets off this dreadful medication Sarah 2000 20mg Paxil for depression/anxiety 2002 Doc advised stop taking CT - Bad idea 2002 Recommenced 20mg then increased 40mg 2003 several failed weaning attempts 2004 failed C/T again 2005 Dropped from 40mg to 20mg 2006 Changed to Lexapro to help wean, symptoms to severe - back to paxil 20mg 2007 Feb 20mg - 17.5mg 11 March 12.5 26th March 2007 - 10mg Aug 09 - 9.5mg sept 09 8.5mg oct 09 7.5mg Nov 09 5mg december 09 2.5mg jan 2010 0mg Paxil Free since Jan 2010
  20. Part 2 Withdrawal taught me one thing. My body without drugs forgave me everything, but Paxil changed the game rules. I had to change my life style and be patient. Too much stress ?hello new wave. Too much junk food ?Increased dizziness. Don't get me wrong. Waves and windows came and went even when I was living the healthiest I have known, but I realized there were things that actually helped me and made me maybe 10% better than usual. Things that helped in wd: Sport - first walking than later hiit and cardio No alcohol Sleep of 7-8 hours No soft drinks and only one cup of coffee ( bulletproof for a long time with lots of coconut oil ) Healthy food . Reduced carbs. Low histamine foods No fast food Turning up to events and just trying to stay there even if it was for 30 minutes. I was always the first one to leave but I tried. God damn I tried. Working ( full time was indeed horrible, but I had to ...part time work would have been better ) Claire Weekes book ! Read it ! Daily routines .Waking up early, showering, not staying in bed, going out or somehow distracting myself ( vacuuming became my new hobby- kind of sad) Not helped B vitamins and a million other supplements and weird detox teas I bought Crazy liver detox I did at a dr's office Daytime naps . Always woke up sweaty and with a racing heart Stress in general / toxic friends Obsessively googling and spending hours on paxilprogress later on SA. I reduced that time from about 6 -8 hours daily to a max of 30 minutes Gluten, sugar,high histamine foods Nowadays. I am 34 years old, but I feel much older. I walked through hell and somehow survived it. I am deeply grateful for my friends and family and my three cats. My boyfriend broke up with me after 1,5 year of withdrawal hell. I always understood why he did it. It was a horrible time and I pushed people away,because i thought i will never get better. I am in a new relationship, but to be honest men are not my priority anymore. As weird it may sound, but my health is the most important aspect of my life. I love to cook now, I used to live on fast food, chocolate, crisps and litres of coca Cola.I gained 30 pounds in my time on Paxil. Most of it went to my paxil belly. I did lose that gut, but it was hard work. Paxil messes with our hormones and our metabolism. I lost a lot of hair in withdrawal. My doc says it is androgenetic alopecia. It might be or it might be the last present of Paxil, but I will never know and I don't even care. I am lucky to be alive. I work out 5-6 times a week.I have finished most of the beachbody programs and I am currently doing Kayla Itsines. I can read again and watch sad movies without getting suicidal. I work full time, but try not to do overtime hours. I am addicted to instagram now ( we can chat via pm if you want. My account is the_reading_cat ) instead of antidepressant forums. I will always be stress intolerant. When I get stressed out, I get an occasional hint of depression and dizziness. It is a reminder for me to go slow and just breathe. Yesterday we went out for drinks and burritos and I stayed very late and felt awesome. Those little things...drinking a Pina Colada and eating a burrito with double cheese in the sunshine with my friends. They will never understand that those moments are so god damn precious. They haven't been there where we all were. You cannot tell them, you will never find the right words of that despair in your heart that destroyed you every ******* hour. I know most people don't come back here and I guess I know why. Deep down there will always be that small voice that is whispering "maybe it is not over. Maybe a next wave will roll over you soon. It is too early to post a success story" All those recovered people just try to make everything out of their lives right now, because time is precious and we have wasted so many years. There are so many countries to visit,so many new foods to try and so many sun rays to catch. Don't give up now. It will get better.
  21. Gracee

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Yup, I'm one of those long-time-Paxil-members. I've learned enough over the years to know WD is not a race. I'm so old, I'll probably go to the grave tapering. BTW, T__, I remember you from the PP days. Glad you were able to fulfill your travel dream. Best Wishes, G.
  22. Longroadhome

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Well done on your 2 year anniversary Brass Monkey you should be very proud !! you give all us new Paxil members hope and I thank you for that. Good luck with the ops and may you have a fast recovery !
  23. brassmonkey

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    I just realized that I've overlooked a nonevent that was actually pretty important. This last Monday marked the 2 year anniversary of my hitting "0". So much has happened and so much has changed in that time it completely skipped my mind. Other than having an 18 month wave that lasted a couple of weeks there has been nothing really to report. I will admit that I've been rather distracted the past several months with the trip and any physical symptoms would have been over shadowed by the ongoing problems with the kidney stone and shoulder. But really, I haven't felt anything that could be chalked up to WD. I have my preop appointment for removing the kidney stone in a couple of hours and the operation date has been set for several weeks from now, so that is in the works. The constant irritation of the stent is quite bothersome and rather painful at times. Combine that with the daily muscle spams in the shoulder, which can be quite painful, I'm not a happy camper ATM. But there is an endpoint in sight for part of it and once that's out of the way I'll get going on the rest. I've noticed that we have a number of new members who have been on Paxil for a long time. I'll tell you it is possible to get off of it and return to a pretty normal life, but it has to be done in a very slow and controlled manner. And for everyone else out there, please don't talk yourself into the "I want these drugs out of my body now" frame of mind. We have proved time and again that trying to go fast will actually take a longer time then if you do a slow and controlled taper. You will get there and we want you to do it in the least painful manner. So take your time and do it right, do overs take a long time to get under control and sometimes are not an option.
  24. Hi Mapleleafgirl. Thank you so much for writing your success story. It definitely gives me hope. I've been on paxil for 20 years and hope i will succeed in my taper. Right now I'm trying to stabilize on paxil 7.5mg. I was on 20 mg, but switched over to liquid prozac, hoping the taper would be easier on this. Unfortunately, the switch didn't work. I took this for 5 weeks, but stopped and went back to liquid paxil, but at 7.5mg. I was afraid to go any higher since it is recommended to reinstate at much lower dose. It's been 4 weeks now reinstating the paxil...my anxiety is starting to lift, but i still get burning and tingling in my chest and arms that tends to come and go all day long. Did you get any of this when you reinstated? Also, did you have weight gain on paxil? I gained about 15 to 20 pounds. Did you have any weight lose during your tapering down? Or did the weight come off once you were completely off paxil? I'm so happy for you that you succeeded in getting off Paxil!!! You must feel so proud! I'm certainly proud of you! Ladybug99
  25. Vonnegutjunky

    Tao of the Brassmonkey

    Just stopping by to say thank you so much for the hope brass. I know you are not around and are busy living life! I am down to 7.3mg of Paxil after being on for 12 years now. I also experienced poopout. I was down to 6.8 and started having bizarre obsessive intrusive thoughts, I am actually tapering slower than you. So I went back up to 7.3mg, and it stopped 5e intrusive thoughts, but I am afraid to taper, until I read your thread. So I will taper slower than I was in hopes of finally being med free. Thank you
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