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Hi All I was a member of Paxilprogress.org several years ago; that site and its wonderful members helped me wean off Paxil in 2009 and I remained a member until the site closed. I have since been managing my anxiety disorder through regular therapy and using CBT tools. I view anxiety and depression as a chronic condition like diabetes; it can't necessarily be "cured" but it can be successfully managed. I've had my ups and downs over the years but I have to say I've had a great life. This past September, my wife and I retired early and decided to move from California to Portugal for a few years so we can explore Europe while we're healthy enough to get around. It's a beautiful country and the people are very gracious, but I do find my anxiety has increased due to cultural changes. I'm hoping to join a group similar to Paxilprogress where I can share my story, lend some support, and just spend some time with folks who understand what its like to live with anxiety. Thanks!
First off, I am so incredibly thankful for this forum. I would of never ever got off this medication if I had not found this forum. A big thank you to Alto and all the mods that work hard to help everyone. A big thank you to everyone I talked to daily on here as well Here is my intro thread ☼-cocopuffz17-paroxetine-free-but-not-trouble-free When I came to this forum I had no idea what was going on with me after coming off 11 years of paroxetine use @ 20mg. I was told by my psychiatrist that this drug isn't known to cause this, I know that's not true after going through the hell of AW/PAW. My body was being ravaged by chronic fatigue, autoimmune conditions and a plethora of AW (acute withdrawal) and PAWS(post acute withdrawal) symptoms. I was terrified and did not think I could get through it at the time. But I constantly read stories of success and knew that it was possible and my mindset slowly shifted. I knew that whatever this would throw at me I would be able to take it after making that decision in my mind. Here is some back story of my battle against depression/anxiety and the war I went to with getting off this medication. In high school I struggled immensely with anxiety. I would have panic attacks almost everyday and missed a lot of school because of it. Shortly after graduating I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder/depression and told I had a chemical imbalance from a psychiatrist that I was seeing and would need an antidepressant (paroxetine) to fix this imbalance. I trusted the psychiatrist as this is what they are educated to do. Never once was nutrition ever mentioned, this will make sense later in my story. Things did get a bit better. I no longer had this terrible anxiety and could function better out in public. So this led me to believe the doctor was right and that I needed medication to function as I was told I had a chemical imbalance. Over time I slowly slid into a deeper depression and struggled with sleeping. I went to my family doctor and he said to just take sleeping pills. So I took sleeping pills to sleep. I now know this was insomnia caused by the medication. I continued my life and took my antidepressant for multiple more years before I had a health condition pop up. In 2011 I was diagnosed with having erythema multiforme. The E.R. doctor told me it was from an allergic reaction to penicillin. I believe it was caused from long term antidepressant use. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced at that point in my life. I had a full body rash that was the itchiest thing you could imagine and every time the rash hit a joint I was unable to bend that joint. It was terrifying and painful as could be. It lasted around 2 weeks. Here is a reference pic before any of these health conditions. I don't remember the exact time frame on this. But it was in the 2013-2015 range. I was feeling way better and decided that I didn't need my AD anymore. So I cold turkey'd. All hell broke loose and I literally went crazy and was uncontrollable. All my anxiety symptoms came rushing back and nothing but pure rage for everything in the world. I reinstated and everything slowly returned back to medicated normal. I tried this twice with cold turkeys, I failed hard both times. The third time I spoke with my psychiatrist and he suggested doing a taper of 3 months @ 25% per month. I made it about 1 month and had to reinstate because the "original symptoms" were too strong, which I now know were withdrawals from coming off the medication. Once again this just supported the psychiatrist's theory of the chemical imbalance and I was like okay I guess I'm on this medication for life. Late 2014 to early 2015, I was having trouble swallowing food. My tonsils were so swollen. I ended up getting a tonsillectomy in 2015. Yet another random health condition that popped up out of the blue. I blame this excessive inflammation on the medication I took long term. Fast forward to late 2015.... I started losing my hair. I ended up going to a dermatologist and he diagnosed me with alopecia. This sucked. I went into a further depression. After recording this video I immediately changed my nutrition to a paleo diet. I saw regrowth on my scalp(not full growth though). The results slowed down and I stopped eating paleo and my condition got worse. I ended up losing all my hair on my scalp and was feeling the worst I had felt in my life and slid into a deeper depression. I was not feeling like my current psychiatrist was helping me. So I asked my family doc for a referral to another psychiatrist. I got an appointment a few months later. I went to it and it just so happened there was two psychiatrists in the room. At first I was like yes! Multiple opinions! I told them I was feeling suicidal and thought about it constantly. They both agreed that this was a normal feeling and everyone feels like this at times. This was the point where I realized I was not going to receive the help I needed to get through this from these doctors. It is not normal to feel like this and absolutely ridiculous that the trained professionals can say that. I now know this was caused by my antidepressant. Shortly after this all happened my alopecia was progressing. It was going from alopecia areata to alopecia universalis. I was slowly coming to terms with having no hair on my scalp and knew I could not handle losing my eyebrows and facial hair. I lost 50% of my leg and arm hair. This is the point when I looked myself in the mirror with tears rolling down my face and said I will never let myself be this depressed again in my life. I had no idea how I was going to do it at that time. But I made myself a promise and I refused to break it. I had some success with nutrition changes when I did the paleo diet a few years prior. So this is where I started reading more on nutrition. So after doing that I started reading a lot on people who had reversed autoimmune conditions and how they did it. There were two main contenders I found. A) ImmunoSuppressants B)Nutrition changes. I refused to be on another drug. I thought I needed to be on an antidepressant for life, like hell I was going on another drug for life with all the side effects associated with it. So I chose nutrition changes. In October of 2018 I started The Plant Paradox by Dr.Gundry! In 6 weeks I felt the best I had ever felt in my life. This gave me the confidence to attempt another taper. So I went back to my original psychiatrist(I was still going to him as I needed prescription refills). He suggested the 3 months at 25% per month. I agreed....I just trusted the doctor for tapering as I knew nothing about it at this time. This is where the hardest year of my life is about to begin. It took almost 5 years and a lot of pain, a lot failing and a lot of learning. But I grew my hair back after being told I would just have to learn to live with it from doctors. I thought this would be the hard part....not the case. Getting off of my antidepressant was. The first drop from 20 mg to 15 mg was not bad. A slight headache. I stayed at 15 mg for 30 days. The second drop from 15 mg to 10 mg was much harder. This is when I started reading forums and found so many struggles of what people were going through and truly how hard it is to get off of these drugs. I had fevers, cold shakes(I would have a hot bath 3-4 times a day to stay warm), headaches were picking up in intensity, fatigue was starting to happen daily and insomnia. I stayed at 10 mg for 30 days The third drop was from 10 mg to 5 mg absolutely wrecked me. I had even worse insomnia, lightning bolts in my visions, headaches got worse, I was unable to focus, fatigue was even more crushing(I was sleeping 14-16 hr days), cold shakes, tinnitus, vertigo, light sensitivity(I was wearing sunglasses at night it was that rough) and lagging vision ( I would turn my head and know my head was moved but by eyes were still seeing the image from 5 seconds before). I stayed at 5 mg for 15 days. I added another drop in here.... because I was suppose to go from 5 mg to 0 mg but I felt so awful and panicked so I went to 2.5 mg for 15 days with all the same symptoms. I know this is way too fast of a taper now. I did not know at the time as I was just following my doctors instructions. CONTINUED BELOW ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓