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SkyBlue: Paxil taper

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SkyBlue

Thank you SO much, BrassMonkey! ! ! As always! ! !! (((((hugs)))) right back! :) 

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Mammoth

Hi Skyblue,

 

I continue to marvel how very small amounts of these medications can have such a tremendous effect on our minds, emotions, and bodies. Sorry you are experiencing side effects with your new drop in dosage. Good idea to hold til it resolves. Hoping it evens out for you sooner rather than later. 

 

It's bizarre to deal with two different realities, right? I feel that, too, sometimes. Like when I am in a bad place and feel like my loved ones would just be better off without me around - it FEELS so true, even though I KNOW it isn't true. Then other days when I'm doing better, I can actually feel that truth. I also really relate to learning to be gentle and kind to myself. Sounds like you have a really excellent guide in your therapist. I'm about to start talking to a therapist (if I can get up the nerve) and hope she will help me move forward in this area.

 

Hang in there and a big hug to you!

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SkyBlue

Note to self      *      Note to self        *      Note to self 

 

Since Paxil drop on 9/8, have gotten that weird/loopy/lightheaded/almost intoxicated/dp/dr sensation in the evenings. That's why we're going to hold for a while, again. 

 

Looking at the evidence, I can see that it feels uncomfortable but gets better each time

 

9/8 went down from ~ .98 to .96 mg 

9/9 evening: started feeling weird at an art exhibit. Lasted a while. It got better. 

9/10 evening: while driving, got lightheaded and weird. Lasted a while. It got better.

9/11 late afternoon: outside walking w/family on a gorgeous day and suddenly got lightheaded--scared--started feeling weird and scared and it lasted for a while. It felt really real, like everything had suddenly turned awful and scary. It got better.

9/12 late afternoon at work: started feeling loopy and weird, some very mild dp/dr. Lasted quite a while. It got better.

 

I can conclude that when it happens again (very possibly tonight -- not trying for a self-fulfilling prophecy here, but it's good to be prepared), 

that it will get better again. 

 

P.S. YOU ARE ON LESS THAN 1 MG OF PAXIL ! ! ! ! ! As friends have stated above, this is momentous! ! ! ! You rock! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

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SkyBlue

Austinite, thank you so much. 

 

To me, if it wasn't happening to me (the effect of such a tiny dosage), I think I would have a hard time understanding it. That is why I am "grateful" (not really the right word, but) for the physical symptoms sometimes, because I can't make *those* up. (I know that I'm not making up the emotional things, either, but my brain can try to tell me that.)

 

I am very glad to hear you are going to reach out to a therapist. I think it can be really difficult. And it shouldn't be. (I don't mean that *you* shouldn't feel that way -- I mean that it carries weight and stigma that aren't attached to other things in life, like going to a dentist, finding someone to repair your car.) Let me know if there is anything I can do to help, even if it's just messaging me before you call! ! ! !  

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Mammoth

You DO rock!!!!! Tiny cuts and yet symptoms. Look HOW FAR you have come! It's so great that you are going slowly here at the end so that you can be okay and not do a number on your nervous system as you get completely off. I calculated how long my taper is going to take... it's hard to believe - FIVE YEARS! But at the end, my doses will be so tiny. In the fall of 2020, God-willing and the creek don't rise (LOL),  I will get to 1mg. Then .9, .8, .7, .6, .5, .4, .3, .2, .1! Slow and steady wins the race is what I am going to tell myself. 

 

I think you are smart to anticipate that perhaps tonight you will feel weird again and to remember that it gets better. 

 

I've met with a therapist in the past. Actually 2. One was wonderful. The other was not especially helpful. Nice, but not what I needed. Yeah - weird how there is a stigma attached to mental health issues. I am becoming a little more open about it with others after 13 years of suffering. So far, it's been well-received. 

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SkyBlue

Lol, thanks so much, Austinite! (That I "rock." My pep talk to myself!!) Thanks for your kind words. 

I think the very, very best thing we can do is go s…l..ooo..ww…ly. 

 

Going too fast is where we get into trouble! ! ! 

 

Looking forward to hearing your progress! <3

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SkyBlue

So grateful for a brief window today! 

 

A difficult 8 or so days since last drop (about 5% in last two weeks, so going to hold for a while). 

 

Symptoms:

-Dizziness, head whooshing, propioception (at times like I'm going through the floor)

-Drunken feeling

-"Light" depersonalization/derealization… as I write that I'm reminded of how George Bluth was accused of "light treason" -- any Arrested Development fans out there?)

- worst symptom is overwhelming, near-suicidal morning depression, despair, anhedonia, "what's the point of living?" I am not like that -- this isn't me; I haven't experienced that even in Paxil "poopout" -- so it's very scary to feel like I "just don't want to be here."

 

- spellbinding: fear that this is my "underlying condition"  :blink:  coming back. I can laugh about it now that I'm feeling good, but I will admit that my brain does go to that place of "well, maybe it's not WD [really?] and this is just 'who I am.'" Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

Note: I never think that WD dizziness or nausea are "just the way I am." But depression/anxiety etc. is much trickier to extricate from our sense of self.

 

Good things: 

- This "wave" has made me realize that WDnormal (thanks, Brass, for the term!) has exceedingly improved over the months. I have days where I feel more alive and clear than I had in *years.* So I think I'm feeling the contrast, but that's a good thing, because that means I've been doing well recently.

- Ability to successfully use mindfulness at times to use compassionate self-talk (that's been a long time coming!) to remember, "I was never suicidal before going on Paxil, so this is probably withdrawal and not me." I also write notes to myself, like notes to my future self, knowing the morning will be hard, ("The feeling going to wash over you and make you feel and see only the negative, even make you feel like you don't want to be here, like all the good is in the past, but I promise, you will feel better), kind of guiding myself through it. My deal with myself is that I can roll my eyes at the note, even crumple it up, and swear, but I put one foot in front of the other until the blasted feeling goes away in an hour or six. 

- Spent some excellent quality time with extended family last weekend -- what life is all about!

- Small but monumental pleasure of getting a new Donna Andrews mystery at the library today and *enjoying it* (Wow, WD will definitely teach us that that the little things are the big things.)

- My SA friends who know exactly what I am talking about!!  :wub:

 

Linking here so I don't forget that severe depression in a.m. can be cortisol-related (I knew anxiety was cortisol-related--didn't know it could be depression, too.)

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/33-waking-with-panic-or-anxiety-managing-cortisol-spikes/page-9

 

Big thanks to anyone who made it through this looong post!

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Shep

Hi, SkyBlue.

 

I really like reading your posts.  I "feel" your struggle - it is so incredibly deep and brutal - but you have this "inner warrior" light that shines through so brightly.

 

Thanks for writing this out, as I'm sure it will help many people. It already helped me.  :)

 

Sending healing vibes your way. 

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bubble

I enjoyed it too :)

 

Thank you for sharing.

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AmyK

I liked it too. You put words on how I feel, too. Like an ongoing tennis match of thoughts analyzing this (often weird) situation. The good things will win!

All the best.

Amy

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SkyBlue

Oh, Bubble, Shep ,and AmyK,

thank you all so much for the kind words! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

 

Hugs! ! ! 

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SkyBlue

Hi all, I'm going to my primary dr tomorrow for a blood pressure check. I've had a couple of high readings in the last few months.


I'm scared she is going to put me on medication. 


 


My Bp has always been fine. A high reading here or there, usually right before my period. It's not like it has been steadily rising or anything.


 


I suspect this is largely WD-related.


 


I'm also concerned that tomorrow's reading won't be entirely accurate because I'm quite worried about it. I'm calming myself as much as possible, of course, but if we could control our emotions 100% we would be computers, not humans! 


I'm doing lots of cardio and meditation and yoga. 


 


Thoughts? I really don't want to go on medication. 


 


Please, no horror stories about SSRIs and horrible cardiac stuff. I know there can be a connection and am coming off meds as safely as we know how.


 


Thanks in advance.

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brassmonkey

There's a well known phenomenon called "white coat hypertension". Basically it means your BP goes up when you have to go to the doctors to get your BP checked.  One way around it is to take matters into your own hands and buy an inexpensive automatic BP cuff.  Keep records and you can track your own trends. An occasional high reading is perfectly normal.  The problems come when it runs high all the time.  

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SkyBlue

Whew. Thanks, Brass. I will look into getting one. I appreciate it!

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SkyBlue

Hi everyone,

 

I would like to share that I'm currently in treatment for an eating disorder. (In a nutshell, my behaviors have ranged from undereating and overexercising to binge eating). The behaviors have gone on for years and years and years, way before Paxil. The treatment is going great.

 

I just now remembered (!!!!!!!!! really????) that as a teenager hey, I did actually gain 20 lbs the first year on Paxil, and 30 lbs the next year on Paxil for a total of 50 pounds the first two years. All the while under-eating and thinking that the weight gain was my fault. Seriously!?!??? I will say that a) I definitely believe in Breggin's theory that the psych meds are spellbinding -- things are happening that you don't realize are happening, and b.) an eating disorder can seriously, seriously distort the way you see the world and the way you perceive yourself and how much you are eating.

 

After what I now believe was Paxil weight gain, I began to diet even more severely (eating around 600 calories a day, which I was somehow able to rationalize and honestly didn't think was a problem) and exercise even more compulsively. How could I function at that level? How did my body not shut down? After years and years and years of this, I began binge eating. I now know my poor body was just screaming out, we… need… more… food. More shame, more weight gain. And (what I now know to be) Paxil poop-out. And declaring myself to be free from Paxil and tapering off it. 

 

I've gotten a couple of high BP readings at my monthly psych check-ins for eating disorder treatment, so I went to see a wonderful primary care doctor today. 

She was an absolutely fabulous doctor. I cried in the parking lot after the appointment, because it felt so wonderful to be treated so compassionately, and because I believe that if I had met someone so sensitive and well-informed years ago, they might have asked me, hmm, you are at a normal weight, but are you eating enough? Because if you don't eat, your brain will feel anxious. Huh. Maybe I could have healed my abysmal body image and eaten more instead of going on Paxil. 

 

I'm normally not a "shoulda, coulda" type person. Life is now. Why look back?

 

But this does feel like a loss that needs to be grieved. It hurts to write, and it hurts to feel. But I'm letting it flow through me and it's actually a beautiful human emotion -- not a stamped-out Paxil chemical "emotion" or something I feel needs to be numbed because I (think I) can't stand to feel it. 

 

So now dealing with the fallout of years of starving, bingeing, and toxic Paxil. I hope my metabolism will heal -- my nutritionist says she's sure it will. These days I'm not bingeing at all (really!) and I'm actually feeding my body enough food that it will trust me not to put it into starvation mode again. This blood pressure scare has been really a bummer because I still feel like I'm on my little honeymoon with my one-given-per-life human body, giving it the food that it needs. I hope I can get a reset, because I really, really want to live and feel vitality and be engaged in life. 

 

Thanks for reading.

Edited by SkyBlue

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scallywag

That's quite a realization. I'm with you -- "coulda, woulda, shoulda" about the past brings up a great deal of sadness. (((((hugs)))))

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Shep

Hi, SkyBlue.

 

 

I understand what you're saying about Breggin's theory of spellbinding. For many years, I believed that my manic episodes were "me" as opposed to the drugs. Although for many of use, our beliefs in it being "us" and not "the drugs" was no doubt reinforced by our misguided doctors. 

 

You write so openly and honestly about your experiences and are no doubt helping a lot of people.

 

I'm glad your treatment is working. As you purge the Paxil, ridding it from your mind and body, I also hope you purge out all of those feelings of shame and sadness. You have too bright a light for that. 

 

I do think a lot of us have to go through a grieving process, but it sounds like you're doing a great job of handling the excess emotions that this brings. Lots of insight in your writing. 

 

Sending healing vibes your way. 

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SkyBlue

Thank you so, so much, Scallywag and Shep! 

 

Shep, you said, "You write so openly and honestly about your experiences and are no doubt helping a lot of people….As you purge the Paxil, ridding it from your mind and body, I also hope you purge out all of those feelings of shame and sadness. You have too bright a light for that." 

 

I thank you so much for those kind words! Going to print this out and keep it with me. (I have many, many little printouts, notes and laminated sayings that I keep with me! ;) 

 

Improvements this week:

1. Pretty good mood all week! Absolutely no severe morning despair, etc. I am thankful for every minute of being able to engage with what's in front of me (good or bad) without severe mood stuff.

 

2. Positive memories randomly coming up (ex., a toy that I had as a child). I believe that this is my hippocampus healing! ! !

 

3. I wrote this on Brassmonkey's thread as well: More able to get rid of things, clear out clutter, etc. Not holding on to things.

 

Yuck this week:

 

1. Three middle-of-night rage awakenings. Hadn't had them in five weeks though. Taking magnesium and doing my sleep hygiene stuff. I know that it's cortisol/adrenaline something.

 

 

Off to an exercise class. Hope you're all doing well! 

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Vigor

SkyBlue I am happy for your progress. I too have that morning despair sometimes. Waking up in a very dark mood, and then as the day goes on it subsides. I constantly tell myself "This is just part of the game". 

 

You are doing so well, keep it up. 

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SkyBlue

SkyBlue I am happy for your progress. 

 

You are doing so well, keep it up. 

 

Thank you very much, Vigor! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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ChessieCat

Hi SkyBlue,

 

re: Post #123.  I would like to say well done for sharing this here.  It must have taken a lot of courage to do that.

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SkyBlue

Oh, my gosh -- thank you SO much, Chessie! ! ! ! I really appreciate that.  :wub:  :wub:  :wub:

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AliG

Sky. That's pretty great !  :)

 

Improvements this week:

1. Pretty good mood all week! Absolutely no severe morning despair, etc. I am thankful for every minute of being able to engage with what's in front of me (good or bad) without severe mood stuff.

1. Three middle-of-night rage awakenings. Hadn't had them in five weeks though. Taking magnesium and doing my sleep hygiene stuff. I know that it's cortisol/adrenaline something.

A good mood all week is a fantastic sign. No morning despair is huge !

The Cortisol stuff can take a while to get rid of , but it does go. Every now & then it pops it's head up but it does dissipate. Magnesium helps " heaps" !

You're doing so well. Keep it up.

Hugs,

Ali

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ravijaua

Great Progress skyblue will be checking in your regularly. Hope you get off paxil soon. And once you do please stabilize on Zoloft along for a few months before you start tapering.

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SkyBlue

AliG, thank you SOOOO much! (For some reason  your message just came through now.)  :wub:

 

Thanks, Ravi!! I'm not in a hurry (well, I am, but you know what I mean!!) and just want to keep it slow and steady. :)

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SkyBlue

Adding this quote for reference, from nz11's thread: 

 

“After withdrawal from medication has been partially or fully completed, previously medication spellbound individuals often realize for the first time that they were significantly impaired in that they are now recovering and returning to themselves.” Breggin 2013.

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SkyBlue

Hi friends,

 

Update from this week! 

 

Celebrating: 

* Where I am now: This time last year, I was feeling frighteningly suicidal, and went to the crisis clinic. Not surprisingly, they suggested that it was just my "underlying condition" coming back and that I should go up on Zoloft and I might just need to take it for the rest of my life. So I started taking it. This was pre-SA, and just three months out from virtually cold-turkeying 19 years of Paxil, really still trusting doctors, and not knowing that my poor wonderful nervous system was absolutely in a state of shock. "Underlying condition" indeed! 

 

* Got my tests back from the doctor and aside from (I believe withdrawal-induced) blood pressure, everything looks fine! My gratitude for this is so deep and I was really worried about it.

* No chemically-induced suicidal feelings during the day for weeks now

* The good days feel like REALLY good days where I can think clearly. I can read and enjoy a book. 

* I'm feeling really "clear" emotions, like strong love for my loved ones. Hard to explain, but priceless once you get it back: not just knowing that I love them, but *feeling* it.

* As things get better in my "WDNormal" (Brassmonkey), I realize that I spent a lot of time during what I now know was poop-out just feeling… lost. *Not* confused exactly. Not disoriented: I knew what was going on around me. But just kind of lost and out of it. 

 

Challenges: 

* After holding for a month, went down from .96 to .94 mg Paxil on Wednesday. On Thursday, The morning was fine (just anxious but able to work okay) but afternoon and evening = nausea, dizziness, intermittent dp/dr (wait, am I dreaming?), balance, proprioception; feeling like I'm going through the floor. Last night difficulty finding words at times. At dinner I asked someone, would you like some… you know… geeeeez, arg, this stuff? and just grabbed a handful of lettuce off my plate because I couldn't think of the freaking word. We both laughed, and she knows about my Paxil withdrawal, but it was just frustrating! ! ! ! 

* Waking in a suicidal rage at night. (However last year at this time this would last for hours. Now it's like ten minutes. Thank you, God!)

 

Overall: Doing so much better than last year. I'll take it! <3 <3 Hope everyone enjoys the weekend, or at least is able to feel "okay" for at least a moment or two. 

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Shep

Hi, SkyBlue.

 

As usual, you bring so much hope to this forum. You have indeed come a long way. 

 

I have to think that some of your improvements aren't just about stabilizing on your meds, but in your attitude and your sense of humor about it all.

 

Well done. I'm happy to read your suicidal ideation has improved so much and that you're able to read and enjoy life. 

 

Sending healing vibes your way. 

 

 

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brassmonkey

Such an upbeat and positive update.  It's wonderful to see such improvements on the last year.

 

(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))

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megb

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Rejoicing with you Skyblue for this wonderful improvement!!!!!! :) 

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SkyBlue

Hi friends, 

 

A very overdue "thank you" to Shep, Brass, and megB. :)

 

Well, I went from .94 to .92 mg last night. 

 

So far just having some fairly intrusive ear-ringing. 

 

I hereby pledge to my SA friends *not* to google ear-ringing; I know the cause and I'm going to try to stay on the more rational side of my brain with self-talk, "That's an upsetting noise and yes, it does feel scary. I hope it doesn't last forever. But remember, I'm often worrying about bad things 'lasting forever' when that's usually not the case."  [Wow, that sounds so rational and confident, lol! A very new path for my neural networks.]

 

I also think we in the U.S. will all breathe a sigh of relief when this election is over! ! ! 

 

Hugs and hope to all. <3

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SkyBlue

There were some wonderful days this week. Some very minor WD stuff. Yesterday no depression at all, and very minimal anxiety! ! ! 

 

But now -- 

 

I am feeling borderline suicidal (SAFE, YES, but suicidal)-- just want this all to be over. I am safe, using my strategies. 

Also full of rage. I've talked to my support people about this. I hate bothering/burdening people. I've taken an absolute ton of magnesium, I don't know how much because it's a powder. I'm having clumsiness issues so it's difficult to measure. 

 

It is 100% hormones because I was fine, even great (!!!) yesterday. It's not time for my period, but it's trying to come. 

 

So is this PMDD -- or withdrawal? It just kills me that it's going to keep coming back, coming back. Maybe not. 

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brassmonkey

Hi SkyBlue  I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a tough day after having such a great one.  Thankfully you're safe.  Roll with it as best as you can and it will pass soon. I'm falling asleep at the keyboard so got to go.

 

((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))

 

Brass

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SkyBlue

Thanks, brass! ! ! <Hugs!!!>>>

 

Doing a bit better today. Working this afternoon/evening which will be good -- should be pretty low-key today. 

 

Using a light box at the moment and making sure to take my fish oil, also magnesium etc. 

 

Goal for today will be to "contain" emotions, etc. [not looking too far into the future, which is one of my favorite habits!] and try to "roll with it," as Brass said.

 

Hope everyone has a good day today. 

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Shep

Hi, SkyBlue.

 

Thanks for your update, although I'm sorry you're in the struggle-mode right now.

 

You mention being "full of rage" and I thought I'd leave an article to a link that really help me understand this part of withdrawal:

 

Dealing with anger during SSRI withdrawal

 

This last part is my favorite:

 

Once you pass through anger, there are other phases of withdrawal to deal with, but anger should slowly become more manageable as time goes by.  You may find that you are better equipped to deal with normal anger now that you’ve experienced irrational anger.  Instead of fearing that you may relapse into anger in the future, take heart that you have passed through the most difficult part of SSRI withdrawal.

 

I found that to be true, too.

 

Sending healing vibes your way. 

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SkyBlue

Hi everyone,

 

Thanks, Shep, for the info and link. I see you've "winterized" your avatar. Cute! :) I'll take a look at those. 

 

Continuing to do better today; it helped to work/be busy (although if someone is reading this who isn't able to "be busy" at the moment, please don't beat yourself up -- you most likely will be able to again). 

 

I wanted to share something I made -- magnesium spray (I will put this in the Magnesium thread also). 

 

Trans-dermal (through-the-skin) magnesium is an *excellent* way to up your magnesium intake. Just about everybody needs more of this essential calming mineral, and those of us in withdrawal, even more so. However, most of us will "hit a wall" with how much magnesium we can ingest before we will get stomach upset. 

 

Epsom salt baths are a good way to increase your magnesium intake. 

 

Right now I'm taking Natural Calm (love it!!!), about 325 mg. at night, and trying to use enough magnesium spray throughout the day to get me up to about 600 mg total. On the days when I've gotten that much, I really notice a difference. Your mileage may vary. :) 

 

First of all, you can purchase commercially-made magnesium sprays. You spray the "oil" and rub it into your skin.

However, as with epsom salt baths, they don't tell you how much magnesium you're actually getting. 

If you have a goal of a certain amount of magnesium you're trying to get, you're going to want to know how much you're spraying. 

 

So. 

 

Get some magnesium flakes. They have them at health food stores. 

I'm using Better You Magnesium Flakes. 

 

The 2.2 pound package says that it has 120 g of magnesium. 

120,000 mg per 2.2 lbs 

120,000 mg per ~ 35 oz 

~ 3,000 mg of magnesium per ounce 

 

So. Now you measure out an ounce of magnesium flakes. 

Dissolve 1 ounce of flakes into a small spray bottle of water. (Online recipes for homemade magnesium sprays say to boil water but I didn't find that necessary -- let the flakes sit covered in the bottle for a bit and they will dissolve.)

 

The whole spray bottle is about 3,000 mg of magnesium.

 

I put a piece of masking tape on the side and divided it into sixths. 

Each one of those is 500 mg. 

 

Then I divided each of those sections into fifths and made little lines/hash marks. 

This is all going to be approximate; it's not like measuring our blasted medications. ;) 

Also, you only have to do all this measuring one time and you can use the bottle again and again.

 

So -- you now have markings for each 1/30 of the bottle, or approximately 100 mg of magnesium.

I calculated that each 100 mg was about 20 sprays of magnesium.

So I just count out 20 sprays; that way I don't have to squint and look at the little hash marks all the time.

 

It's salty so don't put it on open wounds.

If I have my act together, I can put 20 sprays (total) on my feet and forearms before I leave for the day.

When it dries, it's not sticky exactly -- just feels like you came out of the ocean without drying off. 

Once in a while I find that it tingles/burns slightly -- I'm not sure why but I just wash it off and try again later.

 

Experiment! I found that my back and stomach have more surface area to spray on, but I did this right 

before an exercise class and just felt kind of sticky and uncomfortable. 

 

I'll post this on the magnesium thread -- please let me know if you try it or have any questions! ! ! ! !! ! ! 

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