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ashbrown former pp member (no_fear) 7 years off paxil - success! (long)

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As you can see from the title this is going to be a long and in-depth story, so bear with me.


I am going to write this in small paragraphs as well for people who are still having issues with light sensitivity and brain fog (hopefully it will make it a bit easier to read)


I was prescribed Paxil back in summer 2003 after having a major depressive episode, i had been out of work for about 3 months by then which i'm pretty sure what the trigger was for this episode. I have always suffered from social anxiety and irrational thinking patterns making me a natural worrier.


I started off on 20mg a day and after about 8 weeks or so felt much better and just started to get on with my life again. About a half a year later i went down to 10mg a day with not much of a problem, another 6 months passed and i felt it was time to come off them, i just went cold turkey from 10mg, felt fine for the first few days then it hit me, i felt really low and started climbing the walls so to speak, back on 10mg it was.


I carried on on 10mg until winter 2008 where i really felt like it was time to come off these drugs, i went down to 5mg a day by splitting the pill into quarters, then 5mg every other day, then zero, it was now Jan 2009.


I was really apprehensive about quitting because of the previous cold turkey experience but i knew this time i had tapered down, but still too quick really, because of Paxil's short half-life.


I felt fine though and thought i was home dry, that feeling lasted 2 months. I was hit with depression but didn't really think much to it, i have always had little bouts of mild depression before and even while on antidepressants, but this feeling lasted and lasted and lasted, along with a feeling of being off balanced, sudden vertigo spells, brain zaps, panic attacks, bouts of insomnia and a general sense of impending doom, all of this came in a package of waves and windows, very little windows!.


I had these symptoms for the best part of 4 years, 4 years of swearing like a trooper, cursing GSK, pretending to be okay for family, friends and work colleagues (yes i had a full time job though all of this) and moments of wishing i was never born. But you know what, i am glad i took antidepressants because they saved my life.


I had moments during that period when i genuinely felt like i was never going to make it through to the other side, that "feeling" of normal was a distant dream, i felt like maybe i had permanent brain damage.


2013 was my year, that was the year i felt like all of my symptoms had finally subsided, i was still working, the sun was shining and i was now cycling 40 miles a week, and when i mean all my symptoms had gone i mean all of them, i couldn't believe it, i was now living that dream and feeling "normal".


I am 33 now and i am very content with life, sometimes i look back from my current comfort bubble and wonder whether it was really that bad, i want all of you to be in this comfort bubble.


I think what really helped me through it all was acceptance, CBT, throwing out the calendar of time, patience, supplements (omega-3/vit e, magnesium), gentle exercise/fresh air and always remembering the quote "spring always follows winter", hell i would have had that tattooed on my forehead if only i didn't look like a recovering drug addict.


I do currently have health issues though, which i have seen a doctor about, he said it was to do with stress and anxiety, what!!, i couldn't be more chilled out nowadays if i tried. So i bypassed his verdict and went and got a private blood test to check my vitamin D levels (my symptoms have gotten worse over the winter just gone and i have been researching a lot recently about diet and nutrients). I am deficient in vitamin D and am starting to take supplements for it.


I can honest to God (thank you) say i feel i have fully recovered from Paxil withdrawal despite my current health, which to be fair, i have never had a good diet or been in optimal health, but knowledge is power and i am now aiming for "optimal" health.


I want to wish every single one of you the best luck in the universe with this, it is crazy, life is crazy. And i promise to try not to start every paragraph with a "I".

aug 2003 20mg paxil for major depressive episode

sep 2004 10mg

nov 2008 5mg

dec 2008 2.5mg

jan 2009 0mg

all the usual symptoms after 2 months of quitting


supplements - omega 3, magnesium oil,vit d, sauerkraut, cutting out processed food, transitioning to vegan diet.

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Oh Ash, you are the best!


This was a great story and saw that little line you snuck in there about ADs saving your life. They saved mine too but I (and all of us) should be weaned slowly off them when our crises are over. My life was ruined because of the length of time I was on them, a bit late to start marriage, career, etc over when you are collecting soc sec.


I am so glad you came and gave us your story and stay in touch, ok?

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878


July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.


Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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It's great to hear of your success! Thanks Ash!

About 20 year history on and off SSRIs, beginning with Prozac 20mg (?)

then Lexapro (from which I unwittingly did a traumatic and disastrous cold turkey)

then last 14 years on Paxil 20mg, then 10mg, with unsuccessful attempts at cessation

Finally successfully tapered from 20mg to 0 over the last year. Last dose was on 12/11/2015.

I was also prescribed Clonazepam concomitantly for anxiety, to take as needed. I took about 0.125mg to 0.5mg, 0 to twice weekly (?). Stopped taking altogether beginning April 2016.

Overall my recollection of this timeline is scattered - lots of life and doctor changes, moves, poor record keeping on my part, and my memory has not been the best lately, but I am noticing improvements.

Also took antihistamines and decongestants for years for chronic allergies, all of which I also stopped Dec 2015.

Currently taking fish oil, pro-biotics, Vit. D for deficiency, and Magnesium (but only occasionally).

End of April 2016 started taking Trader Joe's "Calming Sleep Formula" which seemed to help; it is L-Theanine 200mg, 5-HTP 30mg, and Melatonin 3mg - but I read 5-HTP affects serotonin, so I am going to stop that also, and try only Melatonin instead.

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Thank you so much Ashbrown for taking time sharing your successful story!

It is so precious and desparately needed. This gives me hope and strength contupinuing the journey.


It sounds your recovery was quite sudden instead of gradual. That was a miracle!

I'm so proud of you being so strong and patient going through the hell for so long but I'm more thrilled for you to get your life back! Biking is one of my favorite hobbies which I could not do any now even for 20 minutes. That sounds wonderful you bike 40 miles a week!


I believe you will Live your life the fullest and never look back.


Thanks again for helping the community!




Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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Hi Ash


Thanks for writing such a complete story -- the benefits & downsides of Paxil and the ups and the downs of going off it. I too had very positive early responses to Effexor & Cymbalta, keeping me employed/employable in 2 instances.


Thanks for the short paragraphs. I usually skip online reading when there are long paragraphs, dense "walls of words."  There's something different about reading online vs. off paper.


Living in the UK, you're very likely to be Vitamin D deficient. Deficiencies increase with distance from the equator -- it's harder to make it ourselves from the sun all year round.


There are mineral deficiencies in our food too because of large scale farming techniques, which have increased food production but sometimes at the cost of its full nutritive quality. Magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids are high on the list of nutrients that have decreased with Western diets and modern farming. If you're looking for further health enhancements, that's an interesting and productive topic to investigate.  


My English Grandpa was born in New Barnet. Years ago I was there with him and my dad standing outside the house he was born in and spent his childhood. Wish I could remember or had a record of the street name.


Best of luck as you enjoy the adventure of a drug-free life.  Send us a postcard every now and then!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Ash, thankyou so much for sharing your story! It gives hope. I wish you all the best! ⭐️


Current dose: 0! Free!  Quit June 2017.

2017: Last dose zoloft: 17 June 0,00065 mg 18 May 0, 001 mg 14 May 0,002 mg 9 May 0,003 mg 28 April 0,006 mg 19 April 0,009 mg 8 April 0,013 mg 25 March 0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg; 2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg; 2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg; 2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg; 2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg; 2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the previous dose.

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Thank you all for your kind replies. I am glad i came onto this website because it reminds me of how far i've come and how long it's been, but i am especially glad that i am helping some people by giving them hope for their futures, it means a lot to me actually.


I think everyone deserves to be happy in this life and certainly experiences i have been through have made me into a much better, wiser person. I have practically cured my social anxiety, and that was without antidepressants, in actual fact CBT really helped me with that.


I have had tests for vitamin b12, that was fine apparently, but i am sceptical because i found out the reference range is quite low here in the UK, so i am taking b12 supplements anyway. Maybe it just stems from the fact that i don't really trust doctors anymore either, but thats a different story.


Wishing you all the best

aug 2003 20mg paxil for major depressive episode

sep 2004 10mg

nov 2008 5mg

dec 2008 2.5mg

jan 2009 0mg

all the usual symptoms after 2 months of quitting


supplements - omega 3, magnesium oil,vit d, sauerkraut, cutting out processed food, transitioning to vegan diet.

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Thank you for this ash I needed hope - I am 10 years on 10mg of Paxil - I hope I can do it too! Exercise and therapy are 2 habits I need to start


*Currently at 8.2-8.5 mg of my 10mg pill of Paxil (they actually weigh 12.5mg) 

january 2023 I began reducing my med again. I was a 9mg weight for years, I went to 8.9 in January, went to 8.6mg in February, and in March 2023 I went down to 8.5-8.2 mg ( my scale varies, so I stick within that .3 range because of that) 

*No other supplements or vitamins 

*Taper schedule in the pdf 




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  • 1 month later...

Brilliant story, well done

I am off all meds 16 months I had been on olanzapine, Effexor zanex and assorted sleeping meds for approx 2 years.

Weaned off 375 mg effexor over two years, I had previously come off xanax, rivotrill and olazapine. Reinstated 75mg of effexor on the 22/12/16

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  • 2 years later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi there,


The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?





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

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

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

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Altostrata changed the title to ashbrown former pp member (no_fear) 7 years off paxil - success! (long)
  • 1 year later...

2013 was my year, that was the year i felt like all of my symptoms had finally subsided, i was still working, the sun was shining and i was now cycling 40 miles a week, and when i mean all my symptoms had gone i mean all of them, i couldn't believe it, i was now living that dream and feeling "normal".




@ashbrown i keep reading this part over and over , makes me feel so good , i too hope to feel that way 

2021:  started celexa 10mg feb 2nd 

feb 25th took my last 10g; feb 26th 5mg; feb 27th 5mg; feb 28th 2021 cold turkey 

currently taking mag

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  • 2 months later...

Thank you for this post, it's lifted me a bit as I've been struggling with extreme fatigue and inflamation more than usual this last week or so, and I'm off paroxitine a year now, having taken my last dose in August 2021. Your post tells me it IS worth persevering as you were on it much longer than me. 

  I keep forgetting the Vit D and, as I live in Ireland, we need it here even more than in England, although I hear ye've had it as wet and grey as we usually do this Summer! I'll make a point of remembering it now, thanks to yourself! All the best!

1. 1995-Antidepressants prescribed in England, an SSRI , cannot remember which one. I cannot remember the finish date but think I was off them by September 1997.

2. September/October 1999- Prescribed Prozac ?20mg and Xanax 0.25mg B.D. in Ireland. Returned to England in February 2000 and GP did not continue prescription, cannot remember details ?

3. Prescribed Prozac in 2001- cannot remember how long for.

4. Prescribed Xanax 0.25mg-0.5mg in England in Summer 2005. Moved back to Ireland in April 2006 and GP refused to prescribe them so I had an abrupt withdrawal.

5. Prescribed Zispin in Summer 2012. Stopped after 4 or 5 weeks abruptly with no problems!

6. December 2017- Prescribed Seroxat/ paroxitine 20mg. Dose increased to 30mg in Summer 2018. Started tapering in March 2020. Used Prozac "bridge" and liquid Seroxat half way through. Final dose in August 2020.

7. August 2020 - 5-HTP 10 drops 3 x a day

August 2021, reduced t-HTP to 7 drops 3 x a day

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