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blankets Ten years off Paxil - looking for old timers to relate to

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Hello. This is perhaps a strange post, but some of you (maybe?) might remember me from Paxil Progress.


I'm curious about what other people's experiences off medication has been like, if any of you ever read this or remain here. I was quite the extreme case after cold turkeying off Paxil, which I had been on for 8 years, and which during that time was slowly eating my mind and had caused me to become unable to leave my home without a safe person (my partner at the time), and that relationship bordered on mentally abusive as he could not understand my experience and would not validate me. It felt like I was alone, though I was getting support in the form of physical and monetary needs. I'll just say that the symptoms I had were very bad, and they lasted a long time. After cold turkeying those symptoms changed (some went away, and new things arrived) and the entire process of what I'd call withdrawal lasted 2 years for me. (So a warning to you guys who want to get off your meds: do it slowly!)


After that time I had a new sort of confidence, that if I could get through that I could get through anything, but my life was in pieces and my self was too. There's a lot of work that needs to be done after just getting through something like that, especially after so long. I had some bad anxiety, and fear of my helplessness I guess. Right now I meet criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder, and close to criteria for Paranoid, Borderline and Dependent personalities. I don't know if I would have gotten these if I hadn't gone through what I did - the moodiness, the terrible self-loathing, the mistrust of doctors, the insecurity, the need to have someone take care of me, the fear & discouraged helplessness in regards to my own body.


The main issues I struggle with are agoraphobia at times, social anxiety, OCD, and depression - prior to Paxil I was diagnosed solely with Depression, however I definitely had some social anxiety as well but was unaware of it. I was not afraid of being helpless.


I think a sort of trauma occurred, that I'm unable to process or understand how to deal with. I've been trying to see a therapist for the last year. I saw a CBT therapist last year and she seemed unable to help me (maybe I was stubborn or my problems were more complicated?). I saw another therapist and that ended horribly as I got wound up in some kind of emotional entanglement. Now I'm seeing another dynamic therapist and just trying to process a lot of stuff with her, as well as help correct some thinking problems. The problem with mental health professionals though is that you can try to trust them, but you know they will not believe your withdrawal story. They have thoroughly bought in. Hence.. paranoia?


But I have grown a lot. I have become in some ways more insightful and resiliant than I was ever going to be. I left the city that I was stuck in for years, and I left the relationship that was dragging me down, and I moved away to somewhere much livelier, and started trying to teach myself how to make friends. One of the hardest things I found in making friends was letting people know the kind of life I have lived, and figuring out who I was afterwards, and whoever that was going to be had to be someone that knew she was not evil or horrible for the kinds of thoughts Paxil put in her mind. I still struggle with this, and is why I avoid social/volunteering/jobs/etc. I just don't know how to explain what I have been through, and sometimes I'm so sure that I'm horrible.


I've been trying to get support from some of these personality disorder forums, but their stories don't necessarily align with mine. They have similar symptoms but often they came from childhood abuse, which I did not - though I did have abandonment issues before.


I guess my point in posting here is wondering how other old timers are doing? Dealing with depression, anxiety, or other problems is not easy... adding on something like this can take you on a complete detour from healing and add problems. I wasn't aware I'd have to do so much inner work. I thought I just had to let time heal me. And in a way it has. In a lot of ways.. I've grown so, so much. And gotten so much better. But I think I've forgotten where to point my finger... it's like I completely space out this time frame and what happened as being The Key Determining Factor of how I became so uncertain, lost, sad, and afraid. All those childhood and teenage problems stayed with me, Paxil only covered them up. It gave me the experience of a few years where I could be normal, not depressed, and functional - but in return I've paid more than my dues. And it saddens my heart to the deepest degree that doctors and mental health professionals cannot understand this, because they see only what they want to see.


An important thing to remember, for me and for you - we are gladiators. Survivors. We go through things and come out the other side. We try. We have tried harder than anyone knows. We have battled more inner demons and turmoil than most ever will. We still live. We kick the **** out of anything that's come our way. And we never lose hope.

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Dear Blankets,


I want to take the time to really send you a big warm hug.


I really care so much about your story and empathize with you so much.


I feel my story is very similar to yours. I was reduced to a child because of the drugs, I became helpless and couldn't stop being that way. The drug also was eating away at my brain.


I spent 5 years in that state if you can imagine that, chronically suicidal and helpless. I also had severe PTSD before going on the drug. All the drug did was mask my problems, create magical thinking, and ate away my brain.


I fully empathize with you.


I am still in my journey of life. I do not know where it will take me.


For me, I had to suffer both the drug eating my brain away as well as childhood trauma. I am also codependent somewhat and was needy before. The drug made my neediness to the extreme.


Every day is still survival.


I am just trying to get out of this alive. This ordeal I thought would be too much for me and I was sure I would commit suicide, but I kept going. I refuse to die because of this.


During my time on this drug I was also willingly opening up my subconscious, going through childhood trauma in therapy, not knowing that the drug would then use this against me and turn my attempt at healing the trauma, as an even bigger trauma.


I spent 5 years working on therapy with my therapist, and I feel as I am waking up from celexa hell, that it was a waste, that I was still codependent and suffering, the drug just masked this and made me think I was getting better whereas in reality I had increased serotonin levels.

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I remember you from PP, Blankets. :) I was JessG over there and as you can see from my signature I'm STILL trudging through tapering.


I'm sorry to hear of the issues you are going through. I think many of us would like to believe that once we get through the hell of WD, our post-meds life will be similar to our pre-meds life but that doesn't seem to be the case a lot of the time. Of course that makes sense given how traumatic WD can be. Who could be the same after going through something like that? Add that trauma to our original issues for going on meds and THEN being forced to deal with it all without meds and it is difficult indeed. But it sounds to me like you are doing exactly what you can to heal and grow and that is seeking support and gathering the tools you need to deal with life med-free. That is very admirable. :)


Love your last paragraph too BTW!!

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I haven’t been here much. I was a regular at pacilprogress.org. What we used to talk about back then was that data was hidden about the percentage of extreme withdrawal reactions. I’m wondering if data has changed since then. Do we know better now? I feel like its gotten a lot worse societally because prescribing is not slowing down and in fact is speeding up. People dont understand how bad these drugs are....

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