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Schnapps

Coming to the end of a 14 year journey (from Schnapps)

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Schnapps

Hi everyone,

 

I've been meaning to post my introduction, so here goes....

 

I was put on Paxil back in 1997 for panic attacks. I had been recently diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), a condition of the heart where the mitral valve does not fully close allowing blood to leak back into the left atrium. This genetic condition has been reported to affect upwards of 10% of our population, but if one takes good care of themselves, it can have a benign impact on heart function. However, the cardiologist who diagnosed me mentioned that an interesting side effect of MVP is many will experience periodic anxiety and panic attacks. He suggested I talk with my primary care doctor and perhaps go on a medication to prevent any reoccurring attacks.

 

My primary doctor suggested Paxil would be a good drug, and being the type of person who was brought up to trust and do whatever a doctor says, I complied. I was put on 20mg and within a couple of weeks, I started having bothersome side effects. In talking with my doctor, I was told my side effects were typical and with time, they would diminish.

 

I was very involved with my work at this time so I gutted through the effects, but a few months later, I spoke with my doctor about the severity of some of the symptoms, including depression. My doctor decided to double my dosage to 40mg. Now, up until this time with my being on Paxil, I had always been healthy and had rarely seen a doctor, so my limited experience with doctors caused me to not question the dose increase. I have since learned the hard way that incompetency exists in the health profession, and one should always do their own due diligence on medications to ensure their well being.

 

I remained on Paxil 40mg for 8 years. Some of the early symptoms did subside, however, many did not. My personality changed and I became an emotional zombie while my overall health declined due to a significant increase in weight. I was able to deal with these changes while maintaining my job performance, but by 2005, the side effects became so pronounced that I left my 26 year career with a strong determination to rid myself of what I now believed to be the toxic effects of Paxil.

 

In 2006, I began a taper under the care of a psychiatrist. He put together a plan of action that would taper me off Paxil 40mg in 4 months. By the end of my wean, I wasn't feeling well with daily heightened anxiety and some depression, however, the symptoms ebbed and flowed. Eight months later, chronic insomnia appeared preventing me from sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night, and on some nights, I had no sleep. A month later, my earlier periodic mild depression turned into chronic major depression. A couple of months later, I was hospitalized for several weeks and put on 3 psychotropic medications to stabilize me: Celexa, Klonopin, and Seroquel.

 

Once out of the hospital and with 100 hours of research on psychotropic drugs to guide me, I immediately tapered off Seroquel in about a month. I had been taking a low dose, 50mg, for my insomnia. I next tapered off Klonopin 1mg which took me 8 months due to the severe withdrawal symptoms I experienced—my final dosage was .3125mg, an indication of how tiny my last few cuts were. I'm 30 months into my Celexa 40mg taper with .67mg to go before I'm done.

 

All in all, it has been a 14 year journey filled with emotional and physical pain. I lost my health, my career, my marriage, my house and many of my possessions, and most importantly, my family life centered around my 9 year old son who I adore. I have made a lot of sacrifices to free myself from psychotropic drugs, and there are times when I wonder if the price I paid will be worth the freedom I hope to soon obtain.

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alexjuice

Hi everyone,

 

I've been meaning to post my introduction, so here goes....

 

...

 

All in all, it has been a 14 year journey filled with emotional and physical pain. I lost my health, my career, my marriage, my house and many of my possessions, and most importantly, my family life centered around my 9 year old son who I adore. I have made a lot of sacrifices to free myself from psychotropic drugs, and there are times when I wonder if the price I paid will be worth the freedom I hope to soon obtain.

 

Welcome Schnapps,

 

Thank you so much for sharing some of your experience. I am sorry to hear about the horrors that these drugs have inflicted on your life.

 

I can very much relate to so much of your story. I too put too much trust in doctors, too much trust in people really. After all, wasn't Prozac on the cover of Time? Antidepressants must be safe, I thought. The doc says so and so do the papers. Everybody's on 'em. Looking back... it's no fun to look back. I don't look back...

 

Just like you, I followed my doctor's advice on a tapering schedule and wound up in an institution. I turned to alcohol so the first stop was to a dual-diagnosis rehab called the Sante Center. At Sante they put me on more and more Drugs. They didn't understand that my two problems were 1.) w/d caused by drugs and 2.) being on drugs in the first place.

 

I have struggled career wise, but I had accumulated many possessions through good money management. I own almost nothing today. I declared bankruptcy and my total assets were found to be less than $7,000 and $6600 of that came from my car. I live with my mom. And I am suffering still today. You ask if it will be worth it. I think it will be. The odds say it will be.

 

Obviously, my perspective on everything has been affected by this ordeal. I see things differently now and try my best not to ruminate on the decisions from the past or the insecurity of the future. The truth is that I have lost everything that most people value, yet I am still alive. I am willing to bet that your experience has changed you just as dramatically. But here you are, sharing your story and continuing to carry on with living. I've found that people who've been through this ordeal, yet continue to wake up and press on are the some of the bravest people on earth.

 

Most people will never be able to understand the bravery that has been exhibited by the members here. We are like a secret club. But I know what has happened to you. Oh, some details will be different, but your story is not far from my own.

 

I'm glad you're here. I'm sorry it sucks.

 

Alex.i

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compsports

""All in all, it has been a 14 year journey filled with emotional and physical pain. I lost my health, my career, my marriage, my house and many of my possessions, and most importantly, my family life centered around my 9 year old son who I adore. I have made a lot of sacrifices to free myself from psychotropic drugs, and there are times when I wonder if the price I paid will be worth the freedom I hope to soon obtain.""

 

Welcome Schnapps.

 

I definitely share the same concerns but at the same time, it helps me to look at what I have already gained. I realize in your situation that must be tough to do with everything you have lost. I really feel your pain and when I read a story like that, it makes me want to scream at all the doctors who prescribe these meds in such a reckless manner and say, "WTF are you doing?" By the way, I realize that would accomplish little as I am just doing a little venting.

 

By the way, I was on a psych med cocktail for 15 years. It was mostly 3 drugs but near the end, I was taking 4. Fortunately, I never took an antipsychotic nor was I ever hospitalized.

 

Again, welcome.

 

CS

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Neuroplastic

Hello Schnapps! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's been a long and arduous road for you, but believe me, it will have its Happy Ending. So many things you wrote about look uncannily similar to my own story. I truly feel your pain.

 

You've been incredibly brave throughout this whole ordeal, and with every day, week and month you're getting closer to healing and putting your life back on tracks. Just a little bit more. You will rebuild it all, and more! :)

 

It's mind-blowing to see what monster has Psychiatry become. The good news is that you knew the root cause of your suffering, and you've been fighting a brave fight. The day will come when this whole atrocious experience will come to an end.

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stan

hi Schnaps,

 

about mitralVP, i was 13 years on paxil until end 2007, i made a echo in 2006 : no MVP

i taper in hell 2008 until march 2009(11 months), echo 2010 : MVP mild to medium

i read several testimonies of people who not have MVP and after paxil it appeared(normally we have it since child)

for me paxil withdrawal plays a big part

 

as you i had classic depression, anxiety,

 

i see you lost many in your life, many testimonies show similar drama

 

i wish you "the freedom I hope to soon obtain"

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Altostrata

Schnapps, thanks so much for your story.

 

There's no doubt, medicine's willful denial of the drawbacks of these drugs causes tragedy. We can only go on.

 

Although it comes from pain, each person's story transmutes into something of value to the rest of the world. Eventually, all of these truths will bring about change so there is less suffering in the future.

 

Please add to this topic and journal your recovery.

 

PS MVP is very common, usually benign, and often misdiagnosed. If in the midst of withdrawal syndrome, I had gone to a cardiologist, I'm sure I would have added it to my diagnoses. Yet my blood pressure and pulse rate have changed quite a bit over the last 5 years. My acupuncturist is pretty good at regulating it.

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Healing

Thank you for taking the trouble to tell us your story, Schnapps.

 

You've done a fantastic job of surviving, figuring out that the drugs were your problem, and tapering off of them.

 

Just imagine how many people are going through very similar experiences right at this moment -- but have not had the lightbulb moment yet. So, they get sicker; more relationships get destroyed, more finances destroyed.

 

Although it may not feel like it at this moment, you are way ahead of the game. You are well on your way, and you *will* come out the other side of this, and build something fascinating out of your experiences!

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Schnapps

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging words.

 

Recently, I had a conversation with my therapist about how I sometimes feel emasculated by my experience. I currently live on long term disability and am constantly reminded of my limited means, a significant departure from my working past. My father modeled behavior reinforced over the years where a man is gauged by the success of his career, and I no longer have a career since I don't believe I can return to the stress of my former occupation. I could have easily remained on medications and would still have my marriage, my family, my prosperity, but I chose to abandon it all and pursue a course to take me back to who I really was, who I really am. My therapist reminded me of the courage I had shown in taking this path, and I suppose she is right.

 

I have returned to school and perhaps one day, I may be able to work again so I don't continue doubting my worth.

 

It can be a lonely road when one bucks the trend, and I appreciate the community that awaits me here. I wish all of you comfort on your journey back into the light.

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Neuroplastic

It can be a lonely road when one bucks the trend

Actually, it is going *against* societal paradigm that proves your *real* strength, Schnapps. Don't let the system convince you otherwise. Oh, all those "norms, shoulds and should nots"... We all know how much they are really *worth*.

 

The amount of knowledge, self-awareness and a pure realization you've been able to pull through one of the worst experiences human mind can be thrown into, will let you not only heal completely, but also to get even further than in your "pre-med" life.

 

I feel your pain - I'm a double c/t WD-er. Had I not been through this hell myself, I would have never believed an inch of the "Paxil" stories. I'm still healing, but what helps is to tell myself "I have been through the worst, and each darn day brings me closer to getting back the real me. And I won't stop. Never ever".

 

Keep walking!

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Schnapps

Hi Neuro,

 

Well, I'm there with you walking forward and trying to keep my head held high. Fatigue sets in sometimes, all the longing for it to be over. It is during these times the comfort of those who know can lead us back on our rightful path.

 

Thank you.

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Hopeful

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you for your thoughtful and encouraging words.

 

Recently, I had a conversation with my therapist about how I sometimes feel emasculated by my experience. I currently live on long term disability and am constantly reminded of my limited means, a significant departure from my working past. My father modeled behavior reinforced over the years where a man is gauged by the success of his career, and I no longer have a career since I don't believe I can return to the stress of my former occupation. I could have easily remained on medications and would still have my marriage, my family, my prosperity, but I chose to abandon it all and pursue a course to take me back to who I really was, who I really am. My therapist reminded me of the courage I had shown in taking this path, and I suppose she is right.

 

I have returned to school and perhaps one day, I may be able to work again so I don't continue doubting my worth.

 

It can be a lonely road when one bucks the trend, and I appreciate the community that awaits me here. I wish all of you comfort on your journey back into the light.

 

 

Welcome Schnapps,

 

It is a long road, but with alot of perserverance it can be done. I made it and you will too!

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angie007

Hi Schnapps and welcome.

 

Thankyou for writing your story, it almost mirrors my own, ive used paxil since 1997 too,

and in 2005,i too was displaying symptoms of tolerance, just like you.

I then was virtually ct off by my ignorent and ill informed doctor, and was off paxil for 4/5

months, then reinstated, again down to the ignorence of my doctor.

Because rather than tel me, i was suffering from wd symptoms off paxil, he told me it was a

return of my original illness - what grief??????

And i allowed him through my own stupidity, because at that time, i didnt know what i was suffering from was indeed wd symptoms.

 

I then got a computer, and one day sat here trying to fathom out what had made me non functional, why did i feel so ill, even reinstatement didnt cut the symptoms i was having.

I eventually found another site, where 100s were complaining of the very same symptoms, ahh yes!!!! healings

light bulb moment, i couldnt believe it. I spoke to my doctor about my findings and of course they were dismissed, easier to blame the patients relapse, than the real reason we are all suffering.

They had watched me walk away from that surgery in floods of tears, lacking hope i would ever be well again, thinking this was as good as it gets, this is me!!! for the rest of my life, frustrated i couldnt find the answer that would help me deal and cope with what i was going through, which was HELL, of the highest degree, a hell id never ever experienced in my life before.

Symptoms so severe, also that id never ever experienced before.

 

I stayed at 20mg until 2007 (nov) and began to very slowly taper my way down, my 2 yr brain fog left over night, amazing eh, although i still suffered anxiety and panic that really was intolerable, well anxiety??? more like akathesia.

My 10mg tablet weighs 440z, and today i find myself on just 30z, my dilemma now is wether to quit at that or carry on down to nothing.

I have had a very rough time all in all, along with everyone else here, and im scared - well terrified would be a better description actually, i know i just could not get through another bout of what i went through in ct, i honestly have no idea just how i survived.

 

I also carry a lot of guilt, i should have been pro active regarding my health, i should not have accepted so readily the fact that docs know best - how i wish i could turn back time, how gullible was i, to ever believe that something in a tablet could take away a normal human emotion such as grief.

I wish so badly i could have coped so much better with all this chemical crap, its had a big impact on my kids and my husband, i could not be a proper mum, wife or nan to my dear grandchildren, i love them all dearly.

 

Thankyou GSK for wrecking so many people's lives with your " wonder drug that is non addictive"

 

I have written this to you, so that you will see, you are so not alone, hope it helps.

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Schnapps

Hi Angie,

 

I've read so many threads about others on ADs who have been improperly cared for by their doctors. I've also read about how doctors are compensated by pharmaceutical representatives, and I wonder whatever happened to the code of ethics in medicine. It is saddening to see our society decline in so many areas, but this particular area of wrongful ethics is heartbreaking to me since those often hurt are already at a disadvantage.

 

Thank you for sharing your story and the best of luck in your travels forward.

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Schnapps

"I next tapered off Klonopin 1mg which took me 8 months due to the severe withdrawal symptoms I experienced—my final dosage was .3125mg, an indication of how tiny my last few cuts were. I'm 30 months into my Celexa 40mg taper with .67mg to go before I'm done."

 

Just to set the record straight, my final Klonopin dosage was .03125mg, not .3125mg. I was cutting .125mg wafers into quarters.

 

My current Celexa taper is not going too well. As I reported earlier, I had dropped down to .67mg, but within a few days, my symptoms became acute so I went back to 1mg and then had to go to 1.5mg a week later given the anxiety I was feeling. During this time, I took several 1mg tablets of Lorazepam over the course of a week so I could go to school. I think this may have been a mistake. I started having insomnia and even worse anxiety when I stopped the Lorazepam, possibly experiencing rebound effects. I've been off it now for 5 days and the insomnia has lifted but I have chronic anxiety now which really sucks since my finals are 3 weeks away. The anxiety is real bad at times, especially in the early morning, but I'm afraid to take any more Lorazepam and plan not to.

 

I've read that once someone has built up a tolerance to a benzo and successfully tapers off, it is easy for some to reinstate their tolerance if they take benzos again, even for a very short while as I did. I'm hoping I can just get through the next 3 weeks of school....

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