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☼ HereComesTheDawn: Off Paxil since April 2020


HereComesTheDawn

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Hi all,

 

48-year-old male from Scotland here. In 2005, I was prescribed 20mg of Paxil daily, and I didn't stop taking it until April 2020.

 

At first I really needed some medical intervention thanks to bad anxiety and moderate depression. Paxil was a lifeline that I needed. Everything was absolutely fine until 2017. That's when I noticed that - slowly but surely - I had lost my personality and my libido. In 2018 I was diagnosed with having low testosterone and soon after started injecting testosterone cypionate every four days under the advice of a doctor. At first, things saw a major improvement and I felt that I was back on the road to recovery. I still had nagging doubts though, and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Paxil was robbing me of who I am. In April 2020 I tapered off of Paxil within the space of one month. About a month after that, I discovered this forum and realised I'd made quite a mistake. However, by that time I was completely off of Paxil and there was no way I was going back. So I chose to "hang in there" and to ride it out.

 

I think my story becomes a little different at this point.

 

For sure, I had all of the symptoms that I've read on this forum:

 

  • The intrusive thoughts (oh my lord, the intrusive thoughts were brutal).
  • I was thrown into a state of permanent anxiety.
  • I stopped sleeping for months.
  • I lost 12kg in weight in the space of a month.
  • I became angry. Not at anyone in particular. Just angry.
  • I cried. A lot. At first it was amazing to re-discover crying after being so emotionally numb for so long, but it soon became an issue.
  • I convinced myself that I had PSSD.

 

I think that what didn't help me was my testosterone replacement therapy. I've read various reports that SSRIs can mess up people's hormone levels and I think that - perhaps in my case - my body suddenly had to deal with trying to re-balance its hormone levels post SSRIs as well as dealing with a regular "external" dosage of testosterone, all on top of dealing with Paxil withdrawals. I forced my poor body and brain to deal with multiple layers of re-adjustment and I was set adrift for the best part of a year. Maybe I'm blaming too much on the testosterone replacement therapy, I'm not sure. Maybe Paxil withdrawal on its own was 99% of my problem. All I know is that I rubbish year when I stopped Paxil.

 

I remember fist coming to this forum last year and suddenly realising that SSRI withdrawal was a "thing" and that many people were/are going through at the same time as me. My most early memory is reading an article linked from here about emotional spiralling and thinking, "That's me! THAT'S ME!!". Thanks also to this forum, I also discovered meditation which has become just as important to me as going to the gym regularly. It's fair to say that this forum changed my life in a good way.

 

I still have a couple of issues with anxiety that periodically raises its head (meditation and exercise work really well for me in this respect) and I still keep a spreadsheet which records the number of "successful" sexual encounters I've had with my wife to keep my PSSD fears at bay (I'm so embarrassed to write this part but it was such a huge thing for me in the past 18 months). I have to say though that I'm a different person for the better today. Thanks to exercise and meditation (and a little bit of time), I believe I'm a better, more humble, human being.

 

So I just wanted to say hi and thanks, everyone. It's so very appreciated.

SSRI history:

2005 - 12th March 2020: 20mg Seroxat (Paxil)

19th March 2020: 15mg Seroxat (Paxil)

26th March 2020: 10mg Seroxat (Paxil)

2nd April 2020: 5mg Seroxat (Paxil)

9th April 2020: 0mg Seroxat (Paxil)

Other medications and supplements:

July 2018: 60mg testosterone enthanate every 3.5 days

25th February 2021: 80mg testosterone cypionate every 4.0 days

March 2020: started taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements

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  • Moderator

Welcome @HereComesTheDawn

I’m glad you decided to share your story and join our community! Paxil withdrawal can be awful. I'm relieved you have pulled through.

 

So it’s easy for anyone reading your posts to get a quick overview of your situation we ask members to summarize their medication history in a signature following these instructions:

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

I found this post helpful to understand what is going on and why healing takes time:

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

You might have read a lot here already but here are two links that make it easier to find things on the forum.

Important topics about tests, supplements, treatments, diet

Important topics about symptoms

 

I highly recommend reading  Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker as well as A straight talking introduction to psychiatric drugs by Joanna Moncrieff to better understand these drugs and their effects.

 

If you want to spend some time now and then on the forum, offering encouraging words to people, it is very much appreciated.

 

Thank you for taking the time to post your story.

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

2022 10. Jan started taking 25mg+5mg+2mg+0.5 liquid, 22. Jan went back to taking 25mg+5mg+half 5mg

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  • Kiasofia changed the title to HereComesTheDawn: Off Paxil since April 2020

Welcome to the forum @HereComesTheDawn. Sorry to hear what you’ve been through but it is also really inspiring to hear how far you have come. I am also a fellow Scottish member 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 

Mid-August 2020 - started 15mg Mirtazapine, increased to 30mg 2 weeks later. Late-September 2020 - switched to 20mg Paroxetine as Mirtazapine exacerbated RLS. October 2020 - stopped Paroxetine because of worsening RLS, muscle twitching and general restlessness.

Mid-October 2020 - Switched to 50mg Sertraline. Restlessness, muscle twitching and other symptoms even worse. Stopped taking it on 18 November following advice from GP - took every other day for a week before stopping completely. Mid-November 2020 - GP prescribed Propranolol to take as and when required for anxiety. Have only taken a few times as it makes me very light headed. January 2020 - currently taking magnesium citrate powder in evenings to help with RLS. Also taking high strength omega-3 fish oil. 
 

 

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Thanks for the guidelines, @Kiasofia. Hopefully my signature is correct now.

 

Hiya, @HealthHopeHappiness. I'm not far away from your location. :)

SSRI history:

2005 - 12th March 2020: 20mg Seroxat (Paxil)

19th March 2020: 15mg Seroxat (Paxil)

26th March 2020: 10mg Seroxat (Paxil)

2nd April 2020: 5mg Seroxat (Paxil)

9th April 2020: 0mg Seroxat (Paxil)

Other medications and supplements:

July 2018: 60mg testosterone enthanate every 3.5 days

25th February 2021: 80mg testosterone cypionate every 4.0 days

March 2020: started taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements

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  • Moderator
38 minutes ago, HereComesTheDawn said:

Hopefully my signature is correct now.

Perfect😊

 

Again, welcome to the forum!

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

2022 10. Jan started taking 25mg+5mg+2mg+0.5 liquid, 22. Jan went back to taking 25mg+5mg+half 5mg

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@HereComesTheDawn so good to read your story and how you've stuck it out. So you're approx 18-19 months off meds, how are you feeling now? Hows your sleep, mood etc? I'm 8 months off CT and still struggling massively! 

 

I also meditate, i do guided meditations on headspace app for approx 15-20 mins daily. how do you meditate? I dont have it in me mentally or physically to exercise at the moment! 

 

I'm in the UK, Leeds so not massively far from you :) 

May 2016- August 2020 Fluoxetine 20mg (pooped out)

August 2020 - December 2020 Sertraline 50mg (adverse effects)

Dec 2020-Mar 10th 2021 Citalopram 20mg (adverse effects)- STOPPED cold turkey

Fully antidepressant free since 10th March 2021. 

Take occasional propranolol 10mg.

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Hiya @Jadenatalie.

 

I'm much better now thanks. My sleep is decent. I follow a strict 9pm bedtime / 6am wakeup routine every day and that seems to keep things on an even keel. Some nights I sleep right through. Some nights I wake up three or four times a night. Other nights I'm up and out of bed well before the alarm goes off. How it your sleep now?

 

Moods are also fine. Some weeks I get quite irritable but I've learned now to go into a quiet room and read for a while and that helps to "break" the mood. I also mainly follow the Headspace guided meditations, although I use the "scan down" part of pre-meditation a lot in almost every setting whenever I need it. I find it to be a good "take a deep breath and count to five" mechanism.

 

So you're eight months in? Do you keep a log or a diary of your progress?

 

I worked in Scunthorpe for six months in 1996. We could have walked past each other. ;)

SSRI history:

2005 - 12th March 2020: 20mg Seroxat (Paxil)

19th March 2020: 15mg Seroxat (Paxil)

26th March 2020: 10mg Seroxat (Paxil)

2nd April 2020: 5mg Seroxat (Paxil)

9th April 2020: 0mg Seroxat (Paxil)

Other medications and supplements:

July 2018: 60mg testosterone enthanate every 3.5 days

25th February 2021: 80mg testosterone cypionate every 4.0 days

March 2020: started taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements

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@HereComesTheDawn That's good to hear, it's nice to hear better stories from people that have pretty much gone cold turkey like i did and are seeing improvements! Yeah my sleep is very erratic at the moment, I've always been a good sleeper but some nights i don't sleep at all, some i get 2/3/4 hours and very rarely I'll get 7/8 hours. 

 

That's good, honestly it sounds like you're doing really well and you've got a hold on yourself and your moods etc. i'm guessing you dont have any regrets coming off the meds? I do the scanning too, i find it really helpful and relaxing! 

 

Yeah i'm 8 months cold turkey after 5 years of meds. Still struggling, mostly waves and some small windows. I keep a diary in my phone of 'good' or 'bad' days, but i also do a weekly update on my intro thread on here to keep up with how my symptoms change etc. 

 

Ha ha ha, i highly doubt it, i would've been 5 years old then. 🤣

May 2016- August 2020 Fluoxetine 20mg (pooped out)

August 2020 - December 2020 Sertraline 50mg (adverse effects)

Dec 2020-Mar 10th 2021 Citalopram 20mg (adverse effects)- STOPPED cold turkey

Fully antidepressant free since 10th March 2021. 

Take occasional propranolol 10mg.

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1 minute ago, Jadenatalie said:

That's good, honestly it sounds like you're doing really well and you've got a hold on yourself and your moods etc. i'm guessing you dont have any regrets coming off the meds?

None at all. I probably should have done it much sooner to be honest. However, we make our decisions when we do and we have to deal with them. I appreciate that this might sound like some kind of wisdom but I assure you: I'm an idiot! :)

SSRI history:

2005 - 12th March 2020: 20mg Seroxat (Paxil)

19th March 2020: 15mg Seroxat (Paxil)

26th March 2020: 10mg Seroxat (Paxil)

2nd April 2020: 5mg Seroxat (Paxil)

9th April 2020: 0mg Seroxat (Paxil)

Other medications and supplements:

July 2018: 60mg testosterone enthanate every 3.5 days

25th February 2021: 80mg testosterone cypionate every 4.0 days

March 2020: started taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements

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  • Moderator

Because you're feeling better, I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

 

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

 

Please see this topic:  How to write your success story

These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I have learned, not medical advice.

 

Drug history

2002-2019 Citalopram/Escitalopram, Lamictal
2019 April Escitalopram, quit at 10mg (withdrawal), Oct Escitalopram 10mg reinstated, quit after a few days (adverse reaction)

2019 Oct Lamictal cut from 200mg to 100mg
2019 Dec Lithium 83x2 mg

2020 Aug-Nov Lamictal tapered to 50 mg

2020 Nov 24 Lithium taper started, 30 Jan off Lithium

2021 15. March-31. May Lamictal tapered to 32.5 mg (holding)

2022 10. Jan started taking 25mg+5mg+2mg+0.5 liquid, 22. Jan went back to taking 25mg+5mg+half 5mg

Link to comment

Many thanks, @Kiasofia. I'll get round to writing that success story one day soon. :)

SSRI history:

2005 - 12th March 2020: 20mg Seroxat (Paxil)

19th March 2020: 15mg Seroxat (Paxil)

26th March 2020: 10mg Seroxat (Paxil)

2nd April 2020: 5mg Seroxat (Paxil)

9th April 2020: 0mg Seroxat (Paxil)

Other medications and supplements:

July 2018: 60mg testosterone enthanate every 3.5 days

25th February 2021: 80mg testosterone cypionate every 4.0 days

March 2020: started taking vitamin D and fish oil supplements

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

@HereComesTheDawn just found your thread and I’m so happy you are feeling better. This has given me the hope that I needed this morning 😊

 

can I ask at what point did you notice your anxiety easing up? I am only getting some days with an hour or so where I don’t feel it so severe and then get so distraught when it comes creeping back so intensely. On those moments I’m almost anticipating it being right round the corner again (and I’m right 😅) so don’t even get to enjoy it as much as I’d like.

 

Glad to read you’re doing well and that a success is on the horizon for you 🙏🏼 
Best wishes from the Netherlands (although born in Scotland and lived there for 20 years- Aberdeenshire and Edinburgh 😊)

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Jadenatalie oh wow i did not expect i'd find someone else from Leeds on here, i am too :) currently 3years off all meds but i suppose we both know recovery is quite slow. hang in there our symptoms will lessen in severity given enough time and a healthy lifestyle, sending you my best wishes.

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