Jump to content
Timinjapan

Timinjapan - Introduction

Recommended Posts

Timinjapan

Currently 54 years old, I was born in and raised in London, UK, and have been living deep in the Japanese countryside for over 20 years with a wife, no kids, and a bunch of cats. For much of the time here, life's been very pleasant. We grow our own rice and vegetables and I cut and chop wood for the winter fire. We live quietly and comfortably with few neighbors close by. And we make a living by freelance translating and editing, which has always been subject to ups and downs and has often required me to work under deadline pressure, which I was good at.

 

But as I passed my half century, I began to feel more insecure, first about the economic situation following the Lehman Shock, and then about being a foreigner and not being able to fit into the local culture. In the late summer of 2011, after months of far too many big jobs with tight deadlines, things came to a head when I started getting anxiety attacks for the first time in my life. They were the sort of thing Claire Weekes described — stomach in a knot (although not churning), lump in the throat, tight muscles and, in my case, loud tinnitus.

 

I took my concerns along to my local GP and he advised me to go on Paxil. I refused and tried to calm down with yoga, jogging and rest, but by the end of November I was at my wits end and so I returned to the doctor and this time I took his advice. I went straight onto 10mg a day and experienced a couple of weeks of LSD trip-like sensations and heavy sedation. By Christmas I was sleeping 10-12 hours a day and basically in hibernation, although I was able to function in my work at a slower pace. The attacks were reduced in intensity but I still felt rotten inside, and the Paxil had caused a different kind of head noise sensation plus nervous tingling in the upper torso and limbs. So the doctor added 2mg of Valium to the mix. After 10 weeks on Paxil, I decided I needed to get off of the drug ASAP but by now I knew I had to taper, and I've been tapering for almost a year now and am down to a quarter of my initial dose.

 

Now I am most of the way off, the good news is that the anxiety attacks have not returned. But the bad news is that despite what I consider to be a slow taper, the head noises are getting more obtrusive the lower I go. Also, I am experiencing a bevy of drug-induced low-level anxiety and depression-related symptoms that I try to deal with using meditation, yoga, CTB, and by talking with others who hare dealing with similar issues online, etc. I've been fairly active over at Paxil Progress since last May. I am concerned that my symptoms may worsen once I'm SSRI free, but I am convinced that Paxil has done me more harm than good and that getting free from it is in my long term interests. I'm less concerned about Valium, but I know benzos can be just as nasty as SSRIs and I would prefer to be living totally drug-free. I would also like to be head noise-free, or at least habituated to the point where it doesn't bother me so much.

Share this post


Link to post
strawberry17

Welcome to the forum Timinjapan, what an interesting life, I've always wanted to visit Japan (and China).

 

With regards to the Paxil, I would hope your symptoms don't worsen once you're off Paxil, but it can take time and a lot of patience, my experience has been the slower you taper and the more you listen to your body the better you'll do and it sounds like you're on the right track, maybe don't make anymore reductions until you feel better than you are now, and no more than 10% at a time.

I'm sorry I don't really know about the head noises, hopefully others will come along with some input for you on that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Timinjapan

Thank you very much for your greeting and for the advice on taper speed, Strawberry.

 

My wife and I have been spending our evenings over the New Year period watching the P.D. James Inspector Dalgleish series starring Roy Marsden, so I've been treated to quite a few East Anglian landscapes of late including a few scenes of Ipswich. It has made me feel nostalgic for the region although I only ever visited it once as a small child. By contrast, the place I live now is all steep hills and mountains, long narrow valleys and absolutely no chance of seeing the horizon unless you are willing to climb to a peak 600 meters above sea level. It's a bit like Switzerland without the cuckoo clocks.

 

I've noticed that my head noises are becoming more intrusive as I taper, but at the same time I have to note that they are no louder now than when I was on 10mg of Paxil this time last year. On both occasions I described them as like cicadas in the head and/or the sound of a leaking steam pipe. What has changed is my ability to tolerate them with good grace. We also have a cat named Yuki, an adopted stray white long-haired Persian who gives off a piercing meow whenever she wants food or attention, which is at least a dozen times a day. I also find her singing harder to put up with now than when I was on 10 mg, so I guess it's a matter of increased sensitivity in withdrawal.

Share this post


Link to post
Skyler

I've noticed that my head noises are becoming more intrusive as I taper, but at the same time I have to note that they are no louder now than when I was on 10mg of Paxil this time last year. On both occasions I described them as like cicadas in the head and/or the sound of a leaking steam pipe. What has changed is my ability to tolerate them with good grace. We also have a cat named Yuki, an adopted stray white long-haired Persian who gives off a piercing meow whenever she wants food or attention, which is at least a dozen times a day. I also find her singing harder to put up with now than when I was on 10 mg, so I guess it's a matter of increased sensitivity in withdrawal.

Hi Tim... you have tinnitus and the same level of noise can be more burdensome as time passes. I just put an update about my own tinnitus journey on my thread if you are interested: link

 

I hope you continue to improve... listen to your tinnitus (pun intended) and adjust your taper accordingly. :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
strawberry17

I just found this thread about tinnitus for you as well: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1736-tinnitus-what-does-all-that-noise-mean/page__p__16765__hl__tinnitus__fromsearch__1#entry16765

 

East Anglia is very much underated as somewhere to visit in the UK, I think it has some beautiful landscapes and I love the Suffolk countryside. Ipswich has changed an awful lot, the Waterfront has been developed and is really nice, the town itself is growing too fast though. Sounds stunning where you are though.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, Tim.

 

It looks like you reduced Valium at the same time you were reducing Paxil?

 

This can add to hypersensitivity induced by tapering either.

 

I suggest you hold on the Valium taper so as minimize the factors contributing to your symptoms.

 

You also might go back to 3.0 Paxil and hold there for a bit to see if symptoms decrease. Then, perhaps by .01mg micro-taper reductions, go off Paxil more gradually.

Share this post


Link to post
Jemima

Welcome, Tim. I'm sorry that you're getting so many symptoms from withdrawal. You'll find lots of good information and friendly, gentle support here.

 

I've had tinnitus for years, but up until I went into withdrawal from Lexapro it had always been an ignorable, low hissing sound. Once I got off Lexapro (too fast), the tinnitus became nearly unbearable. It stayed that way for two or three months and gradually got better. It seemed to be related to cortisol levels. It was always really bad in the morning, started going down around one in the afternoon, and then came back about nine-thirty at night. It may be related to tapering too fast or going off a drug cold turkey, but that's uncertain.

 

The drug-induced low-level anxiety and depression-related symptoms you describe are likely what we call "neuro-emotions". Antidepressants are emotionally numbing and as we reduce the dose and the brain gets back to normal, neurons misfire. This will eventually go away. Here's a link to more information:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/137-neuro-emotion/

 

I agree with Alto that updosing the Paxil a bit and staying steady on the Valium is the best thing to do. Having symptoms means you're going too fast for your CNS to catch up and that can only lead to more of the same. The idea is not to get off the drug as fast as possible, but to do it at a rate that allows you to live comfortably and function while you taper off.

Share this post


Link to post
peggy

Welcome Tim!

I have a friend dealing with tinnitus and she went through a bevy of tests to find the cause - they ended up telling her she just has to live with it - something about it coming from the auditory nerve.... She has found that when she is stressed or sleep deprived the ringing is much louder and has also found that doing meditation helps to zone out from it. Have you ever tried to do a 'listening' meditation and tried to focus on the sounds in the environment? I love doing that, I always hear much more, but then i am not dealing with cicadas in my head!

 

I would love to hear more about living in Japan - is your wife Japanese?

Share this post


Link to post
Timinjapan

Thank you very much everyone for your messages. I know there are quite a few people who experience head and ear noises here, along with lots of other complaints and unwanted sensations, and my best wishes go out to you all.

 

Skyler, thanks for the link to your thread. I'm always interested in what a fellow tinnitus sufferer - if that's the correct term - has to say. And Strawberry, thank you for bringing the other tinnitus thread to my attention. I hope Ipswich can be saved from creeping sprawl, because once that happens it will lose a lot of its charm. But it isn't just the amount of development that is the problem, but the type of development that is allowed to go ahead.

 

Alto, I did indeed reduce my Valium both at the beginning of December and again at the beginning of January. The first drop was fine, but since the second one I've been experiencing stronger physiological and emotional symptoms than I had anticipated. These drops were experimental. I'm well aware that it is ill-advised to taper both of these drugs together, but I wanted to check it out in practice. If things don't improve for me soon, I would prefer to go back up to 7.5mg of Valium and hold the current Paxil level for a while longer to see if things improve. I have developed a strong aversion to increasing the Paxil dosage, although I will do so if need be. I guess I need to prepare myself psychologically for that possibility.

 

I also have the option of taking L-theanine and magnesium, both of which I have in stock. But when I took them in the past the results were mixed. I felt some relaxation but also a general heightening of the sensitivity to head noise and pressure. So this time around my strategy is to taper off Paxil slow enough to remain functional, and then give the brain and nervous system a nice long rest from external chemical stimulation.

 

Jemima, thank you for giving me your insight. I'm sorry that you had to go through nearly unbearable tinnitus and I'm so happy to hear you've recovered. I know of several people whose symptoms paralleled yours. Most people seem to make at least a partial recovery from SSRI or benzo-induced tinnitus given enough time. One reason why I don't want to updose the Paxil is that I've never felt good on it, even when I was on 10mg. It basically sedated me and gave me loud head noises, and that's why I started tapering it after 10 weeks. I haven't been "comfortable" since going onto Paxil in the first place. Although I am not in a race to get off of it, as you can see from my current slow taper pace, I want to be off as soon as is compatible with maintaining the integrity of my CNS.

 

Last but not least, thank you Peggy! There are a lot of things we just have to live with, aren't there? Just like your friend, I am doing regular meditation and it certainly helps to keep me calm and prevent the pity parties from going on too long. One of the things I do is to imagine I'm breathing in and out through the head, taking the tinnitus into awareness and mentally caressing my brain as if it was a child in pain. That can be very calming.

 

My wife is Japanese and we've been together for 30 years now. She's doing fine and is comfortable with her life situation. She's a great cook and she's became very enthusiastic about vegetable gardening these past few years. We produce bumper crops of all sorts of things and barter or give a lot of it away to friends and neighbors. Under our division of labor, she plans and plants, I dig the soil, and fertilizer, cover with mulch and keep the weeds at bay, and the pair of us share the harvesting. And in this cold wintery weather, she likes to sit in her room knitting and listening to her favorite music on YouTube. But that's enough from me from one post. All the best, everyone!

Share this post


Link to post
flower

Tim you write so well. I enjoy reading about you. It takes me somewhere else even if only for a moment or two. I would like to see the view out your window. I love the woods the wildlife and even the bear we put up with..It all takes my mind off the WD. I hope all of us T sufferers have a quieter day. Did the valium help with the Paxil anxiety? I know Paxil is some pretty heavy stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
strawberry17

I'm enjoying this thread and my visions of you Tim with your Japanese wife living in beautiful surroundings and enjoying the fruits and vegetables of your labours. You must have the most healthy diet.

Share this post


Link to post
peggy

I am enjoying reading this thread too. Your writing creates a very calm and peaceful tone.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy