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Rachelina: in crisis and afraid I'll never get off Paxil


Rachelina

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Hello everyone, I am happy to have found this forum as I am in serious need of support and advice. I have been trying to get off Paxil for years and have had several failed tapers. I am now tapering by 0.2 mg every 5 or 6 weeks and am on 2.6 mg, the lowest I've ever made it. But for the past 3 weeks or so I have sunk into one of the worst depressions of my life. I am living in a chronically painful family situation as well, and it's so hard to tell if I am breaking down now because of that or because of the Paxil, or both.

 

I have a son who turns 2 tomorrow. I feel like the worst mother in the world. I need so badly to be able to function, but instead I'm calling suicide hotlines and seriously considering checking in somewhere; it's just the possibility of being forced to take drugs that stops me.

 

I'm very averse to updosing because I've done so several times in the past during a crash like this, and I would have been off Paxil years ago if I had ridden it out. Also, what is the thinking here on how to proceed with a taper at low doses? I was thinking to rest at 2.5 mg for many months to recover from this crash, but I've also heard that it's not good to stay at low doses for a long time. So, I would appreciate any advice or thoughts anyone has!

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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Rach, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm JessG over at PP, you might remember me. I've been wondering how you've been, and I was hoping no news was good news.

 

I'm going through a rough patch myself despite going as slow as humanly possible (dropping .1mg ever 8 weeks!) Can you believe how ridiculously difficult getting off this damn drug is?

 

I was at a similar point as you a few weeks ago. Feeling utterly hopeless, asking everyone around me to just let me die. I wanted to check myself in somewhere too, but like you, I know all they have to offer is more drugs. Since I'm uninsured I would have to go to the county psych ward, and from what I have seen of it already, I'm sure it's not all that different from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

 

So I was at the bottom, afraid to updose, afraid to drop again. So I did neither. I stayed put, and remain there today. The depression comes and goes but is definitely better than it was. Other symptoms persist. I also started therapy to finally deal with my issues and learn better ways of coping with my anxiety, ocd and depression.

 

Since I have been at the same dose for many months, I am starting to think I will just have to continue on with my taper. So all the advice I can give is maybe to do the same? Stay where you are for at least a couple of months and then reassess whether you want to continue holding or taper again. You say you are going through some issues right now. Are you seeing a therapist? If not, look into it. Find one that will support you in your goal to be drug free.

 

You are sooo close to the goal, I know you can do this. Whenever I see someone going through trouble at the 1-3mg range, I think "That's the drug monster trying desperately to hang onto you with all it's got, knowing it doesn't have long left."  Don't let that WD doom and gloom convince you that life isn't worth fighting for, it absolutely is. Your son is worth fighting for. These drugs are so damn evil, what they do to your mind. They make death seem RATIONAL. It's bonkers! You can do this. You are not alone. I'm here if you ever need to chat. XX

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Hi Rachelina, Sorry you are feeling so desperately sad. Many of us have been where you are now,

some are still there and we are all in it together. Ladybug is right, these drugs are nasty! I joined

this forum feeling very much like you do now, and was seriously considering going into hospital

at one stage because I couldn't trust myself not to end it all. I got lots of support here and didn't

go there, that would have been a disaster for me because I know I would have come out on even

more drugs.  

 

It sounds like you are having a really bad wave but if you can hang in there it will pass. I am tapering

effexor by counting beads and have stayed at 4 beads for several months to stabilise. 

Updosing regularly during a wave, or crash, will be quite unsettling for your nervous system I think, 

and would be better to stay put  for a good while as you planned for your system to settle and stabilise.

What was your starting dose? You are nearly there but really do need to stabilise, it will get better and

we are all here with you.

 

There is an excellent thread on the windows and waves pattern of recovery which makes sense of what

is happening.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/

 

And here is the link for tapering off Paxil http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/405-tips-for-tapering-off-paxil-paroxetine/?hl=paxil

 

Welcome to SA, I'm glad you discovered us, we will help all we can. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thank you so much, Ladybug and MammaP! It is amazing what a few kind words of support will do. My husband does not understand this whole withdrawal thing and when I get like this he pressures me to try some new drug. Then I start to doubt myself and think maybe he's right. But reading your posts reassured me that I am doing the right thing. I think I just posted in a panic, needing someone to tell me I would be OK. Your posts helped so much.

 

Of course I remember you, Jess/Ladybug! I should have mentioned in my first post that I have been on Paxil Progress for years, though have not been very active lately. Then I saw that Monica at Beyond Meds says this is the best withdrawal forum, and I trust her :) So when I had this crash I thought I would try posting here instead of there.

 

So you think it's fine to stay on the same dose for several months to stabilize? Because I remember reading on PP that you shouldn't stay on a low dose for too long, but I have no idea how much truth there is to that. I was thinking I would drop to 2.5 mg after 6 weeks on this dose (4 more weeks) and stay there, because at 2.5 I can just cut the pill in quarters instead of cutting and weighing. I weigh out 6 weeks of doses at a time and it takes hours.....It's such a pain and I have so little free time, so I'm looking forward to a break from that.

 

So now I wonder if after stabilizing I should do 0.1 drops from now on....I guess I should, but it's kind of discouraging; I was hoping to be off Paxil sometime late next year but if I slow down further I feel like I'll be on it forever. I have chronic anxiety, severe agoraphobia and derealization that are with me most of the time even when I'm feeling relatively OK, no matter how much I do to work on them, and I am hoping that once Paxil is gone I won't be always fighting such an uphill battle and will be able to make real progress toward healing and living a full life again. So the idea of slowing down further and being on it an extra year or two makes me sad.

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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 I know that we all want to be off these drugs....NOW and it seems such a long way off when you start calculating the time it takes. 

I'm tapering Effexor and know the horror of withdrawal after stopping too soon. I was at just 4 beads for 7 months to stabilise before continuing.. Alto will be along later, she has extensive knowledge and will be able to answer your questions. 

 

You will get there, sadly there are waves along the way but ride them and they will pass . 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Hi Rachelina,

 

Welcome! I'm sorry you NEED to be here but very glad you found us!

 

It sounds like you've been micro tapering but going too fast for your CNS to keep up. Definitely, don't go any lower until you stabilize. There's no problem remaining at a very low dose.

 

After you stabilize and are ready to begin tapering you need to slow your pace. You have a better chance of being well after you're finished (and lessen your chance of having prolonged WD syndrome) by going slower.

 

I realize you've been tapering a small amount but it seems to have caught up with you, cuts are cumulative. Using a liquid is much more precise and easier to make very small decrements. There's a link in the Paxil thread mP provided.

 

Stabilize, then 'sneak' the Paxil away from your brain. You can do it!

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Thank you so much, Ladybug and MammaP! It is amazing what a few kind words of support will do. My husband does not understand this whole withdrawal thing and when I get like this he pressures me to try some new drug. Then I start to doubt myself and think maybe he's right. But reading your posts reassured me that I am doing the right thing. I think I just posted in a panic, needing someone to tell me I would be OK. Your posts helped so much.Of course I remember you, Jess/Ladybug! I should have mentioned in my first post that I have been on Paxil Progress for years, though have not been very active lately. Then I saw that Monica at Beyond Meds says this is the best withdrawal forum, and I trust her :) So when I had this crash I thought I would try posting here instead of there.So you think it's fine to stay on the same dose for several months to stabilize? Because I remember reading on PP that you shouldn't stay on a low dose for too long, but I have no idea how much truth there is to that. I was thinking I would drop to 2.5 mg after 6 weeks on this dose (4 more weeks) and stay there, because at 2.5 I can just cut the pill in quarters instead of cutting and weighing. I weigh out 6 weeks of doses at a time and it takes hours.....It's such a pain and I have so little free time, so I'm looking forward to a break from that.So now I wonder if after stabilizing I should do 0.1 drops from now on....I guess I should, but it's kind of discouraging; I was hoping to be off Paxil sometime late next year but if I slow down further I feel like I'll be on it forever. I have chronic anxiety, severe agoraphobia and derealization that are with me most of the time even when I'm feeling relatively OK, no matter how much I do to work on them, and I am hoping that once Paxil is gone I won't be always fighting such an uphill battle and will be able to make real progress toward healing and living a full life again. So the idea of slowing down further and being on it an extra year or two makes me sad.

Yes, I have also heard over there that you shouldn't stay too long on any one dose, especially at the lower doses. Then I come here and I hear that you should stay as long as you need to on one dose until you stabilize. It's a bit confusing, and I don't think either advice is completely right or wrong. I DO know that some people just don't stabilize no matter how long they hold, so what is the maximum time you should try to stabilize before resuming your taper?

 

I guess you just have to take in all the advice and do what "feels right", knowing that we all have our own unique journey and what works for one won't necessarily work for the other. For example, there is one man on the other forum who was at 2.5mg for 8 months and so went to zero but it all came crashing down and he has been suffering for over a year now. But Aussiegirl (I'm sure you remember her) ditched at 3.5mg after 16 years and seems to be doing ok 7 months later. There's no rhyme or reason.

 

Because of that I don't think you should draw out your taper for another two years. If it were me I would hold for a few months and if I didn't improve I would continue with the .2mg drops and then just ditch at 1.5mg. I would much rather be going through a rough patch at the lowest doses than at the higher dose that I am at now, because if it got too bad I would just CT and deal with whatever came, knowing that eventually I would get better. CT'ing at the dose I am now would only result in complete hell for years. CT'ing at 2.5mg wouldn't be quite as bad I feel, but that's just me. And of course I'm not suggesting you CT.

 

Anyway, I can relate to you so much because I too am constantly suffering with the derealization and agoraphobia, even when physically I am okay. The derealization makes me feel I am constantly on the edge between sanity and insanity. It's difficult to know how to cope with it. My therapist has never heard of it so not sure how much help she will be lol. I wonder why some of us get the constant derealization and for others it comes and goes? In my case it might have to do with the fact that I was a pothead for 15 years, as I have heard weed is often a trigger for DR for many people. When I stopped smoking I still felt stoned, but with none of the good stuff lol.

 

Sorry to ramble. I'll be praying for you, please keep us updated. ((HUGS))

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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I think you'd be wise to stay at your current dose until you begin to feel better regardless of how long that takes.  There is no such thing as staying at a low dose for too long to my knowledge. While Ladybug may not feel stable after remaining at the same dose for a while, that probably won't be true for you, and I strongly disagree with her advice to "jump" near the end.  That seldom does anyone any good and I wouldn't be surprised if the person who jumped off at 3.5 mg, has a delayed reaction. These drugs are nasty that way and Paxil is one of the meanest.

 

Please read this general topic on tapering:

 

Why Taper By 10% Of My Dosage?

 

I think if you stabilize and then slow your taper to a comfortable pace, you'll feel a lot better and won't mind going more slowly.  Stopping the drug does not stop the side effects because the drugs cause long-term changes in the brain.  That is why a slow taper is so important.  Going too fast is like yanking a crutch away from someone with a broken leg.  Down they go!  The brain needs that chemical support as it figures out how to get back to normal, which can be comfortably done with a slow, slow taper. While it's true that a very few people can jump off at a low dose, there's no way to know who they are.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I think you'd be wise to stay at your current dose until you begin to feel better regardless of how long that takes.  There is no such thing as staying at a low dose for too long to my knowledge. While Ladybug may not feel stable after remaining at the same dose for a while, that probably won't be true for you, and I strongly disagree with her advice to "jump" near the end.  That seldom does anyone any good and I wouldn't be surprised if the person who jumped off at 3.5 mg, has a delayed reaction. These drugs are nasty that way and Paxil is one of the meanest.

 

Please read this general topic on tapering:

 

Why Taper By 10% Of My Dosage?

 

I think if you stabilize and then slow your taper to a comfortable pace, you'll feel a lot better and won't mind going more slowly.  Stopping the drug does not stop the side effects because the drugs cause long-term changes in the brain.  That is why a slow taper is so important.  Going too fast is like yanking a crutch away from someone with a broken leg.  Down they go!  The brain needs that chemical support as it figures out how to get back to normal, which can be comfortably done with a slow, slow taper. While it's true that a very few people can jump off at a low dose, there's no way to know who they are.

 

So at what dose is it advisable to jump at then? .000001mg? At what point do you say enough is enough?  I'm not speaking from my personal experience only but what I have seen from many, many others during the several years I have been on the other forum. MOST people do fine jumping from 1-1.5mg. And many people, especially those in poop out, don't necessarily improve the longer they stay on a dose. That's not just my experience. Very few people can jump off at a low dose? I've seen dozens jump off around that dose and be fine. I've gone as slow as you can go and still have run into problems. But I guess that's just my personal experience and has nothing to do with being in poop out? According to your logic I should just slow it down even further? Is .1mg every six months slow enough?

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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This isn't the first time I've been personally insulted by something you've said to me, Jemima. This will be my last post. I hope you can delete my account, but if not, oh well. Good luck, Rachelina!

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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This isn't the first time I've been personally insulted by something you've said to me, Jemima. This will be my last post. I hope you can delete my account, but if not, oh well. Good luck, Rachelina!

 

I'm sorry that my comment offended you, but I have a responsibility to speak up when I believe a member is giving questionable advice, especially to a new member who doesn't know the ropes.  We even have occasional disagreements among mods, right out in public, and it's all meant for the benefit of members.  If you choose to feel personally insulted I certainly can't stop you, but my comments were not directed at you.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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This isn't the first time I've been personally insulted by something you've said to me, Jemima. This will be my last post. I hope you can delete my account, but if not, oh well. Good luck, Rachelina!

 

I'm sorry that my comment offended you, but I have a responsibility to speak up when I believe a member is giving questionable advice, especially to a new member who doesn't know the ropes.  We even have occasional disagreements among mods, right out in public, and it's all meant for the benefit of members.  If you choose to feel personally insulted I certainly can't stop you, but my comments were not directed at you.

 

Okay, I guess I lied about it being my last post because I do want to reply. I thank you for clarifying that the comment wasn't directed at me personally. I have been feeling very sensitive lately, and I sort of exploded and I do apologize. I will let bygone be bygones. However, I do want to point out that Rachelina is not new to the game as she has been a member of the other forum for over five years, and knows the whole "10% rule", etc. I've realized that the two forums have differing opinions on how one should go about their taper to have the most chance at a successful outcome. Like I said, I have never seen anyone have problems with jumping off at around 1mg, but obviously that is not the opinion here. It is what it is, and I'm sorry I took it personally.

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Welcome back.  :)

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I am now tapering by 0.2 mg every 5 or 6 weeks and am on 2.6 mg, the lowest I've ever made it. But for the past 3 weeks or so I have sunk into one of the worst depressions of my life. I am living in a chronically painful family situation as well, and it's so hard to tell if I am breaking down now because of that or because of the Paxil, or both.

 

Congratulations on getting down to 2.6 :)

 

The way I understand it is that withdrawing from these medications destabilizes our nervous system, making it 'weaker' and less able to tolerate any kind of stress.  I would think your current increased symptoms are a combination of withdrawal and situational stress.

 

Is your family situation likely to change?

 

I've never heard or read anything about it being harmful to hold on a low dose for a long time. Of course if there is no reason to hold, then its better to continue to taper and become medication free, but if you are still having symptoms and not stabilized, then holding is probably the best thing, give your nervous system more time to recover and 'catch up'.

 

Do what you can to take care of yourself.  I hope you feel better soon.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It seems to me the key issue here is how slow to go. I've been on this forum only for a bit over one month but I have absorbed the philosophy: the slower, the better.

 

And there is a rationale behind it. I found a beautiful post written by Rhi which I copied and pasted into a separate document on my PC and even sent to some of my friends to understand what withdrawal actually means. I'm so sorry that I'm not entirely sure if it was written by Rhi because when I copied it I thought it was for my use only and was in a rush.

 

But I would like to post it here now (although it is somewhere on the forum):

 

 Written by Rhi: This is something I posted somewhere else and then saved. I know it's all stuff I've said before, but it bears repeating and further discussion. 

 A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away. 

 That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning. 


 What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry.  


 For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain. 

 So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall.  

 To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly.  

 This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle. 

 When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. 

 When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. 

 SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here.  

 It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain.  

 I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.  

 With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.) 

 This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system.  

 Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected.   

Edited by JanCarol
clean up html

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Thank you for pasting that in this thread, bubble. We've read of people that had trouble stopping a med at 1 or 1.5 mg and we don't want anyone to 'borrow trouble'.

 

I'm currently at 1.5 mg of Remeron and it is very tempting to leave off there since I've left other meds off above that, before. I won't do it because I'm not willing to risk putting my CNS through needless stress.

 

There's no harm in going slow but some people that go too fast, suffer for years.

 

Rach, take your time and be good to your CNS, it's the only one you have. Patience pays off when it comes to tapering. The tortoise wins the race in this case!

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Thank you for pasting that in this thread, bubble. We've read of people that had trouble stopping a med at 1 or 1.5 mg and we don't want anyone to 'borrow trouble'.I'm currently at 1.5 mg of Remeron and it is very tempting to leave off there since I've left other meds off above that, before. I won't do it because I'm not willing to risk putting my CNS through needless stress.There's no harm in going slow but some people that go too fast, suffer for years.Rach, take your time and be good to your CNS, it's the only one you have. Patience pays off when it comes to tapering. The tortoise wins the race in this case!

I agree with Tezza, there is no harm going slow bur some people can hit severe withdrawal going too fast. Sadly there is no way of knowing who is going to suffer by going too fast until withdrawal kicks in and sometimes that can be too late to reinstate. 

 

I am tapering Effexor (venlafaxine) . My 75mg capsule has 400 beads. I tapered down to just 5 beads then stopped. I was hit by excruciating withdrawal. I was able to reinstate but it's taken 7 months to stabilise enough to drop just 1 more bead. That is very slow but I would rather do that than have the terrible withdrawal of going too fast. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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I read a post by Alto once where she suggested "jumping" at 1% of the starting dose. I think that's called sliding off the edge of the rope :).

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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....Okay, I guess I lied about it being my last post because I do want to reply. I thank you for clarifying that the comment wasn't directed at me personally. I have been feeling very sensitive lately, and I sort of exploded and I do apologize. I will let bygone be bygones. However, I do want to point out that Rachelina is not new to the game as she has been a member of the other forum for over five years, and knows the whole "10% rule", etc. I've realized that the two forums have differing opinions on how one should go about their taper to have the most chance at a successful outcome. Like I said, I have never seen anyone have problems with jumping off at around 1mg, but obviously that is not the opinion here. It is what it is, and I'm sorry I took it personally.

ladybug, it's clear to me that Jemima's comment was not intended for you personally. She was explaining the general philosophy of this site. 

People jump off at all kinds of levels. Some do fine and others don't. Since we cannot predict who will be okay, we go by a conservative "risk reduction" approach. The rate of taper, and the jumping-off point, is determined by how a person's nervous system has been responding to rate reductions. If someone has been having trouble all along, it's probably best to "slide off the end of the rope" rather than make a jump.

 

(I don't recall saying anything about jumping off at 1%; I think I might have said a fraction of a milligram.)

 

Paxil can be very, very difficult to go off. You may recall angie007 http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/423-angie007s-story/

had a terrible time. This is one drug when one might hold for a very long time before making a final push.

 

Then again, no one can tell the future about what might be right for any individual. No one is more sorry than I am that Rachelina and others in a similar position have to make these choices.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, I did write that, and please feel free to share it and use it in any way that is helpful or useful to you.

 

Rachelina, as far as I know, there is no reason not to hold for as long as you need to in order to stabilize. It's true that sometimes (rarely) people have a toxic reaction to a drug or they are on such a high dose that it's too activating or causing them problems, and they need to taper faster than their bodies can really keep up with. This is going to cause them withdrawal symptoms, but in these cases (which are rare!) the problems caused by the drug are more severe than the problems caused by withdrawal. 

 

It doesn't sound like this is your case. The symptoms you describe (anxiety, agoraphobia, derealization, depression) are classic symptoms of withdrawal. I suspect you've been cutting too much too fast and gotten ahead of your body's ability to heal itself. External stressors can really reduce our "slack" and make healing of all kinds take longer, and it sounds like you have some of that going on too. I suspect that if you give yourself a nice long hold you will find you'll feel much better. It could take many months. It will almost certainly take longer than you would like.

 

When people come off psych drugs too fast, it sometimes takes years for them to recover; this is simply a fact, we've seen it over and over. Many of our members and some of our moderators are in that process right now.  It's not different when you're tapering too fast and you hit a wall and get into withdrawal. Sometimes healing just takes way more time than we want it to.

 

You have the option of updosing slightly if you want to try it; you could go up even just 0.1 mg or 0.2 mg and see if that helps. Or you can stay where you are. Either way, I think there's a very good chance, given the history you've described (which sounds fairly normal and classic to me) that a nice long hold will allow you to stabilize and feel much better. Then, depending on what's going on in your life, you can decide when and how fast to restart your taper.

 

The only real expert on how your body reacts to withdrawal and how much time you need to take is your body. Listen to your withdrawal symptoms. Keep a daily journal of dosages and symptoms, ranking your symptoms on a numerical scale, like 1 to 5 or something like that. Your body will give you the data and information you need. Listen to it.

 

I know it's frustrating to realize that getting off these drugs is going to take years, way longer than we had hoped. If it's any consolation, though, I have found that at the lower doses the effect of the drugs is way less than it was at "therapeutic" doses.  After a long slow taper, down to pretty small doses now, I've gotten back my pre-AD and pre-benzo personality almost completely, and when I'm not having withdrawal symptoms (which I still always get, to some extent, with each cut, for a little while) I feel good and I'm more connected with people and happy and involved in life and activities than I have been for 20 years (the time I've been on psych drugs). If you go slowly enough to minimize withdrawal symptoms you may find that you actually feel pretty good and you are getting to have the life you want even while tapering.

 

And tapering for years is better than being stuck on psych meds for the rest of your life because you tried to go faster and got so sick you ended up on more meds.

 

You don't have to wait until the end of the taper to get your life back. If you taper so slowly that withdrawal is minimized, the taper can become "background" in your life, just a thing that's happening while you live your life.  I think you may find this to be the case for you now that you're getting down to the low doses.

 

You've worked hard to get where you are. Don't throw it away. Give it however much time and patience is required to get it done, this time around. You deserve it.

 

 

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Oh, let me add: I don't recommend just splitting a pill into pieces, unless you plan to use a milligram scale to make sure the pieces are exactly equal. (Which is easier said than done.)  Breaking a pill into pieces is just not precise enough. You will get variations in dosages from one day to the next and that can be destabilizing and make withdrawal worse and make the process of recovery slower.

 

Probably the best way to combine precision and convenience would be to get the liquid (Paxil comes in a liquid, I think, somebody correct me if I'm wrong). Or you can dissolve the pill and measure it out as a liquid yourself. I think there is probably a lot of discussion of the various options in the Paxil thread.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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You don't have to wait until the end of the taper to get your life back. If you taper so slowly that withdrawal is minimized, the taper can become "background" in your life, just a thing that's happening while you live your life. 

 

Perhaps you can understand my frustration when you HAVE gone as slow as possible (I've been tapering for almost 7 years now, this year I have gone down a grand total of .3mg) and you still are having problems and unable to live your life. What then? Nobody seems to have that answer for me.

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Thank you all so much for the comments. It's good to hear different perspectives; I posted here instead of PP because I already knew what they would say. I'll certainly take a long break from tapering; I think part of the problem is that the effects of each drop last months and months, so after tapering for a while I'm feeling many different drops all at once. A break will allow my brain to catch up.

 

I like the idea of "growing a new brain"....that's exactly what this is, and realizing that helps me be patient with myself. Thanks for posting that.

 

Rhi: I am using a scale. I tried liquid years ago, stopped after 9 days because it was so disgusting, then a month later (which is when withdrawal usually hits me) I had a HUGE awful wave. It could be coincidence but I'm afraid to try it again. Sometimes I'm tempted though, because weighing doses is a huge pain. Oh wait, did you mean I shouldn't just cut the pill in quarters when I'm on 2.5 mg, but should weigh each piece? I was really looking forward to a break from weighing. I was on 5 mg for many months and had no problem just cutting the pill in half. I suppose when you're cutting into more pieces the inaccuracy could increase.

 

Ladybug, I will PM you soon, we have a lot in common and I would like to chat further. I'm also interested to see if anyone has a response to your last question.

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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hello Rachelina,

thanks for helping me in PP,

i would say some personal "rules" after living several years in this special world

  • better building a new brain whithout taking some paxil than growing a new brain while taking some 
  • more longer we are on, more it destroys things and the reverse will be harder
  • the destroy  is made
  • you are not suffering only from a 0,01 mg you put away, you are actually in partial withdrawal(partial chaos) from your amount begin dose and the small actual, the withdrawal begins as soon as you diminish dose
  • the growing brains and all body takes often years

what i would do in your case: not waiting years on a dose(there is no guarantee to not suffer, because people who taper long are suffering as hard than cold turkey(i do not say to cold turkey of course)) put a reasonable pattern of lowing the rest of doses, until reach 0mg, and i rarely read someone not suffering after years taken, i suffered, and suffer as all, no miracle;

i wish you to take the best decision in this hell

for anxiety 

12 years paxil - cold turkey 1,5 month - switch celexa 1 year taper; total 13 years on brain meds 

67 years old - 9 years  med free

 

in protracted withdrawal

rigidity standing and walking, dryness gougerot-szoegren, sleep deteriorate,

function as have a lack of nerves, improving have been very little 

 

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Ladybug, I will PM you soon, we have a lot in common and I would like to chat further. I'm also interested to see if anyone has a response to your last question.

I look forward to it. :) As for a response to my question...don't hold your breath lol. I've been asking it for months and haven't received an answer.

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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hello Rachelina,

thanks for helping me in PP,

i would say some personal "rules" after living several years in this special world

  • better building a new brain whithout taking some paxil than growing a new brain while taking some 
  • more longer we are on, more it destroys things and the reverse will be harder
  • the destroy  is made
  • you are not suffering only from a 0,01 mg you put away, you are actually in partial withdrawal(partial chaos) from your amount begin dose and the small actual, the withdrawal begins as soon as you diminish dose
  • the growing brains and all body takes often years

what i would do in your case: not waiting years on a dose(there is no guarantee to not suffer, because people who taper long are suffering as hard than cold turkey(i do not say to cold turkey of course)) put a reasonable pattern of lowing the rest of doses, until reach 0mg, and i rarely read someone not suffering after years taken, i suffered, and suffer as all, no miracle;

i wish you to take the best decision in this hell

 

I agree with all these statements, Stan. When I began this taper I had only been on 8 years. A sensible, slow taper from 40mg might have taken 3-4 years. In fact that's how long I assumed it would take at the beginning. But I listened to my body and kept slowing down the taper, and also stupidly took a year off from tapering. So here I am over 15 years on and STILL nowhere near off. I feel the longer I stay on, the harder it is to get off. Even if I had CT'ed I probably would be healed by now, although I would have been in hell for a long time. So yes, when you are still suffering despite a slow taper maybe it's best to just keep trudging forward. I really don't know. I HAVE improved with this hold, but my sleep/DR/mental anxiety is still bad and I don't believe it's going to return to normal no matter how long I hold. No other options but to hold a little more and then keep going.

 

Sorry to hijack your thread, Rach. Looking forward to talking with you. :)

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Ladybug, I will PM you soon, we have a lot in common and I would like to chat further. I'm also interested to see if anyone has a response to your last question.

 

Rachelina,

 

Ladybug's question won't be answered here because this is YOUR Intro thread and I don't think any of us want to get it off track.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Stan!! It's good to see you. I agree with your point. Withdrawal is not the only problem with these drugs. Just taking them at all damages the brain. So my situation now is that if I taper too fast, I get horrific crashes, but if I hold a dose long term I avoid the crashes but am still stuck in low-level anxiety and depression, derealization and severe agoraphobia that prevents me from living my life. That could all be "just me", but I wasn't like this before taking Paxil so I have to assume Paxil is a contributing factor. Paxil itself, not just withdrawal, because it doesn't get better no matter how long I stay on a dose.

 

And yet everything people say here about the importance of a slow taper is also true. So people like Ladybug and I are stuck in a Catch-22 where we have to taper super slowly, yet it seems that being on the drug is harming us and we are not likely to really start healing until we are off it. It's so hard to balance the need to go slowly with the need to be off the drug.

 

Did you know there is actually a psychic who specializes in helping people get off psychiatric drugs? Chaya Grossberg, she blogs at Mad in America. I might just ask her what to do about this taper, because I'm stumped. I'm sort of kidding, but sort of not....hell, I've tried everything else :)

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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Stan!! It's good to see you. I agree with your point. Withdrawal is not the only problem with these drugs. Just taking them at all damages the brain. So my situation now is that if I taper too fast, I get horrific crashes, but if I hold a dose long term I avoid the crashes but am still stuck in low-level anxiety and depression, derealization and severe agoraphobia that prevents me from living my life. That could all be "just me", but I wasn't like this before taking Paxil so I have to assume Paxil is a contributing factor. Paxil itself, not just withdrawal, because it doesn't get better no matter how long I stay on a dose.

And yet everything people say here about the importance of a slow taper is also true. So people like Ladybug and I are stuck in a Catch-22 where we have to taper super slowly, yet it seems that being on the drug is harming us and we are not likely to really start healing until we are off it. It's so hard to balance the need to go slowly with the need to be off the drug.Did you know there is actually a psychic who specializes in helping people get off psychiatric drugs? Chaya Grossberg, she blogs at Mad in America. I might just ask her what to do about this taper, because I'm stumped. I'm sort of kidding, but sort of not....hell, I've tried everything else :)

 

Yes!! It's awful to be in this predicament. So glad someone else gets it. I've often felt alone in all this. Usually, people that taper as slow as us are doing fine, functional with bearable WD symptoms. I often think "Well, what the hell is wrong with me then?" It also gets frustrating when I hear statements by Dr. Healy saying some people are unable to get off these drugs no matter how slow they go. I pray that is not the case. Like you said, we CAN'T just stay on the drug, because we are not stabilizing and not functioning how we need to. We are left with no other options but to keep going despite how we feel and pray that we are able to get to zero and will heal the further we get away from this poison. Here's hoping.

 

P.S. Would love to hear what the WD psychic says lol. That's a new one!

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Ladybug and Rachelina....I too have been on several support sites over the years and although I tried to get off Paxil a number of times and could not, I do know a handful of people who did.  It was the most difficult issue they encountered.  We still communicate and for one person in particular it has been three years paxil-free.

 

I can tell you what she did and maybe it can help.

 

For alot of people the lower the dose the tougher it can be.  This is what I have seen over the years.  It seems that once dipping below 10mgs. can cause heightened WD.

 

These two friends had to stay longer periods at the tiniest of doses.  One swore by Rescue Remedy by Bach Flowers and B vitamins.  The other just toughed it out but had to remain on longer holds at the smaller doses too.  Why?  I don't know...maybe it is just the 'nature of the beast'.

 

Is it like this for everyone....not necessarily.  I have a customer whose son could not get off Paxil at the lower doses.  He struggled with the last 5 mgs. and then just stopped.  He had a few bad weeks and then felt better. Go figure.

 

I, and this is just me, cringe at the thought of tapering for years on end.  I can drop more than 10% ~ feel horrible ~ and then at the 'eleventh hour' just when I think I am about to jump off the Jupiter Lighthouse, settle down and become embarrassed at how nutty I was.  Again......go figure.

 

Maybe another way to look at it is....OKay I am here, I have finally arrived at the very end...I am proud of myself for doing this and now I am at the point where the worst is over.  I only have another 1.5 or 2mgs.to go.....Thank you God."

 

In many cases we all seem to share alot of the same tapering and WD problems, but then again this is not a "one size fits all deal" either.

 

I wish I could give a definitive answer.  I know how frustrating this all is.  As with any public forum there are the controlling know it all's and then there are members who share experience, strength and hope.  There are people who are struggling so hard they can't give answers as they are searching themselves.  Alot of people, alot of personalities, alot of suggestions,

 

Sometimes it is best to read it all, and then just be your own best advocate.

 

I hope this can help to try and sort things out.  It "ain't easy".  That we can all agree on. :)

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you all so much for the comments. It's good to hear different perspectives; I posted here instead of PP because I already knew what they would say. I'll certainly take a long break from tapering; I think part of the problem is that the effects of each drop last months and months, so after tapering for a while I'm feeling many different drops all at once. A break will allow my brain to catch up.I like the idea of "growing a new brain"....that's exactly what this is, and realizing that helps me be patient with myself. Thanks for posting that.Rhi: I am using a scale. I tried liquid years ago, stopped after 9 days because it was so disgusting, then a month later (which is when withdrawal usually hits me) I had a HUGE awful wave. It could be coincidence but I'm afraid to try it again. Sometimes I'm tempted though, because weighing doses is a huge pain. Oh wait, did you mean I shouldn't just cut the pill in quarters when I'm on 2.5 mg, but should weigh each piece? I was really looking forward to a break from weighing. I was on 5 mg for many months and had no problem just cutting the pill in half. I suppose when you're cutting into more pieces the inaccuracy could increase.Ladybug, I will PM you soon, we have a lot in common and I would like to chat further. I'm also interested to see if anyone has a response to your last question.

 

That was what I meant, just "eyeballing" it isn't precise enough. The smaller the dose the more difference a small variation can make.  I'd say at least weigh the pieces at first until you're confident they're consistently the same or close enough too it.  Maybe once in a while weigh just to double check. Sounds like you're pretty experienced with using a scale. 

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

Stan!! It's good to see you. I agree with your point. Withdrawal is not the only problem with these drugs. Just taking them at all damages the brain. So my situation now is that if I taper too fast, I get horrific crashes, but if I hold a dose long term I avoid the crashes but am still stuck in low-level anxiety and depression, derealization and severe agoraphobia that prevents me from living my life. That could all be "just me", but I wasn't like this before taking Paxil so I have to assume Paxil is a contributing factor. Paxil itself, not just withdrawal, because it doesn't get better no matter how long I stay on a dose.

And yet everything people say here about the importance of a slow taper is also true. So people like Ladybug and I are stuck in a Catch-22 where we have to taper super slowly, yet it seems that being on the drug is harming us and we are not likely to really start healing until we are off it. It's so hard to balance the need to go slowly with the need to be off the drug.Did you know there is actually a psychic who specializes in helping people get off psychiatric drugs? Chaya Grossberg, she blogs at Mad in America. I might just ask her what to do about this taper, because I'm stumped. I'm sort of kidding, but sort of not....hell, I've tried everything else :)

 

Yes!! It's awful to be in this predicament. So glad someone else gets it. I've often felt alone in all this. Usually, people that taper as slow as us are doing fine, functional with bearable WD symptoms. I often think "Well, what the hell is wrong with me then?" It also gets frustrating when I hear statements by Dr. Healy saying some people are unable to get off these drugs no matter how slow they go. I pray that is not the case. Like you said, we CAN'T just stay on the drug, because we are not stabilizing and not functioning how we need to. We are left with no other options but to keep going despite how we feel and pray that we are able to get to zero and will heal the further we get away from this poison. Here's hoping.

 

P.S. Would love to hear what the WD psychic says lol. That's a new one!

 

 

Ladybug, I'm so sorry you're in this situation. Believe me, if I thought I had anything to offer you, I'd be offering it! There is so much that nobody understands about these drugs, and I'm incredibly frustrated that absolutely no good science is being done to try to understand them, given the cost in human suffering.

 

Your situation (not doing well with a slow taper) is so rare that I don't have enough experience with it to have any advice to give you. I'm sorry.

 

Rachelina, from what you've described, I'm not sure it's time to throw up your hands in despair yet. I think you might benefit from a long hold. I'm not convinced that holding at low doses causes brain damage and/or increased problems for the majority of people. That's not what I've seen happen to people I've worked with on this and other forums.

 

What you describe about yourself fits well a pattern that I often see of people tapering at a rate that worked okay at higher doses but is too fast at lower doses, getting ahead of their brain's ability to recover and remodel itself, and then as you say, the effects of prior cuts are still kicking in when you're still cutting, and you're going to be feeling that for a while as it plays out.

 

Unlike Ladybug's situation, people who get in this pickle usually respond well to a solid long healing hold, sometimes even a small updose. I'd sure try it before writing it off.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Welcome Rachelina.  I was palm on PP as an FYI.  I am sorry you are struggling so much but you have come to a good place for support.

 

Ladybug, I jumped off at 3mg of Doxepin which I know is contrary to most advice.  It just seemed my sleep was horrible being on it so I figured I might as well get rid of the med and my sleep did seem to improve momentarily. Unfortunately, what I didn't realize was I was dealing with unidagnosed sleep apnea which is a whole other discussion. Anyway, I honestly don't think I suffered any hard in doing what I did.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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Nikki: that was such a great post. Thanks so much.

 

Rhi: thanks for your input on my situation. I think a "solid long healing hold" is in order so that I will not be dealing with the cumulative WD of many drops. I do still feel that being on Paxil is doing some damage and preventing me from healing from my anxiety issues. I guess I don't know that for sure....as you say, no one is doing research on this. So we have to be our own scientists by sharing our experiences and seeing what conclusions can be drawn. It's such valuable work that people on these forums are doing and I hope I can contribute more someday.

 

Anyway, I have been feeling a lot better the past few days but I do still plan on taking a break from tapering, and then probably slowing down my taper somewhat, although I don't want to stretch it out for years. My priority is being able to take care of my son. I have to avoid these horrible crashes for his sake. If I didn't have him to worry about, I would probably try to get off faster and ride out whatever came up. But I don't have that option.

 

Hi Compsports! It's good to see you :)

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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  • 1 year later...

So, I have been in a bad wave for about a month now.  Really awful anxiety and depression, just feeling like I'm in a perpetual nervous breakdown.  I'm not really sure how much of it to attribute to withdrawal, though, because I'm also under an enormous amount of stress. I'm trapped in a house with people I do not get along with - I have a very hard time going out because of agoraphobia, and they never go out either for their own reasons. I can't even be outside because the yard is under two feet of snow. And apart from all that there's some serious chronic emotional pain related to family issues, and my 3 year old son who I care for basically 24/7.  Amidst all that, how the hell do I know what is withdrawal and what is just my life?? I lost my tapering data when Paxil Progress went down (my signature was the only place I kept it), but I do happen to remember that I was on 2.5 mg this time last year.  I dropped just 1.1 lousy mg in a year; surely that can't be tapering too fast?? And I was struggling then too, but I don't think it was this bad. But the family situation has gotten dramatically worse since then, so that could be why. I'm going to try seeing a therapist to work on the emotional stuff, so maybe that will help, and so will spring, if it ever comes.

 

OK, that was my update, now for the main reason I'm posting. I just switched to liquid Paxil!  I'm so scared. I haven't changed anything about my taper in years. I did try liquid once before, in 2009, when dropping from 10 to 9 mg. I took it for 9 days, but found the chemical taste of it so disgusting that I couldn't stomach it. I'm someone who eats pretty much all natural foods and it was hard for me to swallow all those chemicals on top of the actual Paxil. Then about a month after I switched (which is when I always start feeling the effects of any dosage change) I had a really bad crash. At the time I attributed it to the switch to liquid, because on PP there were people who said they couldn't tolerate liquid. But now I'm thinking - it could have been the drop itself, or the switch in manufacturer.

 

So, because my scale is driving me crazy and is probably totally inaccurate, and because I've read things on here about the cutting and weighing method being inaccurate anyway at the lower doses, and because my dose is now small enough that I don't care about the chemicals, I went ahead and switched to liquid.  Plus, this time I was taking generic pills made by Apotex, and they are also the manufacturer of liquid Paxil, so there shouldn't be any issue of switching between different generics. My question is this:  is it really possible to not "tolerate" liquid?  I'm not worried about having a reaction to one of the ingredients, I'm worried about not absorbing the Paxil somehow, but is that even possible? I'm just so nervous about this change given that I'm unstable to start with. Maybe it's a bad time to switch, but after my last time with that scale, I vowed never to use the damn thing again. It took me an hour to weigh a week's worth of doses - I don't have that kind of time to spend. And it was probably totally inaccurate. OK, if anyone can give me any reassurance about the switch, it would help so much.

Trying to get off Paxil since 2007. Was tapering by 0.1 mg every 4-5 weeks. Had awful crash in November 2015 at .5 mg; updosed gradually to 2 mg. 

 

Doing better and tapering again, much slower this time.  2016: Dropped from 2 mg to 1.62 mg.  2017:  1.62 mg to 1.2 mg. 2018: 1.2 mg to .76 mg. 2019: .76 mg to .56 mg. 2020: .56 mg to .33 mg. 2021: .33 mg to .13 mg. CURRENT DOSE: 7/11/22 .074 mg 

 

Started Klonopin in November 2015 to deal with crash. 1/10/16 started milk titration taper from .5 mg. Finished taper 12/6/17. Still take Klonopin for agoraphobia 2 - 3 times a week. 

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Hi Rachel,

 

I'm not sure what to advise about the liquid ... I do remember seeing people at PP say they couldn't tolerate it but as you said your reaction could just be from the drop.  Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will chime in.

 

I did want to say that I believe life stress has a huge impact on your withdrawal, and you're in a lot right now.  When I was in withdrawal I had a high maintenance and unsympathetic teenager to deal with, and I noticed that when she left for college, even though I had been dreading it for months, I had a marked improvement in my depressive episodes.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I really think having quiet time to myself had a lot to do with it.  I know this doesn't help you at the moment with your life stressors but I just want you to know that it isn't YOU, it's the situation.  I hope it gets better for you soon!

Paxil 20mg 1994-2005
Tried to quit twice, finally did it on my 3rd attempt in 2005.

I went from 20mg to zero in about four months, believing at the time that it was a reasonable taper.  It wasn't.  I suffered mostly emotional symptoms: frequent episodes of "anxious depression" lasting for about 17 months before it got noticeably better.

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