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Kiddo1977: New Member - How I Got Here


Kiddo1977

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I'm a new member here and am looking for support and community while I continue to taper from Paxil and Ativan.

 

My story is a rather long one, but I will try and keep it short.

 

 

In 2001 I went to my doctor for advice on quitting smoking. I specifically asked for Zyban, as I had friends who used it and it worked. I was 24 years old. My doctor gave me the prescription and off I went. I took the medication for 3-4 months and stopped c/t. I had no idea that Zyban was actually Wellbutrin and that you aren't suppose to just stop taking an antidepressant. Of course I did realize this until many years later.

 

So the c/t left me with panic attacks, high anxiety, agoraphobia and depersonalization. I obviously thought I had some kind of psychotic break. My parents and fiancé were quite worried. I lost my job be ause i couldn't leave the house and I was worried that we would lose the house we just bought (we didn't). My parents took me to a psychiatrist who "diagnosed" me with Panic, Generalized Anxiety and OCD. That appointment would set me up for 14 years of medication. The psychiatrist prescribed 10mg of Paxil and sent me on my way. I never saw him again. My GP fulfilled my prescription for the next 14 years. After about 6 weeks on Paxil all the awful symptoms go away and I'm so relieved that I actually believed that I did in fact have a chemical imbalance that the medication had/was correcting. Looking back, Paxil just masked/fixed the cold turkey SNRI withdrawal.

 

Fast forward to 2007, I am married and I have 2 beautiful children. I "feel" like I'm happy but at a distance. I feel flat, I've gained a lot of weight (which I attributed to pregnancy), I'm tired/lethargic (chalked up to having young kids) and not overly interested in much at all. At this point I've been telling my doctor for years about these symptoms, along with restless legs/GI distress/headaches, and the dose was continually raised. At one point I was on 60mg (for about 6 months) but mostly spent the years at about 40mg.

 

In 2008 I left my husband. I was a wreck but knew it was the right thing to do. I also had decided I wanted off Paxil to go with my fresh start. I believed the weight gain and lethargy was from the Paxil and was ready to dump it. Over the course of 2 years I "tapered" as per doctors instructions, which always proved to fast. My slowest taper was 6 months. I always had intense symptoms which my doctor told me was my original "condition".

 

Late 2011 I found PaxilProgress and realized what was happening. I was relieved, scared, angry and for te first time in years.....hopeful. Unfortunately, I had just made a large drop from 40mg to 20mg. So I updosed to 30mg and held for 6 months to stabilize. Stabilization eventually happened but it took awhile. By this time I had found a new doctor who supported my new taper plan (10% every 4-6 weeks using a compounding pharmacy). The unfortunate part was that he prescribed me Ativan, as needed, while I was stabilizing. As educated as I had become in AD's I had no clue what benzodiazepines were

 

For two years I took Ativan PRN (2-3x per week) while tapering Paxil. In 15 months I was down to 15mg and functioning relatively well. I was able to continue working, continue all my sports (hockey, yoga), actively engage in parenting, and get married. I was however experiencing a lot of anxiety again, increase in GI upset, blurry vision, dizzy spells, existential thoughts, depression, etc. I figured it was just the natural course of Paxil withdrawal. I figured it was getting harder the lower I got in dose. Hindsight is 20/20 though because I now firmly believe I was having interdose w/d from the Ativan.

 

In Jan 2014 I was hospitalized for a leg injury and prescribed 2mg Ativan DAILY as a (leg) muscle relaxer and to sleep. The day after my discharge I experienced the most horrific w/d. For me, Paxil w/d was a walk in the park compared to being cold turkeyed off a benzo. I was flooded with suicide ideation, I couldn't stop crying, heavy DP/DR, incredible muscle tension, migraines, vibrations, tremors, undulating, sweats, agoraphobia, panic attacks....the list is endless. My doctor immediately told me to start taking my Ativan everyday like the hospital had done. In his defence, he was afraid for me, and didn't know what to do. He wanted me to go back up to 30mg on my Paxil and I refused.

 

So here I am.....a year later. I stabilized back on the Ativan, found BenzoBuddies and I've tapered from 2mg to .37mg of Ativan and it's been a much bigger challenge than my Paxil taper ever was. I feel weary, battle fatigued and plain old worn out. My Paxil taper has been on hold for the last year so I am still at 15mg. I'm terrified of what my future holds. Suffering is getting really tiring.

 

I guess I shouldn't have tried to quit smoking!!! Lol.

2001 - Zyban/Wellbutrin to quit smoking. Quit c/t and suffered with terrible anxiety/panic attacks/agoraphobia. No prior history of mental health issues. Went to see a pdoc, "diagnosed" with GAD/Panic Disorder and put on 10mg Paxil.
2007 - over the years dose raised to 60mg (about 6 months) but mostly 5 years at 40mg.
2008-2010 - numerous attempts to "taper", always too fast. Couldn't handle the symptoms so believed I "needed" meds.
Late 2011 - found PaxilProgress and realized what was happening. But had just made a large drop from 40mg to 20mg. Updosed to 30mg and held for 6 months to stabilize. Prescribed Ativan PRN for breakthrough panic while stabilizing.
Dec 2013 - down to 15mg tapering 10% per month with compounded capsules
Jan 2014 - hospitalized for a leg injury and prescribed 2mg Ativan DAILY as a (leg) muscle relaxer and to sleep. Horrific w/d after leaving hospital. Reinstated and began a taper. Paxil taper on hold.
Aug 2015 - FREE of Benzo's. 15mg Paxil

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Kiddo, welcome to SA. You really have been through the wringer haven't you? Sadly ADs are dressed up

in camouflage for all kinds of things and it shouldn't be happening! It is just wrong that people aren't being told 

what they are being given. Ok rant over, we all know that and feel it so I don't really need to get on my soap

box here but it's hard not to sometimes.  :blush:

 

There are lots of fellow paxil progress members here, I'm sure they will be along to welcome you too. We also

have a members only benzo topic that you might be interested in.  You will get to the end of your tapers 

eventually, every day is one day closer and we are all here to support you along the way. 

**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 MammaP - is there somewhere I can go to learn how to navigate the forum more thoroughly?

2001 - Zyban/Wellbutrin to quit smoking. Quit c/t and suffered with terrible anxiety/panic attacks/agoraphobia. No prior history of mental health issues. Went to see a pdoc, "diagnosed" with GAD/Panic Disorder and put on 10mg Paxil.
2007 - over the years dose raised to 60mg (about 6 months) but mostly 5 years at 40mg.
2008-2010 - numerous attempts to "taper", always too fast. Couldn't handle the symptoms so believed I "needed" meds.
Late 2011 - found PaxilProgress and realized what was happening. But had just made a large drop from 40mg to 20mg. Updosed to 30mg and held for 6 months to stabilize. Prescribed Ativan PRN for breakthrough panic while stabilizing.
Dec 2013 - down to 15mg tapering 10% per month with compounded capsules
Jan 2014 - hospitalized for a leg injury and prescribed 2mg Ativan DAILY as a (leg) muscle relaxer and to sleep. Horrific w/d after leaving hospital. Reinstated and began a taper. Paxil taper on hold.
Aug 2015 - FREE of Benzo's. 15mg Paxil

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Reading your story is heart wrenching (and makes me deeply angry) I'm so sorry it's been so hideous for you as well as such a disturbing common story here :'(

 

You're doing so well to taper to what you're on now!!

 

Drug history

  • 20mg paxil in 2001 - 4 months use  
  • 20mg paxil in 2003 - 2 months use 
  • 20mg paxil in 2008 - 8 years continuous

Withdrawal history:

  • March 2014 - disastrous alternate day taper
  • Jan 2015 - 15mg to 10mg. Disaster
  • Sept 2015 -  10mg to 5mg. Disaster. Reinstated to 6mg. Relief
  • Oct 2015 - started slow 10% taper 
  • Oct 2016 - at 4mg- stop taking paxil (not recommended)

 

I'm not a medical professional. Seek advice from a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you MammaP - is there somewhere I can go to learn how to navigate the forum more thoroughly?

Hi kiddo and welcome. This might help with navigation questions http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/246-how-to-use-this-site-questions-and-answers/

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • 9 months later...

Hello (anyone :ph34r: ),

 

I don't know if I'm posting to myself right now or others can see this? Sorry still learning how to navigate this forum. I'm 2.5 months free from my benzo taper and doing "okay". I'd like to get all my ducks in a row to prepare to resume my Paxil taper.

 

I have some questions an was hoping someone (anyone) could answer them and/or give me some feedback.

 

1. How long should I wait before starting my Paxil taper? I was thinking minimum 6 months provided I don't hit a big wave in post (benzo) withdrawal.

2. What are most people's experience with "feeling" a cut when they taper? 4 days, a week? I can't remember and I'd like to plan accordingly. 

 

Thanks :)

2001 - Zyban/Wellbutrin to quit smoking. Quit c/t and suffered with terrible anxiety/panic attacks/agoraphobia. No prior history of mental health issues. Went to see a pdoc, "diagnosed" with GAD/Panic Disorder and put on 10mg Paxil.
2007 - over the years dose raised to 60mg (about 6 months) but mostly 5 years at 40mg.
2008-2010 - numerous attempts to "taper", always too fast. Couldn't handle the symptoms so believed I "needed" meds.
Late 2011 - found PaxilProgress and realized what was happening. But had just made a large drop from 40mg to 20mg. Updosed to 30mg and held for 6 months to stabilize. Prescribed Ativan PRN for breakthrough panic while stabilizing.
Dec 2013 - down to 15mg tapering 10% per month with compounded capsules
Jan 2014 - hospitalized for a leg injury and prescribed 2mg Ativan DAILY as a (leg) muscle relaxer and to sleep. Horrific w/d after leaving hospital. Reinstated and began a taper. Paxil taper on hold.
Aug 2015 - FREE of Benzo's. 15mg Paxil

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

 

I don't know if I'm posting to myself right now or others can see this? Sorry still learning how to navigate this forum. I'm 2.5 months free from my benzo taper and doing "okay". I'd like to get all my ducks in a row to prepare to resume my Paxil taper.

 

I have some questions an was hoping someone (anyone) could answer them and/or give me some feedback.

 

1. How long should I wait before starting my Paxil taper? I was thinking minimum 6 months provided I don't hit a big wave in post (benzo) withdrawal.

2. What are most people's experience with "feeling" a cut when they taper? 4 days, a week? I can't remember and I'd like to plan accordingly.

 

Thanks :)

2001 - Zyban/Wellbutrin to quit smoking. Quit c/t and suffered with terrible anxiety/panic attacks/agoraphobia. No prior history of mental health issues. Went to see a pdoc, "diagnosed" with GAD/Panic Disorder and put on 10mg Paxil.
2007 - over the years dose raised to 60mg (about 6 months) but mostly 5 years at 40mg.
2008-2010 - numerous attempts to "taper", always too fast. Couldn't handle the symptoms so believed I "needed" meds.
Late 2011 - found PaxilProgress and realized what was happening. But had just made a large drop from 40mg to 20mg. Updosed to 30mg and held for 6 months to stabilize. Prescribed Ativan PRN for breakthrough panic while stabilizing.
Dec 2013 - down to 15mg tapering 10% per month with compounded capsules
Jan 2014 - hospitalized for a leg injury and prescribed 2mg Ativan DAILY as a (leg) muscle relaxer and to sleep. Horrific w/d after leaving hospital. Reinstated and began a taper. Paxil taper on hold.
Aug 2015 - FREE of Benzo's. 15mg Paxil

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  • Moderator

Hi Kiddo--  Welcome to the group.  It's nice to see that you have things under control and are making the effort to preplan your next moves.  We always recommend that someone wait a good long time between drugs when they taper.  Listening to your body is the most important part, when you're ready it will tell you.  If you're doing "ok" at 2.5 months waiting a full 6 months should put you in a good place to start.

 

As for how long it takes for the symptoms to hit, well....  every person and every drop is individual in their reactions and predicting patterns is next to impossible.  There are some trends that I have seen with my own taper and with others.  It takes four days for a dose change, either up or down, to become steady state in the blood.  For me, I usually feel some effect by the second or third day, they build and peak, then decrease until the fifth week and are usually stabilized to WDnormal by the end of the sixth.  Many people I have talked with follow a similar pattern.  But again each individual and each drop is different.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Hi Kiddo- welcome aboard :-) I would just like to echo what Brassmonkey said above about listening to your body  it is different for each of us so its important to take it steady and see how you feel. Im on Paxil and for me personally I usual feel okay for the first week after a reduction and then around day 8/9 I get hit with symptoms, usually dizziness/unsteadiness and feeling generally off. Those symptoms for me can last off and on for a good few weeks sometimes longer. I wait until those symptoms ease off before I attempt the next drop. Im told though that my situation is quite unusual in that a lot of people feel withdrawal symptoms a couple of days after reducing the dose but somehow for me it tends to be a little more of a delayed reaction. Ive had to taper really slowly particularly over the last year or so as I had some unpleasant symptoms but again everyone is different- so listen to your body and dont rush it. I also try to work my life around my taper as much as I can- for example if I know I have an important event coming up or I need to be somewhere I wont schedule a taper around that time, this can be a bit tricky but over time you find a way to make it work for you! Good luck with it all and keep us posted on how things go as and when you begin your taper. 

2002 started 20mg Seroxat for anxiety. Attempted 1st withdrawal in Autumn of 2006. Went to 0 in around a month-hell. Massive crash. Reinstated.

 

May 2013 started 10% taper with liquid seroxat as follows:

May 2013- 18mg                Aug 2015- 7.7mg           Jan 2017- 3.2mg

July 2013- 16.2mg             Oct 2015 -7mg               (This is where it gets a bit hazy..

Aug 2013- 14.6mg             Nov 2015- 6.4mg            I continued to do a slow wean but

Oct 2013- 13.2mg              Jan 2016- 5.6mg            didn't keep records of all my further

Jan 2014- 11.8mg              Mar 2016- 5.2mg           reductions, have filled in what I remember)

March 2014-10.6mg          May 2016- 4.6mg          Aug 2018- 0.8mg

May 2014- 9.6mg               July 2016- 4.2mg          June 2019- 0mg

Dec 2014-8.6mg                 Nov 2016- 3.6mg         

 

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  • Administrator

Kiddo, I moved your posts here to your Intro topic, to keep your tapering history all in one place.

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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