A Paxil Withdrawal Success Story

The Paxil was altering the way I thought – my thought processes were not me.”

My story has no tragic ending to it…THANK GOD!!!!

Pre-Paxil: I was experiencing severe anxiety (mostly physical sensations running through my body) along with just feeling NOT like myself. It was like someone else was walking around in my body instead of me – I had lost myself. My sense of well-being was totally destroyed… I could experience no comfort in anything – nothing. After an initial visit with a psychiatrist for 65 minutes, I was diagnosed with life-long depression (dysthymia) and now I had hit an even deeper depression. No reason why, just happened. I guess the years of raising two wonderful lively healthy sons, being married for over 25 years, active in volunteer work, working full time, seemingly well adjusted to this life with all it’s foibles and struggles…all counted for nothing.

So, I started taking Paxil.

Paxil days: I was so black inside – I could not be alone – I have NEVER been that way my entire life! My hands were shaking so bad I could hardly write. Interestingly the depression seemed to be subsiding – there was an indiscernible ‘lift’ – but I was still not myself. I fought anxiety and a feeling of desperation constantly!!! I told my husband numerous times how much I loved him and no matter what happens to me don’t ever forget that… Because sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to control the urge to kill myself. Someone suggested I see a peri-menopausal specialist – I may need estrogen. I am pushing 300% to just get through the day…

Paxil and estrogen days: After beginning the estrogen it only took a few days to “feel” myself coming back. YES! It is slow – but Lynda is coming back. However, I still shake – my sleep isn’t right – it’s not restful, no appetite, still feel overwhelmed in my thoughts, confused and hard to concentrate… but I can deal with all of that because my sense of well-being is returning. I want to stop the Paxil. It is altering the way I think.

Paxil withdrawal: My symptoms…horrible aches all throughout my body… I could hardly open and close my hands it was so painful. Felt like I had a huge case of the flu… confusion, inability to concentrate – worse than ever. I started experiencing the electrical zaps in my brain. Frightening! I was very, very dizzy. Ultra confused. I could hardly lift my head off of the pillow because the pain was so intense in my neck and head . I began experiencing stomach cramps and severe diarrhea. And the nightmares! They were horrible! VIVID bad dreams. And I could hardly handle the intensity of sights and sounds… I thought I was going crazy! I had to fight the intense feeling that I had to take more Paxil… and the intense feeling that I had to drink (I am a recovering alcoholic – 17 months sobriety)…

Day 10 of Paxil withdrawal – July 7th, 2003: Without a doubt I can say my brain is working better than it has in 6 months. I still have stomach cramps, dizziness, intense dreams, zapping sounds in my brain…. but I can finally say the total Lynda is almost back. The Paxil was altering the way I thought – my thought processes were not me. This is different than a sense of well-being . The sense of well-being was lost because of the hormone deficiency. I could never have handled the Paxil withdrawals had I not had my sense of well-being back. The altered way I was thinking was prompted by the Paxil.

Thankfully I never acted upon the suicide thoughts. Thankfully I never was violent (although I had to work extremely hard to control myself).

Lynda Frieden
LFRIEDEN@svbank.com

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