Kate’s Update 3/27/11 From Paxilprogress, a now defunct site
Please Read ~FULL RECOVERY STORY! ~ Have hope!
Dear Community ~
I am writing to let you know that I am totally, fully, 100% recovered from my experience with Paxil and other pharmaceuticals, and have been for over a year and a half! I am not sure recovery is even the right word, as I feel happier, healthier, and more alive than ever! My life has changed so much, that I feel like a very different person than the girl who began taking antidepressants and benzodiazepines for panic attacks and insomnia years ago, not to mention the totally spastic, obsessed nervous wreck who began posting her nightmares on paxilprogress when the pills brought me over the edge of sanity!! I barely recognize that person, in large part because it was not really 'me' -- it was me under the influence of some seriously gnarly stuff, stowing away on a runaway train of worry, disassociation, and fear. I am grateful to be free from that experience, and to have now reached the point where I can look back on it with compassion, forgiveness, and understanding...though I don't look back too often anymore!
I am now living a happy, slow-paced, peaceful life, feeling connected to nature and my own spirit, loving husband and my kids. (Yes! ~ I had my second child, born naturally at our birth center, this summer, and he is so beautiful!!) We have loads of friends, an active social calendar, and a big garden where we grow much of our food and herbs. We were able to buy a sweet home of our own, and my art helps pay the bills. It's such a blessing and I am thankful every single day -- ever day feels like an absolute gift, a chance to start over. Life goes on, and I am grateful. So, if you are currently suffering, or have been for a long time, please take heart -- you always have the ability and opportunity to heal.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Sometimes this means making drastic changes to how you live, work, and think, sometimes it requires changing your diet and the products you use, sometimes this means having patience and faith, sometimes it means forgiving yourself, moving on, and being open to life again but whatever it takes, don't be afraid -- you can get well!! You would never believe how bad off I was, and to look to me now, you would never know what I went through! (Many of my friends don't.) I think I was one of the 'worst cases' on here -- I had literally been on over fifteen psychiatric meds in two months (on and off paxil numerous times previously) as well as supplements with god-knows-what in them -- all of which, on top of that, I now know I was allergic to-- before totally losing my mind and having to quit everything all together. Also, on top of that, we had a baby to take care of, my husband lost his job, and we moved across the country in the dead of winter to a tiny apartment near my family, who did their best to help but ended up adding to the stress. I talked about suicide numerous times and tried to cut myself before my husband stopped me.
I was such a disaster that I could barely eat or drink, and when I did, I had crazy hot flashes, rapid heart palpitations, and feelings of being toally psychotic and out of my body. (This was due to an undiagnosed sulfite allergy...more about that later...) I had every single symptom described on here, as well as some weird ones I had never heard of before. I went to so many doctors, naturopaths, counselors, and 'healers' that I lost count, and the bills were almost as insane as I was. I lost my ability to care for my infant daughter, lost my job, my mind, my ability to drive, my self-respect, my capacity to think or speak in complete sentences, my memory, a handfull or friends, thousands of dollars, and about fifty or sixty pounds -- to the point where I looked anorexic and every bone in my chest and arms were visible. I also felt that I ahd lost my soul and personality, as I was totally detatched to the point of not even feeling a connection to my name.
My parents had to take care of me because I could barely function, and when they couldn't take it any more, my grandparents tried...then my husband...then my parents... There were points where I didn't eat for days, and didn't sleep for a month, except a few hours here or there. I was hospitalized once, and, thankfully, not again. In the end, (after about ten or eleven months) everyone just gave up, and I ended up holed up in my apartment for a month, sleeping on the couch at night, able to eat only rice and filtered water. Seriously!! While my husband went to work, I somehow took care of our toddler. I forced myself in my total sickness and craziness to be there for that little girl as best I could.
Thankfully, that is also the point where I began to heal, because I was finally forced to look within and rely on myself (even though I didn't even think I was in there!!!) for strength, and lean on God/spirit for guidance. In the end, there were no more chattering voices on a forum, no more family trying to intervene, no more doctors, homeopaths, naturopaths, or counselors -- it was just God and me, and thankfully, we figured it out. Once I turned that corner, I was able to learn Qi Gong meditation from a skilled teacher to help my body heal, and to get my runaway mind under control. It was all uphill frpom there!
One thing that I must mention is that what I assumed was 'withdrawal' was anything but -- and my healing was delayed by the assumptions I began to hold about what I was going through. (Many of which can, unfortunately, easily be reaffirmed, where we can tend to forget to look outside our tunnel. The hyperfocusing is very unhealthy, especially in the highly obsessive, fearful state most of us are in when we are on the forum. We talk about biochemistry of the body and brain as if we know exactly what's going on -- for instance -- labelling the symptoms I was having as 'serotonin induced' or a form or 'serotonin syndrome.' We have to learn that we don't always know, and take each others' words with an ounce of caution. Sometimes it's best to throw all our assumptions out the window, and open ourselves to the various possibilities for what is going on.)
I was actually suffering from an acute sulfite allergy! ...as well as a general hypersensitivity to industrial chemicals. The original panic attacks I had back in college were likely a result of this problem, and the subsequent horrid reactions I began to have to pharmaceutical drugs only compounded the situation. I did experience withdrawal from the meds, but the true, 'classic' withdrawal symptoms did not seem to last very long-- the lingering, horrid mess that followed was due to constant exposure to my senstitivity triggers. I have a feeling that this is true for many people -- I do not wish to diagnose anyone, but I hope my story may help someone on their healing journey.
I thought I was just allergic to everything. I tried all sorts of allergy treatments like NAET, etc. The reactions I had upon ingesting anything were so frightening, and, of course, to an outsider's perspective, they seemed a figment of my imagination. My counselor told me I was 'reacting' to food because I was anxious. My family, at times, even forced me to eat things I was allergic to, assuming my allergies were 'all in my head.' Then I tried cutting out the wrong foods -- gluten, dairy, salicylates, etc.
and got much worse because I was eating nothing but foods that were bad for me, and missing out on nutrition...
I lived in total paranoia and fear, and it took months, even as I began to heal, to learn to trust my food and body, and eat normally. The good news is, as soon as I stopped ingesting things with sulfites in them, I got better almost instantly! I take no supplements, no vitamins, nothing. Less is more for me! I eat a very simple diet, but it is nourishing and healthy, and I use a reverse osmosis filter for the additives in my water (Brita and other charcoal filters contain small amounts of sulfites in the charcoal!) These simple changes have been enough to support me to full health, ans also grow a healthy baby~! It took me so long to figure out what my problem was, and sulfites are in almost everything in the supermarket. There is so much hubbub about gluten nowadays that they label everything, and even overdiagnose people -- not so much with sulfites. Thankfully, there are some great lists online now, which give a good overview of what to avoid. I am so sensitive that I have to avoid even naturally occuring sulfites in onions, garlic, soy, chees, corn, chocololate, and brassica vegetables, as well as the 'usual suspects' for sulfites -- dried fruit, wine, beer, vinegar, corn syrup, molasses, refined products, etc.
I have to avoid all commercial soaps and beauty products as well, so we use a lot of castile soap around here! Previously, I would have thought it impossible to survive without these things -- it took serious effort to cut it all out and it takes work to make all my food from scratch, to grow and buy only organic food, and cook with the things my body handles best. But I feel GREAT, and that is 100% worth it. It has helped me to slow down my life and focus on simple pleasures, and be thankful for the food. I don't miss processed food at all. Also, I really like the things I can eat -- for instance, potatoes, carrots, fennel, homemade sourdough bread, rice, bulgur, butter, fresh fruit and berries, organic herbs, almond butter... so I am not hurting for tasty meals. I take no supplements whatsoever and have not taken any in over two years-- I use organic loose herb tea but that's it. It has made all the difference in my life -- I had a healthy pregnancy with my son and continue to feel great seven months postpartum, and my kids are doing wonderfully as well.
Anyhow, I didn't mean to go on for so long here! I have likely said enough for now -- mostly, I just want to let you know that healing is possible, that it may come from something you least expect, that it can happen very quickly, and until it happens, we need to love and forgive, find patience and peace where we can, and hang on.
We don't know everything -especially the future -- I never would have dreamed how good my future would be, and I am so glad to be here!
I am living a great life and you can, too!