aberdeen

☼ Aberdeen's recovery from Effexor and now a Paxil taper

381 posts in this topic

Hi everyone! I'll update my signature later but basically my long story made short for now...is that in the beginning of 2010 Effexor began to poop out after 5 years of slowly increasing dosages. I was having intense anxiety and derealization and the only explanation my Dr had was that it was the effexor and it was time to come off. He tapered me from 262.mg over 3 months while adding a small dose of Celexa a bit at a time.
 
A month after being done Effexor and being on 40mg of Celexa, I had a significant, sudden, awful experience. Massive anxiety, derealization and suicidal awful confused and dark thoughts. Akathesia so bad i could not sit still and had to walk fast, or keep pacing in the house. I cut my dose in half that night and immediately felt relief from the suicidal thoughts and terror. The anxiety and chills, unreality or derealization disconnect, nausea, diarrhea and shakes, lasted for another 7 months with no relief, even while we attempted Ciprolex and eventually Paxil.
 
I lost 30 pounds during that 7 months and truly thought my life and self as I had known it, were over. I finally began to stabilize and then decided it was time to get off all SSRI's. I was originally given meds to combat post partum depression and by now I figured that was in the past and my Dr agreed, it was time to get off everything.
 
I am now tapering my paxil very slowly, and am down from 20mg to 10mg. In the meantime i still get these waves of intense anxiety, akathesia, chills, shakes, diarrhea and nausea, and a sense of profound unreality that come over me. these spells last about 2 months, and then fade and I'm left feeling pretty good, with the exception of dulled emotions and no motivation. I figure that might be from the Paxil, while the stronger waves of symptoms are still from coming off effexor too fast 21 months ago.
 
I haven't had one of these intense waves since July, but since then have had milder versions of them, that are shorter. Considering that I'm 21 months out, maybe it's time the waves are going to get milder and easier to handle now, I'm hopeful for that! I find when I taper my paxil i do have symptoms but they aren't as strong as these other waves I get, and have had since coming off the effexor (even prior to tapering paxil). maybe this will make more sense when I create a signature,lol ...Either way, i feel SO much better now than i did even last year.
 
I have full faith that I will eventually recover 100% and also finish this paxil taper and get back to my life. This has been a very long and frightening 3 years, and i am so looking forward to being me again! If I could change anything I would say I should have reinstated my original medication when w/d hit, and then come off much slower. However, we had no idea what the issue was, so we tried different meds instead, and that was not the answer. But here's to a new year and a new journey, with healing every step of the way.

Edited by scallywag
fixed paragraph breaks

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K so maybe it wasn't a short story afterall,lol, but there it is!

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Welcome, Aberdeen.

 

Yes, you can still have withdrawal symptoms from one antidepressant even though you're taking another, and it sounds like that's what you're dealing with now.

 

The Effexor withdrawal symptoms, however, are not separate from the Paxil withdrawal symptoms. They all take place in the same nervous system, which was initially sensitized by the Effexor withdrawal.

 

It's best to decrease the Paxil carefully so as not to make the nervous system instability worse. We suggest 10% per month decreases, calculated on the last dosage.

 

How have you been decreasing Paxil?

 

You may be interested in this topic about tapering Paxil http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/405-tips-for-tapering-off-paxil-paroxetine/

 

PS Please use paragraph breaks, they make long posts easier to read.

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Thanks for the welcome! I have tried to do the paxil thing quite slowly...I did 1.25mg drops from 20mg up to now. I did it maybe once a month, once time I did a 3 week break and several times waiting up to 8 weeks, and during a bad 2 month wave i didn't taper at all. I've heard that 10percent is a good way to start, but to do that now I'm going to have to get technical, a splitter isn't doing so well now. I've heard that a scale can be used, and I'll have to buy one as I don't have it yet. I have been having mild forms of symptoms lately, and so I'm not going to taper again until the new year. My last drop from 11.25mg to get to 10mg was on Nov 6.

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That sounds like a reasonable rate of taper. Yet, you still did suffer some nervous system upset, that shows how sensitive it is to even small reductions.

 

Please read the link up above. Paxil comes in a liquid. All you need is a prescription for it. This makes tapering a LOT easier.

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I'm not able to get liquid here, I have asked around. But crushing and weighing might work no? I have no idea what to expect as I get lower in dose....I think the farther from my first w/d scenario I get, the less complicated my taper will be and I'll be able to listen to my body better. THis whole thing can be so frustrating!!

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Welcome to the forums Aberdeen (waves) I thought perhaps you were a Scot when I saw your name but see you're from Canada.

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Hi Aberdeen!! United we stand!!!

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Hi Aberdeen, glad you found this place! :)

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Paxil liquid is available by prescription in Canada. The pharmacy may need to order it.

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It is available here/ My Dr and pharmacist both said it wasn't. I'll have to check. I wonder if switching would complicate things though....from pills to liquid. Hi jr and iggy, and no I'm not a scot,lol. My hubby and his family are though! I actually use 'aberdeen" as my username because it is part of my email address and it's part of my email address because when I opened my email account I lived on aberdeen st...lol...not very glamorous is it...but I thought the street had a nice name so i go with that. I'll dig further about the liquid paxil in teh meantime. Either that or get a scale. I can't get smaller anymore without doing something!

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Welcome, aberdeen! You have such a great attitude toward recovery that I'm sure you're going to be an asset to this forum and an eventual recovery success story. I look forward to your posts. :)

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Thank you Jemima, I don't always have agreat attitude that's for sure. Sometimes I'm so scared. When a wave hits, anxiety will wake me up at 5am and horror goes through my mind, it just runs and runs and I get chills, diarrhea and nausea, dizziness and this awful sense that I'm not in my own familiar surroundings, have to force myself to do normal things to remember that I'm still in my usual environment (I guess thats the derealization), I feel light years away from my old life and home when I get that way. I used to get it for about 2 months straight and then in would level off. It seems to occur every few months, ever since quitting effexor. The last one started in July. In between them I have totally numb emotions, irritability and total loss of joy or pleasure for my passions. But I still prefer that to how I feel in a wave. I have done so much reading of others experiences, and it seems to really imrove after that first or second year...and i'm almost 2 years off so i hope the worst of that stage of recovery is soon behind me and i can focus on my paxil taper!

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it just runs and runs

 

Literally! :lol:

 

I can definitely relate to the waves of anxiety and the dead periods in between, although I think I myself prefer the anxiety if I had to pick between the two. Hang in there!

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Oh you are brave pg....I hate the anxiety so much. However, I am so tired of feeling flat too. i have two children ages 6 and 8 and i miss laughter from teh heart and FEELING with them. I'm sure they don't even realize that they have a better Mommy in there somewhere. This whole ordeal has gone on so long i really have missed out on so much of their growing bigger, and I have to struggle not to let anger consume me because that is just so unfair. But i know things and situations in life are never perfect and things could be a LOT worse....and in light of what happened at the school in the US I look at my little ones the same age as those babies that were killed and know life could be so much worse and then I get back up and keep going. But I am tired out sometimes. I do believe the worst is over for me now that I have so much knowledge, and the worst is hopefully behind me. Onwards and upwards!

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Suggest you stabilize a bit -- hold on the reductions -- and let your nervous system adjust to the changes you've made so far in your Paxil dosage.

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I don't plan on anymore reductions until after Christmas. That will be about 8 weeks or more since my last taper. I wonder though, the anhedonia came along when i started Paxil over a year ago.As you can see in my signature there were a few other meds prior, including the years I was on effexor, and yet I never experienced anhedonia, not even in early withdrawal...that is what makes me impatient to be finished with the paxil.

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Understood! Yet it could be a relic of the Effexor withdrawal syndrome.

 

Go easy and best for the holidays to you.

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Thanks, you too! i appreciate the word of caution.I don;t want to rush it...

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Oh you are brave pg....I hate the anxiety so much. However, I am so tired of feeling flat too. i have two children ages 6 and 8 and i miss laughter from teh heart and FEELING with them. I'm sure they don't even realize that they have a better Mommy in there somewhere. This whole ordeal has gone on so long i really have missed out on so much of their growing bigger, and I have to struggle not to let anger consume me because that is just so unfair. But i know things and situations in life are never perfect and things could be a LOT worse....and in light of what happened at the school in the US I look at my little ones the same age as those babies that were killed and know life could be so much worse and then I get back up and keep going. But I am tired out sometimes. I do believe the worst is over for me now that I have so much knowledge, and the worst is hopefully behind me. Onwards and upwards!

 

Yes, it could always be worse. I hope the holidays go well for you.

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Yes, it could always be worse. I hope the holidays go well for you.

 

What a great reminder and something I wish I properly internalized at the outset.

 

I think of my own legs. If I lost a leg, that'd make life considerably worse. And still then I could lose the other.

 

Until I die, I will always be capable of change; nothing stays the same. I forget that change can go either direction.

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It's so true,lol, we assume nothing will change if it's bad...but that everything could change for the worse when it's good. Change can go any direction, and the worse things are the better thae chance that change will be in the good direction.

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If things can go either way, might as well expect the positive -- no need to add anticipation of disaster to your troubles.

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Just a little update. I have reached 6.6mg in my paxil taper, and aside from a bit of a rought patch for the last few weeks, it's been good! I hit a patch of morning anxiety, derealization and generally just a blah mood. However, around the same time, i noticed that some of the continuous anhedonia i have had for 2 years, has started lifting! I have had moments of sorrow and joy and peace, and they are like coming home after a long journey. I can't put a finger on it, but it's a subtle yet no so subtle shift in how things appear, like adding colour to a black and white photo. So I just wanted to pop in and say that even though things have been rough, the healing continues. I hope you are all doing well also!

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Aberdeen, I'm glad your anhedonia has started lifting! I am happy to hear that.

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Thanks for dropping in with the update! Glad to hear you're getting yourself back.

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Speaking as someone who is still experiencing anhedonia after nineteen months off a too-fast taper off Lexapro, this is encouraging indeed.  Thanks for checking in and getting us up to speed.

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Hello everyone, I'm another former PP member. I joined here quite a while back when the PP forum got wobbly and I thought I started a journal here, but I can't find it now. 

I will post more and update my signature soon, but in a nutshell, I came off Effexor too fast after a hideous poopout reaction, switched meds a few more times, then settled into a 10%/4-5 week taper regime to get off paxil (the last drug I finally switched to).Its now been almost 4 years since ditching Effexor and starting this journey with the other meds and the taper. I am doing so much better. I still get waves but they are mild and manageable and (hopefully) have more to do with my tapering Paxil, than and residual effects from the first assualt..though sadly I realize that is a very real possibility also. I am currently taking 1.7mg Paxil and due to drop to 1.5mg soon. 

I notice in these lower dosages, that the effects from my drop seem to take long to hit me, and do so more at the 2-3 week point rather than in the first week. My main ongoing problem is anhedonia and irritability. The irritability takes on new levels for 2 weeks a months prior to my periods. My wave symptoms are anxiety esp in the morning, heavier version of the typical anhedonia, DR and confusion and slow cognition, and sometimes depression. I will post my original story when I have time, because its so helpful to see how much I have improved. It happens. VERY slowly, but it happens. We get better. I plan to taper to 1.5, then 1.3 to 1.2, to 1.1, to 1.0...and from there Im just not sure at all. I might go to .5mg, or even throw in a .8mg I have no idea yet. I just know that by this time next year, I should be med free, and i pray every day that this brings more healing from the anhedonia, which has stolen so much of me. I will write more later, and add some old posts I have kept.

Merry christmas! Looking forward to new beginnings here on SA and so grateful to the nice mods here. Glad to be around!

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Aberdeen!  Good to see you here.  I feel like the family is all back together now :)

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Merry Christmas, Aberdeen!  And wishing you lots of healing in the New Year.

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Welcome back Aberdeen, I found your original post and merged the 2  threads. It's good to see that your paxil taper is

going well after such a rocky start with the effexor taper. I'm tapering effexor and the last 1mg has been a bit of a pain 

but I am getting there and will be free when my brain tells me it's time  :)

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Thanks!!! I knew I had a thread somewhere!! I sure wish Id tapered my Effexor right, and it must be technically (not mentally Im sure) easy because its little balls! Do you just take one ball out? How does that work? 

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Update on how Ive been doing....last Friday I had a strange thing happen, I was driving to work and I suddenly got bombarded with half formed thoughts, scraps of dreams, memories, or deja vue snippets all rolled into one, each one just far enough below the surface to avoid being identified, yet strong enough to make me stop and try to pull it up...I was driving fine, yet totally NOT in the moment...and these "thoughts" (not really thoughts in the normal sense) were coming at me fast, one after another, just as I almost pulled it up it would stop and the next new one would come on. I was actually getting scared. It was a new experience so far. I got to work and felt very off. Had to purposefully make myself talk as I typically do, about subjects I typically do because the unreality was so big. After a while i noticed a migraine setting in. Im going to assume it was a variant of normal migraine "aura"? i know weird stuff can happen before migraines. But the yucky part is the DR that followed has hung on for a week now. I just have to hold tight and let it pass, every other weird thing has passed. That was odd. Im also waiting on this weeks drop from 1.7mg to 1.5mg because I dont want to rock the boat. 

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I'm sorry that happened to you, it does sound scary! You know I seem to recall a few people on PP having similar experiences. I can't remember exactly who it was but I think Jopro might have been one of the people. From what I remember it usually happened to them while they were trying to sleep, all of a sudden snippets of memories, images, etc. would come rushing at them at once. So it could definitely be another WD symptom but, like you said, it could also be atrributed to a migraine aura. Maybe it's a bit of both? I hope you start to feel more "WD normal" soon.

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Thank lady bug...omg change ur name nack and bring back the black and white critter, whaaaaaaa....lol. I hate change. LOL.

i think it was a combo too....migraine and what a wd brain did with it. I've had racy thoughts before but these werent "thoughts". It was like deja ue, a feeling of "oh! where was that and what was that and what am I recalling"...and its on the tip of your mind...and then...gone. Like recalling a dream and its evaporating before you can form words for it. That too is normal...but the flipping of one after another, and for almost half an hour straight while driving, not even as if i were lying in bed half awake......it freaked me out. Thought I was past new and weird wd stuff,lol.

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