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Hazel

Hazel: struggling with Paxil to Prozac bridge

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Hazel

I will hold till things settle down.  The morning anxiety is typical for me.  It’s been this way for months.  Some mornings are better than others and this one was not good.  I can’t say I’ve noticed a big improvement in holding the past 4 months.  I’m not sure I will stabilize on the Paxil since I was never stable on it to begin with.  I was on Zoloft for years and switched to Paxil after a bad 10 week experience with Lexapro.  I will hold 2 weeks between drops and if feeling okay will lower by .1.  I think that is being pretty cautious.  I will hold longer in between if needed.  I just want to make some progress in getting off this medication.  I will definitely go slow.

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grandmaD
23 hours ago, Hazel said:

. Have you found a natural supplement that works for sleep?  I have tried several, but none that really seem to work.

Nothing I tried from Chemist worked.  Here is a list of herbs, but some people are very wary of herbs, so I suggest you do some research to be sure you are content to try them: 

 

Lavender - (1 tsp/1 cup - never tried it and not done any research.  You can brew it and put it in the bath, tried that but forgotten now if helped

Lemon Balm - (1 tab/1cup) - been using this many years.  It is mainly for palpitations, which is one of the reasons I cannot sleep, my heart pounds into the bed, drives me crazy and then it flips and flops!  I do believe it helps with palpitations and therefore with sleep.  It is also good for the nervous system.

You can have it 3-4 times a day but they say give it a rest after a few weeks.  I have it growing in the garden.

Basil - 1tsp/1cup - nervine and for stomach cramps, sipped slowly - never tried this one or done research on it

Thyme - 1tsp/1cup - more of an anti-inflammatory

Valerian - for insomnia, headaches and palpitations - tried the strong one from Chemist to no avail

Ghinko - eases anxiety, increases blood to brain - did try a few leaves off my tree once!  Can't remember result

Borage - 1 tab/1 cup - for nervous exhaustion, 2-3 times daily in small drafts - a friend gave me some seedlings in winter which are now flowering, so I am giving this a try.  I started last night but I still had mild insomnia but the palpitations were worse.  I will try it throughout the day in small doses, and let it build up and see how I go tonight.

 

Watch for things that increase anxiety - have you read the thread about insomnia on the site?  About no tv, screens, computer, etc 2 hours before bed.  I do know that sugar can cause anxiety - and that may have been my problem last night.  I don't eat sugar at all, zero.  My friend made my some scones with 1/2 the amount of sugar, but I went and put golden syrup on it, didn't I!  I am a sucker for golden syrup!  Fruit juice is high in sugar, watch that one.

 

 

 

 

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Hazel

Thanks for that info grandmaD.  To answer your earlier question, it gives me anxiety just thinking about staying on these meds.  If I felt good I probably would just stay on them because I work and have 3 children 13 and under.  I need to be able to function and I think that makes this even more difficult.  I get what you’re saying though about tricking my brain.  I am open to holding longer.  I just worry that I won’t stabilize on Paxil since Zoloft is what I had been on for over 13 years before my doctor switched me since the Zoloft wasn’t working as well.  I have never been stable on Paxil, do you think I will be able to in time?  I know it is all so difficult to predict.  I guess I just need to take it day by day and give myself time to feel better before making any changes.  I really appreciate your feedback😊

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grandmaD

Just wanted to get back to you on the borage tea - I took it only 2 days and saw an increase in palpitations with 2-3 hours of insomnia last night, palpitations and intrusive thoughts, so I'm not taking any more.  I am "Sleepytime" tea and chamomile, you might like to try them, but I think you need A LOT, so drinking it all through the day helps and then just before bedtime.  I think I may have an allergy to chamomile thought, as I get blocked sinus.

 

It does say borage is for nervous exhaustion, which is why I took it - tired, lethargic, exhausted, fatigue - and I think it has helped give me some more energy so i wouldn't be surprised if it is a stimulant.  But I am not taking it to get more energy if I can't sleep at night!

 

By the way, I looked the other herbs up and most didn't say, but it does say lavender is a stimulant, which is interesting since they sell it these days to calm you down.

 

In the end when I went back over those herbs, the only ones specifically for insomnia were lemon balm, valerian and hops.  I have seen hops as an ingredient in some of the ones they sell at the chemist.  I tried them, but perhaps not strong enough as didn't work. 

 

Let me know if you find something that works, that is healthy!

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grandmaD
On 11/14/2017 at 10:57 AM, Hazel said:

To answer your earlier question, it gives me anxiety just thinking about staying on these meds.

I can understand that, it was just an idea?  I can't come at it either!

 I am open to holding longer.

Sometimes is a matter of trial and error

   I have never been stable on Paxil, do you think I will be able to in time?  

Why did you go from Paxil to Prozac?  How long were you on Prozac?  Sorry, I have read your journal in past, but cannot remember what I've had for breakfast!

I know it is all so difficult to predict.

Yep, it's crazy

 

 

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Hazel

I went from Paxil to Prozac in hopes of having an easier taper, but Prozac made me super anxious so I went back to Paxil.  I was only on the Prozac for maybe 2 weeks, but long enough to decide it was not for me.  I believe I was very sensitized at that point from switching from Zoloft to Lexapro to Paxil in search for an SSRI that “worked”.  That was all before I found this site.  I wish I would have found this site before going off the Zoloft.  I was on that one the longest and probably would have done best tapering from it.  I plan to stay on Paxil because I am too nervous to try switching again after my bad experiences with Lexapro and Prozac. 

I enjoy drinking chamomile tea and have another one that helps with sleep.  I don’t typically have a problem falling asleep, it is staying asleep that is a problem for me.  I have been taking milk peptides or lactium for sleep and finds that it seems to help a little.  Nothing I’ve tried to this point has worked great.  Some things seem to help for a night or two and then I go back to waking early.  I also take melatonin before bed.  I have tried so many things, but think it will just take time for my body/brain to sort things out.  I will definitely let you know if I find something that works long-term!

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grandmaD

I think you will find that the 2 weeks switch from Paxil to Prozac the cause of the anxiety was w/d from Paxil and not the Prozac.  Same thing happened to me with switches to several other a/d's (Lexapro was one of them).  I knew nothing at that time, sow always went back to paxil and was okay again.  I blamed the other a/d's but now I know better!

 

The chamomile and sleepytime certainly didn't do any harm yesterday, but the anxiety and palpitations were still high at bedtime, so I had my lemon balm tea and it certainly helped, and the palpitations were gone at bedtime and the anxiety was down to mild, so I slept much better, back to my usual pattern.

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Hazel

I wanted to post an update.  I had been feeling pretty good for several weeks there, and so thought I could get away with having a small glass of wine at a social gathering this past Saturday night.  Well, I am definitely paying for it now, and I didn’t even finish the whole glass!  I never thought such a small amount of alcohol would set me back this far but it has.  I am mad at myself for messing things up since I had been doing so well.  I also had a regular latte that day, which I haven’t had in months.  That’s my problem I guess.  When I feel good I think I can go back to doing the things I used to be able to.  I am learning the hard way it’s not true.  I have been waking early with anxiety and it seems to increase as I am first up and getting ready for work.  I don’t really calm down till later in the morning and even then have anxiety that creeps up throughout the day.  I haven’t felt like this in over a month.  I just hope and pray this passes soon.

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Hazel

Back again.  Wish I could say this is a positive update, but unfortunately it is not. I was doing much better after my last post.  I had a little over a week off over the holidays and felt as “normal” as I have since this whole ordeal started.  I felt like I was ready to make a larger reduction, so went from 7.5 to 7 on Friday December 29.    I started having a small amount of anxiety that night but not too bad.  Saturday felt more anxious and couldn’t sleep that night, so took 50mg of hydroxyzine and eventually got some sleep.  I decided to go up to 7.3 on Sunday and started feeling better by that afternoon.  Slept fine Sunday night and felt good on Monday.  I had to go back to work on Tuesday and didn’t sleep well on Monday night and was up early with anxiety.  Tuesday night into Wednesday was much the same.  Last night was the worst!  I was up at 2:00 am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I tried taking a homeopathic sleep remedy, which didn’t help.  I felt anxious all night and feel even worse this morning.  I am guessing it is from the drop and going up a little again?  I just didn’t think I would feel this bad and it really scares me.  It’s especially hard since I have to work and am trying to function on hardly any sleep.  I know I will have to wait it out and hold for a good while now.  I just feel like I will never be able to get off of this medication at this point.  Sorry for the long post, but any feedback would be appreciated.  

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Hazel

In need of advice please.  I seem to be getting worse.  Last night barely slept at all.  I am going to go up a bit again.  Was thinking of going back to 7.5 since that was the dose I was last stable.  I am currently at 7.3 and not doing well.  I went from 7.5 last Thursday to 7.0 last Friday and experienced increased anxiety/sleeplessness, so went up to 7.3 on Sunday.  Have been more and more anxious and not sleeping all this week.  I really need to stabilize so I can work and take care of my kids.  Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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scallywag

Hazel, There's no guarantee with returning to 7.5 mg, but it could be worth a try if you're willing to ride it out -- hold steady at 7.5 mg -- for at least two weeks. 

 

Sometimes people need to decrease more slowly as the dose decreases.  Paxil and Lexapro seem to be the worst for this. When you have the time, energy and focus to investigate slower methods, you might want to read about other approaches such as Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases and the "brassmonkey slide".

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Hazel

Thank you Scallywag.

I did bump up to 7.5 this morning and am feeling much better, but I typically do feel better during the day, so tonight will be the real test to see if I can actually sleep!  I will hold for at least 2 weeks and then if I am feeling good make a very tiny drop like .1 to start.  I guess the bigger drops are not going to work for me, but I am okay with smaller cuts as long as I can feel pretty good and function in life.

Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it😊

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Hazel

Hi Scallywag, (or anyone out there with some advice).

I am really struggling right now and don’t know what to do.  I have not felt this bad throughout this process and am really beginning to feel hopeless.  I didn’t sleep at all this past Saturday because of high anxiety and was only able to get a few hours of sleep last night after taking 100mg of hydroxezine.  I am desperate for relief and worried it won’t come.  I felt good during the day yesterday, but anxiety was back at night as I lay there trying to sleep.  I feel awful right now and am terrified that I won’t get better.  Scallywag, you said “there’s no guarantee with returning to 7.5mg.”  What does that mean for me?  How long do I give it before I know it’s not going to work and what do I do then?  I am freaking out that I am not going to be able to stabilize and then what do I do??? Do I switch to a new medication?  This is such a nightmare.  I was feeling so good just a couple of weeks ago and now I feel like a hot mess.  Please, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.  I’m not sure how I will be able to function while feeling like this, but somehow I have to manage.

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Hazel

Just wanted to clarify that I was on 7.5 mg  since December 15 and went down to 7mg on Dec. 29.  Went up to 7.3 on Dec 31st.  After still having anxiety and sleep issues, I went back to 7.5 mg on January 5.  This will be my 4th day st 7.5 mg.

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scallywag
Posted (edited)

Hazel, Tapering these medications tests our patience and ability to deal with uncertainty. There is no way to predict how you will respond to a dose change, what symptoms will arise, how long it will take until a symptom resolves completely.  I wish I could truthfully give you answers you could rely on.

 

Back in April, Petunia posted this link about The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization. Now seems as if it would be a good time to review it.

 

edited to add: Insomnia and anxiety are frequent symptoms of withdrawal. Here are a few links to discussions that may be helpful.

Tips to help sleep.

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

Neuro-emotions

Fear, terror, panic, and anxiety

Rebuilding self-confidence, accepting anxiety

Edited by scallywag

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Hazel

Thank you Scallywag.  I will review the links you provided.  I just am beginning to worry that I will never be able to stabilize.  It’s very difficult to be positive when feeling so bad, but I will do my best to incorporate some of these techniques😊

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Nada678

Hi Hazel

 

I have been reading your posts about Paxil.  I reinstated after getting to zero, because I couldn't cope.  I am now on 2.5 mg but it is not helping and I really am at a loss as to whether to taper again or go up a bit more.  Whatever I do doesn't work.  I am not functioning or sleeping and have terrible anxiety.  It's very frightening wondering how long this is going to go on.  I think the worry makes it worse.

 

Regards

 

Nada

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Hazel

Hi Nada,

I worry that I will never get off this medication!  After having such difficulty after I tried to drop this last time I was considering just staying at 7.5 mg indefinitely.  I will likely continue to taper after I have stabilized, but it will have to be very slowly.  How did you get down to zero?  Did you do a slow taper?  It’s definitely hard not knowing how long the horrible withdrawal symptoms will last.  I started feeling better yesterday and was able to sleep last night, so am hopeful that things continue to go in the right direction.  It’s just hard because you never now how things will go from one moment to the next.  I hope you see some improvement in your symptoms soon!

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Hazel

Well, I guess things have taken another turn and not for the better.  I was able to fall asleep okay last night, but woke up around 2:30 with high anxiety and was not able to get back to sleep.  Still feeling quite anxious now that I am up and having to get ready for work as well as get the kids off to school.  It makes it very difficult to get through the day, but hopefully the anxiety will dissipate soon.

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kesh

Hi Hazel, just been reading your thread and wanted to check in.

 

It's easy to say, but a certain amount of acceptance really helps. Accept that you may not sleep well, accept that you may feel terrible sometimes. Withdrawal is painful and we can only minimize, not get rid of the symptoms. It takes courage and strength to do nothing and just accept the bad stuff.

 

Also, be careful about taking hydroxazine, or anything else really. The goal is a brain that stabilizes itself. Adding drugs to mask symptoms makes the long term goal, a brain that is healthy without any medication, harder to reach. 

 

There's a lot you can do for sleeplessness and anxiety without medication, but it's difficult and takes work. Check out the relevant forum. Self care if I remember correctly. 

 

All the best. 

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Hazel

Thanks for your reply Kesh,

 I know I need to accept that this is part of the withdrawal process, but it really is hard when my anxiety is so high.  I felt so much better yesterday and now today feel awful again.  It would be easier if I knew this would end and I would feel better soon, but it seems there is no way to know how all of this will pan out and I begin to feel hopeless.  I am listening to Claire Weeks on audio and trying to accept all of this as part of the process.  I appreciate your feedback.

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kesh
4 minutes ago, Hazel said:

Thanks for your reply Kesh,

 I know I need to accept that this is part of the withdrawal process, but it really is hard when my anxiety is so high.  I felt so much better yesterday and now today feel awful again.  It would be easier if I knew this would end and I would feel better soon, but it seems there is no way to know how all of this will pan out and I begin to feel hopeless.  I am listening to Claire Weeks on audio and trying to accept all of this as part of the process.  I appreciate your feedback.

I hear you. If I knew when this horror would end I'd endure anything to get there. But we don't know, and in anxiety we imagine the worst over and over, that we won't ever feel better.

 

I get good days and very very bad days. It's difficult, but during the bad days I remind myself that I am capable of feeling alright because of those good days. It is actually possible to feel okay. And the days march on slowly and we get through them.

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Hazel

Are you still tapering?  I worry that I will never get off these meds at this point.  I would be willing to hold at 7.5 forever if I felt good, but I’m sure in time it would turn on me and I’d have to come off it anyway.  These meds are a nightmare.  It sounds like you have a really good attitude about all of this and I think that helps a lot.  I try to be positive, but it is hard on days like this.

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kesh

Only been on meds for two months. I am holding to stabilise. I had a really bad reaction to fluoxetine (akathisia) then got put on four drugs. Cut fairly drastically to where I am now (low doses of an ssri, a benzo and a beta blocker). Still get akathasia but at the moment only for a few hours every couple of days.

 

My positive attitude lasts as long as my windows. When I'm in a wave of akathisia it's very hard not to feel doomed. I'm getting better at reminding myself it will pass though. 

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Hazel

I hear you.  I am the exact same way.  I can be super positive in a window, but waves of anxiety-forget it.  

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grandmaD
On 1/8/2018 at 11:39 PM, Hazel said:

Just wanted to clarify that I was on 7.5 mg  since December 15 and went down to 7mg on Dec. 29.  Went up to 7.3 on Dec 31st.  After still having anxiety and sleep issues, I went back to 7.5 mg on January 5.  This will be my 4th day st 7.5 mg.

Do I have this right?  You were on 7.5mg and after 2 weeks went down to 7.3mg?  That is a drop after only 2 weeks, is that correct?  If so, I would never do a drop after only 2 weeks!!!  I think the best time frame is after 6-8 weeks.  I gather it takes at least 4-5 weeks for the brain to adjust to a drop.  In my case, I keep records and my worst weeks are 4,5 and 6 which shows my brain is still struggling with the changes after 6 weeks.  If I have this wrong, just ignore me!  If I am right, then the 2 week taper would explain everything.

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Hazel

Hi gd,

you have it right.  I had been doing tiny drops of .1mg every 2 weeks from 8mg down to 7.7 mg.  I had been feeling good, so went down to 7.5 after 2 weeks instead of 7.6.  I was planning to increase my tapering at the beginning of the new year if things were going well, so I thought I could handle going from 7.5 after 2 weeks down to 7 mg.  Clearly, I was sadly mistaken.  I didn’t even think about how those tiny drops would have added up at the time, but I definitely know now.  I agree that the accumulation of the small drops along with the bigger drop is what is causing my problem now.  I was only at 7mg for 2 days and went to 7.3mg for 4 days and have been at 7.5 for almost a week now, so am hoping to stabilize soon.

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grandmaD

Well, Hazel, we have all been there and done that!  We learn by experience!  You know now to never go down again after only 2 weeks, no matter good you feel!

 

You could go back to your .1 drops if that was working once you stabilise, so think about that.  But to do a 5% drop I would stick to 8 week drops.  I am doing 8 week drops at 2.5% taper.

 

Anyway, you will stabilise again and shouldn't take too long.  But beware of going up and down frequently.  I cannot emphasise that enough because this was my biggest mistake.  The brain cannot handle all the changes.  Decide on a plan and stick to it would be my best advice.

 

Keep at it!  You will get there - you can join the club of turtles if you like, myself, Songbird, Ladybug and many others!

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grandmaD

Hazel, I think you would really benefit from this book - I have!  it is easy to read and excellent.  It is similar to Claire Weekes books. 

He has a free download you can have on your phone if you are out and about to use.

He sends heaps of emails trying to sell other stuff, so just ignore them or you can unsubsrcibe

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Hazel

I thought for micro tapers you could drop every week?  I have been feeling better yesterday and today, so we’ll see how it goes.  Once I am stable I will try another .1mg drop and hold for 2 weeks as I had been doing.  If that goes well for a few months I may try a slightly larger drop like .2mg.  Or I may try the Brass Monkey slide.  I am pretty much accepting this will be a very long, slow process.  I am only down .5mg since last July, so it is what it is.  

What is the name of the book Lg?

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grandmaD

Sorry Hazel, I forgot the link for the book!  I think I paid about $30 for it on e-bay.

 

https://dareresponse.com/

 

7.5mg to 7.0mg is a 5% taper (I think!) and I wouldn't call that a micro taper!  Not when I am doing 2.5% taper!  Also, I have gone down .1mg like you (I think that is like a 1% taper) and that is what I call a micro taper.  Even when going down .1mg  I still did 8 week tapers. 

 

There might be someone else can advise you on how often you can taper at the .1mg rate.  I read it takes at least 4 weeks for the brain to adjust to any taper, so I certainly wouldn't do anything less than 4weeks, but that's me.  Much of this is trial and error!

 

I have only dropped .5mg over the year for the last 3 years.  I know it is incredibly slow, but I had no choice and even going that slow, I was not coping.  We are all different and I hope that your journey will not be as bad and wish you all the best!  It is good if you can accept now it will take a long time, I never could accept how long it has taken me.

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Hazel

The drop from 7.5 to 7.0 was not meant to be a micro taper.  The previous drops of .1 and .2 were micro tapers, and since I was feeling good I wanted to try a bigger drop to see how it would go.  I now know I can’t handle bigger drops.  I continue to feel better, so am hopeful it lasts.  I will hold for another couple of weeks and then go back to .1 drops.

I actually have the DARE Response on Audible.  I have listened to it more than once.  I find it really helpful, similar to Claire Weekes, but a more updated version.

Thanks for your feedback grandmaD, it is always very much appreciated 😊

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grandmaD

How often were you able to do the .1 and .2 drops?

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Hazel

I did a .1 drop 3 times and a .2 drop once.

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Hazel

I was making the drops every other week.

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grandmaD

I forgot to ask for how long you were doing that?

 

I re-read your journal and is a bit clearer now, as I thought you went from Prozac to Paxil and wondered why.  But it seems now that you were originally on Zoloft for a long time, so the problem is not the Prozac or Paxil, but the switch from the Zoloft that you were on for so long.  It is just a shame you didn't go back on Zoloft - is it too late to do that now?

 

The anxiety you thought was from the Prozac would be from w/d from Zoloft.

 

I still don't know if doing .1mg drops every couple of weeks would work?  Scallyiwag - are you there?  Do you know?  Because I read you have to give the brain 4-6 weeks to adjust to ANY change!  You might go okay for a while, but after a while at every 2 weeks, it would eventually catch up with you.  That's what I think.

 

0I think you need a plan - either go with the .1 or .2 (not both, stick to one of them!) every 4 weeks or do a 5% taper every 6-8 weeks and stick to that.  If the 5% is too difficult you can always come down to 2.5% later on.  If even that is too hard, then you can do .2 drops and so on.  This gives you room to move down the track if it gets too much.

 

Just a suggestion!  I'm no expert, but I started at 10% and went to 5% and then to 2.5% for last 6 years.  At times I have gone to .1mg drops over the 8 weeks and other times held for 6 months. 

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