Citation: Blindside. "Dependence Ups and Downs: An Experience with Paroxetine (exp98481)". Erowid.org. Jun 20, 2020. erowid.org/exp/98481
My life seemed to have begun with severe anxiety and hypochondriasis. By the time I was five years old I had already perpetuated ailments and self-diagnosis to seemingly justify the need of my obsessive compulsive and anxious behavior. I had always known I was not right - or at least different from the general population in some way.
Irrational fears have dominated my life since I can remember, however it was not until the age of puberty that my usual shyness turned into complete social phobia. The phobia was so bad, in fact, I could not leave my house without extreme discomfort. In the necessary situations I had to leave, I found it difficult to make eye contact or even hold a simple conversation with anyone, on top of being shaky and sick constantly. That, and my constant fear of having a heart attack for no reason whatsoever (medical testing eventually done multiple times proving I am okay), only escalated over the years, to the point of which I would have rather been dead. I would go a month with only about 30 hours of sleep by the age of 14, and it was not until I was 16 that I decided to come forward and FINALLY tell somebody about my struggles and get help.
Short and sweet - my visits with the psychologist did absolutely nothing over the months and mutually agreed upon was the decision to be put on some medication. I was prescribed paxil 20mg and started during Christmas break.
Within 2 or 3 weeks of taking the drug as directed, I began sleeping again. I might fall asleep at midnight, but I would have INCREDIBLE lucid dreams. It were as if I am living two separate personalities just because the dreams were so real and often sexual. They were obviously induced by the paxil and these strangely vivid dreams always lead to me waking up at 3 or 4 am, being completely wide awake and energetic and euphoric. It was like nothing I had ever felt before (again). Seemingly instantaneous one morning I had felt happy, confident, and carefree.
Returning to school under this influence of complete carefree bliss, I instantly began making new friends and girls were interested in me. I would often be with a new girl each day from ages 17 - 18 and I was not afraid to say exactly what I was feeling to anyone. The paxil had rid me of all anxiety and negative emotion. This, of course, lead to a spiral of overconfidence and rebellion, being into the whole punk rock culture and anarchism, so I did find myself in a lot of trouble and was eventually kicked out of school for a year, having to graduate late.
A double edged sword. The sudden onset of these tragic events numbed my mind. I could not feel, I could only retreat and sleep. I would continue my afternoons and evenings in bed for some months before I returned to my PCP and had my dosage upped to 30mg, from 20mg. This seemed to have no effect and I continued to live my life from there.
I had started community college and began to get some taste of the real world at age 19 and these things further pushed me out of the effect of paxil. I became the same hermit and sociophobe I had always been, albeit I had the confidence to speak to people, I just had no desire. I continued to take the paxil daily. It had been nearly 3 years that I was on paxil before it stopped affecting me.
It had been nearly 3 years that I was on paxil before it stopped affecting me.
I sought release in alcohol and slowly but surely became an alcoholic, most likely lessening the effects even further.
Towards the end of my 20th year, the 4th year on paxil, I started to feel worse than I ever did, even before taking it. I could not function because of the constant worry that I was about to die. I felt like I was tweaking because if I sat still for one second, I created the image that I would die or have a heart attack, or something. This ended with me getting drunk, attempting suicide, and committing myself to the hospital for 3 days.
In that time I was taken off of the paxil and truly began to feel the physical and mental hold it had on me. I was very sick for two weeks with nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, shakes, sweats, and all the rest. The worst feeling however is the infamous 'zaps' - the feeling of being electrocuted every few seconds, and having to stop what I was doing. The anxieties I have had before the paxil, and the intense anxieties I had towards the end of my paxil prescription only intensified further. I could not leave my house, I could not stay in my house, I could not sleep, eat, function... I scrambled to call every psychiatrist in the area that would take my insurance, and after 5 or so months, I was put back on paxil 30mg.
I guess I could say I feel normal again. Not overly happy or confident and not overly anxious and withdrawn. I'm just the usual me. It has been 5 years of paxil and I don't think I'll go a day of my life without it until I die. It has that much of a hold on me, that if I stop taking it, even for 5 or 6 months with therapy like I had done, my anxieties and phobias will only be worse than before I started taking it at all.
I took the good with the bad and with that... I would love to hate recommending this drug to anyone. It does wonders and it creates real life nightmares.
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