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General Discussion Open discussion about Paxil, Paxil Withdrawal, successes and progress, good stories and bad, with and without.

Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting    FDA Warnings    Published Withdrawal Studies    Pregnancy Warnings    Forum Psychology

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Old 12-09-2010, 08:40 PM   #1
cinephile
 
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Your grocer's freezer
Posts: 83
Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Well, it's high time we started a success stories thread. And I mean the END ALL BE ALL of success stories threads! So far, to my knowledge the only way to read of success stories on this site is to search from the list of usernames of those who have had varying degrees of success. This is a tedious process and can take hours because the search function, like all search engines, is imperfect.

So I've done some heavy lifting and have started us off with what we've all been waiting for: REAL success stories (that is, from people who have dramatically improved despite all odds) I've collected from not just PP members, but members of similar message boards (including those on benzos). I decided a few months ago: "Why not search for SUCCESS stories instead of horror stories?" What I found was surprising: there is NO SHORTAGE of success stories, but you do have to look harder as these kind of message boards don't focus on the success stories.

Ideally, what I'd like is for PP to have a success stories room like benzo buddies does. It would be wonderful to have a plethora of success stories easily available for those just coming to terms with the withdrawal road ahead of them. Maybe this thread will be the beginning of such a room. *Can we make this post a sticky?

In the meantime, it would be awesome if other PP members take up the torch and comb the net and the PP archives for more success stories. This is just the beginning...

So, without further ado...
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I don't know if you remember me but I used to visit this board alot. 3 years ago I quit paxil after taking it for 10 years, since I was 14. I did a stupid 2 month taper and really suffered. I had no libido, erectyle dysfunction, premature ejeculation, chronic fatigue, severe depression, anxiety, constant headache, stomach problems, brain zaps, cold hands and feet. Now, after 3 years I am finally almost as healthy as I was before paxil. I don't suffer from fatigue, no headaches, no depression, to brain zaps, not even when I'm tired, in fact, my life is great. I've been in a relationship for 2 years now and though my libido could be a little better, I still have sex 3 times a week, no premature ejeculation and I only have to use cialis sometimes. Actually I use it more to get confidence. Most of the time I have sex without it which is something I thought would never happen 3 years ago. In fact, I was sure I would never be in a relationship again, due to my sexual problems. I'm glad how wrong I was. I am very happy and look forward to the rest of my life.

I remember reading about people saying they would never get better and I was sure I was one of those people. I had no hope for the longest time. When the nice people here said I had to be patient, that I would get better eventually, I didn't believe anything would ever change. I dreaded each day and I pretty much gave up. And after one year of absolutely no change, I couldn't imagine another 2 years would make any difference. I was so sure my life was over, but it turns out the best was yet to come. I now belive that even though people can suffer from withdrawl for years without change, one day, a miracle can happen. And its funny, when one problem got solved, the others quickly followed. I am very greatful to the people here who told me never to give up. This forum might have saved my life.

And what made the biggest difference? Well, I took the advise of many and started to walk one hour a day, and yes, that made ALL the difference. After a few weeks I also started exercising, not too much, just once a week. I can honestly say the first year I didn't see any difference in my recovery but 3 months of walking an hour a day, there was a huge difference. I walked and walked and I could feel my libido getting better and better every day. I would never think that excercising could boost your sex drive, now I can see it can. And soon, all the other problems went away. I wasn't sure if it was the walking so I stopped for a few weeks and my libido went down and I felt a little depressed again, so I stared walking again and all was well again. Getting your blood flowing, spending time outside, exercising just a little is so important, I believe it reversed many of my problems.

I had one rule when I was outside walking, and that was not to think about paxil and withdrawl. Only happy thoughts were allowed. This was my time away from all that. Another thing I did was start seeing my friends. We had alot of fun I realized how important laughter is. I laughed and laughed with my friends and looked forward seeing them again the next day, after my walk of course. I tried to stay at home as little as I could, always keeping me busy, never thinking about how my life was ruined. I tried to see the humor in everything. It may sound stupid but you can do it. And as wonderful as the people here are, spending too much time here searching for horror stories about paxil, only made things worse. When I didn't feel like seeing people, I forced myself to do it. When I didn't have the energy for the walk, I forced myself to walk. Keeping myself busy is very important.

I thought you might like to hear this, if any of you still remember me. Thanks alot and if there is anything you can learn from this post, it's that the best cure for paxil withdrawl is light exercise and faith you will get better. It takes time, but it makes all the differens. When people used to tell me that a walk could change everything I was sceptic. How can one hour of walking really make any difference when you are suffering so much? Well, it really can. And don't spend too much time on the internet, go out, spend time with people and focus on your sense of humor. And remember, walk an hour a day. Wait, have I already said that?
Thank you good people and good luck.
Never lose hope, not even in your darkest moments.
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Yes, my life is actually better now than before Paxil/Remeorn etc. The sticker though is that it took a long time and recovery was back and forth and very slow. Stick to this site for continued support and be prepared to hang on tight. If you have friends that you can share your burden with, that is a huge plus. I unfortunately didn't, but the kind people here supported me and gave advice that no doctor understood. The biggest tip I can give is to take it very slowly. I was on for many, many years. The longer you've been on, the slower you need to go. Slow and steady wins this messed up race, but the finish line is reachable!
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Hello all!

I am a 25 year old male. I had taken some form of anti-depressant medication since I was 20. Afterward, for about a year I suffered from what I thought was "PSSD", or Post-SSRI-Sexual-Dysfunction. I took Prozac for almost 5 years, along with bouts of Wellbutrin, Adderall, Vyvanse, Anti-anxiety meds, etc... and I never noticed a change in my sexual functioning while on the meds, so I never saw a need to alter, or go off of them. Then suddenly, after a year of taking all of these together, I became completely impotent overnight. I had a complete mental breakdown, and ended up in a behavioral medical center. Twice.

I went off all my meds, and for almost a year I had little to no sexual function. I didn't realize it before, but apparently sex is/was EXTREMELY important to me. I was never warned of the sexual side effects of these kind of medications (if I HAD been, I never would have touched them). I hated my doctors for putting me on them and not warning me. I hated myself for ever going on them, because I felt like I'd ruined my life. I thought about suicide every day, and cried every day.

The only thing that seemed to solve the problem was going back on Wellbutrin (which I'd read repeatedly on different websites, as something that could help). While this seemed to temporarily help the problem, it also made me manic, and I decided I just really didn't want to be on meds anymore, since that's what got me in this situation to begin with. I don't want to rely on taking meds my whole life. I had also read that PSSD can go away with exercise.

WHAT FINALLY WORKED is a combination of the following things:

I joined a gym. Every Tuesday I go to a step aerobics class. You may be skeptical about it, but it is a TON of fun, in addition to being the best cardio workout i've ever done. I push myself as hard as I can go, and sweat my *** off. I go to the gym at LEAST once a week. I do Yoga when I can also.

I started seeing an Acupuncturist. I am new acupuncture CONVERT, it is AMAZING. The very first session I could ABSOLUTELY feel working. He put needles in the back of my neck and top of my head that made my mind swim like I was stoned, and then suddenly it was like a fog lifted and my brain was flooded with endorphins (something I felt like I could only get from meds anymore). He also uses pins in my stomach, for my previously absent libido. Leaving his office, the air outside smelled better than it had in YEARS, and I could feel the pull of my libido waking back up. It's like it rebooted my brain. I'm still going every week, and getting better and better. I would recommend Acupuncture to ANYBODY. I know you're probably skeptical about this too

I'm taking vitamins. Omega 3's (anywhere from 3-9 a day), and a Chinese Herbal medicine called "Emporer's Tea Extract". Both of these are EXCELLENT for rebuilding brain power. I also began taking a Men's Sexual Health supplement called Zenerx. I would HIGHLY reccomend Zenerx, at least temporarily. I asked my acupuncturist if the ingredients in it were alright, and he said it's just more chinese herbs, and perfectly safe. I've since stopped taking it every day, but I have it just in case I want a little extra boost.

Last weekend, after months of barely even being able to get an erection, and when I did having it not last for longer than a couple minutes, or sometimes even seconds, I spent the night with a girl last weekend and I am BACK. Seriously, I wanted to **** myself just a few months ago because I felt like I'd destroyed my brain (my thoughts were cloudy all the time, and it had been months since I'd even had morning wood), and now my thinking is getting clearer, and my LIBIDO is back and as strong as it was when I was 18. I feel like a kid again.

I used to spend HOURS obsessing, pouring over people's accounts of PSSD, and diminished brain power from Meds; and I almost never read ANYTHING positive. People suggested to me that maybe those people who recovered simply do not bother logging back on to tell their success stories. They just post the problem, and when the problem goes away they stop posting. So I decided I had to post my story here, to let people know that there IS an answer. You may have to work for it, but there IS a cure for the damage these terrible drugs do to a person.

Also, If you smoke cigarettes, STOP. Cigarettes at least. This makes it WAY easier to get back into shape. I've quit self medicating also, but that's for personal reasons. Moderate your alcohol intake also, if you drink.

So that's my story, and I hope it brings hope to even one other person out there. I'm happier than I ever thought I was going to be again, and you can be too.

Peace.
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I'm an old timer on the site who doesn't post much anymore. But I wanted to give you all an update now that I'm finally off antidepressants. Briefly, I was on Paxil from 1997-2005 for GAD, off for 6 months in 2005-6--probably the worst 6 months of my life --then on Lexapro for the next 4 years. I thought I was going to be a lifer...I just didn't think I could take going through withdrawal again. Finally in the beginning of 2009, I figured I'd give tapering another shot, even if it just meant getting on a lower dose. Over the next 20 months I went down by 10%/month, first cutting and weighing pills and finally with liquid. I've been off the stuff for a month now.

Overall I'd say I'm doing very well. I think that one advantage of tapering slowly is that when I did have a night of insomnia or a day of anxiety that I didn't need to wonder if it might be withdrawal.

For good or for bad (mostly good) I'm pretty much back to who I was before I went on antidepressants. I am sleeping well, probably better than when I was on lexapro. I am able to experience happiness (though certainly not all the time) and even getting a sense of humor back.

At the same time, I still have the same anxious and depressive tendencies and even the same triggers for those tendencies that got me on antidepressants 13 long years ago. The task for me at this point is to learn how much these can be addressed by changing thoughts and attitudes and then to accept the rest as part of accepting myself. I'm currently seeing a therapist who does CBT (which is mostly about changing thoughts) and also ACT (which is largely accepting those thoughts). I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Thanks to all for your support throughout the years. I wish you all health and healing.
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I was a police officer for 12 years but had to leave the job due to panic attacks. The police doctor said that I had an "anxiety disorder" and put me on Xanax. That was the worst mistake of my life!

I stayed on Xanax for the next 12 years while going to therapy to find out why I had this "anxiety disorder". During these 12 years I tried, by myself, to taper down and go off of the Xanax without any success. Each time that I decreased the dosage I felt like I was going to lose my mind. I would run to my doctor and tell him all my symptoms and he would say that I had this "anxiety disorder" and that I "needed" the Xanax. He would instruct me to increase the dosage and, sure enough, my symptoms would disappear. What he never told me was that I was experiencing a severe withdrawal reaction and not some "anxiety disorder". I never abused this drug or exceeded the dosage but I did take it faithfully for 12 years.

My family noticed a gradual change in my personality. They noticed that I didn't laugh anymore or show much emotion about anything. They said I would just sit there like I was frozen. I felt I was a vegetable! I continued to see therapists, thinking that one of them could cure me of this "anxiety disorder", but I was only getting worse. I was barely leaving the house, and when I did, someone had to be with me. I was so afraid and still suffered from panic attacks, depression and paranoia.

Thank God that I met a Christian doctor, and after 2 years of therapy and getting nowhere with me, he said that I would never improve until I got off of the Xanax. I could not go on living like this anymore and somehow made it into a rehab. They took me off "cold turkey" and put me on phenobarbital so that I would not have a seizure. I then became allergic to the phenobarbital so they put me on Klonopin and sent me home. After I stopped the Klonopin ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! My wife called the rehab doctors for help but they said that I would have to come to their office. I could barely walk, talk or sleep, much less travel. So with the help of my wife I dug myself in at home and stayed there for the next two years, waiting for these symptoms to leave. I felt that all my doctors had abandoned me and I was totally on my own. All I had or knew about withdrawal was what I read from a book by Shirley Trickett called "Coming off Tranquilizers".

At first I thought that I was losing my mind and wanted to be committed but I was too paranoid to leave the house. I kept my wife prisoner in her own home pleading with her to stay with me and she did for the next 2 years. My nerves screamed out at me from every part of my body. All I wanted to do was die but was too afraid to kill myself. I cursed God, neighbors and family members. I was in so much pain that I didn't care who heard me and screamed out loud. I busted up furniture and threw chairs. I made holes in the walls and floors. It wasn't fun for me or my family to watch. I cried for months. The tears just wouldn’t stop. While being sedated for 12 years I had never dealt with anything and now everything that I had buried was coming to the top. I weighed only 149 lbs and my family thought I wouldn't make it. They pleaded for me to see a doctor but I refused, believing that more drugs were not the answer if I was ever to recover. After 2 years I was able to leave the house and I learned to drive all over again. Little by little I started to get my life back.

This month I will have four years of being TOTALLY DRUG FREE! Most of my troublesome symptoms have left. Mentally, I feel great. I exercise daily and eat a very healthy diet. Physically, I still have nerve pain and get fatigued once in a while, but I have confidence that this to will go away in time. I am working again and have gone back to school to take computer classes. Oh, by the way, I don't suffer from any more panic attacks or depression. Looking back at my rehab I feel these doctors didn't know what they were doing by taking me off "cold turkey". They also suggested that I take anti-depressants and BuSpar which I refused. I felt that the only way that I was going to make it was to NOT swallow any more pills but let my body heal on its own. Thanks for letting me share my story.

update
I am now 5 years drug-free. I do not have the fatigue or nerve pain that I did when I wrote that story at my 4 year mark. The healing still continues. I don't believe we suffer permanent damage. Some of us just take longer.

Bradley
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I haven't had a symptom in approx. a year. And despite all of my worries of possibly being brain damaged; losing my mariage, friends, & career; and being traumatized for life by my experience...my life is completely back to normal now!
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I didn't even realize that its been 2 whole years since my last dose of paxil until I glanced at the date and remembered my anniversary was a few days ago! At one time, not too long ago, paxil, anxiety, withdrawal, depression, blah blah, etc...ruled my life, but now it almost seems like a distant memory.

To me, this really is just proof that with time people do heal, life goes on and God is good. Thank you PP, and all my friends here for making this a reality for me. Just wanted to send out some encouragement to others that it does get better and easier with time!
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WOW I did it!! I REALLY did it! Today it is 1 year since my last dose of Paxil. It has been quite a crazy year. There were many times that I thought of giving up and just going back on it because that would have been SO much easier than what I was going through but I stuck with it and got through the bad waves. Some waves lasted a long time and got really horrific but after a few calls, texts or emails I got over it and moved on. I feel SO much better now than I did at the beginning and I will no longer blame everything on withdrawal. I could never have done it without PP. You have all given me an incredible amount of support and it it is good to know that no matter what was happening there was someone here who understood exactly what I was going through and I thank each and every one of you. I would also like to take a minute to thank a few people who listened to me when I cried, was freaking out or just needed someone to talk to,
Scotia, your texts have been nothing short of a life saver for me. You are an amazing woman and I am honored to be your friend. I hope that someday I can do for you what you have done for me.
Commish, I hope you know that our daily emails have been SO important to me you have helped me laugh when I wanted to cry and took my mind off of things when I needed some distraction. I truly adore you and hope that someday you will see what a wonderful person you really are. I just wish you would stop taking my batteries LOL.
LC, I love how you tell it like it is. I also love how you would call me when you knew I was having a really hard time. You have a way of being able to bring me back to reality when my mind is going a million places at once.
Tim, my left coast friend. You gave me hope that someday it would all be over and I would feel better and start feeling like myself again. I didn't believe you then but I do believe you now because you were right I really DO feel better.
For all of you just starting out or are almost done PLEASE know there is hope and if I can do it so can you! It took me 3 YEARS to get off of Paxil and at times it was a loooong 3 years but I would do it all again to get to where I am now so just hang in there it WILL get better I PROMISE.
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I just have to write and tell you all, i took my last paxil on July 29th, after a slow taper that lasted 3 years to come down off 20mg.

Yes i have been bogged down with anxiety, anhedonia and all the usual crap we all seem to get.

BUT........
I had a very hard week last week, one i struggled badly with, but i survived.
Over the last 3/4 days, i have had a surge of good emotions back, libido, happyness, and contentment, and have felt some enjoyment from my life too.

IT
Is odd that when you feel these things, which have been missing for so many years, thanks to these drugs, YOU FEEL ALIVE AGAIN, and not in that drugged state where you can only feel one emotion and that is SADNESS and unhappyness.

Thanks to these good emotions, i am feeling motivated, have energy, and want to live and enjoy my life.
I cant say wether these feelings are back to stay, i hope they are, but knowing what i know of wd, its likely to be up and down for a while yet, but at least i now know, that these feelings were only on loan to this drug, and they will come back eventually for us all, as that was something i struggled hard to believe would happen.

I wrote this post to let others know that it feels good when it happens, and for me to re read when they disappear again.
There really is a life to be lived after paxil i guess is my main message,
it feels sort of odd though, as i have lived through 15 yrs of feeling just BLAH everyday, ive had no emotions, only the sad horrible ones, but im going to relax through that and just enjoy this good feeling as long as it lasts.
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alexc, mlynch and all those that are worried about 'permanence',

i just thought that i would chime in:

i have suffered from all the symptoms that you talk about since quitting paxil 2 1/2 years ago. for absolutely ages i was all consumed with the possibility that it might be permanent damage. it wasnt until my obsessive and negative thoughts about this issue and many other things became unbearable that i realised that this way of thinking and the depression that i was experiencing were also products of withdrawal. anyway some of my symptoms have gotten a little better, some worse and there seems to be no such thing as linear recovery. right now my anxiety is at an all time high and my concerns about the sexual stuff have taken a backseat as i am more concerned about my mental symptoms.

i do want to state, however, that during this past couple of years i have suffered from arousal difficulties/non-existent libido much of the time, but also feelings of hypersexuality at other times; genital numbness at times, hypersensitivity at other times; and almost constant has been orgasmic anhedonia. a year ago, just before i started having awful panic attacks, i was convinced that this was a permanent state of affairs despite people on this board and the ssri-sex forum that you talk about encouraging me to believe that it was not (fewer on that board it has to be said).

right now i can state that i dont think it is permanent, i couldnt say this a few months ago. i just think it can take a long long time for things to re-balance because, guess what - in the last couple of months i have had a few occasions with my partner where everything has seemed much more like normal. its not consistent and one never knows when it might happen, but (and sorry to be graphic here), i have experienced, a few times now, sensitivity in that area at an almost normal level and a certain amount of pleasure on orgasm. this, coming (no pun intended) from a man that thought he would never experience the pleasure associated with an orgasm ever again, and after over 2 years of fluctuating symptoms and almost zero pleasure on climax.

dont ever ever give up hope of recovery from whatever symptoms paxil has caused you. right now i am battling crippling anxiety and panic symptoms with agaraphobia, but it has gotten a bit better recently and if i thought that this was a permanent state of affairs i dont know what i would do. like all symptoms of w/d it sure feels like it is permanent sometimes, but time will heal us all in every respect, it has to. too many people have been through it and come out the other side. i am indebted to the kindness of many on this board who told me this when i didnt believe it and continue to support me when i need it. there was a time when the word 'permanence' would send shivers down my spine and horrify me. thats becoming more and more rare.

i would also like to add that i dont think the ssri-sex forum is a good place to visit. it just seems to be frequented by people feeding off each other's despair and is counter productive. the design of the site is also very poor unlike pp and it is hard to find much support. my advice - stick to this board which offers a much stronger support network and pm me anytime.

and try, as hard as it is, to get that word 'permanent' out of your heads.

god bless you

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here is literature documenting sexual dysfunctioning SIX YEARS after stopping zoloft. If that's not permanent then what is it??
It's long-term. No one said it wasn't long-term (or rather, that it couldn't be long-term).

I'm still having a few problems with sexual stuff four and a half years after stopping Zoloft, but NOTHING compared to the problems I was having at 18 months or 2 years off. My problems were long-term, but they weren't permanent. Many of them have finally cleared up for good, others come and go. I'm still not 100% but I'm at the point where I can enjoy sex and not make a fool of myself when I try to do it. On a good day, I'm maybe 90%. Never would have believed that a couple of years ago.

The point is, yes these effects can be horribly persistent. But there's nothing to suggest they can be permanent. OK, so one guy is still having serious problems after six years - I was having serious problems after three years, which would have sounded just as scary and "permanent" to me when I first came off the pills and was petrified about my future. It wasn't permanent, though. It was horrible and emotionally torturous, and it lasted way longer than I could have dreamed. But it wasn't permanent.

I'll tell you what, though, since I saw enough gradual improvement to convince myself that it was going to get better, and stopped being paralysed with horror that it never would, the improvements began to speed up. Positive thinking may not do much in the short term for physical problems post-SSRI, but on another level (and there are MANY levels to the physical sexual response) how you think about this stuff certainly does have an effect. Being clenched up with sexual anxiety never, ever helps anyone in any way. It's certainly not going to help with post-SSRI male sexual issues like low libido, erection problems, pleasureless orgasms or premature ejaculation. All of that stuff is made far worse by anxiety and negative thought, even at the best of times. A guy who'd never taken an antidepressant in his life, but who was as full of sexual anxiety as those of us who've suffered post-SSRI sexual issues, can have all those problems just from low confidence and worry.

It's probably impossible to think positively about this stuff for the first year or two (it certainly was for me). After a while though, you have to adjust. As soon as improvements begin - even if they come and go for a while - you have to leap on that and see it as a sign of hope. That will only speed up the eventual recovery. Thinking in terms of "permanence" is a very bad idea indeed.

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Hey, Frank - I had SEVERE anhedonia (among other things) after a much-too-fast taper off paxil, something utterly unlike me. I thought it would never go away, then started disappearing at about 3-1/2 years off or so (hard to tell exactly, since there were ups and downs for a little bit). I was under some of the worst stress in my personal life that I'd ever had, and really felt like I'd crack - but my mood improved (contradictory as that sounds!) and my ability to feel intense pleasure and excitement about things returned, even if I had to deal with the horrendous stresses in my life.

That was about the beginning of this year, and almost a year later, I'm still back to feeling like myself again emotionally (mostly just some lingering physical symptoms - they're improving too, just more slowly).

I don't know why, especially since I was under appalling stress. I think it just was time for it to happen, but also I had been taking Vitamin D for a while because my doctor found I was extremely low in it, and also started taking certain B vitamins (started them very slowly and carefully out of concern it might exacerbate w/d). I had had to stop all supplements when I went into w/d, but although I still have sensitivities to a lot of things, had to take the Bs for severe medical problem, and they not only helped that, but MAY have been a contributing factor in my unexpected improvement. (Most of my life I've needed more of certain Bs - can't seem to get enough from food and had physical deficiency symptoms even when I was very young, just didn't know what it was for a while, even though I never could take niacin except in the amide form - niacinamide.)

Because I started taking these supplements for medical issues I couldn't do the kind of slow experimenting with them I'd normally do. My system is still so sensitive (including foods and especially medications) that I did introduce them in tiny doses (small pieces of tablets or tiny fractions of capsule contents) and then increase only gradually, only a tiny bit more after four days, and so on. I thought I felt worse briefly when starting each supplement, but it may have been coincidence, since that only lasted a day or so and was still having a lot of ups and downs in w/d symtpoms at that time - never knew what to expect from day to day for years in w/d.

I want to stress that many supplements such as most Bs are NOT a good idea in early w/d, even if you were fine on them before w/d. The body is not in a normal state then. But years off, it was different with me, whether it helped my anhedonia and terror etc. or not - I tolerate them fine now (though in lower doses than before w/d - normal therapeutic doses actually got too sedating and had me stuporously sleepy; might just be my response to them though) and they did relieve my medical problems beautifully. I'll just never know for sure whether they were a factor in my emotions getting back to my normal joy in and excitement about life.

Even if it was just coincidence, that would show it can take some of us time but we do recover, so don't lose hope!!!!! (I had pretty much given up - now I know for sure recovery can and does happen! It does take a few of us different amounts of time, though - I've heard of people recovering at five years off etc., though most people don't take nearly as long as some of us do.)

Don't lose hope! At first I expected a crash after the severity of my protracted recovery, but almost a year later that hasn't happened, and I don't think it will!

I hope you feel better soon.
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Everyone that is suffering things will eventually get better .Sometimes it takes longer than anticipated. Believe me I know that I was there. And actually feel like my old self even though I am still tapering. And those that are doing great I wish you the best.
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Does no one read posts and believe them?? i have posted countless times about recovering. Its slow. It takes time. There is no magic in a pill. Exercise and social settings help, along with NOT masturbating too much. Before anyone takes their own life, they should TRY to get off their *** and exercise! RUN! Burn off the fat your SSRI's are storing themselves in! its better to push yourself physically than to waste time thinking about ending your life. If you forced yourself to run a mile EVERY time you thought about killing yourself, maybe soon you wouldn't think that way, because you could recover AT LEAST a percentage of pleasure. Lay off the jerk fest, guys...no one admits it much here, but I KNOW most of you are masturbating like crazy, trying to chase the elusive wonderful orgasm you USED to have. If you would just give yourself time away from your penis (or vagina), you might see that it can and does get better. My recovery is about 80 percent and that has taken a few years. AND EFFORT.
There is your hope.
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I've never actually posted before but I've commented on a few, so, better late than never.
I began taking paxil in 1993 after my Dr. prescribed them because I was tired all the time. I never did get less tired however he said to continue taking them as it would take awhile. When I recall that now I can almost visualize dollar signs in his eyes.
Over the years I attempted to quit several times but would get head zaps after the second day off and by the forth day would be really crabby at work. I always started taking them again by the fifth or sixth day. I always thought it was my fault and that something was wrong with me. My doctor said take one every other day, then, every third day then just stop. He still hasn't changed his mind on the subject.
I discovered this site in 2006 and realized the it wasn't me and there was hope. I printed out Darcy's book and read it many times. I read about magnesium and began taking it in preperation for weaning but felt I couldn't wean while working my hectic job. I retired from my job in Nov. 2008 and began my wean on Jan. 1, 2009.
It has taken me a year and 9 months and I haven't had any serious problem since my last smidgen of paxil about 3 weeks ago.
The first 4 months I had plenty of head zaps but they didn't scare me like they did before I found this site.
At the fifth month into weaning I began not sleeping, sometimes getting about 3 hours of sleep at around 8:00 in the morning. That lasted almost a month and then I had a month of sleeping all night and off and on all day.
None of the withdrawal affects scared me because I could read on here that some others had gone through the same things.
During all this time I had lots of gut issues, mainly diverticulitus, but some of that may be because I'm getting older.

I am so grateful for all the encouragement I got from reading all of the posts here. You are all my heros. Thank you.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:28 AM   #2
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Hmm, I'll add - 6 and a half months paxil free after a combined total use of 8 years... Last time I got off too quickly it completely broke me. It took about 2 years for me to feel ready to taper again and then another 9 months of tapering. Now I have been off for 6 and a half months and I have little to no side effects left from the paxil or withdrawl. Most of my issues are still anxiety related, but that is what brought me to the drug in the first place, so i am working on my skills to manage that, and it is going well. I am able to finally feel again, cry, have those moments of happiness in which you just smile because you feel good. And more than anything I have my compassion back and my empathetic nature. It feels good to be human again
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August 12th- Resuming taper, 9 mgs
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October 7th - 6.5 mgs
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November 9th - 5 mgs
December 13th - 4.5mgs
December 29th - 4 mgs
Jan 23rd - 3mgs, no side effects on this drop
Feb 22nd - 2.5 ish mgs
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April 15th - 1 mg ish - Haven't had any significant withdrawl side effects since below 3mgs.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:12 AM   #3
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Wonderful Samantha! Let's keep this going with more success stories!
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:08 AM   #4
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Month 28 Update (orginally posted 9/20/09)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here was my recovery timeline:

Adverse Reaction thru month 13: Continuous suffering (see my signature for a list of my symptoms), as I did not experience "windows" or periods of feeling good for a few days or weeks as others on this site have. However, I did note feeling just a wee bit better at night than in the mornings.

Month 14: the intense suffering abated by the end of month 14. I was relieved and amazed to be able to feel positive emotions, sleep through the night, eat food and enjoy it, etc. again.....but I was still out of sorts (like waking from a nightmare).

Month 18: I started to feel like the old me again and was fully functioning. But the nightmare, while clearly over, was still fresh. I did not feel PTSD from the ordeal, but I had yet to shake off the lingering memories of the adverse reaction and protracted suffering. I continued to visit this site often and was still a somewhat active poster at the time, although I did not feel the need to be here 24/7 like I used to.

Present (Month 28 ): My life is completely back on track... right where I left off before the adverse reaction. I'm running on all cylinders and happy as can be. The nightmare of the adverse reaction and protracted recovery is just a distant memory now. I still visit this site to see how some folks are doing, but I'm no longer active. In fact, my recovery is so complete that I don't relate to the suffering anymore.....this is amazing because it means that I wasn't permanently scarred by the experience. At the time, the suffering and loss of normal life was devastating and I was convinced my life was ruined forever, but now I view the ordeal as just *blip* in my life.


To those of you still suffering, please know that it will eventually end and you will regain your life back….unfortunately it probably won’t happen as quickly as you would like, but it WILL happen!

lov
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FULLY RECOVERED from SEVERE adverse reaction to Prozac rx'd after a miscarriage. CT May 07 after 2 months of sheer hell on the drug. The symptoms abated in month 14 & back to my old self in month 18.

Resolved:
Acid Reflux
Agoraphobia
Akathasia
ANHEDONIA
ANXIETY
Appetite
BRAIN FOG
Crying Jags
DEPRESSION
DP/DR
Insomnia
Memory
Migraines
Suicide Ideation
Many Others (no room to list)

NOTE: I have NO prior history of depression or anxiety.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:24 PM   #5
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Awesome, awesome stuff lov4k9s! Great to have a success story from an adverse reaction here.

Everybody, let's keep the success stories coming!
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Lov4k9s was seriously a huge help to me in the months after my adverse reaction. I dont think Ive spoken to you in a long time lov...but I too am 100 percent recovered. I will share a brief synopsis of my experience.

Dec 08-I always noticed I was super sensitive to the effects of drugs. Hence I would (on occasion..by no means had a drug problem) pop a hydrocodone that I had left over from when my wisdom teeth were removed...and ONE single pill would made me feel great. My mom came to visit me and ended up leaving her celexa pills at my apartment. One afternoon I was bored and decided to take one pill to see what would happen...since I had such fun with the hydrocodone. WRONG. Ended up with a severe reaction that lasted several weeks....during which I was convinced by my doctor I had unmasked some sort of anxiety disorder. Was prescribed SSRIs and took them for a few weeks and didnt get better. The next few months I took SSRIs on and off as my family/fiance/docs convinced me I "needed" the drugs. Maybe I would take one dose then skip a few days..then feel guilty and take another dose.

During this period I was actually hospitalized in a psych hospital...thats how severe things were for me.

During my hospitalization I spoke with several patients who helped me realize something was up...and that I wasnt crazy. I was on the "depression and anxiety unit" so everyone was lucid and able to give me advice. I had found PP several months earlier...but the docs had convinced me this never happens to anyone...so I stopped posting. After speaking with other patients I got back on here and realized it was 100 percent SSRIS causing my symptoms. I quit any of the meds I was taking in my seesaw fashion probably June 09.

I was still really sick for a few months but in August 09 my former boss called me and asked if I wanted to start working for him. I was scared out of my mind to start working again while still sick but I agreed. BEST DECISION EVER. I was still sick...but I was functioning. It took my mind off being sick. By Thanksgiving 09 I was about 90 percent better. All my physical symptoms were gone..but I still had some weird psych symptoms (strange thoughts mainly that werent "mine"). I was 100 percent functional though and loving life again.

Over the next 6 months these strange thoughts slowly subsided and I achieved 100 percent recovery. I know I mention being a med student a lot on here...but I think it is important for people in the thick of things to see that I was able to return to my life prior to this happening. I am back living life as a med student which is both a blessing and a curse . My life has come full circle.

This experience SUCKED, but I am grateful it happened. I think every doctor should have something like this happen to them. I will NEVER push off a patients symptoms as being in their head. I am much more compassionate and understanding. I am a better person for having gone through it.


You guys WILL get through it. It WILL take time...but it is so worth it. I realize adverse reaction stories are few and far between on here so please dont hesitate to contact me with any questions!!
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Old 12-11-2010, 09:29 AM   #7
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

" In fact, my recovery is so complete that I don't relate to the suffering anymore.....this is amazing because it means that I wasn't permanently scarred by the experience."


So true lov. I cant relate anymore either and I am not nearly as far out as you...and I too remember those days when I was sure that suicide was the only way out. How glad I am that I never gave in to those feelings!!!


Oh one more addendum to my post. The only thing that seems to have changed is I seem even MORE sensitive to drugs than before. Stuff like nyquil/benadryl, etc. Hangovers from drinking are much much worse now.

Granted I am not really all that far out from my reaction..so hopefully that fades with time since I am a craft beer lover!!
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Old 12-11-2010, 01:14 PM   #8
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

This is unbelievable, seriously the best thing I've seen on PP. Thank you thank you thank you!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:41 AM   #9
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Glad I could help Yalbert! Let's keep the success stories rolling!
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spikenala View Post
Oh one more addendum to my post. The only thing that seems to have changed is I seem even MORE sensitive to drugs than before. Stuff like nyquil/benadryl, etc. Hangovers from drinking are much much worse now.
Spike,
I was reading on Wikipedia that Benadryl acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which could explain your hyper-sensitivity to it now. In fact, that is how SSRIs were invented (according to Wikipedia).

I'm glad that you won't be a doctor who dismisses a patient as being a mental case and push more drugs on them! Nearly everyone I have spoken to - doctors, psychiatrists, neurologists, even my PARENTS - think I am making it all up and it's all in my mind.
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Going up in dose made me worse
Tapered off too quickly
Completely off 8/5/10, tried reinstating with disastrous results (kindling effect)
Currently in withdrawal hell
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:27 PM   #11
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Lov,
You are famous to me and I was so excited when I saw your recent post! I read through your old posts all the time for inspiration and hope.
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Zoloft 50mg for 8 years - terrible start-up effects
Dec 09 - could no longer tolerate (poop-out)
Going up in dose made me worse
Tapered off too quickly
Completely off 8/5/10, tried reinstating with disastrous results (kindling effect)
Currently in withdrawal hell
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:45 PM   #12
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Laurie's a success story; and Derek; and Antii (see most recent post). The formula for recovery seems to be time + proactive life changes + dealing with what you were rx'd for in the first place. In my time here, I haven't encountered anyone who suffered permanent damage from SSRIs.
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* Paxil 20mg 1997-2004 (for panic, GAD, & OCD)
* Two failed attempts to get off
* Went on Lexapro Jan. 2005 during 2nd Paxil w/d attempt
* Weaned off 1mg xanax w/ 1-month taper of .5 mg klonopin

Currently weaning Lexapro:
Sept.: 17.5 mg
Oct.: 15mg
Nov. 27th: 12.5 mg
Jan. 1st: 10 mg
April: 9mg
June: 8mg
Aug 1st: 7.5 mg
Nov. 1st: 5mg
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:20 PM   #13
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Thanks for posting this thread. I think that this is really needed here for people who are new to withdrawal and are absolutely terrified. I remember during the summer when I realized how difficult Lexapro is to get off of, and started to hear the amount of time it takes to taper off and all of the symptoms, it would have been comforting to read the success stories. I did try searching for them, but it wasn't easy because they were scattered all over the place and I was new to the forum. Thanks again!!
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8 months: 10mg Lexapro
12 months: 20mg
12/14/09: 10mg for 2 weeks
01/01/10-03/23/10: 5mg
03/24/10-04/19/10: nothing
Experienced bad withdrawal, so decided to reinstate and taper
04/20/10: Reinstated 5mg for 2 weeks
05/06/10: 4.5mg
06/03/10: 4mg
07/26/10: 3.6mg
09/06/10: 3.4mg
11/10/10: 3.1mg (No major withdrawal symptoms below this dose)
Continued to taper 10% every 3 weeks...
06/15/11: Reached 0.9mg
07/05/11: 0.8mg
07/27/11: 0.7mg
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:31 PM   #14
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
The formula for recovery seems to be time + proactive life changes + dealing with what you were rx'd for in the first place. In my time here, I haven't encountered anyone who suffered permanent damage from SSRIs.
Brilliant observation, Kathleen! Perhaps the ultimate good that can come of this thread is seeing patterns thay made people successfully get off this stuff! It's much easier to see when all the stories are grouped together.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:32 PM   #15
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathleen2 View Post
Laurie's a success story; and Derek; and Antii (see most recent post). The formula for recovery seems to be time + proactive life changes + dealing with what you were rx'd for in the first place. In my time here, I haven't encountered anyone who suffered permanent damage from SSRIs.
Really not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but Alex C and Zant808 have had PSSD for 4+ years I believe.



That being said, I talked via email with the gentleman that claimed he was cured of PSSD as bad as mine, via acupuncture. I am going to an acupuncutrist that said she had treated similar SSRI libido cases. So I am positive something good can come of it.


Trying to remain positive.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:37 PM   #16
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

I put in my vote for this to become a sticky as it really gives hope to us still withdrawing. It would be much easier for people to add to and find. Thanks, cinephile!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:44 PM   #17
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny1008 View Post
Spike,
I was reading on Wikipedia that Benadryl acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which could explain your hyper-sensitivity to it now. In fact, that is how SSRIs were invented (according to Wikipedia).

I'm glad that you won't be a doctor who dismisses a patient as being a mental case and push more drugs on them! Nearly everyone I have spoken to - doctors, psychiatrists, neurologists, even my PARENTS - think I am making it all up and it's all in my mind.
haha thanks sunny! I recall reading that same wiki article once before. Im not sensitive in a bad way to benadryl...but in more of a "gonna be knocked out in 20 minutes" way lol. I tend to stick with melatonin these days since I feel less drowsy the next morning!
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:39 PM   #18
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny1008 View Post
Lov,
You are famous to me and I was so excited when I saw your recent post! I read through your old posts all the time for inspiration and hope.

Hi Sunny-

I too followed the posts of PP members that came before me. Mostly sheacarney and Amaya's Nana, as I really related to their symptoms and knew they had achieved full recovery despite their prolonged suffering...and it gave me comfort and hope to know that these women had suffered as intensly as I was at the time and were able to resume their lives upon their recovery.

Even though it has been approx. 42 months since my last pill and I have been fully recovered for approx. 2.5 years I still respond to PM's and check in on occasion to see if I can "pay it forward" by sharing my success story and pass on other's successes too.

Below is Amaya's Nana's success story at 24 months. She also posted a follow up at 36 months that is not included below (but can be found on this site if anyone wishes to read it):

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two Years Off Paxil Today!!! ( by Amaya's Nana)
Wow, I cannot believe two years has gone by since my last little poisonous dose of Paxhell, but I survived!!

Its now been so long since I had severe symptoms, sometimes I have a hard time remembering the horribleness of it all, except at the time you're going through it, it seems you will never forget the torture but our minds are beautiful things and what's no longer important to you (trying to survive each moment) kind of fades away. Not that it goes away entirely, it just doesn't hurt as much to think about withdrawal like it used to.

While I "announced" myself just about fully recovered at 12 months, I still had a few issues the second 12 months off Paxil. It was nothing devastating and nothing that stopped my life, but I still knew it as Paxil withdrawal. I still get bouts of dizziness that are nowhere near what they were in the beginning but dizziness was not something I ever had prior to Paxil withdrawal. My eyesight grew exponentially worse in withdrawal and I'm now officially blind as a bat....LOL. Other than that, every issue I had those first 12 months are gone and I've been very stable for at least the last 9 months (except for the fact that I've been weaning Klonopin and have had those issues to deal with but its nothing like Paxil withdrawal).

I think the biggest issue I had was dealing with "feeling" again. I sometimes felt like an emotional cripple and when I would get overwhelmed with feelings, I had to really work hard at centering myself. It was almost like being a teenager all over again and having to learn how to channel your emotions maturely, if that makes sense.

I can honestly say that at 49, I'm the best I've ever been. Paxil withdrawal changed me and made me a better person. Would I have chosen a different route to get to where I am today? Well, that's an unequivacal YES but we have to play the cards we're dealt to the best of our ability. We have a choice to win the hand or fold, and I chose to win the hand.

So, to all of you who are just beginning Paxil withdrawal, I know its hard and it seems hopeless and like you're not going to get to the other side, but I promise that you will. Try your best to be patient, take good care of yourself physically, and reach out and get support and lean on those people who have gone through it and made it out the other side. Sometimes, its not easy dealing with life without the aid of a pill to "make it all go away," but its definitely the only way to live. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I will again, at this two-year mark, thank those people publically who were there for me every step of the way . . . . Scotty, Katesmom, LCrawford, Iluvmykids, Tybr61, Homer, Tim, Eileen, Iksfreudian (for some of the most awe-inspiring posts!!!), Akaenew and Casey1231. You guys will never know what your love, concern, compassion and humor has done for me!
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PAXIL FREE AS OF 3/18/06! Fully recovered!
Currently weaning Klonopin - down to .25 mg - Onward and Upward!!!!!!

Focus your attention on the here and now. Recognize it for what it is: the one moment of the only life you will ever have that you truly possess. Rare is the individual who has come to completely accept that the past is no more than a memory and the future an assumption about unborn events.

Last edited by lov4k9s : 12-12-2010 at 09:49 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:09 PM   #19
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Love4 (is that an American Eskimo, btw?), thanks for adding these: very inspirational.

I believe Zant took way more than SSRIs--antipsychotics, and benzos, and was dealing valiantly with serious bipolar disorder. Attributing his sexual difficulties to SSRI use isn't possible.
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* Paxil 20mg 1997-2004 (for panic, GAD, & OCD)
* Two failed attempts to get off
* Went on Lexapro Jan. 2005 during 2nd Paxil w/d attempt
* Weaned off 1mg xanax w/ 1-month taper of .5 mg klonopin

Currently weaning Lexapro:
Sept.: 17.5 mg
Oct.: 15mg
Nov. 27th: 12.5 mg
Jan. 1st: 10 mg
April: 9mg
June: 8mg
Aug 1st: 7.5 mg
Nov. 1st: 5mg
June 5th: 4mg
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:13 PM   #20
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

I am still "new off Paxil" but I consider myself a success story. If anyone wants to chat I'm always a PM away. I try to stick around here and help others and post monthly updates with how I'm doing.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:24 PM   #21
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathleen2 View Post
Love4 (is that an American Eskimo, btw?), thanks for adding these: very inspirational.

I believe Zant took way more than SSRIs--antipsychotics, and benzos, and was dealing valiantly with serious bipolar disorder. Attributing his sexual difficulties to SSRI use isn't possible.
Maybe so.

I was on Seroquel for a year, was fine sexually after that, was on lamictal for about a year, was on zoloft for 2 years, lexapro for 4, and even after the zoloft for 2 years I had some PSSD but could function well enough. It was after the 4 years lexapro that everything really shutdown. As you can see my brain has been through the grater as well. I hope I do not end up like Zant808

I just pray that my body is valiant enough to overcome it.


Going to an acupuncturist on tuesday for libido. She said she has treated people for similar issues before. I am hopeful she can help
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:29 PM   #22
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by brunyan View Post
Going to an acupuncturist on tuesday for libido. She said she has treated people for similar issues before. I am hopeful she can help
Just be careful where she pokes those libido needles. Yowza.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:36 PM   #23
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Quote:
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Just be careful where she pokes those libido needles. Yowza.
No needles actually go in the penis

Apparently the stomach, where the small intestine that regulates serotonin is, is one of the main points.


I talked specifically with the guy in the success thread that said he recovered from exercise and acupuncture. Been emailing back and forth and his story seems fairly legit. He mentioned specific points to discuss with the acupuncturist. Hey, it's worth a try.
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:16 AM   #24
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

I really think we should sticky this :-)
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:24 PM   #25
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Re: Alright here's the real deal: SUCCESS STORIES!

Wow, NewQuestions--just....wow. I cannot imagine recovering from 8mg of xanax. Amazing what our minds and bodies can do. Thank you for posting this.
__________________
* Paxil 20mg 1997-2004 (for panic, GAD, & OCD)
* Two failed attempts to get off
* Went on Lexapro Jan. 2005 during 2nd Paxil w/d attempt
* Weaned off 1mg xanax w/ 1-month taper of .5 mg klonopin

Currently weaning Lexapro:
Sept.: 17.5 mg
Oct.: 15mg
Nov. 27th: 12.5 mg
Jan. 1st: 10 mg
April: 9mg
June: 8mg
Aug 1st: 7.5 mg
Nov. 1st: 5mg
June 5th: 4mg
Feb. 1st: 2.5mg
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