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Old 05-28-2012, 05:40 PM   #1
julleri
 
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5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Can years of these drugs do this? Honestly ever since the year 2007 I noticed a difference in myself. I started losing the ability to plan long-term goals for myself. It was in this year that I didn't really know what I wanted to do with myself anymore. In the year 2008 I decided I needed off these drugs. By then I was switched over to Effexor XR and it really made me even more apathetic feeling (at least I think it did) and at the time I believe it made my depression worse (had what I called "depression attacks" - like panic attacks only with severe depression/crying spells, so horrible). Anyway, since I was on 300 mg of Effexor, it took a long time to get off. Anyway, ever since around this time I have struggled with who I am anymore, what I should be doing for work, how to get there, etc. This year has been very hard, especially recently, as I feel I am losing my memory.

Another question related to this - does anyone get "flooded" with memories during this process? Sometimes I'll get stuck on negative ones, like how my life has basically stagnated over the last five or so years because of this, and I'll just find myself thinking of all these horrible memories over the last few years, and I can't stop crying! They feel like those "depression attacks" I had while on Effexor. Other times my brain will flash images of memories before meds. Then I get scared because I can't fully and crisply remember those images as well.

Third question then I'm done, I promise - memory issues. Wow am I having a lot of short term memory issues. I can hardly remember what I did earlier in the day. This is really scary!

What can be causing all this for me? The apathy/stagnating life over the last few years? The rushing of both bad memories that terrorize me and good memories that scare me because I can't "fully" remember things for those events? The scary loss of simple short term memory things now?

I just get scared of how bad my brain could be. I'm not going to lie and say I haven't thought of early onset dementia or something like that, but to me that doesn't make sense. What I think may be really happening is - withdrawal from antidepressants. We must remember that antidepressants can make the brain "sharper" (at least they did for me, back when I was on celexa and had "good years" with these things - no adverse reactions/no withdrawal). I think they may have improved cognitive function when they did work. Now my brain is left with none of that so it has to scramble to remember things. Also, I was found low in B12, and who knows how long that could have been going on. I'm just scared that there's going to be permanent memory loss or brain damage from it. And the third thing that I WORRY about as a health anxiety issue but really I may need to explore is possible MS. I know I know. I worry and I may not have it. Believe me I HOPE AND PRAY TO GOD I DO NOT HAVE IT. I just worry that if I did have it and did nothing about it my brain and memory issues would get worse, and then that would feed into the apathy thing getting worse, and so on and so forth.

I just really feel like I've lost a big piece of who I am and who I used to be, pre-drugs. I feel "damaged." I was on some pretty hard-hitting s*** (namely, Effexor XR) at very high doses (300MG OMFG!) for a long time, and had drug switchings and took crap I shouldn't have ultimately took as it made things worse in the long run (Prozac, etc).

I guess my main question is - has anyone on here gotten this apathetic about life for this long? 5 years is an awful long time... could this be serotonin related? And also, the memory issues - serotonin related as well?

Thanks, all. I know I'm a pain to ask all these questions and bring up all these disorder worries. But I'm worried! And who else am I going to ask about these things? I bring them up to my therapist and she's great but she's never been through the hell that I and all of you have been through.

Jason :-/

PS - last night as "OK." My mood was good. I was with people (this is HUGE for me) and tried to relax as best I could. The night started with me in a huge fog/memory issue thing again but I pushed through and was with these people. Halfway through the night my mind felt a little better. I didn't feel doom or dread and didn't worry so much over the memory issues. Other symptoms didn't go away, though, such as dizziness and feeling weak. I also had some vision issues, too. Oh, and my friends the neck and back popping were there with me all night, too. It wasn't that bad, but I felt a little relief last night. Not sure if it was a window or what. Also had bad nerve pains too so if it was a window and those other things didn't go away with the window that is what scares me regarding it may being something else. Today that window or whatever is gone (brain's foggy, mood is gloomy, anxiety is high again today).
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

The other post was locked. Anyway, have you seen a neurologist about those nerve pains? Have you had an EMG test or MRI?


My pains are in my thighs: muscle tightness, knee aches (speacially after a drop), some parethesia ( tingling, burning feeling). Not constant and very random. Odd I would say.

For my peace of mind, I had two MRIs and EMG and blood work. All came back good. So the only plausible explanation is WD from the medication.

Some of these are WD as these drugs affect the nervous system and it need to calm down. Only time can do this.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
julleri
 
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Originally Posted by Backtopaxil View Post
The other post was locked. Anyway, have you seen a neurologist about those nerve pains? Have you had an EMG test or MRI?


My pains are in my thighs: muscle tightness, knee aches (speacially after a drop), some parethesia ( tingling, burning feeling). Not constant and very random. Odd I would say.

For my peace of mind, I had two MRIs and EMG and blood work. All came back good. So the only plausible explanation is WD from the medication.

Some of these are WD as these drugs affect the nervous system and it need to calm down. Only time can do this.
I saw one neurologist and didn't like him. He was one of the coldest people I've met. He wanted me to take amitriptyline and 20 mg of prednisone! Without even making a diagnosis (besides anxiety)! He did take blood tests and I called to get the results and they said everything looks normal, with the exception of b12 and b6, both in the high range. The B12 didn't surprise me - 1844! High B12 has no adverse effects, so that I'm not worried about. The high B6 surprised me: 41, with normal being 2 - 21. I had only been taking extra B6 in a multivitamin and drinking it in vitamin water, both of which I've stopped. Have no idea why it's above range if I'm not supplementing it by all that much. I have thought about seeing a regular neurologist for these issues (this guy was a neuromuscular specialist - not sure why my insurance advised to use him).

I've never had an MRI before. I don't know what an EMG test is, either.

I was thinking about this earlier - antidepressants aren't supposed to affect the peripheral nervous system. At least I don't think they should. Central nervous system - yes. But, the peripheral must get affected somehow. I just really don't know.

But anyway, I just won't take anymore psych meds, and I'm worried a neurologist is just going to say to take them anyway. That's why I wanted to know if someone here had MS, to know if psych meds are required treatment for something like that, if I had it.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Hi Jason I am glad to see your post! My brother is still suffering from practically CT-ing from Cymbalta. All the symptoms you list is what he tells me.

All I can say is he will not take any medication that is anything to do with an AD or a benzo or even prescription pain medication.

He will not look up any "illnesses" the doctors think he might have . (they have guesses a lot and all of them did not pan out via tests).

One symptom he has which is really bothering him is the extreme fatigue and when he eats right after he cannot stay away and it is like a coma sleep yet when he wakes up he is still exhausted.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Hi Jason I am glad to see your post! My brother is still suffering from practically CT-ing from Cymbalta. All the symptoms you list is what he tells me.

All I can say is he will not take any medication that is anything to do with an AD or a benzo or even prescription pain medication.

He will not look up any "illnesses" the doctors think he might have . (they have guesses a lot and all of them did not pan out via tests).

One symptom he has which is really bothering him is the extreme fatigue and when he eats right after he cannot stay away and it is like a coma sleep yet when he wakes up he is still exhausted.

Hi Kay,

Thank you for responding. I also responded to you via private message. I'm really depressed tonight.

Did your brother suspect MS too? The fatigue - I get that too. Not after I eat or anything. I just always feel like I've barely slept, almost all the time.

I'm just so alone and the only person to take care of me is me. Maybe that's why I freak out about all these things so much. If I don't take care of me and I really do have something, what am I going to do then?

I can't believe my life has been shrank down to the states of being I am in. In bed a lot, depressed, worried, terrorized by all this, feel like I'm braindead, feel like all these body systems and brain are all failing. Emotions all over the map. I'm so PISSED I EVER TOOK 300 MG OF EFFEXOR XR! I really can't believe I ever did that. What a way to practically destroy a human being forever.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Jullieri, I guess I am lucky because I have been spared the health anxiety through all this. But the emotional aspects I have in overdrive. I wanted off Paxil because of the apathy. I too couldn't really set goals, even simple short term goals for years. My short term memory hasn't been hit too bad but my ability to think and reason is all but gone. I can't process anything. I feel like my IQ has gone down. I also get flooded with memories and all of them are scary even the ones that should be happy. This is the worst thing of all. I have fear all the time about everything. I'm sure you've figured out that morning is bad and evenings are ok. This pattern repeats itself day after day. It's like The movie Groundhogs day. It never changes. It's been like this for 7 months. I just have too believe it will get better. I would love to have clarity for a whole day from the time I wake up just to reassure me it is possible but I have not had that happen since October.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:48 PM   #7
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Jullieri, I guess I am lucky because I have been spared the health anxiety through all this. But the emotional aspects I have in overdrive. I wanted off Paxil because of the apathy. I too couldn't really set goals, even simple short term goals for years. My short term memory hasn't been hit too bad but my ability to think and reason is all but gone. I can't process anything. I feel like my IQ has gone down. I also get flooded with memories and all of them are scary even the ones that should be happy. This is the worst thing of all. I have fear all the time about everything. I'm sure you've figured out that morning is bad and evenings are ok. This pattern repeats itself day after day. It's like The movie Groundhogs day. It never changes. It's been like this for 7 months. I just have too believe it will get better. I would love to have clarity for a whole day from the time I wake up just to reassure me it is possible but I have not had that happen since October.
It's terrifying, isn't it? I see you have been on this crap for a long time, too, about 10 years. What a way to really destroy a soul. I feel "soul-less." I don't even know that I have the ability to love anymore. I don't remember what "love" is. I don't remember what "normal" is.

And for me this health anxiety crap will go away if and whenever these insane symptoms go away! Seriously. I never used to be this bad. Back before meds if I had a symptom I didn't worry about it too much unless it got severe (severe pain, etc). I dunno. Memory loss, vision problems, loss of balance? Seems severe enough to me.

And I do feel like I'm stupid now. IQ has got to be gone. Ambition drive. That's all gone. I'm just a mass of cells now that don't even work properly anymore.

Oh yeah, I am afraid all the time about everything, too. Petting a cat in the alley could scare the crap out of me when I'm in one of these funks. It doesn't matter. Good memories, bad memories. They all scare the crap out of me now.

I seriously feel just short of psychosis with all this. And it's from the DRUGS! DRUGS DROVE ME TO MADDNESS! And this isn't even from the illegal stuff!
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:54 PM   #8
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Originally Posted by julleri View Post
It's terrifying, isn't it? I see you have been on this crap for a long time, too, about 10 years. What a way to really destroy a soul. I feel "soul-less." I don't even know that I have the ability to love anymore. I don't remember what "love" is. I don't remember what "normal" is.

And for me this health anxiety crap will go away if and whenever these insane symptoms go away! Seriously. I never used to be this bad. Back before meds if I had a symptom I didn't worry about it too much unless it got severe (severe pain, etc). I dunno. Memory loss, vision problems, loss of balance? Seems severe enough to me.

And I do feel like I'm stupid now. IQ has got to be gone. Ambition drive. That's all gone. I'm just a mass of cells now that don't even work properly anymore.

Oh yeah, I am afraid all the time about everything, too. Petting a cat in the alley could scare the crap out of me when I'm in one of these funks. It doesn't matter. Good memories, bad memories. They all scare the crap out of and that my me now.

I seriously feel just short of psychosis with all this. And it's from the DRUGS! DRUGS DROVE ME TO MADDNESS! And this isn't even from the illegal stuff!
Thing is I never needed to be on this stuff. Was told it wasn't habit forming and was not about depression. Just a new miracle cure and that my sleep issues were anxiety issues. As time moved on and so did life I just kept taking it never thinking I couldn't get off if I set my mind to it. But a new and younger doctor just assumed I was on it for serious reasons and when I wanted off I would see her after missing several days doses and she would see my jumpiness and indicate this was why I needed to be on it so I just kept taking it not realizing the harm it was doing. It seemed like a tiny pill and no big deal. But then the apathy became apparent and insomnia set in and I felt it wasn't working any more. The only advice from my doctor was to double my dose. 2 days of that and I felt likes zombie so I knew then I had to get off. If she would have known what she was doing she would have bumped me up only 5 or 10mg. That would have worked for a while longer. But when I felt like crap on 40mg I guess she did me a favor by convincing me based on how I felt that I needed to get off. I never felt that crappy in the first 11 years I took it. I just have to believe relief is around the corner. I've been off for a year. Im stuck on the remeron but at a low dose. I guess it could have been much worse. I just knew myself well enough to know that I didnt need to be on this poison and never up dosed to the 30mg she insisted I take. And yes, I have described my self as soulless many times through this process. The fear of everything is the worst. Never felt anything like this in my life. All memories are painful.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:57 PM   #9
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Jason, are you by any chance taking ambien or a benzo?
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Also what course of action do your family, friends, co-workers suggest?

Do your symptoms lessen when you're at work or at your folks' house?
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* 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 05-29-2012, 08:30 AM   #11
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

Quote:
Originally Posted by julleri View Post
It's terrifying, isn't it? I see you have been on this crap for a long time, too, about 10 years. What a way to really destroy a soul. I feel "soul-less." I don't even know that I have the ability to love anymore. I don't remember what "love" is. I don't remember what "normal" is.

And for me this health anxiety crap will go away if and whenever these insane symptoms go away! Seriously. I never used to be this bad. Back before meds if I had a symptom I didn't worry about it too much unless it got severe (severe pain, etc). I dunno. Memory loss, vision problems, loss of balance? Seems severe enough to me.

And I do feel like I'm stupid now. IQ has got to be gone. Ambition drive. That's all gone. I'm just a mass of cells now that don't even work properly anymore.

Oh yeah, I am afraid all the time about everything, too. Petting a cat in the alley could scare the crap out of me when I'm in one of these funks. It doesn't matter. Good memories, bad memories. They all scare the crap out of me now.

I seriously feel just short of psychosis with all this. And it's from the DRUGS! DRUGS DROVE ME TO MADDNESS! And this isn't even from the illegal stuff!
You just described my situation too How do we ever get ourselves back is beyond me
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:52 AM   #12
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Jason, are you by any chance taking ambien or a benzo?
I am not taking anything. I never took ambien in my life. My benzo history is in my signature.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:55 AM   #13
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

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Originally Posted by kathleen2 View Post
Also what course of action do your family, friends, co-workers suggest?

Do your symptoms lessen when you're at work or at your folks' house?
Everyone just suggests I see doctors. Coworkers said I seem better but I feel worse mentally. My symptoms really don't lessen when I'm at work. And here's the scary thing - I don't live near family. I don't live alone, but I am alone. Mother passed away years ago. Father alcoholic, and in Wisconsin. I am in Arizona. I have an aunt and uncle who live here in the winter. They are not here now. My mental decline really has me worried and scared.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:59 AM   #14
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Re: 5 years of living with severe debilitating apathy and loss of identity

The apathy thing is important, and also complicated! I've had very much the same sort of thing, though for me whatever effect there was (or is still) from the drug tended to compound some underlying tendencies towards withdrawal and complacency--not in all areas of life or at all times, but definitely there--and so it becomes really hard to sort out what is what. It's all made even worse and more complicated by the fact that the withdrawal process kind of knocks us down over time--life can really fall apart--and this can yield further loss of confidence, defeatism, apathy. For my part, I have to say that I thought once I got off the drugs this would all go away...but, no. Or at least not yet.

The one pragmatic thing I would add is that apathy can also have (obviously) deep psychological causes. My one general piece of advice would be not to give that short shrift. It's my feeling that the destabilization (and pain) of withdrawal can open up opportunities for looking at our underlying issues. Not always or at all times--sometimes it's just too overwhelming--but I think it's worth looking in the cracks and crevices of the experience (or sometimes it just hits you over the head!) for emotional reactions that are TELLING us something, now that the tamping-down effect of the drugs is gone.

Here's a nice blog entry by Ron Unger on social and personal responsibility in this regard--as opposed to just seeing ourselves as vicitms or seeing the brain as something into which chemicals get poured. It's especially helpful in discussing stability and instability and how it is normal for the mind to have periods of instability that we can then learn from. Or something like that; see what you think. http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/05/...esponsibility/
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