I’ve been prescribed Paroxotine for, I don’t even know, a year? Two, maybe? Anyway, I accidentally threw away my prescription when going through the old medicine cabinet, and ended up in the hospital for three days, when my heart decided it wanted to give out, and I legitimately thought I was going to die. Long story short, got back on it, and while my heart is literally broken now, life was ok.
It was during that week of no pills that I ended up in my bathroom, dead-set on ending my life. The next day, which also happened to be the day I went to the ER, something in me changed. I’ve been thinking long, and very hard about life. Not just mine, but life in general. Then I messed up and forgot to turn in a paper for my medical. I can’t afford to fill the prescription, and quite frankly, I don’t want to, so this is like a blessing in disguise.
I have to say that I was not prepared for what I’ve been going through. I was fine for a couple of days immediately following stopping, even though at the time I had a lot of shut going on. My aunt was diagnosed with Stage 4 Uterine Cancer that matastasized to her lungs. She wasn’t healthy enough for surgery, and decided immediately she wanted Hospice brought in. I’ll tell this a bother time, but she passed away.
During her two-week stint in the hospital before she died, I became obsessed. She couldn’t die. Not her. A nurse of 32 years, she dedicated her life to helping people. The last three years of her life she was a Hospice nurse herself. She was always on call, never at family functions because she chose to rush back to the hospital for complete strangers, she was literally one of the most perfect individuals I have ever met. While detoxing during this time, I became humble. I was feeling things again. It’s funny how you don’t even notice you’ve been numbed for how ever many years, and here I sat, thrown off guard because I was having feelings. It was terrible, and horrifying, yet at the same time, I was glad I was feeling again. All this time I thought myself incapable of feeling anything, and now I’m experiencing something foreign, but familiar. Pain. Utter, devastating pain in my chest at the thought of her dying.
Then the withdrawals set in. For the last three days I have been on the brink of death. Not really, but this shit is the most intense experience of my life, and I have outlived a child of my own.
I’m not afraid though. I want to go through what I am about to describe. I am completely fascinated by the experience. That’s just how I am though. To me this is science. I never realized how much I enjoy the science of the human body. All aspects of it, but most fascinating of all is human psychology. I feel as if I am two different individuals right now. The one experiencing the withdrawal, and the one witnessing it. To me the withdrawal is clinical. Nothing to be afraid of, because I know it is the affects of withdrawal. Some of what I am going to describe is going to sound horrific. Keep in mind, that it is not the cognitive version of me. It is a drug withdrawal and I am hosting my own personal intervention. I have NEVER been one to use drugs. I wouldn’t take a Tylenol if I hacked off a limb. I do not want to be dependent upon a pill to survive hardships in my life.
So, I present to you the clinical version of my experience:
- Blurred vision. I remember this experience when I began taking Paroxotine, an expected side effect as my body became accustomed to it. I think it’s like a circle. My body has the same amount of it in my system. Kind of like a heart beat on a monitor:
Red line = Paroxotine in my system
Blue line = Where blurred vision occurs
- Manic. My mind is racing at all times. It’s almost as if my thoughts are flying around my head like a pinball. But they are deep thoughts. Thoughts on cures for cancer, autism, etc. Thoughts about the human body, and modern medicine and holistic medicine. I feel like I can solve all of the world’s problems, and everything seems so clear, simple, and easy to me. Even my mental health and my personality. I know what I have to do to get better and I am obsessed with getting there.
- I am constantly battling suicidal thoughts. I process everything with humor, and even to myself. So my suicidal thoughts are often outlandish. I gave up on the dream of killing myself because I have kids that depend on me. I decided to live, unselfishly instead of being selfish. The day I was actually going to do it, I had this thought: who could possibly love my children like I do, if I am not here to do it? I am always a logical person. Everything I do, for the most part, is well thought about before I do it. This was no different, and just because I was taking myself out didn’t mean I had to leave an entire mess for those that depended upon me, and that’s when I thought about it, and I changed my mind. Doesn’t mean I don’t make fun of myself for not even being able to kill myself if I wanted to. I mean, I’m not a baby, I’m not going to cry “poor me” because I can’t do it, but I will make a joke about it. So my suicidal thoughts are always crazy ones. I see a butter knife and my first thought is: I could totally do it with that, but I don’t want to have nasty scars for my funeral, or in the bathtub, I could totally just sink to the bottom, but then my eyes would probably be doing that weird dead stare, and I don’t think that would be a good idea. Some of them make me laugh out loud. I have a dramatic, explosive personalities, and a dry sense of humor. Things get dark. But again, fascinating how quick my mind is to jump to it. I know myself well enough to know that that ship has sailed for me, and I am happy to stay alive. If I die young, it won’t be by my hand, I have too much shit I still want to do while I’m here, and now I feel like there wouldn’t be enough time in the world to do them all. Again, I’m claiming withdrawals from the drugs. I researched it to see if that was an actual side effect from withdrawal from it, and while I couldn’t find medical documentation on the actual website, I’ve read enough of people’s personal experiences to know it is. That’s what makes me ok with it, because I know it’s not me thinking those thoughts and it will go away.
- I sweat like a whore in church. I haven’t had a perspiration issue before, but I have been since quitting. It’s gross.
- Hot and cold. I can not seem to regulate my temperature. One minute I’m freezing, the next I’m half naked outside, in Ohio, in February. It’s annoying.
- I cry all the time. Not because I’m sad, it’s like my body is leaking from my eyes. For me, this is one of the worst symptoms, because I do not cry unless I am mad. Then it’s like the only way my rage can escape my body because killing whomever made me mad is against the law. Takes a lot to get me to that point, but if someone does, my uncontrolable immediate reaction is to hurt them. Again. This is if someone does something so wrong it would compare to them killing someone themselves. I don’t get mad over just anything, and I don’t judge unless it is something so dark and despicable the person must be the spawn of satan. Also I cry if I am frustrated. If someone talk’s to me like I am an idiot and they amndre definitely in the wrong and I can’t go against it because they amndre of some authority figure, I cry the release the chest-tightening sensation of keeping my mouth shut and not correcting them. I cannot handle crying for no reason. Crying is for babies.
- My skin is so itchy I have scratched bruises on my body. I don’t have bugs, and it legitimately feels like ants are crawling all over me. Again, crazy to see first hand how powerful that tiny pill really was.
- My lips are cracked and swollen. Like I got stung by a bee. It’s painful! Thank God for Benadryl.
- My head feels like someone literally took my brain out of my head, beat it with a bat, and put it back in. Like it is physically injured. It helps when I squeeze it or push on my eyes. My boyfriend thinks it’s weird that I ask him to use his man hands to practically crush my head. But he still does it for me lol.
- I am dying of thirst, drink practically gallons of water a day, yet I only urinate once a day. All of that water is going somewhere, so now I’m afraid of inadvertently drowning myself with water. Is that a thing?
- Electropulses. Like I am having electric shock therapy. Certain movements will cause like lightning bolts to travel through my body, shocking my nerve endings. My muscles feel like they are mush, and my steps almost seem to reverberate throughout my body, and I can hear bodily functions as if I have a stethoscope built into my ear drums. It’s kind of cool. Again, cool only because I know it will go away.
- I’m dropping pounds like flies. 25 pounds in two weeks. I also feel like I am dropping my negative habits along the way as well. Maybe that’s a key to weightloss.
- Increased sex-drive. Nothing to complain about, right? Except when you don’t even want to have sex, but your vaginas has about mind of its own, and has apparently decided it is its civic duty to doube the population of Earth. I told my gynecologist about this, he laughed when I said that I literally felt the urge to screw him as soon as he walked in the door, because my vaginas doesn’t care where the penis comes from. It’s like I can’t help it. I have a boyfriend, and I would NEVER cheat, but it doesn’t mean that my body isn’t experiencing something that just is reacting to any male I see. It’s awful. To think like that about complete strangers. (I do want to interject here and clarify that I still have standards and it’s not all males. They are all men of age that it is acceptable to be attracted to. Not married men, not relatives, not guys younger than me. It’s just if I see a guy I find attractive I want to have a one-time bang session is all).
I read an article in a Medical Journal that compared the withdrawals of Paroxotine to be similar to that of Heroine withdrawals. I believe it. I know it can’t be as bad as a heroine withdrawal, but I’m certain it’s close. The only thing getting me through it is the knowledge that it’s from that. I know these thoughts are not me, I don’t want to have them, and I know they will go away. I’m looking forward to the day where I can feel normal again.
I’m not saying that people don’t need this, nor am I saying that I am a doctor. I am just giving my personal experience. Do with it what you will.