Paxil & drug tapering

After being on a low dose of Paxil for the last two years to deal with some depression and anxiety, I’ve decided it’s time to try life free of it. I spoke with my psychiatrist and we came up with a plan to very slowly taper off of the meds. Paxil is notorious for being hard to get off of as it has such a short half-life and so tapering off slowly is the best way to avoid side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Even only being on 10 milligrams, we’re taking a slow approach a reducing the dosage by 2.5 mg every two weeks to see how my body adjusts.

Honestly, the notion of how long the drug takes to come off is another motivating factor to why I want to try. This seems like powerful stuff. And I am so glad I was able to take the meds when I did, and if I realize I need to stay on them to feel ok and effectively manage my hormonal anxiety, then that’s something I will talk to my doctor about. But between healthy lifestyle choices and talk therapy and reinforcing coping tools with my “crazy lady” (psychologist sounds so clinical for someone i share such intimate details of my life with!!), I really want to try this drug-free.

I have felt really good these past few days and hope its a sign of how things will continue. I am eating really well with lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily to increase my mood and stay focused on good mental health.

I thought it might be helpful to document my experiences with the tapering.

Day 1 – bored, restless. Really, really bored. I had a feeling of intense mental energy and nowhere to focus any of it. Nothing was very Interesting until my husband intervened.

Day 2 – Felt like I got run over by a truck. My muscles ached and I felt like I was getting the flu. But I laid low, took a nap, and went out that night and had a great time (except for getting sweaty when I was dancing – the amount of sweat didn’t seem to match the temperature nor my level of exertion).

Day 3 – aches and pains were gone. A bit of mental confusion/slowness mixed with bouts of genuine contentedness.

Days 4 through 6 – better than I’ve felt on a long time. Mentally sharp, positive, and energetic. No anxiety.

I’ll stay on this same reduced dose for another week until I taper down again. Fingers crossed…

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What a difference a day makes…

Earlier this week I was stuffing my fears down with sleeves of Ritz crackers.  Never effective, but I felt stuck in some sort of endless loop.

Then I talked to my best friend who shared that she has been having a rough “food week” as well and her sugar addiction was out of control.  I seem to forget every single time that I’m bingeing that the sugar will cause me to crave more sugar.  That endless loop that I feel stuck in is just the sugar.  Once I free myself from that, I can usually see my fears and stresses more clearly and actually deal with them instead of stuffing them down my throat with junk foods.

We vowed to turn things around at that moment, to track all of our food intake, to go to the gym the following day, to cut out the refined sugars, and to check in with each other for support.

I started the day with some fresh mango, strawberries and raspberries with yogurt and granola.  I planned a workout at the gym after clinicals.  I rocked it at clinical and let my self-confidence soar instead of doubting myself.  The day was AMAZING.

And it reminded me that when I take care of myself, I feel good, healthy, strong, and alive!

Here’s to another great day tomorrow.

Anxiety strikes

This past week I’ve been battling anxiety and stress. Part of it was definitely hormonal and the other part was a less than stellar grade on a chemistry exam.

Instead of just taking it in stride and committing to working harder and smarter, I let the disappointment fester. I started to worry, to fret and to simmer. I worried that my GPA will plummet and I won’t get into nursing school. I worried that I’ll be a chemistry failure and it’ll impact everything else from here.

Melodramatic? Yes, I can see that now. But I can also see how easy it is for me to let fear take over for me. Fear opens the door for self-doubt and the mean voices that try to convince me I’m just not good enough.

Today I will get a tutor. Today I will be kind to my bruised ego. Today I will stand up to the mean voice and tell it to take a seat.