Paxil 20 – Patience 0

So far, I have weaned myself down by half — from 40 mg to 20 mg.

I am definitely feeling it since the drop to 20 mg 5 days go.  But nothing really horrible, honest.

My normally very very long patience fuse is basically gone.  I am very easily annoyed, wired up, quickly reaching peak irritability at little things.  Not really my normal self.  But the part that is still normal is that I remain very easily amused.

The irritability manifests mostly while I’m working — remember, won’t you, that I LOVE my job.  Really.  It is a great job.  I am helping my company implement Health Care Reform.  Politics aside, actually non-existent on my planet, this is very good work for someone like me … Federal and State laws, intense deadlines, really complex business and systems problems to solve, really smart and hard working people to collaborate with, a few morons to keep things interesting (and ANNOYING), working at home most of the time because I have too much to do to spend commute time to drive into the office.

Aside:  My workdays have been so intense that I have dispensed with proactive feeding of horses at home, which requires about 15 minutes — go find the hay cart, drag it to the hay barn, fill the cart with hay, deal with the annoying hay twine, drag the hay cart down to the pasture where the horses are, toss hay over the fence, fill the water troughs, chat with Pootie the Cat.  To save this 15 minutes that I typically don’t have when meetings start at 8 am and go to noon,   I have invented Horse Fast Food, which takes about 3 minutes:  Go to the barn gates, open them up and call the horses.  Wait for the first one in line to come through the gate.  This is usually Rainy, the Pork Butt sorrel mare center front in the photo below.  Point the lead horse to the hay barn.  The others will follow.  Voila.  Horse Fast Food.  Hours later go check on the horses.  For no reason.  Because there is Food, there is no need to go anywhere.

So let’s talk a bit about the Morons, since this is how my patience fuse got blown a few times this week.    These are people that have jobs in my company.  Mostly they are merely voices, since we do most of our work via telecom and Webex.  Some of these Morons are actually very intelligent people.  They just don’t do anything except speak a lot of words to demonstrate their intelligence.  I go into meetings with a mission, agenda, things that need to be accomplished so I can get Something Done and then get onto the next conference call.  Morons go into meetings to talk.  Some of them are academics — they know a lot of stuff, and they need to tell everyone what they know, all of the time.

Some are really Sales or PR folks deep down, they talk as a performance.  They “raise issues” and poke holes at things and speak the Execu-speak that they think makes them sound like they are VP material and if they keep speaking that way, eventually someone will promote them.

Some are merely auditory communicators — they have words stacked up in their esophagi like big long freeway traffic jams and they MUST speak each and every word in the order in which they have stacked it, without variation of any kind.  If you interrupt them, or in my language “So-and-so, there were too many words in what you just said. Could you restate more concisely?” , they raise their voices and backtrack, rewind and start over where they were five minutes ago.  I could really go truly psycho.  If this happens on a conference call,  I Mute and Multi-Task  — do something else while playing the phone meeting voices on low volume, sort of like the Relaxing Sounds of the Ocean that my clock radio has to help me fall asleep to.  That I still don’t fall asleep to since [1]  I don’t sleep in the room that has that clock radio in it,  since that is my bedroom and since Insomnia Galore, I can’t fall asleep in my bed and [2] also because of Insomnia Galore, relaxing sounds of the ocean are really annoying sounds of the ocean.

To finish up with the Morons:  I try to punish them for talking so much by giving them ACTION ITEMS.  These are tasks that the Morons need to complete.  This only works to the extent that I get the malicious glee from causing them to panic.  Since they usually don’t have to do anything other than produce words, like the balloon words that come out of the characters in comic strips, they get a bit weird about getting Action Items.

Aside:  Sandie will remember that we had a long philosophical, first year of college-age discussion, possibly under the influence, about what would happen if all of the words we spoke could be seen coming out of our mouths and floating into the air, like in comic strips.

Many other symptoms … head (brain/jaw) zaps (feelings of electrical shock); high energy/wired feeling; loss of appetite.  The loss of appetite is really strange.  I really don’t have desire to eat — I do, of course, but only when my stomach is screaming for something.   Pacing.  Racing thoughts but not like those that come with anxiety episodes.

I am still taking the Relaquil for the natural anxiety relief aspect.  I am convinced it is making a major difference.  I am dealing with all of these symptoms pretty well, and even the anxiety hits have been short and pretty easily managed.  And not to forget my major source of therapy — Mo the Horse — continues to be a huge help.  We are back to jumping again (bad ankle steadily improving) and so, the utter terror of jumping helps keep me calm and sane.

Ok, now that did sound a little nuts.

my newest adventure

I have launched Mission Paxil Withdrawal.

I am doing ok.  A little bit nuttier than usual but so far not bad.  I am still managing to live life normally.  Or normal for me.  Mostly.  I can still get in my car and drive places, manage brief visits to the grocery store (as long as the Grocery Store People don’t make any  mistakes, like allowing people to be in front of me when I am ready to check out.)   I can still work 60 hr weeks and ride Mo and knit while ignoring housework.  All is well. Mostly.

I started this on Jun 24 by dropping my 40 mg daily dose of Paxil to 35 mg.  Or so.  I say “or so” because at the time I decided to start cutting down my dose, I did not have a pill splitter to do the actual cutting.  So I used a kitchen knife to stab the pills and then crawled around the floor looking for the pieces that went flying everywhere.  Then I assembled the broken pieces and pill dust into little teeny baggies,  like the ones the local crystal meth dealers use for product packaging.  The reason I know this is because of Debbie the former tenant roommate-meth user-welfare mom and the inkling that Something Was Wrong With Her that caused me to illegally search her room while she was out, which revealed not only the teeny baggies but some glass pipes, some BBW porn magazines (?) and a couple of size 24 lace up corsets, one black and one red (??).  Then it dawned on me how a deadbeat welfare mom who couldn’t/wouldn’t hold down a regular job could come up with $400 in cash for rent.  But apparently she was not selling enough BBW porn photos to keep the rent coming on time so I politely asked her to move herself, her porn and her tweaker paraphenalia out of my home by putting a padlock on the front gate and telling her she could come back inside the house when [1] she had paid her rent and [2] I had arranged a civil standby with Sheriff to have a couple of deputies on hand in case she got ugly.  She eventually moved out.  Sort of.  I say sort of because she never paid her rent and therefore was never allowed back in the house, and was never heard from again.

But back to my legal baggies.  In order to come up with my new reduced dose out of the 40 mg debris, I eyeballed the little broken pieces and dust and made teeny little piles of 35 mg guesses and scraped the guesses into the teeny baggies.  This reminded me of a time in high school (Mom, don’t read this part) when somehow I knew someone who was selling marijuana and I helped him break a kilo down into lids (1 oz baggies) for sale.  These baggies were bigger, the sandwich size.

But back to my legal drugs.  When I take the Paxil debris, I mix it into a tsp of orange juice, like my mother used to do get me to take aspirin.  This was when I was a little kid and way before I smoked marijuana, or needed to buy my own groceries and legal drugs.

For those of you who do not have anxiety/panic disorder, or who have it but deal with it with other than an SSRI, here is the list of Paxil Withdrawal symptoms :

  • intense insomnia
  • extraordinarily vivid dreams
  • extreme confusion during waking hours
  • intense fear of losing your sanity
  • steady feeling of existing outside of reality as you know it (referred to as depersonalization at times)
  • memory and concentration problems
  • Panic Attacks (even if you never had one before)
  • severe mood swings, esp. heightened irritability / anger
  • suicidal thoughts (in extreme cases)
  • an unconventional dizziness/ vertigo
  • the feeling of shocks, similar to mild electric one, running the length of your body
  • an unsteady gait
  • slurred speech
  • headaches
  • profuse sweating, esp. at night
  • muscle cramps
  • blurred vision
  • breaking out in tears.
  • hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells.
  • decreased appetite
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramping, diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • chills/ hot flashes

Because dropping my dose of anxiety meds has the risk of causing these symptoms, which I cannot afford to get because I have to work and ride my horse and drive places and generally remain a Responsible Human Being,  I added a natural  supplement to my already full Drug Drawer.  It is called Relaquil, and it  contains  a bunch of herbal and mineral anxiety remedies – valerian,  passion flower, magnesium …  I found references to it on a Paxil Withdrawal website, so of course it must work.

I have to say that the first 2 weeks on 35 mg of Paxil and half of the daily recommended dose of Relaquil, I was having periods of not only not increased anxiety, but of near-well being.  Like the old me, circa 1977 or so.  Weird.  But good.  Sort of like how marijuana used to affect me, before I became an Adult and decided not to enjoy the euphoria and munchies anymore.

So with that success under my belt, this past weekend I dropped another 5 mg to 30 mg daily.   But this time i bought a pill splitter.  (Aside:  Yes I can get my psycho doc to prescribe the right size dose.  I just have all of these 40 mg pills to use up first).

I am keeping the Relaquil dose the same, will bump it up to the full recommended daily dose when I drop to 20 mg of Paxil.  This week I have had a couple incidents of flash irritation and some of the infamous Paxil Withdrawal Brain Zaps.  Otherwise no serious anxiety flare ups and no other symptoms.   I’m thinking I’ll stay here for another week or so and then drop to 25 mg/daily, which is when I expect the real fun to begin.