My Own Private Paxil-Hell

I was on Paxil HCL 20 mg for over 4 years and then 40mg for about one year.  I feel that for me the depression subsided, as did any semblance of emotion. I was numb. In many ways this was a profound blessing, in so many other ways a curse. If I should feel joy, instead I’d feel empty. If I should feel sadness I would have felt oddly disconnected. If I was to feel angry I’d feel it but it would be tamer than any anger I’d ever felt before. I felt as though I was hovering above myself waiting to feel something, anything.

This, along with the “pooping-out” that occurred for me, all contributed to my decision to end my stint with Paxil. I decided to research and found that cold-turkey was not recommended and that a tapering would be necessary. My PCP didn’t really agree that the withdrawal would be worrisome and directed a 3 week taper from 40mg to 0. That put my mind into a tailspin.

After my taper to ZERO I was in such emotional Hell that I begged for an alternate SSRI and was put on Wellbutrin 150mg. I honestly don’t see or feel any improvements, but continue to take it in thinking that it can’t be hurting anymore than I already am. The following are my personal findings of Paxil withdrawal symptoms and their duration.

  1. 2 months of severe dizziness.
  2. Lack of appetite for 3 months that was followed by an insatiable hunger.
  3. Crying spells that 7 months later are still occurring.
  4. Anger and severe rage episodes that leave me wondering what in the Hell just happened to me.
  5. Confusion and lack of short-term memory

At one month Paxil-free my father died unexpectedly, and one week after that was the Grand-opening of our new business. Every day I was battling the tears and bouts of sadness I’ve never felt before. I would need Lorazepam or marijuana just to make it through the day without falling apart.

At around 4 months I noticed (along with my family) that my rage was brewing and my angry outbursts were becoming more frequent. I could get through the work day fine (minus the tears part) but would feel the anger build the very moment I walked through my own front door every evening. I have been verbally abusive to my husband and both of my children, especially my daughter.

In my mind, at the moment my rage peaks I feel warranted in my anger. I feel as though I must act on it and next thing I know I’m weeping, sobbing and begging for forgiveness. Ten minutes later I cannot believe how I just behaved and find myself overcome with unbearable shame.

Some days I wonder if this is still the lingering withdrawal or something worse. I have convinced myself that I have Borderline Personality Disorder, but then I’ve never been diagnosed in the past so that is doubtful. I wonder if I’ve just lost all common decency and have turned into a complete narcissist. Then like a lightbulb I remember that I basically came off this cold-turkey and everything I’ve read, from blogs to medical journals indicate that it is indeed still the effects of my withdrawal.

This is little consolation to those in my rage’s path. I still need help somehow and have no idea where to start. I have attempted therapy in the past but have found each and every time that they are all cookie-cutter types looking to have me say what they want to hear. I don’t want to discuss my childhood, or my parents or how I feel I was or wasn’t treated in 1980 for God’s sake! I want to tell someone that I am losing my shit and need some tools to control this instead of it controlling and destroying all I care about in this life.

I write in hopes of healing myself. I have hope that laying my behaviors and innermost thoughts out before me will enable me to find some clarity and recognize my triggers and find a way to cope with them by removing myself from a possible out lashing before it escalates into an irreversible situation.



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