Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Odds and ends...
I've just been really busy and haven't had a lot to say. Right now, I can't stand politics and I don't see that changing any time soon. I continue to be amused at everyone from theocrats to moderates digging in their heels and saying, "If so-and-so wins the nomination, I will vote for the Democrat/vote third party/sit out the election." Good Lord, politics brings out the stupid in people. And don't get me started on the Rawn Pawl cult. One last political comment -- there's one thing my lefty sister and I agree on: we both loathe Hillary Clinton. Common ground! :-)
On a personal note, I'm now completely off the Paxil. I don't know if this is related, but I've been a walking disaster area lately. In the past two days, I've broken a glass container for a candle, broken a mirror, dropped a plate (which didn't break, miraculously) and put a pretty good scratch on my car. I've just been a bundle of nerves.
My family isn't exchanging gifts this year, but I'm going to make some gifts to give to a few friends. I'm making some soap and other bath things. I just hope I don't drop anything, break anything, mess anything up or burn the kitchen down in the process.
Hopefully, I will finally get my new computer by the end of the week. It's a long story as to why I haven't gotten it yet, which I won't go into. Let's just say that I will be relieved when I finally get it.
Well, I will continue to be busy the rest of the week with work, making gifts and getting things cleaned up and ready for the new PC. I will post again when I have time and when I have something to say.
BTW, thank you for the prayers concerning my aunt and this incident. My aunt is doing fine now, and the other incident seems to not be an issue anymore.
Posted by Susan B. at 11:30 AM
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Monday, October 15, 2007
I need to give an update on some things since I went on hiatus.
First of all, my computer situation...I have decided to have a new computer built. The computer shop was unable to find a supplier of the kind of motherboard I needed for my old computer. (It is amazing how fast things become obsolete when it comes to computers.) They said they could try a few more places, but they couldn't say for sure if they would be able to find the part. So, instead of waiting another week to find out if the part could be found, I decided to let them just build me a new computer with the latest and greatest stuff. They are throwing in a few things for free to make up for what happened with the old computer. It will have XP Pro (not Vista -- they said that Vista is bad news, and I've heard nothing but bad things about it myself) and they will put my old hard drive in as a second hard drive, so that I can get my stuff off of it and use it as extra storage.
Regarding the Paxil-tapering situation...I will put that after the jump.
I had pretty much stayed the same in my dosage for a long time. I was taking one-eighth of a 10mg pill a day. I tried to get the liquid Paxil, and the pharmacy said it would be no problem, but when I brought the prescription home, it was pills, not liquid. I didn't feel like fussing with the pharmacy and couldn't divide the pills even smaller, so I stayed at the same dosage for a couple of months more. Then last week, I got an idea. I have some flavoring syrups that I got to use in soda and hot cocoa. I crushed up a pill into powder, added the powder to 16 teaspoons of the diet vanilla syrup and put it in a jar. I made my own liquid Paxil! I shake the solution up very well and take 1 tsp a day.
I'm doing alright on the lower dosage. I have had some episodes. I will get very depressed for a little while and have crying spells. I will also get suddenly very angry. But these episodes pass.
I'm not feeling the greatest, but I'm trying not to be so withdrawn and I'm trying to quit procrastinating things I need to do.
Posted by Susan B. at 1:48 PM
Friday, July 27, 2007
No wonder I'm so tired...
I tried to give blood a little earlier at the blood drive at work and they turned me down because my iron was too low. I'm not taking my vitamins like I should, so I wasn't really surprised.
This week, I reduced my Paxil dosage again. I was pretty snippy and sullen earlier in the week, but I'm feeling better today. I'm getting a decent amount of sleep for now, although I'm always fatigued lately. I've been having a lot of vivid, strange and sometimes disturbing dreams. I'm still having a hard time concentrating, which is why I haven't been blogging, although I have been commenting here and there. I used to be so organized...now I'm so disorganized it's ridiculous. It's very frustrating.
Regarding the earlier prayer request, things are looking up for the one who I asked you to pray for. She still needs a lot of prayer...although one bad situation is getting better, the other still remains the same. Thank you to all who have prayed for her. Keep praying!
Posted by Susan B. at 1:05 PM
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Friday, June 22, 2007
Last Week Was Rough
When I last posted eleven days ago, I wrote that I was having a bad bout of insomnia and depression. Well, it only got worse, with anxiety added to the mix. By Wednesday of last week, I was a wreck. I could not sleep, I could barely eat, I could not function and I constantly felt like I was on the edge of a panic attack. (In fact, I did have a couple of brief panic attacks.) I stayed home from work and went to the Urgent Care doctor to get something to help me calm down and sleep. (My regular doctor's office was closed and, due to miscommunication, they never called anything in to help me sleep like I asked them to earlier that week.)
During this time, thoughts were bouncing around in my head like ping-pong balls. I felt crazy and I felt a sense of doom. The craft fair thing was adding to the anxiety and I came very close to canceling the whole thing because I was feeling like I couldn't handle it. (Fortunately, after getting some rest and calming down, I was able to gain some perspective and I realized canceling would have been a mistake.) I felt guilty for missing work.
The Urgent Care doctor thought, as I did, that this was all brought on by Paxil withdrawal. This all happened during the third week of taking 2.5 mg a day. I'm wondering if I should delay reducing my dosage again by a couple of weeks. I have just a few more days at the current dosage.
I prayed to God for strength and comfort a lot last week. My mother prayed for me, too. (She was very worried about me.) I don't know what I would have done without God giving me His strength, since I certainly had none of my own.
Posted by Susan B. at 11:50 AM
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Poking my head up...
Sorry for the extended absence. I've been both busy and not feeling the greatest. I halved my dosage of Paxil at the beginning of this week as per the tapering protocol I'm following. I didn't think much of it at the time. But yesterday, I was wondering why I was so moody and was being so snippy to everybody. Then I realized it must be the reduced Paxil dosage. I was in a good mood for only about five minutes yesterday. During that five minutes, a coworker asked me if I would do a flyer advertising a retirement party for another coworker. I agreed to do it, and then five minutes later regretted it. I'll try and put something together this evening.
To make things worse, my mother has been in terrible pain because of the nerve damage from the shingles she had two years ago. (This is called Postherpetic Neuralgia.) I took her to Urgent Care on Memorial Day so she could get some better pain medicine. Tomorrow, she will be seeing her regular doctor. Hopefully, he will give her a prescription for Lyrica, which is a relatively new medication that is supposed to treat the kind of pain she's having.
Oh, well...back to the daily grind...
Posted by Susan B. at 9:55 AM
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007
How I'm Doing
A little Paxil related update...
I'm still tapering down my dosage. A very kind reader gave me some excellent instructions on how to do it properly. I was trying to taper down too quickly and in the wrong way, which is why I was feeling so bad. Last week was hard to evaluate because I was sick a lot of the week (non-Paxil related), but I can tell the difference this week. I am no longer having severe mood-swings and depression. My concentration is better as well. I had pretty much stopped dreaming, but when I began the new tapering protocol, I started having vivid and somewhat disturbing dreams again. However, I am sleeping well.
I am now taking the general Paxil (instead of the controlled release). I have 10mg pills which I cut in half with a pill cutter. Right now, I am taking 5mg a day. I have been taking this dosage for a little over a week and will continue for another three weeks. Then I will decrease the dosage to 2.5mg a day for four weeks. This pattern will continue until I am off of it entirely.
I may not be posting much for the next week or so because I'm going to be busy trying to get things straightened up and organized. I need to do some spring cleaning...I'm tired of the clutter.
Posted by Susan B. at 8:45 PM
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I'm still shaky, but I'm doing better today. I was able to move my podiatrist appointment up a few days because I decided to move my regular doctor appointment back. Being able to do that made me feel better. My feet are feeling somewhat better because I'm staying off of them and keeping them propped up in the evenings. I'm still frustrated about not being able to do things, though.
Hopefully, my moods will stay relatively even today. Thank you for your prayers and please continue to pray for me.
Posted by Susan B. at 12:05 PM
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I'm not doing well today. I'm due to take my next-to-last Paxil tomorrow morning...if I can make it that long. I've been depressed lately and I'm very short-tempered today. I get mad if someone just looks at me the wrong way. Reading blogs is mostly infuriating anymore. I need to find something else to do while staying off my feet. It's hard for me to do things like read a book or watch a movie because I have the attention span of a gnat right now.
Why do I need to stay off my feet? Because my feet, especially my right foot, have been acting up really badly lately and I'm in a lot of pain. If I can stay off my feet, I'm okay. But I am frustrated because I need to do things. I want to start exercising. I want to make some soap and experiment with making some other bath things. But I can't because I can't bear to stand or walk for too long. I have an appointment with a foot doctor late next week (which was the soonest I could manage) because I can't stand this anymore.
I really don't think I should completely stop taking Paxil with my last pill on May 1. I had a reader warn me about this and I think he was right. I have one more refill and I may need to continue weaning down and maybe do it differently. I need to go to that Paxil forum and ask for some advice, but I just plain haven't felt like it. I'm really not in the mood to have to explain all this crap to a bunch of people I don't know and then probably get all kinds of conflicting advice. I'm low on patience right now.
I don't know what to do. Pray for me if you are so inclined.
Update: I'm feeling calmer now, although it's a washed-out, exhausted calm. And I went ahead and took the yellow pill. Yeah, I will definitely get that one more refill...I'm just not ready to stop taking them completely yet. I need to wean down a while longer. When I feel up to it, I'll go to that forum and ask some questions.
Posted by Susan B. at 4:55 PM
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Monday, April 9, 2007
A quick word...
...about how I'm doing with the Paxil thing. Well, I was in a horrible mood and generally felt horrible all week last week. Every time I ate, I got heartburn that radiated through my left shoulder. If it wasn't that it only happened when I ate, I would have thought I was having a heart attack or something. I have a hiatal hernia and had PMS (sorry, TMI), so that probably contributed to it as well. I also had an attack of one of those towering rages on Good Friday. Thankfully, they let us go home from work early (since it was Good Friday). I was trying to increase the time between Paxil dosages another day, but only made it for twelve hours. After coming down from the "hyper-rage", I was exhausted and took a long nap and ended up sleeping a lot during the weekend.
I have felt better today...much less dispirited and fatigued. Also, the heartburn is gone now, so I'm not miserable every time I eat.
I've thought about blogging some things, but I'm trying to avoid getting myself too spun up. Also, I have quit reading some blogs or their comments because they just make me too angry.
I'm going to try and concentrate on reading some books and I may try and resume the project I started and never finished on my faith journal. I think that would make a good and edifying diversion.
I am also slowly trying to change my diet and eat healthier things and consume less calories so I can start losing weight again. My feet are gradually getting better. It is really just my right foot that is hurting now, and the pain is centered around the side of my heel. When I massage the painful area, I can actually feel a hard knot. Once my foot is better, I'd like to start exercising again. I really need to get healthy again.
Posted by Susan B. at 8:10 PM
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Next mood swing in 5 minutes...
First of all, let me mention that one of my readers kindly pointed me to this site: Paxil Progress. (I didn't know about the site when I named my previous Paxil-related post.) It's a whole forum dedicated to people going through Paxil withdrawal. I may need to modify how I'm tapering down...we'll see.
Let me update you on my current progress. All I can say is it varies. I went to bed relatively early last night because I didn't feel like doing anything else. I wasn't particularly tired -- I had taken a nap earlier -- but I just didn't want to be awake anymore. So I took some sleeping pills and went to bed. I felt okay this morning, but after getting to work I just felt jumbled up and irritable. Nothing in particular happened to make me feel that way...it's how I usually feel lately -- on edge and slightly irritable. Now I have a tension headache...again.
I haven't had any notable dreams lately, but I have had a lot of those deals where I can't tell if I'm dreaming or awake. I'll give you a couple of examples. Saturday morning, I could have sworn I heard/saw my mother come in my room, turn on the light in my bathroom, turn it off, then leave. (Sometimes she needs to get something out of my bathroom, so this isn't unusual.) I was pretending (or so I thought) to be asleep, and when she left, I rolled over and saw that the time was 7:56. I went back to sleep. A little later, when I got up, I asked my mother what she got out of my bathroom. She said she hadn't been in my room or bathroom. I dreamed the whole thing!
Another example...I was taking a nap and I kept trying to wake up and I kept thinking I was awake, only to realize I was dreaming. At one point, I got up (or so I thought) and looked in my bathroom mirror. There was no reflection...like I was a vampire or something. I realized I was still dreaming. Finally, after numerous tries, I woke up for real. These sort of dreams have happened numerous times lately.
Well, I took something for the headache, so I'm going to get off the computer shortly, dim the lights in my room and try to relax so it will go away.
Posted by Susan B. at 7:50 PM
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Paxil Progress / Useful and Edifying Websites
I'm taking a few days off from work because my mother is very sick with a sinus infection. Plus, I just need some mental health days. I can't really afford the leave, but I can afford the current course I'm on even less.
Anyway, since I started weaning myself off Paxil, I've found this site very useful: QuitPaxil.info. Also, Barb pointed me to this site a while back: I Trust When Dark My Road. It is very helpful for Christians who have anxiety and depression.
As for my progress, I've been very irritable, very depressed and downright mean lately (
see previous post removed -- don't feel like dealing with any possible fallout). I've had terrible headaches and my feet hurt a lot. I don't know if the foot pain has anything to do with withdrawal -- it's most likely related to my back problems -- but it's very bad. I feel like I've been walking on five inch heels all day. But I don't wear heels and I have a sedentary job.
I've had disturbing dreams. I also woke up giggling one night. I apparently had a really funny dream, but I couldn't remember what was so funny. I was just laying there in the middle of the night giggling like a lunatic. Weird.
Posted by Susan B. at 3:15 PM
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Friday, March 2, 2007
Coming out of the Paxilated Fog
(It has taken me almost three months to put this post together. I've revised some things, updated some things, added some things and deleted some things. I deleted some passages because they seemed like pointless rambling or were too personal. Other things I deleted because, well, I am quite sure there are people in the blog world who dislike me quite a bit [and the feeling is most likely mutual]. After seeing at least one prominent right-leaning blogger being ridiculed by left-wing bloggers for being on anti-anxiety meds, I decided that some details of my experiences should not be posted publicly. I've thought about adding a password function to certain posts so that only people I trust can read them. I may yet do that. I know my blog is just a minor, low traffic blog, so I don't see that I'd be a very juicy target. However, perhaps I'm too cynical, but I have come to never underestimate the duplicity, viciousness, cruelty and two-faced backstabbery that some people can sink to.)
Something has been not quite right with me for quite some time. I started realizing this in early December. I had been feeling like part of me was numb or had gone to sleep. I found myself losing interest in things very quickly that used to endlessly excite me. I found myself unable to stick to any weight-loss regimen, no matter how easy or successful it was, because I would just lose motivation. I just would quit caring. I would try a few soapmaking projects, but they seemed more like a duty ("Gotta get that Christmas soap made!") than like something I really wanted to do. I completely lost interest in working on web design stuff and only did what little I did out of a sense of duty. I found that sometimes I would sit many hours -- or even the whole day -- at my desk at work and leave the iPod unused, listening instead to chatter in the office. I just didn't feel like music.
While I've always been introverted and needed a reasonable amount of quite time to myself, I found that I was never happy with the amount of quiet time I had. It never seemed to be enough, though I was really no busier than I had been in the past.
I have been to church only a handful of times in five months. I never finished my project that I started on my now abandoned faith journal. A few Sundays ago, I went back to church for the first time this year after my Pastor called to check on me and find out if everything was alright. I didn't tell him about all this because, well, I just didn't feel like explaining it at the time.
My work had been slipping. I didn't think as fast as I used to. My supervisor noticed my lack of motivation. (Let me add, my supervisor is a nice guy and was trying to be helpful to me.) I hadn't balanced mine or my mother's checkbooks in months. I just checked things out online. If it looked good, I didn't worry. I stopped keeping up with finances in Quicken a year and a half ago. I kept swearing I would start again and I never did. This is something I've always done for years and years. I pay my bills online, but sometimes I would forget to pay something. I had the money, I just forgot and let it slide. I can't emphasize enough how unlike me this is. I have always been very responsible with money and my finances.
In general, I have been unmotivated and apathetic. I did some things I've wanted to do for a while, like LASIK surgery or buying a new car, to jumpstart myself, but while I'm happy with these things, they would soon fade into the background of my life. Even my dreams changed. Vivid colors were replaced with drab, muted colors. The dreams were almost sepia-toned, like I was seeing things through a dirty window, and they were vaguely disturbing and sometimes apocalyptic.
Like I said, I've felt like something was wrong with me that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Then, through a series of events that I don't believe are coincidental, I found out what was wrong, where my life started going off the rails, and what I could do about it.
I started taking Paxil around two years ago...in January of 2005. My doctor gave me some samples of it to try because I pretty much had a nervous breakdown right after New Year's. I've always had problems with anxiety and depression, but this time it was very, very bad. I had just had a horrendously awful Christmas season, which culminated in my having to put my beloved dog Coco to sleep. I was busy trying to arrange repairs of the damage to my house caused by Hurricane Ivan. I was taking bids from roofers, worrying about getting some more money from the insurance company, the whole deal. Shortly after Coco's death, my sister and mother get me this cockatiel to help me get over Coco's death. Forcing another pet on me so soon was the wrong thing to do. I was angry and resentful -- not at the bird because it wasn't her fault, but at my family. They meant well, but they made things worse. I had horrendous insomnia that was made worse by the fact that this bird would carry on -- loudly -- in the early morning hours.
So anyway, my doctor gave me a month's worth of samples of Paxil CR 12.5 mg. After a week or two, I was feeling much better. My mood swings were gone, I didn't get upset as easily and I could sleep again. I didn't have any apparent side-effects. People noticed how my moods had evened out, and this too was encouraging. When the samples ran out, I asked my doctor for a prescription.
I was concerned about weight-gain, and I was going to Weight Watchers at the time. I swore I would quit Paxil if I gained weight.
All seemed well for several months. It did seem like I had to struggle harder to lose weight, but I thought I just wasn't trying hard enough. I gradually quit going to Weight Watchers (even after paying for a year's membership). The weight I lost came back. I tried other diets, like Nutrisystem, and while they worked wonderfully, I could not stay motivated. I simply didn't care enough to stay motivated.
I thought about quitting Paxil, but I had read about the horrible withdrawal symptoms and I was scared to stop suddenly. Despite the weight issues, I felt like it would be vain of me to stop taking something that apparently was helping me just because of my weight. I was also afraid my old problems would come back if I stopped. In the meantime, they had taken the controlled-release tablets off the market and I was taking the regular 10mg tablets. It seemed like those pills didn't work as well and I was glad when the CR tablets came back on the market about a year ago.
In the meantime, I gradually slipped into this fog that I lived in. My emotions gradually became blunted. I rarely enjoyed good belly-laughs. Sometimes, you need a good cry and it was very hard to do that either. I might chuckle at something that I would normally find pee-in-your-pants funny. I might weep a bit at things that would normally have me bawling. But everything was muted. My anger was mostly tamed to where I would get a bit miffed and then get over it. I would avoid situations that might enrage me. Of course, I believe this to be good thing. I don't like for things to make me angry and get to me. But the price I payed for that was the blunting of all my other emotions as well. I also started to become a less affectionate and even aloof person.
Anyway, after putting my finger on the problem -- that my mind has been in a Paxil-induced fog for nearly two years -- I decided to gradually wean myself off Paxil. I talked to my doctor to make sure he knew I was doing this. He had no problem as long as I didn't stop cold turkey, which I wasn't about to do.
I started by taking the Paxil every other day rather than every day. I did this for the month of December. Then in January, I started taking it every three days. In February I took it every four days. Now, in March, I will take it every five days. I will continue with this pattern until my current bottle is empty.
As I reduced the dosage, at first, I noticed no difference. Then some very subtle but definite changes started occurring.
The color came back to my dreams again. While many are still somewhat disturbing, they are not these epic, apocalyptic dreams that had become so common. I can't remember the last time I had a really lovely dream...one that I tried to hold on to before waking up. One that left me smiling upon remembering it. I had a really terrible nightmare last week -- one in which I woke up with my heart pounding. I could remember it when I first woke up, but now I don't remember it.
I've gone through periods of severe depression intermittently. That's one reason I've been on hiatus.
Right now, I'm having mood swings. For a while, I went through a period where I would shoot up into a towering rage over almost nothing. I haven't had these "hyper-rages" lately, but I do oscillate between being irritable, depressed and then almost giddy within the same hour. I go through periods where loud or shrill voices really irritate me. Things I used to not pay any mind to, like people yammering about movies and TV shows around the office, sometimes send me into an eye-rolling sulkiness. I wish they'd just shut up. At times, loud but normal noises -- doors slamming, drawers slamming, dogs barking, etc. -- startle and irritate me. These things used to not bother me. Sometimes I don't like to talk or listen to people much. It seems like a chore. All of these things come and go.
It's all a mixture of good and bad. I enjoy music a lot more and have gotten interested in maintaining my Live 365 station again. I have had more good belly-laughs in the past two weeks or so than I had for the two years I was on Paxil. However, I also get very depressed and fatigued at times and sometimes I get terrible headaches. I have had problems with insomnia again, especially when something upsets me and gets to me.
But again on the plus side, I feel my creativity returning and I am genuinely getting inspired about making soap and bath products lately. I've also started playing around with graphics and web design stuff again. Not a lot, but at least I'm feeling interested again. I'm now keeping up with my bills and am catching up on things like balancing checkbooks. I can't believe the way I let things go. Gradually, my thinking is becoming clearer.
The point of this post is not to say that Paxil is bad and that nobody should take it. I have read some websites about quitting Paxil and they have been helpful. So far, I have not had the worst withdrawal symptoms. When I stop taking it completely, those may happen. But maybe it won't be so bad since I have been weaning down so slowly. The Paxil helped me when I was going through a rough time, but I probably should have stopped taking it once I was over the rough patch. I imagine Paxil can be very helpful to people who have more severe anxiety and depression problems than mine. I am only speaking for myself here and no one else.
Posted by Susan B. at 12:50 PM
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