Paxil: Pros & Cons

I have been taking an SSRI called Paxil for at least seven years now. Typically I don’t think you are supposed to take these types of medications for such a long time, but a lot of people do. I’ve written before about how grateful I am for what Paxil has done for me. I used to suffer from severe social anxiety. I was petrified of small everyday things such as ordering food at a restaurant or making a phone call to schedule an appointment. Even as a child I can remember rehearsing my age, the school I went to, etc. as I was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. I knew she would ask me about these things and I would get so nervous that my mind would go completely blank. Even though I have always been an excellent student, I was never willing to answer questions in class because I was too afraid to raise my hand and speak in front of everyone.

After I began taking Paxil, magically all of these problems disappeared. I had no problem at all chatting with the clerk at my local store, going out to eat, meeting new people, or introducing myself in a class in school. I couldn’t explain it, but I had absolutely no more fear when it came to these situations. I have no idea where I would be today if it wasn’t for Paxil. It has made my life so much easier.

With all that being said, I have finally started to be troubled by side-effects that I didn’t pay much attention to at first. I didn’t even notice that these things were related to the medication for a long time. One of the issues I’ve come to recognize is my extremely low libido. This is a common side effect of any SSRI. I was so young when I began the medication that I thought it was just normal for me for the longest time. But it seems like it’s becoming more significant as time goes on. I don’t necessarily mind this side-effect. I am usually single and it’s nice not to miss sexual encounters when I’m on my own. However, it’s gotten to the point that I really have no interest in sex at all. It seems like a chore even when I have a partner. Which, as you can imagine, has an effect on my ability to form and maintain romantic relationships.

Another more concerning side-effect that I only noticed when I spoke with my sister who is also on Paxil, is a dampening on all emotions. I don’t feel anything as deeply as I used to. At first, this seemed almost like another benefit of Paxil. However, I’m starting to think it’s a big problem. Everything has faded into shades of gray. I don’t cry anymore. But I don’t laugh as much either. My passion has been all but extinguished. It’s nearly impossible for me to even motivate myself to try to form or maintain meaningful relationships with others. I feel like there is so much that I’ve missed. So much that I am missing.

I’m not sure if I would have still decided to start taking Paxil if I had known all of this beforehand. It is extremely hard to stop taking, which I also didn’t know when I started it. I’m also afraid to stop taking it. I can’t imagine going back to being afraid of every single social encounter. But I miss other aspects about the way I used to be. I don’t regret my decision to take Paxil, but I hope that for anyone reading this, you now have a better understanding of the effects of this drug.

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Unsettling Side Effects

For the last few years I have been taking an SSRI called Paxil to help me deal with my social anxiety. While it has improved my life tremendously in some ways, it also has had many negative effects. For one thing, even though it has completely obliterated nearly every shred of social anxiety I experience, somehow it has seemed to dramatically increase my general anxiety. Now rather than being anxious about talking to people, I am just vaguely anxious about nothing in particular all day, every day. I find this completely bizarre. I have no idea how that is even possible. Then again I never have been fully able to comprehend how any medication can effect my mind in such a dramatic way.

That isn’t the most troubling side effect I experience though. Today I wanted to talk a little bit about how Paxil has effected my emotions. I used to cry a lot as a teenager, multiple times a week at least. But as I grew older, I noticed it took more and more to make me even tear up. I assumed at first this was just a normal part of growing up. Then my sister, who also takes Paxil for social anxiety, mentioned how it makes her not feel anything. Until that point I had no idea it could be a side effect of this medication.

I laughed it off at first. Even thinking of it as a positive side effect at times. It was much easier to remain unaffected by the difficult events in life we all experience. It was almost like a protective barrier. However as time marches on, I have started to worry about it. I miss feeling things deeply. You can’t eliminate negative emotions without also dulling positive ones. I may not cry as much, but I also don’t laugh or love as fiercely as I once did. I feel somewhat like a hollow shadow of a person.

I even miss being able to cry at this point. After all, it is healthy to cry. It can even feel good. Instead of letting out that pain and sadness, it now slowly collects as a heavy inky blackness in my heart, weighing on me more each day. I fear it also makes me appear cold and uncaring to those around me. I am missing out on so many shared human experiences. While I am no longer afraid of people, it has made me feel more on the fringes of society than ever.

I fear when my loved ones pass away, I will stand at their funerals dry eyed and empty, unable to properly grieve such immense loss. I fear I’ll never truly love again either. Maybe that is why I cling so desperately to the ghost of past love, only being able to feel it through memory.

I don’t know what the answer is to these issues. It is extremely difficult to stop taking this particular medication. It has terrible withdrawal effects and must be done slowly with medical supervision. Not only am I afraid to face such a daunting challenge, possibly returning to my original state of social anxieties, but I also find it distasteful how much money I would have to spend on medical appointments within the course of this task. I do have insurance, but it only pays for one visit a year. And I would need many more than that to monitor such a transition.

For now I will just soldier onward. Hoping that someday something will stir my heart again.

Anti-Anxiety Medication Review: Paxil

i-cant-keep-calm-i-have-social-anxiety

 

Today I decided it was finally time to give Paxil the accurate and honest review it deserves. I, along with many others, suffer from social anxiety and have for my entire life. It is a constant and ever-present burden. Even the most simple activities become daunting tasks that you would do absolutely anything to avoid. I felt handicapped in everyday situations. When you are young, it seems merely frustrating. However, as I matured and began transitioning into the world of adulthood which included, important phone calls, job interviews, and other significant interactions, I found myself unable to lead a normal life.

That is when I decided to seek professional help. I went to my doctor and she prescribed me an SSRI for anxiety and depression called Paxil. At first I was very nervous and skeptical. Online Paxil did not seem to be receiving very positive reviews. The possible side-effects included such horrific things as: Abnormal bleeding or bruising, blurred vision, hallucinations, peeling or blistering of skin, enlarged skin (whatever the hell that could mean), sudden muscle twitching or jerking that you cannot control, and seizures. Needless to say I was hesitant, but regardless of my fears, I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t continue to live in paralyzing fear of the most common situations. 

After about a few months of taking Paxil regularly and having my dosage raised a few times, I began to notice miraculous changes. Neither I, nor anyone else that I met taking Paxil had experienced any of the unsettling side-effects of the drug. We did, however, experience life changing benefits. I no longer feel any type of anxiety in social situations. I am free to be myself in every aspect of my life. I am never sickeningly nervous before or after leaving work. I receive and make phone calls without a second thought. I no longer feel the need to mentally rehearse responses to questions in restaurants or doctors’ offices. I am free to make and cancel appointments without stress. I am even able to ask questions to sales persons or even strangers to gain needed information! I feel more positive and relaxed in every area of my life. I feel confident!

I felt that I owed it to all of the others out there suffering from social anxiety to post a positive review of this medication. It has changed my life and I am thankful everyday. Sometimes it is hard to even remember what it was like to feel so nervous all the time. My life has opened up in so many ways. I never even knew just how much of a burden my anxiety was until it was gone. I highly recommend Paxil to anyone who is suffering from any type of anxiety or depression. I hope that it will help you as much as it has helped me. ^_^