Friday, January 1, 2016

My Paxil Withdrawal, Part 3: The Side-Effects

So due to a mix-up, as of December 16th I've been off of Paxil for three days. My bad flashbacks have decreased, my brain fog has cleared, and I'm feeling good. I did notice a bit of a heart flutter later in the day.

December 17th brings a lot more heart flutters. And a couple of dizzy spells. Now I normally have dizzy spells, especially over the last year when I started taking various medicines for my diabetes and its related side effects. (Lipitor for cholesterol and Lisinopril for my blood pressure, since I now eat a lot more meats, I guess.) I have to be careful bending over and standing up too quickly, that kind of thing. But this was different. This was a great big "WOAH, what muscle-man just gave the merry-go-round a spin?!?" dizzy spell.

December 18th the heart flutter only happened once but the dizzy spells increased.

On December 19th the dizzyness didn't go away. At all. For ten days.

It was just a constant state of vertigo, where every moment felt like I was standing on the deck of a wobbly ship, and just moving my eyes from one spot to another was enough to make the world spin. I couldn't function. I couldn't focus, I couldn't clean, I couldn't drive. I would spend a few hours trying to get the smallest things done, or giving up and just trying to watch TV or veg out on the internet, and then after a few hours I couldn't take it anymore and would have to take a nap. The nap would usually help me reset and be able to cope again for a short while, but within a few hours I couldn't take it anymore and was back to bed. And since I was napping all day there was no getting a full six hours sleep at any one time; for the first solid week it was just a constant cycle of up for few hours then sleeping for a few hours around the clock.

December 26 was the first day I made it through without having to go lie down again. Things were still a roller coaster for the next few days, but on December 30th I had my first identifiable moment without any dizziness. And there's been less and less of it over the last few says since then.

Joy says she's seen a huge improvement in my mood during this time, though. She says I've started singing around the house again. I've started working on projects (assembling a plan on how I'd like to celebrate Star Trek's 50th Anniversary, for example) and devoting some real mental energy to them again. I've started writing again, first in posts and wow, look at this, I'm even on the third part of a blog! It's been work to stretch the old grey matter again, but the very fact that I can is a huge step forward.

Emotionally I've been very verklempt. I can't tell you how many times over Christmas I quickly became choked up and was trying not to burst out in tears of happiness. Or how many times I couldn't keep it in and started crying over my frustration at the constant dizzyness. And those flashbacks, some bad but now also some good, all making me choke up with each emotional extreme. (But at least they've been at a much more normal rate of three to four a day as opposed to five or six an hour.)

December 28th brought me into a new wave of emotional side-effects. I've been angry again. The slightest thing has been setting me off. I'm getting moodier and moodier. I've been losing interest in everything; I don't care about those projects I started last week anymore, I've abandoned the TV shows I was watching halfway through an episode, I've even abandoned my Doctor Who audio dramas halfway through the last episode I was listening to, and I haven't seen any point in coming back to either of them. I've been pushing myself to try and get people what they need for the household chores, but mostly I've just been apologizing to everyone because it's not done and it's not going to be done by the time you need it, sorry. I used to have an attitude of "Well, this will at least make me feel better for the moment," but that's been nowhere to be found lately. And when I know that nothing is going to me feel any better or any less angry or miserable (let alone happy), then what's the point in it? When nothing is worth it then everything becomes meaningless.

So yeah, that's sucked.

Last night was our annual New Year's Eve party, which also doubles as celebrating Christmas among my group of friends. Normally it's held at our house, but this year Rich has gotten engaged to Lisa, a truly awesome lady who offered to hold it at her house. And thank the gods she did, because there was absolutely no way I was getting my house party ready this time. And I've been so volatile and fragile that I was truly afraid I would go in there and blow up over something stupid and petty like chopped peanuts vs whole peanuts or something and alienate everyone, or I'd start bawling uncontrollably and ruin the night for everyone. But none of that happened. What did happen is I got to spend some time with some great people who gave me the gift of some much needed laughter, remind me that I'm part of a group that has bonded over the last two decades, and I've come out of it feeling stronger.

Joy has been by my side this whole time, reminding me that what I'm feeling is just my body's way of throwing a temper tantrum and wanting the Paxil back, and reassuring me over and over again that this will end, even when I don't believe it. Today I feel rested, recharged, optimistic, and ready to get back to living again.

And still a little verklempt. But that's not so bad. ;)

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