The Paxil Taper Caper

Since the beginning of July 2007 I have been diligently tapering off Paxil… ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. These past few weeks have been the roughest. The first few months of tapering were doable, tolerable and generally well received by my mind, body and soul.

Let me elaborate on the following from this post please:

2 – Tapering off Paxil without proper medical care due to inequalities in the Canadian Medicare system

Three weeks ago the diarrhea, nausea, headaches, brain zaps, lack of muscle coordination and a general malaise settled in.

I know these symptoms will pass as everything else in life does.

Not being able to move your eyes from side to side or look at something that catches your attention while walking without be ZAPPED behind your eyes up into your brain traveling down your neck then spine into your shoulder blades down through your arms only to exit your fingers tips and experience the fading remnant echoes all over again is annoying. Your body becomes a canyon trapping not noise but electricity. No one can see the zaps. Only the person experiencing them can feel them. Your insides tremble with vibration but not of the physical kind. This quiver is energy based. I knew they could happen during this taper. I hadn’t expected them to become a minute by minute play by and only when you are still do they seem to build up, no, store energy until you decide to use your eyes again or walk. DUH! How the hell is one to function? One needs one’s eyes for seeing and one needs to walk, in the least move from one task to another during their awake time.

I tapered off of Valium a year ago and had the support of a family doctor, a psychiatrist, a councilor, an acupuncturist and a support group full of other people who were tapering off Benzodiazapines. This time around; my family doctor whom I’ve seen once. I didn’t have a family doctor when I arrived back in Saint John from Vancouver. I only have a family doctor due to the persistence of my mother who regularly harassed (asked) hers to take me back on as a patient as I had been his patient as a teenager. I see this doctor again this Thursday.

I called the Saint John Chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, left my number with them three months ago and as of today have not heard back from them. Great. I’m on my own. New Brunswick will not pay for your psychiatric meds as British Columbia does under their infamous Plan G. If there was one reason I would move back to Vancouver it is this: Superior Health Care for those with Mental Health Concerns. If anything living in Vancouver and receiving the treatment I got strengthened me for when I moved back here. Five of seven friends of mine do not have a family doctor here. Honest. Five out of seven is unacceptable in Canada. Saint John has a hotline you can call to place your name a waiting list for a family doctor. My friend Lisa has been on this list since it’s inception two years ago along with my grandmother. Grammie now goes to Mom’s doctor.

Other than Mental Health Care every other kind of Health care provided here in New Brunswick is at par with British Columbia. We have a long way to go before even beginning to resemble to sophisticated treatment people receive in BC for addiction and Mental Health issues.

This Friday will mark the last day I ingest Paxil. What a long road it has been from the prescribed 60mg’s to the current 2.5mg’s I swallow. I avoided websites of any kind on this subject during the taper to keep it simple. I live in a stable environment, work in a stable environment and have been filtering the craziness down on paper into my art.

There are things in life we cannot control. There are things in life we can take ownership for. I take ownership for my health. It is important to me to feel good. And most days I feel pretty damn good. And as I ended the last post I’ll end this one the same way.


Oh and a word to the wise; the slower you taper the better off you’ll be.

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10 thoughts on “The Paxil Taper Caper”

  1. hey jessica, i hope your days of NOT feeling pretty damn good are few and far between.

    good rant on our health care system. it’s sad.

  2. I knew that there were problems with our health system. I didn’t realize that it was that bad. My sympathies. Good luck with the end of Paxil!

  3. heidi – They are few and far between :) When the bad days come one must rant. I’ve been drawing on the good days lately and writing on the bad.

    markdykeman – The end of Paxil draws near! Woot! There are problems with everything in life if we search for them hard enough. I am getting care here in SJ; it is just different care than that found in BC. And truth is, maybe I learned enough then (when in BC) to put ‘it’ into practice now. Thus far it is working.

  4. Things are definitely strange in the orient.

    Taiwan’s health system is pretty good. From my experience with the Canadian system, I like the Taiwanese system. There are not long waiting lines. You pay 4$ each time you see the doctor, this includes emergency doctors, family doctors, various specialists. Drugs don’t cost anything unless you get them without a prescription.

  5. Sounds harrowing. But good luck to you, I know you can do it. I have never really experienced these problems, so I can’t say much except… You can do it!

  6. Sounds like you are taking care and going slow. I’m proud of you and I hope tis is a huge health advantage for you. I want to know how you feel in coming months. You’re a rock star!

    Are you taking flax seed oil? Check into it okay, I find it really helps with my mental health, stamina and skin…etc etc.

    Cheers and big hugs

  7. range – $4? Incredible. Friday is the last day of paxil. I see the doctor later today. Woot!

    Candy Minx – Thank you. I eat cereal with flax. The only thing I am very low in is vitamin B12 which is the other half of the doctors appointment tomorrow. I don’t absorb B12 very well as I am missing 11 inches of ileum due to Chron’s disease and surgery in 1997. The Chron’s has been in remission since then. I can eat everything.

    Knock on Wood. I’m doing something right. LOL!

    *hugs* back at you

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