In this episode I finally discuss an issue so many people have been asking me to discuss for so long.  My experience with anxiety medications.  I used Paxil between 1996 and 2005.  This is part 1 of a 3 part series detailing my experience.  Today I talk about my position on medications, why I chose to use medication in 1996, what my and what my initial experience was.

My experience with antidepressants and anxiety is mine.  Yours may be different.  Please keep this in mind.

My Stance On Medication 

My opinion is based on long term EFFECT, not absolute right or wrong. I do not hide my anti-medication bias. I also do not judge anyone for choosing to use medications.  Your choice has no impact on me and I wish you full recovery regardless of your path! I wish everyone had that view.  What someone else does regarding meds does not confirm or invalidate your choice.

Why Did I Choose An Antidepressant In 1996?

Honestly?  Because I was at my wits end with anxiety and panic, but more so with deep clinical depression. I let things get to the point where I was crippled with both problems and near non-functional.

Do I Have A Chemical Imbalance? 

That’s what my doctor at the time told me.  In retrospect – he was wrong.  That’s OK. He was just going on what he was being told at the time (1996). There’s virtually no clinical data that supports the chemical imbalance supposition. Over time the meds made things worse for me.  I got better when I removed them.  This is why I say I did not have a broken or imbalanced brain.

My Initial Experience With My Antidepressant 

Initially, I LOVED my antidepressant (Paxil). It lifted my depression and was damn near a lifesaver in that respect.  It also muted my anxiety and short-circuited my panic attacks. No depression.  No anxiety.  No more panic attacks. At least at first, it seemed like an amazing miracle and I was happy.

Red Flags Appear!

After 5-6 months of loving my antidepressant, red flags started popping up that indicated that it wasn’t all going to be sunshine and rainbows. Things like extremely muted emotions, rapid weight gain, and an alarming change in my ability to make good decisions and listen to my own moral and ethical compass.

In the next installment, I’ll talk about the problems I had with my medication and why I finally chose to get off it after 9 1/2 years.  In part 3, I’ll discuss the difficulties I experienced when I stopped taking the medication in 2005.

Please note: I cannot advise you on medication.  I cannot tell you to take or not take it, nor can I tell you which medication to take or not take.  I cannot advise you on doses or medication switches. I cannot tell you how long it will take you to come off your antidepressant.  And finally, I did not take benzodiazepines at all, so I have no real experience in that area (although I can say with certainty that you should NEVER abruptly stop taking a bento after regular use.).

In my first book “An Anxiety Story”, I wrote about my antidepressant experience.  That book can be obtained free via Smashwords or as a free mp3 audiobook download.  All the ways to get it are on my website .

Are You Subscribed To My Newsletter?

Recovery tips. Updates on recovery resources. Encouragement. Inspiration. Empowerment. All delivered to your inbox! Subscribe here FREE.

Helpful Recovery Resources:

My Books | FREE Resources | Courses and Workshops | Disordered (with Josh Fletcher) | Join My Instagram Subscriber Group

Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Graduate student and therapist-in-training. Author and educator on the topic of anxiety disorders and anxiety recovery. Former anxious and depressed person.