I used Paxil between 1996 and 2005. This is part 2 of a 3 part series detailing my experience.  My experience on Paxil for 9 years was not a good one overall.  In retrospect, the medication did its job, but there was a price to pay for that.

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

Weight  Gain And Overall Health

In the 9 years I was on Paxil, I gained over 100 pounds.  I knew I should not be eating the way I was, but inexplicably I made horrific food and health decisions every single day.  This was VERY unlike me. Naturally, I become pre-diabetic and my cholesterol and blood pressure were way up.  Yet … I had no motivation to address the issues.  Hmmmmmm?

No Emotions Or Human Connection

Having no anxiety, panic or depression is great! Having no emotions, ability to express yourself, or ability to connect with friends, family and loved ones … not so much.  While on Paxil, I was unable to feel ANYTHING – good or bad. I lost loved ones and never shed a tear.  My daughters were born and I didn’t give it a second thought.  I abandoned friendships and relationships of all kinds – including family relationships. I felt no connection to anyone.  I knew this was wrong but again … it never dawned on me to do something about it.

Terrible Judgment And Decision Making!

I spent 9 years making horrific decisions that I did not make before taking an antidepressant, or after. My judgment was horrible.  My moral and ethical compass all but disappeared. As you can imagine, making inexplicably terrible decisions for 9 years tends to ruin a life.  I was at the brink of losing my business, my home, my family and everything I value in life.  Once again, I did knew this was bad … but could not care enough to do anything about it!

Finally Waking Up ..

I knew everything was wrong.  My family knew.  People close to me were begging me to do something.  But I didn’t. It took a few words from my 5 year-old daughter to shake me out of my haze. What she said to her 3 year-old sister one night changed EVERYTHING, and set me on a brand new course.  While what my daughter said about me that night will haunt me forever, I am also forever grateful that she said it.  It was the punch in the face I needed to finally wake up and take corrective action.

Deciding That Enough Was Enough

I demanded that my doctor work with me to get off Paxil.  He did, but I went WAY too fast and bad things happened. 

In the final installment of this series, I’ll discuss my withdrawal experience, what it taught me, and my life after antidepressant usage.

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 .

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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.