Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm Paxil-free these days, after six years of daily dosing and six LONG, HELLISH, BRUTAL, NEVER AGAIN weeks of withdrawal! (BTW, thank you to so many of you that expressed concern!) I originally went off the meds cold turkey, but then was (wisely) advised that was not smart, and did a taper off. I got it all the way down to five little milligrams but when I went from 5 to zero, I still went into a total heroin-like withdrawal cycle that seriously, I think should be considered a viable form of capital punishment.

So. I'm feeling good these days. Really good. Giddy good. Good, good and more good.

So many people have asked me about why I started taking them in the first place, and why did I choose to stop. It's a little like the question of, "What happened?" It's complicated.

I got a little annoyed, actually my pain body became activated, last week when Oprah got on her high horse remarked on the webcast with Eckhart Tolle, that we live in a culture where people just pop a pill to avoid their emotions. I think that does a gross disservice to her audience when she says stuff like that. While that may be true for some, I have never met a person that did not strongly, carefully, and with great hesitation, consider taking psychiatric medications. It's the same beef I have with those in the media that say we DRUG our children, rather than dealing with them. Again, some may do that, but I dare say the HUGE majority of parents consider this a LAST resort, not a first, and unless you've been in a situation that calls for this kind of decision, you aren't allowed to vote. Period.

So, in a nutshell, I went on my meds six years ago when my anxiety was debilitating. I don't mean when it was a tad uncomfortable. I don't mean when I felt a little edgy. I mean when I was DEBILITATED by it. Going to the ER with panic attacks thinking I was dying, unable to eat, sleep, drive a car, care for my children, DEBILITATED. That's when I went on meds. And I'm glad I did and I'd make that same choice all over again. Definitely. I did not have the LUXURY of "feeling my emotions," and "just being with them." Six years ago I had a five year old with needs so special I couldn't place him in a school, not even the ones for "kids like him." I had a seven-year-old that needed a mother. I had a husband that needed a wife. I did not have the opportunity to "deal" with what was bothering me at that time, I could only survive. I could only cope. I could not transcend. I could not plummet the depths of my emotions for deeper meaning. It. Was. Not. An. Option.

But now it is. Now coping is not the order of the day. Resolving is.

There are times to cope and times to resolve. Period. And don't let anyone try and tell you otherwise.


Kim said...

You go girl. I love this post. I applaud you for coping and surviving when that was what the situation called for, and celebrate you for transcending coping and moving into resolving now.

You have always been there for the others in your life; now you can be there for yourself too. And congratulations for making it through that awful withdrawal--I'm so happy you're done!

Anonymous said...

The ironic part is that you need so much energy to make the changes and to do the work to get better, and you often don't have that time or energy when you're anxious or depressed.

Congrats on getting off the meds. I'm a lifer I think. I take a small amount, just enough to float my boat and I'm okay with that.

marge said...

You absolutely Rock. I am proud of you for knowing what was best for you and your family at the time and doing just that.
Oprah really upset me with that comment regarding just medicating our children so we don't have to deal with them. I'll send her my Beth for just 1 day and she will revisit her statement.
I am very happy for you. I do know how hard it is to come off of a medication.

shauna said...

Go, Carrie, go! What a fabulous post. I feel right there with you, past coping, ready to resolve. But there's a time and season for everything. And no one can truly know another's season.

Terry Whitaker said...


Terry Whitaker said...

PS That was Oprah's ego making that statement. it's now who she really IS

Kathryn said...

I agree 100%, Carrie. Thanks for saying it so well. Sometimes you need a leg up. Period.

riversgrace said...

Little is understood about the insidiousness of trauma, of traumatic symptoms, and the effects of trauma on brain chemistry, etc.

I'm so glad you are speaking to this so clearly. Paxil was not a crutch, it was a medicine. It helped you build and strengthen resources on many levels and helped you find balance.

Yes, bravo!

lo said...

TQ for your wisdom-your wise and honest words.
What would I do without Carrie?

La La said...

"There are times to cope and times to resolve. Period. And don't let anyone try and tell you otherwise."

Amen. You do ROCK!

Amber said...



Deb said...

Your wisdom in this new resolution is becoming laser sharp. This is such amazing work you're doing and I love how you share it so clearly. So proud of you. Much love to you.

Go Mama said...

Nice work girl. You have come through another fire and gained so much clarity in the process. This is a big one! Big growth! Big.

holly said...

You totally nailed it, Carrie.

Fantastic work, all the way around.

Jerri said...

"A time for every purpose under heaven."

Thanks for the reminder. You know I needed it.

You, Carrie, you with your clear eyes, searching mind and loving heart, you are a light in this world.

Michelle O'Neil said...


You may not like my post today.

Glad you held on then and are feeling better now.

I guess no one can know what is right for anyone else at any given moment, ever.

Drama Mama said...

Oh yes. Yes. Yes.

And what Deb said? That you need the help to help yourself? Absolutely.

Love to you.

Kapuananiokalaniakea said...

"...unless you've been in a situation that calls for this kind of decision, you aren't allowed to vote. Period."

This is true in so many areas. Dare I say, in every area. Each person, each situation, each decision is unique.

"There are times to cope and times to resolve."

LOVE this post. Thank you for speaking for those that have not been heard.

kario said...

DAMN STRAIGHT!!!! You don't get a vote. You are invited to the conversation to listen and thoughtfully nod your head, but until you've survived those days of hiding under the covers, waiting for everyone to leave the house so that you can quietly slide behind the wheel of the car and drive it off the nearest, highest bridge, you don't get to weigh in.

To. Each. His. Own. Your taking Paxil didn't harm anyone else. To the contrary, it only helped those around you by enabling you to take care of yourself. If this step to stop taking it is helping you yet again, hallelujiah.

Love you. Love my antidepressant because it means I'm here for my girls and my husband and, most of all, myself. Someday maybe I'll be off of it. Maybe not. For now, I'm here today and I'm happy. Much better than just 'coping.


Anonymous said...

Still feel the need for the yellow couch?