"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Henry David Thoreau
My Point of Return
My life has been great,my family, my job and career. My job opened many doors for me and my family. I managed to educate my children who are independent now. I am retired Praise be to God!!
Along the way I was not spared of life s stresses, pain and loss. All this had its emotional toll on me and I found myself unable to sleep, tired the following day and simply unable to function. I spoke to my doctor who said " I can help you" and that was unknowingly the beginning of the biggest emotional,psychological and health challenge I was to face 14 years later.
In the beginning it went well Zolpedeim ( Ambiem) the doctor prescribed worked well. This drug is not supposed to be used for more than 2 weeks but my wonderful doctor never mentioned it and I also didn't question because after all the doctor knows better (then I believed that, not NOW).
Down the years I did begin to realize that this wasn't right because inspite of having slept I still felt tired during the day. I tried to stop on my own and I found I couldn't stop. At that point I had began to question the use of sleeping pills but my wonderful doctor said " Medical science has proof that there is more health damage resulting from poor to no sleep than the health damage from sleeping pills.
At this point I became desperate because I was having reduced sleep inspite of having taken the this drug. I resolved I will stop taking it. I remember one time I stayed on my bedroom chair for 5 days without feeling drowsy and staying up without sleep. During the day I suffered from headaches,bodily pains all over and was quite tearful.
I spoke to my wonderful doctor about this and requesting that I really want to stop taking this drug, can he please help me. He brushed me off and told me not to worry nothing bad was going to happen to me. He referred me to a sleep clinic. The doctor there gave me a machine to take home to attach to myself at night and to bring it back to him the following day which I did.
When I met him the following day he stated that all was well I shouldn't worry. I told him that I am truly worried what the long term impact will be on me continuing with this drug. His response was " This drug is absolutely safe you can take it for 99years without any problems" Considering my years then I thought yes I probably I won't add 99 years any way (lol...) but I didn't stop worrying that I can't fall asleep without this drug. I was literally a slave to it.
Having failed to get help from the sleep clinic I continued to use this drug. My sleep became reduced more and more. I began to fear going to sleep. I feared the night. It was just horrible. All this I didn't understand. I prayed to God to help me.
One night I just couldn't sleep the fear was overwhelmingly strong. I fell on the floor and cried my lungs out, I asked God to please rescue me from this mess. I spoke to my wonderful doctor again telling him about this fear that was engulfing me, now not only at night but also during the day.
My wonderful doctor said I have ANXIETY and that he would help me. At that point I was really a mess. Fortunately I live alone and my adult children did not witness this terrifying episode of my life. It became obvious I needed help. My wonderful doctor prescribed a drug called Urbanol. He told me after my many persistent questions that it was safe and not addictive. I had little or no choice I took it. Yes I immediately felt better no fears, no worries about the pending night and I began to sleep like a baby!!!
I felt lucky and began to believe things were finally working out. Little did I know the worst was still coming. A few days later I began to have sweats before sleep time and I could again begin to feel a distant fear creeping back.
The 2 most astonishing experiences I had were that I would sleep walk to the kitchen eat and not be aware of it. In the morning I would either find the fridge open or some plate on the table.
The second one was that sitting on my bed at night being awake I would feel the presence of people standing around my bed talking to me and me talking back to them. A good friend of my really believed I was anointed with a gift of some kind ( lol.....)
Reading more on this drug I was petrified that these two experiences were actually side effects. I spoke to my wonderful doctor about this and he said " I am moving you to something else that will help you." He gave me a drug I think called "Dromonoct"
When I got home a powerful soft voice said " just don't take this, just don't take this " indeed I didn't I flushed them away. I knelt down and.prayed, prayed calling to God to help me because clearly no one was capable at that point to help me. I googled it and found it was not different from Zolpedeim and it's side effects and withdrawal symptoms were even more terrifying. Clearly I was in trouble and my life taking a sparriling downturn.
The following day I was on Google on my iPhone. As I was reading, another site just popped up and I closed it, continued to read, it popped up and the third time. When it popped up the 4th time I decided to open and read it. Guess what? it was the Point of Return website!!!!!!
I read everything contacted them. They gave me hope, told me about the program. I was determined, I did everything they told me. I cleaned my diet, took my supplements religiously. 11 months later I am completely drug free and my healing has truly started!!!
I thank God who brought Point of Return (POR)to me. The welcome was heartwarming and the support was out of this world. Thank you to all at POR!!
Terry your support was great my friend!!!! You went all out to make sure I get my parcels
Alesandra you were and still are my heavenly given angel. God put you on my LIFE MASTER PLAN as His agent to restore and change my life and arrive at my point of return. Indeed I have arrived at my point of return. I am truly so grateful!
Nomusa (South Africa) - Zolpidem
I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for carrying me through this most difficult of times. I would also like to thank the Point of Return (POR) Staff, the POR Mentors, the POR Forum, Dr. Armstrong, Roy, and my dear husband for their wisdom and selflessness. They were all willing to listen and lift me up when I needed a gentle ear to hear my struggles.
For years I have pushed through chronic fatigue. But, I had a full active life and was very happy and slept well. For probably 20 years my doctors wanted to give me something to sleep. They felt that if I got "quality" sleep, I would feel better. I refused to take anything and was fine. About 5 years ago at a yearly physical, my doctor wanted to give me something to sleep. He said it wasn't a sleeping pill. I don't know what I thought it was. But, he said to trust him…..that it would make me feel better. I gave in and began taking Klonopin. I did sleep better, but I did not feel any better. So, after 3 years, I was told I could just quit taking it because it was such a small dose. I was thrown into a 2 year battle to get off this poisonous drug. Fortunately, I found Point of Return. Without POR, I know I would have never been successful. They were there to guide me every step of the way.
Every single day was a challenge. The POR staff and Dr. Armstrong were always there to help me push through another day, encourage me, and provide answers to my questions about my symptoms. They would tell me that I was going to get through this. And, they were right.
This experience has left me humbled and oh so grateful to be alive. It's like being reborn. Everything seems new and the simplest things are joyous.
Please let the Point of Return program work for you. It is a slow, gentle reduction from drugs, and will provide you with the tools you need to succeed.
Liz A. (Oklahoma) - Klonopin and Amitriptyline
I wrote in September 2015 about the success of my benzodiazepine withdrawal (Klonopin), and now I would like to follow up with another testimonial about my recovery or near recovery. My story may be of particular interest for those, who like me, have an underlying condition which in all likelihood contributed to the speed with which I became dependent, as well as to the hardships I faced with regard to recovery from withdrawal.
I completed my taper from Klonopin by the end of July 2015. I have been ever so grateful for the supplements recommended by Point of Return without which my fate would be a very different one. After the completion of my taper I began to heal very slowly. I noticed improvements in my concentration and I could even meditate some. After a little more than a month I noticed that I was ready for bed at a certain time and "ready to get up" at a certain time; in other words the body began to establish something like a routine which I had all but forgotten existed at all. Having been diagnosed with MTHFR (upon recommendation of POR) and a deficient methylation cycle, I knew to take my Methylcobalamin and my 5-MTHF in order to establish more optimal methylation. I was able to finish school and pass the exam, but most mental activities continued to be a strain on me as I continuously felt an underlying exhaustion blocking the free flow of mental energy. Finally, in October 2016 I consulted Alesandra at POR again and she directed me to a website and even helped me to download the information. The end result of these and my doctor's findings was that I needed to take another type of Vitamin B 12 as well as another type of Folate. On Thanksgiving Day I was ready to start my new regimen and within just a few hours I felt a new type of energy entering my brain. It was as if I could suddenly "think straight" instead of "thinking sideways or in circles."
Now it has been 2 months on this new regimen and since then my body has undertaken a lot of healing. My adrenals which still had been much overproducing Cortisol calmed down as well as my breathing which before had been in a kind of "staccato mode." There is still much room for improvement, but the healing is happening in a very profound way. There are some nights now during which I sleep more deeply – at least for a few hours – than I have in many years before benzos. In addition, there are some hours now during some days when I feel more energetic and have a better quality energy than before this medical accident.
I continue to be awed that in this bleak medical desert which best describes the ignorance of 99.9% of all doctors who prescribe these pills, there bloom the most beautiful desert flowers of continued support, dedication and knowledge produced by POR. Hardly a day goes by when I don't ask myself "where would I be today without Point of Return?" And to think that people like myself all over the globe are helped in spite of this tragic medical unconsciousness, is more than simply awesome!
Iris (California) - Klonopin
I want to share my story about my experience with the anti-depressant drug Zoloft and the saving grace I found at "Point of Return".
It all started in December 2014. I had my first panic attack. I was never so scared in my life! I called my sister right away and she brought me over a benzo that she got from one her friends to help me. It was called xanax. It stopped my anxiety and my panic immediately! I went to my family Doctor and she prescribed my xanax and to take as needed. I would take it once in a while and that was it.
After that attack I kept waiting for the next attack to happen. I was really scared and I started feeling anxious but nothing too bad at this point. Then my mother in law was diagnosed with 4th stage cancer and died 3 months later. Also, we had 2 kids getting ready to go off to college. I was still feeling very anxious so I went to my doctor again in May of 2016. She prescribed me a anti-depressant Zoloft. well exactly 24 hours later I ended up in the ER with depression and brain zaps and fear like I've never experienced! The Dr. on call told me I was having a anxiety attack and gave me Ativan. I went home that night so sick I couldn't get out of bed for 3 days. I was so depressed and sick! I called my Doctor and she said no one ever gets sick or depressed from Zoloft and to stick with it for a few weeks because it takes a while to get in system.
How I wished I would of stopped taking them right then! I was sick with all these symptoms for months!! I googled the internet for weeks and the horror stories from people that was experiencing the same symptoms as me, I was having brain zaps, couldn't stand noise, light, intense fear, no appetite, nauseous, burning sensations, anxiety and terrible depression! My poor family waited on me hand and foot. They were wonderful. I couldn't understand how this happened to me nor could my husband or children. I always was a happy go lucky person and never down and this wiped me right out! I was never so scared in all my life!!
I even went to a psychiatrist to see if he could figure this out. He wanted to up my dosage, said it would make me feel better. I told him no because I should of never taken this med in the first place and this med is the reason I have depression now. I kept searching on the internet and this time Point of Return popped up and I read on it and called their number and Andrea answered and we talked for a long time and she said they could help me.
I hung up feeling like there was hope! Thank you thank you... I called back the next week and ordered the supplements. I went back to my doctor and told him I wanted him to help me taper and he would not help me taper slow. He said that Zoloft you don't have to taper from. He as much as told me I would be back. I quit right there and never went back!
So I tapered as slow as I could myself over the next few months. I took my last sliver of zoloft September 12th of 2016. I am so thankful for the all the supplements I take now from Point of Return, they have eased my suffering! I have called the office many times and have talked to Alesandra, Terry and Andrea and all three have encouraged me so much that each time I hung up I felt like I could keep going and beat this. I have spent many hours on their forum and I have met so many wonderful people that are Mentors and Alumni that stayed on to help all of us suffering even tho they are all healed. Also, all the members that are suffering and still support each other when they are suffering too.
There is SO much support here at Point of Return. They have encouraged me countless number of times through their own experience!! Doesn't matter what time of day or night or what day of the week it is someone is always willing to answer questions and offer encouragement. You will never find a more close knit family than these wonderful people here, if it be by a phone call, email or a touch of a keyboard button. There is nothing you can't ask and information on this forum is endless!! They all "get it". It's hard to talk to friends or co workers about this because no one understands unless they have been thru this, that's why this program is amazing. I could of never made it this far without this program!!
I am healthier now than I ever have been. I faithfully take all their supplements. The Support, Relax, Sleep and Mood. I love them all! I don't eat sugar anymore or fried foods either. I try to eat mostly organic and gluten free and I never feel bloated anymore which was always a huge issue with me before. This program has taught me to never give up and I never want to take these horrible drugs again! I have also learned how to not be so anxious.
I have learned lots of tools on this program that I can use in the future if needed for anxiety, a option for me will not be drugs. I will faithfully take my supplements forever and keep eating right. I am now starting to feel normal and me again and I want to thank Alesandra, Andrea and Terry for always being there by a quick response by email, phone call for helping me and encouraging me to the end and also Terry thank you for the fast delivery on my supplements and nice email chats. We get so much from this program, the phone chats, emails, all your time for only the price of the supplements. You can't find this any where else! This program is so amazing because these people have struggled and now dedicate their lives to helping others that are struggling too.
You are the most selfless people I know!! You all are our angels. Also, thank you to all my wonderful new life long friends, that I made on this forum, for helping me thru this tough journey. You all are awesome and I will never forget any of yous' and I'm not going anywhere either. I want to help others too. Love you all!!!
Lori B (Michigan) - ZOLOFT
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS...
MY JOURNEY... My journey began like many others with an utterly negligent Doctor prescribing a lethal and potent Benzo (Ativan), and after just a few weeks of sleep issues. He never suggested Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which is widely used for sleep issues and which has great success, nor did he even bother to suggest something far less dangerous such as melatonin supplements etc. He also never discussed this drug with me, never warned me about the side effects and worse, the withdrawal effects, and neither he nor the pharmacist provided me with the required literature which is to (by law) accompany these types of medications.
Further, despite the dire written FDA warning that this medication is not to be prescribed for more than two weeks, Doctors continue to give this insidious medication out like candy and continue to prescribe it for long term use. We really need to have Federal legislation passed which would prohibit the ability of any Primary Care Doctor to ever prescribe this medication... it is bad enough that Mental Health Providers now give it out like candy and also continue to prescribe it for long term use. Unfortunately, the sphere of influence held over the entire medical profession by the pharmaceutical companies and fueled by their multibillion dollar quarterly profits is as unimaginable... as it is insurmountable. While most testimonials here are related to recovery from long term use of these insidious medications, mine is different in that it is recovery from short term - low dosage use which I can assure you was still just as life threatening and horrific. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to address the often under - reported and often misunderstood withdrawal from short term – low dosage use. The truth is that withdrawal and I am referring to harsh, harsh withdrawal... can occur after just a few weeks of taking this demoralizing medication.
I was only taking this medication for four weeks and at a low dosage of.05 mg and a few 1mg ( as per this Doctor's instructions to increase the dosage ). I had disturbing side effects within the first two weeks which this Doctor continually assured me were being caused from some other " Illness ". Those side effects were blurred vision, feeling drugged and out of it, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and terrifying paradoxical side effects – including horrific nightmares... none of which I ever had prior to taking this medication. The next several weeks were a barrage of tests including an EKG, Echocardiogram, and a Sleep Study... all of which were unremarkable, meaning no health related issues. Fortunately the Sleep Doctor was keen on what was causing my health issues. He advised me that Ativan depresses the respiratory system and more likely than not, was what was causing my shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, resulting in sleeplessness issues.
I then googled Ativan and was horrified... horrified that this Doctor had even prescribed something like this and even more horrified... that I was taking it daily for four weeks, every evening as prescribed for sleep. I immediately contacted this Doctor, it was a Friday and his office assured me he would get back to me shortly. He did not return my call. I was terrified that entire weekend and never felt sooo lost and alone. That Saturday and Sunday evening I decided to stop taking the medication. I had little sleep and was stressed more than I can ever remember being.
THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM... On Monday I finally spoke to this Doctor who actually advised me that it was safe to just discontinue taking the medication, and that I would absolutely not experience any withdrawal symptoms due to the fact that it was merely just short term – low dosage use. I even contacted the pharmacist and was advised similarly.
THE HORRIFYING REALITY OF BENZO WITHDRAWAL... Within a few days I was in terrifying full blown withdrawal with headaches, increasing nightmares, muscle jerks, dizziness, flashes of light, ringing in the ears, exploding noises, dark menacing shadows, unimaginable fear, sleeplessness, and the list of dodgey symptoms just went on and on. I then contacted this Doctor's office several times and pleaded for help to taper off of this medication. Both he and his office just abandoned me... continually alleging that withdrawal was not possible with short term use, and they actually accused me of possibly being on other " Illicit " drugs... which I was not. I was utterly, utterly devastated and demoralized. Again, I felt sooo lost and alone and was forced through no fault of my own... to remain isolated and in this intolerable condition for more than two weeks.
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL... I found Point of Return (POR) and another Doctor who could work with me to taper and to stabilize. Unfortunately, I had been off of the medication cold turkey for a few weeks and in consideration of that fact and others, we all decided that in my specific circumstances it would be better to ride out the withdrawal symptoms and to not begin taking that medication again and then endure another withdrawal. Alesandra ( founder of POR ) immediately provided me with the most calming and reassuring conversations I had had in many, many weeks, and both she and her extraordinary staff began working with me towards recovery. I believe that what is sooo extraordinary about Alesandra and her staff is that they do not just talk the talk, they actually walk the walk. She has been meticulous in compiling a staff of top notch experts who actually went through the recovery process themselves and know all too well the debilitating and demoralizing effects of both Benzo Use and Benzo Withdrawal.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS... I stayed the POR Program with Alesandra and her gifted, extraordinary staff ( faithfully! ). I was also blessed with assistance from extraordinary counseling, and I recovered... and no it was not easy, in fact, it was the most difficult time I have ever experienced in my life. I am still finishing up with some final symptoms... but for the most part I am home, finally home, and home is always... where the heart is.
God's Speed to POR'S continuing success, and to all on this challenging journey!
Best, Kele (California) - ATIVAN
Tonight I took my last dose of Clonazepam (generic of Klonopin), a benzodiazepine that was prescribed by a psychiatrist to treat the panic attacks, insomnia, and anxiety I experienced after my sister's catastrophic death. I trusted this psychiatrist and took this medication as prescribed. At no point did he warn me of dependency, the psychological and physical torture, or the disastrous effects on my employment and finances this medication would cause. At no point did he warn me that suddenly stopping the medication can cause seizures or death. At no point did he tell me that the one milligram of clonazepam he prescribed me is equal to 20 milligrams of valium. It is a concentrated, deadly poison that hijacks the brain and nervous system, affecting cognition, memory, sleep, motor function, respiration, heart rate, and digestion.
In August 2015, after seven months of taking clonazepam, my insomnia came back with a vengeance and I started researching the medication. I was horrified to find out that benzodiazepines are more addictive than heroin or cocaine. A cursory search on the internet does not reveal this; one has to look deeper to find the real deal about benzodiazepines from the survivors of these drugs.
I had reached tolerance on the medication but my psychiatrist no longer took my insurance, so I was left with one month's worth of the medication. I began the task of trying to find someone knowledgeable enough to help me safely taper off the medication. Finding a "benzo aware" doctor is a frightening, frustrating ordeal that befalls many in the withdrawal community. After making dozens of phone calls, I found another shrink who claimed I could taper off clonazepam in two weeks. I tried and was practically psychotic. I couldn't breathe, my cortisol levels were sky high, lights were too bright, sounds were too loud, ordinary things were terrifying, and I became agoraphobic and unable to function. The shrink, a perfunctory, condescending bastard of a man, blamed me for being overly anxious and wanted to prescribe more medications. I felt like I was being gaslighted, told that my symptoms weren't real, which only added to my distress.
I found yet another psychiatrist who terminated me for being "hooked" and suggested a treatment center. I knew the treatment center route was not the way to go as they taper people off way too fast, something I had already tried to do and knew was extremely dangerous. I called one and they said I wouldn't be a good candidate anyway, since I had never abused clonazepam. So here I was, terrified and lost, and the same profession that had blithely prescribed this medication now wanted nothing to do with me. This is a scenario all too familiar to those trapped by taking these insidious medications as prescribed.
With nowhere left to turn, I began working with the Point of Return program, who truly "get" both the medical aspects of these drugs and the nightmare of trying to find competent professionals to help people safely taper. They are experts in prescription medication withdrawal and have a protocol that includes supplements, diet, a private discussion forum, and unlimited support by telephone. I would not be here if it weren't for them. In November, 2015, my husband and I flew to San Antonio and met with Point of Return's consulting physician, Dr. Raymond Armstrong, who met with us for three hours, reassuring us that with a slow and steady taper I would get my life back. He himself had survived an addiction to the benzodiazepine valium, so we trusted him. I was in protracted withdrawal, barely surviving on next to no sleep, and scared out of my mind, but I flew back to Maryland knowing I finally had the right doctor.
The months dragged as I tapered the medication ever so slowly, enduring frightening symptoms that made me feel like I was losing my mind. I was an animal in some sort of sick, barbaric experiment. How much can we torture this already stressed animal so that she finally gives up hope and lies resigned and lifeless on the concrete fIoor?
I had never felt so alone, so depressed, so defeated, so lost. Benzo withdrawal syndrome is a nonlinear, random process, like a virus that continues to mutate, so one is always waiting for some new symptom to pop up. I felt as if I was on a thrill ride designed by Stephen King, but unlike a ride at Busch Gardens, you do not know when this ride will end. It was like being hooked up to an IV drip that pumped fear into my body 24-7. Dizziness, paranoia, depersonalization, derealization, ridiculous insomnia—you name the symptom, I had it. Muscle fatigue and weakness made me feel like a living corpse.
During the winter and spring of 2015-2016, I sobbed constantly, uncontrollably, with my faithful husband beside me on the couch. It felt like I was vomiting tears. What was happening in my brain was so alien and frightening. I didn't even recognize myself in the mirror. My husband and daughter are true angels for sticking by me, for understanding what was happening, and for continuing to love me. Their continual reassurance and patience are truly remarkable. I am very lucky; many people go through this alone or their spouses leave them because they just can't handle it. I continued following Point of Return's program, taking the supplements (which I believe greatly accelerated my healing) and at the beginning of August 2016, as the dose of clonazepam got lower, almost a full year from the beginning of my taper, I began to have "windows", a term in the benzo community for feeling normal. These are the times one's brain is actually "online" and one feels whole and present. The times when one can go for a walk, visit with a friend, sit in an outdoor café and laugh, or watch a movie and actually follow the plot. The times when one can leave the hell of self-involvement and focus on others again.
I began to have more hope. Each window was like a break from the Stephen King thrill ride, a chance to walk and rest in a garden and feel the breeze on my face. I might have felt like a rat in a cruel experiment, but this rat was not going to lie resignedly on the concrete floor. This rat wanted its freedom, wanted to live, and therefore, started to fight. Whereas last autumn I felt nothing but terror that I would never make it back, this autumn has been so beautiful that I want to get on my knees and thank God for nature's beauty. A simple trip to a pumpkin patch to buy a pumpkin and some mums reduced me to tears. To care once again about the simple, seasonal joys of living, to care about anything at all seemed like a miracle.
I can only get down on my knees and thank God that I went through this process in the age of the internet. If I hadn't found Point of Return through an internet search, I never would have found the safest and most comprehensive program available for prescription drug withdrawal. They know what they are doing, they have personal experience with it, and they know how to nurture and push us through the laborious process. With the Point of Return program, you have a safe and private internet forum with which to vent, cry and laugh with others on the same journey. The forum is a place to share stories of small victories, resilience and strength.
I'm taking my last dose of clonazepam tonight but I know the healing process isn't over. Most likely, I will have heart palpitations, anxiety, more sleep problems, derealization, tinnitus, and fatigue for awhile. I don't care. I want my life back and the only way out is through. Because of my slow taper my brain had a chance to heal with each reduction and I have hope I can handle whatever the post-taper period throws my way. With the toolbox Point of Return has given me, I have faith that I can remain medication-free. I am very grateful! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Alesandra, Andrea, Terry for patiently listening to me go on and on during phone conversations and for your constant reassurance. Thank you also to the divine mentors on the forum who selflessly volunteer their time coaching and encouraging: Karole, Athena, Elisa-Ruth, and Bobby. Don't hesistate to call Point of Return. If you are dedicated to getting well, and put in the time and effort, they will support you every step of the way.
Helen C. (Maryland) - Clonazepam (Klonopin)
"20 years of Paxil-Paroxetine" by Mike E.
My story began when I was 24 years old living in New York City,the year was 1995 I had a small business and van. I got odf jobs like deliveries, hauling furniture and I also worked with a guy who was a plumber, electrician,locksmith. We worked on older historical brownstone apartments in mostly Harlem. It's been a long time so I don't remember the guys name? We were in New Jersey and I was driving my work van with him back into New York via the tunnel which while being stuck in the tunnel for a hour I starting what I didn't know was a panic attack. I felt like I was having a heart attack and thought I was going to die right there!
A few weeks later eventually I checked myself in a hospital named Bronx Lebanon because the panic attacks became more terrifying; and I didn't know what was happening with me?
While hospitalized I felt ashamed and weak! I grew up in a harsh environment emotionally and to end up laying in a gurney in the hallway of the hospital due to no rooms left I became depressed. After being what I call being expiremented on with various drugs, I was ready to get out!
I remember while in group my whole body started having spasms and twitching. My arms,legs,mouth even my eye brows had these involuntary movements. They excused me from group and I was given a shot and it stopped instantly! While being hospitalized I was prescribed Xanex and the panic attacks were controlled but I remember feeling "hooked!" I would frequently go to the nurses station to ask for my Xanex and they would say politely "It's not time yet!
While on Xanex and the other drugs they had me taking I felt weird and out of place. The meds was new in my system and I remember laying in that room totally spaced out. Eventually I got out and was released after 14 days. My parents drove all the way from Kansas City to New York nonstop to release me out of the hospital. I remember walking into the office where patients are assessed and my mother started "weeping!" as my dad looked at me when I sat down in. I looked like a skeleton; I barely ate and I slept alot because the drugs made me drowsy and I was a broken man. I decided to go back home to Kansas City with my folks to rest and recover.
Once I was back in Missouri I tried to rest and continued to take my Xanex. One day I was in the bedroom and my folks were having a small get together in the living room with family; I left to join the party and instantly I had terrible thought in my mind that I never experienced before. The thoughts was "I don't want to live anymore!" This wasn't negative self talk but it was pushed by a desire to actually not want to exist! I cried uncontrollably and my mom walked with me outside to help calm me down. It was scary and powerful! Eventually the thought left but I was traumatized and confused. I was now depressed on top of anxiety and didn't understand what was happening? I went to a doctor over in Kansas and he told me I had despression. He then wrote me a prescription eventually for Paxil 40 mg. The strength was so strong and I felt like a zombie with these horrible side effects like stomach spasms,dry mouth,headaches and drugged!
It was 1996 in july,i remember because on the news was TWA flight 900 that crashed i layed in bed going through side effects of Paxil.
My dose settled at 20 mg, I returned to New York and although the panic attacks was controlled I didn't feel like myself. I seemed robotic and flat.
I after a few more years of being out east I returned to Kansas City,eventually getting settled by finding a job,hanging out with friends.Things were looking good and i felt good. I decided I felt okay and decided to stop taking Paxil cold turkey. Shortly afterwards which I believe was either a few days or a week; I began having burst of anxiety,heart palputations and racing thoughts that were worse than my original symptoms.
I got back on Paxil. I worked at my family's restaurant and would complain that I felt crappy. None of us knew what exactly was happening but I was encouraged to pray and I did. I would miss doses,stop cold turkey and have episodes; eventually coming to the understanding that I no longer wanted to be on Paxil. I had began seeing a psyche doctor who was covered in my insurance network. I told him I no longer wanted to be on Paxil and i felt better, so he wrote me a prescription that was like a 4 week taper and as prescribed I followed it. I had horrible side effects like brain zaps,depersonalization,crying spells,depression,anxiety, depersonalization and dizziness.
He put me back on a generic version called Paroxetine. I began to come to the conclusion that I would have to take Paroxetine forever, I didn't feel my doctor was truly concerned for my well being,I began to mistrust him. When I talked with him about my issues and concerns he was pretty emotionless and discounted my side effects. I use to just stare at his junky desk stacked with folders,papers and I felt uneasy with all the clutter. I was apathetic and missed a appointment but called to either pay fee or reschedule! One time I was running low on my prescription and it was like wed. and he basically refused to refill my rx. I went to the office and i spoke to his receptionist and she said she would give him the message. I called the next day and she said that he filled it out. On that friday I tried to get my meds and the pharmacist said I had no more refills left!;I contacted the office and they played phone tag until they closed; and I had no paroxetine. My symptoms because worse after being on Paroxetine so long so going without Paroxetine throughout the weekend was hell. I had brain zaps,crying spells and fits of rage. Monday came and I was ravaged from withdrawal syndrome.
I was so angry I went to the office Mon morning with a video camera and confronted the nurse and doctor for lying about writing my prescription,they must have thought I was crazy but I was desperate and didn't understand why someone who was suppose to take care of his patients let me suffer in agony? I went back a few times and started to tell him I believe I am having withdrawal syndrome. I began to educate myself and learned of all these symptoms and even people who committed suicide from Paxil-Paroxetine. I was other times of trying to get off of Paroxetine, but it had me in its clutches!
With the Internet evolving I searched out messege boards or threads on Paxil and began to realize I wasn't alone.Other people suffered and had the same problems with what I began to call "Paxhell!" Life moved on I got married,had children and I felt good! Things were happening in my life! But I knew despite early childhood trauma and the bouts of anxiety,depression I felt different now with the meds. I was at a low point in life and began to awaken my spiritually and decided i wanted to connect with Africa and i decided i wanted to go on a sabitical. I had enough meds for less than a month so I end up going to Egypt. I loved the history,scenery and felt a sense of connection. I missed a few doses and that's when depersonalization kicked into full drive.The group organizer tried to help when I couldn't get back on track with the remainder of pills I had. The depersonalization was bad, he suggested I try wellbutrin so I could ween off easier. My situation and depersonalization intensified.I cut the trip short and ended up back in town suffering. 6 months of depersonalization and a severe stuffy head that felt like my head was wrapped with gauze; feelings of being unreal,out of body. That severe stuffy headache that lasted everyday for years and it still it slightly. After some time I got another job and returned to life.
I ran across information about people who were getting off Paxil. I began to search out other sites and ran across a site describing a organization called "Point of Return." I reached out and talked with Alesandra which I would mess her name up calling her Alexandra lol. she also spoke with my mom and I listened to her story which inspired me to defeat the evil drug called Paxil. Truth is while being encouraged I was scared from all the butt whippins laid on me when I tried to quit. I ordered a kit and got a liquid version of Paroxetine. I now remember the liquid version was from my pharmacist and it wasn't from the original manufacturer which was TEVA.
I began to taper and the first dose I felt weird and not right. I continued despite feeling horrible a couple of weeks and I tapped out. I got back on Paroxetine and pretty much stuck. That was in I believe in 2008 or 2009? I knew and always believed in what I learned from POR,I had the workbook and studied it.I continued to educate myself on other people's experiences.
In 2016,I like I normally would go to CVS and pick up my prescription for Paroxetine. I at this point knew more about the drug than most doctors,pharmacist regarding side effects and learned the hard way. After trying different manufacturers like at Walmart; the minute you take a different version you know immediately with the symptoms of withdrawal. Anyways the pharmacist told me that they no longer supplied the TEVA brand which put me on alert. I told her that I couldn't take that brand because it's different than what I take. She had 7 pills of TEVA left. She checked in their system but they no longer supplied it due to a maker in China was cheaper. I took the those 7 pills of Paroxetine and began searching for other pharmacies who also no longer carried the TEVA brand.
I then contacted POR,while worried i had faith that something would work out. Alesandra told me to contact a compound pharmacist she had in her network. She told me to call him up to see if I co
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