Random Thoughts + My Paxil Journey


October 3, 2018

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I’ve been writing blog posts in my head for weeks and weeks, but I haven’t logged on and actually created one.

About how glorious it is to not be isolated anymore. Now that my boys are both in school, I see other adults at least twice a day! And these grown-ups have, like 50% of their life in common with me: we have kids the same age-ish and we live in the same location. Sure we may chat about what snacks to buy at the grocery store or what makes sense to buy at Costco, but these are actual human interactions with people who can reason at relatively high levels. Woah!

About clothing and spending your money to support your beliefs. For me, that means buying fair trade or environmentally-conscious or Made in USA or from women owned companies. And how to afford these clothes. And what on earth to wear as a mom.

About creating art. About comparing yourself to others. About self-doubt. About ignoring self-doubt. About being truly engaged versus just skimming by on the surface. About how to be truly engaged with kids and a house to care for and little money and a business to run and a garden to water and a husband too.

About health and nutrition and a loss of motivation. I cannot make smoothies for breakfast and I no longer exercise everyday. And what that means. And how to feed my son’s less sugar.

About cool things like rose quartz crystal facial rollers and intuitive energy alignment and things that border on wu wu.

About how the information I’ve shared on this blog thus far has been fairly light and easy and sometimes slightly ridiculous. Did I do a post about dishwasher troubleshooting? All of the info would be helpful to me if I was a mom like me, or it is helpful to me, but it isn’t terribly profound. And yet some of the posts are important, like the one about Rad Girl Revolution. The one about having a blood clot while pregnant.

I guess I want this blog to be more, yet I don’t know what that looks like. And with caring for the boys, worrying about money, running a business, taking care of my husband, running a household, I just don’t have the energy to plan out everything and proceed. I just need to create content as I can, and share. And be okay with that.

And that is a theme that’s been running through my head too. Pushing and striving and working towards more versus just being and being and embracing the present.


So I guess with that long preamble…I am now going to talk about something personal. And it is so not a big deal at all, yet it is kind of a big deal. This is not an informative blog post with tips and advice…it is a jumble of thoughts and questions.

After my second child was born, I was put on Paxil. The best way I can put it is, is it always felt like my shoulders were being pinched hard. I felt irritated.

Now, I had been on anti-depressants on and off over the years, but I don’t think Paxil was ever one of them. The nurse practitioner who prescribed it asked if that is what I was on the previous time, and I am 90% sure it was not. (I think it has been Celexa or Lexapro or both or others. I don’t remember.)

I’ve gone off the medications for various reasons: I am not good at remembering to take a pill everyday, pill cost, doctor’s appointment costs, insurance changes, feeling better (I know that’s silly).

At any rate, the nurse practitioner put me on Paxil, and I started taking it.

And I felt good. After I took it the first few times, it was like a chemical was slowly oozing through my body, relaxing my shoulders, softening things that irritate me. I was floating happily through afternoons and evenings. And then I felt okay, but I didn’t cry anymore. Things that used to make me cry–at least one article per week in the Sunday New York Times, a new achievement for one of my sons–just didn’t.

And then there was this subtle shift to not feeling accountable for actions. I would buy things I certainly didn’t need with money I certainly didn’t have, and I would feel numb.

Just things didn’t really matter anymore. Not only the annoyances of life. But things that should matter started to not matter.

It took me a while to realize what was going on. It took me missing doses here and there and then feeling incredibly dizzy to realize what was going on.

The physical dependence on this medication scared the crap out of me. I mean, what if I was kidnapped and held hostage, and what if in addition to having to deal with crazy drama, I would also be going through some sort of dizzy sick withdrawal hell? I jest, but slightly. What would happen is I would run out, be at the end of my refills, then have to scramble to get more so that I could function as a human. And, more importantly, so that I could function as a mom.

After a couple of years on the medicine, I tried to give it up. And I couldn’t. And that scared me too. But eventually I was able to do it. And I didn’t do it with the help of my OBGYN office–I did it pretty much on my own.

I don’t think that this is smart. I should probably be on some sort of anti-depressant. It could benefit my husband or my kids. But I don’t want to be numb. I want to cry when things hit me in my heart or my gut or when things are so beautiful. I don’t want to charge things on my credit card and think it is okay because I feel numb.

Of course, when I was on other medication (I am pretty sure one of them was Celexa), I don’t remember these effects at all. But the idea of seeing doctors, paying for pills, remembering to take pills, dealing with side effects…it sounds so daunting.

Especially when I know that running regularly completely takes care of my mood stuff. And clean eating definitely helps bring on the energy–for me that means no dairy, no gluten, little alcohol. So why not do more this?

I do not think that taking anti-depressants is good or bad for people. I think that for me, Paxil is not the solution. I also know that I have a hard time of doing basic things people who take regular medication should do, such as regular doctor appointments, refilling pill bottles, remembering to take the medicine. (In my defense, the fact that I’ve switched insurance companies almost every year since 2011 has only made some of these steps harder.)

Although I appreciated the quick fix that my nurse practitioner offered me…an easy solution for a mom of 19 month old and a 6 week old…I wish that our society would push long-term solutions like free childcare for new moms who are trying to exercise, or easy access to other self-care tools. And I wish that I had read up on Paxil before starting that medication. (It seems like it has gnarlier side effects compared to other anti-depressants.) And I wish that the nurse double-checked and put me on the same medicine I had previously taken. And I wish I had pushed that point. (I was in a motherhood daze, dealing with two babies who needed me all the time.)

I wish I had tried to consume adaptogens and other foods first. Or meditated. Or taken yoga. But, time and money.

Do you have any first-hand experience with Paxil (positive or negative!)? I am sure others would appreciate your information.

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