You get all the hugs.

Anxiety attacks suck. Anxiety attacks brought on by Paxil withdrawals suck hard.

Getting off of Paxil was excruciating and in the end it required staying in a hospital setting for a while to keep my seizures in check. I remain furious at my doctor for not telling me this could happen in the first place, and sympathetic to those going through the process.

What I have to say to them is to keep going. This isn’t forever, and it isn’t bad to distract yourself.

What you’re feeling now has you thinking that all the awful things in your head is the truth, and the truth is cold and brutal. But isn’t it possible that your mind is tricking you right now?

Is literally everyone you know, everyone in the world, wrong or stupid? Because no one could possibly know what you know and keep on going, loving, laughing, right?

It’s okay. It’s okay. 

The chemicals in your brain are going to be messed up for a while, and it’s going to be really easy to get scared of things that wouldn’t usually bother you. Protect yourself from them, wrap yourself in a thick layer of happiness and light. Watch Home Alone seven times, get a Neopets account and play some Gormball.

You’re not yourself right now, but you’re okay, I promise. Remember that the average panic attack, and I mean balls to the wall, I’m going to die right now, piss your pants terror panic attack, will last about half an hour. This is your timeline. If it lasts longer than half an hour then something else is going on, and you’re still okay!, but you can rationalize going to the emergency room.

Tell them that you’re having a very hard time coming off of an anti-depressant and need help. Be straight with them if you’re having thoughts of self-harm. There’s nothing to be embarrassed of and anyone who says otherwise is an asshole. You’re going through an incredible ordeal and might feel easily intimidated, but there’s no excuse for anyone to be treating you without empathy.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, has been disoriented and afraid at some point in their lives. You aren’t pathetic or weak.

Take a bath. A long, long, hot bath. If you can, take your tablet or whatever in with you and read, listen to a movie, anything. The key is to stay constantly stimulated. Resist the urge to sleep all day and stay up all night. The night is dark and invites terrible thoughts to those with their defenses down. It’s too lonely a time for you right now, so keep the shades up and make yourself take in the sunshine.

Keep the air moving. Everything sucks, including your personal hygiene right now. That’s okay, think of it as having the flu. Everyone’s gross when they have the flu. No shame in wearing a hat and dousing yourself in Febreze during this time.

If your friends try to make you go out and do something, let them. Just tell them upfront that if you decide it’s time to go, then it’s fucking time to go. They love you and are just trying to help, so try and oblige them. It might even help a little, and if not, at least you tried. It’s very hard to be brave right now but you did it anyway and I think that takes incredible strength.

I want you to feel better as soon as possible, my mentally interesting comrades. That means I have to discourage getting messed up, because all alcohol will do right now is make you confused and anxious. And possibly pee your pants. We don’t want that.

Weed doesn’t have much of an effect right now either, it seems. If you’re having trouble eating, I wouldn’t trust it to build your appetite because you’ll still be nauseous afterward. The best advice I can give you in that regard is to forget everything you learned in health class and eat whatever you want. I once went weeks eating nothing but popsicles and jello cups. It’s not healthy but as long as you’re eating, you’re good. Low blood sugar will only make you more disoriented and as awful as throwing up is, throwing up something gentle in your tummy is better than dry retching.

Feel better soon, friends. We’re all in this together.


2 thoughts on “You get all the hugs.

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