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Hi, I'm new here so I guess I'll start at the beginning. I have had bouts of depression and at 16 I was started on Paxil that I believe changed my life. It made me so happy and my psychiatrist thought I was a bit manic after a year and half on it, so he started switching me around. During that year I was on Paxil, I had my first legitimate panic attack. I was at my dad's and it hit in a restaurant. Crippling fear and dread, my heart was racing, and I disconnected with my surroundings so badly that night that it lasted for weeks. It scared me so bad that I went to the hospital and because I was out of state, they prescribed me Ativan and sent me home. I took it once or twice and after a few days, the panic subsided. After I got home, I started seeing a really well-respected psychiatrist then and he took me off Paxil because he felt I was slightly manic. I'm really giggly, fidgety, and outgoing naturally but I think the Paxil may have heightened that a bit. At that point, I was at 30 mgs.

Anyways, I ended up on Lexapro that didn't do much for me and since I wasn't suffering any depression/panic at the time, just normal anxiety that wasn't unbearable, I left it alone. Well, I'm not a sophomore in college and all this took place the summer before my senior year. Unfortunately, last semester in October I made a trip to see my boyfriend at his college. I have to fly because it's far away and on the plane I suffered a terrible panic attack. It lasted the whole flight and I was so scared at one point, I didn't think I'd physically be able to make my connecting flight. I really felt like I was in a nightmare and I thought getting to my boyfriend's would help, but it just kept getting worse. I'd wake up in the middle of the night shaking, I couldn't eat, I stayed in bed for literally 2 days straight. I ended up buying a ticket and leaving early. The terrible feelings of disconnection and isolation lingered for months, but I never stopped. I kept up with school and that was about all I could do. I went back to my psychiatrist and he put me on Paxil because it worked so well in the beginning. He also put me on Remeron to help me sleep and eat and prescribed valium 2 mg. Long story short, I was able to relax and stuff but I still felt like the anxiety was on a low simmer all semester. I always dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and when I'd get up and go and everything would be okay, I'd feel a bit relieved.

6 months later and I'm living. It comes and it goes, I'm now on Zoloft because Paxil wasn't helping this time. I'm still coming off Paxil, taking 5 mg every other day with 25 mg of Zoloft. I'm finally able to go out now- either things are getting better or I'm coping, I'm not sure. I go to class with not AS MUCH anxiety as before, but it's still there. I just can't believe the thoughts that run through my head sometimes. It's really depressing that all my energy every day goes into calming myself down and trying to relax. I don't take the remeron anymore, because I'm super medication sensitive. It makes me so sedated, which was good at first, but I don't want that anymore. I take it sometimes for sleep and it's only 3.5 mgs. As for the benzos, I have Xanax and Valium- they do not make me feel euphoric at all. They calm me down and I'm able to sleep but I can't really function. Xanax makes me feel drunk, but sad drunk. I feel so strung out. Valium isn't nearly as bad, but it doesn't make me happy..I have cut my pills in half and everything and it doesn't help with the sedation much. I have to wait until I'm absolutely miserable before I can take it.

My question is- any advice on the anti-anxiety medications? Has anyone else experienced really negative side effects? If so, what can I do to get over them? Also, while the Zoloft has kept me going a bit more than the Paxil, I still don't feel like me; HOWEVER, I am still weaning myself off Paxil and I know withdrawals from Paxil are hell, so could my current anxiety be from the withdrawals? I'm pretty desperate and would like to hear what other people are doing to control panic attacks.

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