Citation: Some Chick in Texas. "Oops: An Experience with MDMA (Ecstasy), Paroxetine, Alprazolam (exp23176)". Erowid.org. Apr 6, 2007. erowid.org/exp/23176
I'll try to make this short and sweet. (Knowing me, I will probably fail, but it's a good-faith effort.)
I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in the spring of 1997 and started taking Paxil for it that year -- 10 mg a day for two years, then 20 mg a day, then 40, although at the end, I was taking half a 40-mg pill every five days or so, weaning myself off it. I quit taking Paxil entirely in February 2003. In early April 2003 I decided to take some Ecstasy. I'd taken it maybe five times before, with few ill effects -- disrupted sleep, feeling 'cracked out' the next day, but nothing too bad, and its positives seemed to far outweigh its negatives. Besides, since quitting Paxil, I had not seen any return of specifically obsessive-compulsive symptoms (counting, washing, stuff like that), but I had noticed a significant increase in my general levels of anxiety, worry and depression. There was a party one night, and I hadn't been to a party in a while, and I hadn't taken X in about six months, and I figured, Why not? It will be therapeutic; it will allow me to warm up and have fun and feel closer to the world and my friends. Et cetera. All the reasons we take Ecstasy in the first place. So I did.
The roll was quite nice -- not the strongest I've felt, but not the weakest, either. Don't know what was in the pill, but my fairly limited experience leads me to believe it was at least mostly MDMA. I experienced all the pleasant things Ecstasy can bring, and it was nice. I was taking 5-HTP capsules every few hours -- one at the start of the roll, one about midway in, and one during the comedown. Probably one more in there somewhere, too. I took the pill at almost midnight and so perhaps it is not surprising that I couldn't sleep until the next night, was awake if not exactly 'up' for about 32 hours. This has happened to me, and to lots of others I'm sure, when taking X before. Nothing to worry about unduly. I went to bed that Sunday night and slept about four hours -- disturbed, weird sleep, but again, nothing one might not expect after taking Ecstasy.
I got up that Monday morning and went to work all day, feeling cracked out but not terrible, physically at least; but the anxiety attacks I had been experiencing with increasing frequency prior to the roll occurred and intensified throughout the day. When I got home from work I found myself sitting on the couch, huddled, trembling, terrified of God knows what. My boyfriend came over, and we were talking -- he'd also rolled that Sunday night and had had an absolutely wonderful experience, which of course I do not begrudge him. 'I'm panicking,' I said, or something like it. 'I have been, off and on, for a couple weeks. It's worse today, though. It's really bad today.' And it was. Anybody who's ever had an anxiety attack knows the feeling: Please God whatever I'm scared of make it stop just make it stop just make it stop. So I'm sitting there, trembling, biting my nails, and my boyfriend says, 'You know, maybe not taking Paxil wasn't the right decision for you. I mean, I respect your desire not to be addicted to prescription drugs for your sanity, but if this anxiety is causing you a whole lot of distress, and it seems like it is -- Well, it's just a thought, but if the Paxil can help, why not take it?'
I gave this a lot of thought, and in the state I was in then -- four hours of sleep in two nights, the aftereffects of X still coursing through me, and of course the anxiety itself -- it seemed like a good idea. At least taking some Paxil would help me feel less wired; it might help me sleep; and if it made me quit trembling and feeling like the world was about to end because of some random unnamed fear or other, well, that would be nice, too. So I took twenty milligrams and headed to bed early.
I didn't eat or sleep for three days. As far as I can tell, this had more to do with the Paxil than the Ecstasy. When the Paxil hit me, it didn't help me sleep at all -- it made me wired, jumpy, completely not hungry, even more scared as hell for no reason. I took more of it as the night wore on and it got to be midnight, one o'clock in the morning, and I still wasn't asleep. Twenty more milligrams, and then that morning at about 8 a.m., when I was still awake and freaking out the way only those who go without sleep for a long time can do, I took twenty more. Sixty milligrams, total. And I hadn't had any Paxil at all in more than two months.
God only knows what I did to my brain (or to my body) by taking these drugs, but as mentioned above, I didn't eat or sleep from that Monday night until Thursday evening. I stayed in bed or near it, breathing fast, heart racing, freaking out at everything, including the sound of the telephone and the ice-cream truck going down the street. No real or concrete fears -- well, by the end I was afraid I was going to die, but even then I knew it was more low blood sugar than anything else that threatened me. Just a constant high-grade panic, like being in a car that's about to crash for _three damn days_. I finally went to the doctor Thursday morning, telling him about everything but the X (stupid, yeah, I know, but I just couldn't do it). He recommended some port or sherry before bed, told me taking Paxil to prevent or alleviate that kind of panic was a bad idea, told me to eat something (I lost almost ten pounds in those three days), prescribed me a little bit of generic Xanax and told me I should consider meditation. I took his advice on that one.
That Thursday night, I took one of the Xanax (.25 mg, a small dose indeed) before bed at 11 p.m. or so. I still had trouble sleeping, so I took half of another one at one a.m. and the other half around two. I slept until 7:30 in the morning or so -- not deeply or well, and I kept waking up scared, but I slept -- and hauled my happy ass to work that Friday, having decided that even if it killed me I was not spending another day freaking out in bed. Work was all right; I came home, did whatever one does on a Friday night, and decided I was going to try and sleep that night without the Xanax. I did, and have been ever since (this was almost two weeks ago). My sleep is still all sorts of screwy, compared to what it was before I rolled; I used to love sleeping and be able to do it (a) at a moment's notice and (b) for as long as I wanted. Now I sleep about six hours a night, and I almost always wake up with my body already 'scared' -- heart racing, breathing fast, etc. However, I've felt less so with every passing morning, which is nice. From what I've read, it takes about two weeks for some of the effects of X to leave you, so it makes sense that would be happening right about now.
Still, I wanted to post this as a cautionary tale if nothing else. Just 'cause you've taken X before and it's never had any lasting effects on you (well, any negative ones, anyway), that doesn't mean it won't screw you up this time around. Reconsider taking any psychoactive drug if you've got an anxiety or other disorder, especially one you've recently changed medication or dosage for. I know this sounds like really obvious advice, but I for one had to learn the hard way. I'm still unsure how much of the three days of hell I experienced had to do with the X, how much was the Paxil, how much was the interaction between the two, and how much was just my brain. After all, since quitting Paxil I'd been experiencing increasing depression and worry; flooding my brain with serotonin and then experiencing the resultant lack of serotonin couldn't have been a good way to deal with that. Not without professional supervision, anyway. Hurray for hindsight.
After all, X is psychedelic enough to bring your unconscious to the front, and if your unconscious is in a state of turmoil, your body and brain might not like what you find there. So be careful. Be really careful. The Ecstasy-Paxil Miracle Weight-Loss Plan is, to put it mildly, far from fun.
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