Don't Trust The Darkness (A Withdrawal Journal Entry)

anxiety coping depression withdrawal Jan 19, 2022

In one of my last posts I shared with you the “introductory” entry in my recently discovered withdrawal journal from 2013/2014, and in this post I’m going to follow that up by sharing the next entry, one that outlines in detail a lot of the symptoms that I was experiencing at that time.

Although I’ve written a lot about my prescription drug withdrawal and healing experience in the past (Paxil withdrawal and Xanax withdrawal), I’ve never actually published something that I wrote DURING the darkest of those days.

Until now!

Recently I’ve discovered this “withdrawal journal” on a thumb drive, and within this document there are dozens of entries that offer a really revealing picture into exactly what I was thinking and experiencing as worked through Paxil withdrawal, finished my Xanax taper, and moved forward through the first months without either of the medications.

In case you missed the announcement, I will be posting and discussing all of these dozens of journal entries over the course of the next months in my new Lovely Grind Support & Success Membership Community.

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Now, on to the journal entry below (italicized portions and small formatting edits added for clarity).



My Withdrawal Journal  


Wednesday, December 11, 2013:

Didn’t sleep much again last night and now head is foggy. I am trying to find a way through the tough times since stopping the Paxil. Work has become a source of major anxiety but so are many other things. I will list the symptoms as follows:

Restlessness, sleeplessness, anxiety, obsessive thinking about past sins, depression, obsessive thinking in general, fear to be alone, headaches, backaches, leg aches, fatigue, anxiety of daytime, obsessive thinking about not having children and reasons why I can’t (my wife has a complicated medical history), obsessive thinking about not being where I am supposed to in life, not being able to concentrate on reading, sitting at a desk etc., mental fog, extreme sensitivity to being around any stress, internalizing any stress near me (even perceived), anxiety about impending death of everyone, depression about lack of purpose to daily activities, lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence, fear that I will never be able to change jobs because I can’t get away for an interview or will be too nervous to interview, anxiety that others perceive me negatively, anxiety that someone at work will tell me they have a problem with me.

Above is just a sampling of what I have been experiencing over the course of the past 12 months. In an attempt to slowly bring myself back to health, I have taken the following steps:

Taking in less soda and no coffee, reducing beers, reducing Xanax, exercising several times a week (as of recently at club, before that walks with Claudia (my wife).


Why This Entry Is Interesting:


First, the symptoms.

People ask me all the time, what were your withdrawal symptoms? Obviously as people are going through withdrawal and feeling scared, they want to know if others are experiencing or have experienced the same things. Well, I’ve shared quite a bit about my symptoms in my videos and writing, but I’ve never before listed them exactly like this. So bluntly, and from a present-tense perspective.

Over the years, in my videos and writings, I’ve chosen not to dwell on symptoms because I think in general that is counterproductive and feeds anxiety. Also, I can’t always easily recall every single thing I suffered through during withdrawal (thank God), but here, in this journal entry, there is a detailed list of my pains and problems in black and white.

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about my symptoms, this journal serves it up! There is a lot more to come in other entries. So, if you are someone who is currently experiencing symptoms, then hopefully my sharing this is beneficial for you. No, you aren’t the only one who is experiencing weird stuff!

Secondly, this entry is interesting because of the self-recrimination and depression I’m experiencing, and because of my increased sensitivity to stress. I’m getting down on myself for anything and everything, and I’m having a difficult time finding a sense of purpose in my life and maybe in life in general.

I’m always on edge, tensing up at every hint of stress, and I’ve even worrying that others are going to “confront me” or tell me they have a problem with me. I’m constantly thinking that the future will be all bad for me.

The thinking of the withdrawal mind can get paranoid, dark, and anxious, so if you are experiencing this sort of stuff, remember that these things are symptoms of a process, not inherent problems with you!


The Take-Home Messages from This Entry:


1)     The withdrawal process can come with many physical pains, but they won’t last forever.

2)      The withdrawal process can come with mental and emotional pains, but they won’t last forever, either. And don’t trust every thought and emotion in withdrawal. The process can put a dark film over everything and try to convince you that life is scary and that the future is going to be bad. These are lies. Talk back to them and then disengage from them. Your future can and will be good if you take care of yourself, allow more time to pass, and set goals.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post from my withdrawal journal. Again, there are many more where this came from. Check out my new Support & Success Membership Community to see all of them as they are released.

Until next time,



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About the Author

Michael Priebe is a writer and wellness coach who has helped people from all over the world understand antidepressant withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, anxiety, stress, and healing. In coaching he has worked one-on-one with individuals from nearly twenty countries, and his Lovely Grind YouTube videos inspire thousands of viewers each month. He invites you to inquire about his coaching today to find the knowledge and inspiration needed to fuel your own wellness journey. 

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