Two or three weeks into my Paxil treatment and I’d only had two or three panic attacks. Amazing, right? That’s a big step up from having daily ones.
Well, maybe they became so few & far between because I didn’t have time to panic: I slept for 12+ hours every night during the first few weeks on Paxil.
Time passes pretty damn quickly when you’re asleep more than you’re awake.
The sleepiness didn’t disrupt my day-to-day life during my month-long Christmas break at my father’s house, but it sure as hell annoyed my roommate once I returned to campus for spring semester. I’m fairly sure she kept a tally of how many times I hit the snooze button on my alarm when I was about 3 weeks into the Paxil regimen. We’re not talking 5 times or 10 times, folks. Think more like thirty. (Sorry, Michele!)
The excessive sleepiness wore off around the time I filled my first Paxil script at the pharmacy. Because I was a student, I was still on my father’s health insurance plan — and his prescription plan was fantastic. Paxil CR cost only $10 for a month’s supply. Not bad, right? I could afford that. After taxes, that’s about two hours’ worth of work at my near-minimum-wage campus job. Doable.
Still in the honeymoon phase of my relationship with Paxil, I floated through February and March on those $10 co-pays. And now, because I’d gotten this script filled at a pharmacy, I had an actual bottle of pills (no more annoying foil blister packs!) and the informational leaflet about the drug — which, at that point, I didn’t bother to read. After all, I’d already been on Paxil for a month or so and was already familiar with side effects like sleepiness. Surely I already knew all there is to know about Paxil’s effects.
And then the house of pills came crashing down. My father’s employer, a manufacturing company, had suddenly folded with little warning. He (and, therefore, I) lost his insurance plan in April of 2005. And his prescription coverage.
Nonetheless, I still had to get my refills, right? At retail price. How expensive could it be?
Well, the cost of Paxil CR multiplied. And I don’t mean by 2x, by 5x, or even by 10x. The cost multiplied by 12x. The cost of a year’s worth of Paxil CR suddenly became the cost of a single month’s worth of pills.
I couldn’t afford it. From an old blog of mine:
FYI: It really sucks when you don’t have a prescription plan, and you can no longer afford the goddamn Paxil ($125 per month!) that keeps you nice & calm & regulated. I tried to wean myself off of it last week because I know I can’t afford to continue taking it.
Please, all: never do that.
Instead of taking one every day, I started taking one every other day, and I had terrible mood swings all week. All I wanted to do was sleep. I would shake randomly, and it felt like I was having tiny internal seizures. I felt like something was wrong. I felt like I was going to die. I felt like something terribly dangerous was happening to me. I felt worse than I ever had before I ever started taking those meds.
Outstanding. I can’t afford the meds, but my body can’t handle not being on the meds. Now what?
(I wrap up this story in the next post.)