I have pretty severe OCD, along with its accompanying anxiety, and, presumably, depression. I've been taking paroxetine (Paxil), an antidepressant that can be used for treatment of OCD, for some time now.

Last week, I ran out of my prescription and had no more refills. Since the doctor I went to for the prescription is in a different state and I had no insurance coverage in my current state for a doctor's visit here, I didn't get a refill and was no longer on the medicine.

By the time Monday of the most recent week rolled around, I had been off of the pill for several days. It was then I learned that my parents (who had previously told me that this was likely to be happening soon) had decided it was time to euthanize my beloved little toy poodle, who had been in my life for almost 17 years. I was devastated at the news. I was always either crying or on the verge of tears, and couldn't bring myself to want to do much of anything. Not even food held much appeal to me. I knew I would never see my dog in person again, since my parents live in a different state (thankfully, I did get to see my little dog over multiple Skype calls with my parents during the week). I thought I would never be happy or normal again.

At my mother's insistence, I managed to secure some more refills of paroxetine by calling the doctor's office and asking them if I could get another prescription and have it sent to my nearby pharmacy. By Thursday afternoon, I was on the medicine again. And since then, my emotions have felt stifled. I've only cried a few times. My dog was euthanized Saturday afternoon, and while I shed some tears, overall I've been largely just bleh. Nothing compared to how distraught and non-functional I was earlier in the week.

On the surface level, that seems like a good thing, but I can't help but feel that it's wrong. I loved that dog so, so much, and the fact that he's gone should be unbearable, the way it was the first few days before I got back on my antidepressants. I don't like that the medication seems to be artificially suppressing the grief I should be feeling. I feel really guilty for not being as sad about it as I think I should be. My dog did have numerous quality of life issues and it's nice to know he's not suffering anymore, but I'm not going to be able to hold him again until I (hopefully) join him in heaven. That should be really hard, but it's not, and it's distressing.

It's possible that the medicine isn't 100% to blame. I feel like maybe I've subconsciously rejected the reality of the situation, possibly as a safety response my body triggered after the severe, debilitating grief I experienced for those first few days. Kind of like a computer rebooting in safe mode. Consciously I know my dog is gone, but subconsiously I'm in denial. I haven't processed it. It probably doesn't help that I live in a different state, so I only got to see my dog when visiting my parents, an occurrence limited to a few times a year, so not a lot has changed for me from a moment-to-moment perspective. Maybe the next time I go see my parents is when it'll really hit me.

But I can't help but suspect that the antidepressants have something to do with it, since the timing would be awfully coincidental otherwise. My parents and wife see my stable emotional state as a blessing, but it's hard for me to look at it that way. It doesn't feel right to me. No, I don't terribly enjoy being a sobbing wreck, but I feel like that's what I should be when my one and only, beloved dog dies. And I've read (from Internet sources of unknown reliability) that taking antidepressants can prevent you from experiencing grief the way you should.

My mother and my wife would both be unhappy with me if I went off of the medicine again, so I guess it doesn't matter either way, but I worry that I'm not grieving properly and that it'll cause trouble later on, and I feel really guilty for being okay after losing my best friend.

I did live through quite a bit of dread and anticipatory grief, knowing my dog was getting older, and grief simply at seeing how old he had gotten and how much discomfort he was in. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

For the record, the medicine doesn't even seem to me to help much at all with my OCD symptoms. Mostly it just seems to keep my mood from getting too down.
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I want to first express my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved poodle. That is tough. You answered a lot of your own questions, rhetorically speaking,  regarding using anti-depressants and other meds to control your OCD, anxiety and presumably depression. The truth of the matter is that they merely supress symptoms, they don't cure anything. Using this analogy, strong pharmaceuticals are like wearing a strait-jacket. They ward off the anxiety and depression momentarily. You are viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. It's a brief respite from the crushing grip of angst and negative thinking but it doesn't address the underlying cause of why you struggle with this. It's momentary relief - not long term.  Am I telling you not  to use anti-anxiety medication? No, not at all. I am merely recommending that there are all natural methods that don't have nasty side effects,  address root causes and are not cost-prohibitive. You stated that you don't feel like you are grieving properly due to the meds. I concur. Grieving openly is the key to enjoying good emotional health over the long term - not being a slave to strong drugs that are not doing much of anything. I wanted to make a suggestion. There is an upcoming docu-series on Anxiety and Depression by investigative journalist and filmmaker Johnathan Otto beginning February 3rd. It's free of charge, You can sign up at healthsecrets.com  or by going to his Facebook page and googling the amxietydepressionseries link. Good Luck and welcome to this Forum. I wish you much peace as you navigate your healing journey.

Jim Miller
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My feeling is, if the antidepressant helps you generally with your conditions, then don't resent it.

Yes it may be that which is blunting your grieving.

 You know you loved that little dog and he knows you loved him too. Where he is now he knows that even better than you can begin to imagine.

It must feel too strange not to be able to express your heartfelt grief, because you know it is still in there inside you. But try not to stress too much about that if you can. Try to transform it into a graceful mourning and honouring, and the memory of his love and yours for him, remember happy days which may help you through.

There are many free blog spaces online where maybe you could create a memory blog for him....or post his pictures and some little stories of the past, or something similarly creative.

The love -honestly -doesn't die. They still love us and remember us, and they are in a joyful state where they are now.

You will be okay.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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I lost my beloved dog Cody on the 11th. I am on anti depressents as well but they definitely are not stopping me from feeling the grief. I had a lot of anticipatory grief as we found out he had a large brain tumor in November so I have been crying on and off knowing what was to come. I think what you are experiencing may have something to do with the Paxil but without it would you have gone off the deep end? I probably would of if I wasn't on my medication. Maybe the fact that you aren't around where your baby lived is lessening your grief as well because your dog was living with your parents. I've noticed that when I'm not around my house or doing things I used to do with him I'm OK but at home, especially at night when we used to go for our nightly walks, give snacks, watch TV together and mostly when I go to bed because he used to sleep with me, I am a mess. Just my opinion. I think given the circumstances you are processing it "normally" (whatever that is). Take care of yourself everyone processes differently.
Julie 💔
"Grief only exists where love lived first."
--Franchesca Cox
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Thanks for the responses, I appreciate it. I'm coming to terms with the current state of my emotions. I still think it's likely that at some point in the future intense grief could return, but I'll just roll with it for now. It's comforting to think of how my doggie is happy, free from pain, and can bark and see and hear properly again.

I was in a pretty bad spot those first few days, so I guess it's good I'm doing better than that now.
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