Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Say it Loud!

I'm Prozac-ed and I'm Proud!

I haven't read Prozac Nation yet. Or any of the other 11,699 books that Amazon has listed when Prozac is put into their search engine. I've heard anecdotes about how people don't feel like themselves or feel cut off from reality. I believe them, though I've never had these side effects.

I do, however, have personal experience with the drug and frankly, I'd like to share. I've been on Prozac now for about 3 years. They have been the best three years of my life.

I started at a low dose. At first I had really hideous dry mouth but I started to have entire days where I didn't cry once. I could engage Michael in an actual conversation without feeling like I was being attacked, belittled or pandered to. By the way, he didn't change a bit. My therapist remarked that I no longer seemed "catatonic". This, I assumed to be a good thing.

I was doing ok, but we decided to up my dose. Soon, entire weeks would go by without feeling like I had to get in bed before 5 p.m. This was astounding. I took a walk. Then another one.
I got into an argument with Michael and it didn't feel like the end of the world. It was just a disagreement. What the fuck?! I was still having little crying jags for no reason but I could firmly understand that they were for no particular reason.

We decided to tweak my dose upward again. I started writing again. I started concentrating better. I started to feel like I could bring up a problem I was having without feeling like my entire world might fall apart. Un-freaking-believable. I had absolutely no sex drive but frankly, I never particularly enjoyed sex before and so this was not something I spent a great deal of time in mourning about.

One more tweak. Here we are. I did my last tweak about a year ago. It's been the best year of my life. I have never felt better. I am not delirious but I find joy. I don't even know that I knew what joy necessarily was prior to this year. I often hear others concerned about going on psychoactive drugs worried that they won't feel like themselves. That they'll turn into a zombie version of themselves. I don't feel less "myself", rather, I feel like I am meeting myself for the first time. I can articulate what I want, which was nearly impossible just 3 years ago.

I do not feel zoned out, nor do I feel restless - I've given myself epinephrine shots before - so I know restless. I have written more than I ever have, and I can access my thoughts better than ever. Sometimes I feel like exercising, sometimes I feel like cleaning. Sometimes I feel like sitting on my couch reading a magazine and smiling at the wonder that I can do that and not hate myself. Sometimes, I can even tell someone what I want, or what I don't want. Which is an entirely new thing for me to experience. And if that's not authenticity, I'm not sure what is.

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Blogger Fluffycat said...

I loved Prozac except for the sex drive thing. It got rid of my social anxiety, my PMS, and my worrying about everything under the sun. I'm taking Celexa and Wellbutrin now, and that just keeps me normal but I still have some anxieties. But I missed having my sex drive, and I wonder what it would be like if I took no meds at all.

Yay for meds though. Being able to get out of bed, being able to get through life without looking through a dark glass of despair is a good thing.

Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

That's great, when the right drug works, it is hard after a while to remember how bad things really were before. I am really glad prozac worked for you.

I didn't have as much luck with prozac or the ssri but my doctor found me an NRI that gave me back the ability to have emotions instead of emotions having a body to play around with for extended periods of time.

Thank you 21st century!

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

So. . . the 7/9 little words were "Get thee on Prozac posthaste and right away"?

I had to hit a couple of SSRIs before I got the right one (Luxor, if anyone's keeping count). And I agree with you totally, except for the sex part. I don't miss it, but I feel kinda guilty about not missing it, if ya know what I mean.

Blogger Bridget said...

Depression is such a horrible, debilitating thing. So glad you found something that made such a profound difference for you! Hooray for psycho-actives!


Blogger Jeanne said...

Yes, as I've learned, the RIGHT drug helps immensely. Unfortunately, I went through quite a ride before finding one that works and doesn't feel like I'm "on" anything.

Funny story about it, though. The doctors were treating me for the wrong thing. They were trying to treat the offshoot of the real underlying issue, which I didn't figure out until just recently by happenstance.

For about five years, they tried to treat depression and/or anxiety/panic disorder. I took Paxil, Prozac, Elavil, Effexor, Xanax, BuSpar and Zoloft with varying and unsuccessful results. Then we tried Wellbutrin. SUCCESS!

Two years later (today), I found a list of the drugs and info about what they treat. The first seven treat depression, panic/anxiety, and OCD. Remember, those didn't work. Wellbutrin treats depression and... ADD.


After doing a little research regarding ADD symptoms, I think it's pretty obvious that's what the real problem is. I'm ADD, not OCD or depressed, which is WHY it worked. (As for my own sex drive issues, I think it has less to do with sex itself and more to do with spending 20 years pursuing the wrong gender, ie men.)

I'm glad there are meds to help, and I'm glad you're doing well.

Blogger carrie said...

I have a fun little pharmaceutical cocktail, and I can't live without it. It's like insulin for a diabetic. I need it to be healthy and functional. I understand that psych meds aren't for everyone, but I hate the shame that surround them.

Blogger Orangeblossoms said...

Maybe that's what I should try. I hate feeling all persecuted when clearly nobody's persecuting. But last time I tried an SSRI I ended up all agitated-- made me want to forget about the whole drug thing.

Blogger fleecyknits said...

I struggled for years with really bad depression until I found a wonderful psychiatrist who tried different combinations of drugs with me for years until we found a set that work well with reasonably tolerable side effects. I still have trouble making myself get out of bed in the morning but at least once I'm up I don't spend all day wishing I was dead anymore. That really sucked.

But let me tell you, it got even harder when my 10 year old son was diagnosed with depression too. First I had to work through the guilt that this was all my fault. But then I had to deal with all of the people who think it's terrible to even *think* about medicating children. Or the lawsuits to try to keep doctors from prescribing antidepressants to kids. Let me tell you, my son is now 17, and the combination of the right medication and wonderful therapy has completely changed his life. Now he can be the person he was meant to be all along, not a sad fearful kid who hardly ever leaves the house, can't make friends, and can't get his school work done. It makes me so happy to see him getting serious about actually going away to college. Even as little as a year ago I just couldn't see that happening. I would fight to my dying breath anyone who tried to take away his medication.

Blogger Faith said...

Actually MG - I do know what you mean. I felt really freakish about the whole not enjoying sex thing but now I don't give a shit! How liberating! Not to mention, my husband gets plenty, but not from me so we're both happy in that regard and I know that's not the case with most marriages.

I know that meds haven't worked out for everyone and I am so pained for people who have tried everything and it has failed but thankfully, as Beth, MG and Jeanne said, there are a ton of options.

It's the "getting out of bed", looking out of a clear glass, and being the person you were meant to be! Yay, 21st century indeed!

Blogger Susan said...

Just one more cheer for meds. I had anxiety problems- some situational, some just my own nature. I found once the situation had changed and I tried to go off meds entirely that I still needed just a little help. I'm on the very lowest dose, and it makes such a huge difference in my life. I know I'll be able to be the kind of mother I want to be, and I'll be able to enjoy my babies without being ruled by my fears. I have found that, for me, the zoloft makes feel like myself- but the self I always wanted to be.

Blogger Msempower (aka Em) said...

agree w/carrie 100%. surprise, surprise;)

on another note, i am writing to inform you that you have been tagged by moi. pls. see my blog for further instructions:)

Blogger goodmamajama said...

Meds are fabulous, I agree. They saved my ass and I was lucky, I was able to get off them and be okay. I would go back on them in a MINUTE.

I can't stand when people poo-poo meds without truly understanding how they help our brains return to normal functioning. It does take some people awhile to find the right mixture, but it is so worth it.

Yeah Faith! Another enlightened blog posting!


Blogger embi said...

There is no doubt that drugs can be a lifesaver but I think it is really important they are used as an adjunct to therapy, rather than on their own as a bandaid that hides an underlying problem that is never dealt with.

The other issue is coming off the drugs when the time is right. I've never taken Prozac but I had so much trouble getting off another SSRI (Effexor). Even though I tried to cut down gradually I ended up having really bad nausea and hot flushes. My colleagues were apparently debating whether I was pregnant or going through an early menopause.

Blogger RhianWren said...

Hi Faith,

I just wanted to comment on this post, cos it strikes a chord with me...

I started my medication a couple of months ago. This is the first time in 7 years that I haven't been miserable!

I was so afraid of being turned into a zombie by my meds, but... well, I was a zombie that my meds turned into a woman.

I just wanted say: "I know exactly what you mean!".

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