Monday, August 31, 2009

My Relationship with Anti-Depressants

As I mentioned earlier, I began taking Paxil at the tender young age of 20 years old. I quickly realized that I had to take it everyday or the side effects were terrible. This was before I knew of the power of Google (it was 2001, after all) and I had NO IDEA what I was getting into when I hopped aboard the Paxil train. Had I known then what I know now, I might not have taken the drugs so willingly. MIGHT NOT. Let me emphasize the MIGHT. I was pretty miserable at that point and was looking for relief in whatever form I could get.

One time in my senior year of college, I ran out of money and needed to get my prescription filled. I simply couldn't afford it and since I had wanted to get off of Paxil for a few months, I thought, "why not try now?" I decided to just not worry about refilling the prescription and move on.


About a week later, my roommate found me curled into the fetal position on the floor of my bedroom moaning and FREAKING THE CRAP OUT. Because OH MY GOD I WAS DYING. You see, Paxil is addictive. VERY addictive. And if I had read the information from the drug packet and/or googled it, I would have known that you absolutely, 100%, no way in hell, can come off of Paxil like that. It is one of the most horrible, terrible, no good, very bad feelings in the ENTIRE WORLD. There are these brain shock things that happen. They are incredibly difficult to describe, but if you've ever had them, then you know what I'm talking about. It's like there are little electric shocks shooting off in your brain all the time. And any time you move your head or eyes, these disturbing shock waves shoot through your head. Not to mention the dizziness and general sense of lightheadedness. I could barely function. My roommate took pity on me and bought me my prescription. I made a mental note to never ever run out of my drugs again.

I stayed on Paxil throughout the rest of college and for another 2-3 years. After I graduated college, I entered a very tumultuous time in my life and I made a ton of poor decisions in regards to relationships and jobs. It was...not fun. I won't go into detail here, but trust me when I tell you that I was am an idiot. At some point, I felt as though I was no longer receiving the benefits of Paxil. I was depressed again and nothing seemed to lift my spirits. I talked to my new doctor about it and he told me that sometimes SSRI's stop working. So he prescribed me a new drug, Celexa. I was very, very nervous about getting off of Paxil because I remembered the nightmare from my senior year of college. He told me to slowly taper my dosage off of Paxil and then begin the Celexa. And the transition went surprisingly well. The brain shocks weren't too bad and I was able to function and go to work. I stayed on Celexa for the next few years, during which time I met Alex, got married, and WOOPS, got pregnant. And there, things go a little wonky.

I know that the subject of anti-depressants is a very controversial one, so I wanted to explain my story. I am, obviously, a fan. I think they work very well because they worked very well for me. Being on Paxil and later, Celexa made me feel normal. They made me feel good. They made me feel NOT DEPRESSED. And that is, obviously, very important to me. (As well as, you know, the drug's job since it's called an anti-depressant.) There were times where I wished I didn't have to take a pill everyday, yes. There were times when I wondered if I was really me if I needed a little pill to maintain my 'normal.' I always kept the idea of getting off them in the back of my mind. I thought it'd be so great not to have a take a pill everyday and NOT spend the money on medication. I got that opportunity in July of last year when I found out I was pregnant.

Spoiler Alert! It didn't go well.

ETA: I just had to go back and edit this post because I wrote I got pregnant in June, when it was actually July. I had Alex read this and he missed that as well. Parenting. It makes you stupid.

ALSO, in the editing process, I deleted a very important sentence. Anti-depressants are not for everyone. I know this. We are all very different...unique and special snowflakes, you know? So they might suck for some people and offer no relief. And some people just flat out, DO NOT WANT to be on them. And I think that's awesome. I totally respect people's decisions in regards to their medication decisions. I don't want anyone to think I'm pushing anti-depressants on them. I'm just telling y'all what worked for me. KTHXBYE.

1 comment:

philly said...

Deep stuff! I wish we had a better understanding of what was going on in college? Although we probably would have messed everything up instead of being of any type of help? I am glad you are sharing.. I don't know how hard it is to write it all out (it could be a breeze for all I know?) But when I read I am kicking myself a lot!!