three for my heartache, four for my headache

by Kate

I take one, one,  one ’cause you left me…

My attitude about antidepressants, when I’m taking them and they’re working: These pills saved my life, and fuck you for thinking I don’t need them.

My attitude about antidepressants when I’m not taking them and/or they’re not working: I am never doing that again unless I absolutely need to and I completely trust my physician.

I took Zoloft for about two and a half years. It worked very well for about a year of that time, and since then I’ve been floundering, flailing, and drowning. I sincerely believe that Zoloft saved my life. But then it stopped working so well, and eventually it stopped working at all. Just like Paxil did, and Prozac. I’m allergic to Wellbutrin, but it did seem to help before the itching took over. The drug that always terrified me, the one I wouldn’t touch because of what I’ve heard about the withdrawal symptoms, was Effexor.

But after Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, and Zoloft all failed me, Effexor was sort of the only thing left in the usual arsenal of pills. So I tried it. About a month ago, I started taking it, hoping it would work the same magic that Zoloft did.

Well, now that I’m weaning myself off Effexor, I can tell you something: the withdrawals are not nearly as horrifying as I thought they might be. Not nearly as horrifying as being on Effexor.

I’m loath to get into what made it so awful, but I can give a basic sketch of some of the effects: I got about five hours of sleep in 72 hours. I was compulsive, and it’s practically a miracle that I didn’t get into a very bad situation. I wasn’t eating, could barely walk a straight line, and had trouble regulating my body temperature. I was a hellish nightmare that I couldn’t wake from because I couldn’t sleep.

When I called and told my psychiatrist that I needed to get off Effexor immediately, she said something along the lines of “Well, since you’ve tried so many antidepressants, and none of them have worked for very long, maybe you’re bipolar!”

After telling her that, sure, we’ll discuss that at our next session, I hung up and decided two things:

  1. She’s fucking fired.
  2. I’m gonna stay off meds for awhile.

What a horrifying experience. What a terrible, disheartening response from my psychiatrist.

The upside is that I’m feeling much better now, more like myself than I have in months.

I’ll keep ya’ll updated.

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