First and foremost, I am not a doctor. None of the opinions in this blog are to be taken as medical advice. This is strictly my opinion.
I began taking Prozac somewhere around 2009. I was having a tremendous amount of panic and anxiety on a daily basis. I was depressed and moody. Some days I would wake up absolutely terrified of the day ahead. Usually there was nothing to be that afraid of. Rent, bills, money, etc. Nothing the average citizen doesn’t deal with on a daily basis. I had tried various solutions over the years. Lexapro made me constipated. Wellbutrin didn’t have much effect. Xanax made me feel drunk. Prozac was my solution.
A friend recommended it to me because it worked for her. I did my research: I read Prozac Nation. I had high hopes. I started with a low dose. Things began to improve. Prozac made me feel normal. It limited the extreme highs and lows, and the irrational fears began to subside. The other plus was that it was cheap, with or without insurance.
Some days I would start my Facebook daily check in with “Coffee and Prozac.” Lol..hahaha. lol..lots of likes. I found myself very amusing. (That might have been the title of my blog had it not been taken)
Around 2011, a random Facebook “friend” (who was also a psychiatrist) commented that I didn’t need it anymore because it was probably not working. I had been taking it for so long, that in his professional psychiatric opinion, my body had adjusted and was no longer affected. In other words, I was cured.
Shortly after this discussion, I tried weaning myself off of Prozac. I didn’t take into account the following:
Symptoms of Withdrawal From Prozac
- Burning or tingling sensation
Unfortunately, I experienced most if not all of these symptoms. I was short-tempered and difficult to be around. I was terrified of running off the people who I cared about.
I got back on my happy pill pretty quickly!
It was not until 2017 that I revisited the idea of cutting ties with my mood altering drug. It’s not that it was really hurting me in any way. I can honestly say that I could have safely stayed on Prozac for the rest of my life with no issues.
I kept missing doses.
I had been making some positive changes in my life. In other words, I had developed some tools for life in addition to my happy pills. My thought process was like this: I had been on Prozac for so many years, and I was doing fine…But what if this wasn’t really me? I liked the person I had become. I was more mature, more even keeled, less ill-tempered. I hadn’t had a real argument with anyone in forever. I avoided confrontation. I let people cut me off in traffic and didn’t freak out. I was a genuinely better person. But was I really?
I decided to try again. I had new tools for life. I had learned to used prayer and meditation to start my day. I had learned to take things in stride. Maybe I didn’t need my happy pills after all.
At first it was hard. I would feel lethargic and dizzy at work. I got headaches. I had to sit down a lot. I had to remind myself that it would pass. That the emotions and spikes in my temper were part of the withdrawal. Being aware of myself and my body was the key. Not taking myself too seriously was also super important.
Telling people what was happening and being honest was extremely helpful. A Trusted friend suggested that I take a B vitamin, drink some orange juice, and keep a lot of chocolate on hand. It actually helped.
It’s been almost two months, and I think I’m over the hump. Prozac takes a while to leave your system, because it builds up in your system.
I’m definitely not opposed to anyone, including myself, taking medication for depression. I think it can save lives. I think it is absolutely necessary in some cases. It was necessary for me back in 2009. I am not sure if it is still necessary for me.
My goal in 2017, in regards to my depression medication, was to find out exactly who I am without it. I definitely feel different. I can say for sure that the medicine was still working. My psychiatrist friend on Facebook was misinformed. I am finding it harder to keep myself even keeled. My moods tend to fluctuate easier that when I took my daily dose. I think that’s okay though…I think that’s just life.
For now, I like living a life free of medication. I am not sure what the future holds. If I ever find myself down a rabbit hole of depression, I will absolutely seek professional help. In the meantime, I will continue to keep lots of chocolate around the house.