You know when you had a entire plot line all acted out in your head, and then real life decides to take that ideal and completely shit all over it? That was my February.
So this Sertraline thing is probably not for me. That isn’t to say that it wouldn’t work for others, but it does not appear to jibe all that well with my brain. To say that my life almost went off the rails during the last three weeks is a bit of an understatement.
I’m not sure if it was the medication that made it worse, but since that was the biggest life change I made this month, I have to assume it was an influence. Plus, it’s made very clear that sometimes antidepressants can make your depression or anxiety worse. A very cruel and unusual side effect, but that’s mental health in a nutshell.
I knew that it can take a while—sometimes four to six weeks—for there to be any noticeable changes to mood when starting on anti-depressants, so I wasn’t really expecting to feel any different this month, at least in terms of less anxiety, lighter moods, etc. But I still had that optimistic vision in my head. I really wasn’t expecting to feel worse.
It was like walking into an old nightmare or being faced with an enemy I thought was subdued. I haven’t felt that out of control since winter two years ago, where I couldn’t even work because I was imprisoned to my bed. This time, I was trying to act normally at work and with family and friends while slowly becoming aware of this monster creeping up my back and paralyzing me.
I couldn’t sleep. When I did sleep, getting up in the morning was like summiting Everest. I could barely concentrate. Answering emails became terrifying. My whole body was constantly tense. Forget about trying to write. I went five days a time without showering.
This is what it feels like. You’re like a caged animal, unable to figure out how you got placed in your cell and powerless to escape. There’s no one to help you, and your usual instincts aren’t working, so you’re left to pace, freak out, and lash out.
I was getting really scared, and knew I wasn’t supposed to stop taking the medication without calling or consulting a doctor first. My follow-up appointment isn’t until March 6th, so I figured I’d tough it out until then—was it really that bad? Was that a suicidal thought, or was I being paranoid?
Then on Friday night (two days ago), I came home from a very exhausting night of socializing with people I didn’t know that well and fell asleep before remembering to take the pill.
I dreamed an actual, vivid dream, and then woke up feeling fifty pounds lighter yesterday. I laid low all day, wondering if I was going to feel ill or get lightheaded as a result (I remember the horrible dizziness that came from missing a day of Lexapro), but felt fine. I went out last night and was completely fine. I had the best dream (seriously, so creative and rich enough so that I could lucidly explore—I’ll be pursuing that for writing), and am now sitting in a coffee shop writing this.
Conclusion? Who the fuck knows. I’m not opposed to trying another medication, but I really do understand how people can get scarred from this process now. Even now, I’m still not sure if it was all just in my head, literally.
But hey, I can have an orgasm again, so I’m just going to enjoy that in the meantime.