Saturday, September 24, 2011


I'm sitting in my psychiatrist's office. It's on the clock, in her waiting room are another four clients and one irate rep from Big Pharma, with lots of samples of Cymbalta. I have about 5 min plus another min or two to pay and re-schedule. It's going to go very fast.

She looks at me. I'm trying to care about my appearance- I noticed she's referred to me as "disheveled" in the past. I've taken care to wash and blow dry my hair, and put on make up. Put on new clothes. The friend who is staying with me this week says I look "Beautiful". The doctor clearly disagrees, she's writing furiously on her writing pad.

She wants me on medication. It will be a year, since last November when I went cold turkey off all my meds. She feels with diagnosis, I should be on something. She wants Prozac. I don't want Prozac. I was on Prozac when it first came out, after a couple of months, I developed something strange- I felt like there were bugs under my skin. I went off it cold turkey, and on to Zoloft and Paxil.

I remember when Prozac first came out. Dr. L- was all over this, thinking this drug would cure me, cure everyone. His copy of Newsweek was worn, he treated it like his bible. Prozac was all over the place, everyone was taking it, even people that didn't have depression. I even knew a man from work who named his cat "Prozac".

So when I told the doctor one night, I couldn't stop scratching and felt there were bugs crawling over me, he couldn't find that in the side effects. Eventually this side effect did make it into the list, but not then. All I knew is that this drug wasn't like a magic wand, it was making me worse. This was the first drug that failed me. Over the next two decades there would be many, many more.

My doc wants me on Prozac and Abilify. She has called my GP and my kidney doctor to make sure I can take it. She thinks Abilify will help, and the Prozac- why don't you take it, maybe it will work this time. If it doesn't, stop it immediately.

I don't want to be on psych drugs. The swelling in my feet is going down. I'm moving around better. A friend who is staying with me has me walking every night this week except the night it was raining. The last time we saw each other I could only walk with a walker. Now, I am walking, leaning gently against him for balance, with a semi like drunken gait. It's not where I want to be, but it is better than it was even a month ago. Baby steps. Recovery goes in baby steps.

I made dinner one night, broiled chicken, broccoli, and noodles. It was nice cooking for someone, I enjoy cooking simple, plain meals. My friend tells me I look healthier- my skin has a glow in it that it didn't have earlier this year, and I'm not in pain every moment. No, my pain has been ebbing over the last fortnight, it's not as bad as it was. I'm sleeping again, only it's hyper sleep- 16-18 hours each day.

Despite the company, I feel lost. I'm being pulled from two different directions- all over the medications. Over my life. What I am doing with my life. Do I go back to school for a PhD or another Masters? I think I am too old and don't want to go into Student Loans. Can I find a writing job when all over newspapers and magazines are laying off writers. Can I even work if I am sleeping too much and feeling terrible from the kidney, bladder and high blood pressure meds?

I don't know. I just know I want to contribute something back to society. That would be the best therapeutic answer to everything and make me feel whole again.


Sharon Pernes said...

Thanks for sharing this about you. I am on meds and have been for about 4 years. The cocktail I am on now works for me. After all I have been reading I think either I am lucky or that I didn't start meds that long ago.
Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that the meds are you decision...not your friends or families. But it is something that you and your doctor need to work on together.
I have never been on Prozac, and although I have had some side effects they have been minimal and easily fixed by changing meds. If you think you need to be on meds then remember there are other meds besides Prozac.
And I am impressed that you can even consider school, I could never do that, even now and I am doing pretty good.
I wish you well on your road to recovery.

Mark p.s.2 said...

Susan , I am relieved to learn you are slowly improving. It seems to me, you care for others, more than you care for yourself. re:cooking dinner, and ones appearance is a sign one has "self esteem" and is playing on Shakespeares "All the worlds a stage"

RE: Sharon Pernes "You and your doctor". A doctor treats disease. There is no physical disease in mental illness. Therefor the psychiatrists prescription is for drugs, not medicines.
Illegal and legal drugs (alcohol+tobacco) can be used to live, but usually drugs don't work in the long run.

The Blue Morpho said...

It's great that you are feeling better, but too bad that you have things pulling at you. These can be such tough choices to make. The med's have been great for me, but I've also never had a bad drug reaction the way that you have, so it is easy for me to say. Good luck making your choice!
Adventures in Anxiety Land

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