Tuesday, April 04, 2006

365 reasons to take the Prozac

I nearly snatched the prescription out of the doc's hand.

"You've been through a lot lately," he said. "Would you like something to relax?"

So let's see... Diabetic father, recovering from colon cancer and prostate about to give up. Mother beating lumps out of me while I'm changing her nappy/ hospitalised/ dying / dead / cremated / lodged in a wall. Cat poorly. Going to rain later.

"Just give me the fucking tablets."

They said in a report a couple of years ago that fifty percent of tablets have absolutely no effect on fifty percent of people due to differences in body chemistry, genetic makeup, and so on. But these motherfuckers did the business for me. A few milligrams of Fluoxetine hydrochloride promised to iron out the wrinkles in the road for a while.

Naturally, being such an Internet animal, I read about the side-effects before I took any:

"More common side effects may include: Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation, abnormal vision, anxiety, diminished sex drive, dizziness, dry mouth, flu-like symptoms, flushing, gas, headache, impotence, insomnia, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, rash, sinusitis, sleepiness, sore throat, sweating, tremors, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness, yawning

Let's see. I already dream a Stephen King plot nightly. "Abnormal ejaculation" sounds interesting. Heh. I'm already blind and anxious: witness the spectacles. Sex drive is in "Park." I get dizzy when I play ring-a-rosy, so I'll cut that out. Dry mouth.. plenty of beer in the fridge. I get flu-like symptoms once a year. Flush when I talk about sex drive. Gas, headache, insomnia, itching, loss of appetite and nausea means its Sunday morning. Nervousness... that's what the Prozac is for, right? Rash: I always was too rash for my own good. Sinusitus, sleepiness, sore throat means it's Winter. Sweating accounts for the heating system. Tremors, the wooden floor. Upset stomach, means curry night. Vomiting, weakness and yawning means I'm sick and tired of reading these side-effects.

So I horsed them. The way they work (if I understand things properly) is to "encourage" the retention of the happy chamical occuring in the brain, namely serotonin. Basically the drug interferes with the bod's ability to reabsorb the serotonin, so when enough happy chemicals are made they stick around longer. Groovy.

I was one of the fifty percent the drugs companies love. Reckon I stayed on the 'Zac about a year, then decided that things were okay and started weaning off it.

When I was on it, those little bumpy bits were really smoothed over. It's a tough one to describe, but that kind of early morning feeling when you wake up worrying that something bad is going to happen, well it still was there, but I had a kind of mental switch which allowed me to figure out that probably things weren't going to be as elephantine troublesome as the mind's eye was making them. A sense of proportion was gradually learned.

For me, the best thing was going off them and finding that the effect lasted for the best part of a year afterwards. And after that, the memory of the effect was still there. Although it takes a little effort to do so sometimes, I can still switch that little "So What?" switch on in a stressful situation in my life and gain the benefits of chilling out without the prescription.

If you're head-wrecked, don't put off talking to someone about it. And don't rule out entirely the option of the prescription happy pills. There are more options available these days than there were. And, if you're in the drugs companies happy 50%, you can benefit.

Or you could walk a couple of miles each day. Or hit a punchbag. Whatever does it.


fitz said...

I wasn't on prozac but something similar. It helped me immensely at a time when I really needed it (eldest kid almost died, mum died 5 months later, maternal grandmother 5 months after that, lost a shit load of money through bad investment advice, lost all confidence yadda yadda yadda).

What really pissed me off was a radio discussion I was told about. People with nothing better to do phoned in to tell the nation just how bad these drugs were and to beware. In particular horror stories about 'seroxat' (one of the drugs I was using) were being told.

I listened to an online archive of the show and noted that all of the callers who had experienced problems had completely ignored the instructions of their doctors.

The bleeding marianfinucanejoeduffy brigade. go get a job you losers !!!!!!

fitz said...

... and while I'm at it (mr. grumpy old man)...

Your advice to go talk to someone is right on the mark. I was lucky enough to be offered counselling by my employer. It was "the emotional equivalent of punching a duvet".

Now there's an album title.

Willie_W said...

"Why don't you hit the pillow, Mr. Vitti?"

Pulls out gun...


"You're right doc. I do feel better."

fitz said...

deez too yooots