“My brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane.”
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It’s taken over 10 years for me to write this story. For years I was too ashamed to admit I suffered from depression & anxiety, so I told no one. And my brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane. My last experience of medicated depression left me completely ashamed regarding what happened to me. I thought I had truly gone crazy but instead I found out later, it was only my reaction to the new so-called wonder drug of the day: Prozac. Many people take this drug without experiencing what I did; however, there are enough of us so that I want to share my story so that anyone suffering the same way I did can recognize what the problem is (the drug) and find a way to get healthier with out it.
My first depression occurred when I was 17, the fall of 1977. I was prescribed an anti-depressant, most likely one of the tricyclics and recovered 6 months later. The next bout of clinical depression occurred when I was 26, again on a trycyclic for about 6 months. Then I succumbed again in 1990. I was given Prozac. My depression symptoms consisted of crying excessively and inappropriately, inability to find joy in anything, inability to get out of bed/off the sofa, my body preferred remaining motionless, I ached physically and hoped the earth would swallow me whole or that I wished I’d fall asleep and not wake up. I never truly contemplated suicide until the last 2 years, but that’s another story. Back in 1990, my psychiatrist had me on Prozac. The first week I noticed that my muscles became twitchy, I became short with people, my head ached, my depression remained the same. By the second week, my anger was boiling, I snapped at people, I made scenes in public, I yelled, screamed, threw things, pushed people in retail store lines, movie lines, post office line. Can you imagine standing in line with a customer yelling, screaming and pounding their fist on the counter? By the time the Post Office incident occurred, I had extreme violent thoughts against OTHER people. The lady behind that counter was lucky that the counter was so tall because it was all I could do to keep myself from jumping over it to strangle her. Her offence? She didn’t accept my return of my postage stamps. Somehow I found the strength to get out and sat in my car sobbing and sobbing – I couldn’t stop. This was so much worse than my original depression. On my drive home, I was pulled over my highway patrol for speeding. I still could not stop sobbing. A second patrol car pulled up. My sobbing became harder. I held onto my steering wheel for my life as there was a huge pull on me to jump out of the car in front of any oncoming vehicle so I could die. I then thought, maybe if I rushed the officers, they’d pull their guns and kill me. What little sanity I had left convinced myself that I did not want to burden either the car driver or officers with my death. I drove off, half expecting the officers to pursue, but the let me go. I figured they didn’t want to deal with a crying woman. I was scared they were going to haul me off and commit me.
At my next psych appt, the next day, I demanded to get off these crazy making pills, that I was better off them than on them. This doctor explained that it was better I was finally getting my anger out. I jumped up, slammed both hands on his desk, put my face as close to his as I could and screamed – YOU BETTER GET ME OFF THESE BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE. He relented. I was switched and weaned and I will never go back. From 1st pill to last pill took about 2 weeks. I thank God every time I remember these things that I didn’t kill anyone. You will never know how close I was to completely loosing it. It was as if part of me was watching myself do these behaviors and have thread-bare control over my actions. I remember feelings as if I were coming Unglued. That I was somehow disintegrating, being pulled about cell by cell.
A few years later, I signed up at a diet place to loose some weight. I explicitly asked if the Fen-Phen products were anything like Prozac and the doctor assured me that they were not. He was wrong. Again, by the end of the first week, I was crying uncontrollably, tears pouring down my face – this time it was more odd as I had no feelings to go along with the tears. I went in to explain, they wanted to resist refunding my money, but all they had to do was look at my face.
I went along just fine, until I had to deal with infertility. This has been the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching life trauma I’ve ever gone through. If there was something safe and effective, I’d be on it. There is not enough money on the planet for me to ever go back to anti-depressants. So I white-knuckle it. I use natural products, essential oils, meditation tapes and I let myself cry. Honestly, the essential oils I use have been a lifesaver, same as described in the website I list below. I’ve come to grips that no matter how much I truly want to die, that dying is not the answer and suicide is a decision where I could never change my mind. I thank God that I’ve never had another homicidal thought ever since quitting the drugs. I do however have left over tremors that are probably going to be with me for the rest of my life.
If I had heard my story from a book or website or third hand, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. It seems surreal that a simple little pill that’s suppose to help could turn a quiet, shy, woman into a shrieking homicidal threat in 14 days but that’s what I lived. I’m glad it’s getting more out in the open. I’m still incredibly ashamed but now, not at my depression, but rather at my behavior I exhibited to completely innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place when I walked by.
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