For those of you who’ve followed my posts on mental illness, you all may know I’ve been on a few antidepressants. I’ve been on Pristiq which did not agree with me at all. I got some major side effects which caused me to have a massive meltdown so I was taken off. I was then moved onto Celexa and that seemed to work pretty well for a while. I didn’t feel amazing or anything, but I was better able to manage my mood swings and depressive episodes.
Last summer I went off my meds without telling my doctors. I wanted to try to live without the need of medications. I was also getting some unwanted effects from another drug I was on called Latuda. If you are not familiar with that drug, it is an antipsychotic drug that is used in the treatment of Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and a few other forms of mental illness.
I did alright for a period of time while off the drugs as I was able to cope with my depression and anxiety. That didn’t last though. I had contemplated going back on meds, but I didn’t want to as I hated some of the unwanted effects. The biggest complaint came from the Latuda. It has a major numbing effect on your emotions. It does have some benefits though. It quieted most of the voices in my head and lessened my visual hallucinations to the point where I had maybe 1-2 a day. Off medication, my hallucinations are quite frequent; visuals come and go although they are not intrusive all the time and the voices aren’t terribly bothersome for the most part. The exception is when I find myself under great stress. In those times, the voices and visual hallucinations can get out of control and that was why I was given the Latuda.
The cons, as I mentioned, was the numbing effect. In a way, I felt almost zombie like. Next to nothing generated any sort of emotional response. I couldn’t really feel much sadness, but I also couldn’t feel joy. I didn’t feel anger. I did sometimes feel frustration, but that was mostly because of the fact that I couldn’t feel anything at all. If all I wanted out of life was to sit in my room and watch game shows, I suppose that would be fine. However, I want something more.
Fast forward several months and my depression is getting quite bad. My hallucinations have returned, but they are manageable for the most part. I revisit my psychiatrist after several months away. He tries to put me back on Celexa, but unfortunately it isn’t working for me after two months. In comes Prozac.
I’d been on the drug previously in 2009, but only for a very short period when I was so lost in my mind I don’t even remember how long I took it. In the years since, I’d educated myself more on mental illness and medications. So much so that I now frequent the Yahoo! answer forums and take on some of the harder questions so I can try to do something positive. Through my research, I read up more on Prozac. I remembered being on it, but as I said I don’t even know if it helped or not. I asked my doctor about it and he said we could definitely try Prozac again to see how it works for me. Here is the deal so far.
I know it’s too early to know if it’s working on my depression. It can take about 3 weeks before I start seeing any positive effects of that nature. What I have noticed though are some side effects after the 7 days I’ve been on it. One…I’m actually feeling worse as far as my mood goes. My anxiety has gotten bad so I’ve had to resort to the Klonopin a couple of times. I’ve been able to manage though. I expected something like this so I was prepared. Another interesting effect that I’d read about and interestingly am getting is a lack of appetite. I actually don’t mind this effect at all. I’ve been exercising a lot the past month to try and improve my moods and also to drop a little weight. I noticed that I wasn’t feeling hungry at all on the 2nd day which wasn’t expected. I thought I wouldn’t get this particular effect till I was seeing the true benefits of the drug. As I said, I don’t mind having a lighter appetite, but I’ve figured out that I have to watch myself though.
Without even realizing it, I went an entire day without eating. I had water which is normal for me, but I never once felt the urge to eat. I didn’t even realize I hadn’t eaten till the next day when I thought about it. I ended up at the grocery store to get some food, but didn’t buy much as I still wasn’t hungry. I started feeling a little light headed though so I went ahead and had a good meal; some grilled chicken, green beans and corn. It wasn’t a very large meal, but boy did it fill me up. I did not eat the rest of the day. The follow day I still wasn’t feeling hungry so I had a big Honeycrisp apple about midday. I also kept with my water and still, I didn’t feel hungry.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that this side effect was pretty significant for me. I’d read about people not getting it and some who say they did. It looks like I’m turning out to be one that’s getting it, but I know I need to be careful.
I often schedule things for me in advance and have a list of things I need to make sure to do every day like take meds, exercise, clean certain parts of the house…you know, everyday chores. I keep the list because I sometimes deal with overwhelming compulsions to do things over and over because I feel I didn’t do them before so I use my check off list as a reminder that I did in fact do them. I am adding eating to this list. I figure as long as I have two decent meals a day along with a snack like an apple (love apples) or an orange, I should be just fine. The only issue is that now I am finding it annoying to eat when I’m not hungry. I’ve started to make my meals smaller, but not too small. I don’t want to push my body into any sort of shock from a sudden diet change.
Beyond that, I’m happy to say that I’m not getting any other significant side effects. Hopefully, I will start to see the true benefits of the drug in a couple of weeks.
If you suffer from depression, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about it. I cannot say that Prozac will work the same for you. Only your doctor should advise you on the types of drugs you should be taking. I guess I should add this in as well: No, I am not being paid to say these things about Prozac. This is just my personal experience with the drug. If you come across some online pharmacy trying to sell you drugs like Prozac or Klonopin, they are scams! Avoid them. Only get a prescription from your family doctor or psychiatrist and fill your medications at a licensed pharmacy like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc. Prozac is available in generic form and is very inexpensive, especially from Walmart as a 30 day supply is only $4.
Fluoxetine (Prozac), an SSRI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)