It began to feel as if the positives from this medication were starting to creep through. I can’t say I was any more happy that I have been. I’m never really happy. However, I did feel a little less down, especially on days 18-21. It looks like the medication is starting to make an impact on my overall mood which is a good thing. Still, I am seeing side effects from it so I have to address those here.
Overall better mood. My mood is usually pretty low so while this is an improvement, I cannot say I am “all better.” After all, you’re never really “all better.” I find I am thinking less about suicide. It’s still a daily thing, but my mind wasn’t going nearly as far down that road as it sometimes does. I am finding it easier to laugh at things that should be funny. I guess you could say it has started working as far as mood. As far as other issues, well….
I am still not feeling hungry. I list this as a neutral because some people want this while others don’t. I don’t mind one way or the other. I was getting tired of always gaining weight with other medications. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you gain 30 pounds. In a way, some medications are self defeating in that way. Sure, it might trick your brain into thinking you are happy, but looking in the mirror brings it all down again. I’ve dropped about 8 pounds since starting the medication so my weight loss isn’t terribly dramatic. I had to stop my usual workouts because of an injury so who knows how much I might have lost if I’d been able to continue my exercise. I am looking to get back into my workouts next week so we’ll see if I drop anymore weight.
My sleep is still very erratic. I am having to depend on other medications to get at least some sleep. Even then, I am constantly waking up throughout the night; at least 15-25 times a night. I’m not exaggerating. My anxiety isn’t seeing much of a decline from the medication. Just yesterday (day 22) I had a meltdown and had to turn to Klonopin to knock me down. I could feel the anxiety attack coming on, but there was nothing I could do to stop it besides my benzo. After that, I lied down and tried to relax. My body was numb, but my mind was still racing. Still, I managed to fall asleep about 2 hours later, but as I mentioned, I kept waking up.
Overall, I think the medication has more positives than negatives. I know Prozac isn’t a catch all. I’ve been down this road before and I know I will probably always have to be on multiple meds to manage my illness. I am glad I stuck with the Prozac though as it is showing some positive results and few negatives. I still find myself creating my own worlds when I leave the house so I can manage to do normal things like visit the grocery store. I still don’t talk to people and I still don’t make eye contact unless she does it for me. I go in, get what I need, and leave. The only place I let go a little is the book store. It’s always so quiet in there and the smell of fresh paper is soothing. I will probably end up going there again very soon.
Here are a few more things I’ve experienced 14 days into taking Prozac.
I’m still not feeling hardly any desire to eat. It looks like that side effect isn’t let up at all. As before, I don’t mind it at all as it’s helping me drop some weight. The only issue I am having is making sure I eat enough. Every time I eat I am never hungry. I only do it because I have to. I’ve also found I am less thirsty which goes hand in hand with the hunger thing. I’ve dropped some water weight, but not a huge amount.
I cannot say this is from the Prozac as I’ve experienced them before, but I ended up with a massive migraine on Sunday, the 14th day of my prozac intake. It was quite bad. I had all the classic symptoms: upset stomach, nausea, any little noise threw me off, even the dimmest if lights were too much. It was bad. I ended up sleeping through most of it with some help from my Zanaflex. After that, I ended up with a tension headache which wasn’t any more pleasant.
My pain threshold is getting smaller. Again, I cannot say that this is necessarily because of the Prozac. For some reason, I have been having major problems with my back lately so I am deal with significantly higher pain levels. I am always usually about a 4 or 5, but lately it is getting up into 6 and 7, occasionally hitting 8 and 9 which is really bad. I do have some Hydrocodone 7.5’s to help with it thankfully. I have an appointment set to see my general practitioner in about a week for my back. I did end up at the ER because of the pain which is where I got the Hydro. It was given as a short term solution.
My mood seems to be stabilizing a little. On the Celexa I was previously taking, I was still having really bad mood swings. The prozac seems to be helping a little. I cannot say for certain yet. It might be I am just going through a period where I am in a slightly better mood. I will update this on my next post 21 Days of Prozac.
I did have one very strange side effect that I’d not experienced with other SSRI‘s. One night for about three hours, I experienced a very strange sense of euphoria. I’d not taken any of my muscle relaxers or any pain medication. I felt very lightheaded and it almost felt like I was floating above my bed. I couldn’t sleep during this period, but the sensation of lightheadedness was so intense that I dared not get up. I was still in pain, yet I felt free and almost like I was going to break apart into molecules. It was a very odd sensation that I can only attribute to my brain releasing some sort of natural painkiller like a continuous endorphin rush. For a time, I thought maybe I was slipping into psychosis as my hallucinations did increase during that time. They were manageable though and not scary at all. Seeing them actually made me feel at ease.
Well, this is my update after 14 days. When 21 days have come, I will give another write up to see if the three week threshold provides any added relief.
I was in terrible pain all last night and into this morning. So much so that I ended up in the ER at Memorial Hospital. I thought I’d hurt myself a couple of weeks ago which caused me far more pain than normal. I figured I would get over it, but never did so off to the ER I went.
I’m in massive pain as I wait through the examination. I sit for hours, waiting for my meds to be ready. I got lucky and the ER doc took mercy on me and gave me Hydrocodone 7.5’s (they usually give 5’s, 7.5’s are reserved for major pain). I’m so thankful that I can finally get some sleep and get close to pain free, a phrase I’ve long since forgotten. I come home, I do some work that needs to be done, hurting the entire time. I don’t take the hydro because I know it will put me on my butt. I tell myself to wait till I am done with all my work so it gets done. I finish things up, I hit the shower, I dry off, I lie down…and then suddenly the pain lets up and I am able to move around with far less pain.
I never took the hydrocodone. As I sit here now writing this, the pain is still there, but manageable. It’s sort of funny. I spend almost two weeks in great pain and when I finally break down and go to the ER, the day I come back with meds that will help me I am suddenly feeling better. I guess I can only attribute this to the power of the mind to heal. I’m not taking it too far though. I’m still going to see my general practitioner when my appointment day comes. I know my body and I have a feeling I may need the hydro in the next 24 hours.
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.
This is a personal recollection of my withdrawal from Pristiq. I cannot say that this will happen to anyone else. This is just how it worked out for me.
I was ordered off the drug because I was getting significant side effects. I was told by my doctor to stop cold turkey. I was instructed to call my doctor, his nurse, and even suicide hotline if needed because they knew withdrawal was going to be rough.
At first, I felt alright. I just kept myself busy and distracted, but over time I began to see shadows climbing my walls. This wasn’t too bad though as this was something I’d dealt with in the past. The following day, I began hallucinating badly. I could see music. I could hear my hair growing. I feel the Earth moving below me. I could literally feel emotion. It was very scary but at the same time almost beautiful.
Then that bad times came.
I start hallucinating people coming into my room. I knew they weren’t real as I’d had these type of hallucinations all my life. However, they were starting to invade all of my senses at the same time. Not only could I see the people coming into my room, I could hear their moans. I could smell their sweat. I could feel their fingers touching my face. I could taste their tears.
It was as if all my senses went into overdrive. The next day i had a full on meltdown. I began pacing through my house, walking in circles and I couldn’t stop some of my OCD behavior. I would keep looking at clocks and I my mind would start doing mathematical problems with the numbers I saw. At one point, I found myself sitting at a table and forming algebraic expressions. I kept searching for answers to my math problems in the strangest places. I found myself counting my pens, thinking they were hiding something from me. Once I’d counted them all, I add that number to my algebra problem and kept writing numbers all over various sheets of paper. I ended up standing again and pacing around my living room. I start sweating badly and I began to pull hair out of my head. In a moment of clarity, I thought that I was having a full on anxiety attack so I went to my room and ripped open a bottle of Klonopin and took one. I found myself in the living room again, pacing, whispering to myself, almost chanting. Finally, I screamed like I’d never screamed before. I couldn’t stop myself. Then the Klonopin kicked it and took my legs out.
I don’t even know how long I was on the floor. I could hear a voice in my head telling me that I needed to be clean. I found myself crawling to the bathroom. I turned on the water and crawled inside the tub. I let the water rain down on me for over an hour. I didn’t care that it was cold. I got out of the shower, wrapped a towel around me, and fell asleep on my bedroom floor.
The next day I woke at about 6am…and I felt alright. I was really tired, but I felt like myself again. I felt like I could breathe. I felt clear. I looked outside and the colors of the world were rich and vibrant and the air was clean and fulfilling.
Some people say they don’t remember coming off certain drugs, but I remember. I remember everything.
I cannot say that this will happen with you. I admit there were other things that probably made my withdrawal much worse that it probably should have been. I never told my family or my friends about this. I didn’t want to worry them. I did tell my doctors and my therapist. They were glad I was alright.
Sometimes distractions can lead us away from our goals. Often times I find myself getting tunnel vision when I am writing an idea and that’s not always the best thing. For the stories I am developing, I had a point A to point B plan and that was not the way it should have been. There is more to a great book than who, what, when, where, and why. An explanation can be developed from those, but not a great story. Sometimes stepping away and doing other things can help you reclaim your idea from a narrow vision and assist you in turning a good idea into an magnificent book.
In October, I purposely stepped away from my stories and kept myself from writing. Why? I felt like I was becoming bored with the process. I still had idea I knew were good, but I felt like something was lacking in my writing. I needed to find a way to develop more than just an A to B story. My first book Rumbling Heart was more than an A to B story and it shows in the quality of the development not only of the work, but also the characters and the atmosphere. Sometimes reading a book can help you reevaluate and refocus on what you are trying to do. In my case though, being able to now see things from a different angle is a double-edged sword.
I looked over my work and even over some reviews and bits of feed back I have gotten over my work. The good reviews are always nice, but it is the bad reviews that always stick with you. Why? Just human nature I suppose. Here is a snippet of a negative review RH got and my response to it.
Negative reviews happen. There is no way around it. Being a writer I accept that and I know there will always be people who either do not understand my work or, for whatever reason, want to find reasons to make it seem as if I did a huge disservice to the human race. I did find it interesting that this person thought her review was constructive. You can see my response to her review in the photo as well. Her response was once again nonconstructive. I liken this review to calling someone names because that is essentially what they did. If you feel the need to call me (or my work) “stupid” without offering any reason as to why you felt that way or any way to improve it, the review is completely pointless. Offering no way to improve on something is about as bad as crying because you didn’t get your way. If I were a coach and I told a child they were terrible at football or whatever other sport I was coaching them in, I wouldn’t remain a coach very long. Obviously you cannot really liken coaching to reviewing a book or a movie or whatever else you can give feedback on. Reviewers aren’t coaches. I realize that. But at the same time people who do offer feedback need to understand that the main reason you give feedback, be it positive, negative, or mixed, is so people who develop their ideas can improve and make things better the next time around. What is the point of simply calling people or their work names? Sounds to me like certain individuals either lack the ability to express themselves or they feel the need to tear someone down.
Success also breeds negativity.
I will not say I am very successful. I haven’t sold a ton of books and I haven’t made all kinds of money at this. It was never really about money anyway. I have over the last year and a half gotten hurtful messages and emails from people who see that I was somehow able to hash it out and write a book. Not many people can say they’ve done that. Sure, some people can write a small story, but my first book was 475+ pages. A little long, but anyone has to admit that writing a book of that size takes time and commitment. My followup to my first book is much shorter, but still comes in at about 300 pages. No small feat. Another big story for me which is about 70% complete will probably come in at about 275 pages. Again, not many people in the world can say they can sit down and accomplish such a thing. I am not saying I should automatically get a great review for the effort, but I would hope that people like me…artists…deserve at the very least a review explaining exactly why our work is either good, bad, or mixed.
A good review does not always have to be positive. If you gave me 1 or 2 stars, but explained why this or that was unappealing to you, I could respect that. Not offering any explanation whatsoever makes me think the person is either just looking to be mean or trolling. In a way, they are kind of the same thing.
If you are a reviewer like I am from time to time, do the artist a favor and explain why you think one way or another. In the end, we will thank you for it and so will other readers.
Sometimes we are abruptly reminded that when a person suffers from a mental illness, at any given moment, that illness can rear it’s ugly head and take over better judgment. I am glad that a certain someone was able to pull back from the edge recently and is still with us now. People will never seem to fully grasp how their harsh words can affect people, especially those who can tumble down that long, dark hole in the blink of an eye. I don’t know who this person was that came after my friend and attacked her, calling her an outcast and making her feel like she should crawl back under a rock and stay there forever, but I do hope they think twice about the way the speak to people.
My friend was so distraught that they just started taking various medications without even thinking. All they knew was they didn’t want to be awake. This wasn’t something she planned. It just sort of happened. This is how quickly a monstrous depression can eat you.
I find it disheartening that people still treat us as outcasts from society. All my friend was doing was trying to be social when she was told these harsh things. Anyone that has ever sought treatment for depression, anxiety, or even something more severe like schizophrenia when paired with the other two, knows that one of the biggest things your therapists wants you to do it NOT lock yourself inside your home. They encourage us to go out and be among other people. Even if you don’t speak to anyone, they just want you to try and live. We are given a light push back out our front doors. Sadly, this evil person sees us as tainted, inferior, mentally retarded.
We do not ask to be treated any differently. We really don’t. Yes, I know some of us are quite fragile, but we have been taught methods of coping with everyday situations and given medication to help calm our nerves. However, when confronted with major confrontation, as any other person might, we sometimes panic.
I am glad my friend is still with me today. She is one of the very few people in this world that truly understands me. I know I understand her. I wish I could say it was me that stopped her from going to far, but it wasn’t. I am just glad when she was somewhat cognizant, she was able to reach out to me.
I just hope others who share the view of us as a bane of society seriously consider their actions. Imagine if it were your mother or brother, your wife or your best friend dealing with this. I doubt you’d take lightly to someone pushing them to the edge of death.
O wanted me to buy a new guitar and a new pedal. I did both.
The first to arrive was the pedal. I was digging around Guitarcenter.com and found one that we really liked. I listened to a couple of demos on Youtube and it sounded nice and crunchy, just what we were looking for. It’s the Death Metal Pedal by Digitech.
I would have liked to include a demonstration of its metal ripping abilities, but I am without an electric at the moment! The electric I have at them moment is without a decent set of strings and I am having to adjust the truss rod which is becoming a bit of an issue (That’s a whole other post).
I was able to get it for a very reasonable $20 used, but you can’t even tell it was used at all. There are no markings or scratches at all. The box looks like it bounced around a little, but I could care less about that. Here are a few more shots of it.
The construction of the pedal is very solid. In fact, even without a battery, the device is quite heavy. I have a Boss Distortion pedal and it’s noticeably lighter than the Digitech. If you are looking for a good demo of the pedal, here is one Jack Black did. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBMdayjisYs
I will post more pictures when the guitar comes in. That should probably around the 27th.