Feeling Fine on Prozac

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Medication is a hot subject on the internet, so I need to say up front that I’m not opposed to the use of medications to treat long-term depression. I have a live-and-let-live attitude about treatment. Finding anything that works for each person is the key, with or without drugs or any of the many other therapies available. But I’ve read a lot about the limitations, in particular, of the drugs that operate primarily on serotonin and a few other neurotransmitters.

As Peter Kramer has summarized in Against Depression, the model on which that approach is based (though prevalent for 50 years) has been surpassed by much more complicated theories that examine multiple factors. Of course, advertising by the companies producing Prozac and related drugs hasn’t changed at all.

Over the last 16 years, I’ve taken many different antidepressants based on the neurotransmitter model but have not found them to provide lasting benefit. Most have worked for a while, usually a few months, perhaps half a year at the most, but eventually they’ve lost effectiveness. The response is usually to increase the dosage, and that often helps, but not for long. Then I get a prescription for a different drug – only to repeat the same cycle.

As I say, my experience hasn’t turned me against medications, perhaps because I’ve never had the devastating effects – including permanent damage to health – that many bloggers have described. But it should be obvious that something is wrong when a psychiatrist has to play a kind of shell game to find the drug that works best. Is the right one under here? There? That one? No? OK – let’s turn them over all at once. What? Nowhere? We must have the wrong shells – let’s get a new set and start over! OK – this time, you pick.

To change the metaphor, I’ve toured many of the pharmacological vacation spots, journeying in a chemical time machine backward from the newest to the oldest.  The current stop on this tour has the best beach yet. It’s a combination of Emsam and Lamictal. Emsam is a high-tech patch (I’m sorry – transdermal system) powered by selegiline, an MAOI – that early class of drugs avoided these days because of the dietary restrictions that have to be followed. This combo is working better than anything else I’ve tried – at least for now.

I’ve made life-changing progress in recovery over the last couple of years, and I attribute that to the overall effect of everything I’ve been doing. The medication this time around has certainly helped but is by no means the driving force. That has much more to do with major changes in life, work and inner belief.

All that said – I’d like to describe what happened while I was taking the first drug I tried – Prozac. As I look back, the effects of all the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that I’ve used (a pretty complete list of those available from circa 1993 to 2005) did much the same thing. The sign that they had lost the ability to improve mood (though I didn’t recognize it at the time) was the deepening of an emotional disconnection from life.

As I discussed in the last post, one of the states I’ve lived with leads to isolation, withdrawal and a loss of connection to anyone or anything. This loss of feeling creeps into me so gradually that I usually don’t notice what’s happening. Nevertheless, this condition creates problems that undermine family life no less deeply than aggressive abuse or extreme despair.

I can go into this emotional distance even when I am otherwise functional and appear to be quite well. I might even imagine that I’m fine – after all, I’m not in an obviously terrible condition. I’m quietly losing interest and attachment until I become cut off from everyone and everything. I can undergo this change and not even realize that I’m emptying out the feelings that bond me to people and life itself.

It is only in hindsight that I can see the worst periods of this condition as coinciding with my use of Prozac and its relatives. What made it hard to grasp what was happening was the initial, very positive impact. I felt restored to the “real me.” It was like magic. A short time after I started taking Prozac, I was back in my healthy mind and feelings, responsive to everyone around me, energetic, enjoying life and work. Finally, I thought, I had found something that could help turn me around.

After a few months, though, a number of problems arose. At work I grew increasingly indifferent. While managing meetings, I found myself not caring, letting things drift, even losing track of what was being said – despite knowing the subject matter in great detail. It was impossible to focus while trying to prepare for these sessions. When I tried to write a memo or an article, my mind kept blanking out, and I had to struggle to keep going on something I had lost interest in.

At home, I was there, but not there, walking and talking, thinking I was relating quite well to everyone. But my wife immediately picked up the signs and was especially discouraged at the return of problems that had seemed to disappear with the beginning of the medication. All I could think at the time was – well, I guess the medication isn’t holding up – let’s increase the dose or try another one. I was afraid to stop taking them altogether because I thought that without the antidepressants I would be in much worse condition.

I had a long way to go before I could put myself at the center of my treatment instead of medication – or therapy, for that matter, or anything I expected to be the cause of improvement.

I drifted like this for a long time, and the continuing withdrawal was as hurtful to my wife as any anger or rage. In effect, I had left, emotionally if not physically. After a while, I had to admit that Prozac wasn’t doing me any good and so went on to newer drugs of this same type. The feeling of no-feeling kept on until my wife grew desperate and demanded that I get other forms of help to turn this around – or the relationship would be lost for good.

That woke me up, and I began a long period of searching and testing that has brought me to the present turnaround. As I say, I haven’t abandoned medication altogether. I simply don’t expect it to be the central element in treatment. It’s a tool that I’m using in combination with many others, not the complete answer.

I know there are many stories about ineffective and devastatingly harmful experience with medications – as well as many positive ones. What have antidepressants done for – or to – you?

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39 Responses to “Feeling Fine on Prozac”

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  1. larry says:

    Prozac allowed me to be the person I wanted to be. Looking back, I should have seen this as a red flag. It worked really well, almost like Placebo. I brought this up several times in sessions with my psychiatrist, but they seemed to dismiss this as being nothing more than the natural lessening of anxiety that comes fron learning finally what was wrong and getting medication for it. This is an iatrogenic response to diagnosis and treatment. Nevertheless, over time, 21 years, the insouciance that comes with taking Prozac led to several financial deals that were entered into without as much as a moment’s hesitation. As a result, I became indifferent to the consequences of many decisions that woukd otherwise not have been made so cavalierly and I lost a house I had lived in for 18 years and cut short a 30 year career due to an anxiety attack, all because I did not have the ability to seriously cobsider important decisions as a dorect result of these side affects of Prozac

  2. Jamie says:

    I’ve taken fluoxetine 20mg since November 2005. The only side affect I’ve had was sexual problem having an orgasm but otherwise its the only pill that works for me. When I dont take it i get suicidal so i cant relate to ppl who say when they take it they become suicidal. It takes away my negative feelings about life.

  3. Bryan Perret says:

    Hy, John. I must confess I myself never trusted antidepressants. A friend of mine also had some problems with them, as she suffered some serious birth complications from prozac negative side effects. Of course that’s just my opinion, but I must say, people should treat these drugs more responsibly.

  4. Barry says:

    This statement, “I had a long way to go before I could put myself at the center of my treatment instead of medication – or therapy, for that matter, or anything I expected to be the cause of improvement.” applies to many other people that have suffered this kind of problem. You have a very interesting story with unique insights.

    • john says:

      Hello, Barry –

      Thank you – I’m glad you some of my experience can be shared and learned from.

      I hope you’re well.

      John

  5. Hi all,

    I actually arrive at this website from a different perspective. I have recently suffered a tragedy that I am convinced was cause by Prozac that was prescribed without proper background information. I had a loving, healthy committed, and honest relationship for 12 years. After the birth of our daughter, my wife’s normal anxiety was heightened. It lead to a sometimes cold edgy house. She recognized it and went to a consoler for help. A doctor, who I have still never met, prescribed her 20 mg Prozac. No way the doctor knew that she was a social alcoholic. (I turned her even more happy and loving.) Nor did they know that she has certain personality traits of bipolar. They didn’t ask me, so how could they.

    After a very blissful period, my wife’s personality completely changed. Every value she once held dear is no longer important. In 12 years I had never once been suspicious of my wife. I found a text message that was dangerous flirting for a married woman. She told me “I never loved you” at the beginning of the argument, and it spiraled from there. This lead to a drunken violent attack right in front of the police. After the emotional split and a quick divorce filing I found in her email that this middle class catholic school educated great mother had taken on this persona of “ghetto girl”. The doctors don’t believe you because “she is happy” and “it must be something she wanted to do for a long time.” Her family thinks that she is just going through a “rough time” because of the divorce”. I thought I was going crazy until I found my story repeated over and over again on this website.

    http://www.topix.com/forum/drug/effexor/TQ4I2UR28DFD3N759

    Has anybody here felt the loss of love for a spouse, or had it lead to erratic and damaging behavior?

    • john says:

      Hello, Devastated Spouse –

      I’m sorry to say there have been a number of posts here about the transformation of a spouse into an angry, abusive, unfaithful stranger. In most of those stories medication is not singled out as the decisive factor – but certainly it has played a role along with careless or wrongheaded diagnosis. In my own case, I’m sorry to admit, I’m the one who turned on my wife in the midst of depression – sometimes on medication, but often not. As I mention in this post, Prozac removed me from all feeling, including love and closeness to the woman I’d lived with so long, and she was often pushed beyond her limits by either my emotional withdrawal and silent anger or my acting out. Fortunately, I never went so far as your spouse did – and I’m so sorry for the torture you went through.

      But the damaging effects of medications on personal health and family are told over and over again on the web. If you don’t know them, you should explore Furious Seasons, Soulful Sepulcher and Beyond Meds – many, many tragic stories.

      On this site, there are several comments about the effects of depression on marriage – mostly in response to two series of posts: Why Depressed Men Leave and The Longing to Leave. I hope those may, in some small way, be helpful.

      My very best to you – and thanks for telling this painful story here –

      John

  6. ed says:

    John…thanks for the good luck but after 10 years of the same effect it ain’t gonna happen…so I take “holidays’ for two days and things seem to work out…

  7. ed says:

    I have been on celexa 40mg and serzone 150mg twice a day for about 10 years and this combo has worked for me……went though many of the others as well…..I do get some incredibly weird dreams from the serzone but will sacrifice those because all else seems to be ok….now…if I could do something about that sex drive…

    • john says:

      Ed –

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you have a combination that is working long term. Many are not so lucky to have something work for that long.

      And good luck with that last side effect.

      My best — John

  8. Richard says:

    Hi John,

    I’m glad to hear the emphasis that SSRI’s are very personal in their actions. Everyone gets different mileage. I’ve taken about every MAOI, then later the SSRI’s. I have to agree that Effexor is pretty nasty. My Doc had me taking 350mg a day. I got a different Doc after a month of sitting and drooling.
    Now I am very fortunate to have as a Doc one of the best psychiatric Docs on the west coast. He writes books on Psych drugs. As soon as he had thoroughly screened me, he put me on 40mg Prozac (my first time on it). Over the course of the next 6 weeks I went the gamut of unusual effects- panic, fear, agitation, suicide thoughts, anxiety. Everytime I spoke with him he would just smile and say- “be patient”. Then one day I fely pretty good and stopped in to tell him that. He said- “finally” and dropped my dose to 20mg a day. Now, 3 years later, I still take it every morning at 20mg. I also take amytriptaline at night.
    The cool part is that I’m still “me”. I still get upset or ‘down’ or I’ll get agitated. The big difference is that I can now ‘see’ it happening and know what to do. That came from terrific therapy sessions in groups. I am also a member of DRA, a 12 step program for dual diagnosed folks. Very “psych med” friendly bunch.

    The point I am hoping to make is that some Docs do understand that an SSRI may take you for a ride before it settles down and works. No need to panic if it seems to be taking you a long time to adjust. My Doc told me that most folks don’t settle-in to a psych drug for at least 2 months. He’s very outspoken that SSRI’s are being prescibed far too often and in way too high doses. He wishes ‘family’ and GP Docs would study it all a bit more and not just go by the neat drug company brochure.

    Peace
    Rick

    • john says:

      Rick –

      I’m glad to hear that the therapy and prozac have been so helpful. I have to say, though, that starting at 40 mgs with those extreme side effects sounds terrible. Most psychiatrists prescribe powerful drugs at low doses to start with so the body can adjust. If it works at 20mg you did not need to go through that initial phase. It’s great you settled in. If that practice has now become common it would explain a lot of the reactions to prozac that I’ve been hearing on this and other blogs.

      Sorry to be presumptuous in saying that, but it really shocks me.

      All my best — John

  9. kim says:

    Hi John,

    Let’s see, I’ve been on so many and I’m only 35! Unfortunately due to the numerous meds-my memory fades me on many of them. The following are what I do remember, in order taken:

    Prozac-one of the worst. Just imagine me lying on my parents tiled bathroom floor, thinking I was on fire and trying to put the fire out.

    Paxil-I just remember it being bad. Same with Lexapro and a few others.

    Wellbutrin-allergic reaction. I woke up in the middle of the night with a rash covering my body-after a trip to the hospital they ruled everything out except Wellbutrin. It’s the one medication I’m allergic too.

    Seroquel-by far the WORST. I gained 40 pounds in 2 months. constant zombie state. slurred speech. slept all of the time (on a low dosage!) I weaned myself off the med and then years later, two different psychiatrists tried to prescribe it after I told them that diabetes runs in my family (my maternal grandmother passed away due to complications from diabetes and my father is diabetic.) GO FIGURE.

    Lamictal-this one worked the best, unfortunately I hit that very familiar plateau less than 2 years in. The only complaint-severe headaches that would oddly last from 3pm-11pm everyday and body aches. But, I received acupuncture to nip those side effects. I wasn’t too concerned, esp. after my Seroquel experience!

    Celexa and Abilify in combination- bad. bad. bad. not sure which one caused it but I had severe insomnia. I was lucky to sleep 3-4 hours a night.

    Now, I am not on anything except Xanax which I plan to wean off soon and return to Eastern Medicine. Nice Post-you, I especially liked this part: “We must have the wrong shells – let’s get a new set and start over! OK – this time, you pick.”

    I will end this novel by saying I believe all of these medications have caused severe memory loss. My 86 year old grandmother’s memory is sharper than mine! As the days/weeks/months go on, my memory gets worse. And I have found myself making more and more typos. That might be from the the Xanax.

    my best to you!

    • john says:

      Kim – That’s quite a history of misery on medication. I see how lucky I’ve been not to have had so many disastrous reactions. The worst ones for me were lithium (totally dead brain), switching from paxil to wellbutrin (collapse) and combining trazodone/desyrel with I forget which SSRI. Apart from those, the effects were what I describe in the post. As you say, the loss of memory, at least the ability to retain new information for very long, is all too familiar. Since I’m a lot older than you, I went for many years without medications, except in emergencies – they just weren’t prescribed in such a knee-jerk way as they are now. That saved me a lot of grief, I’m sure.

      Thanks for telling that painful story. I’m just sorry that it’s not over yet.

      All my best to you!

      John

  10. Bobby Revell says:

    You sound like you are making real headway and seem positive to me, so I am really happy to sense that. I of course tried different medications, but in my case only seemed to make things worse. Again, we are all different. I consider myself incredibly fortunate and extremely lucky to be sane without medications as I know so many people who cannot. The past two weeks I felt on the verge of a severe depression and just yesterday . . . it passed. I wish I knew why. I almost wrote a sorrowful post about how bad I felt, but chose not to. And I am so glad I didn’t. It only seems to make me wallow in it. I took a week of hardly any writing and stayed busy doing yard work. I thank God. For the first time in 20 years when a depression started to grasp hold, I avoided it. I feel like a bomb landed near but missed me.

    • john says:

      Revellian – I’m glad you found a way to shake that depression – hard physical work also helps me a lot, along with other tricks I’ve learned. And it’s wonderful you can keep it under control without medication. Choosing not to write about what you felt in that state is something I’m getting away from too. I want to shift everything to emphasize the recovery dimensions more. That also means adding more variety to what I write about. You set a fantastic example in that way.

      Thanks for the comment.

      All my best to you — John

  11. You have to love medication at least when it is working. I tend to be similar to you John as meds do work for a short period then they basically become useless. I have not found a single drug yet that is able to take care of all my mental quirks. Worst drug so far is Paxil as it came very close to sending me completely over the edge and took about two months on a psych ward to start seeing straight again. The combo of Effexor, Wellbutrin, Lithium, Remeron, Zyprexa and Temazapam worked for about six months til I realized the massive weight gain so Zyprexa had to go and soon after the combo lost its power. I have figured out that medication will probably always be in my life and I have come to terms with it but now it is finding the combination that will work long term. Take care

    • john says:

      OMG – six at a time! Lithium alone just about destroyed my brain. I also had trouble with Paxil – but nothing like yours. I agree the meds are probably here to stay, but I can’t say I’m really resigned to it. Of course, the danger always comes when they work, you feel good and are certain you can do without them altogether.

      I hope you’re doing OK now — all my best — John

  12. Dear John,
    That’s a terrific description of what medication can do. Having taken 26 different medications, in different combinations, and dosages, it’s been a true nightmare.

    While the side effects defy description, in retrospect, what was equally bad were the feelings and behavioral patterns you describe.

    For so many of the years I was behaving in similar ways, I didn’t realize it because the euphoria of the medication disguised it. And I couldn’t afford to see a therapist because the cost of insurance and medication and psychiatric visits was wreaking havoc with our income.

    In retrospect, I wish I had known how erratic my behavior had become, and how isolated I was, and the effect that had on my family. At the time, I was just trying to survive.

    These days I have great empathy for people who are waiting for the next drug to work, but not realizing that medication–even when it’s effective–is only a small part of the process.

    Susan

    • john says:

      Hi, Susan – Great to see you here! I’m glad I’ve captured something others go through, but it’s so frustrating to see the effect of the medications only after many years. You’re so right about the prohibitive cost of insurance and treatment. I’ve been lucky the last several years to have great coverage at work that continues into retirement. The cost of these often useless meds is unbelievable, as we read every day. At $580 dollars a month or almost 20 per dose, I could never afford what I’m taking now if not for the coverage – and this one works.

      All my best to you — John

  13. Nice to meet you thanks for stopping by our blog. This is a wonderful and helpful site regrading depression. I can’t believe that all of us have to deal with some form during sometimes of our life. So I’ll be back..

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

    • john says:

      Dorothy –

      Thank you too for visiting. I look forward to getting to know you – your site is wonderfully thoughtful. I’ll certainly be back.

      John

  14. Paige says:

    This description of depression is quite possibly the closest thing I’ve ever read to what I experience:

    This loss of feeling creeps into me so gradually that I usually don’t notice what’s happening. Nevertheless, this condition creates problems that undermine family life no less deeply than aggressive abuse or extreme despair.

    I’ve never been on Prozac but I have been on several of her cousins. Right now I’m on 150 mg. of Lexapro and Trazodone, which is the best combo I have ever found. I really need the trazodone to allow me to shut my mind off to sleep. Otherwise it doesn’t matter what else I take I will be a mess.

    • john says:

      Paige – Thank you – and congratulations on finding the right combination of meds. I know how long that can take and how frustrating it is to have to go through so many before the right one comes along – if you’re lucky.

      Thank you for coming by.

      John

  15. Shinade says:

    Hi John,
    I have a long history of chronic clinical depression, anxiety, panic disored and I am an Agoraphobic.

    All og these illnesses are also prevalent in many of my older family members.

    I cannot take any anti-depressants at all. They have had me on just about everyone you can think of except Prozac.

    They never tried Prozac wbecause of it’s link to some suicides. That has been my problem with any and all anti-depressants. I am allergic and 3 times experienced psychotic reactions. The outcome of the last try almost killed me as I was in a coma for 25 hours with a 50.50 chance of ever waking up.

    Unfortunately for me that means that the medication that does work for me is a narcotic and I take quite a high dose. But, without I am frozen inside of my home and experience horrible panic attacks. Some so bad that I have been taken to the hospital and checked to make sure it was not a heart attack.

    I am very grateful for one thing though. By the mercy of God I have been on this medication for 10 years and it works. And I have yet to build up a tolerance. I take the same amount now as when it was first prescribed to me.

    I have tried living without medication and sought other remedies. But, the results were also all very ineffective.

    Great post…more needs to be written and shared about these things.

    • john says:

      Shinade – I had no idea about your experiences with medication. Your blogs and images are so full of a grace and love of life – life giving. It’s wonderful – and a mercy, as you say – that you’ve found the right thing to let that amazing spirit of yours shine through.

      Thank you for bringing us that story –

      All my best — John

  16. Herrad says:

    Hello John,

    Thanks for this post it is very interesting and thought provoking.

    Take care.
    Love,
    Herrad

  17. Jaliya says:

    Great thoughts and questions, John … About medication in my life: Way back in the mid-80s I took a tricyclic antidepressant for several months … It just stupefied and dulled me … In 1996 I started to take Paxil — In the “chemical crapshoot” that is antidepressant choice, I got lucky: first medication worked like a dream, and actually miraculously in a few ways. I’ve had to increase and lower doseages according to various factors, and of course there are some pain-in-the-ass side effects that have remained over time … but the “pros” outweigh the “cons”.

    No medication is a be-all-and-end-all … There is so much simple moderating of basic functions that need to be tended to and maintained … basics like eating, sleeping, breathing, moving … Sometimes it feels to me like treatment for major depression resembles infant care –> you eat, sleep, drink, lie about, get cuddled and held, and eventually begin to move beyond basic being into some more sophisticated presence in the world … When I began to break down (started in late 2005 through excessive stresses at work) that landed me in hospital (January 2009), I was supposedly functioning at my best level in years. That “best level” plunged into “semi-conscious, barely-here existence” until I truly was disabled. So many basic functions that I couldn’t attend to — like eating, sleeping, moving … and now I am, as you’ve written, “placing myself at the centre of treatment” … truly attending to those basics for the first time in my adult life. A surprising number of people in my life are being very supportive — I think they’re relating strongly to their own need to attend the basics … and we live in a bizarre culture that relentlessly tries to seduce us into buying all this STUFF that supposedly will take care of our supposed needs … and our real, *true* needs have very little to do with STUFF … other than (again, the basics) food, water, shelter, clothing… The deepest medicines come in the forms of love, family, consisitent relation, nourishing touch, a moderate pacing of how we live through our days. The medications seem to balance the brain enough so that we can actually *make* the changes we need to…

    …Rather a long-winded entry here — and speaking of medicine … my sleepy-pill is taking effect … zzz …

    • john says:

      Jaliya – Beautifully and wisely put. It’s so encouraging to hear that you could come back from such a low point and be able to find such good support for these basic needs. That’s a fast turnaround from the hospital in January! Congratulations on taking charge and making great progress. We all know how hard that is.

      My best to you — John

  18. Ellen says:

    Thanks John. Got the title of the book wrong, so in case you do wish to look at it, http://www.amazon.ca/Mood-Cure-Julia-Ross/dp/0142003646/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236086885&sr=8-1&tag=stormind-20
    Yes, supplements wouldn’t likely be enough for a severe depression.
    And further to medications, if they worked for me, I’d be first in line for them. It’s just that they don’t, so I’m not. At the moment.
    Cheers

    • john says:

      Thanks for the reference to the book. I’ll definitely follow up on that. And I agree about medications. At the moment I have something that works, but I’m not counting on them over the long term.

      John

  19. Ellen says:

    Hi John,
    I’m kind of like you – I feel like I’ve taken almost all the ADs out there, of the more modern ones anyway. They work a bit, but I end up overwhelmed by side-effects. I seem to get all known side effects, which often start appearing after I’ve been taking the med for months. Prozac, Paxil, Serzone, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Celex, Cipralex, Wellbutrin…Wellbutrin is one of my favorites because it gave me much needed energy, but with agitation and suicidal thoughts. Cipralex I was on for two years but it made me sleep over 12 hours a day, which of course I thought was the depression, so I kept going with it much too long.

    Anyhoo, I’ve tapered off everything at this point and am giving nutrition and supplements a go, following the book ‘Food for Mood’ by Julia Ross. Some of those amino acid supplements are like drugs – I’m feeling an effect right away. We’ll see, it’s early days yet.

    I think you are lucky with a partner who responds to your mood changes and can challenge you to do better.

    And thanks for your kind response to a previous comment I left, which I wasn’t sure was going to be helpful. So nice of you. Cheers

    • john says:

      Ellen – I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with all those side effects. Finding a way to get energy back has always been a problem – not just energy but mental focus and sharpness – and for a while I had a combination of one of the antidepressants and an amphetamine like Aderall. Those, like everything, lost effectiveness after a while. Nutrition is always helpful. I changed my diet after a cancer episode about a dozen years ago and have used various supplements. They help in many ways but have never been a match for severe depressive episodes. But you put together a bunch of tools, and they all help in some way.

      Thanks for mentioning the Julia Ross book – I’ll take a look at that.

      My best to you — John

  20. Hello, my dear! Ahhhh..medications. What a fun topic to write about. 🙂 My last psychiatrist told me that medications will not help me…only talk therapy and a lot of it for an extended period of time will do the trick. I have been on so many different types of meds over the years and am tired of being a guinea pig. I do think that psychiatric pharmaceutical drugs are really in the dinosaur ages still and there is much more research to be done to really help people in the long run.

    Right now I’m on Prozac. It seems to help and like everyone else when taking a med working for them, hope it continues to work. In the past I’ve taken Effexor which is THE WORST drug out there. NEVER take that if you can help it. I turned into a zombie with absolutely no feelings and getting off of it was hell. The side effects were terrible and to me is poison.

    Lexapro worked for a while….Wellbutrin worked for a while…Serzone worked for a while….Zoloft was ok….St. John’s Wort didn’t seem to do a thing….I was curious about Cymbalta until I found out that it’s the same as Effexor except with a different name. Glad I figured that out before taking it.

    Really, I wish that I could move to India and live in an ashram with monks for a year or more and really learn how to deal with my emotions. I think medications are just a bandaid….until they stop working.

    • john says:

      Hello Chunks of Reality! Of course, you’re right. The medications are bandaids, and what I’ve found is that they can’t work alone. If I’m not being the activist in my own healing, nothing changes for long. Too bad I didn’t realize that in 1990! And good luck with India – that sounds like a good plan – so long as you don’t get sucked in by a guru who takes over your mind, life and possessions! :-}

      All my best to you — John

  21. Stephany says:

    My personal experience with Prozac was not a good one. On 40mg. of Prozac, uncharacteristic of me–I stood on the roof of my car in a downpour of rain, in the middle of my town, screaming “I’m going to kill myself”. I immediately started the drug taper, and it took 6 months of living hell to do it. The withdrawals were worse! One of my daughter’s notes when I ask her if she remembers the “prozac withdrawal days”, “Oh, yeah.” she says. What a nightmare, brain zaps, the whole thing.

    I’ve been more successful the last year by decreasing and removing medications and focusing on the innerself and accepting me and my life as it is.

    • john says:

      Stephany – OMG – What a horror! I remember hearing stories about suicide and prozac in the early years of its use – but that was usually dismissed by doctors as sensationalism – a few scattered stories the press played up. I certainly thought more about suicide – largely because I was so detached. It was the feeling that at some random moment I could just drive my car into a wall – almost on a whim. It amazes me how differently people handle these drugs. My body absorbs larger and larger doses and gets less and less of an effect – as if my shadow mind knew ahead of time that it would defeat anything I took to change it. Good to hear from you! I hope you’re OK — John

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