My Prozac Journey

First Thirty Days

“This is your brain on drugs.”

It has been four years since I had Prozac in my system. That is, until today. I had to give in. I couldn't fight the battle on my own anymore. I knew that it would only get worse if I tried to do it without the help of having that drug in my system. Last winter I wanted to die. I can’t end up there again. So, I gave in and after two weeks of insomnia and one week of barely getting out of bed, I was at my wit’s end and had to find a solution. Prozac (technically it is the generic version of it, called fluoxetine) is the only drug that has ever worked for me, so here we go. Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride!

Monday, January 16, 2017-Day 1

After another night of insomnia and constant bad thoughts, I knew today I needed to get help. Here is where the problem lies. I have not had health insurance in a year. The last doctor that I went to wasn’t very good and I only started seeing him because it was the only one in the area accepting new patients and my insurance when I first signed up for Obamacare in 2015. (I ended up not being able to renew in 2016 because I got a small pay raise and between that and the rise in the cost of healthcare plans, I couldn’t even afford Obamacare. Welcome to the world of the working poor!) I called them to try to get in…no appointments available for at least a week. Even then, since I hadn’t been there in over a year and since I no longer had insurance, the person I spoke to didn’t sound very enthusiastic about getting me in. It blows my mind when you call a healthcare provider and explain that you desperately need help, yet they are completely unsympathetic. I told her nevermind. I decided to try urgent care. I visited three different facilities before I found one that would see me for depression. Since it was only urgent care, I was only able to get a 30 day prescription and a referral to a Primary Care and Mental Health Service based on a sliding scale for those without insurance. I filled my prescription, (which again, technically it’s fluoxetine because it is the generic of Prozac and only cost a total of $4!) and took my first pill. So far, so good!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017-Day 2

Today hasn’t been a good day. I barely slept last night. I woke up with a terrible headache. Decided to go back to bed and slept until 1 pm. I’m feeling pretty down and sad, but I’m trying to tell myself that it’s going to get better. One day at a time. And today is only day two.

On a more positive note, I made my appointment for a mental health specialist. It’s for next Monday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017-Day 3

Today was much better. Went in to work today (I work from home part of the week) and had a productive day. Went to see family after work and had a good visit. Stayed pretty busy and most importantly stayed positive. Now it’s only 8 pm and I’m pretty tired. Not sure if it’s from the medicine. Since I’ve had so much trouble sleeping lately, I’m trying to hold out another hour before turning in to bed. Here’s to a good night’s sleep!

Thursday, January 19, 2017-Day 4

It was definitely a rough night. Here comes the side effects: nausea, insomnia, racing heart beat, agitation, feeling tired or weak, flu-like symptoms. Yes, all of them since last night. Funny, how I thought I was going to sleep well last night. Tomorrow will be better. It has to be.

Friday, January 20, 2017-Day 5

Today was somewhat better. Still feeling a bit nauseous and haven’t had much of an appetite. Since I gained weight the last time I was on Prozac then maybe this is a good thing. Especially since I’ve lost thirty pounds this past year, which I’ve worked very hard to do. I don’t want to gain any of it back by having to be on medication. That was always a huge factor in why I have been so hesitant to get back on medication in the past and why I stayed off it for so long.

Saturday, January 21, 2017-Day 6

I haven't had a full meal in 3 days now. When I eat I feel sick so I have been living off of bananas and crackers. I’ve lost 4 pounds this week. Other than that, I am feeling somewhat better, although I am starting to get that fuzzy feeling in my head again. Went out today with a friend and saw a movie. Progress! Even if it is only baby steps.

Sunday, January 22, 2017-Day 7

Nothing new today. Feeling the same. Not sure if I’d rather be sad all the time or sick all the time. I’m hoping the nausea passes soon because I’m not sure I can take feeling like this much more.

Monday, January 23, 2017-Day 8

I met with my therapist today. So far it seems ok. I’ve never found a therapist that I felt was helpful to me. Maybe this one will be different. Today my son told me that he thinks the medicine is making me not feel things. I told him that was the whole point because I over think and worry about things too much. Then he told me “But that’s what makes you you”. That really hit me hard.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017-Day 9

Still not sleeping well. Still feeling nauseous all the time. Forgot to mention that the therapist informed me that he is not able to prescribe medicine. So, now I also need to see a primary care doctor in their network if I want to continue with the medicine. There is always some stupid hoop to jump through to make this whole “professional medical care” thing work. This is exactly why I’ve tried to avoid it for four years. Maybe I’m better off trying to deal with it in my own way. I’ve done it alone for 4 years already.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017-Day 10

Tried to eat an actual meal today and then felt sick after. I know its only been 10 days but I don’t think I can do this. Besides feeling sick all the time, I have no desire to have sex. I’m a very sexual person and this really disturbs me. I think I’d much rather be depressed than not want to have sex.

Thursday, January 26, 2017-Day 11

I skipped my pill last night. Today I felt better. I’m sure it is just a lovely coincidence or just all in my head, but I really felt good today! I even ate a real meal and didn’t feel sick.

Friday, January 27, 2017-Day 12

Snow flurries and grey skies today. But, it didn’t bring me down. Took my pill last night. I thought about stopping them. I’ll go ahead and give it the 30 days just to see how it goes since I am feeling better.

Saturday, January 28, 2017-Day 13

Good day today. Got out, did things, saw people, feeling better! Yes, more progress!

Sunday, January 29, 2017-Day 14

Another good day. Starting to feel better and more like myself again. The nausea is almost gone, although I still have very little appetite. I have noticed that I am sleeping better, but I feel tired all the time.

Monday, January 30, 2017-Day 15

I woke up feeling nauseous. Went in to work anyways. Felt a bit better as the day went on but I had to force myself to keep going. Went to bed early and I actually slept pretty well, surprisingly.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017-Day 16

I’ve made it through what has always been the hardest month of winter for me. The month where everything seems all off kilter, just trying to get back into the routine after the holidays, and what I can only explain as coming down from a “Holiday High”, then adding to it the harshness of the winter weather; it is always very hard for me to deal with. I guess having spent most of my life in Florida, I never adjusted well to the Tennessee winters.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017-Day 17

Today when I got dressed, I noticed that my jeans were too big, so I decided to try on a pair that I hadn’t fit into for maybe 7 years. They actually fit me! What is even more surprising, almost disturbing, is the fact that I kept a pair of jeans that didn’t fit me for that long. That is a perfect example of how hard I am on myself — like “here is this really small pair of jeans that you have outgrown and just to throw it in your face repeatedly, let’s keep it in your drawer as a constant reminder of how fat you got and how skinny you used to be.” I need to learn to be nicer to myself!

Thursday, February 2, 2017-Day 18

I used to write poetry. I used to write stories. My emotions are what inspired my writing. I no longer have those emotions. I no longer feel, so I no longer write. Medication has stripped me of my inspiration and my creativity. I now lack the feelings which gave me the power to write. When I try, I lack the ability to put the right words together. It has become very frustrating.

Today that stupid groundhog has declared six more weeks of winter. Fuck you Phil,… and your goddamn shadow!

Friday, February 3, 2017-Day 19

I feel like my emotions have been diluted. They are there, but very subtle. I don’t feel things; I don’t care. I really want to care about some things. Like writing and being creative. I feel like I am present in body, but not in mind. I have tried to write — but the thing is, I never had to try before, it just came to me. I feel like the thoughts are in my head but when I try to put them into words, sentences, paragraphs,… I fail.

Saturday, February 4, 2017-Day 20

Today my mind feels blank. I’ve sat here for ten minutes trying to think of what to write about. Nothing. I have nothing today.

Sunday, February 5, 2017-Day 21

Last night I watched the movie Seven Pounds. I watched it because I remembered that I cried last time I watched it. I wanted to see if I still had it in me to cry. Apparently I do. I’ll take that as a good sign.

Monday, February 6, 2017-Day 22

Today is dark and rainy. Exactly how I feel today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017-Day 23

Last night I slept very deeply and woke up feeling very spaced out. I had a hard time focusing most of the day. I noticed I also have a hard time making simple decisions now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017-Day 24

So, my depression is getting better. This is because medication makes me not care. I don’t care, so I don’t over think and worry. So, is it better to not care and not have depression or anxieties, or is it better to not be on medication and get my feelings back, which in turn causes my depression and anxieties?

Thursday, February 9, 2017-Day 25

I think that I am going to start taking the pills every other day. I realized that I have one refill on my prescription. I hate to just stop taking them altogether so I will try to come off of them slowly. By the time my pills run out, winter should be over. Maybe I will be fine by then.

Friday, February 10, 2017-Day 26

I’m still having trouble writing. I’m still lacking emotions. I just don’t seem to care about anything. I’m still unsure about whether or not to continue with the medicine. I just realized that I skipped two days now.

Saturday, February 11, 2017-Day 27

Took an overnight trip out of town with a friend. Tried to get out of my comfort zone. It was a nice change of pace. A nice distraction.

Sunday, February 12, 2017-Day 28

Back at home now and happy to be here. I feel so tired though. I took a nap when I got home but I’m still tired. Had dinner with my son and watched Walking Dead together. It was a good night.

Monday, February 13 2017-Day 29

Well, I’m almost there. One more day. I counted my pills last night. I have six left. I have skipped some doses, some by accident, some on purpose. I will refill my one remaining prescription and go from there.

My therapist has moved my appointments to once a month because I did not qualify for the sliding scale. I make too much to be considered poor enough for assistance, yet I don’t make enough to be able to afford insurance or proper healthcare. I got the bill for my first visit-$172.00 for half an hour with an intern-he isn’t even a real doctor yet! So, what now? I fall back into the cracks of trying to treat myself and only reaching out for help when things get so bad that it scares me enough to seek help. This time I knew enough to get help before things spiraled out of control. Sometimes it isn’t that easy though. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to ask for help. Sometimes I think too much about the cost involved and try to cope in my own ways. But what I fear the most is that maybe one of those times that just won’t be enough.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017-Day 30

My journey has been like an unpleasant roller coaster ride. I used to love riding on roller coasters when I was younger. The anticipation, the thrill, the ups and downs; it always made me happy and gave me a sense of excitement like nothing else. Then as I got older, I didn’t like them so much. I like to know what to expect. I don’t like surprises so much any more. I like things on a slow and steady, even pace. I like to know what lies ahead of me. Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of anxiety and depression, I know that I will never have a clear path ahead of me. Some days I can cope, other days are much harder to get through. I’m trying to take things one day at at a time now. Each day I get through I consider to be an accomplishment. Progress. A step in the right direction. That is the best that I can do for now.

Stay tuned for Another Thirty Days of My Prozac Journey…coming soon!

Like what you read? Give Trish Hanson a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.