Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mother's Little Helper

Today's life lesson: Never try to wean yourself off Prozac.

Such a harmless-looking little fella, right?
I've been taking Prozac since 2003 or so, when I noticed that my monthly PMS was lasting weeks instead of days. Every month I experienced long periods of anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness. Then I discovered there's an actual thing called PMDD (pre-menstrual dysmorphic disorder), which is basically PMS with a really bad attitude.

I talked to my doctor, and he wrote me a prescription for Sarafem, which is simply fluoxetine aka Prozac with a manufacturer-approved alter ego.. After I changed doctors (because my insurance changed), I dropped the PMDD pretense and just asked for generic Prozac, please. My doc approved, and I've been taking it ever since.

I started out with a 10 mg daily dose, which later increased to 20 mg and now stands at 40 mg.

Because Prozac does not cure crazy but only controls it. And over time it takes a larger dose even to control it.

And it works.

I know this, because I've tried several times to wean myself off it. None of these attempts has ended well.

The latest attempt happened over the past two weeks.

I've been taking my Prozac once every other day. I thought...hey, if I feel OK on this dosage I can probably quit altogether. I can be free of pharmaceutical support. I can be myself without any drugs.

Yeah, right.

Guess what, you guys? It turns out I need to take Prozac every fucking day.

It turns out I become hopeless and suicidal without it.

It turns out that taking a 40 mg dose every other day does not shield me from depression or suicidal thoughts.

On the one hand, yay Prozac.

On the other hand, I'm completely dependent on pharmaceutical intervention to keep me from slashing my wrists with a cheap pair of scissors.

Not so yay.

Without a reliable 40 mg of Prozac in my system, I can't cope. I can't stop crying. I can't push aside the negative thoughts that my loved ones would be better off without me.

So I'm done with that nonsense.

I'll be making an appointment with my doctor to renew my Prozac prescription.

Because I'm hooked.

Part of me thinks that sucks.

Part of me is grateful for the little capsule that keeps me sane.

I'm torn.
I feel weak. I feel grateful. I feel sad. I feel well.

I don't know how to feel. At least not without Mother's Little Helper.

What do you think, Drunkards?

I really want to know.


  1. Would you shame a diabetic because they need insulin? Then don't blame yourself if you need Prozac. You can will your body to create something you need just because you wish it so. I have been on and off meds over the years. The reasons to be on vs. off are personal and cannot be compared or judged by others. If it works, take your meds and be happy and healthy. I wouldn't have you any other way!

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  3. Better living through chemicals! I went off my meds for about six weeks, just because I was lazy and couldn't get a routine going to take them. Bad idea. Really, really bad. I'm back on them, and while they've helped, the first week was brutal. I say if it helps, use it.

  4. I take something different, but I've done the same damn thing...with the same result. Doc said that if I insist on continuing these foolish attempts, to tale 1/2 a pill per day and taper the dosage down. He says to keep the junk in my bloodstream consistently. Went cold turkey six weeks once. Felt worse than I ever remember feeling before I started taking the stupid things. Then it took two weeks before my family & friends could recognize me again. Lesson learned!

  5. Keep taking it! Why not? You need it, it makes you happy, you make others happy, too.

  6. Keep taking it! Why not? You need it, it makes you happy, you make others happy, too.

  7. Bek already nailed it so I'll just add this: the drug allows you to be you.
    Although there are basic needs for all of us--air, food, water, warmth--there are specific needs that vary from person to person. Yours just happen to include a particular chemical.

  8. Bek nailed it. I've been a type 1 diabetic since I was 10 years old. That's a helluva lot of needles over the past 44 years. In many ways, my illness is easier to deal with because there isn't the social stigma some ignoramuses have for mental health issues.

    Do what you need to do to be the happy, funny, smart and strong woman that you are. We are not diminished by needing help but we are strengthened by accepting it with grace. Heaven knows I live that one every day!

  9. I've been on one or another antidepressant since 1986. (see above re: insulin).


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