Look through my posts from last week. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Notice anything? I’ll help you out- I didn’t say squat last week. I re-posted an old piece and ran an infographic. Now, while the re-post was a very timely piece I love and the info-graphic is super-cool I think we can all agree it’s not like me to have nothing to say. So, what gives? Well, you’ll have to excuse me- Celexa ate my brain.
How this started
It all began about a month ago when my home became infested with mice. Now, as has been previously mentioned, I fancy myself something of a BAMF but rodents are my Kryptonite. Add to this my hippe landlady’s laisez-faire approach to pest control, my history of clinical depression (under control with medication, therapy and supervision) and a week when life came at me kind of full force (I developed a weird eye infection, an ongoing injury flared up, I got several pieces of bad news consecutively etc.. you know, life) and I began to feel a bit unhinged, my anxiety was off the charts, I felt myself turning into the “bad me” I remember from the dark days of my depression. Because of my history this scared me and sent me to the doctor who immediately prescribed meds. Now, I don’t know why I never learn that the doctor will always answer with more meds (remember, I’m already medicated) but I am surprised every time it happens.
Why I took it
So, that’s the story of how we got there. Now, I had been thinking about anti-depressants and sex ever since I read “The 2 weeks of my sex life I lost to Zoloft” by Epiphora which reminded me of my years-long experience on that drug back when I didn’t know better. I questioned my doctor extensively and was assured that sexual side-effects, in fact most side effects, apart from drowsiness that would be dodged by taking the drug at night, were extremely rare. I was scared but my fear of back-sliding into the pit of depression out-weighed my drug fear and I started taking a half dose.
Cue brain eating
From day 1 I found myself yawning uncontrollably but I figured it would pass once I got used to the drug and while the yawning did go away it was replaced with what I can only describe as tiredness in my brain, mentally I had no capacity for anything. Admittedly I wasn’t anxious anymore but that was mostly because I wasn’t anything anymore. I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to go to work, I didn’t really want to do anything and my head wanted to lay down a lot. At this point I got called in for a meeting at work because frankly, you can’t just be a shit-show on the job and have folks not notice. This killed me because I love my job! I get to teach people stuff all the time, I love it but even I knew I was, at the moment, sucking at it. Zombies don’t make good educators.
When it clicked
8 days after I started the drug I had a date with someone I see semi-regularly. That evening I realized I couldn’t have an orgasm. It was bizarre, there was some build-up and I could see where the orgasm would have been but no dice. It was like my orgasm was waving at me from the other side of a window. After my partner left I decided to break out the big guns and try on my own (it was only then that I realized I hadn’t been interested in masturbating for the last week-weird) . But nothing doing, there was no orgasm for me. Not by hook or by crook, not by human or by Hitachi. Something was very, very wrong in Who-ha-ville.
Finally, the next morning, en route to a 10 am appointment I thought about how happy I was to have the rest of the day off and how I couldn’t wait to get home and lie down. I had been up for about an hour and a half. I realized I was reminding myself of someone. Remember the “bad” me I mentioned a while back? Well, she wasn’t just about crazy emotions, she was about lethargy and inertia too and the thing that scared me the most was the realization that during the period of time years ago that I was depressed and plagued with this same lethargy I was feeling now I was taking Zoloft, a drug in the same class of drugs as Celexa. Suddenly I began to question not only what I was feeling now but the entire year of our twenties I and my then partner lost to my inability to move from my couch, to me not thinking about sex and feeling nothing when we had it. I was pissed.
How it stopped
I went home and went to the internet and found it full of accounts of what folks called “Celexa brain fog” and loss of sexual function and what’s more I found a bunch of writers, musicians and artists who said their creative selves all but died on this drug. (To be clear, while I and other people have had this experience I also came across countless accounts of people for whom this drug was a “godsend” and “perfect” – our bodies are all different, don’t judge Celexa or Zoloft by my experiences) My next appointment with the doctor was still 3 weeks away and there was no way I was going to live like this for 3 more weeks. Now, I was supposed to double my dose at day seven but never did because I felt like a zombie on the half dose so I was still taking the “ramp-up” dose. I did something that I don’t recommend, I don’t suggest and I’m not endorsing, please follow your doctor’s instructions, I stopped taking Celexa entirely. I then proceeded to sleep 20 hours between 8pm on Friday and 7am on Sunday (the time change helped me out there) How did this go? On Saturday I had some nausea and was still sleepy and on Sunday I felt the best I have felt in months. I am not kidding, I felt amazing. I went into work and I was smiling so much that one of my co-workers said “Is that smile for a reason or is it just a good Sunday?”
So, I’ve decided that what I really want is to stay balanced without any more medication. I took a good hard look at my lifestyle and these are the things I realized affect my emotional state and the steps I’m taking to get them working in a way that’s more conducive to me feeling good:
- In the time of the mouse infestation I was all but living in coffee shops and diners, anywhere with free wifi and I wasn’t keeping food in my house, the result of all this is that my diet sucked. Even in the best of times I eat a lot of sugar and bread and less things that grow. So, I’ve been working on a more plant-based diet, I know I feel better when I eat that way. I’m keeping food on hand and making sure I have at least one fruit & veggie based meal a day.
- I had been slacking on my vitamins and not drinking as much water as I should. The vitamins are laid out and I’m now keeping a water bottle both at home and at work.
- I have long known that I should be sleeping more. I’m aiming for 8 hours a night, I’ve been getting 7 frequently.
- A bunch of upheaval in the last year has led to my in-town support system shrinking substantially so I haven’t been talking, not even about issues or anything, sometimes I, introvert that I am shut down, stay home and don’t talk for a day or two. So, I’m trying to remember that the phone is not entirely evil, its a work in progress.
- The flip side of that has been the dating- since my latest adventure in online dating started I have been dating a lot and sometimes, frankly, more than I’ve wanted to. I start feeling like if I’ve talked to someone a bit then I “should” meet them and then I get worried about their expectations and it all gets to be a bit much. I have taken a little dating/sex break. My mind and body both need it. I’m also considering taking down and re-tooling my online profile, right now I attract a lot of “hey baby, let’s screw” and that makes me angry- I think it’s time to uncheck the “casual sex” box
- I’m not terrific at asking for what I need whether it’s asking my landlady to get the mice out of my house or asking someone to have coffee with me because I’m lonely I tend to shy away from it and try to tough things out alone. I’m remembering, as we all should, that you don’t get what you need if you don’t ask. Play the fortune cookie game with this one, add “in bed” to the end.It totally works and is 100% true.
That’s the whole story folks, I’m so happy to be back to myself! Thank you all for reading and, in the case of today, listening.