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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Possible Side Effects.

NB: This post is personal. If you are gonna judge, kindly fuck off. Thankyou for your kindness.

I am addicted. I don't want to be. It is one of the most addictive anti-depressants around. It is one of the most loathed anti-depressants around. It is commonly known as the worst around. People in-the-know hear the name and cringe. Many people have been on it once or twice, but shun it quickly. Unfortunately, when I started taking Efexor, I was sick. Very sick. I needed all the help I could get, and it was the only medication that didn't make me violently ill.

I have been taking Efexor XR for over 6 years now. To begin with, it helped. It took the edge off my anxiety and depression. I was young, and my doctor was doing his best to help me out of a black hole.

The side effects of Efexor include nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain and loss of libido. Most people only get one or two, if any, of these. Others, like myself, get bouts of every single one. The sweating is obsurd. If you have ever seen me out, you understand. I get anxious that I'll sweat, so I sweat. A vicious cycle. Weight gain was drastic, I was once flat stomached and boney. Insomnia is mind-blowing, but in turn becomes hypersomnia.

Once or twice, years ago, I cracked the poops with the drug and stopped taking it for a week. I thought I was going to die. I looked like a junkie withdrawing from heroin. I was vomiting, shaking so hard that it was almost convulsions, so dizzy that even thinking about standing up sent me spinning. I was saturated with sweat and struggling to string together a coherent sentence. I now know that cold turkey is not the smart way to quit, especially not when on the 150mg dose (or the 225mg as it were at one point).

Every now and then, mostly when I have had a particularly bad sweaty experience, I get angry and decide I will go to my doctor and wean off the bastard drug. Problem is, my GP lives an hour away and requires appointments three weeks in advance. I cannot afford a regular GP where I live, I'm all about the bulk billing, and coming off Efexor really needs to be a closely monitored experience.

Just three days ago I (again) had a moment of stubborness and decided that I'm over it. I realised that I am a crazy person. I am going to need to learn how to deal with that. I can't keep bandaiding my emotions for the rest of my life. It is more logical (and cheaper) to simply man-up and find ways to cope with my instability and craziness. I don't want to be popping pills until I'm old and grey. I NEED to do this, I need to figure out who I am without the Efexor buzzing around in the background. Depression and anxiety are seemingly going to be facts of my life, might as well work with them rather than try to unsuccesfully hide them away.

I have moments like these, then I have a breakdown. The reason I'm not at Uni is because I couldn't cope. I tried to write an assignment and I would find myself wrapped up in my blanket lying on my couch for days on end. I can barely muster up the energy to get out of bed, let alone do anything productive. Not working has made it much worse, I need to get into working full time, so I can occupy myself, rather than lie around all day analyzing every little detail about everything and making myself crazy. Anyway, as I said, I have moments like these, then I break down. After I had my little burst of motivation the other day, I had a fight with my woman. After a very long day of arguing, being ignored, yelling and toxic friendships not helping the anxiety, I found myself sitting in a park, with a bottle of passion pop and a stanley knife. Nothing serious, just some chicken scratches, nothing that will scar, but enough to make me stop and slap myself in the face and say 'what the fuck are you doing?'. Firstly, I never drink to drown my sorrows, I talk about doing it all the time, but actually following through rarely happens. Secondly, except for one slip up recently, I haven't done that to myself in so long.

The other night begs me to ask the question, am I ready to stop pill-popping, or should I keep bandaiding my mind for the rest of my life? I know dealing with this will take work, and deep down I think I am capable. Is it worth risking a handful of rotten days to potentially create a more fulfilling emotional state? My concern is that if I am still this bad ON drugs, what lies beneath? How bad could this get if I stop? I guess the only way to tell is to try. Surround myself with supportive, positive people. Find a worthwhile, time consuming job. Look into actual counselling, rather than just thinking about it.

I'll be okay.

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