Hello! My name is Kristen. I am 24 years old from Sacramento, CA. I am a teacher at an elementary school, I have a degree in Psychology, and I have been suffering with an anxiety disorder ever since I was in 8th grade. That’s 10 years! Sometimes it does not feel real when I tell people. How can someone that seems to be functioning in society have a anxiety disorder? I have tried everything under the sun to get my anxiety under control but nothing has seemed to really make a difference…until Prozac.
Now professionals have been telling me for years to try different medications but I have always been scared. The idea that some drug can instantly change the way I feel scares the crap out of me. This past year I was out of options and did not know how to handle my anxiety. I had a new doctor that asked about medication and for the first time in my life I said yes.
This blog post is all about my feelings and experience with anxiety, depression, and prozac. I want to spread the message that drugs ACTUALLY HELP a lot of people who are suffering and that there is nothing to be scared of.
What is Prozac?
Prozac, also known as Fluoxetine, is an antidepressant medication that is used to treat depression, anxiety, and a number of other psychological disorders. Known as a Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor or SSRI, these medications increase the amount of the serotonin in your brain. Sterotonin has many roles within your body including your appetite, body temperature, sleeping patterns, and your memory. It also has a very important role in regulating mood.
Why did I decide Prozac Was Right For Me?
Honestly, I hit a low. Some days were better than others but most of my days were filled with debilitating anxiety, worry, and shame. I was at the point where I could barely leave my house to go to work and I was contemplating self harming again. There is so much stigma surrounding taking medication for your mental health and I believe that this is why I waited so long to take it. I am not sure what it was to make me finally talk to my doctor but I think it was a mixture of support from partner as well as being on my last straw with my anxiety.
Asking my Doctor About Medication.
I can still remember being in the waiting room, watching cat videos to calm myself down from the conversation that was to come. This doctor was the first doctor to ever talk my anxiety seriously. I had other doctors in the past tell me that my anxiety was all in my head and that medications wont help me. Needless to say, I was scared to go to a new doctor to talk about medication. She talked to me honestly about medication and how beneficial it is for some people. The 7 page packet she gave me of all the side effects did scare me a little bit but I knew I was doing the right thing. For the first time in my life I felt heard from a medical professional and she was going to walk with me through this journey.
The Cons of Prozac
My doctor gave me this HUGE packet of side effects and warnings that come from taking Prozac. I have always had anxieties around taking medications and this packet just amplified my nerves. There were a lot of side effects listed but here are the ones that affected me personally.
The first two months on Prozac was a learning process. Every morning I took it my stomach would feel uneasy. I would get sick a few times a day but I would never throw anything up. During this process I just had to keep telling myself that this was normal and nothing to worry about. I am still not sure if this side effect had to do with my anxiety or the actual medication. Around month three I started to feel improvements. Now six months later my stomach no longer bothers me.
Before I started taking Prozac I watched a lot of videos on the internet of people who have also taken it. The most common symptom that they all talked about was weight gain / weight loss. In the six months I have been on Prozac I have gained 12 pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but to someone whose weight has been generally the same for 10 years, it is a lot. Some people can actually have the opposite affect on this medication. If you are taking this medication and the weight gain starts to become a problem for you always talk to your doctor.
One day, I was watching another youtuber talk about their experience with depression and they said that they don’t want to rely on a drug to make them feel better. They said that the thought of a drug changing their brain chemistry scares them. I felt the same way for a long time and that was why I did not ask about drugs sooner. There are so many people out there that carry this stigma with them. They think that if you take medications that you have failed and you are a weak person. Hey! If you have tried everything else (talk therapy, meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, etc.) and you still need that extra boost, there is nothing wrong with taking medication. Medication is just another way that you can help yourself and there is no shame in it.
One week I wanted to see if I could stop taking my medications. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. If you want to see if you can stop taking your medications please consult your doctor and do it in a safe way. I did not do this and started to have actual withdrawal symptoms. I started to get really dizzy, have mood swings, and start having intense symptoms of depression. When I started to take the medications again all the symptoms stopped and I felt better.
Pro’s of Taking Prozac
Starting to Feel “Normal”
Have you ever been in a very deep depression and asked yourself “What do normal people feel like?” I know that no one is ever 100% normal and everyone experiences mental health problems during their life but when I was depressed I just did not want to hurt anymore.
Six months into taking Prozac and I can safely say that I am the most “normal” I have ever been. I can leave my house without having intense anxiety about everything that could go wrong. I don’t cry four times a week about the little stresses in my life. My life is a little more stable than it was before.
Being Social Again
Before taking Prozac I could barely leave my house. I would come home from work and then go straight to bed because I was so tired and worn out. Six month laters, I feel more productive and have the energy to be out of the house for longer periods of time!
Would I recommend Medication?
I am not a professional so I can not say “Go out and get medication.” Everyone is different in the way they experience depression and what helps me could not help you. Our brains work differently and that is why humans are amazing creatures.
I would say, however, that if you have tried everything else (CBT, meditation, self-care, yoga…) and you just need that extra boost to feel “normal”, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about medication options. Yes, it is scary to think that some chemicals are healing your brain to make your moods different but they help SO MANY PEOPLE!
Liked this post? Here are some posts you also might enjoy:
- 8 Ways to Support a Friend with a Mental Illness.
- 9 Reasons People Don’t Seek Help for Their Mental Health.