I’ve been on fluoxetine (prozac) for about 6 weeks now (maybe 7).
The first week was amazing and weird – I felt like I was high all the time, and I fell asleep less than an hour after I took it. I decided to take the fluoxetine at night so that I could sleep through the worst of the side effects, if there were any, and it seemed to put me to sleep really quick. It was a good choice for me. That first week I felt what it was like to have no anxiety or depression, and it was incredible.
The second week was okay. I had a clear mind, I was more awake and alert, and overall I had more energy. I just didn’t want to do anything, and that was fine.
The third week was pretty shit. I had all that clear mind and awake and alert and a shitty brain. My thoughts were very negative and anxious and I couldn’t shake the mood. It didn’t impact my body the same way it normally does, though, I didn’t feel completely exhausted and wiped out. I still wanted to be an amorphous blob, but I at least had the energy to do what I needed to do.
I did discover, part way through the second week, that my sleeping patterns were turning to crap and I wasn’t getting solid sleep (thanks Sleep Cycle), and I was tired. I wasn’t achingly tired, but I was wired and tired.
Fourth week I realised I was getting back to me, the sassy little sasspot I used to be before I was wrapped up in narcissists. I was no longer desperate to please people and to be non confrontational. One of the people at work said something passingly racist about one of the people I work for, and instead of doing my usual pinchy-smile and feel uncomfortable, my first reaction was anger, and I let it show. I couldn’t vocalise it, but I could at least show it in my face. This was a huge moment for me, because I hadn’t done this in almost a decade. I have been conditioned and abused hard to just not. People please. Make no waves. Submit.
It was at the start of week five that I switched my fluoxetine to morning – I did a 6 hour step each day for two days to shift my medication taking the full 12 hours. My sleeping patterns began to improve, although they are still not quite back to my usual solid sleeping.
Fifth and sixth weeks have been good. Really good. I’m much happier, I’m much sassier, I’m much more honest with myself and others about my needs. I am more able to say ‘I just need to check out a bit’ when I’m in a situation that is overstimulating. I am more able to say ‘no’ to people and situations that are not good for me.
I still have anxiety. I still have depression. I still have PTSD and panic attacks and meltdowns, but they’re more manageable. I have enough headspace to take action to make my severely anxious days … less shit. The depression doesn’t suck the life out of me.
And I will say this: I wish I had been on prozac a decade ago.
If you are thinking about medication, talk to your physician about it. Organise your life so you have absolute minimal to-do for the first couple of weeks. Go to absolute bare minimum, and let people around you know what’s happening so they can check on you. And then take the plunge. You may need to try a few different ones – everyone is unique, and every drug affects people in different ways. Talk to people about your side effects, any quirks you’re having, and take their input on board, and give your physician honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to say, after 3 weeks, ‘this isn’t quite working for me, can we please try something else’.
You are worth enjoying your life.