For about a year now, I have been on SSRI's. Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, also known as SSRI's, are a form of antidepressant and include Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Sarafem, etc. This past year, coincidentally, has been one of the worst years of my life.
Or is it coincidental?
In this article, I want to explore the medical effects and uses of SSRI's, my experiences with/while on them, and how being off them is making me feel way better, even while experiencing withdrawals. Fitting the theme of "medicine", I will also talk other (light) substances, my experiences with them, as well as why I am trying to stray from them.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH SSRI'S:
I was admitted to a hospital March of 2021. They prescribed me Zoloft. I remember almost nothing except for that I was off the shits. VERY unstable, and very emotionally un-regulated. At some point I was switched to Lexapro, and have been taking that for the larger part of the year I have been on them. I do not believe it is the medicine for me. On Lexapro, I noticed (recently, due to having, GET THIS, an actually good therapist!! JUST GOT HER MY PROGRESS HAS BEEN SLOW BUT *HAS* BEEN HAPPENING!!) that as soon as I would feel an emotion that was stronger than an unfathomable threshold, I would clock out. I would dissociate. I wouldn't be able to handle these emotions. While dissociated, the inside of my brain would scream and scream and scream at me to help me out. "Wake up wake up wake up wake up", there would be someone pleading within the prison of my mind. I, on the concious level, would be a zombie. I wouldn't be able to respond emotionally, mentally, I wouldn't form coherent thought processes, and it scared me to experience. It both scared me intensely to feel emotions and to not feel them. There was no winning. I needed out of this trance. I wanted to feel emotions, but I was physically unable. I didn't really want to feel emotions. I will get to that point later on, with the drug use. I don't know where the bar was for how intense an emotion needed to be for me to dissociate from the situation almost entirely, but I was unable to feel emotions. I was unable to feel almost anything except for anger and fear, and even then, if I felt too much of it, I would just dissociate (like stated before). While on SSRI's, I have done the following:
* I do not believe these are all average experiences/able to be blamed on SSRI's. I am only stating how MY brain chemistry SPECIFICALLY reacted with the drug, not blaming the drug itself for all of these. I will get a full-length psychiatric evaluation on 4/20 and will be diagnosed with whatever actually is causing these. I know this is not everyone's experience on medicine. Prozac has saved people's lives. SSRI's WORK for some people. But not for me. I am ONLY speaking for MY specific experience. NOT For anyone else's. Please only take this as a personal blog, not a recommedation of ANY kind.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH NON-RX DRUGS:
I was introduced to weed a while ago, and I would smoke every few months or so, with friends, when able, in order to . . . I don't know. There wasn't really a reason, it was just a bit of fun now and then. Then, someone moved in with me and gave me her plugs info, and I got more regular access to it. When I first smoked, I couldn't tell the difference between being high and dissociation, so I would smoke an ABHORRENT, I mean A LOT, of weed in order to be able to tell the difference. Just to make sure. Like, I would already be high but would kill my brain just to make sure, because at first it was just so hard telling the difference. At first I liked it because it felt like I was able to CHOOSE when I dissociated, that's how much I linked the two experiences together. However, me smoking (surprise!) did not stop dissociation from occuring naturally, due to overwhelming emotion in everyday life. Just because I could choose, did not mean I could pick and choose. Weed would also fuck with my memory issues, and not being able to remember things (largely due to . . . ding ding ding, dissociation! I am getting tired of typing this word) would also make me fearful. Yet, I would still smoke. It felt nice to escape. So I kept doing it.
With shrooms, I tried them a handful of times I guess. Once I felt I was trapped in a time loop and I felt like there was no escape from life. It felt very much like the cyclical behavior, constantly "waking up" from things that I would be doing, snapping out of it, whatever you want to call it, but it was on a very sped up scale. I don't really remember much else, and I have only ever microdosed. Idk it seems dorky to type this out and such, and I'm not advocating for the lack of drug usage. I think rehabilitation is far more important than any form of incarceration or criminalization for ... using drugs. I am just stating my experiences, and how I used things. I didn't use them medicinally, I used them as a crutch, as a form of escapism. Which in itself isn't really a bad thing, but it can fall into a loophole that I, personally, wanted to get out of. I want to clarify that even though I didn't fall into any hard drugs, it still wasn't good for me, because I had no self control. I feel like self discipline and control are really necessary for those types of experiences, and I just didn't have them. A lot of times with weed, I would mistake dehydration for depersonalization and would just get so dehydrated I felt dead. Drink water !
I Do not recommend the lack of medicine in exchange for marijuana. I do not feel like getting high replaces emotional regulation, even if it is helpful! All good things come in moderation. Everything needs balance in order to live a balanced life. My father does not believe in big pharma, and instead extensively smokes weed. I feel some sort of negative feeling towards him for it. I will never be able to know my full psychiatric family history due to his lack of getting help. I know he is just as neurotic as I. If he wasn't, he wouldn't have been so addicted and dependant on substances as he was/is. All I know is that one of my aunts has bipolar and the rest of my family is riddled with addiction and unnamed symptoms. I hate it.
MEDICAL EFFECTS OF BOTH/MY REFERENCES:
Lexapro Side & Withdrawal Effects
Lexapro Side Effects
Pos MJ Effects
20 Pos MJ Effects
WHY I DO NOT REGRET COLD-TURKEY QUITTING LEXAPRO 10MG DAILY EVEN THOUGH I EXPERIENCE WITHDRAWALS:
With this, shortly after quitting lexapro i realized that, huh! I am able to feel emotions! It is bittersweet. Anger hurts. So do other emotions. But they are necessary, and let us understand what we like, dislike, and can be cues for boundaries that you may not realize. I really enjoy being able to feel emotions, and by smoking and taking this medicine (whose effects would be exacerbated by smoking), it was just clogging my eyes. It was clogging my mind. Of course I wasn't able to properly develop my DBT skills when I DIDN'T NEED THEM DUE TO LACK OF EMOTIONS!!! It all makes sense.
For the future, I want to work on emotional regulation. If i get a psychiatrist and they state that i need medicine, I will take it, but I am glad I am going without now. I want my potential diagnosis to not be fogged or blamed on any sort of medication, and for my experiences to be seen as genuine. I need to get rid of the thing causing brainfog in order to live a mindful and fruitful existance. I am greatful for everything I am going through now. I am greatful I am able to have boundaries and am listening to myself now. It feels good.