Sad and anxious face

Prozac ration – UPDATED

Tales from the third week of being off the meds. Sleep’s still gone there’s no stopping the dreams but I live in hope with some good news

Over the previous weeks I’ve weaned off Fluoxetine so I can start a new anti-depressant that might help me sleep. Fluoxetine is a drug, an SSRI, that spent its book and movie fame in the 1990s. It went under the cool name of Prozac back when it was thought of as a cutting edge item to ingest, not some tawdry anti-depressant for people like me who really should try to battle harder.

I was first given Fluoxetine in 1995 when it was still called Prozac. Prior to that Lithium was on the table. Fun times.

Prozac is all about the serotonin which, as everybody knows, is a hip hormone like dopamine, which is sick and dope in a good way. It comes if you exercise, and exercise cures all depression and anxieties – just ask Simone Biles.

(Prozac also has the letter ‘Z’ in its centre. Anything with the letter ‘Z’ in it is automatically cooler and more exciting than some dull chemical compound made up of letters from the badly dressed and worthy nerd table end of the room. Even if they are the same thing under the skin.

Fluoxetine tries hard with its ‘x’, but that’s no ‘Z’ and deep down we all know it.

Think about it: X-Ray is worthy. Z-Ray is already threatening like a black leather jacket on a dirty, over-powered motorbike, no matter what it actually does.)

Christina Ricci in the poster for Prozac Nation the movie.
Prozac Nation the movie with Christina Ricci – how cool was that? My doctor thought so, and soon I was on the wonder-drug.
The cover of Prozac Nation the novel by Elizabeth Wutzel.  Did are much good as nerve damage.
The cover of Prozac Nation the novel by Elizabeth Wurtzel. So cool and hip it hurts as much as nerve damage.

I digress, and that’s one of the upshots of being on an anti-depressant hiatus. Lots of digression while my brain or mind or imagination struggles to hang-on to the bits of reality that float by. Bless it, my brain or mind or imagination is trying do the very basic that is required of it: survive.

Back on track: two days ago I had news of the new medication for my despicable self. It’s called Mirtazapine but while I know of it, and I live in expectation of its arrival like a small, sugary railway child awaiting his father’s overdue return from the war. The prescription hasn’t been sorted out. Papa is still between the trenches of death and the large country house of Edwardian safety.

The black dog that patrols that house is barking and keeping me awake.

The reason for the new med is that it eschews serotonin with its high-speed, hip-cool, late night, dancehall reputation. My new drug focuses on Norepinephrine (aka noradrenaline, the Janus neurotransmitter that it is). Noradrenaline isn’t in any way cool, but I hope that the pills might be.

I can’t sleep due to a mixture of my brain, or mind or imagination doing a terrible job at the most basic task asked of it, and actual physical pain caused by shredded nerve endings.

A new med won’t stop the physical pain but it might calm down the psychic, the mental pain for a few hours. It might help my noggin to do its job properly.

In terms of that physical pain, being the screwhead that I am, I’ve passed this onto a character in the novel I’m writing – my second novel. You can find the first one using this link. Yes, that’s a plug, what of it.

Here’s what I’ve given him:

“Darragh lived in fear of life after 8pm at home, in his apartment surrounded by stuff and things. After 8pm the physical pain came. Always on time. Always in his feet. The nerve endings were damaged by diabetes and, he assured, himself from a dissolute life that his merciful and wrathfully Christian God was punishing him for. Of course God was watching Darragh carefully. Darragh was a very watchable, very special man.

He told himself, alone in his apartment surrounded by his things and stuff. He son and daughter a phone call away.

The pain moved around from its base in his feet. At one time or another every slice of his skin felt it. At one time or another one foot or another felt as cold as ice and as damp as a lost explorer. Meanwhile, the shot nerves played out a party for the pain. In it came: stabbing, shooting, freezing and burning his skin. All night until 7am his sleep tried to escape the pricking, shocking and carving of his skin.

He couldn’t even bear the feeling of his clothes.

He couldn’t lie down or stand up for long.

He snatched at sleep.

No drink, no narcotics, no meditation for the night.

Darragh didn’t rest at night. He caught up with sleep for an hour during the day.

He cried a lot in private until the tears stung his face too much.”

Right, enough of this ramble – I should know better, pull my socks up by the bootstraps as I man up and do better. It’s time for me to go to one of the two salaried jobs I do every week. I hope your brain or mind or imagination, or all three now I think of it, give you a lovely day and a restful night.


Guess what turned up this afternoon? Yes. The marvellous Mirtazapine. So, it’s the first night tonight. In about a week’s time I’ll know if there’s been any difference at all to my bouncing brain action. Wish me luck!

You can read the first part of my Off the Meds journal here