Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jagged little pill

Wow, what a couple of weeks it's been. Where to start...

Blogging, especially when you know people are reading, can be a risky little game. There are things I want to say, but feel I can't. There are things I hate to say, but know I should. I guess that's the nature of honesty and tact, and practicing them can be difficult at times.


Something I don't want to say but should: I've been on Zoloft, a common anti-depressant, for about 18 months now. Looking back, I can't even remember if I've mentioned that before, but it's relevant here. I got on it after the marathon. I probably should have been on it a lot sooner, but I was reluctant because one of the big side effects is weight gain. I hate to say this, but at the time, I would rather have been depressed than fat. When things really started to take a turn for the worse, I changed my thinking to "I'd rather be alive than dead," because that's how dire it was, and I decided it was time for me to experience a day that was not filled with desperation.


So, that's when I started taking my happy pill. While I can understand why people feel the need to refer to anti-depressants as "happy pills," it's really a misnomer- at least for me. They never made me happy; rather, they took my spectrum of misery-to-joy and smooshed it together, until the spectrum didn't really exist any more. Emotional extremes were pretty much gone. This was partly awesome because I hardly ever felt sad. As my friends and family will verify, I am most definitely a crier, and I hardly ever cried anymore on Zoloft. The other extreme was gone too, though. I'm sitting here now, trying to remember a moment of pure joy that I might have had during my Zoloft haze, and I can't remember one. That's kind of sad.

While I blame myself entirely for my weight gain (after all, it was me making those choices and no one else), I feel like the numbing effect of Zoloft played a part. I put on about 25 pounds in the first month. I got fatter and fatter, but hey- at least I wasn't as depressed about it.

When I decided I was ready to try to lose the weight again, I thought I should get everything in my corner that I possibly could. That's when I decided to stop taking it. Let me just say this before I go any further: if you'd on an anti-depressant, always check with your doctor if you're thinking about stopping. I wish I had. She probably would have told me to taper-down, rather than quitting cold turkey. That would have been good to know.

For a few days, I didn't really feel any different. After a week or two, I could feel my old self start to emerge a bit. I'd cry a lot more readily. Pretty much anything cold set me off- an ASPCA commercial, stubbing my toe, seeing a dead squirrel on the road- anything. Old feelings that I thought were gone came rushing back. It also feels like there's a shorted-out wire loose in my brain. Out of no where, I'll get these little "zaps." It doesn't hurt, but it's annoying. While the negative parts of Zoloft withdrawal are bothersome, I will say that the highs returned, too. I'm happier, even with all the crying and brain-buzzing, than I was before.

I'm also not quite as hungry. I've been following my weekly goals and doing pretty well. Last week my goals were to exercise 3 times and avoid beef, which I did with no problem. I even managed to run on the treadmill for a couple of minutes. This week, my goals were to keep up with the exercise, limit beef to 1 serving for the whole week, eat no fried food, and avoid alcohol. I have one more workout to go before tomorrow, but that won't be a problem. The scale is being rather obnoxious- I've only lost 2 pounds since I started, but I feel worlds better. I'm not quite so out of breath when doing everyday things, and I'm feeling more confident. This time around, I'm really trying to focus on how I feel instead of the number on the scale. In that respect, I feel like I'm getting results.

So that's that. Now, where's the Kleenex?

7 comments:

Mae Flowers said...

Don't feel bad about taking anti-depressants. It's just another illness, like a heart problem of asthma. Glad to hear you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Pretty nice site you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. BTW, try to add some pics :).

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Slow and steady wins the race...

Faithfulmom2 said...

My 19 year daughter got off depressants about a year ago and is now trying biofeddback. The depressants helped her depression but she said the similar things that you said. The no crying was weird to her also. God Bless you. I can only imagine what you have gone through and now your weight problem. It seems like you have a good attitude and I am here to cheer you on. I hope you find success soon!

Pat Crosby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mongolove said...

dang. i take so much Zoloft and I'm still a big crybaby. wtf?

Anonymous said...

You are brave, I've got to hand it to you. I admire that you've posted a current picture of yourself. I know that wasn't easy. I've put your blog on my favorites list. I weigh a little over 300 pounds myself and have struggled with this food addiction all my life. I have high blood pressure, Type II diabetes and an arthritic knee which is hurting more and more. I am 57 and really begnning to understand that this is IT. I am not going to have many "new starts" before this kills me. Good luck and I'll be reading your blog. You are a good writer. Pam