Love-Hate for SSRIs Part II: Jonesin’


I didn’t do a half-marathon training post yesterday because I have nothing new to say, my main issue with training continues to be my bad attitude.

Which is no surprise because my main issue with life right now is my bad attitude.

I have become disturbingly susceptible to fluctuations with my meds schedule.  We went away this weekend and I foolishly left my Prozac at home, which I actually realized about twenty minutes into our drive and thought to myself, “It will amount to exactly one missed dose and you’re allowed  your occasional ‘drug holiday’ anyway! It’ll be FINE.”

It was not fine.  By Sunday night, I felt, as I told Collin, “unrelentingly bleak” and couldn’t bear to do anything but sleep. And that was after I’d taken my pill.  Instant-release antidepressants, get invented already!

The saddest part is that one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Prozac despite suffering from more side effects with it is that it has the longest half-life of the generic SSRIs, so it is the most “tolerant of substandard med compliance” or whatever a medical journal might say.  I’m supposed to be able to miss a dose and not crash into misery.

Aside from, obviously, not being super keen on feeling miserable, I hate feeling so dependent on pills to stay normal.  That’s probably one of the most common gripes of people on any sort of medication, and I don’t totally understand the psychology of why it is so offensive to us to need to constantly treat chronic conditions.  Is it maybe a cultural thing? If I were German or Indian or Canadian would I feel differently about having to take a pill every day?  I wish I could feel more comfortable with it, or at least redirect my emotions on the subject to gratitude that there IS a pill I can take every day that allows me to get out of bed and smile and actually experience life.

What is it about “taking a pill every day” that feels so burdensome?



  1. I think specficially people hate feeling dependent on drugs that they feel like they shouldn’t need – as if they are on the drug because of some kind of personal failure. I think it is more common for anti-depressants than anything else, because there is still a lot of stigma with them, as if depression is an imagined condition because everybody feels depressed sometimes and people who don’t suffer from depression simply cannot understand what it is like to go through it as a chronic condition. People who take birth control pills every day don’t feel offended by the fact that they have to do it daily.

    Maybe instead of redirecting your emtions to gratitude, you can redirect them as anger to the jerks who make you feel this way?

  2. I never had a problem with taking one every day, because I have been on birth control pills for AGES and I take thyroid meds, and I have to take those every day, so my wellbutrin is just one more. But if I didn’t- I can see where that would be an issue. I was fortunate when I was on prozac it took me 2 to 3 days before I wanted to stab everyone at my work place…

  3. (de-lurking because i feel so strongly about this) i’ve been on some sort of multi-daily prescription medication since i was 5. for a while in college, i “quit” because i thought i could handle myself on my own. it was only in law school that i relapsed and then had to pay $500 a month to stay safe (damn you “this insurance is only for healthy people, so you’ve already met your annual $500 allowance”). the reason it sucks is because it feels like *no one else* has to do this to be normal. for me, it’s epilepsy, not depression, but i wish that i didn’t have to deal with the tiredness, having to be super careful about getting enough sleep while having a mid-twenties social life, about disclosing to my future partner (g-d willing) and worrying about the what-ifs. it sucks to be on daily meds not because they’re not useful, but because, for me, they are a reminder that i can’t do this by myself.

    • Yes. This. It feels like “normal people” (whoever that is) get to have a life where they don’t have to remember to lug around a pill case and two inhalers (and sometimes a nebulizer) just to have a sleepover. When I was dating my husband, I would frequently stay at his house until it was practically too late for me to drive home because I was so tired. But I would have to resort to dumping ice water on myself, etc., as I don’t lug my meds around with me all the time.

    • Anonymous, I am delurking as well because I wanted so much to respond to the post and your comment. I, too, have had epilepsy since childhood. I’ve been lucky enough to find a drug that leaves me seizure free but frankly it sucks. I remember they let me get off my meds for 6 months as a teenager in hopes that I had “grown out of” my epilepsy. I ended up having a seizure on my first day as a nursing home volunteer (embarrassing to need more care than the elderly residents). When my doctor told me that this meant I would be on medication for life, my fourteen year old self cried. There is something so frustrating about needing to carry around one of those geriatric pill cases (I have other chronic conditions that require meds) and knowing that if you forget you are endangering yourself and others. I find it especially hard to watch my significant other and dear friends ramble around the country without having to worry about carrying drugs with them, missed doses, or damaging/losing pills without access to a pharmacy (esp. true of camping). Thank you everyone for sharing!

  4. As a Canadian I can assure you you would not feel differently. Sorry :(

    I have no answers for you though, I feel the same way about mine. Why don’t we feel this way about birth control? Being fertile is a chronic condition! But we don’t. I don’t know.

  5. Ugh. Yes. I hate being dependent. And that’s why when my depression came back it took me so long to go back on mede because I felt like I’d failed. Life is, I guess, extremely stressful. New job, living away from my fiancée and not actually having a flat sorted yet. Oh, and exams and wedding planning and family issues. But then, on the other hand, I *have* the job I worked my ass off for three years to get. And I have a fiancée who loves me even when I’m an anxious, irritable, sobbing, depressed wreck. So I’m also really really lucky and felt I shouldn’t be depressed.

    But whether it’s because I have stuff to be worried about or it’s because of some chemical imbalance, ignoring it didn’t make it go away and the meds help me cope better so hopefully it wont affect my job too much.

    This is a ramble but I suppose my point is, perhaps it’s easier to forget how the meds help when you’re further (I hope) away from crisis point. But they do help. And it does suck to be reliant on them, but it sucks so much less than the alternative. So hang in there.

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