Praise Prozac

I resisted medication for years before finally joining the Prozac Nation. Years, I tell you. I wasn’t going to be a weakling and rely on drugs to function as something resembling a human being! No, sheer bloody-mindedness was going to accomplish that.

And no, I don’t think people who need to take medication to work are weak. But I did, back then. And I didn’t really need it, because I held myself to a different standard than the rest of the world. I just had to get my act together and tough it out.

Yeah, I was stupid. I probably wasted some years of my life sabotaging myself.

But I caved. And am I ever glad that I did.

I’m not going to lie: The first two weeks of being on Prozac were hell. While my body was coming around to this new thing I was feeding it, I was suicidal and short-tempered and unstable. My mood swings were of epic proportions and completely exhausting. I honestly thought that this wasn’t going to help.

But it got better. A whole lot better. I’ve been on them for four years and I will sometimes catch myself reacting to a situation in a completely different way than I used to. Things that go wrong don’t ruin my whole day any more. I’m a lot better at handling sudden changes, even though I will never like them. My pathological need to be in control has become milder. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a high-strung control freak, and that will never change. But I’m less obsessive about it than I used to be. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story. Gather around.

I used to have to know exactly what was going to happen when. And when I, sometime last year, was going to see Deadpool with Scout, I felt he was cutting in really close to the bone time-wise. (I want to be everywhere half an hour early.) Yeah, I got a bit of a pulse, but I didn’t break down crying or start yelling at him. I might have wanted to, but the point is that I didn’t. I was able to see that he knew where we were going and how long it would take us to get there. And guess what? We made it. Easy.

Now, this isn’t just Prozac. Part of it is me learning that the world isn’t going to end just because I don’t decide everything and know everything and control everything. But I’m convinced that if it hadn’t been for medication, I would never have got to the point of being able to learn any of that. I would have been so caught up in my own thought patterns that I would have been unable to take a metaphorical step back and look at the situation, take a deep breath, and be rational about it. Because so what if I’m late to something sometimes? It happens to the best of us.

I don’t regret not being medicated before. I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t just clench my teeth and get through things, toughen it out, and that I was just being lazy, or making up excuses. But I’m so, so glad medication is an option.

You wouldn’t begrudge someone with a broken leg the use of a crutch. I had to realise that what I’m doing is the same thing.

So thank you, Prozac. I know I don’t say it enough.

And for anyone reading: don’t hesitate trying medication if your health care professional suggests it. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less. You might even discover you like the person you are on meds a lot better than the person you are off them.

I did.

“I’m going to the bathroom to read.”
– Elvis’ last words.


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