Smoking while on antidepressants

Effects

I have been quite restless recently. I can’t seem to sit still without having my anxiety and agitation sky rocketing beyond. I sit, I stand, I move around and my next solution is always to have a smoke. Not my best moments for sure but I feel cornered to a wall without a much way out. I have thought that maybe the agitation is as a result of smoking while on the antidepressants I am on but there has been no solid evidence on goggle that that might be the case. I restarted smoking right after I went on medication because previously I couldn’t handle how much the nerves at night were heavy on my shoulders. Now truly, I wish I could get back those nerves over the agitated feeling that befalls me every evening as I so not look forward to night.

Smoking

I recently made a decision to quit smoking three nights ago and I can sadly and ashamedly say that I have failed on each night. I even downloaded an app to help track how many days I could keep clean off smoking but it hasn’t been put to good use yet. I realise how reliant I am on smoking because I can’t seem to quit as easily as I thought it would take me to. Now here I am looking for nickles in all sorts of crevices just so I can have a cigarette before and after dinner. I truly need to find something to distract from smoking because I genuinely blame my idleness on how much I smoke in a day.

Antidepressants

What are antidepressants?
I wanna believe that majority of you are familiar with the term antidepressants or have come across it once in a while somewhere. For the few that may not be aware of what exactly they are, they are medicine taken for different mental health illnesses. Most especially depression. That’s the lame man’s definition.

Why am I on antidepressants?

I’ve mentioned before that I have been on and off antidepressants before. I started taking antidepressants for my depression and anxiety sometime last year after a terrible episode that required me to see a psychiatrist and through that session, I was prescribed my first set of antidepressants. I was on Mirtazapine for my first dose and I’ll go into detail on the side effects in a few. For a first timer, I can say I took it like a champ. It’s a different experience to be on this medication but it might seem scary at first but I can assure or anyone who may be on the path to having it prescribed to them by their doctor, it will help. It is part of the means of getting better.

Side effects of the antidepressants

Disclaimer

The side effects stated below are mine and not a general over view of all the side effects one is prone to get while on any set of antidepressants prescribed to you by your psychiatrist.

My initial reaction to starting antidepressants was that it would minimise the depression I was feeling in a matter of days but I got to learn quite quickly that that wouldn’t be the case. On mitarzapine, the effects quite frankly hit me like a hurricane. The depression quite literally became worse before it became better. On most occasions, there is always a fluctuation in weight and sadly for me, I gained a lot of weight. My appetite sorta increased ten fold and I was eating on a constant. The hunger was on another level. When I mentioned earlier that I took it like a champ was because despite how gravely the side effects were, I never discontinued it and was on it for a month before I had my prescription changed by my then psychiatrist.

My second prescription was what I gotta admit taking was an extreme sport. I didn’t go long on them due to the grave side effects they had on my body. I won’t mention the names of the exact medicine I was on just in case it gives off the wrong depiction of the said meds. I remember on the second night of taking them, I began to have serious tremors. I couldn’t stop shaking and my teeth rattled, you’d think I was on the North Pole. In addition to that, my heart started pounding so heavily, I was sure I was gonna have a heart attack. With the side effects being that heavy, I had to discontinue the medication and it took me a whole nearly six months before I went on any other antidepressants.

Mid year of 2021, I got into another depression episode that required me to visit a new psychiatrist since I was home over that period. This time around, I got a better prescription than the last which is what I am still on currently. I am on 10mg Cipralex and 10mg haloperidole. The first one is majorly for my severe depression whereas the latter is for my anxieties and agitation. On the first take of this medication, it didn’t have much of a side effect that I could positively point out but now when I’m currently on it, there are a few new side effects that are damning to the soul.

This will positively be very inappropriate to whoever reads this but I’ll say it anyway, my vagina has been going through it with this current set of meds I’m on. Going through it, I mean it’s dead dead. Like I can’t seem to get aroused what’s so ever and trust me, I have tried. You name it, besides sex though… don’t gotta a guy for that, or a boyfriend too.

Not too long, I was ranting to a close friend how I can’t seem to feel the slightest bit of sensation down there and she had a good laugh out of it. Besides the dead vagina, I also can’t seem to feel much joy over anything which is a lot like a mild numbness. What I can’t truly stand though, out of all this, is the agitation at night, right before bed. It is darn right annoying. It’s such an extreme sport to get myself settled in bed when it feels like every thought is racing and none of them have got sleep in them.

So yeah, just thought I’d share my brief experience with taking antidepressants and hope it distigmatizes them for the better.

Save My Soul.

Trigger Warning.

‘’How do I begin to set out to the world this painful reality that even I aren’t sure I have fully acknowledged? Most nights, I am uncertain of whether I have the reality of a tomorrow. I can’t seem to decide if seeing the night through is my main goal or whether I am just being dramatic over my emotions. There is this unbearable need inside my head that tells me that nothing is right, that nothing I feel or do can or will make anything right.

For the past two weeks or so I have been fighting the reality of the fact that I have been feeling suicidal. It has no longer just been fleeting thoughts anymore but solid assurances that I no longer can decide on whether life is bearable enough to be lived. I have thought through it so many times, I have questioned myself on whether it is real in both my heart and my head. It physically aches inside me whenever I think that I could finally be ready to let everything go. It is a very unbearable burden to carry because I have found no means or way to tell this to anyone. I am convinced that either no one will believe me or they probably won’t know what to do.

How do I begin to explain this to anyone when I myself haven’t entirely come to terms with this frightening realization? How do I put this into words to anyone else when all I truly feel is shame over even feeling like this? I say this with absolute resolute, the only thing that I am certain about in the midst of all the turmoil going on inside my head is that I have absolutely no idea what to do or where to start dealing with these feelings or these thoughts of suicide. It scares me not knowing how or where to start. So yeah, that is right where I am.’’

The above text was written by a very desperate, sad, despaired and most especially depressed girl. I can’t say with certainty that any of those damning feelings are gone yet, or better yet, I do know where they are. They are retreating to the back parts of my mind now that it feels a lot like I have a bit of amour against them. When I read those words above, I remotely can’t entirely recognize the girl who wrote them. She looks and feels a lot like a hollow shell and it is terrifying to think that at any one point I was this girl, I am this girl. The emotions feel like a vague memory, it has the vagueness of a sketchy dream that only holds bits and pieces of what is to be recalled of it. I wish all the memories of that pain could be erased but some of it is marred on my arms as-a-result of trying to drain it out. The pain is stuck deep inside, deeper inside than the mere blood in my veins. The scars in my hand are just a reminder of a very short-lived relief that didn’t ever quite feel like relief at all.

There is a very stark difference between being alone and being lonely. My depression is always certain to make sure I feel the best of both worlds, at least in regard to those two aspects of isolation. The most singular of the two feelings is when your entire being is encased in a fog of loneliness. No sense of reassurance would convince you otherwise of the fact that you are absolutely alone and beyond lonely. This time around, it dawned on me that I wasn’t intentionally choosing to be lonely apart from the intentional choice I made to be alone. It took all the energy I had in me to have any conversation I might have kept up with during this time. I can say with certainty that I have not spoken to the few people in my life to whom on occasion have seemed to retain some parts of me as their friend.  The looming darkness is all that encases you, it is all I could think about. I was entirely convinced that nobody in my world would find a solution enough to save me from the dark pit I was in. I felt nothing beyond the scariest darkness known to my mind.

I feel like it’s important I make this fact clearer, depression is not just a bit of sadness. It is a lot more than even I can express. It is for sure something I still don’t think I have the full grasp over in regard to how vast of a feeling, an emotion, a concept, a thought, a sensation, an enlightening and a whole lot more. Depression is also quite invisible. It never is something graspable to the naked eye. For me, it is very suffocating. My mind never feels like it has any space to breathe, it feels like the only space I can afford to think is in remote gasps of air. It feels like it would resemble a lot of what I think it feels like to drown. The panic, anguish, despair and the complete lack of hope for rescue sounds a lot like how my mind is right now. Sally Brampton, the author of the memoir Shoot the damn Dog wrote in a very precise manner what it is like to experience the depravities of the mental fuck that is depression. She describes its most corrosive aspect as despair and catastrophic. She continues to elaborate on how impenetrable and unendurable it is.

I have experienced suicidal ideation before but never to its full potential as it was this time around. I knew I was deep in the gutter, submerged under when I couldn’t quit thinking of just how peaceful and pain numbing dying would feel like. When the thought became a permanent fixture in my mind, I knew there was no way around this. I didn’t want to be alive anymore. That awareness became the dawn of a new twisted kind of sorrow. I recall on some nights crying so deeply and feeling the pain and anguish so physically from knowing that I was lost in myself. I was lost in my hopelessness and my mind had resided itself to no longer living but to completely quit existing. To a degree, I thought if I hurt myself enough, it would ease that ache even just a little bit, enough to satiate it. Dull it down. It didn’t quite do it. It led me to commit my first suicide attempt. I remember the night vaguely but I recall the intent behind the pain I felt that night. I recall the finality to my thoughts when I placed the razor to my vein. I remember the soaked tears in my sheets from my wet face. It was a pain I can only describe as purely indescribable. 23rd of October,2021 I decided I didn’t want to live anymore, at least not in the state of mind that I was in.

I can’t say with absolute resolute that I don’t want to not live anymore. Am alive now, still in despair but alive. I’m on antidepressants currently so it is all I can hope that along the way, I find it easier to want to stay alive. A lot is still yet to be done and I can’t say for certain when any of it will be done. I still have struggles that play a major role in making it harder for me to fully get the help I need so it is all I can do but trying live a minute at a time. It has taken me nearly a month to write this and I’m okay with that. Writing and reading for me take quite the hit in periods of my depression so to an extent, I am proud I got to be candid about what it has and is still like for me to live with this unbearable monster that lives inside of my head. 

Today I’m gonna go straight in cause I don’t wanna loose my drift or train of thought. So I truly had an eventful past week. Eventful in that I got called fat, old and had an anxiety attack all in a span of a couple days. I can definitely say I was on a roll. Sadly, not the good kind. So to break it down for you, I’m back to school after a long eight months of being out of it.. both literally & figuratively. I won’t go into the details of the reasons why school’s back in session, its probably happening all over the world so you can take a guess on why I had to resume. It’s my last semester in college and boy am I glad. School is just one of the things that have never ever appealed to me. Its always been a circumstantial issue for me, never voluntary. If I may say so myself, I’ve hated school since I was in daycare. Anything that required me to get out of the house for an entire day in such an excruciatingly pressurized experience, never did suit me.

So yeah, back to reopening school. It being my last semester, means that I’ve got my major final exam right around the corner and it entails a project that I had already started on at the beginning of the year in my first semester. But before I even get to that, let me bring you into things in a more chronological manner. Day one was on Wednesday and I started off my term by sitting for exams that had been prior cut short right at the beginning due to the surge of covid so it meant that right after school opened, we’d resume our exams which explains why I was sitting for a paper on my first day back. Wednesday morning, I gracefully arrive in class, somewhat set to sit for my first paper and since it had been a while since my classmates had seen each other, they was already a buzz in the air of people catching up on how they’ve been. Your girl here, quiet & in her element of silence & seclusion only said hi when greeted first. I’m not what one would consider approachable to my peers, I just rather not have people be comfortable airing their lives or opinions to me cause I’ll probably drift off somewhere in my mind but I guess due to the prolonged period of absence, a classmate of mine whom to be specific I’m not so fond of, came over to my seat and was blatantly open enough to tell me how “big” I had grown and further went ahead to ask me what exactly had I been eating over that period out of school. I honestly truly try never to let such comments and snide remarks get to me on most days but this just hit a nerve. She wasn’t done though, oh no! While walking away to her seat she finalized her opinion of how ‘old looking ‘ I’ve become…. Now this just threw me off a loop and I just smiled and shrugged it off.

Her words stayed with me. It got to me. Maybe it was the way she said it or the snide tone behind her words that struck a nerve. Whichever it was, it warranted a punch to her throat. For those who may not be aware, I’m meek on the outside but I’m very violent on the inside, especially when it comes to being vengeful. It wasn’t her assumption of that I probably ate a lot over the period I was out of school that ticked me off, it was her stupidity & insensitivity in believing I cared of what she thought of me. “For your information, Joan, the extra weight on me is from the different amounts and types of antidepressants I’ve had to be on to stay alive, you insensitive piece of shit “. It doesn’t matter if she was aware of why I am bigger than she last left me, she should have kept her two cents to herself cause she unconsciously planted an insecurity I didn’t need on my first day back. Weirdly enough, she wasn’t the only one daft enough to make that comment to me, a few other girls in my class who I might mention are nothing more than just classmates, thought it was in their place to tell me about how big I’ve become. I’m gonna leave this at that cause it truly isn’t my responsibility to coach anyone on being sensitive. It’s a conscious effort from the mind, clearly not everyone has it.

Right now, the pressure is high in school and I don’t work well under pressure. I get anxious and it topples down from there rendering me completely in a state of panic. Besides my exams, I’ve got a back log of work that I should probably have been done with but didn’t get around to completing, ie my project. After a day of being back in town, I enquired from a few school mates on where they were at in their projects and most of them are done. That and learning of it’s due date being sooner than I expected, put me in a complete state of anxiety. It made feel cornered and I just wanted to hide back in my bedroom at home where it’s been my safe haven. I didn’t think being depressed would be reason valid enough to explain why I never got around to completing my project which carries part of my exams points for my final exam. My productivity was pretty much non existent ; I could only basically handle waking up and trying to live through the day but despite being aware of this, I still feel like I failed at trying to do anything productive. When I told my sister about how I was panicking and was just about to quit school and run away, she asked me about the days when I wasn’t as depressed, and why I didn’t work on it on those days. Truthfully speaking, that just aggravated my guilt on how unmotivated I was to do anything. It sure didn’t help with the anxiety, it pretty much heightened it.

For the past one month or so, I’ve been on a quest to get the right diagnosis for what exactly ails me. I’m not advocating for self prognosis. It isn’t right but for my case, all I’ve felt and still feel is helplessness when it comes to not having a concrete understanding of what happens to me when I go into a depressive state of mind. My mind has conjured everything and anything under the sun to try make sense of what goes wrong but even with my search for an answer, I still intend to get a professional psychiatrical opinion and evaluation. Besides wanting to know what goes wrong, I want to finally have the validity of reason to explain why certain things for me are more difficult to either achieve or to stop. It is frustrating not feeling valid even in turmoil and darkness. It begs the question of how do I prove to the world that I don’t always have an answer for what happens to me or for why I do or feel or react to things in a certain way. How do I prove that it’s not just all in my head and that there’s a messed up reason for the things that happen. I know I shouldn’t try to prove it to anyone, I owe it to no one. I know it’s an illness but I need the world around me not to look at me like some narcissistic cynic who slits her wrist for pleasure. I don’t know if I’m making sense anymore, or at all.

So here I am, still trying to calm down from the anxiety and formulate a plan on how to start working again on my project in a more clear mind. So that’s been my eventful first week back in school, I’m the fat old lady with anxiety 😊…

P. S I took this cute photos of myself today cause I felt like I’ve not seen myself remotely look pretty in forever so I’m going to share this with you just cause I think they are kinda cute.😄

Weeks later, I am where I thought I wanted to be. I thought that if I got here I’d be better. I walked into it blindly but with hope that some light would be shed into the darkness that’s been my home for so long. So here I am… So what next…?

It’s been hard finding this niche that drives me to write. It’s hard enough that I can’t force it even when I am in desperate need to let out the turmoil that currently goes on in my head. I no longer keep track of how long it’s been since I wrote, I just know its been long enough. I’m in limbo right now. My state of mind is unknown. I guess it’s part of the new feeling that comes with taking antidepressants. Can you believe it? We are at antidepressants now… I have to latch on meds for help in dealing with whatever goes wrong with me. I still feel like I don’t know exactly what that is but maybe progressively I will find out what plagues me.

So here I am, five days in since I started on my ‘happy pills’…Truth be told, I don’t feel so happy or nice to say the least. I know I’m not supposed to judge them so soon but it’s inevitable not to. I feel like shit right now. I’ve been doing my research on the precise medicine I was given and guess what, I’m not sure if they are meant to help me, or get me quicker to being suicidal. I have never been suicidal before & I know that might not seem to be the case due to my self harming ways but they don’t mean that I want to end my life. At least for me they don’t. They just mean I survive painfully enough to want to live. I don’t expect everyone or anyone for that matter to understand that. Recently actually, I have come to experience stigmatization in a form I never anticipated. It took me off guard since it was from a family member who I don’t blame for their lack of understanding on my struggles. I guess I just never fully anticipated ever being stigmatized over something I have absolutely no control over.

As I’ve mentioned before, I feel like shit. Day one on my meds, I was high as a fucking kite. I got so drowsy, lost every sense of coordination & balance .I was knocked out in a couple minutes. My body was adjusting to the foreign entity in its system. With the exact type of medicine I am taking, it’s meant to take care of the depression & insomnia. I don’t necessarily consider myself an insomniac, I just have a terrible sleep pattern that is inconsistent. Day two, I opted to skip on one of my pills. I’m meant to take two in a day, morning & nighttime..but on the occasion that it’s too strong for me to handle in the day, I can take one pill before bed everyday. Now to day five, I am sure I am depressed which I’m not surprised since its a side effect of the medication. I know, I’m confused too. The medicine is meant to help me cope with the said depression, not add on to it. I wish I could understand remotely what is going on but I don’t . All I know is that, I’m five days in with this antidepressants & I feel a tad bit worse than I was before. So yeah, I’m not gonna throw in the towel & quit taking it, no, I’ll wait it out and see how things go. Maybe it gets worse before it gets better.

I feel extremely hyper aware of my problems right now.. Not just mentally but even those that are happening beyond my mind. It’s devastating feeling this helpless and not knowing where to start. Nobody ever tells you how lonely depression makes you feel, it won’t let you bring anyone down with you because it’s quick to remind you that its your problem, no one else’s. Its crippling & isolating enough to have you convinced that nobody can nor will understand what you are going through. I have never felt more alone in this world than I do now. The stigma, the shame and everything else attached to depression is the weight on my shoulders that I’ve gotta carry. So you know what, I’d never wish this on anyone. Nobody deserves to have their mind as their biggest fear.