The Mental Health Diaries: New Medicine

Things are looking up. As I write this I feel better than I have in ages. Of course I’m writing this at 6:40am after being awake all night but I’ll deal with the sleep problem later.

For the last three years I have been taking a daily dose of Citalopram. The world of antidepressants is huge and complicated. There’s no one medication that works for everyone, so it’s a case of trying on a few to see how they fit. Hopefully you’ll soon discover the drug that works for you. Unfortunately after a while the drugs can stop working like they used to, and that means it’s time for a change. How do you know when it’s time to make that change? I’m my case it’s inappropriate outbursts in public followed by several months of depression, which is finished off with about a month of really serious depression.

My problem is remembering to take that medication every day. I have a box with the little compartments with days of the week written on them. I even have a spreadsheet to keep track of when I last took a tablet. None of it works. Historically a day or two of missed medication resulted in a week or two of more severe depression. I think that’s why it took me so long to notice my medicine becoming less effective. It was all too easy to believe that I simply forgot to take it.

Switching to a new medication takes a couple of weeks during which you take less of your old meds and more of the new stuff. It’s exactly like getting a dog onto new food without upsetting his stomach. Even though there are hundreds of medicines to chose from, my new one (which I can’t remember the name of right now) is apparently closely related to Citalopram and so it’s expected to be a good one for me. Only time will tell.

There are some side effects but nothing too major. I can tell you that just like I did when I first started on Citalopram, I’m experiencing some side effects that share some similarities with the effects of the popular clubbing drug Ecstasy. At this point let’s all assume that a friend I once had told me all about Ecstasy. For starters I’m wide awake whilst also being tired. My jaw is grinding. I’m a bit giggly and generally in a good mood. It’s all down to serotonin. That’s the chemical in your brain that controls how happy you are, we all have it. Your brain is making just the right amount all day to keep you in a normal state of happiness. Ecstasy makes you have loads more serotonin than you need so you feel super happy. I produce less than I need so I generally feel depressed. The medication I take aims to bring me up to the levels of healthy brained people. It’s basically doing exactly the same job as Ecstasy, but not in as such an extreme way. That’s all really basic science right there, there’s probably far more to it than that. The point is that at least for a little while, changing medication has a similar effect to taking Ecstasy.

The last time this happened I took myself off to PC World and bought a MacBook Pro. I’m really looking forward to whatever I’ll get up to this time. I’d like a PS4.