Come On, Get Happy: The Second Dose

by Mandy

Well, I've been faithfully taking my Prozac for eight weeks now. So no doubt about it, it is in effect. I think there was a marked change in the way I felt in the early weeks versus now. Our saga left off in mid-May. (Which kind of feels like it was a lifetime ago.) One of the first things I noticed was the way I felt upon waking up in the mornings. Traditionally, I would wake up to an overwhelming feeling of "Christ, I feel like shit. I cannot get out of this bed today." I would spend a good thirty minutes fighting this feeling every single working day. Very soon after inhibiting my serotonin reuptake, I noticed that I would think, "Oh, okay. It's time to get up," upon waking. And I would just get up. I wouldn't have to dawdle. And folks, that is generally the way thoughts have changed. The Prozac just lets things roll off your back much easier.

Now during the first couple of weeks, one of the really interesting side effects was a lower tolerance for alcohol. I mean, I would have half of one drink, and then I would feel completely buzzed. This would wear off in about thirty minutes, and then I would have a narcoleptic fit. Either my body got used to the drug or I just managed to rebuild my alcohol tolerance, but now I can drink two or three beers. I still feel vaguely hungover the next day, but it's bearable. Of course, you're not supposed to drink while you take antidepressants, so I kind of deserve whatever I get.

Let's get back to the mental processes, shall we? A couple of things happened in the last two months that may or may not have been possible without my new constant companion, Prozac. First, chronologically, I've really loosened up in the dating realm. No, I did not become the town skank. I just really started to appreciate the person I'd been dating much more. At my low point before taking the pills, I'd thought for a week that I should break things off (for no good reason). My only saving grace was that I was too afraid to hurt his feelings, so I couldn't do it. I knew I liked him, but I didn't know I liked him. It was like being snapped out of a haze. Suddenly I found myself spending time with this really great person who made me laugh and whom I enjoyed talking to. And I think I became more demonstrative about all of this when I saw him. I used to joke that he wasn't Alpha Male enough for me. But once he was sure I was interested, he took the lead like I always wanted him to. And I used to fret about telling him I was "friends with P." It was surprisingly easy to tell him after he let me know he was on Lexapro. I was all, "I'm so jealous! Lexapro was too expensive, so I'm on generic Prozac." The relationship continues to progress nicely, and I am very thankful I didn't do anything stupid back in April.

Next, and almost as rewarding, I got a new job!!!!! The whole reason I started the meds was because going to work every day was bringing me down. What is most interesting is that I took a huge gamble. I took a contract job, so I have no insurance and no guarantee I'll be hired. And the contract is four to eight weeks. I know Prozac had a lot to do with this. I would have never considered a short contract job before. But I thought, "Eh, go get some interview practice." That's all I was looking for. I got to the interview (in the freaking suburbs no less--another thing Prozac allowed), and everything was so relaxed and fabulous. They described the job, and I felt as though I were qualified to do it. Which hasn't always been the case. I have never been so calm in an interview before. My attitude was very "I can do this job, and this is how I would approach it." And I guess they liked that because the very next day, I had an offer. An offer I couldn't refuse. Sure, my old company tried to counter-offer, sort of. But in the end, I thought, "I have to take Prozac so I can work here. How much is that worth?" I decided they weren't willing to pay anywhere near enough to compensate me for that. And that, dear readers, is what taking Prozac was all about. I need to take care of myself. I might not have considered my well-being and taken that counter-offer so I'd have insurance. You might think that's far-fetched, but it is totally possible. I spent the better part of last year with an employment end date and didn't look for a job all that seriously. This is what landed me on Gretchen's couch. I knew I had a problem, but I couldn't get away from it. She often likened me to a battered victim who stays with an abuser. If that counter-offer had been handled with even a smidgeon of tact and respect (and I wasn't taking drugs), I might still be in that office rolling with the punches.

So I talked about all of this with Denise just before my medical benefits ran out. I'll be on the Prozac for at least six more months. The job still isn't stable. Also, I'd really like to complete a semester of grad school with a little help from my friend. So there are challenges ahead, but I know there isn't anything I can't handle.

What about the weight gain I feared? My weight has been pretty stable. Even better, not a day goes by where I don't catch myself in the mirror and think, "Wow, you look really good." I don't mean that in a vain way. I just feel a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin.