July update – Antidepressants (part 3)

The first 2-3 weeks of my taking Sertraline (the SSRI/Antidepressant I’d been prescribed) passed without incident.

I quickly noticed a marked decrease in my anxiety, my concentration improved, I was less phased by trivial matters, I felt happier and my perspective shift for the better. Most notably, I saw that there was life after a possible failure to meet my offer and I no longer toyed with the idea of killing myself in the event of failure.

Then the event occured.

My exams had started and by the Friday evening I was massively fatigued. I rewarded myself with some takeout and went to sleep early. Only  to be awoken over 5 times in the night by stomach pains and an uncomfortable bloat. I had already noticed that my bowel movements over the 2-3 weeks were looser due to the Sertraline but to date, hadn’t experienced anything like the violent and painful emissions that bounded me to the toilet for lengthy periods of time, that night.

The morning was remarkably even worse as I soiled my pants after an attempt to pass wind turned out to be more than that. I was in shock.

I experienced a kaliedescope of emotions. My initial shock turned into sadness. I sobbed, allowing myself some moments of self-pity as I bemonaed the fact the drug which had caused me to feel the best I’d felt in months was now making me physically ill. This eventually develved into paranoia. I felt afraid that I’d have a similar accident during one or more of my forthcoming exams.

Some hours passed and I eventually felt well enough to go to the drug store where I purchased a few boxes of the antidiarrhoeal drug – Imodium which brought me some relief.

I managed to control the side effect with varying amounts of success over the next 2 weeks by changing my diet and using Imodium but I wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t perfect and I wanted a more permanent solution so returned to the Dr to seek their advice. Thankfully I had no exam accidents!

She was sympathetic and suggested that I try Citrolopram, another SSRI, instead. She claimed that it typically has less side effects and that she would start me on 20mg and increment the dosage until I was on something more optimal.


Saturday Clubbing – what happened and postthoughts

This is a continuation of my post: Saturday Clubbing – prethoughts.

The time to leave grew closer. I begrudging got dressed and felt some momentary relief when I couldn’t find my passport. I looked for it around my tiny cluttered room, hoping that it wouldn’t be found as its loss would provide a convenient excuse for my absence. Unfortunately, fate was against me and I saw the gleam of the purple document peering at me from beneath a pile of unfolded laundry.

I’d backed myself into a corner as I’d already told various people that that would be the night I tried going out. I couldn’t bear their judgement if I flaked out – as I usually do. I got an uber and the nervousness built as I rode the 7 minute drive – in the leather back seat of the Silver Mercedes – to where my friend awaited.

He suggested we first go a bar we’d previously checked out but the prospect of doing two things in one night was overwhelming so at my insistence, we walked toward the club. The night air was cool and we walked briskly to gain a bit of warmth. My anxiety and the frigid temperature caused my teeth to chatter and my body to tremble, making the open doors of the rock club surprisingly welcome.

We entered but the dance floor was empty. Noticing some benches around, we sat down to chat until the space began to fill up a little. The DJ arrived after some minutes and began to play various songs. On our 2nd trip to the bar to refill our glasses, we found the space occupied and so we went to a pillar to lean against and continue chatting. The place was only moderately full at this point and the music, though rock, was mostly unfamiliar. I joked to my friend that I intended to stay until I found something I recognised.

The next couple of hours continued in the same vein – one of us heading to the bar to buy drinks and returning to the pillar to chat to the other. At last, the tunes became vaguely familiar and as the alcohol loosened me up, I felt my inhibitions begin to fade slightly and began to dance a little. I spied a door in the distance and headed toward it. There was another room! I heard the closing notes of Panic at the Disco’s Ballad of Mona Lisa and noted the younger demographic of the space. Rushing back to my friend, I hurriedly explained that there was a room where “younger music” was being played.

He joined me but soon returned to the other space as he prefers classic rock to more modern pop punk/rock or post hardcore music. I occasionally joined him and him I but we spent most of the rest of the evening separated. It was certainly interesting. I headbanged with the rest and sung loudly but I couldn’t lose the grip of self conciousness. (though I did gather up the courage to ask the DJ to play a My Chemical Romance song) I felt so awkward surrounded by people in their friendship groups and felt judged. Still, I didn’t care that much and a combination of my inebriation and the anonymizing darkness muted much of my anxiety.

I was right. Though I went, I did not consider it to be the best thing since sliced bread nor did I berate myself for ever feeling anxious previously; however I underestimated how well I was able to now cope in such a socially dynamic environment. It was at least tolerable and if I’m being honest, I had flashes of fun.

I don’t think I’d ever initiate such plans but I think I’m willing to say “yes” more to invitations like this in the future.