I’ve been on Clonazepam (this time) for almost two months. It was prescribed for anxiety and to help me sleep, since I was only getting about four hours of sleep a night during the crisis this summer. Thus far I have only used it to help me sleep, as I suspect that if I tried to take it for anxiety during the day it would just make me groggy.
Like all sleep medications I’ve ever taken, it has a limited effect. Initially, one pill was enough to keep me asleep all night. Now I’ve already built up a tolerance, and one pill sometimes only lasts from four to six hours, at which point I wake up as if to an alarm, and my mind immediately fills with words, images, and ideas, the way it does when I have insomnia. So I often have to take a second pill upon waking if I want a full program of sleep, though occasionally only one pill will do the trick for an entire sleep period.
On August 23rd I started taking my new depression medication–desvenlafaxine. I take the brand “Pristiq,” which sounds like the name of one of the X-Men. (Another brand name is “Khedezla,” which sounds like a tough, but sassy black drag queen who won’t take shit off anybody.)
I decided to take the Pristiq at bedtime because I suspected, correctly, that it would make me drowsy and groggy. For a few minutes after I take it I feel a little giddy.
For the first week the medication gave me sharp chest pains, which I have traditionally experienced when taking depression medications, Ritalin, Ephedrine, or any drug of that sort. This pain toned down and became less pronounced after about a week.
Almost immediately the drug rid me of my wild mood swings. I stopped feeling violent rages, fits of anger, hatred, and murderous intent, irritability, dread, fear, deep sadness, despair, suicidal ideation*, the desire to harm myself, and crying jags. These feelings have been especially bad for the last four years, but unbearable for the last year-and-a-half.
[* I did have one instance of suicidal ideation during the first week. My sleeping pill ran out, I woke up, and I began mentally working the problem of how one commits suicide with a belt. I took another pill, rolled over, went right back to sleep, and that was that.]
On the other hand, the drug did not make me feel especially happy, hopeful, cheerful, optimistic, or anything positive like that. I was reading where someone wrote that depression medication took away all of his negative moods, but also left him feeling no emotions whatsoever.
For the first few days I was very mellow, a little dizzy, and felt like I had a bit of an alcoholic buzz. I had trouble focusing my eyes and mind, couldn’t remember what I’d just read, and was afraid (without justification, it turned out) that anything I wrote would be filled with typos and errors. Some of these conditions still persist in a less intense manner.
I have remained groggy and sleepy for the entire two weeks, and get little reading or anything else accomplished, feeling too tired to tackle a major project. If I didn’t have Belle demanding to be fed, walked, watered, tended to, played with, and loved on, I would probably sleep twenty-two or twenty-three hours a day, getting up only to eat one meal and take a shower.
I have not tested to see if the drug does anything for my OCPD, OCD, social anxiety, agoraphobia, or misophonia. I rather suspect it doesn’t. Since August 22nd I’ve stayed on the grounds of my apartment complex except for two quick trips on the 28th, when I dropped Belle off at the vet clinic across the street in the morning, then went to the dollar store and back to the vet’s to pick Belle up about seven hours later. I’ve had no need or desire to leave the house, and have mostly been asleep during the daytime and awake at night.
I really ought to re-schedule my doctor’s appointment, and I hope to go to the Blanton once more before one of its exhibitions closes at the end of the month. And I suppose I’ll have to go grocery shopping sooner or later. I turned down two dinner offers during the first week I was on the medication; I was just too out of it to go anywhere.
On September 2nd I found myself getting angry and irritable again, though not quite at the levels I’d experienced those emotions before taking the medication.
My psychiatrist wants to test this medication for eight to twelve weeks, which is longer than I usually tried out the fourteen or fifteen other depression medications I’ve taken. Most of the others had such bad effects early on that my doctors agreed to take me off them rather quickly.