After spending a few weeks contemplating whether to write this post, it only confirmed my beliefs that mental health issues need to be discussed due to the awful stigma present within society about anxiety, depression, bipolar and mental health illnesses in general. Sadly, the truth is overlooked that people are out there genuinely suffering and feel unable to discuss their emotions with anyone. The fear of hearing those typical responses; "It's all in your head", "get over it", "people have it worse than you" etc. are always there in the back of the mind. If you're brave enough to reach out (which trust me, it isn't as scary as it sounds, I promise!) and you are offered antidepressants, it is important to know the side effects and general facts which nobody seems to tell you. If I could help at least one person with this blog post then I am extremely grateful for the chance.
You're Always Tired
The first few weeks when you begin taking fluoxetine, don't be surprised if you're always tired and ready to just lie down wherever you are to take an indefinite nap. Whether it's 2am or 3pm, it makes no difference; once that tiredness hits, you're so done.
Insomnia Makes Regular Appearances
You've dragged yourself through the day and just about managed to keep your eyes open. Climbing into bed when you get home sounds perfect until your head hits the pillow and decides to not let you sleep for hours on end. Why sleep when you can overthink, right?!
You Can Still Feel Down - And That's Okay
Antidepressants aren't a cure-all happy pill and sometimes you'll still feel really down. Don't get angry with yourself or the medication, it's totally normal and remember, these pills are there to help to boost your mood, not make you immune to emotional pain.
Clumsiness Is Inevitable
It could be the tiredness, general drowsiness or increased serotonin levels your brain which causes you to be a little clumsy. Nobody wants to embarrass themselves in front of anybody, but there really isn't too much harm caused by attempting to butter your toast by wiping your bread in the butter tub or going to put toothpaste on your face cloth rather than your toothbrush. Don't worry because it's easily fixed.
Periods of Irrational Emotion
One minute you could be sat watching a film or listening to music in a generally good mood, to then immediately burst into tears for no reason. You could be spending time with friends and having a great time, only to suddenly want to go home and come up with excuses to not be there. You have no explanation for the emotional roller coaster and just want to sleep.
Hyperactivity usually occurs a few hours after taking your daily dosage. You feel absolutely great because your serotonin levels are high and you find yourself laughing at EVERYTHING. It's easily one of the best yet most tiring side effects of taking fluoxetine.
One of the not so great side effects is random outbursts of anger. The most simple misunderstandings can send your head spiraling out of control and you're ready to smash up everything in sight whilst punching a wall. Ever got angry when someone comes in your room and doesn't shut the door properly when they leave? You have an idea. P.s. Sorry to anyone who I can hear eating, you make me want to cry.
Scared of Everything?
It's just brilliant jumping out of your skin because a piece of hair tickled your shoulder, not... Or when someone starts speaking to you resulting in being petrified that there is more people on the planet than you and you alone! On the bright side, people can have a good laugh at your misfortunes...haha.
Luckily, the positives of taking fluoxetine seem to outweigh the bad. Being able to feel incredibly relaxed and partially normal is something most people take for granted. When you get to experience that due to a little green and white pill, it makes you realise that you can better and even though the road to recovery is long, there will be an end.
Fluoxetine can be great, even with all of these crazy side effects. If you've survived the black dog or any other mental illnesses and wish to help others, please make sure that the people around you know as you could save somebody's life. If you're on the road to recovery, keep your chin up and I believe in you, let's do this together! I'm proud of you. Finally, if you're worried you may be suffering in silence then please speak to somebody, whether it be a doctor, friend, teacher or parent and get the support you deserve. You're needed.
*This blog post was written entirely from my own experiences and fluoxetine can affect everybody differently. Ensure you speak to a doctor if you're worried about any effects of this medication to avoid any incidents.
Let me know your story in the comments section below!