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I've seen a lot of reviews online about this drug and thought I'd add my own two pennies' worth as the other reviews were tremendously helpful when I was researching the side effects of Mirt.
So first of all - My conditions:
1. I seem to have inherited the genetic predisposition towards depression from my mom's side of the family, and the anxiety from my dad's (thanks guys ) So on most days I am overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, lack of self worth, low mood, etc, to which some would reply: 'hey, welcome to the human race', I guess. Pair this up with anger and guilt at being who you are and you have the perfect cocktail for someone who diplomatic people would describe as 'fiery'. (My family has a different word for me and it rhymes with 'itch'!).
2. I have the usual constant flurry of mental 'traffic' associated with anxiety: endless to-do lists of things I need to do around the house or at work or in my personal life, over-analysing every conversation I've ever had in my entire life over and over again, finding my jaw clenched from gritting my teeth from the frustration of it all and the inability to get anything done because I am constantly distracted by things which have happened (or might still happen!).
3. I also have a form of insomnia which means that although I do fall asleep very quickly, I struggle to maintain the healthy deep sleep which you need for emotional replenishment. Nightmares are the norm as is waking up randomly at 3am or 4am and not being able to sleep again. Get up in the mornings feeling more tired than when you went to sleep. This didn't help the feelings of agitation and aggression at all.
4. On a side note, I also got migraines sometimes caused by eating rich foods or drinking or high levels of stress, but also from an old motorbike injury where I sustained some deep tissue damage to my left shoulder. The muscles along there and the neck tense up when I am stressed, which was always because I wasn't sleeping and I felt like an awful human being.
Starting the Mirtazapine:
I started on the 15mg Mirtazapine. I took it the Friday evening and was completely emotionally detached for the whole weekend thereafter. I was distant and felt fuzzy, but strangely happy at the same time. I remember thinking that everyone should be taking this stuff because there would be a lot less fighting in the world.
By Monday I started 'feeling' again, and with that snap back to reality, I had quite an unwelcome passenger - a new ravenous appetite which I have never experienced before. As a healthy and active size 12, I was no stranger to my appetite but this was just a new level of crazy hungry. Well, not even hungry really, just greedy. I started pulling boxes of biscuits and cereal and oats which had been sitting in the cupboard for months, and devoured a lot in one sitting, a lot of times. I remember feeling quite healthy in a way because an appetite meant I had a lust for life, right?
If only the hunger wasn't paired with severe feelings of suicide and self-harm! Luckily I was able to rationalise these feelings as the side-effects as the medication and within a few days the feelings subsided.
The sleepiness started a few days after the appetite and initially I just put this down to bad eating but after a while I could not ignore it. People use the word 'drowsy' to describe how sleepy you get but that doesn't cut it. I was finding it almost impossible to wake up in the mornings, even after a shower and a brisk walk in the cold to get the circulation going. It took a good 2-3 hours before I could have an understandable conversation with anyone (through mouthfuls of snacks of course!).
During my new sleeping pattern of sleeping for 11-12 hours solid (missing alarm clocks, my partner getting ready for the work, the dogs barking to be let out) I had some pretty vivid and intense dreams. No nightmares though so that suited me fine as the alternative was much more unpleasant.
1 month later…
So here we are, a month on, and I’ve noticed a few other changes. My energy levels are a bit like a steam train - difficult and slow to get going, but once I'm awake, I don't need to nap like I used to do most days, and my energy actually feels pretty level from waking up to going to sleep. So that's a massive plus for somenoe like me who's energy fluctuates with my emotions and moods.
I did get a fair bit of dry mouth from the meds but I just made sure I always had a bottle of water with me at all times and it just helped with keeping me hydrated so that's not a bad point as such.
Because I am sleeping well and feeling better, my shoulder isn't tensing up as much so I'm not getting migraines, which is great.
Interestingly enough, because I am no longer living in my own negative emotions all the time, I am better able to identify the people around me who have actually had a negative effect on me all my life through projecting their own issues on to me. I've actively been avoiding these people and the further away I get from them, the more I see how bad their presence in my life was. (Be aware that this realisation may make you come across as 'cold' or 'distant' to the energy vampires who have been feeding off you for years. Don't be afraid to let go of these people - you don't need them!)
So, to summarise:
Better energy levels once awake
Better quality of sleep
Muscles more relaxed as not as stressed out
Not as agitated or aggressive towards people around me
Higher productivity due to ability to focus on one thing at a time (less mental 'white noise'
Better able to deal with issues as don't feel completely overwhelmed
Courage to break ties with energy leeches
Waking up in the mornings is like trying to play water polo in a swimming pool filled with treacle
Both Pro and Con (depending on how you look at it):
Slight emotional distance - probably not noticeable to those who aren't close to you (and those close to you know that this is still better than having an unhappy, raging hell-demon as their friend / partner / colleague!). For me this has had the unexpected side-effect of becoming more logical in my approach to problem-solving, which, as a highly sensitive person, has been a welcome break from alway having to base my arguments or thoughts on feelings (which were often irrational and a knee-jerk response to a situation which I later regretted).
All in all, I feel better than I have done in years. I think I have covered most of the points and hope that some of it is useful to anyone out there considering starting on this anti-depressant. Feel free to post a reply in this discussion and if you have any questions I can help with, I will happily answer.
I would recommend keeping a journal of how you're feeling so you can review it if needs be. It is also a useful tool for seeing how and by how much you've changed so you are able to manage these changes and not scare the living bejesus out of those around you
Keep on keeping on, fellow sufferers.
P.s. I am now 10 days in to the 30mg. I will write another post for the 30mg if anyone would like to know more about that.
P.p.s. whoops I accidentally a book, my apologies!
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