Fluoxetine and tieredness?

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I am 22 (female) and have just moved away from home to study a PhD which is super exciting. Dispite how well things go for me, I have been suffering with depression for the last 3 years or so and have been taken fluoxetine for the last 6 months or so to keep it in check. Its working and I feel much better in terms of my mood. However, I do find I have an empty mind a lot of the time, the back of my head feels heavy and I keep stuggling not to fall asleep at work. Its not sudden sleep...I feel myself going but I am almost powerless to stop it and I just end up with blurry vision and muscle spasms. Not very helpful as I have so much studing to do! So I am wondering if this is a side effect, something else, or (the most likely option) just me being really lazy. Any help is appreciated ... thanks x

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    I would say this is side effects.  It's not fair to put this to laziness since you are doing a lot!  The thing about these drugs is nothing is for free.  They come with these side effects and you have to decide if the benefits outweighs the negatives.  These should really be used for acute situations to pull you out of the lows and get you up again, so short term, not for years.  The negatives begin to pile on over the years until finally they aren't working any more and all you have is the side effects.  These drugs are very powerful and cause your brain to modify in response to their action, making coming off very difficult with withdrawal symptoms if you go too fast.  So short term for a leg up....

    So, what have you done to cope with the depression in terms of therapy and learning better coping mechanisms?  Most depression is due to negative thoughts and poor coping mechanisms, but those can be turned around!  Once a person rewires their thinking he/she can handle stressors better and not sink into depression, so it really is the way to go to create lasting change.  It takes work, though.  

    The pills are a band-aid, but while on them you can do the work to then come off and not need them anymore :-)

    • Posted

      Thanks for getting back to me smile I was hoping it was the pills and not something else I have to go moan at the doctor about. 

      I guess being tierd is better than miserable, its just frustrating because I have work I need to do, and not being able to do it stresses me out. I must admit I have not really done a huge deal in teams of 'therapy'. One of the reasons I have only just started taking my medication is that it took me a long time to accept that maybe I needed help and that I wasn't just imagining it all. I dont really like talking about it (she says on a chat website...) because I am worried about how people react and also being 'attention seeking'. I know professionals will understand, but I still really dont like the idea of saying explaining things out loud. I tried a lot of self help stuff before the pills but no luck.

    • Posted

      Just know that if you complain about emotional stuff to p-docs, their solution is to Rx more pills - that is what they do.

      I went into therapy throughout my adulthood but never got the right kind, I guess, and ended up on Prozac 20 years ago.  I kept taking the pills believing I had an "imbalance" and my doctors never discussed the strategy, whether there'd be a time to come off of them, and so I just kept taking them even though I was still "depressed."  It was only when I finally decided to come off of them due to long term side effects that I really crashed due to withdrawal and dedicated myself to doing the work, because I couldn't stand myself the way I was.

      I had always been a very negative person and worried about what others thought of me, poor self-esteem, nothing ever good enough, etc.  I finally started doing a type of CBT work that is based on neuroplasticity and breaking circuits that lead to depression, rewired new circuits that favor self-compassion.  I never thought I could be a positive person with no inner dialogue of self-criticism, but I am 85% there, I'd say!  I still have perfectionism to contend with.

      The pills can errode motivation, so it can be hard to do the work while on them.  I found that to be true during the 12 years I was on Effexor.  All the old thinking patterns were still there but I just didn't FEEL as much about them or care as much, until a big stressor would hit me and then I'd have extreme reactions.  

      I was in protracted WD from Effexor and the wheels came off the bus, so to speak; after 10 months I went back on thinking I had relapsed, but then learned about protracted WD and it explained everything.  I am now tapering and am on a subtherapeutic dosage at this point and doing really well.  I did have a big stressor hit me this weekend that left me crying, but I didn't fall into my old thinking pattern and was able to pull out of it and bounce back.  The old me would have been feeling inferior, worrying about what others thought of me, and feeling a whole lot of negativity with a lot of "I'll never be able to" statements, so I attribute that to the work I've done :-)  

      I can send you links that I think are helpful if you like.

    • Posted

      First of I hope you are feeling better currently. You have a really insightful story and the fact you are prepare to share it to help others is amazing. Also well done on breaking the circuit!

      It was intresting that you brough up lack of motivation because that is what made me wonder if these were actually side-effects of my meds or something else (like just being a wuss lol). What I wouldn't give for a day in some else head, just so I had a base line to work out what people feel like normally!

      I have had no motivation before... it was hell, so I remeber how I felt pretty well... and its not like this. I am still motivated to do stuff, I am keen to work, I have things I want to do, but I am just falling asleep. Fighting the sleep and the twitching is a bit painful, and sometimes the numbness in the back of my head is very distracting... but I still feel the drive to do stuff, I just cant focus.


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