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This is a pretty lengthy description of my experience on fluoxetine however please please read as it really did save my life.

I’m 23 and unfortunately I was spiked on a night out which caused me to have bad anxiety and panic attacks something which I never suffered before, as I was struggling to do things I enjoyed like going out etc I became extremely depressed I decided to go on fluoxetine as I felt like there was no way out and I was really struggling. I started on 20mg which I took at 11am every morning however on the first night onwards I had a panic attack every night (not sure why) the third day I started to be sick and this went on for around 2 weeks I could not eat a single thing without being sick. I also had bad headaches which would last hours even with taking paracetamol, my sleep as the days went on really decreased I was going to sleep later and later, the fourth night I did not sleep the same on the 5th and 6th night then on the Sunday I was hallucinating as I had had no sleep. My mum had to sleep with me (I live with my mum)as I did not know what I was doing I felt like I wasn’t in my own body. I managed to fall asleep on the 8th night for around 5 hours then the following days I went to sleep at 1am and was waking up every few hours. The whole of the first week was a blur I was just wishing the day would end so I could hopefully wake up better or not at all, I had no energy at all I could hardly stand up and my mood was a lot worse. By the second week I was still being sick I did not want to go out I was scared to do anything, I did not like being on my own at all I was terrified for some reason, then around the 16th day I sort of felt a little better my mood was slightly lighter and I was starting to manage being on my own a little better I was also eating more. Then around the 4th week i had really bad anxiety to the point where it was like I was constantly having a panic attack I started being sick again so it was like I’d took another step back, however I’m not sure if this was due to the fact my mum was going on holiday so I had worked myself up, but this happened for 2 days but I couldn’t take it any longer so I went to my gp who prescribed me 2mg of diazpam this completely relaxed me I took 1 3 times a day for 4 days then I took it only when I needed it. My eating got better again however my sleep was still very on and off I struggled to stay asleep for more than 3 hours. I then went to my gp who put me on 40mg as I felt like there was no progress of me being on 20mg going onto 40mg was the best decision I ever made as I was completely going to come off fluoxetine. My first week taking 40mg was fine often I would wake up early in the morning with quite bad anxiety and have an upset stomach, but then I’d have good afternoons but that went away I’d also been off work for 2 months and I went back so the nerves with that was a lot I was sick from anxiety, however I managed to go back and now I am the happiest I have ever been it took me a while to do normal things like go to the shops etc but u can’t rush yourself I can now enjoy everything I do get a little anxious about things but it’s something I am able to cope with a lot better now my mood is great I also got rid of my boyfriend who I feel was putting my mood down a lot and surrounding myself with people who make my life better. I do sleep a lot better now I wake up sometimes but nothing major. I did loose a lot of weight around 1 and a half stone. Fluoxetine does take time and it is one hell of a journey but my mum helped me a lot as she was the same as me that’s why I stuck it out for so long. My top tips are too not google things as I’d get heavy arms the first weeks and I had acid reflux a lot all which said I could be having a heart attack so that did not help at all I had something wrong with me everyday at the start my eyes were sore from no sleep anything at all I’d have and I realised not to google things. My second one is too push yourself it’s extremely hard at first to do anything but my mum helped me get into a routine of waking up having breakfast having a shower doing some house work as sitting in bed really doesn’t help. My last tip is to make sure your mental health comes first. if anyone needs support pls feel free to message me u can do this!!

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  • Edited

    Can I just second Emily's message because I have experienced something similar. Whilst my initial anxiety was high enough to put me on fluoxetine in the first place, I was not prepared for the heightened anxiety the medication would give as a side effect. At a couple points it was almost debilitating, I would wake in the early hours extremely anxious and it would continue all day. I also developed sleep issues, stomach problems, nausea and completely lost my appetite.

    It worsened slightly when I was upped to 40 mg (from 20) and then, after a few weeks of gradual improvement, I had a day here and there where I felt like myself. Then I could focus on work again, instead of ruminating over the anxiety. And 2 months later since the increase (3 months from beginning the medication) I am the closest to myself I have been. All the side effects have subsided and I have a lot more control over my anxiety. I did also take up counselling alongside the medication which really helped too.

    The side effects can be awful, but the way I'm feeling now, (I never thought I'd say this) they were worth it!

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