Prozac for life it seems

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I have been prescribed the anti depressant Fluoxetine - or Prozac, as it is generically known, for over twenty five years. I was told it was the ‘Sunshine Pill’ and I would be on it for six months at the most.

My latest attempt to come off this drug has lasted almost a year. I have tried so hard, but I am finally admitting defeat. It feels like this little capsule that twenty years ago was my saviour has now become my captor. It is with feeling of utter failure and slight despair that I have decided to revisit this drug. I feel I have no choice. The worst thing is, I don't understand why I feel the way I do and hate it so much.

The last attempt to come off Prozac was one of many attempts over the years. During those twenty five years, I was never comfortable taking it. I was grateful for how it worked, how it changed my life, but for some reason that I could never shake off, I didn't like the idea of having to be on medication every day just to feel mentally normal. I hated being dependent on this little green and cream capsule simply to have the kind of life everyone else seemed to have.

I suffered from post natal depression. When I swallowed that first pill, I thought that I would be cured of my crippling depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety, and go back to the happy person I used to be. Then when I was cured, I would simply stop taking it. I was told it was not 'addictive', and it WAS only for the short term. But every time I felt better and stopped the medication, I not only immediately suffered the most awful symptoms, I also felt a hundred times worse than I did when I first asked for help. It is like Prozac has changed my brain, so I am dependent on it simply to have any quality of life.

With Prozac, I am relatively content, I enjoy socialising, I can do my job, run a household and look after my family and my ageing parents. I am calm and efficient and happy. Quite simply, I just get on with my life, which is a good one.

Without Prozac, I am anxious and irritable all of the time. My brain just seems to slow down and be a jumble of disjointed thoughts that I can’t untangle or prioritise. I panic at the thought of having to do anything. I can't even cope with trivial or simple things like organising meals, or making lists. It all seems too overwhelming so I just don't do it. I overthink everything, and get completely worked up about nothing. I fly into rages and feel awful afterwards. I wake in the morning with a nervous tummy and terrible anxiety about the day. I can lie for an hour in bed in the morning feeling sick with nerves, and cannot find a 'place' to go in my head that is pleasant. It is always doom and gloom, and anger and sadness....and recently I have been contemplating all sorts of ways of leaving it all behind me.

I don’t really understand why I view Prozac as the Enemy, and not as my Friend. It gives me a good quality of life, but I feel it is at a cost. I am resentful that I am totally dependent on it, it’s part of my life and I have no choice in the matter. I feel defeated and overpowered, even though continuing to take it is to my mental health benefit. What if they find out it causes tumours, or my doctor just decides to stop prescribing it down the line. I feel trapped, no matter how I look at it.

I would tell anyone thinking of going onto this drug that it is like being in a glass bowl. Once you are in, you are in it forever no matter how much you try to scramble up the sides. It is not just a case of take it till you get well - then thank it, and move on. Prozac has you in its grip forever.

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Lesley998

    We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around self-harm. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologies for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.

    If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The Samaritans offer a safe space where you can talk openly about what you are going through. They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen.

    Their contact details are on our patient information leaflet here: https://patient.info/health/dealing-with-suicidal-thoughts, which also offers lots of other advice on how you can access the help you may need.

    If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to the team at the Samaritans (or the other people detailed in our leaflet) who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.

    Kindest regards

    Patient

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  • Posted

    i too have been on prozac 20mg for 15 years. following an attack of anxiety and stress. i then developed fibromyalgia and always considered prozac my saviour getting me through the years. but i had a mental wobble this time last year and upped dose to 40mg. i did go back to 20mg in september after a few weeks of lowring the dose. and i was thinking about coming off it altogether over the last few months, so am really upset i need to up the dose instead of stopping. like you i feel it is a life long pill and dont know why i worry about taking it as it does work. i guess the answer is not to worry and just take them, as the worry only makes the anxiety worse.

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  • Posted

    hi Lesley I have been on Prozac for years and I also believed it was my enemy for a long time.the way I feel now is,it has given me my life back.I'm quite happy and content.I have a full time job I love,I have an Amazing family and I am now a Grandma.if Prozac continues to help me live a happy life with not many worries,then I am happy to take it forever.of course it isn't nice to be on medication long term but the alternative is so much worse for me so I choose to have a better life.if it ends up being bad for you whats the point of worrying about that.every medication has risks.hope this helps

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  • Posted

    Hi Lesley, i promised myself i would never go back to any antidepressants when i came off them years back because of the dependency. I have PTSD through rape sadly, i am in counselling at the moment and it feels like rubbish! But. i won't take antidepressants and my doctors can't force me to. My background has virtually ruined parts of my life. I will do ANYTHING apart from take lethal anti depressants. Why don't you search for a PTSD counsellor near to where you live? They deal with post natal depression. I wish you luck what a life you have. You are very strong to even comment on here! Well done for bringing this into the open. You could even try they have masses of baby related groups and i'm sure someone on there will help you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Lesley

    It sounds like it is your mental health problems returning when you come off of prozac rather than problems with withdrawal symptoms. Many antidepressants can cause some nasty withdrawal symptoms when you're coming off of them but there are things that can be done to help with these - reducing the daily dose over a long period (often many months) and high strength omega-3 can help with brain zaps/dizziness.

    But if your mental health problems are returning then that means that actually you still need the medication. Depression is as much a physical illness as diabetes or thyroid disease and we would never even think to question our need for lifelong medication to control these. Depression is the same. If this medication helps you to live a normal life, then take it, it's nothing to be ashamed about.

    You warn people about starting on it. But what would have happened if you hadn't found a medication that helped?

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    • Posted

      well said lucy 1969 it is nothing to be ashamed of to take Medication.some people do ok without it and good for them if they can do that.but sometimes its needed due to the Depression and Anxiety.it doesn't make you a failure to have to take them.

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  • Posted

    I was on prozac for 28years and and during that time I was doing very good, it save my life.However, i had an incident January 2017, and the doctor took me off fluoxetine and placed me on lexapro without tapering the fluoxetine down slowly, well I almost die. Finally I was place back on Fluoxetine on 2018 and I am back to normal again. I had to go to another doctor and I was told that the other doctor should have never taken me off the fluoxetine he should had increased it instead.

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  • Posted

    H I have to agree with the others. I will also add that no ad can 'cure' depression. Their purpose is to help you make feel better and more able to tackle your issues. Have you ever had any counselling? If you can get to the root of your depression then you might be able to lessen it's impact and in time maybe get off your meds. x

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