Mental health

Ugly Truth 024: Medication May Make Things Worse

“The beginning of an attack I always experienced as a swell lurching up from unseen depths, similar to the physical sensation of standing waist-high in the sea when there are no waves but all of a sudden the great body of water heaves itself up as if the planet has shifted a fraction on its axis. That was the signal for me that the nature of reality was about to terrifyingly change.” Glenn Haybittle, The Tree House

Dear Readers,

I have had two panic attacks in three days. This is very unusual, even for me. I suppose if I take into account all the changes in my life recently (or the incredible stress), it makes sense. Still, wisdom is completely useless in the face of clinical grade fear.

Panic Attacks are characterized by severe physical symptoms which may include anxiety. However, Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks are not the same.

After doing some digging I realized I was having an adverse reaction to the Trazodone I was taking. Often times I believe the symptoms I experience stem from the natural course of my mental illness, however, it is important to remember that there are many contributing factors that can influence or change your psychology. Choosing pharmaceuticals as a course of intervention is never easy. Aside from the stigma attached to medication, there is the expense, the inconvenience, and the side effects. I was treating my insomnia and depression, but at what cost? I soon found myself increasingly anxious, agitated and angry. If you know me at all you know my demeanor is quite pleasant and bittersweet, so to appear angry and discontent in front of my friends and family was a pretty big indicator that something was off. I didn’t want to believe it because I was experiencing relief, but I had to acknowledge that I was also trembling with a depression-rage so profound that few understand it. While teetering on the edge of full blown panic attacks and heartbreaking impulses, you tend to find yourself faced with a pretty obvious decision. To be sure, I researched the side effects of this medication. It wasn’t until I scrolled to the bottom to the less likely slash call-your-doctor-right-away-if list of side effects that a light bulb turned on. Suddenly there it was, everything I had been feeling, laid out right in front of me. Black Box Label Warnings for Trazodone include:

  • Worsening depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • A severe rash or hives
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A painful erection that will not go away (priapism)
  • Panic attack
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Seizure

So, mystery solved. Fortunately, Trazodone has a decent elimination half life so it took only 2-3 days to detox safely from this medication. My insomnia returned, but at least I didn’t want to scratch the face off of everyone I saw or leap from a tall building. The truth is, your diagnosis may not always provide an obvious explanation for your psychological experience. If you or a loved one has a rapid noticeable change in demeanor related to behavior or mental heath, it may be time for a med check.

As always, thank you for reading.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

literature, Mental health

Deskraven Book Series: Prozac Nation

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A Deskraven Book Review

“I start to get the feeling that something is really wrong. Like all the drugs put together-the lithium, the Prozac, the desipramine, and Desyrel that I take to sleep at night-can no longer combat whatever it is that was wrong with me in the first place. I feel like a defective model, like I came off the assembly line flat-out fucked and my parents should have taken me back for repairs before the warranty ran out. But that was so long ago…”

Page 1, Paragraph 1

Prozac Nation (1994) takes us into the mind of the demented and depressed. Feathered and unfiltered, Elizabeth Wurtzel shares her story of hard-earned triumph over a disease that disables and kills countless American’s each year. While this work is far from the top of my favorites list- it has an immense pop culture quality that certainly aided in its envied climb as a New York Times Bestseller. A memoirst at best- Wurtzel provides a safe place to land when we can’t get out of bed in the morning. Prozac Nation can also be seen as a major motion picture (2003) starring Christina Ricci.

CONTENTS

Prologue: I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

1 / Full of Promise

2 / Secret Life

3 / Love Kills

4 / Broken

5 / Black Wave

6/ Happy Pills

7 / Drinking in Dallas

8 / Space, Time, and Motion

9 / Down Deep

10 / Blank Girl

11 / Good Morning Heartache

12 / The Accidental Blowjob

13 / Woke Up This Morning Afraid I Was Gonna Live

14 / Think of Pretty Things

Epilogue: Prozac Nation

Afterword (1995)

Acknowledgements

RAVES FOR PROZAC NATION

“Wrenching and comical, self-indulgent and self-aware, Prozac Nation possesses the raw candor of Joan Didion’s essay’s, the irritating emotional exhibitionism of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and the wry, dark humor of a Bob Dylan song.”

-The New York Times

“A very important book, particularly to the countless number of people who aren’t sure what’s wrong with them but are suffering from the negative thinking, erratic behavior, and dark moods associated with clinical depression. A powerful self-portrait…well worth reading.”

-San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Wurtzel portrays, from the inside out, an emotional life perpetually spent outrunning the relentless pursuit of what she describes as a black wave, often sacrificing her likability on the altar of her truth.”

-Vanity Fair

FINAL THOUGHTS

Wurtzel’s story is important because it highlights the highly controversial topic of the over-medicated public in the face of big pharma drug trends, and symptomatic treatment for valid and significant mental illness. Having read this book twice myself, I feel Prozac Nation is a mainstream necessity for every psychology enthusiast. In many ways it returns us to the vastly misunderstood experience known as depression. Despite its often ugly truths that will leave you wanting to look away, this book bridges the gap where a lack of language lies. Click below to take a look. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

VISIT OTHER DESKRAVEN BOOK REVIEWS

Sybil [Exposed]

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

Manic

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog – and Other Stories From a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!