My journey of self rediscovery with mirtazapine, as dissected below, was not to last. Although I had the side-effects of this potent tricyclic – drowsiness, dizziness, very loud dreams – I was experiencing none of the benefits. Unfortunately, one of the problems with antidepressants is that they can enhance your mood – that is, make you even more depressed and/or anxious – before you get better.
A month down the road and I was back to violent mood swings, paranoia, even some mild self-harm (there, I said it.) The problem was that the local shaman seemed unable to comprehend that I needed some extra help to get through this mire, and it took a six-hour stake-out of the local Accident and Emergency ward (that’s the ER, for readers in the colonies) for me to attract the notice of the Mental Health Professionals.
So, a month down the line, and – at last! – I get phone and personal support from people who don’t look like nurses, but regular blokes with whom you’d happily share a pint of the old Thunderjugs down the Dog and Ferret – and I see an actual psychiatrist, who (huzzah!) didn’t waffle on about behavioural cognitive bollocks, or respond with my utterances of Proposition X with responses such as ‘So, you feel that Proposition X?’ notwithstanding inasmuch as which I had made it quite clear that those who went down that road with me shouldn’t be surprised to get a smack in the gob. No, my psych eschewed such woolly-minded ether-bothering and got straight down to business – there are no such things as thoughts and feelings, there are only drugs, and my problem was simply getting the right ones.
So, this is what happened – the psych said that the mirtazapine in which I had been placing such hope for a month obviously wasn’t my thing, and I had to go back to serotonin reuptake inhibitor similar to my old tried and trusted citalopram.
A month of my life I’ll never see again (not that I’d want to, it was mostly horrible.)
Back to square one.
So now I’m on 50mg sertraline:
As you can see from the picture this looks reassuringly unlike a tricyclic and rather different from the citalopram that kept me going for years or the serotonin whose reuptake it is meant to inhibit. I have had precisely one (1) dose so far (I’ve counted … and if you were in my current state, you’d appreciate how difficult it is to count up to one, rather than the three or possibly five that is typical for palaeontologists.)
But wait, there’s more. I also have a side order of lorazepam to curb the anxiety attacks … and some zopiclone to help me sleep. I haven’t had sleep, what you’re really call sleep … for … goodness. Ages.
Let’s hope it works this time. I am a little irked that (a) my shaman prescribed mirtazapine and then effectively left me to get on with it; (b) he didn’t tell me of the support services that existed to keep me on the straight and narrow, and to reassure my family that I will get better.
If they can only decide on which pills I should take. The red ones? Or the blue ones? Both at once? Neither? Something else instead? I’m so tired I can hardly twitch galvanically in response.