Sometimes the rollercoaster slows down to let some people off and other people on. When I went to my doctor asking for an antidepressant I thought that this was my stop, that whatever she gave me would magically make me feel better, normal. But as I would soon find, the bar keeping me in place was broken and I wouldn’t be getting off the rollercoaster any time soon.

My doctor at the time diagnosed me with having depression which seemed pretty bang on and I had no reason to think otherwise. She was after all, a trained physician.

She decided on a drug called Celexa, also known as Citalopram. She explained that this particular drug was an SSRI (seratonin reuptake inhibitor) and I nodded my head and stared blankly. Essentially, Celexa works by helping to restore the natural balance of serotonin in the brain. Seemed easy peasy, we’d start at a low dose.

I walked out of the office feeling slightly better and quickly made my way to the pharmacy to fill my prescription. Now at this point, I want to stress how important it is to talk to your doctor about what to expect from new medications, any side effects, etc. This is important. I failed to have that conversation with my doctor and she must have been pressed for time because she gave me little information about the tiny pills.

I took the pill, as suggested, at night time. Had I read the side effects for Celexa, I would have been alerted to the fact that it can cause insomnia. I barely slept for 3 weeks. To make matters worse, some antidepressants when first taken can cause a patient to have suicidal thoughts which I started to experience.

Here I am taking a drug that I am hoping will drag me out of my depression and all it’s doing is making things worse. What the hell?? I was so burned out from the insomnia and depression that I went back to my doctor. She just looked at me and said, ‘Take the pills in the morning.’ I didn’t even know that was an option! I think she saw how defeated I looked and she let me know that it usually takes 4-6 weeks for the antidepressant to kick in and provide relief.

4. TO. 6. WEEKS. You’re telling me with as advanced as we are in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals that there isn’t a drug with a more immediate effect?? I just couldn’t believe it. I scoured the internet because surely this doctor was out of her gourd if she thought that I had another 3 weeks left in me before this stuff kicked in! I was pretty disappointed after my forensic audit of antidepressant websites that what she had told me was in fact true.

As I delved farther into learning about Celexa, I found that there are a multitude of potential side effects including but not limited to:

  • Nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, drowsiness, yawning
  • Sweating (I had this one, I looked like I had run a marathon)
  • Shaking or tremor
  • Decreased interest in sex (wait….what??)
  • fainting
  • Black stools or vomit that looks like coffee grounds (what the actual?)
  • Vision changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Agitation or restlessness (I had this one and it sucked)
  • Males may have a painful or prolonged erection that lasts 4 or more hours (I hated men at this point so this amused me)

I was going to have to tough it out for at least another 3 weeks before I would see a change in my mood. What I really had to do was weigh out my options. I could give up on the meds before they actually started working and return to the blob of a human I had become or I could hold out just a little longer and maybe this would work. And eventually the relief did come with some tweaking of the dosage and I seemed to level out. I was finally divorced, medicated and starting a new life. Things were looking up, yay Celexa!

So I was still sitting in the rollercoaster, ticking along, but the tracks seemed to have evened out. It was a little less scary, the nuts and bolts all looked tight and secure, not quite the rickety mess we had started with. We weren’t barreling around at breakneck speeds. I had hope…

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