Monday, March 22, 2010

Part 4: My First Prescription for SSRI Medication


I last left my story of medication for OCD with Dr. Celexa in 2001, and his confidence that a med would fix any side effects I might have if I started on Celexa. Shortly after, I began researching whether Celexa was the right medication. I was terrified of making a mistake. In the midst of this, my therapist, Molly, started a session by saying, "This is going to be hard for both of us. I need to have brain surgery, and will be out for 6 weeks." OCD doesn't leave a lot of room for learning how to cope with the chaos of life. Yeah, I researched her surgery, and that anesthetized the anxiety for a fleeting moment. I had spent years researching things, and by the time I surfaced from whatever the current search was, life had moved on without me.

Nobody wants their therapist to have brain surgery. It is a scary, scary thing. Molly came through the surgery, and left me a groggy, anesthesia and pain killer influenced message on my voicemail that she was ok. I was still re-reading all the entries in the phonebook under "Psychiatrist" and realized there was one I hadn't called because she was farther away, but I had started driving again, and it occurred to me that I could get there. Dr. S. actually called me back, and could see me within a week. She had her office at her house, a McMansion on a cul-de-sac.

I sat on her leather couch, going over my questions in my mind, and as if this would somehow compel me to ask them, rather than mentally rehearse them in hopes of perfection, which would never come. She listened to my fears about side effects, and gave it to me straight. She said that she liked Zoloft, that maybe this was because the drug rep came by more often than other ones did, but she had clients who did well on it, and it had a short half-life, so if I had side effects, I could stop the drug and have it out of my system relatively quickly--not as abruptly as Paxil, but not as dragged out as Prozac.

Dr. S. said she'd start me on a low dose, 25 mg, and slowly titrate it up. I had done repeated searches on the concept of titration, so it was a relief to hear someone actually discuss it, though that didn't last long, since the OCD can always find a new concern. She gave me the prescription, on a slip of patterned blue paper, like the inside of a security envelope, and I went to the drugstore to have it filled. I bought a little guillotine to cut the pills in half. This was April of 2002. More to come.

Related Posts

Part 1: OCD and Medication Decisions
Part 2: Starting Medication While Struggling
Part 3:The Limits of Research in Making a Decision
Part5: Feeling in the Jaw: Side effects
Part 6: Being on Medication & OCD Weeping
Part 7: Wanting to Get off my Medication
Part 7.5: Built on Sinking Sand: OCD and Health Anxiety

1 comment:

  1. I can totally relate to the research thing. I only need to hear someone mention something I don't know in conversation and I immediately have to become an expert on it. I, too, have experienced the, "Where did everybody go?" thing when I have emerged from a prolonged research session to find that life waits for no one. Thanks, also for sharing your experience with medications in depth. I am facing my first prescription in a matter of weeks and it helps to get a research fix.