Before I go any further into writing this…

Yes, I know that taking an antidepressant isn’t a sign of weakness.

But that doesn’t really change the way I feel. I feel like I’ve completely failed. I feel like I’m a total screw up. Are either of those things true? Probably not. But again, that doesn’t really change the way I feel.

I’m working on talking back to the irrational thoughts and emotions. But at this moment, they are really powerful. And it’s really hard to fight back against them.

And yet again, I digress. So on Wednesday I went to see the doctor again. My sinus infection has pretty much cleared up. I’m still pretty congested, especially at night, but that’s getting better. What isn’t improving is my mood. Keeping the mood diary was pretty much a waste of time. It basically said the same thing every day. I feel like shit. Well, not in quite those words, but you get the general idea. So when I went back on Wednesday I asked him to prescribe an antidepressant. I need some relief from this. I need to sleep. I need to be able to actually look at food without getting nauseous. I need to be able to go to work and not want to cry every time I set foot in my classroom.

I explained all of this the best I could. Holding back the tears was close to impossible. I didn’t want to let him see me cry. A lot of that goes back to my old fears about crying. But I think part of it too was I was (am?) afraid of him. Damn it! He’s never done anything remotely bad to me (except shoving that vacuum thing up my nose to see what my snot looks like, but that’s a medical doctor thing). He’s probably one of the most soft spoken and kind doctors I’ve come across in Korea.

So after all of the talking and making sure I wasn’t planning on killing myself (I won’t lie to you all, I do have some suicidal thoughts, but not intense enough to worry about) he wanted to prescribe Prozac. I put a stop to that really fast. Prozac was the first antidepressant I tried back in college. Let’s just say it was NOT a good experience. I was having trouble sleeping to begin with. Prozac completely trashed my sleep cycle. Wait, there was no cycle. I basically didn’t sleep for almost two weeks and ended up in the hospital after coming within about five minutes of attempting to kill myself. So yeah, I don’t think trying Prozac again is a great idea, especially when living in a country where you don’t speak the language.

Why Prozac? Apparently the pharmacy in LotteMart only carries Prozac. Anything else has to be special ordered. I’m finding that the selection of medications in most pharmacies (read not the ones inside of the hospitals) is pretty bad. I have a hard time tolerating many antibiotics. So I tend to stick with the ones that I know won’t make me break out in rashes or other fun things. It’s been very difficult to find pharmacies that carry these. I’ve never heard of a pharmacy carrying ONE antidepressant. But I guess I’m just used to how things work back home.

Okay. Scratch the Prozac idea. He asked if I had tried other medications. That actually almost made me chuckle. It might be easier to list the ones I haven’t tried. But I digress. I didn’t get very far in my list when he stopped me. I guess he was at least slightly familiar with Zoloft. So that’s what he decided to prescribe. That was fine with me. It was an effective antidepressant when I took it. It was pretty activating the first time I tried it. Well, that might be an understatement. Zoloft is the only antidepressant that’s ever pushed me over into hypomania. I’m not bipolar by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t remember exactly how it’s stated in the DSM, but drug induced mania doesn’t qualify a person for a bipolar diagnosis. And I digress yet again. You would think I’ve started the Zoloft the way my thoughts are scattered all over the place.

The other thing Zoloft has going for it is that it seems to be somewhat effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. If I remember correctly, it even has FDA approval to be labeled to treat PTSD. So yeah, Zoloft is probably a good choice.

The doctor (I wish I knew his name) wrote the script for 14 days. He also warned me that it would be expensive. Apparently my definition of expensive and his definition of expensive are two different things. My 14 days of Zoloft plus a couple days of decongestants and assorted other goodies came to 8,500 Won. According to my favorite currency converter, that’s $9.37. A quick glance at drugstore.com shows that a 30 day supply of Zoloft is $87.14. And I really do have the real deal, no generics. The pills look just like these. So even if you round up and double, my 14 day supply is less than a quarter of what I would have paid back in the US. So, expensive? Not by any stretch of my (U.S. raised) imagination.

So I’ll start it in the morning. Like I said, it was pretty activating for me. Given I’ve been having issues sleeping, taking it at night probably isn’t the brightest thing I could do.  I need this to work.  I need this to help.  I really do.  I’m not looking forward to waiting out the four to six weeks to see if will work, but that’s just life.

16 thoughts on “Zoloft

  1. mostlyharmless2u says:

    I need to go back on meds. I’ve read your posting and, wow. I can feel myself there. Those thoughts and feelings. The cycle of depression sucks you in and spirals you further down the rabbit hole. The husband tells me to “suck it up”. He’s never experienced a day of depression in his life.

  2. Thanks Marcy. I didn’t even consider the fact that I was using DBT skills in that post. Maybe I haven’t totally forgotten everything they tried to teach me.

    Mostlyharmless… I hate those people who say “suck it up”. If I could do that, I wouldn’t be in the boat I’m in now. I would have done that oh so simple thing already. Some days I think people would be so much more compassionate if they experienced even 5 minutes of the pain that depression/anxiety/etc brings. No one would ever tell a cancer patient to just suck it up.


  3. kers says:

    Zoloft definitely helped me with depression and PTSD issues. And I felt noticeable relief inside of two weeks. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  4. Ys says:

    i understand why it makes you feel weak, but, like you say at the beginning: you know you’re not.

    i hope the tablets work for you. you sound much happier already. relieved because you think the tablets will help? i hope so. stay strong :)

  5. I think that happiness sounding thing was sleep deprivation. I tend to get more nutty than usual.
    Then again, it could be a placebo affect. I feel pretty damn shitty today. More so than has been usual over the last couple weeks. It might have been my trip to LotteMart to do the grocery shopping. I’d kill for a place open 24 hours and within walking distance of my apartment. Shopping any time during the day on Saturday or Sunday is just painful. And it’s not much better after work on a weekday.

  6. M says:

    I’m glad you’ve found a sympathetic and understanding doctor. Do you need to register with a particular family doctor or can you go to any?

    Shopping for groceries isn’t my idea of fun either. Putting it all away when I get home is the worst part of the job.

  7. It helps. It’s also approved for treatment of OCD as well as PTSD, depression AND Pre-menstrual disphoric disorder which is like PMS x 1000. Zoloft is a great choice. I can honestly say it saved my life. It should help you sleep too. I’m happy you decided to go ahead and take it. You worried me ya know that?

    Shopping in any form makes me want to pop a Zoloft. LOL


  8. Me again,
    I forgot to add that Prozac made me homicidal as well as suicidal. Me and Prozac don’t mix.
    I probably wasn’t suppose to laugh at the part about being in crisis in a country where you don’t speak the language….I can see Prozac “had it’s way” with you as well. I can’t even believe that sh*t is still on the market. I’ve never, not once, heard a good story about that stuff. If there’s one out there it’ll be like finding a needle in a haystack….then we have to consider that they were paid to say it.

    If I were taking my Zoloft properly I’d be in bed right now. You actually have to take it for it to work. Once you get past the mental block of taking meds they help. It’s just getting past the “I’m not weak” and the “I’m taking this medication because someone screwed me over” type thinking. If we could get it in our heads that we take it because it’s the healthy thing to do for ourselves I think we as survivors would jump up every morning with a nice full glass of water ready to start the day. But there is so much involved in taking the medication. Shame, reminders of why we’re taking it, stigma..did I mention shame and reminders? Taking one pill is easier than it sounds. We also have to get past the idea that we may deserve the mental pain we have when we don’t take the medication. Sometimes not taking it is self injury, a very self destructive act, sabotage, etc.


  9. Prozac. Been there. Done that. Got the teeshirt. Will never do it again.

    I haven’t been sleeping any better. And the Zoloft has killed the last little bit of appetite I had left. But I’m not manic, so that’s a good thing.

    I’m still trying to get over the whole “I’ve failed” thing. And yeah, there is the whole shame and stigma thing too. I don’t dare tell anyone I work with. I don’t really worry (too much) about the other foreign teachers. But I’m not sure how the Korean teachers would react.

    I set up a reminder in my Google calender to take the damn pill. My daily calender gets emailed every morning so I see it when I check email before getting ready for work.



  10. cathielacey says:

    Taking an antidepressant is a sign of strength as you are aware that you need assistance. I agree with marcy that indeed you were using wise mind. Good for you. I find the DBT skills do indeed help, that is when I remember to use them. I like your honesty in your writing and look forward to reading more of your posts.

  11. I guess it’s working. I’m still fairly depressed. But at least I haven’t descended into the depths of suicidality (for the most part).

  12. Alexandra says:

    Hi Austin,
    I was just surfing through the web when I came across your response to Zoloft. I have been taking Zoloft 50mg for a little over 3 months now with little relief. My worst complaint is insomnia, anxiety, and this “mental fogginess” which I can’t seem to shake off. I’m going to my doctor in a couple of days to up my dose and I just need some positive encouragement and advice because I’m practically at my wit’s ends and you sound like a very positive person. ANY ENCOURAGING words would be VERY much appreciated here!

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