tales from urban dilettantia


The Amazing Writing Lab Rat

This week has been the week of Interesting Times on Setraline. Given how sick fluoxetine made me, we decided to start with a very tiny dose of setraline to see how my body reacted, ramped up to 50mg – still a low dose – over a two week period.

For me at least, this has been a really interesting medication even at low doses. For about a quarter of the time, my anxiety levels are normal (well, my normal, which is manifestly sub-optimal) and for the other three quarters, it’s like an anxiety switch has just flicked off in my brain.

However, some clinical trials have also indicated a statistically significant increase in suicidality for patients on setraline, especially during the first few months, and from my own observations I can see how this might work – I’ve had a couple of twelve hour windows where my brain has crash landed into a deep depression.

While it’s frustrating as hell and horrible while it’s happening, it’s not an uncommon thing to encounter during the first few weeks, so for now I’m hanging in there to see what’s next.  The short term plan is to see what happens as the dose increases, as my hormone levels fluctuate, and as we combine it with a mood-stabiliser / anti-seizure medication. I feel a bit like a lab rat. A lab rat that’s medicating itself and writing down the results.

The other thing that’s happening (and this is something I personally consider to be the single most useful function of brain-altering substances) is that the medication is giving me the brain space to start processing things again, rather than storing them up in a big bucket of Survive Now, Deal Later. The upside of this is thinking, discovering, untangling, doing CBT stuff again. The downside is that over the past couple of years, the bucket of unprocessed stuff has become…big. It’s more like a large skip of unprocessed stuff, with all kinds of startling surprises in it. I have been reading about abandonment and object constancy, and it’s given me a whole lot more to think about, which is a another post in itself.

So, in short, life, brain, universe…a little overwhelming right now. Interesting science. Trying to spend quiet time under the covers, letting it all work itself out.

Category: mental health

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@dilettantiquity is interested in an unreasonable number of things, including the wide and wonderful universe, happiness, well-being, wine, optimal human experience, non-violent communication, complex systems, existential nihilism, rationality, technology, grassroots organising, cacophony, music, creativity, learning and love.