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.