Tuesday, October 12

Pharmaceutical Brain Zaps. And Other Fun Things.

I WISH!  But alas, just another 'drug' that your doc will say, 'Mmmm, no, I don't think that weight gain is a related side-effect.' If you - like me - are one of your everyday, overanxious spazz cases, then you are possibly also on some form of a anti-anxiety med, or anti-depressant.

Now, I know this is a rather strange and personal topic to be blogging about, but in the interest of "keepin' it real", I decided that I would let you all in on my experience, because as I realized it's nothing to be ashamed of, I'm also learning that a lot of other people I know, or wouldn't expect, are also in the same boat.

I'm also learning that it is quite a big boat.

Maybe it's obvious from the nature of my blogs and the things I tend to obsess about, but I sorta have this love/hate relationship with stress. And since that quality has occasionally made me the least favorite person in the room (or favorite, if you're a sadist), I have been managing my spastic tendencies with Lexapro.

Raise your hands in the a-irrr!Quite successfully actually.

I can't speak on any of the other varieties of popular meds out there, but I can say that it is quite fun sharing war-stories with other pharmaceutically-improved folks in the world. Our before/after stories. Our tales of figuring out correct doses. The nightmares of when we forgot to take our meds (These are especially funny stories, especially when you're taking a combo of meds to battle ADHD. And you FORGET to take your ADHD meds... oh downhill, here we gooooo....)

Sure, they look just like that.  And they taste like cotton candy and sunshine.Anyhoo... every now and again I like to go online and read about other people's experiences and compare with mine. Like if I'm doing something new and strange, is it because of the meds? Or is this new habit of saving the inside plastic bags that cereal comes in a side-effect of the Lexapro? (Nope, not the med's fault actually . A new OCD-ish quirk to add to the list of Things That Are Awesomely Weird About Toni Ryan.)

I was sorta pissed to slowly realize that despite my polite (skinny) shrink telling me, "No, I don't think your inexplicable & rapid weight gain is really related to the meds", that I discovered at least 4,000 new online "friends" who will say otherwise.

What to do? Stop the meds and go back to looking "normal" but feeling ridiculously spazz-tastic? Or stay on the meds and just deal with it by buying stock in Spanx? Good thing we're talking anti-anxiety meds here; conveniently takes the edge off of stressing out about weight gain.

Now, here's the next thing: as I contemplated life as a reborn Spazz and weaning off the meds that keep me "acting" normal, my online buds are talking alot about a phenonmenon they've dubbed BRAIN ZAPS.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZAP!!  Awesome!  (Or is it?)BRAIN ZAPS, people.

Apparently, when you attempt to come off these meds, you will experience BRAIN ZAPS. Like, seriously. HUH?! Hahahah, I'm a little scared-slash-amused.

Has anyone gone through this that can sorta explain to me what this is like?!

OMG, this whole SSRI adventure is just pure comedy. And clearly something a lot more of us out there have in common than we'd care to admit. Although, now I think about, I'm not sure what there was to be ashamed about. So what I'm faulty; I'm workin' on it. LOL.

So, there it is.

I showed you mine.

Feel free to show me yours.


  1. I have only one thing to say...Your skinny shrink is full of...:)
    Everyone I know on these kinds of meds gains weight becuase they slow you down...
    I had 2 really bad reactions to meds...
    The first was Welbutrin ...Dr. put me on it to stop smoking...I, of course, got the psycotic side effects...My husband got scared and called the dr...She told him to hide the meds and tell me she wanted to see me the next day...
    No Brain Zaps though...
    Next was a med that i was given for a misdiagnosis...Therapist said "Post tramatic blah blah blah" Shrink said Manic...:/
    So, this fool puts me on anti-psycotic meds...within 30 days, I was in the hospital...My muscles were contracting all over my body...I, obviously,stopped taking that without weening too...
    No ZAP that time either...So, I'm curious to hear about it too.

  2. Hey Jerzgrlinfl, thanks for the input! Never thought of it that way, but true, they all do "slow" you down, slow down what little metabolism speed you've got left in your mid 30's. Er, mid 20's I mean.
    Sorry you've had such a crap experience -- that whole process of finding the "right fit" is so painstaking and frankly pretty annoying! But I'm surprised to hear no ZAPS for you. Hmm, I wonder if it only happens to certain people?

  3. I guess so...The meds gave me my ZAP!...LOL

  4. ROFL. dude, that was morbidly funny. so wrong! just curious, did you ever find anything that worked for you, or are you completely off everything?

  5. No, it was a misdiagnosis...I should've never been put on any of it...I was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome...Getting rid of the piece of :) that put me through hell I was fine...:D

  6. glad you got thru it -- that's a real shame about the misdiagnosis. the main thing i've learned is how careful docs needs to be about this kind of stuff. prescribing the just the right combo is nearly an art form.

  7. Yes...And they also need to work with the therapists as well...If my shrink would have listened to Ana, they would not have put me on any meds at all...Ana knew what I had gone through, spent 18 months as my counselor and knew my history and background...I don't think anyone should be diagnosing people after a 15 minute session.

  8. i agree with 1000% on this. i'm a little bothered when i hear that people are getting this stuff from their regular doctors without talking to anyone first. and definitely the person prescribing the meds should be totally in constant contact with the professional who talks to you the most (i.e. therapist). it's kinda scary how these things aren't regulated. like they are regulated, but the wrong parts of the process are regulated. (like cost of the meds, no available generics, etc.)

  9. AMEN SISTER!!! I am thanking GOD my meds didn't work...$440.00 for the anti-psychotic one...Paying that much a month is enough to make anyone psychotic!!! LOL

  10. Hi there. I know it's been a while since this blog was posted but I though I'd throw in my 2 cents anyways.

    I've just stopped 'cold turkey' from Cymbalta after being on them for six months. A day after I stopped taking it I started to experience these mysterious 'brain zaps'; they're not pleasant at all and can be debilitating at times. The sensation is of a 'zap' or 'shiver' through the brain and sometimes
    Radiating down through my arms and chest. They are worse when I move my eyes from side to side. I'm on my 6th day off the meds and the 'zaps' har somewhy decreased in frequency and intensity, however I've noticed that caffeine makes it worse; I just had a can of coke and the zaps became more intense again. No more caffeine for me for a while!

    Hopefully they will diminish completely by the end of next week.