Ah, 4am. I don’t often see this time anymore. I started taking fluoxetine (Prozac) about a year ago. One of the side effects that (overall) has been a real benefit to me is the sleep factor. A typical night for me now consists of nodding off at 10pm with a tiredness that can only be fought with a large dose of caffeine, and only waking when my alarm goes off at 7am. 

I’ve never slept this much in my adult life. I think it has a massive contribution to the success of this drug for me. For a person who deems 6 hours sleep a good night, to consistently have 8-9 hours sleep night after night is incredible. Fighting the irrational beast in my head is so much easier when I’m not sleep deprived. 

Since fluoxetine has been, in the main, quite a success for me, I’m at the point where I’ve been able to examine a lot of the reasons for the way I’ve been living. One of the biggest realisations is that a lot of my acute episodes are triggered by a physical issue first. My inability to read my body sends my thoughts into a place perfect for misery, panic and a complete departure from reality. 

First pointed out by my sister – ‘you’re getting more and more anxious and holding your stomach – didn’t you say ages ago you needed the toilet?’ and then my doctor – ‘you’ve got a couple of long term medical issues on record here, do you think they’ve had an impact on your mental state?’ Easy to dismiss and think the very notion that it’s having an effect on me is absurd, but on reflection, maybe they’re right. I should point out, the cause of my long term medical issues is unknown but it’s a physical issue related to my development whilst in the womb. I’m really unsure whether to disclose it here as it suddenly makes me a lot easier to identify. Probably not many will read this anyway. I’ll think about it. But it’s something I’ve lived with all my life and has not stopped me participating in a ‘normal’ life. Many people have no idea unless I tell them. But lately I’ve been realising it explains so much. I’ll come back to this, but for now I have one thing to take away: when reality is disappearing, do whatever it takes to stop where you are and ask the question, ‘is there something physical I need to address first?’ Of course, the ability to stop mid-panic is something I’m having to fight tooth and nail to achieve. The trouble with losing your rational thinking and all sense of what is real, you do rather forget all the things you know, deep down, to be true. 


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