eight long, quiet weeks on mirtazapine

October 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in musings, not bloody music | 4 Comments

Hello all.  I am writing this update with my fingertip in the dust that has gathered on this blog.  Thank you for the kind emails, comments and occasional pokes with a stick.  All very much appreciated, even if as yet unanswered.  Please consider this post to be a general reply, personal responses will follow at some uncertain, but hopefully not-too-distant, future date.  Thanks also to those who have shown dogged faithfulness in their near-daily visits to this dormant blog.  Especial thanks to the anonymous benefactor who has taken it upon themselves to update the Midwich page of discogs.  Your work has not gone unnoticed – reveal yourself!  Anyway…

For the past few weeks I have been attempting, and failing, to get to grips with a new treatment for my depression.  As the medication I was on previously had lost its efficacy, the consultant psychiatrist I saw decided to try me on Mirtazapine instead (an aside on the term ‘psychiatrist’:  you may be picturing a bald chap with a pipe doodling as I lie on a leather couch and talk about my mother.  Not so.  In the UK the term generally refers to someone who matches symptoms to medication known to quell those symptoms – it is all about the pharma).  This had proved a ‘wonder’ drug for other patients of hers and I seemed to be a likely candidate for the same.  Alas, it was not to be.

The gruelling side effects (more anon) were immediate but I was also given a boost to my energy levels.  This got the post below about depression written and spurred me on to finish the ‘natural wastage’ piece that had been half done for ages.  I also wrote a comically overblown piece for Billy (of Sanity Muffins) that hopefully won’t ever see the light of day in its current form…  My mood lightened noticeably, my ability to concentrate increased.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it got.  My energy level never got too far off the ground and what concentration I was blessed with was quite restricted in its scope.  I could read, watch a film maybe, play a bit of online poker, go on a bus ride.  My ability to write, or to think to some purpose, dwindled.  I had some trouble holding up my end up in a conversation.  The creative and social side of life more or less ceased.

In return for meagre benefits I was paying quite a hefty price.  Documented side effects for this drug include both sedation and agitation and, in vanishingly rare cases, both at the same time.  Guess who rolled snake-eyes and got lumbered with this 1 in a 1000 occurrence?  For about an hour after taking it I would be zombified then, as it released its initial grip I would start twitching and fidgeting.  I could not stay in the same position for more than a few seconds.  It felt like my skin didn’t fit.  I would lie in bed with my limbs flopping involuntarily like fish on the deck of a boat.  As this could go on for two to four hours and made sleep impossible, I started taking the drug at about 7pm with a view to going to bed at midnight.  This cancelled out my evening, every evening, and began feeling like a curfew tag round my ankle.  I still didn’t sleep and the drug hangover would make it impossible to get up before lunchtime the following day.  I’d be lucid from about 3pm in the afternoon until 7pm when it was time to start the fight again.  So at least one of us could get some rest, I’ve slept alone for the duration – tough break for a newlywed, eh?

So why take it for so long?  Well, there were some benefits and, as the anti-depressant effect of this type of medication is cumulative (and occasionally exponential) I had to give it the six-weeks trial that medical consensus considers ‘fair’.  I took my last dose yesterday, much to my great, great relief, and am now weaning myself onto Trazadone instead.  Seems harmless so far, fingers crossed.

There is loads more to say, and on much more interesting topics, but this will have to do for now.  I’m tired, more later.  Just a few more thanks to finish.  Thanks to Phil, Mel, Neil and Paul, lunch with whom is being used by me as a way of gently re-acclimatising to the social world.  Thanks to other-Anne who introduced me to the charms of Wii-Fit.  Finally, thanks to my wonderful wife Anne who has ably held up her end whilst having some very shitty things to deal with herself.  I literally can’t put my gratitude into words.  Love conquers all – lucky for me…


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  1. Sorry you’re having such a sh*tty time. Miss u!!!! N x

    • Cheers Neelam – I miss all you lot too. Mad as it might seem, I’d love to be back at work ;-)!

  2. Miss you to Mr R! If Anne ever wants to talk (or meet up and not talk!) you know I’ve been through it and am always there to listen. xxx

    • Very kind offer Amanda – I’ll be sure to pass it on. Good luck to your both on your big day! R x

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