“You might feel slight nausea on the first couple of days, but it won’t be that bad. It’ll be like feeling a bit nauseous on a boat. It’s not like you’ll be sick or anything,” said the softly-spoken GP.
I beg to differ.
I’m now on Antidepressant#3. On every single switch I have spent the first two weeks puking my guts out. This isn’t seasickness. This is the uprising of the fucking Megalodon. An ancient eighteen-metre shark is trying to wriggle its way out of my body through my mouth.
Has it been this bad for anyone else, or am I just special? The floor is open.
When I started Antidepressant#1, I was still at work and had to battle with the waves of nausea that would follow after I dared to ingest anything, even water.
One time I was sent to a meeting, and before that my supervisor was worried about the nausea I had reported to him. Oh no, it will be fine. I have already been sick twice this morning. Surely, SURELY, I would be empty by now.
Of course, the second the meeting was adjourned I had to rush into the ladies’ room and follow my stomach’s assumption that there was still something to eject.
It’s horrible to be sick as it is, but when you’re completely empty and your body just keeps on going because surely there is still some disgusting bile to gag out, it’s absolute shite.
I realise now that I shouldn’t have been at work then. I couldn’t really do anything. I was exhausted because I couldn’t eat or drink anything, and waves of nausea would just keep sweeping over me. But at that point I was at the “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE” -stage, where I would cling on to routines to hide the fact that I had stepped into a completely uncharted territory and was absolutely terrified by it.
Fucking hell, it’s no wonder that they warn you that suicidal tendencies can increase in the first couple of weeks of usage. Not only do you feel like shit but you’re also on the brink of starvation and death from thirst, while your body is still under the impression there is something, anything left to be emptied out.
My suicidal tendencies did indeed increase but (un)fortunately I was too exhausted from crawling to the bathroom and back to come up with any grand plans.
On with the Antidepressant#2. Surely this can’t happen the second time around.
Of course it did. Luckily enough, when I went off Antidepressant#1 and began Antidepressant#2, I was in hospital by that point with an easy access to anti-nausea medication. The pills were really effective and made the transition actually tolerable. To the extent that I thought that this miraculous capability of keeping food and drink in was somehow to do with me.
Not that the actual antidepressant ended up working, but that’s beside the point.
Spoke too soon. Antidepressant#3 came with a vengeance. The sheer amount of fluid that my body could force out of itself after three days of not eating properly managed to surprise me. You know the feeling when you don’t know should you be impressed or horrified with yourself?
This time I had a secret weapon though, Mum to the rescue!
When she arrived into my flat, she found me in bed, cradling a bucket.
I have lived abroad on my own for the past six years. However, there are times when you simply want your Mum. This was definitely one of them, and she stood above me like apparition of an angel surrounded by a bright light as she had left the door open.
A few words about my Mum: She is a woman of action. Stoic, practical and spirited, she took care of her younger brothers since the age of fifteen when my grandmother died. Both of my uncles turned out alcoholics, and she still goes by every week to clean the shit, vomit and piss that has accumulated after them without a word of complaint.
“That’s my part in life,” she says without a hint of irony. “They are my brothers.”
I can’t imagine anyone else to be as effective in sorting out anything than my Mum. When she has a mission, that’s it. Her focus will be on that until whatever needs to be done, is done.
“Right,” she said as she laid her eyes on her miserable wreck of an only child for the first time in a couple of months. “Have you managed to keep anything in?”
I shook my head, pathetically relieved that she was there. Mum’s here and she is going to sort everything out.
Which she did. Despite the fact that she had been awake since 3AM, a flight across Europe and a trip from the airport, she didn’t even sit down to catch her breath. After emptying my bucket she went through all the cupboards and the fridge to find out exactly what was needed, wrote a shopping list and put the first load of laundry in before she headed out to the shops.
Soon enough I had a selection of chocolate bars, pop and crisps laid out next to the bed as she would continue to go in and out of the door like a force of nature. As I would drift in and out of sleep the flat was ventilated and vacuumed, cupboards and the fridge bursting with food items and the 34245794th load of laundry was being washed. All I had to do was lay there, with the exception of getting up for thirty seconds so she could strip the bed and change the bedding. It was like having a fairy godmother but better.
After what seemed like several hours she finally sat at the foot of my bed and stroked my hair and that felt better than anything has felt ever.
Have to say, changing antidepressants was pretty shit each time but I got third time lucky in a way.