In conjunction with Ep. 48, I wanted to have a written version on my side effects from taking Zoloft for the past three years. As many of you know, I had a period of weening off of the medication where my emotions were all over the place. I've shared some of those highs and lows on my Instagram already, but I also wanted to name those in this blog in hopes that it may help or resonate with someone else later.
I cannot speak on how Zoloft affects anyone else but myself. Please consult your doctor to determine if you should be prescribed.
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant belonging to a group of drugs called selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
I was a patient at a mental hospital/rehab center in the Greater New Orleans area back in 2018 because I suffered from PTSD from child abuse, anxiety and depression. The other factors that brought me there also included being cheated on and feeling trapped/hopeless in my family structure at the time. I was having a lot of thoughts of suicide, and I knew that thinking wasn't in my character. So I told my loved ones I was going there for however long I needed to be, and that was that. It was the best decision I ever made for myself.
The doctor prescribed me with 100 mg of Zoloft and my first side effects from it were numbness, and agitation (twitching). I felt like a literal Zombie. No feeling. Just present. Emotions didn't exist. I remember an old lady giving me the drug for the first time and all I can remember is how creepy she looked. She looked like that witch from Snow White... or was it Sleepy Beauty? The one with the black cloak. Anyway - I didn't want to have to take any drug to rehabilitate myself, but at that hospital, I didn't have a choice. And at that point, I was at my absolute low. So I took it.
After I left the hospital, I was very cautious about the environment I was surrounded by. If it didn't allow me to live peacefully, I couldn't be there. And in this case, a lot of my home environment was not suited for me to live there, so I stayed with my boyfriend for a few months before I moved into my own apartment.
WHY DON'T I JUST LIVE WITH MY BOYFRIEND YOU ASK? I'll save this for another episode.
The doc downed my dosage to 50 mg and I went to a few counseling sessions to follow-up with my adjustment back into "regular life." The medicine doesn't really begin to feel normal in your body until a few weeks in of taking it daily.
CURRENT SIDE EFFECTS:
- Restless sleep
- Uninspired to create, which hurt my soul
- Easier to run and exercise because I don't feel the exhaustion
- Never horny (fun fact: if I know I'm hooking up with someone soon, I won't take Zoloft for a day or so prior to meeting)
- Sex is less fun. Takes longer to orgasm AND masturbate… which is the main reason I stopped taking it. I wanted to feel the power of my orgasms again because they're everything to me.
To understand how Zoloft has helped me thrive, it's important to note how I functioned before and after taking it.
HOW I FELT BEFORE VS HOW I FELT AFTER:
Before taking Zoloft - I was overcome with so much emotion that I could not function or do anything else with my day except obsess over whatever was occupying my mind at the time.
After taking Zoloft - My anxieties were a passing thought and did not hinder with my ability to function day-to-day. I was able to process my emotions and not let them rule me. I was able to practice my coping mechanisms. I had less distraction and noise from my overstimulated brain.
I knew I needed a new environment but was always hindered by the unchecked mental illnesses of those in my home environment. (This is why I am a huge stickler for black mental health.) I knew I needed to do what was best for me, but it was hard. I was a people pleaser due to variables that I developed from being physically and emotionally abused by family members during my childhood.
With the assistance of Zoloft and the support of my loved ones who understood the importance of me changing my environment, I now am happily living in my own space. I have been privilege to build up my own personal environment that caters to who I am as an artist. It's been amazing. This podcast would never have happened had I not lived on my own.
WHY I STOPPED TAKING ZOLOFT:
HOW I'M FEELING NOW
AND THAT'S IT! I hope this was insightful. I can't wait to read back on this in a few year to see what has evolved. As y'all know, I take my mental health journey seriously and am getting better at honoring my emotions and what my body needs. This is much easier when I am in an environment that allows me to grow. I encourage you all to find that environment that you're able to be nurtured and develop into a better version of yourself.