the smell of my desperation has become a stench


I’ve been throwing up, off and on, here and there, for a little over three weeks now, and although I’d love to report that I’m pregnant with cute little monobrowed babies, because that’s seriously what I’d love to report, I have to confess, sadly, that I’m not pregnant.

I am so not pregnant that my biological clock refuses to talk to me anymore. She used to wake me up in the in the middle of the night and say, hey, it’s me again, where are the babies? And I’d say, girlfriend, tell me about it!

Now my biological clock ignores me. I hate her.

I hate that I can’t blame her for the nausea, although I’m pretty sure I can blame her for craving those goddamn French fries. What is it with the goddamn French fries? They’re like orgasms, only more starchy.

So my doctor told me that if I wanted to lead a more active lifestyle I should switch depression medications. Crazies like me, crazies who have to pop a pill everyday to connect certain chemicals in the brain, have few options when it comes to stopping the insanity. We can:

1) ignore that weird “sad” feeling
2) do what my father once suggested and just be happy, for crying out loud
3) overeat in hopes of drowning the sorrow
4) pray real hard that, like, God will make all the bad thoughts go away (this involves having your entire family pray real hard as well, particularly out loud at the dinner table when guests are in attendance)
5) shut the fuck up and try the meds already

Seven years ago on the brink of dropping out of college I finally tried number five, and folks, if there’s any evidence that medicating an illness might actually medicate the illness, whether the illness be asthma, diabetes, or (gasp) depression, your beloved Dooce is living proof that science is a wonderful, wonderful thing. My hair color is also good proof, but that’s another post entirely.

Unfortunately I’ve been taking the medication with the worst documented side effects, the nadir of which is fatigue. I’m a tired motherfucker, all the motherfucking time.

The co-worker who’s asleep in the car? That’s me. The co-worker asleep in a ball under her desk? Me. The co-worker with the snooze bruises on the side of her forehead in the shape of those zig-zag tiles on the floor in the bathroom? That’d be Dooce.

So here I am, seven years later, 2,557 pills later and I’m attempting to switch. At least, that’s what the doctor called it, switching. I’d like to call it Re-enacting that Scene from Trainspotting. You know the scene, the one where the dead baby is crawling across the ceiling and Renton is all, oh god, oh god, please, please, make it stop, and the walls and bedspread are all 1978 and he’s really sick but still really, really cute.

I’m looking at that dead baby right now. It’s crawling across the ceiling and its rigor-morted head is twitching from side to side and it’s getting closer and closer and I’m like, please, this is so not fair, Ewan McGregor at least got paid to go through this.

And you know the worst part? The worst part isn’t the constant urge to puke my spleen out my nose, or the itching, or the dizziness, or admitting that this is really fucking hard.

The worst part is throwing up chocolate pudding. I really liked chocolate pudding.

  • bronwyn

    2002/10/24 at 4:18 pm

    i love the feel-good feeling of meds. only i’m the silly one that feels oh so good and thinks ‘yeah! i’m fixed’ and goes off them and suddenly one morning it jumps up and bites me in ass and i’m crying at hallmark ads… i envy your commitment. get better soon.

  • mule rider

    2002/10/24 at 4:39 pm

    I feel your pain sister- I was on anti depressants for about 6 years and the one i was on was like knock out drops- it was make sure you brushed your teeth and had no need to be vertical for nine hours or you were fucked. Changing meds is hard as hell, you have my sympathy. The family prayer circle sounds like a little slice of hell, but what I really want to know is, was it Kozy Shack chocolate pudding- ’cause that’d be a damn shame.

  • spike

    2002/10/24 at 4:43 pm

    love the post dooce.
    hate to hear you’re going through baby crawling on ceiling symptoms.

  • Sarah

    2002/10/24 at 4:47 pm

    … and I, after four years on personality in pill form, have been advised to “up it.” That’s sensitive, yet knows-me-too-well-to-mince-words psychiatrist speak for “you’re nowhere near normal. Let’s medicate!” My advice? Go with the switch, but never give up the French Fries. Those little spud sticks are what dreams are made of.

  • shauna

    2002/10/24 at 6:35 pm

    such a bloody rollercoaster on those things, trying to find the right one. hope you have better luck after the switch. and you write so brilliantly about it, good on you 🙂

  • aprilgem

    2002/10/24 at 7:12 pm

    Don’t feel bad about the chocolate pudding; it looks the same whichever way it goes out. On the bright side of things, at least you’re puking for a good reason like changing medications. However, if you’ve switched to jelly bean Chill Pills, then I would guess that the puking is caused by something else entirely, and you might reconsider that biological clock as a prime suspect. In any case, I hope the switch goes well!

  • jimmypage

    2002/10/24 at 7:22 pm

    try smoking dope and keep up on those meds. you’ll feel right as rain, in no time… soon to follow will be your very own lil-monobrowed baby that just can’t get enough miles davis. -jp

  • jennifer

    2002/10/24 at 8:05 pm

    I was dubious about switching, but I needed to in case I do get pregnant. Things have changed in the 6 years I was on the oldies and the newies have me right as rain, but, alas, no sex drive. Hard to make babies when you are negative horny. Good luck lovely Dooce.

  • mrpibb

    2002/10/24 at 8:31 pm

    Anybody know which antidepressants are safest from a prenatal standpoint? Hope you feel better, Dooce.

  • Naaman

    2002/10/24 at 9:11 pm

    One of my friends can no longer “taste” the bubbles in soda thanks to his meds…very odd. In other words, he can’t feel the carbonation popping on his tounge.

  • unsanemom

    2002/10/25 at 4:01 am

    Zoloft, (Sertraline, SSRI) is the safest a-d regarding prenatal concerns. My kids look fine anyway.

  • Paula

    2002/10/25 at 4:16 am

    You poor thing. I’m one of those people who has phobias about throwing up, so I completely sympathize. Speaking as someone who has a bunch of stomach ailments, my advice is: Ginger Ale, saltines (carry around with you always), ginger candies from your friendly chinese market and doggie kisses.

  • black b

    2002/10/25 at 4:18 am

    say, dooce, have you thought about trying acupuncture to help you get through this difficult stage? i know the pacific college of medicine offers treatment at lower prices too, as i know it can be a pricey solution…maybe magic needles will make the dead baby go away.

  • ismat

    2002/10/25 at 4:32 am

    Are you sure your father and members of my family weren’t in cahoots somehow? Like, telepathically discussing why the hell the damn kids wouldn’t just “look on the bright side already?”

  • Heather #2

    2002/10/25 at 4:44 am

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all you described. Whether you believe in it or not, my prayers are with you.

  • rd

    2002/10/25 at 5:08 am

    Huh? What did you say? I think I fell asleep while reading. I’m in the middle of switching mood stabilizers. Zzzzzzzzzzzz

  • ex-liontamer

    2002/10/25 at 5:27 am

    I second Black B’s idea about acupuncture. Even though it can be mired in touchy-feely-new-agey-pachouli-covered-muck, it did help with a back problem I had several years ago. Western medicine wasn’t cutting it; Darvocet made me ill. After a few sessions, the chronic pain was gone.

  • drew

    2002/10/25 at 5:27 am

    i’m with jimmypage. smoke a joint.


  • antisocial diva

    2002/10/25 at 6:16 am

    i’ve been on prozac for awhile now and it works for me. but i also have a thyroid problem which doesn’t help the depression issues and, sadly, made me fat which, in turn, didn’t help said depression problems.

    i understand. i am a sleepy girl all the time. good luck finding the balance you need.

  • Kerry

    2002/10/25 at 6:18 am

    Geez Dooce, I’m sorry. I’m especially sorry if the pudding was homemade…

    My favorite thing to throw up has always been cold Pepsi, because it’s usually still chilly and carbonated on the way back up.

    Also, my anti-depressants gave me hot flashes, and once almost caused me to boot all over my soon-to-be boyfriend.

  • d

    2002/10/25 at 6:30 am

    If you like donuts, I’ve been told they aren’t too bad “the second time around”.. you could give it a try. I’d assume they mean the plain ones, not chocolate. 🙂

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/10/25 at 7:03 am

    Sounds like you have had that virus that everybody else has been having…including me. In the past 2 1/2 weeks I had my share of the porcelain god, trust me.

  • Angelique

    2002/10/25 at 7:54 am

    …. speaking as an-ex prozac taker…. i totally sympathize. during the time when i was on “the’zac”, i didn’t have a single solid movement. gross. i lost tons of weight and looked very calista. you will be fine. switching meds is tricky, and your doctor may not get it right the first time. kudos to you on your quest.

  • Paul Gutman

    2002/10/25 at 7:57 am

    my sympathies–it sounds vaguely like my migraines, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    Just a word of warning on the dope–not that you aren’t big folks who can handle their smoke–but I know of some people who went through serious personality changes (for the worse) when combining a-d’s with weed.

  • jen

    2002/10/25 at 7:57 am

    you may have tried this one, but Effexor works well if it’s a serotonin imbalance. might make you indifferent to the world though.

  • shy

    2002/10/25 at 8:23 am

    you’re sexier then ewan. 😉

  • Flipsycab

    2002/10/25 at 8:33 am

    Have you tried Celexa? It’s supposed to have the lowest side-effect profile. It worked really well for me when I could afford it!

  • kane

    2002/10/25 at 8:56 am

    Sounds like withdrawl symptoms from weening yourself off Paxil. Have you had an urge to stab anyone lately; more than usual that is?

  • Lynn

    2002/10/25 at 8:56 am

    What’s going on here — is *everybody* here on anti-depressants?! Guess my life ain’t as bad as previously thought…

  • Flipsycab

    2002/10/25 at 9:02 am

    Lynn, depression is an epidemic in the U.S. and it’s under-reported. You do the math.
    Don’t mean to sound rude, but I didn’t take my meds today.

  • Sarah B.

    2002/10/25 at 9:37 am

    Darling Dooce, I have no meds to recommend, but when you do finally bear those adorable monobrowed babies, I want to come feed them chocolate pudding.

  • troy

    2002/10/25 at 9:39 am

    what a coincidence. i am listening to ‘girls on pills’

  • The Droyds

    2002/10/25 at 9:54 am

    this is the album for you

  • vilija

    2002/10/25 at 11:06 am

    Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and experiences about depression – an illness that society heaps its assumptions, perceptions, and prejudices upon. Every little bit helps.

  • Shoefly

    2002/10/25 at 11:30 am

    Strange that you post this, as it seems everyone I know is quitting some sort of chemical within the last week. My best adivce is candy, and lots of it. Best -S.

  • WebGirlie

    2002/10/25 at 11:58 am

    Doooooce, once again, you’ve stolen my thoughts. I went through the same thing regarding med-jumping. I’m not sure if it was harder on me or the people who had to wonder what my mood du jour would be, depending on what stage I was in trying a new med. Prozac, Trazodone, Effexor, Depakote, etc etc etc. I did find that Effexor worked somewhat well for me and it is supposedly not one that will interfere with trying to get pregant.

    Well, that’s what they SAY…but I ain’t pregnant yet so they could be lying. I think stree plays a much bigger role in conception (hell, and depression) than we give it credit for.

    On the baby front, have you thought about Chlomid? That’s the next step for us. While I’m concerned about multiple births, the thought of giving birth to an entire potential management team in one fell swoop could be interesting.

  • WebGirlie

    2002/10/25 at 11:59 am

    I said “stree” but I meant “stress”.

    Sorry, I’m all streed out today.

  • kath

    2002/10/25 at 12:41 pm

    For me, pregnancy was the all-time best anti-depressant. Also a 9 month respite from migraines. And taking care of an infant kept me nearly cheerful for quite a while. Of course, for some people the opposite is true. I didn’t finally give in to the medical solution until 4 or 5 years later, when Prozac cheered me up for a few weeks, after which I went from a functioning depressed person to non-functioning non-person. Took me years to get the courage up to quit the meds and the useless weekly sessions with the self-absorbed Fraud clone. Oops, I meant Freud clone… Can’t say this fixed my life; I still sleep too much or too little, occasionally get depressed and irritable, but at least I’m not dealing with the side effects, which in my case included bursitis, for chrissake. Good luck, girl, hope it gets better soon.

  • r3

    2002/10/25 at 1:17 pm

    If you think chocolate pudding is bad, just try upchucking pizza (which is what I was doing 2 weeks ago while wrestling with a migraine). Pizza USED to be my favorite food.

  • anna

    2002/10/25 at 2:33 pm

    Having once made the insane decision to go off Paxil cold turkey without a doctor’s supervision, I can understand your pain. Yay for fluctuating brain chemicals!

  • Kyle

    2002/10/25 at 3:41 pm

    Sounds rough, Heather. And those bastards at apple make switching sound so easy.

    On the other hand, what ever possessed you to desire an active lifestyle? Oh. Wait. You’re married now. Gotcha.

  • Kevin from Seattle

    2002/10/25 at 4:26 pm

    It’s a tricky situation. Wife spent about a year on Prozac when it was fashionable but finally quit. Said the aura of gloom was still there while she was taking the meds, but her mind was wrapped in about eight inches of fiberglass insulation – so she wasn’t suffering the depression, but she also wasn’t feeling much of anything else either. She no longer takes antidepressants, is not always cheery but feels much more like a real person. Me, I’d be very concerned about any kind of chemicals in my system if I was trying to get pregnant.

  • Duke

    2002/10/25 at 6:07 pm

    Good luck, Dooce.

  • eve

    2002/10/25 at 7:36 pm

    wellbutrin, sarafem, & celexa all left me still crying at year-old grocery store muzak – asking (most tolerant) hubby how it felt to know I had to medicate to live with him – I did quit smoking (for a while) -put on 20 lbs – 3yrs, still crying (a little less), still married – when is it okay to go into the light?

    Good luck!!

  • colleen

    2002/10/25 at 7:50 pm

    poor dooce 🙁 i’ve been taking effexor since may and i dread the day i have to switch to something else. if i miss a dose by two HOURS, i get really ill. not fun. good luck, though. modern medicine rules.

  • Suzy the Nurse

    2002/10/26 at 7:57 am

    Wow seems like a lot of people need a daily dose of Dooce in addition to their prescribed chemical therapies… Zoloft indeed is the most baby/breastfeeding safe antidepressent on the market… You will be breast feeding wont ya Dooce???? I Can’t wait to hear those stories 🙂 SOOOO VERY GLAD YOUR BACK BTW!

  • deadking

    2002/10/26 at 9:57 am

    i think the worst thing i ever puked up was pepto bismol so pink and so thick it actually hurt trying to puke that crap up

  • Alex

    2002/10/27 at 1:51 am

    I switched from Stummmies to Gleemonex, and I feel great. So far no side effects. I don’t think there will be any either…won’t you take me to FUNKYTOWN

  • Vaughan

    2002/10/27 at 12:23 pm

    I’ve rarely heard (or rather, read) anyone write about this issue so well or so wittily (yes, I did say wittily). Having been on Seroxat/Paroxetine (sorry, don’t know what they call it in the US) for one year, previously off it for 18 months, and then on it three years before that, I can vouch for its particular side-effects – the most pleasant one I can mention also being the tiredness. My thing is that it’s led to me trying to take it at different times to minimise the impact of half an hour or so when I just want to fall asleep. I also go through regular internal debates with myself about whether I really want to keep maintaining my emotional equilibrium via medication – but then I remind myself that I’m a nightmare to myself and everyone else without it. So. Gosh, isn’t the brain a marvellous thing? And isn’t medication sometimes the funniest thing on earth? Good luck with your switch. I’ll get me coat.

  • Ariel

    2002/10/27 at 5:36 pm

    Two articles you might appreciate:

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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