April 2, 2013 § 39 Comments

From yesterday’s Times.  There has been something of a time lag with the column because of space issues, so below is old news to readers of this blog, for which I am sorry:-


For the first time in years, I have been thinking that maybe being on my own for what increasingly looks like forever may not after all be tantamount to social, emotional, sexual and any number of other kinds of death I care to come up with.  I am beginning to think – with an emphasis on beginning – that the “advantages” of being a plankton do have some merits and remaining one till I fill my box could turn out not to be the defining tragedy of my existence or the reason to top myself forthwith.


Well, obviously I am not right in the head.  This new worldview is so far removed from my default setting, I must come clean and offer an explanation.


I have never taken anything stronger than paracetamol my whole life, unless you count the pill and, once I’d given that up, an epidural for the births of my children.  But on 1 January, after a certain amount of SYT-related gloom, much hand-wringing and research and talks with my GP, I decided to do the sensible thing and take some Prozac for six months.


I was worried it would alter my personality.  Not that I am particularly enamoured of my personality, but it’s the devil I have known for a smattering of decades.  I was also feeling rather chuffed with myself for having lived through the shit that I have lived through these past few years since my marriage broke down without a single “prop”.  It then occurred to me that there is nothing especially noble about that, just as there is nothing noble about people who decide to go through labour without pain relief.  It is merely a matter of choice, and I have chosen to think a little prozac prop may now be just the ticket for a little while.


Friends – an awful lot of them it transpires – told me it is just like setting the dial back from minus a few degrees, to nought; that it simply helps one out of a rut and to see things a little more brightly.


From day one, I was closely monitoring the effects.  No difference for several weeks.  Then about a fortnight ago I was aware that I just felt normal, precisely as it had been described: back to nought.  But in the past few days I have felt an old energy return, a zest for work again and, utterly bizarrely, definitely a more brazen attitude to my singleness.


I’m not saying I no longer want a husband – prozac is not a total miracle, and I am still me – but that that is no longer my resounding 24/7 raison d’etre.


Now of course, I wish I’d been rather less bleeding “noble” and started quaffing this stuff years ago!



§ 39 Responses to Prozac

  • Lydia says:

    It’s sad that so many people need prozac to increase the levels of seratonin in their brain. Do also look at other methods. My family are mostly psychiatrists. I know they always say the drugs work best when you also have other techniques as well – some CBT plus an exercise outside in fresh air which you enjoy and good healthy food, no alcohol, sugar, junk, processed foods etc etc.

  • Muriel says:

    I am encouraged to hear that, as I am about to start citalopram myself. Never been on meds before either but I am tired of the sinking feeling of dread when I wake up every morning. Is it the same sort of thing as Prozac I wonder?

  • iHijinx says:

    It’s hard to admit you need help.
    It’s hard to take that help – whatever form it comes in because it feels like you’re admitting a weakness or inability to cope. It’s easier to feel a failure.

    It’s hard to start on the ‘pill’ path – it can feel like you’ve admitted the weaknesses you were afraid of. It’s a big step.

    Even harder is to write about it and share your thoughts on – what is still – a taboo subject. Just by writing this you have helped a lot of people and helped to break some of the stigma associated with “not feeling right in the head” 🙂

    Well done brave lady.
    I applaud you.

  • Jonathan says:

    I am surprised Fluoxetine is not pumped into the water supply….better for you than alcohol.

  • therugbymom says:

    There is nothing “crazy” about being depressed after your marriage falls apart. This is a normal reaction to an adult life situation. “Suck it up!” is not always the answer. Sometimes we need a little help. You benefit, and so do your children and anyone else who comes in contact with you frequently.

    This isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. The first medicine I took knocked me out for two days. Now I take Welbutrin, and I find it much easier to cope with whatever life throws at me – including the idiots around me. This may not work for everyone, but I wish others would back off and not try to force their opinions on people who chose a different path. Just like Hormone Replacement Therapy – if someone wants to stay drug-free and suffer hot flashes, God Bless ’em; but for me, no thanks. Pill please!

    Whatever the reason, I’m glad your mood is improving!

  • fiftynotout says:

    Glad you decided to stop ‘doing it hard’ and gave yourself permission to need a little help. In spite of the bad press that anti depressants still have and the stigma that mental illness STILL incurs no matter what all those facebook postings say! sometimes fresh air and good food just don’t cut it (sorry Lydia)
    I took them for 6 months- which was long enough to give me a hand up from the trough of despair I just couldn’t seem to climb out of on my own, once I’d got back on the level I was ok on my own again.

  • James B says:

    “The Prozac Diaries” would make a good book Ms P …

  • In the town of Red Hook, New York, someone has painted an enormous propane tank to look like a prozac pill, and he’s painted over the letters “pane” from “propane” with the letters “zac”- He’s placed a supersized sign which reads “don’t worry… be happy” above his tank, it’s one of those novelty roadside sites that people sometimes like to take pictures of and upload them onto the web- I tried to post links to pictures of this propane tank here, but I see that my comment has been “awaiting moderation” for the past 2 days- I think it’s an interfacing issue, those links won’t interface with whatever software the wordpress website is using-

    You can look up “Red Hook, New York propane tank prozac pill” in google images to see it….

  • ToneDeafSinger says:

    I took prozac about 16 years ago for nearly a year. It helped because I had fallen so low that the therapy I had been having for a while was simply not working. As someone else has commented, these drugs work best alongside therapy.
    It did have one side effect. It made me put on weight Lots and lots of it. Within a week my skirt waist was tight. Within a month I had gained a size. I went from a UK 12/14 to a 22/24. I asked to stop Prozac slightly earlier than I was due to because of the ongoing weight increase. These days I am about a size 20 but I never went back to how I used to be.
    There was another “side effect”. My then husband stopped fancying me.. Completely. He found me repulsive and our sex life slowed down and eventually stopped altogether, sounding the death knell of the marriage. I’m not blaming Prozac for ending the marriage though – all it did was to lay bare the fact that the marriage had no substance in it. It was a sham and once the sex disappeared I had to face the fact that I had been living a lie.

    • zoe says:

      Nice to hear from you, ToneDeafSinger, I was wondering what happened to you. One moment you mentioned a man online. And the next you seemed to disappear. And that was ages ago. Or maybe I missed a chapter or two along the way?

      • tonedeafsinger says:

        Thank you for your message Zoe. Actually nothing much happened, I was still reading the blog but there was nothing I could say that had not been said better, already!

    • Chris says:

      Soooo, TDS, you got fat and your husband did not fancy you anymore. No different from women I have known who no longer found their husbands attractive when they became fat and bald in middle age. I mean, that is quite a step up, 12/14 to 22/24. Why the heck do people get so big these big these days? I was charting to my mother the other day and she told me that before she became pregnant with me she had a 22 inch waist, after I was born she went back to a 24 inch waist. And she seemed quite proud of the fact, like it was good for self esteem. Guess people had a different outlook then, more discipline and strength, both mentally and physically.

  • zoe says:

    “The biggest problem I have is my age against the age of the girl I want. I’m 69 and I’m looking for a girl no more than 40.” What an extraordinary, wonderful world:

    • fi says:

      There you are – it’s always men who think what women are after is their money, and who determine a woman’s value by her looks, that somehow end up on their own. No idea why 🙂

      • Fi- I stopped caring about what women’s motivations for possibly being interested in me were sometime around 1999. Mostly a moot point these days (okay entirely a moot point), but if a woman is interested in me for ANY reason at all, that’s good enough for me : )

    • tonedeafsinger says:

      good luck to him but it sounds like he is setting himself up to fail by asking too much.

    • nick says:

      he will undoubtably get what he wants (look at hugh heffner)- those girls arent there for his looks, and he knows that. Cash is king – women love money, status, lifestyle..etc… anyone who cant offer that is dumped – thats how entitlement relationships roll these days. a good average guy is overlooked, – “how much do you earn” is always close to a girls heart.

  • june says:

    Wondered where you were Plankton as you havent been around for a while, Glad Prozac helping,have considered it at my lowest times but decided not, im not really depressed anyway,just wishing could meet somene and knowing i wont, maybe im accepting it more lately i dont know. I do still have down days but looking after my friends dog has honestly helped me, im def not a doggy person, im still not,but he gives you so much affection bless him, it does make you feel better.

    Im with the rugby mom on the HRT though, i had an early menopause and have been on it over 20 years and have never considered coming off it. It seems now all the scare tacticts were wrong and im glad i never listened to them. I am healthier than many women of my age and many younger, Yes i have good genes but i truly believe HRT has helped. i feel younger and look younger than my age, im told.My cousin was on it years and was forced off by her doctor. 2 years later she had developed osteoporis,which runs in our family, despite two years before that having a bone scan that showed no sign. So im staying on ir,

    As for the obesity thing, i agree, how do you go from a size 12 to a size 22 surely before it gets to that stage you do something about it. You never let it get that far, go up 2 dresses sizes and you surely start thinking hang on this isnt right. I stand in the supermarket sometimes and despair of stuff in peoples baskets, total junk, and it isnt cheap. its often cheaper to eat healthily.

    Hope prozac continues to work for you P, dont desert us completely.

    • tonedeafsinger says:

      just in case the comment on healthy eating was for me, I eat, and ate, healthily, mostly a Mediterranean diet.

      • Chris says:

        You know, that healthy eating thing do make I chuckle. I used to work with a woman with a bum the size of a planet ( she has a penchant for much younger Turkish men….but that is another story !!). Anyway, she always swore she ate ‘absolutely nothing’. Well, saw her at breakfast in the staff restaurant one day. Her plate resembled Mount Everest, you could not have piled on more food if you have tried. The woman was eating more for breakfast than I ate in a whole day !!!

      • tonedeafsinger says:

        what an absolutely riveting piece of information from Chris

    • The Plankton says:

      Still here, I promise, just been a bit dormant. Pxx

  • Mark Alexander says:

    I’ve just started reading your blog. You sound very articulate and intelligent, just the sort of woman I like, but rarely meet. I hope you can convert one of your “twinkles” into a happy, long-term relationship one day. I’m 42 and I’ve never got beyond a few dates, nothing that you could call a relationship. I’ve decided to rely on my friends and sisters for human contact. Whatever it is about me, women just don’t seem to take me seriously. So, you seem to be doing better than I am and I wish you the best of luck in your search.


  • plumgrape says:

    Thank you for everything.

  • Chris says:

    Wow, Planky, you gotta a name check from Rachel Johnson in the Mail on Sunday this morning. Perhaps that will breathe some life into this blog. Usual stuff about how physically attractive alpha males with a few bob can always find a bird after divorce, no matter what their age. Been like that since cave man times I guess. As usual, the Beta male angle is not covered. Yawn…yawn…same same.

  • rosie says:

    Or how about the ‘male with a massive inferiority complex and neanderthal attitude to women’ angle is not covered? Nevertheless, thanks for the heads up.

    • Kerry says:

      Did it mention women that consistently sound bitter about men on blogs Rosie?

    • Chris says:

      Ah Rosie, once again my register of language was carefully chosen to elicit such a response as you have given. Thanks for reverting to the female default mode of the last 40 years. How about trying to find something fresh and original to say for a change? Don’t think mindless insults toward men really cuts it anymore. Been there, done that, yawn yawn YAWN !!!

  • rosie says:

    … and it’s just as depressing as expected. Don’t read it if you need cheering up, ladies.

  • rosie says:

    No Kerry, it didn’t. Neither did it mention women who make passive aggressive comments about other women on blogs.

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