Citation: Windchild. "Tuning In to It: An Experience with Citalopram (exp58725)". Erowid.org. Jun 12, 2007. erowid.org/exp/58725
Background and Introduction:
I am a 27 years old, tall, underweight male German. I'm trying to finish college currently. I'm self- and university- educated in all things computing and I'm expert enough to earn enough money to keep on living. This document will describe my experience with depressions and the drug citalopram. I'm probably somewhat autistic as well(asperger's, probably). I never had an 'official' diagnosis of this, I don't even know what it'd be good for to have one, but I certainly feel akin to the people who suffer from autism or aspergerís.
ca. 1986 mother later recalled finding my behavior (probably symptoms of aspersers) 'funny'
ca. 1992 early puberty coincides with very traumatic events in school (being beaten up and generally abused)
ca. 1996 first hints of things going wrong. Started to dress in black, thinking of feeling sad as a normal state of mind.
from 1998, ongoing: experiments with psychoactive drugs of all kind, always being very careful, generally positive.
1999 depression going really wrong, ending me in a very sad and bitter state
2000 start of first sexual relationship, which was rather 'accidental'
2001-2003 depression getting better, going back to a level where I could actually enjoy life again
2005 girlfriend leaves me
(background & timeline written October 12, 2006)
October 7 2006
A Psychiatrist has prescribed Citalopram for me yesterday. I visited because I am feeling my depression coming back, and want to avoid a complete breakdown. I was very ill in the years 96-03 (going up and down - more down than up though - I'm not bipolar, I've never had a manic episode - 'up' is what other people would probably call normal), and this experience has left my soul with scars that only slowly heal.
My girl, who was part of the reason I became healthy again, has left me about a year ago, leaving me sad and bitter about her and women in general. Now winter is coming back. And where I live, autumn and winter are very depressing seasons.
During the last 2 months, I had 2 major breakdowns with inability to sleep at night, exaggerated sadness, fear about my future, nihilism and all the other unpleasant things that come with depressions, resting for about a few days each. Though, by cognitive techniques that I taught myself in(like, tricks to avoid ending up in a vicious circle of negative emotion and negative thought), I regained composure every time.
However, I knew that I would be able to take only a limited number of these blows, and that my ability to do so was fading quickly. The second breakdown already left me unable to do any meaningful work for about a day, while the first was almost gone the next day. I didn't want to decline again.
Thus, I visited my doctor, who sent me to a psychiatrist, who, in a hand waving manner, prescribed 50x20mg Citalopram, and said, if I don't get better I'll have to undergo psychotherapy. To be honest, a nice therapist to talk to would be a lot more important to me than taking drugs, but therapists are hard to come by since they're always busy, and additionally, I think that something is deeply wrong with me which can't be helped by talking alone. To be honest, I wanted to try SSRI's for a long time now, to see what would happen.
So, this is where I am now.
I've taken 10 mg for two days now, splitting a tablet in half, to sneak in to the dose of 20 mg.
I can feel the effects set in after about 30 minutes or an hour. There is some side-effects similar to a low dose of psilocybin. I'm hypersalivating a little, Iíve got a funny feeling in my stomach and I'm getting a little giddy and twitchy. I had a little trouble to find sleep this night, too. The side effects do not feel very unpleasant, all in all.
Regarding the psychtropic effect: I feel that there is something going on in my brain, something very powerful. I might be only imagining that (I.e. having a placebo effect), but I rarely tend to with psilocybin and the like. It's a bit like being relieved a lot, like being able to lean back finally. I'd not want to miss it.
I'm excited to see what it will be like later.
October 12 2006
I now dosed up to 20 mg a day.
Tuesday, we were celebrating a friend's wedding, which was rather low, and later I visited a bar/disco with a close friend who attended the wedding with me. We already were rather drunk. I was rather energetic, and enjoyed dancing greatly. After half an hour, I had been embraced and hugged by 2 girls I was dancing with - apparently I had the charm that night, was the very first time that ever happened to me. I did not dare to get any serious though (my girlfriend was the first and only person I had ever had sex with to date) and went home by 4:00.
I don't know whether my unusually good mood was to attribute to citalopram, to alcohol, or to placebo effect. It sure felt very good.
I slept badly, vomiting a few times, from the little I had eaten to bile (I'm always very sick when I'm drunk). Then I woke up with a hell of a hangover when the sun rose.
I have experienced various side effects by the citalopram, mainly:
- giddiness/shivering hands - usually not very bad, but one time I was rather hungry, I was unable to hold my hands steady enough to read a sheet of paper
- dilated pupils (better now already), and failure to adapt to bright light
- excessive yawning (like, once a hour or more, even during bright daylight), swallowing (air, and burping it up again), chewing
- slight 'restless legs', calf cramps at night at one occasion (which are rather usual for me, happening every few months, not at this magnitude though)
- general restlessness, trouble of finding sleep (which also affects me when depressed, but I have the impression that it's now worse than it was before taking the citalopram)
Between the last and the following entry:
Sleep became a lot better suddenly, a while in the middle I was able to sleep immediately when I went to bet and slept really well. It has become a little worse since, but nowhere near what it was like before.
I noticed having more appetite and food tasting better. When I went depressive the first time in my life, the first thing I really found odd was that everything tasted bland and I stopped to enjoy eating to the point where I went really hungry because the food didn't taste.
The side-effects (especially the peripheral ones) are nearly gone now. I still yawn more than usual, but not enough for other people to notice.
October 30 2006
I'm back from a vacation with a few colleagues and friends, and it felt really well. I could adapt to the situation of having 9 people around me rather well, which is rather unusual. Normally I'd have been shy and retreating, needing lots of rest, but there we really had fun. Again I had somewhat of a charm in a disco one night, not as extreme as the night I wrote about before, but still more than usual. I've been laughing a lot.
This afternoon, when the sun set and shone through the window, I felt exceptionally well and alive. I was really comfortable there and then, something which wouldn't have occurred to me before in autumn. I felt like on a bright summer day.
Things seem to be a lot easier now. I've got an appointment with my neurologist next week. I'll see what time brings.
October 31 2006
Again, this evening (evening as in astronomical evening, that is: late afternoon - it's getting dark early in autumn) I felt exceptionally well. I can't remember feeling like that ever on an autumn evening.
November 14 2006, 2:30 am
I had a date with a pretty girl about a week ago, which felt really good and made me a lot more self-confident. I don't know what will happen, last weekend she said she had a bad cold and we couldn't meet. But then something even more exciting happened.
Last weekend a friend of mine came to visit with his girlfriend, who needed some help for her homework which was somewhat arcane and thus I was the only guy they knew who could help. So we did that, and of course we were going to have some fun in the evenings too. So Saturday evening, we went to a bar/disco which was having a DnB party. We danced a little and then drank some beer in a 'chill-out area'-like corner. And then the unbelievable started to happen.
A girl (lets call her H) sat next to me and asked me if she might speak with me. Of course I agreed... she told me she saw me the Thursday before dancing at a bar, which apparently impressed her a lot (mainly, my looks seemed to charm her, but whatever makes them go...). So we started talking, with her leading some kind of rather schematic 'get-to-know' conversation.... I went with it for some time, then I told her about my depressions (the whole story, including the medications). My guests (who were still sitting there with us) left, first to dance and later for a walk. Then things began to turn weird in a positive way.
A girl named L, who was introduced as H's best friend, invited us over to a more comfortable couch, where all three of us chatted some more. L gave me a back massage, telling me she'd been somewhat jealous, seeing me and H talking. Then I gave L a back massage. Then all three of us cuddled a bit. The girls announced they'd have to take a taxi back home soon (as they're living in the outskirts of the town at least an hour by foot, if not more). Then one of them came up with the idea to sleep at my place.
I was like 'ok, my guests are technically ready to sleep in the corridor, we'd just need to ask them before' (they still were walking) 'I've got a large bed-couch too.' They replied 'Well, if your bed is large enough we wouldn't mind sharing.' I wouldn't either.
Then my guests came back, seeing me sitting between the thighs of a girl, head on her chest, and another girl cuddled up next to us. Their faces were a sight to behold.
Of course they didn't dare to interfere in any way, and they even brought their car with them during the walk (probably a little too drunk to do so, but after all, nothing happened) - so all 5 of us went back home and did as announced - my guests put up their mattresses in the corridor, and H and L snuggled up in bed with me. That was rather comfortable.
L slept in almost immediately (apparently she was very busy the whole week and really needed some rest). H started to get somewhat sexually offensive. I later learned that she must have been more drunk than I believed. I just went with it though, she reacted somewhat chaotically though. We ended up petting a little, but after like 10 months of total deprivation thatís better than nothing. For the rest of the night I snuggled up L's back (H not reacting meaningfully to any snuggly advances) - who tenderly snuggled into my arms, holding my hand in her sleep.
I didn't find much sleep - mostly because of sexual and emotional excitement, but also because I didn't want to miss any moment of this.
Eventually, morning came, and with it, L's alarm clock (she had announced she had to get up early to work for school). She turned off the alarm (her cellphone, which she put near the bed), and then turned round and gave me the cutest of smiles. I wished her a good morning, and asked if she might give me a hug before rising. She smiled warmly and then just laid across my chest to hug. A feeling of pure bliss overcame me... and she said 'Boy, you must have some kind of' - again full of sympathy and love. I was too stunned to talk any. We rose, and I brought both of them to the bus station.
I'll meet H soon, and I hope L can spare some hour or two, too. She was the one who touched me more, even though she was the more silent one of both. I'm in no position to decline any tenderness from any female though, so whatever might happen, it will be mine.
I never ever felt as touched and relaxed as tonight. My shoulders relaxed, and I had to cry some, out of joy and out of relief. I'm yearning for the two girls, but in a very loving and positive way. I have a feeling of confidence for the future, which is almost the complete opposite of anything I thought about for months. I'm in love with the world.
I have a feeling that I'll be able to heal now. I don't know the way, but I'm eager to learn.
November 17, 2006, 10 pm
I feel oddly tired this evening, just like yesterday. Both days I drank some beer in the evening, but I never felt like that from beer alone - so either this is some interaction, or a side-effect of citalopram alone. It's hard to accurately describe the feeling, it's a numb kind of tiredness.
Yesterday evening I was out for dancing. I met L there, but we couldn't talk meaningfully, it was just too loud and too crowded. I lost her and didn't meet her again.
I also saw another girl there, who has caught my eye before (she's a real looker in a way), but we never really had an opportunity to meet or anything. She smiled very pleasantly, but we weren't able to talk either.
Then, today, another little miracle happened: she got on a bus I was on, sat next to me, and we started talking. In a very pleasant way too. And then she gave me the possibility to contact her via a community website - which I did instantly when I got back home, to which she instantly replied.
I'm very eager for more.
December 3, 2006, 7:30 pm
Said girl, lets call her J, now became a rather close acquaintance. We went out for coffee and regularly write mails, which make my heart jump. She's a really nice person and fun to be with. We're not committed yet, but I'm hopeful.
December 30, 2006, 12:10 pm
Things got rather busy now. Depression went back to a bearable level. Thus, citalopram definitely did something.
I'm confident that all will end well now.
I'm finishing the Citalopram Report for now, as apparently nothing spectacular or sudden will happen anymore. This was not intended to be a general diary, but it became something close to one Ė obviously because I can't talk about depression without talking about general topics.
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