Sunday, June 23, 2024

Hey, Phenelzine, My Outdated Good friend (Effectively…)


TW: Discussions of melancholy, suicidal ideas, self hurt, dermatillomania, trichotillomania, detrimental ideas about meals, and point out of a faculty capturing.

So, after months and months of resisting, I’ve began taking Phenelzine once more. I used to be deeply reluctant for various causes; in spite of everything, simply deciding to take it once more (and it didn’t actually really feel like my alternative however one imposed on me by exterior forces) was an excruciating course of and took a number of remedy, a number of speaking, and a number of distress.

I actually didn’t need to take it. I knew that I might objectively really feel higher however I additionally felt like it might change a number of actually essential issues about how I felt concerning the world and about myself and that scared me. There have been additionally issues that I knew it wouldn’t change so there appeared little level in attempting to really feel higher. So my emotions about it had been a large number and sorting via them felt like an unimaginable job. However I wished to go to Nashville and Phenelzine felt like the one approach that that was going to be even remotely attainable (which I nonetheless imagine to be true, having now executed that journey to Nashville). In the end it felt like a alternative between two depressing outcomes and a alternative I didn’t know the best way to make. And regardless that I did take it – and am feeling objectively higher – I nonetheless really feel indignant about it, about feeling like I needed to take it.

For the sake of readability, I began taking Phenelzine on tenth March 2023 and this submit covers the primary two months roughly, documenting the negative effects and the advantages. I considered chopping it in half, given how lengthy it grew to become, however in the end, I feel it’s extra helpful to maintain all of this data in the identical place. And, as all the time when speaking about medicine, that is simply my expertise. Please don’t begin, change, or cease taking any drugs with out the recommendation and assist of a medical skilled.

WEEK 1 (15mg as soon as a day)

Nothing modified in that first week. I used to be desperately depressed (most days I used to be too depressed to get off the bed) and constantly, deeply suicidal; I simply felt utterly hopeless. I self harmed that first week, pushed largely by my sophisticated feeling about taking Phenelzine once more.

I had no power and was bodily exhausted however by some means nonetheless made myself rise up and go to each my hydrotherapy and remedy periods (I feel that that, greater than something, was a scarcity of will to combat what I used to be being informed to do), though they did, after all, make me much more drained. I had no urge for food however I didn’t have any curiosity in meals anyway. I might’ve ignored it altogether however my Mum pushed me to eat one thing on a regular basis; even that was a wrestle although.

The plan was all the time to extend to twice a day after every week or so however on condition that I wasn’t feeling any change and time was operating out (plus the crucial issue that I’ve taken this medicine a number of occasions earlier than and so I’ve a number of expertise with it), once I requested my psychiatrist if I may transfer to the upper dose barely sooner than deliberate, he agreed. So I began taking 15mg twice a day after solely 5 days.

WEEK 2 (15mg twice a day)

Bodily, I felt fairly terrible. My sleep continued to be erratic and horrible; I had just about each type of unhealthy sleep that you could have. I used to be continually exhausted throughout the day and so drowsy that I struggled to do something; there have been days the place I managed to get off the bed solely to lie on the couch.

Initially of the week, I used to be nonetheless feeling deeply suicidal. I felt overwhelmed and hopeless and was intentionally self sabotaging: I used to be desperately avoiding meals wherever attainable (after which continually feeling like I wasn’t attempting arduous sufficient); persevering with to isolate myself; pushing myself too arduous in hydrotherapy; and so forth. Over the course of the week, the character of the suicidal ideas and emotions modified a bit. At first, I wasn’t positive if I used to be nonetheless suicidal however then, once I considered it for greater than thirty seconds, I realised that I used to be: the fears that in the end drive my suicidal ideas and emotions had been nonetheless there and nonetheless actually, actually massive, leaving me so utterly overwhelmed that residing felt insufferable. I used to be additionally extremely anxious (if I needed to put a quantity on it, I’d say I used to be constantly within the high 5% of my – very large – spectrum of hysteria). I used to be virtually residing on Diazepam (not a good suggestion, I do know, however I used to be simply attempting to outlive) and even with the assistance of that, I used to be affected by important bodily signs, one thing that isn’t often a part of the nervousness expertise for me: I used to be nauseous; I constantly felt like I couldn’t breathe and deep breaths felt bodily unimaginable, just like the air wasn’t going into my lungs however elsewhere by some means; I additionally had durations the place I felt frighteningly in need of breath; my throat felt so tight that swallowing felt prefer it took ten occasions the standard quantity of effort, like I needed to focus all of my power simply to get meals down; I cried rather a lot, one thing I hadn’t executed a lot of throughout what I’ve been describing as ‘my melancholy coma.’ The looming Nashville journey was a very intense supply of hysteria; simply serious about it made me need to curl up so tightly that each bone broke or scream till I disappeared from existence. These sound like poetic methods of claiming I used to be anxious however they’re literal descriptions for the deeply visceral feelings I used to be attempting to deal with.

I may most positively really feel the Phenelzine beginning to work although: I managed to put in writing some bits of songs on a number of events, which was greater than I’d been capable of do for a very long time as much as that time; I began participating with social media once more, though it was in a restricted capability and I actually struggled with it; I went again to bullet journalling and to do lists, having deserted these months earlier; and so forth. Having stated that, all of these issues additionally elevated my nervousness about life and about unhealthy issues occurring, making my suicidal ideas even worse. Alongside these literal examples, I additionally felt like my mind was transferring quicker, having felt so sluggish for therefore lengthy, however that didn’t essentially imply that that exercise was… fascinating. My ideas weren’t extra organised, weren’t making me extra productive. Every thing was transferring so quick that it usually made me really feel sick; my ideas had been chaotic, making them arduous to maintain observe of and making it even tougher to pay attention than it already was. It was exhausting. However I felt just like the lights had been slowly beginning to come again on. It wasn’t unhealthy precisely nevertheless it was greater than a bit unsettling as a result of I hadn’t actually realised that the lights had gone off – figuratively talking – regardless of how unhealthy issues had been.

I wasn’t positive if I used to be experiencing any bodily negative effects, particularly since I used to be already combating exhaustion, drowsiness, melancholy, and nervousness. However there have been a number of issues that might’ve been negative effects: a number of moments of nausea so overwhelming that I needed to lie down till they handed; I additionally saved discovering that my mouth was actually dry, that I used to be consuming much more than typical, nevertheless it wasn’t constant sufficient to make sure it was a facet impact. The primary time I took Phenelzine, I struggled with one thing akin to manic episodes and though I didn’t expertise that this time, there have been positively moments the place a few of these recognisable emotions and behaviours arose; a type of was speaking compulsively, unable to close up as arduous as I attempted. It was irritating nevertheless it was no less than acquainted and so I knew it might move; I simply needed to wait it out.

WEEK 3 (15mg twice a day)

The previous couple of days earlier than Nashville had been brutal on each my mind and my physique. I used to be unbearably anxious: I felt utterly overwhelmed, to the purpose the place I couldn’t focus on something; I felt like I may barely breathe or swallow; I used to be close to tears for days. I attempted actually arduous in remedy, ending up in tears, however I nonetheless felt just like the nervousness was tearing me aside. I feel that was a part of the rationale my continual ache flared up once more, from my neck all the way down to my hips, and the ache was fixed, no matter any medicine I took. It was terrible. Aside from that, I continued having moments of intense nausea, sleeping erratically (and feeling deeply drained throughout the day), and feeling usually unwell. I used to be additionally desperately annoyed by what, at that time, was most definitely the facet impact of a constantly dry mouth; I used to be so thirsty, I went from barely consuming something to the equal of a number of bottles of water in a day.

Throughout these few days although, I had a dialog with an in depth good friend, one of many few I’d managed to remain in vaguely common contact with (for the previous couple of months no less than). We had been speaking about music and I discovered myself enthusing about it, to a degree that took me by full shock. It was disconcerting to really feel that obsessed with something after so lengthy with out feeling something like that, something that robust. The sudden emergence of this sense actually threw me: my id abruptly felt extremely unstable and I didn’t know who the true me was, the depressed one that was wrapped in layers of cotton wool distress or the individual on Phenelzine who loves music greater than something. It was scary and complicated and made me really feel very not sure of myself, of all the pieces.


Midway via that week, I flew out to Nashville, the journey my fundamental motivation for going again to Phenelzine. The flight was about as simple as they are often and my first few days there have been fairly quiet, bodily no less than. It gave me a while to get well, which was each a lot wanted and far appreciated; I used to be exhausted and the jet lag was actually tough. The continual ache was ongoing and I struggled towards a migraine-like headache. The dry mouth was persisting and I used to be consuming water prefer it was going out of favor. My nervousness was at an all time excessive. Between the flight, arriving in Nashville, anticipating the ten (ish) days forward, serious about all the issues that might probably go unsuitable… I used to be so anxious that I actually felt like I used to be going to be sick. It was excruciating.

It additionally feels essential to say that it was in these first few days in Nashville that The Covenant College capturing occurred. I wrote extra about this and my emotions about it in my Nashville submit and it doesn’t really feel like it is a appropriate submit to rehash these feelings nevertheless it was very distressing and I discovered myself hit with a sudden flood of feeling hopeless and upset and much more anxious.

WEEK 4 (15mg twice a day)

That week in Nashville was A LOT, on so many ranges.

I by no means actually acquired over the jet lag so I struggled with fatigue and exhaustion all through the entire journey. I began out at drained and inside a number of days, I’d reached exhausted and I fought towards that fixed bodily exhaustion from then on (till lengthy after I acquired residence). I attempted to be strategic – avoiding and minimising the strolling and standing the place I may – however there was nonetheless extra time on my toes, particularly in queues than I may actually deal with (however we’ll come again to that). Due to the jet lag, I slept erratically at greatest and terribly at worst and I used to be so drained that there have been a number of events the place I simply crashed on the couch and slept for a number of hours throughout the day. By the tip of the journey, I used to be struggling not to go to sleep in public locations.

The strolling round, queuing for reveals, and the hours spent in uncomfortable chairs was an absolute nightmare on my physique, leaving me stiff and sore for the entire journey. My continual ache hadn’t been nice earlier than we left however this was a complete new stage of ache, from my neck to the soles of my toes (however significantly my again and legs). I may barely transfer by the point I acquired into mattress every evening, my muscular tissues screaming, and I spent a number of time stretching out my again and warming the muscular tissues with my transportable electrical blanket, attempting to ease the ache a bit however my again was wrecked by the tip of the journey. I used to be additionally hit by one of many excruciating, spasming ache assaults in my again that had me unable to maneuver and screaming till it handed. I don’t expertise them as usually as I used to however they’re horrendous after they do occur. So, ache sensible, it was a reasonably depressing expertise.

With regard to Phenelzine negative effects, there was nonetheless solely the one which I used to be positive of: I used to be nonetheless continually thirsty. All I needed to do was breathe via my mouth for ten seconds or so earlier than my mouth was so dry that I may barely breathe, my breath catching in my throat. I used to be consuming a lot water, bottles and bottles a day and I may’ve fortunately drunk extra.

My nervousness was, for probably the most half, horrible, particularly initially. I used to be so anxious – there have been occasions that I actually felt prefer it was going to make me sick – and there was simply a lot uncertainty, plans continually altering and unfooting me; it was nearly unimaginable to really feel settled (a sense that I all the time have in Nashville). There have been days the place it wasn’t fairly as unhealthy although: the nice managed to steadiness it out, I acquired settled in varied ways in which helped me cope higher, after which there have been occasions the place I used to be simply so overwhelmed that I couldn’t inform what I used to be feeling, whether or not I used to be feeling something in any respect. With a lot to really feel, typically my thoughts simply appeared to go clean, like a defence mechanism, like feeling all of it would simply be an excessive amount of.

That’s to not say that there weren’t good moments and good emotions. I hung out with beautiful folks, went to superb reveals, caught up with outdated pals and made new ones… It was good, if rather a lot to course of: it was greater than I’d been doing for months crammed right into a single week. I imply, I had my first ‘glowy’ second – a second the place I really feel like I’m glowing with pure pleasure – in longer than I can bear in mind, which was very particular; they’ve been arduous fought for during the last eighteen months. I used to be giddy for the remainder of the evening. I additionally went to a celebration regardless of a twister warning (the primary of some probably questionable selections, however I frolicked with beautiful folks and had fun) so it might be that I used to be extra impulsive than typical, one thing I’ve observed earlier than when beginning Phenelzine (on each events); it’s type of enjoyable but additionally looks like my world is tilting backwards and forwards wildly. I did get pleasure from myself however there have been additionally moments the place I felt like these emotions weren’t actually touchdown, perhaps as a result of they felt so bizarre and disconcerting after being so deeply depressed for therefore lengthy.

Emotionally, I used to be utterly all the place. As I stated, it was simply a lot to course of. And by the tip of the journey, I used to be a whole mess. In some methods, I used to be determined to go residence however I used to be additionally actually reluctant, each to go away and to return to regular life. I used to be confused and conflicted and anxious, which I can’t think about was made clearer by the ache, exhaustion, and mess of emotions that the early levels of Phenelzine creates.

WEEK 5 (15mg twice a day)

The flight residence was okay and I managed to sleep for many of it, though it wasn’t significantly restful. And sleeping with my legs bent the way in which I did meant that once I wakened and I attempted to stroll, the ache my knees was terrible; it made me further grateful for the Meet and Help. I felt okay for some time however then the jet lag crept in and, irrespective of how arduous I attempted, I couldn’t keep awake. I ended up sleeping on and off all day; I used to be simply so drained and sleepy and overwhelmed by all the pieces.


Getting again to regular was arduous. The jet lag was simply as brutal travelling this manner and I used to be utterly exhausted; I saved falling asleep throughout the day, which solely made my sleep schedule worse and it wasn’t nice to start out with. I made myself go to remedy and hydrotherapy, each of which had been good to do in their very own proper given the earlier ten days but additionally helped to bodily tire me out. The ache in my again was nearly insufferable, making it unimaginable to do a lot (though, arguably, taking the time to relaxation wasn’t the worst factor I may’ve been doing). And I used to be nonetheless so, so thirsty.

After two weeks of chaotic busyness, I abruptly didn’t have wherever to be or a lot to do and that left me feeling weirdly untethered and misplaced and anxious (though it was in all probability good for my bodily restoration to have that quiet time). With Nashville over after serious about it for therefore lengthy, I felt low and depressed and empty; it was a mix, I feel, of the adrenaline and what I name the ‘Nashville impact’ (I all the time discover myself feeling lighter and extra open and joyful, even with all the nervousness and psychological well being stuff – it’s been there on each journey) sporting off and readjusting to regular life and all the issues that I needed to have interaction with and get executed. All of it felt very arduous. Having stated that, I did handle a really sophisticated journey to and from London to spend a beautiful night with pals, which was very nice, if exhausting. However even with the nice moments, I used to be feeling so anxious and depressed with the constant background noise of suicidal ideas. With all of that clawing on the within my head, I discovered myself reopening the latest reduce on my face and ended up making it worse.

WEEK 6 (15mg twice a day)

I spent most of that week combating some type of virus or one thing. What began out as a sore throat and a cough became sore ears, tender glands, and a painful cheek and jawbone. It was fairly depressing – I felt overwhelmed and unhappy and saved bursting into tears – however I took a take a look at (and a number of other extra all through the week) and no less than it wasn’t COVID. On the worst day, I used to be abruptly overwhelmed by nausea, breaking out in a scorching sweat, and I needed to lie down till it handed as a result of my ears rang each time I stood up. I felt so tough and exhausted by it that I fell asleep and slept for a lot of the day. After that, I slowly acquired higher though that also concerned days of basic unwellness.

Sleep was nonetheless a wrestle, together with one evening the place I solely acquired two hours of sleep. Even once I slept fairly, I used to be so drained and sleepy throughout the day, which made concentrating even tougher than it’s usually. The ache in my again continued, though the severity of it slowly dropped to a low stage ache by the tip of the week. The determined thirst remained too; I used to be nonetheless consuming a lot water, which I’m positive is sweet for me even when the trigger is annoying.

By the tip of the week, I used to be beginning to do issues once more – not at a Nashville stage or perhaps a pre-depression coma stage – however extra so than I had felt capable of over the earlier eighteen months. I noticed household, frolicked with pals, labored on music tasks, exhausted myself in remedy, and pushed myself arduous at hydrotherapy, upping the depth; my legs cramped and shook nevertheless it felt good, like I’d executed one thing actually productive. I’d discovered hydro getting simpler over the last few weeks and I puzzled if it was the Phenelzine, whether or not it was by some means permitting me to really feel stronger in my physique and capable of push it tougher. It wouldn’t shock me nevertheless it isn’t one thing I’ve felt when taking Phenelzine earlier than.


An added complication was the reduce on my face. Having opened it up on the finish of the earlier week, I abruptly couldn’t depart it alone, tearing at it with my fingernails and making it worse and worse; each time it began to heal, I opened it up once more. As arduous as I attempted, I couldn’t cease, couldn’t rid myself of that anxious power. After a number of days, I managed to divert it however I solely ended up doing a unique type of harm, chewing away the callouses on my fingers from enjoying guitar; I used to be nearly all the way down to the following layer of pores and skin, which actually harm. The urge to tear at my face, to chew my fingertips, to tug my hair was simply relentless and nevertheless I attempted to repress or redirect it, it remained simply as robust and attempting to withstand it simply felt prefer it took extra power than I had (I imply, it’s all the time felt like that nevertheless it felt prefer it had gotten worse). I’ve struggled with the urge to tug my hair or to self hurt for years however for some cause unknown to me, it had abruptly gotten a lot worse and rather more damaging. It may’ve been Phenelzine associated (my hair pulling began across the time I first began taking Phenelzine, given the timing, however I don’t know if there’s a connection – there was rather a lot occurring) however I don’t know.

WEEK 7 (15mg twice a day)

My sleep began to stage out: I nonetheless had nights the place I solely acquired a few hours of sleep however I additionally began to have a number of nights the place I slept deeply and closely, which I used to be grateful for. However regardless of these higher nights, I used to be nonetheless all the time, all the time drained and so usually sleepy throughout the day. There have been days the place I used to be too drained to do something and my wrestle with focus solely continued. The again ache was nonetheless current however at a a lot decrease stage than it had been throughout and instantly submit Nashville. And no matter sickness I’d had appeared to have handed; all that was left was what felt like a light chilly. The sniffing was boring however completely manageable. And the limitless thirst was turning into extra regular, if nonetheless annoying. So regardless that none of it was fantastic, I assume there have been enhancements on all fronts.

My nervousness and melancholy hadn’t been resolved as a lot as I might’ve hoped, as I bear in mind from earlier experiences with Phenelzine (though that might be me remembering it unsuitable). There was extra in my mind than there had been beforehand: I used to be having good moments and good feelings, in addition to simply extra feelings typically, so the melancholy wasn’t so aggressively entrance and centre anymore nevertheless it was nonetheless there, nonetheless heavy and depressing. I used to be nonetheless having suicidal ideas fairly constantly too, like uncomfortable static within the background of all the pieces; all the big, terrible, terrifying issues that occur in life simply felt utterly overwhelming and I don’t need to dwell via them. That’s actually arduous to not really feel. I felt fragile and overwhelmed a number of the time. I used to be simply so anxious about all of the issues I needed to do; I felt incapable of concentrating sufficient for any of them, which simply made my procrastinating even worse. I labored arduous in remedy, attempting to determine some actually arduous questions, and I simply ended up feeling actually overwhelmed by all the pieces; being extra engaged with the world, being ‘higher,’ simply felt actually scary.

Having stated all of that although, I did handle to do issues. I had a really lengthy, very social day; I had a protracted work assembly on Zoom (which I completely wouldn’t have been capable of do pre-Phenelzine); I frolicked with a good friend; I labored on music stuff; I pushed myself actually arduous at hydrotherapy. Plus, I launched my new single, ‘Home on Hearth,’ which was an enormous deal contemplating that, throughout my melancholy coma, I wasn’t capable of have interaction with music in any respect. The day went properly though it was disturbing and exhausting too.

The entire hair pulling, chewing my fingers, tearing at my face scenario was not good although. I simply couldn’t cease; my face and fingers by no means allowed to heal. The reduce on my face was solely getting greater and typing on my laptop computer or enjoying guitar was tremendous painful. It was a large number and I had no thought the best way to repair it.

WEEK 8 (15mg twice a day)

My sleep wasn’t nice nevertheless it wasn’t horrible. I had unhealthy nights, damaged sleep and waking up exhausted, however I additionally had first rate nights too the place I slept lengthy and deep. However, no matter how I slept, I used to be drained and sleepy all through the day, usually struggling to focus on no matter I used to be doing; the depth fluctuated however they had been fixed. I additionally discovered going to mattress tough, so anxious that I procrastinated into the early hours of the morning. This appears to be my new regular, or no less than on the spectrum that’s my new regular.


I used to be having increasingly more productive days however I used to be nonetheless actually combating my nervousness. I felt fragile and overwhelmed, anxious about all the pieces that I wanted to do and all the pieces that was occurring; it made concentrating further arduous and I ended up procrastinating fairly a bit, particularly with the tougher issues. All the arduous stuff was persistently on the peripheral too. I labored arduous in remedy and hydrotherapy too, exhausting myself; I used to be getting out of the pool, respiratory arduous and legs shaking. The continual ache hadn’t light fully nevertheless it was all the way down to an nearly ignorable stage, which was in all probability the perfect it had been for a very long time.

The harm I used to be doing to my hair and fingers and face was ongoing, though I found that overlaying the damaged pores and skin with plasters or gauze and making a barrier between them and my fingernails did assist, slowing the harm and really permitting them to heal a bit. That did imply my hair bore the brunt of that panicky power, which painful for my scalp, shoulder, and elbow. Each time I attempt to redirect that power, it simply appears to search out one other damaging type, by no means one which doesn’t do any harm. It’s an actual wrestle.

I didn’t intend for this submit to get so very lengthy however between Nashville and getting sick, I wasn’t positive if I used to be precisely representing my expertise with Phenelzine. I’m by no means positive how fascinating these posts are to learn however I really feel just like the experiences of taking these drugs are essential to share, to doc. I’ve by no means seen anybody speak about taking Phenelzine and I’ve had a number of folks attain out to me to ask about it; all the data on the market appears to be purely factual. So I wished to make this primary hand account of it obtainable for folks to get a way of it, even when it’s solely my expertise and solely this time, my third time taking it. On the 2 events I’ve taken it beforehand, I didn’t write about it as a result of, the primary time, I didn’t have this weblog and, the second time, I used to be so depressed that I couldn’t write. Lengthy story brief, right here is my expertise of taking Phenelzine (for the third time) and I hope that, for anybody about to take it or already taking it, this account is useful and informative.

Over two months in and I nonetheless don’t really feel nice about Phenelzine (for all the causes that I didn’t need to begin taking it initially), as a lot as I can recognise the target advantages. And with these advantages in thoughts, with my nervousness and melancholy nonetheless very current, I feel that I must attempt a better dose to be able to get probably the most out of it. It was an excessive amount of final time however I wasn’t attempting to return again from such a foul place so perhaps I simply want a bit extra assist this time. I’m ready to listen to from my psychiatrist after which I assume we’ll see.


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