Ben Norris

🧠 A positive spike

I shared a couple weeks ago that I had gone completely off of Prozac, which I’ve found the most helpful so far in helping to manage my OCD symptoms. That was in update #101: Tapering off everything.

Tapering off everything

Then last week, I shared my experience being off of everything, except Xanax & Dr Pepper.

Xanax & Dr Pepper

That was such an awful week that it caused me to stop and consider the course I was taking. The goal of the changes was to improve my baseline a little bit from where I was. But I know that when I’m on the Prozac, my OCD is manageable. I don’t feel like I want to die, and I’m able to move forward with things. I’ve gone off and on a couple times, and each time, it serves to remind me just what a difference it makes.

So I met with my psychiatrist and decided I am going to stop the experimentation phase for now, and get back on what I know works for me. At least well enough.

Almost immediately after starting the Prozac again, I started feeling so much better. Intellectually, I knew that it wasn’t actually the medication yet—this one takes a bit to build up in my system before it really does anything. But my psychiatrist has talked with me about the value and importance of the placebo effect.

I think a lot of the benefit came from the hope that it instilled in me. Part of what I was excited about was the lack of uncertainty. I knew much more of what to expect, and could more or less plan on a return to being functional within a few weeks.

A couple days after the positive spike, I was back to spending half the day curled in my armchair, just trying to make it through the hour.

I felt robbed. “I was feeling so much better,” I thought. “How could this be happening again?”

In my moments of lucidity, I knew that this is what I should expect. I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have a little ways to go before I can expect my body to stabilize. And even then, I’ll still have OCD. I should just be able to manage it better.

At the end of the week, I looked back on my mood tracker for the past month.

Oct 2022 Mood Chart

I could see how things had gone downhill, and then been so low for a while. There was the clear spike, and return to baseline. But there was also hope. Movement is good at this point.

As hard as this week was again, I feel hopeful that better times are just around the corner.

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