I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last blog. I was waiting for The Sunday Times to publish a piece on me and my Prozac addiction – SJ

Since my last blog I have had to go back on Prozac – please see link to attached newspaper article above (SJ).

I was worried about the backlash the piece might have but when it finally came out on Sunday 19th May 2013, I just felt completely naked….

I know what you’re probably thinking, I’ve been semi naked on a plate in Trafalgar Square and I’ve been writing this blog since Nov 2012, so surely I couldn’t feel any more exposed by a newspaper article.

Well, I did and I do. I think it’s because my family and friends read the article. My parents said it made them feel sad because they hadn’t realised the extent of what I have tackled so far in my life. I never wanted to make anyone feel sorry for me. I just wanted to find out the truth about Prozac and how it has affected my life, both good and bad.

Of course I have been addicted for 16 years to Prozac so in a way my life is no different now I’m back on it.  The surge of concern for me from people has been immense and I suppose I feel naked because I can no longer hide, every one knows the truth now, which means I also have to face it.

That truth is;

sometimes I just cannot find joy but for some reason I feel like I have to. The sad thing is that I don’t know how to let go of the smile. I feel like I have utterly let everyone down because my happiness is synthetic. I’m supposed to save people with my infectious happiness, that’s always been my role in life, my purpose. I still want to save people with fun and happiness – but now they know I’m a fraud will they let me?

I’m sorry I am back on Prozac – 2 months ago I couldn’t take any more and I’m sad to say I caved and took 3 pills. I am now back on 3 pills a day and a fully-fledged Prozac Zombie again. Which when you think about it means I’m back to the normal, the me you’ve all known for the last 16 years. Maybe even the real me.

This whole thing was always a human experiment for me ~ using myself as the guinea pig.

I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t think it would be so hard or that my body would break down so dramatically without fluoxetine to sustain me. So, if this was a science experiment and I guess that’s all it was, here are my findings.

On stopping taking Prozac my body started to fail me in the following areas:

My heels cracked open.

This has not happened since I first took Prozac. However from the age of 12, when I first became Bulimic, my heels cracked open constantly. It was a shock to me when they started to crack open again.

Now back on Prozac this has immediately stopped happening. So for whatever reason my heels need fluoxetine.

My metabolism slowed down.

Off Prozac I never got hungry. My digestion slowed right down and although I was eating less than 1000 calories a day I put on 5lbs in weight. This of course affected my body dismorphia and the threat of Bulimia returning seemed a real possibility.

Back on the drug my metabolism has speeded up. I immediately lost the 5lbs I had gained and I am now able to eat a normal amount of food and I actually get hungry and no longer obsess about food at all.

My Body Dismorphia returned.

Whilst off the drug I couldn’t bare to look in the mirror. I felt like I was the ugliest person in the world. I also convinced myself I must be a size 20 even though my size 6 clothes still fitted me.

After a day of taking the pills again these thoughts disappeared. I was able to look at myself in the mirror and I realised I was still the same size as I have always been.

My Raynuads Disease returned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raynaud’s_phenomenon

Again I’ve had this since I was 12 years old and it disappeared when I went on Prozac only to return off the drug.

That international drug of mystery Prozac has now cured it again.

My Periods were hateful.

Each period got worse off Prozac. My boobs went up a size to a 28F and I felt dizzy and sick from ovulation through to menstruation.

Back on the drug I have what I consider to be normal periods again, where I can function in day to day life. Happily my bra size is also back to size 28E.

However, my doctor was shocked I even managed to have periods on Prozac, so now I am worried that the drug may affect my fertility and I wish I could find out more about this. I have never been warned of this.

Off Prozac I had constant headaches and I was dizzy a lot. I felt like I had the flu and bloated.

Back on Prozac these symptoms immediately disappeared.

My nails stopped growing.

Off prozac my nails just tore off the whole time and my toenails became bruised really easily.

I’m pleased to say that back on Prozac nails are long again and toenails are recovering.

Restless Leg Syndrome Returned.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restless_legs_syndrome

To be fair I sometimes get this on Prozac, if I haven’t got enough iron in my system, but off it I literally could not sleep –

“The cause of restless legs syndrome remains unknown. However, evidence suggests that there is a problem related to a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called dopamine. Since restless legs syndrome tends to occur in several generations of a family, scientists suspect that there is some genetic (inherited) risk of the problem. In some people with restless legs syndrome, anemia due to iron deficiency may be a contributing factor, while in others restless legs syndrome has been linked to pregnancy, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney failure, varicose veins or peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet). High caffeine intake (coffee, tea, cola beverages, chocolate) also may be related to restless legs syndrome.”

I have read that when coming off Prozac the brain tries to compensate for the lack of serotonin and the Dopamine levels end up getting compromised… therefore restless leg syndrome is a common side effect of Fluoxetine withdrawal. I’m pleased to say it has also gone away now I am taking Prozac again.

I was sick a lot when I first came off the drug.

Happily this side effect has also gone away.

I suppose the most significant effect of stopping taking Prozac was that I cried a lot. Back on it I still cry but it takes a lot more to upset me now.

I’ve said before that when I first starting taking Prozac my head, which always felt like a room full of messy papers, instantly felt like all those papers had been filed away. I could suddenly access them and my own head no longer overwhelmed me.

Off Prozac this chaos also returned and now I am back on the drug, those head papers are all filed neatly again.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get off Prozac. I am shocked to see that my body relied on it so much. It hasn’t cured anything at all in the 16 years or so I’ve been on the drug but it definitely keeps the wolves from the door and I think it has saved my life

I wish there was a test that could be done to measure once and for all whether I do make serotonin or not. If I knew definitively that I didn’t I wouldn’t mind being on Prozac forever. Although, if I found out that I did make serotonin, then I would have to face the fact that my mind and is not always sound.

For now at least I am a Zombie again, I’m back to paying premiums on my life insurance because of the drug I take. I’m back to people pretending that they don’t judge me, when I know deep down they do and I have to admit to myself that I failed. I’m flimsy; I can’t stand on my own two feet Prozac free.

Having been back on it for 2 months I do feel better. Sadly in stopping taking it and facing the reality of who I really am, I seemed to have dimmed the switch of hope that used to shine brightly before I tried to get clean. I suppose while trying to be Prozac free I must have tripped the switch that fooled me I was ok. Or maybe it’s just now everyone knows my secret I can’t pretend I’m ok.

Like everyone else I’m scarred and I bleed because of the ghosts of my past and I bleed because I am human, immortal and weak.

For the most part I am happier than I was before this experiment and I do now know who I am.

I am a punk who sometimes hates the way she looks.

I am a punk who avoids convention.

I am a punk who has to challenge authority.

I am a punk who thrives on attention.

I am punk who loves animals.

I am a punk who really just wants to have fun.

I am a Punk On Prozac.

I once read that the Native American Indians believe: On each day you are reborn….

This is a liberating thought…… All those things that haunt you from the past, those things that have affected you adversely – no longer exist. It’s like being granted freedom from the negative past that binds you. Today and everyday you are free to start again. All those critical things people have said to you, those things you have allowed to scream in your brain so much more loudly than the positive things people might have once said, can be ignored. You could decide to only listen to the positive stuff from now on….. You are no longer a product of your past; you are now your future.

I think that’s a lovely way to think…. but my demon doesn’t…. and I’m not sure how to get rid of her…. and she’s been around for so long, I’m not sure I want to. Maybe she is part of me; maybe she is what drives me. Let’s call her Esme. My imaginary friend. Don’t worry I’m not completely mad …. I know she is me…. I just feel like I can control that destructive wild side of my ego, if she has a name.

Ever since I can first remember Esme was there. When I was a toddler she made me look deep in to the eyes of adults, so deeply that I could see my own reflection in their iris and I saw their sadness and I felt how uncomfortable they were that I was looking at them, really looking at them. They didn’t look back at me and I wondered why they were so uncomfortable in their own skin and it scared me… Now I’m the same as them.

I think that’s why I love and trust animals so much. We had a dog at that time, called Max and he was my best friend until he died when I was 5 years old. I could look deep in to his eyes and he truly looked back at me. There was no sadness in that animals eyes, only love and truth. He knew who he was and why he was – and so to me the 5 year old, who was new to this world and hadn’t been told that humans are superior to animals (although I still question that we are) he knew so much more than all the humans put together, there was no fear, no doubt in his own abilities or his ‘self’, in that dogs eyes there was only love and both Esme and ‘I’ felt safe with that and when he died it changed so much for me…. I now had to survive in a world that was full of fear.

This week has been a week of loss and gain for me….

I watched someone walk on that fine silver thread between life and death. I won’t go into details, as it is their story and not for here…. but the person is ok, which is the main thing. It was such a shock to see someone grasping on to life. I was reminded that life can be gone in a heartbeat and who knows if this is our only chance to be all that we can be – if it is I’ve wasted far too much time already and I suspect most of us have.

It also made me think about what makes some of us put ourselves first and others (and I am included in this category) worry about everyone else’s feelings and never their own. The latter is just a double-edged sword, which cuts you either way.

I find if I have to let someone down, I am devastated for them, even if they have previously ‘wronged’ me or I hardly know them.

If someone hurts me I think, I hope they are ok now. I know they didn’t mean to hurt me and I feel bad for them … what if they are feeling guilty now or I’m sad for them that their life’s path has led them to be mean.

If I think of myself first, I am riddled with so much guilt that it makes me ill… and I have been so ill this week, so ill it’s stopped me working…. which is no good when you are fighting to keep your house and trying to survive.

I have worked out that this unselfish streak is the unseen force that pushes me in to the abyss of depression that I fall into time and time again…… It actually hurts me to look after myself and put me first. The pain I encounter hurting others is double the pain of hurting myself. So what do I do? Do I continue to lose my life to please others and put my needs last? Or do I learn how to be a ‘bitch’, if that’s what it is, and only care about me and let others worry about themselves?

But what if people only love me because I am a pushover? How do you fight for your life without someone getting hurt….? Is it worth it, won’t my life just be frozen with guilt anyway? Nice girls aren’t selfish are they?

I wrote this when I was 13 – as you can see I’ve always had my Esme shadow reminding me that my feelings come last…

I do not fear death but dying
An open door, I can’t get out
I need relief from pain, I’m crying
My heart is screaming I cannot shout
No longer owning life, I’m bleeding
I look for my days, I have non.
One day I’ll give in the end of coping…
I’ll close my eyes. I will be gone

Maybe my demon Esme is the bitch who’s trying to surface and help me. Is she a friend who’s screaming at me to ‘LIVE MY OWN LIFE’ no matter what my guilty conscience tells me? Maybe if we all did that we could all be guilt free about being selfish’ and maybe then we really could save each other and this beautiful planet we live on.

Just like putting on your own oxygen mask on first before you help others on a plane. Maybe that’s a metaphor for life….. but you have to be bloody brave and sure of yourself to carry it out.

Being selfish, could it possibly make the world a better place to live? It’s not what we are taught at school but maybe we can be selfish and still be good people.

Maybe selfishness isn’t the demon it’s made out to be – maybe Esme is my fearless saviour who just wants me to truly live my life.

Happy 2013 – It’s been over a week now and I’ve managed to stay Prozac free. I’m pleased. My restless leg syndrome has definitely got worse. I’m writing this blog at 5am as a result of not being able to sleep because of this ridiculous condition. So clearly Prozac has severely effected my dopamine levels and I suspect my iron levels are low too. I’m also still getting severe stomach pains, but the bulimia has not returned and I’m really not as crazy as I remember being before Prozac.

However I’m 39 soon (05.01.13) and I still haven’t figured it all out!

My life has changed dramatically over this past year. I split up with my boyfriend of 13 years. I’m endeavouring to break free of the kids tv chains and prove to the world that I do have talents as an actress. I may lose my house, a place I love and where I feel safe and I’m finally admitting I’m not just a smile, I have a shadow self who has ruled and ruined many hours of my existence. I don’t fear change but I’m not so sure I like the ride much. Its like I’m on a ghost train as I continue clearing out all the ghosts of my past. My life is starting to feel a bit like an exorcism.

My worst fear is, if I take away all the demons what’s left? Is there anything there? Maybe I’m afraid of the light. When people tell me good things about myself, I think, that’s scary because when you see how rotten to the core I am, you’ll be disappointed and I hate disappointing people. I exist to make people happy it keeps me breathing even though it comes at a price of self sacrifice… I’ve always felt like that, ever since I can remember.

Like I’m on tightrope – stay on the wire Sarah Jane and they won’t see through the cracks, you can fool them with tricks so they can’t see what’s really there. I don’t even know what’s really there.

I suppose that’s why I self harmed with bulimia. Yes, if a dancing teacher you respect tells you your boobs are too big to achieve your dream of being a dancer, that’s bound to tip you in to that sneaky diet world, that’s ruined so many lives. I can’t help but think if I’d been a stronger or a better person then I would have known that teacher was wrong and ignored her. I would never have let the demon take up residence in my heart and obliterate my rationale and confidence. I might have been the first page 3 ballerina, although somehow I think not. Haha!

On the subject of diets – they don’t work, they ruin lives, they are dangerous, they should come with a government health warning! The diet industry is a multi billion pound industry and yet we are getting fatter and fatter. Only 2 percent of people who go on a diet lose weight and keep that weight off…. That’s even more mental than me!

I now know the secret to diet free eating which I will share with you soon. A secret that kept me safe from bulimia and has kept me at the same weight for 12 years, without ever dieting.

I do get criticised for the way I eat a lot and I wonder if people would do it, if they understood anything about bulimia and its triggers.

Up until finding this secret way of eating I couldn’t have food in my house without binging and vomiting. I was afraid to go out of the house because food was everywhere and I knew faced with food I’d go in to that ‘trance mode’, as I called it, and binge on whatever I could afford. I rarely ate in front of people and then I’d go home and get food out of the bin, or eat food cold out of a tin or dried pasta in an uncontrollable eating frenzy until I burned out, then I was sick and fell in to a comma of self disgust. The trouble is – unlike drug or alcohol addiction (and believe me I know about this too and will discuss at some point) you need food to survive, you can’t abstain – food is everywhere. Bulimia was not a life, it wasn’t even an existence, I was slowly dieing.

I was not in control and no one knew that but me. I definitely did not want to live if I had to live that way anymore…. After 12 years of existing for food … l got ready to die. I gave myself til the end of the year to be cured or I decided I would take my own life. I thought long and hard about it. I knew it was a selfish thing to do and that I would devastate my wonderful family but I was at the end of a very tiring road and I can honestly tell you that bulimia, like all addictions, is a dictator in your head and you feel totally imprisoned and like there is no escape.

However, I struck lucky….. I must have a guardian angel (with a slightly warped sense of humour) because…..

Then came the chocolate bunny boiler incident and I was put on fluxoetine. Prozac definitely helped the ‘trance mode’ but I still didn’t know how to eat without being on a diet, which meant I was still thinking about food all day, so there was always a threat of a relapse…..

Then I found the secret way to eat – which is to listen to my body and no one else. It worked.

It didn’t work in society though, I have been punished endlessly since I’ve been cured of bulimia for no longer having any issues with food.  Society ironically thinks I must have issues with food because I no longer obsess about it.

I remember particularly in Cats the musical and Tikkabilla, directors and producers often sat with me at dinner, and my heart would always sink because I can’t think of one time when they didn’t comment on what I was eating. They would tell me, ” You don’t eat enough”. “You’re too thin”. “That’s not healthy”. “That’s not enough calories.”  Not once was I ever tired on set but countless times I would be told I wasn’t “Fueling myself properly”.

I’d think to myself. If only it was socially acceptable to be bulimic, I’d tell them that I used to be bulimic and that I knew exactly what it was like to live with an eating disorder and that I really didn’t have one now and to mind their own business. I’d tell them how dangerous it is to meddle with people’s heads over what they eat. I’d tell them to think about the damage they could be doing. I’d tell them, how dare they comment on what I’m eating when they’re probably carrying extra weight or yoyo dieting like a crazy people themselves. I’d tell them to fuck off and look at their own eating habits.

I couldn’t though and they thought it was ok to lecture the thin girl on her eating habits, because they didn’t know of my past struggle with food, they just thought I was one of those infuriating naturally slim people. I am now.

In fact, people still do pick on me about food and what I eat, even people close to me. I guess it’s because unless you’ve been bulimic you really couldn’t comprehend just how miraculously cured I am and how much I now understand about what food my body needs. At least when it comes to food, the demons are all gone. It’s just a shame the rest of society is riddled with food demons.

It’s a weird thing in this world of ours how, if you are thin, people think it’s ok to tell you, you’re too thin. They think it’s ok to tell you to eat more. They think it’s ok to point out you don’t have enough on your plate … Yet if someone’s a little overweight, we wouldn’t dream of telling them their plate was piled up too high or they shouldn’t eat that donut.

We judge bulimics, anorexics and the morbidly obese far more than we do someone who is a little over weight but it’s the same illness for all of us, it just affects us in different ways, so we shouldn’t judge anyone, we should help each other, then the world would be such an amazing place to live. We are all special and we all deserve to be free.

I’d say 90% of the western world have some sort or eating disorder in varying degrees.

If you…

Can’t just eat one biscuit, you have to eat the whole packet.

You can’t have chocolate or crisps in the house in case you eat them.

You go on a strict diet before you go on holiday or get married only to put all the wight back on again plus a little extra –

You have an eating disorder, food controls you and it doesn’t have to be that way. You are worth more than that.

I’m crazy and unsure of myself in many ways but not when it comes to food and I’m so grateful I’m free. I think I know the cure for the world and I will share it soon.

If only I knew the cure to rid myself of the other monsters I face on a daily basis, that smile of mine might come alive for real. I think facing myself publicly like this is a start. There are so many of us who live in the shadows, who need the sparkles to keep the monsters away that I’m starting to think we shouldn’t hide away. We have nothing to hide and if the rest of the world don’t like our monsters it’s probably because we have started to light up the fact that they have demons too.

I’ll finish with some lyrics I wrote – a love song but maybe it should have been a love song to myself. I don’t know how to love myself yet. I’m not my own prince charming. I’m still counting on him to save me…. I’m still hoping for happy ever after.

I will see you in tomorrow
I will shadow you in light
I will watch you change like seasons
I will be there dark at night

I will cherish all your demons
I will give them all I’ve known
I will feed them keep them breathing
I will carve their name in stone

I will smash your heart clean open
I will study all it’s pain
I will find the missing pieces
I will have nothing to gain

I will give you all my nothing
I will smile when you are bad
I will drift right through your soul
I will love you when you’re sad

I am best known as that oh so irritatingly happy happy Cbeebies presenter on Tikkabilla, Higgledy House & Mighty mites. In reality I’m just another 30 something with many skeletons in my closet…. And the biggest skeleton is that I am actually a Punk On Prozac.

“Aha”, I hear you say! “She is one of the, ‘Shiny, happy, people’ we read about, a fraud in happiness, the smile is there but the light in the eyes burned out long ago…… We just knew no one could be that happy!”

Well let me dispel right now the – they’re always happy myth, about us Prozac zombies, we are just that….. Zombies, often misdiagnosed and in a fluoxetine fog trying to fathom out if on this drug we will ever fit in to a society in which we have to hide our filthy addiction, because deep down you will all judge us, even our close friends and family judge us and use it against us. On Prozac we are neither able to reach a state of blissful happiness or can we delve indulgently in to the depths of despair, we are numb, controlled and indeed the effects of taking prozac have even been described by, Joseph Glenmullen in his book, Prozac Backlash, as a “chemical lobotomy”…

I’ve been taking prozac for 15 years and I’d be inclined to agree with Joseph Glenmullen M.D. My soul is slowly dying and that’s the reason I am writing this blog – to log my experiences of my adulthood addiction to ‘chemical happiness’. I’ll explain why I started taking it and how I’ve come to stay on it for long.

But for now here’s a poem I wrote about it I hope it explains the experience of being a Punk On Prozac

And there I am by night and day
A drugged up web trapped in play
And I can  hear my whispers say
A curse be on me if I stay
Inside a Prozac nation

I don’t know what this curse will be
And yet It takes me steadily
And little others care for me
Inside my Prozac nation

Hear the system mournful holy
Chanted loudly chanted lowly
Til my blood is frozen slowly
And my eyes are darkened wholely
Bathed in medication
Eyes widen, muscles quiver
Nervous system caught in shiver
Through the high that runs forever
A spinning Prozac nation

Moving through the mirror clear
That hangs before me every year
Shadows of my past appear
The shapes of my creation
But in the web I still delight
The drug that weaves the crazy sights
To find the switch that brings the light
That is my prozac nation

Of course if you are taking prozac I’m not a doctor, I just want tell my story to whoever wants to listen – I’m just spring cleaning those skeletons.

I’ll keep you updated about my next instalment of ‘Punk On Prozac’ on my twitter feed @sjhoneywell – I look forward to hearing your comments about my blog. Thank you for reading SJ X

The following was written a bit more than a week ago – I didn’t post because even though it felt very real at the time, I knew I was being dramatic and it would pass and I didn’t want to post it and panic the people who care about me, at least not while I was in the middle of it.

I promise you with all my heart I am fine now. I’m back to my mischievous, naughty self and I can see a road of hope ahead of me…. So hip hip hooray to that……

In fact I can see more than a road of hope. I am ready to dance bare foot in the moonlight and risk being alive and happy.

But I promised you a truthful insight of coming off this insidious drug. A drug that vowed to save me and here is is, warts and all…..

Nearly 2 weeks ago…..

My name is Sarah Jane and I am an addict.

After 15 years on fluoxetine – I’ve been ‘clean’ from Prozac for 2 months now and I can honestly say for the past 2 weeks I have sometimes thought the only freedom I could find would be if I fell asleep and never woke up again. I function during the day but there have been nights when I have cried all night long with the feeling that I simply cannot carry on. I don’t mean that I want to kill myself… I really don’t – I’ve just felt such despair and I wish someone would swoop in and rescue me. I haven’t felt like that in a very long time, it’s petrifying. I’ve cried because I know I have no fight left. I have had enough and I wish with all my being that someone or something could just take it all away.

I don’t ever remember feeling so desperate and I can’t even relay to you fully in words, the utter feeling of panic, loneliness and sadness those nights of tears have brought me. It’s like the floor has gone from underneath me to reveal a never-ending black hole. I’m holding on to the sides of it by my finger tips but frighteningly I’m starting to wonder why I am holding on at all, people are trying their best to pull me out but something has a hold of me and I could be lost forever. I almost want to be lost forever.

I’m lucky because lots of people want to save me. Some amazing golden people are trying so hard to save me. But it’s like they can’t see the abyss beneath me. They don’t understand why I can’t just take their hand and walk away from it and you know what, I probably can. I do know it’s all an illusion but at this moment in time I’m stuck stead fast in my illusion that I’m about to fall. I think I’ve known the threat of falling my whole life but now I just don’t know how much longer I want to cling on for. I’m tired of holding on. The black hole never goes away.

And then this week I remembered ….. Prozac could take it all away.

Prozac is the answer, my saviour. Prozac, the warrior that will make me fight on. Prozac will make me care and will be the reason to battle through.

I was so excited by this revelation I almost felt relief, but people around me said, “Look how far you’ve come”, and “You don’t need it, you can do this.” Ironically, I did find I had enough fight to tell them, I did need it and that they were wrong.

So I went to my counsellor this week with a steely determination of getting back on Prozac to save my dwindling life force. So sick am I, I didn’t care if I let you all down if I returned to the Prozac Zombie… I didn’t care – I had convinced myself it was the best thing to do. I’d tried and failed and I was very happy to accept that I’m a failure.

However, all did not go to plan! Instead of putting me back on Prozac she gave me some very unexpected news. She said, “Of course you want to go back on it, you are an addict.”

I can tell you now, that was a fucking surprise to me! I knew their would be some physical withdrawal when I stopped taking it. Which I’m pleased to say, two months later have finally all gone. But psychological withdrawal? An addict? I didn’t consider that would be a major issue, which is very naive of me now I come to think of it. I suppose I thought I’d just trip along in to the sunset, no longer a Prozac Zombie. I didn’t once think I’d fall into the rabbit hole and be begging the queen of hearts to cut off my head!

The thing is, I know what it’s like to be an addict. I was bulimic and I’ve had other problems, so I did not think for one minute Prozac would have the same effect on me once I stopped taking it. I didn’t think I’d play games with my own mind to convince myself it was ok to take it, like I have done with food etc.

I know what it’s like to ‘get clean’. I just never thought in a million years that coming off Prozac would be a similar process to other addictions and actually at this moment in time it feels a millions times harder.

Even if a person comes off illegal drugs there are meetings they can go to. There is help. When a person comes off Prozac, unless you have the money to pay for a counsellor, you are on your own and I can tell you from my experience, it’s not possible. Without my counsellor I’d have been back in 60mg a day without stopping for breath.

Prozac has always been my saviour. It’s going to be such a hard habit to kick. It’s not illegal. There are no meetings for me to go to. It’s not recognised as a drug you can be psychologically addicted to by society and even worse for me at this point in time, it did help me. So what the fuck am I going to do? I CANNOT be bulimic again, I just cant and I can sometimes feel that particular demon pulling at me again since I banished Prozac. It’s under control but for how long? I can hear it calling me…. Can I fight that without Prozac?

How on earth do I fight the ache inside me that tells me to go back on it? How can I fight it, when Prozac is the drug that gives me ability to fight?

I haven’t gone back on it and I suppose like all addictions I’ll just have to take it one day at a time. I never would have thought that coming off a prescription drug could be so tough. I’m told I could be fighting this off for at least a year. I’m shocked there’s no real help in the NHS (I’d get more help if I were addicted to heroine). I can’t afford my private counsellor, but I can’t afford not to see her either.

I don’t want to feel like this any more and for anyone who is sane and thinks its a choice to just keep walking the line, it’s really not …… because if it was that easy don’t you think we who look helplessly at the abyss would just chose to look the other way at the sunshine? We can see the light there but the darkness calls our name so much louder and because of that, we fear it’s where we belong.

I want to care about my life, but without Prozac I guess I’m gonna have to relearn how exactly I do that.

Right now, I want to be a happy Prozac Zombie again. I want that safety net. I don’t want me. I’ve got what I asked for at the start of my blog, I’ve got my soul back and it’s battered and bruised and broken. It’s unrecognisable and it has no fight. I’ve got a soul back but sadly it’s a soul that’s had enough and yes, maybe that’s because it’s been crushed in to a Prozac box and now it doesn’t know how to live….

I should be excited at the prospect of experiencing life in all it’s glory, I have so many great things to look forward to and I should be like an excited child and embracing learning a new way of how to live again ….. but there’s nothing there but tiredness.

That hazy rainbow of Prozac hope all coloured green and yellow has gone. I don’t like it not being there and I don’t know how to live my life without it.

The good news? I only have 2 choices…. Sink or swim. Hahahaha and I’ve made myself laugh in saying that, because I actually can’t swim!

My name is Sarah Jane Honeywell and I am an addict…….

……………………………………

Like I say I wrote that nearly 2 weeks ago. I’m not back on Prozac, I’m not desperately sad and I’m not bulimic or neglecting myself and my needs.

I can honestly say…. Life is good xxx

Thanks for reading xxx

It’s over a month now since I last had Prozac and I crave the numbing comfort it offered me most days. I’ve been quite ill, resulting in me losing out on 2 jobs and I have felt that drug leave me emotionally and physically more acutely than I have let on to the people who care about me. In fact I have felt it more acutely than I really care to admit even to myself.

I suppose the reason I have disguised my symptoms slightly is because life has to go on…. The clock keeps on ticking and you have to keep up with it, you can’t give in, especially if you have debts and responsibilities, you can’t fall behind and you can’t take others down with you. I’ve also found that you have a set amount of time to feel sad and then people expect you to pull your socks up – so I am…. but that was so much easier in a Prozac haze.

Flashbacks are my new enemy. As everything becomes clearer, so does the past. The mistakes I have made, the happiness I have known and lost, the many roads I should have turned down but it was just all too foggy to see which way to go. The life I have lost.

As that Prozac mist clears there is an ugly monster grinning at me – maybe the final one. His name is fear and I think we all know he has different faces and we all know at least one of those faces very well.

Of course, fear can be a good thing, it can take us through a barrier, it can be a warning. Fear can be your friend or your foe. It can paralyse you or it can make you stronger – the worst thing about it is, you just don’t know how you will react to it untill it’s there staring you in the face. It’s a game of chance and the lead up to the game is often far more terrifying than the event as it unfolds.

FEAR: Noun

An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

I went through my whole childhood without real fear. There was fear my homework wouldn’t be done. Fear my mum would be angry with me for my messy room. Fear I wasn’t good enough. Fear I was too fat or too ugly. But all those fears are just internal fears. I was never in any real danger, the only real danger to me, was myself and my ridiculously high expectations.

But then in my early 20’s I met a man who changed all that for good. He showed me what it is like to have external fears. Fears that were out of my control. Fear that didn’t just hurt physically but cut even deeper emotionally because I loved him so much. That’s why flashbacks are my new enemy, because even though I left him a long time ago – the effects and damage he caused are still here. He switched off a light that I’m not sure will ever light up again and he made me fear complete happiness, because for me with complete happiness comes complete terror.

I met this man 17 years ago… He was so kind, loving, fun and I don’t doubt for a minute that he loved me with all his heart. When I looked in his eyes I could see who I was and I really liked me. He made me feel magical and special. He made me feel so beautiful, sexy and feminine. I guess he made me feel loved. I thought he was my happy ever after and I felt safe….. but not for long.

He was also the monster in my faerytale because he had the worst temper. It wasn’t even a rational temper. It would spring up from nowhere. A simple, “Have a good day at work”, could mean I’d be punched 20 times. If someone looked at him in the wrong way in the street, I’d get thrown across the room later that night. If there was something he saw on TV he didn’t like, he might put a cigarette out on me. He had no hesitation in hurting me, if he was hurting.

I’m crying as I write this and it’s hard to admit I let him do those things to me but he was so sorry afterwards and I truly loved him, so I felt I just couldn’t abandon him.

I used to get confused and sad as I’d think – oh my god, is this how abused children feel? The one person I wanted to run to, who would make it all better was the same person who would punch me in the stomach to wake me up when he was drunk.

Luckily I did leave, I was able to, unlike all those poor children who suffer similar abuse…. The only reason I found the courage to leave was because after a year and a half of living on a knife’s edge, he threw my cat across the room, urinated on it and strangled me… those 3 things finally broke the spell and I escaped. I could deal with him hurting me but I couldn’t allow him to hurt a defenseless animal – I took responsibility for that and left.

Even after everything he had done to me, the day I left him I felt as if I was being split in two. I think it would have hurt less to have my arm ripped off. I truly believe part of my soul tore away from me that day. Even after the separation he still continued to attack me, but I had left and I thought I was free.

Truth is though I never really did escape. Even in his absence the effects of that time in my life still linger – and things keep flashing in to my mind without the comfort of Prozac. Things I buried for a reason, awful things I don’t want to remember. Things I hope most people will never have to face even in a film, things that have frozen my heart and kept me afraid.

I know that most victims of physical abuse will also then allow emotional abuse (well at least you are not being hit). The effects of emotional abuse, like Prozac are to diminish your true feelings so I have never truly healed because my feelings have never counted for much.

Even though it’s 15 years since i left him, I don’t even know who I am anymore and I haven’t known for a while. I am still afraid to live freely. I realise I have been brainwashed in to thinking I like or hate certain things. There are beliefs I have that I’m not even sure are mine and I still live in constant fear of what will happen if I am truly myself and live freely. I am even afriad of the consequences the wrong person reading this blog may have for me. I live in constant un relenting fear.

Saddest of all, I am afraid of love and happiness. When someone is kind to me I don’t believe them, I don’t believe it will last. I don’t trust them. When I have the perfect happy day it frightens me, it lights up the shadows and opens up a wound that is so deep it’s never stopped bleeding.

So there is my fear. I know people can hurt you in many ways. I know fear, I’ve looked at it up close and it’s ugly and it really can freeze you so you literally cannot move. I also fear that if I truly embrace happiness, when the darkness comes, as it always has, I will be weak with happiness and this time round it will annihilate me.

A therapist years ago said I was a borderline personality disorder because I told him – “I expect and tolerate abandonment”. He was wrong I don’t have a disorder, I just know that people can love you so much they will abandon the real you to keep a tamed you as their possession.

Here are some lyrics to a song I wrote about my violent ex from all those years ago – in 16 years I never managed to write a tune…

Now look what I made you do
I made you mad I loosened the screw
Now look what I made you do
With your baby face and your eyes of blue
I made you do it
I made you lie
I raised your fist and blackened my eye

Now look what I made you say
Didn’t move
But darkened your day
Now look what I made you miss
Made you need and stole your kiss
I am the demon
Battered and bruised
You need me but you’re feeling used

Now look what I made you do
Take my thoughts and twist the truth
Now look what I made you do
You know it’s me you don’t need proof
Teach me a lesson
Your love is so great
Strangle me because love means hate

Recently I have played 2 roles as an actress in domestically violently situations- I don’t know if I did it justice really. I didn’t know how to show that before I was a victim of domestic violence I didn’t tremble, in fact I didn’t know how to even pretend to tremble. Now I tremble a lot and I hate my body for giving away that I am afraid.

So last time in my blog I chatted a bit about bulimia and societies preoccupation with food. I got an overwhelming response to that particular subject. I promised I’d teach you the secrets I have learned of how to eat like a natural slim person and to help you get rid of all your food demons and I will certainly do my best. So I have a little experiment for you…..

Our bodies are amazingly clever machines. They tell us when we are tired, when we are in pain, when we are injured. It’s a miracle really when you think about it. Well your body also tells you when you are hungry and when you are full.

When you go on a diet or listen to advice like, you must eat five a day, you must have breakfast, don’t eat after 8pm etc etc, you over ride what your body is telling you about food and you let your head take over and that’s a recipe (forgive the pun) for disaster.

The trouble is most of us don’t know what real hunger feels like or how to gage it. Most of us fear hunger and that’s probably because of diets.

So, my first exercise for you is this;

Wake up in the morning and don’t eat til you’re hungry. Now I warn you. You may not get hungry until really late in the day.

Once you feel real hunger, not throat hunger but tummy hunger, eat some food. Eat whatever you want, anything, ask your body what it needs and eat it. Eat it really slowly and enjoy every single mouthful. Don’t feel guilty as it’s what your body needs and make sure you actually taste it and most importantly, enjoy it!

As soon as you feel full and do bare in mind your stomach is only the size of your fist…. Stop eating. Don’t panic you are not on a diet you can eat again as soon as you are hungry! Please don’t fall in to the trap where you feel you should eat everything on your plate. Also, because you will get full quite quickly eat your favourite things first. Don’t worry you won’t be hungry all the time!

You can eat again as soon as you are hungry again, which might be an hour later or the next day… But make sure you let yourself get hungry, you’ll be amazed how clever your body is if you listen to it. You are not restricting yourself. You are simply loving yourself and listening to your natural hunger gage.

Anyway that’s the first exercise, there will be more. Please let me know how you get on…. I’m interested to hear from you all and whether and what you experienced feeling really hungry and how that felt.

Right back to The Punk of Prozac…..

So, I’ve been ok and I’ve been Prozac free for a while now! There have definitely been moments of feeling like The Nothing (a bit like The Nothing from Never Ending Story) is raining down on me again, but it’s just that, nothing. When I look at it like that I don’t fear it anymore. I’ll get a moment of, panic and claustrophobia of being with myself and thats when I get weak and The Nothing moves in on me like a fog, whispering all my problems and insecurities at me. But then I think, hang on, you’re The Nothing you only exist if I let you and I’m not letting you cloud my life anymore….. and just like that it’s gone. I could never have figured that out whilst still on Prozac though and that’s a shame because I could have got to this point along time ago were I not encased in medication.

Physical withdrawl symptoms are not so good. My tummy hurts every time I eat and I can’t sleep til way past 4am every night because of restless leg syndrome. Nothing lasts forever though so I’m just gonna push through it. Makes me wonder what Prozac has done to my body all these years though.

I’m protecting myself more than ever before and sticking up for myself too. I’m realising, I’m all I’ve got so I had better start liking myself, no point wasting anymore time wishing I was someone else. Someone prettier, cleverer, taller and forever young. Time to be the best I can be and the best way to do that……convince myself that I am enough.

Obviously as a victim (hate that word – so powerless) of domestic violence there are still many issues lurking in there and I guess I’ll talk about domestic abuse soon in my blog. I know from working with my therapist, that even years later, I still show signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and I’m not truly sure they will ever go away. Domestic abuse is one of my ugliest skeletons and not one I’m looking forward to facing really.

I did Freedom Project video for Dogs Trust a few years ago and I didn’t realise how much it would upset me to relive even a small section of that time in my life. I’m not truly brave enough to share all of that time with you yet, but I’m getting there and I think it’s important to talk about so it will be coming your way soon.

I leave you with a part of the poem ‘The Dance’ by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Someone inspirational reminded me of it the other day and I thought, yes this is want we all need and where we can all go together.

“Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.”

Thanks for reading again – look forward to hearing from you. Xxx

Merry Christmas fellow punks and non punks – hoping your hearts have grown with Christmas joy today. Yes I know, its Christmas day and an unusual day to write a blog, but as its my only day off this festive season, I thought it was as good a time as any to note down how I’m feeling.

First of all I am please to report I am Prozac free and I have been for about a week! So yay, merry Christmas to the real me.

I chose to be on my own today which I know has freaked my family and some of my friends out a bit….. I love them so much for respecting my decision and for letting me be selfish and be by myself while at the same time, letting me know they love me and they are there for me, that’s the best Christmas gift ever – freedom and unconditional love.

Weirdly I feel anything but lonely. I’ve had christmases in the past where I’ve been with everyone I love and yet felt completely alone because deep down I was struggling but felt unable to express that for fear of ruining their Christmas. You know how sometimes you can be surrounded by people and still feel like the loneliest person in the world – well I think Christmas day can make a lot of people who suffer with depression feel like that. In fact, I think we all experience that at some point in our lives.

Not today though. I am alone, but my heart is full to the brim with other peoples love and I am very grateful for that. I have been in undated with messages from people I would never have dreamed would remember me today, especially when their heads are full of the magic of their own Christmas. They have made me feel quite special without even knowing what they have done.

I’ve just watched, Nightmare Before Christmas. My favourite Christmas film alongside The Grinch. I realised that Jack the Pumpkin King sums how I feel today perfectly.

What’s this?
The monsters are all missing
And the nightmares can’t be found
And in their place there seems to be
Good feeling all around

The sights, the sounds
They’re eveywhere and all around
I’ve never felt so good before
This empty place inside of me is filling up
I simply cannot get enough

I don’t know if it’s just the Christmas happiness that’s in the air, or the fact that I’ve got a day off but I really do feel hopeful. Sure I’m dizzy from lack of Prozac and I feel frightened by all the changes I’m making. But somehow I feel in control and I never thought I’d ever feel that. Just by spending today entirely selfishly I’m filled with a love for myself which makes me feel like I have even more love for everyone else.

I even like my shadow self today, I don’t mind that I’m full of dark thoughts sometimes. Today I absolutely do not mind that I am who I am and I think if we all want to give ourselves a Christmas gift it should be that…. Self love and the freedom to be all we can be.

Merry Christmas Everyone I hope you feel stuffed with happiness and I hope you know that we all make the world go round….. and we all matter.

“So to all Merry Christmas & to all a good night!”