To start this off with absolute full disclosure, I have only been on my meds (currently only a starter dose of Paxil, but subject to change soon) for about 3 months, but in that short time I've learned a lot about how they affect me and have changed the way I interact with others and the world.
Because of this learning and growing experience, I've decided that even though it's pretty early in this journey I would share my thoughts, and maybe I'll revisit this topic later on in my mental health battle.
First, some context on why it took me so long to even recognize that my medication was affecting me in any way. As I've said before, I recently broke my back and had to go through a long and difficult recovery.
During that recovery process, while being regularly loaded up on pain meds, sleepiness, and hunger from the whole ordeal, I started on Paxil, and thus was unable to judge how it affected me because of all the other things going on in my life.
Even after my hospital discharge, I was still so sedentary and isolated due to my injury that I didn't have access to the one thing I've always used to accurately judge my mental state: my social life.
Flash forward to now, I am about halfway recovered, able-bodied to most extents, and have a steady job again, and after a few weeks of conversations and self-reflection, I have settled on these realizations of the greatest changes to my life since starting my medication.
First, the obvious, TMI/NSFW change that many people talk about: the inability/difficulty in achieving orgasm.
Being as isolated and unsocial as I am in my current living situation and my current stage in recovery, this doesn't really have much of an interruption in my routine (except for the occasional sweaty, futile effort), but in the few situations where I've been able to be sexually active in the past month or so, it still caused a roadblock to the mutual satisfaction that we strive for in our hookups.
Next, I've realized that it hasn't really ended my anxieties so much as transformed the way in which they present.
Instead of physical symptoms like difficulty breathing, tightness in my chest, and some slight pain/discomfort all caused by a hyper-focused but easy-to-unravel thought spiral. My anxiety now manifests as an equally-dramatic level of restlessness and a vague explanation, resulting in me being unable to get comfortable or sit still.
Unable to figure out why I'm actually feeling that way, instead of presenting me with the same level of confusion as losing a train of thought or forgetting why I walked into a certain room, except much more intense and stressful.
Finally, the way it has affected me in my depressive state/episodes is perhaps the most frustrating and taxing, as it has affected me and my personal relationships the most.
Rather than make it easier to feel the full range of human emotions, or at least just easier to feel something other than the numbness that comes with depression, it has exacerbated my issues by making me even sleepier than before, even number than before, and granting me a level of calculated thoughts that rather than helping me express my emotions, make it all the easier for my feelings and lack thereof to be misconstrued.
I rarely leave my bed except for food, hygiene, and work lately, I accidentally ignore people close to me, and I have ended up hurting those I love by not responding properly to their emotional displays because I don't feel the same levels of joy, kindness, empathy, or appreciation as I did before I started medication.
In short, this is a difficult process and perhaps Paxil just isn't for me and that's okay. I'll just have to try a different dosage or a different medication and work with my therapist to figure out what is causing the different problems I've been having and how to proceed from here to fix and aid them.
What they do tell you about medication is that it can help you make progress towards a healthier and happier life. What they don't tell you is that it almost always prevents you from cumming and that the wrong ones can prevent you from building or maintaining personal relationships, and from understanding how to combat your pre-existing mental health issues.
So, my advice to you, is tread lightly, communicate openly, and to not give up no matter if you've tried three medications or three dozen, because it will eventually pay off and have all been worth it. Good luck, Godspeed, and big love to all of you who may read this and who may be pursuing mental health treatment.