Well, I imagine the spin doctors at Pfizer are busy this week, counteracting the news that a side effect of their smoking cessation drug Champix is depression in some clients and perhaps also led to several recent suicides. When it came on the radio news, the kids looked at me like I had something strange growing out of my nose. "I'm okay," I answered. "I'm just fine. JUST FINE."
"Except you've got hair coming out of your nostrils," said Pearlie. "And I don't think much of your mood swings either."
This post is going to be a public patting myself down, okay? I thought I'd list all side effects of my Champix-taking habit of the last six weeks. This way googlers can stumble across it, seeing as Doc is not really interested, unless I stop insisting that she bulk bill me. So here goes.
Last night I solved the world's problems before falling asleep at 2 am. The night before I woke up at 4.30 am and decided it was pointless just lying there, so I got up and started work for the day. My total sleeping hours since I've started taking Champix have been reduced by 25 %. That's right, 25 %. I dream lucidly, vividly, between three and five dreams a night.
Strangely I haven't sprouted hackles or started howling at the moon. Sometimes I am tired but the extra energy from not smoking can counteract this.
I love good food, usually have a cast iron stomach and no allergies. Now my gut is a cast iron warzone, full of bombs and ... shit. You don't want to know what's going on in there, right now. But I will say that I think my body has developed a sensitivity to dairy and wheat. I am craving sugar and stimulants.
Alcohol does not interest me at all. Champix has been just as effective in suppressing desire for alcohol as it has for nicotine, in fact I suspect it may even make me feel sick, like antabuse or something.
I haven't had a period. In the past six weeks I've gone from a perfect lunar bleeder to nothing. The rest of my girly cycle is exactly the same, just no blood. This side effect is the one I find the most alarming. The others were sort of expected but this one feels like a proverbial canary.
I don't smoke. There's no point smoking when nothing registers in my brain that I need to smoke. Yes, this is weird shit.
I'm angry, angry girl Toa. Like one of those huge freighter ships, I plough on regardless of other craft and take ten nautical miles before I stop. Then I survey all the wreckage and get angry at myself.
I see strange shards of light, on walls or in the air that I never used to see before.
Sometimes I feel, not out of balance, no. Out of kilter, like I'm standing on a funny angle to the ground. It is a strange feeling, a manifestation of emotion and physicality fused.
Am I depressed? Wouldn't have a clue. I do wonder at the suggestion/placebo effect in the news reports about Champix recently. But in reality, after six weeks of not drinking, smoking, bleeding or sleeping, I've got no idea how I feel.