It was a lifeline. I, like many people in my shoes, have tried many different kinds of diets over the years. But alas, I tend to be part of that old cliché: I live to eat, not eat to live. It has been a curse these last years, when time behind the computer to earn the daily dime increases, decreasing my physical activity and all the while, nudging my age upward.
I’d tried the mini meals at one point and somehow trained my body that this was the right way to handle hunger. But then I found myself hungry all day long with a dash of ferocious appetite in the evening (unfortunately within two hours of bedtime). I needed help.
So I asked my doctor if there wasn’t something that would take the edge off that night-time hunger, something to help retrain my brain that I didn’t need that massive meal right before turning in at night. Eating earlier was out of the question because I’m afraid employers frown upon Bunsen burners at the desk and my hours dictated that I be there during that part of the day that most of us consider dinner time-and breakfast time and lunch time. The doctor was understanding and said that many of his patients had great success with a drug called Meridia. (http://www.meridia.net/)
I was excited to begin a new eating program with a nice crutch for added measure; and once the insurance hurdle was jumped, I started taking Meridia once a day. I’d, of course, gone online and read all the materials available regarding the side effects and usage of the drug, as well as things that other people were saying. It looked good-I could do this.
The first side effect popped up pretty quickly; in fact, it plagued me the first night. Insomnia. This was a real bummer, since I already had two sleep disorders; and now here I was, tossing and turning for five hours, added to an already overwhelming situation. Oddly, though I’d been up more than half the night that first night, and fitfully finally dosed off at a totally unreasonable hour; I wasn’t tired the next day. I felt a bit grouchy, but that was to be expected, right? Hmmm.
By the third day (still having insomnia each night), I realized that another side effect was occurring, but I’d been just dismissing it. It wasn’t until a close friend called me to ask, “Are you alright? You are really on edge lately. What gives?” I’d undergone in that short time frame a personality change-grouchy, in fact, was a kind description.
Frankly, and forgive my bluntness, I’d turned into a bitch. Now my personality, even on a bad day, is usually very mild. I’m almost always in a good mood and I rarely snap at anyone. I’m patient, giving, and generally well-liked. But when my friend pointed out my edginess, I realized that I’d truly changed in the prior couple days.
At work, I wanted to be left entirely alone in my office and did not welcome conversation or interruptions of any kind. When forced to interact (which is a large part of my job), I had to fight the urge to growl at people or become sarcastic. This was not me! At home, I didn’t hold back so much, and those around me were suffering-pretty much in silence for fear of death probably.
But here’s the best part. I was having insomnia. I’d turned into a nasty person. AND the drug was not working. It was supposed to be telling my brain that I was pleasantly full, but I was as hungry (if not more so) than ever! I was getting the bad side effects and not the benefit! Still, I was hopeful and decided to give it a few more days-just in case it took a while to get into my system (well longer than the side effects anyway).
Lack of sleep and a changed personality could be dealt with on a short-time basis if I was aware of it, and if the drug would help me change my eating habits, I was all for continuing for a while longer. No go; things continued as they were: I was now a tired shrew.
Consequently, a little over a week after I’d started Meridia, I stopped Meridia. It just wasn’t worth the agony. So a note to the wise, beware, be watchful. It’s a wonder drug for many. But not everyone has a great experience with Meridia.