It’s no big secret or anything. Anxiety meds can make you sleepy. Like, really sleepy.

From my bottle of Zoloft, an SSRI used to treat my panic disorder: “May cause drowsiness.”

From my bottle of Klonopin, a benzodiazapine my doc has me using to counter the anxiety that sometimes occurs while titrating an SSRI upward: “May cause drowsiness.

Drowsiness achieved, people. Complete and utter drowsiness.

So, how can I cope?


First of all, I hate the phrase “this isn’t my first rodeo”, but whatever. It works, and my brain is too tired to think of something more clever.

I took Paxil back in college when I was first diagnosed with panic disorder, and I can barely remember those first three months of taking it.

And why?

I was always sleeping.

Oh, my poor, poor college roommate — I would set my alarm clock for 8 a.m. and then snooze that sonofabitch in 9-minute increments all the way til noon (or later). She’d wake up, watch me slap my alarm clock once or twice, go to class, and then return to find me still huddled under a mass of blankets in my twin bed. She’d then sit down at her desk to study, interrupted every nine minutes.



I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I slept like a baby at night — and, “like a baby”, I mean for over 12 hours each evening. I’d still curl up for a nap during the day if I had any time between classes.


I call them “the sleepies” in a (mostly futile) effort to make the drowsiness less annoying. (My logic: The word “sleepies” sounds cute, even cuddly, and how can anything cute and cuddly be annoying?)

Here’s what my days have looked like lately: wake up around noon. Wash up, put “real” clothes on (maybe), and immediately regret waking up so late.

Come downstairs to see all the work on my dining room table — a big long list of to-do’s, a list of blog posts I want to write, a video or two I need to edit, some papers I have to grade, and — ew, some bird poop.

Yeah, bird poop. Because I have a parrot, and when I can’t get started on my work, I let him run around on the table and chew things. More than one utility company has received payment via a check with little beakmarks punched around the edge. (No poop on any bills yet, but we’ve had some close calls.)


What was I writing about again? I’m so tired that I sort of forgot. Birds? Bills? (While we’re at it, why do birds have beaks, yet ducks have bills? This is a tangent that will probably drive me to Wikipedia when I’m done writing. Oh, writing. That’s what I’m doing here.)

Oh. Meds. Yeah.

Anyway, after I take care of the day’s essential basics, I find myself dangerously low on spoons. If I manage to grade some papers, the laundry has to wait until I’ve taken a nap.

If I managed to do the laundry, the paper-grading has to wait. Because…so…much…tired. (Did that last sentence make sense? Good, because it wasn’t really supposed to.)

It’s so hard to get my usual repertoire of stuff done — work stuff, household stuff, social stuff — when I’m this tired.

Iam happy to say that I’m experiencing a reprieve from my severe anxiety. And I haven’t had a “true blue” panic attack in over a month. A month!

But the cost?


I’ll be back (when I have more spoons) to tell you more about how I cope. But before that, I’d love to hear how you cope with this sort of thing — assuming that you’ve been on an SSRI or a benzo before. (Many, many, MANY of you have, I’m certain.)

So, please comment and let me know: how do you fight the SSRI and benzo lullaby?

Photo: urbanizr77 (Flickr)