My SSRI Experience

“When I held a knife, I could see in my mind me killing my family and then killing myself.”

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my experience. It all starts back to December, 2003, in which my life started to take a change. I am only thirteen years old, I was only twelve then, when I started to experience mild depression. If anyone has heard the Stacie Orrico song “There’s Gotta Be More To Life” that’s exactly how I felt. I’ve had a pretty decent childhood, I mean, yeah, there’s been some hard times, but not nearly as bad as others had it.

Anyways, I got this feeling like there was something missing. It could’ve just been me being a young teenager dealing with her raging hormones. But whatever it was, it was causing a disruption in my life. I had always made extremely good grades, (All A’s and one B in math) and I usually got along with everyone. I went to a psychiatrist because I couldn’t sleep at night and I was feeling sad a lot. He diagnosed me with Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Major Depression Disorder.

I had been obsessed with mental health a few months before, so I knew all about these disorders already. In fact, I had printed out maybe 300 pages on different psychiatric disorders. I was convinced I was in the prodigal stages of Schizophrenia, but my doctor laughed it off and said “No way.” He prescribed Lexapro, an alleged “miracle drug” because it had few, mild side effects and it would supposedly help with all three of my disorders. It was a miracle drug, for a while. For about three weeks I was feeling on top of the world. My grades picked up, I was making more friends, and I wasn’t arguing with my steady boyfriend like usual. Then, it all went downhill. I started to feel like something was watching me, and I would have out of body experiences. When I got especially tired, I would feel like I didn’t really exist and it was all a dream. I became obsessed with gothic and dark things.

My whole personality changed. I began by gothic clothing and! I was crying every night for no apparent reason. Even more, I started having heated arguments with my mother, worse than usual. I began to get defiant, cussing, getting interested in alcohol, and thinking getting in trouble was fun. Two months into taking the medication, (going from 10mg to 15 mg) I was in a counselor’s office when I had a panic attack. I really felt like a demon was possessing me. I was crying wildly, saying that I would find a way to kill myself even if my family took all the dangerous objects away. I was that desperate to die. I even began talking to a seventeen year old boy, sending him suggestive pictures of myself over the internet and meeting with him behind my parents’ back.

In the counselor’s office, she suggested my mother take me to the hospital to be put in a crisis unit. When I got there, I was completely numb to all emotion. The psychiatrist there was a complete crackpot. He had no idea what he was doing and diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder just because my grandmother was Bipolar. To make things worse, HE ASKED FOR A LIST OF WHAT MY GRANDMOTHER TOOK.

He gave me the exact same medication, same dose. What an idiot! So I was on 800mg of Depakote and some number of Ambien. Ambien totally knocked me out. I turned into a loaf and slept all day. The Depakote made me have extremely bad cramps and feelings of paranoia. When I got out of the crisis unit four days later, my psychiatrist took me off Depakote and put me back on Lexapro.

I went home thinking everything was going to be okay. Hah! A few days later, while blasting a gothic rock CD, I had my first self-mutilating experience. It wasn’t much, but I cut myself with a blunt kitchen knife. I did enough damage to bleed a little, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. From then on, it became a habit. Now, my step dad collects daggers and swords and hangs them on the wall. I always looked, but I never touched. Around that time, 8th grade started up and I was nervous as hell. For around three days, I had no friends and no one wanted to talk to me because I was so out of it. I finally made some friends with Gothic’s like me, and I felt a little better.

But most nights, I went home crying and sitting in my closet. I would sit there in my walk in closet, with lights out and cry. And sometimes when my parents weren’t home, I’d take a pencil eraser and erase the skin on my thighs until it bled. I had about 15 incidents in which I erased my skin. I completely shut myself out from my parents and ignored them. I was rude and mean to my stepsisters. Then the time came that I built up the nerve to actually do some damage. I took a sharp dagger off the wall, blasted Evanescence as loud as it could go, and sliced my thighs 11 times, and watched myself bleed. I allowed myself to lay there and bleed, and it brought me great pleasure to know that I was dying inside. I started to laugh manically, so enthralled with my loss of blood. I wanted to cry until I laughed so hard it kill! ed me. I wanted to scream and release everything inside of me. I wanted to binge and throw up my guts. All these violent images flooded my head. When I held a knife, I could see in my mind me killing my family and then killing myself.

That brought me intense fear because I loved my family very much. In church, I would cuss God out in my head and see disturbing images of people being dismembered. My moods were swinging so badly, that my doctor put me on the antipsychotic, Risperdal. In just three months, it went from 0.5mg to 1.5 mg. (3.0 mg is a fairly high dosage) In February of 2004, I attempted suicide. I was at the ultimate rock bottom. I hated myself, I was lost in these violent thoughts, and I wanted to burn in Hell. I had no other pills, so I overdosed on pamprin.

Yes, it sounds stupid, but I was desperate. My mother found out and called the ambulance. They were not compassionate at all, and the nurse gladly shoved a tube up my nose. My stomach was pumped for six hours through a tube in my nose, and I threw up charcoal four times, not to mention it came out the other end twice. (Both times I asked for a bed pan and they took their sweet time and made me stain the sheets)

I was then Baker Acted and sent back to the crisis unit of the hospital. Four days later, I was out. Then my mother told me she was sending me to a residential. I stayed at the residential for 6 weeks, begging to come home each night. They discharged me, hoping I was better. I threw out my gothic CD’s, clothes, and stuff like that. Right now, I’m trying to repair my relationships with family and friends. But still, I feel like I have to chase down each temporary high. I truly feel that these medications did not help me whatsoever, if not made me worse. I will be hopefully taken off medications tomorrow, and I will have to go through the withdrawal process.

I strongly advise using natural remedies for depression. I feel that these antidepressants and antipsychotics do nothing for you at all, they just turn into another addictive drug like heroine or LSD. If you’re having the same problem I am, hang in there. I know we can make it through.

Holly Easter
rikuina@yahoo.com

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