My horrific experience with antidepressants
I am now almost 9 months on from the point that my life took a dramatic turn for the worst for trying antidepressants .
My baby was 10 weeks old , as was actually doing well where my baby was concerned – I was not suffering from post natal depression. However i was experiencing some tough times in my family , a terminally ill family member and the pending divorce of my elder brother and his wife which I felt very saddened by. On a vulnerable day , after little sleep and several emotional phone calls from my brother I felt overwhelmed so visited my doctor . I spent the entire consultation talking about my brother and his wife’s deprecation, how I felt overwhelmed by it etc . It is really important to note that I was not suicidal , I had never been suicidal in my life, I felt bonded with my baby was experiencing anxiety – however nothing compared to what I would experience once I had entered the world of antidepressants . My doctor prescribed me citalopram . I felt overwhelmed. , had two children to care for, just wanted the pain of my brothers separation to go away so I stupidly took this pill . It was by far the worst decision of my life and literally sent me on a journey to hell ….I am still on my way back .
I was not warned by my doctor of any undue side effects I.e sic ideal thoughts / paranoia. / increased anxiety ect. . I was handed a prescription and told the most common side effect was a ‘dry mouth ‘. I took this pill for 12 days ….my anxiety seemed to get worse , I started to have ‘odd thoughts about worms in food ‘ , my vision was off , I started to feel disconnected and finally on day 12 I had a major panic attack . I stopped the drug . 3 days after stopping it I woke up feeling suicidal and vomiting . I thought ‘ this must be me , this must be my illness ‘ so I went back to the doctor . The doctor then gave me a different ssri … I took it for 4 days and I did not eat or sleep during most of that time and experienced chronic anxiety , I ended up at the hospital and the drug was stopped . The next two weeks that followed my life became more terrifying , I experienced anxiety I had never known in my life. , I felt suicidal , I found myself paranoid that an old lady wanted to take my baby sitting opposite me in the doctors surgery . I was terrified and thought I must be developing post natal psychosis . I was still very ignorant to the damaging effects of these drugs and had no idea that the drugs had caused these things to happen at this point . I sought out a private psychiatrist who at the time told me I was clearly suffering from severe anxiety ( she diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder ) yet all the symptoms I was now presenting to her I had not had three weeks previously just before I took my first anti depressant pill . She prescribed me mitazapine . The next three months of my life were a terrifying hell – I experienced sucidal ideation , my anxiety increased and increased , I developed new anxieties I had never had before and experienced some odd brief hallucinations . My husband had to take nine weeks off work and I had been sent to such a place of distress I now felt disconnected with my baby . My husband and I kept contacting the psychiatrist and telling her things were worse , the general message was it was me and not the drug . Finally I saw a good doctor who said he thought it was chemical , referred me to a experienced psychiatrist who explained to me that I had experienced rebound anxiety from the ssri drugs and was essentially re medicated to treat the symptoms . He did not agree with me being given mitazapine and supported me in coming off the drug . I was on mitazapine for 6 weeks , it took me another 8 weeks to come off it , I spent that entire time in a state of terror and if it were not for my husband standing by my side I would have taken my life , I know that with certainty . I contacted an agency in the uk called Cita that specialise in this area and they counselled me through the entire process and beyond . I am now having weekly therapy and treatment for post traumatic stress .
It is beyond me how any doctor can prescribe these drugs without fully informing a patient of all risks and indeed the withdrawl process that follows . These drugs work for some people ( people I know ) but they are also very very dangerous to others . I developed symptoms on these drugs I have never before experienced in my life . I have now been free of mitazapine for 3 and a half months approximately and it has been total dedication , strength and every ounce of will power I have had to start to regain my life again .
My love and bond for my baby is back but behind that is a very deep sadness for the time I lost – therapy is helping me come to terms with this . The depression is lifting, I am regaining my confidence. , the hallucination experiences ceased when I stopped the drugs but the fear of them has remained . I am now able to do simple things like watch telly and read a book , my husband is back at work and I am back to being a full time mum . The trauma if what I went through is still very raw though. , the therapy helps as does keeping busy , a healthy lifestyle and being brave enough to face my fears every day .
I would never suggest for a second that someone should not take a medication if it helps them but please make sure you are fully informed of all the risks before you do . I still get very frightened that I may have caused my brain permanent damage however every time I see a new stage in my recovery it gives me hope this is not the case . I can understand why it takes so long to recover from these experiences and it frightens me what people do in these situations if they have no family support or recourse to funds – end their lives ? I hope in sharing my story I can help someone to recover in some way . It takes such strength but you can get better , things will improve , keep strong . I wish you well on your journey however my story finds you .