NOTE : THIS ISN’T AGAINST ANTIDEPRESSANTS, ONLY MY PERSONAL NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE OF ONE. PLEASE DON’T BE DISCOURAGED IF USING THEM TO HELP SURVIVE.
Now I’ve always been suicidal, some days more desperate than others, but never once had I felt it was something out of my hands. Even on the days I did want to be alive, I still had those days. Suicide was a plan in the background for when things really got messed up. I’ve been screwed around by the NHS time and time again, typical mental health team failing dozens, me included. Yet we’re just numbers, no understanding of what battles we’re fighting and the many more to come, no compassion or actual willpower to help. It isn’t from the heart, it’s from the wallet.
Anyway, I’m rambling off. Let’s get back onto topic. I think I’ve finally fucked myself over to the point it is either suicidal or a painful existence… I never should’ve taken Sertraline in March. I was already fine off them, slept normally, functioned normally… my problems could’ve been managed with the right support in place, I didn’t need to be medicated. But they kept pushing the pills onto me, “Sertraline is amazing, it saved my life!” or “keep taking your pills, want me to increase your dose? Here’s a prescription for 100–” “I didn’t say that… I’m fine at 50mg, why are you prescribing me 100mg?” “Oh, sorry”.
I never thought the mania I experienced when I missed a dose was only a side afrect of missing a dose and not my mental health getting worse again. I used to think the crazy, emotionally unstable person who missed a few pills was me, but it wasn’t. And when I accidentally weaned myself off, when days turned to weeks and I had no withdrawal symptoms. It was a breath of fresh air! Mania? None! Intrusive thoughts? None! Feeling like I’m going to scream and lose the plot? Not a chance!
All I had was agoraphobia, found it hard to leave the house, and was depressed most days but I still had my happiness, I still had what made me smile, and I still slept at night with no trouble whatsoever. Yet in March, I was an idiot. If I could go back in time and stick a couple of fingers down my past self’s throat to make them puke the Sertraline back up before it did anything I would’ve done. And I would’ve given myself a great big hug too, and explained how much they’re taking sleep for granted and need to count their blessings every day.
3 days I was on those pills and it felt like something in my brain broke. My emotions went numb and there was heavy pressure all over my head, my thoughts were silenced, it was insane. The sensation was instantaneous. Now I was in two minds, continue and see whether these were typical side affects and would wear off, reduce my dose and try that, or come off in the case that the longer Sertraline was in my system the more permanent the damage.
I took myself off, there was no support out there, I didn’t know who to call. Nobody’s monitored my medication in years, despite asking for advice, I’ve been left to fend for myself. And people in the UK was complex mental health issues, there’s more than just me who are left to rot too.
We have no medical insurance, so if you want a diagnosis for something (NHS waiting lists stretch on for months, I’m talking private care) that’s £300 on the spot, no direct debit, and appointments can be £30+ depending on who you’re talking to.
But going back to the story, I was confused and senseless. I took myself and faced the worst of the withdrawal, mania for 5 whole days, body shaking, rapid thoughts, tons of energy, needing to scream and cry. I’ve tucked myself in bed to “stay safe and sane”, waiting for my head to calm down. Eventually it did.
Next I was left confused, wasn’t sure of where I was or who I was. Time was a blur and so were my surroundings that felt fake and hazy. This lasted for weeks. The dissociation is still ongoing.
And since I ever ingested Sertraline, I’ve lost the ability to feel sleep. I feel like there’s hollowness in my head, for 3 months I haven’t felt a touch or drowsiness or fatigue, just my brain permanently switched on or numb to the sensation of tiredness. Early this month, I began to feel tiny moments of tiredness, today I’m feeling absolute exhaustion as I’ve only been able to get 2hrs of sleep a night.
My brain is permanently awake, I’ve been kicking my legs and tossing about in my sleep, getting up multiple times a night, and the worst part is when I close my eyes all that drowsiness and exhaustion goes away. My brain doesn’t register it. So every night I’ve been lying in bed, no sensation of my emotions or sleepiness, hours pass and I’m waiting and praying that my brain eventually shuts off.
It’s messed up, something I’ve never had since restarting Sertraline in March. Even my panic attacks from the past never gave me insomnia. And right now it’s reaching the point where I don’t know if I should end it all, just to minimise the pain and stress. I’m exhausted, but I can’t shut off. My brain’s messed up and when I tried explaining to the doctor what had happened they brushed it off as “emotional” and never even brought up withdrawal syndrome…
I’ve never been able to get any doctors to help me taper off a drug, often they’d keep telling me to continue taking the pills… I guess it makes it cheaper to get someone to eat pills instead of give them help. Just shows how fucked the system is where I’m from. Maybe I’m just unlucky, perhaps it’s just the town I’m living in.
Now I’m questioning what should I use to end it all. Or should I wait for sleep deprivation to send me crazy and hope I end up throwing myself out of the window. I never should’ve started back on those tablets. I should’ve listened to my gut.