Taking Antidepressants Made My Depression Worse

Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Early this year, I received some news from the past that hit me like a freight train.

Something that had long been locked on the highest shelf in the back of my mind was brought to the surface — and it almost immediately sent me spiraling into severe depression.

It started to manifest itself in poor sleep and getting out of bed at 3 a.m. to start my day, which then made me feel fatigued all the time. I didn’t have the energy to fight the negative thoughts in my mind and before long, I was in the grips of this horrid illness

I visited my GP, and as I was exhibiting all the classic signs of depression, he duly prescribed me an antidepressant, one of the newer “wonder” drugs to help me cope with what I had going on.

That was just the start of my problems, because as anyone who has taken this drug knows, the first few weeks are not pleasant at all. The dizziness was off the scale, vomiting, no appetite whatsoever, the lack of sleep but general tiredness and also, the low mood.

I was started thinking maybe it wasn’t enough, so my dosage was increased over a number of weeks, but no real improvement was seen by me or anyone around me. In fact, my condition seemed to get worse.

On the maximum dose of this drug, I was being belligerent to anyone trying to help. My behavior was upsetting my friends and family, my love for my wife, child and friends. My suicidal thoughts were getting more intense and more frequent, and my mood was at an all time low. I was a real mess, so much so I was referred to a consultant psychiatrist to try and help.

He took me off the medication I was on and started me on another new SSRI that apparently works wonders.

During this period of being dramatically swopped from one medication to another is the time I decided to end my life.

I thought about it calmly and with a clear head. I researched it online carefully. I even ate a whole family-sized bar of chocolate, because I was sure the extra calories didn’t matter since I’d be dead soon.

This led to a new chain of events including help from the crisis mental health team and friends rallying around me. I had to move away from my family home and my marriage broke down completely.

I continued to take the new antidepressant, again reaching the maximum dose with no real improvement. Again, some aspects worsened rather than got any better.

So back to the psychiatrist I went for them to carry out this dramatic change again from this drug to another. As I came down from the drug I had been on, I started self-harming, something I never ever thought I would do. At the time, my head just wanted a few seconds away from the pain.

After this, I decided with the help of my closest friend to wean off antidepressant medication.

Since that day, my mental state has improved so much.

Admittedly, I went through withdrawals from the drug — the shakes, the dizziness, the confusion, the total lack of sleep, the nausea and the horrible tasting mouth. But after two weeks, I was left with a clear mind.

I feel more energized, I have a clearer mind, I’m sleeping better, my appetite has come back, I’m not doing things that are out of character anymore. My mood has improved and my life is starting to feel like I’m in control of it again.

After a month of not taking any medication at all, I’ve now been discharged by the psychiatrist and home treatment team, and I’m discussing my occupational health advisor the possibilities of returning to work.

I realize antidepressants work for a lot of people and they are a great tool in giving someone a slight helping hand. But in my case, it was a massive push towards a very dark path. So now, my path will be different. 

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty image via TanyaJoy

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

black and white photo of young woman looking upset

What My Therapist Called Me, and Why It Made Me Cry

“You’re more than stable. You’re happy.” I could see her eyes starting to water as she said that and, the second she said that word, I knew my own were doing the same. I felt like I was floating on air. Dizzy. Unable to comprehend what had just happened but, simultaneously, overwhelmed with the emotions [...]
redhead young woman sitting on bed depression pain

What I Need Instead of Being Told to Stop Being Depressed

“Stop crying.” That’s what I hear instead of comfort. “Stop stressing over something so small.” That’s what I hear when I have no reason at all. “Stop it, you might go into depression.” That’s what I hear when I’m already in it. And I say, “Tell me how to stop because I don’t know.” It’s [...]
A woman in train alone and sad

When Anxiety and Depression Make You Feel Stuck Outside of Your Own Life

A reality of grief and depression is that you often feel stuck outside of your life. Last week, I had a few days where I felt like I was watching my life and not living it. I took deep breaths, trying to ground myself, feeling like I was floating away with nothing to pull me [...]
Medication out on a table

What I Want My Brother, the Medical Student, to Know About Depression

“On paper, Prozac is my favorite. You should ask about switching to that one.” I crack open a safety locked prescription and toss back my daily antidepressant dose, chasing it with ice water. My older brother hunches over his laptop at the kitchen table, squinting at a Word Document of psychiatric notes from a recent [...]