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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. 

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Getty image via TanyaJoy

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