There are so many amazing posts talking about the real face of mental health and the experiences that parallel that. It's a great way to create dialogue, so I finally wanted to add my voice and shine a light on my experiences with SSRI's.
What You're Not Told About SSRI's...
Generally, SSRI's are fucking horrible. They are hard, both psychically and emotionally, from start to finish.
In my late teens to early twenties, I took a drug called Citalopram. I don't really remember my specific experience with it, other than I couldn't stop sweating, I was a moody bitch and I had difficulty climaxing. When you're in a relationship, these can put a rift between intimacy and general happiness pretty quick. Don't get me wrong, my partner was, from what I remember, very understanding, but the impact it had on my self-esteem was devastating. During anxiety high periods, I tend to feel useless and out of control. Citalopram didn't change those feelings, it merely changed the subject of those feelings. I went from fearing social interactions to worrying about my sweat patches, from being sad to short-tempered and from not wanting sex to not being able to cum. I felt trapped, but it was no longer my mental state keeping me there, it was the pills designed to set me free.
Ending Use of Citalopram
After a year, I felt stable enough to stop taking Citalopram. I (stupidly) didn't consult a doctor. I just stopped, threw what I had in the bin and carried on as usual. My body went through withdrawal, something no one ever tells you about when you first start taking SSRI's.
Withdrawal is intense. I wasn't filled with a burning desire to "take something" or "get high" to make it go away, but my body was for sure letting me know it was missing something it was very much used to. If you've ever had the flu, where your whole body aches, it hurts to blink, you're hot, you're cold, you cant eat and you cant stop sweating... that's basically what withdrawal feels like. My experience was somewhat dialed down a few notches, I was still able to function, but I was definitely operating at 50%.
And there is fuck all you can do... Short of taking painkillers or taking your meds again. It's advised that the intake of SSRI's should be reduced gradually, in order to allow the body to adjust and prevent withdrawal, but even when I tried to have a pill free day between pill days, my body would start the withdrawal process. I am in no way advocating suddenly ceasing to take SSRI medication, I'm just saying it's very difficult to reduce intake, if already on the lowest dose.
Kinda make a gal wonder why she would ever take them again...
In the next Mental Health post, I will be talking about seeking and accepting help. Stay Tuned.