There are a lot of arguments surrounding anti-depressants and mood stabilising medication. My stance is that I will do anything to lift this anxiety and depression, and if that includes taking a few tablets everyday then so be it.
If you’ve never had anti-depressant medication before, then you should know they all come with severe side effects, especially when you get to the higher doses. For SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), which are the type of anti-depressant most commonly used in the UK, the side effects include nausea, insomnia, restlessness, drowsiness and dizziness.
My quest for the perfect anti-depressant began 10 years ago. They put me on citalopram (an SSRI), like they do everyone. They told me I would feel the side effects quite quickly, but that the medication could take up to six weeks before I would see any real benefit. However, I didn’t really see any benefit at all. All I got was an inability to sleep, heart palpitations, and vivid nightmares when I did manage to get some rest. So after upping my dosage a couple of times (which obviously only increased the side effects), they decided to switch me to another SSRI.
Next up was mitrazapine which didn’t agree with me either (constant nausea), followed by good old fluoxotine (also known as Prozac). When they told me I was going to be taking Prozac i’ll be honest, a part of me was delighted; I naively believe that Prozac was a super strong wonder drug that had the ability to lift this consistent sadness and hopelessness, however even the highest dose only had a semi-positive effect for 6 months or so.
So we tried venlaflaxine, and this seemed to help a little whilst the side effects were bearable. As time went on though it seemed as though it was wearing off, and so we kept upping the dosage. However, this still wasn’t enough to shift the constant state of mind I was/am trapped in. My psychiatrist decided to add in another drug (pregabalin) and then another (aripriprosol) over a period of a year or two.
The result is that I am now on high doses of three different medications; two anti-depressants, and a third to increase the effects of the other two. My GP calls this “an interesting cocktail” but it has worked for me for a couple of years now.
That was until last year, when I came off all my meds in one go and took to my bed. Now I have returned to my ‘cocktail’ however I feel as though they just aren’t cutting it again. I’m going back to my psychiatrist when a spot comes up on the waiting list, and we’ll see what the next step is.