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The scary affects of anti-depressants

*Trigger warning – mentions suicide ideation*

Disclaimer – I am not qualified to give advice on medication or claim to understand the full effects of anti-depressant medication. Please consult your GP if you have any concerns regarding your medication.

Back in September I spoke to my GP about switching my medication which I had been taking for several years as I just felt it had become almost ineffective and I was tired of feeling numb and like a zombie which I am aware is one of the common feelings Prozac can cause (hence the phrase and popular novel ‘Prozac nation’).

I was then prescribed Sertraline (Zoloft) which is another SSRI (selective serotonin re- uptake inhibitor) instead and was taking this up until about a month ago when I decided it definitely wasn’t working for me. The first thing you should know when starting anti-depressants is that your symptoms get worse before they get better, and boy did they get worse for me. I don’t honestly know how I am still here with the thoughts I had.

After a few days of taking the medication the suicide thoughts did fade a little but there was still this thought in the back of my mind and it didn’t leave me throughout the whole time I was taking Sertraline. Even after 3 increases of the dose, I didn’t notice any difference to my thoughts and could see no way out. I spoke to my GP again about this and asked to be put back onto Fluoxetine or to try something else as I figured being like a zombie was better than feeling like you’re one more bad day away from jumping off that building.

Being back on Fluoxetine for the past 2 months hasn’t suddenly made everything better again but I guess it’s numbed those feelings enough for me to carry on with day to life and work. I guess by sharing this I just wanted to emphasise the effects of anti-depressants and the scary changes they can make to the chemicals in your brain which in day to day life we don’t think about or realise they are there. I for sure didn’t think a pill could make such a difference…

The Sciencey bit

Serotonin helps by regulating  functions, influencing emotions, mood, memory and sleep and by taking anti-depressants you are influencing the uptake of serotonin to the nerve cells in the brain which then allows for an increase in the ‘serotonin receptors’ (this is how I understand they work anyway) and therefore increases your mood.
I guess everyone reacts differently to different medication and so there is no one size fits all and you just have to be honest with yourself and the professionals if you don’t feel right.

I hope this helps someone and if you are struggling please remember you are not alone and seek help from a medical professional or call the Samaritans on the number below for support. There is no shame in talking about it and remember everyone has mental health and like catching a cold or the flu, sometimes our brain can become ill too.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah Richelle x

SAMARITANS: 116 112 (24 Hours a day)

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