The Story of My Mental Health Medication

(๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ: ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ; ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜บ; ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง-๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ; ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ)


๐—˜๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†, ๐—œ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—บ๐˜† ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜๐—ต.


I take 50 mg of an SSRI, and itโ€™s worked ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™™๐™š๐™ง๐™จ for my depression and anxiety.


But it was a long road getting here.


I first started treating my mental health in therapy 5 years ago. At first, my focus was on developing a toolkit of healthy coping mechanisms to make me feel better.


But over time, I realized that that wasnโ€™t enough โ€” I was in an especially low place and needed extra support โ€” and so my therapist suggested I go on medication.


I met with a psychiatrist and explained to him my symptoms (I was suicidal, unmotivated, unable to sleep through the night, and highly dependent on self-harm to feel better โ€” not a great combination).


However, instead of supporting and validating me, this psychiatrist told me he thought I was making up my symptoms, and that I wasnโ€™t actually depressed.


He refused to put me on an SSRI, and instead prescribed me a sleeping pill so I could fall asleep.


At this time in my life, I was really bad at sticking up for myself, so I took the prescription and left.


But my symptoms kept getting worse and worse, and I kept thinking to myself that maybe I could feel better if I was on an SSRI.


I viewed it as a magic pill that would quickly remove my depression โ€” which is not the truth (these medicines have to work up in your system and often arenโ€™t noticeably helpful for a few weeks) โ€” but I was so desperate and needed to cling to some kind of hope.


So I went back to the psychiatrist and told him what I needed (and also mentioned that, from my googling, I found out it was easy to overdose on sleeping pills, so why would he prescribe that to someone suicidal??).


And he eventually gave me a prescription for an SSRI (different from what I take now).


๐˜ฝ๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™จ ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™—๐™š๐™œ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ข๐™ฎ ๐™Ÿ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฎ...


Medicines can be very finicky, and they often have very different effects on different people.


Iโ€™m a particularly sensitive person (both physically and emotionally), and so I often experience all of the side effects that medications have to offer.


The first medicine I was prescribed made me even more suicidal than before, so I switched off of it.


The next medicine made me throw up.


The medicine after that made my hands tremor uncontrollably.


The medicine after that made me so sleepy I could barely function! (I was on that for a total of one day before deciding I couldnโ€™t take it anymore.)


Eventually, I was put on 100 mg of the SSRI Iโ€™m on today, and after a few weeks, I happily realized that my social anxiety was completely gone.


No longer did I stutter, or cry, or have my mind go completely blank in social situations.


Instead, my words were able to travel smoothly through my throat, and come out exactly as I intended.


This was the most wonderful effect, and not one that I was even expecting!!


๐—›๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ...


With this pleasant change came an extraordinarily unpleasant side effect โ€”


Anorgasmia; or, the inability to have an orgasm.


๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—œ ๐˜๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฑ ๐—บ๐˜† ๐—ฝ๐˜€๐˜†๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ถ๐˜, he said that this was something I would just need to โ€œ๐™œ๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ช๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค.


Imagine a man basically telling you that itโ€™s okay that youโ€™ll never have an orgasm again. I felt like asking him if he himself would be ok with that!


This was the final straw with this unsupportive doctor.


I decided to change psychiatrists so I could work with someone who had my best interests in mind.


I switched to a woman doctor and told her I wanted to be off this medicine completely. She then prescribed me a mood stabilizer (a different class of medicines), since I had side effects from SSRIs.


But thus began even worse side effects โ€” numbness, nausea โ€” and an uptick in my depression and anxiety.


After trying lots of other medicines (unsuccessfully), I told her that I wanted to try that SSRI again, but at a lower dose.


I was incredibly scared of having anorgasmia again, but I felt that maybe it was worth it in order to feel better mentally.


But luckily for me, once I worked my way up to the 50 mg dose that Iโ€™m on today, I was able to have the benefits of this medicine โ€” without that side effect.


This is not going to be the case with everyone โ€” I got really lucky that my body reacted this way, and that I was able to (finally) work with a good doctor.


But, to this day, this is the medicine I take every morning (if I remember โ€” but thatโ€™s another post ๐Ÿคช)

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ยฉ Zoe Stoller, 2020.

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