Life without the SSRIs

It’s been some time without the drugs for my depression and I have unfortunately discovered a difficult lesson, my brain can’t function without the impact of these chemicals. I’m in despair and in distress and can’t see to complete the simplest task. 

I may not fully understand the use of serotonin reputable inhibitors but I’m going to have to put my trust in the doctor believing it’s the right thing for me. So I’m back on them, with a dose of Valium to get me through the next few days. 

Once I feel something then I can finally try and manage my life that has spiralled it of control. Regain some order. The future looks bleak but I have to try again tomorrow. I have to try.

I hope something till change. I need to feel normal.  

No more tablets 

It’s been a drastic decision, I’ve researched endlessly and out much thought into this decision. After 13 years on SSRI medication, once on SNRI meds, that now finally it’s time to stop them completely. 
Looking back, they have never provided me with any sense of relief, just a daily pill to swallow that make me think I’ll feel better, but it’s never fully worked, countless hospital visits and dosage adjustments but not once have I thought, you know what I’m better and I feel myself. 
Spent the last few weeks tapering them off to avoid withdrawal, bit anxious and teary but that’s to be expected. 
These SSRI medications block the uptake of serotonin in your brain so it lingers around longer thus helping you feel more content. I assure you that’s not how it’s felt, not even on higher doses just night sweats, nightmares and agitation. So that’s it, I’m not putting these pointless pills into my system any longer. Will it work? Only time can tell, but right now I’m willing to try anything. Plus if there’s not much serotonin to block the reuptake then how does that even work at all. I’m no doctor, but even the doctors don’t even fully understand how they work, you can’t measure someone’s chemical level in their brain, so the pills are just a long guessing game to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m done with the side effects, done with the doctors.  
I’ve done research into supplements to help assist depression along with a healthy diet. I have good quality fish oil, multivitamin, vitamin b complex and amino acid 5Tp. I’m fingers crossed hoping they will help better than the medications ever did. Along with daily exercise and reduced sugar intake,I’m praying this could work. Amino acid 5tp is an important building block for the body forming serotonin. So ultimately instead of taking an SSRI to block the reuptake of serotonin I’m using this 5tp to help me produce my serotonin. The other supplements are ones found to be deficient in those who are depressed. I did briefly consider St Johns Wort but I’d like to try this approach firstly. St Johns Wort does go back to Ancient Greek times but I’m not as convinced on that one. 
This could be a rocky ride. Also please don’t consider this yourself without talking to your doctor. The coming off of any antidepressants can cause unpleasant withdrawals and even suicidal thoughts, so not a decision that can be taken lightly. 
If your in the same boat, do some of your own research. See what could possibly help you if your finding the conventional drugs unhelpful. There’s also other groups of any depressants and light box therapy. Talking therapy of course is good way forward. 
Wish me luck, hope my new path I’ve chose without the prescription pill works. Could save my life, I need to feel happiness and enjoyment in life again before my twenties are gone and I’m left reeling from not doing something sooner. I hope all those suffering the same find some help and advice the same. 

The Effexor effect. 

Well been out of hospital for over a week now, to be honest I’m not sure how much time has passed, probably two weeks. 

I’m not sleeping all day and in the waking hours crying my heart out.  This must be progress if anything. 

I seem relatively productive but not fully yet. The anti depressants seem to be having the desired effect, I’m not consumed by tears of despair. Still there’s that feeling of hopeleness that’s terribly frustrating. I feel anxious but it seems dimmed slightly by medication, I can feel it there but it’s not so intense. Sleep is less, before I was awake for maybe 6 hours or so here and there but now I seem to be sleeping at night and not during the day. I guess my body is finally rested from the recent stress I’ve endured. 

It’s funny looking back and remembering myself in the midst of my worst despair, when the tears wouldn’t stop flowing and the pain in my chest was tight and painful. I thought at that point it would never stop. But it has. Till the next crisis I guess. But I have to learn the skills to avoid the next feeling of distress. I’m not sure where to begin, I still feel like I’ve been through the worst months of my life and things feel a bit surreal. Not sure if thats the effect of my medication or I’m just slightly traumatized by recent stay in hospital and all the hurt and distress my family and friends went through. 

Depression really is an illness that effects not just you but everyone around you. That only adds to the overwhelming sadness. Guilt is a hard thing. I find it terribly hard. 

I’m not really sure where to go from here, I’m like a lamb without its mother, calling out for attention but just wondering aimlessly around. I want to have a purpose, go to work or college but worried it’s too soon to commit to anything. When will be the right time though? 

I feel I’ve lost my sense of self, my own identity. Who am I? What is my purpose? I’m thinking too much. But that’s nothing new. I look in the mirror but I’m not sure about myself, people tell me I’m pretty but what I see is totally different. I feel ugly and very self conscious. I just want to shut my eyes and pretend I can’t see myself. 

Recently though I haven’t let much inspiration to write, now my feelings are somewhat dulled by the tablets I don’t have any ideas to write. It’s like my inspiration comes when my feelings are rawest. Right now I just have no words. Just dribble. 

Thank god for medication but I’m missing my inspiration. 

Numbness pill.

I have this pill,

It changes everything I feel,

Inside I’m screaming, 

Whilst outside I’m still,

Sometimes I wonder,

If I let out how I feel, 

Would it be better, 

Than suppressing it with a pill,

It feels better than tears,

Better than despair,

Whilst I’m under its spell,

It feels like I don’t care, 

Who wants to feel numb?

Even if the opposite is depression,

But the doctor prescribes,

So who am I to question, 

I know how I feel,

This is not me,

I don’t know who I am anymore,

It’s like I’m robbed of any glee,

I don’t want to cry,

But I also don’t want to be numb,

So what’s the alternative, 

When theres nowhere else to turn, 

It’s true,

Medication can’t fix this alone,

But if you can’t afford therapy,

Then what can be done? 

I wish I had answers,

For you and for me,

To lift away the pain,

To be happy and free. 

What it’s like inside a psychiatric hospital. 

Ever wonder what it’s like being inside a psychiatric hospital? I knew I had previously wondered what it would be like.

This is my second visit, both voluntary admissions. Means I’m here of my own accord, however that doesn’t mean you can leave when you want to. Once your in and your ‘state’ has been assessed the nurses and doctors can then decide if they don’t wish you to leave, you try and leave but they can have you brought back. So a voluntary admission requires some careful thought but it’s unlikely if your in any kind of distress that your up to making any informed decisions at that point.

Firstly you have your room, it’s bare and austere. You have your bed, a bedside table and the doorless cupboard, incase you so have the desire to hide, you won’t be doing it in there. There’s probably a more logical reason to it but I’m not entirely sure. Keep in mind the place is suppose to be a safe and secure environment. What else is there, oh yes, one plastic red chair, don’t sit in it too long or your bottom will hurt, definitely an uncomfortable piece of furniture. It is however bright red, the only colour to invade the dullness of the insipid room.

Also you have an ensuite bathroom that you cannot lock, just a sliding door, this probably causes many some uneasiness with some patients I can imagine. Consists of a shower, a basin and a toilet with sensors instead of taps or levers. There is a shower curtain and shower rail… but no cupboard doors, my mind fails me. As you can see I can be a bit sarcastic. There’s also a bit on top of the cupboard to stop you climbing on it, like you would but I suppose every danger has to be assessed and seen to, to me though theres much more hazardous things to be found.

When you first come your taken to your bedroom, the lifeless dorm, and asked lots of questions by the nurses and doctors and your vitals are taken. Blood pressure etc. Your belongings are then searched, valuables have to be accounted for, and objects such as tweezers and shaving razors have to be taken to be out in a cupboard in the office. Same for medication or any kinds of pills like paracetamol. Here comes some sarcasm again…. I can’t have my tweezers, however!, I have my straighteners which has a four metre cable…. and the potential to burn oneself, I have however no desire to but I have seen the wounds inflicted by others facing many different troubles to themselves, so this itself is a hazard I would have thought. I forgot my own razor anyway so I asked the nurse if I could buy some at the shop and if and how I was allowed to use them. She said she could let me have one but when I was finished with imthe razor it was to be given back for them to put in the cupboard. That was last night, yes I still have it. Again no desire to use it in anyway to harm myself but I’m sure someone would see it as an opportunity.

I guess you may be wondering about other patients, I don’t like to judge. But of course there’s troubled souls here. You hear the shouting and protests from the patients I guess are either bored and agitated or simply just drugged up on their medication. There’s one guy who loves to strum away endlessly with his fender guitar and sing loudly at stupid times of the night, which is yes, is very frustrating, but I admit when they told him to keep it down and he said ‘Why what you going to do?’ and proceeded to strum away and laugh insanely I was a bit worried. He was a harmless gent, an interesting fellow, he just didn’t like to do as he was told, his facetious manner was at times quite amusing but I felt for the nurses perpetually contending with him.

Suppose you may be wondering about myself? Why was I here? After all being in a psychiatric ward means I’m facing some kind of infirm state. I suffer major recurring depression and anxiety, previously treated for PTSD back in my rebellious adolescence. This time though the depression was irrepressible, it’s consumed me completely and I just could not function. My body had given up,shut  down, it was in complete anguish and the tears where endless beads of the pain I felt flowing out of eyes but as they left they built up again inside leaving me angry and frustrated at my suffering. How had I let it get to this? The CPN suggested hospital, so I guess on his professional advice I decided it was for the best. I didn’t want to go but I felt that for the sake of my family and friends around me anxiously watching the intense pain I was feeling, it was something I had to do, for my sake and for theirs. The scared tears in my mothers eyes as I left for hospital, always comes back to mind and I use that memory to remind myself why I’m here and why I need to be better. They can’t suffer the anguish I’m suffering too, I had to fix it, with help from professionals. This couldn’t go on.

So I continue to stay here as I ponder over what could possibly change and I’m very unsure, but I’ll keep writing nonetheless. At least it seems it’s something I’m still capable of. A kind of outlet.

The night will consist of hourly checks till morning, the jaggling of keys heard every hour, the occasion cry or scream from a distressed patient, or some guitar playing from a fellow amusing patient. Music usually blares from one adjacent rooms at different times, footsteps up and down the dark green carpeted corridors and the murmurs of some confused patients.

It’s a rather distressing place to be in my opinion for someone in a depressed state, lots of anxiety inducing scenarios and long isolated days. To be at home with my family would be marvellous right now, but I need to be well, to renew my outlook on life. Only time will tell.

 Psychiatric care. 

In my eyes I lay here as a burden. My mother and stepfather defeatedly trying to lure me out of my safety net of their spare room, from under the sheets that are keeping me ‘safe’ from the world I am trying to avoid, not wanting to venture out in trepidation.

The psychiatric nurse suggests the safety of the formidable psychiatric hospital, 154 miles away. I have been there before and let me tell you, for a depressive it’s the most harrowing experience.

You have a bare room which consists of a bed, a cupboard with no doors, one plastic chair and en suite bathroom you cannot lock, just a sliding door. In the bathroom there’s no taps nor a lever to flush the toilet. Just sensors, same with the shower. What made me laugh slightly though was there was a shower pole and curtain, much more hazardous than a tap or a door on your cupboard. Even the windows where locked. Surprisingly you could lock your bedroom door although the nurses had keys obviously. Regularly throughout the day they look in to see your still there, like you’d be able to get anywhere else, maybe hide in the doorless cupboard. Worst still though was the nightly hourly checks, ever hour throughout the night the jangle of keys can be heard as they check your in your room. Like being in a prison cell. Don’t get me wrong you can leave the recluse of your bare room to explore the rather worrisome ward. People wonder around looking lost and despondent, the odd person mummers something to the passing nurse ‘why are you talking about me’ that’s met by a stern ‘we are not’ from the nurse as she ushers me forward to show me the facilities. There’s a television area with some seats, some chairs and tables which I’m told is where we are to eat our meals, this induces great anxiety on my part, there’s also a communal kitchen. I forgot to mention when you first arrive in your rather perturbed state, shown to your ‘cell’ as I call it, yourself and the contents of your bad is searched for potentially dangerous objects that could cause harm to yourself or others. Anything sharp, any medications or painkillers, tweezers, razors etc.

This brings me back to the communal kitchen, free to come and go into as you please with a drawer full of knives, forks and the usual utensils. Coffee, tea making facilities, a toaster and a microwave. Now correct me if I’m wrong but you could easily steal a knife from the drawer undetected, I didn’t plan this myself but I didn’t see the logic, given other patients where suppose to be protected from harming themselves.

I was just depressed, needing some help, some therapy something to make me feel alive. This place was just like hell in my eyes. I tried to engage, although severely social anxious, with people around me. There was however a lovely old lady who was there voluntarily who was happy to recall stories of her late husband who she missed painfully. She wore his jacket around her shoulders and she told me how not a day went by she didn’t miss him dreadfully. She seemed perfectly sane, just a little lost. The woman however that sat next to me was recalling how the voices in her head where telling her to do stuff she shouldn’t, I wanted to take that pain away from her, offer some words of support but I didn’t know what to say, I was also slightly anxious and worried for myself which made me feel guilty. She was human after all but a prime example of what the ward was for, I wished silently for her to get better although I knew that she would probably be unwell and here for some time.

To pass some time I reluctantly made toast after some encouragement from the nurse that I should eat some thing. However I found myself making tea and toast for everyone else, because I’m to nice, but their verbal capabilities seemed very restricted, was this medication doing this? They wanted to see who I was, with being in the ward possibly some time you’d want to check out your potential new person sharing the ward. All I could do was smile and try to show I was no threat, that I was friendly and hoped that I wasn’t upsetting any of their routine.

It’s safe to say I stayed mainly in the recluse of my room, counting the hours after every check was made by the porters, meals where called and I remained vigilant to stay where I was, the thought of being out on the ward terrified me after having previously gave it a go. I would stare blankly ahead wondering how on earth I managed to get to this point. If anything was rock bottom, this was it.

Now back in a gloomy place of despair, laying in my mothers spare room, the thought of being back there filled me with fear. Yet I was completely functionless.

Was it the best place to be, or was hospital? I am so unsure…

Be positive. Yeah. 

Yeah. That’s what your told. Wash, eat, thinking positively. If only I could just do that.

Can you relate? I bet many can. Knowone choses to feel miserable. You don’t wake up and think, today I’ll be unhappy when I could be content, erm no. Yet most seem to think you’ll just have to snap out of it.

Chemical imbalance, emotional childhood neglect, traumatic experiences,  genetic depression/anxiety. I don’t care for the reason anymore, just the cure, just some relief. My twenties are moving fast and the thoughts that I’m not enjoying the best years of my life only further plummets my mind into darkness.

Wash. I have tried relentlessly only to be reduced to a bubbling heap on the cold bathroom floor. I don’t want to smell! But I can’t muster the energy to push myself to care for my own basic needs, I look back in anguish at how I took these simple tasks for granted and now I’d be lucky to be able to lift the safety net of the duvet.

Eat. Each mouthful feels like like daggers going down my throat. I don’t desire to be thin, I’m not anorexic, I just can’t eat out of sheer hopelessness. The taste of the food doesn’t register with my brain, just a another pointless task in this fight to be here/not be here. Either is both as scary as the other. So I’m stuck in limbo.

Think positively? I would. But when life weighs you down and you don’t have the means, the money, or the strength to think let alone do something, how is it even possible. Mindfulness, I will try, but in current state of mind, no talking about living in the presence day offers any relief, any solace.

Sounds all so negative. I apologise. But these are my thoughts, the words that flood my mind constantly, how can ones brain be in a depressed state and yet my mind races with thoughts, with ideas that soon diminish as I feel the tears of despair rise up and come out onto my cheeks.

Anxiety, that’s what it is. Being depressed and being anxious, it’s like a living hell inside your mind. You want your body to work to function, to feel motivation, or any kind of enjoyment of something, then the anxiety slows you down. Your heart pounds in your chest, your stomach a flutter of disabling butterflies. You reach your clammy hands to your face only to realise that this cycle never seems to end, and again you avoided whatever task you were about to undertake. Fail. Another knock back.

Which is worse? Depression or anxiety? I’m still sitting on the decision that both are, however only having one would be a lot simpler.

Frustrated, despondent and morose 👇🏻