In late 2014 I was diagnosed with depression. I'd been unable to stop crying for weeks, I was grumpy, I was a different person. My eyes just kept on leaking. My doctor gave me the number for a therapist and strongly urged me to go. I tried therapy as recommended by my doctor and was discharged after six weeks. I was on my own again. I was ok at first, until one awful, awful night.
I was at my boyfriend's house, doing ok, until I went to bed and it hit me like a train. My mind and body were possessed.
What's the point? What's my purpose? Why are you even here?
I didn't trust myself. I didn't know what I was capable of. I wasn't in control of my own body or thoughts.
And then the anxiety kicked in. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know what I could do. I had the worst panic attack I've had to date. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see, I couldn't think anything but am I going to make it? Am I going to let myself make it through this night?
The next morning I phoned in sick and went to the doctors. I admit it, I was a mess. I couldn't stop crying, hyperventilating. I couldn't get a doctor's appointment, so I phoned for an emergency one. They told me to come in straight away and, that poor doctor, I cried, and cried, and cried. Words were coming out like unstoppable projectile vomit being shot at him and I could hardly even control what I was saying. That's when he prescribed Sertraline, an SSRI used to treat people with depression, OCD, anxiety and panic disorders.
I took it as soon as I could, and I slept. I slept for hours. I only took Sertraline for a week and I slept for the majority of that time. My boyfriend would sit with me for hours, waiting for me to wake up so that I could cry on him until I fell asleep again.
I made a conscious effort to read through the whole leaflet inside the box before I took the medication, so I was aware that there would be side effects and potential suicidal thoughts. That's what nobody tells you about. They give you medication to stop depression and suicidal thoughts, but the medication itself induces suicidal thoughts for the first couple of weeks. For that reason, I'm glad I slept for so much of the time. When I was awake, I'd just be thinking about how sharp the knife was that my boyfriend was eating with.
I was nauseous. Severely nauseous. I would wake up at around 4.30 every morning and rush to the toilet thinking I was going to be sick. My fingers tingled. I didn't eat for five days, and I lived on smoothies that my boyfriend gave me, but I wasn't 'sad'. I was numb. I was like a ghost of myself.
I couldn't cope with the side effects so I gave up. I went back to my doctor and told him I wouldn't go near it again. 'You had a bad reaction to Sertraline. Do you want to try something else?' Absolutely not, I'd rather do it on my own. So I did.