Out of the Madness of Over-Prescribed Antidepressants
I started taking antidepressants in 2004, although I have suffered from depression most of my life. I have been on many types of medications that worked sometimes for long periods of times, while others only worked briefly or not at all.
I never shared my depression with most of my family, friends, or co-workers. It terrified me that people would find out my secret. I was ashamed of myself, and I felt like a failure. The stigma of mental illness has always been a huge barrier for me to overcome, and I admit that what others think is very important to me.
When we would have our numerous arguments, my ex-husband would pound on the wall with his fist and scream at me, “Time to take your la-la pills.” I believed that if he thought this way of me, imagine what others would think if they found out!
In the summer of 2016, I knew something was terribly wrong with the antidepressants I was on. I was constantly exhausted and would go to bed at 6 p.m., sleeping 13 to 15 hours at a time. I also gained about 80 pounds in about a two-year period. I had a ravenous appetite, and overeating became the norm.
I thought that since my doctor had prescribed them to me, they should be OK. At work, I pretended to be normal and laughed and kidded with all my co-workers—and yes, also got my work done. I decided to ask my doctor to refer me to a psychiatrist, as they would know what was going on. I needed an answer, as I was losing my life to antidepressants!
I saw my first psychiatrist last summer, and during that time, he took me off most of the medications I was on to such an extreme level it sent my body into a tailspin. I kept telling him how bad things were, which he completely ignored. Instead, he referred me back to my family doctor, as our sessions were done.
He was not the right fit for me, so I requested another referral. It took a little while for the referral to go through, and by this time, I was in meltdown mode. Prior to seeing my new psychiatrist, I did some research and found out she was highly recommended—so I was hopeful she would be helpful. At the first visit, she told me she could not believe I was able to function, let alone walk into her office, due to the current high dose of one of the medications I was on (I was on three different antidepressants at the time). The one I was on was way over the maximum daily dosage with the following side effects: extreme fatigue, excessive weight gain, and increased to ravenous appetite.
I have worked very hard over the last year to wean myself off that medication. The huge medication changes have been hard; the ups and downs have been both physically and mentally exhausting, not to mention hard on my partner. Unfortunately, my family doctor kept upping my medication to such a degree that although I was functioning, I was not living.
Am I there yet? Not quite. But at the very least, I am thankful that I am out of the madness.