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My Name is Carlton Ellison. I’m now 26 years old. I have now been dealing with PSSD (Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction) for two and a half years at the time of writing. This is my story.

During my high school years at around age 14, I was struggling with IBS-D. I was referred to a gastroenterologist who recommended and prescribed nortriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant.

Like most other sufferers, I was never informed of the potential side effects. I took the medicine up until last year at the age of 23 with minimal to no side effects. On a consultation call with my GP in February 2022 he said the medicine probably wasn’t aiding me anymore and was best to come off. He also said as the British medical system were looking to discontinue the drug it would be best to switch me to another and ween off that instead.

I was switched to amitriptyline, another tricyclic antidepressant but I did not receive any guidance from the doctor on how to taper off the medication.

As a result, I weaned myself off within one month. Soon after I developed genital numbness, I have not felt erogenous/pleasurable sensation in my genitals for over two and a half years now.

Along with that, severe erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, problems with libido/maintaining arousal, becoming aroused, severe erectile tissue changes with possible Peyronie’s disease. The list is honestly endless, and feels like complete chemical castration.

This has had an enormous impact on my wellbeing. For most people in this world, love and romantic relationships are a key part to wellbeing and happiness. It hurts to think that I have developed this before experiencing what true sexual pleasure feels like with a partner. Now I will possibly never know what true sexual pleasure feels like. I now struggle to imagine myself being able to be in a normal happy long-term relationship with this condition. Every person in this world should be allowed access to love and romance by way of human rights. I feel as if my human rights have been completely infringed upon by the medical system. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s to be thankful and appreciate in the moment for what I do have, because all of a sudden, life really can change for the worst. Along with the severe sexual effects i have had negative effects to my emotional range.

I cannot cry properly anymore and I feel totally blunted out in response to the world around me. It's as if my dopamine receptors have been completely shut off. Along with this, I’ve also developed gastritis in the last few years which begs the question of what have these medications been doing to my gut lining.

I wake up and go through the day with little to no energy, just trying to survive day to day with PSSD is a battle in itself as my emotional range is not what it once was. Any quality of life I ever had is now gone. These days, I spend most of my time studying for my Bachelors degree as it is the only sense of accomplishment i can get out of life. I can’t relate to most people anymore apart from fellow PSSD sufferers because they have gone through the same experience of losing their sexuality/sexual function.

I try not to leave the house if I don’t have to, as going outside I will see people engage in relationships, getting married and having kids which is something I always aspired to do in my life.

Sadly, without a cure I am having to wrestle with the reality that i will now never get to live the life I wanted, and will always be alone. If you can, please support PSSD Network and Roberto Melcangi’s research into PSSD to find the underlying mechanism of this injury. Many thanks.

Click here to read more accounts of stolen lives.

Carlton has PSSD from taking antidepressants for IBS as a teenager

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