My name is Patrick, and I’m from Newcastle. I lost many years of good mental health by being prescribed an ineffective anti-depressant. I could also have lost my life due to my reaction to another antidepressant.
I experienced depression in my early adolescence which I now know was caused by complex PTSD due to my experiences in my childhood. I was prescribed an antidepressant by a GP. I took this antidepressant for several years during which I received repeat prescriptions without any monitoring for effectiveness or for side effects. I now believe it was ineffective, so I lost those years to depression. Those years could have been used to really understand my problems and develop resilience and better health through psychological therapy.
I struggled on with my mental health problems for many years whilst on the antidepressant. Later in my adolescence I experienced psychotic symptoms triggered by the combination of the effects of my childhood trauma, along with environmental stress.
I believe if I had been offered psychological therapy instead of antidepressants, I would not have experienced psychosis .
The psychosis left me believing that diseases were everywhere and that I alone would catch them and die alone. Words associated with disease could also kill me (and only me) unless I was touching wood when they flickered through my mind. I put matchsticks inside my clothes so that I was always touching wood. I believed a witch doctor had put a spell on me, and that spirits were out to get me as evidenced by my photograph falling off my wall.
The most shaming and guilt inducing incident was that I believed I had got AIDS on my shoes and through a fear of dying alone I rubbed my family’s toothbrushes on my shoe so that we would all die together. This is incredibly upsetting to look back on, guilt inducing and against all my core beliefs. It does fit a pattern of extreme responses when experiencing psychosis as described elsewhere on this website, when people suffering sudden onset psychosis have intended to put other people’s lives at risk.
Several years later I was prescribed antidepressants for the second time- this time fluoxetine. This was quickly followed by a period of feeling terrible and actively planning suicide and taking first steps towards it. Luckily my psychiatrist closely monitored my functioning.. She soon spotted the side effects and stopped the fluoxetine. She prescribed an antipsychotic and a different antidepressant and these did appear to help. I also accessed cognitive therapy for the first time which really helped me understand where my problems were coming from and how to handle life differently. These sessions went on after the meds had been stepped down and have helped me experience good mental health since.
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Patrick suffered suicidal ideation from antidepressants