My name is Tara and I had an awful reaction to sertraline in March 2021. After two weeks on this medication, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital after attempting to take my life! Prior to that, I was never suicidal!
From the onset of taking this drug, I lost my appetite and developed insomnia. I would lie in bed at night breaking out in cold sweats accompanied with a feeling of terror that’s difficult to put into words. After a few days I began to feel as though I were in a dream. Nothing felt real. Alongside this, I developed violent, intrusive thoughts about harming myself. They were so dark that I didn’t even know my mind was capable of going there! I felt like I was possessed! The worst thing about all of this was that I started to believe my son wasn’t really mine and he was swapped at the hospital. I felt no love for him, when 3 weeks ago I was a doting and dedicated mother. During moments of lucidity, I felt such guilt that I considered suicide as a viable option. When I rang my local A&E department, complaining of panic attacks and insomnia, they told me it’s common with the sertraline and prescribed me diazepam (to be fair, although I told them I felt like I was going crazy, I didn’t tell them everything).
It all came to a head when I woke my husband up in the early hours of the morning and told him I believed I was possessed and had to jump off the bridge into the water to “save” my family! He rang our GP surgery (who prescribed me the sertraline) and told them that I started acting weird when they put me on antidepressants. I spoke to the Crisis Team later that day and they told me to stop taking the sertraline with immediate effect. I begged the lady on the phone to have me sectioned and even told her I believed I posed a danger to both my son and myself. She told me that there weren’t enough beds and the Crisis Team would come out to see me on Monday.
The following day I took an overdose. I was convinced in my mind that I was sacrificing myself to save my family so God would understand and I wouldn't go to hell (I know how insane this all sounds!). I even thought that after I’d spoken to God, I might be allowed to come back and carry on as before. When the paramedics came, I told them I did “the right thing” and God would understand! Later on in the hospital (when I realised the OD didn’t work), I tried to strangle myself with my dressing gown cord. I ended up in a psychiatric hospital that evening.
After a lot of diazepam to calm me down and more sleep than I’d had in weeks, it didn’t take me long to find people with similar stories to mine. I was discharged a few days later, but I’m still struggling massively! Although the intrusive thoughts are gone, I feel like I have PTSD and still sleep with the lights on.
I strongly believe that doctors or nurse practitioners aren’t fully aware of the risks and need to prescribe these drugs with more caution.
Click here to read more accounts of stolen lives.
Tara became psychotic and suicidal days after taking sertraline