I was on Sertraline for 18 years at varying different doses. At my worst 200mg a day.
I don't recall any particular side affects as this drug helped me through several crisis periods but after 18 years it wasn't enough.
I couldn't sleep and for me this was a not good. I'm a 9 hours a night lass and if I have to function on less for more than a couple of nights the anxiety would rocket out of control.
I was going through a major crisis about 6 years ago and was suicidal. I don't know what triggered this particular episode but my health was suffering and I was forever on antibiotics.
I couldn't cope with life at all. I would try to sleep but be lucky if I got more than 5 hours and then wake with a full blown panic attack. The feeling of impending doom was so real and so strong. At times the feelings of needing to escape were so real I nearly jumped off my third floor balcony. I couldn't tell you what I would've been running from apart from that I had to run. These feelings would become so strong that I rapidly began to dread mornings which added to the fear and feeling out of control.
Within a few days I was thinking of suicide hourly and how I could end this pain and fear. These thoughts were often followed by extreme guilt and shame. How dare I consider this and hurt my family so badly? How dare I end the gift of life I had been given? I dare I be so selfish?
On my many trips to the doc I explained that I couldn't eat or sleep and that I was seriously considering ending my life...to which he replied that unless I actually did something he couldn't help. I should call the Samaritans or any crisis helpline if I knew I was in serious danger. DOH! I was already in serious danger. I was planning how to kill myself over and over in my head.
At this point the doctor decided to change me onto Mirtazapine/Remeron. The first 48 hrs was horrendous.
I hallucinated, shook all over and became hysterical. Thankfully this didn't last too long and I had the care of my parents who watched over me and comforted me.
I was told that 15mg will help me sleep and eat and that 45mg would knock out a horse and I didn't need that much.
WOW! what a difference! I thought this was a miracle drug. I could eat, sleep and work. My self-esteem seemed to grow and I felt I could cope with life again.
It was amazing and I felt great.
I can't remember why I suddenly got worse again. Maybe it was because antidepressants can only ever be a sticking a plaster that I hit rock bottom.
The terror and torment were too much. I had reached my absolute limit. My blog called 'Mayhem' gives some insight into what was going on for me. In truth I was on the floor begging for forgiveness, salvation and mercy. As a christian, at that time, I saw this as punishment for not being a good christian girl. I pleaded with God to save me, to heal me and I got nothing.
Well that's not quite true. I realised that if I wanted to live it was time to get serious!
It was time to cut the crap and get the help I needed.
I was put on 45mg of mirtazapine which turned me into a zombie for the first few weeks. I could barely string a sentence together and work was a big no no.
It did help me to sleep and although I woke feeling woozy it was a relief. I could start to look after me.
It was time to stop looking for a saviour and start being one.
I'm gonna jump forward to today and where I am with my meds.
It's been about 3 years since I first started to reduce the mirtazapine. I was originally on 45mg a night but am now on 15mg, six nights a week and 7.5mg one night a week.
It has been roughly 3 weeks since I made the first drop to 7.5 one night a week and I feel OK. I am emotional but I always have been. The difference now is that I have learnt to embrace it. Empathy is a gift, not a weakness. I will reduce another night to 7.5 in about 2 weeks time and see how that goes. I don't honestly know if I will get off this medication completely but I am prepared to try and get as low as possible.
I want to be the authentic me, not someone living on drugs for the rest of my life. I believe there is more to me than the problems I have encountered and having made so many changes not only to my lifestyle but my life as a whole I am primed to succeed.
Love is a huge healer; especially self-love.💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗