I donít find a lot of positive stories about antidepressants, or I find stories where people are taking the antidepressant the wrong way.
I wanted to share my experience. A positive one.
Iíve had generalized anxiety disorder, SEVERE OCD, and panic disorder for as long as I can remember. My first memory of having an episode was when I was 4 years old at my kindergarten interview. I feel as though I was born with the illnesses mentioned above, right from the womb. When I was a child I was extremely anxious, had bad separation anxiety from my parents and had extreme OCD, I was just a kid and thought that the way I was feeling is how all kids felt, I didnít realize that I was different. This went on, and got even worse in middle school. I began developing trichtilomania in middle school. In high school I went from being a 90% above student, to failing every class within a couple of years. I couldnít leave the house. My panic disorder and gad caused debilitating physical symptoms. I would be shaking when I had to leave the house, I wouldnít drink alcohol because I was afraid of vomiting, I was suffering so much, for my whole entire life with severe phobias, fears, and anxiety. I prayed and prayed and prayed to God every night for it to go away. I was a 16 year old living in a prison of her own mind. It never went away. Every single day was the worst day of my life, I would wake up and the thoughts just started, I never had a break. My life was exhausting.
I am of east indian background and my parents didnít understand mental illness well. It is very taboo in my culture. I went to tons of doctors and they told me it was just growing pains, no doctor ever told me that maybe I should see a therapist. I didnít have any support. When I was 22 I attempted suicide. Luckily the attempt didnít work and I was forced to go on medication. I was livid, I was so against antidepressants, I was so so so scared, it felt unnatural. My general practitioner put me on Effexor, I took it for almost 8 weeks, it helped me to not want to kill myself, but It also made me gain tons of weight which made me depressed, and it make me hear voices. One evening a voice told me to choke my mom, and I started freaking out and my parents drove me immediately to the hospital. At the hospital I talked to a psych nurse who calmed me down, and got me an appointment with a psychiatrist the next day. This appointment and this psychiatrist saved my life, and changed my entire life.
I want to really mention that you should not be going to a General Practitioner for mental illness medication, you should ALWAYSÖALWAYS go to a psychiatrist no matter what. If your GP is the only person you are seeing to help you manage your meds for ocd, anxiety, etc, that is the WRONG MOVE. That is such a common mistake people are making, you NEED a psychiatrist in order to get the meds right, please do not just go to your regular doctor, youíll be cheating yourself.
I went to the psychiatrist appointment the next day. It was the first time I had ever seen a psychiatrist. I got into her room and we talked about everything, my childhood, my phobias, my ocd. She then brought my parents into the room to explain the whole situation to them and the fact that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and that I have been suffering for way too long. My parents were so supportive. The doctor told me I was on the wrong medication, that I never should have been placed on Effexor which is an SNRI, and that I should be on an SSRI considering my main problem is OCD and GAD. We talked a lot about it and she told me she would like to place me on Prozac. She said for me, because my neural pathways have been the same for 20 plus years, that I would need a higher dosage of Prozac especially for anxiety and OCD. I see on this forum, that so many people are on 20mg, or 40mg for anxiety disorders. You should be on 60mg atleast, do not be afraid to go higher. People that say Prozac or an SSRI didnít really do anything for their anxiety or ocd is because they are only taking a 20mg dose, That is not an OCD dose. 40-80mg for anxiety, and 60-120mg for OCD. Please up your dose. Use the medication, REALLY USE IT. Do not be afraid!
My doctor started me on 40, eventually took me to 100, and then I went back to 80. Yes the side effects are insane, I was nauseated, I couldnít sleep, I was shaking, I had anxiety, but she prescribed me Ativan and said to use it until the Prozac kicked in. That the Ativan would keep me comfortable until that happened. Donít try to be a hero, use your Ativan or your Xanax or whatever to stay as comfortable as possible.
I could write so much more, but Iíll conclude with this. 4 months after being on 80mg of Prozac everyday, I woke up one day and I was cured. Yes cured. I had no OCD, I had no anxiety, I no longer had fears or phobias. I was cured. You have no idea how that day felt. It was like the first day of my whole entire life. I woke up being the real me, who is free spirited, and loves alcohol and isnít afraid of anything! I was finally free, I was no longer a prisoner. I didnít even have to go to therapy. I just woke up one day a brand new person, from taking a high dose of Prozac every single day.
DO NOT go off of the antidepressants. Your ocd, your anxiety, depression etc will come back. I WOULD never dream or even think to come off of my antidepressants, I have an illness, that will return if I go off the medication, because I have a brain disorder. OCD is a brain disorder. Do not stop taking medication for your brain disorder, do not try to fix your brain disorder with just a 20mg or 40mg dose. Own your medication, be on it for life.
Itís been 5 years since I have been cured. If it wasnít for Prozac, I would be dead.
1) You need a psychiatrist
2) Do not be afraid to take more than 40mg of Prozac to treat panic attacks etc, I am on 80mg a day and my life is a ball. It is so wonderful and so carefree.
3) Do not stop the meds. Be on the meds for life.