This is another guest post by Dorothy Donald.
I was twelve years old. Dr B said she didn’t like to prescribe antidepressants for someone so young, but I was such a classic case that she felt she had to. My mother kept my meds in a high cupboard so that I couldn’t… you know. I didn’t get better.
I was a teenager. It made me feel like I was looking at the world from the bottom of a swimming pool. I did things without deciding to do them. I had never harmed myself before…
Early 20s. I just didn’t think it was helping. I thought I was just getting worse. I wanted to know if there was an alternative. Dr R wrote ‘patient refused to continue treatment’ on my medical notes and dismissed me from his office.
I didn’t want another SSRI. I remember citing some meta-analysis or another on the success rate of SSRIs. I remember saying that I’d tried them before. I remember saying I was not in the least convinced that they would do me any good. Dr S gently asked if maybe doing something that might work was preferable to doing nothing. What did I have to lose, from where I was?
I agreed to give the damn pills a try. I agreed to stick out the first few weeks of dizziness, nausea, acid reflux, and general big weird feelings. I even agreed to up my dosage last summer when I had ‘a bit of a wobble’. Since then I’ve been different.
I still get low mood, but it kicks around for a day or so, rather than weeks or months.
I still have times when I struggle to get out of bed, but the thought process goes “oh, I need more sleep” rather than “I am useless”.
I still think about offing myself, but it’s a thought that drifts into my head and then just drifts right out again, rather than some abominable earworm.
I’m not happy all the time – that would be odd. I get grumpy, furious, sad, excited, tired, TIRED, lost in the flow state, bored, amused, content… all the stuff.
I just looked through my diary for 2017. It shows a bereavement, a house move, a couple of other fairly serious upheavals, and only one thing that felt like a depressive episode. Which seems to have lasted only three or four weeks. I think this is pretty good going, considering.
It would be premature to conclude anything about the efficacy of these tablets (my memory is not infallible and I’m not good enough a girl to keep a really comprehensive diary). It would be unwise to draw comparisons with the other drugs (oh, the confounding variables!).
18 months and counting.