I am an idiot. And that is the truth. I am about to write something that I am actually incredibly ashamed about. Even if I don’t understand my own actions at this time. it’s hard to know that I purposely put myself in danger.
Just after my grandmother’s death I decided that I wasn’t going to take Citalopram anymore, I am not sure why this crossed my mind, I’m not sure why I followed through with this weird request from my brain. After all, I have been fighting the urge to self-harm for just over a week now, and If I can fight that urge why did I chose not to fight this one?
So I stopped taking Citalopram. No talking to my doctor, no researching what would happen. I just stopped. On further exploration I found the following notes for a piece I seem to have been planning, which I wrote the day I decided to stop, I often email myself random snippets of things I have written, I take these elaborate and turn them into posts. Here is the raw text of what I emailed myself on the day I decided to stop.
“I feel so guilty.
Since my grandma’s death, I have struggled with my emotions. I feel so guilty for being depressed. I feel like a terrible, horrible person. Since my grandma’s death, my grandad keeps saying “life goes on, think of all the people dying all of those war torn countries.”
He says my grandma thought “I’m not going to get better what’s the point?”
I hope that was not the way she felt, but deep down, I think it may have been. My Mum and granddad were talking about how my grandma knew there were things she would never do again.
And now I feel guilty. There are things I can do that I don’t because I am depressed and I just can’t bring myself to do them.
My family talks about depression, they acknowledge its existence but they believe that there needs to be a reason for those feelings. And because of that I feel guilty. I am depressed, but truth be told I have no reason to be. I’m physically well, I have a job, money, friends, hobbies and roof over my head. But I am depressed. And I can’t shake the guilt.
This is another reason I can’t tell my family that I am depressed. I would feel like a phoney. They would say “why?” which incidentally was my brother’s response. And I can’t answer that. I just am. I’m a terrible horrible person with no reason to feel the way I do whilst people around me suffer and face death and even through all of that they don’t experience the devastating, terrifying, debilitating lows I do.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that not everyone feels the way I do. It’s hard for me to believe that not everyone is depressed because I have always felt the way I do for as long as I can remember. But sometimes I feel that maybe I am not depressed am I a phoney exaggerating my feelings? I don’t deserve to feel like this. There has been no catastrophe. No physical abuse. I’ve had a normal life with my parents in a debatably stable relationship and they loved me and still I came out like this.
I can blame them for the little things they do that screw with my head but ultimately who’s fault is it? Do I have the right to feel so affected by what some people would see as minor things?
I don’t deserve this blog or this readership. I feel guilty”
Subliminally, I understand my decision now. I decided I didn’t deserve to feel depressed, I didn’t deserve medication I should be happy and that is the end of that. But that’s not how life works, I am depressed. I am anxious and I know that, deep down I know all of this but still. my grief and guilt at the situation seem to have made me crazy. And I stopped taking my pills. This was a silly thing to do. I am well aware of the side effects of cold turkey. It’s a shame it took me so long to realise my mistake.
3 days after I stopped taking my pills I began to feel constantly panicked. For a long time, I have been able to convince myself that I am having a panic attack and this made it a little easier to cope. Well, until I started having these increasingly panicky moments. And even if talking myself down didn’t work crawling into a ball usually did. But from the minute these feelings started I couldn’t shake the fear. I became convinced I was having a heart attack although deep down I knew I wasn’t.
I blamed the fact my Dr had referred me and not really listened to my fears about it. Well, he half-listened to them. He deleted my house phone number from my details but told me I could still receive an NHS stamped letter.
After two days of constant panic, I started to get worried. I couldn’t hide my hyperventilating, I couldn’t hide the fact that I felt completely uncomfortable and had no idea where I would feel safe. So, I decided to do something I contacted “Mental Health Matters”. They are a charity that have a live chat feature on their website. You get 40 minutes maximum to try and get some help.
I contacted them, they asked if I was alone. I told them my mother was here but didn’t know about my mental health and now wasn’t the time to tell her whilst she is mourning my grandmother’s death. But instead of asking what could be making me anxious this chat person seemed fixated on the fact I hadn’t told my mother. So I lost faith in the services and my responses became short and uninterested. The person suggested I watched a movie. So I said ok she told me to contact later if I still felt panicky.
It frustrated me that in 8 minutes she had replied 8 times and hadn’t asked me anything relevant to why I had contacted. I don’t have the attention span for a movie, I am to busy concentrating on the fact that I feel I may be having a heart attack (which I told her) regardless. As I lay in bed playing Temple Run on my iPad and listening to music I had distracted myself enough to forget about the panicking. Until my battery died and it came back with a vengeance.
A few days ago I couldn’t sleep so I put my pillows at the opposite end of my bed. It helped at the time but now my heart was racing and I was petrified so I changed them back. Which initially made me feel a little better, then it stopped making me feel better and the panic was back. I tried to concentrate on my breathing and just as I had got the panic under control it came back again.
I’m not sure what made me realise it, but it became suddenly obvious to me that my problem wasn’t the referral and was actually withdrawal from the depletion of citalopram in my system.
My cold turkey attempt had done this. I had done this. I decided to start taking my pills again in the morning a week of 20mg before I go onto the newly prescribed 40mg.
But it wasn’t stopping the panic. The plan wasn’t helping. So I got up and took the 20mg pill. I know it’s a placebo right now but the panic stopped instantly. And I did this to myself. And I don’t even really understand why. I don’t even know why I stopped taking them. I don’t understand what exactly made me feel so guilty, what made me feel I didn’t need to take them anymore.
This mental health professional will rue the day they had me referred to them. I’m the opposite of a gold mine.
I have learnt from this experience that taking myself of antidepressants was stupid, especially without research or a plan. And I realise how stupid I was to do this. Regardless. I want to apologise to everyone who has tried to help me in my recovery because I have let you all down by forcing myself backwards.
The Elephant in the Room