I woke up screaming last night. Not a shrill horror-movie-esque shriek but more a quick “I feel like I’m falling out of bed” gasp-scream. Either way, it was enough to wake A.
I guess because we were so deeply asleep, neither of us realised I did it. I thought I’d dreamt it, and it was only when A mentioned it a few minutes later, I realised I had verbalised my dream-turmoil.
This is the first time I made sound. But it isn’t the first time I’ve acted outside the boundaries of my nightmare.
What no one tells you when you start anti-depressants, is it’s not smooth sailing. They’re not “happy pills”. In fact, they can make you feel a lot worse than when you started out. And that’s truly scary.
While A was away, I dreamt a baby was falling and I reached out to catch her, only to punch our bedroom door in the real world. Before that, I was being chased and when confronted with my attacker, I jabbed him in the eyes, only to find the contact I had made was with A’s sleeping eyes next to me.
Because the thing is, even when you’re supposed to feel peaceful, you’re not. You find shadows creeping over your bed and consistently have to remind yourself that it’s just a figment of your depression.
To “depress” something can be defined as to “push something down”, and the consistent headache you face feels like the weight of the world baring down on your brain. The physical consequences including a regular headache and gritting your teeth to the point they feel like sandpaper.
A noticed my mood levelled out. I don’t self harm as often, and I don’t get ugly butterflies when confronted with stark realities. But I feel numb. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing in the middle of doing it and the scariest part is that while anti-depressants took away that horrible sensation of continuous dejection, they made me less afraid of dying.
They’ve numbed my fear of taking my own life. But isn’t that what they were supposed to avoid in the first place?!
I used to walk into a room and identify things that I could use to kill myself, and mull over them for hours. But I was afraid of pain so never acted on those thoughts. Now, my mind is so numb that I now think of ways which would be painless to me: jumping in front of a train, sleeping pill overdose, or gunshot to the brain.
Since anti-depressants, I have realised that there is no structure in my home that could withstand the weight of my hanging.
The most horrifying part of this whole experience is that I never used to think that acutely of the details of my demise.
So why share this experience with you? With anti-depressant prescriptions on the rise worldwide, it’s important to know the true realities of what you’re getting into. Do I regret this experience? No. But did I know I’d develop hand tremors either? No.
Anti-depressants do not work alone, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and other talking therapies are going to be what gets me out of this cycle eventually. Pills don’t fix everything. In fact, pills can sometimes make you want to jump out of a moving car (like I tried last week).
If you need help, I urge you to seek help. But when given a handful of drugs, take them but continue to push for therapy. Nothing will reverse what got you to this point, but therapy can help you learn how to cope better.
I’m currently awaiting my psychological assessment and I’ll continue to post during my experience in the hope that I can help even one person. Mental health should not be a stigma, it shouldn’t be something people are judged for. I don’t know how I got to this place, or why occasionally I feel like I’ve hit rock-bottom. It’s an illness I haven’t been able to control, but will learn how to.
Sending you positive thoughts, always.