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Article from The Guardian newspaper UK


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Article from The Guardian newspaper UK:

 

Antidepressants are a lifeline for women like me

 

We'd rather not be on antidepressants, but millions of women would struggle to function without them

 

*

 

 

New research shows a third of women have taken antidepressants at some point in their lives

A third of women have taken antidepressants at some point in their lives, according to new research.

 

When I read that one in three women have taken antidepressants at some point in their life, I almost choked on my beautiful blue 30mg tablet of Seroxat.

 

One in three? Is that all? Oh, sorry. I get it, I'm supposed to be shocked and appalled by the report compiled by women's campaign group Platform 51. The body formerly known as the YWCA claims the use of happy pills has reached "crisis" proportions with GPs accused of flouting National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidelines when it came to routinely re-prescribing drugs such as Prozac and Cipramil.

 

What's more, they believe women like me should instead be offered psychological therapies in the guise of talking cures.

 

Please, God, no. I simply haven't got time to have a deep and meaningful chat about what triggered my desperately low moods which pinned me to the mattress and left me frightened of friends and work, signed off by a sympathetic doctor with a "lingering chest infection". Nor do I have the energy.

 

And I would even bet my monthly supply of Seroxat that for the majority of the third of women who are just like me, they feel exactly the same.

 

I admit, I am an extreme case. I have been taking my darling sexy SSRIs for 15 years off and on – without them, I inevitably collapse but with them, I function, even elegantly at times.

 

The doctor was right all those years ago when he told me to consider coming off them because "life gets harder, not easier". But to sit and talk about depression when there's so much else to do … children to raise, husbands to harass, homes to run, careers to cultivate, never mind a life to live… well, I've got a three-second window in between school drop-off, cleaning the toilet and sleep, so is 2.35am OK for a chat, counsellor? The invitation to "talk with tissues" also rather negates the widely-held scientific understanding of the chemical relationship between serotonin and depression. You wouldn't tell a diabetic: "there, there, let it all out and forget the insulin".

 

Women today are under extraordinary pressure to seek the elusive "having it all" status update; whether we have long-term mental health problems or a temporary dose of the blues, we are living 21st century proof of the theory put forward by the sociologist Emile Durkheim in his 1897 book Suicide, according to which suicide rates are higher in times of peace than in times of war.These days, we want so much; we work so hard. We're also not supposed to admit to sweating blood and tears on life's treadmill. Why else do 18% of women on antidepressants feel so ashamed of failing to keep it together and keep it from their families?

 

The scandal is not the number of women whispering over the chemist counter for their prescription for fear of alerting people to their dirty secret; instead it is the fault of a society that pedals excess, promotes greed and puts cars, clothes, giant mortgages and two holidays a year on a pedestal.

 

It's true that antidepressants numb not just the pain, but also every emotion going, but I would rather be on the straight and narrow than self-medicating with a bottle of wine to myself every night.

 

My generation is lucky enough to be able to consume drugs which haul you back on your feet rather than make you sway on them. Thirty years ago it would've been Valium; 40 years ago barbiturates and two centuries ago, gin.

 

There is nothing disturbing about one in three women being on antidepressants; I'd say it was a success story for each and every one of us who have managed to get on with our lives and find happiness of a sort.

Started Seroxat(Paxil) for panic attacks in 1997 stopped the drug in 2005 tapered over 3 months ( doctors advice)

Suffered severe and protracted withdrawl ever since.

No other medication taken.

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Ack.

 

1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

1992-1998 Paxil - pooped out*, oxazapam, inderal

1998 - 2005 Celexa - pooped out* klonopin, oxazapam, inderal

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

CT klonopin, oxazapam, inderal (beta blocker) - 2007

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

July 2010 - March 2018 on hiatus due to worsening w/d symptoms, which abated and finally disappeared. Then I stalled for about 5 years because I didn't want to deal with W/D.

March 2018 - May 2018 switch from 30mg Cymbalta to 20mg Celexa 

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

12.2 Celexa December 28, 2020

12 mg Celexa March 2021

 

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