To start, I’ll say this is all very new to me. Before this whole ugly episode started, I had no mental health issues, no symptoms of any type of mood disorder, no need for medication of any kind whatsoever. Within 3 weeks all that has quite suddenly changed. Let the story begin...
Since I graduated high school I’ve tried to be very conscious of my health. My father, a Vietnam veteran, drank himself to the point of diabetes and heart disease. Although he stopped drinking long before his untimely death from a heart attack in 2014, the damage had already been done due to his lack of willingness to change his lifestyle. I was determined that my daughter would not have to constantly worry about her father’s health the way I worried about his. I don’t do any recreational drugs. I don’t smoke. I VERY RARELY consume alcohol. On average about 1 shot glass of whiskey a month if that.
I’ve been working at a factory since I was a teenager after I graduated. Not the most glamorous job in the world but I liked it fine. For the last 3 years I’ve been on straight night shift. I of course don’t like it but for the most part my sleeping never really suffered. I managed it just fine. About 3 months ago, I started to notice that I was starting to get a little uncomfortable in my clothes and the scale was starting to tick just a bit into the wrong direction. I graduated high school 275 pounds in 2009. Since 2011 I’ve maintained a weight under 170. After losing so much weight after years of suffering I swore to myself I would never gain that weight back. So naturally when the scale got back up to 170 I made a doctors appointment. I told him I’d noticed a little bit of unexplained weight gain as well as being just a smidgen irritable at times. He took blood to check for all the ordinary things, thyroid, testosterone, etc. Well in addition to all that he said “I want you to try this pill called Celexa.” “It’s a very mild antidepressant that I myself have taken in the past for seasonal affective disorder.” The results from the blood work wouldn’t be back for a few days but I got the prescription filled for the Celexa. I got the medicine home and sat down and read the pack of papers that comes with all those medicines. Naturally when I read about the possibility of suicidal thoughts I was very put off. I tossed it around in my head for 3 days whether or not to take it. Finally I decided to. I took a 20mg pill that morning at 7am and went to bed to get up for work that evening.
Fast forward to 7pm that evening. I had made it to work after having my daily two cups of coffee and dinner at home. In the middle of working on the line like normal, talking to one of my buddies I had a very odd sensation I’d never felt before. I just instinctively froze and my brain said “somethings happening.” Within 5 seconds my hands and feet went numb and clammy, my heart rate skyrocketed, I got light headed and short of breath and the biggest wave of panic and fear that I’ve ever felt washed over me completely. I almost collapsed in my panic stricken state to get to the bosses office to get help. I thought I was having a heart attack. They had seen this before and assured me it was a panic attack. Well my wife came and picked me up and drove me to the ER. They explained what was going on. They said maybe it was just a rough reaction to the medicine combined with the caffeine. They gave me a .5mg pill of Ativan and sent me home. I took half the pill when I got home at 9pm and the other half that next morning before I went to bed. Well I thought that was the end of it but I was wrong. I had another panic attack two days later, this time my brain felt goofy like I wasn’t sure who I was, that scared me even worse than the first one. Well then I contacted my doctor and he sent me an emergency prescription of Xanax to the pharmacy. 6 pills, 1mg each. He made very clear to tell me of the dangers of Xanax but said at this dose with that many pills it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Well over the next week or so, I never took a whole pill, but I took it for about 7-8 days in a row. The first 4 days .5mg once a day, the next 4 days .25mg. I started to have some crazy dreams so I decided to stop taking the Xanax, especially since I didn’t want to get hooked. As it turns out, the blood work came back and it indicated that I was in fact having problems with my thyroid. He put me on 25mcg Levothyroxine. If only we would’ve waited for the blood work to come back before trying the antidepressant but oh well
Over the next couple of weeks I kept some constant symptoms of anxiety. Tightness in my chest, accelerated breathing, worry about having another panic attack. I had really started fearing for my sanity. I had a follow up appointment over all this and my doctor diagnosed me with Anxiety/ Panic Disorder and represcribed the medicine in a much smaller dose. He said instead of 20mg, take a 10mg pill and break it in half. Take that for about a week and then possibly try a whole one. Well until this past week those were all my symptoms but now this has taken an odd turn. I’m not sure if because I’ve worried myself into a panic so much that this has happened, but throughout the day on some days I started to experience bouts of depression that I had never felt before. They usually always followed times when I felt great anxiety about something and got really scared. This turned me into a chronic worrier and self diagnoser. My biggest fear through all of this has been losing my sanity and doing something to myself or someone else like you see all the time in movies. Because of that I had an absolutely terrible nightmare that caused me to not be able to sleep for two days. It involved my daughter and she had been killed. All the people in the dream kept on telling me that I had done it, that it was my fault. So after that I couldn’t stay off the internet, trying to reassure myself that there wasn’t some homicidal maniac waiting to get out of me. I came across every possible thing you could have and at times was convinced I had it. “Harm OCD, “Recurrent Brief Depression”, BiPolar Disorder 2 with hypomania.” The last one came about simply because I had actually felt better for a couple hours one morning but had racing thoughts when I tried to lay down. I was really convinced that since I had felt happier for a little while and now my mind was racing, I wasn’t simply having insomnia due to anxiety, but full blown hypomania from BiPolar disorder.
Now fast forward to the present. I’ve been taking the 5mg Celexa for about 6 days. For the last day or two I had been kind of depressed. Like I said before, suicide and homicide are the two most reprehensible things I can ever imagine. But because I’ve been so worried about having suicidal thoughts, it’s like now I can’t shake the thought of “What if?” It terrifies me when I imagine it in my head to the point that it almost gives me another panic attack and I just try to block it out of my mind but it tends to pop back up. Maybe because I’ve been so afraid of suicidal thoughts that I’ve convinced myself that I actually am having them? Please tell me these are just intrusive thoughts. Maybe it’s just a nasty side effect from the medication? Maybe someone can offer some opinions or insight into anything I’ve talked about. Anything anyone wants to say is greatly appreciated. I’m very scared and feel very alone about all this. It just doesn’t make sense to me that after 26 years of perfect health I could suddenly get some type of debilitating mind condition. Maybe all this is just anxiety related from the original panic attack? I await all your responses and feedback.