A very warm welcome to my blog. I'm happy to have you here. Thanks for taking the time to read my intro.
I am a young woman from South Africa. I was born in November 1988 and I am 31 years old at the time of writing this.
How to put the worst 8 years of your existence into words? I got very ill in the beginning of 2012 right after I stopped my antidepressants. Here is a very short timeline of the most important events, just to keep track of everything and to hopefully try figure out how to get out of this nightmare:
I was given birth control pills called Triphasil for an unknown facial rash - I only figured out recently that it was beard rash from my then boyfriend - clueless doctors gave me a birth control pill to fuck up my hormones, because they didn't take the time to actually care what was causing the rash.
I had side effects from the birth control pill. I was switched to Yasmin. 6 months later, September of 2007, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety (Coincidence? Since Depression and anxiety are a known side effect of birth control) by a doctor I've only seen twice, who did not know me, and did not care to take the time to send me for an actual evaluation first. She gave me a prescription of Citalopram, an antidepressant. She explained to me that it was much like taking an antibiotic, I would need it for 6 to 12 months and can stop it safely with no ill effects. Yeah, right! I was started on 20mg straight away. I took it religiously as prescribed. I had many side effects. The doctor (Whom shall remain anonymous although I would really like to expose her!) told me the side effects were normal and said i should up my dosage to 40mg. When I kept complaining about the side effects, she told me she cant help me anymore, I need to see a psychiatrist. I was 19 years old at the time, just started my career, I had no money for a specialist!!!
I found a new doctor who told me to quit citalopram cold turkey and take homeopathic drops. DON'T DO IT! It felt like i was dying. I had severe vertigo. I couldn't go to work for 2 weeks. Completely bedridden and unable to function. I decided to get back on and after 2 hours of ingesting the pill, i felt normal. Now this worried me a lot. But you see, the antidepressants made me feel numb. It made me not think about anything, so I just left it and carried on with my daily life. Every doctor I saw, tried to switch me to different antidepressants like cymbalta. It made me sicker, so I stuck to Citalopram.
I had relationship problems and moved back to my mother. I found a job in August of 2010 and saw a local doctor in that period because I felt something was amiss. She cold turkey switched me to 20mg paxil.
22 November 2011 - a day i will never forget. My paxil ran out. The pharmacy did not have any in stock, only the real one (I was taking a generic called Serrapress). I had to take it. That night it felt like i was dying! I had sleep paralysis! Unbeknownst to me at the time - I was rushed to the ER. The gave me valium and said its just panic attacks. Really??? Laying in bed not able to move your body is panic attacks? Wow OK thanks for the heads up..... I thought and believed there was an evil presence in our house. Luckily it stopped after the second night.
The year it all fell apart. My life as i knew it. My mind. Body. Soul. All destroyed. Little did i know the hell that awaited me. In 2012, I met the cruelest, most evil, narcissistic man that could ever exist in this world. His energetic personality, charming and romantic nature drew me in and before I knew it, I was head over heels in-love. Being a highly sensitive person, that was extremely introverted, shy and so so innocent to the world and all its evilness, I did not see any danger signs! He quickly took complete control over my life, and demanded I stop my antidepressants. He convinced me that the medication i was taking is poison, he told me the only way to stop it was to cold turkey and whenever i told him i don't want to, he got angry and stopped speaking to me. Me being me, I didn't want to upset him so i did what i was told (Yeah, I was so fucking stupid and gullible at the time) If you have ever been in a relationship with a narcissist, you will understand how controlling they are and in that moment you don't notice it!
April 2012, I stopped Paxil by taking half the dosage, then skipping days - This lasted for 6 weeks until i was completely off. The acute withdrawal was hell. I felt like a crack addict I was shaking, sweating profusely, delusional, paranoid, I felt like i had amnesia - I have no recollection of that time other than the few notes I made. Scary stuff.
Yep as if my hell couldn't get any worse - My narcissistic ex boyfriend baked me a cookie with a whole gram of potent weed in it. To say it made me sick was an understatement. I cant remember much. But i do remember it freaked me out and left me with an unreal feeling that has never left me, to this day.
I was still able to work through this madness! In June I had a massive panic attack at work. A client screamed at me for something I didn't do. That panic attack sent me over the edge. It felt like a bomb went off in my brain and body. My nervous system felt like it frizzled out. It was the final blow to my already damaged nervous system. I got deathly ill. I was vomiting, couldn't keep food down, was too ill to work. The doctor kept booking me off from work - He prescribed 20mg of Prozac to take the edge off with some generic xanax. After the 3rd dose of prozac I stopped. I felt like a drug addict. My pupils were dilated, my speech was slurred. I couldn't function in my already bedridden state. I was pacing up and down like a maniac, I could not sit still for even a minute. I went to see one of the best psychiatrists in Town. I told him how i developed all these symptoms since stopping paxil. He didn't believe me. He said I was treated wrongly for depression but had anxiety and gave me a prescription for 30mg Cymbalta. He wanted to use me as a guinea pig for a new antidepressant that went on the market - Clinical trials. I refused. Sadly, i didn't refuse the cymbalta.
By my second dosage, i experienced a severe adverse reaction. I believe i was kindled. It felt like my brain was on fire. It felt like all the blood in my brain was draining down my neck, like i had no blood-flow in my brain. My vision was all messed up, it was like i had a white fog over my eyes and i could barely see. I called up the psychiatrist and he denied such reactions were possible. I hung up the phone. I cried like I've never cried before. I was so scared. I slept with my Bible in my arms, on a couch in my mothers room for weeks because i thought i was dying. I was so scared to fall asleep because of the fear of never waking up again.
Months prior, I frantically searched the internet for any clues as to what was happening it me. I stumbled upon a site called PaxilProgress. I found many stories similar to mine. The horror stories scared me and haunted me! The advise given on the site was to restart paxil, but slowly. I tried 5mg for 2 weeks but it made no difference. The damage was done. 14 August 2012 was the last day i put an antidepressant in my mouth. I got sicker. Many more symptoms popped up. The more I read the horror stories, the more I felt I was living them! I got no support from my family. My narcissistic ex made me feel guilty for being sick. This is when the mental, psychological and emotional abuse started. He controlled me, harassed me, belittled me... Isolated me from my family. I never had time to heal from what happened to me.
In the years that followed, the abuse just got worse and it was more and more difficult to leave the relationship. He eventually threatened to kill me on so many occasions. Held me hostage in his home with an ax and machete. Raped me in my sleep. Made me fear my life for months. I couldn't escape. I wont go into details of my whole 5 year relationship with him. It is extremely traumatic and I will be going for psychotherapy soon. The less I remember the better. But it was torture. I felt trapped. I received no support from my mother, on the contrary, she made everything worse by abusing me. The name calling, screaming, shouting, swearing and horrific psychological manipulation from her has left me broken. The spark that made me, me, had gone.
I eventually escaped the claws of my narcissistic ex. I had to endure a whole year of grueling court proceedings. I had to testify twice. I fought with all my might to keep him in prison where he belongs. I was in court probably twice if not more, a week, for a whole year, fighting. Fighting so hard not just for me, but for all woman who has gone through this. Getting a restraining order was almost impossible. I had to get my own lawyer and even Advocate to help, because this man just wasn't quitting. He denied all allegations. The State made me drop the rape case because i had no proof. Why would I lie? I left it. I kept fighting for my rights, for protection from this monster. After a whole year of the most traumatic court proceedings, it was all for nothing, because you see, they messed up. He was only convicted for assault. So got 3 months in jail. I still to this day don't feel safe.
As if the previous 5 years weren't enough, and the continuous court proceedings not traumatic enough either. I got hijacked on a bus travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It was around 10pm. Pitch black outside. 300 people vandalized the bus i was travelling on. Trowing it with huge stones. Robbed us of all our personal belongings, then burned the bus to ashes. I had to run 3km to the nearest police station. Yay me....Not.
Many things have happened during this time, but 2 things stood out - I got a PlayStation 4 and started playing Fortnite religiously for hours on end after work each day, and I got a new prescription for reading glasses which i used so I could play Fortnite better, since i couldn't see clearly on the screen.
May 2018, Yet again, as if 6 years of hell, a list of over 35 daily symptoms, and trauma weren't enough, i got a whole new set of symptoms that has left me home bound mostly to date. I had a ton of stress, because i was studying for an important exam I had to pass in order to keep my job, my dog had her puppies 7 days early and i had to bottle feed them and try to keep them alive by waking up every hour, i had a drivers licence to pass in a week and i was under immense pressure to perform well in Fortnite as to not look like a noob..
Yeah, that worked out great, because on the 2nd of May 2018 i came down with Vertigo. My doctor gave me a prescription of Amoxicillin (Fun fact about antibiotics: I've taken over 40 prescriptions in the last 7 years due to various infections) 5 days later the vertigo was gone but i was left with a strange sense of dizziness that was hard to describe. I carried on with my busy life, my dog had puppies on the 16th and from there on out i had no sleep for 5 days to try save them, in that 5 days i was studying, playing Fortnite for 5 to 6 hours after work and trying to learn how to drive.
It all caught up to me and my whole world again came crashing down even harder on the 22nd of May 2018. It felt like i was rocking violently on a boat of rough sees. I couldn't shower, i couldn't work. I couldn't watch TV. I was petrified. Imagine feeling like you are moving up,down.sideways the whole time but you are perfectly still. I was so scared. So I went to the doctor... More antibiotics. It made me feel worse. Long story short... It never left me. It caused me an extreme amount of fear. I quit my job 3 days later. I couldn't function at all. I was home-bound. I could only take baths. I developed more disabling symptoms on top of my already 35 i had since 2012. The fear was unreal.
Its the 24th of January 2020, and as I sit here in my room typing this, i feel a sense of sadness, hopelessness and despair. I still have the dizziness. You see, i now have over 45 acute symptoms that has never left me.
I am about to embark on a Journey. A Journey to better health. Hopefully Ill find myself on the other side...