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When I was 16 I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. The first night there, before any doctor even saw me, I was put on an antipsychotic and an antidepressant (TCA, this was in the 70’s). I had a severe adverse reaction but I was forced to continue taking the drugs. Over the next year and a half I was on a half dozen antipsychotics, an equal number of antidepressants, a drug for sleep, and a drug for the side effects of all the other drugs. Shortly before I turned 18, I left the doctor’s care and left my abusive home. For the next 20 years I rejected all psych meds. Then, for many reasons, I agreed to take one of the amazing new antidepressants that were so much safer and had minimal side effects. I had a severe adverse reaction, becoming hypomanic, but since the doctors didn’t recognize it as such, my dosage was increased. I became unable to function and ended up on disability. Over the next 25 years a whole pharmacy of drugs was added, mostly to treat the side effects of venlafaxine. Today I am 61 years old and have re-started tapering the venlafaxine. I’ve already tapered the pregabalin down to 25mg from 300mg, the buspirone from 120mg to 30, the zolpidem from 10mg to 5. There are other meds but they’re on my back burner.
I’m 61. I’m doing this come hell or high water. That said I keep wondering, will I have any healthy years left in my life to follow my dreams.