Sarah Wines: My anxiety was like a crumbling house all around me. Pills can never cure the root cause

Going through some old papers the other day, I found a letter from a psychiatrist, who was referred to me by my doctor back in 2012.

There, in black and white, was a clear analysis of my mental state at the time, the feelings I was experiencing, confusion, anxiety, guilt, nervousness, anxiety – all noted in clear, clear, clinical language. had gone.

He wrote, ‘I’m sorry that things are so difficult at the moment. ‘But I hope you find the new drug helpful.’

I did Very helpful, indeed. A little bit of a life saver, if I’m being honest. I had a challenging new job at the time, two young children, a husband who was a rising star in politics. Life was fun, full, fulfilling – on the surface, at least.

Yet down there I felt overwhelmed, out of control, as if I was staggered day by day without any real purpose.

All around me, everyone seemed so brilliant, so organized, so successful; While I thought getting out of bed in the morning was a daunting endeavor.

The drug quelled those feelings. It stabilized my emotions, calmed my frantic, messy mind.

My energy levels improved and I became even more balanced and organized. I felt less inadequate as a mother, a little more helpful as a wife, better able to meet my employer’s needs.

All my worries were still there, of course. But the volume was reduced from a deaf ten to a more manageable two or three.

That’s why you’ll never find me judging someone who is taking – or has ever taken – antidepressants, or a prescription for doctors and mental health professionals who, when faced with patients at their wit’s end. writes.

But the announcement this week from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, issued new guidelines to professionals that require them to consider alternative options, such as therapy, meditation, or exercise, before prescribing antidepressants if you: Ask me, it’s long overdue.

Sarah Wines: You will never find me judging anyone who is taking antidepressants – or has ever taken – antidepressants, or doctors and mental health professionals who are at their wit’s end when they are faced with patients. writes a recipe for (file photo)

The advice comes as Britain faces a wave of mental illness triggered by the pandemic, which has seen a huge increase in drug use.

In 2017-2018 also around 7.3 million people in England were on some form of antidepressant, and an astonishing 15 percent of adults take five or more drugs a day.

Particularly worrying is the record high number of children being treated for depression with chemicals. In 2020, 231,791 prescriptions were issued to people aged five to 16, and the number issued to elementary school children has increased by 20 percent over the past five years; It is 23 percent among secondary school students.

Never before in history has a generation been given such a heavy drug; Never before has the mind of our youth changed in this way (well, not legally, by any means). And the potential consequences are enormous.

What we are seeing here is a pandemic, which in its insidious way can be as deadly as COVID. Only this, instead of threatening our bodies, threatens our minds and ultimately the way we act on an emotional and intellectual level as human beings.

How we deal with it is important: Medicine should be a weapon of last resort – not, as it currently is, the first thing we reach for. Because although these drugs represent an important tool in the treatment of mental illness, they also have serious disadvantages.

The most obvious and widely reported are withdrawal effects. This is something I’ve written about before and, in fact, I’ve experienced myself.

About four years ago, after almost a decade on a variety of NHS antidepressants, I decided I had had enough.

I had begun to explore different ways to cope with my neurosis, from diet to exercise and therapy, and felt ready to experience life again with — in my case — SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

But the stopping process was more difficult than I expected, or had anyone ever warned me about.

If depression had made it difficult for me to function, it made it nearly impossible. It was as if a dam had burst inside my head, releasing an army of furious, smothered demons.

Plus, it uncovered a range of debilitating physical symptoms that will be all too familiar to anyone who has tried to come off these pills, ranging from general inability to memory loss, mild hallucinations, nightmares, excessive Concerns are involved. Insomnia, fatigue, tinnitus, nerve pain and a strange tingling sensation that occurs when I move my eyes.

I tried, I failed, I tried, I failed. Had managed for two-three days, then the symptoms would have become unbearable. The only thing that could give them away was the little blue pill. The relief was such a joy.

Nevertheless, I persisted. Eventually I got down to the lowest dose possible – and there I was. I’m still not completely free.

Every time I try, the side effects return with a vengeance. In fact, some are with me permanently now, the worst of which is probably tinnitus—an inner sound behind the ears that varies from low-hush to high-pitched depending on my overall stress level—and nerve pain, which Appears whenever I’m especially tired.

In 2017-2018, around 7.3 million people in England were on some form of antidepressant, and a staggering 15 percent of adults take five or more drugs a day (stock image)

In 2017-2018, around 7.3 million people in England were on some form of antidepressant, and a staggering 15 percent of adults take five or more drugs a day (stock image)

But none of this compares to my long-term use of these drugs, compared to my personality and my ability to function emotionally as a healthy human being.

These drugs threw me out of shape in a way I never imagined possible, allowing me to do things I never should have been doing—and probably never would have been, if I wasn’t so emotionally numb. Happen.

An example was the death of a close friend’s father. She was devastated, senseless, inconsolable.

I knew he needed my support, but try that I just can’t sympathize. I understood his pain in essence, but I couldn’t feel it the way he needed me, couldn’t reach him emotionally.

It was then, I think, that I first realized: The antidepressants restored my ability to function, but somewhere, they had made me lose myself.

I used to dream again and again that the roof of the house is leaking. The leak would start small and I would ignore it, hopefully it will go away.

But it will get worse until the water runs down the walls and drips down the ceiling. Eventually, a large crack will appear and the entire house in front of the street will collapse.

To me, that’s what depression feels like. What drugs do – brilliantly – is keep the metaphorical house from falling apart when you get the metaphorical builders.

But if you don’t work out, if you don’t make the necessary repairs and don’t address the underlying causes of your unhappiness, you’ll still be depressed, beneath that clever chemistry.

And eventually, like that wall, you’ll break down – and your whole world will come crashing down around you.

Why is everyone so surprised by the prime minister’s obsession with Peppa Pig? He is the father of a child.

And everyone knows Peppa Pig is like crack cocaine for kids.

It’s definitely the only thing that will give you that extra 20 minutes of shut eyes on a Sunday morning. And I daresay he can do with some of that.

Make a Saudi stand, Louise!

I’m not very excited on Formula 1, but even I know Lewis Hamilton has been distinguishing himself as a great driver over the past few weeks.

She is a huge inspiration to young people everywhere, and is relentless in her support for Black Lives Matter.

Lewis Hamilton after his win at the Doha Grand Prix over the weekend

Lewis Hamilton after his win at the Doha Grand Prix over the weekend

So, to show their sympathy to the oppressed, they should boycott this weekend’s Grand Prix in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

It is bad enough that we have lost David Beckham to the Qataris; It would be nice to know that some British players still have theories.

Video games have been sought to replace school trips after the nonviolent version of Assassin’s Creed was successful in teaching middle school students about Vikings.

This is clearly a terrible idea. Spend seven hours in a stinky coach before lingering around a replica of the Iron Age in the mud and rain, or living in some godforsaken howl on the outskirts of Dieppe, drinking the contraband Pernod and tearing your lungs to pieces with Galois, every The bar is a rite of passage youth deserves. And far more fun than staring at some damn screen. again.

You learn something new every day.

‘Docking’ is a term to describe the practice of publishing one’s personal details online so that others can take action against them – essentially negative –.

The latest victim is JK Rowling, who has called police in Edinburgh after three trans activists revealed her home address.

When this happened to my family last year, it resulted in my 17-year-old receiving death threats in the post.

As we saw from the case of Sir David Ames, which we recall this week, it only required one nut. Or in this case, three.