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-Trigger warning: mentions of suicide and self harm.-

I’d say the saying ‘nobody cares until it’s too late,’ applies to this whole story a lot, because it took me 3 years in therapy, 4 years of self-harm and 5 suicide attempts before I was given anti-depressants, something that me and my family had wanted for me for a long time, but it was always ignored or swept under the rug. I’ve now been on my anti-depressants for about 2 year, and I haven’t self-harmed for a year or tried to take my life. So why wasn’t I given the medication quicker? It might have just saved 2 of those overdoses and stopped me cutting my skin so deep it’s left me with thick red scars on my arm.

I was first referred to adolescent mental health services (CAMHS,) when I was around 13 years old after a teacher at school saw myself harm and had to call home. But this wasn’t even the first time, I’d been self-harming since I was 12 and it just so happened to no longer be a secret anymore.
It wasn’t long after being referred that I took my first paracetamol overdose, only for that to be followed with five more overdoses on ibuprofen and paracetamol, sometimes mixed with vodka. Over time my cuts just seemed to get deeper and I was only going downhill, I was being bullied at school and therefore withdrawn, counselling didn’t do anything for me, CBT didn’t help me. I felt like I was just f***ed, my family and myself had asked the team at CAMHS about starting anti-depressants but only when things got to the extreme did they start to mention medication.

It was GCSE time too, when things were really bad, so of course they were affected massively and I didn’t get any of my predicted grades, which I know I could of if I was in a better place, y’know, if they’d took action earlier rather than waiting until I was on my death bed.

The day that I went to my psychiatrist appointment and she gave me my first prescription for anti-depressants was such a relief, like nothing else- I was so excited to be ‘happy,’ and ‘normal,’ again and fix everything. She prescribed me 20mg a day to begin with of Fluoxetine (Prozac,) and then after a few month it was increased to 40mg because I reacted well but still wasn’t completely boosted. To this day I still take my 40mg every morning.

Once I started 40mg and they got really ‘into my system,’ as they all call it, I did feel a lot better, my anxiety was still there, but my mood was lifted significantly and everyone noticed it. I went from having 7 bad days a week to having 1 or 2 bad days a week, because y’know it isn’t a miracle worker and still today I have days I feel low and suicidal, but they are much more managed because of my experience.

I totally rely on my Prozac, it literally keeps me alive, and I know for a fact if I’d been given them earlier, when we all asked, maybe after the first time I’d tried to kill myself, if that was taken as seriously as the 6th overdose, I wouldn’t of gotten SO bad. I could have had this medication a long time before and I would of never reached the point I did, so still to this day I feel so angry at the mental health services.
Since having to beg for Prozac to save my life, I’ve found myself having to beg and get to the worst point before I get medication for other things, such as my anxiety and sleep.
Y’know, when you go to the doctors with a cold and you get antibiotics straight away? Why wasn’t my depression looked at so rapidly? Why didn’t they try to save me before things got so bad, because if I started those tablets earlier, I might not have so many hurdles to cross and huge scars on my arm, I might still have my friends and my education and my job.

I’m now on a repeat prescription of Fluoxetine, 40mg every morning and let me tell you, if I miss a day, I can really feel the difference, it totally mucks up your cycle so it’s really important to me to take them every day without fail. I also now take another type of anti-depressant called Amitriptyline before bed, and those two mixed together have me feeling very elated, even on a morning, I can literally jump out of bed, whereas before I had an hour of crying and feeling suicidal before I even moved. I'm not sure if I'd request to increase to 60mg a day, I fear that would make me manic.

I think and believe it is so important to diagnose and treat mental health problems as soon as possible, don’t wait until things are totally out of hand, you make people take you seriously. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy.

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