My Experience with Sertraline 


This is a post that I’m mainly writing to hopefully help somebody else, but also to share my experience with you guys. Please do remember that medication has different effects on different people, so your experience with Sertaline, and antidepressants in general, may be completely different to mine.

In late 2014 I was diagnosed with depression. I’d been unable to stop crying for weeks, I was grumpy, I was a different person. My eyes just kept on leaking. My doctor gave me the number for a therapist and strongly urged me to go. I tried therapy as recommended by my doctor and was discharged after six weeks. I was on my own again. I was ok at first, until one awful, awful night.

I was at my boyfriend’s house, doing ok, until I went to bed and it hit me like a train. My mind and body were possessed.

What’s the point? What’s my purpose? Literally, why are you even here?

I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t know what I was capable of. I wasn’t in control of my own body or thoughts.

And then the anxiety kicked in. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t know what I could do. I had the worst panic attack I’ve had to date. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see, I couldn’t think anything but am I going to make it? Am I going to let myself make it through this night?

The next morning I phoned in sick and went to the doctors. I admit it, I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying, hyperventilating. I couldn’t get a doctors appointment, so I phoned for an emergency one. They told me to come in straight away and, that poor doctor, I cried, and cried, and cried. Words were coming out like unstoppable projectile vomit being shot at him and I could hardly even control what I was saying. That’s when he prescribed Sertraline, an SSRI used to treat people with depression, OCD, anxiety and panic disorders.

I took it as soon as I could, and I slept. I slept for hours. I only took Sertraline for a week and I slept for the majority of that time. My boyfriend would sit with me for hours, waiting for me to wake up so that I could cry on him until I fell asleep again.

I made a conscious effort to read through the whole leaflet inside the box before I took the medication, so I was aware that there would be side effects and potential suicidal thoughts. That’s what nobody tells you about. They give you medication to stop depression and suicidal thoughts, but the medication itself induces suicidal thoughts for the first couple of weeks. For that reason, I’m glad I slept for so much of the time. When I was awake, I’d just be thinking about how sharp the knife was that my boyfriend was eating with.

I was nauseous. Severely nauseous. I would wake up at around 4.30 every morning and rush to the toilet thinking I was going to be sick. My fingers tingled. I didn’t eat for five days, and I lived on smoothies that my boyfriend gave me, but I wasn’t ‘sad’. I was numb. I was like a ghost of myself.

I couldn’t cope with the side effects so I gave up. I went back to my doctor and told him I wouldn’t go near it again. ‘You had a bad reaction to Sertraline. Do you want to try something else?’ Absolutely not, I’d rather do it on my own. So I did.

I researched solidly for a few days and discovered 5HTP, a herbal antidepressant, and I’ve been taking it ever since.

Have you taken Sertraline? If so, what were your experiences?

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18 Comments

  1. April 29, 2016 / 8:55 am

    I currently take sertraline and had 2 months of side effects. I couldn’t bear the thought of going alone (kudos to you, very brave) so just pushed through. I felt nauseous, I shook constantly, my body kept twitching of it’s own accord, I couldn’t sleep and all I could think about was ending things. I managed to get through it but I’m not a great can of medication so I’ll definitely be speaking to my doctor about the herbal one you mentioned.

    • Hannah
      April 29, 2016 / 9:42 am

      It’s a very difficult decision to make but you have to do what’s right for you at that time. I just wasn’t cut out for it! The herbal medication called 5HTP goes about it in a slightly different way – instead of putting serotonin directly into your brain it encourages you to make more yourself if that makes sense? If you ever want to talk about it feel free to message me. It’s a tough situation xx

  2. April 29, 2016 / 8:03 pm

    I think your story about sertraline could definitely help people and it needs to be talked about – I hope the herbal antidepressant is helping someone <3

    Eleanorclaudie.blogspot.co.uk

  3. April 29, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    WOW! You are very brave Hannah. Thankfully I have never suffered from depression or anxiety and have full admiration for people that do because they are being so brave in talking about it and helping out others who do suffer with it.
    How brave of you to recognise you weren’t right on that first drug and trying something completely different. You have a lovely blog here and I’ll enjoy reading more posts and leaving you more love!

    Have a great weekend!
    Sarah xxo
    @sunshinesarahxo
    http://www.writingrambling.co.uk

    • Hannah
      April 29, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      Thanks very much Sarah, I really appreciate it. It’s not an easy thing to deal with but at least I can now share my experiences and hopefully help others. Thank you! Xx

  4. Amelia May
    May 4, 2016 / 12:00 am

    You are very brave and it’s wonderful that you have taken your medication choices into your own hands. My sister has been on sertraline for a good few years alongside anti psychotic medications. Although she is now stable, the sleep induced zombie state is still very apparant, and she is working with her doctor to combat this steadily. I shall share this post with her and see what she thinks! Every best wish to you for your continued recovery. Your blog is a pleasure to spend time reading through. XxX

    Ps. I greatly empathise with your anxiety posts
    : ) :

  5. Hollie
    May 10, 2016 / 12:49 am

    thank you so much for sharing this,i started on sertraline just over a couple of weeks ago and i still feel as bad if not worse x

    • Hannah
      May 10, 2016 / 8:42 am

      I hope things improve for you xx

  6. May 22, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    I’m taking Sertraline at the moment. The stronger I go with it, the worse the emotional side effects feel for the first few weeks; but I know that I need to take something to level me out, as my anxiety had started to really take over my life. I think in some ways I’m definitely starting to feel better, although in others, not so much. I’m hoping I’ll eventually find the right dose for me, that my body will get used to the tablets and combined with CBT in a few months, things might start to feel better!

    I’m definitely going to look into 5HTP – do you find it helps a lot?

    N xx | http://www.lovelaughslipstick.com

    • Hannah
      May 22, 2016 / 8:01 pm

      It’s about finding what works for you but I definitely found 5HTP helpful. I’ve been on it for quite a long time now and I’ve reduced my dose down to one every other day now. I’ve had no side effects at all. I had talking therapy as well though. I hope you find something that works for you lovely, it really is difficult! Xx

  7. Sarah
    May 27, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    I hated Setraline; my side effects included crazy nightmares and mad sweating – waking up with a soaked bed. But after six months emotionally it did numb me. I moved on to citalopram which is better. Currently sectioned so my mental health has hit a low. Been suffering with depression and anxiety for years. I’ve had CBT but need consistency all round… X

  8. Hannah
    June 30, 2016 / 11:29 am

    This is fascinating… I’ve been on Sertraline for about 6 months and I’m slowly coming off it now. I think it has helped (although it may just be time, and other lifestyle changes like more exercise and a different contraceptive pill) but the side effects have not been fun and if possible I want to be without it. It’s scary though – I’ve no idea what’s going to happen! Thanks for talking about your experience, the more we talk about these things the better 🙂
    Hannah

  9. July 19, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    I take Sertraline for anxiety currently and although I don’t think it helps much, I notice how much worse things are when I don’t take it. I have shakes sometimes. It also affects how thirsty I am and my sex life – I struggle to orgasm and even want sex which isn’t like me at all. I’m not taking it how I should be at the moment and hoping to find something else so will look into the herbal recommendation you made x

    Emmie | http://www.unsignedmeblog.co.uk

  10. Rebecca
    July 26, 2016 / 11:43 am

    I’ve been on Citalopram (Serotonin) for about 9 months, and its been nearly 12 months after I was diagnosed with depression. Your post has reminded me of that awful time where you just cannot imagine life getting better and what the darn point of it all was. But now I am getting stronger. I enjoy things! I can smile without lying or feeling guilty. The people around you make such a difference in recovery – whether you take medication, therapy or both – friends and family are so so important.

  11. Sharon
    July 26, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    I started taking sertraline after my second son was born extremely premature. I’d been on and off anti depressants (citalapram) for 6 years previously. Coming off them at times because I felt better and also when I became pregnant with both my boys. My youngest son was still in hospital when things started seriously going down hill. All the stress and heartbreak over watching our boy struggle day in day out just to survive was simply too much. I went to the doctor (a locum) who prescribed me sertraline. I took the first tablet at around 5pm and by 7pm I was dizzy, vomiting, seeing black spots in front of me. I spent the next 3 days in bed unable to move. I was aware of everything but I just felt totally removed from it all. Usually I would’ve fretted over getting up for my eldest son and organising things to go to the hospital to see my youngest. I was just aware of how I should feel but didn’t care. I was numb. My friends and my husband did what they could to keep things ticking over but by day 5 I was so scared of feeling so numb I stopped taking them. I never felt like I didn’t care if I lived or died before. It was much worse than the anxiety and depression in my opinion. At least with the anxiety and depression I felt like tomorrow could be better I just had to get there. On sertraline I wasn’t a person. I was a zombie. I went back to the doctors and asked to he prescribed citalapram again. I very slowly got better and so did my youngest boy. Thankfully.

  12. August 17, 2016 / 9:53 pm

    Thank you for this post! Every time I read a really honest post like this it makes me more sure that I’ve made the right choice, always saying no to medication no matter how bad things get.

    V <3

  13. September 6, 2016 / 3:49 pm

    I have had a really good experience with Sertraline, I felt a bit weird for the first week, but nothing too drastic. 6 weeks on and I feel better than I have done in a long time. Everyone is different though, and I’m glad you’re finding the herbal alternative helpful.

  14. Roisin
    January 14, 2017 / 12:12 am

    I was on sertraline for 2 1/2 years- it was the worst time of my life I was suicidal for weeks and felt nauseous all the time .There were times I felt my brain was being attacked and on one occasion I took an overdose to stop the pain. I had always a general feeling of malaise and began to wean myself of them. About a month later people started to comment on how much better I looked. Prior to starting sertraline I had NMS so I can’t say for definite that it was sertraline making me feel so bad or the after effects of nms . Drs try to skim over what happened me so I had to take the innititive and i am slowlY but surely getting better. Roisin

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