Sometimes I wonder if I am cursed. Whenever I hope I have finally hit rock bottom in my life, that I have fallen so far into the abyss that I have come to the end of that endless black hole, whatever I think I’ve hit gives way and I continue to fall again. Sometimes I feel I am walking forever through the fires of hell… through a crucible I do not understand. Where there are actually several of them, or one long one, I am not sure of. Sometimes it feels like both at once. All I know is that it never ends.
There’s many reasons for my melancholy… my depression. Unfortunately, I strongly believe one of them is chemically-induced. I should have taken the information on the paper inside the medication box more seriously. But I did not.
I was given Prednisolone for severe asthma difficulties, a typical complication of a rather bad upper-respiratory infection. I was given it after a nebuliser did almost nothing to ease my constant and searingly painful coughing as a result of inflammation in my lungs. It’s a normal thing to do, and I’ve been given it several times before. I had no real reason to believe anything untoward would occur.
I read it in the PILs (Patient Information Leaflet) paper, but I’d had this medication before and thought nothing more of it. I disregarded my own sensitivity to medications, and my current situation. This error has made things that are already pretty bad so much worse.
The warnings are made clear – I wish I would have heeded it:
Prednisolone should be used with caution in:
… those who have ever had severe depression or manic depression (this includes having had depression before whilst taking prednisolone or a similar medicine or a member of your close family has had these illnesses)
Mental health problems such as feeling depressed (including thinking about suicide), feeling high (mania) or moods that go up and down, feeling anxious, difficulty sleeping, difficulty thinking, feeling confused and losing your memory, feeling, seeing or hearing things which do not exist, having strange or frightening thoughts, changing how you act or having feelings of being alone
Since taking the Predisolone, I have suffered such severe anxiety for many, many days. I couldn’t sleep from it, and once was up for over 60 hours straight – nearly 3 days of no sleep. I broke it with a short nap one afternoon, once my anxiety levels started to diminish slightly and my body could take no more. Two days before then, I stayed up all night, and the night after, barely slept at all, only for perhaps 3 or 4 hours between 6 and 9am.
Once in a form of stupor, not real sleep, I would not wake, but be confused and frightened when someone came to give me medication in the morning, trying to “wake” me to do so, triggering (I think) some kind of severe panic attack of extreme confusion and anxiety. Eventually I would come round, maybe an hour or two later, with little memory of anything except being afraid and with a horrible, searing headache. As well as this, I had continuous meltdowns due to the excessive anxiety I was experiencing (and ASD gives me enough of that as it is, I do not need any more).
I had 5 days’ worth of medication, but the effects have continued after they have finished, with severe depression and suicidal ideation, even an attempt yesterday – but luckily someone was there to stop me doing anything drastic. The meds finished three days ago, and the effects have barely diminished. The only difference now is that I can sleep a little.
Right now, as I write, I feel a terrible, awful and overwhelming feeling of dread, hopelessness, anxiety, pointlessness, nausea, and panic. I want to just hide in a dark corner and cry hysterically. I want the world to go away. I genuinely want to die – for it to all end and go away. I have enough to contend with, I am nothing but a burden, and so see no good reason I should continue to exist to be a pointless burden, and to endure this suffering. I am so exhausted I cannot think. I am in so much constant pain. I just want it to end. I really, really do.
But it’s all… “fake“. Real, but chemically-induced. It’s a side-effect. It is completely and absolutely traumatising, because I know I inadvertently cause it, because I did not heed the warnings I clearly saw and read before I took them. I should have taken them seriously, but I dismissed them. Now I am paying the price, and I don’t know when it is going to end.
I feel I suffer enough – I am not that person who can deal with loads of stuff with a shrug and a smile, or even deal with them at all in any way. The ASD and fibromyalgia are both extremely difficult to live with, particularly since they contraindicate each other quite severely. To have this complication now with the side effects of Predisolone… it’s now too much to bare. Too much to carry. It is breaking me apart… what is left of me, anyway.
To make it all the worse – the damn stuff didn’t even really help. My asthma is still bad. I am obviously not going back for any more. I shall just wait and bide my time and allow my body to heal on its own, allow the inhalers I have to do their job. I have no other choice, because I’m clearly not about to have any more of those things to help.
The pain from the asthma and coughing is horrible. On top of the pain I already endure, it is absolutely too much. What makes it all the worse, and more difficult, is that the coughing, the extra pain, the headaches it causes, and the exhaustion I have (I still do not sleep properly, and have maybe 4 hours’ sleep a night, which is nowhere near enough) results in my not being able to play my games – my absolute lifeline in everything. Without them, I do not have my “comfort blanket” nor the mind-clearing, mind-settling properties it has for me. I feel as I am left abandoned in the dark without a light and no way of seeing my way ahead.
The stress I now feel, the horrible feelings I have, the pain I want to cry… it is effectively mostly fake. Of course, there are the base-feelings, but they are never this strong so constantly. They are horrible to live with and remind me of my childhood when feeling quite like this was normal… and justified. But although things are bad now, I have not had such horrible feelings like this before – as bad as they’ve been, they’ve never been this bad.
I wish I had never taken that medication. It was not worth it… Far from worth it – especially since they have barely helped. Three days after I finished taking them, I still have asthma coughing, and can barely move around without a coughing fit and asthma attack. Even sitting down, I still cough from it. It burns, sears, in my chest, then the exgreme coughing fits themselves create pain in my head, neck, hips, back, ribs, shoulders… all those muscles (etc.), which are already severely painful, are being ripped apart.
The Predisolone did not stop it. So when it gives me such horrible, traumatising, overwhelming depression, anxiety, dread, a desire to self-destruct and annihilate my existence… I cannot deal with it. I am afraid of what I might try and do. I keep trying to remind myself it is a passing phase brought on by man-made chemicals that are not good for me. It’s is not quite how I really feel – that it has greatly exacerbated the way I really feel, and that I need to ride it out.
But riding it out is torturous. I can’t even distract myself with what I love most – my computer, games, reading. I can do none of these things. I am reduced to a highly distraught, shaking, fearing exhausted ball who can only stare at a screen. Hoping the noise from it will drown out the horrible things in my head and my heart. I want to sleep. I want to cry. I want to leave this world. I want this all to stop.
My history should have been taken into account, and the prescriber should have been aware – and made me aware – of the dangers, given my history. I have a 23 year history with complex mental health issues… it should have been taken under consideration. No one said anything – but I have a habit of reading the PILs just in case for every medication I’m not completely familiar with. I’m glad I did this time, or this would be even scarier than it already is. I imagine how I would be if I wasn’t aware it was the result of side effects from medication. I may have already succeeded in doing something bad. Or worse.
Luckily, I read the PILs and made myself aware of it. It just goes to show how important it is to read what the pharmacies package with their medications. It’s important. And you can’t rely on your doctor or prescriber to make sure they’re giving you something suitable – time constraints and habit ensures they give out things without really thinking it through or checking with your notes, history, or even yourself when it comes to contra-indications.
Always read the PILs, not just the outside labels. Then take them seriously. The paper isn’t just there for decoration. I’m really glad I read it… but I’m really regretful that I did not heed their warnings.