Withdrawals and struggles

How antidepressants became depressants

Story by Cameron Murry, staff writer

When you hear that someone is “struggling with drug addiction” or is “having withdrawals,” a negative image often appears in your mind. We picture a shaky, gaunt figure dressed in baggy clothes with a needle in hand.

The image of a bubbly, teenage girl doesn’t quite make the cut. Who could have guessed that an honor student like me would be combating the struggle of addiction at 17 and 18 years old.

My junior year was a whirlwind of emotions. Instead of being open and honest about them, I let them push me to the edge. I wound up in a dark, scary place, where every emotion I felt was like a dagger in my soul.

I requested therapy, wanted someone to listen to my problems. What I was given, however, started one of the worst things I have ever come to know.

Before September of 2017, I had never been prescribed any kind of anxiety or depression medication.

My doctor prescribed to me a starting dosage of 100 mg of Zoloft.

I remember the first few days I was concerned with proving to everyone that I wasn’t going to hurt myself. I didn’t feel the effect of the medicine at the time; I didn’t think it would really change me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. That little pill got me hooked on feeling empty.

When I took it, I felt like nothing mattered. It was as if I were a secondary character in my own life and my actions didn’t impact myself or others.

I was able to live without the burden of emotions. I could say or do practically anything, and blame it on the prescription.

— Cameron Murray

Over the next few months, I insisted on being weaned off of the pill altogether. I didn’t want to bear the label of “mentally unstable.” I wanted to be in full control of my emotions; I thought getting off of the medicine was the best option for me, so I lied.

I lied about feeling OK and being ready to stop the meds and therapy. I told everyone how much I hated the medicine, but I knew I was lying.

If I didn’t take it on time every day, I would go into a kind of shock. I would cry and stress over that tiny pill as if it were oxygen or some life-saving cure-all.

In all honesty, I sometimes regret getting off of the medicine.

Putting teenagers on heavy prescription medication, whether it be Tramadol from wisdom teeth removal, cough syrup from a sinus infection, or Zoloft from a mental issue, is dangerous. Prescription drugs can potentially lead teenagers down a windy road of addiction.

It’s easy to get hooked on feeling good, and that’s just what happened to me.

I didn’t feel complete without something suppressing my emotions, so I took it too far. I lashed out. I cried nearly every day. I felt sorry for myself.

Getting off of the medicine was no easy feat. In fact, it was one of the most difficult experiences I’ve had to go through.

The truth is that you can get addicted to anything, not just nicotine or alcohol. Prescription drugs are a slippery slope; don’t get lost in something that hurts you.