Taking Fluoxetine And Mirtazapine: Rachel's Story

Rachel gives her experience of taking Fluoxetine and Mirtazapine for anorexia, OCD, depression and anxiety.

I’m Rachel, 20, and have been taking Fluoxetine and other meds since I was 12.

I had just turned 11 when everything I’d been holding together for the past few years fell apart in a kind of catastrophic, scary, isolating mess of fear and starvation.

I was then diagnosed with anorexia, OCD, depression and anxiety. That’s quite a lot to take when you’re 12 years old and scared.

Taking Fluoxetine

I remember feeling you don’t get much say when you’re 12. I was prescribed Fluoxetine, and  to me that was almost THE scariest thing. I knew nothing about this medication at all, or any of my diagnosed conditions. The things I was being told I was feeling and experiencing felt alien and patronising, and I was so terrified of the medication having side effects that it made me ill.

I was so terrified of the medication having side effects.

I’m sure for a long time my phobia of taking Fluoxetine must have undone any good it could possibly be doing. Luckily, I didn’t really experience any side-effects at this point. My ability to handle my OCD - which had reached a point where I couldn't go out in public or leave rooms - actually did start to get better, although to this day I'm never sure whether that was influenced by the Fluoxetine or by the artistic therapy I started receiving. 

Trying Mirtazapine

When I was 18 and they started trying to wean me off it because I was in a ‘better place’. My mood plummeted and so did my ability to cope with food. Similarly, the only time that anyone has ever tried to change my medication was a very bad experience. I was put on Mirtazapine which made me feel like I was drunk, completely spaced out, and not in a good way. I was numb and couldn’t control things properly and felt completely disassociated, and it was terrifying. I refused to take it again.

I never have come off my medication. I’m trying to juggle growing up and doing a drama degree and performing too. But I have dark days and have lapsed a few times, which has sometimes made my doctor increase my Fluoxetine dosage.

Taking medication is about helping to make day to day living better.

I don’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life, but at the moment I know that without the meds I’m definitely worse.

Being on mental health medication isn’t about making ‘it’ go away, it’s about helping in any way to make day to day living better. Mental health medication never really will be, I don’t think, an ultimate cure or a solution, and some days in my experience they do seem totally useless, but if and when they do help even a tiny bit, they can be a little step towards living a life that isn’t defined by your disorder. I think that’s positive.

Questions about mental health medication?

Our guide on medication covers the different types of mental health medication you could be prescribed, how they help and what the side-effects could be. 

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