Victoria first experienced depression when she was a teenager. At university she experienced some difficulties coping, and her GP prescribed citalopram. She only took it for a few months, but has since experienced another episode of depression and now takes citalopram regularly. Victoria was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in her early 20’s and the symptoms and restrictions that it places on her life have contributed to her feelings. She also takes regular medicines for the Crohn’s disease.
Victoria has been prescribed citalopram on two occasions. The first time she was at University and had been finding it difficult to cope with a number of different aspects, and eventually went to the doctors to seek help. The second time was more recently – on both occasions she spent some time discussing her situation with the GP and it was decided to wait and see how she felt in a few weeks rather than being prescribed antidepressants immediately. It was Victoria’s decision eventually to try an antidepressant, as she had been having suicidal thoughts and was clearly not coping.
I tried some counselling sessions and they were helpful but I found that I’d get everything straight in my head in the session and then come out and a few hours later be all angry and all over the place again and I just thought I need something stronger to sort me out, I want to give this a go’.
Victoria said that within days of starting taking citalopram she felt much better. Although she knows that generally it can take about 6 weeks to start to feel benefits from an antidepressant, she thinks it could have been down to thefact that she was getting some help’.
I noticed an improvement immediately and people have said that’s probably the placebo effect because they take a couple of months to kick in but as I say as far as I was concerned I instantly felt much more calm, much more happy, much more able to view things kind of clearly’
Victoria has had Crohn’s disease since she was in her late teens but it took a long time for doctors to diagnose. Crohn’s causes physical symptoms that are distressing and difficult to deal with but it also affects her emotionally as it can be difficult sometimes to socialise and join in with the usual things that young people do because she can feel very tired, as well as needing to be careful about diet and drinking.
It was just very difficult because there are certain things that society expects of you because you’re a certain age and I couldn’t do them or take part in them and I just felt very abnormal’.
Because she has Crohn’s disease Victoria is used to taking medication on a regular basis.
I already take mediation to make me feel physically okay, to take medication to make me feel mentally okay doesn’t seem like that much of a leap. The way I view it is that the antidepressants balance everything out so that then I can be the’ real’ me’
Victoria’s GP has suggested that she continues to take citalopram on an ongoing basis even though she is now feeling well.
She feels it’s important that GP’s should spend time discussing the options with patients and thinks they shouldn’t give out antidepressants at the first opportunity.