My journey

How sertraline changed my life and my relationship with anxiety

Sertraline changed my life. Let me tell you about it. As you know, I had a “mental breakdown” at the beginning of June 2020. What got me was anxiety. It has already been an issue for months, and it became uncontrollable and crippling earlier this year. One of the things my therapist and my GP agreed on was giving me chemical support, which for me meant starting taking sertraline, 50mg a day, which is a low-average starting point.

My journey

Where to begin?

I was born in Italy in 1980 in a small, grey, sad working-class town on the outskirts of Milan, called Legnano. My parents met on the train they used to take to commute to Milan to go to work. When I was about 5, they decided to move to Rimini, a small touristic seaside spot on the Adriatic sea, where I grew up. Rimini is my dad’s hometown and my grandparents and his brothers were living there. They had a large house in the countryside, their family used to farm the land and there were still patches my grandad used to cultivate. He would grow everything, vegetables, fruit, even grapes (which led to wine). Very little, but enough for the family.

My journey

Welcome to my journey

Hey, everyone!

My name is Al, I’m a Londoner who was born in Italy in 1980 and who moved here to the UK in 2014. I started clocking that something wasn’t entirely OK with me ages ago, but it was only since October 2019 that I realised things were harder than I thought. At the end of May, 2020 things got too overwhelming. I had what people used to call a “nervous breakdown”, a generic non-medical term that in my case meant I had a series of panic attacks and intense distress.

Thanks to my therapist and my GP I got over the acute episodes and started taking Sertraline at its lowest dosage. At the moment of writing this, I just started my second week of medication, so it still isn’t effecting my mood (Sertraline takes about 3 to 4 weeks to start having an impact), but I was blessed by this medical team who helped me take a couple of weeks off to just focus on my mental wellbeing.

I am sharing this without having created any plan, without a strategy or whatever. This is for me, I need to write down these thoughts and put them out there. I am not going to do any distribution/social media promotion or else. I just want to express.

For once, I am not aiming at anything if not my stability. Fuck being extraordinary. Fuck shooting for the stars. Fuck putting myself under constant pressure to perform better and better and better. I just want to be.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to that. Feeling unworthy, feeling trapped, feeling hopeless and powerless. The fear of not making it, the fear of letting everybody down, the fear of living in ridicule and contempt. The fear of not being loved.

So, here’s to me and to all people who are in a similar situation. We are enough. We are worthy. We deserve compassion and kindness.