Sex and sertraline part 1: masturbation

I took this picture on my phone. Sorry it's shit.

Here’s fun: SSRIs. Also referred to as ‘anti-depressants’, although sometimes used for things on top of/combined with depression. I’ve talked a bit before about my anxiety – specifically the way in which anxiety affects how I fuck. It’s a massive pain in the arse, and it’s not exactly the kind of thing I can easily dismiss by choosing not to care about it.

Still. I’m here, and I’m not too bad most of the time, so I’m lucky.

But I’m also on pills, and I fucking hate them with every fibre of my being.

Sex and sertraline

Sertraline, also sometimes known as Zoloft (thanks Wikipedia) is an SSRI that does things to your brain. I’m not being any more specific than that, because I want it to be clear as crystal that I am not a doctor. Please also understand that you’re not a doctor either – don’t leave medical advice in the comments. Even if you actually are a doctor, I have no way of knowing that. Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about sex and sertraline and how hard I want to rage out about it.

Sertraline does things to my brain. And also my body. When I first started taking it, for the first day I could barely do anything – I felt weird and fuzzy, the way I used to just before I got a migraine, but without an actual headache. I bashed through a bit of work, then ‘took to my bed’ like a Victorian lady who had come down with an unspecified malady. I slept for a bit, woke up feeling a tiny bit better, but still surrounded by a weird invisible fog that made me feel like… well, like I was wading through a weird invisible fog. When you’re inside the fog it’s hard to think of similies.

So: I spent the next few days wading, crossing my fingers that it would get better, then eventually – like most things – it got better. I was able to focus a bit more, and write actual sentences when I sat at the computer rather than a collection of words that made no sense and gave me a headache. So far, so good.

Then I tried to have a wank.

Let me be really clear here: I was not trying to have a wank in the way I’d normally try to have a wank – knock out a quick, functional orgasm because I was quite horny and wanted a break from reading reddit. I specifically tried to have a wank because the thought occurred to me that I hadn’t had one in a few days. Why? Normally I’ll have at least two a day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon, just before my scheduled coffee breaks. I like routine. But for the last few days it hadn’t occurred to me. I’d just gone straight in to make coffee, with not even a tingle in my knickers to remind me that I’d missed out one of the funnest parts of my day.

So: I tried to have a wank. And let me tell you that my next discovery was about as welcome as a LinkedIn notification: I had almost entirely lost the ability to orgasm. And the word ‘lost’ here is far too weak to sum up how I actually felt. ‘Lost’ sounds like the car keys you’ve temporarily misplaced, or like the mixtape your ex gave you that you’ll be sad about for a bit then forget when you remember she was a bellend. But ‘lost’ in this case felt like a shattering, terrifying, permanent thing. Like losing the ability to read, or suddenly realising that I’d forgotten the names and phone numbers of my friends, and had no idea how to contact them.

More to the point, I am a sex blogger. I HAVE LITERALLY BUILT A CAREER AROUND WANKING. Well, not just wanking: sex, fantasies, porn, you name it. If I’d lost the ability to give a shit about sex – to not fancy an orgasm and be unable to have one when I needed it, then I may as well give up on the sex stuff and start writing that Wetherspoons review blog I’ve always fancied running.

Fuck this.

I am not one to give up, though. If a thing is worth trying, it’s worth trying again, this time with a determined grimace on your face while grinding intensely against the most powerful sex toy you own until the neighbours start to think that you’re drilling for oil.

I grabbed my Doxy, humped it stoically until I was sweaty and knackered and almost ready to throw in the towel, and eventually I managed to come. To be honest, I think this says less about my own success than it does about how relentlessly brilliant the Doxy is, but for what it’s worth I counted that miserable, twenty-minute uphill effort as a win.

What my doctor said about orgasms on Sertraline

This is part 1 of a 2 part blog post, because I want to deal with partnered sex on Sertraline in more detail a bit later. For now, relax: this story has a happy ending. I don’t think I’m posting giant spoilers if I tell you that I’m OK now, and my clitoris is behaving itself again, more or less. For now I just wanted to give you this message:

First: if orgasms are seriously important to you, and sex is really important to you, tell your doctor. Like, state it up front. The Other Livvy is a doctor, and she wrote a great post a while back about disclosing things that are relevant. Even if you may be shy about discussing your kinks and your sex life, sometimes it’s really important. Because when the doctor first prescribed me Sertraline, I asked if there were any significant side effects I should worry about: at no point were orgasms mentioned.

When, thanks to Livvy’s blog post, I rang my doctor to ask “what the shitting FUCK is wrong with my clitoris?!” or words to that effect, the doctor said “oh yeah, don’t worry – most of the time that goes away when you stop taking the pills.”

What.

The living.

Fuck.

Firstly: ‘when you stop taking the pills’ is fuck-all use to me when I have absolutely no idea how long I will have to take the pills for. Secondly: the casual way in which she brushed it off implies that she didn’t consider orgasms to be a particularly important thing in the life of AN ADULT HUMAN. While some people are asexual, and many people are less sexual than me, orgasms are – surely – still important enough to plenty of us that when they disappear it warrants more than a swift dismissal. The very fact that I have mentioned it should – surely – flag to her that for me it is a significant side effect. Hair loss probably isn’t going to bother you as a side effect if you’re already bald, but if your hair starts falling out and you ask your doctor why, I’d expect them to say more than just ‘yeah, don’t worry it might grow back.’

There I am, pleading with her down the phone to help me work out why the regular bursts of orgasmic joy have suddenly disappeared from my life, and she’s acting like it’s no more important than the time her local Waitrose ran out of low-calorie hummus.

Finally, and most importantly, let us focus on that little extra piece of info slipped almost imperceptibly into her advice:

“Most of the time it goes away when you stop taking the pills.”

“Most of the time.”

MOST OF THE TIME

Like some of the time it does not. Some of the time, people who have not been warned that it might kill their orgasms experience a total loss of orgasms. Sure, your anxiety might be less appalling, but at the same time you have experienced a drastic loss of joy.

This, to me, is a bit like a builder popping round to fix your roof but accidentally knocking a giant hole in your kitchen wall. When you point out that, lovely though the roof is, there’s half a tree parked in your sink and a fucking fox shitting all over your lino, the builder patiently explains that it just happens sometimes. Obviously they’d rather it didn’t, and you’d rather it didn’t, but whatever the situation re: the giant hole in the side of your kitchen, everyone can agree that the absolute least the builder should have done is warn you about it before they started work.

Oh, yeah, and the other piece of advice I should have given (and taken) is to read the frigging instructions before you take any pills. I relied on my doctor to point out anything particularly bad, because to be honest at the time I was feeling so low that I was barely capable of opening the door to the pharmacy, let alone reading twenty-five pages of small print. But the detail was there, in black and white – I was just too stupid/anxious/mental to read it.

So: Sertraline. My orgasmic nemesis. Tune in to the second battle in part two of this ‘Sex and Sertraline’ blog series some time next week, where you can join me and my other half for a bout of lacklustre sex, and a big old cry in the kitchen.

LITERALLY NOTHING IN THIS BLOG POST CONSTITUTES MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS BUT IF I DON’T SAY IT I WILL GET LETTERS. PLEASE DO NOT EITHER TAKE OR NOT TAKE SERTRALINE OFF THE BACK OF MY OWN EXPERIENCES. THANKS KINDLY. PLEASE ALSO REMEMBER WHAT I SAID ABOVE ABOUT NOT LEAVING MEDICAL ADVICE IN THE COMMENTS.

24 Comments

  • I was prescribed SSRIs in my first year at university (after years of counselling at home coupled with a GP who wasn’t keen on prescribing any sort of antidepressants) and experienced basically the same thing. The SSRIs themselves (Citalopram – they all work in basically the same way with small differences; it’s all to do with the reuptake of serotonin) didn’t really seem to work – I wasn’t getting any happier or less anxious…

    …and I was experiencing the same thing as you. I suddenly lost all interest in sex, completely unable to orgasm, even though I was having the same erections as always. The doctor at uni (we had a surgery on campus) increased the dosage from 10mg to 20mg, and then to 30(!), which basically made everything worse. I was still anxious and wasn’t experiencing the highs of orgasm.

    Eventually I cessated entirely from taking SSRIs. I just stopped taking them entirely, the only effect being that I was suddenly horny all the time, but that wasn’t really a bad thing – I was 18, after all.

    I was given terrible “medical advice” by some of my friends – things like ‘eat more chocolate’ or ‘get a new fetish’ or ‘are you sure you’re not gay?’. My final decision to just bin the SSRIs just seemed like the only route to me. Others I know have tried to give up SSRIs and not been able to handle it; as I’ve said to them, though, it’s a drug prescribed by your doctor – it’s not smoking.

    Not medical advice – just something that happened to me.

  • RB says:

    Back when I was put on citalopram I didn’t have the active sex life I have now and hadn’t learned what best gave me orgasms, so it didn’t even enter my mind, but if I’d been prescribed them now and not been told about sexual disruption (and I definitely wasn’t the first time), I’d have been livid. What I WAS told as a primary warning for side effects was that the pills ‘might make you put on weight’ – as if that was the most devastating, defining thing that could happen to a woman. I’m positive if I’d have been a man they wouldn’t have mentioned it at all.

    I think (in my opinion and experience) that mental health issues can be so difficult to define and doctors are so overwhelmed that they fail to marry up the characteristics of a sexually active person and a person with mental health issues – e.g. if someone has depression or anxiety sex wouldn’t be on their minds – which is obviously bollocks. There should be an effort to talk more openly about side effects and, by extension, less ‘gendering’ of them.

  • ValeryNorth says:

    Another citalopram person here – was on it for a year to combat severe depression (so, all in all, I’m glad to still be alive). I’m a stubborn prick at times so I did manage to keep wanking and have orgasms (I didn’t have any partnered sex in that time), but it was hard work and is one of the reasons I answer “no” to the OKCupid question about whether orgasms are the most important part of sex.

    I don’t think I’ve ever fully recovered my orgasm ability though I do regularly, it’s rare that it’s quick or easy like it used to be.

    I am the sort of person who reads the small print. When I found out what my GP wanted to give me, I googled it and found out everything I could, then went back and said, “on balance, I will risk it. Because I keep wanting to throw myself under a truck and that’s got to stop.”

    Other side effects were some paranoia and hallucinations (powered by paranoia) – typically spiders, or neck-height tripwires to catch me! I reported all these symptoms to my GP who nevertheless considered them mild enough to continue. And, since it *did* beat out the depression, maybe that was the right course.

    But yeah, the loss of sex drive (or in my case, the desire was still there but somewhat removed and physically hard to achieve) is a real problem. And, in my case, orgasm is still harder to achieve than before, even thouygh I’ve been off the pills for 7 years now.

  • CptPJs says:

    I’ve been on sertraline for a while, and at first I was like “uh oh, where is my sex drive?” because I had to be off citalopram for TWO YEARS before it came back. And I did panic a bit, because between the two years I was on citalopram… that’s four years having no interest in sex. Okay no don’t worry though, and your mileage may vary but… it came back. I’m still on sertraline, and actually, it seems to have helped because being less anxious makes me more able to enjoy sex. And I’ve discovered some new and exciting kinks (please do not assume that a side effect of antidepressants is kinkiness, I guess?) Sertraline is definitely one of those “heavy sides effects at first but then it tapers off” type meds, like the excessive yawning I had at the beginning… fingers crossed it settles down for you.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hey, thanks so much for commenting – that’s good to hear! I’m glad not everyone has such a shitty time with it as I did!

  • Mardi says:

    Thank you for this post! It’s an issue that isn’t talked about enough.

    I was on various anti-depressants for years and experienced similar thing: while they never killed my sex drive, they did kill my ability to have an orgasm. I would spend an hour or more wanking, long past the point where it was pleasurable, just sweaty and determined to fucking come, and sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn’t. I found a method where I started wanking right before the scheduled time to take the next pill, when the last one was already wearing off, otherwise it wasn’t even worth the work. Not to mention I wasn’t too keen on partnered sex, not quite in the mood for explaining my situation to potential partners.

    I went through four doctors in those years, and not a single one ever mentioned this as a possible side effect. And it didn’t even occur to me to mention it myself, as I was sure I’d get dismissed straight away. You worry about orgasms? While severly depressed? You should be happy you’re semi-functional.
    And I wanted to be functional, so I kept taking my meds until I stopped three years ago, for different reasons. I’m lucky enough to be more or less functional without them now, and my ability to orgasm returned rather instantly. But if I ever have to go back on medication, I’m not leaving this issue unmentioned with a doctor.

  • Ally says:

    I’ve never really been able to be sure whether it was the depression that killed my sex drive or the antidepressants. I’ve been in and out, and on and off, both for nearly two decades and the only times I can think of when I was properly climbing the walls horny were when I wasn’t depressed, but then again, I wasn’t on the meds at the time. They keep me alive, though, so on balance, I live with it. And hell, they’re not as bad as the pill, which made me homicidally furious with the world and everything in it. It worked as a contraceptive, but that was more down to the fact that I would rather have panned pretty much anyone’s head in than fucked them.

    Thanks for this post, GotN. You’re right, nobody talks about this stuff, and they should.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Argh yes the contraceptive pill too is a total fucking bastard. Sorry to hear you’ve had such a shit time with that and the SSRIs. I’ve had similar experiences with the pill: a couple of types gave me horrible side effects (ridiculously excessive crying, not wanting to be touched, and tonnes more) but then I found one that worked for me. Then they took me off it because I was too old/a smoker/probably some other things too but I didn’t listen because I was too annoyed =(

      • Ally says:

        I’m not allowed to take the pill any longer, because migraines. I have a mirena coil now instead which means I have no periods, which is the single best thing science has ever done for me, I think.

  • Sevena says:

    Ah, this story made me feel better about myself. I’ve been struggling with pretty bad depression and anxiety on/off for years now. I tried SSRIs once – before I found out about the sexual side effects – but the other side effects were so terrible I had to come off them after 2 days. Yeah, they would’ve settled after 2 weeks, but those 2 weeks would have been unlivable.

    When I found out about the sexual side effects, I was actually glad I’d stopped. And I always thought to myself, am I weird? Should I value my mental health more than my sex drive and ability to orgasm? I’d always felt my sex drive was a huge part of me; it’s been a driving force in a lot of my creative works. It’s basically my brain fuel.

    So when my depression started getting a lot worse recently, I was at a loss. Do I go to the doctor? Their first point of call these days on the NHS is to give you SSRIs. If I say I don’t want them, then what? Will they put me on a waiting list for therapy? What if that doesn’t work? Again, am I being stupid to value my sex drive over my mental health?

    Currently I think I’ll try diet and lifestyle changes to see if that helps. But you have no idea how relieved I was to read about someone else who feels similar to me about the whole thing. Thank you so much for writing this!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Sevena – I’m so sorry, that sounds horrible =( I know how you feel and it’s massively frustrating. There definitely are other options that your doctor can talk through with you, e.g. talking therapies. It’s really definitely worth chatting to them about it – my doctor’s given me a bunch of things that I can do to try and help my mental health outside of just taking pills, and I’ve done a couple of different kinds of counselling and also made some changes to e.g. exercise etc which I talked through with them. I think yeah there are some doctors (and patients!) who go straight to thinking of pills but there are other possibilities. On the other hand, though, they are also able to give a genuine professional opinion on whether you do need more. So yeah: I’d say go to the doctor, be totally frank with them about your past experience with SSRIs, and see what they say.

      • Sevena says:

        I know – I’ve been in therapy before and it helped a lot with my agoraphobia that I’d developed. But I know that NHS doctors in my area are really oddly reluctant to refer people for therapy now. I’ve had several friends who have gone to the doctor, and what they most needed was someone to talk through their issues with (with one, it was an abortion she’d had a year previously and she was suffering real guilt over it, with another, low self-esteem he’d had since childhood as a result of his shitty parents) and in both cases they both got given SSRIs and basically told to go away. In neither case did the SSRIs help. So I may be baised in this regard.

  • Elmo Prankster says:

    I took effexor (Venlafaxine) a similar SSRI for nearly six months in 2012. My interest in sex dropped to zero in a few weeks; no interest in intercourse, masturbation, porn, anything. Once I realized that this medication was doing to me I got off of it (pun!), and it was a long process of weaning off as it is incredibly addictive. The withdrawal was just terrible. That took another 6 months. So why am I writing all of this? Because those sexual urges barely came back since then. I can finally masturbate again but only after I really think about it and plan it. The days of spontaneous erections and impulsive feelings of being turned on by whatever are gone. The irony is that I still deal with crippling anxiety. So I ruined my sex life for the sake of one attempt at dealing with anxiety.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Elmo – I’m so sorry that happened to you, that sounds awful. It may be worth talking to your doctor again? I know a couple of people who’ve had similar situations and have been recommended other solutions that are helping them – mostly things like talking therapies etc.

      I’m afraid I’ve had to remove the last small section of your comment – appreciate that you flagged it as your personal opinion rather than a medical one, so it’s probably just that I wasn’t clear in the post above: I really can’t publish any advice that tells people what to do or not do with their meds. Everyone reacts differently to different things and so I’d feel uncomfortable publishing any advice other than: “talk to the doctor” or similar. Hope you can understand.

  • Jamie says:

    Fluoxetine: fucking brilliant in the whole “not hiding under a table all day” and “not actually cutting arms” and “not seriously considering an overdose” way. Super fucking brilliant, in fact. Never felt better.

    But having a wank is a chore: it just takes so long to get horny enough to remember to have one, then so long and *so* much porn to get the bugger up, then hours upon hours (it seems) to pull myself off. I used to be a three-a-dayer. I’m now not even twice a week and I’ve seen ALL the gay porn on the planet by now. And my slutting it about, well, that’s stopped entirely. I had an offer last year, but we were both too drunk and didn’t, and I was secretly pleased for fear of my dick wilting after a few minutes (I’d’ve still enjoyed bringing him off, but the poor chap wrongly might’ve thought I didn’t fancy him and the concern about that made it even more likely to wilt).

    And I’m most likely on these things for life – the other choice, coming off them and feeling in any way at all like I did before I went on them TERRIFIES me because it was all so awful being depressed and mentally ill. So that’s really the end of my proper physical sex life (I’m 41 and married but he and I have been together for centuries so sleeping has replaced sex there long ago!) and I’m all about mental masturbation now.

    For shame.

  • Superstardj says:

    So pleased that you have raised this. I was prescribed Sertraline a couple of years ago, and had the same nauseous fog for two weeks, during which I had no desire to do anything sexually. Once everything had settled down, I settled down for a wank. The first time, I literally wanked myself sore, and got nowhere near an orgasm. A few days later I tried again, and got nowhere. Over time (and i’m talking months) the feeling started coming back, but I had to be massively stimulated in order to come, and never in a million years could I have managed more than one orgasm in a day. Being a man, I didn’t go to the doctor’s and raise it as an issue.

    When I started a new relationship, I decided that I couldn’t possibly manage a proper sex life with the SSRIs, so I stopped taking them. Within days I was back to ‘normal’ (sexually if not mentally), and making up for lost time – by myself and with my gf.

    If I do have to go back on the medication (entirely possible), I’ll definitely bring it up as an issue. I’m not going through that again.

  • James says:

    A couple of stories about SSRI’s. I was on citalopram for 18 months up to 2010 and had about 10 orgasms during the whole of that time. I spoke to my dr who said that since I could still get an erection, this would mean I’d be able to go for hours and that my girlfriend would be in heaven. I remember a comment from him about “going like a steam hammer” and one of those clenched fist gestures you’d see Sid James do in a Carry On film. There may have been a “Phwooar” or I may be imagining that.

    Either way it was one of those moments that tells you more about someone else’s sex life than you ever wanted to know.

    My girlfriend meanwhile was on Sertraline for about a year sometime back. She didn’t get orgasms for the first few weeks, then managed to work through that and was able to orgasm again as normal. I really hope you find it’s only a short term effect for you too.

  • prufrock says:

    I found the side effects get much better. There are plenty of others you can try though and not all SSRI anti-depressants have the same side effects.
    If you do decide you want to change, worth doing bit of research into others before you go to Dr. Apparently another that is good for anxiety is mirtazapine (although as it’s expensive they don’t try it first). Not medical advice but just something you might want to research.
    Also to say that I would STRONGLY ADVISE anyone to talk to a Dr. Before stopping taking meds, as they can have pretty devestating egfects if not tapered down gradually.

  • Tom Sissons says:

    I’m a doctor and a psychiatrist but as with what you’ve said this doesn’t constitute individual medical advice.

    Anorgasmia and decreased libido is a really serious side effect of SSRIs that’s present in 20-30% of patients who take them, once you control for other reasons you might not want sex (like still bring really depressed or anxious). As everyone’s saying unfortunately it’s not discussed enough by doctors, especially GPs who are under a lot of time pressure, because a). They don’t hear much about it, so it’s not at the forefront of their minds when prescribing and b). They’re embarrassed or awkward like anyone. This is obviously shit and needs to change, difficult subjects shouldn’t be avoided because they’re awkward.

    If you do have this side effect, or you’re planning to start antidepressants and are worried about it, I’d encourage you to talk to your doctor – there are other options! Sometimes as people have said the benefits in mood outweigh the downside, and the majority of people won’t get this side effect in any case.

    Different drugs work for different people in different ways and in the same way that Sertraline may work even though Citalopram didn’t a different SSRI might reduce the side effects. In terms of other medication options mirtazapine isn’t an SSRI and doesn’t cause this side effect as frequently, buproprion is another option, and there are more.

    Again see a doctor, this isn’t advice to stop or start any medication alone, and if you don’t feel they’re listening see another one.

  • Mr B says:

    I started taking sertraline about a month ago, and started sleeping with my new girlfriend about a week ago. I haven’t had an orgasm with her yet, although I mostly haven’t had problems getting and staying erect, and it’s pretty frustrating. I think the most frustrating thing is I’ve never been quick to come, and my ex really struggled to come often, so fucking for ages without orgasm wouldn’t have been a massive issue. My new girlfriend comes often and loudly, and I’d really like to share that experience properly. We’ve joked that it’s really good cardio though.

    I was actually given the prescription after a two-minute phone conversation with one of the GPs at my surgery, where the only advice was, “You’ll feel worse before you feel better, keep taking it.” This after I’ve tried on and off for 15 years to get prescribed antidepressants by GPs who repeatedly refused me, then I get given some on a phone conversation basically consisting of:
    “I’d like to try antidepressants, please.”
    “Okay, come pick up a prescription.”

    I know they help a lot of people, but personally I’d rather have a healthy sex life, and plan on talking to my GP. I had been seeing a counsellor at uni until a couple of weeks ago (summer holidays), which I feel helped more even before the pills, plus my new girlfriend is really awesome and doesn’t have the level of issues and needs that my ex did, which left me feeling drained.

  • JS Ragman says:

    Ive been on Sertraline for five years now. I am not a young person by any stretch (approaching 49 soon) but havent had any real issues like the ones you are describing. The only times ive had any real issues is when I was on pain medication for a crushed vertebra. I would watch porn for hours just trying to get the little bastard hard when I was on that crap! Anyhow they say a side effect of SSRI’s is that you can last longer before you orgasm. I can say that happens some times but I think its more age than anything at this point. Im also a high functional genuine hardcore pervert who lusts over just about any female I see. If I lost that wanting the first thing I would do is drop the meds. I didnt get the fog you describe by the way. The feeling I got was more of things in my brain connecting the dots and making more sense. Everyone reacts differently!

  • Yuri says:

    I just discovered this blog and it’s amazingly interesting. Good job.

    I’ve been on Sertraline for 6 months now (150mg a day) and I did experience the exact same thing.
    It got so bad I even accidentally hurt myself in the attempt to masturbate. However, after a few weeks it got a little better and while it still took me a long time to reach orgasm it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. My orgasm felt MUCH more intense and unbelievably amazing and it stayed that way since then.
    The downside is I actually have to plan when to masturbate so I won’t get interrupted by something, because it takes so long.
    Overall I also feel a bit less sex-driven, which I consider a good thing.

  • Bee says:

    I am about to write an almost identical post to this, well when I say about to I mean when I get my head in place where I can actually put thoughts down somewhat coherently! I’m really glad I’m not alone in this. Thank you.

    Anxiety sucks, it’s a new thing for me. Hopefully knowing what triggered it means controlling it will be easier.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you! I’ll keep an eye out for your post on it too. I do find that knowing what triggers it makes things slightly easier – also actually being able to say to people ‘I am anxious, and sometimes I am like this but please don’t freak out/do XYZ, because here’s how I manage it’ makes a world of difference. Before I knew I had anxiety, I had a lot of panic attacks that were often made much worse because people would (understandably and kindly!) want to help, whereas what I needed was space and some time alone to ride things out/calm down. So yeah – knowing myself, and being able to express that to other people, I found a huge help. Good luck with it xx

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