Accutane can DESTROY your Life!
So, it began when I was 14 years old. I had really bad skin at the time. I was very distressed about it, and, you know, I was not handling it well. I was breaking down and crying in school. I was getting teased quite a lot. This led really to trying a few different treatments. Obviously, I was a kid, so there were my parents, who were guiding the decision-making process.
To be honest, I feel quite a lot of anger of my parents today for taking me down this road of medical treatment, which wasn't really necessary. But this is what happened. So, I was eventually put on Accutane. I finished the course at 15(started at 14). I didn't immediately notice any side effects. My skin was cleared. And, I guess, I was fairly happy about that. It was only when I first started becoming sexually active, when I started to notice problems.
I had a girlfriend. And I was really happy. You know, it was my first girlfriend. I was very excited, and I remember feeling really just like euphoric in the holy days of hanging out. And then quickly this became a bit of a nightmare, because when we started trying to take things further, get sexual about it, then I realized that I couldn't get an erection.
This happened again and again, and then I started to think back. I realized that I hadn't been getting erections for a while, or feeling anything having sexual thoughts for a while. I mean, I still been masturbating, but there'd been no pleasure in it for a while, and I've been not getting erections at all.
I was really panicking at this point. It's only been months prior to these sexual encounters with my first girlfriend. I think it had already been months that I was aware of that. I've had these problems, when I started thinking about it. But I didn't make the connection to the drug at this point.
So, I went to the doctor, to my GP, and I told him about my problems. I said I wasn't getting erections. I don't know how many details I put into it that time or how much detail he even let me go into, but he just said that it was psychosexual, that it was all in my head. He said: “What I can do for you is I can give you Viagra. And you can take it back just to help yourself to get over the hill. And then you should be fine.” I felt relieved. It's like when you think you have a serious problem, and then it's all going to be okay.
I took Viagra with my girlfriend the first time. I told her, because I thought this would be the only time. And it allowed me to get an erection, but I didn't feel any pleasure. There was the feeling like my dick just felt like numb. I was having these problems. And it's important as well. I should be said this before I went on the drug. I didn't have any of these problems, when I was a young teenager. But I was functioning fine for a few years. I had a high sex drive and everything worked. So, I knew there was something wrong, I knew something had changed.
Then I realized that I still couldn't get by without taking the Viagra, so I continued taking it in secret from my girlfriend for the whole of our relationship, because whenever I tried to go without it, then there was no improvement, there was no response from my dick. For 18 months we were together, and I was taking this in secret, and that was really horrible. I was 16-18 years old through this relationship, and it was just like a nightmare. I had this secret that was eating me alive. I couldn't tell her about it. I thought I had to perform. I couldn't talk about my problems, because it was just unacceptable, unthinkable, even though it was happening to me.
It was like I couldn't accept it. I couldn’t talk about it no way, not with my friends, not with my girlfriend, not with anyone. So, it was really horrible. I could perform, but there was no pleasure. It could be very rarely, actually, it took a long time for me to have an orgasm. And it would not be pleasurable at all, when I did it.
We broke up eventually, me and my girlfriend, when I went to university, and at that point I was really relieved, because I was eating me alive because of the secret that was keeping from her. So, I was like: “Thank God, now what I'm going to do is a fresh start. I'm going to stay away from any further relationships, until I figured this out.”
I was starting afresh university, and everything was felt encouraging and hopeful, I really believed that I could turn this around. And then, for the next two years I was trying lots of different stuff, like different techniques, different ideas, because I'd been told again and again by various doctors that I've seen that it was in my head, that it had to be in my head.
They didn't do any tests on me, by the way, they did one blood test, which, maybe, I had a couple of times, but it was a basic hormone test. And they told me that it was a psychological problem, which, looking back, I think, was astonishing that they could make such a confident judgment. I did mention that I took this drug a few times in conversations with these doctors, because I had a suspicion, but it was immediately dismissed, and that made me think that I'm barking up the wrong tree thinking that. So, I just pushed that to the side.
Anyway, for the next two years, when I studied at the university, I was trying to figure out what was the problem. And I got it in my head that it was something to do with masturbation, because I felt a bit of guilt and shame about masturbation, as I guess, maybe, a lot of young men do, for various reasons and because I've been told that this problem was in my head. I associated it with this guilty feeling. And I thought: “Oh, I'm doing this to myself by masturbating in the wrong ways or at the wrong times.”
And so I spent two years doing ridiculous experiments in terms of masturbating at certain times and abstaining for long periods of time, thinking that this would help me somehow. I convinced myself that I needed to believe something would help, because I couldn't face the reality that I've been made permanently impotent by a drug.
I really understood that at the time that I would have killed myself. And, I think, it's my surprise that a lot of young people do kill themselves after taking this drug without knowing that it’s associated with the sexual problems. I wouldn't be surprised if young kids are killing themselves, rather than talking about this stuff, because I could have done it myself easily.
After two years I was messing around, playing head games, none of which worked, the problem was as bad as ever. I went into a serious depression. This was in my third year of university, because I've run out of ideas, I couldn't solve this problem. I just curled up into a ball of depression. I wanted to kill myself at this point.
I told my mom I was having these sexual issues. And she tried to get me to see a specialist, and so I went to see this specialist in erectile dysfunction. He suggested that I take up mindfulness meditation, and I was coming out of the consultation with him, and just being like crying, just crying, because I was convinced that this was a physical problem at this point. I thought: “What? Is sitting and doing some breathing exercises going to help me?”
It seemed insulting. This guy was like a world-renowned specialist allegedly. I felt that if he has no answers for me, then there are no answers for me at all. But my mom talked me around, and she made me think that I should give this a go and that I should do what the doctor says, just trust him one more time, trust a doctor, even though my intuition was screaming at me that this was not going to work.
So, then I got into the whole mindfulness thing and became a really devoted practitioner, because I really wanted this to work. And it did make me feel more peaceful at times, more calm. I extrapolated from that, I convinced myself that this was helping me in some way and if I would keep doing it, then it will help me with the sexual problems eventually, even though it wasn't at all.
There was no evidence of that, but I was feeling a bit better. So, I felt encouraged. I became really obsessed with all these New Age philosophies. I convinced myself that I was like one up on a path towards enlightenment. I went a bit crazy, I think, because I was in avoidance. I was growing very distant from myself. I was running away into this fantasy world to escape from the horrible trauma of my real life.
I became very positive about everything obnoxious. I never had a bad word to say about anything and spun everything into a positive. Interestingly, it helped me to make some kind of progress in lots of areas of my life. My social circle grew and my career was well. I began to think positivity, even if it's completely fake, which is interesting.
But, anyway, so I was manic. And it got worse and worse, I got more and more obsessed with enlightenment, this idea of becoming enlightened. I was telling myself that everything's fine, and there was this hidden underside to it, where I'd be beating myself up for feeling anything negative. I just was trying to convince myself that everything was fine in the world.
I got more and more manic. And I started mistreating a lot of people, because I just felt invincible, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted, like I had all the answers and like I was perfect. This culminated in me taking LSD in a really stupid situation, when it was clearly a bad idea. I didn't have much experience of taking recreational drugs like that anyway.
I did awful trip. It was like nightmare. I think that it is really the LSD that revealed to me the reality that I've been suppressing. It showed me that the things were not okay, underneath all this kind of that I've been pounding myself in the head with. So, I had this horrible trip. I felt like I was dead, literally dead. I thought my body was being controlled by other forces. I wasn't in control of my body. I was abused by a substance, by prescribed drug, as a kid. I can see some connections now.
Then I had a breakdown after this, a complete breakdown. I lost my job. I lost my friends, and everything dwindled down. It was spiraled down to nothing. We ended up in a psychiatric hospital. They told me that I was psychotic, but I was so afraid of taking any drugs, because I was carrying intuitively this knowledge that you I'd been by a drug before. And I just was not going to take any of their psychiatric drugs. I'd done my research on them as well, because I was fortunate enough to read about them.
One of my friends in university gave me this book by R.D. Laing, a famous anti psychiatrist guy. And that got me reading about psychiatric drugs, so I was armed with the right information before I ended up in the psychiatric hospital. I was very lucky. I said: “No. I'm not taking antipsychotics, I’m not taking antidepressants.”
Then I did two years of psychotherapy, because I thought that it would help me. I needed to do something, because I was not functioning. Two years of therapy helped me to strengthen emotionally. I never got to talking about the Accutane. I talked about the fact that I was impotent, because, obviously, if I didn't mention it already that was still going on. It's still going on to this day, in fact. But we never made that connection in therapy.
Then I left the therapy, because I wanted to get back into work. I went back into work. I had to leave the therapy behind because of scheduling a clash with my working hours.
This was in October last year. When I was at work after a few months, it was going okay, I was chatting to one of my colleagues and randomly mentioned to me about mercury dental fillings. And he said: “Did you know that silver fillings fitted by dentists contain mercury?” And I I didn't know that. And, actually, I had one myself. And I did it up, when I was at home, and it was true, and I was horrified. I felt like invaded. I had a really extreme reaction.
I was getting really angry on my parents, accusing them for they fitted this building, as it's poisonous. And they I don't think they quite understood, why I was reacting like this. Not to say that my true feelings are all fine and dandy. I think that it is health that is a concern for that. They can cause problems for people's health. I had mine removed, actually, as a result of finding this out.
I think this was the beginning of my coming to realize the real trauma of that had occurred in my life, which was Accutane. And the feeling was like I’ve done the first step towards that understanding. And then, after about a week of being in this rage about this feeling, I was talking to my mom about it, and I was being really angry again, accusing her of not protecting me being negligent.
Then she said she was more concerned about my taking Accutane, than about any dental filling, and something clicked in my head. When I came back from work that day, I looked up on Google just two words “Accutane, impotence”. And I found the MHRA warning issued in 2017. This was 12 years after I was given the drug. And I realized now that this is property of what has done this to me.
That was in December last year. Since then I've been trying to come to terms with that. It's a relief in some ways, because I no longer have to beat myself up and tell myself that this was something I'm doing to myself, but it's also hard to face this. It's a horrible thing. If I'd known about this earlier in my life, before I was at this age and before I'd gained enough emotional strength that I have now. So, that's a happy note to end on, I'm going to wrap it up there.