Sunday, January 03, 2010 jennyjenny95, Community Member, asks

Q: i take methotrexate but it makes me feel anxious and depressed and i really wwant to kill myself

hi i am 15 years o9ld i was diagnosed with JIA when i was twelve and have been taking methotrexate (15mg/week)since.


i feel tired all the time and I am always getting coughs, colds and headaches, i miss a fair bit of school and i have trouble meeting my coursework and homework deadlines becasue of it. This also makes me feel anxious because i feel like i am failibng at school and I get off by teachers for not having my homework done but I don't want to tell them


I also feel depressed a lot of the time and have considered suicide a few time. I don't want to get better I just wnat to die. I don't want to talk to my parents or doctors about it.

How much of this could be linked to the medicine?


I really really don't know what to do please help as quickly as possible because i think my family would be devastated if i killed myself. Jenny

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Answers (9)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
1/ 5/10 2:03pm

Hi Jenny,


I'm so sorry that you're feeling so depressed and overwhelmed. I'm glad that you spoke to your dad about this - you shouldn't have to fight this alone. I want you to know that being depressed when you're tired and in pain is normal and the first step to getting better is to get a handle on your RA, which will help increase your energy. Ask your parents to help you get an emergency appointment with your rheumatologist and be honest about how you're feeling. It may be that methotrexate is no longer the right medication for and that another drug would work better for you.- you may want to look into Biologics like Enbrel or Humira. They still suppress your immune system and the fact that you go to school means that you're surrounded by germs, so you will need to take more precautions about protecting yourself from infection. Again, your doctor should be able to help you with suggestions. I would also recommend that you ask your doctor about a referral to a counselor - being a teenager is hard and being a teenager with a chronic illness presents a lot of challenges and it can be very helpful to bounce things off a therapist. I've had counseling several times in my life and the one that was most helpful was someone who specialized in cognitive therapy - it gave me some excellent coping mechanisms that I still use and helped me to think differently about life with my disease.


I got RA when I was four and the teenage years were hard. I recognize where you are at, the pain, the exhaustion and difficulty in keeping up at school. Talk to your parents about maybe doing less than a full course load - if you reduce the amount of courses you take, you will be able to keep up and probably do very well. I didn't do that until I went to university for my masters degree and in retrospect, wished I had taken longer to do my high school and bachelors degrees. My marks would have been better and I would have felt less crappy. It sucks to take longer than your friends to finish school, but on the other hand when you do graduate you'll have an actual education instead of a whole lot of gaps that can trip you up when you go to college (I still have only a black hole where physics and chemistry ought to be).


Having a chronic illness means that you need to treat your body well so it will support you in what you do and sometimes, that means not trying to do what other "normal" people your age do, because you simply don't have the physical resources. It takes a bit of time getting used to, but when you start being successful because you have enough energy to do the coursework, you'll start feeling better about yourself.

I want you to know that even though things are scary and dark right now, they don't have to stay that way. It is very possible to live a good life with this disease, to grow up, to go to school, get a good career, find love and to live your dreams (I wrote a post about pursuing your dreams - check it out, it may give you some hope). We here at MyRACentral are in the process of developing an area for teens, but it will probably be several months before that's up and running. In the meantime, keep coming back and you can send me a message any time if you want to talk about growing up with RA. You can also read the post I wrote about parenting teens with RA - it has a number of links to resources that can be helpful for you and your parents, including a link to a forum for young adults with RA where you can talk to other people your age who have RA.  There's also a forum for parents of kids with RA that your parents may find useful in figuring out how to best help you.


Vicky Gordon, Community Member
1/ 3/10 6:33pm


  I understand where you are coming from I am not much older than you but suicide is NOT the answer. It may be linked to your medications and you need to talk to someone ASAP, if you can't talk to your parents, talk to your doctor you may need your medication changed. I know it's hard...I am 24 and was just diagnosed 6 months ago, but I promise it does get better, you have so many things in life ahead of you to look forward to. If you can't talk to anyone right now try calling a suicide hotline, if you need to talk more my e-mail is and I will try to answer your questions as good as I can and help you through this! Be strong and talk to someone ASAP! 

jennyjenny95, Community Member
1/ 4/10 9:35am

thank you for your help and support. my dad managed to get me to tell him and i'm feeling a bit better already. I was confuseed and my feelings are mixed up. thank you again. Jenny :)

Ish, Community Member
1/ 4/10 7:58am

Hi Jenny,


I know that you don't want to talk to your parents or doctors about this... but, you do need to tell your doctor how you're feeling. Honestly, how you're feeling is really normal!!! Between feeling tired all of the time, the pressure of school, and all the other stuff going on... including stupid hormones, it can be very hard. But there are some things that can be done to make your life totally worth living. Your doctor can help you to get everything back in balance. Get the JRA under control and arrest the depression.


I know that it's hard to admit to these feelings. Hard to admit that you're depressed. But it's much much harder to contiue feeling this way. Please talk to your doctor or tell your parents. Get help. Because there is so much that can be done to make your life good. And there are so many things your doctor can do to help you through this.


Please don't give up.





maryi, Community Member
1/ 4/10 3:43pm

Hi Jenny,

I am so sorry you feel like this - you should read my sharepost on methotrexate if you can find it.

You are not the only one who feels like this



Kayt, Community Member
1/ 4/10 4:27pm


So sorry that your having such a difficult time; you must talk to your parents and let them know what's going on.  I'm sure you doctor can modify your medicine, and that

should be done quickly.   I also take methotrexate and it can hard to tolerate.  My doctor changed the amount and frequency of MTX, and the side effects improved very quickly.  Please note my email address:  Email me anytime you want, and we can talk.   Take care of yourself!


RAmom, Community Member
1/ 4/10 7:37pm

Like the others who have responded, I just wanted to also encourage you to hang in there and talk to your parents or doctor or find a counselor/therapist to talk to. Being 15 is hard enough without also dealing with RA, so you should know that your feelings are normal and OK. I am 40 and also get angry, depressed and anxious about my condition, physical limitations, pain, etc. But I also have a beautiful baby boy, am married, and have a lot to live for. I am telling you this because I know at 15 it may seem like your life just sucks, but really you have a lot ahead of you that will be amazing experiences. And having RA or any other illness doesn't prevent you from getting to live out a full life of experiences.  There are so many incredible stories of people overcoming difficulties and leading amazing lives - you can do it too! But you may need different meds and/or more emotional support to get you through the rough spots. And that is perfectly normal. Take care.

Lene Andersen, Health Guide
1/ 5/10 2:09pm

Also, although you mentioned that you're feeling better now, if you get to the dark place again where you feel suicidal, we have a post that gives you a number of resources and phone numbers for people who can help. this site unfortunately can't respond quickly enough if you are in crisis, so keep those numbers in that link handy - for instance, The Boys and Girls Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.  You are not alone, there are people out there who can help you.  if you think you need help immediately, call 911 to get to the nearest emergency and if you want to find a therapist in near you, you can do a search here.

stramber, Community Member
1/ 7/10 2:16am

Methotrexate works for some people.  It does NOT work for others.   Try going off it (with the help of your doctor).   If you are worse in pain etc. then go back on it.  Then you will know either it works for you or it does not.  Some people it works better if after 1 year they taper off it and go off it for 1 month then back on it again - ask your doctor about this regeme.


It takes up to 1 year for the drug to be out of your system completely.  Methotrexate did not work for me.


Make sure you have enough Vitamin D (you can get a blood test for this).   It helps all cells in the body, the bones and depression.  As you can afford it look at alternatives as well and drug meds.     See if magnesium with a small amount of Selenium helps too + B vitamins.


Pineapple either juice or fresh helps some people you can buy it it gel caps called bromelain.  Tumeric and cats claw - find a pharmacy with a naturopathic advisor.

billcurtis119, Community Member
9/13/10 11:19pm

The medication we all take to help prolong our lives and hopefully give us a better life are often harder than the disease.  first of all - your life is worth it.  I totally understand the feelings of hopelessness, frustration and the thoughts of suicide. 

Please, please talk to your parents AND your doctor about this.  I finally did and I have not had a severe depression in a couple of years because of some simple, cheap medication.  

I can't imagine going through this as a child - I have had RA for almost ten years now but I am 43.  It has taken the life I knew, threw it away, and handed me one I didn't ask for.  

again, please talk to your doctor and maybe a nutritionist.  I made some simple adjustments to the things i was eating and suddenly felt a lot better.

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By jennyjenny95, Community Member— Last Modified: 03/23/12, First Published: 01/03/10