MURRIETA – The father of a 17-year-old Murrieta girl has gone public about the loss of his daughter earlier this week. “I have been feeling a strong pull to tell the story and try to warn others of the tremendously volatile situation that anti-depression meds and anxiety meds can cause especially when coupled together,” said Tim Doss. Tim Doss is the proud father of Alexis ‘Lexie” Madeline Doss and her older brother who is 21-years-old. The family has owned a home near Avaxat Elementary School in Murrieta for twelve years since Lexie was in Kindergarten.
Lexie was planning to graduate from Murrieta Mesa High School next month and attend Palomar College to become a Kindergarten teacher. She also had a boyfriend who her father seemed to approve of. Her plans were temporarily detoured as she worked through mental illness with the help of her parents. Tim Doss said that Lexie had a fear of being in front of other groups of people, but could sing and dance on stage. Tim said that Lexie began to change in the 6th grade, he noticed she began not really enjoying school anymore. He said that they were very close and she never hesitated to tell him what was going on in her life, but began to not share as much. When asked, she told her father that there was no bullying or abuse causing her feelings.
As the years went on, she had some difficulties with school, but enjoyed being with her friends. “ It looked a lot like your typical teenage angst,” said Tim Doss. When high school started the issues became worse and the family sought counseling for Lexie. After tests and ruling out many other factors, Lexie was diagnosed with a chemical depression, meaning it was not environmental and not as a result of anything besides for genetics and/or a chemical imbalance. Along with her parent’s guidance and under the doctor’s care, Lexie began taking medication. First, they tried Wellbutrin, which did not work for her, but Lexapro worked once the right dose was found. Lexie began to enjoy life again.
Lexie worked toward her graduation, passed her driver’s permit, and did the exit interview for her senior year after putting it off because of severe anxiety. Lexie had worried herself about the exit interview since she started high school years earlier. Only a week before she was to go to her exit interview, she reached out to her father about her fear of this interview. “She cried hard and started to hyperventilate just talking about it,” said Tim. “My brave little girl was reduced to tears over a 15-minute discussion with a few teachers seated at a table asking her about her future plans.” Tim and Lexie’s brother encouraged her to get ready for it and the school guidance counselor allowed her to do an informal interview in his office. She was allowed to sit and dress casually for the interview, rather than standing in front of several school administrators, dressed in business attire. “Her telling me this reminded me of the same issue I had where I failed senior English because I couldn’t stand up in class to do the report,” said Tim. “So I said I just didn’t do the report knowing I’d fail when I had the report in my binder.”
Although her depression was kept at bay with the help of medication and mental health care, the anxiety still was concerning to her parents. The next doctor visit they asked about her anxiety and she was prescribed anxiety medication.
“I confirmed twice that it would not conflict with the depression meds because she’s doing great,” said Tim. “The doctor said it wouldn’t affect it. It was low dosage, but if we see any issues, just stop taking it. We checked online and didn’t see conflicts to mention.”
The following day after beginning her new medication Lexie seemed normal and the family talked about prom, graduation and her moving into a new apartment near her college with her boyfriend and friends when they started college. She went to one of her best friend’s houses to spend the night but came home early in emotional distress that she promised there was no cause to, not even a sad thought, argument or anything. “Her cries were so visceral, physical, and nonstop for almost an hour until she fell asleep,” said Tim. “She was completely out of control.” Tim immediately told her to stop her anxiety pills and she did. Her condition improved
Last Thursday, Lexie had a dance showcase. Time said that she choreographed a dance and was dancing in two other dances, including the opener. “We all went Thursday to the opener and she did great and she had a wonderful time, said Tim. “Friday went well and Saturday was the finale that she said went just “ok” at best because she was nervous. Tim said that he thinks she took anxiety pills again to get through the showcase. Tim left on a trip for work on Sunday, and received a call on Monday morning from his wife. Lexie had taken the whole bottle of anxiety medication; over 140 pills sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning. “No one in the house saw any signs of issue and there was nothing to point to as a trigger,” said Tim.
Her boyfriend, who Tim describes as the sweetest young man who he was happy that his daughter had found came to the door to pick her up for school. He showed up at the door just a few minutes after Lexie’s mom found her lifeless in her bed.”I can’t imagine what he’s going through and with prom this weekend,” said Tim. Tim believes that Lexie took the anxiety pills to get through her dance showcase and by Sunday the side-effects were in full affect. “I don’t believe she had this planned, I believe her mind was completely overwhelmed by that medication much like she was a week or so prior when she cried for so long uncontrollably,” said Tim. “I believe she just reacted by downing the bottle in order to stop the storm in her mind thinking death the only way out.” Tim said that there was no note, email, social media post or anything that would be indicative of a plan. “I believe it was another wave of emotion brought on by the new meds that just overwhelmed her and she reacted.”
Tim said that between what everyone including him, his wife, and her boyfriend recollect, something may have happened at around 8:30 p.m. She suddenly, while talking with her boyfriend said, “I gotta go, bye”. With no warning, the two hung up and at some point, she reached for the remainder of her anxiety medication. “I’m certain this was a desperate measure taken in order to avoid that deep chasm that she was thrown into the week prior,” said Tim. “There was no planning or any time of reflection, this cocktail basically exploded in her mind and she lost all control and reasoning. People need to know just how powerful even the smallest dosage can be with a teenager.”
The family started a Go Fund Me account to help with a memorial bench and they would like to also like to have Chick-Fil-A for her memorial, being that it was her favorite. “Every reward, birthday, or just random Tuesday she’d try to talk me into taking her there.” Murrieta Mesa High School is allowing the memorial service to be held at the school on Saturday, May 27, 2017, 11:30 a.m. A family friend from North Carolina is flying in to do the service. Although the goal for the Go Fund Me account has been reached, many are still showing support by further assisting the family through this difficult time.
“Alexis Madeline Doss, my little prettier long-haired version of me is gone,” said Tim. “I’ll miss everything about you, especially your humor and our talks. I’ll pray to you for the rest of my life sweetheart. As you always used to say, “Daddy loves and he fixes”. I will always love you and I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix this.” Tim wants to let everyone know how powerful that these drugs can be, even the smallest doses. “I need my daughter’s passing to mean something and to hopefully serve as a warning of what can happen if not taken very seriously,” said Tim. “We have warnings on everything from hair dryers in the shower to cigarettes causing cancer, but the doctor did not warn us and there is no label on these pill bottles either.”
Anyone who feels lost, alone, or as if there is no other reason to live should call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Assistance is also available through your local hospital emergency room or a local mental health crisis center. Call 2-1-1 from any landline phone for additional information.
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