Medication and depression

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by catecholamine, Jul 19, 2013.

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  1. catecholamine

    catecholamine Well-Known Member

    I want to start by saying that not everyone needs medication. Some people are depressed because of the situation they are in. Sometimes those people just need therapy, time, and support. Sometimes those people need medication to get them started so therapy can be more effective. However, some people NEED medication to find relief from depression. I was one such case. I did therapy for years with no improvement. I needed medication.
    I find a lot of people are afraid of medication. Some are afraid because of the stigma. If that is the case, you should know that antidepressants are some of the most common prescriptions written. You'd be very surprised how many people take antidepressants. The current statistic is roughly 1 in 10 people in the USA take an antidepressant. It is extremely common. Besides, it's not like when you pic up your meds at the pharmacy they yell "HEY EVERYBODY THIS PERSON IS TAKING A PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION!" - At least you're not picking up Viagra! ;P
    Others are afraid of prescription meds because they're afraid of it altering their brain chemistry. Well, if you have clinical depression - IE chemical depression (that would require meds), your brain chemistry is already altered and in a bad way. It can affect you in more than just your mood - often you are tired, sluggish, lethargic, your thinking and cognitive abilities decline, as does your ability to remember things. It affects you physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Shouldn't you do something about it?

    They aren't so scary. Not everyone has side effects. Indeed, most of the antidepressants I tried (about a dozen) I had no side effects at all. The two with which I had side effects were only one mild, unimportant-to-me side effect that went away within 5 weeks. Some people have more issues - it's more common in children and adolescents, but some experience an increase in suicidal thoughts when they first start an antidepressant. It's uncommon, but it does happen, so it's important to watch your mood and be aware. Sometimes it takes trying several medications before you find the one that works for you. Don't give up!! It took me trying literally well over 20 mood stabilizers and antidepressants before I found the right one (though needing to try so many is uncommon)...but was it worth all the time and effort? YES.

    I figured I'd tell a little bit of my story with medications so those of you that are wondering what it's like to find the right antidepressant that works, what it feels like. Here we go.
    I've struggled with depression since I was 14 years old. At 21, I developed Bipolar Disorder (type 1), and my depression deepened. If I was not manic or mixed, I was depressed. There was no remission. I spent most of my time in those 3 1/2 years being suicidal. I was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital roundabouts 20 times in those 3 1/2 years. People would ask me "What are you unhappy about?" - I could never point to anything. "I think my life is pretty decent," I would tell them, "I just want to die, I can't stand to live any longer". There was not just one single thing I lamented over, I just felt so unhappy (and for no reason I could find), so weary, so worn out that I felt I could not continue living. Most doctors knew this was a chemical issue. They even tried ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy - AKA shock treatments) on me because they said if I did not improve soon, I would successfully kill myself (as I had tried to do and spent multiple visits in the ICU on a ventilator and life support). It was very serious. I was incredibly depressed.
    Finally, in February of this year, I was hospitalized again. The doctor sat there, stared at me, and said "what do you want to do?"...I figured if I let them do a med change, they'd let me go. I was sure that, after trying so many meds, that whatever I tried would be no different from the rest we'd tried: ineffective for me. She told me, after looking through my huge file, that there were only two antidepressants (SSRI, SNRI, and NDRI) that I hadn't tried: Pristiqe and Cymbalta.
    I told her I'd try to Cymbalta. So they put me on it. I was given it for several days, then they let me go home. I figured, ah, what the hell, and filled the prescription and kept taking it. A few days later, I noticed something was missing. The suicidal thoughts, the constant thinking of ways I could was barely there. The next day, it was completely gone! I didn't feel like a different person or anything, but the wanting to die just disappeared. I wasn't super happy or anything, but I was not unhappy. I was normal. Without realizing what I was doing, I began inviting friends I hadn't talked to in months out for lunches or dinners, because talking to family more, began reaching out. When I was in the depth of my depression, I lost the ability to feel love for others, even family. I was numb. Those feelings of love and affection for others began to return bit by bit. I reached out to people I had stopped talking to because I had isolated myself. I cared about my future again because I saw a future. I still have times where I'm unhappy, but it's completely manageable and it passes quickly. It's not a happy pill, but more like a pill that allows you to feel happiness rather than causing it. Depression was preventing the happiness, but the medication removed that barrier.

    It's important to reach out for help, whether you need medication or just need support from others or therapy. If the first medication you try doesn't help, communicate with you doctor, tell them what's going on. Don't give up! There is hope.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Glad you found the right medication hun finally that help you get your life back hugs
  3. Eve remembered

    Eve remembered New Member

    Yes, I'm also glad that Cymbalta helped you. I've been on it for years, and about 8 months ago I had to ask for some extra help, I was still down and was taking the max strengths of Cymbalta already, so my doc added Abilify. For a while it was okay and it lifted my mood, but sadly things have gotten worse again. I'm very discouraged and overwhelmed. My father committed suicide when I was just a toddler so I'm certain that depression runs in the family. I'm out of answers and don't know if medication can help me. On top of that I am a single mother and now have no other family. I have nobody to talk to and counseling has never helped me. I've been diagnosed with PTSD and depression, anxiety and survivor's guilt, and although I've been to at least 6 different counselors I've never made a connection with one that truly seemed to care or truly made a difference in my outlook. My son is grown now and will soon be out of the house and I can't see much of a future for myself. That's why I'm here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2013
  4. catecholamine

    catecholamine Well-Known Member

    That is tough. I'm not a psychologist, but I would imagine you would need both medication and therapy to maximize their benefits. There are more meds out there, so there's still hope. Persevere. Don't give up yet. It's hard trying new medications, but the pay-off when you find the right one that really works is just too good to pass up. Talk to your doctor and tell them that it isn't working and you need to try something else. There are more options for you. You CAN have a future, even if it's hard to see one for yourself right now.
  5. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    Nothing beats a bit of positivity. The key thing here is - even throughout multiple hospitalizations and twists of therapy and meds, as you say, perseverance. Often it takes one med, one therapist, or even just one person to listen, and that can make a huge difference.

    I'm glad someone has that level of never giving up through it all.
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