Follow up on depression....medications

I have to admit it felt good to get some of that out there, something changes when it’s not just in my head even if nothing actually changes. I think my 4th grade English teacher just rolled over in her grave after that last sentence :slight_smile:

So Peter G. commented on my last blog about medication and professional help and it got me thinking. I think I have had depression for most of my life. My father died of cancer on Christmas eve when I was just 6 years old. As far back as I can remember there has always been something missing in my life and I have tried to fill it with drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, friends, music, etc. Some them have been good, and some NOT good at all. After my second divorce I found myself really struggling with even going on with life. One night, in tears, I called my mom and told her how lost I felt and she insisted I get to a psychologist (I think that’s the right one, I get them confused with Psychiatrists) and get some help because I didn’t have to feel that way. Well, after finding myself alone in my own house for the first time since I was a teenager, no kids, no wife, just me in this big old house; I decided to give it a try. I thought that depression was just in me and couldn’t be fixed by some textbook stuff or medications that I thought were only for psychos like on TV. I met with a Psychologist who suggested I go on Effexor and join a group for depression. The battle for me was that I knew everything they discussed in that group. Intellectually I understood what was happening, I understood what books believed could help, and all of those things. Then I opened up, and I tried the exercises and I talked to the others and I actually started feeling better.

To make a long story longer, I eventually got to the point where it seemed the Effexor had kind of stopped working on me. I had the horrible sexual side effect, my mind starting going nuts, I didn’t feel good, etc. So I was moved to Prozac, or the generic version anyway, and once again seemed to level out for a while. Yet now again I am slipping in and out of depression. It seems like unless I am fully engaged at work my mind just starts wandering around and I start feeling like there’s no point to anything. Perhaps I need to switch med.s again? Do any of you find that a medication starts to lose its affect after a year or two?

Well, my son just came into the room and I can tell he desperately wants my attention. Thank you all for being there, and I hope that in some weird way, my experiences and babble either entertain or assist you…or both…NIGHT

It could be that your meds do need some altering, maybe stronger dose, taken more often or a completely different medication. Anti-depression meds are coming out all the time, so new ones are available…but of course the only on who can decide that is your psychiatrist r the doc that prescribes for you. I have been on seven different meds in 15 years of battling depression, it takes being in tune with your doc and your body, and knowing when to ask for help.

I’ve never taken depression meds, but a close friend who’s been clinically depressed her entire life has been on every med available. Everyone reacts differently, of course. She describes her experience with antidepressants as being a rubber band effect. They work well for her for a while & then she snaps back to where she was before. Sometimes worse. She’s been on & off meds for decades for this reason. From what I’ve read, it seems your experience isn’t uncommon.

Sorry, don’t want to add depressing news to your depression.

I’ve had long term depression since very early in my life, pretty much, as yourself… Many times it is manageable… but the big problem is when I have illness occurrences or events of massive stress, or pressure, which trigger a severe depressive episode. My first major depression episode basically went untreated for about 4 years, and culminated with my getting diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. The hormone replacement medication controlled everything really well, and my Depression, again, became manageable. During my other episodes, I’ve had issues with unemployment, and the stress from very trying jobs. At those times, I have gone on medications… and yes, they worked for a while, but then they stopped working… The last event I had, I was hospitalized for a few days and then I had to go to outpatient therapy three times a week, for three hours each session… with all manner of other mental health patients, including people with multiple personalities…and I really felt like it was very patronizing. Like they were just giving me advice on how not to be ‘sad,’ like any other person who was just having a bad day… And what’s worse, they really didn’t do very much bloodwork to check on other potential causes for my depression (hindsight is 20/20)… I have since found out that I have Diabetes… though I didn’t find out till a few months ago, officially, but back then (fall of 2007), they just did some basic tests (which didn’t include BG, but liver enzymes, cus those meds can damage livers). You’d think they’d have looked at everything it could be… but all they said was I needed to exercise more cus I had a fatty liver. And that was that. I struggled with a crippling depression episode because my blood sugars were out of control, and once they came in range again… it was easier to manage. Currently, I am again, unemployed… and while this is really hard on me – as it floods the mind with all kinds of worries – I am not too out of power to deal with it because my health is doing really well. I exercise more, and I don’t let sugars rise above 140… and my Thyroid is in excellent control, too. Meds can sometimes be a helpful tool… but sometimes you need to remove or work on removing the external stressors that exacerbate the Depression (either from a sudden life change, or from another illness) before they will do anything. They are like paddles for our boats… but they won’t do the rowing on their own. Beware that getting on stronger meds without looking for some of these other things, or trying other things (though I know so well how hard it is!) can be dangerous – cus these meds have dangerous side effects. The last med I was on was Wellbutrin XL (300 mg daily)… and I had a major seizure at my desk, at my job. That’s when they fired me… as they were an at will employer, and simply got tired of me being sick, and absent from work so much, from all those meds and side effects… and from my depression. C’est la vie.

Though the event itself is still stressful in my mind, and I feel extreme guilt from it, at times, I am doing much better… and med free. Talking to people definitely helps – especially people who can handle others with Depression, professionally, and don’t just feel like judging you for being ‘negative,’ or ‘sad.’ Since I’ve done this low carb, and high Omega 3 diet… things have gotten sooo much better. I’m no scientist, but I have to say… I feel 180° degrees different. Much, much better.

Don’t give up… Keep trying. :slight_smile:


THe meds definitely lose their effectiveness after periods of time. I started on zoloft - worked for 2.5 years. Then switched to cymbalta - worked for about 4 years. Then prozac - worked for a year. Now I’m taking citalopram and need to switch to something different. The doc is the head of the psych dept for my clinic system and gets really frustrated. There is a relatively new drug that is now used to enhance the effectiveness of ssri’s. I was offered it but it can easily cause liver damage, and I’d have to go for bloodwork every other month. So I said no. (I just looked it up and it’s called lamectal).
Maybe a new shrink is called for at this point. Somebody who can see your situation from a little different angle - is that possible?
Depression is such a complex thing. Both my mom’s parent’s suffered from it, back in the days when a severe episode was called a “nervous breakdown”. They’d be hauled off to an inpatient facility and given shock treatments, and then be good for a couple years, only to have it happen again. I think they really could have been helped by the meds available to us today.
(And yes, the sexual side effects are terrible.)
Todd, I’m so sorry you are going through this and have been for a long time. keep pressing on. Better days lie ahead.

Liz, I’m curious if you could give an example of what you eat on the low card, high Omega3 diet? I am culinarily challenged (along with other challenges)…Thanks for sharing, it reminds me how important it is to get back to exercise. It truly does clear the mind and make you feel better. Good luck with work, I too had difficulty keeping my job at a big corporation. I had to travel internationally 90% and after a few years I just couldn’t do it anymore. After a few months of nail biting and money grubbing, I finally found a good job with good people (still working on the good health insurance), and I’m sure you will find your next big thing in time too…

I definitely think your right about a new shrink Kathy, and thanks for taking the time to tell me about your story. I am an “out of state” employee for my company, so I am working with them to get a decent medical plan. In the meantime, I shamelessly use all of you unsuspecting people as my collective shrink :slight_smile: BTW, sometimes I think shock therapy might help me a bit (no disrespect of course)…

Well, I generally try not to eat more than 30 g of carbs per meal, and I don’t have any refined carbs (ie, a lot of white flour, candy, things with corn syrup, etc), for the most part. My Omega’s come from things like avocado, Smart Balance Peanut Butter, Smart Balance Margarine, olive oil, mayonaisse, nuts, eggs, etc. There are lots of products out there right now, with not very many carbs or with good dietary fiber, that have added omega 3’s, and no trans fats. Just gotta look at the labels a bit, when shopping. If you like fish, fish is good for that, too… Though I’m not a huge fan of fish. lol Omega 3 fats, veggies,whole grains and multi grains, and proteins make me feel good… while the simple carbs or sugars make me feel down a lot. Avocados and nuts have carbs, but they have so much fiber, they don’t produce much of a glycemic load in the bloodstream. Nearly 3/4 of the carbs in them are fiber. Here’s a site I use, I get a newsletter from them… for Depression, and they have food suggestions in there, not all low carb – of course, but you can pick and choose.

Actually, Todd, shock treatments (now nicely called “electroconvulsive therapy”) are still used today. The thing is you have to be put out with general anesthesia each time, and it takes several rounds to see results. A doc and I had actually discussed this about 5 years ago. He said they were not cost-effective because of the extra medical personnel needed to monitor things when somebody’s “asleep”.

Speaking for myself I could not tolerate any of the anti depressants. I looked in to therapy and found that CBT cognitive based therapy and MBCT mindful based cog therapy work as well or better than the pills . a lot of research to back it.
Check it out. i like the MBCT ( the hippie in me) with the addition of meditation that the CBT does not have. You have a lot of courage to talk so openly
Take care