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To not want antidepressants

(65 Posts)
StatesOfMind Mon 16-Oct-17 10:50:50

Ok I know it’s not aibu as such but I need advice quickly so posted here for traffic.

Please take it easy on me here.
I am suffering depression, to the point where I can’t work because I am so very low.

I have been seeing a counsellor for a few months about my abusive mother but it’s the last couple of weeks that have been really bad.

I feel like there is no way forward to being happy again besides antidepressants and I am so desperate not to take them.

I’m not joking when I say very nearly every single person I know has been on them at some point.
I’m terrified they will alter my behaviour or emotions and make me - not me iyswim.

I know these are old (and uninformed) ways of thinking but I see my brother who’s been on really heavy antidepressants for 7 years now and my parents have both been on them long term so I worry I’ll be stuck on pills forever!

Im hoping the vast MN knowledge here can reassure me and maybe tell me if there a low level antidepressant I can take short term?

Is it possible to recover from depression without medication?
If I do take medication will it ‘cure’ it for good?

Sorry for my ignorance here, I really don’t know much. And thanks for any replies!

MaidOfStars Mon 16-Oct-17 10:56:01

If you had chronic pain, you'd take painkillers.

There's no reason why mental health shouldn't be viewed similarly.

I know various people who take ADs. One is 'long term'. One is a 'short course when needed' person. One took them for three months to get through a specific period.

If you can't work because of this, you need a new strategy. Can you fix a deadline, try them until Christmas, then review?

CockacidalManiac Mon 16-Oct-17 10:59:10

You’d be surprised how many people take antidepressants, and are fine on them. You’ll have colleagues that do that you wouldn’t know about.
They’re not for everyone, but they are life savers for a lot of people. They are there to improve your body’s use and uptake of serotonin.

StatesOfMind Mon 16-Oct-17 11:00:51

I do worry though that pain is quite an easy thing to target whereas not a lot is known about the brain relatively speaking!

I have booked a doctors appointment for tomorrow morning but my GP is pretty useless tbh so I may go to the walk in if he is no help!

Papafran Mon 16-Oct-17 11:00:52

I have been on them and was also worried about taking them.
They do not change your personality- you are still the same person. You don't feel a loss of control of yourself in that sense.
They don't make you euphorically happy or anything but they help you to feel a bit more stable, so that you can get out of bed etc.
You will probably start on quite a low dose so side effects are not going to be horrendous.

My side effects were:
-a bit of drowsiness when first taking them
-messed up dreams- very vivid and almost hallucinatory
- weight gain
-when stopping them, a bit of dizziness

I have taken them on 2 separate occasions of about 12-18 months each time. I took citalopram first time and fluoxetine second time. The doctor will not want to keep you on them forever- after about 9 months or so they chat to you about coming off them. You cut down slowly- taking one every other day etc.

I was very pleased to be off them but they were not unpleasant to be on IYSWIM. They are not as bad as you may think and if you are unable to work, they really can offer light at the end of the tunnel. Where you are deep in depression, therapy might not be effective but ADs can help you get the most out of your therapy. i think they should always be combined with therapy.

Do some research on them and talk to your GP.

Papafran Mon 16-Oct-17 11:01:42

Oh and my dose was 20mg btw

MaidOfStars Mon 16-Oct-17 11:05:59

whereas not a lot is known about the brain relatively speaking
Sure. But as a PP said, we do know of various mechanisms that are biochemically linked to improved mood (e.g. boosting serotonin uptake).

KityGlitr Mon 16-Oct-17 11:06:09

You say you're seeing a counsellor about your mum... why don't you try a therapy that has a solid evidence base for treating depression such as CBT?

It's your body and your decision to take meds or not but I do think that if you're at the stage of being 'unable' to work and have been seeing a counsellor for a while, you owe it to yourself now to try something else to aid you along the way and antidepressants do help a lot of people. Not everyone, but you won't know unless you try.

Are you off sick from a job being paid still or how are you supporting yourself? I'd recommend trying to get back to work as a goal asap as being off with MH issues can often lead to greater problems down the line such as financial difficulties/relationship problems with whoever is supporting you financially (if anyone), loss of confidence, harder to get a job in the future. One of the best treatments for depression is behavioural activation which involves becoming more active and being off long term sick rarely helps depression improve.

If you have depression I think it's time to see a therapist who can treat it like CBT, and at least try antidepressants. Try everything you can to get better.

I've been on them and they helped, came off them after I'd been well again for several months.

MargaretCavendish Mon 16-Oct-17 11:09:56

I felt exactly like you before I started taking antidepressant/anxiety medication (I took citalopram for around two years). For me, it was transformative - it didn't 'cure' me, but it got me to a place where I could begin to work out how to get better. I really don't think I would have done that otherwise.

I was still me. I was just a me who didn't cry everyday and who didn't spend whole days sat staring at the floor, paralysed with both anxiety and, at the same time, total lethargy. I was a me who could see the tube without thinking about suicide. I did have side effects, but nothing, nothing as bad as the depression at its worst.

Eventually I stopped taking them, and I'm still me, and for a long time I was still a me who didn't cry everyday (I've had a bad patch recently, though I think that's situational and a bit different to the bad depression I had a few years ago).

They aren't really a 'short term' fix, though - it's normal for it to take at least a month for you to really feel much benefit, and longer than that for the full benefit.

I mean this honestly and kindly - isn't it at least worth a go? What you're doing now isn't working, so you need to try something else. If you hate them, stop taking them - the absolute worst that happens is you end up back where you are now.

CockacidalManiac Mon 16-Oct-17 11:12:55

I don’t think that you’ll get a prescription for antidepressants at a walk in centre.
Depression is an illness, and sometimes medication has to be taken for a long time. People with diabetes have to take long term medication, as do people with many other illnesses.

Wolfiefan Mon 16-Oct-17 11:13:18

I had depression and anxiety. I REALLY didn't want medication. It was completely illogical and part of the illness.
I forced myself to take them. They made me well enough to do CBT and start to recover. I then very slowly (under GP advice) weaned myself off them. Still off them.
If you're not well you may need medication. You wouldn't refuse an inhaler as an asthmatic.

Freya84 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:17:49

I completely understand why you're put off taking AD's and it's a big decision to start taking them and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Let me point out, everybody's experience of AD's is different depending on the problem, the drug used, the person and any other help/techniques used.

I was on AD's for four years at one point. They helped me enormously yet at the same time they did 'block' certain aspects of myself but using other techniques and help, those aspects came back and I was able to come off the medication. I've not been on it for several years now.

What else do you do to help manage your depression? I found, and still find, regular exercise very helpful along with acknowledging my feelings/emotions and talking openly if I'm struggling. Also, doing things I enjoy, taking time for myself and reminding myself it's okay to feel the way I am.

If I'm realistic about my depression, even though I'm not suffering at the moment, I don't think I'm cured of it or ever will be. I have bad days and bad weeks but I do know how to manage it now, look after myself and when I should go see my GP about it. I've suffered with depression for half my life but I'm the happiest I've ever been despite it loitering in the background.

Anti depressants might not solve or rid you of your depression but it's quite possible that they will help. If you do take them, please keep in mind it can take a while to find the right drug and the right dose of that drug. They can also take a while to get in your system to make a difference, you need to give them and yourself time. It's also very important to carry on dealing with the issues that have triggered your depression, medication can't do that, only you can with the right help.
Hope this helps!

Auldspinster Mon 16-Oct-17 11:20:58

Antidepressants made me feel like myself again after being driven half mad by severe anxiety. They gave me the balance i needed to concentrate on getting better in the longer term through therapy.

oldmum22 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:23:26

I have had two times in my life where the Dr. put me on anti depressants. Like you, I was scared about the impact they might have on me and if I would still be the same "me". I was also worried that I wouldn't "feel" anything as they would numb me to bad and good things. As it turned out ,they were a lifesaver. My mental health had suffered so much that I was in a very dark place. Initially ,it took about four weeks to start feeling the benefit but when I did, it gave me the strength and courage to face my situation head on . I have been off them for about two years but I, for one, will remain so grateful to my GP for recognising my need for help . BTW, I was on fluoxetine ,both times, and I didn't get any side affects.

DixieFlatline Mon 16-Oct-17 11:25:23

A psych told me that the idea is to get you to the point on ADs where you're where you need to be, then stay on them for one year, after which you can be taken off them. Being on them for good is only indicated once you've relapsed a certain number of times.

Either way, I've been on various ADs at different times and I can tell you that this last time I've been on them (something new I didn't know existed - seeing an actual psych instead of a GP is handy like that!) the change was enormous and incredibly fast. I don't feel like a different person in any way, but it is a bit weird to have so much confidence I've been missing for years and years/to have a level of anxiety I had stopped even viewing as abnormal just evaporate over a course of weeks. I'm able to deal with hiccups of various kinds when out and about living my life that I just know would have caused me a lot of torment while still untreated.

lookingbeyond40 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:27:50

Hi there I have been on anti depressants for years but that medication stopped working for me and was transferred to a more hefty drug.

I was terrified. Read terrible reviews about it, googled side effects, and continued to stall taking them. In the meantime I was so poorly, couldn’t get out of bed. It was no life so I bit the bullet and took them.

I feel so different. I still have bad days but it’s transforming me. I’ve still a way to go but it was the best thing I ever did. I wish I’d changed over sooner.

Give them a go. You don’t have to take them forever. If you had diabetes or another physical condition you’d take medication. Think about it.

The only side effects I had was a bit of an upset tummy and horrible headaches which went away with painkillers.

lookingbeyond40 Mon 16-Oct-17 11:29:04

My medication is 150 mg Venlafaxine. X

authhapp Mon 16-Oct-17 11:31:40

I have been on antidepressants and antipsychotics for nearly two years. They absolutely saved me. Through therapy and working hard on myself I'm now in a place where I no longer need them so am tapering off.

You won't need them forever - just to get you through the worse of it. They exist to alleviate some of your pain and KEEP YOU SAFE and that is what is most important right now.

MissClareRemembers Mon 16-Oct-17 11:31:53

I've taken fluoxetine (Prozac) for a year. This was about 15 years ago. I was very reluctant too. I actually thought taking them would make me some sort of a failure.

But I started a course and, coupled with talking therapy, they allowed a weight to lift and stabilised my mood so I could actually see a future.

My depression felt like struggling to walk through a thick fog and the antidepressants lifted the fog.

I can clearly remember the moment I realised I was starting to feel a bit more like myself again...I'd gone for a walk in the early evening to try and help myself sleep later. I looked at my watch and realised that if I wanted to catch a certain TV programme I'd need to get home quickly. Sounds so flippant but it was a bloody revelation.

StatesOfMind Mon 16-Oct-17 11:31:56

Thank-you everyone for your kind replies!

This is probably hugely outing but I drive as part of my job so is dizziness a side effect of every AD?

To answer a couple of questions - I have my DH who earns well and is very supportive, I don’t actually need to work, I do it so I feel useful and so we can afford nicer things than we would without my wage so money isn’t an issue.

I do have OCD & Anxiety Disorder as well as Depression but I usually manage those well enough. I have had CBT a couple of years ago but I didn’t get along with the guy who did it at all so only went to 3 sessions.

I am normally a hugely stubborn and determined person and even if I feel crap I would get out and do what needed to be done but I can’t seem to find that strength right now.

ethelfleda Mon 16-Oct-17 11:33:46

This is a tough one because there is 'no size fits all' cure for MH.
But I will share my story with you -
I've had two mental breakdowns in my life and overcame both with no medication by personal choice. I mainly suffered from bad anxiety but also had bouts of depression. It's not easy but I do think it is possible!

Firstly - try taking st John's wort if you can - it is an SSRI and can be very effective for some people.
Secondly - and especially if you aren't eating properly - take a really good multi vitamin. Your body cannot manufacture serotonin or dopamine without the correct 'fuel' to do so and things like b vits and magnesium are essential.
Thirdly and most importantly - do not underestimate how effective physical exercise is. Some studies have apparently proven that regular exercise can be as effective as Prozac! The trick is not to over do it or you will stress your body out more. I did 20 minutes of power walking daily and noticed a huge difference after a week and then I just got better and better with each week that went by. I know it's tough when you really don't feel like it but honestly, I cannot recommend it enough!

I also just accepted that I may always be prone to MH issues and accepted it as a part of me... but just a small part. It's all been invaluable as I have had times since where I could easily slip back again but all the coping mechanisms I've learned mean that I never have and I don't think I ever will again

Papafran Mon 16-Oct-17 11:35:20

This is probably hugely outing but I drive as part of my job so is dizziness a side effect of every AD?

No, you should be fine. I felt a bit dizzy when coming off them (but was still able to drive) and you might want to give driving a swerve during the first few days, but otherwise you can go about your life as normal.

DixieFlatline Mon 16-Oct-17 11:52:57

No dizziness here. Currently on 90 mg of duloxetine.

Wolfiefan Mon 16-Oct-17 11:54:03

No. No dizziness.
The pills might be what you need to give you the strength to start to recover.

Allthewaves Mon 16-Oct-17 11:58:39

www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/antidepressants/alternatives-to-antidepressants/#.WeSQK3TTXqA

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