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Managing depression without meds

(106 Posts)
katsh Wed 11-Sep-13 10:14:11

I had depression about 10 yrs ago and had fluoxatine which was great but side effects going on it were terrible. Recently hit with another bout of reactive depression. I've been to the GP and she's referred to a mental health team so hopefully I'll see someone soon for some talking therapy as that really helped last time. It's moderate to severe, but I don't want to go on meds as I can't face the side effects and feel I've enough to cope with at the moment. Am I being really ridiculous? Currently feeling exhausted, detached and sad, but managing basic functioning day to day. Your thoughts please?

HandMini Wed 11-Sep-13 13:36:46

I don't have an direct experience, but this is what I know from a family member:

Omega 3 supplements
A good B complex supplement
St Johns Wort (tho must never be mixed with prescription ADs and some other meds so you have to check with your doc before taking that one.)

Hope that gives you a start for some google-ing. I'm sure someone more knowledgable will be along soon.

WowOoo Wed 11-Sep-13 13:42:04

I don't think you are being ridiculous at all. You say you are managing day to day just about. I guess only you know when you might need meds or not. No direct experience either I'm sorry.

When I was feeling quite low a friend suggested exercise and improving my diet. Going out running or swimming was the last thing I wanted to do, but it was only when she forced me to go with her that I noticed my mood improved.

Hope you get some therapy ASAP. I've been told around here you have to be quite pushy as there's a bit of a waiting list. Best of luck.x

Faerieinatoadstool Wed 11-Sep-13 13:50:03

Exercise really helps me too, to the point I had to up my meds when I cut down because of a knee injury. Meditation is really good too

MerryMarigold Wed 11-Sep-13 13:51:14

Apparently there was some research done on writing down 3 good things which happened to do you daily. Plus the exercise and vitamins.

Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 13:52:13

Green veg, beef , a tonic, may all help a bit. Stay away from negative tv, be in nature, keep things positive.

MrsDoomsPatterson Wed 11-Sep-13 13:54:03

These are all great suggestions, I love the nature one. Sport has helped me hugely but it's a vicious circle, you do have to push yourself at first. Ditch alcohol if you haven't already.

prettymess Wed 11-Sep-13 13:59:33

The library does books on prescription here. I don't know if that's something provided all over the country. All books on mental health issues, most using CBT.

prettymess Wed 11-Sep-13 14:00:12

Also the obvious: eat well, sleep well and moderate exercise.

katsh Wed 11-Sep-13 15:16:20

Thanks all. I've done some googling on the back of these responses and have bought a selection of supplements, omega 3, vit d, vit b complex, magnesium and high dose vitamin c. i'm exercising daily and trying to eat reasonably. no alcohol. I'll see what happens. If there is anyone who has tried managing with these kinds of interventions can you tell me how long did it take for things to start to improve? I know everyone is different, but I don't want to start out with false expectations and give up on these remedies too quickly.

HoopHopes Wed 11-Sep-13 21:07:24

Hi, exercise is known to help lift mood due to the release of chemicals and regular exercise has helped me. I managed two years off anti depressants recently. I am not again sty talking therapy but in the NHS it tends to be 6-8 sessions unless classed as a serious mental ehealth issue where I live ( and need a diagnosis and on meds here to begin to qualify for a CMHT) and I did not find short term talking enough to change my mood so realised I needed to make changes:- changes to work, reduce stresses, healthy diet and regular meals, regular exercise, regular bedtime and regular get up in morning and supplements.

Hope your focus on you helps you.

MerryMarigold Thu 12-Sep-13 10:44:06

I remembered another one which is to try and catch yourself dwelling on negative things. You can end up filtering out good stuff and only seeing bad stuff.

Also, if you are feeling very lethargic, or a small task for 15 minutes. Afterwards you will feel good, and focus on the fact you could do it, rather than "I didn't finish" or "There's so much more." Those thoughts need to be seen for what they are - instruments of torture!

Havea0 Thu 12-Sep-13 11:17:56

I was on pills as well for 3 months. Was supposed to be on them for 6, but once I did what I suggested above, I ditched them after 3 and have not needed them again in the last 15 years.

In my case though, I knew that there were no deep seated reasons for it. In my case, it was partly boredom and partly lack of any routines and goals, that caused mine.

Havea0 Thu 12-Sep-13 11:19:39

Oh, and I definitely ended up ignoring my thoughts.
My thoughts were wrong. Full stop.

katsh Thu 12-Sep-13 16:01:26

thanks - that's a really good point about filtering thoughts. When a positive though appears I almost feel guilty for having it and assume it's wrong. Also good advice on the small tasks. I will go back to my gp and have another chat re meds, as if they will just help me reach a better point faster, it might be worth taking them alongside doing all the positive stuff myself. It's the flattening and exhausting nature of it that is so hard. and the interminable crying smile

Marking place - can I piggy back your thread for some inspiring and helpful suggestions katsh ? - hope you're feeling brighter soon thanks

Shakey1500 Thu 12-Sep-13 20:39:03

I've posted my experience before but more than happy to again smile

I have suffered really bad depression. Particularly in 2005/6 during which I was hospitalised. I was taking Fluoxetine. I experienced really bad side effects and eventually came off them. I was reluctant to take any medication after that. I started counselling but it was terrible, different counsellor each time, no continuity and seemingly no interest. I got angry and had had enough. I realised that no meds or any counsellors were going to help me and that, if I wanted my life to get better, I had to do it my bloody self.

I began by totally accepting that depression was and probably always would be, part of me. That was a bit of a relief actually, took away the "pressure" to "get well" or be "cured" etc.

Then (and this may sound silly but it works for me) when I wake each morning I evaluate how I feel. If I feel ok, all well and good smile

If I feel a bit down, or feel my (I say "my" as I "own it") depression looming then I try and attribute my feeling down to anything BUT my depression. So I will tell myself that it's because I didn't sleep well, or because I've got xyz on my mind, worried about abc bill.

Because it's all to easy to put every mood, down feeling and stick it under the umbrella of Depression. It could just be a "bad day" like non-sufferers would call it.

Attributing it to anything other than my depression doesn't always work. I sometimes let it rear it's head and stick it's nose out. That's when I'll be a bit subdued, have an early night, clutch the duvet a bit tighter, be kind to myself. But I'll acknowledge it. I'll throw my hands up and say "You know what? Yup, today you got me. But I'm going to rest and you WILL subside until the next time".

But I feel in CONTROL of it, rather than the other way around. It works for me, may work for others, may not/never work for some. But I've been "settled" for the last 7 years.

I had a wobble a few months ago and went to the GP (I know that sounds contradictory) I'm not sureif it was because we'd had a few bereavements, I work FT, DD is 6, I had had a virus, just exhausted really. I had been reading about St Johns Wort and wanted to ask the GP's advice. She recommended trying it. It's been good smile. More of a tonic effect for me but I certainly feel less frazzled at present.

Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you smile

3frenchhens Thu 12-Sep-13 21:33:21

I'm petrified of side effects.
I have had depression for about 6 years, longer I suspect.
I would take the AD's but the side effects and how long they take to start working. I can't go under, so I just tread water.
I'm pretty angry and upset at the moment.
Depression is so unforgiving sad

fempsych Thu 12-Sep-13 21:36:56

I read the happiness trap book ...helped my mood loads

katsh Thu 12-Sep-13 22:26:33

3frenchhens I'm sorry you're feeling so bad at the moment. It is a really nasty illness isn't it? shakey500 thanks for sharing your story. I like the way you think about it - I might try to blame all the crying on something else tomorrow smile juggling, thanks for the good wishes and fempsych I will look for that book. off to bed now.

theancientmarinator Tue 17-Sep-13 20:52:15

Had a bout of PND ten years ago after birth of DC1, another after an MC, a third, milder bout after birth of DC2 and then a reactive bout following an avalanche of family bereavements/illnesses/ other unpleasantnesses two years ago that is pretty much over now. I have tried using antideps three times and while trying to conceive tried other strategies but no meds. I am not a huge fan of the meds because of the side effects (suicidal urges, weight gain, generally flat feeling, etc) but they vary hugely from person to person. What I have found helpful is, as Shakey said, to own your depression and take charge of managing it rather than hoping for a magic cure. In my own experience (and, again, it really varies from person to person) the best the pills can do is stick a finger in the dyke while you gradually build yourself up again. I have never found they were enough on their own to get me all well.

The things that have made me feel more empowered to manage it myself were exercise (especially to music with other people); an online CBT course (no counsellor's feelings inadvertently creating emotional white noise!) and more recently the CBT For Dummies Workbook as a refresher; making time every morning to be outdoors in daylight to help settle my sleep/wake cycle; connecting in any way with the natural world (there is something so soothing about feeling the power of life when you yourself feel dead inside), watching anything heart-warming (eg comedies, feel-good movies and on a bad day even Bob The Bloody Builder with the DCs) but nothing remotely distressing; music (I switch on the radio as soon as I get up during low times and let the music bring me back to life) keeping a journal each day in which I list the good things from my day because otherwise my focus is entirely on the bad. I have found that thinking of it as a disorder of energy rather than mood helped me too - when I have a very bad day I now recognise this as a sign that my body has nothing left to give today and I go with it, take it very easy. Before when I thought it was about mood, feelings, I would tell myself to rise above it, get a grip, be stronger etc and that never helps much. There's a bit in the first Harry Potter book when they are caught by a plant called Devil's Snare that winds tighter around them the more they struggle but when they stop struggling they just slip out of its clutches. It's like that - sometimes you have to let go and stop struggling and when you do the depression lets go of you quicker.

Far too long-winded - sorry! You will come out of this eventually - try lots of things and you will gradually find which ones are your personal cure.

katsh Wed 18-Sep-13 10:28:23

theancientmarinator thank you! Please don't apologise for writing so much - I was glad to read it and it was not too long at all. Today is what I will call a low energy day so a really good day to read your advice. I have started on meds, but trying to keep going with the other things I think will help me - exercise, outside time, reading, some vit supplements and still waiting for some cbt , but I do like the idea of online stuff. Just managing a day at a time.

ZutAlorsDidier Wed 18-Sep-13 10:28:27


Great to “meet” you all.

Here is a statement of intent from me:

Manage depression without medication.
Curbing the self destructive behaviours which encourage depression.
Encouraging positive behaviours which combat depression

Today I will:

Not drink
Not eat sugar
Go to an AA meeting (first time, wish me luck)
Play the piano

I will check in later, off to a meeting now

I wish you all the best today x

Hope the AA meeting went well Zut - hope you met some friendly people there?
I like your post ancientmarinator- not too long at all smile
Thinking of going out for a walk this afternoon

ZutAlorsDidier Wed 18-Sep-13 14:55:35

Hello Juggling.
Thanks. I found it terrifying.
I really don't know how I feel about it all. I would love to talk to someone about it but don't feel able to talk to dp about this.

It's a good day so far though. Have been having pretty good energy, awarded myself a more substantial lunch than usual and am feeling pretty good. Just being active and not hungover is a start.
How are you?

Anyone else?

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