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How can I not feel shame/a failure for taking anti-depressants long-term ?

(48 Posts)
Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 14:57:02

I have been on ADs on and off (mostly on) for the last 25-ish years, after a lifetime problem with anxiety & then later depression after the death of my mother when I was 20. My problem is that, even after all this time and with the ADs working so well for me that I can live a normal life, I still feel a bit ashamed of needing them. From time to time I start to think about coming off them/ reducing my dose ( I am currently on 225mg Venlafaxine), but only manage to unsettle myself with the very thoughts and so changing my mind. I know all the practical arguments about "you'd take medication if you had asthma etc, so it's just the same", and they all make perfect sense, but I just can't seem to truly believe it and accept it without feeling a bit pathetic for needing them. Has anyone else accepted this ok, and can share how you did it? Thanks so much.

CremeFresh Sat 13-Jan-18 15:00:26

It is perfectly
Ok to take medication that you need to keep you healthy. I never hear of anyone trying to wean themselves off heart tablets or thyroid pills !
If you need medication then you need it, doesn't matter what the ailment is .

MozzchopsThirty Sat 13-Jan-18 15:06:39

I've been on my ads for about 7 years now and happily tell my GP that I'll stay on them for life.
I don't feel any shame about it.

When my boss asks me how I am I tell her 'well medicated' grin
I really couldn't give a toss about what people think

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:07:28

Thank you CremeFresh, I agree completely about the heart & thyroid thing, so why can't I translate that to myself and my mind? - it's so frustrating! I think because I can unsettle myself and make myself feel anxious just by thinking about it, I then beat myself up thinking that I am obviously causing my own anxiety in the first place and that I should therefore be able to overcome that. Sorry, does that make sense?

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:08:45

Thank you so much Mozzchops - I am genuinely interested as to how you got to that stage of not caring/not feeling any shame. I just don't seem to be able to get there myself.

Figrollsnotfatrolls Sat 13-Jan-18 15:08:48

I have taken migraine meds for 30 years for migraine..
You take ads for depression..
Why would you feel bad for taking a medication that you need and work for you to feel better?
Don't be so hard on yourself op.
flowers

Izzy24 Sat 13-Jan-18 15:11:56

OP, I wish my family member who suffers from depression and anxiety could find a medication that works as well as Venlafaxine works for you.

And if they were able to do so I would be so happy.

Wishing you continued health.

bushtailadventures Sat 13-Jan-18 15:12:45

Not me, but my DM. She suffered with her mental health (clumsy phrase, sorry) all her adult life, so 40+ years. For the last 3 years she was off the medication that worked because of other health issues, worst 3 years of her life, with multiple admissions to the local psychiatric hospital. For 20+ years before that, she was on the right medication for her, and got to enjoy her grandchildren a lot more than she enjoyed her children. I am thankful every day that we had those good years, and I got to know my Mum properly.

I can't make you feel any better about it, but maybe, seeing it from a different point of view may help? Your family and friends would much rather have you medicated and 'normal' than unmedicated and unable to function.

hevonbu Sat 13-Jan-18 15:13:42

Did your parents hold you to a high standard, wanted you to succeeed, have good grades, to be "the perfect child"? In that case, you might have internalised their views and it's their shadow you hear when you find you're not "good enough" because you need the madication? Maybe you just need to accept the thought, "there's that silly thought again", and let it go, let go of it.

hevonbu Sat 13-Jan-18 15:14:46

No! "madication" how did that happen. "Medication". angry It's just that the pronounciation is with an 'a' (almost) and I'm sloppy when writing.

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:15:12

Oh, bless you all, thank you! I will take a little bit of comfort from each and every one of you, and I am so sorry that so many of us & our loved ones can suffer from this.

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:17:59

Haha, hevonbu, madication works too! Yes, my father in particular was like that, especially as my sister was the 'naughty one' & I felt like I had to be good & behave all the time, especially when my mum started getting ill when I was 12. I think that you are right & that is probably where it comes from

Bumsnetnetbums Sat 13-Jan-18 15:18:27

Not getting the problem here tbh
If you are well who cares?
Venlafaxine dose os highish. But its a hortiblr withdrawal. Id stay where you are x

LordSugarWillSeeYouNow Sat 13-Jan-18 15:21:58

Hi op, I'm on venlafaxine too, 150mg.

Been on AD's for nearly 4 years and these ones for around a year after getting nowhere with fluoxetine.

I have also suffered with fibromyalgia for 13 years and am on a cocktail of medication for that.
I totally get what you're saying. My dad rolls his eyes over my fibro ans won't even take an aspirin for example or a painkiller if really in pain.
I NEED these tablets simply to function, to have any chance of a life. Please do not beat yourself up over it.

Hugs to you flowers

FrancisCrawford Sat 13-Jan-18 15:22:26

I used to think that I “should” come of antidepressants.

Not quite sure why.

I’ve been back on them for about 18 months, but was still having acute anxiety. After a bout of neuralgia, I discovered that amitriptelene (sp?) taken with my normal meds really helped.

I’m now taking both and feel so much better, it’s like being properly alive again.

And that’s helped me to realise that I need to stay on them, because I don’t want that awful sense of merely existing again.

Best wishes

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:22:38

Well, that is exactly my problem, you see - I seem to care. No-one else seems to but me! I was on 150mg til a couple of years ago when the menopause hit, and then things started going a bit wobbly for me again, so I went up a dose, as well as getting HRT started. I'm not sure whether the 150mg wasn't working as well because my body had developed a tolerance to it, or because of the extra effects of the menopause...

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:26:54

LordSugar and Francis - I'm so pleased you are both feeling better, & absurdly, it makes perfect sense to me that you would stay on something that makes you well, so why can't I translate that to me - aaargh!!

LordSugarWillSeeYouNow Sat 13-Jan-18 15:28:15

Just to add- my dad said if he offered me £1000 tomorrow I would not need my meds, am pretty skint and told him to shove his money where the sun doesn't shine ( In a jokey way ) he actually believes that.

Yes a lot of my depression/anxiety stems from circumstance but sometimes it's there for absolutely no reason at all, no trigger, I hate it.

So to answer your question- I think that my health ( mental and physical) is so important and if I need help then I will bloody well take it. No points in being a martyr and only you know how you really feel.

I consider myself as pretty articulate but there have been many times when people have asked me to describe my fibromyalgia and I can't. I know how bad it is and that's all that matters. I do not have to justify it to anybody.

I'm so sorry you feel guilty. Please dont.
You would see such a difference without your meds.

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:32:16

Yes, I know I would, thank you - having a mum who was so ill throughout my teenage years and then dying at 20 has really stunted a few things for me, but maybe I just have to think that it really was a s***ty thing to happen and that it's not a weakness if I need a bit of help to deal with life after that...

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:33:42

Ps I'm sure your dad was just trying to support you the best way he knew how, possibly because the alternative is to have to think about and accept how much pain you are in and that there is nothing he can do to help you with that...

Bumsnetnetbums Sat 13-Jan-18 15:34:49

Claffy similar here and the trauma stops your brain from devrloping normally. The ADs fill that deficit.
Your shame may be disguising other, more painful emotions such as loss xxx

LordSugarWillSeeYouNow Sat 13-Jan-18 15:38:42

Of course, i totally get that.
I still have my mum so couldn't imagine how hard that was for you as a young person and it probably was the trigger for you.

You may have had the same issues even if this hadn't of happened but unfortunately you will never know if this would be the case.
There is definitely an element of acceptance in taking medication, I am truly grateful for my tablets as I know the alternative would be too much to cope with.

Many people see medication ( of any non urgent sort ) as a failure or weakness.
Bollocks to that. I've always said to never judge anyone until you've walked a day in their shoes, it's served me quite well.

I'm almost 40, my 2dc have never known any different than mummy taking tablets and being in pain and that does sadden me but I am a much better mum for having them.

I truly hope you find some peace with this x

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:42:05

Thanks Bums (great name!) - I'm so sorry you have had a trauma too. I have had lots of counselling, and dealt with the loss as well as I can, I think, but sometimes stuff just happens that's going to affect you no matter how much you try to deal with it, isn't it? Our family has had a few more shocks & crises in the last 20 years to deal with too, so I really don't feel I've had a good period of calm for years.

SheepyFun Sat 13-Jan-18 15:42:45

I have asthma - I haven't had an attack bad enough to kill me, but by taking regular medication, I can lead a full(ish) life and stay out of hospital. If I stopped taking the medication, there are some things I simply couldn't do, and I'd end up in hospital periodically. I prefer a less restricted life without hospital admissions, so I keep taking the medicine. Your position is no different, it's just a different part of you that doesn't quite work properly. Please keep taking your medication - not just for your sake, but for the sake of those around you too.

Claffyindia Sat 13-Jan-18 15:45:47

LordSugar - bless you, I bet your children don't think of you as their 'mummy taking tablets & being in pain', they just think of you as their mummy. To them you are perfectly normal and the same as anyone else's mummy!

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