I Used to Take Them

Here's the scoop: I used to take them myself. I took Effexor and Welbutrin. I was on Paxil for a while, and tried Zoloft.

I started having major problems with depression when I got in a very serious relationship which wasn't very healthy for me or her. I recognize that in retrospect, but at the time therapy and drugs seemed like the answer--not a new relationship.

However, what eventually happened is that the hedonistic treadmill caught up to me. I started realizing that I wasn't any happier or more capable of living a fulfilling, satisfying life on the drugs than I was off of them. Plus, the drugs were crushingly expensive. They were only affordable on insurance. The drug companies had assistance plans, but they had a lot of hoops to jump through. Moving, changing psychiatrists, getting refills, and the expense of it all caused mounting levels of stress.

Eventually my relationship became a marriage, and that marriage collapsed. I found myself living at home with my parents, and after trying therapy again, I decided that I was sick of being dependent on a pill that certainly didn't help much at all, and seemed to limit my full experience. I went cold turkey off all my antidepressants. It sucked for about a month or two. The withdrawls was nasty. Vertigo, nausea, fever, chills...I had it all. No fun at all. But afterwards I felt the greatest sense of liberation I've felt in years. I knew, and could feel, that my experience of life was authentic. My highs and lows were back.

Even now I still get depressed sometimes, but I also get exquisitely happy and psyched sometimes. I ENJOY things. Maybe I'm melancholy fairly often, but I'll take a natural state of melancholy over a unnatural state of blah any day of the week.

If drugs worked, and were affordable I wouldn't be so against them. But, as it is, they can cause more problems than they solve.
liferiot liferiot
26-30, M
9 Responses May 11, 2007

I would love to hear more about regaining the authenticity of your life. I am a researcher in this field and find your experience particularly captivating and relevant to what I'm looking at. Feel free to contact me! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Antidepressants do have yucky side effects - for me it was teeth grinding, night sweats and memory impairment. I'm almost off them though - only on 1/8 of the dose I was on. What has really helped me has been identifying food allergies - something which I think is on the rise today and contributes to many people's mood issues.. there are so many people on these medications these days. <br />
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This is my experience: <br />
My experience with getting off antidepressants

I am completely against anti-depressants. I have been depressed just as much as the next person, I have tried three different kinds on three 4-8month periods over the past 5 years. I have to say there is definitely some sort of evil with those drugs, they ***** you of your soul almost.Scary stuff.They make you gain weight which is not a good thing ifnyour already depressed, they completely take away your personality, I could not find joy in anything...constantly in blah mode. Not to mention every morning I suffered from nausea. Then the worse of it all is coming off of those things, you feel like death is knocking on your door literally for 3-6 weeks, awful,awful,awful! I've learned to cope with the ups & downs of life without drugs. It's not supposed to be easy all the time and it's okay. I believe depression is a mind thing, if you tell yourself you feel bad well it usually works out that way. Positive thinking is way more powerful than medication. If I can be happy, so can you.

I have been there and back. I was on paxil about 3 years and woke up one day and realized I was'nt right. The pill made me feel the same day in and day out. So I quit cold turkey. I do not reccomend that. I ended up at the ER getting pumped full of tranquilizers and painkillers for a week. I was experiencing withdrawls from the paxil. I was fine when I got out. And I eventually learned to cope with life. Good and bad. Its all ok. I get down sometimes but now I can talk myself back up. Its good to feel my own feelings not from a pill. I actually like myself now.

I had to go cold turkey after being on Effexor since my 8 year old son was only one. This past April, I unknowingly lost my health insurance because my ex-dropped me even though it was a stipulation in the divorce clause. I find this out when I go to my clinic to pick up my Effexor presc<x>ription and they informed me it would be $265 as opposed to $25 the previous time. To make a long story short, in June, 2 months after going off, I hit a major pitfall and tried to kill myself. About 3 weeks later, I could actually feel a "lifting" out of my head as the last remnants of the Effexor left my head. It was 3 months of hell and it was hell on my children seeing me nuts like that. Now, I am happier and I don't get so tired. While on Effexor I would nap nearly 3 hours every afternoon and I HATED that. I am almost glad of the experience because I will fight now for my kids to avoid taking antidepressants.

Sorry about your ex. He sounds like a weak-minded person.

Alwaysremember, I totally relate to what your comment. I had suffered with depression all of my life. I am 51 years old now and depression free from the right combination for 3 years now. Like you, I will never, ever get off of this medication. It is survival to live and this medication has made that possible. I never thought I would ever feel this way, ever. That dark place is exhausting to just try to make it another day. I do not want to go there anymore. In fact, I do not think I have the strength to go through that anymore. Thank God for medicine, it gave me back my life.

I liked the story.<br />
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America is full of depressed people, why?? It wasn't always so. Something is wrong and I don't buy into the bad genetics story. I don't think drugs are the answer to happiness.

I live in Canada, and not knowing where you live I can happily say that my anti-depressant is neither expensive or a nightmare to get them. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 32, and it took my psychiatrist 2 years to convince me that it was no different than a diabetic needing insulin. Reluctantly i decided to take a chance and allow myself to try something that may help me. It took many diif't trials of many diff't anti-depressants before we found the one that worked for me, and that was effexor. Despite my loathing of seeing myself as weak for needing this medication 2 yers later i clearly undertood it was a life or death situation. Like many people, when i felt well, i thought that i nolonger needed what i still saw as a weakness and a crutch. Without medical advice and feeling GREAT, i stupidly thought that i nolonger needed the drug, so i quit cold turkey. It was a rough go but i convinced myself that i was better off, 2 months later, once the drug had completely left my body i plumeted into a very severe depression which ended with me trying to kill myself. Since it LUCKILY did not work, I quickly realized that like it or not this medication allowed me to LIVE. So 11 years later i am still on the mediation but this time i have NO shame. It saved my life. NOT everyone needs anti-depressans due to depression but for me it was quite literally the difference between life and death. Thank God it exists and it doesn't brankrupt me to obtain them, That little orange/brown pill saved my life and as long s i need it i will take it with absoltely NO SHAME!!

I understand what you're saying, Saor. Heck, I've been there. I too felt guilty and weak taking them, and I'm fortunate that I don't need them. It's a hard line to tread for many: many who take them could probably do without them, while I'm sure there are those who don't take them who really need them. <br />
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For me it really came down to the cold hard facts of life: money and related stressors. As I mentioned in my entry, I couldn't afford the medications as I didn't have any insurance. I know that many drug companies have patient assistance programs (which provide free or low-cost drugs to those who can't afford them) but those are a pain to sign up for, and have to be constantly renewed. Plus you have to go through a registered provider of the program. That entails additional cost in seeing a psychiatrist--as well as all the incumbent stress and annoyance of scheduling appointments, filling out forms, and staying on top of everything. <br />
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If anti-depressants were as easily obtained and as affordable as vitamins, it would've been one thing; since they weren't, it was almost worse than having depression trying to get drugs and treatment. <br />
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If they work for you (and others), and you can afford them, I'm glad for you. Neither was the case for me. And, as I also mentioned above, I have a friend who doesn't seem to be doing very well at all on them. She's essentially suicidal half the time (very scary).