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I Am a Mental Health Worker...

I am a mental health worker, and I see how much antidepressants help people.  Plus I have been taking Zoloft for nearly ten years.  I weaned off of it last year and did not take it for over a month.  I thought that maybe I didn't need it anymore.  Well, I realized how much I do need it.  I became SEVERELY  depressed with suicidal thoughts.  Even with my many coping skills, I could not pull out of it.  I went back on the Zoloft and the depression was alleviated after several weeks.  I know that antidepressants work.

On the other hand, I do think that sometimes people are too quick to go on antidepressants.  It is important to explore the causes of the depression.  There may be real reasons that a person is depressed - life situations that need addressed.  I had tried therapy and many other things before I went on an antidepressant.

Some people look for a quick fix and think that medication is the answer.  Sometimes one needs to do some hard work and make some major life changes.  Depression can be a sign that a person needs to change, do something, stop doing something, etc. 

Although antidepressants do alleviate the biochemical part of the depression, they do not change circumstances.  Zoloft does not just make everything alright, it does not make me happy, it does not create a fantasy world...it only alleviates the depressive symptoms.  I still have pain in my life, I still have struggles, and I am still human.  The zoloft just alleviates my depression so that I can function and live a "normal" life and experience "normal" human feelings.

behindthemask behindthemask 26-30, F 9 Responses Feb 7, 2007

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Unless, results have changed, isn't the belief that medicine and talk therapy are generally a better combination to produce a positive outcome? And isn't it ironic, to understand the psychology of what is going on in patients with mental health issues, and be battling one ourselves? I was a Psychology major, am now a Special Ed major, Psychology minor. I have multiple depressive disorders. MDD, PMDD and SAD. Have been on drugs about 11 years. I did fight it, I'd skip doses, because I didn't want to depend on drugs to be bale to be happy, or they felt ineffective (typically when the SAD acted up) but, I'm realizing I need them to function, and I have to step up and manage myself if I want to fulfill my dream of a Bachelor's in Special Ed and a teaching position. Not always fun/

very well said :0)

I have a theory that those medications make you "manic" because you weren't depressed in the first place. You didn't need an upper it was like the Dr. gave you cocaine (which was highly prescribed in the last century for depression) which will get a depressed person out of bed and back into life but completely screw up a non-depressed person. <br />
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I was on Buprenorphine for 3 years following lengthy addictions that finally led to a herion addiction. Buprenorphine was the ONLY drug I took every day that made me feel normal again. I became completely clean and happy for those 3 years. However, the doctors don't like you staying on an opiate recovery drug for that long and it is extrememly expensive (we're talking $5 a pill and no generics) When I stopped it in April, I got my cravings to take something else in its' place almost immediately. I tried the following for my neck pain and "depression" and anxiety: Provigil (made me a zombie nutcase) lyrica (made me gain 20lbs) topomax (didn't do anything) soma (stopped working within 2 weeks for neck muscle pain) vicodin (too addictive to take all the time and gives you horrible digestion problems) and finally inderal (which only lowers your heart rate but makes your hair fall out) and ambien (which I'm now throughouly addicted to and will have to wean off of). And I tried Lexapro and 1 day on it I had racing heartrate and panic attack symptoms.<br />
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So, there's something to be said about finding a drug or drug combo that makes you feel normal. I have yet to find a replacement but the neverending doctors are starting to drive me nuts. I hate it. It's almost easier buying drugs off the damn internet than having to educate your doctor as to what will WORK for you or not.

Lexapro is the only medication that I have tried amongst many others I have tried that has completely made me depression free. However, it did nothing for my sister and she got on effexor and tat is helping her for depression. I hated effexor, it made me feel like I was on speed or something. Anyway, I understand about reasons for depression. I come from my family who have suffered from bipolar. I have had a few relatives who have committed suicide when no one knew bipolar even existed. I Thank God for the progress in medication for what for so long was misunderstood of depression. I am alive, thanks to Lexapro. I have my life back.

behindthemask:<br />
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you said it just as i would have!!! I suffer from panic disorder and have been off and on anti d's for years, first prozac and now celexa. My newest adventure starting tonight actually is a switch to wellbutrin. I've heard good things about it, but everyone's chemistry is different. I too, fought the medication route, but battle after battle..etc.. the last straw was not being able to take my daughter to preschool without a major panic attack. I almost became agoraphobic. I then, turned to medication. It gave me my life back. It doesn't make you different, it just makes you.....well you!!<br />
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Now i'm extremely tired all the time, so doc suggested wellbutrin to maybe help with mood and fatigue.. i'm gonna find out real soon!! I have to slowly wean off celexa as i'm making the change. A rather frightening thought to me, but it's a process i guess.

Thank you for sharing your view. I also think anti-depressants can be very helpful and are not always bad. Sometimes you can try hard as you like but nothing will lift the depression as well as an antidepressant - they don't always deserve the bad press they get. There are not enough services for people to be listened to. I too work in mental health and suffer depression myself. There are so many people suffering that anti-depressants are a good way of supporting people - otherwise the system would be overloaded even more than it is now. However I do think their use needs to be monitored more closely.

I believe anti depressants are over prescribed also but I believe many people really need them. I have been on different anti depressants on and off again for years. Prozac made me feel emotionally numb. You could literally cuss me out and it would not even phase me. I felt like a zombie so I didnt like the feeling it gave me. I also took Paxill which made me gain a ton of weight I always wanted to eat. Right now I am taking nothing for depression and I am dealing with some very emotional problems in my life. I have turned to searching my spiritual side in life and reading self help books.

It took me years to accept that i needed to be on medication. For the first several years, it was antidepressants everyone wanted to put me on. Paxil would made a MARKED improvement on my state of mind/mood within a few days of starting it. I didn't find out until several years after starting paxil that i'm bi-polar and shouldn't be on anti-depressants because they tend to spike you into a manic state. then there were the mood-stabilizers....the epilepsy medicines, lithium, risperdahl, depakote, lamyctal, seraquel, klonipin..etc, etc. I've been on drugs to battle symptoms that are caused by other drugs i'm on. I attempted suicide by overdosing on my psyche meds. I have currently been medication-free for 6-8 months, actually maybe longer. I have several major life-changes planned; changes in what I put in my body (no more aspartame, niccotine, caffeine, all stuff that can effect moods.) I'm really hoping these changes will be able to replace medication. I guess i don't anticipate ever feeling really, really good and "normal." But, i have to believe that i can feel better withOUT depending on chemicals! Have you tried diet changes and the like to battle your depression? i think the medication is good, temporarily. i mean, paxil's probably saved my life, more than once. but, i think i got too dependant on the meds; like, i really started believing that my life would fall apart if i didn't pop that hand-ful of pills every single night. i stopped believing in my own ability to accomplish anything. i've taken a much more proactive approach to my mental health and, as a healthcare professional (who is also depressed) I wonder how you feel about alternative forms of treatment for all mental illnesses? I'm so glad you've come to the experience project!

Well said!