Natural Approach To An Unnatural Demon

I can't give an exact date in which my depression started, or when I noticed its presence.
Around the age of 14, I had seen a psychologist, or perhaps he was just a counselor. He had took a simple test to see if I had the signs of depression and told me to take St. John's Wort, which is a non-prescribed, more natural approach to treating depression.

Later, I know that when I was 16, I finally started seeing a real psychiatrist. He put me on Prozac. I was doing well enough on that, if I recall, but sooner or later, I seemed to be getting more extreme. I blew things more out of proportion than I normally ever would. So, I went off of that and started taking Effexor. I was on that for a few months. Things didn't get a whole lot better, and I was starting to get into a really unhealthy relationship at the time. Then, one day, my parents decided that I didn't need to be on that either. They were a little too controlling when it came to my body, but I really didn't know what to think; therefore, I didn't fight it much.

I haven't taken anything prescribed or non-prescribed for depression since. Same with my intense anxiety.

I'm really not sure what to think, honestly. My counselor, who I feel really understands me, knows that I have dysthymia. She thinks it really isn't a good idea to not be taking anything for it, and is fearful that I may start turning to alcohol or substances. She may be right if things don't start working out for the better.
I absolutely despise being a guinea pig -- putting different drugs in and out of me, certain amounts, and seeing which one works. Not only is this tedious and frustrating, but it also has an effect on my body and mind. Some permanent, perhaps. Another difficult aspect to depression is knowing when it is actually your depression making you disjointed or when it's just situations in your life affecting your mood. Sometimes it's both, but I'd like to pinpoint which is the more dominant catalyst.

I need to learn more about my supposed diagnosis to really decide what to do, but for now, I'm dealing with my dysthymia naturally. Support from loved ones, I think, is the best "drug," but unfortunately you can't always rely on that. I'm hoping that the natural approach will make me much more independent and understanding of my condition(s).
DustToAshes DustToAshes
26-30, F
6 Responses Jul 11, 2010

My meds do the trick, but I wish like hell I didn't have to take them.

I understand your points. And no one should make any disease or dysfunction an excuse. It can be an underlying fact, but it should not be the "reason" as to not try your very hardest and, like you said, take initiative... <br />
I am still figuring out what my deal with depression is. A lot of it was the atmosphere I grew up in. It affected me more than I'd like to admit. I'm trying to reach the core/root of my issues and go from there...

MobiusTrip, I'm not exactly sure why I became depressed, all chemical imbalances questions aside. I believe the biggest factor was probably growing up in the household I did. My parents love me in the way that they do, but they simply go about it in the wrong ways. I guess you could say that I grew up in a broken home. I'm getting out of the house very soon though, so we'll see if life gets better.<br />
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TW, <br />
-teenage years are complex, and you're right -- I shouldn't only rely on my experience thus far. I very much agree that I need stability. With dysthymia, this is a necessity, from what I read and feel. <br />
However, you said when you started your antidepressants, you felt a noticeable change within two months, yet you said two months is not adequate time? I'm not sure I follow you.<br />
I am afraid to start them because of the side effects, permanent "damage," or change it could contribute to my body/mind. These medications are for the masses, but my body is as unique as my personality; in that case, wouldn't I need a mixture of medication (if I really do have a chemical imbalance) that is just right for my body? And if so, that would take a long time to figure out, a lot of time of me taking the role of a guinea pig, possible damage afterward, etc. <br />
You were blessed to find such a quick sidekick to help you (after decades of being in pain). I'm just not so sure if I will have the same luck.<br />
- Yes, you should put as much effort into fighting this demon as the medication. I'm not expecting an over-night miracle. If it is a real physical issue, then yes, nothing other than medication may help. I just don't know how I find out with real proof, rather than people asking me questions, if it is a chemical screw-up, or if it is just psychological. No matter what, it is, at least, the latter. <br />
One thing I should note is that since I have been going "all natural," I have become a lot less pro-active. I feel like I have no willpower. When I am around friends that I enjoy being with, I am much happier, but have not been getting much done. When I am alone, that's when the depression is most concentrated.<br />
I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. I will definitely take all that I hear (or read) in mind.<br />
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SilverandIce, if I may ask, what medication did you take? I won't let my psychiatrists, parents, or friends make the decision for me; however, I will listen to them and weigh out the options. It is an important subject. Your experience is interesting, and I will consider it and your thoughts. I'm glad that you figured out what works for you!

I agree that there should be some consideration, however I disagree that there's usually a better alternative. I think if you need medication, you need it and no amount of "alternative" will help you. I tried the alternatives for 10 years. 10 wasted years. Perhaps most people don't respond as well as I did, but it is misleading and bordering on insulting to issue a statement that there's usually a better alternative. I'm sorry medication didn't work for you, but for many of us it's given us our lives back. I have to work as hard as the medication does to make it a success, but I would expect nothing less. I think that's why it fails for some people. It's can be a powerful tool, but you don't work with it, it will be useless or worse. If you feel better off the medication than on it, it seems probable that you shouldn't have been on it in the first place.<br />
I'll never understand the fear of antidepressants and the stigma associated with those who use them. <br />
TW

I took meds for 10 years, then stopped taking them for 4 days because the pharmacy was closed for a long weekend... And noticed that I suddenly felt more alive than I had ever remembered feeling before. A drowsiness side effect had slowly crept in that I hadn't noticed, and so I spent a good portion of my life half-dead without realizing why. I haven't taken anything more than an occasional sleep-aid since. <br />
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My point is that pills and medications, while sometimes necessary and/or useful, should only be taken after a great deal of consideration - and there's usually a better alternative.

Don't let your experiences with medication as a teenager become too great an influence in your adult life. You've got too many other variables at that young age, and it's difficult to separate natural changes from medication related ones. And as far as taking a drug for only a couple months, unless it has some serious negative side effects, it's simply not adequate time. Again, getting in to an unhealthy relationship and starting/stopping medications is a recipe for failure. You need some stability first. <br />
I was very much against medication when I was diagnosed as depressed. I've been depressed for my entire adult life, and probably much of my childhood. So much so that I didn't even realize it til I was in my 30's. I thought I just needed some cognitive therapy and some counseling, I knew I had all the mental tools to "fix" myself, I just need some direction. My GP suggested that I start antidepressants first. I resisted, but then I thought, if there is a chance it might make me feel better, why would I resist? I started on Wellbutrin, and within a couple of months my life had completely changed. I felt like I'd had one hand tied behind my back, and it was suddenly free. I was able to start living the kind of life that I desperately struggled to achieve before and always fell miserably short. The impossible became easy. I know most people aren't as lucky as I was to get such a positive result so quickly, but I am often troubled when people resist medication for the wrong reasons. If you can cure your depression using holistic and cognitive therapies, my hat's off to you, but if you have chemical imbalances in your body, you are only setting yourself up to fail. I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried. I'm not a doctor, I'm not an expert on depression or medication. This is only my experience, and you can take that for what it's worth. Good luck,<br />
TheWendigo