Big Blue

If you have not been able to read between the lines of my posts, I have depression.  It sort of sneaked up on me and settled in.

The fact that I have depression is difficult for me to admit.

Things have gotten to the point where it is really hard to get through the day.  I feel like I am holding things together, but only by the tips of my fingers.  Things are not too bad, but I feel like they are.  And I feel like there is nothing I can do to make it better.

I am doing all the things I should be doing.  Exercising, getting outside when I can, staying connected.  I do not think I could be doing anything else to shake it.  I am doing everything “right” and I am still feel like I am barely holding on.

The counselor I talked to seemed to think that it was unrelieved stress causing my depression,which makes sense to me, as there is a lot going on in my life right now.  I am trying to find a new job, move to a different area, and lose weight all while trying to care for a very active 2 year old by myself most days.  That is probably enough to make most people a little nuts.

The counselor thought that I could benefit from a antidepressant.  She is probably right.  I am so tired of fighting through my days.  But after consulting Dr Google, I have to say that I am a little freaked out by taking them.  Some of the side effects are wicked.  And many of the experiences I read about for antidepressants were from people taking them for years.  That really freaks me out.  I hope I do not need them that long.  I hope to not be on them more than 6 months.  I think that could be possible with therapy.  I just need a little lift to get me through this.  Whatever the hell “this'” is.

Anyone have any experiences with antidepressants? Did it help?  What about side effects?  Were the side effects awful?  How long did you have to take it?  Was it difficult to stop?

I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I just want a better idea as so what I am getting myself into.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Searching for Serenity
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 21:33:51

    I have never taken anti-depressents, but I completely share in you worry of using them. When I started seeing my therapist (*gasp – I can’t believe I said that out loud. Why is depression and counseling such a taboo subject in our society?) I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t interested in meds for a variety of reasons. A friend briefly went on them recently and after a few days didn’t like the way they made her feel so she stopped. She was told there is a period of where it gets worse before it gets better once you start meds.

    Most of all, though, is that I want to say that I hope you can find a way to escape from your stress at least once day. I KNOW how difficult it can be when life gets in the way.

    Hang in there!


    • vablondie
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 23:23:12

      Thanks so much for replying! And good for you for seeing a therapist. I grew up with therapy, so I was comfortable with seeking help. It just feels like the antidepressants are a big step. And the only thing I can think of to do. I am running about 2 miles several times a week, getting out with my mother’s group, and trying to get outside more. I have the perfect excuse, as the dogs always need walking. But even with all of that, I am still battling this big sadness.

      I will try to take some time to escape. My counselor suggested something similar, and it made sense. I started letting some of the housework go during nap time, so that I can take a break. That seems to be the most consistent time for me to rest. I also am going to make more use of my day care provider, so that I can get more time for myself.


  2. Her Royal Fabulousness
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 23:35:12

    I have dealt with depression and anxiety since my teens. I am a believer in both talk therapy (most important piece) and meds if your situation calls for it. Things to keep in mind:
    1. There are LOTS of different meds for many different reasons. For example, SSRIs are different from mood stabilizers. I found mood stabilizers much better for my needs, but SSRIs can be VERY helpful too.
    2. It may take time and trial and error to find the right drug and the right dosage. it is NOT a magic bullet and not one size fits all.
    3. It takes up to 4-6 weeks for some meds to take full effect.
    4. Don’t expect meds to make you “happy” – they should just make it more possible for you to have better control over your emotions and get some hope/energy back.
    5. Talk therapy is KEY to progress. I prefer to see a psychiatrist who can oversee my meds and do the counseling at the same time. Some people have different arrangements with psychologists, LCSWs, etc.

    People who have never been through depression don’t always realize that medication sometimes is the only thing that can help, even for short periods of time. Depression and anxiety runs in my family and seriously, I have paralyzing panic attacks and such without them. Nothing I can do about it.

    If you EVER have questions about this, please email me: herroyalfabulousness (at) gmail (dot) com.

    I hope you feel much, much better soon. I am so sorry you are hurting!


    • vablondie
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 00:09:36

      Thanks so much for the reply. I am working with a counselor (LCSW), which I actually prefer, probably because I usually prefer to not take medication if I can help it. Or maybe because I work in a clinical environment, and prefer to be out of it to deal with my mental health. I do need to go to my GP for a script, though. I do not want to be on this long term, as I usually can manage depression with exercise and activity and counseling. This episode is just resistant to all that. Hopefully I do not have to be on anything long term. Fingers crossed!

      I also have a family history of depression. I have several family members on doses of antidepressants, and my sister and mother manage theirs without medication.


  3. jwhite05
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 23:08:42

    I have no experience…just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you.


  4. May ProblemUterus
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 04:23:59

    Here from Mel’s L&F. I went on an SSRI after a delivery-related medical disaster, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I didn’t realize how seriously depressed I was, and for how long, until the fog lifted and I found my old self in there. The one before the miscarriages, and even before graduate school. It was delightful.

    That was 4 years ago. I was on a mid-level dose for maybe 6-9 months. Then I cut back to half the dose for a few months, then half of that, and then half of that. I’m still taking the one-eighth dose. I’m nervous of relapsing and since I don’t have any side effects at this dose, I’ve opted to keep taking it.

    Hope this helps.


  5. Jessie
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 05:01:34

    Her Royal Fabulousness said just about everything I was going to! You can also reach me to ask specific questions about meds or therapy (I am a therapist) at GS1716 at yahoo dot com.

    Also, remember as far as side effects, those are the POSSIBLE side effects, and they have to list everything anyone has ever had. That’s very different than the COMMON side effects. In fact, many of the common side effects help determine what med is right for you. For instance, if you don’t sleep when you’re depressed, a med like Remeron is great because it has a significant side effect of sleepiness. And Trazodone is used as a sleep aid but is actually a weak antidepressant with a major sleep side effect. On the other hand, I had been put on Wellbutrin because it’s side effect is to activate the body, since my depression leads me to sleep too much.


  6. Mel
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 11:59:20

    Similar situation I experienced about 10 years ago. I wasn’t keen on taking meds. But my counsellor and psychologist recommended it. I debated it with myself for a while, and ended up deciding to give it a try.

    Why? Well… it seemed to me that everyone in my life was doing what they could to help me recover. I felt that I owed it to myself and to my support network to give it a try. It might not work, but perhaps it would. And at least if it did nothing, I’d tried everything possible, right?

    Turned out to be the best decision I could have made. As per the above, they didn’t make me ‘happy’. And there were definitely side effects – some pretty nasty ones, at that – but they were things I could deal with. But they pulled me up to a space that I -could- begin to find joy in things again.

    I was on them for about 9 months. It was recommended that I take them for at least a year. I didn’t follow medical advice, which was pretty stupid in retrospect. But I was lucky, and things worked out for me. I’ve been unmedicated and not depressed for over 9 years.

    Whether you take them or not is always your decision, and you have to be happy with it. That said, I do believe they made a very positive difference in my life – and I know so many people with similar stories. As much as I know there are horror stories about them, I don’t think I know anyone who has experienced that side of the coin.

    I wish you the best, and I hope you can find your way back to yourself 🙂


  7. Denver Laura
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 16:33:32

    Here from LFCA…

    After my second failed IUI and being laid-off all within a week, I went on Pr0*ac. Started at 10 then moved to 20. Stayed on that for about 6 months. The whole time seeing a therapist. After a while, I didn’t need them anymore. I just needed to get over the hump. Then a year or two later, decided to go on it again for about 3-4 months. I have never been on any a-d meds before. I don’t need it right now but I definately needed it then though.

    I only have side effects when I decided to jump the smaller dosages and go straight to the full thing. BAD IDEA. Otherwise, I had no side effects.


    • vablondie
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 23:24:53

      Thanks so much for your reply! It is so nice to know that I can take them for less than a year! I really would like to be off them within 6 months. I know that things will look a lot different, then.
      I ended up on Well.butrin, which is not an SSRI, and my doc started me off at 150 mg, and is bumping me up to 300 next week. Hopefully it will help.


  8. Queenie
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 20:23:11

    I’m sorry that you find yourself battling depression, but it’s great that you recognize that you’re not enjoying life the way you could be, and are looking for a way to resolve it. I don’t have any personal advice that is helpful, but do you read Julia over at Here Be Hippogriffs? She went on med’s a while back, and writes periodically about what a positive difference they have made in her life. It helped her be much more functional, from the sounds of things (her issues seemed more anxiety related than depression, but I think the lesson is the same–the med’s can help you cope when you’ve tried everything and your life is being negatively impacted). If you had cancer, you’d do chemo or radiation. If you had an infection, you’d take an antibiotic. Those can have some nasty side effects too, but you wouldn’t think twice about taking the med’s that you needed to make yourself better. Don’t keep struggling on without antidepressants if you’ve tried other options and they aren’t working, just because you think you “should” be able to get better without them.

    Best wishes, whichever way you go. I hope things resolve for you soon.


  9. Almamay
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 21:03:22

    Hi, I’m here from Mel’s LFCA. I’ve experienced depression on a few occasions throughout my aldult life. My last episode was brought on by the pain of unrelenting infertility. I’m all for treatment in any way shape and form because depression is a terrible illness.

    You’ve already had a lot of good advice here. I wanted to bring up two points that are sometimes missed regarding depression and infertility.

    1. SOME, not all, antidepressants can raise our prolactin levels. If you are trying to get pg this is a bad thing. I was doing IVF treatments that were never going to work because my prolactin levels were too high. How depressing is that? SSRIs are the main cuprit. I came off them as fast as I medically was allowed when I found out. Check this with your prescribing doctor.

    2. When I came off the antidepressants around the same time I found out my prolactin levels were elevated I also found out I had a blood clotting disease (MTHFR). The MTHFR was treated with high dose folic acid (5mg) and low dose aspirin (75mg). When I told the psychiatrist (who prescribed the SSRI) about the treatment for my MTHFR he said, “That’s interesting. When we have patients that don’t respond to antidepressants we put them on 5mg folic acid.” He couldn’t explain why he did’t START me on 5mg folic acid given my infertility coupled with the fact that the antidepressant’s weren’t helping me much and I was suffering from the side effects.

    Good luck with everything.


    • vablondie
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 23:21:27

      Hmm… the prolactin levels were not something I thought about. I ended up on well.butrin, which is not an SSRI. It may not hurt to start a folic acid supplement, in any case. For that matter, I really ought to remember to take my vitamins!


  10. Merlot
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 22:36:26

    I’m battling depression myself. It just snuck up on me. I too go to a therapist, and she recommended meds so I began seeing a psychiatrist. Now I’m doing both. I was so anxious and full of stress that I was operating at “high speed”. I’m not bi-polar or anything, I’m taking abilfy to calm me down (and it does although it makes me very dry and I wear contact lenses so I don’t love that part, talking about switching). I’m also on Zoloft and that made all the difference in the world for me. I was having panic attacks when I was driving (everytime I got to a red light), no patience w/my 2 year old, and found myself unable to handle the daily toddler battles while keeping my cool. zoloft haven’t had any side affects for me. It’s been a wonder drug for me.


    • vablondie
      Feb 13, 2012 @ 23:17:36

      Funny how depression affects people so differently. I just wanted to sleep all the time, and I was really slow moving. I could not think straight, and I was really irritable with my son.

      I am going to continue going to my counselor, and have my GP follow me for the antidepressant. (Well.butrin, in case you were wondering.) So far, so good with that, but I have not been on it very long, and I have been on a low dose. Just being on it gives me hope that I will feel better, which really helps.


  11. Deborah
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 17:24:11

    I had problems with depression about fifteen years ago. I was NOT one of the ones who benefited from medication. I was on Zoloft. My biggest turnarond came from diet and exercise and regulating my hormones, which were totally out of whack in addition to some reprograming, sorta speak.

    If medication is working for you, that is wonderful. Everyone responds differently, I would just suggest being careful as I attempted suicide while on them and was previously not suicidal. My expectations that all would be fixed with medication and therapy put me on a path of self-destruction. I had to change my expectations. My expectations of others, myself and life in general. It wasn’t the job I had, the place I lived or how much I weighed, it was my mindset about what life was suppose to be and wasn’t.

    This advice may not apply to you. Use to follow your blog religiously, but haven’t in a while, but I do wish you well in your recovery.


    • vablondie
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 00:34:52

      Thanks so much for your comment. It is always good to hear the other side of things. I agree that sometimes there may be an underlying physiological problem which antidepressants cannot touch. And I have a family history for those problems. So it is still in the back of my mind.


  12. Emily @ablanket2keep
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 06:33:59

    Hi! Visiting from LFCA. I was diagnosed with depression 11 years ago and was on prozac till we decided to start TTC. It helped me so much! I felt like a new person, but was still able to show emotion if I needed to. I did gain some weight on it though. I think that is normal with a lot of antidepressants. I hope you find something that works. Weather it be medication or talking to someone. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Hugz!


  13. Tia
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 20:36:20

    Stopping over from LFCA…

    I went on an antidepressant a couple months after losing my triplets. The first one that I tried was Celexa and it seemed to help for a little while, but then I started to get down again even though my nurse practitioner increased the dose. So, I was switched over to Effexor and did a ton better. Between the medication and going to a support group I started to feel a lot better within a few weeks. I really didn’t experience any side effects, except for a bit of insomnia when I was on the Celexa. Medication alone won’t fix things, but a combination of medication and counseling could really help you feel better sooner.


  14. andrea
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 03:26:23

    i don’t have any advice or experience – just wanted to let you know i am thinking of you and sending hugs.


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