My Struggle With Antidepressants

My Struggle With Antidepressants Over the Years

Since my earliest diagnosis of depression, I have had a struggle with antidepressants. In the first two months before my diagnosis of Bipolar One, I went through three different antidepressant medications. It would be the start of what will be a lifelong struggle with antidepressants.

I have a love/hate relationships when it comes to antidepressants.

When things are going good, usually in the first few months of an antidepressant change, I always feel as if this is the one that I can stick with and take in the long run!  Then reality starts to hit. In the early years of my diagnosis I cared little about life, and when my antidepressants failed to work, it was my mother and my psychiatrist that made the decisions to change my antidepressants.

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Later, when I was more in control of my medication, I started to notice a trend. It seemed that after a few months my antidepressants worked less and less. Within a year I was usually back to the drawing board with my psychiatrist looking for the next antidepressant with the hopes that this would be the time where it really worked. Over the last ten years, I have changed antidepressants what seems like yearly. I honestly can’t give the exact figure because those early years were a blur, but the number is not good.

That is where I sit today. The funny thing about this process is that I never thought that maybe I could try living in this mental illness life without antidepressants. It is a thought that I now face as it was recently brought up by my current psychiatrist. Part of the issue is the ongoing fight with keeping a regular psychiatrist for more than two years. But that is for a different blog post. It’s an intriguing thought because, to be honest, my depression has been okay since the start of the summer months. There is always two sides of my depression with very little middle ground– my depression under control or spiraling out of control.

The other side of the coin is that I still have issues with the seasonal element of my depression (the months November to April.)

At this point, I have two options. Change my antidepressant again between now and October with the hope that it works during the winter months. My other choice is to increase my lithium intake and go without an antidepressant to see if this is the missing piece that will get me through the next winter.

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It seems silly that in August this is on my mind, but I can always tell the changes in my depression around October. Usually, I would think to wait until October to make the decision of a switch, but that just is not an option at this point. I start my Master’s degree in October and being the start of my worse depression months it would be all bad to not make the decision this month. I need to be in control, it is who I am.

My focus this summer has been on my social anxiety which is still an issue unresolved. I have to figure out this issue before summers end, or I will once again find myself in the midst of a depression cycle and anxiety battle. This battle over the years with my antidepressants has been a long and annoying if I am honest.

While my depression has been manageable for the most part lately, that always changes. I still struggle some days to wake to get going and be productive. Not to mention my insomnia has reared its ugly head. The last week I have been feeling the sting of light depression that is tittering on entering severe depression– again. I am fighting like always, but I feel like I could start losing the battle. Writing and working has been my way to get through it, and I have found myself turning to playing video games to get through my weeks. It has been okay, but not great.

I am not sure where I will go from here, but I need to figure it out soon. When I make my decsion I will be writing another blog post.

Always Keep Fighting.

James

Photo Credit:

Francisco Moreno

Jake Melara

Warren Wong

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24 Replies to “My Struggle With Antidepressants”

  1. James, I think of anxiety and depression as a dial. Without medication, I am dialed too high into panic. With medication, there is the risk that I dial too low into depression. It’s a constant tinkering with the dial, of course with the help of my doctor. I really like the energy not taking medication gives me. I really hate the chronic anxiety that goes with it. Right now I am living with med-induced low-grade depression because I can handle it so much better than no-med anxiety. I do sympathize with not being able to find the right medication and the perfect dosage. Or finding it and then losing it and having to start over again. That has happened to me often over the years. And all the side-effects. Ugh. It’s so hard. Good luck to you.

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  2. My psychiatrist just told me that lithium is the “gold standard” for both mania and depression. I tend towards mania usually, and she really wants me to go back on it, but it nearly killed me about eight years ago (under a different doctor’s care). I’m considering it, but I really am afraid to go that route again. I wish you success; you definitely have a dilemma.

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    1. Lithium has been one of the constants in my life. I was once off of it for about a year but my psychiatrist wanted me back on. He also thinks that lithium is the “gold standard” and that it is the most researched medication out there for mental illness. I hate the side effects of lithium and it is why I am weary about changing my low dosage to a stronger one.

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  3. This has been my struggle that I’m currently going through now. I’m in the I hate all my antidepressants phase and trying to figure out what to do next. Now I’m looking at an IOP

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    1. I am sorry to hear. Finding a good IOP can be tough. I struggled with that in the beginning of this journey. It makes finding the right stabilizing medications even harder. I wish you luck in finding what works for you Ariel.

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  4. I feel the same about the approaching winter, I was in a job last year where it was dark going in and dark coming out. I lasted 3 months before I had my breakdown. For the last 8 months I have not being able to work. I am on meds and seeing a Doc but the thought of winter is increasing my anxiety. Writing seems to be the only space where my head is clear. Stay Strong.

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    1. Writing is the most important thing in my life. I feel lost without it. My depression gets worse when I am not writing. I have trouble holding down a 9-5 that is why my focus is on my own writing and my freelance work. Stay strong my friend. Always keep fighting.

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      1. I will, but in the back of my mind is the critic that says I am wasting my time and tries to take what enjoyment I get out of it. Its a struggle just have to keep moving on.

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      2. I can understand that completely. I am struggling with the same thing. It’s up to us individually to make the right decisions for our mental health.

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  5. I’m still struggling with antidepressants. The Prozac I take doesn’t do enough, but everything else I have tried has really not agreed with me at all and made me worse in one way or another. I wish it were easier!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean. I fear sometimes that I am doomed to be always searching for the right antidepressant. It is why I am considering what my psychiatrist talked about and trying without sticking just to the lithium. I wish you luck. I have never taken Prozac surprisingly.

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  6. Thanks for the post. Going through the antidepressant struggle myself right now. Seems exactly the same for me, when I first start a new med it seems to work great but after a few months it just stops helping. Trying a new doc as of today and hopefully a new strategy. It’s very frustrating and scary. Best of luck to you.

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    1. It’s a tough spot to be in but I hope you find what you need whether it’s a new medication or none at all. I hope we both find our way.

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