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Old 09-26-2006, 08:54 AM   #1
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"Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Every time I've told a friend I'm going to start taking medication, their first response is "medication isn't going to solve your problems." I've heard this many times before, as anyone has... whether or not it was said directly to/about that person . A lot of you will probably agree with that statement, seeing as though a "magical happy pill" sounds illogical. I would even ordinarily buy into the statement.

The thing is, I don't really know what my "problem" is. As far as I can tell, the only problem I have is depression/anxiety... which continually play off of each other, making it very hard to go out and do things. If someone were to ask me, "How come you are depressed?" I'd probably say "Because I have low serotonin levels in my brain." It's the only answer that I can make sense out of. The only other things I could possibly say are repetitive, "I'm depressed because I'm sad all the time. I'm depressed because I feel like crying unnecessarily on a weekly basis. I'm depressed because I don't understand the point of anything." The list could go on... but all of it could be said the other way around ("I'm sad all the time because I'm depressed." etc).

Some friends say "You're probably depressed because you're not really doing anything." And I haven't been for a while. I started going back to college 3 weeks ago, and I hate going... but only because it sucks to do anything feeling this way. I'm only going one night a week and I worry about it all of that day and on the way there... and then walking in the classroom, the scariest moment of this whole ordeal. I'm glad that I can get myself to go, I'm actually surprised... but school is an experience, and I hate experiencing it like this. As for my friends' reason for me being depressed, it's another thing that can be said the other way around.

I'm starting to ramble... I meant to get to the point in one simple paragraph, but I guess it turns out I had more to say. Basically, I feel like any problem I have is caused by depression: I don't enjoy going out, I'm losing friends left and right, I'm not working... I'm just not living. There are even plenty of things I don't enjoy doing while isolated at home (TV, games, even interacting with family can be hard). The only things I really like doing are reading, listening to music, and sleeping. I used to like writing, but I just don't have anything to write about anymore. I started getting the idea in my head that medication would put me in a better state-of-mind, where I could be happy doing these things again. But when I bring it up, my friends just shoot it down. What do you think?

Last edited by JB68711; 09-26-2006 at 09:04 AM.

 
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

That belief about taking medication is embedded in our culture. Sometimes you need to take medicine, though. For many mental illnesses the medication is a must. Have you considered counseling?

 
Old 09-26-2006, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

My experience suggests something different than what thegardener says. It doesn't seem to me that there is any heavily embedded belief in our culture about taking meds. At least in the psychiatric community, meds is the #1 option. If you see a psychiatrist, there is a very good chance they will put you on meds whether you need it or not. So you have to consider this very carefully, because unfortunately you may make a better decision for yourself than a psychiatrist will. I had very severe depression and I didn't start getting better until I was off meds. I'm not totally cured but I'm better and I have more hope now that I'll be cured than I had when I was on meds.

Medication won't make you feel happy. It may numb your emotions and make it easier for you to deal with however. It's different for everyone, but I'm of the belief that there are more people taking AD medication that don't need it (or it won't help them) than there are people not taking AD medication for whom it would help. Going on meds can lead you down a path that is very difficult to turn away from. You can develop dependency on them and there can be bad side effects.

You say you don't know the cause of your depression and anxiety, but finding out more about that will help you more than taking medication. I've heard of medication helping people cope with depression and anxiety, but I haven't heard one story about medication curing depression and anxiety.

I would strongly urge you, or anyone else who hasn't started on meds, to look at alternatives before diving into medication. These alternatives are counselling (with a psychologist or professional counselor... avoid seeing a psychiatrist first), diet and excercize, supplements (Omega 3, magnesium, 5-htp), hypnosis, meditation, etc. These are just a few. They may not work for you but the consequences of finding that out for yourself are far less severe than going on medication and finding out that is not working. Like I said, once you go down the path of medication it is very difficult to turn away from it.

 
Old 09-26-2006, 10:51 PM   #4
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

JB,

I don't have any deep or otherwise insightful comments to add.... But I can completely relate to pretty much everything you said. As far as being depressed NOT because of circumstances but because your brain is just somehow programmed to be depressed. And to find everything empty, meaningless, even if you go to the most beautiful nature park or the like, everything is covered with a veil of the depressive fog.

Let's hope for a miracle.

 
Old 09-26-2006, 11:52 PM   #5
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB68711
Every time I've told a friend I'm going to start taking medication, their first response is "medication isn't going to solve your problems." ...
... I started getting the idea in my head that medication would put me in a better state-of-mind, where I could be happy doing these things again. But when I bring it up, my friends just shoot it down. What do you think?

Get a counselor right away. You have a depression and it needs professional attention, not the well-meaning but uninformed opinions of friends. If you are young and if this is your first depression, counseling may be all that it takes, but it will take a little time. If it comes to the point where your counselor thinks you might need meds, first depressions can freqently be treated with meds for usually 6 months to a year (it varies) and a remission in symptoms may occur. While it's true that some meds will "numb" you, this is not the effect you want and you may have to try two or three or more before you find one that works without that numbing effect. The best outcomes are with psychotherapy AND medication in combination for certain types of depression. People who have recurrent depressions over time that require meds, frequently find that each depression is longer in duration, harder to treat, and more debilitation. Because of this, patients who find a medication that works are better off accepting that they will take them for life, like the diabetic must accept a lifetime of insulin. The reason you are wise not to stop a med that works is that once you do, if depression returns that med that worked before may not work again, and you could end up on the medication merry-go-round and may or may not ever find relief again.

But, before you take my impressions as a life sentence, get a good diagnosis. Situational depressions are the easiest to work with and frequently will not require anything more than counseling or perhaps a brief stint of meds. Don't try to diagnose yourself. Get a good mental health professional to diagnose, treat, and advise you. And thank your friends for their support in whatever choice you make, but do not be influenced by them.

I hope you will consider this advise in the spirit in which it is is given.

Best to you.

PIE

 
Old 09-27-2006, 03:00 AM   #6
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Thank you all for responding.

I'm planning to see a psychologist and psychiatrist soon. I've recently been put under my mom's health insurance (now that I'm back in school) and it doesn't start until Oct. 1st, which is coming up shortly. I've been moderately depressed since I was about 13 or 14 (I'm currently 20), and I've been worse at times and better at times. But I've never been as bad as I have been for the past months. I've been on medication once, when I was about 16. It was only for about a month, I just wasn't consistent with it. But for the most part, my depression wasn't extremely hard to deal with. Lately though, it has felt like this horrible plague taking over me.

I really want to do counseling, but I don't see it as anything but venting. When I did weekly sessions a couple years ago, he didn't really help. I felt better momentarily afterwards... just as I would after posting here. But it was mostly me spilling how I felt, and him listening. Which is great, but anyone can listen. It was the only psychologist I've ever been to, I don't know if this is how it normally goes when going to counseling.

I basically feel exactly what WanderingSoul said. Like my brain is programmed to make me feel a certain way. And I do find everything empty and meaningless. That's what my problem is. I have thought about hypnotherapy though. Maybe I have a problem that I'm not really conscious about. I just can't imagine what it could be, or even how I would go about fixing it. I can't figure out how a problem you haven't even realized can affect your well-being.

I've been looking forward to taking medication for the past few months. I had this dream that once I did, I could get on with a more productive and fulfilling life. But now that the day is getting closer, I'm getting nervous about what to do and how to go about it. I think I'm just going to make both psychologist and psychiatrist appointments tomorrow, and talk to psychologist next week about what he thinks before seeing the psychiatrist.

Any more advice would be appreciated. And again, thanks to all of you for responding.

 
Old 09-27-2006, 09:08 PM   #7
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB68711
I really want to do counseling, but I don't see it as anything but venting. When I did weekly sessions a couple years ago, he didn't really help. I felt better momentarily afterwards... just as I would after posting here. But it was mostly me spilling how I felt, and him listening.
Good counseling is not just venting. A good counselor helps you figure out what has happened in your life that has affected you -- figuring out what your thought processes are and how to change them into healthy, positive ones. You can talk to a wall for free, instead of waste money on someone that just sits there and nods his or her head.

 
Old 09-27-2006, 09:13 PM   #8
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeludaX
My experience suggests something different than what thegardener says. It doesn't seem to me that there is any heavily embedded belief in our culture about taking meds. At least in the psychiatric community, meds is the #1 option. If you see a psychiatrist, there is a very good chance they will put you on meds whether you need it or not. So you have to consider this very carefully, because unfortunately you may make a better decision for yourself than a psychiatrist will. I had very severe depression and I didn't start getting better until I was off meds. I'm not totally cured but I'm better and I have more hope now that I'll be cured than I had when I was on meds.

Medication won't make you feel happy. It may numb your emotions and make it easier for you to deal with however. It's different for everyone, but I'm of the belief that there are more people taking AD medication that don't need it (or it won't help them) than there are people not taking AD medication for whom it would help. Going on meds can lead you down a path that is very difficult to turn away from. You can develop dependency on them and there can be bad side effects.

You say you don't know the cause of your depression and anxiety, but finding out more about that will help you more than taking medication. I've heard of medication helping people cope with depression and anxiety, but I haven't heard one story about medication curing depression and anxiety.

I would strongly urge you, or anyone else who hasn't started on meds, to look at alternatives before diving into medication. These alternatives are counselling (with a psychologist or professional counselor... avoid seeing a psychiatrist first), diet and excercize, supplements (Omega 3, magnesium, 5-htp), hypnosis, meditation, etc. These are just a few. They may not work for you but the consequences of finding that out for yourself are far less severe than going on medication and finding out that is not working. Like I said, once you go down the path of medication it is very difficult to turn away from it.
Wow. I could have written that myself. It sure is nice to come across someone who feels the same way I do -- and had a similar experience. I'm blown away.

SOE

 
Old 09-27-2006, 09:17 PM   #9
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

The reason you are wise not to stop a med that works is that once you do, if depression returns that med that worked before may not work again, and you could end up on the medication merry-go-round and may or may not ever find relief again.



Yes, this pretty much happened to me........... Arghhhhhh.... I would go on a medication.......... decide one day that I was better and no longer needed it, and that I had figured out mentally how to not be depressed, that I had outsmarted it......... and hten it would come back.. and I would have to go on meds again. And the cycle continued like that, on and on.

 
Old 09-27-2006, 09:23 PM   #10
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingSoul
Yes, this pretty much happened to me........... Arghhhhhh.... I would go on a medication.......... decide one day that I was better and no longer needed it, and that I had figured out mentally how to not be depressed, that I had outsmarted it......... and hten it would come back.. and I would have to go on meds again. And the cycle continued like that, on and on.

Me too. The only way it stopped for me was to push through it. I've been off 2 years now, but I got worse before I got better, except this time I pushed through and made it to the other side (med free). It's possible.

 
Old 09-28-2006, 05:06 PM   #11
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FeludaX HB User
Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

Quote:
Originally Posted by sickofeffexor
Wow. I could have written that myself. It sure is nice to come across someone who feels the same way I do -- and had a similar experience. I'm blown away.

SOE
Yeah, it does seem that we're in the minority with regards to ADs on this board. Having read this board over the past months, it really seems to me that people who feel they need meds seem to have resigned themselves to being a prisoner to depression forever and they feel they need the meds to cope. I realize I may be oversimplifying it but I think there is a great deal of truth to that statement. I also think meds contributes to that feeling of hopelessness, and it clearly creates a cycle of dependency. And just to make it clear, there was a time when I felt hopeless and thought I couldn't get better, so I understand how that is. But I was wrong, and I'm sure most of the people who feel like that are wrong. It's not easy, but it is possible to get better.

Does anyone on meds honestly feel like they'll ever get well enough that they won't need meds anymore?

 
Old 09-29-2006, 05:07 AM   #12
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

can't answer for anyone but myself. i hate meds. i ahve taken every SSRI and trysiclic on the market with horrible side effects. am in a bad depression right now stress related and am starting counseling next week. dod i need meds? right no wi think i do to be able to get myslef into counseling and through all the other things i have goin gon. i cry for no reason, can't make a decsion , don't sleep and am just very sad. i no this will pass but feel i need a temporary med to get me started. since i hate them and am not a pill popper i don't feel the need for them permanently. the other factor here is this. my sister was clinically depressed. very different from what i am in right now. she was like this for 30 years until she took her life. some people need to be on meds to regulate what's going on in their body. they also need counseling along with it that some that are really depressed will not go to no matter what.it can be very scary at times.

 
Old 09-29-2006, 05:43 AM   #13
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

It sounds to me like you have social anxiety and are confused and depressed about it...I suffer from the same thing and I am now in therapy. Learning to understand, cope, express my feelings about, and improve my social skills is improving my self esteem which is decreasing my depression.

My therapist helped me to see that I was never taught positive social skills, therefore, I would feel anxious, over critical, intimidated, awkward, and like "I didn't fit in" whenever in a social setting. High school was a COMPLETE nightmare for me!! I was physically sick ALL the time because I dreaded walking into a classroom or walking alone through the halls...I always felt inferior and weird.

At age 38, I've finally figured out that it's my anxiety about upcoming social events, dealing with people, and being upset about my poor communication skills that causes me to obsess, worry, and feel so bad about myself that I become depressed and try to hide away from the world. I used to feel that minimizing social interaction would help to keep my depression at bay, but the opposite happens...I avoid people, think too much, feel "different" and weird about being alone too much, and have constant thoughts that there is SOMETHING wrong with me.

I have found relief in facing my fear of socializing and putting myself in that position over and over again, and discussing the outcome with a professional. The result is that I am learning to make positive changes in the way I relate with others and am spending less time alone, therefore, I'm becoming more outgoing, assertive, and finally beginning to like myself. Hope this helps.

Last edited by KittyLove; 09-29-2006 at 05:55 AM.

 
Old 09-29-2006, 07:47 AM   #14
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

I've been reading these posts about going to counseling and they actually anger me. Some problems are not dealt with by talking. That's what she's trying to tell you! She goes through life not knowing why she feels like crap! I'm so sick of people thinking depression is primarily behavioral. There is scientific proof, people, of CHEMICAL IMBALANCES. There are too many people, though, that abuse this condition by saying 'oh, I broke my nail, I'm depressed'. Being depressed and having depression are two totally different things.

OK JB let me tell you, you and I share a lot in common. When I was in college I was the same way, I'd go to class then back to my dorm room and sleep for 4 hours during the day. I felt like crap. Crying constantly, biting my friends' heads off for no reason. And yes, I did go to counseling. But I'm sorry, people that think meds are not the answer, they were for me. The thing is, I only took one. Not several. And when i went off, I weened myself, and I sure as heck didn't switch meds the very next day. And I disagree with them 'numbing' your emotions. No, they do not solve your problems, they help you DEAL with them. If they don't, if they do numb you, then you don't need them. For the record I'm not saying don't go to counseling, if anything, it will help you chart your progress more. But for those of you who think medication will not solve your problems, no, they won't, but neither will counseling. Only you can.

JB, you go right ahead and look forward to taking medication. That's what it does, it helps you. Too many people abuse it, that's why they speak against it. Lexapro was great for me. You may have to try a few and see what works for you but you have to give it time, sweetie. I know exactly what you're going through and trust me, it WILL get better.

 
Old 09-29-2006, 08:59 AM   #15
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Re: "Medication isn't Going to Solve your Problems"

KittyLove---actually i have PTSD and GAD with alot of depression goin gon. no social anxiety here. very outgoing, not shy at all or intimidated by people. life has slapped me some heavy blows all at one time and strong as i am i cannot pull myself out of this one. i will go to counseling an dtake drugs. i will do whatever it takes to help myself feel better and get well. i wish all of you the best. please pardon my last post. my keyboard is sticking and when i go to twon typing it doesn't even look like english sometimes.

 
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