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  • How do you know if you need medication?

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    Old 12-12-2008, 02:41 PM   #1
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    How do you know if you need medication?

    Hi, I'm new. I had a doctor's appointment recently (w/ my neurologist -spinal problems) and my doc would like me to start taking Cymbalta and a new Rx nerve-pain med. I have very mixed feelings about this. I'm not sure I want to take prescritption medication, have been so happy to be off regular use of prescription pain meds and mostly using otc pain meds instead. I really hate to take medication of any kind and always try to find a way around it, other ways to help whatever is amiss with my body -first (will go for medication if nothing else helps). I'm not even sure I'm depressed or anxious enough to take medication. I don't have the classic depression symptoms that I know of, but I do work with some depressing feelings almost everyday -they just don't keep from a regular day and aren't more than I can manage. It's the same with anxiety -I'm not in over my head with it, but my current life situation is a hard thing to work with and I do get anxious when I'm knee-deep in it all -or planning, scheduling or juggling multiple appointments at once, reflecting on multiple and complicated medical information taken in. My life is chronic stress, illness, and pain for myself, my husband, and our son. That's how it is and it's not going to 'clear' one day, it's here to stay and I need to learn how to live with it well. It's just harder when medical problems become worse, then easier when they calm down. I'm afraid to go on medication for a situation that is permanent in my life, afraid that it won't leave me able to tackle it and make it my own so that I can find the way to live with it. I can't imagine it's not something I'll be able to get a hold on by myself eventually, but I also don't like how sad and upsetting it can be. When is it too much to try to manage without medication? How do you know you need medication to help you and is cymbalta a good one for this? It's very, very important that I have a sharp, clear mind for making medical decisions for my son, husband, and myself -and for organizing and keeping all our different medical information in check (and that I be able to drive safely). I do slip up with the clear head already at times, but not often and I'm worried I'll be less able on meds than off. Or, am I totally wrong about that? I do slip up with regular life taks sometimes, too, and those can be shocking to me (like when I forgot if return addresses go in the upper left or upper right hand corner of an envelope --I absolutely could not pull this information from my memory, even visually when writing out and comparing two envelopes; I had to find an old letter someone had send to know which was the right way, then felt like a fool for having forgotten something so ingrained in my brain). Luckily, that kind of 'blanking' is rare -just very distressing to me when it does happen. When I was on strictly narcotic pain meds, I had mental fog and even hallucinations, so I went off -was afraid I'd mess up my son's meds or forget important medical appointments (my family has had at least one medical appointment -or test, procedure, etc, if not 3 or more every week for the past two years). There was more pain in using lesser meds and with mixing some narcotics with otc, but I had a clear head to manage our health situations (a huge job). I worry that cymbalta would fog my brain or make me too sleepy to function at the level I need to. I'm already somewhat physically impaired from doing all I should be able to for my son -I don't want to be mentally impaired as well (either from meds or from not taking meds I should, either way). I considered anti-depressants almost 2years ago, right after our massive health change/shift began and we plunged into constant medical for our son. I went to 'family stress therapy' instead for 7 or 8 months and found other outlets for the sadness, guilt, and worry. I'm sure I must have a low level of depression or anxiety, or both, underlying things, but I manage everyday life just fine anyway and I'm even happy and laugh everyday (and my sex drive is just fine most of the time). Is that enough? We had another surge of extra challenging medical (on top of the already constant regular) last year and I managed again, but we're once again in another 'extra challenging surge' and this one iscentered around our son like the first was. I'm back in the sadness, guilt, and worry, but am trying to work it out the ways I did before (althought I haven't gone back to therapy). Is it time for medication or can I do this again? I feel like I can do it, but since my doctor's appt I wonder if medication is better for me than what I've done in the past. I also worry about the example I'll set for my son. I can't imagine he won't have to battle with some level of depression &/or anxiety off and on throughout his life, but he isn't a candidate for medication (he has serious medical conditions, including liver disease, that make the risk of medication much greater than the benefit). If he is unABLE to take anti-depressants, maybe it's best for me to work my butt off to find ways to model managing these lows in a different way?? Or, is cymbalta so great that I'd be a better model for him if I took it? I don't want to be a 'little mary sunshine' all the time and do wonder/worry if it works that way -I have no idea. Do anti-depressants make you too happy? I'm sorry, I think I've asked almost a dozen different questions in this post. I'm very unsure of whether I need meds, can mange without them, or if I should manage without them -and how my choices may affect my son. Any thoughts, experience, opinions on how to diagnose depression & anxiety, use of medication, alternatives to medication, and cymbalta specifically would be greatly appreciated. -sorry this was so long.

    Last edited by Wymom94; 12-12-2008 at 02:46 PM.

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    Old 12-12-2008, 03:20 PM   #2
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    Re: How do you know if you need medication?

    Honestly you've got a lot on your plate and I can relate. My oldest son has many many medical problems, 9 yrs ago my husband fell 2 stories from a cherry picker and landed on an asphalt parking lot after being electrocuted by 10,000 volts, I was 6 months pregnant with our second child and on bedrest becaue of preterm labor. Fastforward to today. I deal with my 18 yr olds med problems, my husbands lasting med problems, mostly memory problems and loss of scanning/brain function, and deal with my own numerous med problems, which include BiPolar disorder and Chronic Pain. I am on numerous meds, one of which is Cymbalta. It does not make me sleepy and doesn't make me foggy. But honestly the only way that you'll know if it affect's you this way is if you try it. It does help with nerve pain,which may be a help to you, it doesn't do anything for anxiety, it actually can increase it during the activation period.

    Hope this was helpful, good luck.

    Old 12-14-2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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    Re: How do you know if you need medication?

    Thank you for responding Katlin. You definitely seem to know what it's like at my house. I'm so glad your husband survived, but sorry that he has lasting problems from his accident. I'm sorry, too, that both you and your oldest son have medical problems as well. We really do have similar situations. It helps a lot to hear how cymblata has worked for you -without the side effects I'm most concerned about. I'm still unsure, but taking everything in. I was thinking that if I do a trial run, I'd like to find a 'good week' to do it when there isn't anything too signficant going on -just in case I do have problems on it. I'm trying to work out when that would be. Your post did help and I appreciate it.
    Thank you, wymom

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