I've just spent some time (3 days a week for a month) at the Priory (thanks BUPA!)and am now in the wind down stage of 121 CBT. The fellow patients there were all normal folks and a pretty much average cross section of white ie middle class SW London! Everyone from early 20's students to partners in city firms to self employed to retired to housewives - you name it, pretty much every group was represented
"I originally started on the meds as I had been feeling very lethargic irritable and sensitive for a while - now I've actually used the meds I'm starting to feel depressed on top of everything else."
That reads as depression to me. GP's are not experts - the clue is in the name! - and the diagnosis of the range of emotional (better term than mental) illnesses is a specialist job as the meds are different.
The key thing to realise is that the meds do not cure depression/anxiety, they simply ease the thinking processes by rebalancing the chemical imbalance in the brain that characterises depression. It is the thinking that provides the cure. Think of it like painkillers for a pulled back muscle - without them, every movement is agony; with them movement is possible and it is the movement that leads to healing. Without the movement (thinking) you get stuck in a position unable to move
When stuck in a depression it feels like you are helpless and are driven by emotional turmoil. The key message from CBT is that emotions do not control thought but that thought controls emotion and that our emotional response to events is not to events themselves but to our interpretation of events. CBT works to access and help re-frame the "rules" we all unconsciously use to view the world and events. ie it is the combination of meds and therapy that heals - one without the other is often not enough.
1. Go to the Priory website and rummage around there are some excellent free links to self help resources
2 Get hold of a book "Depressive illness - the curse of the strong" by DR Tim Cantopher. No solutions or cures but it helps to understand the nature of the condition.
Good luck and remember at any one tome around 10% of folks will be suffering some degree of clinical depression and that around 25% of people will need some form of intervention at some stage in their life.
A final point - current recommendation is to stay on the meds for 6 months after the point you feel well again as this minimises to risk of the chemical imbalance re-establishing