Therapy & Medication – your experiences

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  • Therapy & Medication – your experiences
  • Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    2019 seems to be a bit of an Annus Horribilis for me. A serious emotional situation (family-related) earlier this year has left me feeling very low and I don’t seem to have any resilience to cope with anything else.

    It’s got the point where I need to actively do something about it and I’ve got my first counselling session later this week, but I’ve had therapy before (whilst training to be a counsellor!) and I know that I’m not going to solve this particularly quickly.

    I don’t think I’m clinically depressed but I can’t help wondering if there might be some way my GP might be able to help in the medium-term to help with mood and day-to-day emotions. I’m a bit fed up of feeling sad and crying for no reason!

    Of course, I have some of the common fears about ADs, but I think I can see that there are a few myths about medication and I should therefore just ignore them.

    Should I just wait it out for the therapy to help or am I wasting precious time feeling like shit?

    tjagain
    Member

    Antidepressants are a treatment not a cure. they usually take a few weeks to kick in as well. While side effects can be an issue for those severely depressed they are a literal lifeline.

    I am a big fan of counselling and IMO ( no expert) I would see this as more a counselling sort of thing than a medication sort of thing but I do not know enough about your situation to have a strong view

    However you do sound depressed to me.

    footflaps
    Member

    Antidepressants are a treatment not a cure. they usually take a few weeks to kick in as well.

    Some studies have shown SSRI can affect thought patterns after only a few hours. MRI scans show blood flow changes after a few hours. Personally, I found Citalopram improved my sleep within a few days (from sub 3 to 7 hours a night).

    Also, on a personal note, I found Counselling pretty ineffective but SSRIs very effective, but we’re all different. Studies also show that the you can be too ill for counselling to be effective, ie it works best for milder cases.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think one of my big regrets of adulthood, is not accepting medication for depression sooner than I did. I always saw it as something to do if all else fails and it made things so much harder than it had to be. it’s not an either/or and it could- could- make other treatments and approaches more effective- I always say that for me citalpram is like easy mode for depression, having done it on hard mode, ymmv of course.

    tjagain
    Member

    it’s not an either/or and it could- could- make other treatments and approaches more effective-

    This is very true.

    Meds can help you see a way out, meds can help you remember what its like to not feel sad all the time.

    I am sorry if my post looked like putting the OP of medication – not my intent at all

    poah
    Member

    for me drugs have been ace and took very little time to make a change. therpy did bugger all. Depends on what is causing the issue.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Cheers all. Thanks for the positive tone in your posts!

    I’m a bit fed up of feeling sad and crying for no reason!

    You may not be ‘clinically’ depressed but it sure sounds like there is some degree there. Medication should give you some relief from that until you can get yourself to a better place. The fact that you are fed up of feeling that way us kind of a good thing in way – means you’d like to change it – that’s a good sign. I wish you the best.

    footflaps
    Member

    Another thing I don’t think gets discussed in enough is genetic predisposition. Just like there is a normal distribution for height, head diameter, shoe size etc; there is one for happiness / unhappiness. If you’re born at -3 sigma, no amount of counselling is going to make to you feel like ‘Mr Average’ and drugs may be the best solution to having a ‘normal’ life. Looking back on my life I was born ‘Mr Angst’, it’s my natural state of mind. 20mg of Citalopram every day and I’m much more ‘middle of the road’ and very happy to be there. My quality of life is much improved for it and I don’t ever want to stop taking the drugs.

    Premier Icon slackalice
    Subscriber

    From my personal experiences I ended up taking different paths to resolve each major bout of mental and emotional dis-ease and anguish. They would come around every 7 years or so. As @footflaps said, we’re all different and what works for one, may not be appropriate for another at that point in time.

    I get where you are with your reluctance to take some pharmaceutical assistance, however, you say you’ve done some counselling training, I don’t know if you’re a fully qualified counsellor or not, even so, your training will have made you aware of our processes and how each stage can be approached. Your reticence for further therapy is probably a good guide for you there. Follow your intuition, trust in yourself – often difficult to sense and can create confusion during periods of emotional turmoil, so perhaps seek a path that enables you to associate more with your gut feelings. Meditation? Mindfulness? Reiki saved me last time out – nearly 15 years ago now.

    Leave yourself open to all possibilities and the way will materialise and books will find you.

    Possibly a little trite, but IME, I learn nothing when I’m surfing the crest of the wave, my learning is when I’m in the trough and as such now, when I feel the sine wave of my emotions taking a more than deeper plunge, my first thoughts are now to ask myself what it is that I need to learn this time.

    Enjoy the process as best you can, it’s not just about the destination.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    I just did a foundation year so not fully qualified – so I’m not really sure how it’s going to pan out. When I was training I was just about at the start of the situation I’m dealing with now, and I wasn’t open to discussing it to help resolve it, but the situation has moved on and there’s less I can do about it, so I’m more ready to talk about it now.

    Interestingly, footflaps, I’m just about the same age as my mum was when she started on the citalopram so I’m not really surprised to be feeling like this.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Thanks Olly.

    poah
    Member

    They would come around every 7 years or so.

    mirror issues?

    Some twin studies showed a difference in but bacteria, believe it or not. Serotonin is produced in the gut. So genes do seem to play a role.

    Good pain killers make physiotherapy way more tolerable. Ssri’s kind of so the same thing.

    Also exercise is good. Bike riding is exercise. Just sayin’…..

    Premier Icon slackalice
    Subscriber

    poah

    mirror issues?

    Hmmmm… On reflection, you may have a point…

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    I think one of my big regrets of adulthood, is not accepting medication for depression sooner than I did. I always saw it as something to do if all else fails and it made things so much harder than it had to be. it’s not an either/or and it could- could- make other treatments and approaches more effective- I always say that for me citalpram is like easy mode for depression, having done it on hard mode, ymmv of course.

    This is exactly the same for me. Depression on easy mode is a great way of putting it. It’s rock and hard place really. I don’t feel like me on the AD’s, but it’s been five years and not being on them was a grim experience. Keep thinking of coming off them, but worried about going back to hard mode.

    Premier Icon dirkpitt74
    Subscriber

    I’ve done (and still am) medication (Fluoxetine) and counseling.
    I was reluctant to take the meds at first but did find they helped a lot – felt more levelled and less like I wanted to punch a wall or tell the world to f’off.
    Counseling has been mixed – I found that just being able to talk to someone who didn’t know me or my situation really beneficial, the CBT side of it not so helpful. I understand the technique and how it’s supposed to help but haven’t found it that useful – might just be me or the way it was taught.
    My counseling has finished (8 sessions at the local GP practice) but am open to some more if I need it.

    As a side not (and slight hijack) I’ve also had a change in meds – now moved to Mirtazapine as having major issues with sleep (at most about 3 hours a night).
    Has anyone switched to this?

    I also realise that there are certain factors leading to/causing my depression that only I can change – but just walking away from a well paid job with 2 kids, a disabled wife and a mortgage to cover ain’t going to happen overnight.

    The other thing I found hugely helpful was time off work and having time to myself. I had 8 weeks off sick and in that time I rode my bike a lot – either in my own or with mates – and that really helped clear my head and sort some of the mess & anxiety out.

    As you can see from this thread there are plenty of us in similar situations that can offer support – remember you aren’t the only one.

    I think we should sort a STW wellness ride at some point.

    mooman
    Member

    tjagain

    I am a big fan of counselling and IMO ( no expert) I would see this as more a counselling sort of thing than a medication sort of thing but I do not know enough about your situation to have a strong view

    These social stressors are new/fresh, and you appear to have good insight into your situation. Going by what you have written – it sounds like you are reacting to a shit situation and its naturally making your low mood. You have identified no risks that would flag up to me in your post.

    I would totally agree with tjagain and go down the talking therapy route. And also totally agree about the exercise helping too.
    Medication is often the 1st thing people reach for when a shit situation knocks their mood; and doctors have traditionally thrown them at patients describing low mood because their 5min consultation isnt long enough to identify social stressors being at the crux of things.

    Good luck.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    Thanks mooman – your post makes a lot of sense.

    tjagain
    Member

    What you need to know with counselling is there are many schools and one variety does not suit everyone. The most important thing is the relationship between the two of you.

    I like the person centered approach – characterised by ” and how did that make you feel”. Its not prescriptive or directive – its about helping you to discover why you are reacting like you do. Others prefer a more prescriptive or directive type of counselling

    If one form does not work for you try another – or another counselor

    trumpton
    Member

    When I suffered from depression I was lucky enough to get Cognitive behavioural therapy and it helped me no end.

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    Timely thread, my ptsd has been flaring up recently and the last week has been quite bad. Apologies for a pointless vent but I’m depressed and knackered. My only hope is my thoughts are moving from the stuff I saw to violence against the perpetrators- hopefully that’s a positive!

    I’ve never fancied meds, nor has it been suggested I obtain some, and have gone to various councillors and clinical psychologists, EMDR practitioners so I’m going back to the councillor route as it’s helped me balance things in the past, I think it is something that needs a degree of topping up though. Good luck Wallop

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    And to you too, kilo.

    kiwicraig
    Member

    I can really rate getting a good counsellor/psychologist. I developed a panic attack on a long haul flight home back to NZ from the UK about a year ago, I’d gone back for my Nan’s funeral and that coupled with work stress and a new baby ended up in a panic/anxiety attack. Having been a regular frequent flyer (gold status and all that) it came as a real shock but I just couldn’t cope with being on the plane any more. Luckily I ran into a social worker at the back of the plane as I was pacing back and fore and he chatted away for hours and took my mind off it.

    Saw a GP when I got back who went overboard, offered me meds straight up which I was 100% against as well as bloods and a chest xray to confirm the shortness of breath wasn’t medical. 4 sessions with a psychologist later seems to have put me right. I’ve done a couple of short haul flights since which have been manageable. There’s definitely something to be said about your residual stress levels causing you to not cope with the smallest of things so see what other areas in your life you can reduce stress?

    Flying to Canada on the weekend and on the advice of the psychologist I took the Doctor up on their offer of Lorazepam as a “just in case”. Tried 1/2 a tablet today just so I know what it feels like (ahead of a Dentist appointment actually) and it’s fine – just a bit mellow. There’s lots of warnings about not taking booze with them but as I’ll probably have a couple of glasses of wine on the plane I went to pub afterwards and had a cheeky mojito to see what happens and I didn’t pass out!

    Not something I want to rely on but I’ve gone from “I don’t need any meds” to “Actually it might help in the short term”. For me the pysch chats were basically just that – chats! There were no secrets to it really other than not trying to distract myself, being in the moment, acknowledging feelings of anxiety and just letting them go. Seems super simple when written down but going through the process has defo helped.

    All the best!

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    I went to pub afterwards and had a cheeky mojito to see what happens and I didn’t pass out!

    The danger may not be passing out but becoming unruly and gaining; a) a huge bill for flight diversion, b) banned from whichever airline you’re on at the time and c) a criminal record and unable to visit some parts of the world.

    You may want to rethink the drugs and alcohol while flying. Or post up if it all goes South in the air 🙂

    kiwicraig
    Member

    You may want to rethink the drugs and alcohol while flying. Or post up if it all goes South in the air 🙂

    Yep, I’ve read plenty of accounts of it going pear shaped online. Not intending to go hulk mode or even use the drugs if I can help it but I’ll be sure to report back 🙂

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    I had two years on low dosage Citalopram. Calmed me down enough to get through the darker times, without turning me into a zombie as I’d seen happen to a mate when he had issues. I really resisted the idea of meds because of his experience, but should have taken the offer sooner.

    I was signed off for three months while the meds kicked in and I could get a place on a group CBT course. I wasn’t quite ready to engage with the course, and looking round the room I wasn’t the only one, it seemed to only really start to click for me and others on the last couple of sessions, by which point I was at the back of the queue for more NHS sessions as I was low risk.

    Work changed my role to help me get back into work, and their support service got me 5 free sessions with a counselor, which were good. Talking to someone totally outside the situations was incredibly useful and helped me get my perspective back.

    Took longer to wean myself off the meds than I expected, despite the low dose. The ups and downs coming off were worse than starting. Been “clean” since February. Still have dark days. But I understand myself a lot better now, and I know they will pass. I know what triggers me, I know that I can deal with them, even if I’m not prepared to walk away from them. It’s given me back some control over my situation.

    So I’d say take meds if the doc thinks they will help. They will buy you the time for counseling to kick in and help you work through the underlying issues.

    handybar
    Member

    Meds for short-term, therapy for long-term. The latter takes work/practice; the meds however can be different for everyone else.
    I’ve been depressed probably three or four times in my, life – mainly situational – once clinical, in my 20s, dealing with lots of stress, and made worse by drinking to try and self-medicate.
    The therapy can be hit or miss, I probably saw three therapists before I met a therapist who got to the heart of the issue, namely growing up as a sensitive person in a cold, very non-tactile family – which in turn went back to things like the second world war – my dad being a war-baby who never really knew his dad – then the fact his dad had died young. A combination of therapy and family history helped me see the faultlines. But it is a process, the main thing is that I need to look out for my triggers – normally an unholy trinity of lonliness, boredom and stress – and take preventative action, mainly CBT – challenging my negative thought processes. Just because my great-grandads and granddads lives were marred by war and death doesn’t mean the same will happen to me – I’d very much inherited the psycological family silver.
    Still see the therapist once a month just to deal with the general grind of life, everyone should have one.

    Premier Icon wallop
    Subscriber

    made worse by drinking to try and self-medicate.

    Not doing this is one of my biggest challenges at the moment – I can definitely tell that it makes me feel worse, but sometimes your desperate, emotional brain overrides the logical bit.

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