1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Medications for depression, your experience

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by mnguy, May 23, 2017.

  1. mnguy

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    .
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but thought maybe there would be more experience with this here and didn't see a mental health area. Basically I'm looking to hear about other people's experience with going on meds for depression.

    Based on studies I've read, I was really hoping regular exercise, good sleep, healthy diet and talk therapy would work to help me feel happier, have some motivation, find hope and enjoy life, but seems like it's not. My concerns about meds are side effects and how long it may take to get the right one/dosage to bring me up, but not too high. I also wonder if I've been down for so long that it's part of my identity and I'd feel fake being happier. How messed up is that? Like I wouldn't feel like me. I can barely remember when I was happy and what I was like then. Was that just a fake happiness I performed as expected to fit in and as I got older I got tired of faking it and gradually stopped? I dunno, just thought I'd ask what experiences you've had and if you had similar concerns and how they turned out. Thanks!
     
  2. Worker Bee

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Messages:
    862
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Manchester
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I'm on medication for depression. I've not had any side effects that I've noticed. It isn't a cure all but it is helping me get through the day without any major breakdowns etc. I've recently had the dosage increased and I'm hoping I will be able to start doing the kind of things that will help me climb out of my black hole.
     
  3. Mysteria

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2017
    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Oregon
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I have bipolar disorder, so I've really struggled with the depression. Even my highs aren't happy highs, they're irritable highs.

    For me, none of the self help stuff I did helped with depression until I found a medicine that worked. Once I did, THEN the self help stuff and therapy started being effective. It's not a cure all and it won't "numb" you or make you artificially happy, although it may feel that way at first simply because you're used to feeling down over everything. You'll eventually get the hang of it. I think once depression is moderate to severe, getting meds in there results in the best overall outcome.
    It took me a while to find the right medicine (and it's trickier with bipolar because anti-depression meds can make you manic) but I'm the best I've been in years.
     
  4. justaguyinsf

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2016
    Messages:
    545
    Likes Received:
    299
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I have taken Zoloft in the past primarily for anxiety and depressed mood, although I probably wasn't clinically depressed. I found it to be very helpful but eventually went off it very gradually because of the side effects. The side effects I found most problematic were weight gain, which I think is common with most SSRI's, emotional numbness, meaning that after being on the drug for a while my emotions both high and low became very flat. The sexual side effects were not as much of a problem. I would take it again if I needed to but only if things got really bad and I simply could not function without the drug.
     
  5. Rana

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    420
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Not me personally, but I have a close family member and also a close friend who were both on depression meds at some point. My friend still takes it and is doing fine. My family member needed it for some time to help him deal with some stuff, then he slowly came off of them when his doctor said it was ok. There's nothing wrong with needing help, and these meds do help lots of people. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor.

    I believe modern medicine can be quite helpful if administered correctly, so never feel bad about that. It's great that we live in a time when we have these choices & means of help. Heck, if I could take a pill and resolve anything I would. I wonder if there's a pill for pessimism when I have those bad days when life looks bleak. Or a pill for courage or hope...wouldn't that be nice? I would inject hope if I could... I need some today.
     
  6. PatrickUK

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2014
    Messages:
    6,382
    Likes Received:
    1,646
    Location:
    England
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I don't believe antidepressants will make you feel any happier. In most cases, antidepressants have a numbing and dulling effect and it's certainly true that they are not without side effects.

    I would suggest therapy is the way to go and only take antidepressants if there is a real, clinical need. Sad to say that some doctors/physicians are very quick to medicate and not quick enough to refer patients for therapy.

    I know you have already been down the therapy route, but it's not clear how long for. Has it been the same therapist all the time? Sometimes, we need to be prepared to stop and work with someone new if we are not making the desired progress, even if it does mean starting over.
     
  7. OGS

    OGS
    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    Messages:
    2,671
    Likes Received:
    685
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    For me the meds were very helpful at a particularly bleak time in my life. I had a major depressive episode my senior year in high school. I actually attempted suicide. Had my Mother not had some sort of premonition and literally turned around on her way to work and come home without knowing why I would have died. During that period I had descended into this weird sort of circular thinking. I thought about my problems all the time, but I always thought the same things, over and over...

    For me it was actually the drugs that allowed the therapy to finally work. They sort of lifted me out of that cycle and gave me just enough distance from that cycle of thought. It wasn't that they made me not think about my problems but rather that they allowed me to finally think different thoughts about them. Once I was able to do that I was able to go off the meds in pretty short order.
     
  8. mnguy

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    .
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Thanks for all the input, I appreciate it! I've seen two therapists since last August with a few months off between the two. I came out to both of them on the first sessions since I know being closeted so long is related to my depression/anxiety so I wanted that out there right away. I went to the 2nd one since the first one had a full schedule when I asked to start again. The current one is gently suggesting I consider meds thinking it may be needed to get me out of the rut like OGS mentions. I'd have to see a doctor to get the prescription. I'm not suicidal or having breakdowns, yet I think it would be a relief if I got a terminal illness and it would all be over in several months. When I think about that then I feel bad for all the people who are in that situation and really do want to live and here I am with no hardships in life yet not appreciating my life and wasting day after day. I talked about that with the therapists. I feel a little better when I can get motivated and work on things each day, but getting started is usually the hurdle. I sit here reading news, blogs, forums etc which is interesting, but there are so many other things I should be doing. I did bake some strawberry, almond and white chocolate chip muffins today so that's something and the house smells amazing right now! Ok, I'm going outside to do some stuff.

    Any other advice, experience or suggestions are welcome. Thanks again!!
     
  9. beenthrdonetht

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,315
    Likes Received:
    482
    Location:
    California
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    @Patrick, yeah I wish they made me happier. Although then they'd probably be terrible addictive.

    What they do do is remove the horrible "I'm permanently falling, disaster is about to happen, there is no meaning, why do anything?" That's crippling. The way I put it: there's always something in your pre-conscious that is saying "is this worth it?" Normally it concerns itself with "Should I wash this glass I'm going to use again soon?" For some nature/nurture reasons, it can get stuck on "Nothing is worth doing" and absolutely rages at you to STOP everything. I wouldn't wish that on anybody... OK, maybe a few jerks.

    Most SSRIs have a reputation of making it hard to orgasm. I sure experienced that. Could be good if you have premature issues. Wellbutrin (bupropion) has the reputation of making you more horny. I have experienced that to a relatively tame degree. But I wasn't complaining.

    Important note: I am not a medical doctor. I am relating only my own experience. Everyone's chemistry is different. Maybe someday they will check your DNA and prescribe exactly what you need.
     
  10. SiennaFire

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2015
    Messages:
    2,157
    Likes Received:
    235
    Location:
    Boston
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Make sure that you understand the cause of your depressive episodes. If you have anxiety and depression, the meds are very different than for depression alone.
     
  11. BiGuy365

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Family only
    I have seen a psych in the past year and I am now on Cymbalta and Trileptal. I think I found a good dosage and feel better.
     
  12. Soundofmusic

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    664
    Location:
    Caribbean
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I've been on Wellbutrin for almost 3 years, basically since I came out and went into a huge depression because of my trigger. I was hesitant to get on it because I don't want to depend on meds, but I gave it time (which is key with any anti-depressant) and it really worked.

    Here's why I like it:
    1. I generally feel good.
    2. It helped me quit smoking after being a smoker for 10 years.
    3. It suppressed my apetite a bit so I lost some weight
    4. It keeps me balanced.

    Here's why I don't like it:
    1. If I miss even one day of it, I feel off.
    2. I'm now really afraid to get off.

    I don't foresee dropping it anytime soon because I've always been prone to depressions and it's worked out well for me. I'd say it's worth giving a shot, but you can't expect it to work right off the bat.

    BTW I also take klonopyn for anxiety. I find its a good mix
     
  13. RollerWolf

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2017
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I have anxiety and depression and have been on mess for it for about 3 years. Specifically I take citalopram (SSRI) and buspirone (anti-anxiety) and I have found them to be very helpful. The side effects of buspirone have been minimal for me personally. I did have some side effects going on to and stepping up citalopram. For about two weeks I was super hungry and very neaseated all the time so no food was appealing at all. However once I got to my current dose I have found the side effects to be pretty minimal.

    The things you mentioned in your post (getting exercise, sleeping well, eating well and talk therapy) can be very helpful but depending on your specific situation meds may be helpful/necessary. For me I was eating well and exercising but my anxiety was preventing me from sleeping well. After going on meds I found that my sort of baseline anxiety/depression went down enough that I could function much better and start to work on ways to address underlying issues contributing to me anxiety/depression.

    If you are trying the things you mention in your post and not seeing improvements it may be worth talking to you doctor about despression meds. Meds won't get rid of your depression but you may find that they get it to a manageable level for other other things like therapy to become helpful for you. It's also worth noting that Talk therapy isn't the only kind of therapy and may be not the kind of therapy that works best for you. DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) are two types that come to mind but I'm sure there are others. Maybe looking into other therapy techniques would be helpful for you.
     
  14. confused04

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    13
    Gender:
    Female
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Oh man. The bold parts are exactly my fears and thoughts about my depression.

    I am 36, and had a major depressive episode the summer after I graduated college, at 21. I actually have a hard time believing I am depressed because it just feels like me. My T and psychiatrist both agree that after my depressive "break," I have been chronically depressed (dysthymia). I have felt this way for so long, I literally can not think of any other way to be. It feels like my personality, and it is something I struggle with constantly. I do not feel like I have any "right" to be depressed because I was not abused nor did I experience any major trauma growing up.

    ANYWAY. I will not go into my life story. Currently, I've been on the same medication for about 2 years, and my T and psychiatrist both think it has helped me from falling too far down in the pit when my mood plummets. I still am on the fence about it. I am very wishy-washy on the topic of anti-depressants. But, I am trusting outside opinions on this.

    I have had no side effects, other than when I did not take my Effexor for 3 days, I rapidly plummeted in mood and thought I was losing my mind. SOOO...don't do that :wink:

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
     
  15. CyclingFan

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2014
    Messages:
    1,362
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Northern CA
    Oh, whoa...the withdrawal on Effexor is awful. I didn't even go 3 days, and I was on a pretty low dosage and it was awful. Nothing at all like missing a celexa. There is another one that I can't recall with similar reported effects. If I recall correctly, it's also an SSNI, meaning that it changes your brain's processing of norepinephrine in addition to serotonin.
     
  16. Mysteria

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2017
    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    102
    Location:
    Oregon
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Second that. I had to cold turkey Effexor because it was making me dangerously manic and it totally screwed with my mood. I was like a hyperactive bipolar cartoon character or something...one minute I was crying and sobbing, the next I couldn't sit still...it was awful.

    However, Cymbalta (a SNRI like Effexor), which I have taken to try to help my fibro and depression in one pill had NOTHING like the Effexor when it came to either side effects or withdrawal. Two drugs in the same class can be completely and totally different.
     
  17. BiGuy365

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2016
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Family only
    I hate the dependence on meds, so I try to keep the doses low. I moved once and had to find a new doc to get a refill; I was not in a good place and scared to have withdrawals. I practically begged for a refill quicker, but they took their time and I went into a bad drop in mood for a few days. I finally got taken care of, but I don't like having that dependency. I have been able to manage a lower dose now, but I take other meds also.
     
  18. mnguy

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,814
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    .
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Thanks again for sharing your experiences. Something with withdrawal or going manic does not sound good. Just to clarify is manic where you're super energized, don't sleep or eat much and feel on top of the world? I have a relative who had that problem that took a long time to find the right med dose/combo and is another concern. Luckily he had someone around to notice the problem and get him help, but I don't really. I think dealing with this alone scares me too. At least I function well enough and am consistent and familiar with my moods. I guess I'll have to talk to more people, maybe see what a Dr would recommend for me and then research it.

    Thanks again and have a great weekend, everyone!!
     
  19. yeehaw

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    I take an antidepressant, and another medication in addition to that for extra help with anxiety. My experience has been that the antidepressant has really helped A TON with depression and was especially helpful with suicidal ideation. I tried for a looooooong time to avoid meds (bright light therapy, high doses of omega 3s, exercise, therapy, accupuncture and more), but eventually I became ridiculously obsessed with suicide. I had gathered the means, had them in my home, and was refusing tell my therapist all of the details because I was afraid she would hospitalize me. Eventually it all just felt too dangerous to me and I asked about trying meds. I don't regret it. Good luck figuring out what's right for you!