Considering medication again

I’m afraid I may have been wrong to go off medication. I’m afraid I may have been wrong to write off medication completely.  A couple of comments in this post echoed what was already going through my mind. Because yes, I have only tried one medication and perhaps there is one out there at the right dosage that would benefit me?

I’ve been feeling worse than I have in months. Does this coincide with my cessation of the Lexapro? Maybe yes, maybe no. I’ve been considering whether it would be worth starting medication again. Obviously medication doesn’t fix everything. I’m still in doubt as to whether antidepressants do have an effect on depression. But perhaps I was a little more stable while on them?

But what if I’m considering going back on medication for all the wrong reasons? There is a part of me that still doubts I have depression or a mental illness at all. Being prescribed antidepressants is in a way validates and provides evidence that I do. Wanting to be medicated just to prove to myself and others that I have this illness is not a legitimate reason.

There’s also the age old, ‘I’ll be fine, I don’t need medication! I’m going to spontaneously get happy and healthy and better and all that jazz without the aid of meds, or any help at all!’ Wishful thinking, avoidance or optimisim..?

I’m not keen on experiencing those dreaded adverse effects upon starting medication. Then again, a week’s worth of side effects is worth months of greater stability, assuming medication works. Especially when I’m due to recommence studies at University next year, I really cannot afford to fail again. These past couple of weeks have seen me laying in bed with the feelings of hopelessness pressing down on me days I’ve not been forced to get up for work, being unable to concentrate on more than a few of pages of novels before giving up and retreating to my bed or to the computer, crying, and generally just feeling emotionally flat. Then again, it could just be a reaction to feeling let down and screwed over by ex-psychologist #2 and psychiatrist…

One thing I’m certain is an effect of the Lexapro though is the ability, or lack of, to cry. Crying almost everyday while off the medication isn’t really favourable. But neither is being emotionless and numb while on it. Crying for me can be a cathartic release and being on the Lexapro hinders that ability.

So would I discuss this with Dr T? I’m not quite sure. There’s my damned pride getting in the way, the ‘Oh dammit, you as the ‘professional’ was right after all’. Furthermore, I don’t want it to be seen that my wanting to go back on medication is some desperate attempt at halting her discharge of me as a patient.

If I don’t restart medication with Dr T, I’m considering going to a GP and asking for medication that way. I’m generalizing I know, but after speaking with three of them, I’ve come to the conclusion that most psychiatrists are twats. GPs, well, not a big fan of them either, and generally they’re not too clued up about mental illnesses. Finding one with experience in treating mental illness can pose a challenge. Still, they’re more likely to just give me the medication and send me off on my merry way while they go fix up the patients presenting with illnesses for which they were trained in.

So say I’m prescribed the medication again. Then what? I know what I’m like. There’s a chance I won’t take it due to being afraid of having to take long term medication again. There’s the temptation to stockpile medications in case things get too much, because I know not taking the medication won’t prompt those unpleasant withdrawal effects in going cold turkey if I wasn’t even taking it in the first place.  

Ack, why must decisions regarding treatment be so difficult? Though, I’m all too aware it is ME who makes things difficult for myself. If only I was completely compliant with treatment; took all medication prescribed, asked for help when I’ve needed it, opened up, talked, then I wouldn’t be dealing with this right now. Unfortunately, that’s not how I operate.

12 thoughts on “Considering medication again

  1. I have been fighting the medicate or not to medicate for years. I am on a drug that is quite strong and therefore when I am on it I am completey stoned. Unable to function stoned, sleep for up to 24 hrs at a time stoned. So i went off of it beginning of summer. By fall I was suicidal and in such a deep depression I was paralyzed. So i went back on it. Now I have to decide which is the lesser of two evils. I hate both of them. Life sucks on or off meds. Sounds like this is where your at now – take meds or not,…. I’m sure you’ll decide for the best.

  2. In my opinion , I would say to keep trying meds. That’s what I had to do and while doing it— i will admit— there were many moments of miserable times…but looking back now- it was very worth it. I am very thankful that I finally found meds that have managed my emotions/feelings. I won’t lie and say it’s a happy pill and makes everything great…because things aren’t but I know without them- things would be much worse.

    My psych told me that it’s a trial and error thing and eventually you will find what it is that works. Keep trying babe. Hang in there

  3. Hi,

    Your last para is the key to your quandries about medication and illness generally, if you can accept that just self harm on its own is evidence of mental illness.

    Crying should be cathartic, but crying every day… that’s just exausting and debilitating and an indicator that no matter what you desire to believe about yourself, you suffer wuth quite severe depression.

    As far as medication goes, I agree with other readers of your blog: you need to try duffering amounts or different types for a much longer period before you know if it really helps you. But I do sympathise about side-effects and how they get in the a

  4. I think you should try the meds. Sometimes it does take time for you to find the right one and I know you know this. Crying every day is a clear sign of depression, as is sleeping all the time when you are not working and not being able to concentrate on two pages of a novel. I had all these and more when I was depressed just recently. If I hadn’t gone on anti-depressants, I believe my life would be much much worse. In the end I had to take two months off of work and seven weeks in hospital. I don’t want that to happen to you.

  5. Continued… Get in the way of feeling utterly present in life. I think that for now, you might try to view medication as a bridge to support your passage from one side of a chasm to another, while preventing you falling into a pit of destructive depression. You, like many people reading this, may not have to take meds long-term. Indeed, I don’t take anything anymore – but that is because I live very much in the open as far as i’ve learned. This is so that others can help me. I see a therapist as you know, and this is because I want to challenge the behaviours and reactions that have caused my bipolar disorder to flare up. I fundamentally am comitted to this process to help myself.

    On the subject of challenge, I think you really need a therapist to push you to challenge your view of yourself. your last paragraph shows your awareness of how you could help yourself; but you also demostrate that you are either unwilling to change or unaware of how crucial it is to do so. I wonder how much of this is due to fear? Fear of responsibilty of the consequences of being well. Do you worry that being well warrants even less of the love and attention you crave from your parents?

    I really hope that you do go back to the psychiatrist. I don’t know what it is like in Oz, but in the uk, doctors might continue an old script, but to try other meds like yours they will normally refer you to a psychiatrist any way, b

  6. Continued… Because quacks have the expertise with psychiatric medication.

    I’m really sorry to be patronising, or harsh. But you are an intelligent woman: and I think you know that at least elements of what I’ve said are on the money. Just please don’t let stubborness or fear get in the way if your freedom to be happy and fulfilled in the future. Ask for help with an open mind.

    With love and hope for you,

    X Clarissa

  7. Can’t say that much on the subject…but around june/july this year i went on meds for the first time. Granted, it’s only a low dose – 20mg of fluoxetine daily – but for me it’s working wonders. Obviously it doesn’t solve everything and there still are the down moments, but for me (and i know it’s different with everybody) the downs are a lot lot lot lot shorter and never seem as harsh. I can concentrate on school work much more and am more motivated to be optimistic and try at things. My sleep and general routine is also a lot better – which is beneficial to a lot of things. Also helps me be more proactive about getting help/trying to help myself because it’s lifted me out of the slump of depression and the ‘i can’t be bothered to get help/try because it won’t make a difference’ attitude.

    All i can say is, obviously it’s your decision, but after trying one and being VERY lucky at finding one that works first time and first dose, if you find one that’s good for you – then it might be brilliant. My GP (who i went to to get it) also recommends being on it for about 6 months solid after the initial side effects have gone then trying to slowly come off it if i feel it’s right – definitely wouldn’t recommend it for a looooong time, but short time it can be good.

  8. i think it would be a good idea to try some different meds. Like you say, you’ve only tried one, they all work slightly differently, and get the right dose-and it can make a ten fold difference in how you feel-even if it just helps to make you feel more motivated. I’ve been through a lot of meds trying to find the right ones-the thing is they have all done their thing for a short while, then it plateus and i find myself upping to max doses, then needing to change. In my experience you get used to the effect of the med, so if you go through a bad oatch, its not ashelpful. heres what i think about meds-that they are NOT a long ter solotion to depression, but they are a quick start to finding the motivation to function on a real basis level, so that gradually, you can find ways to start tackling it yourself, through other ways. I’ve taken some horrid meds that have made me zone out and not know what my name was-ive also taken some that have probably stabalised to the point of saving my life.

    swings and roundabouts i guess


  9. I can relate to your issue with whether to go on meds or not. I had the same with antipsychotics for irritability: was on one briefly in 2007 and was hospitalized three weeks after stopping it. No-one ever suggested this was the reason for the crisis, but I’ve always suspected it was part of the reason. Then again, I was on that antipsychotic for all the wrong reasons. In early 2010, I contemplated whether to go back on a different antipsychotic for the same symptoms, but in different circumstances. I decided for it and am happy that I did.

  10. Hey there. I think you’re a lot like me, in that you are very aware of your situation–i.e., your feeling, thoughts, and emotions. All of us who suffer with anxiety and depression probably are. We may be TOO aware. I question whether I need to be on medication all the time, but I think this voice comes from the part of me that doesn’t want to get better–the part that doesn’t want to change.

    “But what if I’m considering going back on medication for all the wrong reasons? There is a part of me that still doubts I have depression or a mental illness at all. Being prescribed antidepressants is in a way validates and provides evidence that I do.”

    I think this can be the case, but it all depends on your perspective. What if you could wake up in the morning and take your medication with a positive attitude? With the attitude that says, “Sure, I don’t want to be taking this pill, but it may be helping me. It may be bringing some stability to my life.”

    “If only I was completely compliant with treatment; took all medication prescribed, asked for help when I’ve needed it, opened up, talked, then I wouldn’t be dealing with this right now. Unfortunately, that’s not how I operate. ”

    I think you can operate in this manner. If you are aware enough that you should operate in this manner to recover, then I think you do have the capacity within to do it. Maybe a starting over would help? Finding a new pdoc or GP, trying a different type of therapy. I think you are doing yourself a great service by questioning your beliefs. Just by typing up this post you are pushing against some of your deep-seeded beliefs about yourself.

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