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Anti-Depressants
#1
So I have previous not had the best experience with anti-depressants. Either they don't have the desired effect, cause side effects or just didn't do anything. I have kind of not accepted that I have a problem with depression, with anxiety, yes, but always kind of brushed off the depression as a result of just my situation. Depression is definitely worse for me in the winter time, it's dark, cold, less stuff to do outside, maybe vitamin D. But I do seem to go through periods where I am more depressed. Not depressed in that I am considering hurting myself, just an overall dismal outlook on everything. Stuck in a rut if you will.

There is no shortage of things for me to do, things to work on. I have paintings, for instance, that I started in 2018 that are left unfinished. I simply haven't had the spark of interest to complete them. Same thing is beginning to happen with other hobbies.

Originally I was prescribed an anti-depressant for anxiety. First was Buspar, which is used to treat anxiety. It did nothing, if anything made it worse. So I stopped taking that. Then I was prescribed Celexa (citalopram) which made me sick and found it intolerable. Then Zoloft (sertraline) which didn't cause side effects at first but after 2 weeks it kind of made me a bit of a zombie, that is, I felt emotionless and sex drive went out the window. Not sure if I want to try Zoloft again, or try something different like Prozac (fluoxetine) or Effexor (venlafaxine). Not sure if the zombie feeling would have gone away since a lot of these medications take 4 weeks or longer to do their thing, so I read.

I do feel that with anxiety, you can learn to deal with and can make yourself better to an extent. It doesn't really go away but you get better and handling things. Depression is a different animal though. I don't think learning to cope with depression is a good alternative. It just kicks you when you're down. I mean I have been more cognizant of my thoughts and have kept myself out of that headspace. Of course staying busy and doing shit helps, but again between the time of year and just losing interest in shit.

I don't think it is SAD, seasonal affect disorder. One might come to that conclusion given that my depression worsens in the winter, but it never really goes away. It's not always bad and I can't say that every moment is awful, I mean sometimes I do just fine. Hard to really put my finger on it.

I guess what I am getting at, those of you who either have knowledge of these medications, have been on or are taking these medications, what's your experience been? Should I take the leap of faith or find a better way to cope?
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
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#2
My depressions and anxiety are so bad that drugs have saved my life. The cocktail that works for me is Wellbutrin, Effexor, Trazodone and Lamotrigine. Ativan for ‘emergencies’. Side effects are ‘flatter’ emotions, reduced Sex drive and weight gain. I’ve learned to live with that.
Bernd

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#3
Having "self-medicated" xanax definitely not a fan of the benzodiazepine family of drugs and damn they sure do work in the short term but there's hell to pay coming off. Also, obvious point, don't self-medicate. I was lucky that the withdrawal effects weren't worse, of course hindsight is 20/20.

The "flatter emotions" is something I'm a bit at odds with. I do want to still feel and all, just want to get rid of that constant "overcast" and dreary feeling and the thoughts that seems to follow. I know that being aware of your thoughts and taking control and all that is the same way you can hold off anxiety, but being depressed seems to be a bit more difficult. Kind of like barring the door and someone has a battering ram, eventually they'll get in. I don't know, it is difficult to describe. Plus, anxiety.... I have pretty bad social anxiety. I have come a long way from where I've been but I still hate doing a lot of "normal" things, I just push through it. Things like going to restaurants, shopping.... any places that's crowded or having to socialize with people I don't know. I just avoid it. I don't really know how any of these drugs are at changing how you feel in these situations.

I did hear that there is a DNA test that is supposed to help determine which of the drugs out there are likely to be most effective. Not sure how accurate that is, never had that test suggested in the past, but in 2014 I also didn't have insurance either.
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#4
I've dealt with anxiety most of my life, not so much on a daily basis but overreacting to situations which others would find relatively normal. Case in point. About 20 years ago I developed a problem with white coat syndrome, which is essentially means the thought of going to the doctor turns me into a basket case. As a result my blood pressure would be thru the roof when I got there. My solution was to stop going to the doctor. Great idea right? Aside from anything else you can't treat anxiety without going to the doctor. Well 20 years later I developed a hernia which had reached the point where it looked like it was going to blow. The anxiety of thinking about waking up in the middle of the night with a burst hernia finally exceeded the anxiety of going to the doctor so I managed to get myself there and found a great surgeon I was actually comfortable with. Turned out I had a double hernia that needed to be repaired along with a huge hydrocele in my scrotum that needed to be drained. Meanwhile primary doc put me on BP medicine which still doesn't do anything when I go for office visits. BP still between 160 and 170 when he takes it. He keeps pushing for more meds but I've got myself convinced more will impact my daily life. Of course they don't prescribe drugs for behavioral issues so without seeing a specialist I can't get anything that will calm me down during office visits. I read that Benadryl can have an effect on anxiety. Anyone else ever read this?
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#5
@calgor I can relate to the white coat syndrome. I'm sure it bumps my BP up some but thankfully they already know my deal with anxiety and suspect that. Once you get over 140 they do want to figure out why that is and be sure it is anxiety. One thing I might suggest and you may already do this is take your BP at home, when you're relaxed and resting. If you see numbers over 140/90 you might want to take your doctor up on increasing your BP medication.

I really resisted taking a statin drug. All kinds of shit on YouTube about how they're terrible and how the pharmaceuticals are raking in billions. I resisted enough that I switched doctors. My new doctor wasn't having it, she said "I've lost many patients from heart attacks and strokes, but I've never lost a patient because they took a statin." The way I look at it now is that some of these drugs aren't great but having a stroke, having a heart attack is much worse than what taking a statin does in 30 years. So while I am reluctant to take medications, even Tylenol for a headache, I have come around on some things and have to concede to the fact that many of these medications do work and am better off taking something than being dead.

As far as Benadryl for anxiety I would exercise caution. Seems that you can take Benadryl for anxiety for the short term but you also might risk falling asleep at the wheel leaving the doctor's office or have other adverse effects. https://www.verywellmind.com/can-benadry...ty-4691024

I'm not sure what to suggest but I am usually quite nervous at the doctor's office myself. I have simply closed my eyes and just done deep breathing (which they're going to have you do anyway). One thing to remember, they might prescribe a medication, a procedure, etc. but at the end of the day you decide what is right for you. Of course, I don't know what drives your anxiety at the doctor's office but if there's a way to deal with it head on it would be beneficial. I would also suggest getting a referral to see a therapist. Finding a good therapist, one you can connect with, trust, etc. but they may be able to help you out and it's not the same as going to the doctor.

In the heat of the moment it is straight up hell, in retrospect...well that wasn't a big deal. That's how anxiety works for me and I suspect it is largely the same for other people. I try to have an outside perspective of things to try to deal with things, even when it doesn't work it does help with the understanding part. Or maybe I'm crazy.
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#6
I tried the home BP kit when I first developed the problem 20 years ago. Worked fine at first then I could feel myself starting to get stressed out every time I tried to take it. By the time I was done I was getting readings over 180. That's when I just threw my hands up and said the hell with it. Funny thing was 5 years later I wound up in the ER after getting bit by a dog and BP was 132/73. Go figure. Similarly in recovery following the hernia surgery it was 130/76.

Doctor did suggest the home kit this time as well. I got it and sure enough as soon as I started fooling around with it I could feel myself getting worked up again. I'm trying to figure out some way to use it while doing something else to see if it would take my mind off it. TBD. Right now I'm on 2 meds for it but it really bothers me thinking that maybe the only reason I'm taking it is so I can get thru the next appt. I do agree with your statement about it being no big deal in retrospect. Every time I leave the doc's office I can feel myself deflating.

Regarding what drives my anxiety now it's essentially all centered around what the BP will be every time I go. I'd love to get hypnotized and have it taken but I don't see that happening. I wish I could just get a low dose of something like valium and take it before going for visits, but that apparently requires a psychiatrist these days and I'm not sure I want to get involved with that. My sister's been in therapy for years and gone thru all kinds of shit with the different medicines they've tried on her.
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#7
(02-01-2022, 08:49 PM)calgor Wrote: I wish I could just get a low dose of something like valium and take it before going for visits, but that apparently requires a psychiatrist these days and I'm not sure I want to get involved with that. My sister's been in therapy for years and gone thru all kinds of shit with the different medicines they've tried on her.

Some of that stuff, not sure on valium, can just lower your BP just as a side effect. I'd avoid those types of medications, they're definitely not for the long term (most of them) and they're easy to abuse because they do work.

Only thing I can think of is just wear the cuff, put on TV, read a book, something to distract you. Then just turn it on at random.

See I used to be worried about the BP because I didn't want to get on meds lol.

However, I do think something like this is something that you have the ability to overcome. Try to be aware of your thoughts and feelings and try to divert your attention away from the worry about the BP. One thing to try is to focus your senses on something else, something you can see, something you can hear, something you can touch and something you can taste. Can be something as mundane as a painting on the wall, the sound of the air coming through the HVAC, the feeling of the fabric on the chair, maybe bring some candy. Kind of like meditation. Might be something to try out. Of course, I make these suggestions and need to consider them myself. It is difficult to meditate because of all the distractions, like literally I just got a notification on my phone while typing all this.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
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#8
(02-01-2022, 03:12 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: I guess what I am getting at, those of you who either have knowledge of these medications, have been on or are taking these medications, what's your experience been? Should I take the leap of faith or find a better way to cope?

My personal experience is the medication I’ve tried when depression hits is more of a placebo/comfort blanket to feel like I’m doing *something* to try and end the depression, although I have never really felt a positive change from the medication and the doctors always say it takes a long time to have any effect. In the end I kind of just weather the storm until I can cope on my own and it passes. Some people may read that as ‘well maybe it was the medication helping you weather the storm!’ but I really don’t think it helps with the immediate days/weeks which are always the hardest. The only good thing about them was they made me really drowsy, when I have an episode I crave being asleep (when I feel safe/switched off) so this helped.

I’ve come to accept now that time I truly is  only healer for my episodes. I just remind myself I always get through them and just get through each individual day (I find during depression it’s better to focus on the smallest goals and just take each day as it comes). I find it really really hard to be sociable and internalise as soon as a bout starts, luckily I have some really close friends who know when this happens I’m not being rude, I am in a way trying to shield them from what I see as the less fun version of the friend they usually know. However towards the end of an episode I have to start talking to people close to me again to help me get back to normality.

@InbetweenDreams in summary, I don’t know if any of this helps but one thing I’ve said here before is if any of us ever feel low, depressed etc - we are not alone x
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#9
@InbetweenDreams That's pretty much where I'm at right now. Initially I'm gonna try putting the cuff on, wearing it for a bit, and taking it off while just trying to get past the initial jolt that comes with the idea of taking the BP. Hoping I can get to the point where it's no longer a big deal and then press the button and inflate the cuff.
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#10
(02-01-2022, 11:15 PM)IanSaysHi Wrote: My personal experience is the medication I’ve tried when depression hits is more of a placebo/comfort blanket to feel like I’m doing *something* to try and end the depression, although I have never really felt a positive change from the medication and the doctors always say it takes a long time to have any effect. In the end I kind of just weather the storm until I can cope on my own and it passes. Some people may read that as ‘well maybe it was the medication helping you weather the storm!’ but I really don’t think it helps with the immediate days/weeks which are always the hardest. The only good thing about them was they made me really drowsy, when I have an episode I crave being asleep (when I feel safe/switched off) so this helped.

I’ve come to accept now that time I truly is  only healer for my episodes. I just remind myself I always get through them and just get through each individual day (I find during depression it’s better to focus on the smallest goals and just take each day as it comes). I find it really really hard to be sociable and internalise as soon as a bout starts, luckily I have some really close friends who know when this happens I’m not being rude, I am in a way trying to shield them from what I see as the less fun version of the friend they usually know. However towards the end of an episode I have to start talking to people close to me again to help me get back to normality.

@InbetweenDreams in summary, I don’t know if any of this helps but one thing I’ve said here before is if any of us ever feel low, depressed etc - we are not alone x

That's kind of what I worry about, that I'm going to get on something that does nothing or almost nothing. I will have to say that Zoloft did make a change, but I just felt nothing and forget sex. I do have friends but they're not always available to talk to, or I feel like I'm being a pest and whether I am or not is not known but that's how I often feel.

(02-02-2022, 12:14 AM)calgor Wrote: @InbetweenDreams That's pretty much where I'm at right now. Initially I'm gonna try putting the cuff on, wearing it for a bit, and taking it off while just trying to get past the initial jolt that comes with the idea of taking the BP. Hoping I can get to the point where it's no longer a big deal and then press the button and inflate the cuff.

Are you concerned that your BP will test high or does it make you feel like you're at the doctor's office? One thing that tends to help me, if I can get my attention focused in the right direction, is comedy. Anything funny helps me. Here lately I have been on a Bill Burr kick. He's funny as hell, one of the better stand up comics in recent history and has a zero fucks given attitude which I like. Kind of helps me relax oddly enough. Almost like how opposites tend to work, like listening to heavy metal results in being calmer. I mean, I'm not saying put on some Slayer and take your BP but something that will draw your attention away. Same thing goes to how I deal with getting blood drawn, I just look away, no way in fucking hell am I looking at that shit go in my arm. I mean, I'm not the squeamish type but something about watching them do that to you. Once I almost passed out when they drew blood and ever since I've been a bit more anxious and not looking forward to that part of the doctor's visit.
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