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Anti Depressants

CLove's picture

Ok, this is a tough topic and I touched on it in a Blog Post earlier.

Ive been researching, because I am rather clueless about anti-depressants, and am looking to further my knowledge. Its not random. SD22 Feral Forger has been off/on them since the age of 13, according to DH.

She claims that she has to be on them indefinitely. Her mother Toxic Troll is also on them (indefinitely) and sais that the mood swings are are result of being off them because of running out.

Im not trying to fix anything or solve a problem or issue because Im out of all this (yay!) but am curious and this is an important issue to be aware of. Mental health being what it is, those of us who do not take these medications tend to not have the same level of empathy or understanding that perhaps we should. Not that this will cause me to reach out and try to have a relationship with Feral Forger, because at this point "Im out of everything".

I cannot imagine the life of someone who would need and depend on them. But I would like to be able to at least understand. So, if you have links or something, a personal story, Id appreciate it.

 

 

Merrigan's picture

I've been on anxiety medication for at least 15 years.  Stress has been hitting me hard lately, so I've been prescribed an additional anti depressant med (and lots of therapy).  I take Lexapro and Wellbutrin XL.  There's definitely withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking either. But it certainly doesn't involve turning into a violent loon like your SD.

As for having to take the medication, it's allowed me to function without the fear of panic attacks (except for recently), which are debilitating. 

CLove's picture

Thank you for sharing your journey. If you are ok with it, can you share what the symptoms are? 

Im sorry to hear of your life stress. I can understand - life by itself can be stressful. 

Merrigan's picture

Aw thanks. I'm getting through it.

Withdrawl for me involves brain zaps, dizziness, sensitivity to sound, and a bit of moodiness.  I start feeling the withdrawal after about two missed doses. 

Thumper's picture

Brain zaps?

OMG sounds awful

(((HUGS))))

Anywhere else in or on your face/head that you feel that?

 

Merrigan's picture

Not really. It's the lightheadedness that follows after a brain zap that sucks the most. 

Merrigan's picture

The panic attacks that started a year ago are the main reason I'm on the second medication.  For me, it's like my body is out of my control. I get lightheaded, lose feeling in my hands, and pass out, all in about five minutes. It's mostly due to high stress events, which my job and life are full of. It's not a normal situation. 

Gimlet's picture

It depends on the person and the drug.  Some of them are worse to stop than others.

I have PDD (Persistant Depressive Disorder) and OCD and have tried just about every modern drug under the sun (with the exception of MAOI and Tricyclic).  None of them really worked in that they did not alleviate the symptoms without causing side effects that were worse than the benefit gained. 

Quitting those meds cold turkey is a BAD idea.  You can get anything from brain zaps, to depressed mood, and suicidal ideation in some people.   My DD is on an SSRI and she feels it when she misses a dose.

I've managed to make my life work with a lot of structured support/activities, but there are days that feel pretty hopeless.  These medications are important for people who have mental health issues and they are not indicative of any sort of weakness or inadequacy on their part.  My brain does not make the right level of neurotransmitters, or uptakes too much of them (and this is true for many people) and it's the same as having a physical problem, except less visible and with more stigma.

There are days I wish I didn't have to spend so much energy righting the ship and could focus on other things.

Here's the other fun part- we still aren't sure of the exact mechanism that makes these meds work.  They cross the blood/brain barrier but it takes weeks for them to start working and if I were a betting person, I would bet that answer will be found in the microbiome at some point.

FF needs to be more responsible with getting her meds filled.   Edit to remove sentence based on clarification below.

CLove's picture

Toxic Troll was explaining to SD15 B/M that the abuse was happening because thats what happens when she is "off her meds", and that she is "happier when she is on them". So it wasnt so much the withdrawals that were mentioned so much as the "state of being when not on them".

That she is an abusive person when not on them and a peach when she is on them.

Since I dont know much about this kind of thing, I just kind of shake my head (thinking that doesnt sound right but Im out of this)...and go "uh huh".

Its frustrating because Ive been accused by these people of being "abusive", but they go off and lash out and call each other names and its "shes off her meds", lol.

But I digress!

Thank you Gimmy for sharing that part of your journey. It sounds very very difficult and Im glad that you found something that will help you improve your life. So many folks do not get the help they need, or self-medicate with drugs.

Gimlet's picture

*

PetSpoiler's picture

I was on them (an SSRI known as Paxil)  for a year and a half.  I have a history of anxiety and panic attacks.  The panic attacks got really bad 20 years ago, about six months after my dad passed away.  The therapist I was seeing believed that they were linked to depression from dad's death.  I've had them off and on since I was a teenager, maybe before.  They go away for years then come back.  

Anyway, I tapered off of them just like my doctor said to do.  At first I would have mild, quick dizzy spells.  It felt like electric zaps or something.  Then I started having the emotional part of withdrawal effects.  I became suicidal.  I didn't let it get far though.  Through prayer the suicidal thoughts went away but I still had major depression and anxiety.  I understand that not everyone shares my beliefs but I'm just telling what happened with me.  The antidepressant didn't just eliminate the panic attacks.  It's like there's a house and every room represents an emotion.  It didn't just turn off the lights in the anxiety room.  It turned off all the lights.  When I came off the antidepressant, all the lights started to come back on.  I went back into therapy and additional counseling through church.  I was going to each once a week.  That's how bad off I was and how much help I needed.  I think that maybe since the antidepressant turned off all my emotions, the unresolved grief over my dad came back only worse.  I had to still process that and deal with the emotions coming back at me amplified.  

I wanted off the med because I wanted a baby and didn't know how the antidepressant would affect a baby.  I found out later that Paxil had been linked to heart problems in babies whose mothers took it during pregnancy.  Needless to say I'm glad I got off of it two years before I got pregnant with my daughter.  I also wanted off of it because it had other side effects that were undesirable to say the least.  

Everybody is different though.  My withdrawal effects were pretty rough.  Someone else could quit cold turkey and be mostly fine.  It depends on the person.  My doctor wanted to put me back on it.  I refused.  I got better but it took a while.  Like months.  I never got violent though.  But I'm not a violent person.  

CLove's picture

Ive read and heard that anti-depressants can turn off all the emotions and "zonk people out", as a result of trying to take away the negative emotions. Like a faucet, or like you mentioned, the lights in the house.

So - talk therapy and prayer helped you through the negative emotions so that you now no longer need to take the medications - is that what Im getting from you?

Congratulations!

I think that Feral Forger - she is getting the zonked out effect. Ive seen it happen - when she was younger. And I wonder if her lack of motivation to get her drivers license and work a regular job might be linked to all this.

Im still trying to figure things out, but stay out of it too.

Feral Forger is a bully. Shes not violent in a physical way. She will yell, and whine and scream and yell. 

SD15 Backstabber/Munchkin and Toxic Troll BM are both physically violent (see my BLOGS). ALthough SD B/M will SWEAR with tears in her eyes that "shes not a violent person, only when pushed to her limits..."

Thank you for giving me a glimpse into this world. 

PetSpoiler's picture

Yes, I got off of the meds and have stayed off.  I do have a bottle of klonopin that a doctor prescribed for me last year but I only took one.  I had way too much caffeine and my body expressed its displeasure via major anxiety.  I now drink decaf.  My body reacts to a lot of things in a bad way.  I hate it.  I still get panic attacks but most of the time they're mild.  

advice.only2's picture

You are assuming the "medications" FF is taking are antidepressants and not street drugs. Just because TT and FF claim something I would not take it as gospel. Meth Mouth used to tell Spawn she had to take "medications" for her PTSD (from being a big ole lying hoe) and that's why she kept getting arrested.

CLove's picture

Yes, Im assuming a LOT. Toxic Troll has had her on "anxiety meds" for a long time, so I might be just figuring that she is also not self-medicating with something else. And having the mood swings from that.

So many different variables and strings to untangle. I know I need to stay out of it, but this is a weak knowledge spot. I dont need to fix anything here, just maybe understand more of what is going on (ACK - Stay out of IT!) 

Meth is very bad for PTSD...from what I understand. Sad what these people tell kids...

Livingoutloud's picture

I am not on meds but am familiar with how it works. Quitting cold turkey is dangerous. One can stop meds but has to come off them slowly under doctor's guidance. Indefinitely doesn't mean forever. It just means right now there is no plan to stop. 

honestly you don't need to be on meds in order to feel compassion towards those who do need medication. Like with any illness you don't need to be sick yourself to undrerstand that other people might be sick. Have you never met anyone who had mental health concerns? Were on medication? Had any illness? Mental health concerns are extremely common. But it's no different than needing meds for diabetes or kidney disease or skin problem. Can you imagine people needing insulin? I suspect yes. Then why are you finding it hard imagining someone needs meds for depression or OCD or anxiety or psychosis? Nothing scary or unusual about it.
 

It's sadly not uncommon to run out of meds or stop taking them becayse it makes person sick. They do have to try not run out and not stop cold turkey without talking to their doctor

 

 

CLove's picture

With my background and the attitudes of people around me, growing up, medications were always referred to as a "crutch" and people were "faking it for attention". I do not know the answers to this asertion so I seek the answers outside of my current "sphere".

I have always thought of mental health as completely different and separate from physical illnesses. Ive known people that were on medications, and it wasnt really discussed at depth. It was personal.

People are MUCH more forthcoming in talking about a sprained ankle, broken femure, shattered collarbone or even about their catheters and heart surgeries, than they are in talking about their panic attacks, anxiety, or other mental illnesses.

My mother suffered from depression and didnt talk about it. My dads a food addict and talks about it incessantly. My brother suffered severe depression and never talked about it other than his goodbye to the world letter. My friends all seem happy and somewhat healthy, and if they werent I dont hear about it. The people that do seem to talk about it a LOT, it seems that they wear it as a badge of honor, or they use it to work whatever system for the sake of victimology.

So, I cant really imagine having a mental illness, I cannot empathize, but I can sympathize, have compassion. And thats why I am seeking knowledge - to help understand this better.

Livingoutloud's picture

There is a lot of literature on the subject. 

it's a misconception that if people are happy, there is no way they have an issue. Mental health concerns or issue or illness doesn't necessarily manifest itself in people being unhappy. Not at all 

taking meds or talking about illness to others isn't the crotch or bring a victim or wanting attention. You could think of wearing glasses. I don't wear glasses because I want attention or am a victim or use it as a crotch. They help me see. Simple as that. I could kind of see without them but not clearly and I'd get a headache etc there is no reason for me to not wear glasses. But some people can't see at all without glasses. They simply need it. Same with having to take meds for any reason. 

there is no shame or some kind of stigma talking about having mental health issue anymore. It's not to get attention or be a victim. Of course some people would use it as that. But some people use any illness for attention. What you described as stigma or people not talking etc is try about old times. In 2021 it's not like that anymore. Unless we are talking about some backwards areas or aren't exposed to variety of people. 

it's also nothing to do with not being tough. People don't choose to have a disorder or got it becayse they aren't tough enough. My DH has tourettes. Sure it's not mental illness, it's neurological but it's comorbid with OCD. He is very upbeat and happy yet medication takes an edge off OCD and calms Tourette's. He isn't taking it as s crotch, it helps him to maintain his carreer otherwise his Tourette's will kick in and it will be too hard to function. And he sure doesn't do any of it for attention. Sadly his Tourette's brings a lot of unwanted attention but he deals with it. 

it's good you are trying to educate yourself. Just because you don't know something ot aren't aware of something or doesn't understand something around you, it doesn't mean it's not there. Just keep learning.  

 

 

DPW's picture

If you consider the idealogies of your "sphere" concerning mental illness, it should not be surprising that many of those with mental illness keep it private. Those idealogies perpetuate the stigma and misconceptions that those with mental illness are lazy, scammers, overly-emotional, purposefully dramatic, doing it on purpose for whatever reason, etc. Many people with mental illness lead productive lives with and without pharma intervention and keep their mouths shut about it simply because of the stigma and misconceptions. 

Livingoutloud's picture

It's a very good point. If these people know about negative attitude towards mental illness in OP's circle or know about prevalent outdated belief that it's not even real, it's totally understandable that they would keep it to themselves and don't share with others around them 

I'd also consider closeness of a friendship. I know about my close friends medical and mental health issues becayse we share. The fact that none of these people share anything of depth might mean they aren't really close friends but more of acquittances and activity partners to go to concerts, parties, eateries, bars or whatever these people do. Not deep friendship kind of thing  

I wonder what area is this. It kind of saddens me that there are still such backwards places in the US. I see none of that where I am at. Not in 2021. 

Aniki's picture

"...it should not be surprising that many of those with mental illness keep it private."

EXACTLY. I've been hammered verbally and virtually (email, PM) for admitting I have not one, but multiple. I'm faking it. I'm lying about it. It's simply a ploy for attention. I may be cracked, but I'm damn well not broken into pieces. With the exception of the rare need for a panic attack pill, I gave up on pharma. So I take my medication when needed and STFU. None of my family members know all of my diagnoses; only that I have panic attacks and OCD (but not the full extent of it).

Aniki's picture

I have OCD, ADHD, BDD, anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. There is NO medication I can take daily that helps. I should clarify: the few meds that actually helped the problem all resulted in untolerable side effects. Nothing like your hands shaking so badly you cannot hold a hairbrush! Aside from meds for the panic attacks (taken only when needed), I've had to find alternatives to handling the other issues. Thankfully, I've managed to get convert the majority of my OCD rituals from physical to mental. So if I take a bit of time to verbally respond, it's quite likely I'm in the midst of a complex, self-induced head game. (people usually think I'm deliberating over the question and my response lol) *crazy*

Anyhoo, as stated above, stopping a med cold turkey is BAD. I've seen someone go through withdrawal from one (it was necessary that he stop ASAP) and it was terrible. Whenever possible, the patient should be weaned off of the medication and under doctor's orders. Certainly not self-UNmedicating.

Gimlet's picture

OCD unite, I can so relate to that pause in answering.

It grinds my gears when people use the term OCD so lightly "OMG, I organize my closet by color, I am sooooo OCD", like bitch no, talk to me when you have an insane thought in your head that you KNOW is insane and you have to stop yourself from doing compulsive things to try to stop it. 

I <3 you and your alphabet soup, Ani. 

Aniki's picture

"OMG, I organize my closet by color, I am sooooo OCD"

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!! You should have witnessed the complex ritual I had to go through when I forgot to lock my freaking car door. The only thing I will say is that - if I was on time - it would put me a solid 5 minutes behind schedule. *dash1*

DH knows I have OCD, but cannot understand how I notice something that has (as he puts it) "been moved a c*nt hair". Well, DH, it's because things MUST be aligned perfectly symmetrically (or in a specific pattern) and those things are no longer in alignment. I notice that "moved a c*nt hair" INSTANTLY and it is now effing with my head. You must now leave the room so I can 'get the cooties off' of what you touched and go through the entire process All.Over.Again. *diablo*

I <3 you, too, Gimmy. xoxo

Livingoutloud's picture

My DHs OCD is not organization related. It's safety related. Without meds he had hard time leaving the house because he thinks someone will break in or there will be fire so he has to do endless rituals to prevent that from happening etc Its much better now 

 

Aniki's picture

I'm not compelled to organize; I use it as a ritual. If I'm really stressed and have nothing else at hand, I will meticulously rearrange/fold anything. You should see what I do with a drinking straw wrapper. *blush*

Aniki's picture

I use numbers and sequences a LOT. And I have quirks regarding numbers. IE; my car radio volume must always be a prime number: 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23. It cannot be anything else. DH knows that, but does not know why. 

CLove's picture

I think DH and SD15 B/M has some of those. I know hes OCD and has anxiety. He smokes and does the CBD.

SD15 B/M tells me she has anxiety.

Does talk therapy help with all these Aniki? Are those the alternatives you mentioned? Im sorry if I seem I am poking around and prodding, but Im genuinely curious. I was always taught "toughen up powder puff", and Im kind of a no-fear personality. VERY non OCD. I get anxious about tests...and driving too fast...heights sometimes, but not often...Im also very very social and comfortable in crowds. 

So, I have a tough time understanding the fear part of things.

Aniki's picture

CLove, you are welcome to poke and prod me. No, talk therapy did nothing for me. Suffice to say I am VERY complex with my rituals and it took me a looooooooong time to be able to convert physical to mental. I do not recommend it. 

I am very UNsocial (unless I'm on a keyboard) and VERY uncomfortable in crowds (I can do very close friends). But I fake it so well, the majority do not realize how much I'm suffering. DH does because he sees me "crash and burn" after social events AND that I need recovery time before I'm up for another. 

Fear. Well, heights bother me because I came close to dying twice: once high up on a waterfall and the other time I almost slid off the edge of a cliff. Until then, I had no fear of heights. The crowds issue I do not consider to be fear - it's discomfort. I don't like being mashed in with people or have strange people touching me. It's an Ick factor. I need personal space and only people I know and am comfortable with touching me. 

Not certain that gives any insight. I'm pretty much just typing as the thoughts come to me so am disorganized. That, and DH just moved my work papers and I'm mentally going through a ritual so I don't smack him in the back of the head before I "fix" what he touched. *shok*

PetSpoiler's picture

I was actually raised similarly.  My mother never has understood my panic attacks. As she's gotten older though, she's at least trying.  I think it's possibly due to knowing that my daughter has anxiety also. 

She had the attitude of "chill out" when I was growing up.  To this day I hate that phrase.  I've used it a few times in my life but have grown to hate it.  Like saying chill out is going to magically make it all better.  But, like I said, she has started trying to understand over the past few years.  

I think anxiety, possibly depression, run in my dad's side of the family.  My grandmother and great-grandmother  would get "nervous".  I wonder if they had the same or similar problems that I have had.  Alcoholism ran in my grandfather's family.  I heard once that it was because of anxiety or depression and they self medicated.  My dad never mentioned any issues himself but I don't remember him telling me to toughen up and he never self medicated either.  He may have understood because of his own family background.  It just wasn't talked about back when I was a kid.  Now more people talk about it.  

JRI's picture

I think you are seeing what I see with SD59.  Yes, she has anxiety and panic attacks but she is ALSO an unreliable,  lying, thieving drug user.  She is on drugs for the panic attacks and anxiety but is too flaky to take them consiustently as prescribed.   Short on money and cant decide whether to get your prescription or buy something to wear?  Easy - buy something to wear, nobody can see your prescription.  Need to go to the drugstore for your refill but also want to lay by the pool?  Easy - lay by the pool.  

As I read the posts by StepTalkers who are trying so conscientiously to handle their issues, I'm thinking how short SD falls.  I'm sure that her getting on and off her meds just makes everything worse and we family members are the ultimate victims.

hereiam's picture

People are on anti-depressants for different reasons and they are a lot easier to get a prescription for than when I was young. A doctor can prescribe them, even if they are not medically necessary. There is depression due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and there is depression that is simply due to circumstances.

If one is on them due to an actual chemical imbalance in the brain, yes, most of those people have to be on them indefinitely. There is a way around that but it involves a lot of work like eating right, exercising, following a routine, making yourself do things that you don't want to do, all things that are hard to do when you are depressed, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

I'm sure everybody has different symptoms from going off of them cold turkey. I did it and had to call my doctor to be weaned off of them. I felt great in the mornings, up early, worked out, great mood, then crashed and felt physically ill by noon. I didn't have violent outbursts but I was older than FF and had more experience dealing with depression.

She might have more going on than just depression, though. Drugs or another, undiagnosed, mental issue.

 

Kes's picture

I have OCD and anxiety (OCD is in fact an expression of anxiety for most) and have been hospitalised in the past - diagnosed with severe clinical depression - but in fact I don't think I had that - I had severe anxiety - but seeing as how there is no acceptable medication available for anxiety since benzodiazepines stopped being prescribed - in the UK anyway - doctors don't tend to diagnose you with something they can't effectively treat with drugs - they diagnose you with depression instead. 

I have been on tricyclics and a number of different SSRI anti depressants plus mirtazapine (remeron in the USA).  The former are just not very effective for most people, although can help sleep - and give you a very dry mouth in large doses.  SSRI anti depressants work for quite a lot of people, but for about 50% of people who take them they have quite bad side effects, including weight gain and sexual dysfunction/anorgasmia.  I became dead from the waist downwards when I was on them, which I couldn't cope with.  

Currently I do not take any meds at all - although I was addicted to zopiclone (a sleeping med) for 17 yrs.  I manage my OCD through non-drug methods - it is hard though, and I still suffer quite badly at times. I don't think that because you take ADs for a period of time it means you will always be on them - often depression and anxiety can be caused by life circumstances and when this improves you can slowly wean yourself off them.  Never a good idea to come off any psychoactive med cold turkey. 

Rags's picture

When they are off their meds?  Really?  THey are adults.  If they are off of their meds it is because they mad the choice to quit taking them and that... is entirely on them and has nothing to do with their mental illness. It has everything to do with their being idiots.

smh

No matter what, I never not take my meds.  Even if I have to buy ancient technology meds OTC and go back to half a dozen injections per day MDI regimen and dozens of finger sticks to test.  I have always made sure that my qualifications provide me with career opportunities with top notch benefits.  The short times I have been without employer provided benefits I pay what is necessary to either get benefits that I pay for directly or I pay for the meds directly with no insurance coverage.

My mom had a few years of anxiety issues and never missed a therapy session or her meds.  

Poor choices are still choices regardless of mental illness. When it comes to TT and FF, I can't help but to think that their "illness" is far more a choice and an excuse than a legitimate condition.

Maybe I am exhibiting the lack of sensitivity you mentioned CLove. Not my intention but... certainly a possibility.