Hey Mystic~Mama, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks and depression with suicidal feelings as a teenager. For many, many years I did lots of therapy working through abuse issues from home, and really felt like I needed to go through all that stuff and process it. At a certain point my Dr. prescribed Luvox -- I took one pill and no more, side effects for me were unbearable (although my MIL is on it and loves it - we're all so different).
Through my 20s I focused on self-care: diet, exercise, vitamins, journalling, therapy, etc etc etc. I took a ton of supplements: St John's Wort, kava kava, B vitamins, fish oil, 5HTP, etc etc etc. One other time I tried to take a med (Effexor) but again was super-sensitive to it and never took more than one pill. Because of my experience with those meds, I had developed a phobia about pills. Even taking tylenol or something.
(ahh isn't anxiety fun?) The self-care routine, I thought, worked well enough, most of the time. Sometimes it definitely didn't work (like I still always felt suicidal in the winter). But looking back now (being on meds) I can see how tenuous feeling healthy and good was, and I DEFINITELY had periods when self-care just didn't cut it, no not at all.
Then came dd1. Well that changed EVERYTHING. No longer did I have time for self-care like I used to. I was out of control with rage, anxiety, self-loathing, also processing more childhood abuse stuff, etc. Things got better for a little while and we conceived dd2. Then my mood went down again and I begged my midwife for a referral to the Reproductive Life Stages Psychiatry Program at a women's hospital nearby. I felt like I HAD TO try meds again, I needed SOMETHING to help me. It was THAT BAD for me and my family.
The psychiatrist I was assigned was great. She really listened
to me when I said that I was super-sensitive to meds and asked for her help. She started me on an infant's dose of fluoxetine (in liquid form, taken with a dropper), and slowly slowly slowly in miniscule increments we worked up to the therapeutic dose. IMMEDIATELY there were improvements in my mood and behaviour. It was unbelievable and life changing.
I love my meds and don't know what I would do without them. I did not want to be a person who needed to be on meds her whole entire life, but now that I have been on them for 2.5 yrs, see and feel the difference in the quality of my life, I am grateful for them. I will continue to take them for life, if needed. I was glad though, that I tried all the other non-medical things before determining that the medication WAS necessary. It sure answered a lot of questions for me about my mood, behaviour and life, and that of my family members who also had mood problems.
Hope that helps some! It's nice to know we aren't alone. Amazing how we can be so sure about our view on something, but the unexpected happens, and we are forced to reconsider. That we can reconsider is a sign of our adaptability.
A good survival skill!