Do meds really help w/ depression? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I have struggled with depression for years. Definitely PPD but my youngest is 2 now and I still haven't pulled out of it. I have days where I feel like everything is fine but it seems that there are more days that I feel overwhelmed and can't do it. I've noticed that I don't really smile or laugh a lot and I definitely don't feel like I'm there for my kids. I try to be but I just can't really be silly or fun with them I'm just trying to put one foot in front of the other right now.

Today while at Barnes and Nobles I suddenly felt like I had some diahrea (sorry I know it's tmi) so I rushed to the bathroom where dd and ds#2 were with me. Dd then keeps trying to open the door (it was almost comical, I wish I could have laughed but it was so stressful at the time) so I ask ds to block it. She starts crying/screaming and I just need to go to the bathroom. I'm trying to distract her by having her hop on a foot or give me high 5. Then another mom enters the bathroom with her kids, they can't talk to each other b/c of dd screaming and I can't get up and just take care of the situation. The whole time I'm thinking, "Why is God doing this to me? What sane person could handle this crazy situation? How does he expect people to deal with this? How am *I* supposed to deal with this?" Then later in the day after taking the kids to play at a local water fountain I am trying to get my keys out of my purse to open the car and it just feels so overwhelming like I'm climbing Mt Everest. I just want to go lay down and sleep the rest of the afternoon .

So....I know that I need to find a therapist. How do you even go about doing this? I am very natural minded so I take Omega fats and they do help a lot and vitamin B6 & 12 and that helps as well but sometimes I still feel this way.

For those who have taken meds do they really help? I guess I feel like I know so many people who take anti-depressant meds who still struggle with depression so I really wonder. Please feel free to share whatever your experience is even if you haven't taken meds and have found help in other avenues. I just want to be happy again and a good Mom and not feel like I am worthless to boot.
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#2 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 01:26 PM
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Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Low thyroid can cause depression.

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#3 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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I've been on various antidepressants for about 6 years now. I can say (at least in my case) that is has helped, but not completely. It has taken "the edge" off, but there still is that lack of interest in things, and the desire to sleep all day. I recently went off to see if I could handle it, and I must say I felt so much worse! I went back on again.

You could have a completely different outcome, though. But if you really feel like you want to give it a try, I'd say try it.

Good luck!

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#4 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Low thyroid can cause depression.
Yes, my thyroid checks out fine. I went in to see the Dr. b/c I actually have lots of MS signs but after an MRI I have no lesions on my brain so the thought is that it's not MS. I do seem to have my bouts of depression more when I have my pins and needles which is happening right now. But I had depression before I ever had these signs too.

TwinGirlsMaMa thanks for your reply also, I appreciate your honesty. A question for you if you wouldn't mind me asking..have you tried different medicines or dosages?
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#5 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 05:59 PM
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Yes, my thyroid checks out fine. I went in to see the Dr. b/c I actually have lots of MS signs but after an MRI I have no lesions on my brain so the thought is that it's not MS. I do seem to have my bouts of depression more when I have my pins and needles which is happening right now. But I had depression before I ever had these signs too.

TwinGirlsMaMa thanks for your reply also, I appreciate your honesty. A question for you if you wouldn't mind me asking..have you tried different medicines or dosages?
With "pins and needles" and depression.........it could be a B vitamin deficiency.

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#6 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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With "pins and needles" and depression.........it could be a B vitamin deficiency.
I get this during ovulation and menstruation and it is definitely a deficiency in the B vitamins..it's improved a great deal with suppliments although not completely gone. What has almost completely gone is the anxiety and thoughts of doom I had and the panic attacks I was starting to experience. I also need to keep my weight in a certain range or it gets out of whack as well.
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#7 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I have bipolar disorder, so our situations are a little different.

The first time I was diagnosed with depression it was in Jr. High, but I was depressed probably since I was 6 or 7. My mom wouldn't let me take meds. I continued to deal with depression all through Jr. High, High School, and College. I think I will always be mildly depressed from time to time. When I did go on medication it helped. First I went on Prozac in college and it put me in a hypo-manic state. I went off it because I was feeling fine (as most manics do). Then right after college I went back on it and went fully manic and had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. After that I was so heavily medicated that for 3 months I couldn't focus enough to read or even watch t.v. I just wandered around the house, to restless to sit down, but too tired to go out. It was a mess. I am not a huge fan of meds as a result. I do think that they can help, but they are a short-term solution.

What has helped 'heal' me has been learning to eat right (I try to balance my carbs and proteins), and exercise. 30 minutes of cardio has been proven to be as effective as taking an antidepressant. I only do about 10 minutes every day, but when I miss a week, I slip into a mild depression. Cognitive therapy has helped as well. Writing in a journal helps me to organize my thoughts and be mindful of my cognitive processes that contribute to either depression or healthy thinking.

Depression isn't easy and I'm not trying to say no one should ever take anti-depressants. Anti-depressants can really help you get back to a good place so that you can have a plan of attack for dealing with depression in the long run. They should only be used short term because I think depression is a symptom of other things that are going wrong either physically (not eating right, not exercising, vitamin deficiencies, toxins in the environment) or emotionally (bad patterns of thought) or in relationships (toxic relationships). For me, whenever I have a bad day or two I stop and think "what am I missing? am I eating right? exercising? taking good care of myself?" Now that I'm a wife and mother I take extra good care of myself so that I can be in good shape to take care of my family.

I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this depression- it sucks! It can be a life-long ailment, but you can heal yourself!

I would say in the short-term ask around locally who is a good therapist/psychiatrist, and in the long-term figure out what is at the root of the depression... I hope this helps. Good luck and keep updating!
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#8 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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Since you prefer to use natural methods, I would recommend that you try working with a naturopath and a therapist. The ND could help you find some natural ways to deal with depression and any other underlying health issues while the therapist would help you talk through things. My ND has a list a therapists she recommends and suggests to interview them. (Currently, I take L-Tryptophan for depression and Inositol powder for OCD as directed by my ND.)

I took meds in the past for anxiety and depression. I was on Zoloft for a very long time and got off it a couple years ago with the help of the ND. I chose to get off the Zoloft because it was no longer effective for me, but it did help for quite awhile. Weaning from it was difficult, so there is that to consider as well.

I think meds are a great option if other methods have not been effective for you. My brother is bipolar and it took him a long time to get the right cocktail of meds. One problem was that he was working with only his regular GP for awhile. Now he sees a psychiatrist for his psych meds and is doing much better.

If you decide go with meds, I think it's best to have a psychiatrist to monitor it rather than a regular doctor because they know these types of drugs best.

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#9 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 08:35 PM
 
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I took paxil for a year and it really helped a lot.

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#10 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 10:18 PM
 
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For those who have taken meds do they really help? I guess I feel like I know so many people who take anti-depressant meds who still struggle with depression so I really wonder. Please feel free to share whatever your experience is even if you haven't taken meds and have found help in other avenues. I just want to be happy again and a good Mom and not feel like I am worthless to boot.
I take medication for depression, and yes, it helps, more than I can describe.

After my second child was born I got so depressed I could hardly get out of bed, spent most of the time lying on the couch. I seriously couldn't get my head off the couch. Slept and cried all the time. Life seemed utterly worthless, pointless. I didn't want to die, because that would ruin my kids' and my husband's life. But I wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again. It was really horrible.

I couldn't stand being me any more so I went to the doctor and she prescribed Wellbutrin for me. It truly turned my life around. Later I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed depakote for mood swings. It also made a world of difference. No, medications did not cure me so that I'm never unhappy again. I still have my days when I feel horrible. But most of the time I can cope, and can even be silly with the kids (once in a great while), can laugh, can organize for my kids, can make plans, can enjoy sex (yes, that's important!!).

Let me to be frank, I advocate take antidepressants. I wasted soooo much time worrying about what it would say about me if I 'gave in' and took an antidepressant. There's a whole lot of judgment wrapped up in the whole scene. It's a moral issue, and some how you are immoral or weak if you take medication prescribed by a doctor. Bull. Shit.

If you have diabetes, you use insulin. If you break your leg you get it splinted. If you have heart disease no one faults you for taking appropriate medications. Depression is NO DIFFERENT.

I tried different medications until I found what worked best. Don't be disappointed and give up if the first med you try doesn't do much for you. Try something else. Try a different dosage.

I don't mean to sound like a pill fiend. You're going to find what works best for you.

========

Edited to add, Dianakaye has it right. Excercize (which is so hard to do when you're depressed), cognitive behavioral therapy and journaling.

See my blue signature below. I'm testing my thoughts (presumptions, assumptions, conclusions, previously held beliefs) to see if they're really true, because I found that I was causing a lot of my own distress when I came to erroneous conclusions. It's taken years to realize where my thinking is wrong, and the medication gives me just enough leg up (focus, patience, insight) that I can catch the misunderstandings and challenge them.

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#11 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 11:05 PM
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I'm on 100mg of Zoloft and it helps quite a bit. I can be a very depressive/angry person and it was really interfering in relationships with everyone. I still do have my down moments and I can still be moody at times, but the Zoloft has really evened out my moods and I have stopped sleeping until 3 pm. I just feel better on it.

I think that people really need to see a psychiatrist to help them find the right one. Too many people visit their well meaning GP's and end up stuck on a drug that doesn't work for them. I also think that a little therapy and some lifestyle changes (better diet, more activity) aid in the antidepressants effectiveness.
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#12 of 24 Old 07-30-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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in my life i have known many people that anti depressants have worked wonders for, and many that have had no relief and others that have had very bad reactions. as far as natural remedies go, i work for a psychiatrist and she prefers not to use drugs. she has seen the best results with the alpha stim .. google it .. it is really amazing.
another suggestion is to look into raiki and bowenwork. my dd did that when she had ppd.. that was pretty amazing too.

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#13 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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I have had depressive episodes off and on throughout my adult life, which is highly exacerbated by stress. During my last major episode several years ago my therapist urged me to go see my PCP and discuss depression. PCP put me on Zoloft, which was VERY BAD for me. It sent me into a panic attack for 36 hours straight (and I'm not prone to panic attacks) - shaking, adrenaline, the whole 9 yards. I quickly stopped taking it, went back to the PCP and was put on Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin really helped me get the depression back under control. But it was only a short-term solution for me, I needed to find my triggers (for my own sanity). For me, depression is linked with PCOS, so finding ways to control one can really help with the other.

Stress is a big trigger as I discovered. Getting laid off has been one of the best things that could have happened at that point. Diet is also big for me - carb-loading really plays a number on my hormones, so cutting my carbs WAAAYYY down really helped. Between the two I was able to go off the Wellbutrin after a couple months, and haven't been back on it in over 5 years now. Even when dealing with the loss of my son I didn't go back on them, and I came out the other side.

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#14 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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If you find the right meds. And when you do find them, a Dr who will not mess with them.

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#15 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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I was on a variety of antidepressants and psychmeds for years. I don't think they really helped. I feel much better without them. I had bad side effects from some of them, gained nearly 100 pounds, and the withdrawal symptoms were very difficult. It doesn't help that most doctors will tell you that the withdrawal symptoms are "proof" that you need to stay on the meds (increased depression and anxiety is a common withdrawal symptom that passes). My therapist actually go me started reading materials about psychiatric drugs and that got me to the point to where I made the decision to get off them, although he never pushed me one way or the other. Among the things I read where Robert Whittaker's "Mad in America" and "Medication Madness" by Peter Breggin. Around the same time I also learned about the "psychiatric survivors" or "mad pride" movement, which also influenced my decision.

I think its a highly personal choice and you should inform yourself of both sides of the issue from both pro-drug and anti-drug sources in order to make a fully informed decision.

I really believe that counseling can do wonders, with the right therapists. The particular brand of therapy doesn't really matter much. Many people espouse cognitive behavioral therapy, but it isn't for everyone (it wasn't for me), other schools of therapy can be just as effective. The research has shown that the single most important factor in sucessful therapy is your relationship with the therapist- you'll have less progress with a therapist you hate, than with a therapist who you see as empathetic, warm, and caring, no matter what school of therapy the belong to.

You might also try a naturopath- there are a variety of supplements out there that people have had varying degrees of sucess with. Good luck with your decision, I hope you find the help you need. -Oubliette
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#16 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 02:43 AM
 
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I find good old prozac works best on me. It allows me to take the edge off...I have more OCD/ aggression than depression. I become aggressive to ward off the depression.

I agree with PP that STRESS is the devil....it just sucks the soul right on out of you. I have worked hard to weed out my stress...my last huge one was today...I quit my job. I will stay on the prozac a bit then I may taper off.

Do what is right for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Good luck to you.

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#17 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 03:54 AM
 
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I used meds and they flat-out worked, and I'm lucky that it didn't take a lot of bouncing between meds (2 of the 3 I tried, at different periods in my life, worked). Took a while for me to figure out it was part of a bigger health story in my family, though. Look into zinc, depressed people are often low, I certainly was, and my kids are too, along with magnesium. Minerals are at least as important as vitamins, I'd say maybe moreso. Have you checked out the natural cure thread in the post-partum depression forum? I never tried it, but based on my health stuff, a lot of the things they recommend supplementing (maybe 5-htp? among others) were probably off with me.

If you need to use meds as a crutch for now, that certainly seems fine to me, it's _hard_ think clearly when you feel so bad. But I'd encourage you to keep looking for answers, what story does your personal health history tell, how does it fit into your family, and what your family is prone to? I eventually figured out that most of the people in my family don't detoxify the mercury from our amalgam fillings well, and each generation we're being more and more affected. Whoopsie, we're working on this now. Most people with heavy metal issues have mood issues (depression, anxiety, and other less-common stuff) but I'm not arguing that most people with mood issues have heavy metal issues. Something to consider, but not jump to. But if you need to feel better now, and you think meds may help, try it.

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#18 of 24 Old 07-31-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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Meds are helpful for some people, but not all. I was on just about every antidepressant on the market throughout my teen years, and most of them did nothing. A few meds made me numb and zombie-like. Zoloft made me manic. The rest - nothing. When ds2 was about 18 months old I realized I'd been dealing with untreated PPD since his birth, and I started supplementing with fish oil, vit D, and a B-complex. It took the edge off, but I was still far from healthy. Then I tried 5-htp, and it was absolutely amazing - I was happier, calmer, and more "whole" than I had been in a very long time. If you're interested in natural remedies, definitely check out the PPD forum, as a PP mentioned. It can be a great springboard for researching and finding something that may work for you.

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#19 of 24 Old 08-01-2009, 08:16 PM
 
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I have been on and off them most of my adult life. I use them for when my depression is sever. (I come from a family where mental health is seen as a weakness, not a illness.) So I'd get really depressed go on meds and when I started feeling better get off them. I can truly say they were very helpful.

Last year I was experiencing SEVER anxiety because of a pain medication I was trying to detox off of. My old therapist had shut her clinic and I started seeing a new one. The new therapist is AMAZING! She says the research shows that people who take meds and do cognitive therapy have better long term results than people who just take the meds. But that meds have their place and usage. I've been taking cognitive therapy for almost a year now.

So there are options other than meds. But I believe meds are really useful in certain situations. If you choose meds know they can help. If you don't choose meds, don't give up on finding something that can help. You deserve better! and you can get better!

The best thing you can do for yourself is to find a practitioner who hold similar ideals to yourself and who listens to you. You could start with a naturalpath and work from there. If you choose a psychiatrist ask them questions so you feel comfortable. If you do choose meds make sure your with someone that takes those meds seriously. I've had people had me scripts before and say come back if you have any problems. The psychiatrist I see now - just for meds - sees me several times a year and does blood draws to make sure the meds aren't bothering my system. I'm much more comfortable with that.
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#20 of 24 Old 08-01-2009, 10:04 PM
 
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...I do seem to have my bouts of depression more when I have my pins and needles which is happening right now. But I had depression before I ever had these signs too....
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I get this during ovulation and menstruation and it is definitely a deficiency in the B vitamins..it's improved a great deal with suppliments although not completely gone. What has almost completely gone is the anxiety and thoughts of doom I had and the panic attacks I was starting to experience....
The pins and needles definitely happens to me when my B-12 level is too low, I have pernicious anemia and when my limbs get this feeling I know I'm past due for my B-12 shot.

Did you have your actual thyroid levels checked or was it your TSH? T-3 and T-4 levels are a much more accurate way to check for actual thyroid in your blood, but it doctors still order TSH tests and act like they are accurate.

Hope you get it figured out.
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#21 of 24 Old 08-01-2009, 10:39 PM
 
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I have never taken meds. I personally do not trust them. I have watched friends over the years try them and they change their personality, numb their instincts, give them horrible day and night terrors, and/or bizarre visions. I think some can mess with your head more than help you deal with issues. Counseling is not a quick fix but it can really help in the longrun, imo.

That said, each person has to come to terms with what is best for them. If someone has a doctor or care provider that they trust and together all parties feel it is best for them to proceed with medication, I cannot judge or counsel them otherwise.
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#22 of 24 Old 08-05-2009, 12:40 PM
 
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It's going to vary widely and wildly from person to person, but for me, medication probably saved my life.

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#23 of 24 Old 08-05-2009, 03:24 PM
 
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The *right* med, at the *right* time, is literally a life-saver.

DH has had chronic anxiety and depression since young adulthood. He hit a serious low point about 8 years ago (before he was DH), we're talking completely suicidal, not going to work, not answering the phone, the whole deal.

His parents (in another city) called the police when they couldn't reach him, who broke into his apartment, and he was forcibly admitted to the hospital and started on meds.

The meds did not 'fix' everything. But they gave him just enough clarity -- 'took the edge off', as a pp said -- to be able to START working on his issues with therapy, etc.

When you are THAT badly off, when there's truly a chemical problem in your brain and you are just not in a position where 'talking about it' will do any good because you cannot think clearly, then meds are necessary. Absolutely.

They were like a 'jumpstart' for him, the kick in the butt to get things moving.

After he had 'recovered', he continued to take the meds for another year or two. He was still getting his life back together, he needed all the chemical help he could get. As he became more and more 'himself' again, he hated the meds more and more. He felt weak for needing them. He hated the side effects.

We had a HORRIBLE situation once where he asked to switch meds and his dr knew NOTHING about the right way to do it, he went through terrible withdrawal that almost landed him in hospital again (not from anxiety but from withdrawal sickness). After recuperating from the withdrawal, he realized he was feeling "okay" with the meds now out of his system, so we tried going without -- not starting the new meds at all.

He's been 'fine' since then. He takes fish oil and B vitamins and we try to keep his stress under control. He has low-level anxiety as a pretty constant background noise, but he prefers this to the meds.

If he were to spiral back down into a serious event, we'd get him back on meds in a heartbeat.

So it can be a matter of degree. Meds are not without their problems. But they're a better alternative to, you know, being dead and all. If alternative therapies work for you, vitamins, etc, then all the better. But don't feel stigmatized about trying the drugs if you really feel you need them. If you're not actually suicidal but just really anxious and stressed, then I would suggest to try all the alternatives therapies, see a psychiatrist, yoga, meditation, etc etc, FIRST.

But if all else fails, then yes, meds can be a lifesaver. Even just as a 'crutch' to get you 'up' enough to a position where you can start dealing with your issues on your own, until you're able to wean off the meds.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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Meds helped me for a while... maybe a year. Then slowly I started feeling like I did before. Then I switched doses, tried other meds, with no real satisfactory result. I got off the meds, and didn't feel as bad as I did before I initially started them, but I'm still suffering with depression to a degree. Eventually I may try meds again, especially if things get worse.

Good luck to you.
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