I've had severe clinical depression for almost a decade now. There are pills I could take to let me feel emotions, but I've been off them for a few years now. Is it possible to overcome major depressive disorder without having to take medication for the rest of my life? Has anyone else here accomplished this?

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Sean: I've been on anti-depressants for many years, with very good control for the most part, but a neighbor of mine suggested hypnosis. He seems very professional and has practiced in the field for many years. I'm feeling fine and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," so I just mentally filed his suggestion away, but it may be something for you to consider (haven't read all the other replies so if this is "old info." forgive me). Of course, I also responded because groups that provide a forum to discuss depression are very valuable. Best of luck. I want to "bless you" as well but that can sound awkward on an atheist website. Can we use the memory of Carl Sagan to bless people without violating our atheist contracts?
How about: "May the spirit of humanity embrace you/be kind to you/be with you!"
Sean, sorry to hear about how you've been struggling. I am coming off antidepressants after being on them for nearly 12 years. I've used various meds throughout that time plus seen psychiatrists and counsellors. Those methods allowed me to cope to a greater or lesser degree, but the greatest outcome has been received following Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I was referred by my doctor when nothing else was making any substantive difference. It is the best thing I ever did. Having been told I would probably be on meds all my life I am now weeks away from taking none at all.

I know your healthcare system is different there, but if there's any way you can access CBT I definitely recommend it. In the meantime try to get hold of 'Overcoming Depression' by Paul Gilbert. It's written from a CBT perspective and describes activities and tools to be used when you're struggling. Where I of a religious bent, CBT would be my god, it has transformed my life. Best of luck.
I'll try to remember the CBT for when I have health insurance again. Thanks.
Hey Sean...I have a history of depression (dysthymia) and a few friends that have dealt with various types of depressive disorders...it sucks to be miserable all the time...so much of what makes life worthwhile ends up lost to it...

I suppose you have ruled out this being secondary to another medical condition by now...but if not...someone very close to me had symptoms of depression for years...would occasionally try to get help...nothing was working...eventually he changed doctors and found that a mix of other medical conditions were contributing to the depression. With those under control, his life is now completely different.

I guess I am trying to say don't give up. If your doctor isn't helping get a new doctor, if a therapy book isn't working, find another, if one treatment isn't helping try something different...just don't let it beat you. Every day that you are depressed, it takes something from you...
Thanks. I'm not giving up yet. I don't want to. I just don't know what to do anymore.
Hi, I thought I’d share my story with you, maybe it will be some help. I’m sorry about the mistakes you may find in my comment, but English is not my native language. I also recommend you CBT or psychoanalysis. I’ve had depression for about ten years (I’m 36 now and relatively fine) and I also tried at least five or six different drugs with more or less success, including Wellbutrin. For me, basically all of them helped some, but none meant the real solution. When I got to a psychiatrist for the first time I was in a terrible state. I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t get out of bed either because I had no reason to. I was working but I was at least an hour late every single day, though I woke up around 5. It took me ages to do the simplest things. In the evenings I would sit on the edge of my bed for hours trying to get myself to go and brush my teeth. I was living alone with a cat, which was lucky because I had to get up at least to feed her, change the litter and buy cat food. I didn’t want to kill myself but I didn’t want to live either – I wished I would fall asleep and never wake up again. I could hardly stand the presence of other people and was dreaming of living alone in the middle of nowhere with cats and dogs and horses but with absolutely no other human beings in the vicinity. When the psychiatrist first saw me, immediately sent me to a psychologist to do several tests on me to diagnose whether I was “simply” severely depressed or insane... The psychiatrist at the very beginning of my treatment convinced me to join a group where people with different types of depression could talk about their own problem, discuss each other’s problem, give each other advice, occasionally get into conflict with one another - of course, under the supervision of the psychiatrist plus a psychologist. I went to the group for two years, then quit, but went back after a year and stayed for another two years. During those four years in the group I felt a number of times that the others (including the experts and the “plain” members of the group) were hostile, deliberately offending me, hurting me, saying that I’m worthless, stupid, etc. I often felt angry that the others could be so cruel and hurt poor little me so much... But the combination of drugs and therapy proved to be effective and slowly I started feeling better, more confident and was getting “easier to be handled”. Once, when I felt I was well enough to leave the group in a few weeks’ time, I asked their opinion and was truly disappointed when all of them said: “No, you’re not ready to leave. Stay in the group.” I got so angry with them that I left immediately and never went back... About two years later I was feeling so bad again (although not nearly as bad as years before) that I went to another psychiatrist to ask for Xanax to help me sleep during the night. I ate up all the Xanax (100 tablets) in a month and when I went back to the psychiatrist for the next dose I told her that I feel I’d like to talk to someone about my problem again. She sent me to a psychologist who does psychoanalysis which means that you lie down on a couch, talk, and the analyst listens. This is awfully difficult for me, cause I hate talking, and I often feel that the psychologist “forces me” to go there twice a week (it should be three times but after a few months I forced him to be only two...) and talk about what I think, thus expose myself. Of course, NOBODY forces me, it’s been my decision to go there for over a year now and get myself analyzed to find out what’s wrong with me. Still I’m often angry with the guy and feel that he thinks I’m worthless, stupid, boring, annoying, etc., though when I’m able to think rationally I know it’s not true. All in all, during all these years of therapy I’ve learned a lot about myself. Now I understand much better what causes my depression and anxiety, and it helps me fight it and get rid of it. I know you’ve had some bad experience with therapists, but some of it might have been just the “usual” bad feeling that comes with therapy, because it’s damn hard when others confront you with your own defects. But it’s inevitable, because you can only solve your problems if you realize what they are. The best would be if you could find an expert that others recommend, so you don’t bump into any more charlatans. I hope you’ll have time and patience to wade through my comment, and if you have any question, I’ll be glad to answer.
Thanks. I know exactly how you felt. I used to be just like that, but am doing a little better now too. I can get out of bed and things like that. I don't have any health insurance at the moment, but I'll consider my options once I do. Also, your English is perfect.
Hi Sean T,
Hope things feel better soon. I had severe clinical depression for a few years, and varying degrees of depression and disthymia since. Exercise is often highly taughted, socializing with supportive people, and productive activities. I've found I'm happiest when I'm working on some personal project. I know all those can seem empty and pointless but they often can give you a sense of power and control while distracting from how bad you feel in general. Depression can be a tough nut to crack, I've survived mine but it's chief causes for me haven't been solved, so it remains, if fairly well stuffed into a box at this point.

I'm new here and also am looking for some sense of community. I'd like to find a mental health support site but have been banned from several for objecting to the pseudo science, blatant religion, cult speak, and at one site downright hostility when I brought up the discrimination I've experienced for another issue. The sites I was banned from actively protected religious members and discouraged discussions about reality and was as many sites are governed by moderators and administrators who held secret courts and dictated rules without any oversight or due process. The experience was very negative in all, and I'd sure like to find a support site that protects atheists against the ad homineum attacks, and backstabbing of theists.

Perhaps Tonya,

it would take a lot of work to compare with the harmful competition though, with each mental illness given it's own category, large active membership, privacy protected community, continuously active chatrooms, etc.  I've grown rather jaded(burnt out) with available mental health help that's either been systemically incompetent to sufficiently guide me or contaminated with whoo, and fighting for free speech and a bill of rights for support seekers online.  I no longer trust the professional or amateur psych. community.  I'd love to find or offer a few suggestions to create such a place, but in the grips of low energy times can't be nearly as proactive on it as I'd like to be.


I have been on Venlafaxine, Chloropromazine, Arapriprozole and Lithium for up to ten years. I also had eight years of professional help and was fortunate to have good care. I am healthy and happy.

I expect that I will be taking the medication for the rest of my life and I can't really see a problem with that !

Hey Sean, sorry about your struggle. I have different symptoms but I can see that you sound on your way to getting better because I notice your determination. For me, that has sometimes been the only thing to get me through is my sheer determination. I agree with everyone who mentioned nutrition. You can check out books from the library. I know you've had bad experiences from psycho therapy so maybe a support group is more your style? From what you've said about assholes in the family perhaps there is some emotional abuse that was never fully dealt with? I hadn't realized the trauma I was dealing with until later in life. All my emotions came flooding and I realized I'd been dissociating before that. Anyway getting CBT for that really helped me deal with it. Hope you figure out a good plan.

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