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ODH

New To Sertraline - Not Sure If I Should Be Taking It...

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Hello,

Today I took my first dose (50mg) of setraline and I'm not sure if this is right for me....

Let me introduce myself, I'm a 27yr old man that has a kind of social anxiety. I always have the feeling that people are judging me and laughing at me. I see them pointing at me sometimes too.... I'm afraid this has to do with the way I look. I barely have any hair left and my head have a lot of dents in it .... baldness runs in the family and the dents are from accidents I had as a kid.

I have never had any experience with anti-depressants before. But I feel so numb, none of my feelings are coming through, okay ... I don't feel as bad as I used to in public, but now I just barely feel anything. The Sertraline is working for just 6 hours now and I can best describe as the feeling I had when I was on Ritalin as a kid (only for 6 months though)...; Luckily I don't have any withdrawals yet.

The thing is ... is this drug right for me? My main problem is my self-image, I don't feel good being me, I hate the way I look. I barely have any friends because I'm not good at meeting new people, I always get the feeling as if they are judging me. I only get anxious when I get the feeling somebody is watching me ... I always feel like the're thinking something like 'look how that guy looks'. And because I get scared I never make eye-contact with people, I turn my head as soon as I see them looking at me. I'm NOT depressed, I just don't feel good being me and like to have more (or some ...) friends, or atleast some people I feel good by. The thing is ... I get these tics whenever I get the feeling I'm being watched. Sometimes my eyes start twitching or I can't control my tongue in my mounth, because I can't find to seem a good proper tongue resting-position. These 2 things (eyes/tongue) are definately noticable and affect the way I deal with people big time. So now I don't go out anymore, I don't see friends anymore, I just work in the week and have some (alone) hobbies in the weekend. It's true, I feel very lonely, but I don't feel depressed, I'm not unhappy, just when I notice people staring at me. I used to pass my time in the weekend by smoking illegal drug (wieed), It helped me overcome my weekend without being bored, but it surely did not help my social angst. I do not do this anymore because I noticed how it made me more anti-social.

So I told this to my general doctor yesterday and I think he overreacted by subscribing me setraline. He says that it is known to work for social anxiety along with psychotherapy. But I think psychotherapy should be sufficient as I don't feel like I'm in a stage I NEED to take anti-depressants. I just feel ugly and hate that people stare at me ... but this is something therapy could work for, right?

Also, I went to an eye-doctor today and he told me that my twitching was because I have bad eyesights and should wear glasses, because my eyes hurt ALL DAY LONG, but the fact is, it hurts most when people I get the feeling that people are staring because then I start to twitch .. .which accentuate my pain and trying to hide it is very exhausting for my eyes. Also they hurt from receiving too much light and then I my eyelids do pinch sometimes too. So I guess it's both problems. I'm sure If my eyes wouldn't hurt all day, I would be less afraid to look people in the eye because now they see me doing weird stuff with my eyes.

How do you guys feel about my situation?

Please reply as I have nobody to talk to ... (sorry for my crappy English)

Edited by ODH

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Hi ODH,

Before I started antidepressants, I had similar feelings that you are going through. You may think you're not depressed, but if you don't continue with some form of therapy, you can end up depressed just by worrying everyone is staring at you. I took Sertraline for 6 months, and it was tough getting through the start up phase at 50mg. For me, it made me extremely tired about 2 hours after taking my dose. This lasted about 6 weeks for me. I started leveling off over the next 2 weeks and asked my doctor to go higher because I was feeling a little bit of relief. I went to 100mg and stayed there for 4 months. What this medication did for me was to make me a little more courageous and not to think I am not worthy or good enough like other people. I am now on a new antidepressant and I still feel good about myself and I no longer have the fears that I had before. To be honest, I could care less now what other people think about me. My opinions of myself mean more. Since you only started taking Sertraline today, I would recommend you read all the information you can find about this medication ( there is plenty here at DF ). While you're at it, read about the other antidepressants in this drug class and the other antidepressant drug classes. Being informed about what side effects may happen and what relief you can get will put your mind at ease.

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Thank you for your reply flasquish.

The thing is ... I don't want to be dependent on a drug for the rest of my life (or most parts). I have never tried therapy that's why I think it's odd to go for AD right away. I know I'm not depressed because I have a lot of good moments in life too, I laugh a lot and make fun too. The feeling I had today ... the numb feeling .. it also decreases my good moods, not just my bads. And to be honest, I think I have more good moods than bad. It depends where I am and if I feel comfortable or not.

I have the feeling I should try therapy first, because after doing so much reseach today (on this website and others), I'm afraid to be dependent from it. I don't want that. I don't want the side effects like having a low libido or cutting away on the good moments in life (and so much more). Do you think that is a valid reason not to take it?

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Well then you may need to see a therapist and use this as your tool to your wellness. You could also try CBT. But if you don't want to explore antidepressants, you need to let your doctor know right away. One day of Sertraline shouldn't affect you when you stop. Taking it longer will make it harder on you with the withdrawl side effects. I understand you not wanting to be dependant on antidepressants and to be honest, I'm sure none of us want to. The reason I'm on them is because therapy was not for me. I know exactly how I feel, why I feel the way I do, and discussing this with a therapist that is going to tell what I should do did not help me at all. I'm already doing the things they recommended. But for many people, going to a therapist is extremely helpful, you may be someone that can gain a great deal from seeing one. It's clear from your posts this is the direction you really want to go, so just make it happen. But let your doctor know you don't want to be on antidepressants right away.

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That's the thing I needed to hear. Someone with experience acknowledging my though process. I just think it's odd for a doctor to start AD treatment this fast, without trying other things first. Especially since I don't know him well, because I dislike most doctors and medical personal (mainly because they always bring me bad news). Therapy should be the first treatment if you ask me, and if that doesn't work you can reach for other means.

I really hope that the AD are helping you in life, but can i ask you something? Isn't AD for people who feel like they have more down-moments than up-moments in life? If AD evens them out, it seems that only one category would benefit from it.

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You do have to be careful with doctors, especially ones that you do not know well. I've been seeing the same primary doctor for 15 years, so he knew I could benefit greatly from antidepressants and I have. My panic disorder, social anxiety and OCD were left untreated my whole life. Going to a therapist did nothing for me and my doctor knew this. So antidepressants were the next course for me. My depression was mild and now I can identify that my other untreated disorders ended up causing my depression. I had a nervous breakdown which made me go to my doctor and he immediately started me on meds. Antidepressants can be used for many, many different disorders and unwanted feelings so it's not really black and white. Not everyone responds to antidepressant therapy, or they have such horrible side effects, they switch from one to the next until they are exhausted. I'm one of the lucky people who don't suffer side effects from most drugs. I told myself that I don't mind staying on these meds for the rest of my life, but in reality, I would like to maintain my wellbeing without them. But I've only been taking them since September 2013, so I am going to absolutely make sure that when I want to stop the meds, that I am truly ready. I don't want to have to go through the whole start up phase again. Good luck when you start seeing a therapist. Be completely honest about your feelings, your past, and just be open minded. You'll be there to get direction on how to get well.

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Since I don't have a fixed doctor, this is a problem to me. Nobody knows my medial history well enough to make such decisions in my opinion. But I understand it's to make one as I don't visit them often and I mostly provide just the amount of data that is needed. Unless last time ... I kinda had a burnout at the doctor, perhaps that's why he reacted to drastically.

I'm very glad that you took back control of your emotions, even if it's with drugs, it doesn't matter. As long as you feel better inside. But I must admit, before this experience I was kind of against anti-depressants. I though it was only for nutjobs ... but this is the narrow-minded world we live in. You never truly understand something unless you have first hand experience.

Thanks for all of your advice, you have no idea how much you've helped :)

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I would really recommend to anyone to try counseling before taking antidepressants. I have been on antidepressants for 15 years and I wish I could not be on them. For me, my depression is debilitating to the point of not being able to function. Antidepressants are major brain drugs that change you a bit. Life is not the same on them.

I went through withdrawals of Paxil and it was tough. Start ups were tough, especially Zoloft, which Im on right now (200MG).

Good luck.

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It sounds like you'd like to get into therapy and that's great. Like the poster above, my depression is debilitating and without antidepressants, I would be mighty sick. I've reconciled myself to the fact that I'll be on antidepressants for the rest of my life. I'm grateful that antidepressants exist.

Best wishes.

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I think there are 2 kinds of depression--chemical and psychological. I suffer from both, and there is a big difference between the two. Psychological depression feels bad, sad, and mad. It's usually related to something specific like a death, break-up, lay-off, etc. It can be worked out thru with time and therapy. Chemical depression can not be helped by therapy. It is both a mental state and a physical state. Psychological depression left alone for too long can alter your chemistry and lead to the chemical depression, which is why it's important to nip in the bud, any depression lasting more than a couple of weeks. For me, and I've heard others express the same thing, chemical depression gives a physical sensation of being "pressed down"; squeezed, or confined. When you get on an antidepressant that works, that feeling is lifted. It's the bizarrest thing. It literally feels like a weight has been lifted off of your body (and yes I am using "literally" in the correct sense of the word). This elevated feeling then allows for the emotional stuff to be worked out. Of course I'm not a doctor, so I speak only from my own experience and beliefs.

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