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djaef

A Drug Free Approach

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But what else could I do? Herbs? Acupuncture? Anything else?

Good question! My meds have definitely helped me turn the corner, but I'd like to come off them one day, when I'm strong enough. I would strongly recommend that you try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you haven't read Feeling Good, by David Burns, I encourage you to check it out. It takes a lot of work, but it does make a difference.

Thanks for the tips. I'll look up the book. And I've been to much therapy, and yes CBT is part of it. Thanks.

Oh, let me also put in a good word for "Feeling Good" by David Burns. It has an accompanying workbook. My husband, who also suffered from depression about 10 years ago (it was somewhat situational), used this book and the workbook along with therapy to work out his issues, which also included anger issues and substance abuse. He has never taken any anti-depressant drugs, only this book and therapy. I am very proud to say that my husband has not had any major bouts of depression (at least that he tells me), anger outbursts, and has not touched alcohol in 10 years. I'm very proud of him. Me, I'm a diferent basketcase altogether. But I've been working it naturally all my life, and I think I'm doing O.K., considering.

I echo the fact that AD drugs are not the answer for everyone. "No AD drugs" is also not the answer for everyone. Everyone has to find the beat of their own drum.

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... only a small percentage have problems with medications or are not help at all by them. But the majority are leading productive lives and benefit from medications. ... I doubt that the small amount of members here that are against medications are anywhere near the norm. It seems that people that are happy with their treatment rarely come to websites to rejoice in their triumphs. They simply get on with their lives. Perhaps you should take the medications that you have cached away before you make any judgement on the value of meds. An enlightened person doesn't resist what he fears, he faces his fears and makes an enlightened decision.

hi Wayne,

you wrote these words to djaef but please allow me to share my thoughts and feelings and questions about this.

i might be a bit sensitive about this topic, as i have had my experiences that i don't wish on anyone, and i've had some words along that kind of line directed to me before (other time and place, not here); but i'm this topic is important to me and i hope that i'll manage to word my thoughts in an understandable way today.

first of all, my impression with this thread was that djaef wanted to discuss possible ways of working his way out of depression favoring a drug free approach, gave his thoughts on this, asked questions, and some of the discussion then was about why or why not meds and what is or might be (or go) wrong with taking meds - a discussion, in my eyes, that went in a non-judgemental way, talking about reasons why to take meds, how they maybe can help, how they maybe cannot help, and what else can be found to help. also i have not found that djaef has made a judgement of the value of meds.

i can see that to many who take AD and have found they've helped them, this kind of discussion might seem unnecessary or not understandable, maybe even annoying?

to me, this discussion - and the possibility to have this way of and kind of discussion - is an important one. and i am glad that it is not a "strictly pro vs strictly against" one. i sincerely hope it will continue to be "open" (i mean 'not strictly opposite').

you write that you "doubt that the small amount of members here that are against medications are anywhere near the norm".

there is a question i have, when reading this: what do you mean by the norm?

Do you refer to the majority of AD users? or of people suffering from depression? or the majority of DF members?

and i wonder: is it wrong to think about what meds can do and what they can't? to think and discuss about their use?

also i wonder: what about that percentage who do not find help from medications? does the relatively small size of the percentage give reason to not discuss this topic?

i don't really understand the reason behind your words, i'm trying to understand / guess your possible thoughts, do you mean that there is no sense in talking about meds, but once a doctor has prescribed something, just take it and that's it? (hard for me to imagine, from other posts i've read from you. but maybe?) what i seem to 'hear' from your lines (or between?) is a kind of ... anger/annoyed? about this topic, with someone not taking meds? or what is it? (but as this is the 'written talk' not the spoken, i might be completely wrong as well.)

i'm sure you have a reason to write what you wrote. and i'm trying to get it.

the comment about the enlighted person and fear somehow felt weird for me. i suffer from anxiety disorder as well as depression, so enlightment must be very far for me for sure?

for me, part of my working hard to face my fears is to have a closer look at them. if my thoughts about meds had nothing to do with my experiences with meds, i would still think it makes sense to have a closer look at how do they work, what can they do, how big a chance that they'll work, and also what if they don't...

peace and love

mynah

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I'm beginning to realise however that there are people out there (hell, I may be one of them) whose problems are so great that therapy has little hope. I have been in counselling for 3 years now, and I have not come very far at all. I have resisted taking meds to this point, but my resolve is weakening, I can tell you. There's nothing like the threat of your wife leaving you to incite radical rethinking of a problem.

hi djaef,

i'm sorry that you're under such pressure now to get better soon. that must make the feelings even worse. but you're right sometimes the fear of a worsening or a possible event that you don't want at all can give a shift to one's viewpoint on possible help or remedies. to maybe even try things you otherwise maybe wouldn't have wanted to try.

is your main reason why you've "resisted taking meds" because of possible side effects? have you experienced SE before? or had other bad experiences that were "not very probable"? (just curious...) you also mentioned the "brain zaps" in your first posting - i don't know how chances are to get them (maybe also it has not been studied much), but i've heard of them too, as a possible "weaning symptom". i've also heard that to reduce the meds slowly helps prevent those symptoms. (although sometimes they still happen it seems.)

i don't know if "statistics and probabilities" really help in any other way than to say that "chances are higher" or "chances are lower" that something will or will not happen, which still does not help in knowing whether it will happen to you.

one thought that has been crossing my mind was: what have you got to loose if you try? (med)

well you cannot be 100% sure it will work. but also not that it won't work. if it does not work you've tried for yourself and are 'an experience wiser'. i hope you won't belong to the few percent that get severe SE. and if you should get them, at least you've informed yourself well before you tried, and maybe had some thoughts in advance about what you could take and what you couldn't or for how long, SE-wise, and can make an informed decision about when to stop trying. so, if you'll try them one day, you have an advantage by having thought about it before, and another advantage is to have found DF and support here.

btw i really don't think a two weeks camp with whoever would "cure depression". (like 'selling miracle healing' this sounds to me.) this is just my opinion.

my experience with therapy is that it can take an awfully long time, especially when there is additional stressors in life that make everyday existence even more of a burden. also it depends on the therapy approach, methods, and the issues to work through, among other, what can come out of it in what time. but i think even when you have not (yet?) 'come very far', if it has helped you at least a bit, even if 'only' to survive through the worst of depression and "only" have dysthymia for now (not as if dysthymia was 'fun' to live with), it's a good thing. personally i've even come to think that maybe not everything can be "mended" again, and probably i'll have to be content if i reach 'out of the pit' again, not hoping for 'complete remission' anymore... but then who knows maybe that's only 'depressive thinking', could be as well. but i keep telling myself small steps will get me somewhere too and i need a lot of patience.

take care

mynah

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hi HAC,

i can see how that experience with the psychiatrist has influenced your feelings about seeing psychiatrists and taking meds. i think it must have been difficult enough for you to request seeing a p-doc. the idea was a good one. you have my respect, for deciding to aks for help at a young age (it took me long to go that step). i'm sorry that it turned into such a sad experience!

(however i hope you're not repeating such experiments as with a liter of brandy... :bump: )

there should be more time for listening than just to one first sentense, at the doc's. and more monitoring how the patient fares with the prescribed meds. you've really met an extreme there i think, with that doc.

i hope you'll eventually come around to try another time to see another p-doc, and i hope that when you do, you'll manage to find one from the opposite side of the scale, an understanding, listening and sensitive p-doc (yes they do exist it seems :hearts: ) maybe you're rather sensitive to AD, some people are, and if you should want to give it another try one day i'd suggest you'd ask the doc about starting with a small dose and slowly increasing, some do that to find out what dosage works best or is most bearable from SE.

as to "biased": we all have our opinions, and an opinion is subjective by definition, so of course it's not all "pure logic". so what? it's human. i want to hear your opinion about it as well as others'. there is no bashing here, that's the good thing about this safe haven of DF, and we can talk and discuss and ask questions and have an opinion about something, even if it's not all logic. my experience is that there's always the possibility to ask why someone thinks so, or what's his experiences about something, and often their opinion gets easier to understand then.

i realize i'm lucky to know some people (irl) who take AD and do well on them, so that kind of helps me to put my own experiences with meds into perspective.

and yes, i've seen that episode of Monk, preaching in the streets (i could never preach in the streets, agora-/social-phobic me, lol). and i really like it about that series that there is someone who in fact is kind of disabled in a way, by his mental health problems, and many things he cannot do, and still there is other things he can do, and even things he is brilliant at. that's beautiful.

take care

mynah

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Thanks for the thoughtful posts Mynah.

i can see that to many who take AD and have found they've helped them, this kind of discussion might seem unnecessary or not understandable, maybe even annoying?

Really? Why do you think would this be the case? That sounds like a case of "one shoe fits all" and it seems pretty clear that that's not the case with ADs. Many people are against them on principle, others are concerned about possible SEs, and others are concerned about the long term effects of taking drugs. I think it naive in the extreme for people that have been helped by ADs to think that therefore everybody should be keen to get on them. Sometimes, that sort of help is not what people are after. There are a host of valid reasons NOT to take Ads, just as there are a host of valid reason TO take them. Depends on the person, and I think we should all step one step back on this issue. Everyone needs to make their own choice regarding ADs and for me, what Wayne said was not respectful at all.

you write that you "doubt that the small amount of members here that are against medications are anywhere near the norm".

there is a question i have, when reading this: what do you mean by the norm?

Do you refer to the majority of AD users? or of people suffering from depression? or the majority of DF members?

and i wonder: is it wrong to think about what meds can do and what they can't? to think and discuss about their use?

also i wonder: what about that percentage who do not find help from medications? does the relatively small size of the percentage give reason to not discuss this topic?

I like you questions Mynah. I find Wayne's sort of argumentation offensive. Even if as Wayne says, "the small amount of members here that are against medications are (not) the norm", then so what? As Mynah asks, what is the norm? What does it mean anyway? Does it make the opinions of those who are not the norm invalid?? This is a bullying way to argument, that "we are right and you are wrong". It implies that if I disagree with the "norm" then my opinion means nothing. I think it's disrespectful.

is your main reason why you've "resisted taking meds" because of possible side effects? have you experienced SE before? or had other bad experiences that were "not very probable"? (just curious...) you also mentioned the "brain zaps" in your first posting - i don't know how chances are to get them (maybe also it has not been studied much), but i've heard of them too, as a possible "weaning symptom". i've also heard that to reduce the meds slowly helps prevent those symptoms. (although sometimes they still happen it seems.)

i don't know if "statistics and probabilities" really help in any other way than to say that "chances are higher" or "chances are lower" that something will or will not happen, which still does not help in knowing whether it will happen to you.

one thought that has been crossing my mind was: what have you got to loose if you try? (med)

well you cannot be 100% sure it will work. but also not that it won't work. if it does not work you've tried for yourself and are 'an experience wiser'. i hope you won't belong to the few percent that get severe SE. and if you should get them, at least you've informed yourself well before you tried, and maybe had some thoughts in advance about what you could take and what you couldn't or for how long, SE-wise, and can make an informed decision about when to stop trying. so, if you'll try them one day, you have an advantage by having thought about it before, and another advantage is to have found DF and support here.

Mynah, my position is anything but solid, but let me explain a bit more. My approach to ADs starts absolutely with seeing them as a way to control depression, either for a short term while undergoing therapy, or for a longer term if nothing else helps. I do NOT see it as a cure. For me, this is the starting point for my feelings and thoughts around them. I have never said they don't have value, I am just unsure whether they are have value for me.

Admittedly, I have always been resistant to ADs without thinking too much about why, but when I actually took the step of going to the doctor to get some, this led me to reading more about them on the net before I started taking them. Much of what I read horrified me. I need to respect the TOS of this site, and so I can't really says some of the things that are on my mind about ADs, but let me put it this way, that I was no longer sure I wanted to take them. I decided I wanted to put in a lot of effort with natural therapies (like fish oil and B group vitamins and St John's Wort) BEFORE I took what I saw as a drastic step of taking ADs. I know many people simply don't think like that, but hey, I have to deal with what I've got. And in my head, I'm not a big fan of Western Medicine. If I was ina car crash you couldn't get me in a hospital quick enough, but for many ailments and diseases, I prefer a natural approach.

At some point, I imagine I probably will try them. And I hope I'm one of those with very minor side effects. And that they work really well on me. As I've said, I'm not in a position where I can float along for years trying all sorts of things. My wife has been close to leaving me twice, and that is just not something I can deal with. So I've given myself a month to try the St Johns Wort and Fish oil and see if that helps (along with therapy and exercise and good diet). If I'm still in the same position, I will give them a go.

btw i really don't think a two weeks camp with whoever would "cure depression".

No, neither do I. I didn't suggest it would did I? I am however very positive about what two weeks of 24 hour a day attention to depression and the true causes of it can do. I believe there is much we can do ourselves, and yes, therapy is very hard work. But for those really prepared to work with themselves, I do believe depression can be lifted somewhat, and then you would go away with some tools to keep working with it. I suppose again it all comes down to what people believe are the basic reasons for depression. Some people might believe depression is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain, that you might have been born with or innocently developed (like catching a cold). Obviously for people that think like that, ADs are a small and logical step. I'm sort of in the middle. I do believe a chemical imbalance in the brain can be a major factor in depression. But I also believe that our thoughts can control the chemical composition of what happens in our brain, so that if we think positively, our brain will respond. This is obviously very much a simplification, but I think you get the idea. I believe that depression can be "cured" without drugs, I really do. I wouldn't for a minute say it's easy, or even likely in many cases. But I do believe it's possible.

My internal jury is still out in regards what part of my treatment ADs might eventually have, but I'm not sure this forum is really that open to a balanced debate around these issues. I respect the forums TOS and am trying hard not to cause trouble, but at the same time, I hate self censorship, and stifled debate. AT this point, and in this location, this will have to suffice. Thanks Mynah for your thoughtful approach to the subject.

Edited by djaef

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djaef,

Let me just say for the record, that I, for one, really appreciate the level of discussion you have brought on this topic, and think it is a very, very, VERY important discussion to have. I think being among a large group of individuals who suffer from depression, and NOT discussing the alternatives available to us beyond AD's, and NOT exploring the effects of the choices we make on this matter in order to make informed decisions, is like ignoring the elephant in the living room.

I hope it is not the case that an intelligent, respectful, informed discussion of ideas, respecting other's opinions while sharing one's own, is being discouraged here. I think this kind of sharing of ideas is the very crux of what makes this forum (and any good forum) appealing to everyone.

I personally have not seen anything offensive in any of your words on this topic. I respect that everyone has their own opinion on this matter: you have yours, I have mine, and others have theirs. I hope we all can get along!

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Hi djaef,

First I would like to apologize to you for my comment about your meds, it was way too personal when my post was not aimed at you at all other than to present another view. For the most part my response was a general view of this issue as I see it. What I meant by the 'norm' is that people suffer from depression, see a doctor, get a prescription and get better. Other than that, I believe what I said in my post. The majority of people treated for depression find relief in meds. It isn't a cure per se but replacement therapy. I hope we can let this not be a personal affront.

BE Peace and BE Love... wayne

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djaef,

Let me just say for the record, that I, for one, really appreciate the level of discussion you have brought on this topic, and think it is a very, very, VERY important discussion to have. I think being among a large group of individuals who suffer from depression, and NOT discussing the alternatives available to us beyond AD's, and NOT exploring the effects of the choices we make on this matter in order to make informed decisions, is like ignoring the elephant in the living room.

I hope it is not the case that an intelligent, respectful, informed discussion of ideas, respecting other's opinions while sharing one's own, is being discouraged here. I think this kind of sharing of ideas is the very crux of what makes this forum (and any good forum) appealing to everyone.

I personally have not seen anything offensive in any of your words on this topic. I respect that everyone has their own opinion on this matter: you have yours, I have mine, and others have theirs. I hope we all can get along!

hi windmills, hi djaef, hi all,

as you can see this discussion is not being discouraged here on DF: we're here, we're talking about it, and we're still here. if it was discouraged i trust that there would have been a comment from mods or admin to please stop this or we'd have been pm'ed about it and asked politely. in my experience over the years here on DF this is what happens if something can't be accepted, and it happens when there is reason to. keeping to the TOS and the work of mods and admins is what makes it a safe haven for all of us.

everyone here works on him/herself to keep it respectful as good as they can, and this is good. not everyone who has written here before can or want to take the same amount of time and thought to reply to everything, i think it depends on each's own level of being busy elsewhere and on the personal "pressure from suffering" with a certain issue. for me, i've been suffering very much with this topic, it's an important one for me, so it's my choice to put in a lot of time and effort. not everyone can. as i see it, this is especially difficult for the ones who carry the load of working to keep DF running smoothly all the time (our moderators and admin - they have a lot to do here, and i take my hat off to them!).

i even think self-censorship is a good thing at times. i know i do watch my words often (in rl as well as here) as i don't want to step on someone's toes if it is avoidable. i know how my own toes hurt when someone else does. i know it's not always avoidable, and mostly when it happens it's not on purpose (here on DF i can even be quite sure of that), so i work on myself to not take offense. and i know that the bigger the crowd the more difficult it gets to see everyone's toes :hearts:

when discussing the pros and cons of the meds approach i think it is important to not forget some points:

- there is many people who have never taken meds or are just starting their treatment, maybe even haven't made it to see a doc about it yet, and they might be unsure about whether to take meds or not.

- there are many many "guests" reading on DF, probably many of them even never register, they just keep reading, and try to find ideas and find info/help just by reading - and they won't post or ask questions as they're not registered.

- we're discussing this in "Depression Central", which is a part of the boards that everyone can see, and the most frequented part of DF i think

- there is about 50-70% of depression people who do get help from the meds. so the chances are relatively high that someone who tries a med for his/her depression will get some relief from the med.

- sometimes (especially when confronted with this illness or diagnose of depression for the first time) people tend to react in a rather 'panicky' way, or just not having the energy to think themselves through all the pros and cons there are (i know i often don't manage to work up energy for anything with my depression), might get frightened by reading a more 'critical discussion'. and often with depression and anxiety it seems so much easier just not to do anything, as every change can be scary - it might turn out for the worse, is what _my_ depressed mind tells me very often.

i for one wouldn't want to discourage anyone from trying to find something that could bring him/her relief from the sufferings of depression. whatever my own experiences with AD. even if the percentage of effectiveness was much lower, i would not want to keep someone from something that might help them. even if maybe it will not help them. but they cannot know in advance. much the less can i know whether it would help them or not.

i do not think it makes sense to debate about whether some call it a "cure" and whether it is or not; however small or big or total the positive effect might be for a person, as long as it helps in one way or another, it is good to find help in battling depression.

i do think it is good to be able to make informed decisions.

and to have a closer look at what can i do to battle depression, besides meds, or even instead of meds.

i also think it's not wrong to think about possible 'risks' of different approaches before trying them, and about what can i do to minimize the risks and what can i do if... (and i do think it's also important not to get lost in the "what ifs" - depression and anxiety can do that easily too.)

and i think it's important for those who do not find help in a med they've tried, maybe even found too much of negative effects, to know they're not alone. to know it can happen, and it's not their fault (depression has this nasty way of producing guilt feelings about whatever...), and to know where to get support too when things i tried did not work out in the way i had hoped.

from my own experience i know that doctors often have not been as supportive about this topic as i had wished, and i know that it has been too difficult for me to find words for my painful experiences when it was very fresh; i hope for everyone to get the support they need, be it with the meds approach, other / alternative approaches, in any combinations, and also the drug free approach.

i know that the things that for me are an elephant in my living room, maybe for others is just a fly in their living room. i appreciate it very much when they can see that i in fact do have an elephant to deal with, and not tell me it's just a fly, but i also acknowledge that they just have to deal with a fly in their living rooms, and cannot imagine my animal is an elephant... (they're not sitting on my couch...)

you cannot know for sure how a med will affect you if you've never tried. (that is, unless you know of any other rare medical condition you have, that might make it impossible to take a certain drug; i think they're listed in the 'contra indications' for every med.)

i respect a critical view on "western medicine", it is a valid point of view, i think there is value too in approaches like homeopathy for instance, and i do know that herbs can be powerful (and harmful - SE!) medicine too - even some of our today 'chemical medicines' have been developed from certain 'active ingredients' of natural medicine, as for instance 'aspirine' is found in willow bark. but i do not think a 'general discussion' about 'medical approaches' belongs to DF, i'm sure there's other discussion groups about that in general. as to fighting depression, the specific meds (chemical, natural, ...) have their rooms or threads on these boards.

.... i've been too long already ... enough for now.

take care all

mynah

@djaef: no you did not suggest it would. you're right. i'm sorry.

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Hi djaef,

First I would like to apologize to you for my comment about your meds, it was way too personal when my post was not aimed at you at all other than to present another view. For the most part my response was a general view of this issue as I see it. What I meant by the 'norm' is that people suffer from depression, see a doctor, get a prescription and get better. Other than that, I believe what I said in my post. The majority of people treated for depression find relief in meds. It isn't a cure per se but replacement therapy. I hope we can let this not be a personal affront.

BE Peace and BE Love... wayne

Thanks Wayne,

I appreciate the apology. Let's move on. No offense taken (well, kept in any case) :hearts:

Cheers

Geoff

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Thank you Mynah for your very thoughtful contribution to this thread.

as you can see this discussion is not being discouraged here on DF: we're here, we're talking about it, and we're still here. if it was discouraged i trust that there would have been a comment from mods or admin to please stop this or we'd have been pm'ed about it and asked politely. in my experience over the years here on DF this is what happens if something can't be accepted, and it happens when there is reason to. keeping to the TOS and the work of mods and admins is what makes it a safe haven for all of us.

yes, I think that as long as we are careful to stick to the TOS, we can have whatever discussions we wish. Admitedly, we have to be careful what we say, but as you say, self censorship is not always a bad idea.

as i see it, this is especially difficult for the ones who carry the load of working to keep DF running smoothly all the time (our moderators and admin - they have a lot to do here, and i take my hat off to them!).

Yes, I can imagine a lot of other forums would be a whole lot easier to moderate than this one.

@djaef: no you did not suggest it would. you're right. i'm sorry.

Don't worry, I wasn't taking offense, my memory is just not so good ;) I didn't think I'd suggested that.

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