Share your experiences with psychiatric treatment

I certainly hope this isn’t inappropriate.

I just posted a thread in GQ asking about whether the timing of your medication consumption changes its effectiveness, and remembered when I was in high school my doctor recommended I switch to taking one of my pills at night so I’d feel better in the morning.

So I thought about what I was taking in high school- Wellbutrin 450 mg twice a day, Prozac ?? mg twice a day, and Depakote briefly (the nausea was intolerable, I couldn’t take it anymore).

Anyhow, it just hit me that I had a pretty serious problem- I’d always assumed I’d had “mild” to “moderate” depression, not really being able to compare myself to others since I couldn’t get into their heads, but I guess make that “moderate” to “severe.”

Anyhow, my doctor just prescribed Topamax, which is supposed to be helpful for people who haven’t responded well to other antidepressants and mood stabilizers in the past. raises hand

So, um, come bask in your insanity with me? :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh sure - why not?

Major depression, general anxiety, social anxiety, and panic attacks(I’m such fun at parties…) Also, I have a history of “suicidal ideation” as well as self injury(cutting).

I have taken in the past:
*I’m sure I’m forgetting some… sigh.

The amitriptylene and nortriptylene both resulted in me checking into the crisis ward of the ER, suicidal. Tricyclics are NOT for me!
The geodon made me gain about 10lbs in a week, and basically zombified me. Every step I took was a massive effort. Zyprexa too, minus the weight gain.

I currently take:
effexor xr 300mg daily
hydroxyzine(an antihistamine, but I’m supposed to take it when I fell extremely anxious, and also to help me wind down and sleep at night)

ETA: Things are going ok for now. Felt I should add that.

Currently taking 300mg of Wellbutrin and 75mg of Effexor a day. I don’t know if those are high dosages or not, but I don’t particularly care as long as I’m me and not some depressed lump on the bed. They seem to be working well enough, with no real side effects, so I doubt they’ll be changed anytime soon.

I’ve taken Paxil, 20 mg daily, for about 6 years, for mild depression, with great success. The two times I went off helped me to see how great Paxil is for me. Wellbutrin doesn’t have the side effect that I don’t like from Paxil, but then neither does it help my depression, so I decided just to deal with the side effect. Prozac did nothing for me. I think those are all the ones I’ve tried. It’s sort of funny to me when people find out I take an antidepressant and then say, “But you’re not depressed!” I sometimes just smile winningly until they say, “Oh! I guess it works then.” Guess so! By the way, it doesn’t look that crazy in here to me yet. Can we get some lithium up in here? Risperdal? What’s up?*

*Of course I know these are serious issues and I do NOT mean to minimize or trivialize, and certainly not to offend, but in my family and with certain friends, we joke about mental illness, I think in a healthy way. I think it’s good to just talk about it, destigmify and demystify it and the concept of taking medication. So the guys who work in the little lab in your brain don’t all make perfect little concoctions all by themselves every time, so what? . So they need a little drop of this and a Florentine flask of that, a little help here and there, whoops, a little adjustment on that one. And perhaps in addition the big people outside your brain were not all they should have been in your formative years. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t affect your worth as a person.

Amongst many other anti-depression medicines, I’ve taken Lithium. Prior to that, I’d taken all sorts - all to no effect. (Well, at best, they’d act as a sort of security blanket, but curing the depression - no way).

Before Lithium, I’d been walking up to 10 kilometres a day, I’d given up alcohol and eaten sensibly. After Lithium, the black gates slammed shut. I sat, I slept, I got fat. The blankets were pouring down on me, smothering me. Not good. I was on it for a year because I couldn’t stir myself to tell anyone. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t motivate. Eventually, I managed to signal the problem to my doctor, and I’m now on Citalopram, which is more reaonable.

Depression stinks, but I’ve come to some sort of an agreement with it: I’ll just keep going if you don’t hit me too hard.

I see a distinct possibility that information posted in this thread might be used against posters in the future, so I think I’ll close this thread.

Re-opening thread with(I hope totally unfounded) reservations.

Class act there, sir. :cool:

(Hopefully everyone will behave, refrain from posting medical advice and will keep on the straight and narrow.)

I suffered from untreated depression as a teenager (though at the time, I was more numb then sad, really). So it wasn’t a complete surprise when it came back - but the expression of it was. I suddenly started having panic attacks every day at work for weeks on end, even though I knew intellectually that I didn’t have any reason to be upset or worried.

My PCP put me on Cymbalta 30mg a day, which instantly fixed the problem. (It barely counts, I know. :slight_smile: ) I went up to 60mg for a short period of time, but it really didn’t do anything more for me, so I went back down to 30mg only a couple of months later. Starting earlier this year, I’ve been getting some more classic-style depression for a couple of days around my period, but I don’t really want to start playing with meds that work if I don’t have to (plus, I’m trying to get pregnant), so I’ve managed make it through without upping the dose. Actually, I’m having an episode today - getting myself out of bed and to work was tough. My period should be tomorrow so I’ll be better then.

I don’t know that this is the right thread for this, but I’ll admit anyhow that I live in (moderate :slight_smile: ) fear of having a schizophrenic break. My mother and her sister both have it, plus both of my parents are bipolar.

I have received a handful of psychiatric diagnoses during my lifetime. None of them are recent because I do not find myself inclined to put myself where psychiatric professionals can give me more diagnoses, not liking the results when I was psychiatrized in the past, but I managed to accumulate “manic depressive” (now known as bipolar disorder) and “paranoid schizophrenic” and “schizo-dependent schizophrenic” (whatever the heck that may be) and a few “personality disorders” back when I was still collecting them. I usually mention the paranoid-schizzy dx, it’s the most lurid :slight_smile:

I’m politically active about psychiatric patients’ rights, mostly the wing of it that focuses on the right to decline unwanted treatment.

I don’t currently take any psychiatric medication, although I took some back in the day on voluntary, pseudo-voluntary, and involuntary basis. I found it dulling and unpleasant and also invasive & terrifying when I was not given a choice.

The ones I specifically remember:


Oh, excellent, I just noticed this thread was reopened, so I guess this would be the place for me to report on how Topamax has been going for me. Very well, acutally. I’m feeling a lot better, as some of what I’ve read said I might, it only takes about a week for it reach a stable level in your system, so my mood is a bit better, I have some more energy, and I’m not fluctuating between complete misery and numbness. I’m supposed to double the dosage to 50 mg tomorrow, do that for a couple more weeks, then I’ve got another appointment with my doctor to discuss how I’m doing with that.

The only side effect I’ve noticed is that carbonated beverages taste like ass. It’s not as noticable with beer (which I only had a couple of, the accompanying literature made me worry that if I had a couple of beers I’d pass out mid-sentence, though thankfully drowsiness hasn’t been a problem) because beer is bitter. But with soda, whoo boy, it tastes pretty bad. Also, my appetite is practically non-existent, so I’m having to force myself to eat, but I don’t mind because I need to lose weight. I’d put on about 20 pounds the past 6 months or so with this most recent episode, and I’m keen to get rid of it.

AHunter3, if you wouldn’t mind, could you share some of your coping mechanisms for dealing with mental illness without medication? How are you doing? IOW, do you feel that you have a problem, and if so, what do you do? Therapy, meditation, prayer, herbal supplements, etc? Not intended for medical advice, just curious. For me, I tried dealing with it on my own for years, watching my dad who has depression but still managed to get out of bed every morning and go to work (though he deals with it by lashing out at those closest to him), thinking I was doing something wrong. I ended up with a string of failures, punctuated with long periods spent on the couch or in bed unable to do anything productive at all. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need help, but I’m curious to hear what’s working for others, especially someone who’s “collected” so many, shall we say, difficult diagnoses.

Turns out I might actually be bipolar, but without all the fun of manic episodes. My manic episodes manifest themselves in violent outbursts, made worse by antidepressants. Hence the mood stabilizer.

Effexor, 37.5 mg daily. That’s a half dose, as I wasn’t sleeping well on the whole does of 75 mg. Not sleeping well again–considering changing meds again. Oh, and it’s for anxiety, not depression.

As long as “not intended for medical advice” is understood to mean “what works for AHunter3 isn’t necessarily the right approach for anyone else” and also “finding psych meds useful and/or necessary is in no way shape or form to be construed as a somehow-inferior adjustment”?

a) In my case, the worst of the really nasty screaming-meemies moments of feeling “I can’t take this life any more, there’s something wrong with me and I’m tired of pretending otherwise, what the fuck is wrong with me???” subsided when I came to understand myself better as a specifically unusual person whose differences (some of which I specifically identified, not just “crazy/weird”) caused me to not fit in well with other people. The being-left-out problems didn’t go away but a lot of the confusion did, and understanding it as a difference caused me to quit periodically putting myself on internal trial as wrong, fucked up somehow. It may come across as corny, as “victim culture” shit, but it’s political in the 60s-70s “movement” sense of political, and understanding it that way is necessary and vital to accepting that there’s a difference with a price but that it doesn’t mean something wrong with me.

b) The residual part that didn’t go away (and still nails me now & then) may not have the self-loathing, self-blaming element but I can get desperately lonely and jealous of people who are less alien. In particular the people-connections, the sense of belonging, of knowing other people, of being someone that other people would turn to for human contact, etc. I don’t have a good answer for that. I guess having a philosophical & spiritual & sociological understanding of how and why one cannot be isolated and also well-grounded sort of helps, but mostly between times of feeling like that, not during. Ultimately it’s just that psych meds represent something very scary to me + I’ve experienced them as profoundly unhelpful so taking them just doesn’t register on my radar as an alternative to mucking through without them.

c) My worst and scariest phenomenon is not emotional but cognitive. I’ve learned coping mechanisms. I don’t think they would necessarily help if by neural circuitry or brain chemistry went way out of kilter (such coping mechanisms are themselves necessarily part of the brain’s processes) but what a lot of folks don’t realize is that all anyone needs in order to go really batshit insane, cognitively speaking (i.e., in terms of the things that seem entirely true to you at the time, often with a huge emotional investment in them on your part) is to be a bit short of corroborating feedback from other humans, which is exactly what you end up being short on if you’re sufficiently isolated. I have to be both more defensive about my thinking than most people are about theirs and also more in doubt about it to myself. Hard to explain but I really don’t want to ever again find myself so thoroughly living in a reality that isn’t so. It’s not like taking a wrong turn on the freeway and you just take the next exit and retrace your steps. Who you are gets all interwoven into what you believe and if you just ditch it wholescale and try to be “normal” it’s enough of a self-betrayal as to feel like suicide. You have to unravel and unbuild and it’s scary as hell. Being able to laugh at yourself really helps, I know that sounds trite and weak but it’s true. We lunatics tend to be dead serious at the core. So much is at stake. I have a weird and dark sense of humor inside myself to point at myself and cackle and have it be derisive without being contemptuous, without self-hate, does that make any sense?

50mg Zoloft in the evenings during the winter enables me to stay employed through SAD. This year, I seem a bit more “jittery” than last, but I suspect it is because I am not at a physical job. Shoveling the snow this afternoon should help!

Absolutely. I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that for me, personally, therapy and meds is the way to go right now. At a later point in time, when I’ve gotten myself in a good position financially, emotionally, educationally, and socially, that may need to be reevaluated, but right now, just trying to do what I’ve been doing isn’t working and I need to stop beating my head against the same brick wall.

For years I did take it as being inferior. I’d look at some people, my best friend would be a good example, who I judged to be as screwed up as I was, but still managed to do well in school, hold down a job, be responsible, and keep his life together, and I’d look at myself- failing classes, unable to keep a job, always broke. And I took the fact that I couldn’t keep it together as well as someone I assumed had it as bad as I did as further proof that I sucked at life.

I assumed he had it as bad as me, but I have no way of knowing that. Doing my own research recently I’ve come to learn that his subset of depression (a less common one) does not cause as much disruption in the activities of daily living. :smack: Well, that explains one thing right there. And through some discussions with my doctor, we suspect I’m actually bipolar, though depression is dominant and I only have hypomanic episodes. So that makes things a lot easier to understand, and hopefully that will also make it easier to treat.

I only wish I had been able to come to terms with this sooner- I’d have saved myself a lot of pain (and money!) if I had just accepted the fact I needed help instead of slogging through semester after semester, failing or dropping half of my classes.

Yes, it does. I’m hoping that therapy in addition to meds will help me get to the point where I’ve learned some better coping mechanisms, have stopped comparing myself to others, can laugh at myself, accept myself, just undo a lot of the negative patterns I picked up as a kid and emerge as a whole, unbroken adult. I’m seeing a therapist who right now seems a bit more concerned with practical things, he’s sort of on the CBT side of therapy, but there was someone I had several sessions with at the school’s counseling center I liked very much who was into the more traditional talk therapy, and I think I want to see both of them for a while. I’m hoping it helps.

Oh, and if a passing mod could edit the title, please, I’d appreciate it. I wrote the OP in a fit of goofiness and self-deprecation, I think the title would solicit more of the types of responses I’m looking for if it read something more along the lines of “Share your experiences with psychiatric treatment.”

And whatever happened to that online support group some poster or other was interested in starting? I could really use that right now.

As you wish.