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as the subject of this thread says, i am getting tired of taking my anti-depressant medication. it's been a little over a year now and i would like to stop. however i don't think that would be a good idea. i will discuss it with my doctor but i am wondering if anyone else has experienced this kind of feeling about their meds.

i find myself hovering, not being committed to staying well even though it feels good to be ok and to be enjoying life. i am interested in so many things, so much i want to do, but at the same time, somehow, it's like at some level i want to go back to being depressed. i don't know why. has anyone else experienced this?
 

Daniel

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i am interested in so many things, so much i want to do, but at the same time, somehow, it's like at some level i want to go back to being depressed. i don't know why. has anyone else experienced this?

Yeah, but my increasing level of boredom eventually gets me over the hump.
 

ThatLady

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A couple of things come to mind, ladybug. When one is depressed for a long time, the associated feelings and behaviors become almost habitual. The depression becomes our identity. It's what we know, so it's where we're comfortable. I think, when we're stressed, or just unsure, we tend to try to "go home"; in other words, we tend to turn back toward what's familiar instead of venturing further into what we see as the unknown. Related to that is the matter of challenge. When one is depressed, one doesn't take up challenges. When living a healthy, productive life, challenges come up often, and they're frequently pretty scary! Any time there's a challenge, there's the chance of failure. (OMG! That "f word" again!) If we get tired, or a bit under the weather, or come to a fork in our path through life, it will sometimes look pretty darned tempting to just return to that stage when we could ignore those challenges and just lie there, miserable.
I don't know if either of these thoughts resonates with you; however, for me, I found them to be true at times. They were frequent during the early stages of my recovery. Slowly, but surely, they tapered off and disappeared. These days, I'm very rarely troubled by such thoughts. If I am, I recognize what's happening and give myself the requisite talking-to. I've learned to control those thoughts instead of letting them control me. It took time, patience, therapy, and determination to do so, but it's done. :)
 

ladylore

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Great explanation That Lady and I agree. I have one more thing to add. :) I have been taking anti-depressents for about 7 months now and I have the same thoughts. For me however, I missed the highs and lows that came with depression and addiction. When my moods started to even off I wasn't use to feeling somewhat "flat". I deem myself to be a bit of a passionate gal and I wasn't feeling that passion anymore.

I keep taking them because without them I go to a place I do not like, as it feels like I am dead but my body doesn't know enough to shut down. When I hurt these days I go half way down, so my chances of getting up relatively unscathed are increased.

Either or please talk it over with a doctor/therapist because as you probably already know it can be dangerous going off this kind of medication alone.

Ladylore:2cents:
 

Daniel

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Regarding the meds, I found this from a PowerPoint presentation at FDA.gov:

Results suggest that the patient should be free of significant symptoms for 16-20 weeks before treatment is discontinued.

How Long Should Antidepressant Drugs be Continued to Prevent Relapse in Clinical trials? (2006)

And, from what I gather, it often makes a lot of sense to continue the meds for much longer than that to help prevent relapses, especially since the above figure is geared towards time-limited clinical trials.

If you feel your meds aren't doing enough or have side effects, why not just get a medication change rather than discontinue them completely?

(A fictional example: There's a scene in the movie Shopgirl where the leading lady stops taking her antidepressants since she was feeling great and on top of the world. The problem was she got bad news a few months later -- her boyfriend didn't really love her as much as she thought -- and that triggered a relapse. If she had not stopped the medications, it's likely her relapse would have been less severe.)
 
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thanks for all the feedback. i guess this must be normal then, from what i can tell. what you say seems to make sense, tl.

the meds aren't causing any side effects at all, i've been lucky with them, so that's not a factor.

Yeah, but my increasing level of boredom eventually gets me over the hump.
what do you mean by this, daniel? can you explain?

i forgot to take my dose two days ago, and yesterday i didn't take it on purpose. i know this is not smart, but there was just this rebellion in me. i'll take it today though because i there were some negative feelings and behaviour yesterday.

i see my new therapist on friday and i'm feeling nervous and a bit scared. things have been going well for me for a while so i've been doubting the value of it, but for some reason not going doesn't sit well with me.
 

Daniel

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what do you mean by this, daniel? can you explain?

What I meant by "my increasing level of boredom eventually gets me over the hump":

inertia & apathy ("Why not procrastinate? It's all pointless, anyway.") --> boredom, lowering of self-esteem & increase in self-preoccupation (rumination) --> desire for change (desire for "anything but this" -- even menial chores seem pleasant in contrast to previous episodes of painful rumination)

An example that reiterates some of the points ThatLady made:

Semyon (patient): [Tears welling in eyes -- Laing smiles] I feel like I've made a deal with, I don't know whom ... let nothing exceptionally good happen to me as long as nothing exceptionally bad happens to me either, and I made a promise I won't attempt to arise above mediocrity.

Laing (therapist): Do you realize you'll have to give up the deal if you want to do something in life that is meaningful to you? Do you think you could?

R.D. Laing: Creative Destroyer (pg. 187)
 
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Peanut

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I can relate a LOT to not wanting to take antidepressants any longer. I must say though, you are fortunate that you are not experiencing any side effects. It sounds like they are, overall, working well for you. Although, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask your doctor about it if you're feeling alright now. Maybe the doctor might have some valuable input regarding the time frame that you can expect to take them. Good luck, I can really understand where you're coming from.
 

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Hi LB,

I too can relate and would just encourage you to speak with your doctor and/or therapist about where you're at vs where you would like to be...I can only echo everything TL said as well - I know for me depression has been more of a comforting place because I know how to handle those feelings and am still struggling with learning how to handle "normal" feelings.

It may very well be that you are at a time that you can start to taper off them, but definitely don't do it without speaking to your doctor so s/he can help you do it properly and without a relapse.
 

Auburn

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ladybug, I also can relate to not wanting to take them. And sadly, I learned the hard way what happens when I don't take them. Dave and I went off them WAYYY to soon, and it was just a slow decline. I am determined not to let that happen again. This time we will take them until our doc says otherwise. And he has already told us it may be a long haul. As ticked off as that makes me, the alternative is not an option. I can't go back to the doom and gloom that ruled us before. I hope hun, that you find a way to co-exist with your meds. I know it is a crappy thing to have to be on meds just to stay on an even keel, but try to look at it like I do. At least now, with my meds, I can joy in the little things. I didn't have that before, and I have to say, the joy is so much better than the depression.
All my thoughts are with you hun. Take care of you! :)
 

ladylore

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I speak from experience myself too. I am a much kinder and saner person when I take the anti-depressent. When you go off of them suddenly the withdrawal symptoms too are something else.

Ladylore
 
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i know that right now being on them is better than being off them. even though i feel okay i just have a feeling depression would slowly creep back. i'd let it creep back into my life :sigh: that would just be irresponsible of me so i just have to stick with it.

thanks for all the feedback, it's helped me feel a bit better :)
 
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I recently went off one of my meds due to several different reasons and it seemed to have a huge impact on me. It's just now kicking back in and I'm feeling better, much better than I did even yesterday. I don't like the thought of being on the meds either, but being off them is so much worse and if my body needs them to make me feel better then it's just a fact I have to take them.

I'm glad you're feeling better about taking them. :hug:
 
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thank you janet :hug: i am glad you started taking yours again, and that it's helping. in a way i am thankful there is medication available to help us. without it i think recovery would be impossible, or very near impossible.
 

ladylore

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It's stange that some of us think this way (including myself). I use to be so against taking medication as schizophrinia runs in my family, and I didn't want anyone to think I was "crazy" myself. Yet, I self-medicated myself right into a severe addiction with alcohol and drugs.

I have done a full 180 on this subject. If I need to take one little pill to help my body get back in balance so I can feel sane and participate in life, so be it. :)

Ladylore
 
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yes, i'm not so dead set against medication anymore either. i try to be reasonable and not go to one extreme or the other. i try to consider the pros and cons, whether it's really needed or not. i am thankful for meds. i don't think i would have made it without them.
 

poohbear

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I feel for u. I was on Effexor for over 10 years. I only stopped taking it when I was pregnant. I wanted to sop taking it too, but was afraid I wouldn't be able to function. I was also afraid of withdrawal symptoms. I am a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Nursing Student, so I felt pretty confident researching my options on my own. I did, and decided to give it a trial run. I stopped the 2nd week in June and went through about 1 week of HORRIBLE wihdrawal (achy, feverish, headaches, nausea, vomiting, the works!), but about 7-10 days later, the feelings subsided. About three weeks after d/c-ing the meds, I became anxious, worried I had done the wrong thing-- that I might not be able to cope. But I toughed it out, and tried to remain focused--on me. It worked. It is now August 8th, and I am anti-depressant free. I sometimes get worried I did the worng thing. And, since I took them for so long, my emotions were in over drive, and sometimes still are, but I think I am doing alright! Dr. Baxter, and others medically educated would all certainly agree that you shouldn't just stop "cold turkey" without first consulting a doc, and the meds should be titrated to help avoid withdrawal. I chose to do otherwise, but it worked for me. I DO feel that if someone is CURRENTLY ACTIVELY seeing a therapist for emotional, psychological problems or issues that they should DEFINITELY seek medical advice before decreasing dosages or stopping meds. I believe I have come a long way, and felt I was able to handle it. In the last year, I finally took responsibility for my unhappiness, left a horribly unfulfilling and deeply unhappy marraige, and have been trying to build my own life. I wanted to do it without the help of medication. I may be one of the lucky ones that can resume life pre-medication. However, from what I've read in school and from books and resources online, many people continue their meds for many, many years. They likely suffer from a physiologial (chemical) imbalance to justify the need for medication. I truly believe that my depression (for years...) caused a chemical need for my medication. And when I left my unhappy marraige, I no longer had the need for it! It seems so obvious: I started taking Effexor 1&1/2 yrs after we got married, in 1996. And stopped taking it 7 monhs after leaving. Hmmm....Go figure. I should have caught on to that a LONG time ago! But, I know that if I become depressed again, or if my anxiety overwhelms me, that I will likely need to stay on the medication. But, as of now, I am trying to enjoy getting in touch with my feelings, crying at the drop of a hat, and feeling --truly-- my emotions, without the filter of medication. I'm just taking it one day at a time. And I hope you will, too.
 

ThatLady

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There's a different way of looking at medication that's worth exploring. Were it not for medications, our diabetics would simply die. Those suffering from heart conditions would, as well. Babies and children would die of infection. We don't, for some reason, find anything wrong with people taking oral medications for diabetes (or, insulin, if required). We don't think badly of those who take medications to improve their heart function or lower their blood pressure. It's perfectly okay with us to get antibiotics for our little ones if they develop a bacterial infection. Yet, we quail at the thought of taking a medication that we perceive as treating a "mental illness".

If one really thinks about that, it doesn't make any sense. A disease process that expresses itself as an interference with thought processes is still a disease. A disease process that effects behaviors is still a disease. There's no difference other than the fact that we who suffer from depression, or bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia don't break out in a rash, or find our blood glucose levels running amok, or run a fever because of bacterial infection. Why, then, do we feel it's okay to treat heart disease, diabetes and infection, but wrong, somehow, to treat depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or any of the other, related, conditions? It's food for thought.
 
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Results suggest that the patient should be free of significant symptoms for 16-20 weeks before treatment is discontinued.

what would fall under the "significant symptoms" category? how do you know when it's ok to start tapering off?

if you start to feel a little off when tapering off, is this a side effect or does it mean depressive symptoms are still underlying? how would you tell the difference?
 

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