Medication and Depression

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Joy Depression

This is day 10 of 31 Days of Finding Joy in Depression. Yesterday, I shared about the church and depression. Today, let’s look at medication and depression.

medication and depressionPhoto Credit

 I hated the idea of having to take medication for depression.  So much of my view of medication had been tainted by what I believed and had been taught about the church, christianity, and depression.  I had to come to terms with the fact that depression is an illness just like any other illness that I’d take medication to cure or treat.  If I had unmanageable blood pressure, I’d take a pill, right?  I took medication to treat my PCOD and conceive Jonathan.  Why not depression?

My doctor recommended a low dose anti-depressant.  After an issue with my insurance company, we landed on a generic in the right class of medications and in the right tier for my prescription plan.  He told me to expect to see changes by around day 14, but the full effect of the medication wouldn’t be seen until around 30 days.  After one month, we’d come back together, evaluate the situation, and determine if I needed to try a different medication.

Josh and I started seeing major positive effects of the medication within just a few days.  By day 3 or 4, there was marked improvement in my mood and ability to handle the symptoms of my depression.  By 30 days, it was like I was a different person.  Or, as Josh would say, the person he always saw in me.  I was less irritable, rough edges were softened, and I was more patient with myself and others.

I’m very lucky to have found a medication that worked well on the first try.  Some people need to try a couple of different medications before finding the one that works best for them.  My doctor initially suggested that I go on the medication for six months.  He said at that point, I could try tapering off or I could continue.  My choice.  I did try going off after six months.  I tried some natural treatments for a few weeks, but those were not as effective for me as the medication.  So, I went back to the medication.

One of my concerns about going on medication long-term were what would we need to do if I got pregnant.  My doctor assured that the medication was safe during pregnancy and nursing.  About 13 months after going on the medication, I found out that I was expecting Jacob.  Josh, my doctor, and I discussed the situation and decided that it was best for me to stay on the medication.  Of course, there are always risks, but, in my case, the benefits of having a stable mommy far outweighed the potential risks of staying on the medication.

Do you take medication to manage your depression?  Did you fight taking medication for your depression?

If you deal with depression, please comment and share your journey too.  If you’re a blogger, you can use the button and code below to share your story and link back on your blog.  Feel free to leave links to your posts in the comments area.

 

The Pelsers

I’m linking up with The Nester and others who are writing 31 posts this month on various topics.  I?m not a doctor or a counselor and this is not intended to be medical advice.  This is simply the story of my experience with depression.

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Comments

  1. Amanda,
    I have really been enjoying your series… 
    I think it is an incredibly important topic.

    With the increased stresses of today’s society, and the lack of the built in support of the family structure, depression is becoming increasingly prevalent.

    I suffered from PPD after my second son ( my Jonathan) was born.  It really took me by surprise, as I had not experienced it with my first son.  I kept waiting for it to go away.
    I was taking charge of my health, had started running, and should have been on top of the world, but there were days that I couldn’t even make a list of my blessings, because the fog was just so thick.
    A definite chemical disconnect.
    It was scary.

    I am so thankful for the support of the women of my church at the time, and within days of being on the medicine, the chemicals in my brain started to right themselves.
    I was fortunate, and started feeling like myself within the 6 month time frame that I was given as well, and was able to go off of the meds, but I am SO grateful for having them during that time.

    —My prayer for this series is that even if the interaction is not strong right now, these posts are going to be archived,and found by that hurting Mama  at exactly the time that she needs them…

    *hugs*
    Thank you, Amanda!!

    • Meredith, thanks for reading.  Depression is scary.  I was hoping that I could go off the meds, but that hasn’t been the case yet.

      Thank you for your prayers.  That is exactly my prayer.

  2. I feel like I could have written this post myself!  I was SO hesitant to go on medication because I always thought medication wasn’t the answer – that depression wasn’t really an illness that needed medication.  But, my doctor explained to me that there is a true chemical imbalance and that the medication helps to fix that imbalance.  And, just like you, I noticed a difference almost immediately.  We had to increase my dosage a few times, but I’ve been on a good dosage for several months now.  The plan is to stay on it until at least January and then decide from there.  I’m kind of scared to go off it, because I know what a huge difference it has made for me.  I felt like myself again – and for over a year I felt like I had been walking around in a daze as a completely different person.  I don’t want to go back to that ever.  Medication, like you said, helped me feel more calm and think more clearly so I could deal with the emotions and issues I had been burying and learn to overcome my depression and anxiety.  I cringe to think of where I’d be today if I hadn’t finally gotten some medication.  

  3. Amanda, thank you for being so open and honest.   

    I think more people suffer with depression than we ever realize.  For me, it was a SEVERE postpartum depression that opened my eyes to this disease.  Since that time (that was almost 7 years ago), I have had two other times in my life where I needed a little help from medication to get myself going again.   

    I love what your husband said about you being the “person he always saw in you” — that is just so true.  You know who you are, and depression just seems to hinder that person from coming out.   Sometimes I think a good antidepressant can help level you back out and let you be yourself again.

    Again, thanks for sharing so freely with your readers.  I’m enjoying the series.

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