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Re: Skeptic about antidepressants and therapy...

Posted by Seedwoman on March 6, 1999, at 11:30:10

In reply to Re: Skeptic about antidepressants and therapy..., posted by Carol on March 5, 1999, at 6:56:56


I, too, have suffered from depression for most of my life; usually "mild", but episodically severe. I too thought that my depressed state was just part of my nature. For the last 4 years, I have worked with a wonderful therapist who is also my psychiatrist. The therapy has been enormously helpful, allowing me to finally be at peace with myself. I have also been on antidepressants and am at the moment coming to terms with the fact that the work I do in therapy can only take me so far. In other words, there is a chemical basis to the depression and it is not resolvable through will power, talk, cognition, or any other psychosocial process. This was hard for me to accept at first. But I now understand that many aspects of my experience of the world--extreme social withdrawal, extreme sensitivity to rejection, emotional reactivity--are mood-related. I am emotionally very healthy, thanks to therapy, but only when the meds are working. When they are not, I slip back into the old patterns. My Dr. agrees that these traits are not some innate part of me but rather a function of the depression. So I would urge you to be wary of claims that your depressive symptoms are somehow "part of you" and not amenable to treatment. Investigate some options. Find a therapist you feel comfortable with, who can help you explore the deeper sources of your fear, anxiety, sadness. But accept that this may not be enough. Be persistent, try different meds if you need to. Your account reminds me of myself, and my life is now much better than I ever thought it could be. If you live with depression on an ongoing basis, as you and I do, you don't realize that there are other ways of being. Take it from me, there are. Don't give up.

best to you,

> David,
> It definitely sounds like you need a new doctor. There are always several ways to approach any problem, and a "pure" psychotherapy approach is probably the longest (and most expensive) way to try to deal with your problems. The immediate diagnoses that he gave you are surprising, since many doctors will refine a diagnosis over several sessions.
> It is very common now to use medications as an adjunct to therapy. There are some very good meds with much lower degrees of side effects than there were even 15 years ago. My personal experience is that I have not been able to keep my depression under control without the help of medications. When the meds stop working, then all the talk therapy in the world can't bring me out.
> There are many types of therapy as well. I don't know what works for most people, but for me, a cognitive approach has been most helpful. This allows me to focus on my day-to-day activities, emphasizes coping and succeeding at daily activities, and in general, allows me to function like a "normal" person. The 2 or 3 times that doctors have tried to go back and do more traditional analysis with me haven't worked well, and have made the problem much worse. We all are viewing the world through our own set of lenses and filters, so even recalling the past is tricky because we're interpreting things, as well as remembering. Working on what's happpening in my life NOW, and how to learn to cope with wht might happen tomorrow has been much more useful.
> You're at the beginning of a process. Sometimes the most difficult step is to recognize that you have a problem, and that you want to begin to solve it.
> Good luck and stay in touch. This group has a variety of contributors, and a lot of different points of view.
> Carol




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