I get lots of comments and emails from people saying that I might want to seek help from my mental health professional and possibly have her prescribe a bit of the joy in pill form. If you’ve been around awhile you’ll notice that I’m a little afraid of the doctor. This includes my mental health professional. She’s nice and all, but man… there’s way to much to go into since the last time I saw her. Just too big of a hassle. I’ll come up with any excuse in the book.
In lieu of seeking assistance from the major pharmaceutical companies I thought I would search the tubes of the internets for a natural alternative outside of get more exercise and spend more time outside. I try those things, but I still am in a funk.
Dr. Internet is the handiest little guy. Depression is essentially a seratonin deficiency in the body. So if you do a Google search for seratonin deficiency you will find this little article. It actually is on a Tinnitus website, but it brings up valuable information about seratonin.
The best way to treat seratonin deficiency is with tryptophan. You know, that stuff in turkey that makes you sleepy. It used to be available in a low cost over the counter supplement. That is until a bad batch was made in Japan and it made a bunch of people in New Mexico sick. FDA banned the supplement. Some research was done and it was discovered that it was human error and not the tryptophan itself. FDA allowed it to be manufactured again, but you have to get a script from…yep… your mental health professional. You could also eat a diet rich in natural tryptophan, but turkey isn’t my favorite.
Now in this whole convoluted story is the major pharmaceutical companies. Those makers of Pr0zac. Damn them. During the time that all of this tryptophan hoo-haa is going on they come up with the magic depression pill. Depressed people are happy. Drug makers are really happy because they can charge through the nose for it. Magical rainbows fill the sky and candy rains down. All is right with the world. Depressed people say what a miracle drug all of these SSRIs are. They recommend them to their friends. Half the world is on anti-depressants. Hell, I spent some time on them myself.
But… and here’s the big BUT.
Do you know how they work? If you didn’t read that article in the above mentioned link, I’ll give it to you again. HERE it is. What you need to glean from this is how Pr0zac works in the brain. Remember I said depression is a seratonin deficiency. The drug (any SSRI) collects the existing seratonin in your brain and puts it in the correct synapses. It does not help the brain produce any new seratonin. Basically it takes the middle man out. The part of your brain that produces the seratonin doesn’t need to produce it anymore because the Pr0zac has moved it on and makes it think that it has enough. Thus the part of your brain that produced the seratonin to begin with gets lazy. It doesn’t produce the seratonin anymore. Thus you get hooked on the stuff. If you take it for an extended period of time you have a more difficult time getting off the junk. All a big fat pharmaceutical plot to suck you dry of your hard earned money.
Granted this is the short version of all of this. But it might explain why I think Western medicine is a bunch of horse shit. Why I’m afraid of doctors and why taking random drugs for the sake of god only knows what scares the hell out of me. There isn’t much in my life that I’m a true activist on. I wouldn’t say that this is even one of them. What I am saying is that this is something I’m passionate about.
Do you truly know what you put into you body? Some days I do and some I don’t. But major drugs are not part of my plan.
Have you tried acupuncture? I loved it. My doctor kept telling me “it won’t necessarily make you pregnant but it will get your body in sync”. I felt calmer, less stressed, less high strung…like I said, I loved it. And the needles don’t hurt. My insurance covered it, too.
I am with yah on this one… for every pill they try to cram down your throat there is a side effect and then another to pill to fix the side effects of pill one BUT, then perhaps pill 2 has side effects too. No problem friend,we have pill #3 that cures pill #2’s side effects!!! The snowball effect has begun.
I am going it alone- pill-less. I too am an avid funk fighter and would love a magic pill to take me away- HOWEVER that magic pill killed my sex drive, packed on pounds, and caused me to grit my teeth until some cracked!!!
Upon diagnoses of “Anxiety” they decide to perhaps change my med over to a new mind altering substance- NOPE. I have a glass of red wine and a relaxing bath and I am trying to find Zen the good old fashioned way. RB still insists that a big fat home rolled doobie might be my salvation- I wouldn’t know about that cause I have never partook of that evil. Funny, the joint is an illegal mind altering substance but the government seems to have no issue with plenty of others, just so long as they get a share of the profits….Sorry for the blog post here- I got carried away:-)
I speak out of both sides of my mouth on this issue. Professionally, when dealing with individuals with serious MH issues that interfered with their lives, I preached the need for them to take their meds. Personally? I am totally with you. I interrogate my doctor before I accept a prescription. And I work hard to find alternatives to meds. The pharm. companies are evil!
And, yes, it was Elle that sinched my decision to see “Sicko” in the very near future.
I’m with ya – I hate taking any medication and still to this day can’t believe I actually did IVF after I swore I would never.
However, if you reach a point where it impedes your daily functioning, and affects those around you, including your kid(s), you should take it. So what if it’s addicting, if you need it for the rest of your life, what’s the difference?
I’m not saying your depression affects you in that way, I’m just saying for those it does, that medication is better than doing nothing.
I completely understand what you are saying on this issue. I did, however, about three years ago have to take something from perscription for about six months. But, then I learned some meditation techniques and I was able to get some control that way.
Hmmm…interesting coming from the person who convinced me I needed to go to therapy and almost 2 years later I continue to see my therapist. And yes I admit I am reading your blogs while on sabbatical.
All I have to say is I am thankful antidepressants are available for particular members of my family and that they have been modified greatly since the introduction of Prozac.
Take care of yourself.
Traci B makes some good comments, actually all your commentors do…. it’s such a personal journey, depression, and the only way to beat it is to explore all options. If medication is the road you take, you’re smart to learn as much as you can before you begin. Personally, I believe acupuncture, rolfing, excercise, meditation, martinis and yes, even a joint, can help a great deal. Good luck with your journey … you know you’re my Young Hero and I admire you.
I can relate totally, though on High BP rather than depression. Not the same, I know (I battled post-partum once and that was enough a glimpse into depression as I care to ever see.)
I do however want to treat the cause of it, rather than just stop the symptom with who knows what and in turn what it will do to me. I’m not even 30 yet, there has to be a better answer than daily meds! I’ve tried diet (low-salt, no salt, lacto-ovo veggie,) and lost some weight but BP still too high. It sucks and there has to be an answer. Keep searching, it’s about all we can do.
hmmm…. what to say to this post? Um, as you know, I’m currently spending all of my precious time dedicated to studying Western Medicine…. soooo, I guess I can’t agree with you on this post. However, I will say I think antidepressants are HIGHLY overprescribed and used as a quick fix to deeper mental issues. Could this possibly be because of the ridiculous amount of advertising that is put on television and the resulting patients requests, (or should I say – think they know how to prescribe themselves pills), for them from their doctors? The bottom line – many people on meds could do themselves a lot of good by dealing with their problems face on. JMO.
I really agree with what Michelle said above. Sometimes, you need more, sometimes, you just need to feel like shit and let the world roll around for a while. Another option is to get your hormones tested. Go visit an endocrinologist. Low or high testosterone can put you in a funk.
ack, where’s by brilliant and insightful comment go? are you moderating them? or is it lost in space?
lost in space apparently. Sorry about all the typos in the above comment. I was reeling from the shock of the lost comment.
I’m weighing in on the happy pill (as it is known at our house)side. You’ve had a long string of unhappy posts and I think that addressing the depression is the wise path. Meds, therapy, large doses of chocolate, whatever works.
Oops. I take that back, whatever works, except alcohol. Alcohol is depression’s best bud. They are in cahoots and you want to keep them far far apart from each other. My rule is that I can do one, or the other, but not both in the same time-span. I learned that the hard way.
As you know, I trotted off to see my physician after life handed me 2 huge life changes within 3 months on the cusp of the winter. I was barely staying afloat with two new kids and the new role of parenting; when Dad got hurt and was hospitalized for so long, I knew I was going under. Dad had been my respite care giver for our hard parenting days.
My thinking — for the Lexapro — was that I owed it to my kids to bathe and get out of bed each and every day, and I wasn’t sure I could do that.
Yes, I still have to deal with my problems head on. Lexapro helps me believe I can do it. I have to do it. I don’t have any options.
Regarding long term side effects? I’m more scared of the long-term side effects of depression than I am of the of the side-effects of the anti-depressant. I’m not going to be on it that long.
Anyway, my two bits. Good for your for bringing up the topic.
just to play Devil’s Advocate a bit, wanted to clarify that SSRIs don’t really concentrate existing seratonin in the synapses.
They block the ability of seratonin to be absorbed back into the nerve cells – the normal “reuptake” of seratonin. So, because more of the seratonin is left hanging around in the synapse, it is easier for the neural pathways to operate.
Or so the theory goes.
There have been three times in my life when I have taken SSRIs, not to make me happy, but to put a floor down on the depth to which I could fall. (Not that you did this, Elle, but I have to say I find it incredibly frustrating when people describe anti-depressants as some kind of mood-altering or happy pills. There’s nothing happy about ’em. But – again speaking only for myself – they can keep a person functional when they might be otherwise too deep in it to get on with normal life.)
But I did have to get over a LOT of my own judgments about anti-depressants before I was willing to give them a shot. And they did work for me. I had no problem coming off them each time. And it’s been many years since – I don’t feel like I have any resulting seratonin production problem.
I’m not saying they are right for everyone. In fact, I’m confident they are grossly over-prescribed. But there are cases when (a) they are appropriate and (b) they work.
St. John’s wort works pretty well for some people. Exercise works pretty well for me, too.
Hang in there.