Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?

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blues_cruise

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Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« on: September 13, 2015, 12:54:21 PM »
I was on Citalopram for years (think in America you might call it Celexa) but I started to gain a lot of weight and got fed up with the lack of sex drive. I felt strong enough two or three months ago to try going it alone so came off it. I was primarily taking it for anxiety and it did help take the edge off, though I think I felt so ok on it that I didn't feel inclined to do any deeper soul searching into why I had problems in the first place. Now I'm not on it it feels like all the suppressed emotions are rising to the surface and it feels completely overwhelming. I seem to be in a constant emotional flashback triggered by so many things and now I'm just miserable. I wonder whether I have to feel these things in order to progress though. Surely when I was on anti-depressants I was just suppressing emotions that needed addressing? How do you address these feelings when on anti-depressants when they're not so prevalent?

I currently have a sociopathic narcissistic father who's been giving me a no contact guilt trip for the past couple of months which I think has loaded more stress on me than ever before, but on anti-depressants I probably would have just given into him because I wouldn't have cared so much. Maybe I'm expecting too much too soon. Complex PTSD only came on to my radar about 4 or 5 weeks ago so it's still something really new that I'm trying to come to terms with. I do feel dreadful most of the time though. In your experience can you still effectively work on overcoming CPTSD whilst on anti-depressants?

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arpy1

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 01:51:32 PM »
i certainly know what you mean. i have been on anti-d's for ever, and i am never sure.

truth is, tho, all the years i was raising the kids, caring for my disabled (poss npd) ex, and trying to function, i couldn't have done without the stabilising effect they had. 

now, their effectiveness is limited, since events took a turn for the worse and i crashed and burned. i haven't had the courage yet to come off them completely, but i am trying to ramp down off the stronger ones back on to the lesser ones. trouble is, i need to begin to function again, becos as a singleton, i need to get back in work and get a decent income again before funds run out (been off a year).

not sure there is a 'one size fits all' solution really.  for me it's a balancing act between functionality and like you say, feeling the feelings and doing the work i need to do to get better.  a work in progress.

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KayFly

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 03:46:43 PM »
While pharmaceuticals can maybe numb you a bit temporarily, they don't stop you from moving forward. It's okay to need a little help with that.  :hug:

I get wanting to deal with it organically though. I do now, but it took some therapy for me to feel stable enough. Do you have a T? Or are you open to therapy?

I estranged myself from my birth family over a year ago now. They always guilted me back in. Good for you for standing your ground! I feel like I had been trying to get away for years. And it wasn't until I completely divorced my family that I was able to start really getting help because they we're so emotionally unsafe.

You are in a tough spot. Leaving my family behind was the hardest decision of my life and the aftermath has been the hardest thing I've ever dealt with. But it's been the best decision i have ever made. Because I have nourishing and meaningful relationships now.

It sounds like your dad is unhealthy for sure. Does contact with.him feel unsafe?

I know how overwhelming these issues can be so I feel for you  :hug:  :hug:

Hang in there. You'll find answers. And good for you for reaching out   :applause:
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 03:48:50 PM by KayFly »

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blues_cruise

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 11:08:24 PM »
I don't have a therapist, I'm just reading self-help books at the moment. I've read 'CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving' which was an amazing comfort and now reading John Bradshaw's 'Healing the Shame That Binds You'. I think toxic shame is a massive by-product of what I went through and continues to hinder me. I have looked into therapy but it's so expensive. I possibly could persevere with getting help on the NHS but it really leaves you at the mercy of people getting you the correct referrals and I'm not trusting at all. The last thing I would want is to end up with a counsellor who doesn't understand CPTSD and end up being made to feel like I'm the problem rather than my dad. I really don't think I could stomach it!

I do feel better for not speaking to him, I think once you're out of the emotionally unsafe zone there is room to breathe and reflect. I'm only now seeing how horrific he made my childhood and I can't believe I've accepted it all this time. I'll have low contact with him if he does come crawling back to me but I'm certainly not going to go looking for shame and abuse from him. Contact with him absolutely feels unsafe, he makes me feel like a child that's done something wrong constantly.

I am having moments of clarity which I never had when I was using anti-depressants. They did feel like a buffer against really bad feelings but I always felt they were still there. It is just a particularly tough time at the moment and there has been a lot of change.

Thanks KayFly, it really does help knowing someone understands and to talk it through!  :hug: arpy1, it does sound like a lot to deal with on your own so I can see how anti-depressants can help.  :hug:

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2015, 09:43:33 AM »
Blues cruise
Thank u for sharing
Since yesterday I can't believe how much identifications am getting on our forum - so grateful
I have been on and off citalopram for some yrs now- I came off it slowly last year and couldn't cope with the terror feelings and went back on them-
I am now reducing again v slowly . I too am on citalopram and have reduced by 5mg for now -
I really understand what u are saying and I feel the same - they are numbing and I don't truly feel I can make movement on them . But I also know that it not the whole truth I just did 3 mths with a child trauma specialist and got so much from doing the work with her -
I do believe support is a big one for us and the right support ...
For me once I identified with cptsd after yrs of calling it depression / anxiety / being messed up I found I could articulate my experiences better ..
I self referred to a psychology service in Bristol UK and I had assessment and was assigned her . She was fantastic !
I also belong to 12 step programmes and get a lot of support
Being here helps me a lot and the literature
For me as u describe also re toxic shame it's the psychological I have been able to deal with more through therapy how my brain thinks and abuses
Also my beliefs my relationship with me and with the world
So the areas she worked with in a trauma context are
Emotional regulation
Relational work
CBt

Yes like u I was at a stage I needed the real deal - I'd had lots of psychotherapy and other stuff with some healing but not the whole answer
She worked with me adult to adult not so much looking back in a psychotherapy way
But then I had done a lot of that work so maybe in hindsight - regression and all of that was more healing than I think and brought me to this place

I am hopeful I can be off anti dep and I feel I will be -
Toxic Shame is a real area for me to work with I always feel I'm not good enough it is crucifying
What areas have u learnt about ? I'd be interested to hear :)
The inner / outer critic as p walker talks about ( I am just approaching his book now I was too scared b 4
I want to be free of psych drugs to feel - I don't like the dampened down effect although I guess that is the point ! Also my concentration and memory are effected that scares me and feeds into the I'm not good enough esp at work
I feel sedated on them -
I wish u all best wishes
Get what u need in a considered way and together we build ourselves back up
Ps I went nc from my mother 7 yrs ago - best decision I ever made :)

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2015, 09:48:07 AM »
The self referral to lift psychology is funded by nhs-
So explore what is on offer for child trauma
I hadn't been offered anything all these yrs until I got this

Re private therapy when I've struggled financially I have seen someone every 2 wks instead of weekly
But again someone in child trauma may be more helpful
Maybe organisations like mind or other voluntary sector services in your area may be able to help

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tired

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 11:18:54 AM »
I agree that the overflow of emotion is necessary to progress.  However, life goes on and one needs to get out of bed and function because the progress, no matter how much you try, takes time.  I have two thoughts about how to manage this.

One is to decide that right now is not the time to deal with everything and it's better for your life to suppress things. Let's say you started a new job or have small children or have no other support, for example.  It's ok to delay dealing with things in a more permanent way. Medication is a temporary coping strategy. 

Another thought is that you can take a different medication or dose so that you get a bit of relief from symptoms without completely blunting your emotions and thinking process.  You can also try a very strict exercise and diet regimen or any nonmedication things that can be that substitute for medication. 

Either way it takes a long time and the process and strategy may change over the years. 

I have a prescription for celexa but it makes me sleep a lot so I haven't been taking it.  I started taking ginko biloba and that seems to help but I could be wrong.  Occasionally I take a tiny dose of ritalin and a bit of coffee, which keeps me moving and when I function well and feel good about myself I have less depression.  The anxiety is always there frankly.  I don't really try to fix it, I just try to ignore it.  I know what it is and I know where it has come from.  I had 5 years of analysis and years of other therapy.   

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blues_cruise

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Re: Anti-depressants...helpful in the long term or not?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2015, 06:23:56 PM »
Blues cruise
Thank u for sharing
Since yesterday I can't believe how much identifications am getting on our forum - so grateful
I have been on and off citalopram for some yrs now- I came off it slowly last year and couldn't cope with the terror feelings and went back on them-
I am now reducing again v slowly . I too am on citalopram and have reduced by 5mg for now -
I really understand what u are saying and I feel the same - they are numbing and I don't truly feel I can make movement on them . But I also know that it not the whole truth I just did 3 mths with a child trauma specialist and got so much from doing the work with her -
I do believe support is a big one for us and the right support ...
For me once I identified with cptsd after yrs of calling it depression / anxiety / being messed up I found I could articulate my experiences better ..
I self referred to a psychology service in Bristol UK and I had assessment and was assigned her . She was fantastic !
I also belong to 12 step programmes and get a lot of support
Being here helps me a lot and the literature
For me as u describe also re toxic shame it's the psychological I have been able to deal with more through therapy how my brain thinks and abuses
Also my beliefs my relationship with me and with the world
So the areas she worked with in a trauma context are
Emotional regulation
Relational work
CBt

Yes like u I was at a stage I needed the real deal - I'd had lots of psychotherapy and other stuff with some healing but not the whole answer
She worked with me adult to adult not so much looking back in a psychotherapy way
But then I had done a lot of that work so maybe in hindsight - regression and all of that was more healing than I think and brought me to this place

I am hopeful I can be off anti dep and I feel I will be -
Toxic Shame is a real area for me to work with I always feel I'm not good enough it is crucifying
What areas have u learnt about ? I'd be interested to hear :)
The inner / outer critic as p walker talks about ( I am just approaching his book now I was too scared b 4
I want to be free of psych drugs to feel - I don't like the dampened down effect although I guess that is the point ! Also my concentration and memory are effected that scares me and feeds into the I'm not good enough esp at work
I feel sedated on them -
I wish u all best wishes
Get what u need in a considered way and together we build ourselves back up
Ps I went nc from my mother 7 yrs ago - best decision I ever made :)

I think when I was on anti-depressants it was very easy for me to continue to suppress and therefore hide from the feelings deep inside relating to trauma. The triggering point where I knew I had to get answers was when I had a job interview recently. I felt terrible shame for being so nervous and visibly shaking throughout the whole thing, then got home and had what I believe was my first panic attack. I then cried for the first proper time in front of my husband. After having a cry and speaking to my husband about how helpless I felt I realised that everything I felt fearful of came back to my dad's treatment of me. I then properly looked into sociopathic narcissism and stumbled upon CPTSD, which I found I completely related to. So I know exactly what you mean about identifying more once you know what you're dealing with. Anxiety is the primary emotion I feel a lot of the time but it has always felt like there's so much more to it. It is such a relief to finally work out what it was that caused all this.

I know what you mean about concentration and memory. When I was taking citalopram my memory became dreadful and my mind wandered constantly. My memory's not great at the best of times but I think it has improved to how it was before.

The main area I have been focusing on is the inner/outer critic and how to listen to it. I didn't realise how damning the voice was until I made a point of listening out for it! I've also been focusing on the inner child, though it still feels like I'm only skimming the surface of how to nurture her. It does seem though that just taking time to recall the bad experiences and tell myself that I wasn't at fault is helping me. I'm also making a point of grieving for what happened rather than putting on a strong front or shaming myself for not being as happy and bubbly as everyone else. It does feel so much less stressful to just 'be' rather than fight how I'm feeling. I'm just trying to learn who I am really and be kinder to myself. I've now finished Pete Walker's book but it is something I think I will refer back to a lot. You can tell that he has genuinely experienced CPTSD and knows how to help.

Your child trauma specialist sounds fantastic, it's great you were referred to someone so helpful. I think I still need to work on reducing my shame enough to ask for help. The idea of opening up to someone terrifies me too. It is remarkable how much progress I feel I'm making just by identifying with other people though, so maybe my courage will come in time. I had no idea that self referral is funded by the NHS so I will definitely look into that. I do feel that I want to steer the direction I go in rather than simply seeing my GP.

Best wishes to you too and well done on the no contact. :) My dad is the one who isn't speaking to me so I don't know what I'm going to do when he eventually does resurface. He has shown with his silence that I don't matter to him though and pretty much caused me to question everything that ever happened in the past, so I think unwittingly he's steered me in the right direction.

I agree that the overflow of emotion is necessary to progress.  However, life goes on and one needs to get out of bed and function because the progress, no matter how much you try, takes time.  I have two thoughts about how to manage this.

One is to decide that right now is not the time to deal with everything and it's better for your life to suppress things. Let's say you started a new job or have small children or have no other support, for example.  It's ok to delay dealing with things in a more permanent way. Medication is a temporary coping strategy. 

Another thought is that you can take a different medication or dose so that you get a bit of relief from symptoms without completely blunting your emotions and thinking process.  You can also try a very strict exercise and diet regimen or any nonmedication things that can be that substitute for medication. 

Either way it takes a long time and the process and strategy may change over the years. 

I have a prescription for celexa but it makes me sleep a lot so I haven't been taking it.  I started taking ginko biloba and that seems to help but I could be wrong.  Occasionally I take a tiny dose of ritalin and a bit of coffee, which keeps me moving and when I function well and feel good about myself I have less depression.  The anxiety is always there frankly.  I don't really try to fix it, I just try to ignore it.  I know what it is and I know where it has come from.  I had 5 years of analysis and years of other therapy.   

That does make a lot of sense. It has been such a stressful time recently and I have had less opportunity for exercise, which I find does truly make me feel better. I could probably have benefitted from a little help before starting my new job. I'm considering asking for beta blockers just to tone down the intensity of panic if I know that something is going to trigger me.

The anxiety is always there with me too, I've started to accept it and tell myself that it is a feeling rather than an actual indication of danger. I think the worst thing is to fight it or berate myself for it. Now I'm starting to understand what's at my core I'm beginning to go a bit easier on myself for not always coping 100%.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2015, 06:25:38 PM by blues_cruise »