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Re: Success stories????

Posted by Elizabeth on July 30, 1999, at 22:48:59

In reply to Success stories????, posted by DJ on July 30, 1999, at 10:16:32

> Lots of horror stories on here about the negative impacts of psychopharmaceuticals... How about posting some success stories here -- particularly about moving beyond these chemical cocktails or at least making some positive progress once stabilized. Please post some positive stories of progress -- chemically induced or even better yet, not ... here to provide some hope for this guy and other folks who peruse this site far too much...

Sure, I have a success story. It's not all black and white, of course (and it's not a "story" in the sense of having a clear beginning and ending).

I've had debilitating depressions since I was 14 years old - nearly a decade. I had a difficult medication search - SSRI antidepressants don't work very well for me (though Prozac was okay at first, it didn't work when I tried it again a few years later), I had a bad reaction to Effexor, tricyclics were difficult to tolerate even at low doses. I settled on an MAOI, but even then I was having some residual symptoms, in particular a lack of interest and relative inability to experience pleasure (two of the most intense and painful aspects of depression for me). I did not enjoy eating, music, sex, or the company of other people very much. I immersed myself in schoolwork and the internet, for the most part.

After some experimenting and brainstorming, my psychopharmacologist and I decided to try lithium augmentation because it was something I hadn't really tried before (I had used lithium with an ineffective antidepressant, but never with a partially effective one) and because it has the most supporting evidence of any of the augmentation strategies. To my amazement, within a week after I started taking 600mg of lithium, I found myself eating more (not overeating, but just eating normally), going out and doing things, getting back in touch with old friends, and listening to CDs (I hadn't touched my stereo in months). It was remarkable. At first I was worried that it was only a temporary improvement, unrelated to the lithium, but when I saw that it was not going away, everything started looking brighter.

So that's my story. I still have problems concentrating, and my sleep is abysmal. But I have motivation, a life that feels like it's worth living (even a desirable life), and I can respond to things and experience a range of emotions rather than just feeling dead. For me, this is success. Am I going to try to "move beyond" using drugs to prevent depression? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. No thanks, I'll stick with what works.




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