Looking for new directions

I think it might be time to quit my antidepressants. The only problem is that like we recently saw when I accidentally forgot to take my Abilify for a week (and when I intentionally tried to stop it a couple of months ago) I am not sure how feasible it will be to quit taking them.

In truth, my depression was managed really well with the combination of my antidepressant and the 5mg dose of Abilify. But on 5mg Abilify, I had zero impulse control when it came to spending. For obvious reasons, I can’t go back to that again. But the combination of my antidepressant plus only 2mg of Abilify is not sufficient to manage my depression.

I also wonder if my antidepressant is contributing to my constant sleepiness. That’s not listed as a side effect but the interesting thing is that my middle child started taking the same medication and describes similar effects (namely, that they just don’t want to get out of bed.)

I have an appointment with the psych department at UTSW in the next couple of weeks; my family doctor has been managing my antidepressant medications up until this point. I don’t even know what to expect from that.

My neurologist said something about possibly switching my antidepressant to one I’ve taken before, which I did not have a good experience with. It’s also associated with pretty massive weight gain, which I really don’t need. But the antidepressant she wants them to put me on is supposed to help with neuropathy (including the pain in my arm.)

Micro-dosing helps with the pain in my arm but even that only provides relief every third day. Micro-dosing is usually supposed to be done on that kind of a cycle, one day on followed by two days off. I’d have to research whether it’s possible or if I’d still get benefit from taking it more often.

There’s also the fact that antidepressants makes micro-dosing have a weaker effect. And from what I’ve read, micro-dosing mushrooms would probably be more effective and I could grow them myself—but can’t really be combined with antidepressants at all.

I know, I know—it’s easier and more acceptable to take the pharmaceutical route. But the pharmaceutical route has a lot more side effects and a limited effectiveness rate.

I’m one of the many people who has what they call “treatment-resistant depression.” I tried just about every antidepressant on the market (minus the newest ones, which are far too expensive) with no success until finding this one. This one really only worked well with the 5mg Abilify added on. Now I feel like I’m barely on anything in terms of how it’s helping me.

And I just really don’t want to get on the treatment merry-go-round again. I’ve already spent 20 years of my life trying and failing antidepressants. I’ve had doctors assume that I must be secretly undiagnosed bipolar 2 since my response to antidepressants was so poor, so they tried adding mood stabilizers and nope, that didn’t fix it, either. (That’s probably because I’m not bipolar 2.)

I just have unipolar major depressive disorder with whatever the new word is that they use for dysthymia on top of it (also known as double depression.) I’ve had these symptoms since I was five.

I would like to be free of the antidepressants since they don’t seem to be helping me anyway. But everything I’ve read suggests that my antidepressant will be just as hard to quit as the Abilify and I’m already scared by how hard that is to quit.

I feel like I got started on these horrible drugs that are now essentially holding me hostage and I just want to stop.

3 Comments

  1. I don’t know if you know my friend already but Ashley has treatment resistant depression and was a mental health nurse. She might know of options you don’t: https://mentalhealthathome.org/2021/06/08/taking-psych-meds/

    I don’t have treatment resistant depression (TRD) because there’s no consistent standard definition or scale in my part of the world. As there’s different “stages” of TRD.

    Going by the most common scales in the USA, yes I would have a mild case of TRD – I needed a anti psychotic adjunct to my tricyclic anti depressant. I had to go off the anti psychotic for other health reasons but am on one of the newer meds, vortioxetine, as I’ve cognitive impairment from depression, along with my tricyclic anti depressant. Both at therapeutic doses because just 1 anti depressant (different types) alone has never worked for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that but I’ll check her out—thanks for the resource suggestion!

      Vortioxetine is one of the only antidepressants I’ve never tried because it’s so expensive here ($400 a month) and I have absolutely garbage health insurance.

      I’m not sure what my psych will recommend but I’m hopeful it will be more helpful than getting care from my family doctor.

      I’m terrified of ECT (electroshock therapy) and it’s one of the only options left that I haven’t tried yet. My hospital also offers ketamine infusions, which I’m extremely interested in trying, but I don’t think they’ll let me do that until I try several antidepressants (again.)

      Like

  2. It really sucks that your health insurance sucks. Maybe the psychiatrist can justify medical necessity for insurance to cover?
    (Vague memories from a forum I visit with a lot of USA patients.)
    Or other augmentation/adjunct options. I know some people have done some kind of gene test to see what psych meds can help as well. Since you’ve been through several failed trials, maybe the psychiatrist can push for that with insurance?

    Other than ECT, there’s TMS which is non invasive and supposedly fewer side effects.

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/transcranial-magnetic-stimulation-for-depression-2018022313335

    Hopefully you can get ketamine infusions without a lot of having to go through even more trials.

    I’m confused why you’d have to try different meds again though it’s because I don’t understand this part of USA healthcare?

    In my country, they can see my old records in public health including the meds that didn’t work. But even without those records, I can tell my psychiatrist what I have tried and don’t have to prove it.

    Like

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s