Young Widow Forum

Time Frame => Shock Wears Off, Reality Sets In ( 6 to 12 months) => Topic started by: Chrispy89 on March 29, 2015, 10:16:43 PM

Title: Anti-depressants
Post by: Chrispy89 on March 29, 2015, 10:16:43 PM
Anyone had any experience with them?
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: donswife on March 30, 2015, 06:38:27 AM
HI
I was put on wellbutrin soon after my husband died. My doctors all agreed (oncologist and grief counselor)
A few of my other famly members have been on it and they have noticed it helps. 
Hard to tell what the difference would be with out it but I have been able to be pretty functional and maybe that is a piece of it. Just make sure its something you want to do as you cant just stop taking them , you have to taper down
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Chrispy89 on March 30, 2015, 09:39:21 AM
Thanks for the reply ;) I haven't been offered them nor seen a doctor about it but was wondering if they WOULD make a difference. Having never had them before I wouldn't take them lightly.. I've heard various things like you can't feel any emotion on them (neither ups or downs) to that they did make a real difference. Like you said you have to taper down so not sure I would want to start on something you then become reliant on.... However I am also sick of feeling crappy alll the time!! Definitely a convo to have with a medical professional but still interesting to hear others perspectives :)
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Chrispy89 on March 30, 2015, 06:23:06 PM
If people would rather keep private about this pm me. I find it hard to believe that only 1 person on this board would have turned to anti depressants!
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Wheelerswife on March 30, 2015, 07:15:36 PM
I've not used antidepressants, but I have used medication for anxiety.  Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain whether someone has "normal" grief or depression.  I took my concerns to my doctor and we have worked on finding the best options for me, both medically and otherwise.  Both my counselor and my doctor don't believe I am depressed (and neither do I) but we can clearly see the anxiety and panic, which has abated quite a bit in the last few months.  I think that talking to professionals is a good way to determine what might be a good route to take for each individual.  I know people who have taken antidepressants both before and after being widowed, and I imagine that grief on top of pre-existing depression can make depressive symptoms worse. 

Best wishes with finding the right solution for you.

Maureen
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: swilson on March 30, 2015, 07:23:01 PM
I have not used the natural herb St. John's Wort but there's some who swear it helps depression.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: donswife on March 30, 2015, 07:50:50 PM
HI
I will say I still feel the full on emotions so not even close to the numbness that people talk about
Its a mild anti depressant so not sure if that makes a difference and I had never been on them before
I think it mostly helped me get out of bed every day so It did help that way
just keep your options open and ask more questions till you feel comfortable about it
take care
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: anniegirl on March 30, 2015, 09:48:31 PM
I was offered anti-depressants when my LH took ill. It was pretty stressful. But my question to the DRs (even LH's DR thought I should "look into it") was always, "Will they help me get extra sleep? Do laundry? Shopping? Take care of the baby? Work fulltime for me?"

Because what I really needed was physical help and not a pill that possibly make make me not mind that I had too much to do and no one to help me do it.

I did talk to a counselor (that didn't last long b/c the poor woman spent most of our sessions lamenting more about my lot than I did), but in the end, I decided not to try them. I am glad I didn't because a lot of the recent research on anti-depressants and grieving suggests that they are over-prescribed and that absent depression, they aren't useful.

In fact research now suggests that anti-depressants aren't quite the awesome thing they were sold as in terms of mild depression either and that other treatments and reliefs should probably be tried first.

However, if you think that you might need something, you absolutely should talk to your DR about it. And definitely read up on anti-depressant as it pertains to grief.

For myself, I found a gym with a daycare and began using both regularly. I cut myself a ton of slack on household chores and I gave myself permission to be sad and not worry about it. After all, I had cause and I did have friends and lighter moments and felt that I was going to eventually find myself on the other side of all the heartache.

I have widowed friends who did take anti-depressants and found it helpful and some who did not find it helpful.

We are all different.

Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Chrispy89 on March 31, 2015, 03:30:45 AM
Thanks to the brave people who shared their story here and through message <3

Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: littlebirdie on April 01, 2015, 05:45:11 PM
Yes, after I had postpartum depression. It was short-lived because I didn't like them. I felt numb and I'd rather feel anything than feel numb. Not everyone has that experience, though. I think if you need them you should take them. You don't have to be on them forever.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Jen on April 01, 2015, 10:50:29 PM
Yes, after I had postpartum depression. It was short-lived because I didn't like them. I felt numb and I'd rather feel anything than feel numb. Not everyone has that experience, though. I think if you need them you should take them. You don't have to be on them forever.

Yes, what she said--same experience. They worked well enough (and I did have severe PPD), but I got to the point where I would rather have felt anything instead of just nothing. I'm not opposed to them in principle, and I've seen them do wonders for people. They don't have to be permanent.

Guess I should've just said "ditto," lol.  :-\  Hugs.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: TooSoon on April 01, 2015, 11:09:39 PM
My husband was diagnosed, out of nowhere, with a terminal cancer that had a grim prognosis.  My GP handed me a low dose of an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication, Lexapro, and while I'd had no history warranting such medication, when he said, "Take this.  You are going to need it."  I just listened and did as I was told (not in my nature, I assure you).  I took it for three years and have been off of it for about a year.  It helped.  I once described it as a crutch that gave me the ability to not react to every stimulus and change but gave me the patience the situation required to think things through.  When I was ready to walk away and face it all without that help, I did.  It was an adjustment but the medication certainly served its purpose.  Everyone is different and that's just my experience but it was a welcome respite in a scary, scary world at the time.  I also found a great therapist and saw her religiously for about the same period of time.  I think they reinforced one another and helped keep me standing and thinking clearly, or as clearly as one can see in our situations.  Sending lots of support your way. 
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Bluemoon15 on April 02, 2015, 07:09:33 AM
My husband passed on a Saturday morning. Family members rallied around my son and I on Sunday.  By Monday, my doctor ordered an anti-anxiety med, Lorazepam, for me that I found myself taking around the clock for the first month.  It did help with the panic attacks, but my doctor wisely recognized that I couldn't go on taking it as much as I had been.  At that point, he added a low dose of Abilify to work with the Cymbalta that I am on for management of fibromylagia pain.  The following month he increased it slightly.  I was able to get myself down to one Lorazepam a day, at bedtime to help me sleep.  I still cannot sleep in our bed, but I can get through the night without any panic attacks.  However, as I am coming up on my three month sadiversary tomorrow, I have found it's not working as well as it was before.  I could easily have the dose of Abilify increased again without concern, but I am concerned that I have to stop somewhere.  I have not had any negative side effects with my current therapy nor have I felt numb.  In fact, the Abilify worked exactly as advertised, giving me a boost of energy and motivation to get through the day.  My doctor has also recommended grief counseling, but so far I'm not feeling it.  Emotionally, I have a pretty good support system, and I've had a bad experience in counseling before, so I am hesitant.

At the end of the day, the choice to take anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds is a unique and personal one.  If you have a good relationship with a doctor you trust, it's easier to make an informed decision.  And while you can't just stop the drug without weaning down, starting out with the lowest dose can help make that later process easier.  If you are concerned about drug interactions or side effects, WebMD is a great resource.  You can look up any drug and get as much info as you want, even what the recommended dose is to start.  I use it as an objective second opinion.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Carey on April 02, 2015, 07:51:26 AM
My husband lost his job, lost his mind, and went to Saudi and at that point my doc started low dose wellbutrin and gave me Xanax for THAT stress. When he died, she doubled everything.  I honestly didn't feel it did anything; good bad or indifferent so I quit taking it. I'm not sure if I didn't give it enough time or if it WAS working and I just didn't notice, BECAUSE it was working. Contemplating trying again, honestly.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Max2507 on April 02, 2015, 12:56:56 PM
I take a conservative approach to any medications. I also kept an open mind to it and would take stock of how I was feeling/functioning. its a devastating loss, roller coaster of emotions, that was to be expected. But I was still functioning, able to do work, go to the grocery store, take care of things, enjoy some things. At about 18 months, around my birthday, facing on coming holidays, I felt myself kind of slipping away, less able to cope, hitting the snooze button 6 times, not showering enough, dreading everything, enjoying nothing, ongoing negative "i am just not going to make it" thoughts. I wasn't really feeling anything, not happy or sad just apathy. Not like I was going to die or wanted to, just couldn't face anything anymore, no motivation. It took me until January to make a doctor appointment and they started me on generic Lexapro, which was $7 for 30 day supply at walgreens. Within a few days I could feel a difference, my alarm went off and I was up and out of bed, taking care of myself better, getting so much more stuff done. Doubled my number of steps per day per my fitbit without any attempt to do so. Caught myself singing with the car radio. Feeling much more positive and handling issues that have come up more easily without crumbling into tears. Now almost 3 months on them, I can say no regrets, they have helped my immensely. I still feel profoundly sad, in what seems like a normal way. I feel like myself again. My husbands birthday was monday and it will be 2 years since his death in may so its been hard. I still cry but not as much and not about everything. I have realistic fears but I don't have constant nagging worrying about everything. So I would say that your feelings are going to be all over the place and drastic, that isn't a reason to go on antidepressants. Think about how are you functioning?
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Carey on April 02, 2015, 01:11:37 PM
Max...now I want to try again. Because some things you just don't NOTICE until they are strung together like that.  Hitting snooze, putting off eating or shopping, too many ponytail days because washing hair was more than I wanted to be bothered with. Not looking forward to things I normally would.  In the face of that evidence, I am leaning a little more now towards scheduling an appointment.  Too bad my insurance stinks so bad a regular copay is $40. ACK.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Max2507 on April 02, 2015, 01:25:42 PM
There are a few antidepressants on walmart's $4 /mth, $10/3mth list, maybe one of those would work.
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Chrispy89 on April 03, 2015, 04:26:47 AM
Thanks for all your stories and perspectives... If it is a route I go down it will be a highly considered one, and I have asked to be referred to a specialist rather than a generalist doctor who would have hopefully more experience in the area..
Title: Re: Anti-depressants
Post by: Bluemoon15 on April 03, 2015, 07:32:18 AM
So I would say that your feelings are going to be all over the place and drastic, that isn't a reason to go on antidepressants. Think about how are you functioning?

Functioning was definitely the deciding factor for me!  I had been fighting depression for months before my husband died, and already beating myself up for not doing better.  His passing just made things ten times worse.  I had no desire to do anything at all and I do mean anything.  So in my case, I definitely needed the anti-depressant.  I agree that it won't take the sadness or even the panic away, but I am living my life now and a slowly adding more to it.  Will I be dependent on this medication forever?  I doubt it.  I've used anti-depressants once before, when I was first suffering from fibromyalgia and no one seemed to know what was wrong.  Once I had a diagnosis, the validation that was I was battling is real, I was able to discontinue them.