Depression & Medication – To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question

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Disclaimer:  Please understand that I am not a therapist.  This is NOT therapeutic advice.   This blog contains my opinions based on experience as a person who has struggled with depression her whole life and her experience working with clients as an energy worker.

There are two basic schools of thought about depression.  There are those that believe that depression is solely an emotional issue that is best handled with therapy.  There are those that believe that depression is a chemical imbalance and is best handled with medication(s).  I am of the school of thought that depression can come from both and is best handled with both therapy AND medication.  Let me put out here what I know and you can decide for yourself.

The positive effects of medication: 

Meds can stabilize your emotions and mind in a crisis situation.  For example, when there is a death in the family, divorce, or other life trauma or major stressor, meds can help you continue to function through this event and trauma. 

Meds are also good at stabilizing on a daily basis.  Keeping your emotions on an even keel.  This way you can focus on the work to be done rather than getting lost and stuck in the depression.  I believe that a low dosage of anti-depressent can be exactly what a person needs to help them process what is happening, not get lost or stuck, and better analyze and learn from falling down the rabbit hole!

The negative effects of medication: 

The “Prozac personality”.  When medication is seen as the magic pill.  When the person suffering from depression is using medication as a band aid and isn’t looking for the underlying cause of the depression. 

The side effects of anti-depressants can be detrimental to your health and your intimate relationships.  The side effects include, nausea, possible increased depression and suicide, decreased libido, and weight gain – to name a few.  You might have to try a few before you find the one that is best for you, your body, and your marriage!  (Trust me, a decreased libido plays havoc with a marriage!).  Don’t give up, however, there are so many different meds and combinations that there IS one that will be right for you.

I have heard of OBGYN’s, pediatricians, general practitioners, and internists prescribing anti-depressants!  Anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety meds have side effects that are potentially lethal!  There are now MANY different types of meds to choose from and in different combinations.  Plus, mixing your “normal” meds and anti-depressants might be an issue.  Psychiatrists specialize in these types of meds.  They know the studies.  They know the side effects.  They know how to mix them with other drugs.

If you decide to medicate, go to a Psychiatrist.  If you decide to try to work through your depression without medication, what are your options?  Here are some of the ways that I know to deal, cope and work through depression without meds or with a very low dosage of meds:

I LOVE therapy!  Therapy is all about realizing that you have CHOICES!  You are not a robot.  You can CHOOSE to have a different response to people and situations.  You can CHOOSE to say “NO.”  You can CHOOSE to act out your anger or handle it a more healthy way.  Therapy = Consciousness = CHOICES!

There are many effective psychological models.  My favorites are Cognitive therapy, EMDR (for trauma), and personal process.  Remember that the GOAL of therapy is to achieve those “Aha” moments.  These moments where the light bulb goes off over your head and brings you a new piece of yourself; a new realization in how you are living that no longer works; it can be the “why’s” you have been searching for; it brings consciousness to shadow pieces;  the “aha’s” move you forward toward positive change.  Therapy also includes learning an important skill – creating your own Curious Witness/Observer, where you become your own Depression Detective (See How to Make Therapy Work for You).  Finally, personal process and group work with trained, experienced counselors/therapists is an effective way to move through depression.

Remember that it is NOT the therapists job to make you better, fix or heal you.  This is YOUR job and it takes you working on it 24/7.  By becoming aware of your patterns, images, ways of sabotage, language, etc. you can begin to make different choices in your life!

To medicate or not medicate…  I believe that medication can be a very useful tool to help you on this life-long path to learning about yourself and changing your life.  Change is difficult!  If medication can keep you in a positive, curious place – versus spiralling in negativity and judgment, then medicate!!  If you choose to have medication be a part of your plan to cope with and work through your depression, please be aware of the possible side effects.  Change meds if the side effects are not working for you.  Only have a psychiatrist prescribe these meds, and have their emergency number if your side effects become severe.

I believe that to only medicate takes away the learning that is essential for you to have a happy, healthy, productive, and joy filled life.  I also believe that God is not mean.  He doesn’t punish.  So, we suffer with depression for a reason.  We manifested “depression” for a reason.  Depression is tool for us to learn our life lessons.  Every time you go down the rabbit hole – make it a goal to come out more whole as a person – more free, lighter, and happier.  Every time you go down, there is a fear that needs to be recognized that is affecting your life in a negative way.  There is a change that needs to be made.  There is a gem for you to receive that will positively change/affect your life.

Love to you