Monday, September 22, 2014

My Story With Antidepressants

Many years ago when I had the Conversion Disorder, I thought I could recover on my own.  I had seen family members that went on medications for depression and they urged me to not go on these.  They always claimed that the doctors would put you on these medications and then brainwash you.  Of course, most of my family thinks I am brainwashed.

Since I was always a person that hated taking medication of any kind and I would try to find ways to live in life without doing so, I gladly refused all medications the doctors wanted to use to help me.  My doctor in desperation finally said, let's make a deal.  We will work through your recovery without medication and do it your way.  However, at any point where we see it isn't working, then you need to do it my way.

I went through most of my initial experience without medication.  I was proud of myself.  It wasn't until I got out of the hospital and was sitting at my home when I had my first anxiety attack.  It didn't take me long to phone my doctor on that Saturday morning begging for anything to help me.  I was freaking out and that's an understatement.  My doctor put me on anti-anxiety medication and an antidepressant which I can't remember the name of it.

A few weeks went by and the anxiety was more under control, but I still had some pretty bad episodes with it.  I struggled to function at work and going grocery shopping was more than I could handle.  I avoided people and hunkered down inside my apartment.

I still remember when the antidepressant began kicking in.  I went for my weekly counseling session with the psychiatrist and I began to share with him how strange I was feeling.  When he asked me to describe what I was talking about, I shared that I felt very strange in life.  It was like something was wrong.  I didn't know how to describe the experience because I had never felt this before.

What I was describing to him was feeling more positive and happy.  These were emotions that I had never truly felt in my entire life.  They were so foreign to me that I literally thought something was wrong with me.  I wanted it to stop because these emotions were frightening. It may sound strange, but I'll never forget that weird feeling of being happy and not knowing it was something good for me.

As time went, I was able to get off the medications.  I always strived to do this because again, innately I've always known that medications won't solve my problems.  I always knew I had to make life style changes and go in and do the work needed to heal. The only thing is I often didn't know how to heal myself, so I had half the equation, but not the full story.

Later in my healing, I was dealing with some of the horrible abuse I went through and it was so overwhelming, my brain could barely deal with it.  I began attempting suicide again and looking for ways to kill myself each day.  I tried hard.  I mean, I tried hard and nothing worked out.  When I finally got the courage to visit a psychologist, it took awhile before I could really share what was going on.

Together, she and I arranged to see a medical doctor to get started on medication.  Again, it took a few weeks before the effects kicked in, but at last I could get ahead of the desire to kill myself.  It gave me a chance to catch up and feel more empowered and strong enough to deal with all I was facing.  I hated the side effects of the medication and to me that is one of the worst things about taking these antidepressants.

Today, I no longer take any medication and have not done so in over 10 years.  I have undergone some very intense and deep healing work with Dr. Paul Canali in Miami called Unified Therapy.  Yes, I do have my moments where I can sink pretty low, but I'm normally able to pull myself back up or I schedule an appointment with Dr. Canali.

When reading an article in the LA Times about the use of antidepressants and how quickly they can change the structure of the brain, I realized just how far I have come.  This article gives credibility to the healing work I went through with Dr. Canali.  You'll have to read more about what I wrote on this in my article on, Antidepressants Change The Brain Rapidly.

I'm not telling anyone to stop taking medications if you are on them.  When I stopped mine, I almost freaked my psychologist out.  However, as I have learned, there are other ways to heal yourself that you can explore.  Medications may be necessary in the beginning, but they won't bring you true and lasting healing for your life.  They are only designed to help you cope and balance your day, not necessarily make physical changes in your mind and body that allow you to lead a life beyond medication.  The researchers may disagree with me, but this is my view of medications based upon my own experiences.

I was told several times that most likely I would always be on medication.  I often looked at those individuals and told them they were wrong.  Today, I have proved them wrong and I have my life back!  In fact, I've now discovered my life for the first time.

Blog Post And Images (c) 9/20/14 by Don Shetterly

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