Wednesday, February 27, 2008


So, apparently, anti-depressants don’t work.

According to the media, at any rate, who are all too happy to discredit SOMETHING as most of the leading presidential contenders have never slept with prostitutes. (except maybe McCain, but that was a corporate lobbyist, although it's a short step from there to whore in my opinion.) The front page of the Independent this morning just about made me mad enough to chuck the paper in the sink and turn the water on (A sure-fire way of killing insidious newsprint) but, as it was not my copy, I didn’t in case my father-in-law still wanted to read it. “Now that anti-depressants have been discredited…” it started.

Hold on, I thought, Anti-depressants have been discredited by WHOM exactly? By YOU, the media, who, as we all know, love nothing better than scaring us to death? By one study at a British University? The fucking cheek! To take something that’s given a lot of hope to millions of people who suffer with depression and dismiss it’s relevance outright is, at best, presumptuous and at worst, irresponsible.

The irony was, I had just scheduled an appointment with my GP to have a chat about getting in on the SSRI goodness not 20 minutes before reading the headline. I toyed with the idea of canceling, because I felt a bit stupid going in and asking for something that the media had, a day earlier, publicly declared to be no better than snake oil. But Mr. DD encouraged me to keep the appointment, if for no other reason than just to have a chat with my GP about it to find out what my options are.

I like my GP immensely. I would like him a lot more if he were easier to get in to see, but the unbelievable stupidity of the “get seen within 24 hours” system which requires you to get on the phone by 8 am exactly and frantically ring back over and over until you get through in the vain hope of actually being able to see YOUR doctor is the subject for another post entirely. I spent a fair amount of time with a really drippy lady GP who obviously just wanted me out of her office ASAP and didn’t listen to a word I said, so I switched over to Dr. Seuss, (Not his real name, but not too far off.) who, it’s become apparent, is the most over subscribed GP in the practice. This is because he’s actually GOOD and you leave his office feeling like you’ve been seen by a doctor rather than a surly medical student with a frat kegger to get to.

After explaining to her how I’d been feeling for the last 4 months or so, he gave me the standard “Are You Depressed?” questionnaire. In my humble opinion, the little quiz is worth precisely bupkis due to the fact that most people who are mildly or even moderately depressed often feel a bit silly answering the question, “Do you experience persistent feelings of doubt or self worth or feel that you have let down your family?” with the answer, “Yes, all the time”, because, quite frankly, it sounds a little melodramatic considering how you ACTUALLY feel, which is just kind of a low level of lethargy, difficulty in getting motivated and sort of general disconnectedness from everyday life. Dr. Seuss was quite sympathetic and wasn’t convinced by the effectiveness of the test either, but was required to complete it for paperwork’s sake.

I actually scored just below the recommended level for actual honest-to-god depression, which in itself was rather depressing. However, Dr. Seuss was still prepared to start me on a course of anti-depressants if I wanted, as it had been going on so long. After speaking a little further, I agreed to try 6 weeks of alternative therapy with St. John’s Wort, but after that time, if the situation was no better, he’d give me the good stuff.

I was satisfied with that, honestly. I took a course of SJW in college when I was suffering and it seems to make a small improvement, but with herbal remedies especially, you can never really be sure. So, knowing that I still have a lifeline if it doesn’t work made me happy enough to give it another try.

Just wanted to thank you ladies for all the support and good vibes.


PiquantMolly said...

I was on St. John's Wort for quite a while before starting Zoloft - it's good stuff. According to my psych, it affects brain chemistry quite the same way as Zoloft does.

Good luck. And I'll be staying on my "discredited" AD, TYVM.

Becky said...

I'm proud of you for taking that step. Seriously, it's so much harder than it sounds to admit you have a problem like that. It feels so shameful that you can't make it go away.

*hugs from Chicago*

Suzie said...

I took Welbutrin after 9-11. I thought they were great! After a very hard breaking in period I really felt a mood shift. I wasnt giddy I just felt a lot better but still like me. After 8 months of use I stopped and found the depression was a lot better. They were designed for people who feel depressed and if thats what you feel there is nothing wrong with taking them! Good for you for taking steps to feel better.If I still feel the same after I am done nursing I may very well follow your example.

Dot said...

I hope the St John's Wort does the trick. I'll be thinking happy thoughts for you - or maybe I shouldn't, since I want you to have your own happy thoughts - oh dear, I'm confused now. Anyway, best wishes and virtual hugs.