Over the past ninety days, I have been on a path to healing. For me, the best way to treat depression is to find the right chemical balance in my brain and to work through the way that it impacts my thoughts.
I have a therapist that helps me tackle my thoughts. She has used cognitive behavioral therapy to help me learn that I am not controlled by my thoughts, but that I have the power to control them. She has also taught me to learn my symptoms of depression and when it is time to let medication help me fight the battle.
If you can find a medication that treats your symptoms and does not have side effects, you have hit the jackpot. The problem is that the road to finding this pot of gold is one of the hardest you will go on. Doctors will say there is a method to the medication that they prescribe to treat different symptoms that you may have, but from my experience it is a very hard game of trial and error, with the biggest risk at stake, your life.
The truth is that as with any drug each of our bodies will react differently and because the brain is the last major organ that science has researched, we still don’t know how to find the right drug for each patient. The only way to find out if it will work, is through test and .
It can take up to 3-4 weeks to see if a drug is working, which means that you continue to suffer from depression as you wait to see if this will be the magical combination. Even more so, typically as you wait to see if the drug is working, you suffer from side effects. On one medication I suffered extreme mood swings, irrational feelings of rage that made me violent (you can imagine this made me very popular with friends and family). When a drug doesn’t work, you have to start all over again…before you know it, depression has eaten away at another 2-3 months of your life. It took me three rounds of trial and error drugs before I found one that worked for me the first time.
These are some of the medications that I have tried over the years:
After this episode of depression I was lucky and my psychiatrist was able to hit the nail on the head with my new medication. My current cocktail is Lamictal and L-methylfolate (prescription folic acid) and I have been so pleased with the results. I noticed the drugs working within 5 days of starting the medication and the side effects have been very minimal. (I am still working to get off the previous drug, Effexor, but that is a whole other story.)
While I have transitioned into a new job, I have been in that period of time where you are waiting for new health insurance to start and I had to make a decision which medications I could afford this month. I stopped taking the L-methylfolate because it was the more expensive of the two and I thought since it was more of a natural supplement I wouldn’t notice the difference. Man was I wrong! The Lamictal just doesn’t work as well without it’s friend L-methylfolate. I have not fallen into a severe depression, but I can definitely feel the difference in my mood, energy level and motivation. It is kind of crazy to see what a difference it has made removing one part of the cocktail. I am certainly looking forward to October 1st when my new insurance kicks in and I can get back to feeling 100%!
Looks like I got lucky hit the jackpot on my medications this time around. Now my fingers are crossed that the drugs keep working and eventually I won’t need them at all.