My Journey with Prescription Drugs and Depression

Untitled design (4)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:

  • Pristique
  • Lexapro
  • Wellbutrin
  • Effexor
  • Xanax

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.



4 Comments on My Journey with Prescription Drugs and Depression

  1. Mary Montileone
    September 25, 2014 at 11:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow Brianne I can relate to your journey. I am much older then you and have been on lexapro for 15 years now. I too tried many of the medication you have tried and understand how hard and time consuming it is to get the balance you need. I went to my doctor today for Headaches, heartburn and acid reflux issues and she thinks it related to stress which = depression for me. My doctor talked to me about adding something to my lexapro and I was hesitant at first, but listened to what she had to say. My doctor offered me L methylfolate to take with my lexapro. I had never heard of this drug she referred to as medical food. I am going to start this weekend and see what happens. When I came home today and logged onto facebook I could not help but seeing your posting on your Journey with prescription drugs. Omg I then seen the name of the drug L-methylfolate for the second time today in your article. I then had a feeling of hopefulness come over me. Maybe this can work for me, but everyone is different. I am so happy you wrote this article for everyone to know it’s not easy to get the balance to feel good, but boy is it worth it! It takes a lot of patience and support. This was a well written article it is a true description of how the chemical balancing process works. Enjoy life and be happy always. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Beth
    July 17, 2016 at 5:46 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi Brie,

    I know your original post was quite some time ago, but I was wondering if you were simultaneously prescribed the Lamictal and the L-Methyfolate or whether you tried the L-Methylfolate first on its own? Research has proven that at least 70% of depressed patients are depleted in folate, and new evidence suggests that many people have a mutation which prevents folic acid from converting properly which can keep depressed patients further depressed when simply taking folic acid.

    As you are taking folate (L-Methylfolate) there is a good chance that this, alone, may have decreased your depressive symptoms, as many have reported. Further research has proven that Lamictal reduces folate in patients; so for patients already depressed, taking Lamictal can increase depression in some. Clearly you were prescribed L-Methylfolate at the same time in an effort to make up for this depletion. But, again, I cannot help but wonder if taken alone, L-Methyfolate would have resolved your depression, and there would have been no need to take a pharmeceutical drug?

    I was curious as I am currently taking Lamictal, but wanted to add L-Methylfolate as I heard it helped; but when I discovered upon further research that Lamictal actually CAUSES depletion in folate, that caused me to pause and question whether to come off of Lamictal and just try L-Methylfolate alone.

    I am also curious to know if you are on the same cocktail today, and how you are doing?

    • Rebekah
      August 21, 2016 at 4:13 am (2 years ago)

      Hi Beth,

      Thank you for your post.

      I started taking Lamictal in January 2016. I take 300 mg at bedtime.

      I started taking 15 mg L-methyl folate about a month ago. I take it with breakfast.

      Lamictal is used to treat my depression and mood instability. It has helped some with both. I still suffered with physical/mental fatigue, bouts of depression, and major brain fog.

      Since adding L-methyl folate, I have experienced a significamt increase in my energy, and it has been consistent everyday, which is AWESOME in and of itself. I now have mental clarity that I’ve not had for years. Conversations are better with others and within my own conscious. My memory has improved. I learn with greater ease. And, I am excited about all the things in my life like never before.

      Those are all of the desirable changes I have had. Some undesirable and new changes I have experienced since starting L-methyl folate are insomnia, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. I started taking Trazadone in the last week to combat the insomnia. It has not really helped. The Trazadone could be causing the nausea and dizziness, but I am not sure.

      Have you started taking L-methyl folate? If so, what has been your experince with it? How much are you taking?

    • Rachel
      October 28, 2017 at 8:24 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Rebekah & Beth,

      I was wondering if you take this l-methylfolate as a prescription (like deplin) or if just from the health food store. I take Lamictal and my doctor has me on 4mg of folic acid because my husband and I want to try to conceive soon. However after I’ve done a ton of research I read that really I should be on l-methyl folate instead of the synthetic form folic acid. I’m just trying to figure out how much to take. My doctor doesn’t seem to believe in the whole l-methylfolate thing so I’m kind of stumped on this.


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