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Depression/Medication

drmrgirl47's picture
drmrgirl47
Posts: 129
Joined: Mar 2004

This past week I have been getting more and more depressed. And crying alot. My doctors do not want me feeling this way and have recommended I take something. So far I thought I was okay and could handle it, but now it seems I am not doing so well with this. I was wondering if anyone has taken any medication for depression? Some people recommend Zoloft, Prosac. I do not want to take these medications. I have put in a call to one of my doctors and am awaiting a reply from her. My surgeon says chemo, radiation, etc. is a very hard thing to deal with and I should be taking something, at least until it is over. In the meantime, I just wanted to get some feedback. Thank you.

tiffers828
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2004

I have taken a few medications in the past for depression and anxiety disorder. Truthfully, they can help even out your mood, but I never have felt like my old self again. I've taken Paxil, BuSpar, and Wellbutrin SR. Plus, its hard to find a med for depression that won't cause undesired side effects. I am on nothing now and I do have 'episodes' where I get very depressed, but I am at a point where I am fed up with the medication run-around. I would try talking to someone first before immediately turning to medication. Sometimes I think medication can just mask problems and make you not think about them. Talking and crying can be therapeutic without side effects. I wish I would've been able to do it a long time ago.

shmurciakova's picture
shmurciakova
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello! Was just wondering how you did on the Wellbutrin. I have some under the bathroom sink. It is actually the time-released variety but I did not like the idea of taking something that recommends that you "aviod alchohol". I like to have wine occasionally (like once a week) and I don't know if I am willing to give that up. Do they mean you can never have alchohol, or just in moderation? I think at this point it would help me not to think about what is going on...I am in one of those "limbo" "Wait and watch" periods and I tend to obsess about negative things at times, probably not a good thing. Thanks, Susan

kerry's picture
kerry
Posts: 1317
Joined: Jan 2003

I made it through my chemo without help of depression medication, however I did have to take Ambien (sleeping aid)especially on the night following my chemo treatment or I would be up till the cows come home... After my treatment was completed, I became more and more weepy and my internist (who is also a colon cancer survivor) prescribed Lexapro. I take one each night before bedtime (10mg) and they have worked wonders. Very few side effects, non noticeable anyway. It has helped me get through some very tough times in areas other than my health. I still feel human though and still do find that I can and do weep appropriately, but I do not find doom and gloom as often. Talk to your doctor about Lexapro. It is fairly new drug. Keep in touch and when you get in those "funky" moods, email me and we'll talk. Take care.

Fondly,

Kerry

Lisa Rose's picture
Lisa Rose
Posts: 589
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi drmrgirl47,

Welcome to the group!!!

Depression is very common after being diagnosed with cancer. From the time you have surgery till radiation and chemo are complete, is a very long time. I myself was also very depressed after diagnosis and surgery and the Dr's also wanted to put me on anti- depressant but I said " NO ".

What I did do was seek professional help, someone I could talk to who was not there to judge me. This worked well for me maybe you might want to give it some thought. I know the days are very difficult right now, but they truly do get better.

Hang In There!
Lisa

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Ahoy, Dreamer -

The most important thing to remember is that there is a huge difference between being depressed (and who wouldn't be depressed when facing this disease and the treatments that go with it) and clinical depression.

It's normal to feel sad and depressed during chemo. In fact I was counseled that chemo often precipitates symptoms similar to clinical depression - but not.

I did not take psychotropics during my ordeal(s), but I did take them several years prior. I didn't like them, but it made a difference because I was clinically depressed - my chems were out of balance in the brain.

When I went through my stuff (cancer, chemo, loss of a parent, divorce, loss of my kids all within a matter of weeks), I was depressed and sad and weepy, but not clinically depressed. I did, however, go to group therapy. After a few months of that, I quit - they were just too much of a downer!

If you are diagnosed as clinically depressed, then the meds should help. You must understand though, that meds for clinical depression are not "happy pills". You won't be up and giddy all the time. You very well may be just as weepy as you are now. The only way to overcome that is to (as Monty Python would say) "Look on the brighter side of life". Some people wax spiritual and find strength that way; some people write books; some people hang out here (myself included on that)... there are a number of ways to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and put on a happy face. I'm sure that with your doc's help, you will find your way - be it meds, be it church, be it CSN, be it counseling, be it just saying "I'm not going to let this damn disease make me totally miserable." (laughter has been shown to enhance your immune system).

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

- SpongeBob

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Drummer,
Sorry to hear that you are feeling so down. Lots of good ideas have been posted, and I think an important one is to be sure you and your doc are distinguishing between clinical depression and a normal grieving process. This disease takes a lot away. For me, just acknowledging that I had to face things, like surgery and chemo, and keep the rest of my life going felt insurmountable early on. It has gotten better for me over time, but if it doesn't get better for you, anti-depressants can help.
As Kerry has posted, there are newer anti-depressants than Prozac and Zoloft. It is, unfortunately, often trial and error to find the one that agrees with you best with least side effects. Hope you have a doc that is up to date with meds.
The idea of a support group, or supportive counseling is helpful for some folks. Does your onc group work with any social worker/counselor types to help figure out what the sadness is about?
So, we all have ups and downs, but it is important that the downs not rule your life; you have enough to get through.
You on in my thoughts: wishing you the hope to keep this dragon at bay. Judy

bsrules
Posts: 296
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello There!! My name is Sue and this is my first time on this section of this site. I have been reading everyone's replys and questions and I feel I have been reading our own questions and answers. My husband was diagnosised in Sept of 2003. He was a VERY active person who never asked for help from anyone. He was in such a state when everything hit the fan that we were both having alot of trouble dealing with all of this. He was so drpressed I don't know which one but we had to do something for odvious reasons. I can't bring myself to say it. He was a totally different person and I knew I had to get him some help. The doctor he had at the time suggested to him to try Paxil. He also said that he could stop if he didn't like it. So He decided to try it and he was very glad that he did. It didn't make him happy but it did even out his moods. He was so upset that he would get so upset with me for little things. Under the med. things leveled out. It helped him deal with everything. And we were able to better work together to fight this mess. He has a beer every once in a while even though it said not to but he said that it doesn't effect anything. We are hanging in there TOGETHER!!!! I am really glad that I found you guys. I hope that this helps. bsrules ( Sue )

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Sue -

Love your nom d' guerre "b.s. rules" - if that doesn't sum it all up I don't know what does!

Best wishes to you and your hubby.

- SpongeBob

bsrules
Posts: 296
Joined: Mar 2004

SpongeBob
Hello There!! Thank You for the reply. We couldn't think of an email address so with my husband's name being Bob and mine Sue we thought that it fit perfect. My husband is one that just saids it like it is so it really fit us. What I can't get over is when I saw yours (SpongeBob) I couldn't believe it as one of my husbands clients calls him "SpongeBob". While we are going throught this all I can say is that we try to laugh as much as possible!! And LOTS of Hugs and Kisses!!! It helps!! Thank You Again!

Sue

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi drmrgirl,

Crying alot. Yep that was me post dx. Wailed. Screamed. Howled. That was scary. But i sought out professional counseling rather than go the pschotropic path due to the rather disconcerting info I know about drugs like Prozac and Zoloft. The things they do to the brain and the potential side affects are serious and I did not want to mess with my brain health. For sleep aids I took large amounts of melatonin (vegetarian) which is also an anti-oxidant.

There really isn't a test that I know of that can actually measure the "chemical imbalances" in your system.

Please seek help and just the fact that you shared with us all on here is a positive step. Find someone to talk to. Surviving cancer brings with it many emotional issues that need to be released somehow. I hope you will find someone to let it all go with....

peace, emily who would rather pop more B 6 &12 vitamins to alleviate any depression

KrisS
Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

I am blessed with a pretty sunny disposition, so have not had a need to consider such medications. Exercise, support of family and friends and places like this have been enough to get me through. That being said, I have seen such improvement in some people I know who had been paralyzed by their depression, despite seeking counseling, support groups etc, that I would suggest that you try whatever it takes to help you get back on your feet.

Best wishes,

Kris

aspaysia's picture
aspaysia
Posts: 257
Joined: Nov 2003

Let's hear it for Celexa! Yaay! I take 20 mg once a day and the only side effect is an even keel. I don't miss the roller coaster one bit. I also take Klonipin for anxiety since my family is a bit high strung and they can get on my last nerve. They are very caring and helpful but sometimes one just has to be alone with no body fussing and hand wringing. Or worse, making corny jokes to be cheerful.
My doctors told me the body cannot heal when stress stirs up the adrenal system. You need your energy to fight the disease not yourself or the people around you.
Aspaysia who tires of looking at her naval (a classic innie)

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Um... Assp... I believe that's "navEl", meaning "The depression in the middle of one's abdomen whereat the umbillicus was connected in utero", as opposed to "navAl" which means "Of or pertaining to the navy, or ships of war."

I, being a sailor, don't have an innie or an outie, I have a naval navel.

- SpongeBob (who really ought to quit this BS and get back to work on something IMPORTANT but just cound't resist!)

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Well what I want to know is if you are including your naval navel in your novel? And if so, do you revel in the fact that your naval navel included in your upcoming novel will usurp the story of your banal anal?

Just wondering.

peace, emily who really has nothing of importance to do but eat bon bons and watch the soaps.

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

I must admit that, although I have a novel naval navel (my hemi- scar curves gracefully around it) I have never considered considering my novel naval navel for a novel - that would be a naval novel, not a navel novel. Not to be confused with my novel navel, well... actually my novel naval navel. So, if I were to include it, would my book then be classified as a Novel Naval Navel Novel?

Well enough contemplation of my novel naval navel and my novel naval navel novel (say that when you're on anti-depressants!) Back to the king's business...

aspaysia's picture
aspaysia
Posts: 257
Joined: Nov 2003

Stop it, you guys! I am getting a headache. My surgeon actually left the umbellicus even tho' he unzipped me from stem to stern. Now it is covered by the flange of my appliance. I love that word--like you have a blender in your pants. All the better to mix up those margarittas. BTW Jimmy Buffet is coming to town. Lucky us.

Aspaysia, who has to double her meds to deal with the parrotheads.

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