A note on depression medication

Someone asked me to share some of my experience with being treated for Major Clinical Depression. Here’s what I wrote:

Dear friend, Thanks for your response. Your note brought up lots of ideas for us to share! Dealing with MCP was incredibly helpful for me to grow in many ways, often dealing with the primary focus of this class in fact — that being to get to know myself better. The fact that you are as in tune with yourself as to notice “that feeling” creeping in is fantastic. There was too much time in my life where I blew off those recognitions and/or they were too faint for me to acknowledge as important. One simple, but powerful, tool that was given to me was rating my feelings on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is “overwhelmed by” that feeling. A crucial part of that tool, though, is the fact that if I’m rating something over a 5, that I’m probably being controlled by that feeling rather than the other way around. For example, when I was active in my med therapy, especially when I went through med changes (before the changes stabilized), I would have swings in my numbers. There were times when, even though the meds stabilized, my numbers were still consistently above a 5. When those were the case, I knew that there wasn’t much I could do through self will, but that I needed to get more care and maybe have my meds adjusted by my doctor. I would record these trends and show them to my doctor. He’d almost always be able to make an adjustment that, 10-14 days later, would stabilize my moods. The fact that my numbers were consistently below 5s (often 0-1!) meant that I could wean myself off the meds (under the care of my doctor, of course!) until my brain chem was operating on its own steam. My point is that if you’re having trouble with your moods/feelings being stable, then maybe you need to discuss this in more detail with your doctor. You should _not_ have to struggle so much with moods that swing wildly due to mild experiences. People with healthy brain chemistry don’t. The reason I think this is so important is that, until I was able to get my brain chemistry moderated, I couldn’t successfully make lasting changes in other aspects of life. It was like trying to improve the performance of my entire car with my engine running on only a few of its cylinders. Bolting on a turbo would not make a big difference as the non-working cylinders would be working _against_ the engine itself. In fact, the turbo would most likely make my engine damage itself further. Getting racing spark plugs wouldn’t help nearly as much since they simply wouldn’t be addressing the primary problem with my engine. Getting all cylinders to work properly was fundamental to all my other changes being able to integrate properly. This is all my experience and not doctrine. I’m not a professional, so please take this note as such. If you have any other questions, please ask. I’m happy to share my experience or just be available to hear what your experience has been like. Many others made themselves available to me as such. Maybe I’ll have a chance to “pass it on”. Talk to you soon, Burt