Working with clients that are plagued by depression, as well as having a life long relationship with it myself, I think I can speak with some experience as to the effects that it can have on one’s life. For myself, I found that living without treating ” it”, was a huge waste of time. Depression, among other side effects, can stop one from getting on with the life that they want.
Because of licensing agreements, most therapists cannot discuss one antidepressant against another with clients. This is, as they say, a doctors field of expertise. I have often found the local Pharmacist to have more time and more information when comparing the side effects of say Prozac or Lexepro to a potential consumer, than a doctor who doesn’t have the time for such a discussion.
So, hopefully, without too many changes of medication, you find the one that works for you. It gives you choices, that months prior to taking the medication you never thought that you had. It raises your tolerance and enjoyment of life. You have hope and dreams that now don’t seem all that impossible to achieve.
What I’ve yet to find is an easily understandable discussion or article that illuminates what a client who is beginning to feel better should explore while in this new state of awareness.
More specifically, I will address the tools that a client might work towards acquiring, while they are on an antidepressant that is working for them. Because I myself have plateaued on these drugs, and have, over the years taken myself off of them as an experiment to see, if, in the absence of taking them, I can continue to “live free” of the medication. I have learned that the more I have practiced using newly acquired tools while on the medication, there stands a very good chance that I will rely on them more as I get older, rather the antidepressant.
For this blog I will simplify, rather than expand on what each behavioral change can do for a client, by using bullet points. While on an antidepressant a person should:
- Go back to school, or explore another field of interest.
- Return phone calls*
- Change their diet
If one or all of these resonate with you, than this article is dedicated to you. All have proven to increase a persons mood and range of feelings about themselves and the world they live in. [*Returning phone calls is a personal one, and is more linked to the amount of internal energy that I had, once on a medication.] If you were never disciplined before, than now is your chance to bring this into your life with a vengeance. More than anything else a disciplined person is one who no longer procrastinates but uses their time well. If you have been depressed most of your life discipline does not come easy. It’s not something you can take for granted. You’ve possibly spent more of your life depressed than not, which makes the above points even more important to adopt into your new lifestyle.
The flip-side of taking an antidepressant that relieves the symptoms of depression for a client, is that it can fuel addictions just as it can fuel a structured healthy life. It can make them more reliant on a partner, since the basic depth of darkness is no longer their daily companion. They can choose not to adopt any of the above tools and become dependent on other prescription drugs to fine-tune their days. The only problem with this choice is that there is a shelf life, as we all know, to any drug that is taken on a daily basis.
I hope that I have not only illuminated what the effects can have on one that is no longer depressed, plus a few of the tools to implement for any future battles with the dark one.
John Shinavier, MA, RYT, Life Coach