Literally tried everything natural...can a mix of western/natural medicine be the answer?

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Hi, basically my husband told me I needed to get on an antidepressant because this is ruining our marriage (feelings of detachment, severe depression, lack of empathy, no joy, no libido).

Background:  I'm a 38 year old mother of 5, and I have suffered from some form of anxiety/depression since I was a teen.  In my 20's I used SSRI's off and on until around 30, and I began changing my lifestyle towards naturopathic using food and herbs as my medicine.  Also I have had IBS/stomach/constipation issues throughout all this as well.  A few years into it, I was doing better; still had some stomach issues, but I was fit, energetic, and happy.  Gluten free/dairy free, low FODMAP controlled it somewhat.

The last 3 years have been hell.  My stomach issues became horrible, I depression and anxiety, I became severely fatigued and could no longer workout, can't sleep.  Lots of naturopaths.  One diagnosed me with SIBO (small bacterial overgrowth) and we had quite the battle using natural and non-natural antibiotics to try to clear it out.  Gave up on that, and now just using probiotics and gut soothing herbs.  I traveled 3 states over to get my hormones treated, and am now on bio-identical hormones for low progesterone.   That was only a few weeks ago.  I also got put on Nature-Thyroid for low T3 and T4.  That has only been a week.  

However, my depression is at it's worst.  I can't laugh and mean it.  I don't want my husband touching me, I feel gross and sick.  I feel so "heavy" if you can understand that.  I sleep in a separate bed just so I can get some sleep without someone waking me up, because once awake, I am done for the night.  My stomach gets bloated and hurts when I'm upset or down.  I'm achy and my muscles hurt.  I'm a shadow of who I was.  

I thought all of these things would help, and I have spend over $10,000 on naturopaths and herbs/vitamins.  My monthly bill for those alone are $300.  

So my poor husband has stuck with me through it all, and payed for everything I felt I needed to get well.  Never questioned me.  But he's tired, guys.  I'm tired.  My family wants me to get on an antidepressant that will help my brain/gut connection as well as help lift me out of this severe depression.  I know my gut isn't producing serotonin or maybe never has for me.  I've taken 5-HTP to try to boost it, and it might help a little with my mood, but I'm still so tired and achy.  

I've read that certain SSRI's can help with the depression and the gut as well.  I am not excited about the side effects, but my life is nothing now.  My husband and family want their wife and mom back.  Would this perhaps be a bit of a boost that I need to heal?  Then I can wean off in time?  I keep thinking this might help my gut to heal, since my anxiety or depression keep it from being calm and letting my other herbs/probiotics work.  If it helps me feel happier and lifts this heavy fog, I can get back to walking, enjoying nature, doing yoga and the things I love.  Wouldn't that be healing as well?  

Just really tempted you guys.  It goes against what I believe, but I can't live like this anymore.  Can a bit of western medicine help me over this hump?  Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.  

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  • Posted

    What you describe could all well be part of an autoimmune disorder - and that requires diagnosis. In mainstream medicine. Not by naturopaths who are only after your money. 

    But besides that, can I just say that even though the distributors and salepersons describe supplements and substitute medications as "natural" and "bio-identical" that does NOT mean they are safer or better. In fact they are probably the opposite. The substances are the same, whether they are derived from a plant or made in a laboratory. The primary difference is that the bio-identical ones are classed as supplements and not subject to the monitoring that medications are. They may not even contain what they claim to have in them and they may not be pure or even safe. And you are paying out a small fortune for them.

    However - perhaps the place you need to start is with talking therapies with a trained counsellor. You have a good guy there - and talking out your fears and problems may help as much as more chemicals of whatever sort. First you need a proper diagnosis - and talking therapies have few side effects.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice...my progesterone levels were very low, and my thyroid blood levels were low as well, so I figured the natural was the better choice than synthetic.  I agree that taking an antidepressant would just mask what is really going on.  It is just exhausting chasing this.  Its hard to know what is really wrong and you just want to feel yourself again.  
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  • Posted

    I am so sorry about what you have been through. I too have been struggling with chronic illness. I was brought up in a family that basically considered Western medicine to be the devil. Because of this belief, I spent a lot of time and money pursuing alternative therapies that proved to be useless, all the time my illness worsening. If I had this to do over again, I would have taken medication right away, in combination with diet and lifestyle changes that people who have actually recovered from the illness have recommended. 
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  • Posted

    I think I might chase a few leads towards Western medicine; for example one of my blood results was that my ana levels were moderately high and that I should see an endocrinologist.  I never did because I mistrusted them.  What autoimmune thing could I have?  My thyroid didn't have any antibody results, so it wasn't my thyroid being attacked.  Anyone know what would match my symptoms?  

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    • Posted

      It is very difficult to say because there are something like 150 different autoimmune disorders and a lot of the symptoms overlap. Thyroid problems are a very small part of autoimmune disease. Only the experts know what tests to do to identify which is most likely. But I would suggest you probably need to see a rheumatologist for a general start, not an endocrinologist, if you have had a positive ANA - that is a start though.

      As jennann has said, the longer you leave it, the more ill you may become. Most autoimmune disorders can be managed - but not with so-called "natural" approaches. And ignored - some can be life-threatening eventually and certainly cause a lot of ill-health.

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