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I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am prone to episodes of clinical depression. I had my first major episode about 16 years ago, out of the blue, it completely floored me. for about three years I was a zombie, numbed of any senses, dead inside. Even the little food that I managed to eat tasted of cardboard. I felt like I was at the bottom of a well, people up the top of the well trying to reach me, but I just couldnt clamber my way out of the deep dark pit of fear,despair and hopelesness. I felt alienated from people, happy smiling people around me only made me feel even worse because I felt like their happiness was visible, through a glass screen, but at the same time unreachable.

I was prescribed trycilics at the time but all they did was make me manic. One day I would be numb, unable to move,crippled with despair, the next day,for no reason at all, i would be as high as a kite, feeling that I would conquer anything. the next day, back down at the bottom of the well. I was unable to trust my own feelings.

This went on for ages. Finally I was prescribed prozac, which slowly but surely lifted me out of the darkness and made me feel 'normal'. For about the last ten years ive felt ok, managing to come of the medication for longer periods of time, then taking them when I felt i was going down again, though the moods I experienced 16 years ago were never as bleak or desparate.

Then two years ago, out of the blue, I experienced another really really black episode, probably brought on by being made redundant, I had a new job lined up to start the following fortnight but felt so anxious and hopeless and frightened. I took 40mg of citalopram and within a few weeks I was back to my cheery old self again and settled into and was enjoying my new job.. Ive been on and off citalopram for the past two years and have managed to remain relatively stable.

After living in the same house for the last ten years, I recently bought a flat (it had been a longterm goal of mine) and over the christmas period, I was high on the adrenalin and excitement of moving house, and at that point didnt feel the need to be on the pills. I was in my lovely new flat for about three weeks then once again, out of the blue came the deep black despair. Suddenly everything seemed flat, boring, pointless, my job, which I have previously enjoyed seemed boring and unfulfilling, then the panic about not being able to work, then losing my job and being unable to pay my mortgage then losing my home overwhelmed me. I went straigght back on the pills. 20mg for the first week, then increasing them to 40mg. Luckily I have a very understanding boss and I felt comfortable enough to explain to her how I was feeling. As a victim of depression herself, she was very understanding and said i can take time off if I need to. Im trying not to a take any time off because I think I would just lie in bed panicking about work piling up. I feel lucky to have such an understanding boss, but then I panic that what if my boss leaves and the next one isnt so understanding. Future worrying.

Ive been off work the last two days because my little boy has been ill so Im at home spending time with my boy. Yesterday for the first time in the last three weeks Ive felt slightly more normal.Not high, or super happy, just less numb. I was able to enjoy helping my son make pancakes. Not out of the fog yet, but better than I was.

Getting to the point of this very long-winded post, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone on the forum. Ive stumbled on this site about a week ago, and it quite life affirming to find other people in my situation, who, with medical intervention, have recovered. Whilst waiting for the pills to work, its reassuring to read some of the posts, which remind me to be patient, because it does get better.

Depression is no longer my shameful secret, I am not a weak person, its an illness. And just like someone with diabetes who may be dependant on insulin for life, when my seretonin levels are low, I need to take the medication to bring them up to an normal level again in order to function.

One last question. Im considering just staying on them all the time to prevent a relapse but worry that I may become immune to them. Is anyone else out there on long term medication? If so, how are you finding it?

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  • Posted

    Reading posts like this makes the sun shine a bit brighter. Realising what is happening to you and being prepared to view depression as a real illness and something which might mean medication for a long time - even for life - is a major step forward.

    Like you my first experience of the illness, as opposed to just feeling down, hit me like a juggernaut. One day I was feeling low, but OK. The next I could hardly walk down the stairs. My weight plummeted by about 14 pounds in a fortnight. It was like walking along a path normally and then falling off a cliff. I did seek help quickly and it was paroxetine which came to the rescue. Six months of that and I was ready to stop. I reduced the dose gradually and I was fine for eight years.

    Then another cliff. A smaller one this time but instantly recognisable. This time it's citalopram. Only about seven weeks so far but it's doing the job well now I'm over the initial phases. I guess this will be the pattern for the rest of my life and I accept that. I know I'm vulnerable to depression and that it will happen again sometime. And I'll deal with it in the same way. Use chemistry to fight chemistry and don't be ashamed of it.

    I don't think citalopram leads to dependency or that you effectively become immune to it. Paroxetine didn't for me. It didn't lose it's effect and I found stopping it quite easy. I expect citalopram to be the same. If you need it all your life then that's what you should do. But monitor what's happening and talk to your GP if anything unusual or persistent happens. Changes of dose are sometimes needed at intervals.

    Take care and keep strong.

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  • Posted

    after reading your posts ive decided to try cit again im just scared of the side affects but im heading down the black hole again so 2nite im on day 1 and ive giving up drinking for lent not that im a heavy drinker will keep yous posted tajkecare :D
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  • Posted

    Try not to be scared. The side effects are chemically induced just like the good effects and they don't mean there's something wrong with you or your body. Keep your eye ont he winning post - which will be just a few weeks down the line. If you need support post on this site. There are plenty of people in similar situations who will support you.
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  • Posted

    thanks john you r the only one that has answered me on this site ive read most of your posts im gonna try and stick with cit hopefully theirs a light at the end of this dark hole im missin outbon so much just cantbremember wat its like to feel normal thanks so much :lol:
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  • Posted

    Give it a few weeks and go to your GP with any problems you really can't endure. Most of us have experienced similar things to you and we've overcome them after finding what's right for the individual. Take what help is available. If it proves not to be citalopram then try something else. Try to focus on feeling normal - it really does help. Also try to take an interest in the problems of others and try to help them. That can be really good therapy in itself. No-one can pull you out of the dark hole on their own - you have to climb yourself using what footholds are there as well. There's always someone around on this site if you need to just talk.
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  • Posted

    [quote:e1df821bfb=\"john729\"]Reading posts like this makes the sun shine a bit brighter. Realising what is happening to you and being prepared to view depression as a real illness and something which might mean medication for a long time - even for life - is a major step forward.

    Like you my first experience of the illness, as opposed to just feeling down, hit me like a juggernaut. One day I was feeling low, but OK. The next I could hardly walk down the stairs. My weight plummeted by about 14 pounds in a fortnight. It was like walking along a path normally and then falling off a cliff. I did seek help quickly and it was paroxetine which came to the rescue. Six months of that and I was ready to stop. I reduced the dose gradually and I was fine for eight years.

    Then another cliff. A smaller one this time but instantly recognisable. This time it's citalopram. Only about seven weeks so far but it's doing the job well now I'm over the initial phases. I guess this will be the pattern for the rest of my life and I accept that. I know I'm vulnerable to depression and that it will happen again sometime. And I'll deal with it in the same way. Use chemistry to fight chemistry and don't be ashamed of it.

    I don't think citalopram leads to dependency or that you effectively become immune to it. Paroxetine didn't for me. It didn't lose it's effect and I found stopping it quite easy. I expect citalopram to be the same. If you need it all your life then that's what you should do. But monitor what's happening and talk to your GP if anything unusual or persistent happens. Changes of dose are sometimes needed at intervals.

    Take care and keep strong.[/quote:e1df821bfb]

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