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Antidepressants please share your experience

Hello you all.
I hope everyone is doing well.
I have a question. I have never been a sad person. High anxiety at times but never sad or unable to enjoy life. Until now!
Since a diagnosis in May I have struggled with sadness and depression and fear. I took anxiety pills as needed for a while but that did not really help the depression.
My dr prescribed me some antidepressants. I filled them but have not taken them yet. I keep thinking I’ll be able to push through this.
I haven’t taken them because of the commitment that comes with them. They have to be taken every day, and getting off them I have heard can be hard. I don’t want to be addicted to them. I pray that after all my treatments and surgery that I won’t feel as overwhelmed and sad.
My friend says take them. I can wean off and it will help me feel better.
I guess I’m just scared.
Can any of you share your experiences with antidepressants? I would appreciate it so so much.

Hugs to all.


  • cowgirl13
    cowgirl13 Member Posts: 765
    edited September 2021

    All I can say is that probably the best thing you could do for yourself is to start on the antidepressants today. They gave me my life back. Pure and simple. Please know that antidepressants are not addictive. Feel free to direct message me if you would like to hear more about my experience with this. Blessings.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 719
    edited September 2021

    Do you feel the same way about wearing glasses to correct your vision? They must be worn every day and you never really get to come off them.

    Antidepressants are not a panacea. They can have side effects and it can take some time to find the one that works for you. But they are a great tool and help.

    You might be able to push through this, sure. Some people do. But isn't life hard enough? I take ibuprofen when I have cramps and aspirin when I have a headache, I wear sunglasses when it's bright, run an air conditioner basically all summer long, and take public transit sometimes instead of walking and biking everywhere. I do all kinds of things to make my life more comfortable so I can spend my time doing things that I'd like, instead of fighting just to survive to the bare minimum.

    For me I find that many antidepressants make a good positive difference for me, but some have more side effects than others. Most of the time I take the antidepressants alone but sometimes I add something for anxiety. I'm happy to have the extra tool to make my life a little easier.

  • sunshinegal
    sunshinegal Member Posts: 67
    edited September 2021

    Sending you big hugs - I can relate to the concerns that you have. To share my experience:

    I've had clinical depression a few times in my life. The first time I took medication I hesitated quite a bit; there was quite a stigma about "medicating your feelings" at the time but I got miserable enough to push through the stigma to start antidepressant medication. I had to switch meds once to find one that worked for me, but once I did I was feeling better inside of two weeks. Way back then, I weaned off the med after just a few months.

    I had a BC recurrence in March, and I also had back surgery, and we're still in a pandemic, and I'm working, and we have small kids, and my parents aren't well, and and and and ... and I finally realized that I'm depressed. I started seeing a therapist in the spring and last month, I started the same antidepressant med from years ago. I am already feeling better. I take one pill per day at the same time as my daily AI pill.

    I hope you make the decision to try the medication and hang in there long enough to find one that works for you. Maybe the first one will! But please don't be discouraged if you need to switch once or twice or otherwise make adjustments. That's very normal. And, in my opinion, very worth it. Good luck!

  • ctmbsikia
    ctmbsikia Member Posts: 749
    edited September 2021

    I started taking 10mg Fluoxetine a little more than 6 months ago. I was having a hard time dealing with the grief of losing my husband. I struggled for 8 months or so thinking I could get through it, but the physical symptoms of my depression were making me crazy. Ringing ears, headaches, sensitive to loud noises. My ears quit ringing on day 1 and Doc said I can just stop when I want to. Best wishes to you.

  • ingerp
    ingerp Member Posts: 1,514
    edited September 2021

    I've only had one episode of real depression. Took Zoloft for about a year and it worked really well for me. One of my kids was also on an anti-depressant for about a year in high school. I do think depressed people have a real chemistry problem in their brains, and agree it's like treating a chemical imbalance in another part of your body.

    Anti-depressants are not addictive, but you do need to take them regularly and you do need to wean off them. Maybe you could take them for a few weeks and see if they help, but also tell yourself you'll re-evaluate after 6-9-12 months. Most depression is episodic--it would likely resolve on its own but the medicine can help *so* much until you get there on your own.

  • goldensrbest
    goldensrbest Member Posts: 628
    edited September 2021

    I have been on antidepressants since the birth of our 2nd daughter who just turned 35. Had severe postpartum depression. Ended up needing an antidepressant ever since. I’ve only been on 3 different ones through those years but they have kept me very stable. There were several major life situations where I needed other meds to supplement the antidepressant. They are worth their weight in gold. It may take time to find the right one for you but please start with what your doctor prescribed. And they don’t work overnight - usually takes at least a couple weeks to have a therapeutic effect. Good luck

  • lovelau
    lovelau Member Posts: 40
    edited December 2021

    A cousin called 10 years ago to ask what antidepressant I was on. I said none! She said weird! everyone is on something. After the bc, 5 years ago, I got very depressed with high anxiety. First time seeing psyc and everyone said take meds, so i reluctantly took it and have been sorry ever since! WHY? Because they "went down the list" of 20 and nothing worked. Well one thing sort of worked klonapin but it knocks me out and makes me feel terrible. They prescribed 0.5mg 3 times day, it was too much. I take .25 once a day and even with that I fall asleep even when writing something,. I asked the Dr if he knew of a better med or how I could tell if it was working, he said I would know cause I would feel good. Thank God I'm I'm still in remission, scans show no evidence of cancer Hooray!, but I worry about it and I feel terrible and depressed! Why? My stomach feels yucky, the doctor says thats from depression and some people said its because I don']t believe its gone! I thought I believed it was gone. I've tried just about everything. In the evening many times I have a relaxing evening and get very excited thinking that I can keep the good feelings going but first thing in the morning it starts all over. I know many people who are doing great, 6 ladies in my Bible study class are all doing well. Trying everything to adjust. My irrational thought is that all of my drs are women and they want to be right so they were very careful not to give me hope. When I asked my dr if she thought I was going to be ok, she said" I'm superstitious so I dont want to jinx anything" so I like the question and comments, I wish I was smarter and didn't take anything,just worked it out. Or dumber and didn't know anything except its gone and it will stay gone.. i read that in most women it does not come back.I guess since I never took any drugs, drink or smoked I didn't have experience with mind altering substances and can't adjust to feeling sick. I know as far as the cancer is gone, it was small and they took all out but I just don't feel so great. Covid dosent help. If no covid I'd be traveling. I just pray some how I can get it undercontrol. Before covid I went on a few trips to ny, cruise to Alaska then to Mexico then to yangtsee river in china. They were stressful but also distracting. Anyone figure out other ways to convince yourself its all gone and you will be fine? What a wakeup call, always believe in medicine and that drs knew what worked.

    There are a bunch of ladies on this site who are very positive and able to deal. I wish I knew the much formula. I started drinking camomile tea.

    I do walk each morning and go swimming about 2 times a week but I always have that anxiety in my stomach or my soul. I'd pay a billion ( if I had it) to learn how to ignore it and just live with it( that's what people tell me. I feel pretty dumb that I can't master that skill when others have.

    Thanks for letting me vent. Praying for all. Suggestions welcome,

  • cowgirl13
    cowgirl13 Member Posts: 765
    edited December 2021

    LoveLau, do you have a psychiatrist prescribing your meds? If you do, I strongly suggest that you find a would find a new psychiatrist. You need someone who will be able to correctly diagnose And prescribe the Correct Meds. Fortunately for me, I have psych who is extremely knowledgeable about meds. Also, understand how the klonipin could take the wind out of your sails. Please feel free to private message me if you would like. Very happy to share my experience. There is hope.

  • nopink2019
    nopink2019 Member Posts: 384
    edited December 2021

    As Salamandra said, why are we still hung up on drugs to help with depression? We openly take drugs for lots of things but whisper about depression or anxiety like it is 19th century and we are "hysterical" women. Not for everyone, but if you find one that helps, take it.

  • kanga_roo
    kanga_roo Member Posts: 302
    edited December 2021

    I took Effexor when first diagnosed, got me through the depression in the first few months, but fogged up my brain.. made me numb. I didn’t have too many problems getting off it, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it again if I have depression. Depression is debilitating and you need to get it under control to take control… hope it works out for you, and remember, if you are not happy with an anti-depressant, there is plenty of alternatives available.

  • nem126
    nem126 Member Posts: 37
    edited December 2021

    Is anyone on Lexapro or Celexa? I have PTSD/depression/ anxiety... the whole gambit. Can't take effexor because it gives me tremors. I've read that lexapro and celexa interact less with tamoxifen than some others....

    Curious on your experiences with these two drugs.



  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 719
    edited December 2021

    I've been on lexapro twice and both times it did a really nice job with my anxiety/depression. I remember some gi impacts as I was geting started, and it did impact my libido some. I'm back on wellbutrin now that I'm off tamoxifen (and on toremifene), and in general that works very well for me. But if I needed to I would go back on lexapro without worries.

  • gradystubs2022
    gradystubs2022 Member Posts: 10
    edited December 2021

    I've been on anti-depressants since my late 20's, and done years of talk therapy. There are no blood tests that can identify what drug is best (or so they tell me). Since starting hormone therapy my depression has turned in to plain lethargy and unable to feel like doing anything at all but sit on the couch. My whole body feels like its aged 30 years and I'm having major joint issues suddenly. I've always had some insomnia but now I can't remember the last time I slept more than 5 or 6 hours. I work full time so my ability to deal with stress is very low and my Mom is 88 yrs old and dementia has begun. I wish I felt like the doctors cared about my quality of life. Its normal to be afraid sometimes but if its a constant struggle then keep asking and pushing for help until you find some peace. Anti-depressants do help and you deserve to feel good just like everyone else.

  • vlnrph
    vlnrph Member Posts: 468
    edited December 2021

    As a retired pharmacist, I agree that having a psychiatrist prescribe these drugs can be an improvement over your family doctor when things get complicated. Sometimes, taking 2 or even 3 antidepressants from different classes is necessary when a single medication is unsuccessful.

    Although most of the time dose reductions are the best approach when attempting to discontinue, fluoxetine has such a long 1/2 life that it is essentially self-tapering. Once you stop taking it, the active ingredient simply leaves your system gradually, without withdrawal symptoms.

    Another therapy to consider is transcranial magnetic stimulation. This noninvasive procedure is not at all like electroshock treatment. It has been FDA approved for over a decade and can help enhance mood when nothing else works. Brief daily sessions for about a month are required.

  • katyblu
    katyblu Member Posts: 200
    edited December 2021

    I had to start taking an anti-depressant due to side effects from tamoxifen. It would make me cycle between deep crying depression and horrible irrational anger. I mean, I wanted to throw things across the room because a restaurant was closed! So my onc first put me on effexor and I had horrible neurological symptoms from it and now it's on my allergy list. Then I switched to gabapentin and took it for 6 months before realizing it was making me chemo-tired. Finally I switched to celexa and I've been taking that for 3 years. I'm on the second lowest dose and it has been great! I still get the irrational anger, not as mush since I am no longer on tamoxifen, but the celexa lets me control the impulses. My moods have been a lot worse lately but I hold the new dx as the culprit there, not sure any antidepressant would fix that right now. Like many have said here, there is no stigma with taking an anti-depressant. It's just like taking blood pressure medication or wearing glasses. You're just fixing and imbalance in your body.

  • nem126
    nem126 Member Posts: 37
    edited January 2022

    Katyblu, I had the same experience with effexor! Will never try that one again.

    Salamandra, thanks for the input on lexapro, I actually just got a prescription for it. I'm kind of confused because I've heard mixed things as to whether or not lexapro makes tamoxifen less effective.

    I'm debating going off of tamoxifen anyway because I've been struggling for quite a while on it... been on it almost 4 years so at least I gave it the old college try.

    It's such a weird feeling, because on one hand I REALLY want to ditch tamoxifen to feel like a normal human again. On the other hand, it's terrifying.


  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,625
    edited January 2022

    My oncologist prescribed Celexa for me when Aromasin + Zoladex made me feel moody and tearful. I've been on it ever since, and it's been so helpful to me, especially since my family life sometimes gets turbulent. (Have twin 19 year-old sons with autism, and one became violent for awhile.) I am on the lowest dose, and will wean myself off of it when I finish the Aromasin + Zoladex.

  • vandercat
    vandercat Member Posts: 43
    edited February 2022

    Katyblu, Nem126

    I've been on every SSRI for depression since starting on good old Prozac in the 80s. I ended up trying Effexor and had some stunning side effects for a few weeks, but when they passed I found venlafaxine became my drug of choice. I have now been stable for a number of years, but talk about things getting weird fast if you miss a dose - within 12 hours you KNOW there's a problem. Someone once told me that trouble getting on it meant you were likely to succeed because you were so reactive.

    Since my BC Dx (DCIS HR+, lumpectomy 2/1/22) I have been trying to find information on interactions between antidepressants and AIs (a breast surgeon said Tamoxifen was off the table for me). I hate the very idea of screwing up my bones and joints, and I am days away, if not more, from a final decision on post-surgical treatment. I don't now if my depression will change or worsen as the BC diagnosis sinks in. But going off Effexor is not on the table. I would not be able to stand the "darkness visible".

  • nem126
    nem126 Member Posts: 37
    edited February 2022

    If you can tolerate effexor I hear it's the best one to be on in terms of interactions w/ hormone therapy. I wish you the very best of luck. I know it's such a difficult time.... I'm going on 5 years out and while I can tell you it's not easy, the clouds do begin to lift <3

  • dutchiegirl
    dutchiegirl Member Posts: 76
    edited February 2022

    I think I had PTSD when all the treatment was done. I would find myself getting angry over really silly things or I’d weep uncontrollably at movies or over books I was reading. The worst was the anxiety - it controlled my life. I signed up for counseling in the supportive services division of my cancer hospital. I cried for the full 60 minutes the first time I was there. I said to my therapist “this isn’t me. This isn’t who I was or am”. She prescribed Effexor but I couldn’t tolerate it. She switched me to Escitalopram and it’s made a world of difference. Once the meds kicked in (about two weeks later), I felt the anxiety and despair lift off of me. I was able to be more of the person I remember pre-cancer. I’ll never be that pre-cancer girl again but I was able to smile, to talk to others, to think rationally and I was able to laugh again. Sure the fear creeps in every once in a while but, for the most part, I’m able to live a very decent and productive life. And by the way, my therapist “broke up” with me a few months ago. She said I had come a long way since I started seeing her and she felt I would be fine. I will go off these drugs one day but it won’t be for a couple of more years. I’m so happy the meds, coupled with therapy, gave me my life back.