This morning I saw Ellen C. Scott editor at Metro and co-presenter at “Mentally Yours” Metro’s mental health podcast on BBC Breakfast. She told her experience with taking antidepressants. She said she is able to work again and live her life since she has found the right one for her.
One of the headlines this morning on the news was that according to a major study supported by the UK Health department antidepressants do work, however, the 21 tested work differently well and have different severe side effects. The main message was: “Anti-depressants work and you should not be against them!”
Anti-depressants help but cannot deal with the reason someone reacts with depression to life events
Last week I told you that I was rather glad that my doctor did not push me into taking any medication and rather supported me with a book about practising Mindfulness. The book “Mindfulness A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World” (affiliate link) states, that the practice of Mindfulness is as effective as antidepressants. It says antidepressants try to deal with the symptoms of depression rather than the reasons for depression. Antidepressants can’t change the reason someone is depressed and how someone deals with the challenge of depression.
According to the NHS, there are several reasons why some people react to life challenges with depression: It can be your genes, a family history of depression or your personality, that makes you deal with a traumatic experience rather on your own than with friends and family. These reasons can’t be changed with an anti-depressant. However, your mood can be lifted with an anti-depressant which gives you more motivation to deal with what causes you stress. If you have the ability to find a solution for your problems that in turn makes you feel better and relieves depression.
Is “Do Anti-Depressants work?” the right question?
I am not sure if the debate “Do Anti-depressants work or not” is actually the right discussion. And I give you three reasons for that:
- Successfully dealing with your mental health is a highly personal decision
- We take bad mental health as a given and do not look and change the reasons why we are more and more depressed
- Can I afford to take anti-depressants?
1. Successfully dealing with Depression is a highly personal decision
In my opinion, it is a highly personal decision how you deal with a mental health problem. For me, it is as personal as which kind of contraceptive you chose. If I am a more spiritual person and have found spiritual solutions for my life challenges then I would react better to the Mindfulness approach then if I am a more scientific orientated person. Everybody experiences their mental health in a very personal way and depression can express itself in various different ways. The “One way fits all” approach does not work because we are so different and the reasons why we are depressed are so different. I believe those who help patients with depression successfully have this in mind. This can be with antidepressants but it can as well be without. But just because one approach works without anti-depressants does not make them not work or bad. It is just a different approach.
2. We take bad mental health as a given but do not look at the reasons why more are depressed
The Conversation states in their article: “So many in the West are depressed because they’re expected not to be” that we live in a society that expects us to be happy. Even if we have lost a loved one, are stressed at our jobs and have trouble to make ends meet we are expected to keep up a stiffer lip and deal with all of it with a smile on our face. We seem to be more and more at odds on how to deal with someone who is sad or goes through a difficult time.
Now, I believe that a positive outlook on life is a good thing to have, however, feelings of sadness, anger and frustration are a part of life and important indicators that something is not quite right. If we ignore these and as a society are not able to give them an appropriate space we suppress a part of ourselves and a part of society. In my eyes, suppression of anything has never lead to a solution but rather to revolution and problems.
A change in values in our societies to allow sadness as an appropriate approach to difficult life events as well as accepting that we are all individuals and just do not react to life events, in the same way, might give many the chance to express their feelings and thus would not get to a depressed stage. Which also means they would not need anti-depressants in the first place.
3. Can I afford to take anti-depressants?
Now, this is a tricky one I admit. Of course, there are state schemes that help you pay for your prescriptions. If you do get benefits in the UK you are usually exempt and if you suffer from conditions like diabetes or cancer you are exempt too. And there is a scheme for low income where you can get help if you do not have savings over a certain amount.
However, if you are just over the threshold with your income and your savings you might just be able to pay your bills but anything on top is not possible. As funny as it sounds for some suddenly having to deal with a bill of 8,60 for a prescription can get you into trouble. Also, you are often not able when dealing with depression to apply for exemptions. To be fair to the NHS doctors I am sure they will help you short term if that should be the case. But if you are depressed even your normal daily activities are hard to keep up so dealing with authorities and applying for something is often entirely out of the question.
“One fits all” doesn’t work in my opinion
There are many reasons why one chooses to use antidepressants. And there are many reasons why one chooses not to use antidepressants. Just because a study tells us that antidepressants actually do work does not mean they work for all.
I believe we should allow everybody to choose their unique way of dealing with depression. Neither using or not using antidepressants should lead to any sort of shaming. Because people who live with depression already feel ashamed enough for having a mental health problem. They don’t need more shame when they are actually dealing with it!
The Lancet: Comparative efficacy and acceptability of 21 antidepressant drugs for the acute treatment of adults with major depressive disorder: a systematic review and network meta-analysis
BBC News: Anti-depressants: Major study finds they work
Reuters: Study seeks to end antidepressant debate – the drugs do work
NHS: Causes of Clinical Depression
NHS England: help with health costs
NHS Low Income Scheme
FranticWorld.com: What it can do for you
The Conversation: What causes Depression, what we know, what we don’t know and suspect
So many in the West are depressed because they’re expected not to be
This post takes part in “Love Is In Da Blog 2018” and answers to prompt 22 “unique” (see end of post)
Love Is In Da Blog 2018 ~ Vulnerable ~ Prompt 23
I hope I have not confused the participants of “Love Is In Da Blog 2018” entirely with adding the next prompt after my post. Maybe I leave a link at their blogs.
But for now what’s on tomorrow?
is the prompt word and I challenge you to create some poetry.
And here are the rules/suggestions on how to take part.
“Love Is In Da Blog” Rules/suggestions
- Join in! No matter where, when and with what. You missed the first day or week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
- Send us the link! Unfortunately, my blog is now self-hosted and the ping-back option does not always work. So please leave a link in the comments on the day of the prompt that you are writing to so we can all come and visit you.
- Tag your post either with “Love Is In Da Blog” or #LoIsInDaBl. You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure.
- No matter which medium the prompt favours you create with them whatever you please, and whatever length you please (no pun intended ) as long as it is about “LOVE.”
- If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.