I have been on meds since 2002, on and off. lots of personal problems, used alcohol to cope, maritial issues (now divorced thank god), relieved some of the external stressors. Some genetics involved too.
Navy guy, been deployed several times, and can tell you that going on and going off meds is not a good thing. Every time I have been stable for a long time, I think I can handle it and go off, only to find myself in a fetal position and trying to choose which shotgun model I would like to off myself with.
from my experience, this is what worked and didnt work:
prozac 60mg daily worked, but lost libido
prozac 60mg, wellbutrin extended release 100mg worked well and countered some of the SSRI stuff. the XL is extended release and better for less jitters than the regular one.
Prozac is an SSRI, works on serotonin. Wellbutrin works on nor-epinephrine.
Prozac stopped working after going off it and back on so then went on…
Zoloft, SSRI felt like a zombie and killed libido, gave me a taste of ED so got off it.
Effexor SNRI does both, relatively cheap generic and Navy tried to give it to me instead of cymbalta but didnt work as good.
Cybalta, SNRI does both serotonin and nor- is what I am on now 60mg day, is enough for stability without robbing of emotions and feeling the highs and lows of everyday life and no side effects.
Have a friend that is a neurologist and he gave his mom a prescription for prozac and told her it wasnt for her but for everyone else because she was so miserable!
Been to counseling, and shit is going to happen to you no matter what. Cognitive behavior therapy can help you reframe your outlook to some extent. Meds help keep my frustration tolerance high, so I dont lose it when stuff happens.
Additionally, I only recently started HRT, and tried Testim and was a non-responder so now take 100ml/week of Tcypionate, and have noticed more aggression and anger/shorter fuze creep back into the equation, but man did it help energy levels and libido! no HCG yet, but only started 3mos ago trying to dial it in still.
Best of luck to you and all I can offer is my own experience. From that I am a lifelong advocate for anti-depressants for myself. Others respond differently and have different needs, some temporary to get them through. I remember once coming back from deployment and wanted to stop meds and the doc said, “Why do you want to run without a net under you after all the turmoil involved with coming back after 8 months?” and you know what… he was right. I know I cant come off the meds, have tried too many times with bad results so I treat it like taking protein shakes or vitamins, just part of the routine.
Can also tell you that a good therapist is good to have. I have had several through the navy and every time I deploy, I get a different one when I come back, get tired of having to baseline and give history, etc, so found a civilian I went to when going through divorce, and finally just stopped going because I felt they were merely hand-holding instead of using a pro-active goal oriented approach which is what you will eventually need.
You can’t tell a depressed person to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, they can’t, they are depressed!
Check out a book called Mind Over Mood, it has worksheets in it to help you keep records of your emotions, kind of like a good workout log, and once you have the data, you can make changes based on frequency, severity, recurrence of issues, etc. It helps you master things and get you back into things you enjoy.
Best of luck to you and hope this post helps anyone out there with similar problems. BTW I am 40yrs old for gp.