Four Failed Withdrawal Attempts to Depression Free | Helen’s Success Story
Helen emailed me letting me know that she was was off citalopram and had emotional stability.
Since having a baby 12 years ago, she struggled with depression, SSRI dependency, and had a midlife crisis.
Now she is able to cope without using sugar or alcohol.
Naturally, I wanted to share her story.
I was a classic Alpha-type personality – from business school to a career in Finance (to please my Dad!), teaching aerobics, captaining a sports team in my ‘spare’ time, and maintaining a long distance relationship. I worked just as hard at my social life and would not be happy unless I had plans fixed up for weeks in advance.
After 10 years of this, I suffered bereavements of 2 friends in close succession, and I hit a depression which I labeled my early mid-life crisis.
The work, hobbies and socializing was not giving me a rush any more. I couldn’t get out of bed and needed a solution. So after reading lots of motivational books, my solution was to plan harder, work harder and leave even less time to think!
Most people around me were gently hinting that I may need some help from therapy and/or anti-depressants but this was the UK, 20 years ago and nobody talked about their feelings!! So I carried on and spent more time drinking alcohol to drown out the feelings of negativity. Friends around me were getting married and having children and I had decided that was not going to be me as I was a career woman and didn’t need that baggage.
Taking SSRIs and Refusing Therapy
I started to take SSRIs after another ‘mid life crisis”, and refused therapy as the solution was surely just to work harder and then I would be happy when I had achieved all of my goals! One concession I did make to my inner voice was to reconsider my career – I had really wanted to be in healthcare but thought that would disappoint my parents who expected me to be in business.
I had a new project – retraining for a new healthcare career and that managed to become my focus for the next 5 years. I stopped focusing on my depression. I was just way too busy to examine my innermost feelings and that was fine with me. Still on SSRIs, but again using alcohol and socializing to bridge the gap I was feeling. I was lucky enough to meet a new boyfriend who became my husband during that time and that also kept me busy.
After I graduated with a medical degree, I could not wait to get started in my new career – I had so many plans!! But within a few months my husband got posted abroad for his job and I had to follow him. So, suddenly in a new country, we had to get married for a visa, and I became pregnant very quickly.
I could not work for legal reasons and with no friends, family, or work, I had to bring up a new baby by myself. My baby represented everything I could not control and I quickly fell into severe post-natal depression, although it was undiagnosed because I hid it from my OB-GYN.
Thoughts of Self-Harm and Denial
There were many days with thoughts of self harm and harming the baby and I was in despair. I had stopped taking SSRIs as I worried about their effect on my pregnancy. Plus now that I was a healthcare practitioner I could not admit to having depression myself!
I struggled on for a few years with my baby who, despite everything, was lovely. However my partner and I were not in a good place and divorce was a very real prospect. We were saved by having an opportunity to move back to the UK and with more friends and family around the daily trials of looking after a small child were eased and I could start working again.
I was so excited to find a part-time healthcare consultant job near to my home and arranged daycare for my child and quickly got stuck into my new role. However things were not as they seemed – my boss was unstable and demanding and I found that I was working full time hours on part time pay, plus having to do all of the child care when at home as my husband was on late shifts. The expectations I placed on myself finally tipped me over the edge.
Isolation and Going Back On SSRIs
I was hiding in my bedroom from everyone when I was not at work, and crying all of the time with no provocation. I stopped all socializing and was desperately fantasizing about leaving my family to move to a deserted island in the middle of the ocean with no other humans around.
A friend actually convinced me to book a doctors appointment and after a questionnaire, I was again diagnosed with depression and given SSRIs again – therapy was an 8 week wait. So I read self help books instead. This helped in the short term and after a year I wanted to come off the SSRIs and get back to ‘normal’, except it wasn’t that easy. When I was younger there were no withdrawal symptoms but it was 10 years later and my brain could not bounce back.
Horrid hot flashes, leg cramps, insomnia, the famous brain zaps, crying jags, fainting and dizziness were happening constantly and I could not cope. So I went back on the SSRIs, and then off them again – with the same results, and so I tried a total of 4 withdrawals over the past 10 years all with the awful withdrawal symptoms. My doctor suggested various patterns of decreasing the dosage but it did not help.
I was resigned to having to be on SSRIs for the rest of my life because of these awful withdrawal symptoms – until I found Dominate Depression. Suddenly there was a new way of looking at how depression occurs and an alternative way to treat it. I was so impressed with the explanations about bio-chemistry in lay terms, and the fact that the suggestions were tried and tested by an actual person on themselves. I felt confident that as someone was willing to do this and put their name on it that it must be effective.
Weaning Off Antidepressants with Amino Acids
I started the amino acid therapy and reduced my SSRIs – which did have a noticeable impact within a few days. Side effects were reduced by about 90%, and I could follow the whole tapering program with the SSRIs without fear!
Since then – 3 months ago – I have happily ordered a lightbox, and continue to use the amino acid regime, and other supplements such as magnesium. I have started seeing a Cognitive Hypnotherapist who helps reset the negative thoughts.
Like other people who have discussed their stories, I know that the Dominate Depression approach is not a silver bullet – you have to work to get the best results – but it is the best approach to depression that I have used in my 25 year history and it is the only approach that I recommend to my patients and friends.
Since being on the program I have started my own business and I know that I could not have done this without the support of the website. I am very grateful to TJ and happy to recommend Dominate Depression to any fellow sufferers.
Thank you – Helen