Anti-depressants and meditation

Discussion in 'Reincarnation, Religion and Spirituality' started by landsend, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    I’m not sure where to post this but thought this place would be as good as any.

    I started a low dosage medication about a month ago to help with my depressive moods which was stopping me from functioning, to the point of contemplating ending my life.

    Now I know none of us are doctors here, but I’ve been trying to meditate a couple of times since starting the medication and I’m having a hard time focusing and not receiving my usual insights. It’s like the medication has shut down that portal I had to my soul, which includes the soul pain. Seems you can’t have the good without the bad. Has anyone else experienced this?

    It’s really disconcerting considering I usually received insights within a light trance state in about ten minutes. Now nothing happens at all apart from my mind wandering off.
     
  2. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    landsend, it might just be a time of adjustment to the meds. Don't try too hard, I'm sure it will come back at some point. And maybe you need a break from too many insights?? In any case, it's good that you've got some help. Relax and take good care of yourself.
     
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  3. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Yeh, it’s been a steady decline since November to be fair. It’s just disconcerting when I was so used to getting in touch with that part of myself without much effort on my part. Now it’s effectively blocked from me it feels like I’m missing something very important. In fact last night whilst awake it kept going around in my head: I’m not doing enough — I need to do more. If I want to resolve this I have to do more.

    The doc seemed to think that it was a side effect of depression (my head feeling like it is in a constant static — imagine tv static — that’s how it is). But I know for a fact that it wasn’t like that before starting medication. The only time I’ve been like this before is when extremely sleep deprived but usually that made me more likely to reach hypnogogic imagery and a trance like state.

    I’ve had lifelong depression and fought against going on meds for this reason. Before I had kids I combatted depression with intensive meditation sessions — can’t do that now. Yesterday was feeling pretty depressed so not even sure they are doing anything but covering the symptoms.
     
  4. BenjaminFR

    BenjaminFR Senior Registered

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    Hello Landsend,

    Sadly I can't give you a straight answer to your question as I did not meditate, really, when I was under anti-depressants. I took a SSRI-class molecule, dosed at 20 mg per day and indeed I had weird side effect - one I remember the most is having barely any dreams. On a side note, if you also take the molecule I took (escitalopram), be careful, it has a tendency to make teeth hollow so schedule some appointments at the dentist !

    I am happy for you, though. I hope it will give you the needed relief from your anxieties. All the best to you dear Landsend :)
     
  5. John Tat

    John Tat Senior Registered

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    Hi landsend..As you are aware the medication you are taking does change the chemical makeup of your brain.. that is its function.. to help you cope with your depression.. In doing so it is obvious this altering of the make up of your brain is interfering with your abilities to meditate..in my opinion what you may need to consider is.... is/was your depression the source of your abilities to meditate
    if that is how it was/is then as you get better and better from taking your medication then you will need to find another source for those abilities to mediate because your brain will never operate as it did before you started taking the medication If it was me I would use all of my energies to call on my spiritual self to guide me to show me a way.. In the end this may be a positive thing that is happening to you . It may force you to have a far better connection to your spiritual self/soul
     
  6. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Thanks for the replies.

    @BenjaminFR Mine is also an SSRI module, actually I've been having very vivid and weird dreams since starting the medication, some of them semi-lucid dreams so that's why it makes no sense that I can't seem to meditate. During the day my head just seems in a fuzz. Am not sure even if taking these things is beneficial to me, but was told it can take months to help.

    @John Tat Yes, I'm fully aware that the medication alters the chemical makeup, which is why I was willing to give it a go in the end. Depression runs in my family. I find it interesting what you say and will cogitate your words. You make some valid points. I believe actually that's not far off what is happening. I shall persist for the meantime and see if I can reach some clarity.
     
  7. BenjaminFR

    BenjaminFR Senior Registered

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    Hey,

    Just wanted to give you a more developed testimony of my experience with these chemicals. And how I ended up giving these up and living a life without them.

    I was prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics after a very long and acute depressive episode that led me to give up on everything that gave my life a sense, to the point where I found it unbearable to live, so I barely ate and stopped bathing properly, let alone engage in any social interaction.

    When that arose, medication helped. It definitely helped, although it had its fare share of side-effects. I actually see it in a similar way as the chemotherapy drugs my little patients take, on my line of work. They have a heavy pathology (and depression/anxiety is a heavy disease, no matter the cause), and deserve a thorough attention. Like my cancer patients, it was deemed that the benefit/risk balance was worth it to alter my brain with these SSRi-class molecules, in order to dampen the symptoms. And I found that, indeed, my thought process and emotions were altered when under the treatment. My anxiety was like a demon I saw through a bulletproof glass, some frightening monster I could still sense but was separated from me by a barrier: I soon found within my reach to engage in activities that built up my morale, my physical strengh and my social interaction. In that way, the medication helped.

    Yes, there was strong side effects, in my case loss of libido, and the overall feeling that I was « numbed » by the drugs. It also strangely affected my aversion to risk: once, I was filling up my gas tank at a petrol station at night in a shady part of France, and a group of tough guys made fun of me from a distance: I walked up to them, completely relaxed, and confronted them. They must have thought I was crazy as they apologized profusely. I was completely immune to fear, something I would have never done normally. There was also the overall feeling that all emotions I felt were a bit off, like if I saw them from a distance.

    But it helped. One day, I came to the conclusion that I was ready to give up on the medication (something I discussed with my psychiatrist) and slowly I gave it up. It was a bit weird to feel everything fully once I was myself again, but I strongly doubt I would have been able to build a lifestyle to cope with my depression without medication.

    As of today, I have kept the habit of taking natural treatments against anxiety (Rhodiola Rosea) once a year during Autumn to cope with the loss of Sunshine and low temperatures. I feel that I have now an experience to deal with onsets of anxiety to handle the stress when it arises. It’s not always sunny and bright in my head but at least I know the reflexes to tackle the problem when I feel it’s starting again.

    I believe that depression and anxiety, since I suffered from it since childhood, will forever be a demon that follows me like a shadow, but since I was treated I was able to learn what a life without anxiety is and I learned a great deal from it: it takes discipline and listening to my feelings to keep it at bay, but it’s doable. I hope you will find from this episode a lot of inner strengh, Landsend, know that depression and anxiety is something you can and will beat!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
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  8. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Many Thanks Benjamin for your honest testimony -- I totally relate to things you say there. Am glad that you managed to get through your depression and anxiety, and get it to manageable levels. I understand what you mean about the demon following you around, I've often felt it is that way, too.

    I've managed to keep my anxiety/depressive levels at a certain level throughout my life (apart from as a teenager when I should have probably taken medication), but having three little kids, dealing with memories of Vietnam and Terry, dealing with my own identity issues (gender dysphoria/transitioning), dealing with my marriage and trying to make sense of everything just is too much. The medication is making me feel quite distanced from everything, as you described. That bit of distance is greatly needed on my part. Self medicating through other means is not on the table for me -- though am thinking about maybe starting St. John's Wort once I'm off these. Am currently trying to get my life in a more liveable place, then we'll see where I go from there.

    Yes I read the thing about the libido issue, but it's not been a problem for me. If anything it's got that to more manageable levels, haha. :oops:
     
  9. tanker

    tanker Senior Registered

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    That was a very interesting and helpful observation, Benjamin. I can identify with some of those feelings when you're taking medication. I took meds for many years, for my PTSD, which was helpful enough, but I only realised the downside when I came off them a couple of years ago. As you describe, I'd been 'numbed' - and that was useful at the time, I suppose, but as soon as I came off them, I realised the extent of that numbness, and only then did I see how 'half-alive' I'd been all that time. I simply hadn't noticed.

    It was sobering to feel the difference. I'd been very scared to give up on medication, which had served me well enough over the years. However, a week or so later, I vowed I'd never take anything like that again. That's a bit of an irresponsible vow, clearly, and not one that would suit everyone, but since then I've enjoyed being able to 'feel' again, whether experiences are bad or good. Like you, Benjamin, the Rhodiola is in my cupboard, just in case. But I have enough of my own strength now to deal with what comes, in my own way. So I think medication is a wonderful thing, used wisely, as long as we take it with our eyes open.

    Landsend, I'm sure your medication is very necessary right now, and whatever drawbacks you might be finding from it will be worth it in the long run. Let things settle, and there will be plenty of time in future to return to the easy meditations you're missing at the moment. You'll know when the time is right, I think. I really hope things will work out for you very soon. And we're all here to support you and look forward to seeing you well again.
     
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  10. glia21

    glia21 Senior Member

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    Hi landsend,
    Maybe the situation gives you some kind of break from your investigation and maybe it's a good thing. I think you will find a way to access your memories again and wish you the best. I do have very short but very intense episodes of depression. They usually last no more than a day or maximum three days and happen every couple of months or about once a year. There is nothing I can do about it. Tears come running all day and I'm zero motivated for nothin. And when I force myself to function I start crying. Terrible condition. I usually get physically sick afterwards. Don't take medication except for a beer or wine in the evening to ease the mind. Also when studying psychology I never focused much on mental disease - so no experience here.
    How are you feeling by now?
     
  11. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Am not doing brilliant, some days cope a bit better, other days not so much. Not sure these tablets are having much effect on me tbh, especially considering it's mostly my situation making me feel the way I do. Intense periods of grief, then anger follows.

    My son broke his little finger at school last Friday, following Friday some thieves broke my garage roof. Everywhere I go people assume I'm a fifteen year old boy (police officers today asked for my parents when they came to my door) Were surprised when I asserted I am the parent. I'm 28 years old and w/ three kids. I have to give them my 'dead' name. The humiliation never seems to end.
     
  12. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Just thought I’d update this...

    Fuzzy head feelings are fading, but conversely depressive feelings somewhat back. Gladly take some depression for clarity, though. And I managed to have some breakthrough on the meditation front when I finally had a morning to myself. I do think there is a correlation to certain medication and ability to meditate and reach altered states of consciousness.
     
  13. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I think so too. I just started ADD meds. I'm going to give them a week or to and see how I feel.
     
  14. landsend

    landsend Senior Registered

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    Hope it goes well for you Totoro... it has taken a whole month for the side-effects to lessen so worth sticking it out for the whole month if you can. Am on a low dosage, and prefer that TBH. I think I'll keep going with them till my situation evens out, then will come down to half dosage, and off them, hopefully.
     

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