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TOPIC TITLE: Trying to process my feelings about meds
Created On 6/5/12 12:31 AM
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HopefulMommy
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6/5/12 12:31 AM
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I've been taking medication for almost a week, probably too early to see a difference. There are times when I feel good, but I had such times before I started. What surprised me is that when I felt good and thought that it could be the meds working, I felt disappointed. Of course, I want them to work. I'm desperate for them to work. But if they work, that would prove that I have no control over my emotions, and over what kind of person I am, no matter how hard I work on myself. I feel like all my efforts at self-improvement might be worthless. I know this thought is probably coming from the yetzer hara, trying to discourage me from working on myself. But I can't shake it off. Which part of myself is me and which part is just a chemical mess?
 
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gad
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6/5/12 5:20 AM
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perhaps one can say as follows:

in general, a person has the ability to use the mind to control the emotions, so that the mind and emotions are in tune to what Hashem wants. sometimes, there may be factors which may challenge the person's efforts.

but even then, the person still has free choice. so if the person chooses (as the torah instructs us) to seek medical help; then with that choice, the person is using the mind, and emotions, to do the right thing.

the mind is still in control. but the mind is choosing to seek appropriate help, in order to achieve a healthy nervous condition, to be able to serve Hashem properly. to be able to use the mind and emotions optimally, allowing them to shine.

the meds alone don't do it. the mind still needs the input of torah ideals, past learning, past (and present) working on oneself, in order to (together with the help of meds) serve Hashem.
 
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gad
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6/5/12 1:59 PM
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just to clarify, here are some possible thoughts:

there is a kind of depression that can be caused by the yetzer hora. and this can be countered by musar, chassidus etc.

then there is a kind of depression that is caused by a chemical imbalance etc. and this is countered by therapy and meds.

i think that it's easy to tell the two apart by the symptoms (the second type is overwhelming, where the person can't function etc.)

i think that the two may overlap, and that it's possible that the cure for one type may also help the other type. so that meds can help someone fight the yetzer hora, and helping others (volunteering etc.) can help with one's self esteem etc.
 
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HopefulMommy
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6/6/12 12:40 AM
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Thank you for your thoughts. Today I didn't feel that great, so maybe I'm feeling disappointed too early .

I was just looking for some chizzuk and reading Nesivos Shalom on the parsha, and he talks about how the cloud over the Mishkan symbolizes Hashem's concealment and how it's not our fault and we can serve Hashem even in concealment. He talks about nisyonos too. I found it encouraging.
 
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gad
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6/6/12 1:31 AM
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sometimes the cloud enables us to closely connect to Hashem.
some examples:
moshe entered the thick cloud to be with Hashem at mount sinai.
the cloud protected the yidden in the desert.

perhaps a similar idea is the smoke that was at mount sinai,
and the smoke of incense brought by the high priest in the holy of holies on yom kippur.

i remember hearing that the word for smoke, oshon, is made of the letters ayin, shin, nun. this can stand for olam (world) shono (year) and nefesh (soul). because the kohen godol in the kosesh hakodoshim on yom kippur embodied a uniqueness of place (olom), time (shono), and person - the high priest (nefesh).

and this holiness then shined into all aspects of the world in place, time and person.

so the cloud, and smoke, allows us to come closer. and (as the word nisoyon can mean) to be elevated, and to elevate the world.

 
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ayelet_hashachar
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6/6/12 2:22 AM
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I felt exactly like you did when I started meds. I was shaking when I put the pill in my mouth. I agree with gad. Choosing to take the meds (even though it's hard for you) shows maturity and humility. With meds especially I feel the biggest nisayon is self-acceptance...at least for me it is. Ha-shem could have easily created me with enough serotonin; the fact that he created me to need meds is to me a nisayon...


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Let's just say G-d knew I had a sense of humor.
 
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gad
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6/6/12 4:24 AM
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why is it hard to have self-acceptance?

you have a soul, a part of G-d. you were sent into this world with an amazing mission, to make this world a G-dly place, and thus to bring yourself and your environment close to G-d, and to give G-d nachas.

so every mitzva that you do, every time you help someone, you achieve marvelous things.

you are a super jew, with super powers.

what's there not to like?
 
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HopefulMommy
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6/7/12 1:02 AM
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Super Jew with super powers? I like that.

I've been struggling with self-acceptance for at least ten years. It's good to know that I'm not alone. All those years I thought that my job was to fight my emotional issues and to live a normal life. Now I'm coming to the conclusion that it really doesn't matter if I'm able to live a normal life or not because it's not in my control. Maybe Hashem is not expecting it of me. Maybe my job is to accept that I'm not normal and to know that I can still serve Hashem, no matter how dysfunctional I might get.

Maybe the meds are there to enable free will. Maybe without meds I don't have what it takes to overcome the yetzer hara. That's what they say about Paroh when Hashem hardened his heart. But that was a punishment. I hope I'm not as bad as Paroh.
 
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gad
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6/7/12 6:36 AM
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it's brought down that there is also paroh in kedusha (holiness).

everything in this world can be used for good or, G-d forbid, the opposite. by using medicine to give us proper health in order to do good things, we are elevating all the research, all the science, all the money, all the efforts involved, elevating them into holiness.
 
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gad
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6/7/12 6:51 AM
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Quote

Originally posted by: ayelet_hashachar
Choosing to take the meds (even though it's hard for you) shows maturity and humility.


i think that people who take meds and/or therapy automatically have this benefit (a certain level of maturity and humility) more than other people.

may we share only good and happy news, with proper health.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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6/7/12 2:10 PM
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amein!
 
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HopefulMommy
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6/8/12 12:49 AM
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Thank you Gad for your thoughts, encouragement, and brachos! I really appreciate your presence here and the Torah thoughts you contribute.
 
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gad
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6/8/12 1:35 AM
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thanks for your kind words.

actually, dr lynn and dr price give tons of professional guidance. and everyone here contributes with their questions, insights, caring support etc. i think that the latter deserve more credit than anyone, because they are the ones who keep on trekking through the mud and the challenges.

may we soon all share only good news.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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6/18/12 9:49 AM
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amein!
 
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wishtobehappy
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6/18/12 9:39 PM
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Edited: 6/18/12 at 9:44 PM by wishtobehappy
 
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star
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8/12/12 3:40 PM
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Im feeling silly for still taking meds.
The doctor said first I need to work on dbt before we try any new meds.
But I don't like my dbt therapist so its not really effective.
So can someone remind me why I'm still popping all these pills in, day after day?
Did anyone find meds effective?
Is it only me that meds are not enough, and I need intensive therapy as well?
Yes, yes, I know that its a combination. But really, why am I taking them if they are not helping me?
sorry. Just need to vent. (Also its been quiet here, so I'm hoping people will write... )


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there is light at the end of the tunnel
 
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gad
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8/12/12 3:50 PM
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i think that sometimes meds can help to make things better, and sometimes they help to prevent things from getting much worse.
 
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HopefulMommy
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8/12/12 4:28 PM
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Are they helping at all? Or is there really no difference, compared to before you started taking them?
 
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gad
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8/12/12 5:05 PM
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in this week's mishpacha magazine (august 8), in the family first section, there is an article on page 12 about how meds helped someone. (in general, the article describes depression and its effects very clearly.)

i think that, when we look around, we realize how G-d is close to us, and how He helps us by giving us meds and so many other modern innovations to help us function and accomplish.


Edited: 8/12/12 at 5:08 PM by gad
 
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HopefulMommy
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8/12/12 10:22 PM
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I saw that article. It was interesting because her depression was triggered by unprocessed grief rather than a chemical imbalance. Or did the grief create the imbalance? But meds helped anyway.
 
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star
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8/13/12 9:58 PM
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Its hard to say if meds are helping. I only started journaling my moods after I started taking them , so I can't compare notes.
I'd like to think the lows are less low and more infrequent. But still.


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there is light at the end of the tunnel
 
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HopefulMommy
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8/14/12 1:58 AM
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Does your doctor recommend that you continue taking them?
 
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toy123
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8/14/12 8:04 PM
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Hey star,

Im tthe same way. I need meds plus intensive therapy. Bh bh right now im doing okay and like girlie19 said in the other thread im also searching who i am without my depression. Star about three years ago one of my worst times i was by a psychiatrist who doped me with meds. I was on about 12 diff meds which included 4 mood stabilizers a couple of antipsychotics etc. Eventually they stopped working. Went to a new psychiatrist and he regulated me plus intensive therapy it took me 3 years to get where i am now.


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Sometimes you need to run away just to see who will follow you.

Sometimes when I say "I'm okay", I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight and say "I know you are not".

Just because I'm smiling doesn't mean I'm happy.
 
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star
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8/14/12 8:13 PM
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Hopeful- yes, the doctor says i should take them and when (IF?) the dbt starts helping, then wean off.
Toy- Thanks for sharing your experience.I'm glad you're doing ok bli ayain hara. You should only get better and better.


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there is light at the end of the tunnel
 
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Yitzchak
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2/27/15 9:52 AM
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I'm glad I decided to read this thread.

I have moderate anxiety and some OCD as well. I used to think of people who took medication as running away from the issues. When they should be dealt with using reason and reason-based strategies. I used to think of those people (you guys) as lacking self-respect, not trusting/believing in their brains - which is all we have, after all. I know reading these words will pain many people greatly and I truly apologize. This thread totally changed my view of medication.

I have now seen the light, thanks to Ayelet Hashachar. Choosing to take the meds shows maturity and humility. It is an acknowledgement that we are not all-powerful and do not have absolute control over our minds, even through therapy. It means willing to face up to the truth about ourselves, a painful truth we would rather avoid - we are not perfect. And not always trusting our brains is a very high level of maturity indeed - even in the case of blind bitul of one's own brain just because it differs from others' (which I don't believe in doing but I can see the logic and it definitely shows maturity), something which I don't think anybody here is doing anyways but which I felt a need to mention.

I must confide, though, that although I am much more open now to the idea of me taking meds, I'm not ready to take them yet. People with anxiety think of things that other people don't (understatement alert...). I can't help thinking, maybe Hashem created me with anxiety in order to bring unique contributions into the world? Everywhere I go, everything I do, I think of 20 halacha shailos related to it (note: this is not the OCD I mentioned earlier. Chumros, no matter how many and how strange, do not equal OCD. I can discuss this at length). I do believe there were gedolim in the past who had similar issues and you can see this from the Torah they left behind - halacha sforim, shailos uteshuvos, sugyos in the gemara. Sometimes they leave us with new chumros, but often it is kulos which they leave for us. I can discuss this phenomenon at length. This is just one of my lines of thought. The point is that before going on meds I would like to exhaust all reason-based approaches to anxiety management.

In the meantime, my life is more or less manageable. I can imagine theoretically higher levels of anxiety or OCD which would induce me to go on meds despite everything. They would have to be pretty high though.


Edited: 2/27/15 at 12:58 PM by Yitzchak
 
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keep climbing
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2/27/15 12:30 PM
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Hi, Welcome!
There are other methods to try before meds- therapy, exercise, lowering stress, enough sleep, healthy diet...... So maybe you will not need to take them. I hope it works out for you.
 
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mouse
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2/27/15 1:02 PM
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Keep Climbing....it's funny. Had you written what about diet changes and other stuff not too long ago, I would have pushed away the thought and decided you are one of those health nuts. But, recently my daughter who has a few emotional issues of her own changed her diet slowly but drastically. She stopped eating tons of sugar, discontinued melatonin at night, and cut out meat. She also started eating eggs that are from chicken raised humanely. She began exercising at night and in the morning. She also began doing yoga and meditation (whatever that means to her.) It has done wonders. She is in general much happier now. She is more energetic but is not having energy bursts as often like she used to. She in general is just having an easier time in her own made chaotic world. (Life isn't so chaotic in our house, but she just has a hard time anyhow.) I admire the work she has put into controlling her diet and exercise. The changes for the most part came slowly. Most of them were made because she is so sensitive that eating a dead animal makes her want to cry. (She hasn't buried any chickens or meats yet though . ) Quite frankly, I don't care about the rationale. It is interesting to see how SHE has changed from her diet. She is much happier with less stress and anxiety and depression. I am slowly making the same changes. I am feeling a little better too. I'm slowly cutting out caffeine and already feel different. So, in all, don't underestimate the changes you can make in diet, stress levels, exercise, etc. It may at the very least lessen the number of meds you need to take or may even eliminate the need one day!


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All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
 
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Yitzchak
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2/27/15 1:25 PM
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Thanks KC. I have tried many of these and they were very helpful. The crucial one that I haven't had a chance to do properly is the therapy. I'm pretty sure there is a therapy solution for me, although I may be surprised. Therapy has been thorny because my choice has been limited by insurance, and the in-network therapists never seem to be a good match for me. I also have a number of side issues which hurt more than the mental health ones and which need solutions outside of the therapist's office, so the tedious search for the right therapist has been put on hold. Also, solutions such as exercise, lowering stress and enough sleep are blocking me from having a normal job. I am working on carving out an abnormal parnassah of sorts.

Now, if it were to become clear to me that there is no therapy solution for me, I would seriously consider the pills. I would still have a sort of philosophical objection to it, but sometimes one has to take the plunge. I see here perfectly normal people taking the pills, meaning that they are clear thinkers and intelligent (humble and mature ) and choose to take the pills. And that after they take the pills, they don't become a different person, like I have been afraid of. But I sincerely believe there is a therapy solution. It's just that it's so unattainable...
 
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wishtobehappy
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2/27/15 2:07 PM
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Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't been on for a while. Had a pretty tough winter.

I also agree with Keep climbing and Mouse. Diet, stress reduction and exercise makes a huge difference. It's not easy maintaining it, though, especially when down.

Yitzchak, I can really relate to your reluctance to resort to pills, but personally, the philosophical objections don't bother me all that much. I believe that life's journey is hard enough, and it's okay to lighten the burden or find shortcuts when necessary. My objections stemmed from the 'health nut' (sorry mouse ) part of me. Despite my objections, I resorted to pills out of sheer desperation, and tried numerous meds. Some only messed me up emotionally and physically, and others barely made a difference. On the other hand, I know people who've seen a big difference with meds. I guess it all depends on you personal chemistry. There are alternative options available which you may want to try before pills, in case you have no philosophical objections to that.

Hatzlacha!
 
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MorahL
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2/27/15 3:39 PM
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Just to add to the "health alternative" approach -

I found that eating a lot of protein and healthy fats (nuts and avocado), cutting out/minimizing caffeine, sugar and white flour, and exercising regularly have all been really effective b"H. I've also listened to subliminal hypnosis w/ soft music that has helped me sleep better and has helped me feel more at peace. It takes time - all of it - but once your body gets used to a different diet, exercise and a set sleep schedule, it can really make a difference.

Also, if cutting down on sugar is hard - b/c of the instantaneous "high" from endorphins that come from eating chocolate or whatever - finding a tasty, healthy alternative is really helpful. Like using 1 T maple syrup instead of 1/2 c of sugar.

Hatzlocha everybody! And have a great, uplifting, healthy (in all ways) Shabbos!
 
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