Anxious "enough" for medication?

Hi all,

I have been told by doctors that I suffer from anxiety and depression. I do worry quite a bit in general and for the past two years I have been worrying a lot more since starting a demanding postgraduate course.

My low self-esteem, that has always been an underlying problem, has severely worsened due to finding the course really difficult and subsequently thinking i'm "too stupid" to be doing this. I have been stressed and finding it hard to cope. I avoid studying and procrastinate a huge amount. I worry about not being able to pass it on a regular basis and the worry often prevents me from studying which then makes me more worried and now I'm trapped in a cycle. I know that if I could just believe in my ability to pass the course then I wouldn't be anxious and I would be able to work. I have just started to see a CBT therapist to help me with my low self-esteem. She has suggested that I go on Sertaline for my depression and anxiety, to be used to compliment the CBT.

Thing is, I don't really know if I actually have depression and anxiety. I am definitely a "worrier", I have been ever since I was young, but I'm only *really* anxious about my course and not other things (well I am, but it doesn't stop me from living life fully). The anxiety is only affecting my ability to study. Also, with the "depression": I am not unhappy all the time and I think maybe it's natural to struggle with and feel down sometimes about a difficult postgraduate course, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's depression, does it? The reason I am apprehensive is the doctor and CBT therapist have been very quick to diagnose me and prescribe me Sertaline. They saw me once and relied on my answers to a questionnaire to determine whether I am depressed/anxious or not. Since I think my anxiety and depression stems from low self-esteem and isn't 24/7 I am concerned that medication isn't the right thing for me and I am worried about long-term side effects even after coming off them. I don't want to take depression/anxiety medication if I am not actually depressed or anxious, but it's so hard to define it, or gauge the severity of it. If I were to diagnose myself, I'd say that I feel mildly depressed. very anxious about my course due to my low self-worth and that is affecting my ability to do my course, which is basically my life at the moment.

I wondered what your opinion was on taking medication in these circumstances or if there are other people that are taking medication even if you think your anxiety/depression symptoms are not "severe"?

In my case, I am really confused because my doctors advice to take the medication is conflicting with what I think I should do.

Sorry for the ramblings and thanks in advance!

VB

4 Replies

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  • Hello Vitabella : )

    Hope you are picking up.

    You seem to have said your "self-worth" causes anxiety which, in turn, interferes with your course obligation. Also you seem to say the course itself causes despondency because it is a "difficult" course.

    From a fellow graduate I can say lots of University course material I have read are very, very, depressing. They are affective and shallow and are determined by equally-shallow politically-correct ideas ! I speak from experience here !

    Even so, maybe you could talk with other people on the course to see if the course-material you are all reading is having an effect on them also. That way, you might learn others' who are reading the same material feel the same despondency you are experiencing.

    Since you have pinpointed low "self-worth" as attributing to anxiety when you are attending your course maybe you shouldn't rule out talking more about just how you feel and here CBT should work wonders for you.

    Sertraline is very useful. It does help tremendously with so-called Social Anxiety. And it does lift depression.

    Hope this helps.

    Yours,

    Vince B.A. (Hons) C'Ed in Plagiarism : ) : ) : ) : ) : )

  • Its hard 2 tell wivout knowing u. u will hav 2 rely on ur own judgement. as lng as ur depression is mild 2 moderate u could take somthin herbal like st johns wort. i once took + got great results. im very ill at the moment or i would luv 2 try st johns wort again. it really does depend on the person, how severe of an illness theyre sufferin frm, plus wot route they want 2 follow. i personaly think herbal is ok R mild illness but 4 more severe u need professional medical hlp. hope this hlped. kindest regards leeanne.

  • Hi. vita. I agree with lee. You seem very much a 'border line' case so to start on herbal or other remedies of that sort could be a good idea. But if you go to your GP again make sure you tell them if you are taking any other medication, such as herbal medicine. Be guided by your GP. It is not in the province of the CBT therapist to diagnose. They can discuss it with your GP but the final decision as to what medication you have is between you and your GP. If you feel unhappy about taking antidepressants at the moment then be guided by your own judgement. You sound sensible enough to do that. You are NOT too stupid. Anxiety can affect us in many ways and one is to make us feel inadequate and worthless. These are SYMPTOMS and NOT facts so make an attempt to put them to one side. How can you be stupid if you are doing a post graduate degree? Also, if you had real clinical depression you would know it, you wouldn't have to ask if you had it. Feeling down about your course does not mean you have depression. Pressure, stress, can make you feel 'down' but 'down' is not depression. The 'blues' is not depression. You are working yourself up into right tiz over this when it is all so unnecessary. You are you. You have a native built in intuitive awareness as to what is right for you. Follow that awareness and stop putting yourself down. Believing a lie does not make it true. Lots of blessings. jonathan.

  • Thanks to you all for responding so kindly. Your opinions and this site in general has helped me tremendously. I know that the self-critical voice that is constantly telling me I am stupid and not good enough is from childhood and is irrational when confronted with "evidence". I think most people doing my degree think "I'm struggling because this is really hard" instead of what I think "I'm struggling because I am stupid". The former doesn't lead to despondency whereas my *deeply* ingrained beliefs does. The CBT therapist will hopefully help "re-record" my inner voice to one of self-belief. I think my anxiety will subside as a result because I will hopefully not believe the worst-case scenario (me failing) 100%, as I do currently. I'm living in fear of things that haven't happened... I can't imagine there being a scenario where I pass, so I am sabotaging my chances and I am too anxious to work most days.

    It's so hard to judge these things.... People always say life is hard, but how hard should it be? I do worry an awful lot, but maybe that's quite usual, I don't know. Maybe analysing everything and worrying is my nature perhaps! The CBT therapist thinks that by having the SSRIs, they will lift my mood and relax me enough to be more responsive to the CBT. I think I will try St John's Wort like you guys suggest and see how the CBT is helping first before trying the Sertaline. I am so anxious about taking the Sertaline that that alone is getting me into a tiz, which really shouldn't happen!

    Thank you all again. This has been so helpful to hear your responses and also just to talk about it to such understanding people.

    Best regards,

    VB

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