I would like peoples opinions/comments/thoughts on antidepressants and CBT. I was offered the tablets by a doctor in 1999, 3 years after my head injury/RTA/coma but refused them. So never taken them and have only just looked into what CBT is. I saw a psychiatrist in 2001 who was only concerned about my childhood so I would like some therapy focused on the here and now as I am suffering with overwhelming feelings and emotions and they are mostly unhappy ones. I have an appointment at Headway and so at some point I will see my GP to discuss this. Would be interested to hear peoples information please :)

I wrote that yesterday on a 'down' day. I feel really happy today but think I'll put the post out there so I have some information next time I feel LOW.

Ps. My thoughts are varied and not mostly unhappy, although today I am 'happy-me' so I can't say for sure!

41 Replies

  • C.B.T has its limtiations,it was orgianlly used to treat phobias.Try asking for person centred thearpy. Good luck

  • Thank you, will talk it over with Headway- I know nothing of either but instead of trying to battle it out on my own, I'd like to try something that may possibly help me. My stubborn feelings have gone and I feel strong enough to seek help- for a better life for my son and I.

  • Pleasure iam in y second year at level one of a degree in Pyscholgly.Not claiming to an expert.just happy to help

  • CBT really gets you thinking about what is happening now and how to deal with it and it involves you doing exercises on your own, OK if you are the sort of person who can do this. I didn't get on very well with it, I found proper counselling much more useful, but that is just my opinion,

  • Counselling hasn't really got me anywhere as I find it difficult to talk to a stranger about what happened. I think I would like to try CBT.

  • hey aqua i dont take anti ds doc wanted me too because my wife couldnt handle my aggression ( not with her ) or mood swings. she used to dread coming home from work wondering what id been up to.

    thats where it started gp psychiatrist and neuro psychiatrist.

    thats when the gp suggested taking a mild anti d, i wasnt having any of it, but when he mentioned epilim i agreed...........i knew it was mainly used for epilepsy but could also be used for aggression.

    its not really for me to comment but i feel there are other treatments rather dishing pills.

    let us know how it goes and stay strong x


  • Thanks I will update my situation on here. I really don't want tablets!

  • aqua i tell what i do though and i can do it anywhere .........and thats meditate

  • I love meditation! I feel a lot stronger chatting on here- therapeutic, as I'm remembering what works for me- not spoken about it for years. Everyone I know doesn't mention it or doesn't know...

  • Think you have done the right thing. In my view further medication complicates. If you can ride the lows with the highs, then you can seek out natural remedies to steady the tide so that emotions flow more evenly. For me, the fact I had inflammation in the brain, continuous headaches (for years) and brain fog (presented as chronic fatigue), put my world view into a 'depressive' outlook. Outwardly, it appeared I was depressed. Inwardly, I felt it was my body's way of coping with extreme circumstance. It was not until my GP reticently gave me a double time appointment and claimed there was absolutely nothing wrong with me except depression. This was the icing on the cake. I sat and eye balled her. And then I gave up and walked away. In hindsight, I had recently lost part of my vocabulary but hid it well. I had next to none memory and zilch communication ability due to all the problems. So it appeared to her like depression! I didn't enter a surgery for over a year despite my illness. I gave up work. I retreated. I become a loner. And in the brief moments of clarity, I researched what would help me. Using herbs, nutritious foods, vitamins and supplements, I got better. And now today, being back at work holding down a full time job, not having taken a day sick in a year, I know the doctor helped me. She made me get mad, and take responsibility and heal myself. Happy to report depression is no longer around. I agree with the comment above. I did have some private counselling, in a room, with one person, quietly listening, helps a confused and challenged body / mind, sort through thoughts and identify where to go next. Friends and family are not distant enough and interfere when you expose your inner most thoughts - can make old patterns seem real when childhood really was a long time ago and irrelevant to the current circumstance of a BI. So many are unaware of what a BI can do to one's self view, to one's confidence, to one's outlook on life, to one's ability, function and coordination. How is one supposed to remain buoyant? Be honest and open with yourself. Dig into the emotion. See it. Split it into practical parts. Then do the easiest one first. Repeat. Eventually, as I have, you get to the end of the emotion and you heal the disconnections in the brain and go, so what next? And suddenly you can see the horizon again, a different one but a horizon nevertheless. Depression has its purpose. So long as you can roll with it down into the valley and up the other side to reach the hill top. During the darkest days, I would sit in a chair staring at the wall. When I closed my eyes and asked to see what the problem was, I was shown a picture of two electrical plates and no electricity going between the two. I knew early on my body was communicating with me, telling me, hey you have a problem in your brain. What I wasn't prepared for, is not being able to communicate that to people around me.


  • Yes the less confusion for me the better! Sometimes I just sit but allowing myself to do this is better than the way I used to pressure myself to 'achieve' :)

  • Sitting is a great place to practice mindfulness techniques, deep breathing and listening to self. :) Take care

  • Yes prefer my slower pace of life now. Can't cope with much!

  • I have suffered on/off depression for 50 years due to my TBI. After a couple of years I ditched all my pills and refuse to take any mindbenders and that includes anticonvulsants [I'm ep].

    Do I feel worse? No, do I feel better? Probably not ... but what I'm not doing is mucking up my body and mind with complex chemicals.

  • I'm with you on feeling uncomfortable with chemicals!

  • Hello, i'm training to be a person centred counsellor :) . To me person centred is much better as it's all about building a therapeutic relationship between yourself and the counsellor, you talk about anything you want to talk about. They won't dig into your past unless you bring it up, they trust that you are the expert on you and work with you which whatever you bring. CBT is good but i see it like a quick fix, as they give you homework advice and coping strategies. It may work initially but there's alway the risk of your problems/feelings to come back. I can explain more if you need me too xxx

  • I might ask you more about that after I've been to Headway this Thursday and worked out which direction to take- thank you :)

  • For me, acupuncture has worked well to help in this area. It may be worth looking into. Best wishes on you search.

  • I love acupuncture, physically it's the best.

  • Aqua, It looks like I'm the odd one out here as, having gone through many years of psychotherapy, counselling, group therapy CBT etc............. I now find the only thing which works for me is a daily antidepressant.

    I desperately needed some quality of life when year after year of my life was being wasted on deep depression and panic attacks.

    Don't rule anything out 'til you're satisfied that life is as good as it (realistically) can be.

    Good luck in finding what works for you m'dear ! Cat xx

  • I think I will see what the experts say at headway, and my GP. Although it's a last resort, it may be what I need!

  • I agree ; get all the help/advice you can. It might take some trial & error for a while but, whichever treatment you choose, I hope it'll make daily life more manageable for you Aqua.

    It'd be interesting to hear which route you opt for and how you're getting on !

    Take care. x

  • Thanks, I will see what they say at Headway on Thursday (can't wait), Will definitely type some stuff on here about it, which in itself is therapeutic I think :)

  • As ever cat3 gives sound advice! I suffered a TBI and was in a coma for 3 days with closed injuries in 1989. I experienced depression soon afterwards but didn't want to take anything and climbed back out when I got a job and then started a family. But a few years down the line I started feeling great fatigue and painful dry eyes and had to give up work, we got into debt and my mother died suddenly then my family dumped me and mine for no given reason... Not surprisingly the pit opened again. since 2007/8 I have been on what I dub 'Happy Pills' - Amitriptyline, Citalopram now Sertraline. so I have quite a bit of practical experience!

    They are certainly not something to avoid at all costs - now that I am relaxed about mentioning it is is surprising how many people are on them. But it is useful (and empowering) to understand the practicalities and GPs do not seem to be very good at explaining them...

    It is probably most useful to regard them as an emotional cushion. You will be familiar with the rising tide of misery and angst and, with the correct dose, they prevent that. (One knows when the dose it too high because one feels too detached and uncaring even about things one ought to care about!) But GPs have to start somewhere and there is a delay of several weeks whilst one's body adjusts and one can decide what the effect is. Of course it is handy during this period to remind oneself that one's feelings are 'under the influence' of the pills so best not to do anything rash - plus it can always change.

    I find that a pill cutter is useful to adjust the dose by smaller increments - though pills come in different sizes of course GPs like to stick to one so as not to confuse us. Anyway when one builds experience it is not too difficult to manage them. Your GP can't really do this for you but it is a good idea to let them know what you are doing/where you are at. I book telephone consultations now.

    I did have some sessions of 'psychotherapy' in 2013. My report to a friend on the first session seem relevant!

    "I have halved my antidepressants since finally getting a course of psychotherapy this summer (after three years on the waiting list!) and learning about the 'mindfulness' technique. My therapist was a stunningly beautiful young lady still in training and I did feel a matron! I did lecture her on the need to prioritise PTSD troops - apparently they would simply be added to the same waiting list as I was on! But her little face when she did an exercise to get me to recognise my feelings and nothing happened and I quietly pointed out that 200mg of Sertraline kinda suppresses emotion... We got there in the end and I love 'mindfulness'*

    So do give Happy Pills a go - but be prepared for a long haul - or relationship - with them. As Cat3 said it is about finding out what works for you. All the very best.

  • I've reached a point where I cannot rule any treatment out so I will go for what seems to be the best thing.

  • Hi CarolineLD

    I hope you don't mind me asking but is mindfulness the same as meditation? I have tried to research an answer online, but mindfulness seems to be such a frequently used term that I couldn't see the wood for the trees. Any clarification you can offer much appreciated.

    Best wishes


  • Hi

    No problem! Mindfulness is not the same as meditation. I think of it as paying attention to what exactly is happening in one's mind. If recalling, exploring something that happened that upset you for example you recall what happened or was said and how that made you feel and what was going on in your mind at the time... then you practise paying attention when things are actually occurring instead of simply reacting. Anyway check these sites out:

    All the best!

  • Hi CarolineLD, Thank you so much for your reply & for taking the time to explain Mindfulness. A while ago I read a Ruby Wax book which I wrongly assumed would teach Mindfulness, instead she advocated finding a local course to attend. I did enjoy her irreverent style & take on brain functions & mental health problems. Best of all I trust her as she has a Masters degree in Mindfulness based therapy, so not just another celebrity jumping on a wellbeing bandwagon to simply make money for themselves.

    I'm not sure I'm ready for a full course just yet, but on one of the links you shared there is an online course that might be suitable for me to begin with.

    Thank again.

    Best wishes


  • Thanks! Is the book by Ruby Wax 'A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled'? I will get a copy...

  • That's her latest release (which I haven't seen), i read Sane New World: Taming The Mind. As with anything I read i instantly forgot what I'd just read & simply had to reread time & again :-)


  • The replies have given a lot to think about regarding my situation- thank you to everyone :)

  • Person-centred therapy was virtually forced on me, and I found it useless. They kept probing for negative thought patterns - self-blame, exaggeration, etc - that I don't have. Antidepressants can work, but they're all different. I'm currently trying to get Ritalin, which is prescribed for kids with attention deficit disorder.

    Being down on paper as a "person in therapy" makes it harder to break out into the world of non-psychological treatments again. So be *very* sure of your intentions if you go that way.

  • Thank you. I do have all those negative thought patterns, plus more. Guilt, hate, insecure, scared, paranoid- you name it! So used to it, I can cope just about and it's all reduced loads these last 20 years- I think I'm on the last stretch of recovery (hope).

  • Maybe you're the kind of patient it was designed for. Good luck!

  • Hi Aqua,

    I don't take antidepressants and I don't think I ever will. I have read a few things here and there about antidepressants and how they aren't any good.

    As for CBT, I can't help you there as I dunno what it is haha. I'm not that great with acronyms.

    I was reading what recoveringh's comment about her dark days and how she got over them. Once I left college (around 2001) and before I joined my Headway (2007) I basically did nothing with myself. I didn't have any intentions of getting a job, and later found I wasn't fit for one anyhow. I lost a lot of confidence, self esteem and I was a very antisocial character. I was THE resident hermit :).

    I think I did suffer a little depression and I would basically drink myself silly. But this phase did not last long. I was easily talked out of it by my parents.

    I did every now and then go out of my house for a walk, I didn't go very far because of the lack of confidence so it was just a quick 5 minute walk around the block.

    A few years ago when I had looked further into holistic medicine I read a few things about depression and it said to go outside. I think it was mostly talking about going for a walk in the park, be at one with nature and so on. Well I didn't quite make it as far as the nearest park but I was obviously doing the right thing by getting out of the house. I've also read about eating a handful of cashew nuts but I really can't say much about that one :).

  • Love cashews :)

    Yes I do go out a lot- especially now I got out the city. Best thing I ever did was move to the coast and away from all the bad stuff in London. I associate the place with my 'dark days' and will never go down that route of self-destruction. For me, my son was my saviour- I had to go out and about and generally care about someone else. It's only now I have the time and energy to reflect and to be honest bringing it all back up on here has helped millions- I probably don't need therapy now ha!

  • Self taught therapy. Most probably the best way :).

    Glad to hear you are in a better place now, location and health :).

  • Thanks- I meant to comment on how good the outdoor space is for your mental health- went off on a tangent as usual ha!

  • Ah yes, the outdoors would do wonders on mental health and I would think it would work much better in a quieter area such as the countryside rather than the interferance of a busy city.

  • I have experience of CBT, one to one counselling & antidepressants. The CBT therapist cancelled my appointments after two sessions stating "it wasn't suitable for my condition", she referred me for counselling instead. The counselling was okay in that it was good to have someone different to talk to (when you don't have interaction with many people then anyone new is a novelty), however, I didn't feel it was worthwhile as I didn't need to dig deep within myself to find the cause of my frustrations & sadness. I already knew the cause of my misery was brain injury & my view of my life with brain injury. The counsellor wasn't familiar with brain injury & thought I was making excuses when I explained the concentration & deep thinking the process required drained & fatigued me. I stopped going. I also stopped antidepressants because of horrid side effects & because I already don't feel like myself & don't want to take medication that makes me feel even less like me. I realise they can help some people but they're not for me at the moment.

    Have you considered changes to your diet to improve your mood? A few years ago (to avoid my GP trying to force antidepressants on me) I had read an article in a magazine about it & thought i'd nothing to lose. It advocated increasing intake of brightly coloured vegetables & fruits, oats, nuts (especially walnuts & almonds), salmon, beans & pulses & reducing intake of sugar & processed foods. I noticed improvements in mood whilst brighter skin & weight loss were an additional bonus. I found eating oats, chickpeas or salmon makes me feel calm & that pineapple can satisfy my need for a sweet treat. The thought of food as medicine really appeals to me.

    I hope you soon find the right next step for you.

    Best wishes


  • I think that were all individuals so there is no one model fits all. Anti depression medication as it's place and can help but it must be used appropriately in conjuction with some therapy. The problem is people are given drugs as a quick fix and left dependent on them for life. It is hard to know what therapy is the right one for you. Find a person centred counsellor that as a wide range of skills they can then guild you to the approach that is the best fit for you. A positive relationship with your GP and cousellor is vital so take time to find your support systems. Alternative therapies like mindfulness and even exercise should be consider.

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