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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    The "depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain" perspective has never set well with me, because, since everything in our minds occurs on a chemical level, I don't understand why depression is so often discussed in the context of medical pathology.
    Because everything in our minds occurs on a chemical level, it makes perfect sense to discuss it in the context of medical pathology. That doesn't imply that pills are the solution 100% of the time, but they should always be an option to consider.

    It's like if you have high blood pressure - you'd talk to your doctor and he might give you pills, but would also suggest lifestyle changes that could help. For some people, those lifestyle changes can be helpful enough that you don't need medication. For others, the medication is necessary for life. Your doctor is the best person to figure out which group you fall into - going off necessary medications can have severe consequences, and unnecessary medications are also stressful for the body - your doctor will do his/her best to figure out what option is best for you.

    Also many SSRIs can have a really, really nasty withdrawal with symptoms that may require medical attention, so if you're planning to stop you really need to talk your doctor about it first - they can help manage your meds so the withdrawal isn't as bad.

    edit: Also consider that it's extremely likely that a large part of why you feel good now is a direct result of the meds, not a sign that they're unnecessary. This is particularly true if your depression was kinda "out of nowhere" as opposed to a reaction to a really bad situation which is now over.
    -end of thread-

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I would ask; why is that 'chemical reaction' different than other examples? A cut on your finger, diabetes, cancer, and so forth? I ask to understand your view on what makes it different, even from a philosophical ("it changes who I am, for I am what I think") point of view.
    Because I want my mind to heal itself. What goes on chemically in my brain = what goes on in my mind*. My mind is my territory, so I do see pharmacological interference as artificial, though not in the same way as an artificial limb. My limbs are unessential appendages of my essential self, whereas my brain is my self. Or something along those lines.

    I truly was unsure when I created this thread - I didn't just start it for the purpose of sharing my own view - but now I've reached a tentative conclusion. StantonMoore articulated it well here:

    Depression and anxiety are natural states, and while uncomfortable, not without purpose, that being that they signal that something is wrong in one’s life and/or relationships and must be addressed on that level. It may be true that depression is a chemical imbalance, but that is very different than saying that depression is caused by that imbalance. Drugs seek to cover symptoms, but not to address underlying causes. ... I have had some very low moments, but I have also evolved in ways that would not have been possible on meds. Depression is a process that you can go through to your betterment, but only if you feel and experience what it’s trying to tell you.
    *with the exception of issues like Lyme disease, brain damage, etc. The distinction is that depression usually arises as a result of the mind itself, not as a result of purely physical/biological factors. I realize this logic isn't airtight, so feel free to dispute it if you want.

  3. #13
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    Medication is worth it to some, but not to others.

    It's easier if you eschew the whole "identity" thing. "Being myself" is a foreign concept to me, since I've been under so many altered states, but the lack of an actual identity crisis is worth it. The truth is that I am all of those states, and there's no point in pinpointing exactly who I am.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Stay on your meds for at least a year, like your doctor said. When the year is over, see how you feel then.

    What's the rush?

  5. #15
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    I appreciate where you are coming from. To preface my comments, I'm not trying to convince you to (not) do, only to challenge the rationalisation for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    Because I want my mind to heal itself.
    There are two arguments against this;

    1) The assumption of a norm, or the existance of a 'correct state'. This is no "state" in which we are normal. We are not closed systems - trauma from outside affects us through our senses, high calorie food re-write our reward centers, forget emotional highs from love/whatever. Nor is there a notable existance - memories are re-fabricated at every recall. The "us" we think of is only a concept, a fabricated projection of self.

    2) Not everything can be healed. Diabetics are so for life, blood pressure and heart issues, etc. This could be compared to someone's blood pressure being reduced by medication and arguing that they should go off of it.

    What goes on chemically in my brain = what goes on in my mind*. My mind is my territory,
    You are not just your brain. I really mean this - the mind is not physiologically separated from the body. Your body's reactions feed the mind. Being breathing shallow and rapidly and your mind will follow through with physiological arousal - stress, anxiety, etc. It works in reverse too (hence progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercise). To give a more common example - asking someone on a date in a 'danger' location is more successful because the mind is reacting to a physiological arousal that originates from our senses more than our mind. Nor is there any measurement of "what is". Information you bring on is emotionally tagged first; the depressive state is different than the emotional state than the restful state. Meaning, everything you process is "uniquely" tagged on your state of mind at that moment. Sure, medication will affect that... so will standing on a bridge, running a mile or being blindfolded.

    Certainly I can't say the mind isn't that important... but would you consider yourself not-you if you had a concussion? Resulting in minor memory loss? Total memory loss? Are you less you when you don't sleep (similar chemical issue as depression) and are anxious and irrtable? What about just stress? The you you are is the you at any given point, because the you that exists is the only one that is (this is back to the "correct state" issue). To believe otherwise is to rely on the projection of "self". One interesting point to bring up here is that cognitive behavioral therapy changes your thought patterns: are you less you when you reroute around negative feedback loops?

    What about the concept that there is no "you" driving you, and that the inner dialogue you have is actually just a rationalisation mechanism for subconscious actions? Are you less of you because you have shifted your reactions deep down and in reality are completely unaware of why you act in a particular way? The voice being a narrative, a recorder of what you did, not the driver. Keep in mind that these things change dramatically. I can given two topical examples - if you were to write down a list of things you find attractive, then find someone attractive that did not have those things, the next list you wrote would include the things you now find attractive. Or, picking your favorite picture out of a line up changes you to like that picture more, even if you don't remember picking it. Both of these fundamentally change "who you are" at an extremely core level.

    In all cases, medication would change "who" you are. To say it is artificial and/or external is an appeal to nature, which is to say that it is wrong because of it's inherent nature, not because of what it does to you.

    I truly was unsure when I created this thread - I didn't just start it for the purpose of sharing my own view - but now I've reached a tentative conclusion. StantonMoore articulated it well here:
    Here, I'll comment personally. StantonMoore is both correct and incorrect. With a high level of confidence, depression is caused by 'that' chemical imbalance. However, it is difficult to correct that imbalance because of the number of interactions and specific causes. The degree of depression, or what gets called depression, is an important factor in what we describe. To argue one way or the other requires specifics, but for any moderate+, chronic, or debilitating case, I would consider it incorrect.

    Short run events caused by events can be "gotten over" (assuming no pattern forms, no susceptibility and no trauma) by most people. These are abnormal conditions and it's rare treatment is given here unless it is severe (impact wise) enough. Depression is only a natural state in chronic depressives. They are the ones that need medication the most. For most of us, depression is mostly just feeling down. This is not clinical depression. It may or may not be best to medicate it. It's easy to underestimate the impact depression has. Depression is a trap. It spirals. Those with clinical depression rarely, if ever, have it solved (IIRC, 80%+ over even moderate run periods). Those that reach very strong lows also have it recur at very high rates, notably because they are prone to the mood swings. This going untreated destroy lives... and it goes untreated a significant amount of the time because depressives do not seek help.

    It is possible to quantify the damage it does; even if some are "better off" being depressed rather than treating it, the vast majority are not... and this is especially true when considering that most that are better off recovering on their own are likely to have low susceptibility in the first place.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    I appreciate where you are coming from. To preface my comments, I'm not trying to convince you to (not) do, only to challenge the rationalisation for it.



    There are two arguments against this;

    1) The assumption of a norm, or the existance of a 'correct state'. This is no "state" in which we are normal. We are not closed systems - trauma from outside affects us through our senses, high calorie food re-write our reward centers, forget emotional highs from love/whatever. Nor is there a notable existance - memories are re-fabricated at every recall. The "us" we think of is only a concept, a fabricated projection of self.

    2) Not everything can be healed. Diabetics are so for life, blood pressure and heart issues, etc. This could be compared to someone's blood pressure being reduced by medication and arguing that they should go off of it.



    You are not just your brain. I really mean this - the mind is not physiologically separated from the body. Your body's reactions feed the mind. Being breathing shallow and rapidly and your mind will follow through with physiological arousal - stress, anxiety, etc. It works in reverse too (hence progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing exercise). To give a more common example - asking someone on a date in a 'danger' location is more successful because the mind is reacting to a physiological arousal that originates from our senses more than our mind. Nor is there any measurement of "what is". Information you bring on is emotionally tagged first; the depressive state is different than the emotional state than the restful state. Meaning, everything you process is "uniquely" tagged on your state of mind at that moment. Sure, medication will affect that... so will standing on a bridge, running a mile or being blindfolded.

    Certainly I can't say the mind isn't that important... but would you consider yourself not-you if you had a concussion? Resulting in minor memory loss? Total memory loss? Are you less you when you don't sleep (similar chemical issue as depression) and are anxious and irrtable? What about just stress? The you you are is the you at any given point, because the you that exists is the only one that is (this is back to the "correct state" issue). To believe otherwise is to rely on the projection of "self". One interesting point to bring up here is that cognitive behavioral therapy changes your thought patterns: are you less you when you reroute around negative feedback loops?

    What about the concept that there is no "you" driving you, and that the inner dialogue you have is actually just a rationalisation mechanism for subconscious actions? Are you less of you because you have shifted your reactions deep down and in reality are completely unaware of why you act in a particular way? The voice being a narrative, a recorder of what you did, not the driver. Keep in mind that these things change dramatically. I can given two topical examples - if you were to write down a list of things you find attractive, then find someone attractive that did not have those things, the next list you wrote would include the things you now find attractive. Or, picking your favorite picture out of a line up changes you to like that picture more, even if you don't remember picking it. Both of these fundamentally change "who you are" at an extremely core level.

    In all cases, medication would change "who" you are. To say it is artificial and/or external is an appeal to nature, which is to say that it is wrong because of it's inherent nature, not because of what it does to you.



    Here, I'll comment personally. StantonMoore is both correct and incorrect. With a high level of confidence, depression is caused by 'that' chemical imbalance. However, it is difficult to correct that imbalance because of the number of interactions and specific causes. The degree of depression, or what gets called depression, is an important factor in what we describe. To argue one way or the other requires specifics, but for any moderate+, chronic, or debilitating case, I would consider it incorrect.

    Short run events caused by events can be "gotten over" (assuming no pattern forms, no susceptibility and no trauma) by most people. These are abnormal conditions and it's rare treatment is given here unless it is severe (impact wise) enough. Depression is only a natural state in chronic depressives. They are the ones that need medication the most. For most of us, depression is mostly just feeling down. This is not clinical depression. It may or may not be best to medicate it. It's easy to underestimate the impact depression has. Depression is a trap. It spirals. Those with clinical depression rarely, if ever, have it solved (IIRC, 80%+ over even moderate run periods). Those that reach very strong lows also have it recur at very high rates, notably because they are prone to the mood swings. This going untreated destroy lives... and it goes untreated a significant amount of the time because depressives do not seek help.

    It is possible to quantify the damage it does; even if some are "better off" being depressed rather than treating it, the vast majority are not... and this is especially true when considering that most that are better off recovering on their own are likely to have low susceptibility in the first place.
    Are you a doctor or a clinical professional?

  7. #17
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    Are you a doctor or a clinical professional?
    Nope!

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Nope!
    I'm glad that has been publically stated. Hopefully others will be able to exclude the factually inaccurate info from the accurate in that post.

  9. #19
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanton Moore View Post
    I'm glad that has been publically stated. Hopefully others will be able to exclude the factually inaccurate info from the accurate in that post.
    Enumeration would help others more, since you were able to do it already.

  10. #20
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    Certainly I can't say the mind isn't that important... but would you consider yourself not-you if you had a concussion? Resulting in minor memory loss? Total memory loss? Are you less you when you don't sleep (similar chemical issue as depression) and are anxious and irrtable? What about just stress? The you you are is the you at any given point, because the you that exists is the only one that is (this is back to the "correct state" issue). To believe otherwise is to rely on the projection of "self". One interesting point to bring up here is that cognitive behavioral therapy changes your thought patterns: are you less you when you reroute around negative feedback loops?
    I'm not sure whether I've brought this up, but while I'm generally doing well, I feel numb a lot of the time. So, even if I'm no less "myself" while on the medication than I am when sleep-deprived, I still don't feel quite like myself. It may just be that I need to switch medications, exercise more or change some other factor(s).

    hm. The thing is, in CBT, you're actively engaging in addressing your depression on a cognitive level. Very different than just letting antidepressants run their course. (Obviously, the peace of mind brought about by successful medication helps to facilitate such reflective behavior, but still. Doesn't seem like a solid analogy.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Short run events caused by events can be "gotten over" (assuming no pattern forms, no susceptibility and no trauma) by most people. These are abnormal conditions and it's rare treatment is given here unless it is severe (impact wise) enough. Depression is only a natural state in chronic depressives. They are the ones that need medication the most. For most of us, depression is mostly just feeling down. This is not clinical depression. It may or may not be best to medicate it. It's easy to underestimate the impact depression has. Depression is a trap. It spirals. Those with clinical depression rarely, if ever, have it solved (IIRC, 80%+ over even moderate run periods). Those that reach very strong lows also have it recur at very high rates, notably because they are prone to the mood swings. This going untreated destroy lives... and it goes untreated a significant amount of the time because depressives do not seek help.
    What you wrote here does seem true for me, now that I look back. I consider myself an extremely resilient and optimistic person not prone to self-destruction, and this was especially true during the worst phase of my depression...yet no amount of positive thinking or healthy choices made a dent in what I felt. And it was not just dysthymia, it was totally unhinging and hellish and agonizing. I'm not considering that it was a purely biological depression, since I'm able to identify what set the initial depression in motion. But it's plausible that that first phase took such a toll on my mind that it was too exhausted to recover, even when my perspective had.

    I'm sorry for implying that medication was to be avoided in all cases. I know that there are those who literally couldn't survive without it, and that black-and-white arguments like that can discourage people from seeking help.

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