therapy or medication success stories?

DiscoZombieDiscoZombie Registered User
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm just curious - in half the threads in this forum, everyone is always suggesting therapy and medication to people, and yet in my experience I've never really heard of therapy success stories. same with medication - any modest success stories are outweighed by stories of side effects worse than original symptoms. Anyone have any therapy/medication success stories?

I am by no means saying getting therapy and medication are bad ideas, because I certainly don't have any better ones. however, I've been to a number of therapists over the years to treat depression and relationship issues, and while it's nice to have someone to talk to, I've never had a therapist tell me anything that wasn't flamingly obvious - and they charge so very much for that 'service'. medication - pretty much the same thing. tried several antidepressants over my years, and while some might have slightly relieved depression symptoms, they all pretty much made me feel weird and not myself.

I'm not really looking for advice per se, I would just love to hear some testimonials of therapy making a world of a difference for someone. I would be less surprised to hear of medication making a huge difference, since I understand there are some people who simply could not function without medication, but as far as run-of-the-mill depression goes, the helpfulness of medication seems a little more nebulous...

DiscoZombie on


  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I think people are just less likely to talk about successful treatments than unsuccessful ones. I found prozac helped a lot, and a lot of my friends at uni had a similar experience. I think the key point though, in the grand scheme of things we didn't have anything really to be worried about so being on a medication that dampened down the responses was pretty much what we needed.

    Then again, my dad got put on anti-anxiety meds and it's one of the scariest thing I've seen.

    Rook on
  • TrowizillaTrowizilla Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You get out of therapy what you put into it, really, and a therapist isn't there to tell you things, they're there to help you realize things on your own. It sounds like you go into therapy with an expectation of "This person is going to tell me how to fix my life," and it doesn't work like that.

    Therapy + medication have alleviated my PTSD to the point where I can function normally, and therapy helped me figure out ways to combat my depression without needing meds. Talking with a therapist and going through group therapy helped me figure out the roots of a lot of the self-esteem issues and expectations that send me into downturns. Even just speaking out loud to another person can be useful; everyone has things that they know but try to keep buried, and dragging those things out into the light, as uncomfortable as that is, lets you work on dealing with them.

    Trowizilla on
  • the cheatthe cheat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2008
    yes therapists are there more for support and to challenge you to think about things. the best thing about it for me was being able to unload all my feelings. keeping them inside was rather lame. medicine also worked well for me for a time, not any more. i need to try a new pill, i guess. but, i'm not having crazy symptoms at the moment. but, if not for therapy and pills, i'd probably be dead... or slamming heroine.

    the cheat on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited August 2008
    Ooh, I have one!

    Making a therapy success story is going to depend on how much you put into it, and also finding the right therapist for you in the right situation at the right time, something that can be tricky as planets to align.

    I've been in some different therapy situations.. mostly maintenance therapy so that I can continue to hold down a job or school or whatever longterm thing I have going at the time. It's almost always school, because universities have therapists you can see for free if you're so stressed you want to kill yourself or quit. I saw two such therapists.

    My only previous experiences to these two therapists were local, the kind that you go see and hope your insurance isn't going to flake out of paying for, and let me tell you they alternated between being some of the worst, most useless experiences talking to other human beings about my problems in my life. One picked weekly fights with me about pop culture and 'what us kids like these days', which I usually didn't anyway, and one had a five-hour-long packet of yes-or-no questions about my feelings. This was my impression of therapy in general until I had to see people at school years later.

    The first woman I saw in Vermont during a foreign language camp. She was nice, and just let me babble for an hour each week about how I was in love with this guy. She only once in a while said anything, and usually that something wasn't very helpful. I didn't have anyone else there I could babble to like that, though, especially not in English, so the sessions were basically a raging success from my standpoint anyway, and not having them probably would have led to some sort of bottle-up-and-break-down situation.

    The second was the best. I saw her at a university in Indiana. I had some physical things (thyroid CRASH) and some mental things (I am bipolar), and the medication I was on for depression at the time was either not working or making things worse. I couldn't cope with pretty much anything at all, and spent some quantity of time on my kitchen floor crying. I went into the office a mess, and said "I'm pretty much going to quit school and go home right now, maybe I should talk to somebody first" and the woman agreed and set me up to see someone right then.

    The woman I saw was amazingly nice and so non-judgmental. She gave me actual real advice and observations about my behavior that I have taken with me to other things. She helped me find a different medication, one that really worked better for me, and she made sure I was okay taking it. I only had about another year at the school, so she said I could see her for the rest of the time I was there. Her insights were not replaceable.

    I am no longer on medication for various reasons, but the time spent speaking with the school therapist in Indiana is still useful beyond measure because when things get bad it helps me see what I'm doing while I'm doing it, and identify the thoughts behind it.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • GoodOmensGoodOmens Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    A couple years ago I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. I had probably had depression for some time before the diagnosis; there is also family history of psychological problems, with two of my aunts having committed suicide. Mine was a mild case; I was functioning very well, married, holding a job and so forth. But I was finding it very difficult to live a normal emotional life, I tended to be hyper-alert, self-critical and lacked motivation and enjoyment. In addition I was experiencing various sleep disturbances: night terrors and so forth. My wife finally talked to me about it and basically said that she was worried about me and that both our lives were suffering.

    I started on Lexapro and began therapy. After the initial side effects of the Lexapro (nausea and intense fatigue for 3 days or so) it definitely helped. This was a low dose and I didn't feel a dramatic difference; the world didn't suddenly burst forth in color and glory. Rather, it moderated my mental/emotional state so that I could more easily interact with the world. The only long-term side effect was decreased libido. The therapy gave me some strategies for reframing situations so that I could deal with them more productively and also taught me how to give myself a break about failures.

    I didn't really gel with my first therapist, I was with her for only about 6 months. Some time later (a year and a half or so) I started with another therapist who worked more effectively for me. He was interested in cognitive therapy, so we didn't spend much time on deep emotional issues, rather we discussed my thoughts and ideas. It worked well and after about 8 months we decided that I didn't need the therapy anymore.

    At this point I am off the medication and no longer in therapy, though I reserve the right to go back if I feel it's necessary. I think it was worthwhile.

    GoodOmens on
    IOS Game Center ID: Isotope-X
  • WagsWags Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Well food for thought, if you go to a relationship forum, you're probably less likely to hear about the successful relationships and only hear about the bad ones; successes have no reason to be there. Doesn't mean that overall relationships are terrible things.

    Therapy has helped me as well, with depression and anxiety issues. Without it, I wouldn't have a degree right now. Unfortunately due to moves and such, I've jumped around therapists a bit. There was only one I didn't really gel with, but still gained something useful from. It really is about finding the right fit and context. Group therapy was also good experience for me and my depression. Hearing from others and seeing you're not alone and getting support from them was fantastic.

    Wags on
    The gods certainly weren't role models in our sense, unless you wanted to model a Mount Olympus trailer park.
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    edited August 2008
    A number of people have shared their experiences with medications in this thread over in D&D.

    Click. Skim over the Scientology discussion to get to the anecdotes.

    Corvus on
  • vytroxvytrox Registered User
    edited August 2008
    I'll keep it brief, but therapy has helped me quite a bit with social anxiety, and to some extent depression,

    Not all therapy is equal however. It is definitely what you put into it, but some therapists just suck. Also, different types of therapy will be more applicable to certain problems.

    Mostly it is just a sounding board for me. The difference is that when thinking about things myself, I obsess and over analyze. When speaking to another person somehow it makes it real. I will often have the feeling of immediately realizing what I said is not actually what I feel.

    As far as medication I think it has been remarkably successful. Depression led me to suicidal thoughts and eventually self harm (cutting, burning), as well as a number of other harmful behaviors. After starting treatment with Lamictal (mood stabilizer, also anitseizure med) I have not harmed myself and rarely think of suicide. During this whole time I was in therapy so I attribute much of this directly to the medication.

    Therapy and meds are not your only option. Ultimately changing your lifestyle is the goal, the meds and therapy are just tools to get you there.

    vytrox on
  • fuelishfuelish Registered User
    edited August 2008
    My Mom takes an anti anxiety drug. She says it is great. It allows her to function with far less stress.

    The wife of my Boss takes a mood leveler. She was not functional without it.

    fuelish on
    Another day in the bike shop Pretty much what it sounds like. The secret lifestyle, laid open.
  • UnknownSaintUnknownSaint Registered User
    edited August 2008
    One of my dad's best friends was a severe alcoholic, he's relapsed quite a bit and his personality generally leads him back to that kind of destructive behavior. He's pretty recently gone onto some anti-anxiety pills and everyone that's been around him and him personally have said it's a world of difference better. He's much more calm and reasonable now, which definitely helps when dealing with things that would otherwise lead him back to drinking.

    UnknownSaint on
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