Posted 2/1/2015 1:37 PM (GMT -7)
Hi, this is louis1888 replying to a couple of posts about my thread: How I Beat Clinical Depression After 15 Years:
This medication anafranil/clomipramine is mostly overlooked by doctors now, in my opinion, because it's an old tricyclic antidepressant, not like the newer SSRI's, such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.
Like I said in my original post, I've tried and failed on them all, believe me, I've tried everything to break free of this mental prison., I've tried the meds, ECT (2 Rounds, one at Duke), TMS, cognitive behavioral therapy, and was about to resign myself to "my lot", which was not being able to enjoy anything , a condition called "anhedonia." Which comes from the Greek, "hedon" for pleasure, and 'An" for "not. It's when it is not possible to feel any hint of pleasure--not from my children, not from my wife, much less a book or a movie. A Psychiatris at the Linder Center of Hope, in Ohio, asked me if I wanted to live. I replied: not really." And, he said, why not? And I said: "it's just suffering."
However if I stopped my life, it would scar my wife and children for life, plus, it's against my religion.
As I told one psychiatrist, I doubt going to Hell would be an improvement.
So, I was "stuck." I couldn't enjoy anything, and all my normal interests had faded away.
I was in bed 24/7 for six months, and during that time my weight plummeted to 120 lbs, which is what I used to weigh in High School (I'm 66 now). I was so weak that I couldn't reliably stand without help, and ended up falling many times, breaking 3 ribs, one of which punctured and partially collapsed a lung, ended up in the hospital with pneumonia and a "Mursa" infection, which my wife (who's an RN), said was sometimes fatal.
To get rid of the Mursa infection involved antibiotics that cost thousands of dollars. Plus, I was severly depressed mentally all this time.
This illness has ALMOST ruined my life, and that of my wife's, ruined me financially too--I once was well off-from a business I started, but all the money's gone now, because I was too disabled to work at anything.
I had tried anafranil at lower dosages, but always quit it because I felt worse during the first 2 months. Even my psychiatrist, who's a really good one, tol me to stop taking it, because I was feeling so poorly.
But then, I went to the Cleveland Clinic to look into something called DBS: Deep Brain Stimulation, which is a minor brain surgery, and they do it there. But, he said I wasn't a candidate until I had tried and failed on 100 mgs of anafranil/clomipramine and also failed some kind of behavior modification program in Pennsylvania.
See, I was desperate enough to submit to this brain surgery, as my psychiatris, who is also a board-certified neurologist, tol me MIGHT help, and he didn't have anything else to try.
I do apologize for going on this long, but I'm a witer by profession, and I feel quite strongly on this subject.
To feel normal now is quite a revelation. I stuck through the 3 months on anafranil at 100 mgs/day, for 3 months. The worsening it caused in the buildup period was only slight, but I was out of any other options.
You asked about the coping mechanisms I used--I just tried "fake it till you make it," trying to not inflict my suffering on my family or anybody else--it was my problem, after all, not theirs, and I felt it would be selfish of me to complain constantly about how bad I felt. Why bring others down?
So, I figured I just had to accept it as "the new normal," as one psychiatrist put it, but I was DETERMINED to shake this illness and never give up.
What I want to do now is to "pay it forward" by trying to help someone else, who happens to be in the same boat I was in.
Also, I had read a post on the web from a man who said he had been in treatment resistant severe depression for six years, and anafranil was a miracle drug that gave him his life back, as is later did for me.
I have no idea if it will work for you or not, but you might want to discuss it with your doctor. I'm not a medical professional, just a patient, and there are a lot of different shades of gray out there, and what worked for me may not work for you, but I wanted to tell you about my experience and how good it feels, every day, to be back to normal again. I love it.
My diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder, episodic, without Psychosis. If you have something else, this med might not work for you, but I hope it will.
I'm not in a position to tell people how to cope with this illness, as I didn't cope all that well when I was symptomatic.
I still take 100 mgs of anafranil at bed every night, and I see no reason to stop it or change anything, now that I feel good again.
Maybe there will come a day when even this stops working, but it's been nearly a year now, and I still feel super.
usiness I started, but all of that went down the tubes, trying different things to get better, without success.