How Do You Know When An Anti-Depressant Is Working?

It seems like such a no brainer, right? Obviously, if an antidepressant is working, you’ll no longer feel depressed, duh!

If only it were that simple.

I’ve been taking Cymbalta two weeks now, ten days at 40 mg. I can’t say I am dancing on the ceiling or in the streets. My motivation is still on the side of a milk carton. My energy is still tapped out by 8 p.m. and sleep seems the only escape. By that measure, it’s obviously not doing much, is it?

Thing is, I look back at posts from a month ago prior to Cymbalta, and I was less focused, more encapsulated in my woe-is-me misery, totally honed in on the darkness of my own mind and the stress.

Recent posts have actually been more targeted, topic driven, and less about my personal situation and more about coping with my disorders. I still ramble, but I think that’s just who I am and as far as flaws go, I could do worse.

While it is not exactly known how antidepressants work on a depressed brain, it is well known that many of these medications can take up to six weeks tos how optimal results. And often, a dose increase is required to reach that optimal result.

So antidepressants aren’t like taking a Tylenol and an hour later, oh, headache’s gone, it works.

This is a tedious, weeks-long process of discovery, discerning if your mood has gone up, stayed the same,decreased. And after my experience with Effexor this last time, going from bad to worse, I am wary the same could happen here with Cymbalta.Fact is, I have not had a lot of luck with antidepressants. I am a magnet for the worst, most abnormal side effects and bad reactions. They often conk out after several months. But since Lamictal contols my extreme highs but does nothing for the lows, an antidepressant is pretty much a requirement in my treatment. It’s frustrating, disheartening, often demeaning when med after med fails.

I tried to explain to drive thru shrink Dr. H that I am not seeking joy in a pill. I know the meds can only do so much, they’re not going to change my financial situation or fix my personality flaws or whatever. I just want a medication that puts my brain chemically on the right track.

Is this one it?

That remains to be seen.

But the fact that it is making me write more coherently and with a little objectivity and self awareness as opposed to drowning in my own sorrow?

That’s a cause for hope and I can live with hope.

2 Responses to “How Do You Know When An Anti-Depressant Is Working?”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. This makes total sense. I’ve been on the same antidepresssant (Celexa) since 2010 but got its dose increased about six weeks ago and again last Monday. I’m now on 40mg, which is the maximum dose or so I’m told. I’m finding that, in general, I’m more active and motivated, but my mood is still shitty. I really hope this medication will work. I hope the same for you with Cymbalta.

    • Celexa was one of my few successes, took it almost a year whereas most meds fail within 6 months. I sincerely hope it works out well for you, it is one of the better medications.

      Thanks for chiming in, I always appreciate knowing when a post resonates with someone. 🙂

      On Thu, May 10, 2018 at 1:17 PM, Take a Ride on My Mood Swing wrote:


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