I have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression but I can't take antidepressants because they made me very sick. Is there anything I can do on a day-to-day basis to relieve my symptoms and get over this? I am seeing a counsellor but it doesn't seem to be helping.
Symptoms of anxiety and depression can be overwhelming and affect people in a variety of ways, both physically and mentally. But it's important to know you're not alone in struggling to cope with these kinds of issues and help is available.
You don't say whether there is anything happening that may be causing you to feel anxious or depressed but maybe something has happened to trigger these feelings. It could be that particular areas of your life are affecting your feelings, e.g. relationships or work. You could think about these issues individually and consider whether certain aspects of your life are causing you stress. But, sometimes there is no obvious reason for feelings of anxiety, so it's hard to know what is causing it.
There are a variety of methods for tackling anxiety: No More Panic offers comprehensive information, support and general coping mechanisms that you might find useful; and you can call First Steps on 0845 120 2916 for further support and practical advice. You can also get help and support for the depression you're experiencing from Depression Alliance. They can offer you: advice; support; information; publications; and access to a national network of self help groups.
It's understandable you're reluctant to take antidepressants again if they make you so ill. But it's important to remember that as with any medication, antidepressants do have side-effects and it can take up to six weeks before they have a significant, positive impact. There are many types and some work better for certain people than others. Your doctor (GP) should be able to explore the other treatment options with you. Sometimes changing the dose or the time the drug is taken, or trying another medication, can reduce side effects like sickness. You can also get more information about the medications available by contacting the UK Psychiatric Medication Advice Line on 020 7919 2999.
There has been some research into the effects of herbal remedies with some positive results. For example Damiana and St John's Wort have been proven to have an antidepressant effect. But herbal medicines can be very powerful and should not be used without advice from a trained herbalist. You can find our more about herbal remedies and where to find a practitioner in the Mind factsheet about Herbal Remedies.
Although you say it doesn't seem to be helping, talking to someone like a counsellor or therapist can be helpful. A counsellor can help you to work through your issues and work out ways of handling your anxiety in a confidential, non-judgemental environment. Perhaps the style of counselling you're currently receiving is not the most effective one for you, so if you wish to seek this support independently, Youth Access have a search engine on their website which will allow you to search for a local service. There are other methods of treating anxiety and depression such as talking treatments, for example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Your GP will be able to discuss these options with you, or suggest other avenues of support available to you.
It might also help to talk to friends and family about your feelings. Although this can be difficult, finding someone you trust to confide in might help you make a start on understanding your needs. It can also give them a better insight into your situation, so they can offer you effective support and understanding. But if this seems hard, or is too uncomfortable for you, you can talk in confidence to SANELINE on 0845 767 8000. They're available to anyone experiencing a mental health issue and you can talk through any feelings and worries you have with them.
Question answered by SANE