Major Depression Is Frustrating Cycle

February 24, 2012 Jack Smith

That which doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. We’ve all heard the cliché.

That may ring true for some, but not for me.

My depression has been raging these past few weeks, putting me through a hellacious test. Only it hasn’t made me stronger. It’s made me weaker. It’s made me tired. And it’s frustrated me to no end.

Depression Worsening After Changing Antidepressant

Depressed and worried

I started a new antidepressant medication three weeks ago and don’t seem to be one bit better yet. Maybe worse. I know it can take up to four weeks before I can expect any real results, but even one more day feeling this hopeless and frustrated seems like an eternity.

It’s easy to look back and wonder why we changed my meds, but I was in such a bad place we had to try something. The hope was that I experienced the highly scientific sounding phenomenon known as serotonin poop out. Basically, that just means some antidepressants quit working after a period of time. I’m not smart enough to know why. I just know it’s happened to me before and apparently it happened again.

Repeated Major Depression Cycles

Because I’m a man, I don’t consistently keep a good journal. But I’ve noticed a pattern that repeats itself over-and-over with my depression. It seems that I hit these painful rock-bottom lows about once every six months.

Why can’t I stop these steep slides into deep depression when I can almost predict when they will occur? That is a vexing, frustrating question that I wish like hell I knew the answer to. I don’t have the answer and my doctors don’t seem to have it, either.

So what to do? The only thing I can do. Keep moving. Keep pulling myself out of bed every morning, going to work and doing the best that I can do; which isn’t all that spectacular.

Staying in bed feels like it would be the better option, but I know my bed is a trap. It feels like a sanctuary when I slide into the covers at night, but if I’m honest with myself I know that it will feel like a prison tomorrow if I don’t get up and at least try to be productive.

Such is life when coping with depression.

Jack Smith's personal blog can also be found at

APA Reference
Smith, J. (2012, February 24). Major Depression Is Frustrating Cycle, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from

Author: Jack Smith

Jolenne Stewart
March, 9 2012 at 5:04 pm

Jack, I heard on NPR that there is an IV drug that is working for clinical depression. It was a story that gave me hope for my son who has been dealing with depression for 10 years. He is amazing because he is working on becoming a psychologist. He works out and eats no white flour or white sugar. He puts one foot in front of the other and pushes himself to be free of negative thoughts.
As parents, we haven't dealt with depression well. He is so highly thought of by everyone who knows him well but he is so hard on himself. Any help from you on how we can help him would be appreciated. Please check out the NPR story on depression and let me know what you think. All the best to you. Thank you in advance for any help you can give. JS

March, 9 2012 at 5:24 pm

Have you tried a Mindfulness course? I was much the same as you describe, but having done an 8 wk course, I find that I am not exactly bouncing around with joy and vigor, but the highs and lows have evened out and I gain from frequent short meditation sessions. There are some great books out there - by Jon Kabat Zin, Mark Williams etc. But nothing beats doing a course. Mine was with four others in a rural studio with a brilliant teacher. Lots of homework, but well worth the effort. Just a thought. And very best wishes.

Federico uribe
March, 9 2012 at 5:30 pm

I prefer raised amtidepressant doses than to change it. Other option is add another antidepressant to the first. Also can function add another medication like modafinil, sulbutiamin or buspirone to the first antidepressant. Always over medical supervision.
Good luck

April, 18 2012 at 6:19 pm

I know the research seems to suggest that for most people, two antidepressants are no better than one. But the idea of getting off one antidepressant during a serious depression just so that I can go on another it pretty awful- I've never managed it as an outpatient, so I usually wind up adding something.
The brain is a moving target. It is not just the SSRI's that "poop out." The brain adapts. And there is so much more to our experience than the "neurochemical soup" that the ad makers like to imply. Meds don't fix everything. Sometimes they help. Maybe sometimes they just give me hope that there is something to do while waiting for the latest depressive episode to abate. Most mood episodes do- I think we forget that people got better from depression before antidepressants. It just took time.

pat Kramer
June, 27 2012 at 7:04 am

I have suffered for 48 years being diagnosed bipolar and by some major depression. I have taken probably every drug on the market. My last doctor said stop taking antidepressants if they aren't helping so I am on nothing now. I decided to try ECT and after two weeks starting feeling really well, but unfortunately I had a terrible doctor who behaved atrociously and then refused to finish my treatment unless I went into the hospital. Because I have six pets and live alone that was impossible. He also wanted me to go to a hospital that did not take medicare which is what I have. Two weeks have passed since my last treatmentand I don't knoam definitely going downhill. I don't know if I should try to continue or if it won't help if I didn't take consecutive treatment. I was scheduled for 12. Any one have any comments, suggestions or ideas. PK

June, 25 2014 at 11:16 pm

Jaxk, I can sympathise, I have been living with Major Depression, for 16yrs, 5 yers ago I was told my depression was medication resistant. I have had antidepressants from all the major families, and know the frustration of feeling so hopeless and dark that anything seems impossible. I really feel for you. I also know very well that, for me, I just have to keep plodding along, the last 3 months have been hell, but I have been involved in organising a forum on mental health in my town. I was also MC (way to challenge anxiety disorder) the thing that kept me functional was all the work we did. The other thing we are forming a community organisation, from the forum, and are now planning what we can provide to help a persons with a lived experience empower themselves. I just keep going no matter what, have plenty of people I can share with about what is going on, continual mindfulness practice. I hope you can find a med to help. It is hard work to keep going and I know some people see me functioning, and think I am ok, if only they knew how hard it really is. Good luck in your journey you are not alone. In my darkest times ECT works wonders for me, I have had 7 series over the years, and it has literally saved my life 7 times, as it is the only way to lift me from the darkest of holes. Look after your self.

June, 12 2015 at 2:43 pm

I am so sorry you are struggling. ❤

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