A lot of psychiatric medications were initially created to do something else. A lot were not intended to be taken every day. For most of these drugs, even the doctors that prescribe them do not understand how they work, only that they do, sometimes, with some people.
Most of these drugs come with serious side effects, the most common being the euphemistic “sexual side effects” that range from decreased desire to the inability to achieve orgasm. Of course, for most people with serious depression, feeling like you want to die is a bigger damper on your sex drive than any medication could ever be.
I’ve been on and eventually off of all the following drugs: prozac, paxil, lexapro, zoloft, celexa, effexor, cymbalta, bupropion, abilify, latuda, mertazapine, trazadone. I’m now only on trintellix. Some of these worked for short periods, others for longer, some not at all, and still others completely knocked me out so that I couldn’t feel suicidal but also couldn’t feel anything due to being a zombie.
“Working” is also not like when we say other drugs are “working.” There’s no blood test (yet) that can be done at home several times a day to determine whether your serotonin or norepinephrine is higher or lower. In fact, I don’t even know if “higher” and “lower” are the correct measures for these things. Mental illness is uniquely measured by the symptoms rather than the causes. The pills may or may not lead to a lessening of symptoms. I’m still not sure if that means that the illness is getting “better.”
When I start crying for little to no reason, I mentally check to see if I’ve taken my meds today. But I have very little faith that taking them will help.
Things that have been proven to help: good books, a clean apartment, cats, sunshine, exercise, stretching, time with lovers. I can usually get at least two of these things per day. Maybe I should start thinking about them when I begin to cry.