9. Patient Stories: My Life Reclaimed

There is little to add to this gentleman’s story which is succinct and encapsulates the most common difficulties where doctors simply do not proceed sufficiently promptly to alternative, and probably more effective, treatments.  His comments about CBT remind me of what I have often said to patients, which is that if you’re able to fully engage with CBT, then you have not got significant anergia and anhedonia, and if you do have significant anergia and anhedonia, then you cannot do CBT – indeed, trying to do it when you are inevitably going to be unsuccessful is like rubbing salt into the wound.

I treated to CBT-orientated psychologists in my career and both of them, once they had experienced the benefits of TCP, fully endorsed the above statement and wished they had understood that properly sooner.

My Life, Reclaimed

My first experience with clinical depression was in the early 1990s, when my mother developed cancer and died at 73, six months after surgery. I took it hard, was prescribed some SSRIs and underwent counseling. I recovered within 2 years and was off meds entirely. I had a reoccurrence in the mid 1990s, followed the same regimen and again recovered. I never liked the SSRIs and went through the alphabet soup of them, searching to find the balance of efficacy and pill tolerance. It was a grueling path of patience and blind faith.

About 10 years ago, I was retired by the company where I had spent the past 30+ years and it caught me off-guard and unprepared. Getting the timing right on retirement is tricky enough, but much more complicated when circumstances beyond your control hurl you into a worrisome, scary negative mindset. While it was a huge blow, I did not exhibit symptoms of depression until a few years later.

My wife and I decided to lease our house and move to a nearby state. We bought a renovated house on 5 acres of land with a pond. I personally cleared the overgrowth on the property and built a barn/workshop.

We developed new friendships and I thought we had found Nirvana. Shortly after completing the barn, we celebrated my 70th birthday, after which I inexplicably hit a huge psychological wall.

I seemingly had all that I wanted/needed, including a loving wife and two wonderful grown daughters. Alas, “The Black Dog” reared its ugly head again. I was distraught, confused, angry and stuck. I knew what it was and without prompting, sought psychological help locally. Since I had recovered before, I reasoned that I could do it again with meds and counseling.

My GP put me on SSRIs and I saw a psychologist weekly for a few months. Notwithstanding re-embarking on the seemingly endless “let’s try this drug” routine, nothing worked this time. That only compounded and frustrated my ability to recover.

I then sought treatment back in my home state where resources were more plentiful and hopefully more effective. These included weekly expensive, not-covered-by-insurance CBT sessions that were unhelpful and quickly became rote, particularly the “rating” sheet one has to fill out each time, with the same boring questions.

While not suicidal, I was convinced that my life was over and I had nothing more to live for. I was listless, uninterested in anything, only marginally active and prone to long bouts of inconsolable crying (sometimes huddled in a heap in a corner). Over the course of 2.5 years, I tried 25+ SSRIs (each with an assimilation period of 2-3 weeks), 3 days of Ketamine injections and 6 sessions of ECT….all in vain.

After 6 years away, for a variety of reasons, we decided to return to our longtime house/home.

Upon our return, I was referred to my current psychiatrist, who sent me to the PsychoTropical website, which I devoured. I had been on a combination of 3 SSRIs and 1 PTSD med. I began taking Parnate (20 mg/day) and Remeron (45 mg/night) and dropped the rest.

I also vowed to adopt a better/good attitude and “get the hell out of Dodge”. I can gratefully attest to the life-changing efficacy of the MAOI, Parnate. It, along with a good positive attitude, daily stretching, regular aerobic exercise, good nutrition and the patient, loving support of my family/friends helped me reclaim my life.

I continue to take Parnate daily, have dispensed with the fruitless psychotherapy and am actively engaged in life, creating and participating fully.

I am so grateful for Dr. Gillman’s dedication to debunking the myths and promoting the proven efficacy of MAOIs. I suspect I am but one of many he has helped. Thank you.

Consider Donating to PsychoTropical

PsychoTropical is funded solely through generous donations, which has enabled extensive development and improvement of all associated activities. Many people who follow the advice on the website will save enormously on doctors, treatment costs, hospitalization, etc. which in some cases will amount to many thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands — never mind all the reduction in suffering and the resultant destruction of family, work, social, and leisure capability. A donation of $100, or $500, is little compared to those savings. Some less-advantaged people feel that the little they can give is so small it won’t make a difference – but five dollars monthly helps: so, do not think that a little donation is not useful.

– Dr Ken Gillman

Dr Ken Gillman