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How long before interferon can cause depression?
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How long before interferon can cause depression?

PREFACE:  I am not usually depressed, and I have NEVER previously had any problems with wishing I was not alive.

Lately, I have started to think it would be better to die.  I absolutely will not act on it- due to deeply held religious beliefs...   It seems more 'matter of fact' to me.  I haven't lost interest in things.  I still enjoy some aspects of my life.  I still spend time with friends and family.  But when I try to look ahead, (or when a commercial comes on for Zumba or the like), and I know I won't be able to walk... Or when I think about the burden I place on my husband.  Things like this...  I feel like screaming "NO!"  

The thing is:  this is not normal for me.  Is this depression due to illness?  Or could it be depression due to interferon therapy?  A combination of both?  Would an anti-depressant help?  Or should I discontinue therapy?

I know I am not the only one who has felt this way.  How have you dealt with this?  
Thanks,
Tammy

13 Comments Post a Comment
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Tammy,

I would definitely call your doctor to ask if they think the interferon could be causing the depression.  I know it's a symptom of MS even without medication.  I am on two different medications for depression (Celexa and Welbutrin) and I still feel loss about things I can't do anymore, but at least it's tolerable when it does happen.  Since you say it's not the normal you to feel this way, I'm guessing it could very well be the medication.  I haven't used interferons so I'm not sure about their effects.

Have you tried talking to your husband about how you're feeling?  I talked to mine about how things will be when we get older and that I could very well become a burden to him. He was very surprised I was feeling that way and assured me that we can't see the future and what could happen to either one of us.  None of us can see what the future holds for any of us.

Please don't let it go because there are other therapies if it is the interferons and medications that can help.  

Sending you hugs!!
Chris  

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2015036_tn?1333001388
Thank you Chris.  I will send my doctor a message about it...  I have talked to my husband, and he is reassuring too.  Guilt is an odd thing.  But I didn't feel guilty about being sick until recently.
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987762_tn?1331031553
Hey there sweet pea,

I'm not sure this is going to come out right so bare with me whilst i try to make sense of what i'm trying to say. You dont necessarily have to be 'clinically' depressed to have these type of thoughts. What conclusion you came to, after thinking these thoughts are (inho) whats most important!

If these thoughts are consuming, going around and around in your head space. If your feeling overly sad etc (or any negative self defeative emotion), if your not bouncing back after a day or two. If you have any idialisation of death (how etc) and if you are, or becoming apathetic and uninterested in things you use to enjoy.

Then any or all of these things 'do' indicate your falling into or have become depressed and its always going to be in your best interest to talk to a professional about it. Medication is not always the right way to deal with it, sometimes just talking helps to keep it under control or a combination is whats needed but a pychologist/psychiatrist needs to call that one.

Though if you have thought and rejected (on more than religious beliefs) and are now left wondering if thinking this way could be a sign of depression then i'd say its not particularly abnormal under the circumstances but it is something you really do need to keep an eye on.

I dont experience anxiety or depression, I just never have but i have a couple of times (during relapse) thought i'd reached the end of my tollerance of what i could get through, enough is enough and if it all ended tomorrow, i'd be ok with it. I wasn't sad or even feeling anything negative, (suicide wasn't ever in my thoughts) you could say matter of fact but from my perspective it just would of been 'easier' than to keep battling though.  

I, along with everyone else had become very aware that i had reach the stage where id just lost too much to keep pretending, i was not doing ok  and I could not in good concious, even image what i'd be left with after the next time or the next. So what if i was a camilian, ever evolving and moving forward, doing because you have to, doesn't necessarily mean you do so because there is choice, and lets face it, with MS there isn't a lot of choice, it takes despite us.

Mentally I was aware of the shift in my thinking, from the begining of my big bang in 09, i really really felt i was running out of time. Time for what, i couldn't exactly say, I just felt there wasn't going to be enough of it, i still needed to get my complicated family more self reliant, not really to the point of not needing me anymore but sort of along those lines, they needed to make the changes now. The shift came with the realisation that they probably never will, they would always need more time and i knew there wasn't ever going to be enough of it, my job was basicaly done, they were as cooked as they could ever be.

I'd realised i was already out of time and yeah I'd accepted that, so I let that running out of time thought go, and what i was left with, was peace! No more guilt because they were (are) loosing the mother, wife, daughter etc that they had and probably need, this is who they've got and just like me they dont have any choice so there need be no guilt for whats happening!

I hope i made some sense to you, these thoughts you've had maybe more about 'guilt' than depression, delve deeper into where it came from and it may just bring a totally different perspective into your minds eye.

Hugs.........JJ  

    

  
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2015036_tn?1333001388
These thoughts are not really taking over my mind.  I seem to have triggers.  Sometimes it just seeing my own reflection:  on crutches, or in a wheelchair...   Other times the trigger may be a commercial with someone saying "If I can do it, anyone can!" - Well guess what?  Not everyone can!  My husband has been loving about it- (it took him a while to accept it, but he finally has...)  

Do you think that we all go through another period of grieving with every relapse (or evidence of progression)?  Someone else recently suggested this idea to me, in a PM.  Like she said:  "It will pass."  

I am still waiting for a message back from my doctor.  It is probably a guilt thing, in combination with grieving.  I just thought I was finally done with that...  Oh well.  

I will eventually get a handle on this.  I am also checking into the possibility that it may be related to my therapy.  I will also, as you say "delve deeper" into these thoughts. Maybe I can figure out where it's coming from that way.

I truly appreciate your input- as well as everyone else'.

Hugs to you too,
Tammy
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2015036_tn?1333001388
I met with Dr. Kits today.  She thinks the interferon therapy is probably causing my thoughts about death.  She also thinks it's not helping me...because I'm still relapsing.  I'm to continue this drug till she can talk to my doctor, then I will be advised about whether or not to keep taking it.

I hope all that made sense.
Tammy
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2015036_tn?1333001388
Typo!!  I meant "Dr. Kita".
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987762_tn?1331031553
Hey there kiddo,

I've been wondering how you were doing, no worries that all made sense. It sounds like a good plan, let us know what the advise ends up to be but i suspect your going to be changing your DMD to find one that works better for you. Whilst your waiting on that aspect, I hope Dr K gave you advise on what to do about keeping those thoughts at bay, hmmm one that always helps me get out of my head is reading a good book or even a trashie book sometimes lol. I missed reading so much it wasn't funny, i ended up trying audio books whilst i wasn't well enough to read hard copy, it was a simple pleasure i missed, so finding a way to get it back was simply wonderful.

Just an idea, i know not everyone is a book nerd like me lol

Hugs.......JJ

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2015036_tn?1333001388
For now, I guess I will just wait.  She wants to discuss it with my doctor, when he returns from vacation in a few weeks.  As for new dmd's, I'm running out of options at this point. I've tried copaxone already, and I couldn't tolerate it. I don't think my current lesion load warrants Tysabri or any of the other "big guns" right now.  

I like your idea about reading a book.  I read all the time, but nothing for fun- not in a very long time.  I usually do research of some kind.  (Not a very good way to get out of my head, is it?)   I love your suggestion about audio books.  That sounds lovely.  My husband thinks I need to visualize beautiful things (he is an artist, and I am not.)  Since I'm not very good at visualizing, he bought me a gorgeous coloring book for- not for youngsters- more grown up.  It's filled with beautiful tropical scenes.  It's printed on transparent paper, so when you color in the pages with say- colored pencils, they are very pretty held up in a window.  

I'm not sure if this will work or not, but it does get me out of my head.  My PT has also figured out exercises I can actually do.  Maybe exercise endorphins will help me manage the symptoms.

Hugs to you JJ,
Tammy
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Another thought i had was making things just for pleasure, um i know i cant anymore because of the tremors but both my daughter and my mother 'need' to make things. DD is a pastry chef and lol if she's not designing, she's making and she couldn't live happily with out it.

My mom draws these really intricate and detailed (hard to describe) filled in circles, doodles she calls them but no they are shockingly good little works of art. She also makes bags out of paper, buckie balls and origami structures, theres always something she's doing and its more about the pleasure of, than the end result.

There's a web site called "instructables" where people make things, you name it and you'll find it there, everything has step by step instructions so other people can have a go at making it too. Its quite an interesting site.

Cheers.........JJ
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There are some great ideas there.  Thanks!

Tammy
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Gee, I'm going to be the devil's advocate and state that since you did not lose interest in living life, perhaps you're going through an emotional set back due to your illness?  I mean, afterall, you are a HUMAN BEING, and sometimes things can just get a little too much to bear and that feeling can and will creep up on us all.  It's the mere fact that you realize that its not an action you would ever carry out, its a thought because sometimes that thought feels appropriate, although you know better or you wouldn't be typing here :)

Everyone has thoughts about death.  You're not alone. Some situation at some time, it creeps up on us.  It's what you do about it.  I'm glad you had talked to Dr. Kita.

I would say to get some psychotherapy and talk the heavy burdens you carry emotionally and physically on a daily basis.  Sometimes our thought processes need a little direction without MEDICATION.  At least try that first, unless you feel that you truly do need both?

Lots of love and hugs to you.

Lisa
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Tammy, MS and depression really go hand in hand.  I agree with Lisa that thoughts of death are part of a bigger process, but thoughts of suicide are a different thing entirely.

A good professional will help you sort this out and I hope your doctors make some recommendations for you.  This is a tough disease to adjust to and the side effects of the interferons don't help many people.  

Good for you to speak up cand let your medical team  know you need help with this and possible a drug change.

Hugs, Lu
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738075_tn?1330579444
Hi, Tammy,

My gut feeling is it's the Interferon, but depression is so common in MS, anyway.  I've had really good luck with intermittent psychotherapy.  There's no shame in it, and I've found it so helpful!  Antidepressants can be helpful, but speaking strictly for myself, I wouldn't take and AD without talk therapy to go with it.

I hope you and your neuro come up with some good answers, and soon!
Hugs,
Lisa
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