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limeaide's avatar

Work boring, no motivation, if I take an antidepressant I'm more productive, what would you do?

Asked by limeaide (1921points) August 16th, 2012

I work at a job that at times I’ve enjoyed, but anymore it’s drudgery punctuated by shear terror. I’ve had severe anxiety issues for a long time, that leads to depression. I’ve got to the point where I’m able to mostly control my anxiety, I’m off all medication and the only times I’m crazy anxious is at work during a crisis. I’d like to find work with a little more balance.

I am the sole bread winner for my family and have to make a pretty good wage to keep us afloat. My wife wouldn’t mind working but we’d really like to wait for our youngest child to start school first.

I’ve noticed in the past if I take my medication I can work through the anxiety and boredom and just do my job. But I hate having to take medication just because I don’t like my job. Plus who knows what the long term side effects are.

I’ve tried to find another opportunity but making the amount of money I need to is challenging elsewhere. I’m also not sure what work it would be I’d like a change in general but can’t find anything I’m passionate about. I’m miserable most of the time at work. If I can get force myself to work on stuff I feel much better but motivation to start is really difficult. Any advice or blind spots I’m missing?

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21 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Can you stay home with your youngest and let your wife bring home the bacon? A housefather is a job that might trigger your passion and you can do it at home.

Coloma's avatar

Unless you have brain chemistry issues anxiety and depression are subconscious hints that you need to make changes. A pill is not going to create those changes, only mask the symptoms. Depression and anxiety is often a gift from within, a signal that a life situation has run it’s course and to grow and thrive you need to make changes.
I would use the drugs minimally and keep searching for a new job, one that might be a better fit for you and will renew your motivation from a place of stagnation.

I really have learned this about myself over the years. I thrive on challenge, newness and hate dull routinized work, whenever I get depressed it is because I am ready for a change, something new, and the funk is about feeling I have run out of options to fulfill my deep desire for work that is fun, innovative and stimulating, where I can use my greatest strengths and not have to subdue my true nature.

limeaide's avatar

@gailcalled Unfortunately, my wife wouldn’t make enough to cover the bills, I’d still have to work. If she worked I might be able to find a job making less money that may fit but we’re trying to avoid that if all possible. Good thought though and still something to ponder.

limeaide's avatar

@Coloma I agree with your thoughts about hints that a change needs to be made. My challenge sometimes is knowing if I do have brain chemistry issues? I’ve always had major anxiety issues since I can remember. Does that mean I have or had brain chemistry issues? I’m talking fear/shyness, body symptoms as young as a toddler I didn’t realize not everyone felt like that until I was in high school, they were trying to figure out why my resting heart rate was in the 130–150s and eventually determined it was anxiety.

Coloma's avatar

@limeaide Have you had a full physical/mental evaluation recently?
Sounds like generalized anxiety disorder to me, but without professional evaluation the brain chemistry issue may or may not be a factor.
If it is not brain chemistry then I would do some soul searching and find your dream, then start making it come true. :-)
Remember, you have nothing to fear but fear itself!

Anxiety is the body and mind reacting as if there is a real threat, a clear and present danger like a rattlesnake under your foot, but when your mind is creating body reactions and fear based on thoughts only, it is a false alarm. That is what generalized anxiety is, your being is responding to made up stories in your head not reality.

Welcome to Fluther!

wundayatta's avatar

It seems like you are asking a philosophical question. Like, who are you on meds? Is it the same as the person off meds? It seems like you have a bias to be off meds, and I’m guessing that’s the “natural” bias that a lot of people seem to have. The presumption is that we are our natural selves without meds, and that’s who we should try to be. Indeed, we should really be able to get on through life without altering our brain chemistry in any way, except through our own thinking.

I used to think that way. Then I got bipolar disorder. Which raised the question in a very distinct way: is the me on meds the same me off meds? I did a lot of stuff that society doesn’t approve of before I got medicated. The meds changed most, but not all of that.

One stark change was the ability to think about killing myself. One day it seemed like a good idea. The next, I couldn’t even think it. It made no sense. Whoa! Who am I? I remember being that other person, but that seems a planet away, not a day away.

The meds bought me time to learn coping skills. I had to deal with depression and negative thoughts and poor self image and issues of anxiety as well. I learned mindfulness techniques and some other cognitive techniques and they help a lot. If you haven’t learned mindfulness as a way to cope with your anxiety, I strongly urge you to do so.

You can learn to let all those fears and anxieties pass through you without really attaching to you. It’s kind of amazing to find yourself doing that. It’s like putting your thoughts on little boats and letting them float off down the river, while you stay focused on work or whatever.

Work is a particularly difficult challenge though, in the long run solution is to find your ideal job. You know that, and it sounds like you are working on that. I would keep spending part of my time looking. Just plan on it taking a year or two.

As to taking meds to make work tolerable. I would do it. I would use it as an aid while you learn the other mental coping techniques. Then, when you feel stable and have been stable for a year or so, I would think about getting off the meds.

I was on three meds for something like three years. I have now gotten off two of them, and have only one remaining med. I plan to get off of it in another couple of years. I have to wait because I am part of a study right now (which may just be an excuse because I am concerned what might happen if I do come off). The longer I am stable, though, the better my chances for staying off and staying healthy when the time does come, I think.

But that’s my life, not yours. Your choices will depend on factors I don’t know about. I can only tell you about my choices and I why I make them. I see meds as a tool. They aren’t failure and they aren’t a sign of something unnatural. They are just a help while I learn techniques to allow me to cope on my own.

limeaide's avatar

@Coloma Yes, I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, several years ago and confirmed about a year ago. I think most of the time now I have a good handle on it, much better than in the past. I mostly only get anxious about things that I think are anxiety producing (e.g. a server crashing and kicking off a hundred users). In the past I would have anxiety about every conversation I had during the day or from weeks or years before and would mull it around in my mind over and over again and not be able to sleep because I couldn’t shut off the thoughts.

Does having that disorder mean it’s chemical, should I be on meds?

Coloma's avatar

@limeaide I don’t know. I am not a fan of tampering with ones brain chemistry unless it is absolutely necessary. I used Xanax for anxiety when I went through a divorce some years ago and it worked great with no side effects. Just takes the edge off. I am very skeptical of all the antidepressants, bad news for a lot of people, and I think it is always best to start small and bring out the big guns only if everything else fails.

Some Xanax, meditation, exercise, listening to motivational and “spiritual” works and reminding yourself that it IS all in your mind, is the methodology I would try first.
Having anxiety over things you cannot control is helped by really embracing the concept of learning to live with uncertainty, because uncertainty is a fact of our existence and there is nothing, absolutely NO-THING, you can do to prevent the uncertainties of life, most of which never turn out to be as bad as your mind makes them out to be.

limeaide's avatar

@wundayatta I really appreciate your time and cander. I really want to read through your response a couple of times to ponder all your points.

I have been on this journey to find something else for many years now. If you look at my profile I have a question seeking career advice from 2009. I just can’t find what I should do.

I think about it like this sometimes, I have a high paying stable job what am I complaining about just suck it up and do it. It’s very hard mentally sometimes…

I have looked into mindfulness in the past, all self help type stuff but I’ll look more into it. Any resources you’ve had success with? Thank you again!!! I need to leave soon or I’d comment more.

Coloma's avatar

@limeaide I really like all the works of Eckhart Tolle, and he is very soothing to listen too. This guy has an amazing story of how he became enlightened through a dark, suicidal depression and years of living with extreme anxiety. He is a very interesting and inspirational man.

wundayatta's avatar

They teach mindfulness in a major hospital here, so it’s pretty mainstream. You can also learn to meditate at zen temples or in yoga studios or a variety of other places. I did my own brand, which has to do with making music and dancing—both of which stop my mind. But there’s a cognitive component, too—a theoretical approach to understanding your thoughts and feelings that is very helpful, I find.

As to sucking it up—well, that can have a lot of severe emotional consequences over the years. My wife was doing that and it nearly cost us our marriage, I think. Her job paid a lot, but it also took her soul. These days, we tend to think our souls aren’t much, or maybe even that they don’t exist.

I think a soul is a metaphor for who we are, and that jobs often take our souls, and that has huge consequences in terms of how we treat our families and ourselves. Loss of soul leads to anxiety and/or depression. Is the money worth it? Or can you find a way to live otherwise? Would it be so bad for your wife to go back to work now? It’s a trade-off, of course, but it is very easy to act the man and sacrifice yourself for your family. But make no mistake, it is a sacrifice and it is probably a much larger sacrifice than you realize.

The meds can help, if you want to continue the sacrifice. But do you? Really?

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Excellent! Bowing, clapping! Yes, our souls are more important than any thing, job, person, relationship. My point exactly, much anxiety and depression is the result of not living in congruence with ones true nature.

nebule's avatar

Hello, Um, I don’t know, but… if you really don’t like the anti-depressants, stay off them. I’ve had a hell of a time with the ADs. You sound like you’ll figure it out. Money really isn’t everything, there’s always a smaller house, or the woods x

wundayatta's avatar

Yes, sorry @Coloma. I know you said it first. But you know how I work. I found myself going there without preplanning. Anyway, you got there first.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Who’s racing, not I. ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma Well, sometimes I get really annoyed when I say something, and then someone a few posts down says exactly the same thing as if I hadn’t said it. I just wanted to acknowledge that you said the same thing, and it wasn’t an idea that was original to me, although the expression of it was mine. If you weren’t annoyed, then no harm done. And if you were, you know I am recalcitrant.

Ron_C's avatar

Actually, I feel better at work. My job is challenging and (for me) fun. It is the idle time that brings problems and strange thoughts to me. I have a number of drugs prescribed by my psychiatrist but the side-effects are horrifying. One can cause a condition similar to internal chemical burns in some people and they cannot predict who will be harmed. I can’t bring myself to take it.

I am happy that some drugs help people but I would, personally, take a chance on suicide than experience a wide range of side-effects.

Sunny2's avatar

If the medication works, take it. That’s what it’s for. If you have a pain, you take a painkiller. If you’re depressed and an antidepressant works, I don’t understand the problem with taking it. The alternative is to see a therapist and that is much more costly and doesn’t always help. Long time use of anti-depressants is no more dangerous than long time use of aspirin or other pain killers. Ask your internist.

augustlan's avatar

If you feel better overall while taking medication, take it. I have GAD/panic attacks/depression, and take medication (Effexor XR daily to deal with the usual challenges, and Xanax as needed for panic situations). My quality of life is ever so much better on the medication than off. This is not to say that it will solve your job situation, of course. But it very well might make it easier for you to bear until you can change it.

I had to do both… take the meds and make some big life changes to get where I am. Even after changing my circumstances, though, I still cannot do without the medication. I wish you the best.

wabbit's avatar

Really think you’re on the right track in avoiding anti-depressant medication and their potential side-effects. I understand the “brain chemistry imbalance” thing is theory, not actual fact, and that recent studies suggest anti-depressant medications are no more effective than a placebo. Your personal happiness is really, really important! It’s one thing to take sole responsibility for all your family’s financial “needs“, but you’re simply not solely responsible for making everyone’s “wants“ possible. Take a good hard look at how your income is being spent and separate the “needs“ from the “wants“. If you can cover the cost of your family’s financial “needs” on less income, I’d suggest you pick a futuristic quit date for your current job and put your family on a money diet. Don’t feel guilty about it and don’t buy into the notion that your happiness is somehow any less important than things your family want, but don’t actually need.

limeaide's avatar

Thank you all for your time, I love all the input I’ve been receiving. Sorry it’s taken me awhile to get back but I wanted to really read each comment and ponder them for a little while. This is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time. Even if I could move to another job I’m not sure what it’d be, I really struggle with finding meaning in my work and I’m comfortable (anxiety keeps me there as well.) But I really don’t know what I’d do if I could do anything, I feel like I’ve lost myself I have hardly any interests left, I think I may be burned out or maybe just lost. I’ve read many books, spoke to people that are passionate and I just can’t find what I should do.

@wundayatta I guess I have a bias to not be on meds if I don’t have to be. But I see their benefit and don’t mind being on them if that’s what I need. It’s very confusing because I’ve always been anxious but after years of working on my anxiety it seems I’m mostly only anxious about work. It’s hard to know if it’s my anxiety or the job, not something easily tested.

@nebule Definitely money isn’t everything but it does make life easier. We’ve already gone on quite the money diet and have recently become debt free except the house took us 4½ years. Money was quite an anxiety issue for awhile and I was done with the debt stress. Our house payment is cheaper than what people pay for rent and it’s way below the recommended purchase 2.5x your income. We are pretty frugal and could do with less income, but like I said above I don’t know what I’d even do or how to find it.

@wabbit I’m going to go back to my monthly spending plan and see what I’d need to make to cover the needs. I’ve done this from time to time when I’m anxious and wanting to escape. If I did something like that I think I’d like to sock some money away to get some cushion and then make the leap. Also, as far as side-effects are concerned short term wise I don’t have any negative side effects, there’s actually a couple positive ones. I do worry from time to time if I take this another 20 years how it will affect me.

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