I just received a comment by Carla on my earlier post, which I feel I need to respond to right away. She's undergoing a depression, is medication-resistant like I am, and would like advice. I am going to write a public letter in case it helps anyone else.
First of all, although I was deemed medication resistant early on, it wasn't actually true. What was true was that the four mood stabilizers they commonly prescribe--Lithium, Valporate, Tegretol, and Lamictal--didn't work. Years laters I took many more cutting edge drugs, which were supposed to have mood stabilizing effects but they didn't work either.
Over a period of ten years, I saw five of the very best psychiatrists in Los Angeles. What was interesting to me was that it was only the last doctor--my current psychiatrist--who suggested that the stimulant Adderrall might end a nine-month depression in a day.
While he also said it shouldn't be a long-term strategy, it is the only medication that works for me. I take the lowest dosage possible although over time I've needed to take more when I had a lot of depressive episodes. The minute the depressive episode ends, I have to get off it or it will cause a hypomania.
The downside is that it can throw a person into a hypomania. I always thought this is a ridiculous concern (for me) since my depressions were so horrific and lasted so long. And my hypomanias weren't that bad although they did get worse (I'll need to explain this in another post).
The point is that unlike antidepressants, which take weeks to kick in, Adderrall kicked in in one day. While some doctors hesitate to prescribe it, I must say that if they really understood the devastation of depression, they wouldn't hesitate.
The bottom line with me is that I don't abuse drugs or alcohol (and never have). A very little amount of a medication has a major effect. I kept daily mood charts for 6 years and was very conscious of any fluxuation. I always made sure that I got enough sleep. I am very responsible, very motivated, and very proactive.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you more about my overall strategy. Best of luck!