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Why do I feel like crap?(16 posts)

Why do I feel like crap?Americano Cyclepop
May 10, 2002 7:38 PM
I think I may be bipolar or something!!

Somedays I feel as if I can fly then their are the day's when I can hardly get out of bed to take a "PISS".

Am I the only one who feels this way? Is there a remedy for the highs and lows of cycling?

I am taking Prozac for depression which I think is a total farce:)nothing a couple of hours on the bike can't handle.

Could it be that I am doing to much too soon?

Any input is always welcome.

Throw out the Prozac!guido
May 10, 2002 8:41 PM
My friend just told me today that he took Prozac for depression, and lost all his libidinous desires. He layed around the house in a fog all day, wasn't interested in making love with his wife, and was generally unmotivated. If that isn't depression, you tell me what is.

I don't know what the experiences of others has been, but many years ago when I was going through a divorce, the bike saved me from dissolution and breakdown. I survived and am stronger for it.

So eat fruits and vegetables, and ride the hell out of your bike tomorrow. It should be a nice day. Every time you feel like crap, force yourself to ride. Opt out of keeping the drug companies rich. Throw out the Prozac. I read an AP dispatch in my local newspaper this week, that said the people in a test group taking sugar pills actually felt less depressed believing they were taking anti-depressants than the ones actually taking Prozac and some other popular anti-depressants.

As far as being overtrained, listen to your body. If your legs can't turn the crank after you warm up and your heartrate shoots way up, do a short, easy ride, or go home. Accept the ups and downs, realizing that life is energy, there is always tomorrow, and that if you keep riding, you'll be fit to deal with life's problems.

Think about it, Americano. Good luck!
Throw out the Prozac!Jon Billheimer
May 11, 2002 6:57 AM
I'll second Guido's comments. Running and cycling got me through two fairly major depressions, probably at one point saving my life. On days when you feel the worst force yourself out the door and onto the bike. Don't slam your body into the experience during these times. Rather, ease yourself into your ride. The experience and your natural body chemistry will dictate the rest. All the best.
Throw out the Prozac!atpjunkie
May 11, 2002 8:29 AM
yes the sugar pills (placebos) in the double blind test were more effective than both Prozac and I think Paxil.
I agree, when you are down don't force it. Ride at tourist pace, enjoy the sights and sounds, stop have a coffee and turn the computer off. Just a marvel at the wonders of the world and the wonderful biomechanical machine, our body and how it propels us down the road. Don't forget to take your feet off the pedals for one small downhill and say "WEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
Throw out the Prozac!peloton
May 11, 2002 8:30 AM
I was reading an article the other night about serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, and their roles in how you feel. A lot of anti-depressants do the same things to your levels of serotonin as does exercise. huuummmm.....

I think the natural ways of altering your moods are probably the best ones. Get on your bike and ride.
Think again....dtjtdt
May 12, 2002 3:39 AM
Please don't listen to those who operate on selective anecdotal information. Depression is debilitating and can be life threatening for what it can lead you to do when untreated. Visit your doctor, only they can treat you for it and they should cite only evidence based medical reasoning. It can and has improved the lives of millions of people who have neurochemical imbalances. Some only need it for short time but usually at least 6 months. IT IS IMPORTANT to exercise, eat and sleep well as all of these in short supply can induce a depressive episode. Even on an SSRI like prozac sexual dysfunction can be overcome, hey, it can even enhance it as you may last longer if its ok with your partner. So do not seek medical advice here go back to your doctor and let him/her know of any side effects. Good luck.
Think again....atpjunkie
May 13, 2002 8:40 AM
Your points are all well made and truthful. I resprect your opinions as professionals. In response to some of the counterpoints, in the latest study Prozac was LESS effective by 10% =/- than the placebo as was paxil. My reference to Phen Phen was that when it came out it was the "latest and greatest" highly touted by our medical and pharmeceutical communities. I wasn't equating it's sometimes "terminal" side effects with those of Prozac. But medicines newest 'miracle' turned out to be quite dangerous as has Viagra. All I'm trying to say is buyer beware. No I'm not a doctor, nor an EMT but numbers of my closest friends are as I attended (and graduated cum laude) from UCSD which has quite a med school. My personal experiences come from having had 3 clinically depressed people very close to me. One friend was on a med list that went from Lithium to Haldol. He used to equate his lithium to that of a diabetic. I never encouraged him to go off his meds but he saw his greatest improvement when he started running marathons. He still takes his meds and goes to a counselor and has been living with his condition for 20 plus years. Its funny you speak of suicide rates hovering around 20%, shouldn't that decrease if the new meds were effective?
I also have an ex girlfriend who was manic-depressive and while she was having a particularly "bad episode" she checked herself in to a treatment center. While there she was so doped up she was unable to defend herself from being raped by another patient. She's gone through the entire inventory of SSRI's, dopamine and serotonin "balance and/or replacers" "mood enhancers" etc... and I've seen no improvement in her state for 3 years.(we split up 4 years ago and remained friends) She has to "go off" her meds to have sex (they've tried to treat that side effect with more meds) which further adds to her frustration and anxiety and has now attempted suicide (she's okay). I could go on forever and forgive my vitriol as it does run from 20 plus years of watching Meds not live up to their Panacea like reputations. Look I'm pro medicine as I said, for Pete's sake listen to your doctor, talk to a therapist / priest whatever, eat well, live well, excercise but do some research on what you are taking. We all have developed this Doctor as Shaman attitude and rarely question their diagnosis and what most of us forget is that they are exposed to marketing hype from companies trying to push their products to them and us the patient/consumer. This is my angle as I'm one of the SOB's who do advertising for Pharm companies (Fortunately not my only gig). Next time you are at any medical facility please note all the little Logo'd notepads, coffee cups, etc... that push "product" and that's what it is. So to all you medical professionals a thousand pardons for my speaking out the wrong hole, I just want patient/consumers to make informed decisions on what they purchase. I just want people to be as diligent about the meds they buy as they are in this site about bicycle parts. This site wouldn't exist if people didn't want "second opinions" apart from the ads and reviews in magazines and sometimes biased suggestions from their LBS. I'll shut up now.
May 13, 2002 8:47 AM
who aren't your doctor on an internet chat page about unilaterally ending your course of medication

yeah there's lots of information out there - but nobody here knows you or has diagnosed you

it may be that the best thing is for you to quit Prozac - but it shouldn't be because you listened to (well meaning) people who are telling you what to do here - it should be in consultation with your doctor
re: Why do I feel like crap?JBergland
May 11, 2002 10:29 AM
Whoa, whoa, WHOA!!!! Do any of you in the above posts have a medical degree?? How about any training in medications and their effects?? Any 'official' education at all on this topic??

I certainly do not want to discount anyone's personal experience, and from the sounds of it, there is a good deal of it here (that's a GOOD thing). However, to tell some one who has been prescribed a medication by a medical doctor who knows a great deal more about the individual's situation than what is covered in a fairly short post to 'Throw out the Prozac', well that's not a very wise thing to do!!

Medications DO work. It's been proven in study after study. The problem is, they take LONGER to work than most people like. It can take up to 6-8 weeks for a medication to start having any effect and another 4-8 weeks for dosage changes. That can be a very LONG time for some!!

In regards to working out to help with depression, that is also an effective approach. Working out releases endorphins that work against depression, much the same way medications do. Working out has much faster effects and can provide a 'quick fix' for feeling down. But stop taking prescribed medications and just cycle/run/work out??????? You're just asking for trouble with that type of advice!!
re: Why do I feel like crap?MVN
May 11, 2002 11:31 AM
Do NOT throw out the Prozac. It takes approximately 14 days to get into your system, and maybe a few more days to start to even out your levels so you feel the effects of it. Exercise is wonderful, but do it in conjunction with your meds., not in place of. Just be patient, it's not an overnight quick fix. Depression is serious and should be treated as such. Good luck!!
re: Why do I feel like crap?atpjunkie
May 11, 2002 12:09 PM
Musta hit a nerve, yea yea professional knowledge. Kinda funny that the most complex organ of the human body (the brain) gets the shortest amount of coverage in Med school.
psych classes and rotation......hmmmmmm kinda makes ya wonder, "well the brains a mystery, here's some drugs you can throw at it". so yes consult your physician, mope around with no libido, erectile and/or orgasmic dysfunction on something that when tested double/blind (you other scientists know what that means) proved less effective than the placebo +/- 10%. Depressed people got along somehow before the chemical revolution, maybe he just needs someone with whom to speak. I'm not some touchy, feely, screw western medicine, anti-drug, pro herbal hippie either.(no offense to anyone, if so none meant). I just don't happen to buy much lately of what comes out of drug companies until it's been around and proven it's value and safety, or have we all forgotten Phen Phen already?
May 11, 2002 12:47 PM
Hey, I'm not one to champion personal attacks in these forums, but, ah, are you a complete jackass? Depressed people somehow got along before the chemical revolution? Well, except for that whole suicide thing, yeah, I guess they did just fine. And, considering the fact that after the development of effective chemical treatments, suicide rates for the depressed still hover around 20%, I think it's very responsible of you to urge this rider off of meds, what with your vast expertise on the matter.

Am I physician? No. Am I a nationally registered EMT? Yes. Have I seen depression first hand? Yes. Have I seen suicide firsthand? Yes. So give me a break.

Also, to compare Prozac to Phen-phen is laughable. I don't recall any reports of anything remotely similar to heart-valve damage being linked to anti-depressants. But hey, maybe you all have access to all those studies that "The MAN" is surpressing.

Furthermore, the complaints of loss of sex drive, impotence, lack of motivation, are all perfectly legitimate side-effects, but that doesn't mean that you have to live with them! YOU SHOULDN'T!! If, after giving the drugs a shot, you're not mixing well with them, you NEED TO COMPLAIN TO YOUR PHYSICIAN! Prozac is not the only one on the market. If sex is a problem, Wellbutrin(sp?) is particularly good at minimizing that issue. Paxil, Zoloft, and Xanax are all other good options. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the dosage/balance/drug choice fine-tuned.

Next, if you got this drug from your general physician, consider going to see a psychiatrist. Experience counts, as we all know, and they spend much more time dealing with these medications and their effects/side-effects. Also, make CLEAR your need to exercise! No respectible doc is going to tell you that it's not important, and they'll factor that into the equation. You need to be your own best advocate, and, unfortunately, sometimes that means raising a stink.

Finally, on a personal note, atp, I've always enjoyed your posts, and I don't want to start sniping at each other. But, c'mon, stick to bikes. This guy's life WILL be affected by these choices, maybe not suicide, but simple day to day experiences WILL be affected. Before you get into a debate about the value of drugs or the quality of testing, just ask if this is really the best place to do it. Because even if whatever drug you're talking about is only 10% better than a placebo (which I don't buy, but maybe, since I don't know which specific med you're refering to)---doesn't this rider at least deserve that 10% shot? I know I'd want it for someone I love, so I'm certainly not going lobby against it for someone I don't even know...

Stick to the meds, see your doc, ride, get better. I'm pullin' for you.
The medical profession..guido
May 11, 2002 1:53 PM
has made quantum leaps forward in understanding of the human body and processes, which has resulted in procedures and medicines which have prolonged life, gotten rid of diseases, and improved the quality of life unimaginable a hundred years ago.

But there is a price, a downside in drug therapies, perhaps in many cases, a moral dilemma in psychotropic drugs. Instead of figuring out how to deal with a life problem with a conscious act of will, like going out and riding your bike or changing attitude, just pop a little white pill, and forget it. That's no different than going to the neighborhood bar and getting drunk, or popping or smoking your drug of choice. They're both escapes from the problem that caused the depression, angst, alienation in the first place. Yet doctors prescribe pills for everything, including erectile dysfunction, to virtually anyone who asks. There is a huge black market for Xanax, Vicadin, and other powerful painkillers and mood altering drugs, largely because doctors have no restraint in prescribing them, and the drug companies want to make money. There are millions of elderly people taking hundreds of dollars of drugs a month to regulate heartbeat, lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar, all of which could have been avoided by taking care of themselves, eating right and exercising vigorously.

The human body is a complex system of biological and chemical processes, which responds to drugs and surgeries, but it also has consciousness, a soul, which medical science, by its very nature, cannot, or is unwilling to adddress. And it is the soul in modern times that is suffering. Vigorous exercise, mastery of a physical skill such as cycling, brings compartmentalized, alienated psyches into a unification of body and mind, ambitions, hopes, sef-assurance, to a single purpose. Not surprisingly, it feels good, and is as good a panacea for healthy and long life as drugs and surgeries.
Only a part of the picture--and more bile to othersVal_Garou
May 11, 2002 2:28 PM
Your points are well made, particularly in the case of the elderly, and especially in the case of cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.

But overcoming depression is not a matter of simple willpower, or, perhaps, at least is not simply a matter of willpower. That is the kind of thinking that leads people to avoid or refuse treatment when they need it.

Am I saying that anyone should be on Prozac for their entire life? No, of course not. Anti-depressants are not like insulin. They are not meant to be like insulin.

Am I saying that exercise isn't important? No, I am not. I wouldn't be on this site if I was.

But let's be honest here. If you tear your ACL, can you "will" it to heal, or do you get surgery? If you break your leg, do you "will" it to mend perfectly straight, or do you get a cast? I think we all know the answers to these questions. Then, after the surgery/cast you're going to make sure to warm-up and stretch properly, to condition your stabilizing muscles, and even maybe to wear a brace before exertion in the future--in order to make further surgery/casting unnecessary.

What anti-depressants like Prozac are for, really, is to serve as a "cast" or "splint" or what-have-you for the mind, until enough lifestyle changes can be made to make their use unneccesary. But once the cycle of depression begins, it usually requires that chemical intervention to interrupt it long enough to facilitate those changes. After that, get off the Prozac and leave it behind.

Guido makes a good point about the mind and the soul, which is another reason that you should consider taking these issues to a psychiatrist instead of your GP. A psychiatrist is going to be both willing and able to help with making those other changes. A GP is probably not, of if he is, he probably won't be as effective.

Nobody on this site would hesitate to hunt down the best knee surgeon in their area if they had such an injury. Some of us would even fly cross-country to a surgeon if their reputation and our money called for it. Why would anyone hestiate do the same for the mind? Does your mind seem simpler to you? Is your knee more valuable? C'mon.

Finally, anyone who thinks depression doesn't bring physical changes to the brain in the same way a trauma brings them to muscle and bone isn't dealing with 20th century science and shouldn't look for a response from me. You might as well suggest depressed people drill holes in their skulls to let the evil spirits out.

Really finally, even in the best world, who really thinks that this is as simple as "hey, go ride your bike"? If enjoyable activities and willpower are enough, why would a guy like Hemingway shoot himself in the face? Why? Because this stuff is complicated.

Look at a derailleur. 2 limit screws, a b-tension screw, a cable tensioner, and away you go. You can fix anything in 5 minutes if you have to. A guy posts "my chain goes into my spokes when I shift" and we post back "limit screw". Simple problem, simple answer. YOUR BRAIN AIN'T LIKE THAT. A guy posts "I'm depressed (not down in the dumps, but depressed, as in a doctor diagnosed it and prescribed meds)" and we post back "go ride a bike". Give me a break. Anyone who thinks that their brain really is as simple to diagnose and repair as a derailleur, well, hey, congratulations, it probably is.
Only a part of the picture--and more bile to othersguido
May 11, 2002 5:44 PM
Your points are well made, too, and I respect your arguments. I have never been prescribed psychotropic medicine, but if a state of mind, like depression, can cause chemical changes in the brain, and then the chemical changes in turn can cause deepening depression, spiriling into suicidal behavior, I can see the use of drug intervention. It's sure better than insane asylums. But I still can't see how simply balancing certain chemicals in the brain is the cure, any more than going out and riding your bicycle, for a problem that is mental, created by experiences and baggage carried away from those experiences.

I know a group of women who are raising large families without the help of any men. They're all addicted to "nerve pills," among them, Xanax, Vicadin, Zoloft, Prozac, which they get from MDs, no questions asked. They feel okay when they have these pills, which they trade and buy from each other constantly. None of them could afford long term psychotherapy or even occassional psychological counseling. So they take their pills, and turn to religion. They read their Bibles, go to church on Sundays, and stick together, sharing everything, food, clothing, toiletries, and the pills.

As you say, if Prozac lifts the veil, the patient must then follow through and confront the cause(s) of the depression, or else it will return when the prescription runs out. The point I'm trying to make, is that too many people, like these women, never manage to escape the conditions that make them depressed, and so become addicted to the pills, which bring them only half way.

Medical science is the religion of the current day, and like the drugs, brings us only half way, because it doesn't deal with the big questions, why are we here, how we should live, how we should relate, questions historically addressed by religions. If there is a complex connection between physical and mental, then the mind can heal the body, as well as the body can heal the mind. That explains the placebo sugar pills, for one example. Once you open that pandora's box, there is no end. All life problems can be solved by happy pills, and modern society is getting closer to that concept than most of us seem aware.

Riding bicycles is a step away from this belief structure. It empowers the individual to take control of his life, frees him from dependency on "medical science." I hope the original poster can put this in perspective.

By the way, I knew a guy who had diabetes. He'd ridden for several years, brought his blood sugar under control, and the last time I saw him, wasn't taking insulin.
I love a sane discussionVal_Garou
May 11, 2002 7:18 PM
Nice chatting with you, Guido. My man!

Basically, yeah, lifting the veil is all I'm talking about. After that, it's up to the patient to carry on through.

What those women are doing is both tragic and wrong. But consider cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In certain cases either the cancer or the treatment can result in the destruction of bone marrow. This, in turn, results in a severe impairment of the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, or red blood cells. The patients are therefore left with very low energy levels, b/c their blood can't move the oxygen. Some find a walk to the mailbox exhausting, some can't even get the energy to get out of bed. One solution to the problem is to prescribe these patients EPO, which, as we all know, boosts the production of red blood cells. Thus, they get some of their lives back while they fight cancer. Do we deny them the opportunity because certain pro-cyclists (and, fairly, other endurance athletes) abuse these drugs, in fact, rely on them to get through their (professional) lives? Of course not.

The problem you outline with these women is not inherent to the happy pills. It rests with docs who prescribe things "no questions asked". It's one of the most reprehensible things in medicine, I think. We're just learning our lessons about following that path with anti-biotics. Every new resistant strain just underscores the fact that doctors really need to pay attention to who their patients are and what, exactly, is wrong with them. I just hope someone wises up to the dangers of doing it with the anti-depressants, as well. While I'll never turn to wheatgrass and aromatherapy when I need a qualified surgeon, I think there is much to be learned from alternative medicines with regard to treating the ENTIRE patient--which DEFINATELY means the condition behind the symptom and then going on to the lifestyle behind the condition.

As an aside, there is affordable mental health care out there. Off the top of my head, I know any university or college with a program in psych usually offers a free/nominal fee councling program. Sessions are usually conducted with advanced grad students and then reviewed by experienced faculty. Is it the best? No. Is it better than blind addiction? Hell yes. But I bet there are plenty of sliding scale/pro bono services around, just like with lawyers and other medical clinics. They are not the ideal answer, I know. But they are certainly better than nothing.

Finally, as an aside on the diabetes. I would bet that your riding companion has Type II, or adult onset, diabetes. This is when the body, for various reasons, either stops producing insulin, produces too little, or regulates it poorly. It is usually at least partially and sometimes wholly, controlable through diet and exercise. Endocrinologists (the type of doc who usually treats diabetics) absolutely prefer their Type II patients to be like your aquaintence. Their blood sugars tend to stay within a tight, relatively normal (or like your friend, totally normal) range. This means very little or no blood sugar spiking and dropping, which means fewer or no circulation problems, blindness, kidney failures, infections and/or amputations down the line. (All of which result from poorly mangaged diabetes.) It also, of course, means no toting around an insulin kit, which really frees up the kind of life you can live! It's a tough thing to do, certainly, and your guy deserves congratulations.

When I spoke of insulin as a life-long drug, I was refering to people who have Type I, sometimes called "childhood", diabetes. These are people who are born with one or more conditions that prevent their pancreas from ever producing insulin in the first place. It is simply a biological fact that they cannot provide their own insulin, ever. They need supplemental insulin every day or they will die. Even then, maintaining blood sugar wi