Cheryl's question: "I have suffered from depression my whole life and have been on the meds and finally lithium carbonate. Will I ever be able to get off this type of med?"
Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are lifelong illnesses. While some people have found it possible to live well without medication, I don't personally know any, and people who stop taking meds generally begin showing severe symptoms before long.
Research continues to show that there are chemical and physical differences between the brains of people with depression and bipolar disorder and those who don't have mental disorders. At this time, medications are still the primary method of dealing with the physical reasons for depression and bipolar. Along with meds, various types of psychotherapy and lifestyle changes are proving to be very helpful.
"Not being able to get off meds" shouldn't be thought of as a terrible thing. I know where I'd be without mine - cycling between feeling wonderful, overcommitting myself, spending money I don't have, and being stuck on my couch, paralyzed with depression, hating myself, utterly miserable.
Depression and bipolar are incurable but very treatable illnesses and the goal can't be to get off meds, but rather to find the meds that work best for you and work to make the best possible life for yourself with the assistance of those meds.