Are TCAS just as effective as SSRIS?....
Yes. The TCAs haven't been mostly replaced by SSRIs because they were less effective, but because they are less safe in overdose, though recently Celexa and Lexapro have been found to have the same problem. Arguably, the TCAs are slightly more effective.
Also I was thinking maybe do a long half life benzo like valium for a month to get into a better place mentally and then get on an anti depressant
Why not take both? Many take a benzodiazepine (BZDs) when starting antidepressants to help them get through the rough spots. BZDs do slightly delay antidepressant kick-in, but IMHO, the delay is better than not taking the antidepressant because of increased anxiety.
I just don't like the whole addiction withdrawal thing
You won't get addicted to benzodiazepines, but you may become physically dependent to them if you take them daily for more than a month or two. Indeed, you're already dependent on the tiny amounts of BZDs occurring naturally in all foods
and would be in serious trouble if you began eating a BZD free diet, which fortunately is almost impossible. You will also become dependent on antidepressants and many other psych meds. It means you must wean off them instead of quitting abruptly. This study illustrates the difference between addiction and dependence: Hirschowitz BI
, (1998). Few taking BZDs would continue to if the consequences of doing so were the same.