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Dealing With Depression

My problems with depression seemed to slowly and quietly twist their way into my life for years.  At points it was so subtle I would be able to ignore it, or push it away, or think that it was just another bad day, nothing out of the ordinary.  Somehow day after day grew, and without even realizing how it had gotten there, I began to carry a burden that felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders.



While I was always a worrier, always an anxious person, I could still find happiness very easily and I didn't think depression would ever be a problem for me.  I wasn't expecting it to become a daily struggle, I never expected it to escalate so far.  By the time I truly noticed how badly off it was, I was already far gone.  I lived in denial of it for too long, I realize that easily now.  I think the most important thing is to acknowledge it, to accept it, because once I was able to do that, some of the burden lifted.



I can still remember the time I first realized that depression was a real issue for me.  While I had always had other mental illnesses and always knew others that had to deal with depression, I could never truly understand their thought patterns, what they had to go through.  But one day, it suddenly clicked -- I could understand how they could think the way they did, I could understand being afraid of facing the day, I could understand why one wouldn't want to face the day ahead of them.  I think that was the first moment that I realized that I truly did have these thought patterns and symptoms to deal with myself.



My symptoms would greatly vary.  That was the first thing I noticed, and then I began to notice how truly hard it would be to get up in the morning, how hard it was to look forward to anything.  I would feel isolated from everything and everyone at times.  I would feel like I could never face the days or nights, I would feel lonely and needy.  I would also have physical symptoms, as if I was in so much mental pain that my body was in pain as well.  This was perhaps the most upsetting thing to me, which would only make me even more depressed.



I eventually did get diagnosed with my psychiatrist, but even making that initial visit was hard.  I hope there is a time where it is easier to be open about such matters, but even in that setting, I feel like there is still so much of taboo.  I would be afraid of saying too much about my symptoms and seeming too much of a mess, or not saying enough and seeming as if nothing was wrong.  I was very lucky to go to someone who knew my mental history and was able to be understanding and come to a quick diagnosis.



Considering I always had other mental illnesses (mostly anxiety disorders and phobias), it seemed to me that the depression followed after them.  Like one couldn't exist without the other.  I will never know for sure, but what I do know is that they all absolutely would feed off each other for me.  I don't know if I would know one without the other, they all follow so closely together.  The worse my depression would be, the worse the anxiety, and vice versa.



While it has deeply affected my life in so many negative ways -- missed chances, lost days to depression, etc. -- I also feel that it has given me an even greater appreciation for every good thing.  I feel like the most important thing for me in dealing with depression on a day to day basis is to look for the good things, no matter how small they are, and to hold onto them and to appreciate them with every fiber of being.  This alone has saved me many times.  I also find it very important to have things to look forward to, be they big or small.



If I am truly having a terrible time and can not see the good at all, I make sure that I keep lists that I can refer to.  Lists of good things, good memories, reasons to keep dealing.  I also keep lists of things that can distract me.  If I find that I am not able to do this on my own, I ask for help from an understanding person in my life.



With depression, I often worry that I am a burden to those that I care and love in my life.  I know that it has affected these people, which can make me feel worse and guilty.  So I find keeping an open communication helps me a lot with everyone I know.  I try not to hide what I have to deal with, or to make excuses for it.  I am usually pleasantly surprised by how understanding people can be.  I find support from others to be so important.  Be they family, friends, therapists, groups online, anything and everything helps.  Even just reading from others who also have depression can help some of the loneliness and isolation.  I've found various books and various places on the Internet wonderful to keep me from feeling that isolation.



Those are the steps that truly help my recovery, as well as changing any environmental things that may help.  Whatever I could do to help my external environment be calm and happy, I would do it.  Meanwhile, I would work on accepting the things that I can not change.  Built together, this can truly make a difference.



I know many people have been greatly helped by anti depressants.  Sadly, I went through about half a dozen to a dozen (literally!) medications, none of which worked for me.  I seemed to only get the side effects.  I tried very hard but in the end the best decision for me was to stay away from anti depressants.  It is so hard to deal with, no matter if you are on medication or not, and I admire everyone for dealing with it, no matter what road they go down with the medication decision.



In terms of other professional help, I have found that therapy has helped me at times as well.  Of course, the most important thing was finding the right person.  After that, I find it's important to explore what kind of therapy works.  I find personally that talking about older issues, childhood issues, and things of this nature does not really help me... but working in therapy on what I go through here & now, day to day helps.  At times the skills you can learn in DBT therapy or CBT also helps me greatly.



A combination of acceptance, support, knowledge and understanding has been the help for me.  I didn't choose to go down this path by a longshot, but feel as if I have learned and appreciated more now because of it all.

suzanneontheriver suzanneontheriver 26-30, F 55 Responses Jul 12, 2006

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thank you for sharing this, you have made me realize with your story, and the comments posted, that i am not alone. for this i am very grateful.

Very long and variable story.



You did what most of us do. Ignore it until it's got us in a death grip at which time we think "Oops, better try and do something about this." So don't feel you were the only one. That's what humans do.



Early on you say you found happiness easily when you wanted to. Did you really? Define for me what happiness is please as I know it is but an illusion. A temporary feeling of joy that can be as brief as a laugh. Then back to misery. Define what you called happiness please.



You write this in the middle of your story :

"If I am truly having a terrible time and can not see the good at all,", and

"If I find that I am not able to do this on my own, I ask for help from an understanding person in my life."



Who is that understanding person as they don't seem to be helping much at all.



Then this :



"I know many people have been greatly helped by anti depressants. Sadly, I went through about half a dozen to a dozen (literally!) ".



You say it yourself. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GREATLY HELPED BY ANTI D'S.



You say you may have used 6 to 12. That's not even dipping your toes into the possibilities. You backed off at the side effects stage when you should push through that. It's usually a max of two weeks. Then a med may not work at the initial dose so it may need a higher level, and a higher level, before you get the benefit.



I say you have NOT tried at all and are simply afraid of all the stories you have heard and read. You see all those who succeed don't bother to write success stories as they want to move on so you only see the bad stuff, like your story.



You say you use CBT and therapy. My shrink told me that neither of these wil be effective until your mood has been raised enough via meds so you can think and analyse rationally. If you are challenged when deeply depressed you will always find a great negative answer.



You need to resume meds to get to a stage where you can deal with this illness.



Read again what you have written. You are suffering badly. Neither CBT, or therapies are really working. Yet you reject the best, by far, option. Would you reject painkillers when you have a broken leg? No, you wouldn't. You would trust.



Your choice, but do not blame anti d's for not helping as YOU have not used them properly. You are afraid of them when their job is to relieve your pain while you do the therapy and proper CBT to survive. Once you have a med that helps, it is most unwise to just drop it when you feel OK. Do the whole job and then see how you are. I did meds, felt better and stopped so many times I can't remember. Guess what happened? Dr D was waiting for me, with a grin.



Get over you own opinions and trust a specilaist to be able to help you. No wimping out when you get nasuea or a headache etc early on, that will pass quickly.



You want to be better? Then start really trying as what I read is what they described as "half assed". attempts.



Those lists, or affirmations, are a waste of your time as most of them are cliches which do not apply.

You're saying that you are accepting misery. Wrong, you do not need to do that.



Toyu say anti d's don't work for you but you also say you may have only tried 6, maybe a few more. And gave up on each one. Did you increase doses on any or hjust give up at the usual 2 week side effect stage. That stops and the med starts working you know.



But it is rare indeed that someone will get better on the initial dose as it is but a test to ensure you can cope with it. If side effects, usually minor and brief, put you off then you are not trying.



The most effective drug for me took a full 6 weeks to work and the dose was raised several times. I had to stop that one twice due to body tolerance level and my dose was at the max.



But I came back to it again, had to stop again and have now been back on it for several years at half the dose where my body tolerance kicked in previously. SO you cannot just wipe all anto d;s based on feeling a big of nausea, headaches, aches and pains and a dry mouth for a couple of weeks.



Doing that guarantees failure and that's what you have done. Instead opting to suffer indefinitely.



You need a better shrink or to change your mind and try again. Therapy will never be effective if your depression is in the deep zone, And it is isn't it? You sat there and let it grow and take control and yet you knew it was happening. Unforgiveable. You have to be proactive and figilant with depression. Sitting around waiting for a miracle reading books will just ensure more failure.

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I can really connect to how you are feeling. It took me awhile to realize I was depressed, and then even longer to actually admit it to myself. I still have been unable to tell any of my family or friends. I hope to get to that point, and be strong and brave like you.

The important thing I believe is be gentle on yourself, find someone to talk too, that you can trust when needed, have FAITH. Fill your minds with the right information, and programs either tv or whatever, their times in ones depression that watching the news etc is just not healthy, so take care off yourself, be gentle on lyourself and give yourself credit for everyday you handle with a positive and faithful atitude. Also if you find an opportunity to speak kindness into another life do so, its healing to your spirit, and will encourage you that depressed or not you can uplift another.

very inspiring! I found your story same as mine. I am also battling from depression since 2006. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that it is hard to narrate this experience but you write it very well. I can relate. :)))

I agree that having things to look forward to is very helpful when battling depression. Sometimes the darkness runs so deep; and nothing seems to help. Planning a vacation, a concert, or some kind of an outing often helps me.

A very inspiring story. I am now under the depression state ( i think...) and i dont seemingly understand how to deal this thing, but it is so much blessed to read a blog , to someone who undergo with depression and recovered from it. ^_^

Wow, what a powerful story. I can relate to this and am still constantly battling with depression and whilst you say it's a great help to talk about it and tell someone and therapy etc..., no matter how hard I try I just can't tell anyone, I find it so hard. And everyday it gets harder.

Thank you so much for sharing this, I will take it into account in the future.

((hugs))

BEAUTIFUL STORY.

I WAS PUT ON RX'S AND DESTROYED MYSELF. I FINALLY TOLD DR I WAS NOT TAKING ANYMORE.

SINCE THEN, I HAVE BEEN ABLE NOT ONLY TO DEAL WITH THINGS WITH A CLEAR HEAD, BUT REALIZE WHAT THE RX DID TO ME (DESTROYED MY LIFE) LOOKING TO SUE DR AND HOSP.

wonderful way to put it. i'm depressed, and i feel that your words have helped me.

Not sure what else to add everyone has said it so well. I too gave up on the drugs as all I felt were the side affects. It is hopeless alot of days, but hearing an experience like yours tells me to hold on. Thanks.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It helped me a lot, I too battle depression everyday and find it so hard to get out of bed. If I had my way, I would go to bed and not get up. I have a good job and wonderful children, but just dont want to be around anybody, I just would rather lay in bed and stay at home. I am on Cymbalta and take anxiety medicine and have recently started having anxiety and panic attacks, my husband isn't very understanding or doesn't even try to find out anything about my illness, so I feel alone and isolated. Thank God for people like you all that are going thru the same things.

I am you...and you are me....my mirror image. Thank you for this very well written expose on depression.

that was very beautifully put.

thank you for sharing.

i too tried the pharmaceutical route, and found the same outcome.

so, through therapy, counselors, and a good psychiatrist, i am attempting to gain something of myself back.

i applaud you in you efforts, and sincerely wish you the best in a strong recovery.

Amazing story. Extremely well told. Inspiring in it's message, the beast can be fought. Thank you for posting it.

wow, very inspiring, for i am depressed as well, i also use the list technique. spending time with happy people who have no idea what i feel is the best distraction for me. these people keep me sane so i am grateful for them, i love them. giving me a double hitter, something i could hold on to. it was something i didnt deserve but got anyway :]

I wish I could help but I think I'm going through the same thing, I think it's stress and grief after the past 5 years and now pre-menopause on top. I'm not the same either, sick all the time, body aches and pain, insomnia, can't focus and just making bad decisions because I'm so irritable. My oldest sister died in 04 and then 9 months later in 05 my dad died. 2 closest people to me and I'm the baby of 8. Did all arrangements and obituary for sister and dad. Everyone counting on me, but at the same time I was dealing with evil people on the job. When my dad died I lost my voice, couldn't talk but everybody was counting on me to do what was needed to be done. Once my dad died I tried to keep the family together and even bring in his extended family for family reunions and everything but I was the one responsible for it all. I'm just so tired. Now my family is bickering over what $ my dad left my mom...one sister is trying to take all...my name is on moms acct.'s now, but I don't care about getting $ I'm just trying to do what I know my father would want done, how can I do all and be a wife, mother of 2 (5 AND 11), work and keep my insanity?

I know what you are going through i lost my dad in 1996 he was murdered and i lost my mom in 2004 to it is very hard i'm going through pre -menopause to. We are going through the same things being a wife i have 3 boys 18, 15, 11 working and keeping my sanity its hard it feels like a big wall has fallen on top of u.

thank you for sharing.so much of your story sounds just like me.i am new to this,don't quite know what i am doing. will you add me as your friend so we can talk?

I am so moved by your story..... i am curious and want to more about depression symptons.... can you enlighten me on how you dealt with day to day issues.... and was there any cases of depression in your family history... and when did you know you hit rock bottom and needed help.

The reasons i ask so many questions.. as i feel i have fallen into a state for two years this august and i cant pull myself out. Depression runs in our family and i feel it has crept up on me . I am on 44... i have been dealt many nasty things from my kids, xhusband (i am remarried) and family and distant friends. The only reason i stumbled across you story is because i was on

"sexless marriages" which also contributes to my depression.

So please if you have any more information please i would love to listen..

thanks,

wow. I'm sorry but you will get through it. Takes time.

You have expressed better than I have ever been able to express my own battle ... I was diagnosed Bi-Polar in 1989 ... I have also been able to recognize and do many of the things that you have shared to cope and in many cases improve the periods and cycles. Thanks for sharing. I hope many EPers read and recognize how far you have come and if they have the same problem ... how there is much that can be done as you point out.



Charlie

Thank you for sharing this story, it is honest and courageous. I have struggled with depression since I was a child, I remember waking up and noticing that I didn't want to face the day and wished i were dead when I was in the third grade. Since part of depression is feeling isolated and (for me at least) sort of stigmatized/inadequate, it means a lot to read about others' experiences with it.

Wow!

What a powerful and well written story! I'm really glad you shared it and I'm sure it applies to millions of people worldwide. Your nickname included the expression "on the river". That is a common description used to describe people living in Miramichi City in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. So, you see you share more than one thing in common with the rest of the world. You live "On The River"! I doubt that you think fishing for Atlantic Salmon is euphoria as most of the people from that area concede but nevertheless I find it interesting that you think of yourarea as 'On The River".

I am not from that area although I am from that province (New Brunswick).

I suffer from depression daily like you and I also refuse to take most Meds. I take only a low dose Lorazepam to make me drowsy and some nights it works and some nights (actually, days for me since I work nights) it doesn't but usually it keeps me asleep for at least 4 hours.



Any way check out the "Miramichi" in google and have yourself a good laugh on small town America.



Cheers

Elwood