Yes, It Can Be Done

I was depressed and suicidal for the first 29 years of my life. As a child, I didn't think my parents loved me or wanted me. (Now I know they did, but never showed it in a way that I could understand.) I was socially inept and didn't get along with my peers. I endured some horrible times in school, my parents got divorced, and I could never find a boyfriend. I got worse and worse until it reached the point where I either had to get help or die. At about that time, a very frustrated friend (yes, I actually had a friend, a very patient one), helped me make an appointment with a psychiatrist that she knew. The psychiatrist asked me about half a dozen questions. All I remember of those questions is that some of them had to do with my sleeping patterns. Then he told me, "There are two kinds of depression. One is biochemical depression, caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. That kind can be treated with medication. The other kind is environmental depression, caused by one's responses to external factors in one's environment. Medication won't help that kind. That's the kind you have, so you need to see a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist."

These words were a revelation to me. It was the first time I had ever gotten a hint that I had any control over how I felt. If my depression were caused by the way I responded to events in my environment, then I could change those responses. I sat down and took a good, hard look at all aspects of my behavior. I decided to stop giving myself negative messages (i.e.: I'm worthless, I don't deserve to live, etc.) and replace them with positive messages. I started making a major effort to be nice to people (I was extremely neurotic and people were often unkind to me, and I responded by being nasty back.), and to be forgiving. I decided that I couldn't rely on other people (particularly men) to give me the love I hungered for, so I stopped chasing (and scaring away) men. I just accepted that the only person I could rely on for company, love and acceptance was myself.

About a year later, I did seek help from a psychologist. By then, I had pretty much gotten straightened out on my own, but the psychologist helped me a lot. I learned that only I have control over my own feelings, thoughts, beliefs and actions (unless I cede that control to someone else), and likewise, that I have no real control over the feelings, thoughts, beliefs and actions of others and am therefore not responsible for them. So, if someone insults me, that's entirely their doing and has nothing to do with me. I can choose how to respond. The way I usually respond to such things now is to figure that they're having a bad day, or that they're an ***. I am no longer thin-skinned and easy to offend. I also learned about the different personality types, their needs, behaviors, and different ways of communicating. Types of people who used to intimidate me (like people who never smile) no longer bother me at all. I understand that it has nothing to do with me; it's just the way they are. I know how to get my needs met and how to communicate with different kinds of people, and I am no longer neurotic.

I am happy to say that I ended up in a good marriage and have two children whom I have taught how to be happy from earliest childhood. My only regret is that I lost those 29 years of my life to the pain of depression.

Aeolosoma Aeolosoma
56-60, F
46 Responses Feb 25, 2008

I think about killing myself every day. It's what I deserve, so why not get on with it.

Good for you! I overcame my depression 10 years ago by using medication. Now, at 46, I realize that although I haven't had any episodes in the last 10 years, I have been living so carefully, avoiding conflict, avoiding stress, that I can hardly call it living at all. i think psychotherapy is a good thing in any case, even if it's just to overcome the trauma a depressive episode will give you.

thankyou! i overcame my depression also and it feels like a giant weight has been lifted off of me. I have learned that nobody can determine who i am and get me down.Because my life depends on myself and my choices. I would really love some of my friends to read this. thank you soo much for sharing!

It makes quite a lot of sense to me. It makes think a bit. Hopefully it can also be applied in my life in real-life situation. Thanks.

i recentl got physically sick and this brought a lot of anxiety. I also have other family problems. but i know feel depressed. Get tired and feel disconnected. I also feel my vision is weird can not focus. and feel like brain fog. ANy comments and support will be taken and before hand thank you...............

I watched a documentary about ayahuaska the drink from South America. Its illegal in the US but they say if you have a chemical depression it can help. Ayahuaska works in a way to where it increases neural transmitters and that allows more serotonin receptors to be working. Every person tested before and after show a HUGE change from their depression state both mentally and physically when testing for serotonin levels. Anyone who wants to find spiritual answers should try it I think.

i feel pretty bad to hear the story. I'm happy for u but the thing is it makes me feel so helpless n hopeless.

Thank you so much for this story, it's very inspirational. I have depression myself and am working on overcoming it. I haven't always been sure overcoming it is possible but things are looking up and reading this makes me even more optimistic. Thanks again!

Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

much admiration!!

Great story. Some people are just, good people stuck in a rutt. <br />
I'm going on 30 years and counting, but hopefully I will be less cowardly, and take "my" cure. ASAP.<br />
Just getting both sides, good people should live.<br />
Sub-human trash such as myself, should remove ourselves for everyone's benefit. :D

hey! Well, i guess this wasnt your intention, ultrastench, but you made me laugh and smile! Come on man, dont go killing yourself...and i laugh because the words you wrote are only all to familiar in my own thoughts, about myself. a bit of the old black humor. But, this is just the depression talking. (ps i checked the like button by accident, dont go thinking someone wants you to die!) Get creative, try something new, or different. Think of something real crazy, like going to Tibet and becoming a monk for 3 months, or volunteering somewhere, or walking across Asia. Then, if you still hate yourself, at least you have a cool story to tell! peace.

I don't think those twenty nine years were wasted. Humans don't pop out of the womb knowing everything they need to know about being healthy and successful. The point is that you learned those things and overcame the troubles that you started out with. This post said some things I really needed to read today. Thank you so much for posting. It sounds like you had a very wise psychiatrist. Imagine how differently your life would have turned out if you'd seen a doc who just wanted to give you pills...

thank you

Thank you. I think you may have just helped me.

incredible it tells me i too have hope for my depression ptsd :)<br />
i needed to hear this !!!

Sometimes it takes along time to heal from this. This is no joke. Now you can be blessing to someone else who is going through the same thing and help them and sow a seed into there lives. You know how it feels.

You know I to on and off during my life have been depressed. Suicidal as well. I have been abused physicaly abused, mentally, verbally by family memebers and people. Bad relationships and etc. Now and for awhile I have been healed. How. Changing my mind set. The things that I think about and meditate on. The words that I speak and forgiving those who have done wrong to me. I had a seen a comment about medication. From what I have been in touch with is this. Doing research. See people are getting rich. Go to the doctor doctors getting rich, pharmaceuticals getting rich the people who have tested or half tested getting rich the one that didn't go through the fda and let us know getting rich. If you take this medication because you feel this way but you will have other health issues like heart tumor or something else. If you take medicine for a problem you will have other health issues along with that one. They want us to take medicine to keep there pockets full. Why keep taking medicine when medicine caused damage to the liver or kidneys when taking it for along period of time. They want us to be dependent on that stuff. No way. I was in a mental hospital twice not glorifying it but I had cut my wrist and my arm on two seperate ocassions so that medicine they were giving was making them like zombies. Totally change We don't need medicine for everything. Now back to the words we speak. Proverbs 18:21 Death and live are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it. II Corinthians 7:6 But God, who comforts and encourages and refreshed and cheers the depressed. Now I can keep on going. I am not saying this God is saying this. I know that it is hard but you have to change your thought process. That is where the battle starts. What you think what you dream about will be what you feel what you speak and it will come.

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy, another citizen from the nation of blind idiots whose motto is "If I haven't experienced it, YOU cannot have experienced it.' <br />
Let me guess, because you haven't been to Mongolia you don't think it exists, right? <br />
YOU don't believe in God so God doesn't exist.<br />
YOU don't have clinical depression so clinical depression doesn't exist.<br />
WOW - such middle-ages ignorance in the 21 C. You're a legend and a dinosaur.

Could you give a direction or more detail as how you learned to recognize different needs of people and how to not be insulted or take on that you are contributing to their mood? thanks. I firmly believe too that we do have power to change our messages to ourselves, ability to not listen to what may perceive, and that if you want quality, be quality.<br />
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I loved your story and am blessed by it. thanks

hey i feel so happy for you:) has realli inspired me and given me hope that i can overcome myself

This is a fabulous testimony of what the human brain is capable of doing. I am so happy you ended the cycle of depression (you must be wonderwoman!!) I, too, have tried to change my "mantra" from "I hate myself. I'm so ugly, who would want me"? You get the picture. When those thoughts come up I try to say, "you're ok. Things are as they should be, and all is right with the world. Not ugly, just unique"! <br />
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As for the biochemical debate that has been ongoing here, I just have to throw in my 2 cents. I started drinking at the age of 11. My drug use progressed, and by the age of 37 I was a hopless addict. Then, I got help. I realized for 36 yrs I was self-medicating depression. This is how I know that there is some basis for biochemical imbalances, because at age 11, how could I have consciously know what I was doing? After, I got on medication (and it took awhile to find the right formula) Things have become more clarified. I still have bad days, but I am working on "enviromental" problems with a psychotherapist. Along with therapy and meds, I think I have improved tremendously. I no longer think about killing myself every minute of the day. Getting off the illicit drugs and getting into therapy has changed my life. I now see a future for myself instead of doom. <br />
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I wouldn't fret about 29 lost years, it took about 35 of mne. I look at it in a positive light. Calling myself a late bloomer, I know I have a wonderful life ahead because it is just beginning.<br />
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Thanks so much for sharing your story of hope. All my best ~~dar

Very inspiring!

This is a very inspirational story and thank you for sharing it. I hope to overcome my depression and tell a similar story someday.

Very good. I was the same. I am singing the song "Wasted" you know the country song not sure who sings it? But yeah tired of being miserable. I've let the world get to me and you know what I cant' change the world. Just my reaction and attitude while I live in it. I found my hope and faith in spiritual things. As long as my basic needs are met. You are wise in what you said on different personalities and no everyone is going to smile. My father always told me to no be so thin-skinned. There are alot of things I don't like, A LOT. That is hard to accept. As an adult you have to accept. So sorry you feel like you've wasted time. Make your next 30 years the BEST! Glad you found love.

Very good. I was the same. I am singing the song "Wasted" you know the country song not sure who sings it? But yeah tired of being miserable. I've let the world get to me and you know what I cant' change the world. Just my reaction and attitude while I live in it. I found my hope and faith in spiritual things. As long as my basic needs are met. You are wise in what you said on different personalities and no everyone is going to smile. My father always told me to no be so thin-skinned. There are alot of things I don't like, A LOT. That is hard to accept. As an adult you have to accept. So sorry you feel like you've wasted time. Make your next 30 years the BEST! Glad you found love.

Well done! It's great that everything is sorted & now you have a positive life, keep up the good work!

Regret is wasted energy, in my view. Congratulations on taking charge of your life and recreating it into something you enjoy living. Thanks for sharing your story and lighting the way for others.

Very nice story I don't think those 29 years were wasted. cuz now you learn how to deal with different personality & you can do communication with them & the Sam time you have experience in this life<br />
you are un inspiration foe us <br />
Wish you a god life with ur new family

I am so glad that you got help for your situation. Last week I, along with my guidance counselor, put together a plan to have a suicide prevention day at my school. We had a very unique, but fun, speaker come in who had her PhD. She was so compassionate as she spoke about people choosing to take their own lives. She was definitely not your everyday suicide speaker; she made it fun, got the audience involved, and even broke into song. I think that broke down the barrier some, but most people remained defensive and chose not to say anything for fear of what their peers would say/do. I am so glad you fought suicide and won. Hugs!!!

I'm 21 and learning, can easily relate to your story. Hope someday I'll change for the better!

I feel the 29 years have not been wasted, just imagine if you had got to 49 years and only decided to do something about it. Much admiration to your friend for helping. You are my inspiration, I am 31 and have never felt I fit in and that I am a burden to everyone, which leads me to insult people as my defense mechanism. I now need to take a leaf out of your book and do something about it and start living again!

What an inspirational story. You should be very proud of the person you are, and for being so strong and smart about the actions you took upon getting better. <br />
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I wish you all the best for the future, and i really hope your journey continues to be a positive one. Take care.

Thank you so much for sharing. I love what you wrote about having no control of others. I always get so angry when this "former friend" of mine insults me whenever she can. I stopped talking to her but we live on the same street. Tell me more on how to deal with the person. I think she is a bully.

Thank you so much for sharing. I love what you wrote about having no control of others. I always get so angry when this "former friend" of mine insults me whenever she can. I stopped talking to her but we live on the same street. Tell me more on how to deal with the person. I think she is a bully.

Well i think its a great story.

Well i for one, am very, very glad that you over came your depression. But as you said you were told, there are two kinds of depression. You could control yours. I, cannot. I dont know what to do, im sort of last. knowing that theyre pumping prozac into me?<br />
But not to be all negitive, your story does sort of make me feel better, that someone suicidal [such as me :/] can overcome that feeling at all. I feel like sometimes, ill never get past this..<br />
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So thank you :]<br />
and Im happy to hear your happy ending :]

What a great story and I agree - you first 29 years haven't been wasted - you got to the place you are by spending them and learning from them. That psychologist did give you a short cut though - we all need them and by passing on what he said you gave me a shortcut. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.<br />
I've heard this before but never stated in this way. It's our reaction to our circumstances that counts. Sometimes we have to create a new habit of reaction - we get set in our ways. Cheers, Mox

I would have to agree with Nefertari. Scientific research is still the best thing to base your knowlege on.

I have a mild form of depression all my life. Some of my family members suffer mental illness. I know my depression is biochemically based. For too many years I just try to tough it out without medication. I just did not find life is very exciting or have color in it. I was just coping the best I can. Recently, I was put on mirtazapine and it seems to help me. My depression also brought up by some external factors. I don't want to depend on medication but sometime I need to stabilize my mood. I dealt with members of my own family enough to know better about medication. I hope that future drugs development will be more responsive to treatment on depression.

Lucylawless, I would suggest that you don't use a forum like this to bang on about some crusade against biochemical depression and how drugs are all bad. Despite what some people say, biochemical depression does exist. Just because there isn't a blood test for it doesn't mean it does not exist. Last I checked there wasn't a blood test for schizophrenia, nor autism, or post-traumatic stress disorder. That's the funny thing about disorders which affect the brain - they manifest in the mind environment, mood and behaviour (how about that?!) so that is what has to be assessed to make a diagnosis. <br />
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There is plenty of scientific evidence to show that genetics and biochemistry, among other things, can influence your risk of depression and the way you respond to stresses and life events. Genetic variants in neurotransmitter receptors which predispose to depression are already being found. I don't doubt there are plenty more we don't know about yet.<br />
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A good doctor will diagnose biochemical depression by investigating family history and by observing the way you respond to treatment. Psychological treatment will usually help someone with biochemical depression but it usually requires medication as well for a full recovery. Once the person feels well again, and has been assessed as doing well by professionals, if they make a slow slide back into a depressed state after medication is withdrawn, it's a pretty good indicator that there is some biochemistry there that is contributing to the depressed state.<br />
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I'm a scientist, so I'm not some idiot who's just parroting what she's been told. I've seen this trajectory too often in my own family to write it off. The brain is extraordinarily complex, and to suggest that the biochemistry is never wrong and that genetics can't influence the way it works shows an ignorance that is hard to believe. Biochemical depression is not terribly common, but demonising those who do have it achieves nothing.

I'm just like you were when you were my age. I'm 19 going on 20 next month and I feel like right now if I don't get help, it's either help or suicide. I appreciate you writing this.

I read many stories on this site. This story was by far the most inspirational. To know that you could help yourself after all that time gives others like myself hope.<br />
Thanks for sharing.

Those 29years were not lost. They were learning years and made you the person you are today. Thanks for sharing your story :-) You are awesome !

Thankyou. I will try to follow in your footsteps.<br />
You truly are an inspiration.

great story indeed! wish you hadnt wasted29 yrs. tho. atleast it had a happy ebding!

What you assert about so called 'biochemical depression' is a bald faced lie and baseless assertion. People who think for themselves would ask what kind of biological diagnostics go into determining such an asserted 'chemical imbalance'... the answer is a paltry and pathetic 'half a dozen questions' as you admit.<br />
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Psychiatry is a pathetic pseudoscience. I'm glad a psychologist helped you, don't get me wrong, but what you claim about the psychiatrists assertions is completely ignorant and dangerously so.<br />
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To continue pushing long discredited 'chemical imbalance' lies on to readers here is just a dangerous lie.<br />
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Would you accept that a doctor could tell you had high cholesterol just by looking at you and not taking a test? or HIV?<br />
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Of course not, which leads to the conclusion that people who mess with the most sensitive organ in the universe, the brain, with guesswork and baseless assertions, are asking for trouble.<br />
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I'm very happy you didn't deface your biology with dangerous guesswork psychiatric drugs. And anyone who does, is a fool who has been taken for a ride by liars.

You know, I would maybe take what you said into account if you actually knew what the hell you were talking about. If you yourself are in the bio-medical field, then great, maybe you should take it up with people who control the news. Otherwise, who the hell are you to disagree with someone who went to more than 10 years of specialized schooling?