I'm really touched by the number of people who are responding to this and the things they've written. One of the worst things about depression is the thought that "No one knows what this is like," even though there are millions of people who do.
Sadalter, I suffered from recurring depression and anxiety attacks for nearly a decade; you are NOT alone in how you in how you feel. There were days when I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and wash my hair, let alone ride; some of the feelings I had were, in retrospect, incomprehensible. While I can't "see" how you are, I can tell you that it will pass.
HOWEVER, I would encourage you to SEEK A SECOND OPINION FROM A PSYCHIATRIST, OR ANOTHER PSYCHIATRIST. While therapy can be wonderful, the roots of clinical depression are NOT in outside events or in other people. Depression is increasingly being shown to begin as a physical/ neurobiological condition. As others have said, the RIGHT antidepressant can be the key to getting past it. For me, it was Effexor.(Patients who do respond to Effexor generally show improvement within a month.) I have a friend who responds only to Paxil. Don't give up on finding the right thing for you.
Keep us updated; I am pulling for you.
*** "Any ride is good ride provided you dismount voluntarily." ***
I can only add that as you go about your day, resolve to try to do good deeds, no matter how minor, along the way. Even the smallest thing, like being pleasant to a cashier who seems stressed, or thanking the postal worker (now THERE is job stress!), or picking up trash will give you a feeling of accomplishment. Even giving way to someone who is waiting to enter the roadway can give you a tiny nice feeling. It may not last all day, it may not be world altering, but it is something positive! Even if the rest of the day was rotten, you can look back and know that you did good in the world. After awhile, you might feel like figuring out something even more significant (I've always thought that I might like becoming a literacy volunteer) that will give you even more satisfaction. But start small, you will certainly feel the benefits right away, maybe even before those antidepressants kick in!
Another alter present. And, another situation for you all. I thought about bringing this up once, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. After several years of being depressed and not knowing it, I finally realized that depression was indeed my problem. I don't remember exactly how I came to that, but I did.
So, what's the problem? It's been over a year since then, and I haven't told anyone. You see, I'm not 18 yet and my parents openly express their dislike for psychologists, and really do think it's all in your head. I can tell when I am getting down, and I have good days and bad days, on some days I don't think about it at all, but on others it consumes me.
I've waited so long, it seems like a little longer won't hurt. But I have no friends in my high school, and I'm worried the same will happen in college.
I have everything I could want and more, yet I can't stay happy, I don't enjoy spending time with 99% of the people I know.
Is there any help out there for people under 18?
I've never told anyone partially because I don't believe I will ever physically hurt myself or anyone else. I've thought about it, yes, but I don't have the conviction to do anything.
So, guys, can anyone help me too?
I've listed an e-mail address (albeit not my normal one) that I will check if anyone feels like e-mailing.
God, I can't believe I actually got this all written down.
I just want to add something regarding drugs.
Someone mentioned that therapy is the most important aspect to getting better. However, while therapy is an important part feeling better, there are very important reasons to ALSO take medication.
The depressed mind produces certain chemical changes. During talk therapy, the patient makes emotional and social changes that help the body rebalance these brain chemicals on its own. (So you really can think and talk yourself well.) Still, if the problem that brought on the depression is complex (and almost all are) the chemical changes that occur in the brain continue and compound with prolonged depression. Thus, the illness that begins as pysho-social becomes medical. The drugs on the market today are targeted to rebalance these chemicals to a normal level. Research shows that both talking therapy and drugs, either alone or together, can return these chemical levels to normal, but just talk therapy alone takes much longer than using both together. In other words, find a competent psychotherapist you like, and take your meds (once you've found one that works). Its extremely important to your long-term well being.
It is also important to know that just like many other physical illnesses, depression left untreated can become chronic (meaning that the chemicals in the brain can no longer rebalance themselves without medical/prescriptive intervention). Don't ignore depression. Treat it just as you would any other medical condition.
Another Alter, if it helps, you can relay to your parents the tragedy suffered by my parents -- who for years, due to shame, suspicion, and incomprehension, ignored by sister's clear signs of 'mental distress'.
While everyone pretended that all was well in the household, and my sister attended McGill on full scholarship, she had a complete breakdown. My parents had to fly to Montreal to bring her home.
For the last 20+ years she has been in and out of hospitals, on various meds, through a turnstile of psychologists.
Had she been seen by a psychologist when the first obvious symptoms presented themselves, I do wonder how differently her life would have turned out -- not to mention my parents', who've reconciled themselves now to the fact that they must take care of her for the rest of their lives.
Is there a family doctor, a school counsellor or teacher you can speak to? Perhaps the parent of a friend, your trainer - an adult that you trust who can perhaps speak to your parents to explain to them the gravity of the situation.
The last thing I'd want to do is doubt your pain; but self-diagnosis is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. I, for one, was convinced that I had MS in my '20's and used to hyperventilate myself into numbness - post EEG, weekly visits to neurologists, it turned out to be an overactive thyroid.
I know that there's pressure when young to be popular and surrounded by thousands of friends but my theory as an old fart has become, if you have two friends in life who would doubtlessly and unconditionally rush to your side should something happen, you're luckier than most.
You are more than welcome to email me should you wish to 'talk'.
A few years ago, I was an elite sprinter with sights set on the Olympics. My world revolved around running, training, dreaming of singing the National Anthem. Little did I know that at the same time as my personal best was a mere .03 seconds from the Olympic Trials qualifying standard that I was about to suffer what I thought was a fate worse than death- being forced to give up running. It happened in an instant...one minute I was practicing block starts in my garage, the next, I was on the floor, clutching my left ankle in pain. (The same ankle that I had had a ligament reconstructed in just 2 years before). I limped and hobbled around for 2 weeks, even qualified for league finals, then it took a turn for the worse and I could barely walk. Finals were out, Olympic trials were out, and, after a bone scan, running was out...for good. With my history of ligament reconstruction, plus this injury (I fractured the tibia and fibula), I would never be able to fully recover enough to safely sprint again. It was over.
I was beyond depressed. The thing I had lived and breathed for was suddenly a part of my past. I found it hard to motivate myself to eat healthy, do my exercises, even wear the leg supports. Why should I, I wondered, I'll never run again. Everything looked so awful, and the world seemed to be against me in every way. So, I, being a naturally positive person normally, decided to retrain my mind the same way I had trained my body.
It worked like this: every day, before getting out of bed, I made myself think of one thing that I had to look forward to that day. It could be small...like "Today's turkey sandwich day in the cafeteria" or "Today it's supposed to be sunny." It could be something big like a birthday or a celebration. It could be ANYTHING so long as I had something positive to look forward to. It worked wonders...soon, with one thing looking good, the rest of the world started looking better, too. I eventually reclaimed my happy-go-lucky personality and put running behind me as a very special part of my past. Thank goodness I still was able to ride; going to the barn and just snuggling up with the horses I loved made so much difference. I was soon able to take that energy I had channeled for track and focus it elsewhere.
I have since reccomended this to everyone, whether they be suffering from depression, having a bad day, or just need to find something to smile about. Every day, think of something special that's going to happen that day and then look forward to it all day like a kid at Christmas. With one thing looking bright, the rest of the world will hopefully begin to shine again for you.
I wish you all the best, and if you ever want to chat, my email is on my profile and my IM name is speedybeetle3417. <<<<<<<hugs>>>>>>>
PNW Clique: Fuzzy Horses, Frizzy Humans!
I so cannot wait to meet you! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] You just totally put into words so much about my life too.
AA, I came from a family that also looked down on mental illness. God forbid anyone admit to being physically and mentally flawed. We were warriors. It was hard.
My problems started after I moved away and when 175 pound Robby came back from Christmas, four months later, at 148 pounds, everyone started whispering. When I told my mother what was happening she said, "just get over it."
Oh. Well why didn't I think of that? Boy, that's an easy solution.
Well, I did get over it. But not instantly. I did it by realizing that my parents - as much as I love them - aren't me. My life is mine to live. My depression was my battle. I remained a warrior, but a warrior of a different kind. One who was compassionate to mental illness and who knows what it's like to have dark days.
I will never forget, as long as I live, standing in front of a 3-way mirror at Prada in a $1500 outfit (which I bought) and having 3 staff members fawning all over me saying things like, "this is the body Miuccia Prada designs clothes for." I literally had this out of body experience almost, and was staring at a person I didn't even recognize.
I'm so glad it's over. And what I took from the entire experience is that I would never want anyone to go through what I went through.
My parents always told me to tell the truth. I sometimes think they probably regretted that when I told them I was gay. When I told them I was depressed. You get the picture.
Never sway from the truth. It's the only thing that is real.
To saldalter ... I have numerous thirtysomething single girlfriends who are going through what you are going through. Ask yourself this question. Is it worth the misery to achieve a social ideal? So you're not married. Big deal. Madonna wasn't either. Sharon Stone wasn't either. You get the picture.
Relationships aren't always hunky-dory either. It's hard work. You go be fabulous at 33. You go be fabulous at 43. As Sharon Stone said in Basic Instinct, "I don't make any rules Nick ... I go with the flow." Being a little hedonistic is always healing!!!!!
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Louise:
An antidepressant that works for some people won't work for others. If the one you are on isn't working, go back and have them try something else. You may have to try several to find one that works for you.
Keep talking to your therapist, he/she is the one who can help you the most. You can deal with depression, but it takes time and effort. It is not surprising that you are still feeling depressed after only a month.
Louise is right. Your therapist may have to fiddle with medication a bit to find the one that works for you. And it will take time to climb back up out of this. Be patient. Just realize that you have taken the important first step -- recognizing the problem and then getting outside help -- and that there are a lot of us out here who have dealt with depression successfully.
This board seems to provide a great support system. When I first realized I had a problem -- 20 years ago -- I was embarrassed, ashamed and timid about getting help. I had only my husband and a close friend to give me the encouragement I needed. People are much more willing to share their own experiences today. Let them cheer you on! Good luck and hang in there; we're on your side!
Once again I am thinking what good ideas and advice this bb has to offer.
May I add that some of my best "life lessons" and realizations have come from reading. I just go to the bookstore (my second favorite place) and wander around letting the book almost "pick me"!
One of the most fascinating subjects I have found this past year involves Chakras (the energy centers) of the body. In my reading, I have found that what I "thought" was my problem may have started in a totally different chakra and because that energy center has been blocked or shut down, it affected the surrounding centers as well. My entire system may have been running in a compromised state. It amazes me that through meditation exercises and visualization, I can feel energized and/or peaceful and/or open. I highly recommend it as an interesting study. I believe there's a lot to be said for its philosophy.
There are some really good books out there that might help you open up your energy centers. Trust me.... I am not a new age fanatic but the subject seems to make sense.
If Chakras don't interest you, I still advise going to the library or bookstore; maybe even research the internet. There is vast information out there and if all else fails, pick up a good novel and get lost in that!!! Just peruse the good book threads on this bb....that ought to keep one intrigued for a while.
Try to smile and compliment others if you can. I know this probably sounds ludicrous at this time but it has a huge reward. The good feeling in your heart when smiling or encouraging others to smile is contagious. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
After my first child was born, I found myself depressed. I don't think this was your garden variety post partum thing, it was stress induced. I had been on bed rest for months, he (my son) was 3 months premature and very sick. I had been this woman who had it all (nice horse, big job and paycheck, etc) and then suddenly for no reason, nothing was the same and nothing was working out at all. I couldn't go back to work because the baby was so sick, I felt like a reproductive failure because I hadn't carried him to term and I wasn't getting a paycheck anymore. I didn't know who I was. I went to counseling and that did help. But what helped the most was the knowledge that what happened in my life was up to me. And also, "humming a few bars and faking it". I used to play this little game with myself I called "What would I do today if I felt like it?" Then I would do that. Some days the goals were as simple as putting makeup on or making my bed. Other days I was more ambitious. But I learned that you develop self esteem by doing things you can feel good about.
The longest journey starts with a single step. So every step counts, just take one.
Sadalter, Another Alter, visit this most wonderful site -- and read the profile of William Styron, one of the best American writers (ever!!) and a survivor of depression.
What a timely topic...
I myself had issues as a younger teen got treated for depression and 'sutting' with Zolaft, and I agree that it makes it better but makes you not care about anything, which discouraged me from attempting to go back for treatment the next time I had a relapse [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]
After that I decided I was just fine, which I was for a while. Everytime I started to feel 'it' coming on I just ignored it, because I decided that feeling bad once in a while was better than not feeling anything at all (which is how it was for me on zolaft).
Now a lot of things have added up in my life to make me realize that I need to go back into treatment. It runs in my family, and I agree with the others who say that it truely is a physiological condition, not just 'all in your head'. My body just doesn't function on the same level as the "normal"/non depressed person. Always tired and bored, but having ZERO motivation to do anything but sit around [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] My hormones aren't helping either - on and off BC I now have major PMS triggered mood swings where I simply hate everything for a week out of every month.
I wonder if I had just accepted and done something about this earlier I wouldn't be where I am now - on academic suspension from school (sleeping was MUCH more important than chemistry) with no motivation to return, my long term relationship in serious trouble (it's hard to be happy with someone else when you aren't happy with yourself, and looking to someone else to 'fix' you or make you feel better is not going to work), and very few friends for support (going out and being social is just too hard, and can you really trust anyone anyways?)
The worst part is that I no longer have health insurance (not a full time student? no insurance for you!), which makes the medical care I now need prohibitively expensive.
So now it is just going to have to be the 'chin up' approach for me for a while, which is just going to have do it until I start school again in the fall. Lucky for me I have never been one to sink so far as to be a danger to myself (watching my best friend lose her first love to suicide at the age of 15 showed me to never let yourself sink that far without asking for help:()
Any other non-medication suggestions from anyone to help me pull myself through the next 6 months would be greatly appreciated.
And thanks for the vent to everyone on the thread!
one word - celexa.
i got tired of feeling like crap, my mom wasn't supportive. so i made an appointment with my primary care physician (patient confidentiality) and talked to him for about 2 hours, came out with a bottle of orange pills and a followup in 6 weeks.
Within a week my mom said I was another person. I haven't had that follow up yet, but drugs work. Don't deny that, I know people don't want chemicals ruling their lives, but I will take it over being miserable anyday.
I think Another Alter's family must be related to mine..thou shalt suffer horribly rather than let anyone know that we are not perfect. I was mad about that for years, now I feel sorry for all the generations that had to struggle not only with depression but with feelings of shame and stigma.
Anyway, yes you can get help without your family knowing. Start by telling the therapist or counseler that you want this kept secret. They will probably respond by telling you the conditions under which they will break confidence, as for instance if you report child abuse (just a legal example). If the problem is that you can't pay full fare for a therapist without your parents' help, call a hotline for referral to a free/cheap clinic, or, and I personally had very good luck with this option, look to the clergy. Most ministers/pastors/rabbis/whatever have serious training in counseling, they are free, and they usually don't care if you go to their church or any. They just can't prescribe medication.
If anyone still needs to hear that depression is nothing to be ashamed of, look at this thread: the posters who have talked about their own depressions include some of the nicest people, the best riders (SEE, A HORSE TOPIC) and the most reliable friends in the BB. Good for us!!--s.
A while back a close family member was treated for depression, at the same time my then roommate was treated for an anxiety disorder. I'll just add my two cents about the medication: hang in there, it takes TIME to find the ride kind AND the right dosage.
My roommate started on Paxil. Had bad side effects (sever diarrhea) and fatigue. The side effects started in a week. The doctor said the side effects can start right away, but the benefits can take 4 weeks to kick in. So (I know you hate to hear this) be patient. My roommate switched to Celexa. No bad side effects (none she couldn't live with) but a small amount of fatigue which she dealt with by taking her pill before bed. She was over it if she got a full 8 hours of sleep. However, the first dosage wasn't strong enough. I think they raised her medication twice (if I can recall correctly) and EACH TIME it took the full four weeks for the benefits to kick in. So it took 3 months to get it straightened out for her. But don't despair! It did work in the end.
My family member started out on Paxil and had no serious side effects (it's all different for different people) but, like my roommate, had to have the dosage increased. For her, it took three weeks each time for the meds to really kick in.
Neither drug changed their personalities or made them apathetic. I think my roommate's doctor told her if she felt apathetic about things that was a sign the dosage was too high or the drug was the wrong type.
Sadalter, you mentioned that you have a hard time getting out of bed. That could be the depression, but it could be a side effect of the meds. Be sure to talk to your perscribing doctor. He/she will be able to help you figure out which it is.
Both were in talk therapy, but the meds helped bring them to a point where they had the right frame of mind to participate in therapy (particularly my roommate who was such an anxiety ridden mess that she couldn't effectively participate in her sessions, she was kind of trapped in a bizarre mental feedback loop).
Moral of the story: it takes time, but there IS light at the end of the tunnel. Both my roommate and my family member had great results from their meds.
to you through your school or church- either will surely be sensitive to your situation.
And don't worry--college and high school are NOTHING alike!!!!
At college, you will discover you are NOT the wierdo you think you are!! You will find yourself free to pursue your own interests on your own terms, and suddenly you will find yourself surrounded by kindred spirits; colleges are gathering places where former outcasts find themselves part of the most stimulating, interesting communities...there are so many opportunities for expression and interraction that aren't available in HS that is is like night and day. In high school you are trapped by your own assumptions and expectations as well as everyone else's and by rigid social codes...if you ask me HS is a total den of evil (just my opinion-based on horrible high school experiences and wonderful college ones that amazed me, as I had become convinced that I was condemmned to a lifetime of nerdity). Anyway, DO take advantage of whatever counseling is available to you at school...and in the end, your parents may surprise you as well, by being more open than you think they are.
LOL... wow, Just Jump, did we go to the same high school and college? My experience was just like that, too. Night and day.
I was only able to open up to my therapist when the medication improved my outlook to the point where talk therapy made sense. It is not the cheapest route (and how insurance companies hate to pay for talk therapy!) but both are essential; there are reams of studies that suggest "either-or" treatments rarely work.
To the Alters: If you haven't already, please consider getting a full physical from your primary care physician. (AnotherAlter, this is something your parents should be willing to consider before you head off to college!) Sometimes depression is triggered by, or exacerbated by, another condition, such as underactive thyroid, chronic-fatigue syndrome, or severe PMS.
*** "Any ride is good ride provided you dismount voluntarily." ***
Another Alter, I too must add my praises of school counselors. I am pretty sure it is the reason why a friend of mine is alive today (her family had similar attitudes towards psychologists - or she believed they had similar attitudes - sometimes one's perceptions may not be totally accurate, but it really doesn't matter, it's our perceptions that govern us in most instances).
I also spent a lot of time with the counselor. Initially I went as support to my friend, but as my own family started a tailspin into Really Special Dysfunctionality, the school counselor (and my English teacher) were probably the most important people in helping me cope with my life at that time.
Also, your parents may have a what is known as an ESP (Employee Services Plan) as part of their company benefits. This is an anonymous number you can call to get access to counseling services, legal services, etc., and they MUST preserve your confidentiality. You may be able to find the number from the corporate website.
Sadalter - please don't feel as if you are the only one who can't seem to make a relationship work (or start). You are so not alone. In fact I think I have just officially adopted rockstar's statement about avoiding a bad marriage and inevitable divorce.
I can't say that I suffer from depression per se, but I have certain been a victim of profound mood swings, and by nature I have always been a bit of a loner, so when the downward swing hits, it can be very hard to find ways to drag yourself out of it. Robby and Rockstar are right about small steps. Even if you have to write them down to give yourself visible proof of progress.
Another thing to at least consider is hormonal balance (assuming you are female). Even though I am not old (5 precious months until the death watch of 40 hits [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ), I started experiencing all the symptoms of premenopause. Worst of all were the violent mood swings (sort of like a factor of 20 on the old mood swing). They were truly awful, and I couldn't do anything to correct them - I have never felt so out of control in my life, and sadly, control is kind of an issue with me. I talked to my regular doctor and my OB/Gyn, and both agreed that I should go on the pill 24/7 (there were also other physical symptoms present), and since that point in time, the really violent shifts in mood have stopped. All this happened at a point when I was laid off from my job, and somehow I have managed to escape major depression, so I have to believe that hormonal imbalance was a serious part of any depression I was dealing with.