I've been depressed since high school, but since it was the "in" thing at the time to dress dark and dismal and all that jazz, I didn't really start thinking about it until I was 19 or 20. I always felt like something was off about me -- I've always been someone who has trouble sleeping at night and prefers to be awake during the night and sleep all day, I've never had the energy everyone else has had, among other things -- and I honestly thought it was normal, and that I was the odd ball. Maybe I was just a lazy, self centered, no-life moocher that was destined to do nothing worthwhile my entire life. Maybe I was just that kind of person.
When summer vacation came around I was up until 4-9AM, and I slept ALL. DAY. while everyone else was out in the pool. I'd close my door and turn on music to make my parents think I was awake, then I'd sleep. I also ate. And ate. And ate. All I would think about was eating. Even WHILE I was eating, I'd think about what I would or could eat next. I remember one day in the car I asked my mom what was for dinner, and she commented that that was all I ever cared about, it was like food was my life. That really bothered me, and I guess I never noticed it before. That just added to my buying and eating in secret. Then I tried not eating. It's a cycle now. Sometimes I'll be okay and can eat sensibly, other times I'm stuffing my face 8 times a day, or not eating at all.
Fast forward, I'm 23. I met an amazing guy, and after a few months we moved in together. My depression really started getting bad a couple months before the move. Everyone says it's just stress from the move, but I've felt like this off and on my entire LIFE. All I do is cry.
I have no motivation. None. And I can't help but think it isn't a matter of just "sucking it up and doing it" I feel as though without some type of medication or therapy I seriously can't do simple normal things others do. I haven't even gotten out of my pajamas or brushed my teeth yet and it's 4PM. How pathetic is that? It's amazing I'm even here writing this post. I'm not even working right now and I feel so guilty. I feel guilty because I DREAD working because of my anxiety. My mind is poisoning itself. I had a shitty education topped off with ADD and I never learned simple things. I can hardly do math, I can't do directions to save my life, I don't know inches or any of that. I feel so stupid. I'm so tired of people telling me I'm limiting myself and all I have to do is try. My brain doesn't WORK like that. You can tell me the same thing 14 times, every day of the year, and I STILL might not understand it.
So when I get mad or depressed I tell myself how stupid I am...it's just a huge cycle.
So I really want to know, do things really ever change? Did you find something that helped you? Made you feel "normal"? Because I can't deal with just existing anymore.
I'll let you know if I ever feel "normal". I diagnosed myself with anxiety age 23 (now 28) and was told this year that I score high for depression too by my CBT therapist, which shocked me at first but makes sense now. I would say you get to know yourself more as you grow older and with a bit of help can learn your triggers and start to see things a bit more objectively. I'm hoping that real changes are possible. My anxiety and depression are so closely linked with my eating and activity habits. Ironically if I lose weight it helps my confidence, anxiety and I'm less likely to stay in and become depressed, but the biggest obstacle to be sticking to a healthy lifestyle is the anxiety and depression. I hope we can make some effective changes for the long term, despite our obstacles x
If you haven't already, I'd suggest a physical check up first and have your thyroid levels and everything else checked.
If that all comes out ok then it wouldn't hurt to try finding a psychiatrist to try different medications. The only way to know if they will work for you is to try them. I think it's really hard to find a good doctor though, or it's just hard to diagnose these things because it's all going on symptoms and all these things, depression, anxiety, ADD, etc tend to have similar symptoms and one can cause the other... like if you have ADD and have trouble focusing on and completing tasks, it can cause you to then be depressed and have anxiety.
For most of my life I was diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety... but a couple of years ago a different psychiatrist diagnosed me with ADD, which is minus the hyperactivity part, which made more sense to me than being depressed or having anxiety when I did the research.
Last edited by ringmaster : 07-13-2013 at 06:04 PM.
Yes, things can and do change. People can and do recover from depression and anxiety. I used to be a deeply, deeply depressed person. A person who contemplated suicide daily, a person who cried continuously and without end, a person who would disintegrate at the first sign of difficulty because of the profundity and severity of my misery and anxiousness. Now I am a great deal stronger. Life doesn't hurt anymore, I can deal with disappointment and criticism and the trials and tribulations of existence - a state that evaded me for many, many years.
For me it took hitting rock bottom. I used to work, then come home and sit on the edge of my bed until the time came to sleep. I used to hunch over until my back ached and just sob. Just sob and nothing else, for hours. I used to take solace in the idea that I could take my life if I wanted, and only failed to do so because I lacked the energy or motivation. I never went out, never socialised, hated my self with a ferociousness I would never turn on anyone else.
I knew something had to change, and so I started going to therapy. Twice a week every day for years. And it was horrible - it was gut wrenching and hard and torturous and most days I left feeling like someone had removed all of my internal organs, and then forgotten to put them back in. I felt like I wasn't really a person - like i was just this messy tangle of bits and pieces that couldn't create a whole. But I went back and back and back and then one day I started to feel better. Now I can find joy in life. I feel peaceful and calm. I'm not always happy and I have work to do... but I am stable, and best of all, I'm not depressed. So yes, I promised, things can change.
Everyone's experience is different. Some people will recover quicker than others, some will respond to drugs, others to therapy, some to talk, others to art... the only thing I can say to you is this: yes, things get better, but you have to play an active role in getting there. You have to be the protagonist in your own life, you have to take control and do something and you don't have to like it and it doesn't have to feel good and it certainly doesn't have to be easy, but it does have to be a decision. And that is the hardest step you will ever take. I stayed in a depressive state for years because I wasn't ready to get better and I can't see those years as wasted because, I just wasn't ready. It was when I couldn't take a second more of the brutality of my illness that I was ready. That doesn't have to be the case for you, I hope it isn't.
And just so you know, I don't know you, but I love you because I am very well acquainted with your pain and I know that it means you have great potential. Recovering from depression can make you a beautiful person, if you let it. A compassionate, caring, gentle person. You're going to be fine, in fact, you're going to be good. One day.
Yes, things can change. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have waited until my late thirties to get on medication and go through therapy.
I look at chronic depression like diabetes. It isn't cured; it's managed.
I see my doctor regularly. When my meds don't work as well as they should, we change the dosage or try a new one until something works. If I feel I need it, I'll go back to my therapist. I can't tell you what normal is because I've been chronically depressed from early childhood. But I can tell you how it feels to not feel hopeless. It's pretty frickin awesome.
How can someone who writes so well and has such great self-awareness be stupid? Answer: She can't. You're obviously smart. Some of the unique features of your brain (we all have them) may have gotten in your way, but you can certainly get around them. I think it's imperative that you get into therapy. In the right person at the right time, medication can also make a dramatic difference. I've been on and off an antidepressant (for anxiety) for many years, so I speak from first-hand experience. Don't give up and get treatment.
Things really do change, I was on anti depressants for quite a while, they aren't necessarily a solution in themselves but what they can do is give you the space to distance yourself from those lows so you can start dealing with your anxiety. I understand, I felt crippled by depression for years, I was working and luckily I had my own office where I would sit and cry cry for absolutely no reason but those episodes are getting fewer and fewer (I mean literally months between). I wouldn't socialise or speak to anyone, I was really very lonely.
I would strongly recommend seeing someone, I ended up self harming (still got the scars) and abusing alcohol. But you know what I feel fantastic these days and so does my husband, it was horrible for him to see the slashes on my arms and legs, and worry about leaving me alone or not knowing what state I would be in. You have someone who obviously cares for you deeply, use it as a tool to help you move forward, support and love can't be underestimated.
The crippling anxiety also lessens, god knows I'm terrified of looking for a job but I'm doing it now and it's more manageable once the negative cycle of thoughts, self recrimination and self loathing has been broken. It becomes easier to judge what's a normal level of anxiety and insecurity and what's not.
Also your point about not understanding, I used to feel that way and it was simply panic not stupidity. When someone's telling me something I used to automatically start the thought process of " oh no, I cant remember this, what are they saying? they are going to expect me to understand but I'm so thick I can't possibly grasp this. they are going to find out I'm stupid, I feel awful". Soooo instead of focusing on what was happening in the present, I was thinking about all the judgements someone might be making and my own lack of ability. what happened? I was unable to absorb information, was it true? Not really! Before anything had even happened I had visualised myself making a hash of it.
I use my husband as a model, either he knows something or he doesn't, no shame about it, he never gets embarrassed he just relaxes and because he's not busy judging himself or suffering from performance anxiety he does well.
The cycle you are describing is absolutely something I can identify with, but as I (and everyone else here has pointed out) said it does get better.
There are many options available, my mum is bi-polar and she found CBT with drug therapy very helpful. I used drug therapy and CBT as well. find out what will work for you.
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