Depression and Weight Issues Have you been diagnosed with depression, are possibly on depression medication, and find it affects your weight loss efforts? Post here for support!

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Old 01-13-2011, 06:12 AM   #1  
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Default Depression & Weight Gain: Your Story!

Please don't take this as some 'look at me! feel sorry for me!' attention seeking thread, it's not. I'm looking for people to open up about their experiences and share in the hopes that it will help them, especially in reading other people's stories and not feeling alone in the world. Opening up is the first part to beating down depression, because without opening up, you cannot properly receive support.


Seeing as I'm the thread starter, I'll go first to encourage others.

It's about my true history with mental illness, meds and weight gain and how I've overcome it. I hope to give others hope through my triumph over my past so that they can find it in themselves to overcome their psychological issues as well and start working on their weight like I have. My story is pretty long, so I understand if you don't read it, I tend to write too much, but it still helps me to get my story out there as well = ]

If you haven't seen my post in the Introductions forum already, my name is Steph, and I have Bipolar Disorder.

Warning: Some of these things are pretty personal and in depth so if you're afraid that anything I say will set you off, then please skip over it and just say something abut yourself, I don't want to make anybody here feel terrible.

Beginnings: I started having depressive episodes when I was 11 years old. I probably weighed 160 at the time. My parents were divorced and were never around since they were in the dating world. My mom would literally put $20 on the counter and I had to fend for myself for the week while she was gone. Things weren't much better with my dad since I had a step sister who stole my stuff and hawked it for cigarette money, she lit my hair on fire when I was asleep and she'd blame her problems on me. So, due to my step sister, I ended up staying alone at my mom's. I'd get cheap junk food from the store, and I'd sit around depressed and eat. I felt like nobody in the world wanted me. I would binge, mostly on popcorn and Pepsi, then go cry myself to sleep most every night. I felt like the eating would somehow help fill the void left by being neglected. Granted I would walk around all day most days, I still ate way more than I could burn off at night. I would start feeling completely numb to the world, so I started self harming at the end of 6th grade.

Enter Junior High: This was the only time in my life when I felt concerned about my weight, I was now 180 pounds throughout 7th and 8th grade. I got teased a lot for it, and a few times I got asked out as a joke. Most days I'd spend the lunch hour locked in the gym bathroom crying, as I didn't really have any good friends. My home life, if possible, took a turn for the worse. My mom got engaged to a guy who was verbally abusive and sometimes physically abusive towards me. When I was asked if I was okay with him moving in, I said yes only because I wanted my mom to be happy, I didn't care about me. I continued on with my binge eating to fill the loveless void. Apparently being a straight A student warranted getting no attention. The only reason I tried at school was to get attention. In these two years, I tried committing suicide twice, both failed obviously. All I did was try to overdose on any and all pills I could find in the house both times, and all I did was wake up the next day feeling like utter crap both times. My mother finally discovered my self harm one day when I was wearing shorts, and she saw my thighs all scabbed. When I explained everything that had been going on, she called off her engagement immediately since that was what it took to open her eyes.

Diagnosis: My mom went back to dating and went back to ignoring me as soon as I said things were better and refused to see a therapist. I fell depressed again mid way through my freshman year of high school. I started binge eating again and got up to 200 pounds. This was the year when I started having mania episodes, which included hallucinations. I'd stay up for days at a time, I'd go out thrill seeking and I'd go away for days at a time to people's houses without anybody knowing. This sounds a bit outrageous, but it's true,the turning point was when I was in the garage laughing maniacally because I saw Jesus with a knife between his teeth, I was throwing things at him and wrapping myself up in some bible video cassette tape film for whatever reason. My best friend, Tim, whom I had met at the beginning of the year, came over at random at 5 AM since he lived a few blocks away and witnessed what was happening. He got me to calm down and stayed with me for a couple of days until my mom got home and explained what had happened. So, I was taken to the doctor and put on medication.

For the next few years, my depression had gone into remission, but due to bad habits formed from poor parenting before, I continued binge eating. My mom got engaged and remarried, this man much better than the last, this helped me a lot since he was supportive of me and my mental struggle as he'd been there before.

Med and weight gain during this time:

Depakote- gained 25 pounds.

Lithium- gained 50 pounds

Seroquel- leveled out at around 275

Starting College: Things seemed good. I had a job, a car, graduated with honors and top 10% of my class, received an award for being the best at language arts in my graduating class and received two $1000 scholarships. I had found an online support site for teens with psychological issues and became a volunteer staff member on there. On top of it all, I started college 30 credits ahead due to working extra hard in high school. I moved out with one of my best friends, Sarah. In the next few months, my life went to **** in a hand basket. I fell depressed again and became a recluse. I only left my room for work and school. I started mutilating myself again. One night, while visiting my dad, I decided I was going to drink away everything, I had half a fifth of vodka, and cheap vodka at that. I had a work meeting the next morning, and at the end, I ran in the back and puked in the sink since I was hungover. I cleaned the sink and left. I then received a call from my boss telling me that I was fired, not just for puking in the sink, but because she told me that my mood swings in the recent few months were bull****, that I was making it all up, and even if I wasn't, she was convinced that I had to power to make my moods go away. Anybody can tell you right there that psychological disorders don't work like that. So I went home, and started talking to an online friend, Cody. He convinced me to tell my mom what was going on. So I sat in math class the next day and hand wrote a 4 page letter. I remember this day, as it was election day 2008. I then went to my mom's house that night and gave her the letter. I had told her everything: I was mutilating myself again, my meds weren't working anymore, I was binge eating more now than ever and gaining weight again, I had gotten fired and that I had tried committing suicide again. That was the single most hardest yet best thing I ever did for myself in my life. My mom talked to my step dad about it, and they let me move back in since I couldn't support myself amongst the turmoil.

The Worst Of It: The next seven months were by far the hardest in my life to date. I stopped exercising regularly, I stopped taking my meds, I was still binge eating, and I had hit the big 300 at age 18, something I had promised myself I'd never do. My mental state had taken a turn for the worse: I was cycling rapidly between mania and depression, about one of each episode a month, which is pretty rare. My mania was more of a paranoia state, I'd get these delusions that something was out to get me, so I wouldn't leave my room, especially at night. I tried committing suicide again, and failed again. Living in a constant state of depression and paranoia really gets to you. It got to the point where I nearly flunked out of college due to not going to school. If I wasn't depressed and hurting myself, I was curled up and away as far from my window and door as I could be for fear of a **** hound (don't ask me why a **** hound, that's just what it was) bursting in and hurting me, and some days I'd just lay in bed laughing like a maniac for no reason. Some days, I'd even regress back to the mind of my junior high self and act accordingly.

Recovery: My first therapist was no help, he was more of a Freudian psycho-analytic style, so all he was interested in was repressed memories and traumatic events. My next therapist, though, did wonders for me as she specialized in young adults with Bipolar Disorder and she was a Cognitive-Behavioral therapist. She gave me the tools and advice that I needed to have a healthy mental state again. Also, I was on a couple different medications that seemed to work well for me. Despite a med 'hiccup' where I ended up in a manic state and drove to Canada on a whim in the dead of night to see my friend Cody, things were going well. In May, I got up the courage to go back into my former employer and ask for my job back on the grounds that I stopped hurting myself and that I was properly medicated once more. And so, I got my job back. Since then, until present, I've worked on staying stable and living a somewhat normal life. I've ended up gaining 30 more pounds, being at my highest this last November at 330, and this is when I realized that now that my mental wellness is in order, it's time to start working on my physical wellness.

Currently I'm on Welbutrin and a therapeutic dosage of Seroquel. This medication combination makes it hard since the Welburtin makes me think I'm hungry,and the Seroquel makes me very drowsy, but it's a work in progress.

Thus far, since November, I've lost 15 pounds = ]

I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be my come back year physically!
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:57 PM   #2  
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Thanks Rhapsodysia for sharing your story. You've been through soo much. I am glad that you managed to get things back in order and you are now working on your physical wellness. I have bipolar disorder too.

This is my story.

In university, i got diagnosed with depression and had to take lexapro for it. It didnt quite work for me. I was feeling depressed all the time and often slept instead of going to classes. The only thing that saved me from dropping out of university was the support from my boyfriend. I relied on him for everything and was totally dependent on him. Once university was over, and i graduated, he broke up with me, i guess he felt it was finally time to move on, and not have to put up with me anymore. I was very needy because I couldnt support myself at all. The break up hit me really bad and also I gained some weight on Lexapro. I was at an all time low. Things were bad.

Just after the break up, i started getting panic attacks and get body spasms. I would cry day and night. Not the silent crying, the wailing kind. This continued for 1-2 months. So my parents finally brought me to another doctor and i got diagnosed with bipolar II. At that point of time, i was given seroquel and lithium if i'm not mistaken. Anyways, i managed to sort of move on from the bad break up and start work. At work, people could see my dramatic mood swings, I was manic most of the time. I would work and work and work all the time, stay up late in the office, I would be overenthusiastic about everything. I guess people thought I was just being weird. During that time, I would also spend ALL my money on clothes, clothes that I couldnt wear because I was in denial about my real size. After awhile, I quit my job on a whim, I hit a bump in the road and I quit because 'I just felt like it', even when I had no money left in the bank.

After that i tried looking for other jobs, but i never managed to pass the interviews. That got me back into depression. I started binge eating on unhealthy things, and that made me put on weight really fast. I suspect that it's also because of the lithium I was on. Since then, which was 2 years ago, I still haven't had the will or guts to find a job, so I have been staying at home with my parents ever since. In that time, I have tried committing suicide twice and ended up in hospital. I also was admitted to a emotional and psychological rehab center for about a month. It was rather helpful but i still wasn't completely alright. I guess I was haunted by my past, my past decisions, relationships and I guess I never really moved on or forward. My mind and head was still stuck in 2008.

What i am currently going through now is problems with anxiety. I still have issues with depression but not as much or as bad as before. I have slight agoraphobia so I mostly stay at home, lock myself at home and not go out. But i guess the only happy side to the story is that I have managed to force myself out to the gym 2-3 times a week to lose the weight that ive put on throughout the two years. My weight gives me VERY low self esteem so i decided to work on that. So that's my story so far... I have yet the courage to find a job again and venture out into the world alone, i guess i am taking baby steps forward. So far i have lost 5 kgs and I am pretty happy about that.

I guess the increase in positivity came from changing my meds and changing doctors again and also seeing a psychotherapist. I am now on Lamictal, Rivotril, Valdoxan and Abilify. This combination seems to work for now. I only wish I could finally get the courage to truly move forward and get a job and no longer be a burden to my parents. They have been truly supportive of me throughout though and I feel really blessed.

Well that's roughly my story (so far) everyone. Hope to hear more stories from others. Would be nice to know that I'm not alone in this.
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Old 01-14-2011, 02:38 AM   #3  
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Thank you for sharing ^_^

It's definitely nice to see that there are other people out there going through similar things that I've been through. I too felt like a burden on my mom and step dad when I had to move back home, but in all reality, parents just want to see you get better and to succeed at your own rate. It's wonderful that your parents have been supportive, it helps a lot.

It's like you said, baby steps. It's wonderful that you're managing to go to the gym despite agoraphobia. I have a friend who gets really bad social anxiety at times, so I understand that it's hard to even come out of your room some days.

Congrats on the 5 kgs so far!
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:34 PM   #4  
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Wow. I'm sure you guys are much stronger people now that you've overcome these illnesses. I'll share my story later when my computer isn't about to die
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:56 PM   #5  
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Rhapsodysia--Thank you for starting this thread and having the courage to share all that. While I would these kinds of issues on anyone, it's nonetheless helpful to know that there are others who understand what it's like. It's easy to feel isolated. You've gone through a lot, but I'm so glad that things are looking up for you! I got pretty ticked off when I read about your boss saying you were making up mood swings. People who haven't gone through this stuff first hand cannot possibly understand what it's like, so when I hear someone blatantly dismiss it, it really bothers me.

Esha--I feel you on the job thing. Looking for a job is awful. Working is, if possible, worse. Best of luck to you, and take it easy on yourself!

I debated about posting my story, but I may as well. I'm trying to be more open in hopes that it'll improve my social skills. Sorry for the length! I'm still learning the fine art of being concise.

So, I've got a family history of anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. My father has bipolar I and PTSD and has struggled with anorexia and bulimia since his teens, my mother is a licensed clinical social worker--basically, mental illness is a huge part of my life, but up until the last couple years, I've neglected my own mental health.

My dad is bipolar I and was severely depressed during the majority of my childhood. He was once hospitalized for attempted suicide, and all I had to comfort me were my mom and food. Basically, I learned how to binge for comfort by watching my mom and learned how to hate myself by watching my dad hate himself. I got a guilt complex from my dad’s guilt trips and inherited his introspection and episodes of depression.

Eighth grade, I had my first period of depression. It manifested in apathy, lethargy, and bizarre, idiosyncratic peeves. I didn’t know what was going on, though, and brushed it off.

Ninth grade, I dabbled in very light self-mutilation, though I was out of my depression. Retrospectively, I suspect I may have been hypomanic. One night in particular stands out, when, at 1 a.m., I was rolling around in a fetal position, talking to myself and moaning because I couldn't make my thoughts slow down. Again, I brushed this off. It happened infrequently.

That summer, I got my first job. With my social anxiety, I was having panic attacks on a weekly basis. I absolutely dreaded going into work. It was, admittedly, an unpleasant place to work, but the level of my anxiety was not warranted. I should have considered medication at this point, but I didn't. I just quit after two months.

Eleventh grade, I started having panic attacks while I was working at my first job and I quit after only two months because I couldn't take it. I got depressed again. This time it was an angry depression. I was angry and depressed about everything in my life and felt my only talent was school. I took all honors and advanced placement classes and got straight A's, but was secretly crying in the bathroom almost every day. I saw a therapist for two sessions, but didn't know how to articulate what I was feeling, got nervous, and quit going. I did a lot of journaling after that, which helped, and either I worked myself out of the depression or I swung out of it as arbitrarily as I'd swung in.

Senior year, things seemed great. I had another job and managed to stick with it for a whopping four months before quitting. Suddenly I could do things like…order food at restaurants! Hold small talk with strangers! Things which, with my SA, had been all sorts of terrifying in previous years. My body issues were worse, though, since I was now 160 lbs. and just realizing that I’d been mistaken to think I was overweight at 125. Still, I graduated second in my class and even gave a speech at graduation despite my anxiety.

At college, things weren’t so rosy. Almost immediately after moving into my dorm, my anxiety skyrocketed and I fell back into depression. I only made two friends (my roommates), had multiple anxiety attacks each week, and was crying constantly. My mom finally talked me into seeing a psychiatrist. I’ve got this fear of pills, due to my dad’s bad experiences with bipolar meds and my own week of suicidal ideation while on oxycodone after getting my wisdom teeth removed.

In November 2009, I was put on 50 mg of Zoloft and 20 mg of BuSpar. My anxiety lessened slightly and my depression more or less disappeared. Again, in retrospect, I wonder if I didn’t just swing into a hypomanic mode, since I was talking a lot more and faster and beginning to consider self-mutilation again. I started binging a LOT and gained 20 pounds, putting me at my current weight, in the obese BMI range. Food issues got out of control and I started purging maybe once a month after particularly bad binges. If I hadn’t watched my dad’s eating behavior growing up, I know I’d be full-fledged bulimic now, but as is, I avoid the behavior as much as I can.

My doctor tried doubling my dosages over the summer, when my anxiety got a bit worse. The BuSpar seems to help, still, but the doubled Zoloft made me incredibly lethargic and I went back down to 50 mg. I started noticing that I was still depressed sometimes, just for shorter periods of time that happened with greater frequency. About five months ago, I started seeing a therapist at school, and we’ve since discussed the possibility that I am bipolar II. This would explain why Zoloft hasn’t been too helpful lately, since SSRIs tend to either stop working after a time or cause rapid cycling when given to bipolar patients.

Now: I'm tracking my moods on a daily basis. If I am indeed bipolar II, I'll get off Zoloft and try some mood stabilizers this summer, so it doesn't interfere with school. I've been pretty okay these past few months, with some very bad days now and then. It's better than it was. Right now, my biggest focus is getting my body issues straightened out. No more disordered eating. So far, so good.

Last edited by Eurydice; 01-16-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 11:46 AM   #6  
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Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. I have also long suffered from depression and anxiety, and I have been on a vast variety of medications over the last ten years. I used to have an all or nothing attitude. I figured that I would eventually get to a place where I was up all the time and almost never down unless something major happened. I have come to learn that this is an unrealistic expectation for me and probably for a lot of people that suffer from some type of depression. Being in an ok place takes a lot of work. Some days I am totally there and some days I am totally not. It is so much easier to have a "good" day when you have a good support system, people to talk to, and a non judgmental outlet for your emotions. Coincidentally, these are the same things that help with making healthy food choices and getting motivated to move one's body regularly.

I applaud everyone for being brave enought to share.
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