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View Full Version : What is a serious depression like?


Lakai
04-21-2006, 12:39 AM
I have come across threads where people say they have been hospitalized for depression. I know other people who insist that their depression is serious enough to warrant the same sympathy that hospital patients receive. I am ignorant on this subject so I would like to know what a serious depression is like. What are the symptoms and how sever of an illness is it? Is it just unhappiness, or is it something much worst?

elfbabe
04-21-2006, 01:59 AM
Well, it does manage convince a lot of people whose lives are otherwise great (decent job, loving family, etc) that everything is horrible, nothing will get better, and they should kill themselves... and that their loving parent/child/friend/significant other will actually be much happier if they do. Almost a cliche, local man with wife-career-car-kids-future kills himself, obit on page ten.

Just think about what an absolutely STUPID idea that is for a moment. Assume no terminal illness, no crippling chronic pain, no huge debts, lots of friends and loved ones... how dumb would it be to conclude that both you and everyone else would be better off if you died?

Now think about how messed up someone's brain would have to be to actually believe something like that.

kambuckta
04-21-2006, 02:53 AM
You could ask 20 people who have suffered from clinical depression what their symptoms were and you would probably get 20 different responses.

For some it is indeed an intense sadness that does not reflect the day-to-day reality of their lives (as elfbabe noted).

For others it is a complete absence of any feeling, good, bad or otherwise.

Some become almost psychotically depressed, resulting in an inability to react to the outside world in any way, while others are able to maintain some semblence of 'normality' and keep up working and family committments even though they feel like automatons.

Although suicide is the main fear for depression sufferers, there are other common features including self-harm activities, self-medication (with alcohol and other prescription/non prescription drugs) and the effect depression has upon immediate family members (esp. children).

It is not a nice disease, and one that is oftentimes difficult to treat, despite all the wonderful drugs and treatments on the market. With physical disorders (say, a broken leg) it's going to hurt and it's going to be a pain in the arse to treat, but it will get better.

But the problem with depression is that there appears to be NO light at the end of the tunnel, and when one is in the midst of an episode, death can seem like the only way out. It's not a rational disease.

roger thornhill
04-21-2006, 04:28 AM
Samuel Johnson suffered from what we now call depression, what he referred to as "morbid melancholy", which is a rather good description, I think. Since both Dr Johnson and his biographer James Boswell were so on the ball in their description of the problem, and of the possible remedies, and since they were so up front about discussing it (and yet without boring the pants off everyone), and since they were gloriously jargon-free in those days about mental afflictions, I'll quote from the book (Boswell's 'Life of Johnson') directly and liberally. It really is difficult to better, I feel. I've taken the liberty of italicising those parts which I believe show special insight into the condition. (Page references are to my library's Everyman edition; but probably useless to anyone else since there are almost more versions of this classic than years since it was first published, 1791.)

30-31: 'The "morbid melancholy", which was lurking in his constitution [as an undergraduate at Oxford], and to which we may ascribe those particularities, and that aversion to regular life, which, at a very early period, marked his character, gathered such strength in his twentieth year, as to afflict him in a dreadful manner. While he was at Lichfield, in the college vacation of the year 1729, he felt himself overwhelmed with an horrible hypochondria, with perpetual irritation, fretfulness, and impatience; and with a dejection, gloom, and despair, which made existence misery. From this dismal malady he never afterwards was perfectly relieved; and all his labours, and all his enjoyments, were but temporary interruptions of its baleful influence. He told Mr. Paradise that he was sometimes so languid and inefficient, that he could not distinguish the hour upon the town-clock.

Johnson, upon the first violent attack of this disorder, strove to overcome it by forcible exertions. He frequently walked to Birmingham and back again, and tried many other expedients, but all in vain. His expression concerning it to me was "I did not then know how to manage it." His distress became so intolerable, that he applied to Dr. Swinfen, physician in Lichfield, his god-father, and put into his hands a state of his case, written in Latin. Dr. Swinfen was so much struck with the extraordinary acuteness, research, and eloquence of this paper, that in his zeal for his godson he shewed it to several people...

But let not little men triumph upon knowing that Johnson was an HYPOCHONDRIACK, was subject to what the learned, philosophical, and pious Dr. Cheyne has so well treated under the title of "The English Malady." Though he suffered severely from it, he was not therefore degraded. The powers of his great mind might be troubled, and their full exercise suspended at times; but the mind itself was ever entire. As a proof of this, it is only necessary to consider, that, when he was at the very worst, he composed that state of his own case, which shewed an uncommon vigour, not only of fancy and taste, but of judgement. I am aware that he himself was too ready to call such a complaint by the name of madness; in conformity with which notion, he has traced its gradations, with exquisite nicety, in one of the chapters of his RASSELAS. But there is surely a clear distinction between a disorder which affects only the imagination and spirits, while the judgement is sound, and a disorder by which the judgement itself is impaired...

To Johnson, whose supreme enjoyment was the exercise of his reason, the disturbance or obscuration of that faculty was the evil most to be dreaded. Insanity, therefore, was the object of his most dismal apprehension; and he fancied himself seized by it, or approaching to it, at the very time when he was giving proofs of a more than ordinary soundness and vigour of judgement. That his own diseased imagination should have so far deceived him, is strange; but it is stranger still that some of his friends should have given credit to his groundless opinion, when they had such undoubted proofs that it was totally fallacious; though it is by no means surprising that those who wish to depreciate him, should, since his death, have laid hold of this circumstance, and insisted upon it with very unfair aggravation.'

277: 'He mentioned to me now, for the first time, that he had been distrest by melancholy, and for that reason had been obliged to fly from study and meditation, to the dissipating variety of life. Against melancholy he recommended constant occupation of mind, a great deal of exercise, moderation in eating and drinking, and especially to shun drinking at night. He said melancholy people were apt to fly to intemperance for relief, but that it sunk them much deeper in misery. He observed, that labouring men who work hard, and live sparingly, are seldom or never troubled with low spirits.'

A few points I'd make: a) many depressed people are more intelligent than average; b) many depressed people tend to be compulsive/obsessive; c) depressives often don't feel at home in this world; d) there is no cure; but e) wholeness is what a depressed person most craves; f) for reasons c-e, many depressives are Christians, believing in a better world.

Best book by a health professional I've read on depression: The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the Trus Self, by Austrian psychoanalyst Alice Miller. Don't let that put you off, though - she's no Freudian.

Thread perfectly placed in this forum, by the way.

Maastricht
04-21-2006, 05:19 AM
Thanks roger, wonderful quotes.

Oliver Sacks made the distinction between diseases that feel, to the sufferer, like an "it", and affect the sufferer from the outside. A broken leg is one example, but there are also mental afflictions, lile epilepsy, that don't affect the 'I".
Depression, in contrast, is an disease of the "I"; disease and personality interact much more closely, and as a result, as kambuckta noted, 20 people will yield 20 different depressions.

Psychology has made an attempt to objectively describe different types of depression in the DSM-IV, (http://www.mental-health-today.com/dep/dsm.htm), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. DSM_IV gives lists of symptoms to differentiate between the many different types of depression.

OtakuLoki
04-21-2006, 06:49 AM
In my own experience with depression it expressed itself as, more than anything else, a sense that I couldn't improve my situation - and then exacerbated by a complete lack of energy. We're not talking about staying in bed for a few extra hours - we're talking about not being able to stay awake for more than two or three hours a day.

For a lot of people with depression the lack of energy can get so dramatic that they won't shower or bathe for weeks on end, because destinkifying themselves is too much effort.

MizGrand
04-21-2006, 08:12 AM
I thought of running my car off of an overpass or into a wall. The new baby and my other son were typically in the car; that fact was many times the deterrant to acting on my woeful despair.

Antinor01
04-21-2006, 10:23 AM
Then some of us are bi-polar. I have at times gone for days or weeks on end wanting do to nothing more than curl up in a corner and cry, often for no real reason. And sometimes I would do just that, call off work, not talk to anyone etc. Other times it's just an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. That no matter what you do, you will never mean anything and the world would be better off without you in it. This despite the fact that I have a wonderful longterm relationship, a great job, a nice place to live in a beautiful city etc. As was said, it's not a rational condition.

Then there's the up times, boundless energy, an unrealistic optimism about anything and everything, "Let's go party till dawn!", etc etc. I won't lie, the ups are a blast to experience. This is a large part of why many bipolar people refuse medication, they don't want to lose the ups.

It can be hard to describe it to people, but it's not a fun way to live. Without the support system I have, I would probably not be here today.

MLS
04-21-2006, 10:45 AM
Way different than sadness.

The summer after my mother died I was (understandably) extraordinarily sad. I couldn't remember anything from one minute to the next, as if my brain, not wanting to remember she was gone, refused to remember anything. In fact, to this day I remember nothing of that summer. The grief took over everything for a while. After some time, though, I could go a day or so without thinking of my grief, until finally I could remember her without wanting to cry, rejoicing that she had lived, and feeling glad that we'd had her if for too short a time.

Depression was, and is, different. At the worst of my depression, I was afraid ALL THE TIME. I wanted to cry most of the time. Frequently, at work, I would have to go into the ladies' room, hide in a toilet stall, and cry as quietly as I could. I found no joy in anything. I would look at something beautiful and intellectually realize that it was beautiful and that it might be possible to enjoy that, but was completely unable to do so. Which made me even more depressed. I would feel like there was a dark grey veil over everything, or like I was at the bottom of a deep dark pit, being sucked into a black whirlpool, clinging to the sides of the pit with my fingernails, but tired of the effort. For a time, I wished I could just be done with everything, but realized my children needed me, so I set myself a specific date in the future upon which it would be acceptable to end my life. Fortunately, I got professional help before that time came. For me, a single pill per day gave me myself back. I still get sad sometimes. I was really sad, for example, when my young nephew died unexpectedly last summer. I'd be a monster of some sort if I weren't sad in such a case. But I am no longer clinically depressed. I can enjoy life again.

Big difference.

Sampiro
04-21-2006, 11:11 AM
You could ask 20 people who have suffered from clinical depression what their symptoms were and you would probably get 20 different responses.

snip

For some it is indeed an intense sadness that does not reflect the day-to-day reality of their lives (as elfbabe noted).

Kambuckta makes several very good points. Depression affects different people differently. Some lose weight and can't sleep, I personally gain weight and sleep all day when I'm in a depression (though a recent diagnosis of narcolepsy may explain some of the latter ;) ). While I can't say for certain that I've ever been suicidal I have definitely been at points where I could understand suicide, not so much for "I can't take it anymore" feelings as "I just have no interest in or desire to see tomorrow or do much of anything else" sensation that lasted indefinitely. Imagine the Buddhist ideal of complete detachment from everything, but the dark ugly side of that- the not in a good way side.

Some people you can see at a distance of 100 yards and regardless of their actions you can tell they're depressed (especially if you know them). Some are agressively depressed- they share their status with all and bring down everybody around them. I try to hide mine and in fact have left people crying with laughter while I was morbidly depressed and they never suspected and didn't believe me when I told them about it later. Aristotle even commented on how in his experience the wittiest and funniest of people were frequently the most serious and melancholy.

But the problem with depression is that there appears to be NO light at the end of the tunnel.

Or you see it but you just remember that so did Princess Diana. :cool:

One of the many horrible things about depression is that so many people don't understand it. It's not a matter of "go out and buy yourself a new shirt" or "look on the bright side"- you KNOW it's irrational and you KNOW that things could be worse (but then again, for people in concentration camps things could be worse- I'm sure that didn't buck their spirits up) but it doesn't matter. It's about like saying "You're having a diabetic seizure, go watch a Chris Rock concert video and you'll feel better". It's not a lack of self-control or a lack of willpower or a lack of wanting to feel better or a spiritual void (that's a BIGGIE down here- "go to church and read the Bible and you'll feel better"- well, you'll be a depressed Christian but not that much changes) but an INABILITY to do these things.

What disgusts me are people who refuse to treat their depression. Probably half my family suffers from it and I am the ONLY ONE who takes medication for it even though all of them know about the disorder and the treatment but stubbornly refuse to take pills for one asinine reason or another. Even with medication I have lows, but they're more manageable, and I've accepted that I'll probably never not be on anti-depressants and I've tried to proselyte for their effectiveness because I know the befores and after feelings of them and, once you find what works well for you, the effectiveness far surpasses the side effects. Unfortunately my relatives and friends who've had textbook cases of the disorder simply think they can trudge through without them whether this cycle takes hours to pass or a year to pass and it drives me bonkers(er). It's as silly as a severe diabetic refusing to take insulin because "it's habit forming".

Of course to answer your question as to what it's like, listen to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground's Venus in Furs about 421 times on a loop. The way you feel after the 232nd time- that's depression (but far from my record number of listenings to that song :D).

roger thornhill
04-21-2006, 11:38 AM
I'm not sure if treatment should be synonymous with taking drugs, as you appear to make it. Treatment also includes talking with others (whether "professionals" or not), and most importantly "talking" with yourself, i.e. being honest. Your comment about being in a place where you understand suicide is very well expressed.

Miller
04-21-2006, 11:44 AM
For me, it was an almost total absence of self-worth. I was stupid, boring, ugly, and useless, and there was no way to ever change that, so why bother even trying? In fact, why bother doing anything? Go out and meet people? Who would ever want to spend any time with me? (This, despite the fact that I had lots of friends who were always willing to hang out with me.) Go to a party? Why, when I'm such a loser that I'd just drag the whole party down? (Again, despite the fact that the aforementioned friends were always inviting me to parties.) Date? Who would ever... well, I think you see the pattern here. I was lucky in that it eventually went away more or less on its own. I never tried to seek treatment because, to my mind, there wasn't anything wrong with how I felt. Someone who was as big a loser as I was should feel that way, right? It was my just dessert for sucking so much. In the final tally, I ended up missing out on the bulk of what should have been the best decade of my life. How many other people out there remember high school more fondly than college? And I had relatively light depression. I was never suicidal, for instance. As horrible as I felt on more or less a daily basis, what's really scary is looking back and realizing how lucky I was, compared to other people with the same disease.

Guinastasia
04-21-2006, 11:48 AM
What MLS and Sampiro said. Imagine that all of a sudden, everything is numb and colorless. Your favorite foods don't taste as good. You can't enjoy your favorite movies, or your favorite songs sound blah. Even when you're out with friends, and everyone around you is laughing, you feel like you're outside of it, just observing.

And that's when you're not hiding away, unable to talk because you're crying all the time, when you're at work and desparately trying to hide the fact that you can't stop sobbing, when you have to claim "allergies", and no one believes you, when you're not just wishing you could just lay down and go to sleep and never wake up again.

That's why when people start in all this bullshit about how we're lazy, and "medicating all our problems away" that I just see red, because for me, it's not an option to NOT take my meds. My problem is depression which is caused by an anxiety disorder, so I'll probably be on meds until I die. Believe me, I'd LOVE not to have to take them. The side effects have pretty much gone away, for the most part-I've learned how to manage them, and how to fix them.

"Better living through chemistry?" You betcha. If that's what it takes for me to feel NORMAL, not happy, but just NORMAL, well, I'm willing to take meds. If you don't like it, too damned bad. It ain't your life.

Guinastasia
04-21-2006, 11:57 AM
I'm not sure if treatment should be synonymous with taking drugs, as you appear to make it. Treatment also includes talking with others (whether "professionals" or not), and most importantly "talking" with yourself, i.e. being honest. Your comment about being in a place where you understand suicide is very well expressed.


I didn't see this when I posted-to be completely fair, I'm NOT saying meds are for everyone, just that for me, they are a must. (Like I said too, it's more for the anxiety disorder than just the depression).

But yes, counseling is definitely important. Sometimes counseling alone doesn't do it, sometimes it does.

even sven
04-21-2006, 12:29 PM
For me, it was just like I was on drugs all the time. I never saw anything clearly. I never had a good handhold on reality. I felt like I was seeing the cracks in the world. Things can suddenly stop making sense if you stop trying to make them make sense. And this was freaky and scary adn there was nothing I could do about it. I didn't believe in life, I didn't understand it. So I couldn't really do anything except wail at the meaninglessness of it all because nothing was appropriately real for me, and I couldn't imagine a future where it could be.

Here is a journal entry from a bad day:

I've been crying more or less continously, since- well since I woke up. Really since I fell asleep last night. Even my horrible dreams were filled with tears. I've stopped believeing that I'm ever going to be able to stop crying. Whenever I catch my breath for a moment, it just gets worse and goes from a sort of mild teary-eyedness to full on throwing-myself-on-the-floor wails. I just can't calm down.

And here is one from a good day when I went on a walk in a nearby town, that shows how much reality I was losing, and yet how seductive and magical that loss could be:

All I can think of is that my dreams have always been set in Watsonville, and I'm just now visiting the locations of this secret parallel life. Everything feels so intensely familier. Watsonville inspires glimpses of half-had memories. I keep trying to draw them out and put them together, the way you reconstruct a dream upon waking. But the more I pull into the folds and cracks and crevises of my consciousness, the more etheral it all becomes. Like a taste that you can't quite wrap your mouth around. Like a fistful of marshmallows. Like a squishy sweet ache that can't possibly be real.

I remember walking through the "Discount Mall" of shoes and watches and cheap polyester clothes. But why do I know this place? Why are the faces familier? Why does it seem so shiny unreal? I remember wide train tracks. An impossible alley between old warehouses- filled with gold. Sunlight and weeds. James said people live in the cracks. I look at the spaces between the buildings. Not even a foot wide. Whole societies of people who sleep wedged in, never leaving the enchanted alley. Warehouse slaves whos biggest dreams involve the factory towers that loom a few blocks down. A place they'll never get to. Mount Olympus.

And suddenly we exit into a field. Beyond that, James says, lies the ocean. ("How can that be?", my awestuck mind protests) The field is full of tiny green plants. I've never seen that color green before. I never imagined the sun could make that kind of light. James says we are giants. I confess that I feel like I am hallucinating. Suddenly my leg begins to fall, as if I am about to make one of those rubbery mushroom trip steps that reaches eight feet into the ground. Everything shimmers and the world rights itself again. Like two out-of-synch frames lining up with each other. We scramble up a dirty (golden, weedfilled) hill onto the ridiculously wide street.

The surreal hum I hadn't noticed I'd been hearing was coming from giant fans atop a giant factory. Children play in the street. People sit in rusty lawn chair in front of rusty barbeques. A dwarve pulls up and gets out of his SUV. An old woman in a black shawl crosses the street. The sun is still golden. We wait for people to leave church. It's perfect. I'm drunk with happiness.

And like all drunks, this is what I ultimately live for. That moment when it all seems so worth it. When it feels like you can stay drunk forever. Sometimes I forget. Sometimes it goes so wrong. I end up crying-on-the-floor kind of life-drunk. And (like all drunks) I spend half the time between hungover and destroyed. It wears at me. Cirroscis of the soul. Of the life. But like a wino to his Ripple, I keep seeking it out. I can't hold on to it, and I certainly can't make sense of it. It's all too big and round and sweet. But in my clumsy human way I can drink heavily of it. And that'll sustain me, I hope. I hope.

I somehow got better without drugs, by slowly learning to trust in the world and reinvest in life, in sanity. And by cultivating the braveness to face all the work it'd take to get better and deal with the rest of my life. I felt like I'd finally found that liff- the one that you go completely nuts and lose all touch with reality if you go off it- and I backed away. Sometimes I miss all the rawness of it. But it's an amazing blessing every day when I wake up and can think straight.

Eliahna
04-21-2006, 12:48 PM
Although I've never been hospitalised for depression, I have suffered from it on and off for years. I am presently unmedicated because I prefer to cope with it to the best of my ability without drugs. Having an understanding of the disorder has made it easier for me to cope with it. There have been times when I've had to resort to medication because I have been unable to get through it. While there is nothing wrong with taking medication if you need it and it helps, I feel better about myself when I deal with it and although medication may help me through a rough patch, it leaves me feeling that I have "failed" in some way.

Usually, I can bluff my way through depression and casual acquaintances would not know that I suffer from it (I believe that I am perceived by most as an upbeat individual). I do not have complete control over it all the time though, and it tends to be my nearest and dearest who have to deal with my sudden outburts of temper, my inability to get motivated to do anything, my excessive sleeping and my irrationality. Depression becomes a self-perpetuating cycle for me: I become tired and lack motivation, I fail to keep up with my housework, I find my untidy home depressing, I sleep more, I do less, the house gets worse... and on it goes. Depression and fatigue are so closely intertwined in my life that it's hard to separate them and each makes the other worse. I have a lot of trouble holding down a job because when I get tired, I get depressed, and when I get depressed I need more sleep, and when I can't get more sleep I get even more depressed and once again we have a self-perpetuating cycle.

Anti-depressants helped me when my depression was at it's worst - a situation I've only been in once - but they were not enough to help me cope with the strain work puts me under and I had to quit my job in the end or I would not have been able to go on.

Depression makes me feel paranoid and isolated. I have trouble getting myself together to go to events that I've known about for some time in advance because it gives me time to convince myself that it's a bad idea, that I will not enjoy it, that I will be unhappy and that everyone will have a better time without me. Most of the things that would help make me feel better - getting out of the house, socialising, eating well, keeping on top of the housework - are the things that depression makes it harder for me to face doing.

Honey
04-21-2006, 12:55 PM
The discription that fit me was a complete inability to experience joy. Those things in my life that used to bring joy were no longer able to do so.

Lilairen
04-21-2006, 02:09 PM
I get hypersomnia -- not because I want to sleep, so much, but because getting up and doing anything is just overwhelming effort. There are days in a depressive episode where I check off major accomplishments like "Found clean underwear" or "remembered to eat"; when I'm coming out of it I have wildly productive days in which I do a load of laundry or maybe empty the dishwasher.

The inability to get tasks done haunts me at these times: there's no reason behind it, just my own deficiency at being unable to muster the capability to do something so simple and so basic that any even remotely competent person should be able to handle. Not only do I wind up feeling unable to act, but that my inability to act is a personal failing, something that I should be ashamed to even contemplate. "Making excuses", I expect people to say. If I could just sleep -- go into that nullstate where I'm not supposed to be doing anything -- until it stops.

When it's actually bad, I get anxiety responses. Not only is the awfulness of my life and my ineptitude stacked up in great tottering piles around me, the slightest disturbance will bring them all falling down on my head, crushing me. (I haven't had a bad episode since I went on B vitamins, though; the clearing up of the anxiety symptoms is what motivates me to keep on the damn things.)

OtakuLoki, Sampiro (who also noted a major reason that my studies of Buddhism have always been academic), Miller, and even sven have all written things that I can relate to deeply. It's like that, yeah.

kushiel
04-21-2006, 03:00 PM
I have come across threads where people say they have been hospitalized for depression. I know other people who insist that their depression is serious enough to warrant the same sympathy that hospital patients receive. I am ignorant on this subject so I would like to know what a serious depression is like. What are the symptoms and how sever of an illness is it? Is it just unhappiness, or is it something much worst?

For me, it was lying on the couch, not being able to sleep, but unable to concentrate on anything. Like I lost attention in a daydream, except you're aware of a crushing blackness. I remember once the Olympics were on, and I remember looking at the TV, but my mind couldn't comprehend what was going on. Like being a sleepless zombie.

Now, let me tell you, depression plus anxiety is EVIL. Same symptoms as above, but combined with being too anxious to sit still, eat, or do something to calm the anxiety. Instead of just floating in the blackness, you've got a worried mental energy. You're anxious you'll never get out of it. You can't stop moving, but you're too sad to turn that exercise into something positive. You're doing laps around the yard while crying.

davenportavenger
04-21-2006, 03:27 PM
Now, let me tell you, depression plus anxiety is EVIL. Same symptoms as above, but combined with being too anxious to sit still, eat, or do something to calm the anxiety. Instead of just floating in the blackness, you've got a worried mental energy. You're anxious you'll never get out of it. You can't stop moving, but you're too sad to turn that exercise into something positive. You're doing laps around the yard while crying.I've never heard the way my mind works during my "bad periods" described so succinctly.

Jennshark
04-21-2006, 06:08 PM
I've had several stretches of depression in my life and they are usually marked by a restless, anxious, gnawing, dark, aimless energy and an inability to sleep well or settle down and concentrate. I also tend to withdraw from interactions that require negotiating with people I don't know (including simple things like making care tune-up appointments).

I'm really good at faking that I'm okay to everyone but the two or three people closest to me. When I've hit really rough spots I have actually wished that it was in my psychological makeup to say "screw it" and lie in bed for days until someone hospitalized me. Unfortunately, I'm a control freak and can't even let go when I'm in acute distress. This last year has been the most difficult year of my life and very few people know this (well, now the 20 million people on SDMB know)

Ditto previous posters on the feeling that when major depression hits it often seems that it wouldn't matter to anyone if you were to just disappear from the world.

I think I am fortunate in that when I hit late 20s I started to feel much better for longer stretches. Now depression seems to be more situational and related to events like death, major change and loss, etc . . .

username_taken
04-21-2006, 06:57 PM
I don't think it is possible to describe what leads a person to become hospitalized for depression. I was in the hospital 3 times last year for this. It's weird that it all just came to a head (meaning EVERYTHING). I've had frequent bouts my entire life but learned to live through it. To those around me I always apeared hard working and normal. I had self medicated with alcohol for years and years, all the while working through school, a career and life. A few years back I started ONLY drinking. This was after a good period of finally trying medication and feeling the change it brought. But, somehow, it wasn't enough; it was more like a bandaid than real medication, I thought. Hell, I felt GREAT so why take drugs :( . Strange, but I became complacent, drank more and more, quit meds because I felt great and "no longer needed them". But then I found myself last year, 29 years old, a great job, a family that totally loves me, and yet I couldn't see past the darkness. I really don't know how it all happened, how that final straw broke my back, but somehow it all did. I'm an atheist who was raised a strict catholic. I have lived for so many years for myself and by myself. Last year everything in life lost that last spark of interest that kept me going. I used to somehow find things to keep me going. Then I couldn't. I tried to check out, woke up in an ER. This was after landing in a hospital for a few days, and getting out and living a few months and feeling better. Then after that time things went great, then I started getting down, using alcohol, abusing alcohol, and then it all happened again. The final time I checked myself into the hospital knowing it could get better. I don't know how it all works, or why everthing lined up like it did, but it did. That last bad bout, I couldn't see anything in life that would make me feel interested in living. I would feel so completed emptied of energy everyday. But the biggest part was that FEELING that everything I did and every chance I took and every great moment I could have was all for nothing. None of it made sense. I don't think depression has ever made sense. Well, TMI, I guess. But I've read of other's experience with it and figure maybe my account can help.

kiz
04-21-2006, 08:46 PM
kushiel, davenportavenger, and Jennshark -- you've all just described "agitated depression". Here (www.depression-guide.com/agitated-depression.htm">) is a quite succinct description of it.

I've suffered from agitated depression for most of my life. A few years ago there was a question whether mine was actually AD or hypomania (aka Bipolar II). I never got a definitive diagnosis, which is just as well because either, as you know, is hell to live with.

I can't predict when I'll go into an agitated state, or for how long. Anything can set it off. White-hot searing anger usually replaces crying, although not all the time. There's something in me which compels me to keep moving -- I don't want to sit down because I won't be able to concentrate; if I do sit down, I may never get up. If I'm not living in my own head thinking I'm the most disgusting worthless person in the world, I'm being particularly quiet because I don't want anybody else to know I'm the most disgusting worthless person in the world. I take offense so easily that I'll either break down or scream if someone looks at me the wrong way. I have to keep busy doing something -- anything -- because I'll jump out of my own skin otherwise.

The older I've grown, the more I've been able to channel it. If I'm particularly agitated, it's a good time to do all the chores I've been putting off. At work I can perform double the tasks I usually do. I'll take a good long walk with the dogs or by myself, wash the car, start/continue yet another project...anything so as not to let myself get sucked into that suffocating fog that's lurking around the corner.

It takes an enormous amount of energy to do this. Sometimes I wonder what'll happen if it suddenly runs out.

kiz
04-21-2006, 08:49 PM
Whoops, here's the corrected link:

www.depression-guide.com/agitated-depression.htm

Metacom
04-21-2006, 09:12 PM
I've been hospitalized for depression (although I don't now believe that depression is a medical illness). Several times, all while an adolescent.

It was "just" unhappiness. It was a feeling that the situation I was in was completely hopeless; that I couldn't trust anyone; that there was no point in going through the motions of living. I didn't shower, I didn't go to school, I gorged myself at every opportunity. I felt very, very alone. And those feelings and my mood didn't really change. Basically, I was a total fucking loser.

But there was no magical mental mallady that would have prevented any of that from changing if the circumstances of my life changed for the better. I was still a regular human who could choose to act how I wanted and who reacted to the environment I lived in. In retrospect, my feelings were extreme, but they weren't always irrational.

Fortunately, once I was old enough to move out on my own and take control of my life my "chemical imbalances" ( :rolleyes: ) all faded away--must have been something in the water in the town I lived in.

Should someone hospitalized for depression get the same sympathy that regular hospital patients receive? I think it depends on their circumstances--just like sympathy for regular hospital patents also varies a lot. Would you have the same amount of sympathy for someone in the ICU because he was trying to jump 10 crushed cars on his dirtbike as you would for someone with some rare, freak form of cancer?

Shagnasty
04-21-2006, 09:22 PM
I am bipolar and I am treated successfully now and have been for about two years. Real depression is horrible and distinct from normal sadness. To give you good evidence, my baby daughter died this year as well as half my house being destroyed by a giant oak tree strike and me losing a job simply because of bureaucracy and budgeting. I had been in terrible shape before meaning scary and truly unpredictable to people that knew me before this all set in during my early twenties. Many were terrified that I would just snap at the pressure but I handled it like a trooper. I had to explain to people time and time again that depression is a disease and it really doesn't have that much to do with what is going on around you. I was in remission and I actually handled the objective pain much better than most people would. I have to say that the pain of losing a child is indescribable and will be forever, but it doesn't cause complete dysfunction like depression did for me.

Depressive episodes for me meant that I was unable to experience pleasure. I also wanted to sleep all the time as in 18 hours a day or more and I would almost immediately pass out if I sat still for a while.

True story: I wanted to sleep all the time and I had fantasies about getting myself thrown into prison so that I could just avoid everything for the rest of my life and sleep most everything off. One night, I was completely irrational and I bought the equivalent of 10 beers and pulled into the woods right where a new subdivision development had just cleared a huge area just to build houses. I though that I could sit there in peace.

It was about 7 pm and apparently someone saw me go there and got alarmed for some reason. I was sitting in the passenger seat of my car (there are sensible legal tricks) just finishing off 7 beers when I saw weird lights moving in the woods. The police ended up ambushing my car at dusk and I was on private property in the passenger seat. I hadn't committed any big crimes.

I lived less that 1/4 mile away in a nice house so they threatened me and said that I could either ride in the back of the car for a ride home or go into protective custody. Now this is a small town with lots of big talkers and the amount of beer that I had didn't really affect me at all (honestly).

I decided that a night or two in jail would be a great thing if I could just sleep because my wife was obnoxious seeming to me at the time and actually expected me to get out of bed every single day.

The police thought it was extraordinarily odd but they took me into protective custody, put me in a cell, I asked for a blanket because the plastic slab was cold and I slept there for the next 19 hours. They didn't really know what to do with me because I wasn't charged with anything and I didn't have any alcohol in my system after a few hours. They made my wife come pick me up the next day even though she was furious.

The first time I went into an inpatient ward, I was struck by how absolutely severe depression can be for some people. My depression that I described was moderate. Severe depression means that you might suspect that person for a corpse even when they are sleepy. They have an ashen look and zombie-like is the best way to describe. People that don't believe in depression should visit and inpatient ward sometime because the symptoms are obvious and frightening even to a casual observer.

Kiminy
04-21-2006, 09:24 PM
I suffer from both anxiety/panic attacks and depression, but not often at the same time.

I'm nearly always on the verge of an anxiety attack. As long as I recognize it and take time to prioritize things, I can deal with it without meds. This means that Mr. Kiminy has to deal with me thinking things out two or three days in advance, and with occasional spontaneous calls to make sure that the accident I heard about on the radio didn't involve him, but we manage.

My severe depressions have never involved suicidal thoughts or attempts. I've also never been hospitalized with depression. But I have had occasions where depression pretty much controlled everything I did, and where I've had to take anti-depressants just to keep going from one minute to the next. I tend to just "blot out" everything around me when depression gets really bad. I lose track of what's going on around me, and would probably do nothing but sleep if I ever let it get complete control of me. I probably have underlying depression all the time, but it gets out of control when I lose control of what's going on around me--like when my son was hospitalized with complete paralysis caused by Guillain-Barré Syndrome for more than a month, or when the company I worked for was bought out by another company, and my job description changed completely overnight. (Being fired would probably have been easier on me, since it would have allowed me to take control of what kind of job I was comfortable with. As it was, I ended up quitting within a few months.)

Both my mother and my daughter have been hospitalized to treat depression/anxiety that led to suicide attempts. They weren't hospitalized *just* because of the depression or anxiety, though. If they had not been suicidal, they probably would not have ended up in the hospital, since hospitalization is generally reserved for people who are considered a danger to themselves or others. It's a very expensive proposition, after all.

FilmGeek
04-21-2006, 09:27 PM
Metacom do you feel that you were misdiagnosed, or that depression doesn't exist?

Metacom
04-21-2006, 09:41 PM
Metacom do you feel that you were misdiagnosed, or that depression doesn't exist?
I don't feel that I was misdiagnosed. I met the diagnostic criteria in spades.

I don't feel that depression exists as a specific medical illness. I view depression as an extreme end of the normal human emotional spectrum. I think that most depressed people are so because that's how they respond (by choice, environment, and genes) to the circumstances in their lives. Some people may be depressed due to some sort of infection or specific genetic disorder, but I don't think we're ever going to find a single magic cause of depression.

Metacom
04-21-2006, 09:43 PM
I met the diagnostic criteria in spades.
And, before anyone points out that I wasn't in a position to assess that, plenty of bona fide mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psych techs, etc.) supported that diagnosis.

Shagnasty
04-21-2006, 10:18 PM
I don't feel that I was misdiagnosed. I met the diagnostic criteria in spades.

I don't feel that depression exists as a specific medical illness. I view depression as an extreme end of the normal human emotional spectrum. I think that most depressed people are so because that's how they respond (by choice, environment, and genes) to the circumstances in their lives. Some people may be depressed due to some sort of infection or specific genetic disorder, but I don't think we're ever going to find a single magic cause of depression.

Why would you think we won't ever know the reason? My background is in academic neuroscience and, although the brain is complicated, progress has been made and continues every day. Academic research in the area runs about 10 years ahead of even well-informed popular knowledge and there are 100'sof studies already reported that contradict your assertion in both animal and human research. There isn't any single one that you can point to because science in this area depends on a complex body of knowledge that requires expertise coming out of many fields.

My own bipolar illness responded to lithium right away even when the fancy and profitable pharmaceutical cocktails failed miserably. Lithium isn't exactly what most people mean by drug and nobody knows exactly how it works. It is an element and could be a "natural" supplement if it wasn't so toxic and limited in use.

I am not a huge fan of psychiatry in general because my earlier doctors went off on some weird tangents that almost killed me or destroyed my life and the lives around me. These are not subtle effects we are talking about. They are differences that shook people to the core when they saw me before and after.

After all the fancy stuff, it was a simple element that cleared things right up just like it does with many people in my former situation. If that isn't simple biology, I don't know what is.

even sven
04-22-2006, 03:58 AM
I don't feel that I was misdiagnosed. I met the diagnostic criteria in spades.

I don't feel that depression exists as a specific medical illness. I view depression as an extreme end of the normal human emotional spectrum. I think that most depressed people are so because that's how they respond (by choice, environment, and genes) to the circumstances in their lives. Some people may be depressed due to some sort of infection or specific genetic disorder, but I don't think we're ever going to find a single magic cause of depression.

FWIW, after my own experiences I agree with you. Yes, it exists and it involves chemicals and electricty. Yes, it ruins people's lives and they should seek whatever treatment helps them. But it is not exactly like a broken arm. Human consciousness has always had it's challenges, it's ups and downs, it's stuff we are still working out. You can't just seperate this one part out and claim it's not real, it's just an illusion by the wrong chemicals. Everything in my brain is an illusion caused by chemicals, not just depression. You can't just parse up my brain in to the "sick" parts and the "well" parts. Some of it sucks, but it's still all me. It's still a part of my humanity.

appleciders
04-22-2006, 02:25 PM
There's one other aspect of depression that I haven't seen mentioned here: SI, or self-injury. This usually means cutting or burning one's self, although some people extend it to slamming fingers in doors, pulling hair, or almost anything you can think of that would hurt. This isn't a form of suicide attempt; people who SI usually say that seeing the blood helps them feel something, or else that the SI serves as a distraction from their depression. There's no desire to kill one's self in this instance. Most medical opinions of this that I've seen suggest either that the chemicals released as a pain response serve as a natural painkiller, so I suppose this is vaguely parallel to people who self-medicate. It's far and away most common in teenagers, so I suppose it's not that strange that it hasn't been mentioned yet.

There's a limit to how much I can say about this, because I've never experienced this firsthand; I'm limited to what I've seen in a couple of my friends. Anyone who wants to read more can find a relatively short (possibly over-generalized) summary here (http://www.selfharm.org.uk/) or by googling "self injury" or "self harm".

wolfman
04-22-2006, 02:57 PM
I had one wierd and surprising bout with severe depression I still don't understand.

I had been unemployed for a while, and was what I consider normally depressed for a decent time. By Normally depressed I mean my life did suck and I had an appropriate ammount of unhappiness about it.

Then all the sudden I woke up one day in the middle of the night after a nightmare, with an overwhelming feeling of the pointlessness of absolutely anything. I was actually past suicidal, it occured to me there was no reason for me not to be dead, but the thought making an effort even towards that just wasn't something my brain could comprehend. There was just an absolute certanty that doing anything was pointless. I had no food in the house, but couldn't fathom actually going out and getting more, I didn't eat, shower, or change clothes for about 10 days, nor answer the phone or door. The not eating cought up with me and I was pretty much in a daze that I still cannot remember anything about, or how I finally got out of it. but eventually I was back to normal, and got some food, and showered. But by the time I was really thinking clearly I had no idea what had changed back.

It still freaks me out thinking about it, the best I can come up with is that I got into an abnormal brain chemistry state in the nightmare, that somehow just wouldn't reset into normal concious life, until my body finally hit "Oh shit, were gonna die" survival mode.

Guinastasia
04-22-2006, 03:04 PM
There's one other aspect of depression that I haven't seen mentioned here: SI, or self-injury. This usually means cutting or burning one's self, although some people extend it to slamming fingers in doors, pulling hair, or almost anything you can think of that would hurt. This isn't a form of suicide attempt; people who SI usually say that seeing the blood helps them feel something, or else that the SI serves as a distraction from their depression. There's no desire to kill one's self in this instance. Most medical opinions of this that I've seen suggest either that the chemicals released as a pain response serve as a natural painkiller, so I suppose this is vaguely parallel to people who self-medicate. It's far and away most common in teenagers, so I suppose it's not that strange that it hasn't been mentioned yet.

There's a limit to how much I can say about this, because I've never experienced this firsthand; I'm limited to what I've seen in a couple of my friends. Anyone who wants to read more can find a relatively short (possibly over-generalized) summary here (http://www.selfharm.org.uk/) or by googling "self injury" or "self harm".


I was never quite a cutter, but I used to jab my arms with nail files when it got really bad. The physical pain in a way numbed the pain of depression.

lorene
04-22-2006, 03:39 PM
I can speak a little bit about cutting.

For the early part of my cutting years, it was a matter of being so depressed and so numb and so hopeless that it helped to have something to do to physically demark the affects of the depression. Like, I was sinking into a void and it helped me cling to the edge a little.

Despite what some may think, this was never an attention-getting action, and I went to great lengths to hide what I was doing. I was eventually hospitalized for depression and suicidality (several times, in fact) and at this stage of my depressive years, another patient remarked that "Someday, when you're 30 years old or so, you'll regret cutting because you'll have all those scars on your arms." Her words were absolute gibberish to me. I couldn't imagine living that long (I was 23 at the time) and, even if I did, something like caring about what I look like was beyond me. At that point, every single day involved clawing through this hideous depression just to survive, so something like vanity seemed impossible.

Later, though, it was really a matter of trying to get through what others have described as agitated depression. I'd get into this state where I was so worked up, so mad and sad and frustrated and about to blow, that I just couldn't function. Cutting then helped me to calm down. It was like I was so agitated that I couldn't breathe, and then I'd cut and it would calm me down. I could function, go about my day, sleep---whatever I ahd been too agitated to do before.

I guess I'm lucky that it happened in this order, for the latter was easier to recover from, IMO. (And by "easier", I mean that it was really, really fucking hard, as opposed to really, really, really fucking hard). I eventually learned coping skills that really worked (as opposed to the meaningless suggestions mentioned above), and stopped cutting.

On a bad day, do I still think about it? You bet your ass I do. But it's been over 10 years, and I have kids, and I'm just not going down that road again.

FWIW, my hospital-mate was right. I do regret it now. I have to wear long sleeves all the time, even in the brutal New England summers, and I feel like a freak. Plus, my daughter is at the age where she is starting to ask what the scars on my arms are, and, really, what do you say to that?

MaddyStrut
04-22-2006, 11:53 PM
I haven't suffered much from depression, but I know all about anxiety.

About six years ago, I was hit with it hard. I guess it's hard for people who haven't had clinical anxiety or depression to tell the difference between anxiety or sadness and ANXIETY and DEPRESSION.

For me, the anxiety wasn't even in the same league as the kind you feel when you've got a presentation to give and you're not prepared or have to take a test you haven't studied for. That's all normal, human anxiety.

My anxiety was light years more than that. Think of the feelings you'd have if a Mach truck was bearing down on you at 100 mph on slippery roads and only 5 feet away. That's how I felt much of the time.

It's easy when you're not having clinical anxiety to think "well, I'd know it was irrational and just struggle through it." I thought that way before I got hit with anxiety. The problem is, the rationale part of your brain goes away most of the time. Even when it doesn't (and you know you're being irrational), some primitive adrenaline response kicks in and all you know is flight, fight, or die. It's a normal, human response to panic. When you're in a life or death situation, most of the time, instinct take over. You don't think "hmmm, Mack truck bearing down on me--I'd better jump to the left." If you do, then I'm pleased to meet you Mr. Spock. Most of us react on instinct alone while the rationale brain goes away.

The problem is, with anxiety, there's no real threat so there's nowhere to flee and nothing to fight. Sure, if I were at home I could run around the block or beat up on a punching bag (that helped). However, you can't really do that in an elevator, it tends to damage your career to do so in the middle of a meeting, and the folks at the Food Mart tend to frown on you going all Tai Bow on the Swanson frozen dinners.

Meds helped for me. A lot. The anxiety went away. I was able to come off the meds with no recurrence of the anxiety. I don't think that means it wasn't a chemical issue. Perhaps my serotonin levels were off temporarily. Perhaps the anxiety is only in remission and may come back. However, I feel no shame in taking meds to help with an unbearable situation.

Talk therapy helped a lot. I don't think the meds alone could have done the trick. However, they allowed me to remain functional (and keep my career) while working out the problems. There's no shame in that. They didn't affect my cognitive abilities, didn't give me any high or intoxicate me. All they did was alleviate the panic and give me a bit of dry mouth. So what if it was "better living through chemistry?" They helped me remain a functional member of society.

Guinastasia
04-23-2006, 04:38 PM
FWIW, my hospital-mate was right. I do regret it now. I have to wear long sleeves all the time, even in the brutal New England summers, and I feel like a freak. Plus, my daughter is at the age where she is starting to ask what the scars on my arms are, and, really, what do you say to that?


I'm so sorry you went through that, lorene. Perhaps you could simply tell your daughter that the scars were from a time when Mommy was very sick, but that she got help (or got better)?

kushiel
04-23-2006, 06:16 PM
I haven't suffered much from depression, but I know all about anxiety.

About six years ago, I was hit with it hard. I guess it's hard for people who haven't had clinical anxiety or depression to tell the difference between anxiety or sadness and ANXIETY and DEPRESSION.

For me, the anxiety wasn't even in the same league as the kind you feel when you've got a presentation to give and you're not prepared or have to take a test you haven't studied for. That's all normal, human anxiety.

My anxiety was light years more than that. Think of the feelings you'd have if a Mach truck was bearing down on you at 100 mph on slippery roads and only 5 feet away. That's how I felt much of the time.

It's easy when you're not having clinical anxiety to think "well, I'd know it was irrational and just struggle through it." I thought that way before I got hit with anxiety. The problem is, the rationale part of your brain goes away most of the time. Even when it doesn't (and you know you're being irrational), some primitive adrenaline response kicks in and all you know is flight, fight, or die. It's a normal, human response to panic. When you're in a life or death situation, most of the time, instinct take over. You don't think "hmmm, Mack truck bearing down on me--I'd better jump to the left." If you do, then I'm pleased to meet you Mr. Spock. Most of us react on instinct alone while the rationale brain goes away.

The problem is, with anxiety, there's no real threat so there's nowhere to flee and nothing to fight. Sure, if I were at home I could run around the block or beat up on a punching bag (that helped). However, you can't really do that in an elevator, it tends to damage your career to do so in the middle of a meeting, and the folks at the Food Mart tend to frown on you going all Tai Bow on the Swanson frozen dinners.

Oh Gods, someone that understands. I went through a mental breakdown, and then decided I needed a summer job. Being a teen, a cashier was one of my only options.

The two weeks I worked I needed tranquilizers to even make it through a shift. I broke into tears several times, so I quit. My parents couldn't understand. They just thought it was new job anxiety. I felt like such a failure. Almost a year later, I went back out into the workforce again, this time as a cashier at a small restaurant. Same shit, different pile. My brother came to pick me up after I broke down on my last shift. I was lectured by him for an hour. He told me I needed to suck it up, that it was all my fault. My parents did the same - I got yelled at so much.

A few months after that, I landed a great summer job at a school. Proofreading, some tech stuff, basically stuff I could do in front of a computer all day, and only talking to my boss and occasionally a few co-workers. Not having to deal with customers, or having the pressure of retail n my introverted self. I loved it, it was heaven, I never had a panic attack.

I still have the fear that any job I get I'll be bombarded by the anxiety attacks. But I know that I could do it once, as long as it wasn't dealing with customers constantly.

People just don't understand that you can't always work through it. Sometimes it isn't even directly related to the situation at hand - it was just triggered by being somewhere at some time. You are not rational in a panic attack. You can try rationalizing things to yourself, but saying 'you're off work in an hour, calm down' doesn't work now. I avoid my former places of employment like the plague, but sometimes I have to go to them, and the anxiety will flare up. Sometimes I'll simply see something that reminds me of one of those former jobs, and the panic will come.

Metacom
04-23-2006, 08:02 PM
I'm so sorry you went through that, lorene. Perhaps you could simply tell your daughter that the scars were from a time when Mommy was very sick, but that she got help (or got better)?
I'd lie to her instead. Make up a background story ("I spent one summer in high school working in an X and the Y scratched up my wrists") and stick with it.

lorene
04-23-2006, 08:02 PM
I'm so sorry you went through that, lorene. Perhaps you could simply tell your daughter that the scars were from a time when Mommy was very sick, but that she got help (or got better)?

Thanks. Right now, I just tell her that they are "old boo-boos". The explanation will shift as she gets older, but for now, I can get away with that.

Ironic that this post is around this weekend. I spent last night too anxious to sleep, and today pretty much agitated and crying and not wanting to do anything, but doing nothing wasn't helping....Hopefully it is just a blip on the radar.

Zoe
04-24-2006, 02:19 AM
Metacom, it really isn't wise to make assumptions about everyone else based only on your own limited experience. We all have a tendency to do that sometimes, but it generally isn't very sound. Neither is lying to your child.

My depressive episodes were not usually related to unpleasant situations in my life. My situations looked worse because I was depressed. The one exception I can think of was that my father's death did serve as a trigger.

One of the less common characteristics that I developed the first time that I had noticeable problems with depression was selective mutism. I just quit talking. I don't remember why. I was in college at the time. I think maybe it just seemed pointless to say anything.

Each battle I've had with bouts of severe depression have been different. And they've crept up on me so that I haven't always recognized them for what they were. I would just get more and more confused and unable to sort out what was happening. I felt overwhelmed and out of control. Aggitated. I would shake and cry and break out in a cold sweat. The anxiety was so bad that I would wake up in the morning with "waves" of aggitation sweeping over me.

Depression was diagnosed about forty-five years ago, but it wasn't until about seventeen years ago that I found out that I have a sort of low-grade depression all the time. Every two or three years I would have have a bout of severe depression. SSRI medications have worked wonders with me. I also see my shrink every 4-6 weeks for one 20 to 30 minute session. No severe episodes now for the last eleven years.

I also will continue to take medications and I am grateful that such help is available and affordable. There is no more shame in them than there is in an allergy tablet or a vitamin.

We haven't "failed" when we don't produce enough estrogen. We haven't "failed" when we don't produce enough insulin. And we haven't "failed" when we don't produce enough seratonin. We are only human.

Pax

lorene
04-24-2006, 05:59 AM
I'd lie to her instead. Make up a background story ("I spent one summer in high school working in an X and the Y scratched up my wrists") and stick with it.

You and I were posting at the same time here.
Right now, I have the luxury of time. My daughter is far too young to hear the real story. The details would hurt and confuse her enormously. Simple is the only way to go at this point.
At some point, though, I am going to have to elaborate more, and I don't feel OK about lying to her. It's possbile that I will be alive for another 50 years. That's a long time to maintain a lie, and to drag my family into collusion. She would likely figure it out or find out the truth at some point, and then that would be yet another issue to deal with.
Also, depression runs in my family. I have an obligation (again, at some point when she is much older) to educate her about a condition that is in her genes and make sure she is prepared to deal with it if (please, no) she suffers from it as well.

roger thornhill
04-25-2006, 12:05 AM
I have an obligation (again, at some point when she is much older) to educate her about a condition that is in her genes and make sure she is prepared to deal with it if (please, no) she suffers from it as well.The good news is that you don't have to assume that it's in her genes. Dealing with depression in families is I think more a matter of breaking the cycle by being honest: both with your kids (in appropriate ways) and most importantly with yourself, and taking appropriate action, for example, limiting contact with granparents, etc., as necessary.

Kids are well up on stuff like people killing themselves, so no point in making up stories that, if they don't see through at a young age (and I wouldn't bet against that - their BS-meters are finely tuned from an early age in respect of bull from their parents), they'll suss out easy enough when they're a bit older. Lies are not smart with kids, a) cos lying is bad and b) cos it gives you little leverage when you try and tell them not to do it.

Oregon sunshine
04-25-2006, 12:42 AM
In answer to the OP's question, "already dead" is the predominant feeling that comes to mind.

JannaChilds
04-25-2006, 06:20 AM
I have come across threads where people say they have been hospitalized for depression. I know other people who insist that their depression is serious enough to warrant the same sympathy that hospital patients receive.

Once there, in hospital the feeling of the need to complete my stay was given me by the nurses. I had a friend who was head nurse at one time and she gave me little heed, the rest of the staff were efficient but wanted me to get well as soon as possible. IE: free their bed up. That was during a stay for a physical injury.

The psychiatric admittance I went through was esoteric and laid back, making me dream of a perfect world even more that I did. In short it made me lazy.

I think there is a need for better psychiatric care, and I am a professional in the field. There is a need to give sympathy the same as an accident patient receives, care that will make him feel like recovering.

I am ignorant on this subject so I would like to know what a serious depression is like. What are the symptoms and how sever of an illness is it? Is it just unhappiness, or is it something much worst?

I dunno how ignorant you are or are not, but depression is bad. It can cause fears and unwanted thoughts that run on and on like the aspirations and dreams we have, but they are on the dark side of the moon. They always face far from the earth and are repetitious, to separate them from shizty or manic, it is fair to say that about them. It is easy to fall deeper and deeper into depression until you say, no...I am not going to do this anymore. Whether you and doctors can do that then, cure it, is empirical. Things need to stir you into getting out of it, and things need to stir the psychiatric trade into getting the depressed to function.

I wish I could by copyright protect my BS. It is my actual experience, but if the facts are there they are in freestyle hand and I desire to posess them.