Problem With Depression

Recently, if you’ve been reading my threads, you know I’ve been having a rough time all around lately. Last night, during a long talk with Honesty (my GF) things were said that I never realized before. She mentioned my moodiness and changes in my personality. She said many of the same things that my ex-fiance said about me after we broke up. This lead me to believe the problem with my relationships may lie with me.

I promised Honesty I would do some research and talk to my sister and I think I may be suffering from depression. My father is currently seeking counseling because of his behavior changes (which caused them to separate recently). My sister is on medication for depression and apparently depression runs rather strongly through my mother’s side of the family. I never knew this before. My sister and I talked for about an hour and I described my feelings of anxiousness, the lack of sleep, the times I don’t want to get out of bed at all, irritablilty, crying for no discernable reason, etc.

So I have contacted a counselor (available free of charge from a program here at work) and am waiting to hear back. I know some people here also have problems and I am wondering what I have to look forward to? How are you coping?

What a smart man you are. It’s no small thing to ask for help. I’ve had my own bouts with depression–usually after having a baby. I don’t know what you can expect, but my (loving and supportive) guess would be that if you are willing to receive help, you can gain by it.
It’s not the end of the world…unless you want it to be. Sounds like you have a supportive and sympathetic family and a loving GF. Heaven knows you have friends here.
I wish I could help more.

Dude- I have been there. You’re on the right track, get going to a counselor (which you are on your way to doing), it will make a big difference. I had the same symptoms, and it turns out I was depressed. Of course the lack of sleep did not help my irritability or desire to get out of bed, but going to the counselor helped with all of it. It sounds like you are on your way to a better place. Keep at it. If the anxiety about meeting the counselor is rough (sometimes it is) just figure that the worst you have to lose is an hour of your day (and hopefully some bad feelings will go away too).

I wish you well.

Keep the head up Bratman, ya know we worry about you!!! Get the help you need. There aint no shame in asking for assistance. you can mail me if you want to talk.

Mine comes and goes, BratMan. Right now, it’s been good for a while.

You’ve identified it - that is the first step. Your friends and family are being supportive - that is wonderful. You’re going to see a counsellor - the best news yet.

You have everything in the world to look forward to. You are obviously still functioning; going to work, posting to the boards :), having a life. Imagine doing all of that, but being in a good mood at the same time. That is what you have to look forward to. Your consellor will help you find the best way for you to do it, be it through continued counselling, medication, whatever.

Best of luck, BratMan. One piece of advice - if you don’t like the counsellor, find another one. Finding the counsellor that is best for you is important. They have different styles, and those styles suit different people.

Oh one more thing- I find that excercise is sometimes the best way to feel a little better. Some days when I am feeling particularly shitty and my first instinct is to lock myself in my apartment with the computer and my fish, I force myself to go out in the sunlight and excercise. Nothing too strenuous, just going to the mall and walking, or walking around town- just going outside and checking out part of the world. It’s sometimes a tough thing to get going, but I always feel better in the end.

Just a thought for you.

You’re smart to ask for help- my pride got in the way for far too long.

If it does not work out with the first counselor- try another. Everyone is different.

Thanks, but unless I come into some extra cash soon, I’m stuck with the one free counselor who works this area through the program at AT&T. I’m still researching the company’s program though, so there may be other options. My supervisor won’t be in until noon today and I’ll just have to wait until he gets here to ask for more info.

I agree with the Wonko wholeheartedly on the exercise thing.

I also had a question-

You mentioned that things aren’t going well recently.
I am wondering if the depression is cyclical.

Somebody told me once, while I was in the pit of the downswing (I am not bipolar by the way, I believe eveybody has these cycles, only some are more pronounced than others):

“The nice thing about depression is that it feels SO GOOD once you come out of it”

Even if it takes weeks or years, he’s right. The feeling is indescribable.

That’s something to look forward to.

It’s possible. But looking back, after discussing this with my GF and sister, I realize it’s been much more than just when things aren’t looking so well. I can remeber feeling like this in high school and the AF, times when I would completely withdraw from social circles for weeks at a time.

My AF supervisor even once sent me to an AF counselor for depression, and that lasted all of one meeting; I described my feelings and how I’d been acting that got me sent there, but that lately I’d been sleeping well and eating again, etc. He said it sounded like I was suffering from depression, but have since gotten better (This was 7 years ago).

Yeah, I meant cyclical as in years at a time, or weeks at a time- you said you would withdraw sometimes, but not all the time.

Anyway, for me to argue this would be pretty pointless and wrong.

You know yourself much better than I do, and i am happy that you have become so aware of it.

I was depressed in fifth grade, and I had forgotten about that for years- it took counseling and a lot of talking for me to realize that i have always had this problem.

I think the more you are aware of it and the more you know about how it has affected you, the better off you are going to be- you can see patterns in past behaviour, that’s good!
You can learn from that and i think that since you are seeking counseling, you are doing everything right about this.

Rock on, hmm?


I’ll echo the sentiments of the previous posters. You’ve made the right choice to get counseling. In my opinion, that’s half the battle - recognizing that something’s wrong and seeking help.

I myself was diagnozed with low-grade depression (dysthymia) about three years ago after I got counseling. If possible, you should also check with the counselor about medication as well (Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc.). In my case, after only a few weeks on medication, my overall mood and outlook on life improved dramatically.

And, please, keep us posted on how things are going. I (and I’m sure the other dopers, too) want you to get through this.

That’s what my sister said. She’s taken Zoloft and Paxil and says that they’ve helped tremendously. I been feeling so terrible lately, it’s such a relief to find out that it’s not just me and that there’s an end in sight to this.

Wonko -
I’ve heard that exercise is a great way to help when feeling depressed, but I’ve been lacking the motivation lately. I always rationalize away thougths of exercising (too hot outside, too cold outside, not enough time, too tired after work, I have better things to do, etc) After work today I’ll go for a swim, I haven’t been swimming in years and it’s exercise that I can’t blow off because it’s too hot outside.

I recently e-mailed my Psych 101 instructor to ask for a referral. I think I have the same problem, and I want to (finally) do someting about it. I can trace this pattern of negativity back to before high school, and I’ve seen several counselors, but never for long enough at a time, for various reasons. I’m hoping that since I’m working and having a life, it will be easier to maintain a therapeutic relationship, at least long enough to make a difference.

It can be tough to admit you are in a position to need help. I know it was for me. I’m proud of you, BratMan. Good for you!

I know -exactly- what you mean. When I need to go exercise, I don’t want to. The way I get myself going is to just go for a tiny short walk, so it’s not so much of a big deal. I always end up going on a bigger walk in the end. The unmotivated me has not figured this out yet for some reason. I find that if I just get out of the house and just start a walk or skateboard outing, I usually keep going. The key for me is to just start. That’s the worst part for me. I don’t run or anything, I just walk or skateboard (or occasionally fly big kites).

To sum up… I feel the same way at times and once I get moving, I usually keep moving, and then feel better. I hope I helped here.

BratMan, good for you for seeking help for your depression.
My parents had to force me to the doctor for mine, and by being the stubborn girl I am, didn’t cooperate with them. Learn from my mistakes, don’t fight the doctors!!

I’ve been suffering frm depression since I was about 12. Im 17 now and it comes and goes, more stays, but I agree, when you wake up one morning and don’t feel depressed, it is a wonderful thing. It may not feel right, especially if youve been depressed for awhile, but you just have to make it feel right, or else you get depressed again.

You haven’t mentioned feeling suicidal, which is very good, and I hope you never reach that point.

Good luck. Hope you get on a path to being well soon. My thoughts and hopes are with you!!

Also, a warning about Prozac… I read Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer for my psych class, and Prozac tends to do a complete transformation of ones personality, and seems to give one the inability to have most other feelings other than happiness. Just thought Id let you know.

Actually, I have felt suicidal in the past. I have scars on my chest and arms from cutting myself. Once I went as far as writing a note and locking myself in the bathroom with a razor blade, but couldn’t go through with it. It was noticeable marks on my arms that got me sent to the doctor when I was in the AF.

I was going to mention not to do that too, for fear it might have triggered you. I’ve done that too, on and off for a few years. I was able to stop myself, but I saw a movei no USA a few months ago on cutting, and that threw me back into my habits.
I also spent a few months getting two of my good friends to stop cutting themselves, since they didnt want their parents to find out. Self-control was the only thing I had that stopped me…that and my parents yelling at me whenever I did it. Enough rambling for now from me.

Word of advice:

Before going to see a counselor, go see a medical doctor. There can be medical reasons as to why you suffer from depression and sometimes it can be cured with a change of lifestyle, diet or activity.

Other times depression can be caused by an illness, from allergies to Lupus.

If you’re having problems in life and think they’re causing your depression, don’t jump to the conclusion that taking drugs will solve them.

Been there, done it. Good luck Brat!

Woohoo! Depression!

My family loves to talk about depression. We’ve had family members go into chronic depression to the point that they received medical electroshock therapy for it (works wonders, by the way, but it isn’t a permanent fix).

Personally, I’ve been in and out of therapy for this for years. I’ve taken Zoloft, Serzone, Lithium, and Wellbutrin, alone and in combination and in varying doses.

My conclusion: exercise. I friggin’ hate to exercise, but it almost invariably makes me feel better. I started taking instruction in Kung Fu about six months ago and I haven’t had major problems with depression in at least that long.

Though I’ve heard many positive drug stories, my own experience was either no discernable effect, or they made me physically ill. Eventually, I decided that I was going to do without the drugs and I think that decision, to a certain extent, made me feel positive enough to do it; a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyway, I’d heartily agree with everyone who congratulates you on having the strength to seek help, [cliche]because that is the hardest step[/cliche]. Corny as it sounds, it’s true.

I would also recommend, if you have episodic depression, that you try to focus when you feel depressed and remind yourself that it is not a reflection of reality, but an altered state and that it will pass and you will feel better.