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Thread: Dealing with the depths of depression

  1. #1

    Exclamation Dealing with the depths of depression

    I think it's important that we recognize depression and help those around us that we care for. The FDA posted an excellent article on this subject (full link below):

    Dealing with the Depths of Depression
    by Liora Nordenberg

    "I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would be not one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better it appears to me."
    --Abraham Lincoln


    Imagine attending a party with these prominent guests: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Schumann, Ludwig von Beethoven, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Vincent van Gogh, and Georgia O'Keefe. Maybe Schumann and Beethoven are at the dinner table intently discussing the crescendos in their most recent scores, while Twain sits on a couch telling Poe about the plot of his latest novel. O'Keefe and Van Gogh may be talking about their art, while Roosevelt and Lincoln discuss political endeavors.

    But in fact, these historical figures also had a much more personal common experience: Each of them battled the debilitating illness of depression.

    It is common for people to speak of how "depressed" they are. However, the occasional sadness everyone feels due to life's disappointments is very different from the serious illness caused by a brain disorder. Depression profoundly impairs the ability to function in everyday situations by affecting moods, thoughts, behaviors, and physical well-being.

    Twenty-seven-year-old Anne (not her real name) has suffered from depression for more than 10 years. "For me it's feelings of worthlessness," she explains. "Feeling like I haven't accomplished the things that I want to or feel I should have and yet I don't have the energy to do them. It's feeling disconnected from people in my life, even friends and family who care about me. It's not wanting to get out of bed some mornings and losing hope that life will ever get better."

    Depression strikes about 17 million American adults each year--more than cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease--according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). An estimated 15 percent of chronic depression cases end in suicide. Women are twice as likely as men to be affected.

    Many people simply don't know what depression is. "A lot of people still believe that depression is a character flaw or caused by bad parenting," says Mary Rappaport, a spokeswoman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. She explains that depression cannot be overcome by willpower, but requires medical attention.

    Fortunately, depression is treatable, says Thomas Laughren, M.D., team leader for psychiatric drug products in FDA's division of neuropharmacological drug products.

    In the past 13 years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several new antidepressants, including Wellbutrin (bupropion), Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Effexor (venlafaxine), Serzone (nefazodone), and Remeron (mirtazapine).

    According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 80 to 90 percent of all cases can be treated effectively. However, two-thirds of the people suffering from depression don't get the help they need, according to NIMH. Many fail to identify their symptoms or attribute them to lack of sleep or a poor diet, the APA says, while others are just too fatigued or ashamed to seek help.

    Left untreated, depression can result in years of needless pain for both the depressed person and his or her family. And depression costs the United States an estimated $43 billion a year, due in large part to absenteeism from work, lost productivity, and medical costs, according to the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association.

    Link to full article (there is a lot more worth reading but it's too long):

    http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/1998/498_dep.html


    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 04-08-2006 at 12:39 PM.

  2. #2

    Depression versus bipolar disorder

    Equally important is to recognize the difference between depression and bipolar disorder, which is rarer:

    http://www.isitreallydepression.com/...sbpolar.asp#2/

    Again, I am not a trained psychiatrist so you shouldn't just assume things by reading them here or on the internet. If you feel profoundly unable to cope with life for whatever reason, it is best to consult with a trained professional. Often, there is hope and you would be surprised at how much better your quality of life will be. And I am not speaking from personal experience but rather from close friends that have suffered through crippling bouts of depression and seeked professional help to deal with it.

    GG

  3. #3

    Depression

    A ''burn-out'' is in fact a depression!
    DocProstate
    Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.

  4. #4
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    docprostate A ''burn-out'' is in fact a depression!
    Not always. Burn out occurs when your stress level exceed your coping skills over an extended period of time. Depression is very frequently one of the symptoms, but not always. Clinical depression is the result of a chemical imbalance similar to the way diabetes is. One can be depressed but not burnt-out just as one can be burnt out and not be depressed. There are different types of burnout. Sometimes the symptome are mostly physical, with out being clinically depressed.

    Having survived depression myself (Yes, I chose to use the word "survived". Depression is an illness that takes many lives.) One of the best descriptions I have found of what it is like comes from J.K. Rowlings, of Harry Potter fame, when she talks about the "dementors" in Prizoner of Azkaban.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  5. #5

    male depression

    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    Having survived depression myself (Yes, I chose to use the word "survived". Depression is an illness that takes many lives.) One of the best descriptions I have found of what it is like comes from J.K. Rowlings, of Harry Potter fame, when she talks about the "dementors" in Prizoner of Azkaban.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    Thanks for sharing Ronnie, I am sure it wasn't easy to survive this.

    BTW, while females are more prone to depression, males suffer too. I was reading the reviews on Terrence Real's book here:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/068...lance&n=283155

    Also, have a look at Dr. David Wexler's book:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157...lance&n=283155

    Both are worth reading for a perspective on male depression.

    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 04-08-2006 at 11:29 PM.

  6. #6
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    No it wasn't easy at all. At first I resisted going for help. I was sure that I could pull my self out of it. By the time I went for help, I was what they called non-functioning. Could not work. I even found opening the mail overwhelming. It got so bad at one point that I could no longer recall what happy felt like or having ever felt happy. I cried so much every day that the skin on my face was irrated from the salt in my tears. You don't have to wait as long as I did to get help. The longer you are sick (yes it is an illness) the longer it takes to get better.

    Actually I am bi-polar and was originally diagnosed with clinical depression. For a long time we kept trying different medications that didn't work. It was only when I swung into a manic phase that I realised that I was wrongly diagnosed and got on the right medication.

    Once on the right medication I realised that I had never really known what normal was like and that it is a progressive illness. I have tried to go off medication more than once but I cannot. Like a diabetic whose body does not produce insulin, my body does not produce enough chemicals that allow me to maintain a sense of normalcy over any extended period of time.

    I once asked my doctor if this meant I was certifiably crazy but he told me I used to be crazy but that I am all better now (as long as I take my meds )

    Personally I am not convinced that actually more women suffer from depression. I suspect that it is likely that less men go get help and thus suffer quietly by themselves.

    I hope my sharing can help someone else know that they are not alone and that there is light at the end of the tunnel (no it is not a train). Just hang in there and go get help. If you do not have a G.P. call your local C.L.S.C. or go to a walk-in clinic or even a hospital emergency(especially if you lost the will to live or are thinking about suicide, even if you haven't reached the stage where it seems like the only way to end the pain (for those who have never been there, the pain is not only mental but physical also ))


    Ronnie,
    a very happy, yet very naughtylady
    Last edited by naughtylady; 04-09-2006 at 03:33 PM.
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    ......................One of the best descriptions I have found of what it is like comes from J.K. Rowlings, of Harry Potter fame, when she talks about the "dementors" in Prizoner of Azkaban.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    My god, that must have been bad, considering the description in the book. I think we all have our "down" periods, but they are trivial compared to the description of the "dementors".

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    Personally I am not convinced that actually more women suffer from depression. I suspect that it is likely that less men go get help and thus suffer quietly by themselves.
    Ronnie,

    Thanks again and I agree with you that men rarely discuss these issues. We are taught to be stoic and invincible. What a load of crap! If you need help, swallow your pride and go get it. Life is too short to worry about what "others" think.

    GG
    Last edited by General Gonad; 04-09-2006 at 04:10 PM.

  9. #9
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    GG>> You're welcome.

    chefplus>> Yes it was bad. Desperately so. That is why I say I survived depression.

    So many people who have never suffered so think it is akin to the normal depressions one goes through with life during some of the hard times. It is not. For example one might feel down during a break up, but can still remember the good times, and even feel hopeful. Not so with when clinical depression is left untreated.

    Don't do what I did. Don't wait until you are completely desperate before getting help. It doesn't need to get that bad. For many, medication for six months or a year or so is enough to get them out of that rut and back to living life rather than suffering.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  10. #10
    Working rage-aholic
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    Quote Originally Posted by naughtylady
    No it wasn't easy at all. At first I resisted going for help. I was sure that I could pull my self out of it. By the time I went for help, I was what they called non-functioning. Could not work. I even found opening the mail overwhelming. It got so bad at one point that I could no longer recall what happy felt like or having ever felt happy. I cried so much every day that the skin on my face was irrated from the salt in my tears. You don't have to wait as long as I did to get help. The longer you are sick (yes it is an illness) the longer it takes to get better.

    Actually I am bi-polar and was originally diagnosed with clinical depression. For a long time we kept trying different medications that didn't work. It was only when I swung into a manic phase that I realised that I was wrongly diagnosed and got on the right medication.

    Once on the right medication I realised that I had never really known what normal was like and that it is a progressive illness. I have tried to go off medication more than once but I cannot. Like a diabetic whose body does not produce insulin, my body does not produce enough chemicals that allow me to maintain a sense of normalcy over any extended period of time.

    I once asked my doctor if this meant I was certifiably crazy but he told me I used to be crazy but that I am all better now (as long as I take my meds )

    Personally I am not convinced that actually more women suffer from depression. I suspect that it is likely that less men go get help and thus suffer quietly by themselves.

    I hope my sharing can help someone else know that they are not alone and that there is light at the end of the tunnel (no it is not a train). Just hang in there and go get help. If you do not have a G.P. call your local C.L.S.C. or go to a walk-in clinic or even a hospital emergency(especially if you lost the will to live or are thinking about suicide, even if you haven't reached the stage where it seems like the only way to end the pain (for those who have never been there, the pain is not only mental but physical also ))


    Ronnie,
    a very happy, yet very naughtylady
    Thank you, Ronnie. You've articulated a lot of what I've felt recently. I was diagnosed with depression in my teens. I now suspect that like you, I am bi-polar. Because I had a depressive episode first, that was the diagnosis. I honestly feel that this is a lifelong illness, sort of like diabetes.

    Somehow, I've managed to stay employed, but I have neglected a lot of other things in life. Between the mess I've made and my compulsive hobbying, I know it's time to get help. Way past time, really. I have a son to think of.
    Why are homely people discriminated against...we're the majority

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by btyger
    Somehow, I've managed to stay employed, but I have neglected a lot of other things in life. Between the mess I've made and my compulsive hobbying, I know it's time to get help. Way past time, really. I have a son to think of.
    btyger,

    Hang in there buddy and take Ronnie's advice. BTW, use your son as an anchor but in the end you need to do this for yourself, which will help him as well.

    Finally, I suggest both you and Ronnie pick up Kay Redfeld Jamison's books on battling manic depression. She is a psychiatrist who has written an amazing autobiography, Touched With Fire, and her sequel, An Unquiet Mind (see below).

    GG

    Description:

    "In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: "There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness.... It will never end, for madness carves its own reality." This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. "We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized," Jamison writes. "We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities." Jamison's ability to live fully within her limitations is an inspiration to her fellow mortals, whatever our particular burdens may be. --Mary Ellen Curtin"


    Amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067...ycomnetdepress

  12. #12
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    I already have a copy of "An Unquiet Mind". A well written informative yet interesting book. I certainly did see myself in many passages.

    Looking back, I believe I first started experiencing what is refered to as hypo-manic episodes in my late teens or early twenties. It is difficult to tell before that as it is normal for children to have a lot of energy and it is also normal for teens to experience those teenage-blues.

    Ronnie,
    Naughtylady

    P.S. Take a look at my book thread: https://merb.cc/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=15617
    (Yes I know GG you have already posted there but for everyone else )
    They will forget what you said,
    they will forget what you did,
    but they will never forget the way you made them feel.

  13. #13
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    with all due respect, General, i feel there is only so much any book can do in the case of depression. I've read a few, but it was only through the help and guidance of an unbiased professional psychologist that I was able to peel away a whole lot of accumulated emotional "shit" (pardon the language, but I feel it's appropriate here).

    We as humans are so complex that often we don't even perceive some of our "wounds", especially when there are many of them all piled up. I've gone to see a psychotherapist on a one-on-one basis, and I made quite a bit of progress towards the more balanced person I feel I am today, but let me tell you that it was when I participated in supervised group therapy getaways that some important breakthroughs were made. i shudder to think how i'd be today if I hadn't agreed to join in these sessions...

    Just like we learn as a group in school, i and the others present were able to isolate and eradicate a bunch of emotional parasites that clung on for much too long, and most of it was done simply from talking it out and from listening to the others...

    There's more to it than that, of course, but I highly recommend such getaways to anyone, as I feel you will get faster, more evident results than through the reading of books...
    Last edited by shijak; 04-12-2006 at 11:51 AM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by spiderman05
    ..............I had and still have suicidal ideas. ...............
    Spiderman: we have met only once, but through our exchange across this board I consider you a friend. If you have any such ideas please stop and reconsider. I am willing to help in any way I can....if you need someone to talk to, just let me know.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by spiderman05
    This is the first time I talk about this so openly. I was almost forced on 2 occasions to consult a psychologist. On both occasions I was just trying to convince the doctor that I had no problems. The problem is that I never believed in professional help nor in antidepressants.
    spiderman05,

    Thanks for sharing and now listen to me carefully: please go see a psychiatrist, not a psychologist. A psychiatrist is an MD who can prescribe medication. You need professional help and don't be ashamed of it.

    Please do not think twice about consulting a psychiatrist; I guarantee you'll be better off in the future.

    GG

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