Thursday, July 18, 2024

I Have Been Depressed My Whole Life

Substance/medication Induced Depressive Disorder

I’m paralyzed by depression

Some people turn to drugs or abuse alcohol as a way of self-medicating, but this quick fix often backfires. The highs of alcohol and drugs lead inevitably to lows. If youre using substances daily, you may experience the lows as a hangover, tiredness, or the grayness of being without the substance and not really think of it as depression. But along with whatever pain and craving you feel, your mood is depressedtheres no question.

If youve been drinking or taking drugs regularly for a long time, your body will need time to regain its balance. Twelve-step programs are often effective because they provide much of what many depressed people need most: understanding, regular social interaction, optimism, forgiveness, and even a bit of laughter. If you believe in a higher powerall the better: that too can be a source of strength. But the bare bones of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other programs are always sound advice: Keep the toxins out of your body and mind, and connect with other human beings.

Overcoming Mental Health Stigma

Myths and misinformation about mental illness delayed Claires depression diagnosis until age 20. I had certain characteristics of depression as a teenager, such as irritability and crying jags, but my parents wouldnt take me for help. They figured, Oh, youre a girl. Youre just emotional.

Now, at age 26, Claire manages to hold down a high-stress job as a legal office manager for a multimillion-dollar law firm despite battling not only a depressive disorder but also type 1 diabetes and kidney disease.

She says, There are times when depression affects my productivity because its so intrusive. Im fine, until all of a sudden Im not. I try to stay on top of my meds as much as possible.

Therapy has helped her identify triggers such, as negative thought trains and lethargy, that signal a potential oncoming depressive episode.

Another major trigger is her physical health. I can run a million dollar law firm but I sometimes feel as if I cant make my body work, Claire sighs adding, I might be having back pain, kidney stones, and/or unstable blood sugar. Summer is especially difficult for Claire: When the weathers nice and everyone is outdoors enjoying physical activity or socializing and Im not well, I feel really left out.

Signs You Grew Up With Depression

Growing up, most of us arent taught to look out for signs of depression. So if youre experiencing it, especially as a teenager, its easy to think theres just something wrong with you and its easy for parents and other adults to pass you off as another moody kid.

But young people do get depression we just need to know the signs. To find out how people knew they were living with depression, we asked our mental health community to share, in hindsight, signs they had depression.

Heres what they had to say:

1. Looking back on it, I constantly felt guilt and had a hard a time fitting in with anyone. I was a very cautious and shy kid. Poppy W.

2. I cried a lot and wasnt as happy as the other kids. I was unmotivated and didnt want to shower my room was a mess and I would stay inside and play games all day. I had trouble making friends because I was super shy, and that turned into anxiety . Hannah F.

3. For me it was never feeling good enough, like no matter how hard I tried I just wasnt like everyone else, especially my two older sisters. Then the increased emotions came. I would get so upset or so mad so quickly and without reason. I didnt realize I had depression until this year. Ashley G.

4. Whenever I climbed a tree or somewhere up high looking down I thought how nice it would be if I was high enough to jump. Never knew that was a concerning thought. Brittany B.

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Do You Feel Depressed

Indeed, the catch-22 of high-functioning depression is that sufferers often believe that since they can push through their sadness while barely missing a step, it would be indulgent to seek help. But thats like believing ones own happy-on-the-surface social media status updates.

You Cannot Will Yourself Well

Rodney Dangerfield quote: I

“It is not for a lack of will that you are not better,” said the psych registrar.

“You need to think of this as a medical illness that needs treatment, because it is. There’s no other way to explain that 11-15 per cent of Australians experience it every year,” he said.

Instead of white-knuckled will, it was more helpful to approach recovery with self-compassion.

“Compassion is when love meets suffering and stays loving. That’s compassion,” says author and clinical psychologist Christopher Germer.

Also Check: Depression While Pregnant With Twins

How Is Depression Diagnosed

To be diagnosed with depression, an individual must have five depression symptoms every day, nearly all day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Children and adolescents may be irritable rather than sad.

If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Primary care providers routinely diagnose and treat depression and refer individuals to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.

During the visit, your provider may ask when your symptoms began, how long they last, how often they occur, and if they keep you from going out or doing your usual activities. It may help to make some notes about your symptoms before your visit. Certain medications and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same depression symptoms. Your provider can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests.

Read NIMHs Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website.

Whats The Difference Between Grief And Depression

Given that the primary symptom associated with depression is sadness, it can be easy to think of grief or bereavement as depression. But grief is a natural response to specific experiences, such as the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. While you might feel regret or remorse, and you might withdraw from usual activities if you are experiencing grief, youre unlikely to feel the overwhelming sense of worthlessness, thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and other symptoms of depression. Another important difference is that in grief, painful feelings usually come in waves and are often mixed with positive memories.

In some cases, however, grief and depression do coexist, or grief can trigger depression, according to experts writing in the journal American Family Physician. Having a mental health professional help you distinguish between them can ensure you get the support you need.

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Smoking Drugs And Alcohol

If you have depression it may be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better. Cigarettes and alcohol may seem to help at first, but they make things worse in the long run.

Be extra cautious with cannabis. You might think it’s harmless, but research has shown a strong link between cannabis use and mental illness, including depression.

The evidence shows that if you smoke cannabis you:

  • make your depression symptoms worse
  • feel more tired and uninterested in things
  • are more likely to have depression that relapses earlier and more frequently
  • will not have as good a response to antidepressant medicines
  • are more likely to stop using antidepressant medicines
  • are less likely to fully recover

A GP can give you advice and support if you drink or smoke too much or use drugs.

You may also find the following pages useful:

No I Cant Just Get Over It

I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life

Ive lived with depression and anxiety for most of my adult life. When people learn of my struggles, Im often met with I never would have guessed that about you!

While these people often have good intentions and just might not know much about mental health disorders, what I hear in those moments is: But what could you be depressed about? or What could possibly be so bad about your life?

What people dont realize is that battling a mental health condition is often done internally and that those of us dealing with them spend plenty of time asking ourselves those same questions.

A misconception of depression is that you can just snap out of it or that something happened to cause you to feel depressed, says Kathryn Moore, PhD, a psychologist at Providence Saint Johns Child and Family Development Center in Santa Monica, California.

When you are clinically depressed, you feel very sad or hopeless for no external reason. Depression can be more of a low-grade chronic unhappiness with life, or it can be intense feelings of hopelessness and negative thoughts about yourself and your life, she adds.

Mendez agrees, adding that a mistaken belief about depression is that its a state of mind that you can control by thinking positively. Not so, she says.

Mendez lists other damaging misconceptions about depression, including depression is the same thing as sadness and depression will go away on its own.

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Closing Thoughts: Treatment For Depression

If youve made it through this post and believe you are or may be depressed, wed like to reiterate that the above definitions and descriptions exist to better define what you may be feeling and are not meant for self-diagnosis. If youre often asking yourself the question, Am I depressed? its important that you seek help.

A mental health professional can help you change your life by teaching you to diminish cognitive distortions, practice mindfulness, change the nature of your inner self-talk, and so much more. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist can work with you to determine if medication is a good form of treatmentand if it is, theyll find a medication that helps you better manage your harmful symptoms.

Favorite Apps Products And Gadgets

If youre feeling sad, lonely, or stressed, the 7 Cups app could provide you with online therapy and emotional support. With180 professional therapists and more than 300,000 trained listeners and licensed therapists, youll be able to speak to someone 24/7 in a confidential setting.

This app offers activities and games to overcome negative thoughts. Youll receive a happiness score that you can improve each time you play. Its based on effective, evidence-based psychological strategies. The company says 86 percent of those who use the app report feeling better about their lives after just two months.

If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder , bright light therapy may help improve your symptoms. We like the Verilux HappyLight Lucent 10,000 Lux LED Bright White Light Therapy Lamp. Its compact and portable, so you can use it on the go. And it received an average of 4.5 stars on Amazon reviews. The cost is around $45.

Also Check: Zung Self Rating Depression Scale

Life After Depression: How To Thrive What Helps What Gets In The Way

Depression keeps itself alive with an intense, overwhelming sense of hopelessness. This hopelessness kills the motivation to reach into the world for support, something that is already fragile because of the stigma that is so often attached to mental illness.

New research, published in the journal Psychiatry Research, offers a reason for hope. There is life after depression a strong, healthy, happy life and the research has found the factors that will help to make this possible and those that will get in the way.

In a study involving more than 2,500 people who had experienced a major depressive disorder at some time in their lives, researchers found that about two in five people were able to fully recover and experience full mental health. The researchers defined full mental health as:

  • experiencing happiness or life satisfaction almost every day for the last month
  • a full year without depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or substance abuse and
  • positive social and psychological well-being.

The research revealed important findings about what helped, what hindered and what had no bearing at all on the likelihood of thriving after depression.

Get Ahead Of Relapse: Identify Early Warning Signs


These are different for everyone.

Mine are extreme tiredness, avoidance, cancelling plans, isolating, and letting self-care slip not eating properly, not being able to shower because I can’t move, not being able to leave the house.

It’s helpful to tell people I trust what my signs are it increases the chances of getting help sooner if others observe a change in my behaviour before I do.

I can even plan ahead and be specific about how I’d like to be told about this, for example a text message, a chat over coffee, a message iced on a cake .

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It’s Ok To Have Emotions

For a long time, I suppressed uncomfortable emotions like sadness, thinking that would mean the depression would go away.

But it turns out when we suppress one emotion, we also suppress our ability to feel all other emotions, like joy.

It meant that for a long time I’d avoid things that moved me deeply like music in case they made me too emotional.

Now I know emotions exist to tell us important things about ourselves and the situation we’re in, for example, what we need, what we value, what we love.

Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone

Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.

Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.

Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.

Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.

Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.

Read Also: How Do You Get Over Depression Without Medication

Are The Signs Of Untreated Depression In Men Different From Those In Women

Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit more anger, frustration, and violent behavior than women. In addition, men with untreated depression may take dangerous risks such as reckless driving and having unsafe sex. Men are not aware that physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, can be symptoms of depression.

Depression Is A Biopsychosocial Condition

Why I’ve been single my whole life…

“Did I think myself sick? Or is it genetic?” I asked the psychiatrist.

“Depression is genetic, psychological, and social, and that’s why when we treat it we treat all these,” she said.

This idea was new to me, that depression had these biological, psychological, and social components. Previously I’d only been prescribed medication and done some cognitive behavioural therapy and talking therapy.

But I hadn’t understood how major changes to routine as well as medication and therapy would be necessary for real change. And I definitely didn’t know how important the social component was when it came to treatment.

Recommended Reading: Depression Typically Last For How Many Weeks

Signs And Symptoms Of Persistent Depressive Disorder

Symptoms include:

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

In order to be diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder, you must experience symptoms for at least two years. Its important that those who suffer from this disorder seek treatment, as it can persist for an extended period of time and also lead to intermittent episodes of major depression.

Find The Small Things That Save You

“These small things saved me when nothing else could,” wrote Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.

He was referring to how he learned to live with thrift and self-forgiveness.

In hospital I thought of this line often. I knew about the big things taking medication, seeing the doctors. So, what were my small things?

I now know them to be a cup of something warm, something beautiful to read, and sitting on the floor .

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A Day In The Life With Depression

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Picture someone with depression. Whats the first image that comes to mind? Lying in bed all day? Crying? These arent wrong, and they may be fully accurate for me or someone else actively going through a depressive episode. But day-to-day life with chronic depression doesnt usually look like that. Not every day threatens to crush me, but many days I feel like I carry more weight on my shoulders than most.

I am in grad school right now to become a therapist, and one of the ways we assess the severity of ones mental health condition is to find out how much their symptoms affect their day-to-day life. As a person with depression, theres a low hum of how my daily functioning is affected some days. Other days, its a deep guttural internal scream, imperceptible to almost everyone else.

Like many others, I try to mask it as well as possible. I would never judge a client or a friend for feeling depressed, but theres obviously a double standard for myself, deeply rooted in internalized stigma.

Heres a look at what one day of life with depression looks like for me.

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