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Depression: 14 Important Insights

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Depression: 14 Important Facts You Might Not Know

Chances are that in your lifetime you will be one of two people – depressed, or close to someone who is. For this reason, understanding depression is fast becoming a life skill. Here are 14 important insights.

  1. Certain personalities are more prone to depression.

    Depression can happen to anybody, but those with depression are more likely to be introverted, creative or perfectionistic. Personality doesn’t cause depression but it can be a risk factor.

  2. People with depression won’t necessarily look depressed.

    People with depression are often highly functioning and adept at concealing their depression from the world. It could be your doctor, dentist, teacher, best friend or the life of the party. Whether because of the stigma associated with depression, or because of their concerns about the impact on the people around them, many people with depression will be masterful at masking their illness publicly. This is further evidence that depression is not a sign of weakness. The strength and mental toughness it would take to carry on as usual would be enormous. Of course, sometimes the strongest act is asking for help.

  3. Depression is a deficiency in chemistry, not character.

    Unfortunately, we live in a society where depression is still vastly misunderstood. It is a physical illness that effects mood and is no more a product of personality or character than cancer or diabetes. The only shame around depression is in the response of the ignorant.

  4. The internal body clock is disrupted.

    The body has an internal body clock that uses signals in the environment to cue appetite, sleep and mood. In people with depression, this clock can be so severely disrupted, that a.m and p.m. are reversed. This means that sleep is disturbed, as morning is confused with night. When sleep is thrown off balance, so too are hunger hormones, hence the appetite and weight changes that often come with depression.

  5. Depression changes the size of the brain.

    In research from Yale University, analysis of the brains of people with depression have shown an overproduction of a genetic ‘switch’. This genetic switch causes the loss of connections between the brain cells that regulate cognition and emotion, causing the brain to shrink in size. The more severe and longer-lasting the depression the greater the shrinkage. Antidepressants can help to reverse this.

  6. Depression fades memory.

    Depression can really interfere with memory, particular the type of memory that deals with specific facts such as names or places. Part of the reason for this may be the tendency to over-generalise, which can compromise the ability to differentiate between similar experiences.

  7. Blood test to diagnose depression.

    Up to now, the only way to diagnose depression was through self-reports or reports and observation. But that is set to change. Researchers have developed a blood test that may be used to diagnose depression and predict who will benefit from therapy. This will give way to the tailoring of more effective treatments.

  8.  Mindfulness can reduce and protect against depression.

    Mindfulness can reduce and prevent depression adolescents (aged 13-20) and adults.

  9. Depression ages you faster.

    Research has found that depression leads to accelerated cellular ageing and a heightened risk of ageing-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. People with depression have a shorter length of telomeres (a repeating DNA sequence found at the end of chromosomes). The more severe and longer-lasting the depression, shorter the telomere length the greater the ageing. Those who had previous episodes of major depression had shorter telomere length than those who had not experienced depression.

  10. Exercise causes the same changes in the brain as antidepressants.

    An abundance of research has demonstrated that exercise alleviates symptoms of depression in the short-term, but also that it has a protective factor against developing depressive episodes in the future. In fact, a recent study has found that for mild to moderate depression, exercise has the same effect on the brain as antidepressants. Walking 30 minutes a day is enough to make a difference.

  11. Gut bacteria play a role in depression.

    Increasingly, evidence is pointing to a powerful connection between the gut and the brain, with neurobiologists at Oxford University finding that gut microbiome play an important role in maintaining certain brain functions such as mood, emotion and appetite. Mounting evidence is suggesting a link between the gut health and psychiatric and neurological disorders such as anxiety, depression and autism. 

    Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that taking probiotics has an effect on anxiety and depression by influencing the neuroendocrine stress response and by altering the way people process emotional information.

  12. Depression increases the experience of physical pain.

    Like the emotional pain isn’t enough, depression is also associated with physical pain such as headaches, backache, stomach ache, joint ache and muscle ache. Research has shown that depression and physical pain share a common chemical pathway in the brain and are influenced by the same neurotransmitters. In light of this, it has been suggested that depression and the painful physical symptoms that are associated with it should be treated together. Research has actually shown that a correlation between an improvement in physical symptoms and an improvement in other depressive symptoms. 

  13. Antidepressants aren’t a magic pill.

    Depression can respond really well to treatment but the type of treatment that is most effective can differ from person to person. The best approach involves a multi-faceted approach that responds to the whole person – mental (therapy, emotional support, cognitive awareness, mindfulness); physical (exercise, diet); chemical (medication). Furthermore, antidepressants generally won’t have an immediate effect. Expectations that medication is a magic bullet can lead to disappointment and a further worsening of symptoms. Depression is treatable but can involve some trial and error of responses. Knowing this, and being patient and open to altering treatment is an important part of the way through depression.

  14. Asking about depression or suicide will never make it worse – but it could save a life.

    Everyone has their ups and downs but if someone you know is acting unusual (mood, sleep and appetite changes, sadness, aggression, recklessness, more withdrawn), it might be something more. If you have any hunch at all that something isn’t right, it’s important to ask if he/she is depressed or suicidal, using direct language such as ‘suicidal/giving up on life’ rather than the lesser ‘hurting yourself’. People often avoid asking for fear it will plant the idea but it doesn’t work like this. The question might save a life. If the person is suicidal, seek immediate help from a doctor, hospital or suicide prevention helpline.

For those who have never had depression, the darkness is impossible to imagine. It can strike anybody and none of us can know when we, or someone we love, are about to walk through the middle of its very broad and undiscerning target.

Depression is a treatable illness. We are learning more about depression every day and a lot ground is being made in the search for effective treatments with minimal side effects. 

The more that can be understood about depression, the more it can be responded to with wisdom, respect, openness and compassion – it should never be responded to with anything less.

(A shortened version of this post was published on The Huffington Post UK.)

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92 Comments

hbg

Fine way of describing, and good paragraph to obtain facts concerning my presentation subject matter, which i am going to deliver in university.

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Tracy Graham

THIS IS NOT A CRY FOR HELP. I did go through several suicide attempts that should have worked, due to my medicines needing changed. I wrote this so maybe some would understand how depression really feels. That have me on the right MEDS now but am unemployed. I’ve been fired twice once they found that I had depression

DEPRESSION

She was there for friends thru weddings, pregnancies, divorces, illness’s, relapses-she tried to be there, always trying to act happy, trying to make them laugh. After all happiness is contagious.

She cooked for them, helped clean their house, anything she could do to help, to make them happier She was there for emotional support, crying, happiness, celebrations.

She believed in people, that they were good and would see it in them. Believing if that’s what you looked for, that’s what you would find. And she always found it.

Her illness, she kept a secret when it was bad. No one really wanted to hear how she alone felt. She didn’t want to share her pain and bring down someone else. They wouldn’t understand or know the pain. Those times were spent at home, excuses made why she couldn’t go out. She was lost in an emotional dark fog of pain, trying to sleep thru it…trying to forget the ugly things, hurtful times and blocking out the ugly words said to her, about her that she continued to hear in her head.

Illness- cancer, heart disease, diabetes –any of those, everyone is there for you, asking how you are, do you need anything, worried if you have a relapse and lifting you up with words and deeds.

Her relapse or inability to see her mental Illness/depression worsening, caused her to attempt the ultimate escape. Days spent trying to make the pain go away forever, only resulted in a long hospital stay.

This was the time she needed her friends that loved her, would hug her and support her. They weren’t there, they were gone. The people (family)who were left, blamed her, explaining how much this had inconvenienced and screwed up their life, how everyone had depression. Reiterating all the ugly things they had always said about her, to her.

Finally she’s successful, she made her pain and the horrible loneliness that clung to her, causing that continual empty feeling, go away. Now she would feel no pain, nor the soul sucking loneliness. she will feel nothing.

WHERE DID HER FRIENDS GO????

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Hey Sigmund

Thank you for sharing this! There would be so many people who would relate to this story and you can’t know many people will feel a little bit better today because you have shared it. One of the most powerful things we can hear is, ‘Me too’. It’s such an important story and I’m thankful to you for adding your voice. Know how important you are. This is why you have to be here and I’m so grateful for you. There is still so much we don’t know about depression. The only way we are going to understand more about it is when people with an honest, strong voice tell us what it’s like. You’ve done that. You’re amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and please keep fighting. The world needs you more than you could know.

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christian

People do not really listen…they just go with their plans for Christmas and shopping or whatever
They have family and u do not…..they only want to make sure the food is ordered and plenty of gifts are bought…..
Life is never the same when uloose your kid

They havetheir kidsandthat is all that matters

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MaBelle

Holy cow! Have you been living with me!? It’s a comfort to know someone gets it. Finally going to see a dr. Scared sh@!less!! But, I have to save myself. Again, thank you!

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Debbie

I have BPD, but Before being diagnosed with BPD, I delta with depression most of my life. I have an awesome fam. that mostly understands but for me I feel like I will take my life! I Love my wonderful husband and kids more than words….but its so hard ! Their will be a day when I feel no need to take another breath, I can imagine all of the pain, guilt, and ugliness just fade away! No one would expect that I was depressed because like you mentioned I’m always making them laugh or just being goofy and I’m 48. Anyway I enjoyed the article! Thank you!

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Hey Sigmund

Debbie, I really understand your pain and the temptation to end this pain for good, but please, you have to understand this: As your pain and guilt and ugliness fades away, losing you to suicide would just be the beginning of untold guilt, pain and ugliness for your family. Your suicide would change their lives forever. Your husband will wonder what he could have done differently and your kids will have to learn to trust that other people in their lives who they love now or grow to love in the future won’t leave them too. All of them will have times where they wonder why they weren’t enough to keep you here. I know how unbearable the pain of depression is but there is a way through this. It sometimes takes a bit of experimenting to find the thing that works best for you. If you haven’t found it yet, please don’t give up. There is no one size fits all for BPD and depression. There are different lifestyle options, medications and counsellors. It’s all about finding the right combination for you – but there will be a right combination. If you need any more information on what to try next, please let me know. Love to you.

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Becky

Tracy, do you mind if i share your poem. I feel I have some friends who really need to read this. Thank you for sharing. Glad you are doing better now. Depression is not a fun thing, especially dealing with it on your own.

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GEH

No, you are not fired for using insurance to get treatment for depression. You are fired because your department has 1 too many highly ranked people. You are only clearing 43% of the work in a 5 person department. Then, within 3 months, they hire 2 people to do your job.
That’s what HR is for, feeding management the right magic words.

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Leonie

Thank you. I have been there. IT is hard to explain. Put on a happy face and nobody will look behind your mask.

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Chel

At this point in my life, I don’t know what to believe anymore- have I been depressed my entire life?- #6 says Depression fades memory. Really? I’ve been thinking for a long time that I am just stupid BC I can’t remember things from my past, meaning like 10 -15 yrs of my life, and I am only 32 now. I’ve learned to just deal with it. I’m a person that no one can hurt yet I cry all the time. I just thought it is who I am.. Now I’m wondering “WHO AM I?” Am I not the girl that is so broken that my feeling have just became numb and immortal?

The reason I am reading this post in the first place is because I have felt something strange within me lately and thinking horrible thoughts; my husband asked me for a divorce today and his reason is that I’m lazy.. I am ANYTHING but a LAZY person! I am a perfectionist for the most part. I tell people that I have o.c.d. so they dont think I’m crazy when I do certain things others usually wouldn’t do but truth is, I really think I do. I’d rather not have any help at all cleaning or doing other chores because no one else will get it right.. But then I’ll fuss all week for no one helping me. I suppose something is wrong and I can’t diagnose myself but fact is, I’m not lazy – JUST SO TIRED and lately feel there’s no reason to get up. Thoughts and visualizations have been happening a lot lately and I wanted to research why and I stumbled upon this.

I seem to be more deep in my thoughts lately. Sometimes, after I finally do go to sleep at night, I wake up and sit on the side of the bed just staring at the wall for a long time and eventually getting up and looking into the mirror, as I walk into the bathroom, feeling disgust, shameful, worthless, helpless, hopeless, etc. I’ve walked into my kitchen before and just stood in the middle, as I do quite often, in deep thought about absolutely nothing g at all! That sounds stupid, I know. But the way I honestly feel is lost and scared. I don’t wanna cry any more. I don’t wanna be mad any more.

I feel as if one nice sunny day I was on a nature walk admiring flowers, trees, birds, butterflies, crawling insects, etc. while taking in all the aromas then I started thinking to myself.. **do we take life too seriously?? I know that each moment is to be cherished because it could be taken at any fleeting moment, but should we be using our time for something bigger or should we slow down and appreciate the seconds. We are given vast opportunities that if not taken seriously can be snatched away, but if we are too serious and too focused are we missing out on the simple pleasures – Do you want to live the life of an Eagle or of the ladybug. The Eagle soars high above and sees the rivers, mountains, and canyons, but does it ever fully appreciate the intricate beauty of a lily inch by inch?** ..then all of the sudden it starts to get dark and I have no light with me and as the sun finally fades away, I am left on a path in the middle of the woods afraid of what is going to get me.. I see a flashlight up ahead in the distance and I start to wonder if I should go to the light for someone to rescue me or if I do go, is it going to be a killer and I just walked myself into certain death… I’m stuck in this situation.. I can’t go towards the light because I am scared, I can’t go back where I came from because its already too late, too dark.. I can’t detour off the path because I’m afraid of what’s in the woods… So I sit in the middle of the path crying in eternal darkness praying for daylight that will never come.

Sometimes I just get lost in my own thoughts and start talking about really deep and sometimes scary things.. Is it just me? Is it who I am or is it depression?
Geez.. I should try to go to sleep.
I just thought I would share what was on my mind after reading so much of the depression material that I have found.
If you took time to read all of this… Thanks for doing so.. I vent BC I have no one I can talk to.. Not even my husband!

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Hey Sigmund

First of all, I’m so grateful to you for sharing what’s happening with you. You would be surprised how many people will understand what you’re going through because they’re going through it too. You’ll never know how many people you will have helped by writing this.

I want you to know that what you’re feeling makes sense, though I understand it doesn’t make sense for you. If there is any way you can talk to a doctor or a counsellor, I think it would be really important for you. There’s a reason you’re sad and numb and tired, and there’s a reason you feel like withdrawing. It could very likely be depression. There are lots of different combinations of symptoms that can look like depression, but a doctor will be able to confirm this for you.

It sounds as though there are things that have changed in you, as well as in your life. Divorce is difficult, even if you think it’s for the best. Don’t underestimate the impact of that, or whatever has lead up to this. What you are going through is very manageable. You deserve to feel better than you do. There is a happier version of your life, but the first step has to be yours. It doesn’t have to be this way for you. Please reach out to a doctor or counsellor. Thank you again for sharing your experience. I wish you love and strength through this.

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Jen

Girl, I just read my story right here. You nailed it! So grateful for the man I married 2 years ago. He’s saved me in so many ways. Blessings to you sweetheart, I know how hard it is to find strength sometimes. The last 2 years have been the absolute hardest actually – got married :), but got sick – fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis kicked my ass literally weeks after the wedding. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve been fighting all year. The depression has been horrible. My kids try to understand, but my husband is literally my angel. I hope you can find peace at some point. Blessed Be

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Jen

I did try…….

a few years ago though. I took over 100 pills to try to end it all. I’m so glad that I was saved then. I can’t apologize to my babies enough for how they saw me at the hospital. No one should have let them in that emergency room. Most of all, I haven’t been able to apologize to myself

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Irina

Good thing that you notice, that you only have this life, and that husband of yours is exactlly like mine…Maybe its time to get out in natura sit on the grass, and Just breath, really breath be in contact with me, nature, everything and everybody because this bulshitt world only say to you that you’re alone! But its not true.I am here with you for you,I know you and I get the pain of yours.

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Nicole A

I also don’t remember a lot of things either which for me has been over 25 years. For me, I do what I can. If I can’t remember there’s nothing I can really do and I have to be ok with that. I can sometimes and can’t other times but I try. I feel my brain has more important things to focus on – me. I have a journal that when I do remember something good or when something good happens I write it down and then I can read back and see those memories again even if I don’t remember them any longer.

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Sharon Hutchinson

This article has made me cry–which is good because it has broken the flat affect I woke up with this morning. When people find out I have bi-polar depression, they back away from me, in fear and ignorance, I guess.

All of my energy is spent between dealing with mental and physical pain, while trying to live my life. All I want today is to sleep…It is so good to read something like this. Who really wants to die? No one. Who wants to go on living like this? No one. It is truly a sad place some of us have to live in.

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Hey Sigmund

Sharon I really want you to know that you aren’t alone on this. There are a lot of people who don’t understand depression and bipolar, but there are so many who do and who would see who you are through your symptoms. People tend to back away from what they don’t understand. I wish this could be different. I’m pleased this information has found its way to you. I wish you strength and love and healing.

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Sharon Hutchinson

Thank you so much for your encouraging words. Sometimes it takes all I have to just appear happy when I want to cry. Thankfully my husband is very understanding, although at times he expresses very justifiable frustration with my mood swings. I have heard of marriages that have broken up because either the wife or husband has bi-polar disorder. But he helps me ride out the storms, knowing somehow when to say something and when to leave me be. Otherwise, life is very lonely because the average person usually doesn’t want to bother with someone who is on the “roller coaster”. Sometimes I can’t blame them. A lot of the time I don’t like “me” either.

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Dawn

I lingered on this site today and read the comments. Something I rarely do. I was looking for sites that gave ‘what not to say’ advice to direct my family members about being more encouraging to me. The conversation today was like facing a firing squad of, while well meaning, went like this: “you need to help yourself more”—hearing you are not trying; “you have to change”—hearing you are broken and have to be fixed; “I won’t let you drag me down”—hearing you are not worth it. It went on and on. I kept trying to be calm and explain how the things he said were not what i heard. That I know that logically what his thought process was made sense to him and a large portion of the world, to me, I could see the sense but it was not what my brain focused on or what I heard.

I said I lingered here today. Your comments are encouraging and positive. I found a glimmer of help in them. I understand that I am not alone, and that every person with depression of any sort acts and reacts differently to everything. Thank you all for being brave enough to comment, and strong enough to reach out. Thank you Sigmund for this place to do that.

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Hey Sigmund

Dawn you are certainly not alone! I’m so pleased you are able to take comfort from the comments. Depression is such a difficult thing to understand for those who have never experienced it. There are so many people who would understand how you feel. It’s only by talking about it that we can flourish an understanding of what it is like to have depression. Thank you for adding your important voice to the conversation. I hope you are able to find more of what you need whenever you come here.

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Susan

Thanks for giving to depressed people the courage to keep trying. I have suffered many years, off an on. People who haven’t been there don’t understand. I wish all of you success in your attempts to get better.
God bless you all.

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Hey Sigmund

Thanks so much Susan. You’re right, it’s very difficult for people who haven’t been there to understand, but there are so many people who do. I hope you are able to find comfort here and feel less alone with your struggle. Love and strength to you.

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Devorah

Love this article, especially about depressed people not necessarily appearing so. People always think I’m so happy and together, if I do tell them I have depression they are shocked. Outside I’m putting on a happy face, hiding severe (indescribable) pain within. Thank you!

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Sharon H

Devorah-me too, I was the clown that always made people laugh. Until just recently, when I simply broke apart. Now my “secret” is out, but it doesn’t matter to me. I’m trying to stay alive day by day. If they don’t understand, well…..my main goal is trying to climb out of the “black hole”. Good luck to you, take care of yourself. We are all in this together!

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Jen

I’ve been trying to get disability benefits for the complications of the cancer and the fibro /RA. Last week I had to interview with the psych doc as part of the disability exam – she looked at me like I grew 2 heads! I said “of course I’m still depressed and have suicidal thoughts! I don’t act on them nor do I plan to, but they’re there!” I’ve lost my identity the last few years.
I’m a nurse and a super mom, at least I was 2 or 3 years ago.
My partner of almost 7 years gone – losing him hurt, but it was easier to grieve knowing what horrible things he’d done (cheating, impregnated another woman, married her while under my roof and still wore my engagement ring). Most of all, I miss the kids!
Next….. Something wonderful. I received a hello from a friend. One I’ve known for over 20 years. 2 months later, we married and moved away (he’s a pipeliner, moving is just part of the job). Turns out that when we were in Ohio, I was getting sick. Pain started in my joints first – I didn’t think much of it until it prevented me from doing normal things. Then, the body /muscle pain started. I’d sit in the bath for hours and cry and cry. Multiple doctors and a new state, no improvement in my health. I finally found a primary doc who believed me and actually cared enough to help. Many diagnosis later, many doctors later, the cancer was found in my gluteal muscle.
So, surgery….. Husband laid off work…. Husband back to work….. Kids and I come back to Oklahoma so I can do treatments and have family /support while the hubby is away….. Radiation done….. Basically homeless, husband off work again…. Staying with my mom (who isn’t nice about it most days).
If I weren’t sick, we’d have an extra income. We’d have a home of our own. I feel like the hole we’re in is my fault!
So YES, I AM DEPRESSED
I probably still will have to fight for that disability…..

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Hey Sigmund

This is such a tough time for you. It’s been one thing after another hasn’t it, and I expect it feels all the worse given that it is so different from the way you used to be. You have been sideswiped by physical illnesses and it is completely understandable that this would hurt you so much emotionally, but this has absolutely nothing to do with your emotional strength. You are a fighter, I can hear that in your words. People with depression are so strong, but even the strongest of us have our limits. Keep fighting for your disability rights -it sounds as though you deserve them, and keep moving forward. Much love and healing to you.

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Jen

Thank you, really. I feel like having this site to sort of talk about it and talk to each other really helps. ?

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Sharon H

It took me a year and a half to get disability due to RSD and depression. I hate to say this but if I hadn’t hired a lawyer it probably would have taken twice as long. He found out my file had been misplaced by SSD for 8 months! I also got my local Congressman involved. He assigned his secretary to keep tabs on what was going on. The only relief was that my benefits were backdated and when I went to check my bank balance it was $8000 (up from around $300). The money arrived before my letter of approval.

I know it’s hard but keep your chin up! Those of us who struggle through a life that others will (thankfully) never experience are, in the end, the strongest of all. To some of them I want to say ” you wouldn’t survive even half of what I’ve been through”. We are warriors!

Not saying this to depress you but

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Jen

Ya… I know. It’s going to be a fight. They don’t like to give you the benefits easily. I am calling a lawyer if I get denied on this one. Almost always denied on the first go-round no matter what. Shouldn’t be that way, but it is what it is. 😉

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Sharon H

I wish you good luck and a lot of patience! Unless things have changed, it is usually almost mandatory for someone to have to hire a lawyer unless, of course, they are obviously never going to work again.

I can remember that upon seeing that huge amount in our bank account we drove straight to the supermarket and loaded up on food. I was so hungry on the drive home, the first item I grabbed from the bag was ice cream. I even ate it with my fingers, that’s how hungry I was! I sincerely hope you never reach that point. You will be in my thoughts…

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Christen

I am truly impressed by the honesty given by you all in the comments. It takes a lot of courage to admit to yourself that there may be a problem, even more so to talk about it openly with people.
Just over a year ago I felt like I was losing my mind. I was a raging crazy person toward my kids for no reason, I couldn’t sleep well, if at all. I wasn’t eating but maybe once a day. I lost motivation to do just about everything. I found no enjoyment in things that would normally have had me floating for days.
My daughter, then 9, asked me after one of my ritual morning spaz outs if I was okay…I couldn’t answer her honestly, I just nodded. I knew right then in that moment that I needed help. That morning I made an appointment with my doctor and within the week I had my appointment and diagnosis.
That turned out to be the easy part. It has been an uphill battle, but one worth fighting I can assure you. I am mending myself daily. Medication, exercise and diet have played a huge roll in my succes to date, and I know that depression and anxiety are something that I will be facing head on for some time, but at least I now know what I’m facing! The support that I have received from my wonderful kids, my patient and understanding husband, my friends, family and doctors has been amazing. One thing that has really surprised me though is when I have opened up to people that I don’t know well, or at all. I am sometimes met with quiet understanding, unwillingness to discuss further, but on more than one occasion it’s opened the door for better understanding on their part and mine. The more I talk about it, the easier it gets.
My hope is that anyone who is suffering with depression finds their path to mental wellness! You are brave, you are worth every breath you take and most importantly… You are not alone

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Hey Sigmund

Thank you so much Christen for sharing this and for giving hope to others who may be struggling right now. I am also often amazed at how people connect when one person is brave enough to share their story. We all do it tough from time to time and it takes such courage and an open heart to be able to acknowledge that. It sounds as though you have wonderful people around you, and that doesn’t happen by accident. Keep going with your fight and your healing. Onward and upward for you.

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Anonymous

I’m really scared now. I’ve had depression since I was five so my mom got me a cat to try to cheer me up. However, I’ve always had dark, pessimistic and sad thoughts I hid from the world. In fact, I’ve never sought treatment as it’s not uncommon in my family. I’m in college now and recently I went through a particularly bad episode of depression. It was so bad in fact that I visited the college’s therapist. I didn’t like therapy so I only went once but the test she recommended I take was eye opening. It turns out I have a high likelihood of chronic major depression. I’ve never been fond of antidepressants. However, now I am also not fond of the fact that my brain is shrinking. This is incredibly alarming.

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anonymous

Hi Anonymous, I am 50 now and have suffered from depression since I was around 9 but none of my family understood they just thought I was a worrier, I was diagnosed at 18 and put on medication that helped but I was only left on it for 18months, then I was fine for a while and it returned, I was then diagnosed again and put on medication again for another 18 months. Every doctor I dealt with did the same thing they put me on the medication and then after 18 months or so when I seemed to be better they took me off it, this went on until I was 42 when at last I met a South African practitioner who told me that depression was for life and the way they addressed the issue was this, if you are diagnosed once before the age of 20 you are prescribed medication for a period of time, if you are diagnosed twice before the age of 20 you are on medication for life, if you are diagnosed for the first time over the age of 40 you are on medication for life. This opened my eyes I immediately got into a different mind set when I realised I did not have to go through the whole cycle of depression, being medicated and then when I seemed better being taken off medication and starting the whole merry go round again. I would say to you do not be afraid of being diagnosed as depressed and especially do not be afraid of medication, when they get the meds right your life will be changed for the better, your personality does not change, you will still be you without all the thoughts in your head whirling around at 90 miles per hour, it gives your brain a rest and you will find that life makes more sense. Give it a try and do not be afraid to fight to stay on medication if it is working, do not take no for an answer. Good luck.

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Hollman

I just read all your comments and this is the first time I’m going to do this in public. I was raped by 11 people several times when I was 7 years old, they were all my neighbors, I think some of them were 15 and the rest were 17 years old. I shared the story with my mother when I turned 17 years old and I blamed her for the pain I’ve been through. I visited a doctor (psychologist) for three years and I took antidepressants.

It has been a real tough time, now I am 28 years old but I still feel lonely a depressed and sad, that episode has affected all my life, I suffered bullying in college, I couldn’t finished my career because of my low self-esteem. Every day I feel I do not deserve anything and I have felt my pain is not going to finish until I passed away, I have never attempted to my life but I feel I’m close to it!

My mother never understood my pain, in certain ways, I feel that my own family, specifically my mother does not let me go on, she is always over protecting Me even though I have shown her I know how to take care of myself now and now she is sick, she using it to make me stay at home just to make her feel better about where I am and with whom I spend my time…

I am the life of the party and I can make anyone feel better about themselves, but I cannot do the same with me. I’m just waiting the time to give up completely and feel like I’m resting in peace

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Hey Sigmund

Please please please try to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Here are some numbers http://www.heysigmund.com/about/if-you-need-more-support/. I understand that your mother has not been able to understand your pain, but there are people who will understand completely. What happened to you was horrific and should never ever have happened. I’m so sorry it happened to you. and of course it has affected you, but it doesn’t have to define you. I can hear what a fighter you are. You’re a survivor and you need to be here. Now is your time. Please don’t give up. I know where you are right now might feel like a really lonely, dark place, but you don’t have to do it alone. I wish you love and strength and healing.

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Hollman

Thank you so much for your recomfortable words, I am still fighting and looking for my own way, to get out of this pain. It’s good to know, I am not the only one struggling with my life.

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Jen

I understand how you feel (not feeling worth it). My father molested me (in every way you can imagine) from birth to age 9. When I was 11, I was raped by a 15 year old while 7 of my “friends” watched. Enter adulthood and many many wrong relationships. Acting out sexually (promiscuous)….. And two children out of an abusive marriage. I was going nowhere fast. I finally went to school and became a LPN, have been now for 11 years. Like I said above this, I’ve been through a lot. More than most people, but I’m still here. Obviously I am a strong woman or I wouldn’t be here. Even after trying to commit suicide – I’m here, I am here. My husband is amazing and one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, my children are teens now and they’re phenomenal kids. I may be going through a lot with the cancer and everything else, but I still have so much to live for. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. That one moment of weakness could destroy it all! You are on our mother earth for a reason, even if you haven’t figured out why yet, you will!

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Hollman

Thank you so much Jen for feeling so close to my story… God may bless you words and support. I hope your feeling better! Love and strength for you!

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Charlene

I AM CLOWN WHO CAN’T WASH OFF HER MAKEUP! Can ANYONE ever really know how incredibly exhausting my life is “FAKING THE FUNK” day in and day out??!! Trying to show a stoic and positive person to one and all because 1–don’t ever want those around me to know my dirty little secret. 2–don’t ever want to explain my depression to those closest to me OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN because guess what i sometimes DON’T GET IT myself!!! It’s like a monster with many different heads and one day it will have reared this ugly head or the next day it’s reared that other ugly head! 3–don’t ever wanna feel like the “BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM” . Don’t they know that elephants have big ears and uhhhh maybe just maybe they can hear better than the average bear???!!! SO STOP THE WHISPERING, I CAN HEAR WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT ME! 4–don’t ever say to me i act weird, i am not the same person i once was, i need to stop acting a certain way because of how others might percieve me–SHUT UP! AND IF YOU HAVEN’T BOTHERED TO READ 1 PIECE OF INFORMATION ON DEPRESSION TO EDUCATED YOURSELF, YOUR IGNORANCE IS YOUR OWN DOING NOT MINE! 5–don’t ever tell me that i need to ” FIND THE LORD”!! WHAT?? I NEVER LOST HIM! Last but not least 6–don’t ever PITY me! please don’t ever do that. I’m not looking for your sympathy. I just ask for your compassion and understanding to realize that this disease is just as debilitating and destructive to ones body as deadly bacteria or terminal cancer. When i have to wear my clown costume and perform because the ‘SHOW MUST GO ON” and then on top of that i have to deal with all the other stuff i mentioned I wonder if it’s even worth it?? All this effort i put into this one man act is breaking my spirit(whatever little spirit I have left). I simply don’t know if it’s worth it anymore! So please realize I DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE THIS WAY. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE THIS WAY. I’TS A DISEASE THATS REAL! IT’S CUNNING AND CALCULATING AND IT’S PAINFUL AND HARMFUL JUST LIKE CANCER OR HEART DISEASE. Just give me your love and compassion is all i ask and know that the cure is not the same for everyone. The equation can be difficult to solve and it may take some time to figure it out. Just realize this and maybe i won’t have to work so hard when I’m onstage. That’s all i ask!

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Ruthann Tacher

Thank you for identifying the issues you brought forward in this article. I grew up living with alcoholism and abuse toward my mom and lived my early adult life not knowing I was dealing with unresolved issues. Crazy, right? As I matured, I eventually realized I hid my sadness/anxiety. As I aged, I couldn’t hide from myself anymore and actually, my faith helped me come face to face with what was going on deep inside me. I came to accept my depression/anxiety. I am still trying to learn how to manage- treat-work with- my deep sadness, anxiety, etc. I have learned that I’m especially susceptible in the winter when it’s dark. Sunshine helps lift my heart, as does the outdoors and fresh air and space in my life. The News, stresses of the media, etc, really hurt me. I have cultivated a couple friends who I can talk to when things get really bad and I’m grateful for them, I’ve also learned that if I have one way to also give to others, like make a dinner for a friend, or make a call to some one, or volunteer, it pulls me upward and helps me so much. That’s not easy to do when I’m in a dark place, but it does really help. I’ve been on different medications at different times, and they’ve been helpful too. Just my thoughts. Best wished to all who struggle in this way!

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Susan

Thank you, I too, find that “service” is an amazing antidepressant. I volunteer at a community service program for the homeless, cutting hair. Knowing that so many are worse off than me; not able to keep a job, spiraling into homelessness due to use of “pain relievers” (e.g., drugs, alcohol, etc.) Being so misunderstood by society… . I’m thankful to be in a position to get the help (counseling, medication) that helps me cope. I was dignosed with “narcissist abuse disorder.” It’s a lonely dis-ease for sure though. Somebody in my support group asked me if I have any sins I needed to confess. I feel like Job. My narcissist ex-to-be, has harassed me through the legal system with an equally evil attorney, for years… . I’m exhausted moat of the time. PRAYER, EDUCATION, REFRAINING FROM NEGATIVITITY (bad news, conversation, etc.) READ UPLIFTING QUATES AND STORIES, GRATITUDE, EXERCISE, REST, SERVICE, PRAYER (intentionally repeated 🙂 are crucially important for me. When I stay diciplined in those areas, I feel best.

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Jen

It also sounds like you may have some empath abilities since the news and things bother you. I feel it too. I try to stay in a positive environment, but it’s not always easy. You have to learn ways to protect yourself from the negative influence around you. When I was working (nurse) I had the hardest time keeping myself closed off, especially when I knew they were in pain or dying. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why I got so sick – like trying to heal all those people by taking the sickness into myself. I’m so glad that you have friends who understand what you’re going through. Unfortunately I’ve found that having friends is just another source of pain for me.

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ollieb

This is an excellent article and explains a great deal for anyone who silently wonders why they feel so different. In school i always thought I was stupid and why was I having such a difficult time remembering. I always felt aches and pains. Not motivated. I realize that I was often depressed. I lived with an alcoholic father who beat my mother on a regular basis, and he molested me. However, I would have to get up for school the next day and act as though I had not a care in the world. It takes so much strength to do this. As a woman of 60, I realize I had that strength, which give me motivation to fight and do all I need to do to live.

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Hey Sigmund

It is often said that people with depression are so strong, but that they have had to be strong for too long. There is absolutely doubt about the vastness of your strength. You would not have got through what you got through growing up if you didn’t have this. I wish things could have been so different for you growing up and that you didn’t have to be as strong as you were, at a time when there were meant to be people being strong for you. You are a fighter – strong, brave and resilient. You have been proving this for your entire life. I completely understand how exhausting this must get sometimes but keep fighting. Love and strength to you.

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Nicole A

I have bipolar & S.A.D. I was sexually abused. I had 2 alcoholic parents. My mother also had B.P.D. and tried to commit suicide several times, once when I was 5 and she collapsed in front of me. I was alone with her. My dad was at work and my brother was outside somewhere with his friends. I ran outside, saw my neighbor who called 911. She almost succeeded that time. She succeeded when I was 13 by going off a 16th floor balcony. I had the stepmonster from hell. Nothing I did was good enough. She completely destroyed my self-esteem. I would come home from school every day and go to my room and cry because I thought I deserved to be miserable. I had a nervous breakdown in high school and managed to hide it from everyone.

I have been through 10 different meds – 2 of them I had done well on then got maxed out and had to try some others before I got to the 2 I’m on now which are also maxed out and I am struggling. The meds also affect my memory and word finding or losing my train of thought in the middle of a conversation. My doctor has prescribed thyroid meds at a very low dose (after checking my levels with a blood test). There is a possibility that this may help enhance the effect of the other meds. (I don’t completely understand the science of it all but anything is better than having to change meds again)

Despite how weak, discouraged, sad or just terribly miserable. We are all the strong ones. To manage to get through each day. To just “be”. To have gotten to this point after all we have suffered so far. We are the strong ones despite the discouragement we feel.

A couple of my coping mechanisms are a gratitude journal – anything goes e.g. good parking spot, not spilling soup on my shirt, warm clothes etc. faith in God (He is what got me through my breakdown), changing what I am doing at any moment e.g. if reading is not helping, go for a walk.

I am very blessed to have supportive friends and family which helps a lot and I know that not everyone has, but those who don’t know that I am in your corner and am praying for you and sending you my love. We are made strong in weakness and stronger when someone cares which I do. I hope this helps .

I have never, ever written something like this to anyone but I am connected to you all and wanted you to know I understand (to a certain extent as we all suffer and feel things in different ways and different degrees.) We are all unique. We are all special. With my love and God’s blessings to you all.

(sorry this is so long but I hope you choose to read it and I hope it helps someone)

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Jen

? we all have similarities in our lives don’t we?
We come from backgrounds with abusers towards us and themselves, drugs, alcohol, depression and other mental illnesses. We walk this earth with an eerie sense of clarity. We see the world as it truly is, but sometimes we can’t see the truth in ourselves. We think we’re undeserving. We’d give our own lives and happiness just to save someone else’s.
I hope that one day I find myself deserving. I’m afraid the glass I’m standing on is going to crack and I will tumble down the spiral again. Even going through the cancer, the illnesses that have robbed me of my strength and energy, I am trying to adjust and accept that I still have so much to be grateful for.

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Jen

I’ve really been struggling with everything the last few weeks. The disability was denied, the appeal denied. My attorney isn’t doing the best job of keeping in contact with me. The house I wanted to get for my family sold 🙁
The radiation therapy I had for the cancer zapped my right ovary and threw me into early menopause (I’m 37).
My husband has been laid off from work since October so financially, we’re really struggling. Thankfully, he’s supposed to fly to New York state on the 18th to get back to work – and possibly be there for a while, maybe 9 months or so. I hate that he’ll be so far away. It’s too much for me to drive there from Oklahoma. If I fly to visit, we wouldn’t have enough money to fly the kids as well.
Also, I had an ultrasound 2 days ago because there’s a possibility of a new cancerous tumor. I’ll find out the results next week and then have my normal mri and ct scans in 2 weeks.
It’s so much…. I’ve been a crying, angry wreck. Or, I’ve been blocking everything out and just spacing out in my own little world.
Saw my pcp yesterday and had my antidepressant doubled – what I really wanted was something JUST for the anxiety, but…. you know how that goes. Hard to get anything these days.
I know I’m probably sharing TMI, but it’s nice to just talk and get it out, and I feel comfortable here in this thread. Thank you (all of you!) for being here! ?

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Nicole A

Will keep you in my prayers. Hang in there Jen! We are all rooting for you. I feel a lot of things are going to work out fine.

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Sharon H

I am pleased that this thread is still going as the article which spawned it is simply excellent.

My psychiatrist confirmed that depression can cause some permanent loss of memory cells and change in brain size. But he told me not to worry, and the fact that I read quite a bit, do creative writing, music videos (quite the amateur) and play difficult PC games-most involve using logic, memory, etc.-are excellent and fun ways to prevent or minimize problems with the brain and depression. Immersing myself in another world for a bit sometimes helps me cope when I feel those bad feelings trying to take over.

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Kim

Great article that provides good insight to those who may not understand how depression impacts people.

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Robin J

Love the article and the comments. I’ve had depression for 20 years and I’m on 2 different medications for it. I still have times where I have very depressed episodes.

I find that my memory is far worse than it used to be. Both short & long term. I also lose track of time. Does anyone else experience this?

So nice to see others who actually “get it”.

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Nicole A

I have experienced and still experience the long and short term memory issues. I find it very hard and frustrating but I tell myself it’s ok. It’s not my fault. It comes with the territory. For me my meds make it worse but there’s nothing I can do at this time except make the best of it and move forward step by step. If I don’t remember, I don’t remember. It is what it is. I try and focus on the positive and when good things happen that I want to remember, I write it down in a journal then I can refer back to them

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Sharon Hutchinson

Robin, you certainly are not alone with decreasing memory issues. I often have to ask “what day is this?” but this is often common among people who no longer go to work on a regular basis. Retirees often exhibit this because it often no longer matters as much.

What bothers me is sometimes forgetting the year. Or what happened last week. My memory is getting progressively worse but so is my depression and life situation-the latter is pushing critical.

It is always depressing when I mention a movie and my hubby says “Don’t you remember? We saw that” and I have zero recollection. Sometimes it is like someone has erased certain memories. Unfortunately, it never seems to erase the bad ones.

So be assured many of us are sailing this same ship together. Let’s hang on to today as best we can!

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Jess

Thanks for sharing this. Most of those I really didn’t know! I’m just letting you know I’m including this post as part of a resource post I’m doing for tomorrow on my blog. Keep up the great work!

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Martha

What am I thinking? I’m not just thinking, I’m feeling. Feeling the agony in many of the comments. I’ve been in the mental health maze for years. In 2010 and 2011 I was really bad. Many overdoses and hospitalizations. I’m 63. At this point in my life because of circumstances I could not control due to depression, BPD and medications I was taking to “fix me” I am alone and I’m always suicidal. I was the victim of emotional and financial abuse and its devastating. I also have had fibromyalgia for 21 years. I used to think I was a survivor but no, I’m just here trying to survive each day of hell. I do a lot of reading and I am finding a lot of information that there is no such thing as mental illness. There is an anti psychiatry movement. The “experts” say it is not a disease and there is no test that shows it. So where does that leave us? Same with fibro. No cause, no cure. Yes, it’s all in our head but what IS “it”?? Medications may work for some but they almost killed me and Lithium messed with my head so bad that I couldn’t even buckle a seat belt. Seroquel almost killed me after I was given it to help me sleep. I ended up the hospital with psychosis WHILE I was on Depakote and an antipsychotic. After trying all the lovely pills with their side effects I was offered ECT. No! Now I am not taking anything. I am very depressed but it is what it is. I feel terrible but I felt terrible on the pills. At least I feel and I’m not numb and I can think and no one will ever abuse me and financially devastate me again. My art is my therapy. I am the creative, perfectionist introvert who is susceptible to the mess I now am. My granddaughter is the reason I am here. In the past my overdoses were swift, the pain so bad I had to stop it. I was once guilted by my doctor about suicide using my granddaughter as the focus. I wish it were that simple. I’m sorry it’s not. I live with guilt every single day as it is. Twenty one years of fibro didn’t help. My life changed and no one regretted it more than me. Now I think of my granddaughter but the pain of living…….it’s agony.

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Hey Sigmund

Martha, keep fighting to be here. I can hear how hopeless you feel about things, but there is new research happening every day into depression and BPD. There is no one-size-fits-all for depression or BPD, but we are learning more about what causes it and what can help. Keep fighting to be here. I know you are hurting and exhausted, but there is hope. Keep working with your doctors to manage your symptoms. We are getting closer to finding ways to bring relief. Wishing you love and strength.

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Nicole A

Hi Martha,

Forget all the “it’s in your head” or the “there is no mental illness”. We, the ones who suffer, know better. We are the ones going through this and until someone suffers the way you, myself or others have – they have no clue what they are talking about. We all care about you here. I wish you strength and hope and I will be cheering you on. I am in your corner.

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Martha Henrich

Thank you Nicole for your comments. It really hurts to be invalidated by the “experts.” I went through that with the fibro. I finally got to the point where I said no more doctors and I just did the best I could. I guess it’s the same with my mental health – just do the best I can. It just hurts so much to be betrayed by my daughter. She used my mental health issues against me. She can be cruel. For the sake of my granddaughter I have to keep up the pretense that everything is fine between her mother and me. It’s so hard. It’s like everything is a lie. So many things I just don’t understand. I do believe there is a lot wrong with the mental health care system. I am so sorry about your mom. I struggle with my BPD and with so much guilt over my overdoses. My feelings are so intense. I feel the pain of others, I’ve been like that since I was little. But I think if I wasn’t like I am then I would not be so creative. I write poetry and I love to rubber stamp and do mixed media art. That is the best therapy for me. It doesn’t take away the sadness and hopelessness but it helps.

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Martha

Thank you Karen for your comments and encouragement. I lost my husband four years ago to lung cancer.. His death came three months after diagnosis. I miss him so much. We were married almost forty years. I depended on him so much and he was my rock. About a month ago my therapist asked me if I was suicidal. I know better than to answer yes to that question. I told him I frequently ask myself – what’s the point? I’ve become very bitter and cynical. Yet I am still here.

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Hey Sigmund

Martha the death of losing someone you love so much can be unbearable, I know. Keep fighting to be here. It sounds like the two of you shared such a deep love for each other. Your partner would not have wanted to have been the reason for you to give up on living. Keep living for him and for you. That’s the point. You lived with him and for him. Now live because of him.

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Martha

What an eye opening day I’ve had! What little faith I had left in the mental health care system is totally gone. Years ago I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I thought that my diagnosis later became bipolar mixed (which I don’t believe) and Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t know if I still have the MDD diagnosis although my therapist told me that’s my diagnosis. When I asked him about my doubting the bipolar diagnosis was when he mentioned the MDD. I decided to go to this therapist because he dealt with BPD. I have seen him for three years and before I started seeing him I made sure to ask him about his experience with BPD. We have discussed BPD many times. Today I told him about a video I watched on YouTube about BPD and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) and treatment. The doctor in the video said treatment was hard to find but ideally it would take several years. It would entail a weekly skills group plus individual therapy once a week. My therapist then said he didn’t think I had BPD. I was dumbfounded. He said my problem stems from my daughter. Yes, I have been through hell because of her but I have no doubt I have BPD. I don’t understand why my therapist, after three years would say this. He said well, maybe you have some BPD traits. He started asking me questions relating to the nine symptoms. You only have to have five of the nine symptoms and I believe I have at least seven. He tried to tell me my doing self harm and being suicidal was because of the psych meds I was on. Wrong. I have been suicidal and doing self harm many years ago when I was not on meds. I just do not know what possessed him to do this. My psychiatrist and therapist work together. They both betrayed my trust when they failed to catch the emotional and financial abuse by my daughter. They know they were wrong and tried to cover their butts. Yet I did not want to start over again with a new psychiatrist and therapist. Now this. My therapist knows I have had issues lately with things I have read about an anti psychiatry movement, that there is no such thing as mental illness. I told him I don’t know what to believe anymore. Where does it leave the patients who are in limbo. In and out of the mental health maze. Trying to get better but the doctors just want to push pills. I am devastated. My depression is deep, it’s killing me in many ways. I trust no one, believe in no one. My faith is gone. My reaction to all this is so BPD. I told my therapist that I have been impulsive, spending money I should not be spending. He said no, you deserve after what you’ve been through. So totally not what I was expecting or needing to hear. My therapist knows I drink when I get depressed. I told him I have been tempted to buy alcohol lately and he made light of it. PHow do I get better when I am being torn in so many different directions. I don’t know what it means to be happy anymore. I have become cynical and biter thanks to the ones who are supposed to be helping me. My psychiatrist told me six years ago “I will fix you.” I’m still waiting. Tonight I bought alcohol. Maybe for a little while I can forget. I’m done. Feeling so intensely is a part of BPD and I have always felt things so intensely. I am an introvert with anxiety, depression, BPD? OCD. I’m tired of feeling and hurting. I just want it to stop.

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Jennifer

Hello Hey,

I would love to know where you got your information from, just to do some more research. I have a whole blog dedicated to anxiety, depression, and grief and found these things quite interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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Jen

My husband passed away 3 weeks ago…. I’m really struggling with how to cope. Some days I can barely think straight.

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Hey Sigmund

Oh Jen no I’m so sorry. The pain of losing someone you love feels unbearable. There is no easy way and I completely understand why some days the grief feels too much. Your heart, body and mind are adjusting to a new normal. In time it will soften to a gentle rumble, but for now, it’s okay to feel what you need to feel and cope the best way you know how. It’s one foot in front of the other, and some days it won’t even feel like that. Take the time you need and be kind to yourself. It’s okay if you don’t have it all together for a while. Sending you lots of love.

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Jen

But if you remember my comments above, he was my angel, my hero. How do I keep going now? We’re so broke I can’t get shampoo! I’m waiting for the official cause of death before any of the life insurance or pensions can be released. I keep having weird dreams about him. This morning I woke up having trouble breathing while dreaming about him. I know that he’d snorted heroin before going to bed, his heart likely just stopped (and I’ve been reading about a massive amount of OD’s in the NE from it being cut with fentanyl or derivatives of it. I know that it was his choice to try it, but how, why would anyone – like are they intentionally trying to kill their clients?!! What the fk?!!) I hate that he was alone in that hotel room. He would have been home in 2 to 3 weeks, now he’ll never get to see the home we bought…. How do I deal with this?!! He’d never leave us on purpose!

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Jen

Oh and I’ve basically become a heavy drinker since the funeral. I take my pain meds and I down a bottle of wine because feeling that way is better than feeling this way….
I haven’t been taking any of my supplements. My iron, vit d, usually not even my blood pressure or depression meds. I was trying to ween off the Cymbalta anyway. The dark circles under my eyes are horrid. My mother and friends keep commenting about how sick I look.
My daughter and I had a huge blowout fight because she was being so mean and horrible to me about everything. I couldn’t breathe without her lashing out like his death was my fault. This from the guilt she felt for treating him so shitty – she’d never really been nice to him. Her own defense – she didn’t want to be hurt. Tried to keep him at arms length. After what my ex put us through, she didn’t want to be abandoned by another father figure. So she was awful 90% of the time. He cried about it so many times. He’d wanted to adopt the kids. He really was amazing. He tried so hard to bond with them both! So with him gone, she beat herself up because she thought he probably thought she hated him. I’ve been trying for so long to get her to stop being so mean and negative. To everyone!! Next week she has an appointment and I’m going to ask for a referral for a therapist.

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MG

Hi…. I’ve been carrying this guilt for awhile and when I drink I drink to get drunk, I dont like how I feel… what kind of mother would wonder if she wanted her handicapped child to live or go? me and I hate myself for it when I drink I just want to get messed up but when I do that I wake up and think oh no what have I done!!!! I lost my princess, I lost my love, I lost my home, I lost myself, and I let my son stay with his dad, I feel so depressed to the point where I wish I could rip out my heart it hurts I hurt everyday and yet I feel like I don’t want to share how I truly feeL I really loved my family but my drunken stupidity broke that trust I once had with my love…. I hate how my life keeps changing and I did it all to myself I wish I could talk to my love about it but I feel like he thinks its time I let my princess go she died 3 years ago and I feel bad for crying the night before she died about why me why her???? I wish I shared my feelings with the man whom I thought would go through thick n thin with me…. I don’t blame him for leaving me it seems like everyone I love lots leaves me….. I hate drugs and alcohol and pills but it seems to always be apart of my life… I wish we had a choice to live or die….

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

It sounds like you have been through so much. We all have our limits with what we can handle – none of us are machines. I can hear the guilt in you and I also hear the enormous and endless love you have for your daughter and your son. It is not for anybody to judge what you feel or think or do. Your daughter will always be a central part of your life and you will always be her mother, whether she is here or not. Letting go of the guilt around what you thought or felt doesn’t mean letting go of her. It sounds like you hated seeing her in pain – that’s so understandable. None of this sounds as it is about you loving her less, but about wanting less pain for her. I can hear how much you love her and how important she is to you. None of that changes because she died. If I can feel your love for her from a short comment, should would have also felt your immense love for her. She would not want to be the reason for your guilt and for you not being happy.

It sounds as though drugs, alcohol and pills have become an important way for you to block the pain. When the pain of losing people you love is so vast, of course you would want to block it. The problem with this is that the pain will never go away and it will stop you celebrating the love you have for those people. You can mask it for a little while but it can always come back. The key for you is dealing with your guilt and grief – then you will be able to move forward. I would really encourage you to find a counsellor who can help you with this. From time to tim we all need more support than we can give ourselves. It’s time for you to get your life back, let go of the guilt and celebrate the love you have for your daughter and your son. Sending you much love.

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