Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

3xEmonkey

When and How to Explain Depression (or any mental illness)?

Recommended Posts

I'm not a expert. I only barely understand what's going on with me. Two concerning things have happened recently, and I'd like some input and info on how to handle this.

1) My 20 yo nephew went through a bad break up. First love, first heartbreak, that kind of bad. I feel like I was the only one who took him seriously. I guess I'm the only person in the family who remembers being 21 and crying til' ya' vomit. He tried to cut himself, but he's just not that guy. I talked to him for hours. I called him a couple of times every day. And every time he said he was depressed, I rolled my eyes and corrected him- he's dealing with grief. His was a temporary situation created by a traumatic change. His went away in 8 days. He was still sad, but healing. As hearts do. Now he's much better.

2) My best friend's 12 yo daughter has labeled herself depressed. My friend "Jane" monitors the google hangout "Anne" has with her friends. Anne and company have recently begun discussions regarding depression, ADHD, pansexuality, bisexuality, and identifying as agender and/or transgender. Anne calls herself pansexual, agender, and depressed. She's 12. I'm not trying to discredit her. She might identify as pansexual and agender. I don't think she really does, but I'm not entrenched in her personal life, and I wouldn't know how to immediately recognize those traits in a person. I do, however, firmly believe she does not have depression. Jane thinks she's 12 and freaking the fuck out like girls do. This kid isn't depressed. And not, you know, in the way that adults just ignore teen complaints. Not in the way people shrug things off. Jane and I are very good friends, and being able to live with, deal with, and identify mental illness symptoms plays a role in it. We're pretty sure these girls are just reaching for labels to find any way to identify with big concepts. They don't have sex lives. Their bodies and minds are trying to pick a direction. It seems like Anne is picking a destination, and probably for something a little less than attention but almost. 

So how do you talk to people, especially teens, about these things? My nephew will never learn. He will cling to depression like it is his favorite shirt. Some people are fine with being corrected about using depressed. (No, I don't correct everyone. Just the obviously nots.) How do you explain to a child that depression is a very serious condition, and that idly picking it like a lipstick color, trivializes it? Or how adopting LGBTQ labels from an already struggling community minimizes their very real concerns? She's 12 and desperate for an identity she can show her friends. I'm scared that explaining depression symptoms would only give her something to embrace, some new ways to behave to drive the point home. Jane and I don't want this girl to act it out only to become it. How can we talk to her about depression in other people? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not name it specifically, but just say something like how they're struggling with a long-term (or chronic) illness and so they require our understanding (or forgiveness) and accommodation where possible. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linguistically, saying that you are "depressed" does not necessarily imply that you are saying you have Major Depressive Disorder. If you actually look at the language in the DSM, the first criteria is, "depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day for a 2 week period." So one can have a depressed mood (be depressed) and not have Major Depression if this mood state doesn't last 2 weeks, isn't every day, or has other mitigating factors like grief, but with the way the language is, describing ones mood as "depressed" in this case is not actually wrong. Which is super annoying for distinguishing between normal emotions and clinical conditions, but the English language sucks like that sometimes. 

As for "Anne" identifying with labels like pansexual/agender, I don't really see a problem with this, and 12 seems about the age I remember first really considering my sexuality. Honestly, I don't see how teens experimenting with identities within the LGBTQ umbrella minimizes the concerns of this community. In fact, I would say that major signs, as well as results of true acceptance, will be when it becomes perfectly okay for people to consider openly that they might be LGBTQ even if they ultimately do not end up identifying that way. Being LGBTQ should not be something that is seen as so shameful that one must rule out all other options before embracing one or more of those identities. As to "how to immediately recognize those traits [pansexuality/agender] in a person" - you recognize them by someone telling you that is how they identify. They are labels describing internal experiences, so you won't externally recognize them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, I know you say that you and the kid's mom are not ignoring the kid's complaints, but I think if a 12-year-old is saying they are depressed this needs to be addressed head-on.You can't always tell from the outside what anyone - teenager or not - is feeling on the inside. I was depressed and suicidal as a teenager but hid it very well because I was raised in a family where emotions were treated as shameful and I was made to feel guilty if I was anything except happy and successful. Her mom should ask her what is going on that she feels that "depression" describes her situation and make sure the girl knows she can talk about her feelings with her mom or with another trusted adult if she's not comfortable talking to mom. If it is normal teenage stuff, it's still better to have an adult who can support her and let her safely explore her feelings, and if it is something more, it's important that she doesn't feel like she has to hide her feelings and that appropriate support is available. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Similar Content

    • By Blahblah
       I've posted on this topic before, because I'm really wondering why this is happening to me, but not on other people that have been on higher-dose stimulants (without breaks) for MUCH longer....
      I re-instated Ritalin (after a 4 month break) due to increase in work cognitive tasks. Pdoc increased the dosage because previous dose was starting to not cut it, wearing off early. I Was told I could experiment, but to take weekends/breaks off in order to "rest" . In the last 3 weeks, I've noticed drastic improvements in my mood, motivation, ability to focus on intellectual tasks/reading, and a positivity, calmness in general.
      Problem is, I am psychologically addicted. When I try to break on the weekends, I can't get out of bed, barely prepare food for myself (despite hunger), and shower, basically, these symptoms are MUCH worse than before I was taking it! I'm concerned that I'll need to keep increasing the dose, take it everyday, and eventually, it will make my condition/functioning worse in the long run (exacerbating the problem). I had old pdocs that would not prescribe me stimulants for exactly this reason.....(I am not ADD.....it is for TRD.)
      Any ideas guys? I'm very compliant, and have no inclination to abuse the dosage. This is the only thing that's made a dent in my mood and functioning and does not seem like a long-term solution!
    • By Blahblah
      How does Loneliness effect you? Any meds that help? All articles suggest that being active in regular social activities, any type of socializing, CBT, therapy, all help - but what if it doesn't for you? What if you have no friends you can depend on or trust? What if socializing with strangers, frequent group meetups, events, hobbies makes you feel worse? What if you are unable to work and have no regular in-person interaction with people?
      http://theconversation.com/loneliness-on-its-way-to-becoming-britains-most-lethal-condition-94775
       "Cacioppo’s key insight was that loneliness is fundamentally a biological problem....And so is its most profound effect – death. Analysis of 300,000 people in 148 studies found that loneliness is associated with a 50% increase in mortality from any cause. This makes it comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and more dangerous than obesity.
      ....said Cacioppo, we evolved to experience social rejection in the same way as physical pain. Brain scans have shown that “social pain”, such as being shunned by a community, activates the same region – the dorsal anterior cingulate – as bodily trauma."
    • By Stephielove77
      Hello, amigos. It’s day 3 on Ritalin SR 20 once a day,  finally prescribed after « doctor shopping » and faulty antidepressant tryouts. It kicked in right away however I did  take a nap today shortly after taking it but that’s probably my body’s usual reaction to fighting off anything new to the system. It worked right away which is a miracle!!!!!!  I have the worst job in the world which is dishwashing in my family’s restaurant, basically waiting to die. Well! Let me tell you, the soul crushing agony of a wasted 41 year old woman’s life were momentarily alleviated by focus, order, and execution. I just got on with it. S’ppose it coulda been a Placebo  (great band) effect but I’ll take it.                                Having run the gamut of, oh, every antidepressant to no avail, the last being Trintellix, which after a month left me exhausted, though I’M SURE it would’ve worked after six weeks 🤪                                          So experienced créatives,my questions to you are:  Has adding an antidepressant to your current stimulant (preferably Ritalin) made you exhausted/fried and if so for how long? Is Prozac a lost cause, especially according to Dr Charles Parker ? Ixnay on Celexa, Citalopram, Abilify, Viibryd, Trintellix, Cymbalta, Effexor...those last three were great for a 2 or so months then I slept all day, modalert didnt make a dent..Zoloft I would say I’ve had the most success with but maybe I should do the Ritalin for a couple months before reintroducing? And finally, Wellbutrin was great until the Cicadas in my head....I.E Tinnitus made me want to inpatient myself. Thank you!!               tl;dr dx’ed  MDD, no bipolar traits and other failed depression treatments include Valdoxan (Agomelatine), Doxepin, Celexa was a goddamn disaster. I aint doin’ no MAOI’s, thanks. Also I live in France and Ritalin was extremely difficult to get prescribed.                                         Thanks, Steph 
    • By HonestlyHadEnough
      Hello.

      I can't remember a time when food wasn't THE main focus in my life.  Even when I'm so full and can't eat another bite...my thoughts wander to what else I'll eat later.  Diets, eating plans, Weight Watchers Summer Camps, gastric bypass, journaling what I eat and/or exercising will START to give results the first few weeks and then my body just basically says "F you" and shuts down.  No more weight loss.  If I can't get the gratification of weekly seeing measurable change in my efforts...I'm right back to food.
      Overeating has ruined my life.  Whoever I COULD have been when I started out a sweet little girl was squandered when I somehow started using food to placate myself VERY YOUNG.  Then it became a horrible guilty, shameful and "what's wrong with me" set of glasses I looked at life through.  I was constantly pushed by my mom to stop eating, go on a diet and exercise.  She tried EVERYTHING until well into my adult life.  She too had weight/eating issues and knew what life would be like for me.  She tried to help the only way she knew how but it set up a terrible vicious cycle of sneaking food to make myself feel better and loved and treated special...that's what food feels like to me.  When I look at my family dynamics I can see all the ways life in general contributed to this addiction.  But breaking out of it has been a constant struggle.  Now for the last 2-3 years I've literally given up.  I'm 58 now and it feels like, short of a miracle, I'll die fat.  My hips, spine and knees are in terrible shape (of course they are).
      Being fat set up a way of thinking and acting in all relationships with people that I also am exhausted with.  I honestly with all my heart and fiber of my being think and feel that pleasing someone else will keep them in my life and they'll pay what little attention to me they are willing to give me.  Not all people have been horrible, I've had some great friends over my life...but of course, THEY HAD LIVES and I was never the center of anyone else's life.  I would have done anything through my mid forties to make someone else the center of my life in hopes of finally finding someone who wanted to team up and walk through life together.  Now?  I'm too old.  I'm too set in my ways.  It's just not as important.  I'm past the age of finding someone to "be a couple" with...no I'll never define who I am that way.  I'm too old for kids and of course at this point I should've had grandchildren.  There will be no one to take care of me as I get older.  I literally hope God takes me out while I can still walk and am living on my own.  I never want to be institutionalized in an assisted living/nursing home type of situation.
      Thanks for reading this.
    • By icygrave
      I was curious about Abilify, first off have you personally seen a huge increase in weight after getting on abilify? I hardly have an appetite, even without meds, and it's very hard for me to gain weight. I also exercise pretty modestly, about an hour a day. Would I be safe from weight gain caused by Abilify? The only antipsychotic I've been on long term was Seroquel, helped me a lot and I don't think I gained more than 10 pounds, which could've just been me not being so depressed and having an appetite again. Is the same likely for Abilify? I am just terrified of this because I have gained a large amount of weight, over 20 pounds from one medication which was Remeron. It really messed with my body and I am terrified of that happening again, because honestly, being fat makes me feel ugly and even more depressed.
      Second, I wanted to talk about something my   psych brought up to me. He said that Abilify and it's relative Rexulti, have "pro-cognitive" effects, meaning they help with brain fog, apathy, concentration, motivation, and even energy. Apparently both are used for ADHD, with even the makers of Rexulti trying to get it approved for ADHD. Have any of your experienced this from either of the two? Because I am in need of something that helps with cognition, mainly apathy and low, low motivation and interest.
      Bottom line, I am very interested in Abilify and its sister Rexulti. They are very interesting pharmacologically, with them being sort of unique antipsychotics... I would be taking Abilify for depression and as an add on to an antidepressant, by the way. I've always been scared of the word "antipsychotic" but knowing how Seroquel basically annihilated my depression in the past, I can't deny their benefits. Please share your experience, and as always, thanks for helping me out.
×