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I understand the language of recovery for things like substance use, self-harm, trauma etc. I don't really understand what it means, long term, for a cyclical condition like depression.

My first major depressive episode started in my early teens and I got treatment for it. Since then my depressions have gotten more frequent, need more meds to manage them, and now they include psychotic symptoms. I've gained a lot of self awareness and coping skills through years of therapy but the depression itself has gotten worse. While I'm actually doing really well right now on my current meds, I'm sure I will have a recurrence sooner or later. Probably sooner. I had a little dip in mood due to situational stress last week, and immediately started to get paranoid again about my husband etc.

I guess I'm just feeling frustrated, and worried what my next episode will be like.

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Remission and clawing our way back to remission. That’s my definition of recovery.

Do what we can do, at least to have a longer period between episodes.

Similar to you, I’m doing well on my current meds. And like you, i had been getting worse and worse as time went on.

But I have no illusions that I’ll ever be fully cured or my last episode was truly the last episode I’ll ever have.

Given the fact that I haven’t be this ok in years, maybe a decade or two, I’m sure the next episode will crush me. However, I don’t spend time worrying about it as that would be yet another stressor that will help catapult me into the next episode.

Perhaps like substance abuse, we just have to take things one day at a time.

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Remission has a definition in the DSM for depression. 1) Partial remission is symptoms in abatement for 3 months. 2)  Full Remission Is the absence of symptoms for 6 months.

I've been in remission from depression for quite some time. My pdoc found the right combination of Wellbutrin + Abilify + amphetamine and Klonopin so I handle stress much better. A depressive episode is soon to follow if I am stressed too much.

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I guess I'm in partial remission then. It's good to know full remission is at least possible.

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For me it's not full remission from my symptoms (that's impossible) but freedom from crisis after crisis and staying out of the hospital/ER and having to only see a tdoc once a month

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Posted (edited)

Full remission is of course possible. There is a frigging DSM code for it.

http://www.psychtreatment.com/mental_health_major_depressive_disorder_recurrent_in_full_remission_symptoms_and_diagnosis.htm

Quote

Major Depressive Disorder: Recurrent - In Full Remission, Symptoms and Diagnosis Overview:

Major Depressive Disorder: Recurrent- In Full Remission, symptoms and diagnostic criteria follow below. While some of these Major Depressive Disorder: Recurrent- In Fulll Remission, symptoms may be recognized by family, teachers, legal and medical professionals,  and others, only  properly trained mental health professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, professional counselors etc.) can or should even attempt to make a mental health diagnosis. Many additional factors are considered in addition to the Major Depressive Disorder: Recurrent - In Full Remission, symptoms in making proper diagnosis, including frequently medical evaluation and psychological testing and consideration. The information below related to Major Depressive Disorder: Recurrent - In Full Remission, symptoms and diagnostic criteria are for information purposes only and should never replace the judgment and comprehensive assessment by a trained mental health clinician.

 

 

Diagnostic criteria for 296.36 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent: In Full Remission

 

A.    Presence of two or more Major Depressive Episodes.  

Note: To be considered separate episodes, there must be an interval of at least 2 consecutive months in which criteria are not met for a Major Depressive Episode.

B.    The Major Depressive Episodes are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and are not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.  

C    There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a   Hypomanic Episode. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all of the manic-like, mixed-like, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced or are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

Specify (for current or most recent episode):

 

Severity/Psychotic/Remission Specifiers

Chronic

With Catatonic Features

With Melancholic Features

With Atypical Features

With Postpartum Onset

 

Specify:

 

Longitudinal Course Specifiers (With and without Interepisode Recovery) With Seasonal Pattern

 

 

Edited by notloki
wrong link posted
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I have a sense that "recovery" and "remission" are different things.

"Remission" as others have noted, is a technical term with a strict definition.

"Recovery" seems to me to be related but separate. Is depression, like addiction, something which one is eternally "in recovery" from, even if asymptomatic? Not sure...

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Well, anything is possible I suppose but I think I will live the rest of my life dealing with depressive symptoms and anxiety.  Fucking anxiety! 

It's easy to think that I am not "successfully" recovering bc I am not doing well right now but I think that's missing the point.  To keep going on and keep trying and not give up when your brain is telling you **that you are worthless and everyone hates you anyway and your kids' lives are doomed and it's all your fault bc you fucked up and you have to fix the situation RIGHT NOW but you won't be able to bc you are incapable and on and on**.  That right there is kind of a fucking miracle that we don't all just give up! 

We are some strong people! 

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I consider to be in recovery.  It began the day I started professional treatment (and the day I stopped using drugs).  Before recovery I was not getting help and was not making any effort to get help.  I wasn't doing anything I needed to do to turn my life around and improve my well being.  Since I began recovery I've done my best to stay on the course of doing what I'm supposed to be doing to keep up with my treatment, even if it isn't always working.

Staying in recovery from mental illness means continuing to do my part in treating my illness.  Things like staying on my meds, regularly going to therapy, going to meetings, etc.

One day at a time.

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