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Lifelong low-grade melancholy...


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Hey there. I've been lurking for a while and I can relate to a lot of you.

I'm in my mid-twenties and I don't remember a time when I was not melancholic/sad. I think I showed my first signs of depression at 6 years old, and it just went downhill from there. I grew up in a verbally and physically abusive household, by two very unhappy people. On the outside we looked like a nice, balanced family and I never lacked materially. I suspect my mom was a borderline (she exhibits pretty much every borderline symptom I've come across) and my father a full blown sociopath, who was unable to love anyone and isolated us socially. I haven't talked to my father in years, and finally cut all ties to my mother who as extremely manipulative even after I moved out.

I guess I've been "conditioned" to be sad and melancholic, along with a genetic predisposition I'm sure. It was probably some sort of defense mechanism in order to dull the pain. Of course, like many girls I turned my anger into self hatred. I have a very, very poor body image. It doesn't help that I am struggling with a weight problem and disordered eating.

I think my problem is that I just don't know how to be happy. I see a lot of people around me having a good time, being carefree. I am ridden by anxiety, and terrible self esteem problems. I'm just always sad. People point it out all the time. Even my face, I feel, has sadness etched into it. I'm in my twenties, surely this is not how I should live my life.

Anyway, four years ago I moved to another country to be with my significant other, away from my parents, and re-build my life. I thought I would be happy, and it's true I'm much less depressed than before and I am able to hold a job (I've been promoted to the head of my department recently), but I can't get rid of the sadness. I don't really enjoy anything. Nothing really interests me, no hobbies, nothing. I feel like I am in survival mode all the time and it's a struggle to go through the same crap every week. I feel that fear motivates me, the fear of losing what little I have now. I really have high levels of anxiety on sunday nights before the start of the work week. Life just seems pointless and I'm always waiting for the next shitstorm (I've struggled with jobs, money, body issues and health related issues for the past four years). I also hate our souless, disconnected, media centric culture and feel out of place.

I just wanna be happy and a bit more carefree, dammit.

I am on Wellbutrin XL 300mg (I think I'm gonna ask to be bumped up to 450mg). It helps in making me more even and less moody. But it's not a happy pill at any rate. I also take Xanax at times for anxiety.

So, yeah. Hi. ;)

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Citygirl, welcome to Crazyboards. I hope you find the support you need, and please PM a mod if we can help with anything.

Some of our depressed folks take WB in conjunction with another antidepressant. Just a thought.

olga

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Hi. I know what you're suffering from, and it's dysthymia.

It's the low grade, long-lasting form of depression that sucks the purpose of living out of you. I think what happens is when the chemicals phuck themselves all up, you lose emotional responses from everyday sensations, and even internal thoughts. That is, you feel less. I think the medical description of this is "reduced quality of experience." Even things you tell yourself to bring your mood up seem quickly evaporate in the fog of depression.

Okay, the GOOD NEWS is it can be treated and often fixed. If you really feel your quality of life is suffering, it is reason enough to pursue a better medication regiment and/or a doctor who will provide it.

See, I have dysthymia myself, and it sometimes degenerates into athymia, which is a total loss of feeling (emotionally, anyway). One of my docs says this is a mental shut-down mechanism the brain does TO stop all feeling, kind of like mental immobilization. So, if you are getting any of these symptoms, there are plenty of crazymeds to try to help you out.

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Hi. I know what you're suffering from, and it's dysthymia.

Alex, I don't recall hearing that you've gone back to school and gotten your medical degree. Please don't diagnose people. You have no way of knowing what this person is suffering from. The only advice any of us can give in a case like this is to suggest the person consult a pdoc and a therapist.

olga

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Hi. I know what you're suffering from, and it's dysthymia.

Alex, I don't recall hearing that you've gone back to school and gotten your medical degree.

Well maybe I didn't post about it.

I'm not diagnosing people. I know what she's suffering from because I have it too. I don't feel I need a medical degree to point out a flavor of depression I am very familiar with.

What I'm saying is I don't have to be a cop to tell someone they're speeding. Or, in this case, driving rather slow and lackluster, as depression would do ya.

But, I'm sorry if I seemed too forward. It was more of a leaning over at the bar thing, overhearing a conversation and saying "heyyyy -- I got that."

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Hi. I know what you're suffering from, and it's dysthymia.

Alex, I don't recall hearing that you've gone back to school and gotten your medical degree.

Well maybe I didn't post about it.

I'm not diagnosing people. I know what she's suffering from because I have it too. I don't feel I need a medical degree to point out a flavor of depression I am very familiar with.

What I'm saying is I don't have to be a cop to tell someone they're speeding. Or, in this case, driving rather slow and lackluster, as depression would do ya.

But, I'm sorry if I seemed too forward. It was more of a leaning over at the bar thing, overhearing a conversation and saying "heyyyy -- I got that."

Well, technically, you do need to be licensed in something dealing with mental health--or at least with health in general--in order to diagnose people.

But I agree that it sounds like dysthymia. If that's it, then it's not life-threatening in itself (unless you develop something like major depression on top of that), but it obviously can affect your quality of life. And not in a good way. So Citygirl probably has nothing to lose (except perhaps some money) if she gets professionally diagnosed--and perhaps treated.

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I just want all of us to be careful with positive statements like "I know what you are suffering from" because it sounds like a diagnosis, and none of us can claim to be medical professionals.

It's always a safe path to urge people to see a tdoc and pdoc.

olga

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I just want all of us to be careful with positive statements like "I know what you are suffering from" because it sounds like a diagnosis, and none of us can claim to be medical professionals.

It's always a safe path to urge people to see a tdoc and pdoc.

olga

And a general physician or internist as well, certain medical conditions can cause depression, or depression-like symptoms.

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I personally don't care the least bit about professionally-diagnosed labels, including "dysthymia". (That said, yes, I have had something similar since about the age of 4 or so.)

citygirl, honestly, I am very happy for you. To have gone through something that stormy and for you to have been this strong as to not have suffered too terribly (by my guess, if you are fortunate to have nothing beyond your low-grade melancholy).

But, given everything else you have said, I think there might be something beyond this label of "dysthymia", and maybe you should discuss with your pdoc and tdoc about things like generalized anxiety, major depression, and eating and body dysmorphic disorders.

And a last note, remember that under that happy facade that people seem to display in public, lies there problems. One example, as even you pointed out, was your own family, being peaceful on the outside but in turmoil in truth. Apparently it seems too, I'm one of these 'happy-looking' people. Ask people who have only known me on a professional level, or even family friends, and they'll tell you that I'm the cheeriest, most optimistic, "tough as nails go-getter" out there.

My reality? I'm an major depressive with major household issues (as you had), SI, multiple attempts at my own life, you name it. It does really help to frame others in what may be the reality. (Okay, I'm done playing therapist now. I'm not a therapist, or any other sort of clinician, but maybe this 'facade' idea is something you should bring up with your tdoc.)

In any event, I hope you can discuss all of your issues with a good therapist and then visit a psychiatrist for appropriate medications. Please let us know how it goes.

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