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Hello all--

I haven't been actually diagnosed but according to what I can gather I seem to have Atypical Depression. I'm 43 and live in central South Carolina. My wife passed away in 2000 and then our house burned down in 2004. A failed relationship last year also occurred, even changing my fundamental initial assessment of people from one of trust to one of initial distrust. Clearly, I have valid reasons to be depressed. What I don't have are valid reasons for coping with things so poorly-- I have no energy; anhedonia, no motivation. Perhaps worst of all is my sheer dread of rejection.

I used to ascribe all of this to widowhood. But I know plenty of widows who've gone through a suitable period of grief, then picked up and gone on with their lives. I seem unable to do that.  I constantly think to myself, Why bother trying? I'm going to fail anyway. The feeling of hopelessness swings back and forth with feelings of anger and bitterness.

So reluctantly I'm seeking help. I have an appointment later this week with a therapist. Maybe I can get all drugged up and not need women anymore. Maybe I can take something that'll make me slow and stupid and take away all my desires and make me happy with my underemployment and my lot in life. I'm only half joking.

But hopefully the problem will be approached from both the cognitive and the pharmacological angle. There're a couple of local support groups here; I've been to one meeting already and met some nice people, in the same boat as me.

Anyway, it's nice to meet all of you too and I look forward to learning here.

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Welcome to our humble abode Dirk! I love your user ID. Please accept condolances on the loss of your wife.

I'm glad you found support groups. I go to one also and it does help. Please come here anytime and post. Sometimes it is good just to vent.

It's nice to see a SC boy on here. I lived in Charleston a while back. My brother still does and my yearly trek is to Myrtle Beach.

Glad you are here!

Sondra  B)

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hi dirk,

yes, some people are able to suffer horrific traumas such as becoming a widower without suffering from depression also. but it appears that you are not one of them. i would not be either. it doesn't make you ANY less of a person in any way whatsoever. but it does make you a person who needs help via therapy and medication (in my opinion).

perhaps the trauma of becoming a widower has led to an altered state of brain chemistry which has led you into depression. and please do not make a mistake in thinking that depression is being depressed. feeling depressed is exactly that, feeling depressed. but it will only last for a while and then go away. depression is a mental illness (i'm sorry if stating it that way makes you uncomfortable) brought on by altered brain chemistry.

as a lifetime sufferer of major depression i would urge you most strongly to seek help with this. i don't think medications will cure you. they alone would not 'cure' me. but they adjust your brain chemistry more towards the way it 'should' be, which is to say the way it was before your traumas. this will alter the way you feel. and then therapy will help you cope with the changes and traumas. therapy can be a REALLY powerful tool. it has helped me immeasureably.

and please, for yourself, don't sell depression short regarding the breadth of symptoms you can have while suffering from it.

it sounds like you are taking the ideal path with your illness. seeking medication (which will not just drug the problem away), talk therapy, and group support. please give yourself credit for having the strength to take this path. it really is a HUGE thing. you could choose to cope in other ways which would be terrible for you but would offer the illusion of escape. in my opinion you are taking a profoundly enlightened choice to seek the proper help and give yourself the best opportunity to handle the tragedies that have befallen you without letting depression do the terrible things it can to a person.

i applaud your clarity of thinking to take this path for yourself. to seek the help you truly need.

welcome to crazymeds.

grouse.

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Thanks to all for the welcomes. The original appointment I made, I missed, but will be making another one.

If I do indeed have sort sort of chemical imbalance induced by the death of my wife, that calls into question, why wouldn't everyone? I've got some deep-seated problems with regards to my coping mechanisms but for various reasons I'd argue they were there before I was even married. Traditionally the answer to my sense of loneliness was to not be alone. I'm not as attractive a man as I used to be, so this is no longer the path of least resistance. The course of action to pursue now is to get my desires and ambitions down to an achieveable level. I can't change my enviroment; I have to change myself.

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hi dirk,

great questions.

why wouldn't everyone? they don't know yet. it seems like some people do have a genetic predisposition though. i believe that was my case. and certainly if there is any history of mental health issues in your family then statistically you are much more likely to suffer some as well.

and think MANY of us have problems regarding coping mechanisms for mental problems. so don't feel alone with yours AT ALL. i think we all develop coping mechanisms regardless of whether we're mentally interesting or not. but if you push those coping mechanisms too far when MIness does intrude, you can be in for some BIG problems. especially if those coping mechanisms are chemical in nature.

and loneliness is a HUGE factor in depression. that's one thing depression does to you, it isolates you. so much so that you can feel completely alone in a crowded room. i once felt completely alone at a family reunion, and another time while holding my little neice. if that isn't screwed up what is?

i think your proposed course of action is fabulous. what insight you possess to see that already. god, for some of us it takes years. your clarity of thinking is freaking amazing. go with it! take it into therapy with you. it will help you so incredibly much.

you are SO on the right track if you take yourself into therapy and stick with it.

good luck,

grouse.

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