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hi everyone. new here. i am suffering from my first ever severe depression episode. it's going on 11 months now. have changed meds several times, did 12 ect's, 2 hospital stays, doing twice weekly talk therapy, and bi-weekly visits w/my psychiatrist.

i had a mental collapse last march. have not worked since april 1. this, after not missing much work in 26 years. just went on disability and feel pretty lame about it.

probably/possibly had mild depression for several years before. not sure about that. everything looks/feels different about my past since my meltdown.

i could list the reasons i'm depressed (money probs, health issues, loneliness) but i won't.

i have had a very good life (good career, loving family, lot's of friends, plus more good stuff). i have had some bumps though, just like anyone. i'm learning in therapy and by myself that i had some issues, but who doesn't.

my question is;

i'd like to hear from people who have made it through severe depression. i'm scared of not getting better. i'm still spending most days in bed thinking what's the point. i messed-up; not my mistakes really, but coming down with this insidious disease. absolutely nothing brings me pleasure. and, i used to love life up until 11 months ago. family and friends as well as i am shocked that i came down with this.

i'm scared, too, because suicide has entered my mind. never ever did i think i would consider suicide.

not looking for ways to get out of depression. i've researched the heck out of that. i know what i am supposed to be doing. and, i'm doing some of those things. again, simply looking for some hope from people who have come-out of this.

thanks for any responses.

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I don't know if this will help, but here goes:

I was depressed for a year or two before I realized what was going on. I wasn't tuned in---just kept thinking that my life was sucky and what was the point, etc etc.

Anyway, once I realized what was happening, I started trying antidepressants. As soon as I felt a little relief, I decided to try other stuff like exercise. (I was already eating a healthy diet.)

My depression isn't situational---I am happy with my life and my husband and my animals. But it took trying four medications before I found one that works for me. When it started to work, it was like someone lifted the storm clouds over my head.

Now, I don't think medication alone does it. You should keep plugging away with your therapy, and keep trying different drugs. Some of our depressed folks do well with lithium, some of them combine two antidepressants---it may take you a while to find the combination that works for you. But do as much as you can to supplement the meds and therapy. Get outside and go for a walk. Ask your friends to go with you to lunch or window shopping. Try to do something physical every day.

If you're not eating healthy food, that can be a big part of it. Try to improve your diet if you have been eating processed food. Also, sleep hygiene has a huge effect on mental health. Try to go to bed at a reasonable hour, and get up after 8 hours or whatever your norm is. Don't stay in bed. That makes it too easy to turn off the world and turn inward.

And come back and talk to us some more. Everyone here at CB has had rough times with mental illness. We'll cheer you on and slap you around a little if you need it. :) We're crazy, but we care.

olga

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suzie, mackie, olga (almost married an olga once. ;)),

thnx for your kind responses. i appreciate them greatly. i hear you loud and clear on the advice.

as i said, this is my first severe depression. i feel like i've 'crossed' to the other side. i have no reference in my life to compare this to. i've always been sensitive and easily upset but i always got over it. but, this time so many bad things happened over a 6 month period that i crumbled and can't seem get out of my own head. the ruminating feels like a slow death is happening.

hoping to hear from a few more people that got out of this dark pit.

i've never felt so hopeless in my life and it's scaring the shit out me. pardon my french.

thanks again.

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I've recovered from some pretty severe, lasting depressive episodes, it has taken counless med changes and combinations adn tehrapy snice about the age of 14, but yes, it can be donne. I do try to eat well and exercise when i can as well. this can be hard to do when suicidal, however.

best of luck to you,

Anna

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Two years ago I'd got so far down that it was incredibly difficult to go to my doctor to ask for help because I was ashamed of the state I was in. Just trying to describe it reduced me to tears.

I'd fought depressive illness for 25 tears, but nothing like this.

I burned out at my 28 year career in optometry three years ago (probably earlier, but that took some realising, facing). I quit my job, moved to a part of the country where I've always wanted to live, and planned to have a year off doing up my new (old) house and generally getting myself back into shape before casting round for some job to pay the bills. Big jump, risk, but it was clear I needed such..

Didn't work: Yes, house, location, wonderful. But after a few great months all the things I'd been holding down, holding together to keep at work came bubbling up.

Definitely, definitely, suicidal, I was assessed for ECT, but the specialist at the clinic wanted some other medications tried first: it turned out he was right. There was an untried option that helped, some.

The other support gently edged me out of my reclusiveness. Meeting at a centre one day a week. Didn't see the point at first, but just chat did unload things. About how I felt, and also just talkingto people about normal stuff.. Then I'd go home and curl up under the duvet.

Gradually the staff there got me a bit more active and interested. Helping another service user with their maths and English. Doing a first-aid course. It's been gradual, and I'm not "cured" but I am far more functional and do have genuine patches of "not depressed", and possibly even "happy". It'll be a while before I feel secure in that. But I'm now moving towards a new career helping children and adults on the autistic spectrum: currently 10 hrs a week over three volunteer posts. A happy ending... possibly, but yet to be proven.

So, no miracle story, but a pull-out from what felt like a terminal dive.

Chris.

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thanks again.

emettman/chris, we are very similar in a way. i am/was a teacher for 26 years. i was getting burned-out a bit...or, i had mild depression going and i didn't realize.

i'm hopeful to get back in the classroom, i think. maybe part-time. so confused right now as well as severely depressed. really feels like a bad dream.

it just bums me out because i was a pretty good teacher and i still looked forward to going in everyday before i got sick.

anyway, thank-you all again for the responses.

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I've had several depressive episodes with the bipolar II disorder. Each one got worse and worse. The most recent one lasted 2 years and resulted in suicidal ideation, which is what finally drove me to treatement for the correct illness. Now that I have the right meds, it is a night and day difference. I hope to never go back there, but that is probably unlikely. But if I stay med compliant, there is every reason to believe that the next cycle will be much less devestating.

FYI, and someone may have already mentioned this, but kindling is a thing that can happen when a mental illness doesn't get treated - each episode gets worse and worse. That is what happened to me. Hang in there with the meds as you and your doc work out the right combination.

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i am/was a teacher for 26 years. i was getting burned-out a bit...or, i had mild depression going and i didn't realize.

jmLA - I am/was a teacher too! I only made it 3 years in the classroom before I just couldn't do it anymore. I think 26 years of experience is amazing. I tutor privately now.

I just wanted to let you know that I'm another person who has found hope. I have licked the bottom of the ocean, I've had the ECTs, the hospitalizations, the med-merry-go-round, the suicidal thoughts + attempts, the not-being-able-to-get-out-of-bed for months on end. It's so hard listening to people with all their good-intentioned advice when you just can't brush your teeth, or you stare at a wall for hours on end.

And I never thought the day would come where I could say I have hope. But I do. For the first time in my life, the combination of meds (having figured out the right combo for me, for now, and taking them every day), a solid psychiatrist (I'm lucky, I know), therapy, group therapy, reaching out to my family, and reconnecting with friends, is making each and every day better and better.

Hang in there.

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I'm definitely a lifer: several moderate depressions, a couple of severe ones and decades of constant mild depression (that only let up occasionally).

And I'm in remission now. It can and does happen. So please don't think it'll never get better. I'm living proof that it can.

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thnx again everyone for the replies. really. this is all new to me. well, at least such a severe depression. like i said earlier i am thinking i had dysthymia for several years before it all came crashing down last spring.

i guess my hope for 'complete' remission depends on so many things; meds, therapy, time, me, etc.

i do know i need to find a way to get out of bed each day. just not happening right now. unless, i have appointments. (i know; 'make more appointments!' ;))

i think i will start 2 other threads for advice;

1. how much can i expect out of a medication

2. suggestions to help stop my ruminations

thanks again.

john

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Guest Vapourware

Sorry to hear that you are in the midst of a severe depressive episode. It sucks to be that far down the abyss.

I've been to the abyss and back several times. The last time was in the middle of last year when my suicidal ideation was raging and I was extremely depressed and apathetic. Thanks to a good healthcare team and a good med combo, I was able to pull out of that hole. It was a lot of hard work but it's been worth it. I have been pretty much symptom free since August.

Hang in there, something will change for you and things can get better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have had five episodes of major depression in my life, the first one in my twenties, and the last one ended about three years ago (I'm 51). Some of them lasted for a year or two, so they were definitely debilitating, caused me to lose my job at the time each happened, and ruined my finances. I am single so if I'm not working there's no fall back plan. It's great that you've got disability.

I am in full remission these days and life is good, and thank you to my great pdoc and his brillant decision to put me on a mood stabilizer as well as an anti-depressant. It's given me my life and my regular old self back. (See my signature below for details).

The abyss is a horrible place, and suicidal ideation is nothing to play around with. My two pieces of advice are 1) use a mood chart, and 2) get outside every day, even to just sit under the sky, even if it's cloudy. There's something about sunlight, even through clouds, that helps with mood.

As for mood charts, there are some online, or you can make a simple one with the dates along the bottom and a scale of one to ten up the side. Then you just put an x every day on where your mood is, and I could manage to do that even on my worst days. It give a good visual of where your mood is and where it's heading, and is especially useful while trying out new meds. Your pdoc will also find it useful.

I'm sorry you had a need to find us, but welcome to the boards. It can and does get better.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've been this way since I was 8. I'm starting to figure out that this thing might be permanent. I'm going through a dark patch right now, and hopefully it'll most likely grow less intense soon. ( Hopefully.) But from what i've been told, What I've seen, and my own experiences, this kind of thing is usually a lifelong issue. It can't be cured so much as ignored. Yes, The abyss sucks. When you can't even feel aymore. The Thing I hate most is that you're shoved into social situations ( School, work, etc) When all you really want to do is lock yourself in your bedroom and get in bed and never move again. It's terrible and I'm sorry you and everybody else in this thread has had to deal with this. That being said the best way to deal with it is distraction. When you feel a funk coming on do something, anything. Read, write, go for a walk, play a game, talk to somebody, do ANYTHING to get your mind off of it. Once it has a hold though... well, shut out all the light, turn on the saddest song you can find, and throw yourself into it.

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It may be a life long illness, but ignoring it is not a good idea. There are many different treatments to try.

Anyway, I spent most of my late teens through early 30s either dysthymic or depressed. 5 major episodes, each lasting a close to two years, except for my last one, which lasted 6 months. For some reason, I stopped having major depressive episodes, and have switched to mixed and hypo, but I have definitely been in the abyss.

This sounds super corny when I write it out, but my dad is a p-doc, and he kept saying to me "If you kill yourself, you will definitely never get better. Don't cheat yourself out of feeling better in the future." Again, it sounds hokey, but it was kind of my mantra for a while.

And I was a teacher for a few years, and subbed for a few more. I love it, and miss it. But even though the first year I usually do great, by the second Xmas vacation, I fall apart. This is true of all my full time jobs, but it is teaching that I miss.

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I've been this way since I was 8. I'm starting to figure out that this thing might be permanent. I'm going through a dark patch right now, and hopefully it'll most likely grow less intense soon. ( Hopefully.) But from what i've been told, What I've seen, and my own experiences, this kind of thing is usually a lifelong issue. It can't be cured so much as ignored.

This is not true. I was previously depressed since I was 7, and while it may be a lifelong issue, the medication I'm on has made me so so so much better. Ignoring the problem will NOT make it go away.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi John,

is your avatar photo Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday?

yes! bpladybug, that is audrey in her academy award winning performance of 'roman holiday' w/gregory peck. :)

2 of the many things i loved before i got sick were movies and vespas. one of the subjects i taught was film history and i would always do a audrey hepburn unit.

i'll include a pic of me on my vespa below;

post-11346-0-01257800-1300948954_thumb.j

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Hi. I had bad depression from 2006-2009. For me it was caused by my utter stupidity, and made to last longer by my social circumstances at the time. I was pretty much always plagued by evil suicidal thoughts, alongside being practically unable to function. For me, I had to just wait for things to improve. But I tried meds and talking therapies whilst I was waiting.

Hopefully things start to look up for you soon, and you can find the right combination of meds and therapy that works for you. But there is always hope.

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