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I've been depressed nearly every day since 2005 and nothing has helped


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I'll apologize in advance if I skip around a lot in this post. I'll try not too, but I have a lot to say and it may be unavoidable.

I guess I'll jump right in:

I've been depressed nearly every day for the last seven years. At first it was gradual but very noticeable to me, but it didn't affect my functioning very much. I would come home from school and cry my eyes out. It got worse. I was dissociated throughout the majority of high school. In 2007 the depression got so bad I could no longer get out of bed. I saw a therapist, who didn't help, and referred me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist turned out to be a total wack job (purposefully prescribed an overdose of Lexapro, which in turn caused me to experience which may or may not have been an episode of mania). I quit seeing her. The depression became more tolerable on its own. I was still depressed, but I was functional. A year later it got worse again, and with a vengeance. I could no longer get out of bed, I would sleep for 14 hours straight, I quit eating, lost so much weight my new psychiatrist thought I was anorexic, and put me on different meds. Nothing helped. I went away to college for two years. Saw a new shrink while I was there and he diagnosed me with bipolar disorder NOS, because of that one episode while on Lexapro that made me drive like a bat out of hell, think at the speed of light, pick fights with people, and believe that God was telling me the secrets of the universe. I quit college last fall without a degree for many reasons, but one was my ongoing battle with this thing that just won't get better.

I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere (the nearest town of any significant size is a good five hour drive or so) and I've exhausted all available therapists. They never helped, and in many cases made me feel much worse (such as telling me the sexual abuse in my past was my fault, or that there's nothing wrong with me except that I just need to get laid). Even my psychiatrist, who is actually quite good, told me he doesn't know of any good therapists around here, which leaves me pretty SOL.

I am depressed every day. A day, or even a few hours, without feeling depressed are very few and far between. I go for short periods (weeks, occassionally a few months when I'm on a roll) when the depression is definitely there, but I don't show it and people don't think I'm depressed. People I know who know about my condition will say "Is your depression better? You don't seem depressed". But I am, and it hurts very much emotionally, and I feel so hopeless and like nothing will ever get better, and I'll be in this pit forever, but I can go about my business with about 80% of a normal person's functioning. But the severe stuff always comes back: laying in bed for days, eating very little or nothing at all, crying for hours on end or becoming completely despondent. And that kind of depression is just awful, and it lasts for a long time. Weeks or, more often, entire months. I can't hold a job because even if I feel well enough to go out and get one, I quit within a couple of months because I can no longer get out of bed. And when I say I can't get out of bed, I physically cannot get out of bed, even if I wanted to. My psychiatrist coins this "vegetative depression" if that helps you understand. Sometimes I wonder how I've managed to stay alive through all of it. It's been such a long time I've been feeling this way.

I've tried so many different meds I've lost count. My new psychiatrist started me on Remeron because my sleep schedule was completely out of wack. That did almost nothing to help. I was sleeping at night again, but the depression was still there as strong as ever. We increased the dose. Nothing. Then I was on Zoloft, and that helped me with some of the PTSD problems I have, and the depression got better for about a month, but then it came back again. I went away to college. My doctor put me on Lamictal for bipolar. I still don't know if I agree with the diagnosis because my experiences of (hypo)mania have been slim to none. Lamictal gave me a rash and I was taken off of it. Then I was Seroquel, which just made me feel even more like a vegetable and made me feel confused most of the time. I was taken off that. I quit college, moved back in with my father. I was afraid of lithium, so my doctor gave me Geodon, which was hell. I was so agitated I couldn't sit still, but so sedated I couldn't keep my eyes open. It also made me eat a whole bag of cookies in my sleep. Not a good thing. So I was taken off that, and I finally agreed to lithium. Lithium was the only drug that really made me feel a difference. I was still unhappy, but I could function almost like a normal person. It took away the depression, but it took away all my other feelings too, and I wasn't down with feeling like a zombie. At all. I felt like an empty shell.

So my doc took me off lithium. My family is very abusive, but that's for another post. I live with my father, and he is very abusive verbally, and has been physically. In February he beat my face black and blue and I went to the ER. The doctor there told me I had a concussion. My PTSD symptoms came back big time, so my psychiatrist put me back on Zoloft, and gave me klonopin for when I have panic attacks. Sometimes I think my psychiatrist doesn't even know what to do for me anymore...

My living situation definitely has an effect on my mood. I really hate the area I live in, my depression is much worse in the summer and it gets VERY hot here between April and September, and I have next to no support system. I have a pitiful handful of friends, but they all live quite far from me and our contact even via email and phone is sporadic. My family doesn't help at all. I am very alone and unloved.

My psychiatrist is the only person I can really speak to about all of this, but time is limited and I can never tell him everything I want to say. He wants to keep me off of SSRIs for the most part because of the bipolar diagnosis, though he seems much more concerned about my depression than the manic type symptoms I've had in the past because I'm depressed more than 90% of the time. Right now I'm not taking anything, though he's prescribed Neurontin because, following my concussion, I've developed seizure/tic-like movements and vocalizations that seem much like Tourettes, though they seem to be tied with my PTSD symptoms and only occur when I feel very scared or I have bad memories or flashbacks or following a fight with my father. I really dislike medicine, though I've really been trying to take what my doctor prescribes and stay with it, but I currently am doing nothing with my life and my sleep schedule is so terrible that I can't take the pills at the times I'm supposed to. I've tried setting an alarm so I could wake up when I need to take my medicine, but my sleep when I'm this depressed is comatose and it's very difficult to wake up.

I've had blood tests done to check to see if I have any physical problem that could cause this chronic type depression, but everything has come back normal. I'm very much at a loss of what could help me. I know that getting the hell away from this place, this asshole of the universe, is essential to my wellbeing, but I'm stuck here for at least another four months until I may qualify for financial aid that would let me move to a different state entirely to go to school, one that is much more like home (I'm not from the area in which I currently reside) where I could be more happy. But this heavy depression...it's crushing and intolerable and even if I do get out of here I know the depression will follow me at least to some degree. Some days I feel so bad I don't know how I'll survive and I close my eyes and crawl into bed in the dark and try to tolerate each minute as it comes...and then I end up laying in a catatonic state for how long I don't know. My perception of time becomes distorted and days blend together into weeks and months and I can't tell the difference between July and December.

I have a plethora of psychological problems, most likely due to the severe and chronic abuse I suffered during my childhood, but this depression, or mood disorder, is by far the most debilitating, and nothing has helped. I refuse to go to the hospital. I trust no one after all the abuse I've experienced and being confined makes me crazy. And I always end up getting better for a while, but then it gets worse again, and I'm afraid that once I go into the hospital for the first time, I'll be in and out of it for the rest of my life. I also vow that I'll get out of here, I'll spring myself from this rural prison, and I can't do that if I'm stuck in a hospital against my will.

I'm not looking for an answer by posting here. Suggestions are welcome and I would really like to know if someone has experienced this or something like it and if anything has helped them. I mainly posted because I seek understanding. My father is convinced nothing is wrong with me and that I'm just lazy, or stupid, and even though I know he's full of crap, what he says gets under my skin and affects me in a really bad way. Perhaps I am lazy and stupid, but I do know that there is also something very not okay with the way my brain regulates my mood, and it's my own personal hell.

Thanks for reading if you've made it this far. I deeply appreciate any kind words, comments, suggestions, or what have you.

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I'm sorry you are going through this. I've had a psychiatrist who literally said there was nothing more he could do for me, and I was referred to another one. I went through a lot of psychiatrists before finding the right one in 2003 (started with psych's about 1990). He finally was able to help. Idk if it made the difference though that he specialized in meds only. We met (at first) every week, then more space between appts depending on how I was doing and med changes.

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I couldn't read without posting something. I'm so sorry for all that you're going through. Your living situation sounds like a complete nightmare and I'm *sure* it's contributing hugely to your depression.

I'm no expert by any means, but I'm not sure your doc is right about the bipolar diagnosis since you say you've had almost no mania and the Zoloft helped for a bit. If you're being treated for depression with bipolar meds, it will only make things worse IMO. IIWY, I'd want to be treated for PTSD and major depression and not BPD. I think you and your doc need to step back and look at the whole picture like you typed out and get to the bottom of this. I think also you need to think about what you'd feel like if you lived a thousand miles away from where you are, had some $ in your pocket and a career/curriculum you loved -- would that change your mood at all? I would try like hell to get out of your current living situation. Sorry if I'm stating the obvious. Again, I feel so badly for you. I know what despair and hopelessness feels like and I wish no one else in the world had to feel that way. e5000170.gif

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Some thoughts:

1. Some of the medications you were prescribed worked, to your admittance, on some of your symptoms, which are manifold due to your trauma history and what sounds like endogenous depression. No one pill is going to eradicate it all.

2. If your father is concussing you, you need to go to a shelter or get in touch with a social worker, because he could kill you. Your depression is not going to go away while someone is concussing you. I am sorry it is happening to you, it shouldn't be, it's very hard to get out (been there myself) but it really one of the key issues here.

3. If you're in bed all day and you don't take your meds, well they're not going to work, and your mental and physical health will compound.

You're not lazy or stupid. But you are blocking off all the routes to this situation changing, you won't be honest with your pdoc, you won't take your meds, you won't go to hospital, you refuse to leave your father, you don't want therapy... what would have to change for this depression to be dealt with? There isn't really many courses of action that you haven't already ruled out. I know you're going through hell, but when is enough, enough? It would be awesome if someone could mind read how bad things are, bust in your house, rescue you and medicate you, but that isn't going to happen.

If anything is going to change, I feel like it is going to be your mind, first and foremost. No one can treat you without your co operation. No one can really make the choice toward your recovery but you. I can see deep down you want it, but you are going to have to step out and take a risk if anything is really going to move forward.

This idea that you are treatment resistant speak sot me more of your feeling of hopelessness than that it is a reality. You do have options. You just need some help to pick one and run with it.

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There are many med options for depression that aren't SSRIs. There is wellbutrin, effexor, tricyclic ADs, and more. If you are having pdoc issues, you could get a second opinion. I wish you luck!

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You have not used up every possible anti-depressant by a long shot, so don't give up. It sucks, but you have to keep trying until you find something that works. It took me about 10 years to develop my first "successful" cocktail, and as my illness has progressed, we have had to change or tweak meds continously. But my standard of living is still way better than it was pre-meds.

Lamictal and lithium are both usd for MDD, so it doesn't mean you are bipolar *at all* just because they were prescribed to you.

Meowmeow, this rant is not directed at you. It actually is directed at your pdoc:

I am continuously beating my head against at wall at how many people have been scared away from using lithium. Lithium has been on the market almost as long as any other psychiatric med, and it is still considered a front-line treatment for BP, and recently has also been used for depression. I myself use it as an add on for bipolar depression.

If you are scared because of things you pdoc told you, and yet s/he will prescribe AAPs, I do not think s/he is that good at calculating risks, or certainly not using a costs/benefits approach, which unfortunatley you often have to do (weigh pros and cons, I mean).

While becoming toxic on lithium will make you feel awful, the vast majority of people do not become toxic. I actually have been toxic once because an idiot pdoc put me on way too much way too fast, and didn't do blood tests. But my current pdoc started me on a tiny dose, and I have responded well to a really small amount (450mg, which is not much).

It truly is not a big deal, you just have to get blood tests to make sure you are within therapeutic range, drink a ton of water, and stay away from Nsaids. My pdoc even said I could take Nsaids once or twice a month, and aspirin is okay in general. Sorry to go on and on, but a lot of people come to the boards terrified of lithium, and it just doesn't merit that level of terror.

And meahwhile, AAPs can cause lactation, blood sugar issues, or even diabetes (which I think usually stops when one is taken off of it, can someone confirm or deny that?). I am *not* staying stay away from AAPs, I tried Geodon, and had the same problem you did. But, I am currently using risperidone which has worked well for me. I am not worried about the AAP, but I am certainly more careful about watching for SEs than I am with lithium.

If you are willing to take AAPs, which can (very rarely) cause very bad side effects, I have no idea why you think lithium is more dangerous. Because it manifestly is not. With the caveat that everyone is different, and YMMV.

Good luck.

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Hi meowmeow,

Your post moves me deeply. Take my response as one person's opinion, but I need to share it.

I'd bet a million dollars that your depression is rooted in your family dynamics. Its not some mystery ailment that comes from nowhere You say right at the end there, I AM SEEKING UNDERSTANDING, immediately followed by the point that your father thinks you're lazy or stupid. That is not understanding, nor is it showing a desire to understand. One thing he doesn't understand is that beating your kids might tend to fill them with pain, sadness, fear, and all sorts of terrible feelings. If he doesn't understand that, he isn't likely to understand you better.

Depression arises because something is wrong. That covers a lot of different situations. Sometimes the thing is resolvable in a short period, you get past it,make things right and the depression lifts. Sometimes its harder, like major life changes that take a long time to readjust to. And sometimes, things are so wrong that you can't even pinpoint what's wrong ("this thing"). Or you see what's wrong but you can't see any fix. Or you see a fix but it seems harder to do than just live with what's wrong.

You have value as a person, and deserve understanding. The reason I know this is because you are reaching out and asking for support and help, which means you know you deserve that support. Someone who beats you and tells you youre lazy or that your depression is your fault is not reflecting that you deserve support and understanding. They are rather building shame. Shame -- the feeling that oneself is bad and wrong -- is a powerful destructive force. It saps motivation to take action, because you don't feel your worth the effort. It leads you to believe there isn't support mans understanding out there, at least not for you.

There's nothing simple to solve things. Running away from home feels terrifying as the same family thats destroying your self worth also provides for your survival. Going to the hospital may feel like an admission that the problem is you (it isn't). A pill is not going to make your family more functional.

You might. Consider going to a shelter for abuse. This may seem out of the question, impractical, or a giant leap off a cliff leaving everything you know. But it's a place where they know, this is not your fault. How you are feeling is not because theres something wrong with you. Whether you do this or not, keep asking for understanding, and try to build connections with those who show that they do. Especially the ones who show they care. Don't waste time with people who don't try to understand. The more understanding you find, the less depressed you will feel. You won't be not depressed for some time, but you can find hope that that is possible.

You're geographically isolated but thank god for the Internet. You value yourself enough to seek the support you're needing and I bet you'll find many who care here. I care already. I didnt suffer physical abuse but a lot of emotional abuse and trauma. It sucks.

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Thank you to everyone who offered something helpful or empathic. Some of your comments really touched my heart.

I do want therapy, Titania, but there really is none in this area that I haven't tried. The therapists I've seen have all has some very strange and hurtful things to say to me that even I know aren't true, such as that sleeping around would make me happy or that I am possessed by the devil. I've also tried to get away from my father several times, but everything has ended in disaster. No shelter would take me for their self-proclaimed reasons: "I'm not married, the current abuse is not sexual, I'm not addicted to a substance" and so on and so forth. I don't see why the nature of the abuse should matter, but apparently it matters to them. I am honest with my doctor and I do want to leave my father. I don't know why you said those things...

b'smom: I do believe I would be much happier if I was somewhere I really liked. I know for a fact my situation isn't helping how I feel, though I believe even if I did get out of here for good, and I had a career I enjoyed, and I had close friends, and I could do what I really wanted without fear of persecution, I would still be depressed to some degree.

Feenix, thank you for sharing your opinion. I think you are quite right about the depression stemming from my family. So often I'm deceived into believing there is something inherently wrong with me, reinforced by my father's favorite verbal weapon: "You make yourself miserable". What's curious is that he'll be tolerable, even almost kind to me for short periods of time, just enough for me to feel indifferent toward him, and then he turns around and says or does something unspeakable to me, makes me cry so hard I throw up and have convulsive seizures, and the cycle begins again. I try so hard to ignore what he says and not even talk to him unless it's necessary (I am financially dependent on him) but he doesn't know how to leave me alone. My father hitting me is uncommon (much less common than my mother hitting me, at least), but he knows just the things to say to me to make me feel less than garbage. And what's worse is he won't even acknowledge it. He'll even lie to my face about things he's said, insisting he's never said those things.

I want to try other medicines. My doctor averted to putting me on an antidepressant without an antipsychotic or lithium, but there are lots I haven't tried. I would like to try Cymbalta or Wellbutrin, as I've heard personal accounts that they really helped, and I have a problem with widespread physical pain that makes walking and moving in general difficult and uncomfortable when I'm depressed.

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Hey Meow,

I'm so sorry you're in a such a horrible situation. Did you know recurrent depression can be part of complex trauma? I'm not surprised you don't want to get out of bed with all that going on.

I'm surprised that a shelter wouldn't take you with you experiencing such severe physical abuse. Medication may help, but honestly you cannot heal until you are safe, which you are not. Are there any family members or friends you could move in with?

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Thank you, blue. I knew that depression is common with PTSD, but I was always led to believe it was mild to moderate and not so...physically disabling. I've heard of the diagnosis Complex PTSD, though none of my doctors have ever brought that up with me despite their knowledge of the abuse in my past and present. I have a hard time talking to someone about the physical and emotional abuse from my parents because in a way I am convinced it's my fault and there's nothing wrong with what they're doing is completely justified, that I deserve it even. I was sexually abused by my brother for years, and there's been a handful of other instances from strangers and family friends over the years, but I've put aside that part of the abuse for later examination because it's not happening imminently, and because I don't think it would help to try to resolve my feelings about it on top of everything else I'm dealing with now. I certainly want to work with a therapist who will understand and really try to help, but this area isn't intellectual or diverse at all, and the vast majority of therapists specialize in things like marriage counseling and it seems they don't know how to even talk to someone like me.

I have no friends that I'm intimate enough with to ask for a place to live. My mother lives in a more populated area, but I refuse to live with her and I hardly ever visit her, and only on my terms (very public place, no overnight visits) because my mother was so violent when I was a child that I believed I would be killed. She also hunts and owns several firearms. My brother lives on the other side of the country and we do not speak unless we end up at a family gathering together, though he hasn't been sexually abusive for a long time. He still talks to me like I'm dirt, though. My relatives are just as emotionally abusive as my parents, and I know for a fact they would never take me in. I've always been the "black sheep", and they know it, and they hate me quite a bit for it.

I believe you may be right, blue, that I won't be fully healed, if that's even possible anymore, until I am away from here for good. Right now I really, really need to become functional and be able to remain that way.

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I agree with you that now isn't the time to go delving into trauma.

I'm not a therapist and this is just my opinion, but if I were you my objectives would be:

a) Be safe

b) Increase connections with safe people

c) Work on becoming more functional and get the hell out of the town you currently live in.

Have you ever considered calling a domestic violence crisis line? They may be able to come up with a plan to make you safer from your Father, even if you can't leave the house right now. Things like realising the triggers and escaping the situation.

What is the hospital in your town like? I resisted hospital for SO long (my trauma occurred from being in hospital, so you can imagine that I avoided it) but it ended up being quite a good experience for me. At the very least you will be safe from abuse whilst you are there, your pdoc may be more willing to start you on antidepressants if you can be monitored and once staff know you they may be able to help you find emergency shelter.

The thing is, it's going to be hard to move to a new town if you can't get out of bed. Hospital will help you with a routine, make sure you are eating and teach you strategies to manage depression.

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I remember being in the hospital for MI and before discharge, it was required that I have a safe place to go, plan of action, meds, etc. I'm not trying to discourage you from going IP, just saying that if you did, upon leaving you most likely would have a safe place to go.

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There is no hospital in this town. The nearest regular hospital in the area is about a thirty minute drive, but in all honesty, I do not trust people here or the way they think. This area is ultra conservative and, while I'm all for people having their right to believe what they want, I will not have my human rights violated. I don't know if they would be, but I'm not about to voluntarily put myself in a situation where it's possible I could be hurt because I'm not viewed as an equal who deserves respect. When I was in college, I knew a girl who was committed to a psychiatric ward and ended up being sexually harassed and subjected to pelvic exams by male nurses against her will, who then turned around and lied and said she was delusional. She ended up pressing charges and sued for a nice sum of money, but I don't think my mind could survive that if something like that happened to me and no amount of money could ever fix that kind of damage.

I don't believe I should go to the hospital. I am currently able to get out of bed and I make a point of taking a shower and getting dressed every day, if nothing else. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week and I will be driving the freaking hour and half it takes to get there. I'm currently quite an emotional wreck, but I can function enough to make things happen, at least in small ways. I'm just afraid that I will try pill after pill and none of it will help.

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God, I am so sorry about your situation. I have some things in common with you; I live in a shitty rural area with terrible whack job therapists and very few resources for mental illness, I am severely depressed and living in hell while my dr dicks around with failed medication after failed medication. I told my tdoc that my biggest fear is that I'm incapable of feeling happiness again and all she had to offer was "That's a grim thought." She is absolutely useless, but I get healthcare through the county and they make me see her if I want access to a real dr who can prescribe medications. I was sexually abused as a child and you've been through so much more than I have. Your situation sounds absolutely horrible. I think hearing this from other people might give you hope, since no one could be expected to be happy where you are and the fact that you can't escape it must be contributing to your long term depression. Have you considered looking into shelters in the big city you mentioned? You could tell them you're homeless, because you would be if you made the decision to leave your father's house. I know when I lived in Portland rather than ruralville they had so many programs and resources for someone in your situation. I loved my tdoc there, I can't even stress enough what an idiot my current therapist is. You have to realize that there are better places in the world, and almost anywhere would be better than where you are. I totally understand your fear of staying in a hospital with the safety issues. I was hospitalized in Portland OR and received decent treatment and was at least safe. Maybe you could look for a hospital in the big city with a good reputation and go to the emergency room and tell them you're suicidal. I think they're pretty much required to take you in. I don't know, my experience might not to be relevant to your situation. I was hospitalized against my will while manic and psychotic. I met a lot of people who were there for depression though. I'm constantly wondering whether I should check back in and let the big city dr's figure out my meds so all my rural dr has to do is follow their instructions. I'm really sorry for everything you're going through. It sounds like if you could get out of your current situation and find the right med combo you could really be free of depression. Don't lose hope.

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Thanks so much, appleblossom. I'm sorry to hear that you were abused, too. If I do end up going to the hospital (which I still think would be a mistake for me to make unless I was suicidal) I would try to go to the one in the city where I grew up. It's one of the top medical schools in the country and the psychiatric staff is probably the best in the region. But I don't know how I would get there. That city is 450 miles from here. I've discussed hopsitalization with my psychiatrsit in the past, and I told him flat out I will not go to any hospitals within a 200 mile radius of this place, because it's a wasteland, and I would rather go without care at all than end up with some dumbass doctor who'll pump me full of lamicatal too fast and I'll end up dying of the SJS rash or something. Honestly everyone around here is so stupid. No common sense whatsoever. I have to keep an eye on everything the doctor does even when I have a checkup because I wouldn't put it past them to forget to open a fresh needle when they draw blood.

And I am determined to get the hell away from here in my own way. Hospital would prevent that. I have a way of getting out of here, moving back to MY home, to MY part of the country, to live by myself, and if my psychiatrist can find the meds that'll work, this plan is more or less foolproof, all twists of fate and circumstances beyond my control aside. It's by far the best plan I have. I need to be functional, and be able to stay that way. So many times I'll become functional, but then something happens, like getting shit-talked by a coworker or even a stranger (which is a huge trigger) that causes a bombardment of flashbacks, a panic attack, and a seizure, and then my body starts to shut down. I really wish there was a way I could be functional, a med that will prevent such disabling emotional and physical reactions, and when someone tries to talk to me like that, it won't bother me and I could tell them to shove it where it hurts and go about my business without becoming incapacitated again.

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Medication really can't eradicate PTSD and trauma symptoms. It can help with anxiety and depression but it's not going to work in trigger situations. I really sympathize and see what you're going through and why you are clinging to your plan, but it's just not going to happen that you will be given a pill that will take your life situation and make you 'stable' enough to move across the country, which has been proved is as stressful to people without MI issues as death or divorce.

I know you think I'm a bit of bitch, I don't mean to get on at you, so this is the last I will say. I am genuinely sorry you are being abused, I've been a victim of violence and it is a very dis-empowering and horrific thing to go through. But I really think you are in the realm of fantasy when you say that you want a med that can ' prevent such disabling emotional and physical reactions, and when someone tries to talk to me like that, it won't bother me and I could tell them to shove it where it hurts and go about my business without becoming incapacitated again. It's this expectation that is partly keeping you in the abusive situation you are in. I don;t doubt that you want out, but clinging to this plan is just keeping you under that roof.

I wish, for you and for me, it worked like that and meds could just magic us to stable from trauma.

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Titania, I don't think you're a bitch...thank you for trying to help. I think there's a miscommunication issue. We are only communicating via text, after all.

The med is not going to fix the problem. I know that. And I'm not looking for the med to fix the problem. My plan is to go out of state to college, but I'll take out my own loans, and I'll be living off campus in my own apartment. One of the biggest reasons I quit college before was that I was going to a large state university, where the party culture was so huge I wasn't even able to sleep at night due to my neighbors being so loud and obnoxious, which didn't help the sleep problems I already have. How could this plan have kept me under this roof if I only started devising this plan a couple of months ago? If medication couldn't stabilize a mood enough to at least help someone become more stable and to treat symptoms so that they aren't so bad, why does anyone take medication? Why would antidepressants even exist?

My situation probably sounds worse than it actually is. It is bad, yes, and everyone in my immediate family has done unforgivable things, but the abuse isn't constant (for example, my father doesn't come home from work every day and beat me up). I'm sorry if it may have come across like that in previous posts. My father yells and swears and talks to me as if I'm garbage several times a week, but physical violence is not common from him. I'm not making excuses or trying to cover up for him or saying it's okay that he once put me in the hospital with a head injury, but I've suffered much worse from my mother, and if I could pin down the single most glaringly obvious reason I'm depressed, it would be my geographical location. There is nothing for me here.

Six months ago I was working for a restaurant. On my third day I was supposed to open with a coworker I'd never worked with before, and I hadn't been fully trained. The minute I walked into the kitchen, this coworker began screaming and cursing at me, being physically agressive, and blaming me for something another coworker had done and I had nothing to do with. I walked away from her when I tried to calmly reason with her and she cut me off with "that's bullshit!" and I spoke to the manager, and the woman was fired, and I was allowed the day off because I was so upset I was convulsing in the break room. I had been doing so well, an entire week of no depression in sight and several months of almost normal functioning (enough that I had been able to keep up a job search for four months and eventually land one) and it was all shot to hell because some idiot woman I happened to be working with that day decided to throw a tantrum and clearly didn't understand the concepts of equality and mutual respect. Now, perhaps no med exists that would have prevented the convulsive seizure or the panic or how upset I got, but I would imagine that, had I been taking an antidepressant or a mood stabilizer that worked, I would not have become as heavily depressed following the event as I did.

Since poking around these boards the last few days, things have become clearer in my mind. They've given me hope and new ideas, and motivated me to call up my doctor's office to move my appointment to a closer date. Now, however, I am thoroughly confused and disheartened.

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I really do hope that you can get back on your feet. And I hope medication is a successful part of it. I just know that when I took medication, for a long time I had a very unrealistic view of what it would do for me, that often prevented me making other much needed changes in my life. Medication does help create stability, you are right. It's just that someone with what sound to be pretty severe mental health problems with physical manifestations in an abusive home with no power or support isn't going to find holding onto stability easy by using medication alone.

However I admire your ability to keep trying when so many doors have closed in the past. You're a brave person.

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It sounds like you don't have much choice, if you've got a plan. Your area sounds just horrible, I think your depression and ptsd will be so much easier to treat when you can leave and find a therapist that isn't useless or actively damaging. There are a lot of really, really stupid people that have way too much power. I just hope you can hold on to the idea that this is rock bottom, and if you can get away, the climb up will be so much easier than it is now. I know what it's like to just be stuck with substandard care, and I know the difference it made when I was talking to a therapist I liked and trusted, who wasn't an incompetent moron. I so wish I could help you in some real way. Thank God for your psychiatrist at least. I can't believe what happened to you at work. I also get very emotional when someone is mean to me. I have hid in the bathrooms of schools and jobs sobbing many, many times. It's so hard to keep it together. I do think that if you can find a good med combo, you will be in a better position to deal with things like that. There are a lot of things that happened during my manic episode that really traumatized me, and I don't think I can begin to even deal with that until my mood is more stable. I can barely grocery shop, you are totally amazing for having a job! You are clearly very smart, smarter than most of the people around you, and I really hope you find the strength to get through this situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I totally feel for you, wish I could help more

:-(

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I wish I had something better to suggest to you, but: you mentioned that lithium made you more functional even though it took away your feelings. Is going back on it until you can get yourself to somewhere safer, with more treatment options, an option for you?

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In light of my recent feelings, I almost feel like falling on my hands and knees and begging for lithium. Lack of feelings sounds pretty appealing right now. Before I ask to go back on it though, I'd really like to try some antidepressants I've never tried before. The problem is that my doctor, even though he's quite good and I can tell he really tries to understand and genuinely wants to help, seems to like to dick around with meds I've already tried and that I've responded to even in some small way, because I guess some response is better than none. I'm tired of anticonvulsants and AAPs, but my doc favors them over antidepressants, and I can see why, after the Lexapro disaster. My body has a problem tolerating most of the drugs anyway, because I weigh 90lbs and the smallest therapeutic dose packs a punch. It usually becomes a toss up between being disabled by the depression or by the drug itself. I didn't have that problem on lithium. The only side effect I remember from lithium was a tremor in my hands, and it was disturbing to feel indifferent about things that would normally cause an emotional reaction, both positive and negative. And still I think that was better than Zoloft, which just gave me a false sense of wellbeing, like it was tricking my brain into thinking there was nothing wrong with my situation.

I don't know how to really ask my doctor for a specific medication, though. I would imagine that, if he thought Wellbutrin or Cymbalta or anything else would work, he would have already had me try it, you know? Maybe I'm not clear enough with him about my expectations. I usually have a hard time verbally expressing my opinions without becoming extremely anxious, because I was always punished by my parents and treated badly by people in general for doing that, like it was a cardinal sin to think for myself. Even though in my mind I know it's okay, and the best thing I've ever done throughout my life was express what I think, my body automatically goes into fight or flight mode when I try to speak, and I end up only saying half of what I want to say, remain silent, or god forbid, botch the whole thing and end up being misunderstood and berate myself for being so incompetent.

Of course, once I get out of here, I'll probably need a good decade of therapy to fix all this crap, because I have so many other issues in the attic that I haven't even begun to discuss, like my episodes of dissociation and constant lack of a coherent identity.

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It really sounds like going back on lithium so you can get yourself to a safe situation as fast as possible might be the optimal thing to do. Not having emotions is disturbing, and it is not a good long-term strategy, but you are not in a safe place right now and it is going to be much easier to find good long-term strategies when you are.

That said, if you think that it is best to ask your doctor about wellbutrin or cymbalta, one thing you could try is writing down what you're going to say ahead of time, and planning to read from it, so that if you start panicking you'll at least have clear instructions for what to say right in front of you. Other things might include dropping by when he's busy and leaving a written note for him at the front desk, or calling and leaving a voicemail after hours. You might still have follow up with him in person, but if you have some of the communicating already done it might make the rest easier.

I will also say: don't give up on antipsychotics. I had bad experiences with the first three I tried, but the fourth was a godsend.

If you can, put off worrying about your other issues in the attic until you can get out of there. You have enough to worry about right now.

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I'm totally asking my doc to try lithium when I go in to my appointment, and also asking about upping my seroquel. I am on such a low dose right now that I don't know how she could've even expected it to make a difference. I've read that the recommended dosage level for treating bi polar depression is 300mg/day, and I'm on 50. She probably won't agree to change two things at the same time, but I am so desperate to feel better that I want to get through this process of elimination as soon as possible, I don't think there's anything at all wrong with asking about specific drugs. If there's a good reason not to try it, he can at least explain why. I agree with the suggestion about writing out the key points of what you want to say before hand and then just reading it to him. I know how frustrating it is to freeze up and realize later that there was something you could've said and wanted to say. Try to feel safe when you talk to him, remind yourself that you won't be punished for anything. You trust this guy and you know he won't laugh at you or put you down. Also don't feel weird for having to read to him instead of having a conversation, I'm sure people do that all the time. Don't be afraid to tell him if you don't want to try a drug again either. Your opinions are valid and worthwhile, and you have every right to express them. I know it's easy for someone to say "don't be afraid" and almost impossible to stop being afraid, but if you know something at least intellectually it's easier to overcome your fear. If that makes any sense.

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Thanks for the tips. I've brought notecards with me to appointments before but it always made me feel really stupid. I've found that "rehearsing" what I want to say in the mirror before I leave for the appointment sort of helps too, because when I'm at the appointment and I start to flounder, I remember talking to my reflection and that nothing bad happened. That makes me feel a bit pathetic, but no one's around to witness it and I guess we all have to do what we have to do...

As far as antipsychotics, I've tried Abilify, Seroquel, and Geodon. I had suicidal thoughts and extreme anxiety on Abilify, Seroquel felt like an opiate, and Geodon was an experience I wouldn't repeat if it was the last med on earth. My doctor once talked about Saphris, but he never prescribed it. He said it might be a good option because it won't kick my ass like Seroquel did. But then we started playing around with lithium and benzos and he didn't bring it up again.

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I'm sorry you're having to go through this, I'm familar with bone-crushing depression myself. Maybe I misread things, but it sounds like you've been on one med at a time? A combination of meds is often much more effective.

I'd bet a million dollars that your depression is rooted in your family dynamics. Its not some mystery ailment that comes from nowhere You say right at the end there, I AM SEEKING UNDERSTANDING, immediately followed by the point that your father thinks you're lazy or stupid.

Depression arises because something is wrong. That covers a lot of different situations. Sometimes the thing is resolvable in a short period, you get past it,make things right and the depression lifts. Sometimes its harder, like major life changes that take a long time to readjust to. And sometimes, things are so wrong that you can't even pinpoint what's wrong ("this thing"). Or you see what's wrong but you can't see any fix. Or you see a fix but it seems harder to do than just live with what's wrong

These statements are generally incorrect. Depression doesn't arise because something is wrong. Actually, it is a mystery illness that comes from nowhere. That's the difference between depressive illness and feeling depressed due to life stressors, like the death of a family member. If you have MDD or BP disorder, a depressive episode can show up for no reason at all. Often a life stressor will bring on an episode, but if you have a mood disorder, you can become depressed for no apparent reason, especially if you've had more than one episode of major depression.

If you have a mood disorder, you're going to need meds to get well, and stay well.

I'm no expert by any means, but I'm not sure your doc is right about the bipolar diagnosis since you say you've had almost no mania and the Zoloft helped for a bit.

I'm not an expert, either, but the general concensus at this point is that depression and mania are two ends of a spectrum, as discussed here:

http://www.psycheduc...chor-What-60973

At the end of the day, the diagnosis (dx) is just a name, and a code your doctor can put on a form to bill your insurance to get paid. Effective treatment of symptoms is what's really important.

If you're being treated for depression with bipolar meds, it will only make things worse IMO. IIWY, I'd want to be treated for PTSD and major depression and not BPD.

I'm not sure where you got the information that the meds for bipolar (BP) will make things worse. Mood stabilizers such as lithium and Lamictal are often prescribed for depression, and usually make things better, not worse.

And I am determined to get the hell away from here in my own way. Hospital would prevent that.

Why? I'm not sure I understand this cause and effect...

I have a way of getting out of here, moving back to MY home, to MY part of the country, to live by myself, and if my psychiatrist can find the meds that'll work, this plan is more or less foolproof, all twists of fate and circumstances beyond my control aside. It's by far the best plan I have. I need to be functional, and be able to stay that way.

So many times I'll become functional, but then something happens, like getting shit-talked by a coworker or even a stranger (which is a huge trigger) that causes a bombardment of flashbacks, a panic attack, and a seizure, and then my body starts to shut down. I really wish there was a way I could be functional, a med that will prevent such disabling emotional and physical reactions, and when someone tries to talk to me like that, it won't bother me and I could tell them to shove it where it hurts and go about my business without becoming incapacitated again.

At the risk of sounding like a therapist (tdoc) talking mumbo-jumbo, I think you are giving away all your power to others. As Titania said, you have to take the initiative to change things. I also live in a rural area and know about the unavailability of mental health providers, or any other type of health provider, for that matter.

I think that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could help you a lot. It's helped me and many others here. It's nice if you can work through it with a therapist, but if not, you can read about it online and start practicing the techniques on your own. The main thing it's helped me with is "all or nothing" thinking. It stops me from going through a thought progression like: "I just made a mistake at work, now my boss will decide I'm incompetent and fire me, then I will run out of money and end up on the street."

While all of these things are possible, it doesn't mean they are likely, and I can stop the negative thought train before it leaves the station. It's made me feel much more at peace, because I focus on the facts, and not all the crazyness flying around in my head. In the example I gave, the fact is that I made a mistake at work. All the rest of it is just me driving myself crazy, and CBT has trained me to stop at the fact, and analyze each thought along the way.

I have a way of getting out of here, moving back to MY home, to MY part of the country, to live by myself, and if my psychiatrist can find the meds that'll work, this plan is more or less foolproof, all twists of fate and circumstances beyond my control aside. It's by far the best plan I have. I need to be functional, and be able to stay that way.

I think it would be helpful if you wrote down all the steps needed to put this plan into action, and then start taking one small step at a time. If you only look at the whole plan, it will be too easy to become overwhelmed and feel like the plan will only work if everything falls into place at the right moment. On the other hand, if you can write down many small steps that make up the total plan, each time you complete a step, your feeling of accomplishment will help you, and motivate you to complete the next step.

Also, if the plan is broken down into small pieces, you won't feel completely defeated if you fail in one step or have to try it again. You can also look at the steps and determine that you can work them out of your originally planned order. A series of small steps makes it easier to develop alternatives when things don't work out, as invariably happens. It sounds simple and obvious, but you'll be suprised how empowering it is to mark off items on a list.

Good luck to you, keep us posted on how you're doing.

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