Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

I can't figure out if I'm still depressed or not. No idea what's "normal" emotionally.


Recommended Posts

It's hard for me to tell if antidepressants are working properly because I don't know how "happy" I'm supposed to feel on the whole.  I've been depressed since I was 8.  I know what feels "better" obviously but I'm not sure how to tell when I'm at optimal mood levels.  It's so confusing.  I know it's different for everyone but even still, having no frame of reference for happiness is rather difficult.  Pfeh, I say.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about instead of targeting "Do I feel happy" if you target specific symptoms of depression... I'm not sure what those specifics look like for you. For me they look like suicidal thoughts, sleep disruption, self care, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me I know I feel better when I just start getting back on with life. Quit wondering if i'm going to feel better, start sleeping better, work doesn't seem like such a chore anymore, stop visiting message boards like these so much, etc...

That's just the best way I can describe it for me. I just get back on with life.

Edited by quiet storm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When i at least don't feel like killing myself, I know my meds must be working.

 

How happy is normal?  I don't know, that tends to vary... circumstance, brain chemistry, upbringing.

 

Like the above poster stated, I too know I'm doing well when my sleep pattern is normal, I'm eating regularly, people say good things about my work, I'm being social with other people.  Usually ALL of those things fall apart when I withdrawal from my meds or symptoms are not controlled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with what CeremonyNewOrder said about agreeing with what goldfish said!  What I believe and have experienced in the past is medication only does so much.  It helps relieve at least some of the symptoms so that you can concentrate on how to learn to be happy. 

 

I guess you just have to take a good, long look at yourself and your life and ask "is this enough?"  Are you just surviving or do you feel like you're able to grow and thrive?  Do you have things you look forward to, are excited about?  Like others have said, do you feel like you have a good sleep cycle?  Eating right?  Do you have enough energy to get through things like chores and/or work with enough left over for a bit of fun here and there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the flip side, if you don't know whether or not you are happy, you probably aren't. I wouldn't sit around and wait for antidepressants to "make you happy again" - to me, the meds just made me stop flipping out about it and despairing. When I am at my lowest, which is rare but does happen, I feel terrified, helpless, frightened, shameful, disgusted with my very existence, I can't get out of bed, I either eat my face off or don't eat at all, my personal hygiene goes for shit, my house looks like a tornado hit it.

 

An average day for me includes difficulty getting out of bed but not impossible, going to work and forgetting about my personal life (or lacktherof) for 8 hours, and but if a shrug and huff about how I'm miserable and don't matter and who cares and a "wow my life is kinda pointless" thought. At work, I worry about doing well and living up to my co-worker's expectations - when I go off the deep end I can't mentally or physically function at work. One person looks at me the wrong way and I break down into tears that last for hours. It happened a few weeks ago when a customer ripped me a new asshole over something stupid. It wasn't the customer that made me break down, it was my co-workers coming to my defense that moved me so much that I just hid in the back and bawled for like an hour. So when I'm truly depressed, every hour of every day is like that. There are no fantastic days for me - every day is blah, pointless, boring, gray - but I'll take that over thunderstorms and tornadoes anyday. But there ARE fantastic MOMENTS, and that's what I live for. Small things - the sunset, good movies, clean cold sheets and the end of a hot day, hatching baby chickens, holding a kitten, listening to a great song, going for a drive... during the good times, I am still depressed but I notice these things. During the bad times... I don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I had a crazy meltdown yesterday from a combined lack of sleep, anxiety and sickness from Prozac, so apparently there are indeed still things wrong with me.  The reason I say I can't tell is because I don't really feel "great" per se... I feel better but a lot of my issues remain.  So I'm not sure if I'm supposed to feel "great" or just "not terrible".  I don't know to what extent meds are supposed to help one's mood, and if they're not helping as much as they should, it's something I want to be able to address.  For now, I just tell my pdoc and patient advocate what I'm experiencing and feeling and they seem to be putting the pieces together decently.  The reason I'm concerned about this at all is because I'm trying very hard to get better.  I'm in a fairly rigorous program and trying all kinds of new med combos and doing DBT exercises and monitoring my sleep quality and motivation and everything else on the planet, while also trying to be productive and write, and organize things, and get things together with Medicare, blah blah blah.  It's a lot to handle and yes, it can be hard to tell whether you're still depressed or not when you have that much going on.  And I need to have that much going on, at least for now while I'm in partial hospitalization.  After that, I can slow my pace a bit, but for now I'm kind of steamrolling my way through my life and trying to make sure what we're/I'm doing is working as it should.

That being said, focusing on symptoms is a good way to look at it.  I have a long way to go, and I'm always worried that I'm doing something wrong, or not doing enough, or the treatments aren't working (yay anxiety!).  The important thing is that I still have hope and goals, things I didn't have before starting the program I'm in.  I can clean a little (tiny) bit.  I don't go more than two days without a shower.  I stay aware of my thoughts and feelings and analyze whether they're helpful or harmful, and whether they're rational or irrational.  I have a strong enough sense of self to defend myself against those who would try to make me feel bad for who I am (no one here).  I'm able to write my poetry, starting to work on new film reviews, and I'm keeping a personal journal.  I reach out to others.  Every now and then I go out for pleasure and not necessity.  It's nowhere near perfect, but it's something.

Edited by sixteenshells
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It kinda sounds to me like you're improving some. I don't know how long you've been on your current meds but it can take up to a month for your body to get used to them and start having the desired effect. Your daily activities sound like mine when I'm in a pretty good state. But again, I never feel "great" overall - I am able to notice the great moments when they happen and temporarily forget that I have problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard for me to tell if antidepressants are working properly because I don't know how "happy" I'm supposed to feel on the whole.  I've been depressed since I was 8.  I know what feels "better" obviously but I'm not sure how to tell when I'm at optimal mood levels.  It's so confusing.  I know it's different for everyone but even still, having no frame of reference for happiness is rather difficult.  Pfeh, I say.

 

I know what you mean. I'm like you, I've had depression since I was a kid. I see other people feeling happy, but I never quite feel like it looks like they do. I keep wondering if I'll know when it "hits." I can tell when the meds are working, though. It's easier to think and do things. I sleep better, and I sleep 7-8 hours instead of 10-12 hours a day or more. I take better care of myself. It's easier to keep my appointments and go to work. I take more satisfaction in my art, and I take bike rides for fun. Like Crazyfail1 said, I can feel happy and take pleasure in things when the pills are working, which I can't when I'm really depressed.

 

Even though I still have depression symptoms, being able to function at least sometimes is a step up from where I was before. So I guess I think happiness is relative.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anti-depressants aren't supposed to make you happy, and it is a warning sign if they do. They are supposed to establish a baseline, or as some people say here, a floor, below which your mood will hopefully not go. The ultimate goal is Euthymia, which is not so much an emotion as a steady state. Then you can build on that for whatever your goals may be. But it sometimes takes many tries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anti-depressants aren't supposed to make you happy, and it is a warning sign if they do. They are supposed to establish a baseline, or as some people say here, a floor, below which your mood will hopefully not go. The ultimate goal is Euthymia, which is not so much an emotion as a steady state. Then you can build on that for whatever your goals may be. But it sometimes takes many tries.

 

That is definitely where I am right now.  My depression is literally gone and my mood is even.  My magic combo is Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Abilify and Klonopin.  I'm able to get up and get things done, I'm rarely bored, I'm interested in what's going on, I can focus.

 

That being said it's really surreal, heh.  I've been depressed for most of my life so this is uncharted territory here.

Edited by sixteenshells
Link to comment
Share on other sites

that's good to hear that you feel like you're leveled out - now that the depression is subsided, try doing some things that you really enjoy, or some new things that you want to try and see if you find it temporary exhilarating. Feeling fantastic was never meant to be a 24/7 thing, but you can feel it  by doing things you love - the anticipation of feeling great is what keeps us going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

This...

For me I know I feel better when I just start getting back on with life. Quit wondering if i'm going to feel better, start sleeping better, work doesn't seem like such a chore anymore, stop visiting message boards like these so much, etc...

That's just the best way I can describe it for me. I just get back on with life.

 

I can feel down when I'm not depressed, but the difference is I can get off my ass and turn the washing machine on, plan dinner, even engage a little with the tv/internet.  I feel down, but the lack of energy and plain hopelessness is lifted somewhat.

 

I also notice I am more willing to talk to people and make the first move by text, email, phone call etc. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

In my experience, if I have to ask the question, then I am depressed.

 

Also, I notice that if I'm not depressed, when I get down, I'm able to bring myself back up in a short time. When I'm depressed, I stay down and keep going down. I also engage in self-destructive behaviors (e.g.., smoking, drinking to excess).

Edited by LemonHead
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...