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This is kind of a dumb question, that I hesitate to post. But I've been struggling lately in a sort of undefinable way. Not the most depressed I've ever been. Not really doing great. And after a while, after many major depressive episodes and lesser depressive episodes, it becomes difficult to tell when I'm depressed versus what is my "normal." I talk to myself like three times a day and tell myself how much I suck. I'm completely lacking in focus. Periodically it flares up and I feel like I'm losing my shit because of what seem like too many demands on me. I don't have a lot of energy, and am constantly trying to augment it with coffee and adderall. I wake up exhausted. I sometimes have suicidal ideation but not all the time, and I can be distracted from that by being busy. Sometimes I can be cheerful when something distracts me, in an atypical depression kind of way. Sometimes I am totally overwhelmed with obsessing about the things that are bothering me most. I can't get work done. I can't really work a to-do list. Am I depressed? I can't always tell, if I'm not weeping or immobile on the couch. I'm wondering if anyone can relate to this, this limbo-world of not feeling well. Am I depressed? How do you know when you're depressed, if you're someone who has depression often? I feel like my meds need to be changed, but I can't really articulate well what's going on, and it doesn't always feel bad enough to want to be a bother.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Unstrung Harp said:

But I've been struggling lately in a sort of undefinable way. Not the most depressed I've ever been. Not really doing great. And after a while, after many major depressive episodes and lesser depressive episodes, it becomes difficult to tell when I'm depressed versus what is my "normal." I talk to myself like three times a day and tell myself how much I suck. I'm completely lacking in focus. Periodically it flares up and I feel like I'm losing my shit because of what seem like too many demands on me. I don't have a lot of energy, and am constantly trying to augment it with coffee and adderall. I wake up exhausted.

You definitely sound depressed and/or burnt out from mental exhaustion. It's not normal to criticize yourself everyday, have obsessive negative (suicidal ideation) thoughts and no energy or focus. What was your normal "baseline" mood, when you've felt better? I also have days where I feel pretty normal and functioning. I can distract myself and enjoy a moment. However, I still consider myself chronically depressed because those days are far and few, they never last more than a couple months.

Increased stress and situational life triggers also send my mood spiraling out of control. I've come to somewhat accept at this point that I have a chronic illness, that I will have to manage my entire life. If I can't go into complete remission, I hope to manage the worst episodes so that I can have a somewhat normal life (job, relationships, hobbies).

There are different levels of depression, which manifest in different ways. I don't think you need to be sad, sobbing everyday to have clinical depression. Dysthymia can manifest as a sense of unworthiness, avoidance, isolation, lack of motivation/interest/focus, fatigue, boredom, anhedonia even. I think the key is, does this mood limit your ability to function day to day?

People without depression can get sad for a justifiable reason, but they are able to bounce out of it and maintain a healthy perspective for the most part. While people with clinical depression often cannot (at least without meds or some form of therapy). Maybe others will add more here, but this is just my 2 cents in dealing with different forms of depression for 2 decades.

Edited by Blahblah

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My stock answer to the "am I depressed?" question is: if you find yourself even asking that question, you are depressed.

From what you write and our past conversations, you are most definitely depressed. Adderall-time (~ 1.5h duration) is the only time during the day I feel remotely human. All other times I strongly, strongly want to be dead.

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8 hours ago, Blahblah said:

I think the key is, does this mood limit your ability to function day to day?

Thanks for your perspective. Yes, it is limiting my functioning, though some of it is hard to parse out from the ADHD, and the fact that what I am supposed to be doing with my time often demands that I think really hard about cultural theory, which I don't recommend trying to do if you're depressed or have ADHD. But even simple stuff I can't get done right now, even if I'm not flat out miserable. The misery often comes from thinking about what I'm not able to do. If I give in to doing nothing and accomplishing nothing, sometimes my mood is okay. But I feel like I should be doing better than that. I'm especially bummed out that the adderall seems to be doing nothing for me except helping me wake up in the morning.

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2 hours ago, sming said:

My stock answer to the "am I depressed?" question is: if you find yourself even asking that question, you are depressed.

From what you write and our past conversations, you are most definitely depressed. Adderall-time (~ 1.5h duration) is the only time during the day I feel remotely human. All other times I strongly, strongly want to be dead.

That's probably a good rule of thumb. I guess I can't figure out how depressed I am, or what to do about it. My adderall is pretty much in full on failure at this point. It barely seems to do anything for me, though I hesitate to get rid of it, because I notice a difference when I don't take it as opposed to noticing it when I do. 

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51 minutes ago, Unstrung Harp said:

That's probably a good rule of thumb. I guess I can't figure out how depressed I am, or what to do about it. My adderall is pretty much in full on failure at this point. It barely seems to do anything for me, though I hesitate to get rid of it, because I notice a difference when I don't take it as opposed to noticing it when I do. 

I face the same questions all the time. My depression changes "texture" depending on what meds I'm on, it never goes away. Is depression with lots of SI but little other suffering much "worse" than depression with tons of suffering and no SI? I don't know and I'm not sure it's useful to know. Actually, one tool I use monthly is the Goldberg Depression Scale. This is not perfect by any means but at least it's mostly consistent (I give myself lower scores when filling it out when very depressed, for example) if you use it regularly. I hope this helps a bit.

W.r.t. Adderall, I used to get 5 hours of relief from it and now I get 1-1.5 hours. So I have to live my life in these little bursts of feeling human. All other times I literally do not have any detectable thoughts going on. My soul and mind are just dead. I do not want to do a single thing. Everything and everyone is shit. Nothing is good. 

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4 minutes ago, sming said:

I face the same questions all the time. My depression changes "texture" depending on what meds I'm on, it never goes away. Is depression with lots of SI but little other suffering much "worse" than depression with tons of suffering and no SI? I don't know and I'm not sure it's useful to know. Actually, one tool I use monthly is the Goldberg Depression Scale. This is not perfect by any means but at least it's mostly consistent (I give myself lower scores when filling it out when very depressed, for example) if you use it regularly. I hope this helps a bit.

W.r.t. Adderall, I used to get 5 hours of relief from it and now I get 1-1.5 hours. So I have to live my life in these little bursts of feeling human. All other times I literally do not have any detectable thoughts going on. My soul and mind are just dead. I do not want to do a single thing. Everything and everyone is shit. Nothing is good. 

huh. that's the second depression scale I've taken this week that scored me at severe depression. I'm not sure it feels like severe depression all the time, but maybe I'm just used to carrying it around. 

I'm pretty sure adderall turned things around for me four years ago and made it so I could get work done. I don't know that there's really anything in it's place now that it's not working much. It's not even that I'm depressed without it working, because that's probably a combination of all my meds, but I can't can't get anything done and have no motivation to get things done, beyond the abstract.

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1 hour ago, Unstrung Harp said:
1 hour ago, sming said:

W.r.t. Adderall, I used to get 5 hours of relief from it and now I get 1-1.5 hours. So I have to live my life in these little bursts of feeling human. All other times I literally do not have any detectable thoughts going on. My soul and mind are just dead. I do not want to do a single thing. Everything and everyone is shit. Nothing is good. 

I'm pretty sure adderall turned things around for me four years ago and made it so I could get work done. I don't know that there's really anything in it's place now that it's not working much. It's not even that I'm depressed without it working, because that's probably a combination of all my meds, but I can't can't get anything done and have no motivation to get things done, beyond the abstract.

This is what I worry about is happening to me with Ritalin. it completely brought me back from the "dead" 2 years ago, I was motivated, positive and for a bit I was functioning to the best of my ability. Little by little, it's puttered out and I get a good 2 hours out of it, and just sort of become a complete slug in the afternoon when it wears off. Not necessarily depressed (my other meds prop me up) but I have no initiative, energy or drive to do anything.

I don't want to have to keep increasing & increasing, popping it like candy because sometimes I get the opposite effect (with more, sometimes I'll get more tired, or edgy). It must be doing something however, because I can barely get up in the morning without it. I suppose I could just try to take a  longer break and maybe re-start it? I don't know, it's the main thing that noticeably helps me. But the tolerance thing blows.

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29 minutes ago, Blahblah said:

This is what I worry about is happening to me with Ritalin. it completely brought me back from the "dead" 2 years ago, I was motivated, positive and for a bit I was functioning to the best of my ability. Little by little, it's puttered out and I get a good 2 hours out of it, and just sort of become a complete slug in the afternoon when it wears off. Not necessarily depressed (my other meds prop me up) but I have no initiative, energy or drive to do anything.

I don't want to have to keep increasing & increasing, popping it like candy because sometimes I get the opposite effect (with more, sometimes I'll get more tired, or edgy). It must be doing something however, because I can barely get up in the morning without it. I suppose I could just try to take a  longer break and maybe re-start it? I don't know, it's the main thing that noticeably helps me. But the tolerance thing blows.

yeah, I've wondered if I would get its effectiveness back if I took a holiday from it. But I don't know if that would work, or how long it would take.

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21 hours ago, Unstrung Harp said:

And after a while, after many major depressive episodes and lesser depressive episodes, it becomes difficult to tell when I'm depressed versus what is my "normal."

It's not a dumb question and it can be difficult to know if you're feeling "normal" if what's "normal" for you is feeling depressed. Maybe not at all relevant but I think there's a difference between people with long term depression and those who are suddenly hit with depression at some point in their lives. The people who might wake up one day feeling depressed probably suffer more acutely, because they can remember being "normal" and can't get back there. With long term depression you don't really have any baseline for what it's like to feel fine, and it can be difficult to believe that such a state can even exist for you sometimes.

Being confused about how you feel is pretty normal when your feelings are so confused, as they often are for me. I think that when suicidal ideation rears it's ugly head then it's a pretty unambiguous sign that I'm not feeling great. I know such thoughts can come and go without you being in danger of jumping in front of a bus, but it's never a good thing to think about.

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27 minutes ago, Fluent In Silence said:

It's not a dumb question and it can be difficult to know if you're feeling "normal" if what's "normal" for you is feeling depressed. Maybe not at all relevant but I think there's a difference between people with long term depression and those who are suddenly hit with depression at some point in their lives. The people who might wake up one day feeling depressed probably suffer more acutely, because they can remember being "normal" and can't get back there. With long term depression you don't really have any baseline for what it's like to feel fine, and it can be difficult to believe that such a state can even exist for you sometimes.

Being confused about how you feel is pretty normal when your feelings are so confused, as they often are for me. I think that when suicidal ideation rears it's ugly head then it's a pretty unambiguous sign that I'm not feeling great. I know such thoughts can come and go without you being in danger of jumping in front of a bus, but it's never a good thing to think about.

thanks, Fluent. I've definitely had times when I was more depressed, and times when I've been less depressed. I've had extended periods when I didn't have a lot of clear depression symptoms for more than a few days here or there. This one is confusing me, because it's largely a functional problem. Sometimes I get really bummed out, and there's the suicidal ideation, but mostly I'm just devoid of motivation, interest, focus and mental energy. I don't think I feel normal for me, but am also wondering if this is just what I feel like now, sort of permanently. It's the first time I've thought seriously about going on disability. It is confusing.

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1 hour ago, Blahblah said:

This is what I worry about is happening to me with Ritalin. it completely brought me back from the "dead" 2 years ago, I was motivated, positive and for a bit I was functioning to the best of my ability. Little by little, it's puttered out and I get a good 2 hours out of it, and just sort of become a complete slug in the afternoon when it wears off. Not necessarily depressed (my other meds prop me up) but I have no initiative, energy or drive to do anything.

I don't want to have to keep increasing & increasing, popping it like candy because sometimes I get the opposite effect (with more, sometimes I'll get more tired, or edgy). It must be doing something however, because I can barely get up in the morning without it. I suppose I could just try to take a  longer break and maybe re-start it? I don't know, it's the main thing that noticeably helps me. But the tolerance thing blows.

I hear ya @Blahblah. I think you, @Unstrung Harp and I are all in a similar boat: Treatment-Resistant but Helped By Stimulants (TRbHbS). I was taking Concerta (long-acting Ritalin) before that totally pooped-out, then I switched to Adderall and got a good few months of "doing well" on it, before hitting where I'm at now, where I just fake it and suffer between doses.

I have a job and 2 kids and am always wondering when you're supposed to be able to take one of these fabled breaks!!! I don't know about you guys but I find that workplaces and kids aren't terribly understanding about taking 2-3 days out because you're taking a med break. Not to mention the suffering that would occur on those days -_-

Whilst I remember, my current PDoc, who I like, had a good tidbit on Stimulants: the anti-depressant (or "mood elevating") effect poops out but the anti-ADD effect does not. Makes a lot of sense to me as that's what's happened for us.

This afternoon I was literally staring at my screen not moving much for 2, excruciating hours, hoping no-one would notice. I couldn't think straight enough to put on a work-related video or anything, my brain fog & depression were that bad -_-

Pete

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38 minutes ago, Fluent In Silence said:

It's not a dumb question and it can be difficult to know if you're feeling "normal" if what's "normal" for you is feeling depressed. Maybe not at all relevant but I think there's a difference between people with long term depression and those who are suddenly hit with depression at some point in their lives. The people who might wake up one day feeling depressed probably suffer more acutely, because they can remember being "normal" and can't get back there. With long term depression you don't really have any baseline for what it's like to feel fine, and it can be difficult to believe that such a state can even exist for you sometimes.

Being confused about how you feel is pretty normal when your feelings are so confused, as they often are for me. I think that when suicidal ideation rears it's ugly head then it's a pretty unambiguous sign that I'm not feeling great. I know such thoughts can come and go without you being in danger of jumping in front of a bus, but it's never a good thing to think about.

I think that's a very good point. I last was undepressed 23 excruciatingly-long years ago. I vaguely remember what it's like but if I suddenly became "Normal" e.g. after waking from a some new procedure, I'd have to pinch myself for several weeks and even then would be literally terrified whenever my mood dipped, because I'd fear a return of this life-destroying disease.

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5 minutes ago, sming said:

I hear ya @Blahblah. I think you, @Unstrung Harp and I are all in a similar boat: Treatment-Resistant but Helped By Stimulants (TRbHbS). I was taking Concerta (long-acting Ritalin) before that totally pooped-out, then I switched to Adderall and got a good few months of "doing well" on it, before hitting where I'm at now, where I just fake it and suffer between doses.

I have a job and 2 kids and am always wondering when you're supposed to be able to take one of these fabled breaks!!! I don't know about you guys but I find that workplaces and kids aren't terribly understanding about taking 2-3 days out because you're taking a med break. Not to mention the suffering that would occur on those days -_-

Whilst I remember, my current PDoc, who I like, had a good tidbit on Stimulants: the anti-depressant (or "mood elevating") effect poops out but the anti-ADD effect does not. Makes a lot of sense to me as that's what's happened for us.

This afternoon I was literally staring at my screen not moving much for 2, excruciating hours, hoping no-one would notice. I couldn't think straight enough to put on a work-related video or anything, my brain fog & depression were that bad -_-

Pete

Further complicated for me by having BP2, so last month the adderall was sending me into a mixed state. I did take a break from it for about a week, but that didn't boost its effectiveness when I restarted. FWIW, I don't think the anti-ADHD effects are working for me either anymore.

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1 minute ago, Unstrung Harp said:

Further complicated for me by having BP2, so last month the adderall was sending me into a mixed state. I did take a break from it for about a week, but that didn't boost its effectiveness when I restarted. FWIW, I don't think the anti-ADHD effects are working for me either anymore.

That really, really sucks. I'm sorry.

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Posted (edited)

I think everyone who has depression experiences this problem, because people who are "normal" don't have to worry about going in and out of depressed moods and different brain functioning.

Edited by BrianOCD

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19 hours ago, BrianOCD said:

I think everyone who has depression experiences this problem, become people who are "normal" don't have to worry about going in and out of depressed moods and different brain functioning.

Yes, I suppose so. It can be very confusing.

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Over the years I have developed some signs that I think indicate I am depressed. They are clear signs that can only be answered by yes or no. Grooming is a common place to look for signs of depression as, for me, grooming is the first thing to go. So one question would be "have I bathed in the last 3 days ?" This does not include standing in front of the sink, "washing around the edges" and other attempts to bath. Bathing must involve, almost always, the shower. Wearing the same clothes for more than 3 days is a sign of depression, for me.

 

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11 hours ago, notloki said:

Over the years I have developed some signs that I think indicate I am depressed. They are clear signs that can only be answered by yes or no. Grooming is a common place to look for signs of depression as, for me, grooming is the first thing to go. So one question would be "have I bathed in the last 3 days ?" This does not include standing in front of the sink, "washing around the edges" and other attempts to bath. Bathing must involve, almost always, the shower. Wearing the same clothes for more than 3 days is a sign of depression, for me.

 

Weirdly, showers don't usually disappear for me. In fact, a couple of months ago I was taking three showers a day. Not for cleanliness, but because I find them soothing, and it was something to do. Not getting around to laundry can be a sign for me though. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Unstrung Harp said:

Weirdly, showers don't usually disappear for me. In fact, a couple of months ago I was taking three showers a day. Not for cleanliness, but because I find them soothing, and it was something to do. Not getting around to laundry can be a sign for me though. 

Same. I can be severely depressed, yet you better bet I'll still be taking showers and eating 3 times per day...Now being "productive" with my time (without sleeping half the day away), exercising, socialising or doing laundry are by far a different story...

Edited by Blahblah

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