Demoralization or Depresssion ?

Posted by Lacy @lacy2, Feb 16 6:32pm

Hi. Last week I stumbled across an article about Demoralization while doing a search re Depression-which I have been told I have along with generalized anxiety; and what caught my eye was the author explaining Demoralization was affecting some people and it was not necessarily “Depression”

To confuse the issue for me, another quick word search of the word Demoralization showed how it was used in warfare, law enforcement, to erode morale among the enemy etc. Another page I read listed symptoms such as:

  • Chronic of acute medical illness
  • Depressed mood
  • Past psychiatric history
  • Diminished functional ability
  • Younger age (not in my case)
  • Poor family cohesion
  • Poor quality of relationships
  • Avoidant or confrontational coping styles
  • Trait anxiety

In a case study on a USA site ncbi.nim.nih.gov… an article written 14 yrs ago told the history of an older man with terminal caner, persistent pain, insomnia, anorexia…frustration over a delay in dr being away and bowel issues who no longer enjoyed hobbies, family, friends. He felt like harming himself. His medical team considered diagnosis of agitated depression – but a psychotherapist felt it was “demoralization” … that he was in despair because of his situation!

Also described demoralization as a state separate from depression: (another site said opposite) …… that depressed patients found no happiness in anything; whereas demoralized patients had periods of “happiness” when they had a visitor, their pain was dealt with, etc. I have had this; like being on a carousel, up and down, up and down but not bi-polar.

So… asking myself … have I been depressed or demoralized or yet another medical condition?
Extreme sadness, pain, loneliness, insomnia, distrust of prescription meds, fear, diagnosis of incurable illness and grief over and over again?

I do not have any medical training and my vocabulary/comprehension is not the best, and I am not an avid reader of medical case histories… it just popped up after a search: but I had kept telling my husband and adult children over and over how very sad I felt with brother dying, illness, etc. extreme stress and anxiety: could it possibly be or have been something other than “depression” – (although depression can form part of demoralization, apparently, according to what I read (wish I was smarter and could sort this out).

Or (perish the thought) could I, and others, have combinations of many things but easier to just combine it all and call it depression? For the average person like me, does it matter?

Regardless, why can some people overcome almost the exact same illness/circumstances and some can’t. Why can some “keep going” like the energizer bunny? Maybe I would not feel so bad if I had a medical condition (demoralization) rather than a mental one (depression) or am I not understanding this … am confusing even myself!

Any thoughts on this – or, as some people say … “It’s the same difference”?

Quite a question. I have suffered for 30 years and I think that the only thing I have noticed that is distinctly different between the two is that demoralization can be helped with positive socialization and that relief can be long lasting. The depression is only mildly and temporarily helped through socialization and requires concentrated therapy and medication. This is based solely on my personal experiences. I am not a medical professional. I have always been intensively curious so am always seeking new knowledge.

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Good morning….thank you for your post. Knowledge is power and you have used it well in your life. Thank you for sharing a great example.
Be safe and protected.
Chris

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@southcarolinagirl

Quite a question. I have suffered for 30 years and I think that the only thing I have noticed that is distinctly different between the two is that demoralization can be helped with positive socialization and that relief can be long lasting. The depression is only mildly and temporarily helped through socialization and requires concentrated therapy and medication. This is based solely on my personal experiences. I am not a medical professional. I have always been intensively curious so am always seeking new knowledge.

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Thank you for the reply. I am a little out of my "comfort zone" talking about this as not that knowledgeable but I did have a lot of negatives happen to me in a relatively short period and have a past, like many I realize, with some very upsetting events in my past… and one day, after the c.diff, Glaucoma diagnosis and deaths of people I liked/loved, and months long ingestion of vancomycin; one day Nov.2018 i just didn't have the strength to get out of bed which had never happened before and rather than repeat the story here again, I just felt my cup was not half empty nor half full but was either completely empty or had spilled over and this lasted almost two years and with age and other health issues and history of what I was told was depression, i took a double-look at the word demoralization when it popped up a week or so ago, and the case history – and when they addressed the pain and suffering he rallied a bit….and for first time thought maybe there is more hope for me than I thought. Lying in or on one's bed searching for suicide methods is not conducive to recovery but I felt I was out of options and at my age don't want to wake up and not be able to see or walk or —- I know this sounds mixed up but when physical and mental issues going on, overlapping each other, I sometimes don't even know who I really am any more but when force to make a move when husband in hospital 3 weeks I had to get up and get going, in small ways, but it broke the cycle… just still on a tightrope right now.

Am sorry you have suffered so long too….I feel I painted myself into a corner and the paint never dried!

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@lacy2

Thank you for the reply. I am a little out of my "comfort zone" talking about this as not that knowledgeable but I did have a lot of negatives happen to me in a relatively short period and have a past, like many I realize, with some very upsetting events in my past… and one day, after the c.diff, Glaucoma diagnosis and deaths of people I liked/loved, and months long ingestion of vancomycin; one day Nov.2018 i just didn't have the strength to get out of bed which had never happened before and rather than repeat the story here again, I just felt my cup was not half empty nor half full but was either completely empty or had spilled over and this lasted almost two years and with age and other health issues and history of what I was told was depression, i took a double-look at the word demoralization when it popped up a week or so ago, and the case history – and when they addressed the pain and suffering he rallied a bit….and for first time thought maybe there is more hope for me than I thought. Lying in or on one's bed searching for suicide methods is not conducive to recovery but I felt I was out of options and at my age don't want to wake up and not be able to see or walk or —- I know this sounds mixed up but when physical and mental issues going on, overlapping each other, I sometimes don't even know who I really am any more but when force to make a move when husband in hospital 3 weeks I had to get up and get going, in small ways, but it broke the cycle… just still on a tightrope right now.

Am sorry you have suffered so long too….I feel I painted myself into a corner and the paint never dried!

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I am so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. I once attempted to end my suffering permanently. Never again. I encountered people who were trying to help me that were so much less informed and under educated about my condition, I vowed never to let them near me again. I had the audacity to argue with a doctor who changed my medication every three to five days when I didn’t get well immediately, then labeled me a difficult patient. I asked for a young male doctor who listened and helped me. It turns out the other doctor was overdosing me quite a bit. You will get better, not all the time, but for periods of time you will get better. I have lived with these swings and have learned to hide and read when I am down, and sometimes just sleep for a couple of days. I look forward to the up days and make the most of them. When I’m down, I plan and write down the wonderful things I’m going to do when I have good days again. I fight till I collapse. I pray a lot. I read my bible. I’ve stopped making to do lists of chores; I find them depressing. I only write down things I want to do. Just keep pushing, keep fighting, even when you can hardly move your feet. Keep writing in when you need to. I take care of a disabled veteran, so there’s lots of social stuff I miss out on. I get it. You’re not alone. I need to say this just as much as you need to hear it. It always works two ways. I’ll pray for you. Please pray for me if you are so inclined. Spring is coming, and that will be glorious—even if you cry every time you see a daffodil! Much love, my fellow imperfect human.

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@southcarolinagirl

I am so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. I once attempted to end my suffering permanently. Never again. I encountered people who were trying to help me that were so much less informed and under educated about my condition, I vowed never to let them near me again. I had the audacity to argue with a doctor who changed my medication every three to five days when I didn’t get well immediately, then labeled me a difficult patient. I asked for a young male doctor who listened and helped me. It turns out the other doctor was overdosing me quite a bit. You will get better, not all the time, but for periods of time you will get better. I have lived with these swings and have learned to hide and read when I am down, and sometimes just sleep for a couple of days. I look forward to the up days and make the most of them. When I’m down, I plan and write down the wonderful things I’m going to do when I have good days again. I fight till I collapse. I pray a lot. I read my bible. I’ve stopped making to do lists of chores; I find them depressing. I only write down things I want to do. Just keep pushing, keep fighting, even when you can hardly move your feet. Keep writing in when you need to. I take care of a disabled veteran, so there’s lots of social stuff I miss out on. I get it. You’re not alone. I need to say this just as much as you need to hear it. It always works two ways. I’ll pray for you. Please pray for me if you are so inclined. Spring is coming, and that will be glorious—even if you cry every time you see a daffodil! Much love, my fellow imperfect human.

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@southcarolinagirl and all…. thank you for your support. I have more to the story but trying to keep it in bite-size pieces as am sure many of us do. The list grows longer….. I now "cherish" any hour or hours or parts of days that feel "normal" to me I would trade all I have, which is not a lot, to have that feeling again… I hadn't realized growing old with illness was so horrible. I thought people just got grey hair and wrinkles. Of course coming to Canada at 18 alone I did not see my Grandmother's aging and suffering nor my Mum or Dad's – it might have been a fore-warning. Always those worse off I know but I suppose I would sum it up as saying "I've had enough." Seems ungrateful…. J.

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@lacy2

@southcarolinagirl and all…. thank you for your support. I have more to the story but trying to keep it in bite-size pieces as am sure many of us do. The list grows longer….. I now "cherish" any hour or hours or parts of days that feel "normal" to me I would trade all I have, which is not a lot, to have that feeling again… I hadn't realized growing old with illness was so horrible. I thought people just got grey hair and wrinkles. Of course coming to Canada at 18 alone I did not see my Grandmother's aging and suffering nor my Mum or Dad's – it might have been a fore-warning. Always those worse off I know but I suppose I would sum it up as saying "I've had enough." Seems ungrateful…. J.

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@lacy2 Our "normal" changes over time, it seems. What was a level field years ago, now is morphed into something different. I think it goes for everything, myself. What used to be accepted as normal for me, is probably never going to happen again. I have learned to accept that, and make the best of it all as it is, now. It's all part of how life goes. We can choose to be sad/mad/tired of it all, or accept is as a challenge. My health challenges will never allow me to be okay in the future, but that means I have a new type of future to look forward to. My way to look at it is as a stepping stone, rather than mill stone.
Ginger

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Very well put Ginger and I am working on it but ….. Might it also depend on past history, I mean like some people have not had the trauma that others have and then when some or more of "life's problems" come along, don't have the strength to deal with? Thats how I feel… worn out over the years and not enough inner strength left to fight the battles now… all used up. I agree with your philosophy and am doing some zoom with a therapist re cognitive behaviour and "choices"…. and, trust me, I know the choices I would like to make and am trying to accept the things I cannot change – and accept or not, it is a challenge. I am sorry to hear you have issues to deal with while also helping others with theirs… Might sound odd, but its not only the illnesses I have (just speaking for myself) but the "challenges" dealing with mis-diagnosis, treatment by some doctors in those days, wrong medications, errors in surgery, bully family doctor, no full family support, low income, bullying at work and I could go on. I am "passive" and thinking things over, had I had more support through many bad times, it would not have all fallen on my shoulders..and had I been more "street wise" and spoken up for myself and/or deals with issues rather than be trod on…. I could have handled things more to my advantage, etc. but I will stop here in case I write a book. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

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@lacy2

Very well put Ginger and I am working on it but ….. Might it also depend on past history, I mean like some people have not had the trauma that others have and then when some or more of "life's problems" come along, don't have the strength to deal with? Thats how I feel… worn out over the years and not enough inner strength left to fight the battles now… all used up. I agree with your philosophy and am doing some zoom with a therapist re cognitive behaviour and "choices"…. and, trust me, I know the choices I would like to make and am trying to accept the things I cannot change – and accept or not, it is a challenge. I am sorry to hear you have issues to deal with while also helping others with theirs… Might sound odd, but its not only the illnesses I have (just speaking for myself) but the "challenges" dealing with mis-diagnosis, treatment by some doctors in those days, wrong medications, errors in surgery, bully family doctor, no full family support, low income, bullying at work and I could go on. I am "passive" and thinking things over, had I had more support through many bad times, it would not have all fallen on my shoulders..and had I been more "street wise" and spoken up for myself and/or deals with issues rather than be trod on…. I could have handled things more to my advantage, etc. but I will stop here in case I write a book. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

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@lacy2 The work you do with a therapist will help you, I can tell by your post! Good for you. It's never easy, is it, to stop our minds from delving in to "comparanoia". We each have our own journey; I found it is wrong to hold my journey up to yours [as an example here] and decide who had it worse! No one wins with that thinking.

What is on your list today, what little steps will you do to move forward? Yesterday I vacuumed the house, and picked up paperwork to file away. Sounds simple, but helped me feel like a big chore was done. Today I am going to clean the kitchen floor, never a fun chore for me, but something I stalled on long enough. Breaking things into stages helps, for me.
Ginger

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Oh hope you didn't think I was comparing … but I suppose am trying to say, or wonder if, for instance actual life events does make a difference in how some of us cope: my husband is a very basic person, my second marriage, and he was raised differently, did not suffer 9 yrs abusive marriage with no family support, leave his home and country at 18, did his own thing with no children etc. and I could go on….. whereas I have a laundry list of illnesses and mentally abusive (daily) 9 year marriage and then raising 2 children on my own office income…. it was a hard and a lot of stress, then finally diagnozed with cancer and had major drug reaction etc. etc. – am not looking to say I win as I had much more stress and worries than he did BUT I DID. So in basic terms.. as I see it, he still has a lot more fight left in him than I do ! Sorry hard to explain… but he recently had emergency heart surgery out of town and came home a changed man…. I couldn't believe it… maybe first time in life faced with death? it was out of his control? pain and suffering? Trauma! I dont know and didnt mean this chat to turn into this…. but some people have higher hills to climb; some find it hard to climb lower hills than others; and some have fallen down the hills high or low so many times they just are struggling to overcome the bumps, let alone hills. In friendship, J.

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@lacy2

Oh hope you didn't think I was comparing … but I suppose am trying to say, or wonder if, for instance actual life events does make a difference in how some of us cope: my husband is a very basic person, my second marriage, and he was raised differently, did not suffer 9 yrs abusive marriage with no family support, leave his home and country at 18, did his own thing with no children etc. and I could go on….. whereas I have a laundry list of illnesses and mentally abusive (daily) 9 year marriage and then raising 2 children on my own office income…. it was a hard and a lot of stress, then finally diagnozed with cancer and had major drug reaction etc. etc. – am not looking to say I win as I had much more stress and worries than he did BUT I DID. So in basic terms.. as I see it, he still has a lot more fight left in him than I do ! Sorry hard to explain… but he recently had emergency heart surgery out of town and came home a changed man…. I couldn't believe it… maybe first time in life faced with death? it was out of his control? pain and suffering? Trauma! I dont know and didnt mean this chat to turn into this…. but some people have higher hills to climb; some find it hard to climb lower hills than others; and some have fallen down the hills high or low so many times they just are struggling to overcome the bumps, let alone hills. In friendship, J.

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@lacy2 No, no, no, I don't think you were comparing at all. Because some of us undergo stressors earlier or more severe, we often find out where our strengths lie, or how our coping skills are tested. Others may not get that, or have to dig deep, until later on. It seems peaks and valleys are in relation to our unique experiences, would you agree?
Ginger

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Yes agree and I suppose that's why they say "dont look back" but sometimes cannot help it as would have done SO many things differently!! 🙂
But am like most here and struggling, even with how I explain how I feel….. take care and thank you. (a crystal ball would have been nice) J.

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Well had to cancel zoom with therapist and lady who phones once a week; cancel washing floors etc. as had another Migraine. Had since a child. I get occular ones now – bright zigzags cant see computer or to drive etc., I NEVER get use to them but…on the good side, I also have glaucoma and previous vitriol? laser both eyes so every time a migraine starts i never know if its another eye issue… plus dry eyes… I know… feeling sorry for myself today I guess, but hate cancelling appointments. Plus another tooth out next week and just getting over one from a few weeks ago… could be worse I know… sorry if I sounded snappy, pre migraine is my excuse! take care all.

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