Long-term depression

Posted by seeker70 @seeker70, Oct 11, 2017

I have been depressed, when I think about it, since I was a kid (I”m a senior now!) I have been treated off and on with meds and minimal talk therapy, but nothing changes. In the past it has been underlying but as I grow older it is becoming more intense. People ask: ‘why are you depressed? I never get depressed, just get a better attitude’. Or they don’t hear my (probably passive-aggressive) cries for help. Or they say: ‘what do you have to be depressed about?’ Actually although I agree with these opinions to a certain extent, it does not address the problem that depression is not a ‘why’, not is it a ‘choice’. It’s almost like being gay, you just are. Maybe I should just accept it (guess that’s what I have done for decades 🙂 But I don’t want to. I want to feel better now. Earlier in my life I was able to enjoy things, although the depression would keep popping out. But now I seem to have trouble enjoying anything, including my own family, and it’s harder and harder to ‘push depression down’ once it’s popped. So I have longer periods of depression and sadness and sleeplessness and lonliness, an shorter periods of being able to enjoy my life. Or want something. Or look forward to anything. I will say too that I have as much to be happy about as I do to be unhappy – but as I said, it’s not a ‘why’. I’m looking for people to explore this idea, and to help each other begin to overcome. Or maybe it’s just me and there’s no one else who feels this way — 😉 Thank you for reading all this.

@lovetoall

Hi Donny. I can feel the frustration/sadness in your words. I believe the first thing I would do is devote as much loving time as possible to your dog. Making him happy is something you will never regret, and it is certainly not a waste of time. Make it your goal for him to love every day he has…because of you. It is a shame that we cannot know in advance how meds will affect us, rather than having to try them to find out. It is so hard to tell whether our low feelings are truly and fully in our nature, or if the meds cause some of it. My next suggestion is to begin your "getting out more" days by finding a pretty place you can just go and sit, while admiring your surroundings. This can be indoors or outdoors. I don't know what is near you, but maybe you would like a beautiful park bench where nature is at its best; people-watching in a public place, like a mall or downtown area; watching some kind of sport, again in a park or other populated area; or really anywhere things area happening. It is not necessary to have a group for this, so simply take a comfortable chair, park it in the best place you find, enjoy a snack/drink if you like, and sit silently as you take in all of the beauty and activity near you. OR don't sit silently if someone should happen to stop and pass the time. You never know! Do not go with expectations of how the time will end….just let it happen. While you are there, you will have many new thoughts as you see different things going on. Your creative juices may start flowing, and suddenly you may get ideas about things you would like to learn, hobbies you might undertake, groups you might join…any number of things. Those kinds of thoughts come from OBSERVING others to learn more about yourself. So…what do you have to lose? Keep following Dr.'s orders, but get out more…and take your sweet dog with you, if he wants to go! This can be part of making him happy, too! I hope some of this helps you; it has helped me. Enjoy the fresh air, and know that God is waiting to bless you! All good wishes!!

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THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH, { lovetoall } your suggestions are great ! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU ! GOD BLESS YOU !

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@lovetoall

Hi Donny. I can feel the frustration/sadness in your words. I believe the first thing I would do is devote as much loving time as possible to your dog. Making him happy is something you will never regret, and it is certainly not a waste of time. Make it your goal for him to love every day he has…because of you. It is a shame that we cannot know in advance how meds will affect us, rather than having to try them to find out. It is so hard to tell whether our low feelings are truly and fully in our nature, or if the meds cause some of it. My next suggestion is to begin your "getting out more" days by finding a pretty place you can just go and sit, while admiring your surroundings. This can be indoors or outdoors. I don't know what is near you, but maybe you would like a beautiful park bench where nature is at its best; people-watching in a public place, like a mall or downtown area; watching some kind of sport, again in a park or other populated area; or really anywhere things area happening. It is not necessary to have a group for this, so simply take a comfortable chair, park it in the best place you find, enjoy a snack/drink if you like, and sit silently as you take in all of the beauty and activity near you. OR don't sit silently if someone should happen to stop and pass the time. You never know! Do not go with expectations of how the time will end….just let it happen. While you are there, you will have many new thoughts as you see different things going on. Your creative juices may start flowing, and suddenly you may get ideas about things you would like to learn, hobbies you might undertake, groups you might join…any number of things. Those kinds of thoughts come from OBSERVING others to learn more about yourself. So…what do you have to lose? Keep following Dr.'s orders, but get out more…and take your sweet dog with you, if he wants to go! This can be part of making him happy, too! I hope some of this helps you; it has helped me. Enjoy the fresh air, and know that God is waiting to bless you! All good wishes!!

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Take care of yourself, my friend, and stay in touch! Happy trails to you!

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Hello,
Many of you have gotten to know @mamacita through this discussion on long-term depression or elsewhere in the community. I'd love for you to read a spotlight Q&A featuring her, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/newsfeed-post/feeling-a-little-alone-meet-mamacita/.

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@gman007

As liz223 said, I now know that my anxiety began as an early teen due to a poor self image. I don't think anyone who knew me would have ever guessed that was the case either then or as I got older. I put on a mask of superiority and arrogance which made me a less than wonderful person to be around – I think I made a lot of effort to make others feel what I felt inside – what a jackass. Getting chronically ill gave me lots of time for introspection and then my anxiety became depression because of the hurt that I was certain I had left in my wake. My family stuck with me and have been great support and I have made some pretty amazing strides in my head – no arrogance about that, just very grateful that I have learned that being vulnerable, compassionate, and empathetic is a far better way to go through life. I am impressed by everyone who opens up about their depression because it is not viewed in the same light as other diseases, but we all can help people understand that and we will have done just a bit to make it easier for the next folks who fall prey to this nasty condition!
Thanks for all your ideas and suggestions, Gary

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I have an 18 year old teenage boy who has been suffering from depression and severe anxiety and panic attacks for 4 years now. He cant function and lead a normal life. Hes been checked out by his medical doctor. Had blood work done etc..nothing is wrong physically. I have been taking him to a psychologist for 2 years. Hes tried 3 different depression medications. The last one was zoloft 25mg. which made him shake uncontrollably, his heart pound (i could feel how hard when I put my hand on his chest) and within the first half hour after taking it he laughed for 5 minutes 3x for no reason. Weird laughing, weird behavior. 2 years ago the psychologist wanted to out him on diazapam (valium) for his anxiety. I believe those kinds of drugs lead to severe addiction and death. About 6 months ago he started trying cbd oil which works amazing for the anxiety. But it only lasts short term. I dont know what to do. All the physcioligists do is prescribe pills. They cant seem to find the right medication. Meanwhile he suffers. Hes frightened of trying new medications because he sensitive to medication which makes things even worse. Hes going to counseling once a week which really isnt helping. As a mom I feel so helpless. Does anyone have any suggestions of coping methods that worked for you? We cant figure out where this depression and anxiety is coming from. No major changes in life. ( hes been drug tested so we know its not from illegal drug use, plus he is home all the time because the depression, anxiety and panic attacks stop him from leading a normal life and hes always been a really good boy). Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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Seeker70. My 18 year old is going through the same thing. He is also a senior. I'm sorry this is happening to you. We cant find any answers either. The doctors just want to give him medication. We need to find out what is causing this. Not take a pill to cover it up. My son started using cbd oil because he has anxiety and panic attacks to. It has helped him. But again its putting a bandaid on the root of the problem. He goes to counseling once a week but the counselor gives him coping methods. How do we find the root of the problem? Try to stay positive seeker70. You cant just make depression go away no matter what anyone says. You cant just calm down when you have anxiety and panic attacks. It dosent work that way. I dont know how old this post is but I hope and pray you are okay. That things are better for you. Blessings to you.

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@anitamarie

I have an 18 year old teenage boy who has been suffering from depression and severe anxiety and panic attacks for 4 years now. He cant function and lead a normal life. Hes been checked out by his medical doctor. Had blood work done etc..nothing is wrong physically. I have been taking him to a psychologist for 2 years. Hes tried 3 different depression medications. The last one was zoloft 25mg. which made him shake uncontrollably, his heart pound (i could feel how hard when I put my hand on his chest) and within the first half hour after taking it he laughed for 5 minutes 3x for no reason. Weird laughing, weird behavior. 2 years ago the psychologist wanted to out him on diazapam (valium) for his anxiety. I believe those kinds of drugs lead to severe addiction and death. About 6 months ago he started trying cbd oil which works amazing for the anxiety. But it only lasts short term. I dont know what to do. All the physcioligists do is prescribe pills. They cant seem to find the right medication. Meanwhile he suffers. Hes frightened of trying new medications because he sensitive to medication which makes things even worse. Hes going to counseling once a week which really isnt helping. As a mom I feel so helpless. Does anyone have any suggestions of coping methods that worked for you? We cant figure out where this depression and anxiety is coming from. No major changes in life. ( hes been drug tested so we know its not from illegal drug use, plus he is home all the time because the depression, anxiety and panic attacks stop him from leading a normal life and hes always been a really good boy). Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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@anitamarie– Hi anitamarie
We have been there with our Grandson. I would suggest you have gene testing done as it helps identify what meds are right or wrong for him. In the case of our Grandson it turned out that the medication he was already on was the right one for him and per his doctor the dose was good too. Also his parents bought a light box for him as well. He is progressing to the point that he has been able to start slowly back to university, work in the summer, volunteer in the winter and also has his first girlfriend. I forgot to mention he has also taken Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which he thinks was helpful.
Hope these ideas may be useful.
Best wishes
Ainsleigh

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@anitamarie

I have an 18 year old teenage boy who has been suffering from depression and severe anxiety and panic attacks for 4 years now. He cant function and lead a normal life. Hes been checked out by his medical doctor. Had blood work done etc..nothing is wrong physically. I have been taking him to a psychologist for 2 years. Hes tried 3 different depression medications. The last one was zoloft 25mg. which made him shake uncontrollably, his heart pound (i could feel how hard when I put my hand on his chest) and within the first half hour after taking it he laughed for 5 minutes 3x for no reason. Weird laughing, weird behavior. 2 years ago the psychologist wanted to out him on diazapam (valium) for his anxiety. I believe those kinds of drugs lead to severe addiction and death. About 6 months ago he started trying cbd oil which works amazing for the anxiety. But it only lasts short term. I dont know what to do. All the physcioligists do is prescribe pills. They cant seem to find the right medication. Meanwhile he suffers. Hes frightened of trying new medications because he sensitive to medication which makes things even worse. Hes going to counseling once a week which really isnt helping. As a mom I feel so helpless. Does anyone have any suggestions of coping methods that worked for you? We cant figure out where this depression and anxiety is coming from. No major changes in life. ( hes been drug tested so we know its not from illegal drug use, plus he is home all the time because the depression, anxiety and panic attacks stop him from leading a normal life and hes always been a really good boy). Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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@anitamarie. I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression for more than 25 years. If you wish to know the details of my illness please click on my name. I am not a doctor but I believe your son requires treatment with medications; psychotherapy alone will not be enough. Please consult a good psychiatrist who can find the right drug for him. Some trial and error may be required. Has he tried Citalopram? It has very few side effects. If it works for him it would be great. Also, please do not have any prejudices against medication; it may be necessary in many cases. And please don't be in a hurry to stop his medication if his condition improves. Depression and anxiety are chronic illnesses which may require lifelong treatment, just like other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Because of his young age, his illness is probably chronic. I hope this is helpful. May God bless him.

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@pankaj

@anitamarie. I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression for more than 25 years. If you wish to know the details of my illness please click on my name. I am not a doctor but I believe your son requires treatment with medications; psychotherapy alone will not be enough. Please consult a good psychiatrist who can find the right drug for him. Some trial and error may be required. Has he tried Citalopram? It has very few side effects. If it works for him it would be great. Also, please do not have any prejudices against medication; it may be necessary in many cases. And please don't be in a hurry to stop his medication if his condition improves. Depression and anxiety are chronic illnesses which may require lifelong treatment, just like other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Because of his young age, his illness is probably chronic. I hope this is helpful. May God bless him.

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@pankaj I had successful treatment on Citalopram also. It literally saved my life. I am considered to have chronic depression although it has not been treated pharmacologically in several years. I am very aware and monitor myself very closely, and not afraid to raise my hand if I need help. @anitamarie I hope you find the correctforyourson method of working with his issues. It is highly individualized.
Ginger

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@pankaj

@anitamarie. I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression for more than 25 years. If you wish to know the details of my illness please click on my name. I am not a doctor but I believe your son requires treatment with medications; psychotherapy alone will not be enough. Please consult a good psychiatrist who can find the right drug for him. Some trial and error may be required. Has he tried Citalopram? It has very few side effects. If it works for him it would be great. Also, please do not have any prejudices against medication; it may be necessary in many cases. And please don't be in a hurry to stop his medication if his condition improves. Depression and anxiety are chronic illnesses which may require lifelong treatment, just like other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Because of his young age, his illness is probably chronic. I hope this is helpful. May God bless him.

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@pankaj– Excellent encouraging words & wisdom! @anitamarie, as one who has also suffered mant years ago with Panic disorders, etc. once I finally got help with Psychiatrist and started with 1 mg of Klonopin well over 20 years ago I was able to take back my life. I have continued to be on the same dosage over all these years and have discussed tapering, etc. over many years and in the end I've decided for me why change something that works! I have no side effects that I am aware of and not even aware that I am on any drug. Just wanted to encourage you to consider the wise words of @pankaj on this subject. May God bless you both.@thankful

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@anitamarie.
I'm sorry to hear that your son is having difficulty with depression and panic disorder. I had suffered those problems for 40 years, even though I was in talk therapy for 25 years. I was against medication thinking it just covered problems rather than getting to the root of my problems.

About 7 years ago my depression and panic got so bad that I asked my doctor for a prescription for Citalopram (my friend was doing well on it). He agreed to do that. When I first started it, I found I couldn't take the full 40 mg. as I am very sensitive to drugs. I cut back to 20 mg and that worked for me. (I think you can titrate up from 10 mg if needed.)

I am so very thankful that I made the decision to ask for an antidepressant as it has changed my life! All my panic attacks and anxiety are gone, as well as my depression. I could hardly take an airplane or even rides in cars over mountain roads before. Now I have gone to Costa Rica, Tahiti, and will be flying to Hawaii next year. In addition I was consulting in Denver and I live in Southern California. It required that I fly weekly between the two states. Before the Citalopram, I could never have done that. My new doctor uped my prescription to the full 40 mg after I had been on it for 6 months. I had and have no side effects from it, other than good ones.

I too feel that Citalopram saved my life and my marriage! I also recommend a DNA test to determine what will work for your son. (Stay away from Veneflexine/Effexor, and Paxil if you can. Many people have problems with those drugs.) I have realized that my brain chemistry is not right, and the antidepressant corrects it. I will be taking it for the rest of my life.

Please keep in touch with us and let us know how your son is doing. We're here if you have questions as well.

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@pankaj

@anitamarie. I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression for more than 25 years. If you wish to know the details of my illness please click on my name. I am not a doctor but I believe your son requires treatment with medications; psychotherapy alone will not be enough. Please consult a good psychiatrist who can find the right drug for him. Some trial and error may be required. Has he tried Citalopram? It has very few side effects. If it works for him it would be great. Also, please do not have any prejudices against medication; it may be necessary in many cases. And please don't be in a hurry to stop his medication if his condition improves. Depression and anxiety are chronic illnesses which may require lifelong treatment, just like other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Because of his young age, his illness is probably chronic. I hope this is helpful. May God bless him.

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Thank you to everyone for your replies. I appreciate it very much. My son is seeing his psychologist again this Thursday. I will ask her about the medication you all have mentioned. Thank you!! Blessings and happy holidays to everyone 😀

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@thankful

@pankaj– Excellent encouraging words & wisdom! @anitamarie, as one who has also suffered mant years ago with Panic disorders, etc. once I finally got help with Psychiatrist and started with 1 mg of Klonopin well over 20 years ago I was able to take back my life. I have continued to be on the same dosage over all these years and have discussed tapering, etc. over many years and in the end I've decided for me why change something that works! I have no side effects that I am aware of and not even aware that I am on any drug. Just wanted to encourage you to consider the wise words of @pankaj on this subject. May God bless you both.@thankful

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@thankful. Thanks for your kind words. You have demonstrated the cardinal rule for treatment of mental illness: If you have attained remission and you are doing well on a particular drug/combination of drugs (as I am currently doing), don't make the mistake of tapering or tinkering with your drugs in the hope that you will become drug-free and your illness is "cured." Of course, this rule does not apply in the case of all mental illnesses. For example, if your illness is not severe, or if it not complex ( depression and anxiety being present at the same time, bipolar with anxiety etc.), you could consider tapering in consultation with your doctor. But this luxury is permitted only once: if your illness returns after tapering it means that it is chronic. In that case, you should immediately resume taking the medications. In many cases, you might require enhanced dosages of your previous medications or addition of new medications to achieve remission. Each relapse makes the illness more difficult to treat. But this time, be prepared to take your medications for the long term. This is not easy; it is natural to try to be drug-free. But that does not work in case of chronic illnesses. At this point, the most important thing–and also the most difficult–is to accept that you may have to take the medications for the rest of your life. But if you don't do that and again attempt to taper your medications, you are likely to suffer another relapse, which will be even more difficult to treat and more severe than the previous one. Sometimes you may suffer a relapse even while taking your medications. This happens when a drug that you are taking "poops out" (becomes ineffective) after several years of use [It happened to me]. That makes the treatment of your illness even more difficult. @thankful you have done the absolutely right thing by not trying to taper 1 mg Klonopin. If that has kept you well for 20 years, why tinker with it? If you are doing fine on 1 mg Klonopin, it is safe to infer that your illness is a mild one. But since you have taken the medication for 20 years, it is probably not a good idea to tinker with it. Regards.

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@gingerw

@pankaj I had successful treatment on Citalopram also. It literally saved my life. I am considered to have chronic depression although it has not been treated pharmacologically in several years. I am very aware and monitor myself very closely, and not afraid to raise my hand if I need help. @anitamarie I hope you find the correctforyourson method of working with his issues. It is highly individualized.
Ginger

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@gingerw, you say that your depression has not been pharmacologically treated for several years. Well, you are very lucky and your depression seems to be a mild one. Good luck to you and I hope you stay drug-free. Regards.

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From what I know, regarding the treatment of young individuals suffering from depression, physicians/psychiatrists are cautious about the use of medications due to higher risks of side-effects, including suicidal thoughts, that can result. This suggests it might be all the more useful to consider an opinion that includes genetic testing for drug effectiveness for a full picture of what one's options may be presently and in the future. I have had depression and anxiety issues my whole life, not diagnosed until much later in life at the age of 50, and I cannot imagine my life now without pharmacological aid, but it is a complicated matter when considering drugs, especially potential dependence on some, for youth. With respect to the depression, it might also be useful to consider vitamin D, vitamin B supplements, and light therapy as concomitant adjuncts to antidepressants that might be used. Exercise and a healthy diet are important, too. I'm not aware of how cognitive behavioral therapy has been applied to younger individuals, but for anxiety it is very helpful to me in handling distressing thoughts. All things being said from my part, I am in general agreement that we should not stigmatize anyone for using medication in the treatment of chronic mental illness but rather seek all avenues that may yield success in the treatment of debilitating psychological pressures that may be rooted in our inherited traits as much as by environmental or other factors. Each person is deserving of the most careful and compassionate course of treatments and therapies that may prove useful and all the understanding that we can offer.

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Agree completely with the advice of @guener that extra caution is required while treating young individuals and that genetic testing for drug effectiveness would be helpful. Also, that supplements such as Vitamin D etc. might help, and that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might be useful. Ideally, both drugs (if required) and CBT at the same time optimize treatment; they complement each other. Sometimes genes are responsible for mental illnesses, sometimes environment, and sometimes both. As things stand, it is not clear if a mental illness can be prevented if an individual inherits certain genes. Hopefully, that might be possible in the future if suitable scientific methods are developed.

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