Where to look for help

Posted by joy7576 @joy7576, May 29, 2019

Hello! This is my first attempt to break out of my isolation. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder five years ago. I've been hospitalized twice. I received excellent care in the hospital which aided in my recovery. Upon leaving I was placed on 20mg Trintellix. It was like a miracle drug for me. For five years I've done fairly well with only small, brief relapses. No hospitalization.
Unfortunately, the trintellix is no longer effective. I feel exhausted, unmotivated and joyless again. There are physical symptoms, as well.
My former psychopharmacologist has moved away. My gp is clueless. Where can I go for help?

@elwooodsdad

You have been given some good advice, and some to which I take exception. First, if possible, try to locate your psychopharmacologist to get an opinion and a referral. Short of that, find psychiatric help. General practitioners have varying degrees of interest and expertise in treating depression. I have tried multiple medication protocols over the last 30 years, and have supplemented that with counseling. My experience with Trintellix was the polar opposite of yours, and I was prescribed a drug which has been used for a long time, Prozac. I am doing better with it. I have dysthymia, so I function with a constant low level of depression interspersed with a major episode from time to time. It’s a management problem. It is a brain chemistry problem. I do not believe solely upon positive thinking, mind over matter, glasses half full, exercise, etc. Clinical depression cannot be willed away, at least in my experience. I would be pleased to not be medically maintained, but there is no reason not to, other than the promoted stigma against mental issues. The brain is an integral and necessary part of your being. If any other part of your body needs attention, you find someone to address it. Do not go this alone under any circumstances. Local or state medical societies are a resource, and if all else fails, even a suicide help line should be positioned to offer some direction. Prayers for success.

Jump to this post

@elwooodsdad
Here is an article from Web MD and there are many more citing the benefits of positive thinking.
I hope everyone understands I never said it was a cure all or the only treatment. Treating depression in my opinion often needs to be multi-faceted. I agree medication is sometimes needed but also feel it is prescribed way to often. Many of the patients taking Antidepressants don’t meet the clinical criteria for depression.

What Is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking, or an optimistic attitude, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health.
That doesn’t mean you ignore reality or make light of problems. It simply means you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go well.
The Benefits of Positive Thinking
Many studies have looked at the role of optimism and positive thinking in mental and physical health. It’s not always clear which comes first: the mindset or these benefits. But there is no downside to staying upbeat.
Some physical benefits may include:

• Longer life span
• Lower chance of having a heart attack
• Better physical health
• Greater resistance to illness such as the common cold
• Lower blood pressure
• Better stress management
• Better pain tolerance
The mental benefits may include:

• More creativity
• Greater problem-solving skill
• Clearer thinking
• Better mood
• Better coping skills
• Less depression
When people in one study were exposed to the flu and common cold, those with a positive outlook were less likely to get sick and reported fewer symptoms.

During another study, women who were more optimistic were less likely to die from cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection.
And in a study of people over the age of 50, those who had more positive thoughts about aging lived longer. They also had less stress-related inflammation, which shows one possible link between their thoughts and health.
People with a positive outlook may be more likely to live a healthy lifestyle since they have a more hopeful view of the future. But researchers took that into account, and the results still held.

What Pessimists Should Know.
That all sounds great, right? But what if you’re naturally more pessimistic, meaning that you tend to expect the worst? No worries. It may help to see this positive thinking as a skill you can learn and benefit from, rather than a personality trait you either have or you don’t.
There’s research on this, too. In one experiment, adults who meditated daily on positive thoughts started feeling more upbeat emotions each day.
Other studies have shown that positive thinking helps people manage illness and eases depression, regardless of whether they are naturally optimistic or pessimistic.

First, Nix the Negative
Before you put positive thinking into practice, look for any negative thoughts that may be running through your mind. These include:
A bad filter. Do you overlook the good things about a situation and get wrapped up in the negatives? For example, you enjoy a fun dinner out with friends, but the restaurant gets your bill wrong at the end of the night. You leave feeling annoyed and frustrated, forgetting about the good time you had.
Taking the blame. Do you tend to take on the blame for something bad or disappointing that happens? For example, a friend declines an invitation from you, so you assume it’s because she doesn’t want to spend time with you.

Predicting disaster. This means you have one setback and then expect the worst to happen. For example, your car won’t start in the morning, so you think the rest of your day is destined to be doomed.
Black-and-white thinking. Do you see things as either good or bad, with no middle ground? In this mindset, if things aren’t perfect, they’re automatically bad.

When you notice a negative thought, try to stop it and shift your focus to the positive. Think rationally about the situation. If it helps you to let go, you can give yourself and those around you grace. (You can still hold them accountable for their actions.)
Your negative thoughts won’t go away overnight. But with practice, you can train yourself to have a more positive outlook. Remember, you aren’t overlooking the facts. You’re just including those that are good.

How to Practice Positive Thinking
Once you have a handle on negative thinking, it’s time to play up the positive. Try these ways to do that:
Smile more. In a study, people who smiled (or even fake-smiled) while doing a stressful task felt more positive afterward than those who wore a neutral expression. You’ll benefit more if the smile is genuine, though. So look for humor and spend time with people or things that make you laugh.

Reframe your situation. When something bad happens that’s out of your control, instead of getting upset, try to appreciate the good parts of the situation. For example, instead of stressing about a traffic jam, recall how convenient it is to have a car. Use the time that you’re stuck behind the wheel to listen to music or a program you enjoy.
Keep a gratitude journal. This may sound cheesy, but when you sit down each day or week to write down the things you’re thankful for, you’re forced to pay attention to the good in your life. A study found that people who kept gratitude journals felt more thankful, positive, and optimistic about the future. They also slept better.

Picture your best possible future. Think in detail about a bright vision for your future — career, relationships, health, hobbies — and write it down. When you imagine your life going well, research suggests, you’ll be happier in the present.

Focus on your strengths. Each day for a week, think about one of your personal strengths, like kindness, organization, discipline, or creativity. Write down how you plan to use that strength in new ways that day. Then, act on it. People in a study who did that boosted their happiness and lowered their symptoms of depression at the end of the week. Six months later, those benefits were still going strong.
With practice, you can add more positive thoughts to your life and enjoy the benefits that come with optimism.

WebMD Medical Reference
Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on January 16, 2018

Jake

REPLY
@bookysue

Hi all. I come from a family of depressives . I did not know the meaning until my 30’s. My feeling is that I can handle being depressed by being active ( hard making that first move) and reading/ critter time, In my late 50’s, I realized I needed to do something . My mom was on meds for migraines / depression and my dad for Anginia, pain, etc. Both had their own nmedience cabinet full of meds. I did not want to go meds. I have been in research studies doing them and they helped me make the decision. And I am better for it. I still have bad days because life is hard with medical issues but I am better for it because of meds..

Jump to this post

@bookysue
I’m just curious about your thoughts of depression being a learned trait in families with depressed parents siblings etc.
Jake

REPLY
@gingerw

@jakedduck1 While there are certainly alid thoughts in your post, I do feel that there are times when a person needs to have a chemical intervention to help balance the brain. That's been proven. That doesn't mean that each person needs to remain on some type of a medical intervention the rest of their life but sometimes they do. That's not saying one person on no medication is better than another person who does need medication and finds the one that works best for them. That's what makes every person so unique, in my humble opinion. I'm glad that you have been able to find your way without the use of medications. At the current time I am not on anything, but in the past I have taken Celexa for periods of time while my brain rebalanced itself. For me, that's what worked. I can only describe my experiences. I am not ashamed to take medications when needed; rather, I am proud to say that I recognized the need to get help and do whatever it takes because I value myself enough to reach out and try to get balanced.
Ginger

Jump to this post

@gingerw @hopeful33250
You mention “chemical intervention to help balance the brain. That’s been proven.” I assume your talking about a brain imbalance.
It’s my understanding that that there is no reliable way to test brain chemicals. Even if there were it’s believed those chemicals are constantly changing. So if true I wonder how reliable the tests would be. There is a scientist in LA who is supposedly getting close to a way of measuring those chemicals. I hope she’s successful. But currently as far as I am aware the brain chemical issue is nothing more than a theory. Please enlighten me.
Take care,
Jake

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@bookysue
I’m just curious about your thoughts of depression being a learned trait in families with depressed parents siblings etc.
Jake

Jump to this post

Hi Leonard. Learned trait – environment with mom locked in room ( darkened due to migraines)- severe) and no real interaction except ad friendship based. Never confided about bullying and other issues. My parents told me stuff like their friends did not want their kids playing with me and marriage issues – etc . Mom sparked/ dad spanked . I have trust issues. – do not let people close. My grandfather let my mom know he did not like her- he was great with me though. Lots of bad family issues. My brother was expected to go to college and do well. Honor student – and was at George Washington university – drop out I st semester and stayed at job since 1971-2018. I was not expected to thrive in college but did .San Francisco state in psy- 1978 . My brother disassociated from me in 1997 after our father died- saw each other once or twice a year. He is shallow but has a good marriage with his guy -30 year plus .
Depression is chemical as well. I know I fight everyday even with so called good days
I feel the imbalance in me. Severe depressive

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@gingerw @hopeful33250
You mention “chemical intervention to help balance the brain. That’s been proven.” I assume your talking about a brain imbalance.
It’s my understanding that that there is no reliable way to test brain chemicals. Even if there were it’s believed those chemicals are constantly changing. So if true I wonder how reliable the tests would be. There is a scientist in LA who is supposedly getting close to a way of measuring those chemicals. I hope she’s successful. But currently as far as I am aware the brain chemical issue is nothing more than a theory. Please enlighten me.
Take care,
Jake

Jump to this post

@jakedduck1 Medicine is not an exact science. In my opinion that covers both physical and mental medicine. The body is a wonderous machine and is constantly readjusting itself, making all of the systems work in a more or less functional way. Being able to balance your brain and be aware of when a solution is not working [whether it is medical intervention with chemicals or not] is invaluable. From my experience going onto a mild SSRI, there were periods of adjustment as we re-evaluated the effects of the current level and would decide to increase or decrease dosage. I was always the one who made the decision to titrate off. For those who need chemical intervention, nothing can be more rewarding when the correct combination for the moment is found. We all know that for the most part things change, and that includes the different medicines and our attitudes. Don't be afraid to step out and reach for help. Don't be afraid to say "this isn't working and I need help" or "I need to change things up". Whatever we have to do to live our best life, we should attempt.
Ginger

REPLY

@joy7576 How are you doing today? We care here at Mayo Connect.
Ginger

REPLY
@jakedduck1

@gingerw @hopeful33250
You mention “chemical intervention to help balance the brain. That’s been proven.” I assume your talking about a brain imbalance.
It’s my understanding that that there is no reliable way to test brain chemicals. Even if there were it’s believed those chemicals are constantly changing. So if true I wonder how reliable the tests would be. There is a scientist in LA who is supposedly getting close to a way of measuring those chemicals. I hope she’s successful. But currently as far as I am aware the brain chemical issue is nothing more than a theory. Please enlighten me.
Take care,
Jake

Jump to this post

@jakedduck1 the chemical serotonin is one drug that used by the brain to regulate how we feel. There are set limiits for serotonin . Serotonin can be measured. Science has advanced a lot in recent years and so now things theorized are now becoming known. It is hard keeping up with all the latest advances. I just recently found out that they now classify MS as an autoimmune disease. I guess this has been the case for a while, but the last I knew was MS was of unknown cause.

REPLY
@bookysue

Hi all. I come from a family of depressives . I did not know the meaning until my 30’s. My feeling is that I can handle being depressed by being active ( hard making that first move) and reading/ critter time, In my late 50’s, I realized I needed to do something . My mom was on meds for migraines / depression and my dad for Anginia, pain, etc. Both had their own nmedience cabinet full of meds. I did not want to go meds. I have been in research studies doing them and they helped me make the decision. And I am better for it. I still have bad days because life is hard with medical issues but I am better for it because of meds..

Jump to this post

Your story is one that many of us share, @bookysue, and I appreciate you speaking out on this topic. Many people simply need meds to deal with depression and/or anxiety. It is true, as @jakedduck1, indicated that positive thinking, being involved with helping others can lift your mood. However, it is not often enough when there is a history of depression in your family.

While I'm not a mental health professional I have observed that if we grow up with depression we probably learn a lot of depressive behaviors. Many of these behaviors and thinking patterns can be unlearned and replaced with more healthy thinking (like with Cognitive Behavior Therapy) However, some of them may be rooted in a chemical imbalance in our brain and this is where we see the value of mental health meds.

Congratulations on finding the right meds that have helped you live a more productive happy life!

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Your story is one that many of us share, @bookysue, and I appreciate you speaking out on this topic. Many people simply need meds to deal with depression and/or anxiety. It is true, as @jakedduck1, indicated that positive thinking, being involved with helping others can lift your mood. However, it is not often enough when there is a history of depression in your family.

While I'm not a mental health professional I have observed that if we grow up with depression we probably learn a lot of depressive behaviors. Many of these behaviors and thinking patterns can be unlearned and replaced with more healthy thinking (like with Cognitive Behavior Therapy) However, some of them may be rooted in a chemical imbalance in our brain and this is where we see the value of mental health meds.

Congratulations on finding the right meds that have helped you live a more productive happy life!

Jump to this post

We learn from each other. Yes I grew with behaviors that were self centered/ self serving. Dark thinking patterns. And I am a severe pessimist (that thing in the White House does not help) I have always being active and that helped a lot. Being outdoors with nature and / or critters helps a lot . I grew up with the woods in back of me and that helped me. I cannot get into positive mode because the future is bleak for me. I can have some positive moments with reading/ walking/ biking/ wandering drives weekends.

REPLY
@bookysue

We learn from each other. Yes I grew with behaviors that were self centered/ self serving. Dark thinking patterns. And I am a severe pessimist (that thing in the White House does not help) I have always being active and that helped a lot. Being outdoors with nature and / or critters helps a lot . I grew up with the woods in back of me and that helped me. I cannot get into positive mode because the future is bleak for me. I can have some positive moments with reading/ walking/ biking/ wandering drives weekends.

Jump to this post

I so understand, @bookysue. Developing optimistic behaviors takes work, doesn't it? Sometimes the work is that of an active nature, including volunteer work, exercise, meditation, helping others, reading helpful literature. Sometimes the work is that of a restrictive nature, I have learned the value of using the remote control when the national news comes on, it is too dysfunctional for me. Sometimes it means avoiding some people who just don't value a healthy lifestyle.

So we all find a way to develop peace in a turbulent world with the memories of a dysfunctional past nearby.

REPLY
@johnhans

@jakedduck1 the chemical serotonin is one drug that used by the brain to regulate how we feel. There are set limiits for serotonin . Serotonin can be measured. Science has advanced a lot in recent years and so now things theorized are now becoming known. It is hard keeping up with all the latest advances. I just recently found out that they now classify MS as an autoimmune disease. I guess this has been the case for a while, but the last I knew was MS was of unknown cause.

Jump to this post

@johnhans
Serotonin can only be measured in the blood, hardly the the same as measuring it in the brain which by the way isn’t possible. So my question is how do people know they have an imbalance. To me it sounds more like an excuse to justify a possible condition. There was a study I read the results of in mice and that one study showed Serotonin was not responsible for depression in mice. It was only one study and I haven’t formed an opinion either way. Besides, the cause of depression and for that matter Mental illness is still unknown. As far as the propaganda of serotonin and depression there is no proof serotonin is responsible for depression. Yes Serotonin and other neurotransmitters sometimes has an effect on depression but it’s not known why. Some researchers believe it’s a side effect, who knows. But it’s good it works for some. As far as brain chemical imbalances are concerned I’d like to see some proof. Many years ago the Pharmaceutical industry claimed (Without proof) Serotonin and neurotransmitter imbalances were the cause of depression. Soon the doctors jumped on board. As far as I know, to date these claims have never been substantiated. If you have proof otherwise please share it. Someone mentioned Seizure medication earlier. Some Anticonvulsants are similar to Antidepressants in that although they control seizures in some people they don’t know why some work. Obviously we are all entitled to our opinions but I want more to go on than conjecture. I hope we can agree to disagree.
Jake

REPLY
@bookysue

We learn from each other. Yes I grew with behaviors that were self centered/ self serving. Dark thinking patterns. And I am a severe pessimist (that thing in the White House does not help) I have always being active and that helped a lot. Being outdoors with nature and / or critters helps a lot . I grew up with the woods in back of me and that helped me. I cannot get into positive mode because the future is bleak for me. I can have some positive moments with reading/ walking/ biking/ wandering drives weekends.

Jump to this post

@bookysue My mother was depressed most of her life, and at age 17 was placed in a sanitarium for some time. We were not aware as youngsters, that what we experienced was abnormal. Not until I was about 14 did it dawn on me something was amiss. My best guy friend's mother took me under her wing, to give me the guidance she felt a "present" mother would offer. My mother hater her for that. I moved out at 18 and never looked back. In the last 15 years [I am now 66] I have learned more about depression and mental illness, and the effects on family. Unfortunately, it is still a taboo subject for my siblings.My hat is off to you for being so brave; I can learn so much from you. Thank you.
Ginger

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.