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Forums / Staying well / A 'newbie's' talk on depression and how I've overcome it (I think)!

Topic: A 'newbie's' talk on depression and how I've overcome it (I think)!

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Little Bear
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Little Bear avatar
    1 posts
    23 June 2015

    Hi everyone, I'm 47, single, living on my own, have lots of great friends, good family, stable job ... yet have still suffered from depression over the years. I used to blame it on being single (when I was single), but then I had an 8 year relationship and realised I still used to get depressed so there was that theory up in smoke!

    What I used to find difficult was the fact that on the surface I actually had nothing to be depressed about. I've always had a great circle of friends and support, I've never had financial problems or health problems, my childhood was uneventful. Yet I'd still get these bouts of depression that would last months and months. Looking back, I think its kinda worse when there is nothing outwardly wrong because then, not only are you depressed, you also feel guilty that you are depressed! I remember seeing a psychologist once who told me I was clinically depressed and I said to her, 'how do you know?' I said, how do you know I'm just not very lazy? (this because I had no interest in doing anything). And she said to me, because that's a classic question from someone who is clinically depressed!

    Anyway right now I'm fine, and have been for the last couple of years. But I still take a low dosage of anti deps every morning. I've no idea if this is what is keeping me well or not, but I'm kinda scared to get off it unless I do go back down that horrible path. And as I know there is nothing wrong with taking one pill a day (luckily I've never had any side effects), then why not take it.

    I am now a volunteer at Lifeline so I'm on the phones one night a week trying to help others. If there is one thing that has come out of this, it's an aboundness (is that a word?) of gratefulness for what I have. Sometimes I feel so sorry for the people on the other end of the line and I think to myself 'how, how is it possible you got to this position where you have absolutely no-one and nowhere to turn? I am so glad I can help these people, even for just half an hour.

    I'd love to be able to talk to the community about depression and to stop this stupid stigma about it and to tell people you can get better...that it doesn't have to be fatal or ongoing forever. If anyone has any leads or knows how I can do this, please feel free to tell me. Thanks to my current job, I have finally mastered the art of public speaking without freaking out first so I'm not afraid to get up and talk to people about this.

    Cheers

  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9744 posts
    23 June 2015 in reply to Little Bear

    Hi LB, welcome to Beyond Blue forums

    You are doing everything right IMO. And I would continue to take your AD's but thats between you and your doctor. You are managing your illness and thats better than having expectation of curing it.

    I've always said to people, if you have one pill to take every day like fish oil for example...whats the difference in taking 4 or 5 if you have to. It's still all in the same action. Some humans need the assistance of medication as part of their coping strategies just like other ways to assist them in life.

    The stigma of mental illness needs another 3-4 generations before it will disappear. Hopefully by then society will have means of reducing mental illness developed from childhood with various ongoing tests. We hope.

    Tony WK

  3. marjay
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    marjay avatar
    12 posts
    30 June 2015 in reply to Little Bear

    Hello Little Bear

    I know JUST what you mean. I have had a fortunate life but still the dep/anx monster got hold of me while young and won't completely let go. I've only recently joined BB because I'm slipping and sooooo sick of trying to manage alone.

    I am also on AD's  and many years ago accepted that I always would be. There are a few side effects but nothing to make me stop using them.

    Years ago when I was nursing, we were taught that there were two types of depression - endogenous and reactive. I don't see or hear those terms being used anymore but I guess the first is what is now called clinical and I think that refers to the fact that our chemicals are unable to keep themselves on track; the second is the depression one can experience after a life altering event. Then again, I may have that all wrong - cos my brain seems to have gone missing along with my feel good chemicals. I guess for me just knowing that there didn't actually have to be an "event" to explain my feelings made me more able to accept the situation. Having said that I must also add that too much stress (read, any) adds reactive d. to the mix and the end result is one very messy me. 

    I also at times have to question whether it is depression or laziness ... I think sometimes I am related to a sloth.

     Reading some of the posts on BB makes me wonder why it is that so many people have such sad situations in their lives, and how it is that they have found the strength to carry on ... there are some remarkable people out there, if they only knew it!

    I am in awe of your Lifeline volunteer work. Having used their services a couple of times over the years, I congratulate and thank you. I would like to be able to do something similar but am scared of saying the wrong thing and failing people.

    As for awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health, I think we have come a very long way in the last 50 years. I could give some personal examples of the changes I have seen but that would need a longer thread. Having said that, there is still a way to go and we need to keep the momentum up.

    Could I suggest you look at joining  Blue Voices - they  have a number of avenues where you can add your voice to the message we all want to get out there. And if you have conquered the fear of public speaking (well done) I am sure your advocacy skills will be welcomed.

    Hope your day is bright

    MJ

  4. purple dog
    purple dog avatar
    5 posts
    18 August 2015 in reply to Little Bear

    Hi. Great post Little Bear... Yes you are so right about this social stigma regarding mental health issues. Unfortunately there are many people out there who are unable to tell family and friends of their battles due to this stigma and fear of being judged and not supported. I have worked as a nurse and there are many people with some form of mental health issues which they battle with everyday.

    I myself have been a patient on occasions for unrelated mental health issues, but when I disclosed my depression and anxiety to health professionals, their attitude toward me changed as they have now categorised me as 'one of those mental health patients' and they spoke to me differently in relation to how the introduction started. I believe that this stereotyping of mental health issues is the biggest obstacle in changing views.

    So good luck in your venture, I wish you well.

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