I'm new to the forum and thought I'd post an introduction. There is much to tell, but I'll try to keep it as brief and relevant as possible to prevent boring you too much.
I'm a male in my mid-twenties and have been suffering from depression and anxiety probably since before my first day at school. I have experienced relentless serious verbal and physical bullying for as long as I can remember, which I believe is a key cause of my issues along with an unstable childhood that involved lots of moving around and parents that constantly fought and threatened to divorce. More recently I also witnessed multiple traumatic events resulting in the deaths of other people and an animal that I was close to. After seeing a number of psychiatrists and psychologists I've been diagnosed with double depression (dysthimia + major depression), generalized anixety disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
I think my symptoms are pretty typical: Periods of utter hopelessness, very little energy and motivation, trouble concentrating and thinking straight (especially in the presence of other people - it's like my social anxiety significantly reduces my IQ when in tense social situations), suicidal thoughts, trouble falling asleep followed by sleeping too much and then still feeling exhausted, underweight due to small appetite, inability to genuinely trust other people (due to past experiences, I fear being used or conned in some other way and/or being rejected), loneliness (not just feeling that way, but really having no close friends except my dog), low self-esteem, intense anxiety/panic attacks (I was hospitalized once because I thought I was having a heart attack, but it turned out to be very tensed up chest muscles due to anxiety), feeling different and inhuman, and probably many more that I can't think of right now.
I'm finding it difficult to find a therapist that I can trust and who will genuinely help me. The first one I went to seemed more interested in my nationality than symptoms and told me that getting drunk at a bar with and laid by a young girl would probably solve my problems... I was totally stunned and didn't come to another appointment, reluctant to seek any more professional help because I thought it was all a joke. A few months later though I read in a newspaper that this "psychologist" was facing charges for fraud and faking his psychology degree (he has since been successfully convicted and jailed), so it encouraged me to give it another shot. I was referred to a psychiatrist who in turn referred me to a clinical psychologist who specialises in CBT. We also did work on my traumatic experiences by confronting the painful memories. While it helped me significantly, it still hasn't been enough to "cure" me. As a result I was put on some anti-depressants. The first few made me feel much worse, but when I was prescribed mirtazapine it seemed to have an immediate benefit, probably because it has a sedative side-effect and helped me sleep much better. After many months on it though, the sedative effect wore off and I went back to having sleeping problems, worsening my depression. Later some significant events in my life occured though where I finally got away from an abusive work environment and I was able to adopt the endless source of love and joy that is my dog, leaving me feeling much better. My psychiatrist saw me for brief 10-20 minutes every few months to check my progress, and he insisted that this improvement in my mood was because of a delayed effect of the antidepressant. It seemed to me that he was jumping to favourable conclusions about the treatment without even considering the effects of those other events. I felt that he wasn't taking me seriously. Soon after he suddenly announced that he was quitting his job and that I will be assigned a new therapist to take over. During the next appointment with the new therapist he revealed to me that the old one didn't even bother to leave him my file or any notes about my issues. After spending a few more hours going over my issues with this new therapist, again I felt like I wasn't taken seriously. I despaired and quit. About a year later I went to yet another psychiatrist who prescribed me all sorts of new medication without explaining any potential side effects. One of them made me very irritable, angry and aggressive. When I expressed concern to him about side effects, he laughed at me (he tried to unsuccessfully hide it) and dismissed my concerns as overly paranoid. Needless to say I haven't gone back to him either; My dog has been a vastly better therapist than any of them.
I haven't been on any medication for a few months now and I think I'm sinking into deep depression again. Part of it may be that I was recently in a very one-sided "relationship" - It seems another person took advantage of my loneliness and merely used me. Sigh.
I'm hoping I can learn something useful on this forum and share what I know with others to help make their lives better too. Looking forward to being able to join the live chat and perhaps even make some online friends.
Thank you for having the patience to read this.
Edited by DesertDog, 21 February 2012 - 08:41 PM.