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PutABirdOnIt

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PutABirdOnIt last won the day on August 9 2013

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  1. Hard to put a number to that. It's become so ingrained in my psyche that it's less of a discrete thought and more of a general theme, like something I'll get around to one of these days. All of the logistics, notes and so on have been looped over ad nauseum. Now it just feels like I'm just waiting for the inevitable.
  2. Not sure yet. The current doc I'm seeing says that it's likely an inflammatory response from my immune system that's having a direct impact on my brain. What's causing the inflammation is still a mystery. What I do know is that depression is not triggered by social or psychological events. I've been through immense stress at work and pained my way through breakups without becoming severely depressed. On the flip side, I have gone from uppity and cheerful to cratering into suicidal despair within days, if not hours, of exposure to who knows what. In other words, there was no identifiable "trigger" in the situations leading up to the collapse. It just "happened". For me, depression is the symptom, not the disease. That doesn't make it any less terrible because I still don't know what the disease/toxin is that's behind it all.
  3. To improve mood it's more about what I avoid: - refined sugars and carbs - processed foods - alcohol Oats, berries, yogurt for breakfast. And coffee, of course. Lunch and dinner are some variety of chicken, fish, salad, soup, roasted veggies. Supplements include fish oil, Mg, Zn and Vit D. Do they do anything? No idea ... may all just be for the sake of placebo.
  4. Excited, exuberant and erratic. I'd be feeling pretty great about that if I didn't know what awaits me on the other end of this ride.
  5. I've been on both extremes of that scale ranging from complete recluse who can barely manage the courage to step out the door to social butterfly who chats up everyone and anyone, eager for the next party or social event. Ambivert? One thing I've learned about temperament and personality these past few years - they have a lot more to do with neurology than psychology. For me, at least. Switch my meds, switch my personality. There was an interesting interview on 20/20 with a former Olympic athlete turned Vegas escort. Trigger for that dramatic shift? Zoloft.
  6. After getting yet another diagnosis - this time for Bipolar II - I need to revise my earlier answer to "I have no freaking idea why" My earlier response was fuelled by the notions of my anti-medications therapist who put a lot of focus on family and attachment issues. They made sense. They still make sense. But they're incomplete. Now I'm getting a very different story from my psychiatrist, who tells me that the antidepressant I was put on two years ago for (misdiagnosed) dysthymia may have been largely responsible for the turbulent times I experienced since then. The Wellbutrin I was on before then probably worked a similar number on me. Independent research and some self-reflection now gives me stronger confidence in his assessment. MDD, dysthymia, GAD, a host of personality disorders and now BPII. For the love of all that is holy would I just love a straight answer beyond "you're crazy". At least I know that much. I'm nuts. For all I know this all stems from an allergy to nuts.
  7. Helps me when I'm sputtering around in mild to moderate levels of depression. As much as it helps me when I'm feeling decent - as it does for just about anyone - exercise is not a safeguard against bouts of severe depression and mania. I have collapsed into major depression during periods of my life when I was highly physically active. There's depression and then there's Depression. I can manage the former, even overcome it. Exercise is a big part of that. It's the capital D variant that I continue to struggle with.
  8. I'm too lazy and selfish to fall into either of those categories. But I did use an "I" statement assertively, so I guess that makes me more of a caregiver. Look, more "I"s! My mother falls strictly under the 'Caretaker' category, so I sympathize with anyone who interacts with that kind of personality. All that being said, there are far worse personalities out there so I suppose that's something to be grateful of. At times I avoid the pain of self-awareness by becoming aware of anyone else but my own self.
  9. Careful what you wish for. I was (mis)diagnosed with dysthymia and put on medication that gave me a taste of what major depression feels like. From my experience there's no "worst of all". It's like trying to compare being burned alive to being buried alive. They're both horrific in their own way.
  10. First thing to understand about depression is that it is not an actually illness in the classical sense. It is a set of symptoms that vary in type, frequency and severity. What any competent professional will try to do is determine what the underlying causes of those symptoms are. What your psychiatrist may have been trying to say was that your symptoms do not fit the definition for a medical Depression diagnosis - one of the disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia or Bipolar Disorder that have an underlying biological driver which medicine has yet to build a decent physiological/neurological model for. The best they can do right now is draw associations between neurochemical levels and neurological structures. Not having the symptoms for Depression in absolutely no way dispels anyone suffering from depression symptoms at any level. The feelings can be just as harsh, just as agonizing, just as disruptive and just as perilous to one's quality of life. For any doctor to listen to your symptoms and simply say "you are not depressed" is quackery. He may not believe you fit the bill for the medical diagnosis, but he should at the very least acknowledge the symptoms. It's like going in to see a doctor for persistent and severe bouts of nausea, but being told "no, you're not sick because you don't have these other symptoms". Personally, I'm done with classical psychiatry. It's the moronic step-child of medicine founded on subjective measures squared around purely theoretical models absent of any objective evidence. The height of objectivity comes from the drug manufacturer eight week trials which often exclude suicidal participants and centre their efficacy ratings around subjective self-reporting by participants on a scale that was intentionally devised by the drug makers to get their compounds onto the market. There are good doctors and psychiatrists out there and unfortunately you had a run in with one of the bad ones.
  11. I wonder then to what extent an incurable mental illness can fall under the category of acceptable self-euthanization. "Suicide" shares the same suffix as all the other '-cides', which connote m***** - the senseless taking of a life. In my case I have suffered on and off from many symptoms of depression, a destabilized personality and bouts of debilitating fatigue for which doctors have yet to identify the underlying cause. As far as I'm concerned, what I suffer from is not a mental disorder but a neurological illness that manifests itself in psychiatric and physiological symptoms that drastically degrade my quality of life. What makes it even more frustrating is the unpredictable nature of onset and duration of symptoms vis-a-vis what most would consider to be a "normal" life. These bouts have been occurring more frequently and with greater severity over the past few years. This is leading me into a life where I am losing the ability to work, socialize, engage in relationships or even feel simple pleasures. Medically, I am running low on options for diagnosis and treatment. From the psychiatric perspective I am now facing the last line of defence - mood stabilizers and direct neurological interventions (ECT or TMS). Physiologically I will be submitting myself to holistic doctors (still licensed MDs, not naturopaths) who practice functional medicine and will base their examination on biological markers. There is no guarantee either of these approaches will bear fruit and there comes a point where one has to accept the limitations of modern medicine. Socially and psychologically I do not consider myself to be dysfunctional, though symptoms of my disease - wherever it stems from - have a profound impact on those spheres. When I am feeling well I am perfectly capable of navigating through life, making friends, engaging in romantic relationships, pursuing a career and so forth. There is no disorder. The trouble I face as I approach 40 is that my mental state is in an overall phase of rapid decline for reasons that escape both myself and the litany of professionals - therapists, psychiatrists, naturopaths, doctors - I have consulted with. When the majority of my life, from early adolescence onward, has been largely defined by mental illness it becomes even harder to imagine a life free from it as I have only ever managed to garner snippets of what that could be before I get dragged down again. The lows are plumbing new depths that frazzle my personality and leave me in states that resemble disorders including schizoid, avoidant, narcissistic and borderline. None of these labels quite fit my personality as it flails all over the place, taking me from periods of intense extraversion to reclusive introversion within the span of days. It's hard enough dealing with the physiological fallout from "depression" let alone trying to make sense of a psyche that is incapable of affixing to a solid perspective. This goes beyond mental fluidity and open-mindedness. It's insanity. I am slowly but surely losing my mind. And through that process I suffer, sometimes far more intensely than other times and sometimes not at all. For brief moments I can actually enjoy life, but even that prospect has become more daunting because the most intensely agonizing periods always manifest themselves on the tail end of the good times. Night falls fast, but once my eyes adjust I begin to wonder if it's even worth seeing the light of day again. I may not have a right to die, but I do have a right to refuse a life of suffering. Call that selfish, call it cowardly, judge it in any way a sane mind would. As paradoxical as it sounds, knowing that there is an escape from this torment is enough to keep me going. Suicide has less to do with selfishness and far more to do with desperation.
  12. I put a bowl out by my bed and dump all of my pills into it. It's a good reminder having them sitting there in the open. It's also a good visual reference for how much I have left. Another strategy I've used in the past is to have a backup bottle in my vehicle in case I miss the morning dose before heading out. Finally there's the emergency stash I keep in my wallet. One of each in there. If you have a smartphone you can set reminder alarms. Overall I just add the pill popping to my morning routine - should I ever get back to developing one - and through that ensure I'm always taking the meds at the same time of day.
  13. There's a fairly new line of research that is drawing links between the body's immunological responses and depression. Early findings show that many people who suffer from depression are also experiencing spikes in certain immune system activity. This is all correlation, though there are experiments underway looking for causation. A theory is, as some have pointed out, that mild allergies may be behind many people's symptoms of depression. Since the symptoms are so light they are not felt during or shortly after ingestion as they would be from a moderate or more severe reaction. Keep eating the "triggering" foods and you continue to accumulate more allergens in your system. As great as the immune system is at protecting us from serious illnesses, it also has the unpleasant effect of initiating many of the symptoms of depression. What makes it less distressing is when other symptoms present themselves and we can readily say to ourselves "Well, it's just a cold or flu and it will pass". Personal experience has taught me that elimination diets can greatly reduce my symptoms of depression. The last time I tried one was when I was trying to come off Effexor. I had energy and determination, but the emotional turmoil was overwhelming and threw me in all sorts of painful directions. Now that I'm back on the drug and in to see a psychiatrist later today I think it's time to give an elimination diet another go. Out of curiosity ... does you nose run when you eat something with peanuts in it?
  14. What I know from my ups and downs is that the "depressed" and "better" live mutually exclusive lives where neither is capable of understanding the emotional milieu of the other. Each half cannot empathize with its counterpart. To ask "how will I feel if I'm better" for me is to ask an unanswerable question of my depressed self. It's like having my eyes sealed shut and being locked in a dark room and being asked what colours look like. I have a sense of what colour is ... I can describe it in scientific terms and relate it to the world around me ... yet I cannot experience it, and thus I cannot truly anticipate colour or hold it in my imagination. I wouldn't be able to answer your questions if they were asked to myself. If I truly could, I would already be feeling better.
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