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Everything posted by Starsea

  1. They can help some people but are not a panacea. That said, I have them. I prefer the color, which likely helps to improve my mood.
  2. In my experience the therapist has to have an end point in mind and they need to discuss that with you. A good therapist will only want you there so long as they are being helpful to you. Their ultimate goal should be to equip you with the tools you need to handle life's slings and arrows on your own. It should not be a never ending cycle but something you can use when you actually need counseling on how to handle things. Peace
  3. I'm really sorry you're having this trouble. I think I better understand now that you've gone into detail about how things have been working with this Dr. It's most likely that the lack of his customary "see you next week" was just a slip on his part. I can remember being really depressed and thinking that such slips from people were indicative of something terrible. But they never were. It was always in my imagination. And I can come up with some pretty complicated scenarios in my own head. Don't give up. Just because this psychologist is being fuzzy (seemingly evasive) about your care, it does not mean you are beyond help. There are other qualified professionals (ones who haven't been directed to focus on new intakes) who can give you the time you deserve. Peace
  4. Your progress is about you. It's not about your psychologist. So it doesn't really matter what they think. If they're projecting their emotions onto you, and acting like a spoiled kid (not making a follow-up appointment) it's time for a new psychologist. You can fire them and find someone who can help you. I need to ask. Is this an actual psychologist? They have PhD in their title? Or are they an LICSW? If they're not a PhD they have no place calling themselves a psychologist. Peace
  5. How are you feeling? Are you still taking your meds? Prozac has a long half life and you won't typically start suffering withdrawal symptoms if you miss a dose. One thing which can mimic heart palpitations is acid reflux. In eiher case, I would talk to my doctor about it ASAP. Peace
  6. Right now, billions of white blood cells are busy intercepting the mega-virus which my kid brought back from school. My body is literally fighting to keep its DNA intact from these invaders from beyond. It's an uphill battle which leaves me breathless. I thought this would seem more impressive than "I slept a lot today because I'm sick"
  7. A lot of people believe in the MBTI (Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator). I personally feel this is dangerous. Back story A lot of people - millions - have taken the MBTI "test." I attended a management training conference where we all did the worksheet and received our MBTIs and were instructed to write them on our name tags. Then we were gathered into groups of our various types. The reactions from the rest of the attendees ranged from mild amusement to near religious experiences. The lady next to me gushed about how everything in her life made sense now because she never knew she was "an ISTJ." I wrote my indicator on my name tag: IDRC. The instructor was puzzled and she politely informed me that IDRC was not a valid type. I argued it was because it stands for: "I Don't Really Care." This mild heresy required explanation and the instructor demanded it. I told her that the human condition is too complex to be categorized into 16 different "types." I told her "I'm not a type. I'm just me." To her credit she accepted this and we moved on with the rest of the training with no hard feelings. Why it's dangerous The MBTI is dangerous because people make real decisions using it but it has no basis in hard science. It was conceived by Katherine Briggs and her mystery writing daughter Isabel Meyers after they read theoretical musings published by Carl Jung (translated to English). According to the psychological community those musings are bunk and even Jung didn't have a lot of faith in them - when he wrote them. Jung himself indicated that every person is an exception to the rule. So he essentially debunked his own ideas on personality type. But that didn't stop Meyers and Briggs running with it and, in the early 1920s when all of this happened, it was a lot easier to get away with this type of pseudoscience. After all, how many people still practice phrenology, which predicts brain function by measuring the bumps on one's head? Practically no-one. But, even though MBTI is cut from a similar cloth as other pseudo-scientific practices, it is still being used and it's used by a lot of people. There may be decisions made about you in your job, for instance, which are based on this personality index. Now, it's important to note that Briggs and Meyers had no formal psychological training. But if you go to the official MBTI website you'll find that they don't mention this at all. But they do mention the duos "pioneering work" on Jung's self-debunked personality model. They don't mention that Jung's model isn't considered scientifically sound. I mean, why would they? Nor do they mention one of the biggest flaws of all, the test is completely subjective and self-administered. People classify themselves as they want to be seen. There's basically no way - apart from random chance - that it accurately classifies a person's personality. This means you are about as likely to get an accurate reading from an MBTI test as you are from a fortune cookie. The MBTI people don't want anyone to know this because it's a huge money machine. We don't know how much they make because that's apparently a secret. Incidentally Meyer's novel, "M***er Yet To Come," is published by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type, which is no big surprise. It's not mentioned on the official MBTI webpage either, which is also not a surprise. Don't fall for it I occasionally see posts on DF where people introduce themselves as their MBTI type. And this worries me because it means that people in pain are being fed this stuff as if it's helpful. I worry even more when I learn their therapist may have turned them on to it. Because that tells me their therapist is not well versed in modern psychology. Look. I say this all the time. I'm not a doctor. I have no formal psychological training. But, if I can read about the MBTI and learn of its shortcomings, certainly a therapist can. After all, a therapist's bread and butter is psychology and they are supposed to help people. So it should be in the best interest of their clients for them to remain up-to-date on the state of psychological science. The thing that really scares me about the MBTI types is how people use them to pigeonhole themselves into their "type." People say things such as "I'm an INTP so I have a hard time dealing with crowds." That's wrong. If you have trouble with crowds it's because you have trouble with crowds. Or perhaps you don't mix well with ESFPs so you avoid working with them. This actually happened in my course. Portions of the class refused to work with other portions of the class because "we won't work well together and we want to finish on time." Now, to their credit, the MBTI people will tell them that's not how the test is supposed to be used. But, in the real world, that is how it is used. And that's the problem with it. It's like working on a Swiss watch with a claw hammer. You are more than any test result That's right and I'll say it again. You are more than any test result. I don't care if that's an MBTI or an IQ test or a blood test. You are you. You are a person and you matter. You have intrinsic value simply because you are. You are worth any time you spend trying to pursue your own happiness. You're not a label. You're just you. Peace
  8. The main thing is to do what works for you. Exercise is my primary antidepressant now. I'm off all traditional meds and can't tell the difference - except I have more energy and I weigh less now.
  9. I tend to say this a lot on the Depression Forums. Depression sucks. If you're a member here you, or a loved one, has it - or some form of it - and it harms you in some way. I used to have a hard time describing depression to "the happys" (typical, non-depressed people). And that was because I didn't really know what it was, myself. Now, keeping in mind that I'm not a doctor and that I've formally studied psychology just as much as Briggs and Meyers (which is to say I haven't formally studied psychology at all) I have come to some conclusions. They make sense to me but your mileage may vary. Always speak with your doctor and therapist about your situation and the best way to proceed. What it isn't Depression is not just feeling down. Everyone feels down from time to time. Happys understand this and move on, knowing that something good will happen soon. What it is Depression is a self perpetuating pattern of negative thought. This idea is actually established in some psychological circles. However, I feel depression seeks to protect the depressed person from feeling pain by preventing them from feeling joy. It almost appears to be an evolutionary adaptation to help us to deal with the inevitable pain of life. But it's a "bad" adaptation. Depression prevents us from trying to get help. Before my therapy I would constantly tell myself, and others who would listen, "what's the point? It won't work." So my depression was actively involved with preventing treatment even though it might work. My brain already received the message that nothing could work - after all, nothing ever had - so there was no point in even trying to make myself feel better. Those were the depression's instructions. And I had obeyed them for so long that it was simple to just go along with them. After all, even if medication made me feel better it wouldn't be real, right? I'd be blinded to the horrors of the world and be just another stupid, fake person who can't see that everything is actually terrible. Yes. That is a real narrative I had and it's the exact one I shared with my wife when she expressed worry about my depression and hoped I would seek help. How did this protect me, though? It is, of course, wrong thinking. It's counter-intuitive and that's why happys have a hard time understanding what depression is. For a happy, the tried and true advice, "cheer up" is actually helpful. But it's bound to make a depressed person feel worse. "I don't feel good. Maybe I should see a doctor" works for them because their minds aren't ruled by depression, which literally tells them there's no point in seeking help. In a depressed person the possibility of something good happening may be so remote it doesn't even bear thinking about. Every single setback, slight, challenge or failure - whether real or perceived - is absolute confirmation that the depression is right. This strengthens its grip on the depressed person's life. This is the self perpetuation of negative thought. It feeds upon itself and establishes itself as a dominant player in the depressed person's mind. How I got out Breaking the inertia to seek help was actually fairly difficult. For me the motivation came when my wife decided to stop working on the marriage. Once I started to seek help I was met with a slew of therapists who, despite being well meaning, held dubious credentials and even less obvious talent. After finding precious little help I decided to seek just one more therapist to help me and I used the letters "PhD" as my guide. These letters directed me to a therapist who took a much more clinical approach to me than others who had simply used talk therapy and told me to "be mindful". This therapist had me take tests to assess my condition and only then did we decide to use CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) along with medication (prescribed by my MD) to begin pulling me out of the hole which I had dug for myself. With actual homework and regular sessions to assess my condition I was off medication in just under a year and I maintained a largely positive attitude for another year or so. Now, this is what worked for me. It may not work for you. It was a complete departure from other methods which, frankly, were a waste of money at best. It's possible this is what made it attractive in the first place. In one of my later sessions I told my therapist that I knew I would struggle with this for the rest of my life. He told me, "that's a pretty depressing thing to say." This took me by surprise, which was obvious because he followed with, "If you keep up with your exercises there's no reason to believe that you won't be depressed anymore." I was surprised again and pressed him on it, saying, "you mean, cured?" To which he responded, "I don't want to say cured, but, yeah." This totally blew my mind. I eventually didn't need to go to my sessions anymore and, to be sure, my therapist tested me again to compare my results before we decided to part ways. When I talk about a "good therapist" or a "therapist who knows what they're talking about," this is what I am talking about. Someone who treats the disease as a disease with a plan and metrics to assure the treatment is working. Someone who wants you to start feeling better and stop needing to go to their office. Because, as much as it feels normal to a depressed person like us, depression is not the brains natural mode of operation. Otherwise our species would not have survived. But having a good therapist isn't a panacea. It took a lot of work on my part to overcome the self defeating "voices" in my head. I had to want help before I got it. And I had to persevere - even when I felt things weren't working. In the end it was a question of wanting to live and wanting to feel better. And once I started to feel better I didn't want to stop feeling better. That was my motivation to keep going when things looked bleak. How It pulled me back in Depression is sinister. It can come back. After a decent time of relative un-depressed-ness, I experienced some medical issues and relationship related stress which allowed the depression to gain a foothold on me. I was lax in my CBT exercises - thinking I could simply do it in my head. I was wrong. I found myself self medicating with alcohol, which was a monumentally bad idea. So I went back to the therapist. I took my tests which revealed, yes, I did seem to be getting depressed again. And I started the program again. I got myself on a different SSRI after we discovered that my old go-to didn't work anymore, which can happen. I also self medicated with food, resulting in a weight gain of around 50 pounds, which I'm still working on losing. My depression was not anywhere near as pronounced as it was my whole life but it was there nonetheless. How I manage it now I'm off all traditional depression medication now. I am managing my depression with CBT and exercise. I'm also taking St John's Wort and Ashgawada as supplements. It may be placebo but I seem to feel "better" while on them. There's some clinical evidence for them so as long as my MD says they do no harm I'm trying them. For the most part, I feel relatively good with occasional low points. But these are triggered by "normal" things such as a friend dying recently. And I'm handling them much better now than I ever did. The main contributor to my feeling good right now is exercise. I was unable to exercise due to a medical condition which I had fixed earlier this year. As soon as my doctor said I was able, I started exercising again after nearly 8 years without anything beyond going to work. It was difficult but it made me feel better. The clinical evidence is that exercise is as effective as prescription medication for treating depression (and that's from Harvard Medical School). There are a number of factors at play but some of them have to do with stimulating nerve growth in the brain (specifically the hippocampus), which helps to relieve depression. Also, exercise raises your energy level and helps to prevent serious medical issues such as diabetes and heart disease. It also supports better sleep, which also serves to relieve depression. Also the exercise has lost me 25 pounds and I'm halfway back to my fighting weight. I'm proud of that, which also makes me feel good. If your doctor says you're healthy enough for exercise, try it and persist. It's hard but it pays dividends in every aspect of your physical and mental life. It's my primary antidepressant now. My takeaway Depression sucks. It robs us of our freedom of movement and the ability to feel joy. It's sinister and persistent. Even after you find a way to manage it, it can creep back into your life. So you must remain vigilant and not allow it to gain a foothold when life's stress inevitably catches up with you. My therapist hesitated to use the word, "cure" but I feel I must agree with him. In my experience it is possible to manage depression to a reasonable level where it does not interfere with one's daily life. I was depressed for 40 years. Now I'm mostly not. Everyone has a different life experience. But with proper care and personal effort I truly believe it is possible for things to get better. The hardest parts may be breaking inertia and finding the right help for you. But don't give up because you are worth the effort. You deserve to feel better. Peace
  10. This all seems to be a healthy thought process you're going through. Faith - or lack thereof - is not inherently good or evil. It's the application of either concept by people which causes problems or solutions. You don't need to feel bad about these questions and trying to sort them out for yourself. Peace
  11. 75 push ups so far. Expect either a 2.5 mile run or 30 minutes on the elliptical tonight - depending on when I get home.
  12. I'm sorry to learn you're feeling anxiety over the situation. I can imagine it's very tough and it's understandable to feel uncertainty over it. Try to remember your caregivers are professionals who have your best interest at heart. If their advice is to keep going it may be a good idea. And your disabilities coordinator's job is to help you. Try to let them help you. You were open and honest with your class and instructor. So I'm sure they'll be understanding. One thing that helps get me through tough times is to remember that we will get through the worst day of our lives and wake up to a new day. In the big scheme of things what you experienced is an unfortunate bump in the road and you can get through it. You'll get through this. Peace
  13. I'm really sorry you had to deal with these things. I'm sure they were very unpleasant and frightening. I really hope you are feeling better now. It may be possible the mix of OTC and prescription medication could have affected the situation. A quick layman's check shows moderate interaction between clonazepam and dextromethorphan (Delsym) and moderate interaction between propranolol and clonazepam. Depending on which mucinex you took, it could also have contained dextromethorphan, which might have exacerbated things. If it were me, I'd have a conversation with my doctor about the possible drug interactions. You might also get your therapist to share notes with your psychiatrist. The reaction you experienced seems disproportionate to the unpleasantness you felt in the class. Harming yourself and other's property will not make any situation better and could potentially expose you to serious legal issues. So it's important to get your health care team on the same page to help you to find non-destructive ways to deal with your impulses. In the meantime, don't give up on yourself. You are worth it. Peace
  14. Yes - as long as you don't sit the entire time. Moving increases your base metabolic rate. Social interactions and decision making are also good for your brain.
  15. (delayed 24 hours) 60 push ups 30 minutes elliptical bicep curls
  16. Whatever the drug companies tell us, Lexapro was created solely to "extend" the patent on Celexa. It's a stereoisomer of Celexa. The molecular model looks the same but the physical orientation of the molecules differ in the actual compound. The resultant drugs, though similar, work "differently." I tolerate Celexa very well and it's the drug which helped me pull out of my lifelong depression. But my reaction to Lexapro was so severe my medical records now indicate I'm allergic to it. It's an unfortunate characteristic of these drugs that patients typically have to try several - with an investment of up to 8 weeks per drug - to find one which works. I hope you're still feeling better. Peace
  17. Just remember that SSRIs help even out your mood by keeping your body from recycling spare serotonin. So, assuming it works for you, you can still expect to experience highs and lows. This type of drug can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks to show results. That's great that you felt joy about getting out of a hole. It's really great. It's a good sign and, given you've only been on the medication a short time, it's possible you did that on your own - without pharmacological assistance. Either way it's something for you to feel good about. I hope you continue to feel better. Peace
  18. Sure. I got brain zaps, minor muscle tremors and grew lethargic for roughly 2 months afterwards. It was a fairly miserable way to get off the stuff. Your mileage may vary. Personally, if I had to do it again, I would do it under a doctor's care. Also, you've only been on it for 12 days or so. So your MD should definitely be involved in any decisions you make. Unfortunately, SSRIs take a long time to work.
  19. I quit it cold turkey this year. I do not recommend it. I would recommend doing it under a doctor's care. Always manage your medication under a doctor's care.
  20. I'm sorry you're dealing with this and I hope things have gotten better for you. I came across this thread recently and wanted to share some of my experience as the depressed spouse. It's uncanny because I also disclosed to my wife that I suffered from depression while we were dating and she was OK with it until we got married and I hit a really rough couple of years with it. Then things got extremely bad in the relationship. Now, it turns out she has her own issues which she never dealt with - combined with obvious postpartum depression which she's never acknowledged was ever a factor. When my health changed she had to face her issues, which was not comfortable for her. The marriage has survived - on life support - by the thinnest of margins and remains difficult for us both today. In my experience, one can't convince a depressed person to seek help. The depressed person needs to want it, themselves. And they need to want it emotionally. This is difficult because depression resists treatment. It actively seeks to prevent the depressed person from getting help through self perpetuating negative thought processes, which a depressed brain thinks are protecting it from being hurt. During my treatment I burst into tears once because I felt good one day and it was so foreign to me it actually sort of hurt. In my experience that's how depression works. Someone on these boards once described it as emotional cancer. That's not so far off. If someone is clinically depressed, logical arguments won't work. Depressed people see things through a different lens. It's often counter productive for someone to offer even well-meaning advice. Often the advice is received as criticism instead. That's not necessarily the messenger's fault. It's just how the message can be received by a depressed person. That's an important distinction and it points to that distorted lens through which the depressed person views the world. For example, in your mind you're telling him you're worried and want him to get help. It's perfectly logical. It's helpful. It makes sense. You get it. I get it. But in his mind he may get a completely different message. He may feel as though you're telling him he's no good. And, if he loves you, that message is going to sting. To him this completely incorrect message will be completely logical. It makes perfect sense to a depressed person because they're already swimming in negative thoughts that reinforce themselves with every perceived setback, criticism or "wound." Medication can help but please don't think that medication will solve the problem. It won't - not on its own. And it can take months to find one which actually works. Once he finds something which works, it can stop working. That happened to me a couple years ago and I've not found any medication which works since. His drinking may be self medication, which is common. Alcohol makes you feel better in the short term and can help silence the negative thoughts. But it's also a substance which contributes to depression so those negative thoughts come back with a vengeance. My alcohol use went to zero when I found medication which worked for me. And it went back up when that medication stopped working. In the end exercise and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are what I'm relying on now to manage my depression, which is mostly "cured" but an ongoing factor in my overall mental health. You asked how you can help him. You can help by supporting him and being understanding. If he's depressed, he's not doing this on purpose. No one would willingly make themselves feel this way. He's hurting. He may even know that on an intellectual level. He may actually want help. Hopefully, he may seek help once he realizes on an emotional level that he needs it. But he may not. Depression is extremely difficult to overcome. In either case, if the relationship stops meeting your needs you may need to reconsider being in it. I would encourage you to work with a good therapist to make sure you remain healthy - four your own sake. I typically only talk to therapists with a PHD but even that's not a guarantee of quality. Oh and, of course, this all assumes there's no abuse going on in the relationship. If someone's being abused, that's a signal for the relationship to end. Your concern and effort to help are admirable but you can't change him. Focusing on your own health can help you deal with his ups and downs. Hopefully he'll make the decision for himself. It's the only way it has a chance of working. Peace
  21. Thanks, ilovepuppies. That post means a lot to me. My wife sees nothing wrong with her hobbies. It's not like they're illegal or anything so I can sort of understand what she thinks. She certainly has a right to do them. But I think a spouse should take a look at their hobbies if their partner expresses concern about them. As an example, she didn't like how much time I spent on DF - especially on the weekends. So I stopped hanging out here as much as I did. Heck, when we were separated last year I asked her if she would be OK with my getting a motorcycle. I just think it's common courtesy. She's gone from very supportive of my depression in the past to giving up and taking off. It's hard to depend on her sometimes. We're really trying but this stuff keeps getting in the way. I wish it didn't. But it does. Thanks again. Peace
  22. I agree about not staying in a toxic relationship. I am trying, though, to be respectful of both myself and her as we try to figure this out. We both have work to do on our own issues. And, also, we have a child to think of. I am trying to make sure I don't act rashly. Thanks for the reply. It means a lot. Peace
  23. My wife and I have had trouble for the past couple years. My depression was a big monkey wrench in the works. And she had a huge issue, too, which was chronicled in these very boards. We almost divorced last year. But things got better when I forgave her and tried to stop being angry. We're working on it and going to a therapist as a couple. But in the meantime I'm finding myself trapped in a relationship where my emotional needs are not met. It's like I'm living with a friendly roommate. I enjoy time with her but I don't trust her to support me in times of need. We're fighting a lot about her hobbies, which I find really, really distasteful. I'm not standing in her way but she has an expectation that I should be happy about her having hobbies she likes - even if I find them disturbing or borderline cheating. My position has always been, "you have a right to do these things and I have a right to not like them." But she takes that to mean that I don't like her., which is not true. It is, however, true that my opinion of her is eroded by these hobbies. When we started the relationship she was a much more mature and serious adult. Now she's de-evolved into almost a teenage state. she is obsessed with being the biggest fan of whatever she likes. If she likes something she immediately starts a blog about it. Or she writes slash fiction. Or she dresses up and does plays about the things she likes. She can't just like something. She has to pursue it, learn everything about it, buy the t-shirt, go to the theme park, get the DVDs, read the books. See the movies, etc... It's like the "fandom" is a third person in the relationship and I'm the one who gets edged out. Is this enough for me to end the marriage? No. But I suppose I am not in love with her the same way I was before these personality traits emerged. We've talked about this all in couples therapy and she's confirmed that, if I don't like her hobbies, she doesn't feel the same way about me either. So things at home are a little tense and upsetting. We're, quite literally, living like roommates. But we're projecting the image of a married couple to the outside world. In the meantime the marriage does not meet my needs at all and I'm finding myself in a depression again. I'm going to go back to my therapist if my self-directed CBT (I've been through it before) doesn't start bearing fruit. I'm not sure what I want from this post. I suppose I just needed to get it off my chest. I lack support in my marriage so I guess I'm looking for it anywhere I can get it. Peace
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