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    New Hampshire
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    Darned little, currently. Calligraphy, electronic gaming (run & gun primarily), electric guitar, reading (sci-fi & self-help).

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  1. Thank God I didn't run into anything that bad... there was one that got me agitated and not very pleasant to be around, but for the most part, they just didn't do much of anything at all. Medication-resistant, treatment-resistant depression.... just my luck.
  2. Thanks for the info on GeneSight; I'll definitely look into that. Probably one of those billion-dollar tests that *nobody* covers, not even in part! But we'll see. My pessimistic cynicism is always the first one out of the gate, and I have to work hard to restrain him! I find depression tough mostly because it makes nothing seem to matter... and not in a good way, like letting things roll off your back. I mean more like a "what's the use" and "what difference is it going to make," and "I just don't care enough to bother" kind of way. It just robs me of any drive or motivation... I just want to sit in a corner drooling into my sneakers. Don't care. It's not always that bad, but it does get that way, too often for me. I seem to be pulling out of this last dip into darkness... much of that is thanks to being able to post here, and get replies from people who don't judge or condemn. I'm grateful for all of you.
  3. @s4l... I didn't mean to suggest that you *were* a dry drunk... you are obviously much farther ahead of the curve than I was when I put down the bottle the first time (ironically enough, it was my own threat to myself that if I couldn't quit I was going to go to AA that seemed to do the trick...). You're aware that drinking is but a symptom, and that the real problem(s) lie elsewhere, which is a lot more than I knew then. Maybe I'd have done better had I known this and acted on it as you have. I'm like you in that I really don't think about drinking anymore; stopping was actually the *easy* part; it's working on myself (the real problem) that's hard, and slow, and frustrating. One step forward, five steps sideways, half a step back, then forward again... always assumed that progress was a straight line forward... didn't realize it's more like a path in the woods. Yeah, I ran into far too many of those "paid indifference" therapists. I remember telling one of 'em how my stint in the Navy was worse than high school (another nightmare), and he actually suggested I look up "some of my old Navy buddies" to deal with my depression. Never went back to him. My main medical source is the VA, and that's a revolving door for most providers. Soon as I get used to one, he or she is off to somewhere else, or dumps the VA altogether. Good care otherwise, though... and now my current therapist. I'll follow him no matter where he goes! Zoom or phone or whatever. Name... huh. Mine starts with a "K," but most people don't even ask, they just spell it with a "C." I gave up correcting them long ago. I was in full retreat from life, living almost entirely inside my own head... my real life among other people began when I quit drinking, and started with AA. I'm not a devotee, they are but one avenue I pursue in rebuilding myself into something more closely approaching a "normal" person. I'm glad your approach is working for you. (Although we are both *here,* aren't we?) And agreed re: medical profession. I worked in the field for many years (ward orderly, Navy medic, operating room scrub tech.....), and had great respect for the field. All gone now. Nearly lost my wife to multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli, which went entirely undetected/unsuspected, despite two years of hounding the doctors for answers to her problems - - and it turns out that they're actually a pretty common occurrence. Lots of folks who die of "heart attacks" are found to have actually passed due to pulmonary emboli upon autopsy. It goes undetected *way* too much, and a simple blood test can detect it. It's almost criminal, in my opinion. I'm going to do my utmost to stay out of the medical professionals' clutches, and the legal eagles too. A pox on both their houses! @nojoy... That's one of the problems with these so-called professionals... they've been to school, they've proved that they can regurgitate information on demand, and they got their sheepskin. Doesn't mean they actually know what they're doing, only means they can receive and transmit data. Having a pile of facts is one thing; knowing how to put together and use those facts is another thing entirely. On top of that, they have the authority vested in them by their professional organizations and society at large to step in and directly interfere with your life, to force things upon you, based upon their "professional" OPINION. And mental health is the worst of all, since just about *everything* is an opinion; there's precious little hard science in there. Many years ago, my wife got yanked off the streets and involuntarily admitted to a clinic for depression her quack thought was suicidal. That put me on high alert regarding the mental health profession. I'm have little trouble circumventing most of the psych testing... I can tell which questions are 'loaded,' and which are the same question being asked from 'the other end,' or in different words, looking for consistency... and I'm careful not to set off any of those trip wires. Wife of a friend of mine had a knee replaced, and they put her on morphine for the post-op pain. Her daughter noticed that she wasn't acting right (she's a nurse), and started asking questions. Turns out the lady was having a severe adverse reaction to the morphine; not anaphylaxis, but not good, either... severe mental confusion, disorientation, panic... and the medical "professionals" kept waltzing in and giving her scheduled dose without noticing a thing. I've decided that placing yourself in the care of others is a real throw of the dice, to be avoided if at all possible. I'm glad you managed to find a way out of the mess those hacks led you into!
  4. Hey s4l... I'm finding that I think I need to redefine what "at peace" in this world means. If I can't be at peace in my own skin, when I'm alone, what hope of being at peace in the world do I have? I'm slowly coming to realize how I've come to be how I am, why things are the way they are today, why my reactions to things are what they are, how much of it came about, ho much of it is my own fault and how much of it I couldn't have done anything about. Trick for me is to figure out how to "counteract" the prior malignant programming, and my maladaptive reactions to it. Well, not really maladaptive, as they 'did' work to a degree; can't realistically fault myself for not knowing then what I know now... did the best I could figure out at the time. My current struggle is to catch myself *before* I just launch into my "pre-programmed" response; realize why I'm reacting that way (or stopping and asking myself why, if I don't already know... what I've heard called "the grace of space." Tongue-in-cheek, I've heard that for every year of sobriety, you earn one second of "space" before you react... ain't no way I've earned three seconds' worth, though. I get frustrated by my seeming lack of progress. I *know* this stuff... it's putting it into *useful* practice that's proving elusive.) I agree re: "can't go back... can't pretend I don't know the things I know." "Bellyful of booze and a head full of AA don't mix." Cute, but it's accurate... once you learn something (or see it, or hear it...) you can't 'unlearn' it. I could crawl back into the bottle... but it wouldn't be the same, not with what I've learned. I'd know exactly what I was doing, and why I was doing it... and the "good part" would be pretty much gone. Another 'coping tactic' off the table... Are you catching any meetings? I'm assuming you're in AA, though maybe that's not the case... I managed to stop drinking for 30 years, but was a dry drunk... just as miserable and acting/reacting as badly as I did while drinking... minus the alcohol. No alcohol... but no program, either. Still thinking that my problem was alcohol... not yet realizing that my problem was ME. AA's biggest and most quickly-delivered benefit for me was simply finding myself in a roomful of people who were just like I was... the sense of community, of being understood without judgement. I'd be lost without that sense of community. I really dislike the "not-in-person' meetings via Zoom... but they're better than no meetings at all. I own a Zoom account, and host three meetings (chair two, and another guy chairs one... if you're interested, I'll PM you the numbers...). Are you seeing a therapist (and can you afford one)? I hesitate to recommend one, as finding a good one is not much better than trying to find a good mechanic or handyman... too many people talking the talk without walking the talk. Ask around... if the same name(s) keep cropping up, there's probably a reason for that which might be worth looking into. Not advice... just the approach I took, and what's worked for me... what yielded the biggest/fastest/bestest results so far.
  5. Hi womanofthelight, I wish i could say whether I actually liked any of the ones I've tried... I can't see any real difference, either between the different meds, or between how I feel with them or without them. It's why I think I'm missing something. Best they've been able to do is pull me out of the black into the gray... never into the light. I suppose that's *something.* Oddly enough, my sense of humor never seems to desert me (unless I'm having a *really* bad day); it's probably the only thing that keeps me going at times. If I couldn't laugh at things, at the absurdity and incongruity of human behavior (including my own), I'd really be ready to pack things in. What IS wrong with us? We see and hear the same things as everyone else.... so why do we feel so very differently about them? And about ourselves? My therapist has called me a 'deep thinker;' maybe we see more deeply into things than the average bear? Or think in a larger framework than 'normal,' and what we see leaves us feeling like this? I know a lot of my own issues stem from childhood (nobody escapes childhood unscathed); ripped out of everything familiar and dumped into a life so different, and add in a stepfather who did nothing to hide his disdain for this strange kid who always had his nose buried in a book, didn't like sports, had no ambition and no friends... so very unlike HIS son: big, brash, confident, outgoing, athletic... the emotional abuse was constant, and it left me convinced of my utter lack of worth, zero self-confidence and self-esteem. He said I'd never amount to anything, and I at least proved him wrong in that... but the damage remains, and no amount of therapy or reading or thinking or medication seems able to make the slightest bit of difference. I've been told in AA that "There is no one who is too stupid for AA to help... but there *are* people who are too smart for AA to help." I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm one of those "too smart" people? Believe me, I'm in no way blowing my own horn; I've actually had a number of people either remark to someone else or tell me directly how intelligent I am... and it always makes me cry. If I'm so damned smart, then how come it can't help me find what I want most: to be at peace with myself, to be comfortable in my own skin. I'm not okay even when I'm alone. What good is intelligence if it can't help me out of this mess? I have a niece who lived in an apartment upstairs from me in the three-family house I once owned, with her mom and her brother (my wife's older sister and her two kids.) She was always smiling and placid, but not very bright. She was a nice kid, and I liked her, but I always secretly thought of her as, well, kind of dumb... nothing seemed to faze her, or get to her. I felt superior to her... the arrogance of youth. Looking back, I feel bad for feeling that way... and I'm envious of her attitude, her ability to be peaceful and okay at all times. I'd trade in this overactive mind any time for one that was happy, or even simply not depressed. Normal would be nice....
  6. Hey Stories, You've pretty much described my own existence for the last twenty years or more. I've always called it my "baseline." There's UP from the baseline (which never happens), there's the baseline where I spend most of my time, and then there's DOWN from that baseline. Which is where I'm at right now. Same problem: MDD, anhedonia, I'm on the spectrum (extremely high functioning Asperger's), don't relate well to people, and the only emotions I can feel are all neutral and negative. Anger, rage, sorrow, disgust, impatience... all the darker stuff that comes from our primitive 'lizard brain,' way down at the brain stem. The higher centers just don't seem to do much of anything. Freeloading, I guess. I AM both on medication (I can become suicidal without it) and therapy. It's *tough* to find a GOOD therapist, that's a fact. Fortunately, I have one now, after a slew of hacks. Can't say it's doing me much good, though; nothing seems to change how I feel, which is that I'd rather be done than be here. This damned depression makes things SO hard... i read good books by highly respected people in the field, I get good advice from people in the program with me... and I just can't care enough to even try any of it. Is it possible to be SO damaged that there's just no coming back from it? And THEN what?
  7. I'm not sure if the anhedonia came before or after the medications... after, if I recall correctly. But I haven't the first idea of *which* medication I was on at that time. Once it started, it never went away, just got worse over time, regardless of which medication I was on at the time. I have a motto that I haul out every now and again that has some bearing on this: "98% of everything is crap, and the other 2% is overrated." It's not original, and I can't remember where I read/heard/saw it... but the instant I did I adopted it, as it nicely summed up my own feelings quite succinctly. It's pretty much how I feel about life in general, with very few exceptions (about 2%, maybe?) I'd just go off of the meds for awhile to see if things improve, but I was suicidal before they put me on bupropion; it did seem to help prevent the lows from being quite so low, and I'm not sure i want to risk going back there. Close enough now as it is. PLUS, sober4life said that her improvement after dumping the meds didn't last long. Not sure it's worth the risk of ending up back in that place again.
  8. Hi Forum Folke, I think I'm missing something. I'm posting this here because this is the one I'm currently taking... with about as much success as all the rest of them, which is to say, very little. I'm wondering if I'm not being realistic about what I should expect from them. I realize there's no such thing as happiness in a pill (not talking about recreational pharmaceuticals...), but really - - I've been put on almost all of the meds listed here, and not a one of them has made me (or helped me to ) feel any different. Just as depressed taking them as not taking them... and I don't even want to get into the side-effects of some of them, the SSRI's in particular. I've read posts here and elsewhere about people saying how much better people feel after taking them (usually a matter of a couple of weeks). I've been on them all for a couple of years minimum, and bupropion for the last 6 - 8 years anyway. My psychiatrist seems to think that it's evening out the "peaks and valleys," but mostly I don't feel much of anything at all, other than perpetually depressed... you know, the whole hopeless/don't care about anything/no energy/nothing interests me thing. "Peaks" is kind of a misnomer, as there *are* no peaks; there's a baseline depression... and it goes down from there. No ups at all. Ever. I *will* say that the lows aren't quite so low as I remember the worst of them (though right now is right up there {or down there, as it were} with the really bad ones.) So I guess that's better than nothing, but I'm not sure if it's the medication, or me getting older, or the things I've learned in AA and casual digging into buddhism. Has anyone here actually found themselves feeling better, "normal," with enthusiasm for life, energy, happiness at times, and not so on the edge of anger most of the time? I certainly have not, not with any of the medications I've read here that I've been on at one time or another (most of them, as I've said.) And I"m not interested in taking *any* SSRI's again. Can't deal with the side effects I encounter with them - - I'd rather stay depressed!
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