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Introducing Myself.. Feeling Depressed And Seeking Some Support


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Hi there everybody at DepressionForums,
I've been browsing this site for a while but never posted anything. I've been looking for help for my recent severe depression several places, but haven't really found anyone to help me yet. I have no idea if anybody here will be able to help me, but it's worth a shot. Any feedback would be much appreciated.
My name is Bridget, I'm 31 years old and I live in Melbourne Australia. From an outsider's perspective, I have a pretty easy life. I have a lovely supportive family, a job, a place to live (still semi dependant on parents) and I have friends. I've never been through any major traumatic events. But despite these circumstances I have suffered from depression on and off since my teens. I'm not married, and although I like children I don't feel the urge to have one of my own. I've been in one and a half serious relationships in my life, but never actually fallen in "love". I feel like I'm incapable of feeling, romantic love. I love my family, cat and some of my friends, but that's different. But I can't imagine loving a person enough to want to spend my entire life with them. Relationships also feel too stressful and claustrophobic for me.
I was born with congenital hypopituitarism, a medical condition not widely understood. It's not life threatening. It means my pituitary glad doesn't produce hormones properly. It is kept under control with medication (replacement hormones) and regular blood tests and visits to an endicrinologist to make sure the levels are right. But the medication doesn't fix everything. My condition causes me to suffer from exreme lethargy at times, insomnia, concentration problems and depression. When I get stressed my brain simply can't handle it, and I mentally shut down.
To most people I appear as a friendly, attractive, intelligent, slightly shy but more or less normal girl. I often try to appear as normal as I can and hide the problems that are going on beneath the surface. They are invisible illnesses.
I have many interests including music (and trying to make my own) painting, drawing and other creative activities, reading (fiction and non-fiction) travelling, history and psychology. I feel like I have talents, particularly musical and artistic, and I have the passion but not the drive to develop my talents into something great. If only I could find the energy and motivation to practice every day, I know that I could be brilliant at something. It was the same at school. I had the motivation to study and get high marks, and I know I'm reasonably intelligent. But because of my concentration problems and extreme stress I couldn't apply myself in the way I wanted to. My marks were mediocre, my dream of getting into university slashed (even though I had no real career direction) I ended up starting a TAFE course which was completely wrong for me and I never enjoyed, but nonetheless passed. After a year of unemployment and some encouragement from my parents, I decided to go back to study and become a librarian. This time I actually enjoyed my studies, and met some great friends through the course.
A few years ago I was lucky enough to receive a job my first real career job as an academic librarian at a TAFE institute. I've enjoyed it more or less, I like the stability of having a job (not to mention money) and most of my workmates are really nice. I feel so lucky and appreciative to have my job I but feel like if my bosses were really aware of how useless I am they would have gotten rid of me ages ago. I know they all like me as a person, but I don't really have the skills that I should have for this position. I'm on a contract and I'm scared it won't be renewed at the end of the year.
My depression had been spinning out of control for weeks and and got so bad last week I considered overdosing on the valium my doctor had given me for my anxiety. But I knew in my heart I couldn't do it, because of my Mum. I think it would destroy her. But then in my mind I catastrophise, I wonder if she suddenly died, would I **** myself then? I look at the future and only see the negative. People die, cats die, people get sick, friends move away, friends drift apart. I hate change and the idea of it scares me.
I have been on a few different antidepressants. Earlier this year I was put on Prozac, which worked for me in the beginning but ended up causing terrible anxiety and insomnia, which is when the suicidal thoughts started. I've since been switched back to Zoloft, a medication that worked in the past, and I feel an immediate improvement. I'm sleeping better and my thoughts are not racing all over the place as they were. I've also been making other positive changes, I've found a new psychologist, and planning to start Yoga classes. I told my boss about some of my medical and psychological issues and seemed to be understanding and willing to work around it. I still fear losing my job though.
After having a few good days, the depression has returned. I know it's my own fault, because I was stressed and self-medicating with alcohol. (Another problem) when the stress gets bad I head straight for the alcohol and don't stop drinking. I know how bad it is for me, mentally and physically, but I can't seem to kick the habit. I feel like my short-term memory is completely shot at the moment, and I don't know if that's caused by the alcohol or the depression, but it scares me. I've also abused painkillers with codeine in them, because the codeine settles down with my anxiety. At one point I got addicted to them, but I'm managing to keep it to a minimum now.
When I get really depressed I start thinking there's no value in my life, no purpose. I see the value in life in general, just not mine. I'm not married nor raising any children, not particularly excelling in my job, have no major skills or talents to share with the world, still depending on my parents for a lot and sometimes my depression and anxiety are so crippling I can barely function. When existence in itself comes such a chore, why continue to exist?
I know that's very bleak, but it's been what's going through my head lately. Other parts of my brain feel like there are reasons to live, I know I'm capable of experiencing happiness, but at the moment it's very hard to focus on anything positive.
Anyway, I'd better stop now. If you've actually read all this, thankyou, I appreciate it. Even though I'm still pretty low at the moment I am determined to keep working at getting rid of my depression. I completely understand if you can't think of anything to say to help. But I thought this was a good thing to try as you guys understand probably understand how it feels better than health professionals, as well meaning as they are.

Thankyou for listening.

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Dear Bridget,

For what it is worth, I recognize a lot of my own anxieties while reading your post. I feel the same way about relationships; they scare and I find that I cannot love someone that much too.

I can completely relate to disliking change. I find change is so menacing too. It is probably one of the reasons why I am depressed, because the hopelessness of unable to do anything about the coming changes and the passage of time.

I wish you the best, Bridget. I hope you will be able to fight this. I am afraid that I cannot offer any good advice, because I am going through this myself and I am in a severe depression.

Take care!

k

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Dear Bridget - I'm so sorry you suffer like this. One of my daughters takes Zoloft for her anxiety/panic and it works well. However, if you're abusing alcohol and drugs, you are not helping yourself. Alcohol should not be taken at all with antidepressants. It has a rebound effect and makes you feel worse because it's a central nervous system depressant. Please get help for your drinking and be very careful with pain medication.

It sounds like you've made some wonderful positive changes in your life and have a lot to live for, including a loving family. You are a very valuable person. Best wishes.

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But then in my mind I catastrophise, I wonder if she suddenly died, would I **** myself then? I look at the future and only see the negative. People die, cats die, people get sick, friends move away, friends drift apart. I hate change and the idea of it scares me.

Hello, Bridget!

I've read your whole post, but I am quoting the above because that's EXACTLY how I think sometimes (more often recently). But one thing that I understood (although it's hard to feel and believe when I am depressed or panicky) is that future is almost never as you have imagined it. Only thing you have to do is believe everything will work out for the best. Also you will almost always cope when faced with a situation that may seem unbearable. For example, I can't imagine right now how I lived during the time my father was sick and a few months after he passed away. But somehow when I was in that situation I managed it.

Now about change. I really think it is generally good. I was (and still am in some ways) a person really scared of change. But change makes you stronger, whether it is one you make or it is one you can't avoid.

Finally, one quote by Winston Churchill that is priceless and helps me a lot during hard times: "If you're going through hell, keep going." I may have read this first on this forum :) Did you know Churchill was a creative man, who was an accomplished painter? And as most creative people (including you :)) he suffered from depression. So this quote is not out of substance.

I really hope what I wrote will help you, even a little. Know you are not alone and keep going! :)

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Hi Bridget,

I saw so much of myself in your post...I suffered brain trauma because of an illness and the neurological damage left me with depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, short term memory loss, etc. I also feel incapable of falling in love, although I have an almost 14 year old son whom I adore with my whole heart, along with 2 dogs and 2 cats that help fill my life. I'm also creative, I like to decorate my house, refinish furniture, make jewelry, crafts, etc.

I'm so glad you joined our forum. I've been here 3 years and it has helped me so much, people are so nice and understanding here and I hope you'll stick around. My depression has come a long way since I joined, I find keeping active (especially outside walks with my pets) is my best defense. I have good days and bad days, but at least I have good days, which is something I couldn't say a few years ago.

Look around at the forums, join in where and when you feel like it, and welcome!

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I am sorry to hear of your struggles. I too have been dealing with depression for 23 years on and off. I use to use alchol to take away my anxiety, but found out that made my depression worse. Five years ago I joined AA and that seemed to help. I was haveing a good 2 years then the depression came back. I have upped my dose of zoloft and added another med to help. I hope to feel better soon. I am happy to hear that you are fighting. Take care of yourself.

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Thanks so much to everybody that read and replied to my post. Your support and understanding means a lot. I was pretty low the day I wrote that. Like all of us, I have my good and my bad days. My sleep is still appallingly bad but I think that's because I'm still adjusting to a new medication. I still have moments where I feel very bleak (you know, those what's the point of going on? moments) but they come and go. I know depressive periods don't just go away, you have to work at them, and I'm only at the beginning of my treatment. I'm willing to keep trying new things, medication, psychotherapy, whatever it takes to make me feel better.

I have been seeking out professional counselling and this morning I saw a new counsellor. It was not a good experience so I won't be going back to her. I mentioned the recent suicidal thoughts and reliance on alcohol, and she seemed to focus on that for the entire session. I felt like she was judging me for my self-destructive behaviours, instead of trying to get the the root cause of them. She seemed to have no interest in me as a person, and made me feel like a bit of a freak. I felt no warmth or sympathy from her. if I'm going to open up I need to feel some kind of personal connection and feel that they care to some point, not just doing their job.

Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to spending time on this forum as part of my journey to feel better.

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