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wanderer82

Dysthymia: Realizing You've Always Been Depressed

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At my last appointment with my pdoc he asked me if I've ever better than just "okay". I responded that "no, not that I could remember", at which point he described me as having dysthymia with overlapping episodes of major depression. I recounted the session to my therapist who agreed and said that's how she's always seen me too. The truth is I have felt better than okay, I've felt good, maybe even great by my standards a handful of times in my life, but they are far from the norm. These days, or sometimes just a span of a few hours, are so few and far between and are such a stark contrast to the constant depression I usually feel that I can remember them vividly. I remember them the way normal people remember horrible events; I can remember what I was wearing, were I went, and what I ate. I described these days to my therapist expecting her to tell me that I can't expect to feel that way but instead she told me that's how nondepressed generally feel. I had always assumed these days were too good to be true, people don't feel that good normally, right? It is shocking to me that other people mostly have enough energy to get through the day, are happy and resilient, and don't have minds trapped in endless ruminations.

I can't get my head around why this sudden but obvious realization has affected me so much. Of course I have dysthymia! But now I'm more depressed knowing what I'm missing out on. What I've been missing out on for most of my life. That I have only gotten a taste of what other people feel most of the time. I feel more hopeless than ever. After all the therapy and medication I'm still depressed, I feel like this is my lot in life, like I've been cursed. I've been in major depressive episode for months and would do anything for just mild depression. I can't get relief and feel like I've tried all possible options.

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I feel for you. I have been depressed for 13 years now since I was eight. While it's "less severe" than major depression dysthymia is also harder to get rid of. Depression is not the part of your personality but tendency do be depressed could be. In the way of achieved sense of helplesness, negative thinking patterns etc..

Only thing I really know to work is making positive effort. Any action that aims to produce positive results is to be persued. Try to feel good about something at lest for a second or two when you have an opportunity. (good cup of coffee is enough) And try to make a habit of it. I for example find certain narcistic pleasure in looking at myself in the mirror every morning and seeing results of going to gym for last two years regulary. Could be anything. I believe that calmness and happiness can be learned in time. Sp that's what I am aiming for. Maybe you could try the same.

I am very sorry that you have also major depressive episodes. Rumination is something you should try to avoid when you are feeling down. You can't outthing depression, you just walk circles in the negative thinking patter making yourself feel worse. You'll do much better to just pick up a book or crosswords or anything else really. As David Bowie put it when you just sit and think about it you "sink in the quicksand of your thought".

Hope you'll get better over time. And keep posting.

Edited by Bubblehead

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Welcome to the club lol. DYSTHYMIA! Hah...hah. It's funny because whenever I go to someone and say I've pretty much been depressed my whole life, they don't believe me at first. And yet, you went saying you were generally okay most days, and they diagnosed you with it. That's kind of funny. But yeah. Dysthymia makes depression worse because it can become major depression at any time if you let it. Whenever you start to feel like you're going down the depression spiral, STOP!!! Recheck what you were telling yourself and ask yourself whether or not that's a true claim, or a depressed claim operating on a false assumption. It's most likely the latter. It's not about outthinking depression, it's about outsmarting it and beating the cycle. If you can stop it before it starts, than at the very least you won't be glued to your bed all day. Not that dysthymia is good. But it's not an MDE! And that at least is good.

But in all truthfulness, dysthymia isn't fun. I hope you can get some help. People with it (also called Double Depression when combined with numerous MDE's), are generally more resistant to treatment because their entire baseline on a good day isn't at neutral, but at dysthymic, a step above depression. It's so much more ingrained into who we are. That is not to say it cannot be changed/defeated. Just to say, you might have a harder go at it than the average joe with depression because you'll become so used to it, because it'll start to feel normal, because it IS normal for us. Just try not to let life bog you down, that's the easiest way for your mood to shift south.

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I've had depression for around 3 or 4 years, at least that's when it was first diagnosed. At first I was told it was mild depression and the severity of it was never really explained to me so I just carried on regardless. Over the years it got worse and May last year I had a breakdown. Since then I've been a lot more pro active in researching depression and in recent weeks I've come to realise that I also have dysthymia. Since the breakdown my baseline has been lower than ever and like you I can't get out of it. My life has quite literally ground to a halt and my health has nosedived.

I haven't taken any medication regularly, it's something I've always been opposed to. Not because I think it's inherently evil or anything like that just because I feel like for me, it would only mask the underlying cause and I don't think I'd ever get out of it through medication. Also after having my breakdown I was prescribed Citalopram to which I had a pretty severe reaction after taking one ten milligram tablet which is not a road I'm keen to go down again.

I did have a brief period of around 5 weeks where I would say I felt....better, I wasn't bouncing off the ceiling but I did definitely have days when I was in a good mood. Though it's gonna suck to hear it during that time I had a really clean diet, no processed foods, no caffeine, no alcohol, mostly meat (including a decent amount of fish), vegetables and fresh fruits. I was also exercising a good amount, press ups and a variety of ab workouts as well as squats, weights, ball work and the occasional run. I have a lot of food allergies so the diet was helped hugely by that because I can't eat a lot of bad stuff anyway so I'm not going to pretend I was some super human dieting machine. The point however is that it did absolutely make a difference. Sadly for me I got hit with a really bad bout of sinusitis and since I fell off I've found it almost impossible to get back on. That was about.....2 months ago now. I'd really urge you to try it, just throw yourself into it and I promise you if you can grit your teeth and get through the first 4 weeks by just forcing yourself to do it it gets so much easier. It's like there's an invisible wall you just break through and it because almost automatic. I used to look forward to working out.

As I said, it didn't get rid of it but it definitely lifted my mood to a point that I definitely felt as normal as I have done for a long time. I hope that helps some way I guess.

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