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xora

Why Do We Want To Remain Depressed?

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I have major depression (MDD) and I have lived with it for most of my life. I often feel it will always be with me and I'll never be able to lead a life outside of it.

I have tried medication in the past which was never really effective. I also tried therapy and still see a psychiatrist. In my last appointment he suggested that I want to remain depressed - that I only want to not want be depressed. This isn't the first time he's suggested this but I've never really understood how this works...

Why would I want to stay depressed? He says it's because I'm comfortable feeling miserable and anything else scares me. If this is really the case why would I do this to myself? Why would anyone do this to themselves?

More importantly, how do I break away from this so that I can heal and start living my life?

Has anyone else wrestled with the same thing? How does one let go of fear in order to heal?

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xora,

I'm not sure that we truly want to stay depressed, but maybe he's right-that because we know nothing else, it's easier to continue the same pattern over and over again by seeing a therapist, and maybe telling ourselves we are miserable. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm really miserable, but truly with MDD it's a constant battle to fight off the sadness, isolation, lethargy, and so many other things that come with it. Have you considered other forms of treatment like CBT? Maybe it's just time to talk to a therapist with a new perspective. I certainly wouldn't be happy with this response, even though I'd wonder about its validity. I think there is always some fear in healing because we've known nothing other than the depression, but honestly everything you are doing is part of the healing process, such as talk therapy and writing here, so you are probably braver than you realize.

Not sure these words made any sense or help at all, although I do wish you well in your struggles, and hope you let us know how you work to overcome this.

Sincerely,

MaddieLouise

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MaddieLouise, thanks for the response. I should probably clarify that I'm not suggesting this applies to everyone. But I was wondering if anyone else had ever been told the same thing or felt this could have been the case with their depression.

I definitely don't want to live with this condition for the rest of my life. But I've hit a point where I'm not sure if I can go any further in overcoming it so I need to seriously consider his suggestion. And if I were honest with myself I think there may be truth in the fear of letting it go. Although, I don't think I'm consciously choosing to stay depressed!

Yes, I've tried CBT in the past. Perhaps not enough of it.

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Don't know how to be anything else. After awhile it crowds out everything else and then there really is not much else. Hope becomes the enemy because hope always seems to prove false. I don't want the burden of caring what happens to me anymore.

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Hey xora,

I've asked myself that same question many times so I understand where you're coming from. It's not something I've ever been told by my psychiatrist, but I read it in a book once and it got me thinking.

I think on one hand, for people who've been depressed for a long time, depression becomes familiar. It starts to feel more familiar than not being depressed. I also think that for most of us recovery from depression involves making major life changes, and change is scary. Nor is recovery from depression a straightforward process. Sometimes when I've been recovering from an episode I've actually felt that the recovery was almost worse than the depression because it's so up and down (I would go from feeling much better one day and having hope, to feeling terrible again the next day). At least when I'm depressed I always know what to expect.

I don't think any of us really want to be depressed. But I do think that recovering from depression is more complicated than we think, and it scares us. But even though recovery isn't easy, it's worth the struggle. In your post you asked how you can break away and start healing. I think the answer is different for everyone. For me, the only thing that's ever really worked is ECT. For you it may be something completely different. My advice would be to do as much research as you can about the many different treatment options out there and (working with your doctor) try some things you've never tried before. I tried many different treatments before I found one that worked for me. I know it can be frustrating, but don't give up. The right treatment for you is out there, you just have to find it. All the best,

Ophelia

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