Depression is a funny thing sometimes

Depression is a funny thing sometimes. I deal with intense feelings of loneliness a lot more often than I’d like to admit. What’s strange is the fact that I know hundreds of people. I talk to dozens of people online every day, by email, instant messaging, social networks and other ways. From the outside looking in, I appear to be constantly surrounded by people, at least virtually. Yet, I feel incredibly isolated, very alone, intensely lonely.

I’ve been seeing various therapists regularly for the past five years. I’m on two different anti-depressants (Paxil and Wellbutrin) and I take them daily. Perhaps I’m on the wrong medication or I need to add something else to the cocktail. Whatever the case, I’m actively seeking ways of trying to fix this problem. But, the intense feelings of loneliness start to trigger despair, and that just makes it that much harder to cope and try.

I recently wrote, “Sometimes, I really hate being me.” I don’t think anyone who read that really understood what I meant. I don’t know how to explain it. A therapist I saw for two years, who had been practicing for probably close to twenty years, finally said to me, “I don’t even know how to classify you.” I know that this quote is vague and lacks sufficient context, but he understood the gap that isolates me.

I’ll try writing more about this if I can bring myself to do it … I’ve wanted to write this for years, but every time I sat down to try, the words just wouldn’t come. Right at this moment, I’m determined to try and push through that barrier and finally write some of this down.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Ed. I have a book recommendation for you: Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman.

  2. Tom Reingold says:

    You struck a chord in me. I’ve suffered from anxiety and mild depression throughout most of my life. My exterior betrays this often, and I’m very calm and even-tempered. I don’t hate being me, but I have exaggerated fears that people are judging me very harshly. I trip myself up by living up (down) to their expectations.

  3. David K: Thanks – I thought Seligman’s “Authentic Happiness” was good, I’ll have to check out “Learned Optimism” next.

    Tom: It always surprises me how we’ve developed this “coping” mechanism that hides our inner demons … thanks for speaking up.

  4. Gail: Thanks for your time and positive support!

  5. It does take courage to tell others that you struggle with depression. It also takes courage to seek out a better life through therapy, medication, and self-help. Keep it up! It really is worth it. I struggled with depression for more than 10 years before I found the right combination of therapy, medication, and self-help. I got the right psychiatrist, and he and I found the right combination of medications after trying different combinations. My psychiatrist recommended an excellent book called _Feeling_Good_, by David Burns that supplied a crucial element of self-help. I had a therapist that had the right balance of listening and positive recommendations. Both the Burns book, _Feeling_Good_, and my therapist emphasized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is constructive thinking techniques that address the negative thinking that often drives depression. Two key insights I got from the book are:
    1) Negative emotions can lead to negative thoughts which in turn lead to negative emotions – a vicious cycle.
    2) When we are depressed, our thinking is distorted. While we may respect our feelings when are in that dark place, we need not believe our thoughts.

    Keep working with your therapist and the doctor prescribing your antidepressants. Many persons successfully treated for depression try several medications before finding the right medication(s), so don’t give up and don’t settle. Tell your doctor if you are not getting results you want. Depression breeds passivity. Depressed patients are often not good at seeking out the treatment they need. If you had a broken arm, you wouldn’t hesitate to tell the doctor if wasn’t healing straight. Depression is a lot more treatable than people realize, and it is certainly more treatable than it feels like to the depressed person.

    Good luck!

  6. Darian: Thanks for your words of encouragement and suggestions. I had done 4 years of cognitive behavioral therapy and wasn’t feeling much success with it. Of course, at the time, I was doing just CBT without antidepressants, so maybe I can give it another try sometime down the road.

  7. nicky samilian says:

    Dossy, do not forget that nutrition is very important when it comes to depression…we usually do not get the proper nutrients in our regular diet and supplementation can help. Therapeutic levels of omega 3’s ( DHA in particular ) as well as Vitamins b6, b12 and Folic acid can help.
    You might want to consider among other approches mentioned above , to go to a physician that not only prescribes antidepressants but that sees the importance of supplementation as a more holistic way to manage and improve your situation.

  8. (((hugs))) depression is a beast. it’s an incredibly difficult thing to go through. I hope you feel better soon.

  9. Hey Dossy, I was depressed for many years but somehow broke free. What helped: gave up trying to control my life and learned to feel comfortable with the sensation of moving with the current. Tai Chi. Cultivating a blank mind. Keeping my life simple. Working only on projects I feel good about.

  10. My doc recommended a psychiatrist who in his interview determined what type of therapist I should see. He told me his diagnosis, mild B-P and mod to severe depression. He suggested I should see a therapist to unlearn all the things I learned, as a depressed person, to cope with life. He suggested a cognitive behavior therapist for me, but had other therapy modes to offer. He put me on Lamictal and that’s all I use besides vitamins. If your therapist is saying he doesn’t know how to classify you, I would think you need to see someone w/ more appropriate skills and experience. I too, experience a ‘gap’, which my therapist has identified as attachment disorder. It has helped me realize where I push people away. Hard slogging to change, but worth it.

    Best wishes,

    Robin

  11. Nicky: Indeed, a balanced diet is critical to overall health, including mental health. Fortunately, I eat reasonably well – fish is a reasonable portion of our family diet, as well as vegetables high in folic acid such as brussel sprouts.

    Trula: Thanks for the hugs. I often feel “better” – whether it’s simply mood, drug-assisted, or whatever – but I wonder if there’ll ever be a day when I’m actually feeling “good” if you know what I mean. After 15+ years of being aware of these feelings I have, I’m starting to doubt it. But, I haven’t given up trying, yet.

    Kimi: I definitely wonder sometimes if I’m creating all of my own suffering. The desire to connect with people is really strong for me, which obviously creates this sense of isolation, but like I said … even when I’m interacting with people, this feeling doesn’t seem to go away. It’s so strange …

    Robin: Nothing worth having comes easy, I know … but sometimes, it’d be nice to have it once in a while – feeling good – you know?

  12. Hi Dossy:

    You can find help through Dr. Ray Gin, DC. He is one of the most selfless and talented healers in the world today. His practice can be found online at: http://www.bodywisdomhealing.com/

    I have a lifelong interest in self improvement and have never gotten results as quickly and easily as I have through working with Dr. Gin.

    If you are interested in more info on my results, please do not hesitate to contact me. He is very professional and extremely talented. His background is very interesting.

    With kindest regards,

    Carol

  13. Peggy Dolane says:

    Waiting for twitter karma to load and I’m checking out your blog. I feel your pain. Did you know that anxiety and depression are linked? I had untreated anxiety that would manifest as depression until I figured out that exercise was the key to my mental health. Seriously, since I’ve forced myself to have regular exercise I’ve survived an extremely stressful and depressing year — without actually getting depressed.

    There are a number of things you can do to help get your bio-chemistry back on-line without drugs: diet, exercise and sleep are three. So step away from the computer and work up a sweat. I guarantee you’ll feel better afterwards.

    Want to learn more about managing anxiety w/o drugs? check out http://www.edgefoundation.org/blog/2009/03/02/adhd-and-anxiety-non-drug-treatments-everyone-can-try/

    Good luck!!!!

  14. Like many, learning about you came via the twitter karma application, and this visit is a result of a click on your blog’s link.

    As evidenced by the comments so far, there are a good number of folks who wish the best for you, adding a vote here for that…

    May you find that which you seek, and enjoy success in what you do.

    Be Well!
    ECS Dave

  15. What can I say?
    well, to start I’ve had depression lurking over my shoulders for longer than I care to remember, but I’ve always tried to keep it to myself in the main, basically because no one wants to hear it as I’ve found. I’ve written countless depressive ‘odes’, which pretty much scream ‘help!’, but no one really wants to face up to that shit with their friends, far easier for them to either, not mention it, or change the subject as quick as poss. At it’s worst I fuckin’ despise everything about myself, hate myself with a passion, yet with friends I’m the biggest act going, all happy go lucky bullshit. It’s an up and down world, but no quack will ever make a bean out of me spilling my shit to them. I suppose what I’d like to get across to you is, it isn’t always bad, there are good times, but you have to roll with the bad stuff and try your hardest to ride it out, because a bit like after a heavy weekend on the booze, when you feel ‘clean’ again, those moments of clarity are worth the wait, and make you appreciate that perhaps you feel better straight than hammered

    You have my sympathy, it’s a struggle, but a worthwhile struggle

  16. Hi Dossy, what you describe sounds like what happens to me when there are about 10 sources of cigarette smoking coming into my apartment at the same time. When I was forced to writing a formal pleading as a prose I tried to describe the despair that was created from waking up smelling like a bowery bum, all my closes stenched with tobacco my suffering lungs filled with smoke and my heart tight. Their was response was what psychiatrists had I been too. The landlady that does nothing to cure writes in a letter to me that I am giving her a nervous breakdown from my complaints about the smoke. Nobody asks her about her need for a psychiatrist. I’m just saying is that maybe we don’t need drugs, maybe we don’t need psychiatrists, maybe we need people to quit smoking in the public areas of our building and in their apartments in an apartment complex? When the air is over a million small particles in our apartment and the filtrette lab test indicates nicotine should we be cowed by corrupt courts to go to a psychiatrist because we have feelings of despair?

  17. dossyfan says:

    dossy, in all seriousness, have you tried an occasional smoke of herb? i realize it’s been stigmatized as a depressant, but when I need a boost I hit some herb– and feel instantly better, relaxed, happy, even excited. that + running /exercise/ yoga helps sometimes. best of luck. thinking of ya. p.s. i agree with robin, if your dr. can’t “classify” your pain, he certainly can’t treat it – seek another! good luck.

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