Just wanted to add another "thankyou" message - I was also having a pretty rough time with depression a few months ago and reading this thread made me realise I needed help so I went to the doctors and spoke to a friend. I'm now feeling a lot better (taking St Johns Wort which seems to be working for me) and realising what is important for me to do. Anyway, thanks to those who are better than me with talking about it.
Depression - Why dont we talk about it?/ your experiences please
Hi Colin, I'm Ali - been on and off here for a few years now
I've suffered with depression for a long time but was diagnosed about 3yrs ago after I became really poorly. I've been on meds for this amount of time, did try and come off them 2yrs ago but ended up having a relapse.
I had counselling through work and also went private for a while until I discovered that the NHS do counselling so signed up to the service. It was just what I needed.
Hope you're feeling a bit better, you're not alone as you know
Thanks Aleigh. It's always good to know that something is working for people. My CBT starts at the end of next month.
Alpine Girl, welcome to the thread. I can understand about not being able to talk. I can write/type my thoughts no problem, but when it comes to actually talking to someone, I find it really difficult.
I have been off STW for a while now, (not for any reason just had other stuff going on) thought i'd see if anyone had added anything, and have been humbled by the kind help and advice people have been giving on here.
So glad i posted it as its helped me reading it as one thing I struggled with was the feeling of loneliness and the thought that everyone else was OK and just getting on with life and i was the only one feeling bad.
The more I have spoken to people the more I have now realised how common this is, even family members have had problems I didn't realise until now, so in that way its made me much more aware which has got to be a good thing.
I recommend going onto this website as it has loads of clear, non biased info about medication and other subjects. There is also some helpful stuff to show people that aren't sufferers, how someone who is feels and how best to help them.
Keep it up guys, lets look out for each other..........
So, how is everyone doing?
I've had 3 sessions of CBT now. It's early days, still no change in mood. Beginning to really lose hope now. My relationship is taking a battering too, and I don't know what to do next.
CBT is a long process but you have to be in the right mind before you start. For depression it has very good results but when I had it it did nothing (I have Bioplar).
The most important person to bring you back to normal is your doctor.
If you don't feel happy with them, change. In 3 years I have had 7 doctors and only now am I getting results. I'm still a million miles from being right though.
The next thing is medication. If, after 5 weeks it doesn't work it never will so get it changed.
Once you have these two things in place can you start therapy.
Your relationship will be better once you start to become more positive.
I have been off work for a long time and will not return until my head is a bit better. My episodes are currently too extreme to even consider it. My bike has been sitting in my garage gathering dust for 3 years.
If you need anyone to talk to mail in profile.
EDIT: You also need it confirmed by several doctors that it's depression you have. I was told I was depressed so was prescribed anti depressants. Really not a good idea for Bipolar sufferers as I went completely manic, ending up in the countryside of Slovenia with no idea how I got there. I then attempted suicide twice. Once ultra rapid cycling bipolar was diagnosed everything cooled down a bit. I still have my shit days and really crazy days but life is a bit better.
Hey st colin. CBT takes a bit of work - I guess you know that there's no magic cure for depression. I found that CBT just gives you a different way of looking at situations and then choosing to react/behave differently to your default setting. The premise is that then by behaving differently you start to feel different and get into a bit of a virtuous circle, but you need to put in the work to make that happen.
My therapist used this as reading/support to go alongside the sessions, and I found a lot of it to be quite autobiographical. I wouldn't say that I use a lot of it in daily life, but I can and do stop the default knee jerk reaction to some things.
I've also started going along to a depression support group - a weekly meeting where you get to talk & share things with others who have been going through a lot of the same stuff as you. Sitting in a room with a bunch of depressed people probably doesn't sound like a load of fun, but it can be a bit of a laugh (as well as the odd sombre moments).
Another thing I've found helpful is practising mindfulness - a few minutes each day focussing on and accepting the here & now rather than having my mind running over my past failings and my future worries. The idea of meditation was initially quite difficult for me to accept as I'm sceptical of a lot of that 'new age' stuff, but this is delivered in a straightforward way, no incense, no chanting, no orange robes Check out Prof Mark Williams on youtube or Headspace for more info.
Hang in there - it can and will get better.
Thanks for the replies.
I know CBT is a long process. I'll certainly be sticking at it. I'm very withdrawn at the moment, socially and in my relationship. For example, I planned in my head to go out on the bike on Sunday, the club I'm part of was having a run out on trials I've never ridden. Come 7am Sunday morning, woke up and feel low. Don't go. Two things are really bouncing around in my head. I missed out on time on the bike, so time to get better and faster has been minimised. Secondly, the club will think I'm not interested in going out with them.
These are the kinds of things that trouble me far too much.
I think they all know you're sick, if not tell them.
The bike will eventually com back.
I know exactly how you feel.
You're already low so don't let this get you even worse.
I find that brainspotting works really well for me but its not so common in the uk.
Secondly, the club will think I'm not interested in going out with them.
This is one of the thought processes that I found CBT helped with. For instance, when you do go out with the club, how do you feel about people who aren't there? Do you think 'oh well, perhaps Fred has something else to do this morning, or maybe he didn't feel like it etc' or do you think 'well Fred clearly isn't interested in riding with us any more'. And when Fred comes back, do you say 'good to see you again' or 'oh, so you dare to show your face again after ignoring us'. It's hard to treat yourself the same as you treat other people, but is there a reason not to? Easy to say, hard to do.
Yea, that's exactly how I am trying to picture it. Treat myself how I would treat others.
St Colin sorry to hear you are still struggling. I did CBT for a while not sure if it helped much but it did make me be nicer to myself and stop beating myself up as much.
really try to go riding thats going to help your seratonin levels and being in a group can help too
Stick with it mate
Colin, what stops you from going out on your bike? I often struggle with it due to anxiety issues, I just force myself out and always feel better afterwards. something my CBT practitioner was on about - motivation leads to action which leads to increased motivation.
The main reason is that I don't think I'm fast enough, fit enough. I seem to believe that I need to be going as fast as possible, constantly improving, and getting fitter and stronger.
Last night I got out on my rigid MTB and thought I felt strong during the ride. I only managed 15.4mph average over 26 miles and only 950ft of climbing. This was on the road. So, I felt good during, but was disappointed in myself after.
I guess you do a bit of racing?
Perhaps get rid of the speedo/garmin/strava/whatever you use. It's antoher thing that your mind will mince over afterwards. Instead of an endorphin rush, you'll be feeling down in the dumps that you got a poor average speed.
I don't bother with any of those devices, it's another thing to piss about with before riding, another distraction that may lead to me not even bothering at all. Sometimes it's hard enough just to put my shoes on!
I didn't race this year, but hope to race in the Irish Enduro series next year, funds and fitness permitting. I do question whether I should be competing at all.
A lot of the time I don't even get close to getting changed into my cycling gear...
Just thought I'd come on and have a bit of a moan about people's perceptions about depression.
I was diagnosed as bipolar about 3 years ago. It started sometime round about my late teens early twenties. I then spent most of my twenties trying to improve my situation as I felt if I could just get myself into this job or live in that city then I would be happy and no longer suffer bouts of depression. When I wasn't depressed I would have periods of being very productive and focused and I was able to achieve whatever I set out to do.
Things started to spiral in my late twenties though when I realised that I had exhausted everything I could think of and I was 'living my dream'. I knew my situation could not get any better. The only exception was my relationship situation. I found it difficult to get a girlfriend because, I now realise, I was looking for someone to save me and the desperation vibes I was giving off were not my most attractive characteristic. When I did find myself going out with someone I would always dump them because they hadn't magically cured my depression. I realise all this now in hindsight.
Things spiraled and I found myself almost permanently depressed. My work was suffering and my friends were really really worried. I would swing between anger and inconsolable depression with occasional periods where I was positive and euphoric because I had figured out a foolproof way of curing my depression.
Eventually my friends managed to drag me to the doctor's. The reason I was so resistant was rooted in my first experience of seeing a doctor about my problem. When I was about 23 I was starting to realise something wasn't quite right with me. I went to the doctor and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I was actually in a bout of depression at the time and I had to deal with about half an hour of being berated and humiliated (and being told I had an alcohol problem). Since I was in a state of depression at the time I just accepted it instead of telling her to go **** herself and demanded another doctor as I should and would have had I been in my normal state of mind. Once I shook off that bout of depression I vowed never to see a doctor about it again and figure things out for myself.
I found myself spending most of my time trying to figure out the best way to kill myself. I eventually decided on going out on my bike and wait until a driver was tailgating me. I would then 'fall off' the bike and let the car drive over me. I figured that was best since my family and friends would not think I had killed myself and I would get my own back on a arsehole driver. I'm telling this part just to give you an idea of my state of mind at the time.
Anyway, as I said, my friends dragged me to the doctor's and I agreed since I didn't have the energy to resist. My experience this time couldn't have been better. He was incredibly kind and understanding. After consulting with a psychiatrist it was decided that I should try Lamictal. Over the next four months my condition improved to the point that I was almost normal. I was still suffering bouts of anger and depression but they were much less severe and I could cope.
Anyway, this next part is the moan that I wanted to have. My first child was born recently (once I lost my air of desperation I became much more attractive) and I didn't want my son to grow up putting up with my depressed periods.
So I went back to my doctor and then to a psychiatrist. After a blood test it was found that the levels of Lamictal in my blood were still a bit low and we should increase the dose.
When I told my friends this there was all kinds of resistance to the idea. I was getting all kinds of advice, mostly based around talking instead of medication. This annoyed me because if I had diabetes I doubt anyone would feel the need to advise me on what the best course of action would be.
My problem is a chemical imbalance in my brain, not a reaction to some kind of trauma. There's not really that much to talk about. The medication I take is working and has no side effects. What makes people think they are qualified to offer medical advice.
Just as an aside, the last time I went for a medical for a job I told the doctor that I was taking Lamictal for bipolar. His reaction?
"Oh for God's Sake!"
There are still plenty of complete arsehole arrogant **** who wear white coats out there. My advice is to spend a bit of time and find someone who isn't a complete ****.
Edit: Just add something to depression after riding; I always found that when I was depressed going out on my bike helped while I was actually out probably because I was using a different part of my brain.
However, when I got home my depression was worse than ever. It was as if all the emotions that had been kept at bay while I was out come flooding back all at once and I felt much worse than if I had just stayed in.
I agree to what you're saying to a point. I don't have much faith in my GP. I'm putting myself in the hands of the counsellor.
You mention a few things you have brushed over. The alcohol for example. Was it a problem?
Over the last couple of months I've had an assessment followed by six cbt sessions with a counselor then moved to group sessions, last night was the second meeting. I kinda get what they're on about but still find it very difficult to put into practice.
Please get referred to your community mental health team.
Get a Social Worker, Mental health Nurse and most important Psychiatrist.
A GP will give you pills and say come back next month. You will waste so much time with this.
Once these are in place can you start counselling. I know from grim experience how difficult it can be.
Hi again Iolo. This CBT is coming from the mental health team. It has taken a long time to get here to be honest.
Good Luck. I hope everything will turn out right for you.
You mention a few things you have brushed over. The alcohol for example. Was it a problem?
No. At the time I was doing a lot of karate competitions. In the run up to a big tournament I would stay off drink for 3 months beforehand.
When I wasn't in training I would drink as most relatively sporty 20 year olds do. I made the mistake of telling the stupid cow that I had been out the previous weekend and had 8 beers. This constitutes an alcohol problem apparently.
There are GPs who are alright out there, it just seems to me that they're few and far between. But then I could just be unlucky.
There are GPs who are alright out there, it just seems to me that they're few and far between.
I would agree with this. But we could widen that to say
There are people who are alright out there, it just seems to me that they're few and far between.
Bruce, on the medication front, I've been prescribed tablets for my CBT and they have made a huge difference, and I'm absolutely comfortable that I will be taking them (or something new) for the rest of my life.
It is true, some GPs are a disgrace. My mum has recently finally been diagnosed with Alzheimers. Her first GP visit the GP said she was fine, just normal signs of aging. My mum can't even get a single sentence out without using a completely wrong word, and she's educated to degree standard! Got a second opinion and put my foot down hard.
In contrast I'm lucky in that my GP (and indeed the whole surgery) is everything one could ask for and more, as were our local Mental Health services.
A late arrival to the thread. It's great too see people being open and supportive with each other.
I'm another one with the t-shirt, as is Mrs North. In fact, that's how i came to change names on here (to this one) several years ago: to get advice for her.
I found the pills useful and fairly mild, with CBT not being the answer, but definitely unlocking my ability to challenge the way I think. Or, more accurately, allowed me to return to considered thinking. I now pretty much do CBT to myself on a permanent basis - current reading is Steve Peters's Chimp Paradox.
Mrs North found pills less good - first lot (Seroxat) made her violently ill, which worsened her situation. Second set (Citalopram) was much better, and gave her the space to tackle her depression and burn out. Her CBT was, for her, life changing: her therapist did far more than CBT, using various other techniques, which effectively amounted to life coaching.
I know several people with mental health issues, from depression, through bipolar to full on psychosis. All are affected by ongoing stigma (though things have really improved IMO in the last few years).
I have contributed earlier in the thread but have had a recent relapse. Went back to my GP and she's put me back on Citalopram for a minimum of 2 years. She's also referred me to a therapist for CBT as she's concerned about my symptoms / behaviour.
I've been back on the Citalopram for a month now and am starting to feel the benefits. I can concentrate again abd am less anxious.
healing vibes to all.
A few thoughts for this thread:
1) SSRI's never cured it, they masked it. For me anyway, for others they help the curse to go into remission.
2) CBT never helped, I never felt that the other person (the shrink) I spoke to was truly interested.
3) Remembering the quote from M*A*S*H "Anger turned inward is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye." helped. One day I just woke up, looked in the mirror and kind of had an epiphany. The depression was a result of where I'd been and where I was right now, it's a natural reaction to something not being right. So firstly, I came to accept who I was and where I'd come from. Secondly, I purged everything out of my life that I didn't deem acceptable. People mostly, as soon as I stopped giving a **** it just kind of faded away. Time is healer, remove yourself from the situation physically and emotionally then revisit it a little bit at a time until your negative reaction to the situation becomes dulled - same principles apply to PTSD treatment.
It did make me a bit of a cold bastard though, funnily enough it corresponded to a letting go of fear in other aspects of my life as well including mountain biking. It's a game guys, try not to be too hard on yourselves.
Those are wise words thanks for sharing your experiences!
I am regrettably late to this thread and will read it throughly latter today. From what I have quickly scanned through I must commend you all for talking openly about it and getting the necessary help. Tomorrow I and two other close mates will be carrying our dear friend on his final journey after he silently battled with depression. The four of us were close and helped one and other through the good times and the bad. But Babs never told anyone and foolishly kept it to himself. I only wish we were made aware of his condition sooner. He was a life long cyclist and even now writing this I feel terribly sad that we won't be riding together again. Some of you in the Gloucester area maybe aware of his passing. Babs was one of the founder members of The Bigfoof club. Apologies for the slight ramble.
I can't remember if I have contributed to this thread before, but I have recurrent depression interspersed with periods of feeling fine. I had CBT several years ago, but I didn't warm to the person giving it and didn't think it would help, however a couple of years later I unexpectedly found myself using the CBT techniques I'd learned!
I'm actually feeling pretty awful at the moment. I suspect it could be partly a seasonal thing with me. I had dreadful pmt for 9 days followed by 3 days of severe migraine and it's left me completely drained and depressed. I'm off work today as my brain is all fogged up.
So firstly, I came to accept who I was and where I'd come from.
This. For me. It was the biggest help.
Sad story Marin No8, but I think public awareness is increasing, so hopefully 'talking about it' will become easier for many.
If it's any consolation vickypea, I'm having a fairly low period right now. Feelings of worthlessness and pointlessness, the continuing saga of trying to find paid employment, the ever present money worries, and the negative effect my low periods have on the household, and the bad atmosphere that results because of his. My partner should get a medal!
At least I do take some comfort from knowing others are fighting their own little battles too, so perhaps you can take some comfort from mine.
vicypea - seasonal thing striking a chord with me too
this thread very useful - the insular horridly dark thought processing very familiar currently. I have tried pills and CBT but it comes back
think sometimes you have to get used to the fact that cyclical brain mentalness is what you have been granted
Well things have taken a bad turn, a u-turn almost. Last night I decided that it time to stay with my parents for a few days whilst I try and gather my thoughts on my relationship with my partner. It came about because I faced a couple of fears. She wants to buy a house, get married, and start a family with the next couple of years. Whilst I believe those things may happen to me with her, I cannot guarantee that I can any of those things in that time frame with my current state of mind. She can't hang around any longer, and I don't blame her. I explained how I felt and I believe this is the beginning of the end unless something exceptional happens very soon.
The hardest thing in the world is letting someone go because you can't give them what they want. I know I'm a failure, and this is just nailing it to the wall.
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