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I need some advice on dealing with my illness.

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Hi to anybody kind enough to read this. I do not post on these forums often but have found in the past that people here have given great advice when I have needed it.


I have been diagnosed with depression. I think it is mild. I was prescribed a low dosage of anti-depressants and the doctor said I should be ok within six months or so. This is all great news for me, I want to get better. However, I have a few worries:


I haven't told my family about this. I am 23 years old and still live at home with my parents and my brothers. I am terrified to tell my mum and dad because they are people who are very much of the mindset that if you're depressed you're just feeling sorry for yourself. I know for sure that if I were to tell them, they would dismiss it. They would probably tell me to get a grip and stop being so dramatic, or something to that effect. They see me as a dramatic, overly emotional person which is why they just simply would not believe me.


I haven't started to take my medication yet. I am very frightened that my mind will be altered by it and I might fall into a false sense of happiness and contentment. I have a very over-active mind, I dwell and worry constantly and I feel that if I begin to take the medication that my mind will be out of my control. I do want to get better but I suppose I am just hoping that I will start to feel better and not need to take the meds. It has been a month now since they were prescribed to me and I have not been feeling any better. I know I am fooling myself that I might just get better because, in fact, I have been feeling worse.


What should I do? Should I tell my family? Or should I just take the medication and get myself better and they will never have to know. I know this is all a bit silly but this is really hard to go through on my own. I feel like I need to talk with someone I trust about it. I have stopped enjoying the good things in life like socializing and relaxing and I feel even worse when I'm around happy people. To friends and acquaintances I'm just my normal self, I'm outgoing and friendly and I can put on a happy exterior when it is needed like at social gatherings or family get-togethers (although in the past couple of weeks I have started to feel overwhelmed when in company and I make my excuses and go home). I am good at keeping it to myself and that is exactly my problem. I need to talk about it.


I know that this is a very common illness so I'm hoping somebody will be able to advise me on the best thing to do. Thanks.



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1. We are all different. You are not your Mother, your Father ect. Even if you are emotional or more so than they, they still love you even if you are dramatic.


2. You seem to be ruled by fear of the unknown. You have to have courage to face things you cannot control.


3. Rather than taking medication, perhaps you could try something else that would make you feel good. I did Yoga and went swimming and for a steam or sauna.


What is really bothering you?.... none of this stuff... what is it really? No one here knows you... you can say it! It could be you are frightened of being alone, of being unsuccessful, of having HIV, of going to college etc.


Your type of depression is often reactional and if you can work out what it is and tackle it, you might rest easier.


Also, I do believe that diet has a lot to do with our mental state and junk food or convenience food has a lot to answer for.

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You were prescribed those meds for a reason, and your doc must think it'll pull you out of your slump.

I took AD meds for a long time and they were a useful tool to get back to a decent life, but in time I learned more about ways to beat depression on my own and stopped the meds. The side-effects weren't too bad, but after almost 9 years they seemed to affect me more. I felt a bit sluggish and lacked clarity.


If I were you, I'd keep it to myself and try the meds, while reading up on non-drug methods to cope with what may be a short or longterm condition. Explaining depression to critics is ...depressing.

In time you'll probably meet others who are strugglng or have coped with this misery, and they may help you.


Depression is a personal journey that can be dealt with. You'll receive lots of advice from well-meaning people, often involving exercise, yoga, religion, meds, no meds, cognitive therapy, self-help books, diet or other methods. We all have to find our own path.

I wish you luck, Immy.

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Hi Survictor,


Thank you for your reply.


You are right, I am ruled by fear. These problems that I posted about are really just silly little fears secondary to the root of my depression which is complicated and a bit blurry.


I have tried yoga and going for massages etc and you are right, they do help. Relaxation is important. However, I mentioned my overactive mind in my previous post and I find that while yoga and relaxation techniques are beneficial in the short term in helping me to feel calm, I can never quite switch off from the 'darkness' I feel. I would definitely much rather try to beat this without meds. I like to exercise so I do that as much as possible and will continue to do that whether I decide to take my meds or not.


What is really bothering me? It's a bit of a long-winded story with not much point to it but the short version of it is that I have been feeling like this for about two years now. I remember exactly when it began and I remember being baffled by it because there was no obvious reason for it and I had lots of positive things going on in my life. I learned to deal with it and it was manageable but it has just gotten worse in the past six months because of some huge shifts that have happened in my life, shifts that have made me terrified of the future and of where my life is going. So yes, it is probably reactional to some degree and that is what gives me hope of just 'getting over it' so to speak.


You are right about junk food too, it's lethal! I must admit that I do comfort eat now and again and all those carbs and fatty foods are probably bringing me down.

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Hi Dako,


Thank you for your kind wishes. You have been through such a great deal more than I have and alot of what you said really hit home.


While I'd love to be tough enough to just do it without the meds, I am starting to think that it might really help me to take them. If I try to combine them with my own coping mechanisms I think I could be ok.


I can keep it to myself while I'm taking them because, as you say, explaining depression is depressing. It's really difficult to get people to understand such a misunderstood illness. Especially people like my parents who are old-fashioned and 'hard-as-nails' type folks.


I hope I really am on a path to self-discovery because right now I feel stuck in slow-motion, not moving forwards or backwards, just existing in this darkened state. I hope that my life will begin to change for the better once I figure out where to take it.


Thanks again, I'm really grateful to anybody who offers advice, I haven't really spoken about this before besides with the doc.

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Hi Immy, (what a cute name)


Oh wow. I really feel for you. I agree with Dako 100%. There's lots of us who have been down that road, or are still struggling, and have tried all sorts of things. While we want to offer what has worked/not worked for us and our opinions, it really comes down to what is best for you. And you must try things and decide for yourself.


Totally understand the fear of meds. The worrying, the mind that seems out of control, the not enjoying anything anymore, the folks/friends/people in general with oh-so-much to say about depression - it is depressing.


I'll share a bit and you can take what is relevant to you and what isn't.

I've been struggling with depression for many years. The number is in the double digits.

With fear of meds and even admitting I was having a problem (I was afraid of hearing the old 'you're tough. you don't need drugs. you don't need help. just pick up your pants!) - I didn't even seek proper treatment and say outloud "I am depressed" until this year.


In this short time, I have gone from having days where I couldn't even get out of bed, and had thoughts of suicide, to having hope. Such a huge difference!

All this time...and I really did have a chance to get better. Instead, I tried to do it alone and my way and got worse and worse.


If you are at a point where you can catch this early - while it is mild, and your mind is still able to grasp that you need help and that speaking about it is helpful - perhaps the meds will help you.

Enough to stop you from going down deeper, and enough so you can tackle this with a reasonably clear mind and hope.


Talking is helping me. I now see a very good pyschiatrist and it has changed my world.

For the first time in my life, I can see the value of medication. It isn't a cure or a quick fix - it is method of preventing falling deeper into the 'i don't care' and being functional enough to tackle the issues head-on and with energy.


I wish you well, and that you can nip this while it is early. You should be proud of yourself for going to see that doctor when you did. That was smart.


lots of love, grandy

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Hey grandy,


Your post helped me so much. I read it a few hours ago and then had to go do some stuff but I have been thinking about it and it has given me alot of perspective.


You say your illness went into the double digits without being confronted. That must have been such a hard thing for you to do after all that time but man, what a relief, I bet. You have hope now. And that gives me hope. Because you're right, I have caught it early and I'm lucky that I went to the doc when I did. Two years is not such a long time to have been dealing with this and I hope that I can try the meds and see how that goes before I start to feel any worse. Cause I'm feeling worse by the day these days so I think even taking the step towards taking the meds is a sign that I want to beat this. Even if the medication was a placebo, some good is still being done by my desire to get better.


God, it's hard though. Right now it's almost midnight where I am and I don't want to go to sleep because I know when I wake up it will be tomorrow and I don't want to face tomorrow. It's a struggle. And I'll have to speak to people and put on a polite and friendly manner and speak about things that are not really important to me. But that's what happens to everybody everyday,right? We all do things we don't want to do. I just wish I wasn't pretending such a high percentage of the time.


Anyways, I'm rambling now, oops! Grandy, thanks again for sharing. I really hope things are good for you now, you sound very optimistic.


ps. I like your screen name too, 'itsallgrand' sounds like an Irish phrase that we use all the time-we say 'it's grand' for everything to mean it's fine or it's ok...but you probably know that! I think it's nice.

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First off, good on you for recognizing the problem and seeking help for it. Like your title says, it is an illness - but it isn't an easy one to deal with.




While I'd love to be tough enough to just do it without the meds, I am starting to think that it might really help me to take them. If I try to combine them with my own coping mechanisms I think I could be ok.



By seeing someone and getting the problem addressed, you have already proved to be strong. Just because you are taking meds doesn't mean you are taking the easy way our! Taking medication for a problem like this is sometimes the harder route to go.


As a person who is on medications for mental illnesses (and will be for the rest of my life), I agree with Dako. These medications were given to you for a reason. Now, I can't tell you how they will affect you, but I can say that I had the same fears and concerns before I started my treatment. What will people say? Are they going to control me? Are they going to make me numb? etc etc. Personally, they have been a life saver and they have given me control over my life. But it is a personal choice in the end. What matters is that you find a way that helps you deal with your illness.


So on that note, I wish you luck on your journey. From experience I know that it isn't an easy one.

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Hey Immy,


I was prescribed my anti-depressants about 2 weeks ago. It doesn't drastically change your mind-set... To be honest, I don't see a difference, because I'm still depressed...so it takes time. My dosage is pretty strong too. It has a lot of bad side effects like drowsiness, loss of appetite, dry mouth etc. Good weight loss strategy!!! Hehe, just joking... I don't want fake happiness either, but the pills won't help if you don't help yourself too.


I would consider telling your family. Who knows how they will react? Maybe they will be supportive. You never know.

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Hi Immy,


I hope you are doing better. I just recently found this site while looking for info. I must say that you are a brave soul to not only realize your dilemma, but to take the necessary steps to deal with it. I saw that in one of the previous threads, the writer talked about therapy being helpful and I must whole-heartedly agree with that. Too many times people are prescribed medication by MDs who are inexperienced or have little-to-no connections/network with other MDs or practioners in the field of expertise, in this case, a psychiatrist/psychologist, and the thought that the medication will 'Do-It-All' does a diservice to the patient. Therapy, or the 'talking about what is happening in your life', is helpful in understanding those 'yuck' feelings you are experiencing, and putting them in a better perspective... medication helps by filling in the gaps of your brain's chemical make-up, rather like balancing those chemicals that provoke emotions when we are faced with stressful events (yes, even pleasurable events can be as stressful as unpleasurable ones) Please believe me when I say that it's not a Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde change that takes place with medication. Meds will not alter the 'Real You' one bit. The best example I can give you about medication and therapy is this:


Say you like sports... baseball. You've always wanted to learn and play the game, but couldn't see the ball very clearly when it was thrown. One day you say to yourself, "I can't see, maybe I need glasses so I can play baseball better. So you go to the eye doctor and he prescribes glasses for you to see better... mind you, with new glasses there is a period of time for your eyes to adjust. They will, but that doesn't change the way you feel about the game, just makes you more enthusiastic to play! So now,... stepping up to the plate, with the first pitch thrown... SWING!... you hit the ball foul... next pitch, SWING!, foul again, next pitch, same thing... and on it goes, swinging and not connecting for that real good hit. Pretty frustrating! You say to yourself, "I thought glasses would help me play better, but I keep missing and not connecting for a real good hit!" That's when someone suggests you get some coaching. A good batting coach will listen to your frustrations, then help you make changes in the way you stand at the plate, hold your bat, swing at the ball, even recognize when the pitcher throws a curve, slider, fast-ball, etc. With practice, and better vision, you finally get to where you DO hit the ball where you want, and with some 'oomph' and distance! Who knows... the big leagues could be calling some day!...


If you understand my poor but respectable anectdotal comparison of baseball to meds/therapy, I hope it gives you a better concept of the value both have in enhancing your life. Good luck, Immy... Find the therapist that you feel you can relate to, don't accept anyone's 'shingle' (shingle - the sign of business hanging over the door)



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By seeing someone and getting the problem addressed, you have already proved to be strong. Just because you are taking meds doesn't mean you are taking the easy way our! Taking medication for a problem like this is sometimes the harder route to go.


Hi Rikka, thanks for your insights. I really value your opinion because just last night I was reading through some of the Journals on this site and I found yours. I was intrigued by it and I admire how you deal with your illness. You are practical and logical about it and you have a great attitude towards your meds and treatment. Obviosuly, I really value everyone's input into this thread, every single little ounce of advice helps me in ways you all cannot even imagine (well, you probably can!). Even just to talk (or type) about this is so liberating.


I took my first pill this morning. I feel a little nauseous and don't feel hungry (which is unusual cause I have such a big appetite) but I'm taking that as a sign that it's getting to work. Feels a little bit like some of the side effects you described, AngelEyez. I'm sure the side-effects will ease after a few weeks. Also, my doc told me that it could take up to month before I start feeling any better so if you've been taking them two weeks you're well on your way. Best of luck sweetie.


EastIcon, I just loved you metaphor, thanks! That really took alot of thought and I'm very grateful for the advice. I see your point about therapy and talking things over, perhaps meds alone don't do the trick.


The support in these forums is invaluable to me, thanks so much everyone.



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Hi again Immy!


You are right, sometimes talking/writing to others can be a BIG help. I might suggest that you start to journal, it can be very helpful.


There are a lot of people who can empathize with you here. It is a great community for support. So remember we are all here for you when you need us. good luck and take care.

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