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Maybe I don't understand depression

The 20 year old son of friends of my sister killed himself a few days ago. It was horrific. He had been missing for 24 hours. The mother, on a gut feeling, checked his room one more time to see if there were any clues as to his whereabouts. She got a funny feeling and opened the closet door. There he was, hanging.

He was a handsome, friendly, charming, athletic young man who had lots of friends. But apparently he had been struggling with depression for most of his teenage years. He was on medication. He had been severely depressed the last few months. At a recent family wedding my niece said that he just sat by himself apart from everyone with his head down. He seems to have been drinking a lot lately as well.

His family is devasted. My sister rushed over to care for them for a few days and said she could hardly bear to see their grief. Screaming and sobbing and total despair.

I can only assume he was so severely depressed that he couldn't think through what killing himself would do to his family. Is that how it works? You can only think about and feel your own pain? Nothing else matters?

I have to say that suicide is the most selfish and cruel thing a person can do. They end their own pain but they completely destroy those they leave behind.

by Anonymousreply 13311/09/2012

I see your point about suicide being selfish but no, you do not understand depression.

What matters to a person who is severely depressed? NOTHING. That's it.

by Anonymousreply 111/08/2012

OP, often they see themselves as a burden to their loved ones and feel that offing themselves is the best solution.

by Anonymousreply 311/08/2012

I'm not sure selfish is the right description. It's often much more complicated than that. Depression is often so debilitating and all consuming that the outside world is barely real or recognisable.

I sat with a loved one who died once- the life drained out of her eyes, and there she was, but she wasn't her any longer, just a dead body. Depression at its worst does that to the world around you.

However, I am not dismissing how your friend must be feeling. I can't imagine how horrific their life must be right now.

by Anonymousreply 411/08/2012

Its not a rational choice. The idea is often like a compulsion that cannot be dismissed. Its an OCD like thought that takes hold and if no one is around to prevent it, people act on the compulsion.

My 30 year old nephew did the same when he was alone for a few hours and we didn't know he was at risk just then though he had been depressed for several years. He was bipolar and maybe this young man really was also. Its a high risk with that diagnosis.

Its very hard for the family and my nephew left behind a 10 year old son which I thought he would never do.

by Anonymousreply 511/08/2012

OP, I understand your thinking. I have suffered from depression for the past 4 years (at least that's when diagnosed.) Im not remotedly suicidal-feeling, interestingly enough, but I try to understand how people can become thus. I think (just from reading abou different cases) a lot of them the person who commits suicide DOES think about family members and is convinced they would be better off without him.

Sometimes that's a (quite probably unwarranted feeling of shame. For example, in the small city (30,000) near me, a nurse - 40ish, 4 (!) kids, married - developed a prescription drug habit (opiates, I heard), was arrested, on bail, and last 4th of July, killed himself (not sure how.) Obit mentioned contribs could be made to either some organiation that's like Al-Anon for suicide victims' families or to college funds for his kids.

I felt SO bad to see this obit. Ive been in that hospital twice but of course no one could/would tell me details, but I can't help but think the arrest (and probable job loss) might have played a part.

And there's always been - still is? does anyone know? a certain amount of hara-kiri (sp?) committed by Japanese students if they feel that they "bring shame" on their family by not getting super-good grades or into the top schools or something (can't remember exactly, sorry.)

On the other hand, I bet there are at least some suicides that might be motivated by, "I'll show THEM!", perhaps.

But probably the best answer is the poster above who said, when someone is depressed (the sad thing is): they (often) feel NOTHING.

I'm so sorry for your friend's family; such a loss is devasting. Depending on how urban an area they live in? there hopefully might be support groups.

by Anonymousreply 611/08/2012

Thank you for the responses so far. I really am trying to understand this.

They live in a city with a population of 1 million plus. They parents are well-educated professionals and the mother is a school teacher. Once they can think clearly again I'm certain they'll all be in therapy.

They have another son, and 16 year old, who is also prone to depression. This won't be doing him much good I imagine.

by Anonymousreply 811/08/2012

I've tried to kill myself, and, chances are, I'll probably try it again with a better plan! When I tried it the first time did I think about how it would hurt my friends and family? Yes, of course I did, but it didn't matter to me. I just didn't want to live anymore, and I wouldn't exactly call it selfish, but how it affected other people really didn't matter. Why should I live for someone else? Why should I not do something I want to do because it might hurt someone else? Ok, maybe it is selfish, but are we supposed to refrain from what will give us release because someone else might be hurt by it. I didn't think so, and still don't. I just hope my family and friends will get professional help and/or take anti depressants. I know i will hurt them, but it's not going to keep me here.

by Anonymousreply 911/08/2012

You literally believe to the core that they will be better off without you. Not rational as someone above said. Such a sad story.

by Anonymousreply 1011/08/2012

Many people talk about the "pain" of depression. This pain is not just mental. It can also be a sort of physical pain. And when it's physical like that, you just want to get away from it--just like with any other pain. I've felt that pain at least 3 times in my life for a day or so each time. Mostly I just have mild to moderate depression. But trust me, when that pain sets in, I cannot imagine living with it every day for months or years. I'm fortunate that a light dose of an anti depressant keeps mine in check. And thank goodness.

And yes, I blame a lot of my depression and anxiety on being raised in an anti gay environment. But, years of therapy and anti depression meds allow me a life with laughter and lots of success.

by Anonymousreply 1111/08/2012

Yes, that's a good point to raise, R11.

Severe depression is a physical pain, or as intense as a physical pain. In at least my case, it was minute-by-minute torture, and killing yourself seems like the only way to get relief.

It is the ultimate irrational act: Humans are supposed to fight to keep themselves alive at all costs.

This link helped pull me back from the brink a few times. It might help you understand what is going through a suicidal person's mind, OP.

by Anonymousreply 1211/08/2012

OP depression is an illness. Having it -- as I do, and so do millions of others at varying degrees of intensity -- is not shameful. But it is a condition that modern medicine does not understand. So there's no reason why you should be able to. Your friend's boy was sick, and when you're sick, you don't make smart decisions. There have been plenty of times when I have thought about killing myself, when the pain of the depression is so intense I don't think I can take it any more. In fact, I would be surprised if some day I do kill myself. But if I do, it's because my illness became too overwhelming to control, just as cancer cells overwhelm the physical body. There's no understanding it. There's just the fact it exists, and it can drive some people crazy, or to drink, or to drugs, or to suicide.

by Anonymousreply 1311/08/2012

OP, his family didn't keep him from being depressed so why should he go on living for them?

He was clearly miserable, and I find it hard to believe his family wasn't aware of it. They may have chosen to downplay the extent of his depression as families tend to do, thinking he would eventually get over it. That didn't save his life, did it?

When his family weren't able (or willing) to save him, it's irrational to think he should have gone on living because that would make them happy.

by Anonymousreply 1411/08/2012

Don't be an ass, R14. Of course they were aware of it. They got him to a shrink when he was still a kid and on the meds.

But they can't force him to get better or to "save him" as you put it. As another posted pointed out depression is an illness. You can't save your loved ones from cancer any more than you can save them from depression.

Having said that I'm sure they're blaming themselves for not saving him right now.

by Anonymousreply 1511/08/2012

OP, depression for me is an emptiness. There is no energy left for emotion or enthusiasm. Being alive seems pointless. You get nothing from it. Not even sadness. Just nothing. Black, empty nothing. You have no energy to achieve anything and no desire to either. What keeps me alive is a knowledge that my family will be hurt and a knowing that it doesn't last. I don't feel these things but I do know them if that makes sense. One day about five years or six years ago my partner was about to admit me onto the psychiatric ward. I stepped out of the car and walked straight into fast moving traffic. I didn't see a reason to stay alive for anyone at that point I suppose. It's quite blurry. My partner grabbed me and hauled me back in time. 80% of the time I am glad he did but the rest of the time I wonder. It is a selfish illness but there's no way of stopping it.

by Anonymousreply 1611/08/2012

OP at R15, if you can't blame them for not saving them, then you can't blame him for not going on living for them. It's two sides of the same coin.

We accept people dying from cancer, for instance. The reality is that depression can be just as fatal as cancer.

by Anonymousreply 1711/08/2012

Could be the drugs worsened his depression. Teen suicides seem to go up with antidepressant use.

by Anonymousreply 1811/08/2012

OP - I have bipolar disorder. When I was initially sick with depression, I got to a point of almost being unable to speak. In my mind, all I could think of was killing myself. I was obsessed with death and unable to think of how it would affect my loved ones. Fortunately, I am properly medicated now and have a fairly normal life.

However, my father went through a severe depression and committed suicide. Due to my own experiences, I've never been angry with him about the suicide. I just feel awful that he didn't get the help he needed.

What makes me angry is the stigma around mental illness. It keeps people from getting help and it also keeps people from sharing their own experiences with others. Very few people know about my bipolar disorder and I feel like I have to stay in the closet about it. It would be helpful that people who are suffering could reach out and get the kind of support that people with socially acceptable illnesses get.

Anyway, there's been a lot of good responses on this thread and I hope they helped you get some perspective on the situation.

by Anonymousreply 2011/08/2012

There is a period of time when someone starts taking depression meds when they are particularly vulnerable to suicide - particularly younger patients. Seems illogical that the meds that should help can actually exacerbate the situation.

by Anonymousreply 2111/08/2012

Maybe it was auto sexual asphyxiation where the victim cuts off his breathing purposefully in order to feel sexual excitement while masturbating.

A rash of deaths (mostly in past years) have been caused by this.

The victim doesn't mean to kill himself - he just wants sexual enhancement.

by Anonymousreply 2211/08/2012

Just guessing Ciaran, but I suspect it has to do with one's own rational thought returning and leading to harsh self-judgment, coupled with a greater ability to make decisions and act no one's impulses, however wrong the impulses may be.

It's one of the thoughts that comes to mind when I think of my late brother. In his deepest depression, he wasn't capable of much, let alone acting on suicidal impulses.

by Anonymousreply 2311/08/2012

My best friend suffers from clinical depression, and there are a lot of excellent answers here which cover much of what she's told me about how she feels when she's in a bad way. (She's doing relatively well at the moment, thank God, and all her friends and family do whatever they can to support that.)

Anyway, the things that most stuck out to me when she's talked about her illness were how she's described the utter emptiness and total hopelessness, that can become so bad they are physically painful. Also, the huge shame, when, to be clear, she has absolutely nothing to feel shame for. I find it incredible and admirable beyond words that she's carried on at times in a state of such pain at living I don't know how I would stand it.

As others have described above, it's a disease. It's not like feeling really, really sad; it's emptiness and hopelessness beyond what is endurable.

by Anonymousreply 2411/08/2012

It probably wasn't depression, it was probably a more severe mental illness. I think depression is over diagnosed and other forms of mental illness are under diagnosed. He might have been struggling with the first symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis. But it's more acceptable to say he was "depressed," even though sitting off by yourself with your head down at a wedding is a symptom of more than depression.

by Anonymousreply 2511/08/2012

[quote]As others have described above, it's a disease. It's not like feeling really, really sad; it's emptiness and hopelessness beyond what is endurable.

Thank you R24

Depression can destroy everything in your life. It can eat away at you, make everything you love completely dead to you. Strip away love and meaning in life. Like the mental and spiritual equivalent of being skinned alive.

by Anonymousreply 2611/08/2012

[quote] But it's more acceptable to say he was "depressed,"

I tend to disagree with that R25. Too often I've seen people suggest the depressed individual should just somehow snap out of it, or try harder, even to some degree among healthcare professionals. No one says that to a schizophrenic.

part of the problem is that we throw the word around without knowing what it really means. often we'll hear a healthy person say they're feeling depressed, and they'll alleviate it by going shopping or exercising or something. I don't know that i've ever heard anyone say they're feeling a little schizophrenic, and then attempt to cure it by using their credit card.

by Anonymousreply 2711/08/2012

OP there are a few points I'll make. For some people, they kill themselves without thinking or planning it until that very moment, and don't think of or care about the consequences. For others, they have been teetering back and forth for months or even years, and just came to the conclusion that it was their right to end their life because they don't see their life getting any better, even if it means bringing pain on loved ones. Another case would be people who either don't feel as if anyone loves them (whether or not it's true) or who want to "get revenge" on 1 or more loved ones for previous pain by bringing permanent pain upon them.

While I can see why it's selfish to kill yourself, isn't it also selfish of family and friends to want someone to keep on living, even if that person is in pain? Yes of course the hope is that the person will get better some day and will no longer be depressed or suicidal, but for some people, they feel like they either made some monumental mistake that cannot be corrected, or they're sick of trying to get better with no results.

It's a very difficult subject for sure. I can understand the feelings of both the person who commits suicide and also that of the grieving family and friends.

by Anonymousreply 2811/08/2012

R23's post is spot on.

by Anonymousreply 2911/08/2012

This post from Rob Delaney explains the thought process of (some) suicidal people pretty well.

by Anonymousreply 3011/08/2012

[quote]It's not a rational choice.


After a while, there is a tipping point, where your life objectively is not going to get better because of various complicating factors around your mental health.

It's often a case of genuine mental health issues coupled with lack of treatment over time, loved ones' reactions and lack of societal support.

The key of course, is to be lucid enough to think through the situation and make the appropriate decision.

The great Doug Stanhope on suicide:

by Anonymousreply 3111/08/2012

OP, I can totally sympathise with the family who are going through this awful situation. Of course they will blame themselves whilst having to defend their beloved son against accusations of selfishness, immoral behaviour etc. I hope you can find a way to help them through this, no matter what your own POV is.

In my experience, depression doesn't allow the sufferer much opportunity for empathetic reflection - it cuts people off from their emotions and makes them feel like they are a burden on their family & friends. That's often why self-harm/suicide is such a shock - they can't or won't confide just how much pain they are in because they don't feel they are worthy of 'saving'.

I'm grateful I'm not wired that way but I guess it's just luck of the draw in many respects.

by Anonymousreply 3211/08/2012

[quote]I'm grateful I'm not wired that way but I guess it's just luck of the draw in many respects.

R32, in case no one has ever told you, you're a smug bitch. You sound like Ann Romney.

by Anonymousreply 3311/08/2012

I understand it very much OP, but I'm at a loss to explain it. Very sorry for his death, I truly am. People with severe emotional problems feel like nobody will ever understand their pain, or relieve them of it. He probably felt cut off for YEARS.

by Anonymousreply 3411/08/2012

R6, Japanese shame is VERY different. It's about outer circumstances and appearances, SAVING FACE! Oh, I wasn't super successful and the best team player! That's Japanese shame.

by Anonymousreply 3511/08/2012

R33 No, no-one has ever told me I'm smug for expressing gratitude for my life. I guess that's what makes DL posters such as yourself SO special. I have nothing in common with Ann Romney and never will do.

I haven't shared my personal experiences of depession and suicide among people I'm close to on this thread, but feel free to take another pop at me based on your oh-so-insightful snap judgement. My snap judgement: you're a f*ckwit!

by Anonymousreply 3611/08/2012

Empathy is not coming into a thread where people are talking about depression and making sure we all know how lucky you are to have been spared. If that's not smug, I don't know what is.

by Anonymousreply 3711/08/2012

Agreed, R37.

by Anonymousreply 3811/08/2012

R25 is an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 3911/08/2012

Depression is probably the loneliest, most isolated place a person can be. If they take their life, they aren't even capable of recalling other people will care or be affected.

by Anonymousreply 4011/08/2012

I really don't understand why depression is supposed to be so bad. You're sad, we get it.

by Anonymousreply 4111/08/2012

It's beyond sad. Whatever it feels like to the individual, it saturates you.

by Anonymousreply 4211/08/2012

Anyone who says "We get it, you get sad" deserves a full-blown bout of clinical depression--without even access to any meds. Jerk.

by Anonymousreply 4311/08/2012

Explain it for us, R43. Get your meds that you are probably avoiding.

"I had a bad day!"

by Anonymousreply 4411/08/2012

Severe depression can last for DECADES.

by Anonymousreply 4611/08/2012

Agreed R37 (&R38)- you don't know what smug is.

I'm grateful not to have suffered depression in anything other than a mild form and I empathise with the OP because I've supported family members and friends through it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, let alone experiencing losing loved ones to suicide (as I've also done).

I don't know why you think I should seek your permission/forgiveness for counting my blessings. Maybe if you tried it you wouldn't be so hateful and smug yourself?

OP: your sister's friend's son was selfish in some respects but, as many on here have pointed out, depression doesn't take others into account and he was probably in such a state that suicide seemed like it was actually helping rid his family of a burden. I hope you can help support them if required.

by Anonymousreply 4711/08/2012

There is a HUGE difference between sadness and severe depression. The latter means that things are going very well in your life, you have whatever you think that you want, and you're still totally miserable. Yes I've known people who have fought suicide and they said it took them a long time before they even felt like getting out of bed for an entire day. They all spent decades searching for a decent therapist. The very long journey of experimenting with meds, most doses making them totally unable to function, was barely tolerable as well. Perhaps your friend's son had learned how to put on a brave, happy face, although it made him feel even more empty inside. Or it could be he was just in a manic phase, when others thought that he was doing so much better. I don't blame his family, and I'm very sympathetic to their tremendous grief. It will sadly be many years before those that are truly depressed don't endure constant, well-intended but perceived as insults, like "Everyone feels sad sometimes, can't you just deal with it?" Or, "Why don't you go for a walk, or try exercising?" Totally clueless idiots.

by Anonymousreply 4811/08/2012

Totally agree, R48. Exercise! Go out! Just have fun! Lighten up!

by Anonymousreply 4911/08/2012

I am convinced that the meds will push many people over the edge. They are KILLING people.

by Anonymousreply 5011/08/2012

It's also smug to presume that another person couldn't possibly know what 'real' depression is like. Some people are better at concealing than others. Some people have an idea of themselves as a 'sufferer' more than others. Some people are able to get up and soldier on better than others. No one of us can get inside another to know what it's like for someone else. Words and communicating and empathy are the best we can do.

One of the most destructive and seductive aspects of depression is that it convinces you that you're one of "those people" who have a 'chemical imbalance' and just needs to take medication for the rest of your life. It makes it that much harder to detach your ego from the soul-sucking power of depression when you think the depressed you is your real, authentic state. It's not.

by Anonymousreply 5111/08/2012

Get a cat and simmer down.

by Anonymousreply 5311/08/2012

Depression is misunderstood. We all know that, well, those of us who matter on this thread know that.

My brother ended his life over ten years ago. He lived a life of peaks and valleys, and no, he was not bipolar. His peaks were handling Thanksgiving or Christmas, and contributing. He was a very intelligent man and a great cook. He was a great brother.

I hated him for so long when he killed himself. I think I understand him now. The problem was, his own wisdom about, his own condition, made me love him even more. It took years for me to forgive him, forgive him - he`s dead - He jumped off a bridge

by Anonymousreply 5411/08/2012

Depressed people are extremely egocentric. Not selfish but egocentric. They can't think outside of themselves and their debilitating pain and suffering. The parent's couldn't do more than be supportive and get their child help.

It's really sad when anyone takes their life but we don't know what this kid was going through. We could imagine b/c whatever he was experiencing made him feel he would be better off dead or not feeling anything.

It's normal for family members to feel it's a "selfish choice". Doesn't make family unempathic just that it's normal to rage against something when one hurts. In this case the family is in pain because they lost someone they loved and couldn't 'save' them (not that you can save anyone bent on self destruction).

And yeah, some of these meds are jacked up. It can make people feel even worse.

by Anonymousreply 5511/08/2012

[quote]I have to say that suicide is the most selfish and cruel thing a person can do. They end their own pain but they completely destroy those they leave behind.

Sorry, but no. It's selfish to think that one should endure pain just to spare your feelings.

by Anonymousreply 5611/08/2012

r52, when did you get your medical degree?

by Anonymousreply 5711/08/2012

[quote]It probably wasn't depression, it was probably a more severe mental illness.

Depression IS a mental illness. Man, DL is full of morons.

by Anonymousreply 5811/08/2012

I'm so sorry, R54. How old was he and how long do you think he'd had issues in his life? From my experience, it tends to go back much further than most people on the outside would guess.

by Anonymousreply 5911/08/2012

Mental illness is at times, a terminal illness. People don't seem to understand that. It's like any other terminal illness, sometimes it can't be treated successfully.

by Anonymousreply 6011/08/2012

He was only 20, it's possible that he was schizophrenic, was wise enough to know he ended it. How many people actually have the courage to live as a schizophrenic? Seems like hell on earth, to me.

by Anonymousreply 6111/08/2012

A little over a year ago, I checked myself into the psychiatric ward because I kept on having recurrent ideas of wanting to kill myself. After a year of therapy, I am doing a hell of a lot better. Now being removed from the dark parts of my past, I can't re-imagine the thoughts I had. It's as if I have never had suicidal thoughts before.

My therapist recently told me I suffer from major depressive disorder (and at 23 y/o, I'm just finding out that I have ADD). Basically that means that I go through periods where I experience severe depression. I guess the point of what I'm trying to say is that depression can turn you into another person. You are trapped into another mind with no way of knowing how to get out.

A person once said that living with {mental illness}is like having a nightmare while you're awake.

by Anonymousreply 6211/08/2012

R62, that's how I always feel. Like I'm in a nightmare that I can't get out of.

by Anonymousreply 6311/08/2012

America's voters have blood on their hands.

by Anonymousreply 6411/08/2012

I'm sure a suicide considers the pain of others but the fact is, their pain is so great, they need to end it. If a person suceeds, it's because they were suffering...

by Anonymousreply 6511/08/2012

True, R60. That's why I said earlier in this thread that depression can be fatal. I wish I had better language for how it feels to live inside depression but it's impossible for me to describe.

I don't think I ever said I was sad because it was so much more than sad could ever be. It's closer to abject and total hopelessness with no way out. I felt trapped, like I was living inside a cocoon of constant unremitting grayness.

Maybe the concept of limbo comes close but it was more claustrophobic than that.

by Anonymousreply 6611/08/2012

Here's a common thought for me that tells me when I need to tweak my meds: Why should I leave the house? I've already seen what's out there.

Hope that helps.

by Anonymousreply 6711/08/2012

Blaming a person with depression for committing suicide is like blaming a person who is eaten up with cancer for dying. It's the same lack of reality.

by Anonymousreply 6811/08/2012

[quote]... if you can't blame them for not saving them, then you can't blame him for not going on living for them. It's two sides of the same coin.

Nobody should blame anyone for anything. He was ill & his illness caused his death. There's no reason to blame him for being ill & there's no reason to blame his family for not finding a way to cure his illness. Blame is a mean response & helps no one. Just be kind to the survivors & offer them as much comfort as you can for as long as they need it (which could be forever).

by Anonymousreply 6911/08/2012

Perhaps you should direct your remarks to OP, R69.

by Anonymousreply 7011/08/2012

r57, you don't need a medical degree to see what the pharma companies are doing to the DSM in order to peddle their crap.

The doctor who oversaw the committee writing a previous revision and numerous mental health professionals have spoken out against the practice of loosening diagnostic standards and how it impacts those who are seriously ill.

There are many books by reputable authors and professionals on the subject.

Personally, I've spoken to several related professionals over the years: psychologists, psychiatrists, and Special Ed teachers and aides who have the same conclusion.

The workers on the front lines are so hog-tied and frustrated with the lack of appropriate care for the serious cases. It is a large factor in career burnout.

by Anonymousreply 7111/08/2012

Are there certain personality type more prone to depression?

by Anonymousreply 7211/08/2012

Also, is there much crossover with other problems?

by Anonymousreply 7311/08/2012

[quote][R57], you don't need a medical degree to see what the pharma companies are doing to the DSM in order to peddle their crap.

I totally agree.

by Anonymousreply 7411/08/2012

r69, I disagree with the word blame, but I don't see why you think it was just the illness that actually drove him to suicide.

From the OP's post there's no way to know definitively; too many details are missing.

It's not a matter of pointing fingers at people, but it's about trying to understand what happened to prevent it or let people who are considering suicide learn from it. (Not that anyone involved is obliged, although it might help them deal with it for their own comfort, sanity, etc.)

by Anonymousreply 7511/08/2012

r71 is right. To be frank, it's cheaper and more profitable to give people a pill than to provide them with adequate therapy.

Excuse the shameless self-promotion, but I blogged about this a few weeks back. Long story short, psychiatrists were purposely misdiagnosing poor problem children so they can be better controlled.

by Anonymousreply 7611/08/2012

r18 is right. The medications themselves can lead to suicidal ideation, especially in teens and young people.

by Anonymousreply 7711/08/2012

Yep, and the drug pushers know that, R77.

by Anonymousreply 7811/08/2012

No r41. You don't get it at all. It's not about feeling sad. It's about a complete inablity it to take joy or pleasure in much of anything.

I also suffer from what I'd call mild to moderate depression. I guess I'm lucky in that it didn't hit me until later in life but since then my doctor has tried 4 different anti-depressant for me and while the initial results have been positive, after a month or so I hit the inevitable crash where the depression worsens.

And jackass at r45 it isn't something where you can just get over yourself and power thru. I've been very open with family and friends about my depression and they've been very supportive but with all the good intentions in the world, they still think they can cheer me out of it. This is hugely frustrating for my partner as well because he truly doesn't understand the hell and how it makes the simplest tasks feel out of reach.

OP, maybe this will help you understand a little better. I just lost an 18 year old god daughter. Official cause of death was a drug overdose but the problems had been escalatng for years and depression was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm very close to her parents (obviously) and we spent HOURS talking about how to help this child. In hindsight there was probably only one thing that might have helped. Or not. We'll never know. I spoke to her dad the other night and her dad was still repeating the same mantra..."I told her Kim,you have to take your drugs." She told them they made her feel worse but they didn't want to hear that. My heart still aches fot that poor little girl. She was self-destructive for sure but the depression in me makes me completely understand how she just wanted the pain to stop. My sympathy to your family as well, OP. Don't judge too harshly. You'll never understand the pain unless you've experienced it yourself.

by Anonymousreply 8011/08/2012

Not all depression is situational, R79.

by Anonymousreply 8111/08/2012

[quote]I have to say that suicide is the most selfish and cruel thing a person can do.

OP, you should share this with depressed people. Perhaps you could package it in a soundbite like Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No!" campaign:

Suicide: Don't Be Selfish!

You could save 40,000 lives each year in the US alone. It's clear that your message has not been reaching these selfish people by the way they just keep killing themselves.

by Anonymousreply 8211/08/2012

You're absolutely right r81. All depression is chemical, sometimes it is situation.

by Anonymousreply 8311/08/2012

The chemicals follow emotional feelings and problems, I don't think they are the cause at all.

by Anonymousreply 8411/08/2012

Your lucky, OP.

I left work early, skipped an appointment, and came straight home. After a 5 hour nap, I'm just waking up. Being depressed is a waste if time and life. I envy those who don't understand it.

by Anonymousreply 8511/08/2012

I don't believe that all depression is chemical.

I think this idea has been promoted to try to remove the stigma of depression.

Some depression is probably chemical, but most depression is psychological, situational, derived from life's happenings, life's misfortunes, and inability to live life happily due to circumstances.

by Anonymousreply 8611/08/2012

[quote]I think this idea has been promoted to try to remove the stigma of depression.

I think it has been promoted to push pills. I truly do.

by Anonymousreply 8711/08/2012

You're wrong, R86.

by Anonymousreply 8811/08/2012

R44. Actually, I've taken my meds and am fine--and, hence, know that depression and sadness are different things, you ignorant twat.

by Anonymousreply 8911/08/2012

[quote]I think this idea has been promoted to try to remove the stigma of depression.

More likely it's been promoted to sell drugs.

Everything in our bodies is chemical. Cause and effect have been dropped from the discussion. If you're elated because you just won the lottery, there will chemicals changes in your brain. Does this mean your happiness is from lack of a chemical imbalance? No, it means you're a thinking/feeling human being.

Likewise, depression has many causes, and its effects show up in brain chemistry. But until science can tell us what chemicals are 'imbalanced' in clinically depressed people, and what is needed to fix it, it should be illegal to promote this idea for the sole purpose of selling drugs. Which is what we have now.

by Anonymousreply 9011/08/2012

That's the frustrating thing to me... it's like they've got the cart before the horse... there's these 'wonder' drugs supposed to right these chemicals gone wrong, but there's not medical test that can measure what chemicals have gone wrong. It's like prescribing antibiotics with no ability to test what bacteria you're fighting.

I do believe depression is chemical, I do believe medication can help, I don't believe in a conspiracy by big pharma (though I do believe they know a growth opportunity when they grow it in a petri dish.) I am an EffexorXR refugee so even though I think drugs can help, I am very skeptical about them being prescribed pretty heedlessly.

by Anonymousreply 9111/08/2012

I come from a long line of depressed people so I tend to think not only is depression a chemical imbalance, it probably has a genetic factor.

My mother is Swiss and Swedish, and both groups are known to have a predisposition to depression. She was depressed her entire life, although she was never medicated for it.

I have taken Paxil, Prozac and several others. I had a situational depression a number of years ago for which I was prescribed tricyclics. I hated how I felt on Paxil because I was as jittery and shaky as Don Knotts. While I was on Prozac I decided I wasn't going to like how I felt on any medication, so I began figuring out how to live without it. I make sure I exercise every day. I live in a place where there is year-round sunshine and I make sure I spend time in it. I take vitamin D3 and B vitamins and krill oil. I eat lots of veggies. I also take several herbs every day that I have found to be helpful.

by Anonymousreply 9211/08/2012

Interesting to hear, R92. Where have you heard that about the Swiss and Swedish? Any more traits you've heard about them or about other nationalities?

by Anonymousreply 9311/08/2012

You're right, OP, you don't.

by Anonymousreply 9411/08/2012

People tend to think depression is "I'm so sad."

It's more like "What matters?"

A depressed person isn't thinking, "I wish I was dead." We're thinking, "What does it matter?"

A suicidal person would prefer to be dead. A depressed person person has no preference.

by Anonymousreply 9511/08/2012

R92, I certainly think it can be genetic, even for people who can place a line in their family, but it comes from have certain traits, especially emotional disposition. And I think whatever chemical stuff there is concides with this and is an after effect of a person with certain tendencies reacting to certain things in life.

Some people are inclined to depression, it just depends on how their lives unfold.

by Anonymousreply 9611/08/2012

I've read a lot, R94. I wish I had a link to share, but I don't.

Suicide rates appear to be higher in countries that have less year-round sunshine, such as northern Europe. In the U.S., Alaska has the highest per-capita rate or it did the last I read.

by Anonymousreply 9711/08/2012

What's there to understand. It's an illness. Do you tell yourself you don't understand the common cold?

by Anonymousreply 9811/08/2012

R96 here. I meant to say "CAN'T place a line:

by Anonymousreply 9911/08/2012

Depression has psychological derivatives.

A cold does not.

by Anonymousreply 10011/08/2012

I'm part Swedish, R92. Please share more about your findings, if you don't mind.

by Anonymousreply 10111/08/2012

[quote]Swiss and Swedish, and both groups are known to have a predisposition to depression.

And a predisposition to BE depressing. And utterly depress others. While eating their depressing food. Holding depressing attitudes. Living their wretching depressing lives. Ever watched wrist-slashing Swiss TV? Ever faced a wan Swedish salad? Ever suffered Ikea chipboard furniture?

There's your correlation.

by Anonymousreply 10211/08/2012

R91 - medications can also make you think clearly. When I was on Celexa, I really didn't feel emotional at all. In fact, I believe the drug made my thinking so clear that it would have been quite easy for me to rationalize killing myself, and then actually going through with it. I could think about suicide without feeling sad or happy or anything - I just really felt nothing, indifferent. At least without being on medication, I have some high periods where I actually feel good about myself. I still have the lows, but at least I feel something when I start to have some not-so-great thoughts. I tell ya'- I don't know what it is, but it's not easy to carry it around in your head all the time.

by Anonymousreply 10311/08/2012

It's all those Ingmar Bergman movies, R102.

Here's the breakdown by state in the U.S. If you look at the Rate column. It's highest in Alaska and the northern tier, with Montana and Wyoming very high. Winters are brutal there; wonder if I can find a comparison between winter and summer suicide rates.

New Mexico has a terrible problem with alcoholism and drug addiction, probably a causative factor in our (I live there) rates being so high.

I remember I read years ago that San Francisco has a high suicide rate.

by Anonymousreply 10411/08/2012

R100, that's simplistic. Of course there's an emotional factor in colds. A person's immune system is enhanced by mood.

by Anonymousreply 10511/08/2012

R105, you are talking about susceptibility to colds, not cause.

Colds are caused by viruses, but one's susceptiblity to catching a cold virus and it taking hold can be influences by emotional factors.

Depression is often caused by psychological factors, not just chemical imbalances.

by Anonymousreply 10611/08/2012

You're into semantics and hair-splitting, R106.

I did not say colds are caused by one's emotions, nor do I believe depression is caused by one's emotions. I believe some of us have the right (or wrong) chemical makeup that makes us susceptible to depression just as we're more prone to getting sick with viruses when our immune systems are compromised.

by Anonymousreply 10711/08/2012

[quote]New Mexico has a terrible problem with alcoholism and drug addiction

Well known amongst the american indians and the mexicans.

by Anonymousreply 10811/08/2012

[quote]Depression is often caused by psychological factors, not just chemical imbalances.

Agreed. Emotions, life, and sensitivities are about much more than just chemicals inside us.

by Anonymousreply 10911/08/2012


the word would be 'among'

by Anonymousreply 11011/08/2012

My battles with mental illness started at 13, I just turned 40. I tell people depression feels like when you lost a game or failed a test but you feel that every morning. I am my mother's only living relative (she's adopted) I could never do that to her, but I wish it was all over nearly every day.

Bottom line - depression is a serious illness, treat it like it is cancer, a disease that must be eradicated or else.

by Anonymousreply 11111/08/2012

[quote]I tell people depression feels like when you lost a game or failed a test but you feel that every morning.

Very well said. I totally get what you are saying.

[quote]Bottom line - depression is a serious illness, treat it like it is cancer, a disease that must be eradicated or else.

What do you think we should do? And frankly, I don't want to here "Go see a shrink and take some pills"(the usual DL response), no offense meant.

by Anonymousreply 11211/08/2012

here = hear

by Anonymousreply 11311/08/2012

Agreed it's a serious illness; not so sure about treating it like cancer. Unlike cancer, there's nothing to nuke, surgically remove, or kill with chemicals.

I'm in agreement with William Styron: the best treatment is basically retreating for a while. Eventually it goes. Even if it comes back, eventually it goes.

by Anonymousreply 11411/09/2012

Ditto r92 My mom's side of the family has a near 100% track record of depression at some point in all of our lives. Most of them have been helped by meds but I'm still struggling. The hell of it is my life is pretty good from a rational POV. But depression isn't rational nor can one just snap out of it by the force of will.

I've had the same problem with meds that you describe and have tried to be careful about diet. What herbs worked for you if you don't mind me asking? I've been trying to eat a lot of potassium loaded food. Bananas, bananas bananas till I'm sick of them. Any advice would be appreciated.

by Anonymousreply 11511/09/2012

You should run the following google search, R115

foods that are high in potassium

You don't need to eat so many bananas when there are other foods which provide potassium

And you could take potassium supplements (which are very cheap) along with a good diet

by Anonymousreply 11611/09/2012

Depression, and suicide, will become more and more prevalent as we as a species continue to modernize. The reason humans have such a high survival drive is because we needed it to wade through the mire of surviving until we could procreate and protect our young. Once we dominated our environment, and procreation wasn't in jeopardy, our survival drive remained in tact because life was difficult; we shifted, from our reptilian drive to survive, towards a pre-frontal lobe drive to survive using "logic": In order to wade through the mire of the peasant/serf/plebe/proletariat life, we had to tell ourselves that life had intrinsic meaning, that god wanted us to live and toil, that there was honor in the pain, that we would have an afterlife of joy that would make up for all the shit on earth. This mirage proved very effective.

Now that life isn't so difficult for more people than ever before in human history, now that most intelligent persons don't think that a god or an afterlife awaits with chariots and virgins, the drive to survive has and will diminish. We have and will call it major depression, but it's really just the harsh truth, without the mitigating bullshit from earlier phases in our human development, that we are just a complex composite of cells and that we don't mean anything to anyone.

I respect anyone who chooses to commit suicide. It just makes sense to me. But, of course, I do feel horrible for the family and friends. I know that how I feel about this topic isn't the normal way of viewing such a complex issue that is rife with pain, sadness, and misunderstanding for the survivors.

by Anonymousreply 11711/09/2012

At the link are the primary herbs I take, R115. You may find this article helpful. This is the first site I've found where so many good herbs for depression are listed.

I also take SAM-e, 5-HTP and folic acid along with the krill oil, D3 and B vitamins I mentioned earlier.

Eat the best diet you can, with a lot of healthy greens and deep oranges such as squash. I should buy a spinach farm. A couple of winters ago I began craving cruciferous vegetables and what Southerners call greens (turnip, collard and that family). When I looked into it I found out these are things I should be eating all along. I could make a meal out of brussels sprouts and broccoli.

It's a lot to do all at once but try to implement as many healthy changes as you can, maybe get into it gradually.

Best wishes to you.

by Anonymousreply 11811/09/2012

I have to add something to the recommendations that r118 just made. 5-HTP can be dangerous to those who suffer from bipolar disorder. It can trigger a manic episode. Make sure to do your research before trying any sort of natural treatment.

by Anonymousreply 11911/09/2012

I didn't know that, R119. That's important information.

by Anonymousreply 12011/09/2012

You really don't know clouds at you op?

by Anonymousreply 12111/09/2012

The top 10 states for suicide are very sparsely populated.

by Anonymousreply 12211/09/2012

Yes, R122. Can you imagine living on a secluded ranch in Wyoming in the middle of winter?

by Anonymousreply 12311/09/2012

The world is such a mess and because we live in 2012, we can see it all. Sometimes I wonder, what's wrong with people aren't depressed?

by Anonymousreply 12411/09/2012

Livers, gall bladders, kidneys shut down all of the time. People need to realize that the brain is just an organ and can physically start to malfunction. Families of suicides can bring themselves peace when they accept organ malfunction as the cause otherwise they'll drive themselves crazy looking for answers and blaming themselves. Usually a hint of a genetic predisposition can be found by researching family history. This should ease some minds.

by Anonymousreply 12511/09/2012

Exactly, r125. What we are talking about when we address clinical depression is brain chemistry. It is an organic illness just like any other except that it mirrors, to a far greater extent than non-mental illnesses, our affect when we are feeling bad, which, unlike clinical depression, is not an organic illness but an emotional state.

by Anonymousreply 12611/09/2012

R124, I don't understand your very negative outlook. We're not at the brink of or involved in a world war. Plagues aren't killing thousands. More Americans have enough to eat than ever before. Our standard of living is much higher as well. I'm not saying that we don't still need drastic improvements in social services; just saying that most think that we're "on the right track."

by Anonymousreply 12711/09/2012

R124- well from your point of view. I wonder how you might feel if it was 1942 and war was going on in every corner of the globe and you were of course expect to lay down your young life to win if for your country.

...or it was 1300 in Northern Europe and 2 out of 3 people in your village were dying (of plague)... or you lived in the Sudan and did not have a home or know where your next meal was coming from.

R124- your world is probably better off than anything I describe above.

Perhaps you are depressed. I have found that a seriously depressed person, by default is a narcisist. That is to say, they are constitutionally incapable of thinking of anything outside their immediate sphere because they are in a crisis that is literally about day to day and hour to hour survival and coping.

Depression can be very very serious. Yes it can lead to acts of self destruction and extreme self centeredness- and it almost always is difficult for family and close friends as well. The depressed person is so consume by their own terrible feelings that they overwhelm almost all else.

If you are depressed or you know someone who it- get them help if you can and seek help if you need it. Treatment is often very helpful.

by Anonymousreply 12811/09/2012

[quote]Perhaps you are depressed. I have found that a seriously depressed person, by default is a narcisist. That is to say, they are constitutionally incapable of thinking of anything outside their immediate sphere because they are in a crisis that is literally about day to day and hour to hour survival and coping.

You're right, charlie. I've seen the same thing in people who have other chronic diseases and those who live with chronic pain. When a person is in survival mode it's not likely s/he is going to get as excited as you are that your niece is the smartest child in daycare.

by Anonymousreply 12911/09/2012

About this thread: I wish OP had not told us the story about the boy who killed himself and the wedding. I keep seeing that depressed kid sitting there alone while everyone is laughing it up and having a great time.

A friend's mother decided she was not going to let her die. Drugs had not worked, rehab didn't work, talk therapy wasted everyone's time. She knew she wasn't going to survive much longer so she decided on a more radical approach. She took her zombie daughter to a clinic that administered ECT. It has been about three months since the treatments, and it certainly seems to have changed her for the better. I talked to her this morning and she sounds normal for the first time in years. She's hardly Little Mary Sunshine, but she never was, even before depression nearly destroyed her.

I admit I was horrified when the mother first talked to me about it, but that was before I did some research. This might be a better answer for severe depression than the band-aid approaches we keep trying.

When someone has cancer, we wouldn't put up with medical care like prescriptions that barely mask symptoms and talking to a therapist, so why on earth do we treat depression that way?

I'm talking about severe clinical depression, the kind people die from, not situational depression.

by Anonymousreply 13011/09/2012

I am still here...trying one more medication...not really doing any good. I may just stop it altogethjer and just accept the fact that I am majorly depressed.

I will not kill muself until my children are settled....but if I got a diagnosis like alzheimers...I would definitely go to Oregon or Switzerland.

by Anonymousreply 13111/09/2012

OK, boys: let's try an analogy.

Straight people don't understand what it feels like to be gay. They think it's sick, changeable, or something you chose to do. They have no idea what it feels like to be attracted to someone of the same gender, to know you're different than other people, or how isolating it can sometimes feel. And nothing you can say or do is going to really make them understand it. If they have always been straight, they truly have no conception at all.

That's like those of us with clinical depression trying to explain to those of you who don't have it what it feels like.

And you are like the straight people who go on and on trying to make up theories and provide your own (incorrect) explanations, when you will never, ever "get it." Only someone who's really experienced clinical depression has any idea of what it feels like.

Does it all make sense now?

by Anonymousreply 13211/09/2012

I love it when charlie says something incredibly banal but acts as though it's a grand profundity that he has miraculously uncovered through his unparalleled wisdom and life experience.

by Anonymousreply 13311/09/2012
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