Jump to content

Menu

Depression and Marriage


Minli
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was wondering whether anyone is willing to share their story about how depression affected their marriage...  Did it make it stronger or did it break it?

I'm standing at the crossroads and though no two lives are identical, I feel the need to read other people's experiences.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I live daily with depression that fluctuates greatly. Some days are so bad I'm really not a nice person if you bother me. My depression used to affect my marriage a lot more but once dh and I acknowledged that it was an issue not just for me but for the family we were able to come up with strategies to not let it have so much control. This isn't possible if the depressed person doesn't work at it though.

 

I have learned to be very specific and honest about how I am feeling so dh knows when I need more help from him or I need more space from everyone. He has been wonderful at providing me the help I need to get through the really bad days. On the semi bad days I simply just trymy hardest to keep doing what I need to do and if I can't dh is understanding because he knows I'm trying.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depression is a major stress on a marriage. In our case, I do not see any way our marriage could have survived if dh's depression had gone untreated--he just would not have been capable of maintaining a real, unabusive relationship. Depression profoundly impacts a person's ability to empathize or to understand another person's viewpoint, a reality that makes a marriage relationship untenable. Brain function is just too impaired. Of course, his condition was severe enough that without treatment I think the probability of suicide was high; that would have been an awful way to have things end.

 

Fortunately, depression in our day and age can usually be successfully treated. Dh has been on medication for over a decade and it has been largely effective.

 

I am so grateful for that.

 

the underlying illness has never gone away, though I know it does for some. I view it as a disability like any other)-- some families deal with diabetes, or deafness, or autism spectrum issues. Dh's sister is blind and that impacts her husband and children in many ways. Dh's depression impacts our family, but we face that challenge together. Maybe that does bring us closer.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am married to a man who deals with depression and other issues. He refuses to acknowledge it, so, also refuses treatment. Its really hard to live with. I have a lot of empathy around this because I have a long history with depression and anxiety, but I actively treat mine and I believe I owe this to my family. I think he owes this to us too.

 

Hugs to you.

 

Edited: I was uncomfortable with the amount of info I shared.

Edited by BooksandBoys
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had severe post partum depression.  I was in denial about needing medication, but DH is finally the one who convinced me I was not myself.  He also was a huge help giving me feedback when I was trying out different meds.  I have unfortunately needed meds ever since.  He has been absolutely supportive and understanding, but I have also been open to his input and trusted him to see things I might not be able to see.

 

I have a dear friend though who's DH refused help or medication.  It led to their divorce.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DH's depression and anxiety and its related behaviors nearly ended our marriage. He is now under a psychiatrist's care for medication, and we spent several years in marriage counseling.  If he ever decides he "doesn't need meds" in the future,  I am OUT.

 

So, in my experience, untreated depression in a marriage is poison.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH goes through deep bouts of depression, when he is at his lowest he can turn on me a bit.  It hurts.  It is difficult.  Because he isn't there 100% of the time, I can tell myself that it isn't him speaking...it is the depression. He is loving and supportive 75-80% of the time.   If he lived there, in that dark place, it would be a different story.  I really don't know what I would do but I would probably give him the choice between separation or therapy. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH goes through deep bouts of depression, when he is at his lowest he can turn on me a bit. It hurts. It is difficult. Because he isn't there 100% of the time, I can tell myself that it isn't him speaking...it is the depression. He is loving and supportive 75-80% of the time. If he lived there, in that dark place, it would be a different story. I really don't know what I would do but I would probably give him the choice between separation or therapy.

If you could get him in to see a therapist now, even look into the options for medication, you might find significant improvement. 20-25% of the time of someone behaving in irrational and hurtful ways is still a lot.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the person in the depression has to realize that even if they don't think they need or want help, they have to realize there is another person involved.  If the other person says there is a problem, there is a problem.  It is up to the TWO of you to work it out.  One person can't just say, I don't think there is a problem, and then ignore the issue.  That applies to many issues (sex drive, etc.)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like others, my husband is on Wellbutrin.  His depression manifests in sleeping entire weekends away, or zoning out on TV for 8+ hours.  He had no relationship with our kids or me. He worked and slept.  The only time he did much more than that, was if his friends invited him somewhere.  Which made things worse, because then it feels like the only people he has desire to spend his time with, are his friends.

 

Wellbutrin also helps his ADD to an extent.  He is better able to maintain a conversation and his memory is better on it.  I think that when he is depressed, not much matters to him, so his brain would forget entire conversations (since he didn't really care about the topic).  Then when I would reference the conversation, he would insist that we never talked about that topic and even got to the point of telling me that I was crazy.  Sometimes, if they kids were in the room when the conversation occurred, I could get the kids to verify, 'yes, you did say xyz'.  His depression also made me less caring toward him.  Years ago, I would run through entire conversations we had, until something would jar in his memory and he would say "oh, yeah, that does sound familiar now".  Over time, I just stopped bothering.  If he insisted we didn't talk about something, then I would just turn and walk away. I was tired of being treated like things I said didn't matter.  I was tired of being told I was crazy. I was tired of him committing to do something, and then him forgetting that we even talked about it.  He lost 2 jobs in 4 years, and I honestly think his lack of memory had a lot to do with it.   Then the job losses, just added to the depression and things went from bad to worse.

DH also seems to get very suspicious of me when he is depressed.  His brain wanders, and he starts wondering what I am doing out shopping by myself, or if I press 'ignore' on an incoming phone call he starts thinking it is someone I don't want him to know about. They are usually just automated messages from the school district or an appointment reminder, but he thinks they are something else.

 

He has been on Welbutrin for about a year and feels it helps him quite a bit.  He tried going off of it for a while and then quickly realized he still needed it.  

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, one thing to be careful about is medications are often helpful but sometimes need some adjustment time.

They are not necessarily a panacea, and often it takes several tries over a period of months to get the type and doses right.

During that period things can get much worse.  Suicidal ideation is one possibility.

Really scary story below.  You might not want to look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a friend whose husband was depressed and had ADD.  She really supported him strongly in changing careers to a far less lucrative one where he was outside a lot (sunshine can help with depression) and in figuring out dietary issues that played into his ADD--wheat made him agitated and forgetful, so they gave it up or she made him parallel foods.  

 

He decided to either switch or add to his depression meds because after a number of years their effectiveness wore off.  So he switched to Wellbutrin, and the day after he took his first dose he impulsively jumped in front of a train and died.  They had two lovely teenage kids.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dh struggles with some minor depression. At least, it feels minor now. It really came to a huge head very soon after we married and our marriage was deeply tried very early on. However, I feel like coming through it strong has been what's kept us strong for many years. It made having kids feel like a breeze in terms of our marriage (in terms of the actual having of twins, not such a breeze) - I didn't feel like our relationship struggled the way a lot of my friends' did. Anyway, he's on a low dose of an anti-anxiety. He likes his work. He really likes his acting. He has bouts where he's sad and dissatisfied and sometimes it's unfun for both of us, but it always feels to me like it can be overcome.

 

To anyone for whom this is a much greater struggle, love and light. I know not all stories are as smooth as ours with this issue.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first marriage ended partly because of depression/anxiety of my ex. He refused to stay on meds. He'd get better so he'd think he didn't need them and stop them. He'd refuse to go to therapy. At one couples therapy appt he told me he didn't think he'd ever be any better, and it was obvious he didn't really care. I left. 

 

My DH now does have some anxiety and depression issues, but mild. The depression is just more some moodiness, and he tries not to let it effect others. When it does I tell him, and he deals with it. He's now on some meds, after years of refusing, and it makes a HUGE difference. His bad moods last a few hours, rather than days on end. But evne wihtout meds it was a few days, maybe a week, not months and years. I couldn't do that again. I won't. 

 

Edited to Add: The big difference is DH wants to be better. He actively tried exercise, diet, supplements, etc and finally meds. My ex didn't care to try anything, and when soemthing worked he'd stop doing it. My therapist finally said it wasn't just depression, it was just who he was as a person that was an issue. 

Edited by ktgrok
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we got my son's Duchenne's diagnosis I had a bout of depression that probably should have been treated. I couldn't see it clearly until I pulled out, but I was partially numb for about a year and a half. I functioned, but my energy was all on just doing the next thing. While it wasn't normal for our marriage, I don't think it made it better or worse. It put it in this weird suspended state for a while. DH was dealing with the same thing. We didn't turn on one another, but neither of us had the energy reserves to pull the other out. We trudged on and barely kept all the balls in the air so the kids' lives would remain normal.

 

If one or both of us had moved an inch and things crashed down on us we might have woken up and got some sort of help so it wasn't so dragged out. We're not therapy people, but that probably would have helped. Looking back I'm fairly certain one or both of us would have benefitted from a temporary prescription. I'm in a dance troupe and the other members let me fade back, but not quit, so I had a mental and physical outlet in class. A monk friend distracted DH with meditation practice and koans. It's like we found therapy alternatives. Our brains and bodies needed that little bit of escape to hold it all together.

 

We did recover slowly, but our depression was situational and not something either of us is really prone to. I completely understand why many marriages don't make it through when both parties are too depleted to give their spouse any emotional help. I can see how an energized, fully charged outsider would have the advantage and become a 'rescuer' in a situation like this. It's no wonder it's a common pattern.

 

I think of my marriage as an amazing gift in my life . . . a long and passionate love story. It's a living, thriving, beautiful thing, but it was dormant for that time. It's like we were in this long winter where we weren't dying or destroying one another, but just focusing on staying alive and hoping spring would come again. It did, but I learned never to harshly judge any marriage that doesn't survive that season. I also don't feel smug for pulling through. It didn't make us "stronger," it just left us scrambling to make up for lost time and recover our normal rate of growth. I can see how that could be misinterpreted as stronger, but I think that's just feeling fully alive again after half-feeling everything for so long.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wellbutrin helped me remember why I married my husband in the first place. He was back to himself, and it had been so long that I really had forgotten what he was like without depression. Treating his depression is so much better for the kids too.

But he was really resistant to medication, insisting he wasn't actually depressed, for a long time. Male and female depression can look different.

 

ETA: I am happy to share more specifically about our marriage and depression if it might help. Just PM me. I don't want to put too much on a public board.

 

Edited by sbgrace
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel very grateful to you because you took the time to write about your personal experience, I'm even more grateful because I imagine that some of the lines you wrote were not easy to write at all. I feel I owe you an explanation for my request, so here it is.

 

In our case it's me who's fighting the depression+anxiety (more or less successfully) by psychotheraphy whenever I can afford it, prayer and my friend's help. I'm still breastfeeding so I refused the medicines suggested by the psychiatrist, but I am using Saint John's wort tincture, together with trying to be active physically (whenever I have a free minute). I also refused the medicines because I'm not sure I trully need them, Our recurrent marriage problems have not been solved over the years, does that mean I need medicines... or do I need a solution for my life, to be able to live peacefully with myself and the people around me?

I  strongly question our relationship and it's not the first time, and I wonder whether I still love my husband or not. The fact that we have 3 children (under 10), that our financial status seems to always be on the point of collapse and that our parents would be devasted be a separation makes things even harder. My husband (who also goes to the same therapist to treat  his anxiety issues) is a wonderful father, and a good husband (according to the majority's standards), however I don't feel comfortable or protected in our marriage, most of the times I feel I need to be the man of the house and I hate this. Plus I've become more aggressive and mean, which I completely hate. And yes, we did speak of this over the years, but with no big change... There are other issues, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to describe them.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sending hugs, Minli. Depression is a tough beast to deal with.

 

I am going to very strongly recommend you follow the advice of your psychiatrist and start medical treatment. In particular, since it sounds like you are at a crossroads kind of point with your marriage and your life, you want to make sure any decisions you make are made with a fully functional brain. Therapy absolutely can and does help, but medication is frequently necessary as well to get a brain functioning the way it should.

 

I cannot emphasize how strongly I believe that you need to do everything in your power to treat your medical condition before making other major decisions about your life. If you need to wean the baby first, wean the baby. Your husband might also benefit from medication for anxiety.

 

I hate to see marriages break down because of mental health. Sometimes there really are irreconcilable problems with a relationship, but if mental health problems are a contributing factor and those affected were willing to start and stick with effective treatment, a great many problems can be resolved. And if the problems cannot be resolved, a person with a fully functional brain will be in a much better position to choose the best path forward than one who is suffering from depression.

 

Sending hugs and prayers your way.

Edited by maize
  • Like 15
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Often the perosn who needs meds doesn't think they need them. As for breastfeeding, there are drugs that are safe. You can call the infant risk center and speak to them...they run the tests to see exactly how much of each drug is exrected in milk, how much the baby can absorb, the timing, etc. Honestly, I'm not sure that St. John's wort is any safer. Natural doesn't mean safe....hemlock is natural :)

But if you call, they can tell you for sure. They are super nice :)

 

http://www.infantrisk.com/

 

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 I also refused the medicines because I'm not sure I trully need them, Our recurrent marriage problems have not been solved over the years, does that mean I need medicines... or do I need a solution for my life, to be able to live peacefully with myself and the people around me?

 

Whether it is helpful for your marriage or not you do need a solution for your life to be able to live peacefully with yourself and the people around you.

I struggled with depression in the first years of my marriage. One thing I had to accept (and boy was it ever hard to accept!) was that I was not in any condition to make a decent decision about anything. My ability to discern was completely off. I could not evaluate my state of mind properly, and if I couldn't do that, I couldn't do much of anything. Once I accepted that making any big decisions would have to wait, I was more able to settle down and accept that I had to heal first. As you would never go lifting heavy things if your back was out, you don't make decisions when your brain is out. And it's out. It has things it needs to do, stuff it needs to work through and it needs the right medications, the right amount of rest and time to heal.

 

Medications made a world of difference. FWIW, the very first medication I was on made things worse. It was a good thing that DH was around to watch that and see that I needed something different and fast. He took me to all my appointments. He made sure that he took care of himself on the days when I could barely take care of myself. I got through it, and I'd say we are a lot stronger as a couple from that experience. I learned a lot about what he is capable of as a person and that my own expectations of what he was supposed to be were quite different from what he was best at. I think he learned a little bit about me, too. It helps that he is an exceptionally patient person. The quality that makes me grouchy when he won't come to a decision quickly turned out to be a very good thing because it took over a year of treatment that I needed to get me back in shape.

 

So my advice from someone who has been the depressed partner and seriously considered marriage to be a major problem at the time is to table any big decisions for now. Small decisions are going to be hard enough. And go find out what medications you can take. I do advise exercise on the days that you can do it (it helps with stress) but to be equally willing to embrace the days when you just need to be a slug. And realize that with the mirror of depression distorting things, a unbiased observer in the form of a psychiatrist or counselor is a very good thing to have. I had both. That turned out to be good when the my medications needed work.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sending hugs, Minli. Depression is a tough beast to deal with.

 

I am going to very strongly recommend you follow the advice of your psychiatrist and start medical treatment. In particular, since it sounds like you are at a crossroads kind of point with your marriage and your life, you want to make sure any decisions you make are made with a fully functional brain. Therapy absolutely can and does help, but medication is frequently necessary as well to get a brain functioning the way it should.

 

I cannot emphasize how strongly I believe that you need to do everything in your power to treat your medical condition before making other major decisions about your life. If you need to wean the baby first, wean the baby. Your husband might also benefit from medication for anxiety.

 

I hate to see marriages break down because of mental health. Sometimes there really are irreconcilable problems with a relationship, but if mental health problems are a contributing factor and those affected were willing to start and stick with effective treatment, a great many problems can be resolved. And if the problems cannot be resolved, a person with a fully functional brain will be in a much better position to choose the best path forward than one who is suffering from depression.

 

Sending hugs and prayers your way.

 

I think Maize hit it spot on with this advice! Treating the depression should be your top priority and taking medication can be a big help to a lot of people. 

 

If you need to stop breastfeeding to get treatment, your baby will be fine. There are good substitutes out there. There is a lot of pressure to breastfeed, and it is a great thing to do (I did it myself), but there are times when it is not possible and this may be one of them. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel very grateful to you because you took the time to write about your personal experience, I'm even more grateful because I imagine that some of the lines you wrote were not easy to write at all. I feel I owe you an explanation for my request, so here it is.

 

In our case it's me who's fighting the depression+anxiety (more or less successfully) by psychotheraphy whenever I can afford it, prayer and my friend's help. I'm still breastfeeding so I refused the medicines suggested by the psychiatrist, but I am using Saint John's wort tincture, together with trying to be active physically (whenever I have a free minute). I also refused the medicines because I'm not sure I trully need them, Our recurrent marriage problems have not been solved over the years, does that mean I need medicines... or do I need a solution for my life, to be able to live peacefully with myself and the people around me?

I  strongly question our relationship and it's not the first time, and I wonder whether I still love my husband or not. The fact that we have 3 children (under 10), that our financial status seems to always be on the point of collapse and that our parents would be devasted be a separation makes things even harder. My husband (who also goes to the same therapist to treat  his anxiety issues) is a wonderful father, and a good husband (according to the majority's standards), however I don't feel comfortable or protected in our marriage, most of the times I feel I need to be the man of the house and I hate this. Plus I've become more aggressive and mean, which I completely hate. And yes, we did speak of this over the years, but with no big change... There are other issues, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to describe them.

 

You will know if you truly need them by trying them for a period of months, with med adjustments if needed, to see if you can get to a place that makes you feel better. So often, people need the physical benefits of being well-medicated in order to truly engage in therapy and for that therapy to lead to insights and change. You might be able to see the solution for your life more clearly if you reach a healthier functioning level for yourself.

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband has had moderate to severe depression for the last 11 years of our 23 year marriage.  It nearly ended the marriage. Don't assume that meds will solve the problem.  My husband has been on all the meds over the course of many years and none worked very much for every long and the side effects can cause as many significant problems as the depression itself does.

Adjusting to realistic exceptions of someone with depression and becoming an intentionally emotionally self-sufficient person has been key.  I suggest developing a wide range of appropriately intimate, non-romantic relationships with friends and family. Develop personal interests and a social network. You can't control anyone but yourself.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Untreated severe depression is toxic to a marriage IMHO.  The problem is that many people who are depressed, because of their disease, feel that getting help is useless.  Men are also less likely to seek help.  Not all depression will respond to current anti-depressants too.

 

My husband has had severe depression during various times of our marriage.  He is prone to repeat episodes that can last months.  It is very very difficult.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are seeing a therapist/counselor type person, and they are suggesting medication, I would follow their advice. I didn't realize I needed the medication, but after it started to take effect, I realized I'd been seeing the world through dark glasses, and it had gotten into every crack and crevice of my life, including my marriage.  :grouphug:

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hugs.  I tend towards depression, and was on anti-depressants for 10 years.  They helped a lot at first - but not completely.  I eventually stopped taking them because by that point it felt like I was living my life behind a 10 foot thick sheet of bullet-proof glass.... things didn't quite seem real anymore....  I didn't feel like me.... not sure how to describe it.

 

One thing that bothered me was that anytime anything happened that I was sad or angry during that time (for real reasons) - my dh's first question was if I had taken my meds....   drove me nuts.

 

That said, I do agree to try to find a medication that works for you, and not to make life-changing decisions unless forced to until you do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

things didn't quite seem real anymore....  I didn't feel like me...

 

 

I read ALL the answers and the messages carefully and I was touched by your sincere wish to help. I'll reconsider my decision about medicines, after the discussion with the therapist this week.

However, I'm concerned that I'll turn into someone else once I get such treatment. Scoutingmom wrote it much better than I could have said it.

 

Besides, there's a thought that keeps nagging me: is there no other way? I mean depression did not appear in our century, what did people do in other times? What will happen? Will we all get to rely mostly on meds for our more or less serious mental disorders?

 

Don't get me wrong, though I tend to avoid drugs (in general) I wouldn't hesitate once I was sure THAT was the way to end this recurrent depression. On the other hand I can't help wondering what happens once you finish the treatment...

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not currently on medications. I took two different kinds of medications during my treatment which lasted a year or so. During that time I saw my therapist frequently and that led to some brainstorming on my part as to how I needed to structure my life to take care of myself. A few years ago I made even more changes by eliminating gluten (I've been more or less sick at my stomach since about age 14) and almost immediately the mood swings that had continued to be a minor issue for me went away. I have not needed medications since the time of treatment. I had to come off of one medication when I found out that I was pregnant with the two mud-puppies in my picture, and the antidepressant I continued to take (in my pregnancy) at a lower dose until I came off of it. And DH watched me very carefully for signs of depression because I asked him to.

 

So far, I've not had another bout of depression that lasted. Not everybody has that experience, but really, when I was depressed I honestly thought that I would never get over it, that I would be that way all of my life so what was the use of anything? That's depression talking. You can't listen to it. It lies to you. 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Besides, there's a thought that keeps nagging me: is there no other way? I mean depression did not appear in our century, what did people do in other times? What will happen? Will we all get to rely mostly on meds for our more or less serious mental disorders?

 

 

 

Diane Craft, frequent speaker at homeschooling conventions, specializes in behavioral issues in children and adults.  She takes a dietary approach to gut balance for behavior and mood issues.  If you're looking to try something that isn't meds, you can google her name and check out her website. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read ALL the answers and the messages carefully and I was touched by your sincere wish to help. I'll reconsider my decision about medicines, after the discussion with the therapist this week.

However, I'm concerned that I'll turn into someone else once I get such treatment. Scoutingmom wrote it much better than I could have said it.

 

I was on Wellbutrin for a few months, and I felt awesome - like my old self, the one who had energy and ambition and managed to *do* things without it feeling like a huge production.  (But it did react very badly with my birth control pill, when I started that, which is why I went off the Wellbutrin.  In retrospect I probably should have stopped the pill instead.)

 

I agree with all the pp about not making major decisions while depressed :grouphug:.  I was majorly depressed in college (I was unable to make the transition to college-level study habits), and I fantasized about running away, from college and my family (who was trying to help me get better, only I didn't want to do the hard work to get better), and be *forced* by being all on my own to somehow magically get it together and be able to work hard without the hard work of *learning* to work hard.  Fortunately I never got it together enough to actually *try* that, but I was so desperate to escape the hell my life currently was and my perception was *so* blinded by the depression, that it genuinely seemed like a good plan.  I did not realize how much the depression was affecting my perception until I'd gotten out of the black hole - I knew things were "bad" and that I'd changed because of it all, but I had *no clue* just *how* far I'd fallen until I was mostly out of it.

 

Besides, there's a thought that keeps nagging me: is there no other way? I mean depression did not appear in our century, what did people do in other times? What will happen? Will we all get to rely mostly on meds for our more or less serious mental disorders?

 

Right now I manage my SAD with light therapy, vitamins (multi, B complex, omega3s), daily exercise (walk plus T-Tapp), healthy-ish eating (more protein, less carbs, low sugar and low processed foods), and getting sufficient sleep (8-9 hours a night), all integrated into my overall life of faith.  When I stay up on it, I do fairly well; when I was catching up from a month of too-little light (before I got my therapy lamp), I felt like I was one step from falling over the edge, but after a month or so, I built up enough of a reserve that I feel fairly stable.

 

However, I do believe that the nature and demands of modern life has made depression more prevalent, and has removed many of the supports that used to be in place for dealing with it naturally. 

 

Don't get me wrong, though I tend to avoid drugs (in general) I wouldn't hesitate once I was sure THAT was the way to end this recurrent depression. On the other hand I can't help wondering what happens once you finish the treatment...

 

My understanding is that, ideally, you use meds to give you an artificial boost of energy, so that you are *able* to build up a natural framework for dealing with depression.  I mean, this year I planned to buy a therapy lamp in August, because by the time I *need* the lamp, I'm too far gone to be able to deal with *buying* the lamp (it's why I didn't get one the year before - I was looking in Nov, and it was already too late - I didn't realize how bad I am after just a month of not enough light until this year, when I started using my lamp mid-Oct, and after a month of use I realized how much *better* I was feeling).

 

Anyway, this is getting away from me, but ideally, depression meds are supposed to boost you far enough out of the depression hole that you are able to make lifestyle changes that will themselves keep the depression at bay.  Once the lifestyle changes are habitual, then you can step off the meds.  Sometimes (not always) I think that people use meds to enable themselves to keep going in an unsustainable lifestyle, and so if they try to get off them, of course they crash right back down - the meds were the only thing keeping them going. 

 

(I believe that depression (and anxiety) are often signs that our lifestyle is hurting us - when we change our life, we can relieve (some of) the pressures that brought on the depression.  On a micro level, I find that too much internet time messes me up emotionally.  Combine this with a habit to ignore life via internet surfing when I feel down, and you have a recipe for a quick spiralling down.  Recognizing the first signs of emotional problems and responding to that by finding something better to do (for me, a productive task to sink my whole body and mind into for at least 30min) can stop the whole cycle in its tracks :thumbup:.)

Edited by forty-two
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for what people used to do, often they were just miserable. Sanitariums and such had depressed people there, and there was no real treatment available. Some peple committed suicide, others lived lives of quiet desperation. 

 

That said, some factors of modern life make us more prone to depression I think. Global news (our bodies react to a terrorist attack on the other side of the globe the same way as if it were in our backyard...so we are constantly hitting flight or fight status over things that in generations back we never would have known about), lack of sunlight, lack of exercise, lack of community, those things matter. 

Edited by ktgrok
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a ton of reference to states that sound like depression in historical writing.

Ennui, the black dog, 'a breakdown', incapacity to do anything, mental immobilization, 'the dark night of the soul', '(s)he took to their bed'--these are all described in ways that are so current-sounding. 

 

I think people are more likely to talk about it now, but also that people don't have the space to collapse for a time.  Our modern lives are so utterly relentless and our networks don't provide the same kind of safety net that some of these (admittedly a bit privileged) descriptions indicate. 

 

Also we generally get less exercise, less sunshine, and have less of a routine involving an array of familiar and at least somewhat beloved people, all of which are helpful in staving off depression or addressing mild onsets of depression. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diane Craft, frequent speaker at homeschooling conventions, specializes in behavioral issues in children and adults.  She takes a dietary approach to gut balance for behavior and mood issues.  If you're looking to try something that isn't meds, you can google her name and check out her website. 

 

 

People need to be aware that Diane Craft is not a behavioral specialist, nor is she a registered therapist,  dietitian or licensed medical professional. She has a good background in education and lots of experience with special needs children. The college where she gained her nutrition "credential" is not accredited and has no pathway to becoming a licensed professional and is not accredited by any of the nationally recognized accreditation boards. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Presently I use 5HTP to manage my depression along with L-Theanine for anxiety. I have spoken with my doctor about these and he is supportive as long as they are working. 5-HTP hasn't been studied for breastfeeding afaik, though. I wish, wish, wish I had begun taking something much earlier. My early years of mothering would have been much different.

 

I do still feel like myself--it's just like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and like I am looking through another/better pair of glasses. I am calmer, more likely to be glass half full, don't react so quickly and without thinking. It's huge. Especially, it's huge for my family.

 

Before I started I thought I was coping okay. Now I know how much better everything could have been.

 

In my family, in the past, depression was self treated with alcohol or not treated and expressed abusively. Depression is not new, but relief in a positive way is.

 

Get your vitamin D levels checked. This is HUGE for me. Family and friends do notice when I'm not taking my D vitamins.

 

Oh and this book is very helpful for Cognitive Behavior Therapy at home:http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-The-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336/ref=pd_bxgy_14_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1JGGRB5RWT87D5CJM9A0

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read ALL the answers and the messages carefully and I was touched by your sincere wish to help. I'll reconsider my decision about medicines, after the discussion with the therapist this week.

However, I'm concerned that I'll turn into someone else once I get such treatment. Scoutingmom wrote it much better than I could have said it.

 

Besides, there's a thought that keeps nagging me: is there no other way? I mean depression did not appear in our century, what did people do in other times? What will happen? Will we all get to rely mostly on meds for our more or less serious mental disorders?

 

Don't get me wrong, though I tend to avoid drugs (in general) I wouldn't hesitate once I was sure THAT was the way to end this recurrent depression. On the other hand I can't help wondering what happens once you finish the treatment...

 

Just wanted to add though, that anti-depressants made a huge difference for me when I needed them. I was so depressed that simple thoughts were slowed down because I had to push them through tar. Decisions were impossible. It hurt to live. This was months like that. It took a long time for the doctors to find one that worked, and it never got 100%.... but things improved immensley.

 

It was after I had been on them for years that things were feeling unreal, almost like I was sort of watching my life. When I got off the anti-depressants that improved so much. But now I'm prone to depression.... I am probably living in depression most of the time.... but not that horribly deap depression that I had been in though.

 

I almost hate to share about that unreal feeling I lived in on anti-depressants in case it stops someone from trying them when they might work well for them. Yet it is important to note that they DO affect your thoughts and feelings, and not always as intended... and you don't hear about that enough. It is possible that a different one would have worked better for me (although they had tried most of the non-lithium ones that existed at that time with me...), or it might have made no difference.

 

I do say get help... Therapy might help. And I would recommend trying anti-depressants if the depression is not mild... but monitor how you are doing!

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Scoutingmom said "monitor how you are doing"--I would go one further and say: have someone else (your spouse?) monitor how you are doing.

 

My husband tried a medication change this fall, and he went through a period of huge emotional swings. It was really awful, he was flying off the handle at the tiniest provocation, getting angry a lot, then spending entire days in bed. Funny thing is, when I got him in to the doctor to talk about medication adjustment, he said (and truly thought) that he was doing great on the new medication. When a person's brain is struggling to function they don't usually have the ability to self-monitor effectively.

Edited by maize
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read ALL the answers and the messages carefully and I was touched by your sincere wish to help. I'll reconsider my decision about medicines, after the discussion with the therapist this week.

However, I'm concerned that I'll turn into someone else once I get such treatment. Scoutingmom wrote it much better than I could have said it.

 

Besides, there's a thought that keeps nagging me: is there no other way? I mean depression did not appear in our century, what did people do in other times? What will happen? Will we all get to rely mostly on meds for our more or less serious mental disorders?

 

Don't get me wrong, though I tend to avoid drugs (in general) I wouldn't hesitate once I was sure THAT was the way to end this recurrent depression. On the other hand I can't help wondering what happens once you finish the treatment...

 

 

Very gently, I think the above is really more of a symptom of depression. It's a defense mechanism because untreated depression wants you unwell. Sometimes, it wants you dead.

 

Life is different from conception to death than it was a century before. I don't think it is useful to think medically in terms of that.

Depression is *an illness*. Some illnesses can be treated without meds; some can not. Some manifestations of diabetes (or asthma, or .....) can be treated without meds, some can not. It is no different for depression. Most illnesses/diseases need holistic care, and sometimes that includes an appropriate Rx.

 

The tricky part about mental illness that one of the symptoms blocks getting actual treatment and care. In addition, some manifestations of the illness prevent a person from developing habits that change things organically. We can talk all day long about sunshine, exercise and sleep hygiene but if the depression prevents a person from developing the habits that develop and sustain those, the depression rages on.

 

I'd encourage you towards thinking about how to stabilize and fortify healthy brain chemistry so that you CAN access changes that will sustain healthy brain functioning and upgrade your quality of life. But don't trust a diseased brain to make those decisions. It's not about willpower, strength, research, or intelligence.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...