I have suffered from depression since my teenage years. I was not treated at that time and was in and out of depression barely functioning but still functioning. In my 20's it was worse. Was not treated until my 40's without much sucess. I took numerous meds will little or no effect. Only limited relief with celexa and lexapro. Just took the edge off but not enough to matter. Also I seemed to lose motivation on this med. So I went cold turkey and suffered for a very long time but I was able to muster up some motivation so that I am functioning enough to get by a fool most people but some days are just awful. What I want to know is must there always be a reason for depression? I have been analyzing myself since my teenage years and am now in my 50's. I have never been able to come up with a reason for my depression.
I have not experienced any trauma in my life. So can a person just become depressed for no reason?
Thanks in advance to all who respond?
I am not an expert, but I believe that depression does have a reason. It may be the brain chemistry, but most depressions, in my opinion, have an emotional reason. Not everyone who is depressed has suffered trauma. Neglect in childhood, having parents who are not there for you can cause depression. A lot of things can cause depression, the list is long. Trauma is just a more obvious reason for depression, but there are plenty of reasons there are more subtle.
I've also been depressed most of my life. I had a bad childhood so in my case it is pretty obvious where the depression comes from.
Of course there is a reason! It's a real medical DISEASE that affects your brain chemistry. It makes you look at everything in a more negative way, including yourself. There are 20 million people suffering from this disease. Most of them had perfectly normal, imperfect parents and lives with normal challenges.
Some people get temporary situational depression due to a normal loss or disappointment in life. It's really unfortunate that they use the same term for it, because it's really not the same thing. Some people who have gone through situational depression think it's easy to just snap out of it.
This disease makes you feel bad physically, and when you try to find a reason, it just makes you interpret everything in your life in the most negative way. You end up blaming other people or situations for things that weren't their fault, and that hurts relationships. You can blame your childhood for making you unhappy as a child, but once you're grown-up, you start to realize that you can't use that as an excuse anymore. It just makes you feel worse because then you have to start blaming yourself. In reality, you don't have to blame anyone, including yourself! It's a disease.
Depression cause you to overuse negative thought pathways, and makes them stronger. You need help to fight the thought patterns that become entrenched in your brain.
There are physical methods (exercise, and body-mind work), cognitive methods (techniques you can learn in therapy) and medical interventions (antidepressants, shock therapy) to help you out of it. As you've found, trying to find a reason is a dead-end.
It's really helpful to catch this disease early, before the negative thought patterns become so entrenched and cause them to push people away. If you know young people with depression, try to keep them active and get them involved in cognitive therapy as soon as possible. Anti-depressants are more dangerous for children than they are for adults and should only be used as a last resort.
I agree, major depression is a brain disease, it may not have a "cause" other than genetics and bad luck**.
Have you tried lithium or other mood stabilizer like Lamictal? Your history sounds like a variant of bipolar disorder - where mostly depressive symptoms are seen instead of the up-down version. Women with BP (there are six different types of bipolar disorder) tend to have more depressive symptoms and "up" periods may be hidden in what are called mixed episodes. The symptoms of mixed episodes are irritability, inability to concentrate, insomnia and paranoia with the depression. I've had them, they're not fun.
Have you tried thyroid medication with your antidepressant? It can boost their effectiveness.
**that's not to say that trauma or abuse can't cause depression, they certainly do. Whether the depression comes from within or without, it is a disorder of the brain.
My doctor believes there is always a reason behind depression. He strongly recommends therapy to all his patients to explore triggers. I've found group and individual therapy to be very helpful for clarifying things. A family history makes it easier to become depressed, but something in the environment tips the scale sending the person into depression.
As negot said, there are a lot of things that can cause depression and the reasons can be subtle. There doesn't need to be trauma or a bad childhood.
Thanks everybody for your insight. I did not have a bad childhood. My parents were always there for me. We have a close family. I would just start feeling low for no reason that I am aware of . I have just about given up on meds. I really don't want to try them again. Having said that I would not try to discourage anyone from using meds in fact I would encourage it as it really helps some people but I just don't want to try anything for myself. I had lithum as a teenager. Had a bad reaction to Pamelor. I have had so many meds. I do not know much about Bi-Polar. My depression was this profound sadness, I could always function though. Did fairly well in school and excelled in some subjects.
Depression now IS different from when I was younger in that I have become disabled after a problem in surgery and just thinking about not knowing definitely what happened really gets to me. I feel that someone hurt me and and there is nothing I can do about it. I also feel that if it knew that happened I could close the book on it. Now that kind of depression I can understand. But I am still bothered by the depression in my youth and am still looking for answers. I have been to a psy doctor many times since the surgery. (Sorry, needed to say this to you guys)
I guess I need to stop worrying about why I suffered so much in my youth and deal with what is going on now. I know I can't do anything about it but I suppose I am mourning so much sadness in my youth. And now having to deal with this sense of loss just keep making me look back.
It sounds like you could really benefit from more counseling to talk about the issues that continue to bother you. You might find some insights that will help you to move forward from here. A therapist might help you find a new way to look at things, or help you to confront something or someone to find closure.
Try a different therapist or a different type of therapist. Sometimes it seems like there are as many different kinds of talk therapies as different kinds of medications.
The chemical imbalance theory took on a life of it's own. The expression caught on big time, yet evidence is absent. Low serotonin does not hold water. The drug companies must carefully word their ads.
Thanks everybody for your insight. I did not have a bad childhood. . I do not know much about Bi-Polar. My depression was this profound sadness, I could always function though. Did fairly well in school and excelled in some subjects.
Depression now IS different from when I was younger in that I have become disabled after a problem in surgery and just thinking about not knowing definitely what happened really gets to me. I feel that someone hurt me and and there is nothing I can do about it. I also feel that if it knew that happened I could close the book on it. And now having to deal with this sense of loss just keep making me look back.
I hope you feel better. It sounds like you may have been biologically vulnerable to depression, and then really bad things happened to you and tipped the balance toward your BEING depressed.. But Medication can ease your suffering, lift your mood, Therapy can help you feel less alone. Books also can be very helpful..ie Maryellen Copeland has written a workbook for Living with Depression.. Also, look up Mind over Mood (auth?). Not sure what surgery you had, and what went wrong,, but it souds like you are a strong person, can you get an answer by getting your records? Have you sought out legal opinion on it? I understand not knowing something can eat away at you.. If you cannot get the answers, perhaps consider prayer (the serenity prayer>) and support from others. I truly hope you can ease your suffering, and feel less depressed..don't give up. Misty PS as someone else has already suggested.. don't overlook biological reasons for depression too.. ie low thyroid, and even certain bp medications.. check with your MD, and/or a psychiatrist on this too.
Last edited by mistygreen; 10-29-2008 at 06:58 PM.
Thank you for replying. I have been away from the board for a while. I've tried several meds. They don't seem to really help.As for a psy I've gone on and off for several years but I was told it was a chemical imbalance and to take my meds. Meds make me numb emotionally and not care about anything. I have to get off meds so I can feel something. Guess I have a hopeless case and will just try to live with it.