I feel like I won't be able to have a normal life because of the major clinical depression I suffer every time I have a major life change. At 39 I've had five major bouts of depression in the past 10 years. Each one lasted a few months and was caused either by someone breaking up with me, or by my moving to a new place.
I had the same therapist for all this time and while I trust her and the talk therapy has helped with things, (like dealing with anger at my parents for divorcing, and my dad for not being able to show me love, and for my own insecurities and how they stem from that my mom was alcoholic, etc.) 10 years of this kind of therapy has not been able to prevent me from going into deep depression when these life events happen. Also I was on SSRIs during thist time and they did not prevent the depressive episodes.
Finally the psychiatrist gave me lithium and I believe it helped to lift the depression. But I don't want to stay on it full time because it causes so much weigh gain in my stomach that people actually think I'm pregnant. We tried lamyctal because it does't have the weight gain qualities, but while on lamyctal, I went into a depression. So I quit. These are mood stabilizers, not antidepressants, but my depression is so severe that he tried them. I am not bi-polar. I don't need the lithium ALL the time, just to lift a major depression. In between those depressive episodes, I am pretty normal. I am a sensitive person who thinks too much and worries, but am not depressed.
I went to some lectures on PTSD and the psychologist who gave them set up a meeting with me and I am truely convinced that the depression is caused by the fact that I was adopted. I was put in a foster home that burned down and as an infant was diagnosed by some idiot psychiatrist as being too traumatized to be adoptable. So that delayed things. Nevertheless, they put me in a second home where I apparently became attached to the foster mother, and then adopted me at 9 months to my parents. My mom said I would cry whenever she put me down and someone had to be holding me the whole time. For some reason I was afraid of my father and all men at first.
Now, 38 years later, whenever I move or someone abandons me, it seems to me it is triggering what had happened to me as an infant. No matter how much my rational brain says this is going to be ok, I can feel myself slipping down the slippery slope. It's almost as though I can feel the brain chemistry changing and I have no way of stopping it. even though I know what is happening. Now I get the lithium as soon as I feel it, but the depression still takes its toll. I lose weight, can't concentrate, am a burden to all my friends--even needing to stay with someone because being alone at times like this feeds the trauma.
Am I doomed to fall into a depression every time a relationship ends or I move? I am trying to find a steady relationship but that has eluded me. I recently tried to move to LA to be with a great guy, because he asked me to move there after eight months of long-distance dating. He said he saw him spending the rest of his life with me and talked about engagement rings. But I got depression and asked to stay with him instead of on my own in an apartment out there (I had to look for a job and was traumatized by moving into this vast city). But he said he wasn't ready to share his space and would resent me if I moved in before he was ready. He wanted me to be there, to make it on my own, and then we would get engaged and married when he felt ready. I couldn't make it on my own in a strange place with the depression and so had to pack and go back to where I came from. I am heartbroken.
I feel hopeless, like I'm doomed to repeat this and have depressions the rest of my life whenever there's a big change. It's like a prison.
Is there any advice out there?
thanks if you've read this far. I really appreciate it.
Sorry you havnt had a reply - this board is a bit slow at the moment - I am also sorry that you have had so much trouble - the psychologist that you said you saw about ptsd and made an appointment - did you go and see them?
I get really dark depressions since I was attacked - my psychologist has helped me through them - some lasted as long as 3 months (that was after the anniv of when I was attacked) thought field therapy - which is like acupressure has helped me - (also known as EFT) also EMDR (Eye movement rapid de-sensitisation) helped and CBT -depression can be cured - you can learn ways to head it off when you see it approaching -
gettng depressed when a relationship ends is normal - its how you get yourself out of it and how long it lasts that is the problem - you have been through a lot - try to be kind to yourself - treat yourself like you would your own best friend - ask yourself if I had a friend who was feeling this way what would I tell her?
I suppose most of all I want to let you know there is hope -
take care MBC
p.s., are you seeing the psych for therapy or do you see a psychologist as well?
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Thank you for replying. I see a psychiatrist for meds, and then a therapist for therapy. I think the therapist I've been going to all these years is good, and did some EMDR for childhood hurts, but in the 10 years she never went back to the original trauma--the adoption.
When I went to the different therapist who knew more about trauma, that is the first place she went, and she had me do some "parts" work where I talked to the different parts of me that had split off from the trauma. I only got to see her three times before my cobra insurance ran out. And I currently am not working as I will be returning to DC after leaving California and need to get a job.
As soon as I get a job and health insurance, I don't want to go back to my long-term therapist but want to get help focused directly on the trauma.
After 5 bouts, I have come to understand when a normal depressed feeling crosses the "line" into full-blown depression. I feel the black cloud, the numbing, the fogginess, I lose all appetite and can sleep no more than 4 hours without sleeping pills. As hard as I try, it is all I can do to get out of bed. I feel so horrible because it feels like I should be able to get out of bed!!! But something pins me there and negative thoughts and fears run rampant. People who know me see the light goes out of my eyes and I stop grooming and wear the same clothes. I have good friends, but I am so sick and tired of being the friend who cries and feels hopeless for a few months every other year. I lean so heavily on them and feel so self-centered. I don't want to be that person.
This pat december, I moved to LA and the trauma of leaving everyone I know and the place I'd lived 11 years started the depression. Then arriving in LA just compounded it so that even the lithium was not able to help. My boyfriend wouldn't let me live with him so I took a small trip to a beloved uncle. There, the love and care he gave helped me get out of the depression. But when I returned to live alone in LA again, I slipped back. I think my boyfriend was unfeeling for not letting me stay with him (he said he couldn't respect me if I had to move in with him as it seemed weak) and said he would be angry and resentful if he let me move in before he was ready (even though he asked me to move to LA and said he had seen himself spending his life with me). . But still, I hate that I feel I had to leave LA because I couldn't "hack" it. In my 20's, I moved and lived all around the world and was fine. The therapist said I was probably dissociating or some such, so that the depression didn't hit until my 30's.
Depression is the worst thing I have experienced in my entire life. I feel my long-term therapy has helped with smaller issues, but not the core issue--this trauma and its getting re-triggered.
As soon as I get a job, I hope to go back to the therapist who first talked about the trauma and said I did not have simple depression, but PTSD. But not sure if she can take me on. If not, I'll look for another.
I have never heard of EFT, but would try anything. I'd be curious to hear more about that.
Regarding CBT, can you tell me the characteristics of the therapist that I should be looking for? I really feel like my long-term therapist was more like a friend I could tell things to--and therapy went on for years--but whenever I had a big change, the deep dark depression came, and there was nothing she could do to really help me but just sort of hold my hand in the figurative sense, and make sure I was "taking the meds" which was discouraging.
I don't want to be afraid to move or afraid to date because there might be a breakup--and then I'll get depression again. I really need hope to go on.
your boyfriend ex? (hopefully! - sorry) sounds like a royal pain - relationships should be about supporting each other in hard times and it doesnt sound like he wanted to help at all - in a way its good that that happened as you could have wasted years to find out his true colours - sayinghe would think you weak shows more about him than you. It' not weak to need to be healed from trauma - and i's very brave to recognise that you need help and ask for it when you do.
you long term therapist was probably good for what you needed then - needs change and thats when you have to try something different if the current stuff isnt working.
EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques/TFT thought Field therapy - I saw a psychologsit who did this - they tap on you while you say things - like even though I feel depressed I deeply and completely accept myself - sounds silly but it got me from shutdown and numb to feeling again - then CBT cognitive behaviour therapy - starts to try and change yoour thinking that keeps the depression going - for example - I used to carry a worry stone - a flat stone with the word hope cut into it - when I got stressed I would run my fingers over it and say I couldnt lose hope cos I had it in my hand - silly but it worked - then I lost it EEK! told my Psyhcologist - and said that with the stone gone I had lost my hope - she tried to reframe that by saying maybe we can look at this as the stone was an external sign of hope inside you and now its gone you dont need it as you have hope inside - and maybe someone will find the stone who needs it more than you -
sorry for long post - there is hope - 2 years ago I was totally out of control all the time - flashbacks - dark depressions with Su thoughts, self harm, hypervigilence, nightmares, some OCD, and very little sleep - a lot of that has improved - not gone but improved and each time I go back into the darkness the light is a little brighter when I come out - THERE IS HOPE MBC
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Thanks for the encouragement. Yes I left LA one month ago and my boyfriend is now my ex. I am feeling the depression of the loss of the relationship, but I'm still on the lithium, so I still feel fairly stable, just really really down. It's hard, but I think what you say is true. I told him that my trauma was triggered by waking up every day alone in a strange place--but he could not change his mind about letting me stay with him. And the comment about me being "weak" really stung. I thought--what kind of person says that about or to someone they love?
Anyway, as soon as I get a job, I want to start some different kind of therapy. I really appreciate the tips and your encouraging words about being able to prevent the depression. That does give me hope.
And the comment about me being "weak" really stung. I thought--what kind of person says that about or to someone they love?
Someone that actually loves you wouldn't say that no matter who they are. My partner still now even after all this trouble with PTSD and depression still says i'm strong. Sounds like you are better off without him hun. I think it was a bit wrong of him to ask you to move all that way only to make you live on your own.
I agree if they truly loved you they would stand with you, hold you, sit by you, talk ...listen....whatever you needed at that moment. I know because after two failed marriages I found the right one...that truly loved me and has compassion...and really tries to understand what I am going through. I am Bipolar with PTSD...poor man lol.
About your med's...what they did with me to keep me from slipping so hard into those depression and freaking out over major changes..( like a move ) they have me on two anti depressants...and a mood enhancer. Just thought I might share that with you.
I am curious. So do you suffer from depression related to things like moves? Can I ask what medications you are on? I know that the same meds aren't for everyone, but I'd like to find out what works for others. As I said, the lithium makes me gain so much weight and the lamyctal didn't work--as far as preventing them.
Thanks so much for the encouraging post. I was starting to feel like I would never be able to find a guy who would accept my problems with compassion. I'm encouraged that you have and am happy for you.
I don't mind telling you med's. I am on wellbutrin and lamictal. I have Restoril for when I'm in that mania state, but I still don't sleep long taking it...maybe 4 hours. Also have propranolol when I go in anxiety mode.
My depression could be a combo of things..childhood,chemical, thyroid disease. I panic when I have to do something new...like moving,driving out in town,going in stores with large amount of people,when someone comes to visit, sometimes even when I have to talk.
Panic and Anxiety Attacks
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