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  • Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

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    Old 09-28-2004, 05:26 AM   #16
    MrOwl
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Yes, Donna you do seem overloaded. These storms can do things like that to you. I spend all day yesterday cleaning up after Jeanne and still have half a downed tree to remove.

    I would like to suggest a minor change in you thinking. Instead of "fighting depression," why not try "enjoying life." The problem with the former thinking is that one is using a negative to try to correct a negative. The other is using a positive to gain a positive. Maybe try saying things like:
    "I am doing this job because is feels good to be productive."
    "I enjoy painting, so I am going to paint for a while."
    "I like eating crisp food, so I am going to the dentist so I don't have to mush mashed potatoes the rest of my life."
    "I love my dad, and it feels go to entertain him in my house."
    "Exercise gives me a nice safe 'high' so I am going to the gym."
    "I am sure glad someone put on a show so that I can display the creative things I make. And it really makes me feel good when someone likes something likes my work well enough to actually pay money for it."

    Try turning gripes into praise, and whines into actions. Why? It makes me feel good when I do.

    Just some suggestions, maybe they will help.

     
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    Old 09-28-2004, 12:57 PM   #17
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    I would have to say that my depression and anxiety is based on my life experiences and raising, not chemical. But it is still very real and I struggle with it daily. I was on Zoloft for a while but my moods felt “fake” so I got off it

    When I was growing up, I was unimportant to my parents. They never encouraged me to get involved in anything, and when I did, such as a sports team or musical instrument or dance…even at the age of seven it was up to me to find transportation. My mom used girl scouts as a way to have me babysat after school. I never got my uniforms on time, I had to drop out because I was too young to hook myself up with transportation they never encouraged me to practice or learn. I never did homework because they never cared about my school work and was NEVER allowed to show emotion; too happy or sad. Etc etc etc you get the picture.

    As a young adult, I was reminded of what my mother pointed out to me.. bad skin, bad hair etc etc etc again made to drop out of school sports. I wasn’t allowed to have friends. She didn’t want me to go to college etc etc

    As an adult on my own with an average income, I struggle to get by, I hate my current job, can only take one class at a time at night school as my budget permits. I feel like I will never get ahead. My parents continue to want me around but ignore me

    My current friends and boyfriend have boosted my mood and self esteem, but it is still a struggle. I can lift my mood by keeping myself busy and enjoying my hobbies, and doing the things that my parents always discouraged me from doing whenever it creeps up on me. But it’s always there

     
    Old 09-28-2004, 02:41 PM   #18
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Alltaurus, your story is common. I can identify with at least some of it.

    Yes, situational cause depression is very real, and, as best as I understand it does create chemical differences in the brain. It seems then that the best way to get to the bottom of it to address the situation.

    Some things that helped me were to write out all those bad things from the past. That way the paper could remember them. Now I do not need keep rehearsing them in my mind. For me it was a painful, but very freeing exercise. If something new comes up, I just put it on the list.

    The next thing was to determine what kind of person I wanted to be, and to start living that way. For example, if I had wanted to be a sport fanatic I would have done all the things that sports fan do. I found that what I really wanted was relating to people, so I starting doing the things that people lovers do, like responding on these boards.

    It sounds like you are on the right track. Just put those old situations behind you and start enjoying life.

     
    Old 09-28-2004, 07:37 PM   #19
    atmont1977
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sandalla
    OK, so now I know you've probably read more info than you cared to on my other thread but Donna, to answer your question "Is it really a chemical imbalance ..."

    FACT (Not opinion): Are you aware that the term "chemical imbalance" is absolute hogwash! It is a phrase manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in order to promote their own chemicals, and unfortunately has been "embraced" by the psychiatric community and filtered down to us mere unsuspecting laymen! Quite simply - there is NOT ONE PHYSICAL test available to measure and diagnose depression. NOT ONE!!!

    Don't be fooled.

    I can follow up with many, many sources of reference if you wish to do your own reading up, and then armed with both sides of the debate, you can make up your own mind.

    In the meantime, I know they're very long threads, but a few of us here have done a lot of debating on this subject, and you may want to look at the Effexor Nightmare thread too.

    The sad, sad thing ... not only with depression, etc ... but with ALL illnesses today (physical too) ... is that the majority of the necessary $$$ required to finance research ... comes from the huge and incredibly affluent drug companies. They are in the business for business reasons, not for altruistic purposes! They need to make profits and the way they make profits is by manufacturing drugs. That's what they do! They're not charitable organizations. So it doesn't take a "brain surgeon" (couldn't resist that! ) to figure out what's what.

    And it sucks, but that's life. As long as we try to stay informed, keep out heads above water, and not get sucked into all this garbage, that's about all we can do!
    "And it sucks but thats life?" Tell that to people who are enormously helped each day of their lives by these drugs. And im sure the people who are on these drugs because they have tried everything else and nothing seems to work, really care if there is a way to test for a chemical imbalance or not. Im sure these same people also do not care if drug companies are charitable organizations or not.

    The "wonderful" and "know it all", Peter Breggin once wrote, to treat severe mentally ill patients, use "love and nurturing". Talk about hogwash!!

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 12:54 AM   #20
    Donna 2854
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Atmont, just curious, how long have you been on meds? And which one? I hope they work for you . If you have been on them as long as I was, saw no results and in fact , felt drugged and detached all the time, you might question their effectivness as I did when I posted this thread. Please expand on YOUR story will you? And how they have helped you . Thanks..

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 01:04 AM   #21
    Donna 2854
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MrOwl
    Yes, Donna you do seem overloaded. These storms can do things like that to you. I spend all day yesterday cleaning up after Jeanne and still have half a downed tree to remove.

    I would like to suggest a minor change in you thinking. Instead of "fighting depression," why not try "enjoying life." The problem with the former thinking is that one is using a negative to try to correct a negative. The other is using a positive to gain a positive. Maybe try saying things like:
    "I am doing this job because is feels good to be productive."
    "I enjoy painting, so I am going to paint for a while."
    "I like eating crisp food, so I am going to the dentist so I don't have to mush mashed potatoes the rest of my life."
    "I love my dad, and it feels go to entertain him in my house."
    "Exercise gives me a nice safe 'high' so I am going to the gym."
    "I am sure glad someone put on a show so that I can display the creative things I make. And it really makes me feel good when someone likes something likes my work well enough to actually pay money for it."

    Try turning gripes into praise, and whines into actions. Why? It makes me feel good when I do.

    Just some suggestions, maybe they will help.

    Thank you for taking your time to post here , Mr Owl. I appreciate your efforts in helping me change my thought patterns. I will practice doing this. Tis an exercise for my brain, to come up with counter thoughts when I start thinking negative ones. You seem to be a caring person who takes the time to post - I notice and admire that .
    One more question for you. How can I change my emotional dependence on cigarettes? If I feel tense or anxious, they will calm me down and its like Linus' blankey - I use them as a crutch to feel better and to relax. As long as I have that thought pattern , I won't be able to stop the habit. I can physically quit but the MENTAL dependence keeps me going back to them for relief.... any help would be appreciated here.
    Keep up your good work here. Need more posters like you !

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 06:37 AM   #22
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Wow Donna, you working on a lot of things all at once. That is good; sometimes it is easier that way.

    I understand that you want to be a relaxed, happy, active, creative, productive, caring, healthy person. Well, just declare yourself to be one! Then do, say, and think the things that relaxed, happy, active, creative, productive, caring, healthy people do. [Build your own list of desired, self-describing adjectives. My list here may be a little long, keep yours short, maybe three or five adjectives.] Test each thought and action, and make each decision using your adjectives as a filter.

    Will you slip at times? Sure, but that is part of the learning process. You did ride a bike perfectly the first time you got on one. Each time you fall off, get right back on, and look forward to the new freedom you will soon have.

    What does this have to do with smoking? Well, a changed life attitude, or worldview if you please, will take away the emotional need to smoke. And, by the way, do the people who best fit your adjective list smoke?

    Thanks for the praising. It lets me know that, to some extent, I am actually living my adjective list. That makes me feel good. Thanks.

    Last edited by MrOwl; 09-29-2004 at 10:29 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 09:17 AM   #23
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Mr. Owl ... It sounds like your on the right track too. I really do believe the key is adrressing the issues, even if it's just to yourself. Then move on, try not to dwell on it. Fid the person you want to be and go for it!! Whenever I feel a little down or have to see my family again I just visit the boards or re-address things that bother me then ...move forward!!!

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 11:27 AM   #24
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MrOwl
    Thanks for the praising. It lets me know that, to some extent, I am actually living my adjective list. That makes me feel good. Thanks.
    You seem very logical and knowledgable on this subject -- can you give me any emotional/thought tips to help me start losing the weight that the ADs put on me?

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 12:38 PM   #25
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Well, I do not know about all of that. Nevertheless, here is what I would do.

    First, really practice good positive through patterns that will help you get off, or stay off the drugs. Try the things I have shared with Donna.

    Next, on your list of positive self-descriptive adjectives have one like "trim," or some other positive adjective that you want to describe you.

    Now start eating and doing what trim people your age and body type eat and do. Watch the frequency and quantity they eat, not just what they eat. I had a very trim uncle who did not exercise, ate everything, and never gained weight. When asked about this he would always say, "The best exercise in the world is pushing back from the table." I think that when we are depressed we tend to overeat. I have been able to lose weight just by changing one little habit, like buying a candy bar to reward myself for doing the grocery shopping for my wife.

    Also, get some good, easy, daily exercise. Walking is wonderful. Get an inexpensive pedometer. I paid about $8 for one at Wal-Mart. Wear it all the time and see how many steps you take each day. Then find easy and fun ways to increase how many steps you take each day. Do not browbeat your self with it. Just have fun seeing what you can easily change to add more steps. Try not wasting time looking for a "good" parking place. Park where there are only a few cars and walk to the store, or office. Make a game out of it. Little things often make a big difference.

    I find that going to a gym just raises my stress. Walking not only burns some fat, but of much greater importance, it gets your body active every day. It helps your breathing, circulation, lymph flow, etc. I generally find my mental state is better after a good walk.

    Anyway, we are off the topic of depression recovery here, but being happier about your weight may help relieve depression.

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 12:50 PM   #26
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Donna 2854
    Thank you for taking your time to post here , Mr Owl. I appreciate your efforts in helping me change my thought patterns. I will practice doing this. Tis an exercise for my brain, to come up with counter thoughts when I start thinking negative ones. You seem to be a caring person who takes the time to post - I notice and admire that .
    One more question for you. How can I change my emotional dependence on cigarettes? If I feel tense or anxious, they will calm me down and its like Linus' blankey - I use them as a crutch to feel better and to relax. As long as I have that thought pattern , I won't be able to stop the habit. I can physically quit but the MENTAL dependence keeps me going back to them for relief.... any help would be appreciated here.
    Keep up your good work here. Need more posters like you !
    Just to offer some other information to further this discussion, which I think is incredibly interesting. Dr. Jeff Schwartz, a neuroscientist at UCLA has done a lot of research with people who have OCD. He pioneered a 4-step process to help them break the cycle of their obsessive patterns and then has shown through before and after PET scans of people who applied this method that they are able to physically change their brain (and most likely their chemical balance/imbalance). Not that they are immediately cured -- it takes hard work and effort on their part, but he is showing it is possible. Just by thinking differently, they are able to physically change their brains. Fascinating!

    I heard him speak once and he said there are cases where people do need medications when they have acute situations. (I was one of those people, but once I felt a little better I actively worked towards getting of the medication and have been off for an entire year... feeling better than I have in years. I don't have extreme OCD, but I think I have obsessive thinking patterns at times.)

    I think there's been recent research and press about how medications and cognitive behavorial therapy affect different parts of the brain. So people who are on medications need to also be actively doing other therapies, such as Dr. Schwartz's four-step process or CBT. It's very positive and hopeful to know that your Mind (your will and resolve) can overcome your biological brain problems (the chemical, electrical, physical imbalances).

    Anyway, Donna, I would be interested if Dr. Schwart's method could help you break the addiction cycle of your cigarettes. You might check out his book "Brain Lock" for information on the 4-step process. One of the steps involves redirection. Whenever you need your "blankie" you have to actively redirect your actions to something else, such as weeding your garden. Over a period of weeks this will change your brain... Just like meds change your brain after a period of time. Nothing happens overnight. You're dealing with biology here.

    This is not a Pollyana "just be positive" approach. It involves a lot of resolve and ongoing hard work. And I've never been addicted to cigarettes, so I don't have personal experience to help you. I've heard some people say that hypnosis helps them greatly with cigarette cravings (check out Dr. Steven Gurgevich's Tranceformation website for CD's you can order to help quit smoking. He has an "Amazing Hypnotic Tonic to Cure Tobacco Addiction" program which looks intriguing. Dr. Andrew Weil, the integrative medicine guru, is a supporter of Dr. Gurgevich's work.) I'm also a big proponent of biofeedback and neurofeedback as additional therapies to help with anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.

    --CarrieLynn

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 01:00 PM   #27
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sickofeffexor
    You seem very logical and knowledgable on this subject -- can you give me any emotional/thought tips to help me start losing the weight that the ADs put on me?
    I'm going to add to this subject, which admitedly I don't know a lot about -- if anyone here is an expert, please jump in and correct anything that needs to be corrected.

    I have read and heard that the ADs affect your metabolism and your liver. I think the Prozac Truth website provides information on this. I'm Sandalla has lots of pointers to other places too. But in addition to what MrOwl says, I suggest looking into ways to flush your system (detox program) and actively alter your metabolism (exercise, eating the right foods). I saw a D.O. after going off Zoloft about a detoxification program. I don't trust myself to take the right herbs, so he put me on some homeopathic remedies.

    Go see the movie "SuperSize Me" about this guy who ate at McDonalds for a month. He changed his liver dramatically by eating fatty fast food and gained 25 pounds (in ONE month). His doctors were begging him to go off the diet by week 3. His girlfriend is a vegan chef and she put him on a 2 -month vegan detox diet at the end of the 30 day fast food diet. Still, it took him 9 months to lose the 25 pounds and he's a pretty active guy.

    This showed me the biological battle we're up against... once you mess with your liver and metabolism, it takes firm resolve and TIME to heal yourself. I'm still trying to lose 5 more pounds of the 10 pounds I gained while on Zoloft. I've been off Zoloft for a year. (Mind you, I've backslid some in my diet and resolve, so this is partly my fault.)

    I'm not trying to be negative, just providing another perspective. I am very optimistic that I have been healing, that I will be able to heal and move on.

    --CarrieLynn

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 05:42 PM   #28
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Donna 2854
    Atmont, just curious, how long have you been on meds? And which one? I hope they work for you . If you have been on them as long as I was, saw no results and in fact , felt drugged and detached all the time, you might question their effectivness as I did when I posted this thread. Please expand on YOUR story will you? And how they have helped you . Thanks..
    Donna by no means are these drugs for everyone. They are indeed overprescribed. But who should be the person to draw the line, stating whether someone warrants a trial with an antidepressant or not? Also, these drugs unfortunately dont work for everyone. Maybe they dont work for you or if you feel "drugged or detached" maybe you are on too high a dose or the wrong medication. The field of bio-psychiatry is very primitive, it is far from perfect.

    The direction of my comments are toward people who continuously try to discredit the whole psychiatric field and feel that it is one big scam. For many people out there, (including myself) they might find thier comments are far fetched. For example many people who are angry with the whole psychiatric community are those going through withdrawal from meds.

    I have have panic disorder with depression. I once became very addicted to benzodiazepines, (xanax, klonopin) had severe withdrawal and needed to be d-toxed in a hospital for a long time. Some of the fault lied with me because I took a bit more than prescribed at times but thats irrelevent. My point is, is that the suffering from the withdrawal did not compare at all to the suffering from panic disorder and depression, which almost led me to suicide. Its a risk/benefit ratio thing. Does your depression leave you hopeless enough, helpless enough, tortured enough, etc, to put you in a position to try an antidepressant, even though youve heard of the potential side effects? If not, maybe exercise is enough for you, or proper dieting, talk therapy, etc.

    As far as the chemical imbalance thing, I have a book right in front of me ("Better than Prozac") written by a neuroscientist who does alot of work for pharmaceutical companies and admits, like many of his colleagues that the blocking of the re-uptake of serotonin does not directly relieve symtoms of depression. But the start of the blocking of this re-uptake does start a chain of events that while not understood yet, does relieve depression greatly for some.

    If your'e suffering from withdrawal which led you to suicidal thoughts or ideations than all i can say is that you probably should not have been on the medication to begin with. But if you were already suicidal, than why not take the risk? Unfortunately with the imperfections of science no one knows who and who shouldnt be on an antidepressant.

    Lastly regarding your questions of what medications i am on and do i benefit from them, the answer is Paxil, Klonopin (which i take more responsibly) and Trileptal and yes in my case i do benefit from them.

    hope i cleared things up a bit

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 06:26 PM   #29
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    atmont1977-ditto.

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 11:47 PM   #30
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    Re: Is it really a chemical imbalance or is it situational depression?

    excellent post, really well-spoken

     
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