A sense of unreality and intrusive / philosophical questions!

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Hi, I'm in my late twenties and currently experiencing a second phase of depression in my life. The first episode was 2.5 years ago which had a long and slow steady decline, first presenting itself as anxiety/physical symptoms and resulting in a full blown breakdown because I pushed myself to breaking point. I quit my job, left London and made quite a lot of good changes in my life. I thought it was behind me.

I moved to another City after spending a year with my family recovering and building myself back up again. I had been treated with 150mg of Sertraline which I took for just over two years before stopping in March of this year. I felt OK without the medication for around 3 months but a few weeks ago after moving house and changing the office that I work in I felt myself rapidly going downhill. I was also unlucky enough to witness a suicide on a bridge near where I live, which I found very traumatic and distressing (as anybody would! But it affecting me more due to having a history of depression!) I started to dwell on that event which ultimately I think triggered this episode in me. I think however that it was a sign that everything wasn't right with me, as when stronger I could have dealt with it better.

I went to the doctor and initially put back on 50mg of Sertraline. The first few days were pretty bad, no appetite, nausea - but that quickly lifted. I went to the doctor two weeks later and asked to be put up to 100mg, since this is toward the dose that helped me before.

The thing that I want to find out from other people is do you get a sense of unreality when you are depressed or taking/starting medication? I feel distanced from those around me even though I talk and act completely normal. It's like I'm a robot. I'm able to 100% hide that there is anything wrong with me! The first time I was depressed I used to get deep philisophical questions about the size of the universe and why humans were here at all. This time around I'm obsessed with the complexity of the human body like how our brain works and what even makes us alive. I sometimes feel just like a robot acting in my own life and I can't quite decide if it's the depression or the medication, or both! Overall I know deep down that these thoughts are a symptom of my illness as a healthy "me" can think the same things but not dwell on them and see them as a negative thing - but I tend to endlessly ruminate on this stuff when I'm not very well. I actually even saw a pyschiatrist once and I tried to explain all of this to him and he just said to me "it's just 'stuff'" - which pretty accurately describes it. 

I'm hoping this time I will have gone downhill quickly, and I'll go uphill quite quickly too. I am keeping a diary, it's only 2.5 weeks since I started the medication again.

Interested to hear from other people who experience a similar thing to myself or anybody who has dealt/dealing with a second episode of depression and what your story is..

Thanks!

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  • Posted

    Hi Andrew. For me I have been depressed for what I only see as a year but looking back it really started when I was 21/22, I'm now 33. I don't open up to people at all even my loved ones and I never really paid attention until I destroyed my current relationship. I did see a Doc and am also on the same meds. I started at 50mg and was told to come back after 6 months.

    I did that after feeling no better...my appetite had become non-existant. I was then told off and got put on 100mg and go back after 2 weeks....bloody quacks.....the symptoms are the same for now as they were and I should go back....Am still on them and I seem to have lost my spark.....your not alone..I try not to dwell on the human race as working with who I do....we are screwed haha

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  • Posted

    I generally feel sod all towards other people on a bad day. Like there's a barrier of glass between me and them. Communication ceases and I just find myself not caring. There are breaks in this though where I have to interact. Majority of thatis either to speak to a heath professional or simple manners. Meds wise they will make you feel like that, drowsiness detached, I don't need mine for that I'm already there. Plus I often think you notice the thoughts more because when you take your meds you notice the change in your behaviour. Sorry if that doesn't make any sense lol, I don't have secondary depression mines pretty long term but I liked reading your post all the same. Interesting.
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  • Posted

    I can definately relate to the feeling of unreality that you talk about. I have spent about the last 14 years taking different types of antidepressants - everytime I stop I seem to fall back into anxiety/depression again so I have gone back on them. I stopped again in November, and I am struggling, but I am trying to avoid going back on them if I can. I don't want to spend the rest of my life taking pills.

    When I am taking antidepressants, I feel like I am able to 'act' normal and cope with things, but also like I am at a distance from reality and my own feelings, just like you describe, and that I am just performing in the world, and nothing is real.  The benefit of them is that I can get things done, probably better than I can at the moment, and I certainly feel stronger and more capable of dealing with everyday life, other people and relationships. At the moment I think I am just hiding, and I barely leave the house. 

    Anyway, I hope you feel better soon. The first few weeks on ADs are always bad from my eperience, but things get better after that. I might be joining you shortly if things carry on as they are.

     

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    • Posted

      I'm no doc/scientist but for me I'm a highly happy person or at least I portray that to many people...you know the adage put a brave face on it...but when I'm on my meds I come down a bit and level out...but like you I don't want to spend my life on tabs...if I can help it
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    • Posted

      That's what I thought you meant, but I wasn't sure. But does that mean you also avoid getting too low when your on them too? Everyone's different, but for me ADs numbed me enough to function, but it wasn't really me functioning if that makes sense?
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    • Posted

      I think it's more a case of I notice more now that I do get low....being "up" all the time I didn't notice but I feel that maybe levelling out I'm more prone to being in a low place....I don't know if anyone else here has noticed a trend/pattern but I follow every 4 months I dip...I put it down to the moons gravitational pull but noone believed me
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    • Posted

      Its true that even while I was taking AD's I had regular crashes - which is part of my reasoning for not taking them any more. Whats the point? The constant rollercoaster was doing my head in. I also sleep a lot better off them. On the moon thing - "Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides." so maybe your on to something.... Or maybe you have some werewolf in ya? wink
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