Depressed and sad

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Hi - i'm in my 50s and have suffered from depression on and off (more on than off) since my 20s. I've had several sets of cognitive therapy via my doctor and was on Sertraline for many many years. They dulled the worst of the depression and lifted me quite a bit initially but never felt like the complete answer and it just felt wrong to be on something for so long. The therapy identified my problems and i do acknowledge them eg low esteem, feelings of failure, excessive worrying etc but trying to stop my persistently negative train of thought has proved impossible so far.

So i did completely the wrong thing and just stopped taking the tablets before Christmas last. I did this mainly because i was starting to get alarmed by increasingly agressive and irritable feelings and behaviour which i attributed to the pills, rightly or wrongly. I would have thought i'd be well out of the withdrawal phase but as of now i'm feeling desperately desperately down all the time most of each day, worse than i've ever felt in fact which is really scaring me.

i've made an appointment to see my doctor again next week and see what he says but i'm starting to feel that i will never be right again. i just can't remember the last time i was happy.

thanks to anyone who's listening. Does anyone know of any self help depression groups in or near Newcastle upon Tyne? I've Googled but can't find anything.

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  • Posted

    Hi, whilst reading your post it felt as if it was something that I'd written, because everything in it related to me.Depression is something I've suffered on and off for about 20 years and I'm just coming out of my

    latest episode. Not very nice at all and I sympathise with you, because, although we try and explain how we feel to others, unless they've suffered depression they have no reality of what it's really like. I've taken

    countless pills, but they were controlling me so I stopped, because I wanted to be in control of my

    depression.

    I've seen countless "professionals", but they only know about depression via text books and the internet

    and I've not seen one that has actually suffered it and fully understood how it can turn you into a

    miserable, negative person that even my own family think its "just me being in a mood again"....if they

    only knew.

    I've realised that depression can't kill me and it's not going to make me "mad" so when I start to feel

    depressed I don't shut myself away any more, I get in my car and go for a drive, or go for a walk, or go andhave a coffee with friends who "listen". I don't think I'll ever rid myself of this horrible "illness", but I've now

    learnt to live with it and when I feel it starting I try to do different things and make myself busy. Yes, it's

    hard at times and I understand what your going through, but please don't let it run and ruin your life,

    because you can live with depression if you don 't let it control you. My son who's 26 said to me the other day "Dad, I can't remember the last time you cracked a joke"!! Take care and live your life to the full.

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  • Posted

    Thanks for these supportive words. Since I posted this I've had a rather horrible progression on the problem. I've started having panic attacks of a hugely frightening nature for the first time in my life.

    Was at doctors yesterday and agreed to go back on my previous medication - Sertraline - and i am taking Diazepam as well now. His thinking is that the sertraline will kick in again and hopefully get rid of the panics.As if that's not bad enough they aren't helping a lot so far. Maybe too soon? Also worried about becoming dependent..

    I feel alone and lost

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  • Posted

    Hi, Listen, panic attacks stated to ruin my whole life. I was afraid to venture to far from my home because it

    was my "comfort zone"...I tried all different remedies, but once again they were either not working or giving me all these bad side effects. I didnt know what to do, but as with the depression I realised that the panics wernt going to kill me or make me mad so I learnt how to let my life live with the panics...when having a bad panic I would go into busy shopping centres, go on buses, go where it was busy...all things and places that I didnt want to do because of the panic...I talked to myself telling myself "this cant hurt me and its not going to beat me"...by God it was hard, but I've now learnt to recognise the changes that occur prior to a panic attack

    and at that moment I stop doing what I'm doing and change my routine by doing what I've said above...even going for walks helps me...I dont want drugs controlling me because I know I can beat this on my own and you can as well....its frightening at times, but always remember, panic attacks cant hurt you. My last panic attack was about 3 weeks ago, but by basically telling it to "**** off" and leave me alone, it only lasted about 1/2hr and I only get them occasionally now.... If I can do it, YOU can do it..take care

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  • Posted

    Hi Greeneye, sorry to hear about everything you are coping with at the moment, cognitive therapy can often be helpful to a point but less effective in bringing about long term change. There are other types of therapy out there, so don't give up on individual counselling. However, group work can be very supportive and I understand why you are looking for this. Have you looked at sites such as www.counselling-directory.org.uk and also www.rscpp.co.uk? These both have detailed of qualified and professionally registered counsellors, as well as organisations offering low count , and possibly group work as well.

    Good luck with your search, I hope you get the support you are looking for.

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  • Posted

    Hi JasonB. You know this is the first time i've participated in an online forum and your replies are so positive. You sound to me like a much stronger personality than me though. I'm a very weak personality, always putting myself down. Have you always had an inner strength? or have you just become this by sheer hard work. I've got a persistently negative frame of mind which i need to shake off somehow. This experience has certainly shocked me and i'll certainly be trying to change my life to avoid this happening again.

    i was featherbedded by my parents and protected from all the hard knocks of life. I'm an only child and my mother was a persistent worrier who saw nothing but dangers in the world so i think i picked up the general worrying attitude from her. I was never allowed a bicycle as a child as she thought them too dangerous! They did it out of love and kindness but i think i missed out on the toughening up process some of my friends say they had and who are now very strong, sorted people.

    I'm busying myself round the house doing stuff, trying not to sit about and also took a short walk up to a local shop this afternoon. Not into running or exercise really. I'd like to join a gym but the costs....

    anyway, thanks for giving me a chink of light in a world that's black at the moment. I hope i may be posting news of improvements some time. Glad you've pulled yourself out and hope i can too. Well done you.

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  • Posted

    Hi, Glad to hear your busying yourself...sometimes you think "whats the point", but persistence pays off...

    believe me. No, I'm not a positive person, I'm the most negative person you could meet, but with this

    "illness" I didn't have anyone that understood what I was going through, to them it was just "Jason being

    pretend ill and negative again" so I HAD to learn how to cope. If I get a headache I convince myself I've got a brain tumour so no, I'm not positive. I think my strength and resolve has come, through my negativity,

    because I had no role models when I was a child, I spent most of my formative years in childrens homes

    and I've had to "grow-up" on my own so it's not about how your upbringing was and it's very hard to

    actually pinpoint what has caused the panic and depression, so one has to learn how to adapt, to live a

    "normal" life and not let these things run your life. There is light at the end of the tunnel...sometimes the

    tunnel seems as if it's endless, but you will get through it by becoming positive and by not letting this get

    to you. Listen, if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    If ever you want to talk, just let me know and I'll gladly give you my number....talking helps as well.

    You take care, be positive and don't let it beat you. Bye for now.

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  • Posted

    Hi Greeneyes,

    Just a quick hello and hope your keeping well.

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  • Posted

    Green eye and Jason, you sound just like I feel , your thoughtt and emotions etc etc , I think Jason is just alittle further ahead of you and me Greeneye. Just knwoing you are not the only person around with this horrible ilnness I find is really useful and its being able to talk thats helps me. I dont do open talking , but emailing I find really useful as I can really say what i mean. I;m a practice nurse and so I see a lot of this however I still suffer enormously myself. I am on medication, tried 7 different lots before found one which tends to help but I still have as many bad days as I do good ones and they are usually when I and my mind arent fully occupied. Night t iem is the worst, I have used email support from the samaritains loads to give me a point to carry on. I have spent 20 years suffering but only since havign CBT which Gp insisted on, did i find reasons for this illness but I am still struggling to sort it out. Loneliness, desperation, panic attacks are all horrible especially when you cant make sense of it all. I too wonder if I will ever feel "ok" again - I see psychiatrist every 4 weeks and having someone really understand me has so helped - I feel he is on my side . Gp's have so little time. I hope you are both doign ok and finding alittle hope in life. Take care xxx

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  • Posted

    Hi Coggy,

    As I've always advocated, pills are only useful in extreme cases of panic and depression. You have it

    within yourself to live with this "illness" without it taking over your life because it is all to do with the

    mind and by accepting you have an "illness" you can turn the negative feelings you suffer into

    positive feelings. How, you ask, well treat your illness with contempt, don't let it get the better of you,

    laugh when your having a panic attack and tell it to go away, tell it it's not beating you...strange ways

    I admit, but they've worked for me. I understand the feelings of dread and fear you experience when

    suffering a panic attack and by allowing these feelings to "get hold of you" they can then put you into a

    depression. Always remember, panic attacks can't hurt you and will not send you mad even though

    you think so at the time. Yes, talking to people is the BEST therapy...forget pills and potions, they

    control you and I don't think they allow you to come to terms with the illness. There are 1000's of people

    in this world suffering as you, I and Greeneyes do, but I live a normal, useful life that is occasionally

    invaded by panic attacks and depression, but I've had to learn to "manage" these anxieties by

    turning the negatives into positives....it does work and I hope it works for you. Take care

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  • Posted

    Hi JasonB

    Thanks for your reply. U def seem to have got it all sorted - I know it all in theiry as I pass it on to my patients on a regular basis but to put in into practice, well I am still trying . When its a good d ay, all is fine but on a bad day, if it wasnt for my medication, I dont think I would still be here. I hate taking tablets but I also knwo they ahve been a big part in my survival - yes taking is good but theres only a certain amount friends will listen to you I find. I woudl love to find a cousellor that I can trust, who understands me and that I can be open with , but after trying 5, I am tryign to cope without. Panic attacks are nto too much of a problem for me - its the dark feeling of "why" that I struggle with. Thansk so much for your advice though and for listening. Its good to hear someone has succeeded with changing negatives ot positives. I will try and rememeber this on a bad day x

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  • Posted

    Hi Jason B, Johanna and Coggy - now i've been back on Sertraline for 10 days the world looks clearer again and i'm now phasing down the Diazepam gradually then stopping it. No panic attacks any more fingers crossed. But i'm not taking anything for granted as i know what is causing this is still underneath ie my insecurities, lack of self esteem and the ability to find all sorts of things to worry about.

    I'd like to think i can get off the Sertraline in the future but for the moment it seems to be the best way to lift my mood. I've been out every day doing all sorts of stuff and have had a lot of support from friends and colleagues. Trouble is once one looks on the surface as if things are better contact starts to fade away again inevitably.

    I'm going to get some sort of therapy next and i really will work at it as i do not want those panic attacks ever again and i must start to try and dispel my negative thoughts. I also got a panic attacks CD and an online course from a reputable group of people at Edinburgh University and am working my way through that so i'll be ready if they do come back.

    Fear of loneliness in the future is one of the things that started to really bother me just before the panic attacks began.. I have a husband who is very supportive and we are doing ok now but he has had several affairs in the past which have done nothing for my self esteem. I don't excuse what he did but i can now begin to see how difficult it is for someone to live with a person who consantly says they just want to die and is persistently negative. We have no children, which was a choice thing on both our parts but i never realised how having no children sets you apart from other groups of society. When people at work talk about their children, grandchildren and how they all organise lovely things for their special anniversaries etc i realise that's not going to happen for me. I'm an only child and have little or no contact with other relatives due to them all having their own family units and i'm no good at pushing my way into people's lives when you don't get the contact back.

    Coggy - i'm really sorry to read your pain and i do feel it. Surely there will be someone out there who can help you. If you are still working and functioning as a Practice Nurse you are to be congratulated for that. I wish i could help you.

    We all need to listen to Jason B who is an inspiration in what he has done.

    By the way, have any of you heard of MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY? I heard about it on a radio 4 programme a few weeks ago. It is only available on NHS in the Oxford area sadly, where they run it from the University but there are courses run around the country (about £250 so not cheap) and an online course which is cheaper. The idea of it is recognised as successful in treating depression and anxiety by the NHS body NICE but not yet available countrywide on NHS. There is a couple of video clips on YouTube by Professor Mark Williams which explains the concept which basically is 'learning to pay attention intentionally, in the present moment'.

    I like the sound of it as i spend far too much time beating myself up for past failures and worrying about what will happen in the future. If i could enable myself to live in the moment more i think it would help.

    sorry this has been so long and i send my heartfelt love and sympathy to those of us who suffer, especially in the dark times of the night.

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  • Posted

    Hey Greeneye

    For some reason I thoguht u were male! funny how i now have to rethink u as a female. SO glad to hear u r feeling betetr nwo on your meds- I know like Jason said , meds arent the way forward for everyone but they ahve been my life saver smile I am glad u have family and friends as support. Thats one thing I really miss as the few people who knew (after I had to tell people as part of my CBT) i think have got bored and I have avoided telling family as I feel such a failure. I am sorry to hear about your family issues too - so hard for you and in a different way i feel isolated form otehr people and its very hard. I spedn hours on this computer , takign to peopel I dont knwo - safest option! Do u get out to work Greeneyes? Work has been my lifeline too as I have to be the person I want to be, not the person I seem to have become - the person I dont like. Pateints and work collegues think Im the capable, happy person who has it all sorted - if only !! You take care and glad to feel u stronger now on meds and u r getting out x

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  • Posted

    Hi Greeneye, really good to hear you sounding more positive, hope it continues. If your leg was broken you'd take painkillers right? take the Meds as long as you need to help you heal. I hope you can find some therapy you can afford, that feels right. You too Coggy, so sorry you have been missed by so many therapists, it can be hard on your own.
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  • Posted

    Hi Johanna - you're so right about the meds. For some reason meds for mental troubles are viewed differently and it's crazy. I have to take thyroxine daily after a bit of my thyroid had to be removed and no-one would question that i need it, including me. Mental troubles need to be viewed as a genuine illness along with other illnesses that people recognise as such.

    best wishes

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  • Posted

    Hi Coggy - i never thought about whether people would view me as male or femail but of course my 'greeneye' monicker is pretty ambiguous i now realise!

    Glad you've got a good psychiatrist that's valuable. Is there no-one in your family you can get on side to talk to. Why do you think you are a failure? I know the feeling but we do need to fight it. I'm told a lot that i'm good at my job, invaluable even but all i focus on are the bits of the job that i'm not good at and other people shine at. i must stop this.

    I'm waiting to see what i'm offered next by NHS - cognitive therapy, group therapy or whatever. i'll give it all a try. I'm quite a shy person so speaking in a group may just do me good in itself. I couldn't do a presentation to save my life and if i'm on a course and they work round the room i dread my turn even if it's just to say who i am and what i do! Ironically though, i would give my eye teeth to be something like an actress on the stage. i'd never remember the lines though....

    I'm aiming to go back to work next week or the week after i think. Just hope i don't get back to the completely tired out state i was in just before this. I'm 58 and still working full time 5 days a week and would just like some freedom from work to see if i can find out who i am! But like so many others money is an issue so I need to put in a few years more if i can. My husband is 65 and retires in a few months time. I'm finding this a very unsettling concept with him finding his freedom and me still stuck at work. Worst on sunny days, if we ever get any more of them. And before someone says i'll at least get all my meals cooked for me, he already does that!

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