Rapidly Progressing Depression & Anxiety

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Three Fridays ago, I went for an assessment at a counselling service. To my disappointment, after the assessment, they were not able to supply me with any sort of timings as to when I may be able to access their service. But after begrudging the idea of talking therapy for so long, and my GP's refusal to prescribe me any sort of anti-depressant, I kept an open mind and thought, "Hey, it won't be too long" because it's the only help the GP will current recommend, even if people I had spoke to prior had said that their waiting list can be extensive. 

However, three weeks down the line, I'm not experiencing some pretty low periods, even for me. My anxiety flares up at pretty much any thought. I've got every kind of anxiety you could imagine: social anxiety, hypochondria, etc. My moods are just low, I'm pretty much always sad, my head constantly feels heavy and my eyes just want to shut all the time. I'm getting about 3-4 hours of sleep on good nights, 1-2 hours on bad nights and the worst I get no sleep at all. I've just completely lost interest in the one thing that gave me a reason: music. I'll just skip every song on my Spotify playlist and think 'meh' to all of them. 

At this point, the only thing that keeps me going is when I think "tomorrow might be the day they contact me" but as each day goes by, that is becoming less and less of a consolation. I don't think GPs understand* that mental health doesn't happen six months down the line, it happens now and asking people to wait six months for any help is pretty disgusting. The least he could do is give me an anti-depressants to keep things at bay while I try and access a talking therapy. 

*ok, they do understand in a medical sense, but not in a personal sense

I'm just not sure what to do... should I go back, explain that I've done what he asked and enlisted onto a counselling service, but the help isn't coming at a speed in which I need it and hope he suggests some medication for the meantime? 

[Also, just out of curiosity, can depression be idiopathic? My dad keeps pestering me to "explain why" I'm depressed, but I just can't?)

Many thanks.

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  • Posted

    Crud, sorry, it's supposed to say: "I'm now experiencing some pretty low periods," instead of not, sorry! frown

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  • Posted

    Callum 

    Mental health is a poor relation when it comes to NHS monies.

    You have had an assessment and are now waiting for a treatment pathway. Your needs may take a further four weeks before your CBT.

    In some ways I can understand the reasons why they have not supplied medications at this time, sometimes the nurse etc who will be dealing with your concerns may wish to prescribe what medication they would prefer you to take. The other reason is how you have been assessed and the length of time medication will need to be administered. Also on occasions it may be a preferred pathway not to give medications to you, it may be the negative reasons may outnumber the positive reasons  for example not giving medications. The withdrawal of the medication may be problematic as you will need to ween yourself of the drug.

    One other thing to consider is the reasons why you are suffering your Anxiety and Depression and if a course of talking therapy may be the best way forward. You only need to look up replies regarding AD medications and the problem you MAY have weaning off them. If they feel your illness is thought to be short term, in other words they will not wish any side effects, it may take six weeks before the drug works, and the same weaning of them as they have become a crutch throughout your life.

    Medications in Mental Health is not the be-all or end-all of treatment, you need to consider ways other than medications. At this time consider Mindfulness, Relaxation Technique, that may help you learn how to relax.

    Consider diversions, hobbies or Day Centers if not at work, many centres will offer CBT on a rationed service, upwards of six sessions. You will also meet others with the same problems as yours

    Also go to the library and ask if there are any Therapy Centres in your town that are not linked as such to the NHS. I had treatment at one of these centres, that was arranged by the NHS although people could visit that service and be further assessed and given a list of various treatments related to CBT you may have, because the type of CBT relates to the type of problem you suffer from.

    Other things you may try is file each problem you have then split each file into chapters, you will have a book of your concerns containing chapters of each concern. You will then be able to look at a smaller pakage or your concern and attempt small bites and sort each out, when stuck you move onto the next chapter and do the same again, as the problems get less you will find it is easier to solve the greater of your problems, this may help you start to control your own fears.

    It does work

    Ps If you are still in your teens it may also be your GP have an aversion when giving young people medications.

    BOB

     

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    • Posted

      Hi

      Thank you so much for the reply.

      Regarding the length of my illness, I believe it's ongoing and will be for the rest of my life. I've been suffering alone for three years until things got to this point and I'm just so emotionally damaged and scarred now that I honestly don't believe I will ever feel "normal" again. After treatment, I might feel better, but never normal. I also believe, as depression runs in my family, that contributes to the fact that it will be on-going for life. 

      As for who I'll be seeing, it's not a nurse. Just a counselor. As far as I am aware, counselors are not permitted to prescribe any medication should there be a belief I could benefit from it. At this point, I far believe, myself, that there could be more positive benefits than negatives. Besides, what could the negatives be? While I am in a bad period in my life right now in terms of my mental health, I am just stable enough that suicide isn't being considered at the moment, so the fear that I may use the medication to OD is irrelevant at this point. Sure, there are side effects, but I understand the risks. That's the thing. There are plenty of people who get given medication who don't understand and/or aren't prepared to take the risks. That's not me. Withdrawal of the drug is a worry, but if there is a noticeable benefit, would it not make sense just to keep me on it on a more long-term basis? As I've read, the best responses to treatment are from those on a combination of medication and talking therapies. Also, as the depression seems to be hereditary, NICE recommends that as first-call treatment.  That's just my outlook anyway.

      I struggle with my focus (possible undiagnosed ADHD or similar, but my behavior at school never indicated ADHD) so I quickly tire of mindfulness/relaxation/meditation stuff so it never happens long enough or regularly enough to take any effect. I have tried mindfulness colouring, breathing exercises - all to no avail. 

      As for Day Centres, I have done hours of research and in my city, the only place offering stuff for free is the service I am already enlisted with, otherwise it's through GP referral only or at a cost me and my family are not at the luxury of being able to afford, as sad as it is. Annoyingly, as I am a matter of six months from turning 18, my GP said there's no point referring to CAMHS as I'll fall out of the age bracket before I'll access any real help. 

      I've tried the sectioning of the worries thing on my computer. But I found that my problem isn't so much the fear, it's the symptoms of the anxiety I get back of the fear (if that makes sense?) The anxiety symptoms makes me anxious which is obviously a vicious cycle to be in. 

      So, yeah.. as far as things go, it's either a talking therapy (which I've been estimated by people who have used the service in the past a top estimate of 9 months, lower estimate of about 3) or medication. From my perspective, it's this: 6 weeks for medication to possibly aid the situation or 12 weeks minimum wait to access counselling that may or may not work. I know where I'd prefer to stand. 

      As for my age, it should not be a concern to the GP. If it is, then it's clearly the GP playing favourites or nit-picking or segregating or something, because I've two friends who are younger than me (in terms of months) who've been offered medication for depression and anxiety respectively. I suffer with both. So you see my annoyance and dilemma.

      I know this may come off as naggy/unappreciative/ignorant/stubborn, but believe me when I say I've suffer for 3 years, I've tried all the self-help you can get. It hasn't worked so it leaves the more medical-based treatments. It's just annoying. Everyone I know who goes for help gets anti-depressants chucked at them on the first appointment or gets put on a priority talking therapy list, but with me, it was 'oh, make a self-referral', 'you don't need medication'. I've made numerous cries for help at that GP practice and nothing.

      I really do appreciate the reply, though.biggrin

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    • Posted

      Hello Callum

      Thank you for your reply.

      I will say on thing about AD medications, I had my first course of medications when I was about seventeen,  I was at college at that time and my education was found lacking also I had got engaged and that really just made matters worse.

      I had a GP of the old school, the sort of Doctor you never see these days. His attitude was no medications and eventually He sent me to hospital and it was Mental Health who put me on Mothers Little Helper. The drug then was not as effective and the side effects were really bad and I became hooked on Vallium and Largactl.  That saw my education suffer and die. What happened I lost the edge needed and by that time the drugs had effected my job training, and qualifications.

      My GP had warned me that this was the reason why He tried to prevent the taking of medications. Because I was young and would loose the ability and edge to follow my Technical Qualifications.

      From that time they started to keep changing drugs because at that time they where finding other medications to dumb us down.

      In a way I have been on medications on and off for fifty years or so, yes the reasons I take them now has changed, although I wonder what my life would have been like if in those heady days I have made more informed choices on my treatment, my GP was there for me and I should have followed His advice more, I was young and medications I suppose had become more of a habit and I should have had listened more and worked out ways to not take drugs.

      Today the medications are much better, if you can call it that. and the courses of treatment are more extensive than then. 

      I would personally advise you listen to Your Health Professional and follow any advice given, there are ways of controlling your condition to move you on, Yes life is difficult it is even harder under these types of medication. You need to be able to restrict medications if possible now because as we get older we need more medications and they do make a toxic soup

      BOB

       

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    • Posted

      I understand the issues with the medication; I have read how people's problems get a lot worse before they get better on anti-depressants, but I'm at the point now where I'm prepared for 6 weeks intense "suffering" if there's a prospect of some normality returning in my life after. What I'm not prepared for is months more of suffering and still being uncertain as to when I can access any form of talking therapy while everyone else gets chucked on priority lists. 

      To me, my mantra regarding mental health treatment is this: mental health happens now, not in six months. The NHS should not be using talking therapies as the first port of call for treatment if the accessibility of these talking treatments means months of waiting. Chances are, if you're going to the GP, you're desperate for help as it is; you need it relatively soon and not six months down the line. What also is concerning is that once you start counselling, the recommended duration is six weeks (so six sessions). So you've waited half a year for the counselling, six weeks then for the full counselling experience and then, if it hasn't worked and you are prescribed an anti-depressant, another six weeks for the full effect of that to settle in. So all in all, after your first GP appointment, it's taken 36 weeks, 9 months, for any real change in your mental health. For most people at tipping point, they would have already done away with themselves. 

      I suppose the main reason I'm yearning for medication is because I am against the clock with my treatment here. I've deferred from college for the rest of the year, having to restart as a first year student again next year (which is already sending my anxiety levels through the roof as I will spend my second year in college without any of my friends now) and if nothing changes come September, I simply cannot re-enroll in college because who's to say I won't defer again because my mental health is in the exact same position as before? And if I defer again, they will just kick me out. I had hopes and dreams. I got brilliant GCSEs. I could do anything, be anything. But that all seems a distant memory now. 

      Not to mention, also, my dad whose main concern is "you've got no money coming in" as, because of my deferral from college, he has lost certain benefits the government give for me. But I can't get a job because, you know, I deferred from college for the same reason as to why I can't work... because the lack of sleep, anxiety, etc... it'll kill me. And there's no point applying for any disability allowance because there are people with cancer, people in wheelchairs being denied the allowance, so of course someone with depression and anxiety disabling them from work will be an easy target to say no to. 

      For me, life just doesn't seem to present any light at the end of the tunnel at the moment. I'm have a constant tremor because of my anxiety, my speech is becoming effected (in the sense that it's more pieced than fluent because my brain is just all over the place). I know it's weird to say but I can feel the negative brain chemistry and if medication can alter that, I will fight tooth and nail for it. Some people's recounts of medication aren't too positive, but there are millions whose lives might just have been saved because their GP saw them as a person and not as a figure - as a money saving case - and offered them an anti-depressant. 

      Thank you for the reply!

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  • Posted

    I can't explain why I have 'low moods' and am tired all the time..  I'm married with 2 wonderful kids in their teens-- things look great!!   I would go back to your GP and ask for an antidepressant.  I currently take a low dose and when I feel things are  getting 'too much' for me I take two for a day or two.     If I feel like my mind won't quiet down at night I will take valerian to help me relax.  It does help because I need my sleep to function.

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    • Posted

      Nice to see someone else can't really put their finger on as to why they're depressed! smile

      Thanks for the advice. I am seriously considering going back, though I know my GP practice are pretty backed up (still!) from the winter crisis and on-going pressures within the NHS, so I may not see the GP for four weeks and, even then, may not get the desired result. In the (unlikely) event he prescribes an anti-depressant, I will just take the recommended dose - I'm not sure of the exact science behind SSRIs, but from what I gather, your body doesn't just adjust to the specific medication, but also to its specific dosage, so any 'effects' from the higher dosage you take during your low-low periods is probably from the placebo effect rather than a direct result of the increase chemical activity in your body. But if it works for you, it works for you! Part of me believes a lot of the help medication gives you is the placebo effect anyway. 

      Thank you smile

       

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  • Posted

    You can look up what supplements might help you for now..   And as far as your GP, can't you see anyone?   I sometimes will see whoever just to be seen.  Be honest like you were here--  tell them you are experiencing low moods and cannot sleep..   that should get their attention!!

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    • Posted

      I tried Calms for my anxiety, didn't work. GP told me to steer clear of St. John's Wort for depression.

      As for seeing whatever GP, those waiting times are for any GP! Shocking, I know. I had already spelled out very clearly - in layman's terms - "I do not sleep." As far as I could tell, he shrugged it off. I'm not sure what the GPs smoke, but being unable to sleep is already a big problem, but the fact that any real help could come as late as 9 months down the line... what does he expect me to do? Function for 9 months without any meaningful sleep? 

      At this point, I don't remember a day I haven't considered suicide in the last 2 months. 

      To top it off, my dad is on my case now. Fun times in Casa de Callum (!) 

      But thank you.

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    • Posted

      Hi callum151100

      We note from a recent post which you have made to our forum that you may be experiencing thoughts around self-harm. If we have misinterpreted your comments then we apologies for contacting you directly. But if you are having such thoughts then please note that you are not alone in this, and there are people out there that can help.

      If you are having these suicidal thoughts then we strongly recommend you speak to someone who may be able to help. The Samaritans offer a safe space where you can talk openly about what you are going through. They can help you explore your options, understand your problems better, or just be there to listen.

      Their contact details are on our patient information leaflet here: https://patient.info/health/dealing-with-suicidal-thoughts, which also offers lots of other advice on how you can access the help you may need.

      If you are having such thoughts then please do reach out to the team at the Samaritans (or the other people detailed in our leaflet) who will understand what you're going through and will be able to help.

      Kindest regards

      Patient

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    • Posted

      Wow!!   Have you tried a psychiatrist?  They love to help people who need it.  As far as supplements-- Vid D,  I have taken valerian root to help me wind down at night..  have heard cod liver oil and spirulina can help too.    Any kind of exercise is great-- swimming, walking, biking.  Yoga, meditation before bed.  Take care and don't give up.   

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    • Posted

      I'll make sure to try cod liver oil, I think you can get it quite cheaply from Holland & Barrett's. Thank you for the suggestion!

      Very hard to find psychiatrists on the NHS & who are available. Most are tied up in institutions, prisons or hospitals.

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  • Posted

    Just an update: I managed to get hold of the approximate waiting times (they can vary) from the counselling service and they say 3 months with the best availability, 9 months for those on particularly peak times (weekends). 

    Well, bugger. rolleyes

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