Self Diagnosis for Depression

Posted , 5 users are following.

I have been doing some research online and think I now know the type of depression I suffer from. I have never officially been given a diagnosis other than depression. I don't know whether I am considered mild, moderate or severe or clinical etc.

I have come across a label which fits me to a tee. I suffer from Dysthymia. While I don't think it is always helpful to have a label in my case I think it is. At least I understand now.

Dysthymia is long term usually life long depression which is characterised by low grade ie mild depression all the time (though it can lift for periods sporadically) with nasty flare ups. This is called 'Double Depression'. I have never understood until now how this double depression can hit me so hard and cause such lows like suicidal feelings and occasionally suicide attempts. Then these would subside and I go back to 'normal for me depression'. It has always puzzled me but this explains a lot.

How for eg not understanding how a counsellor could tell me they are trying to help me get back to normal. I don't remember a life without depression and it has long become part of my personality. They were trying to help me get back to that? No thanks, but having said that it is much better than DD. No wonder counselling has been of little help to me over the years as no one has ever understood this. Why not? From what I have read it is not that uncommon!

I am wondering if there is any type of counselling which could help me with dysthymia, or is it too late now at my age to be able to lead a depression free life? Probably as it is now ingrained in my personality and I have had to adapt my life to it.

I would be interested to hear what others think please?  Bev x


2 likes, 16 replies

Report / Delete

16 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi bev ♥

    Firstly it's never too late! I do find myself thinking if counselling can help where it's evident that a brain circuit is out of whack. I hope you know what I mean eg if our neuro transmitters refuse to transmit, how would counselling improve things. I know lots of people find it beneficial, but I found it aggravating lol!!

    I so feel for you Bev, to suffer for so long is so unbelievably sad. I am going to look up dysthymia and try and find some reviews from other sufferers of this condition.

    You amaze me are such a giving person, I would love you to be well.

    I'm off for a spot of research for you Bev ♥♥♥♥♥

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Aw bless you Lorraine.  I came across this term a while ago and it does fit me very much.   Counselling (apart from CBT) has helped in the past but it just leaves me with the dysthemia which it doesn't treat at all.   No counsellor has ever been able to treat that but just the flare ups.  Once those are over I am dismissed as being 'helped' and no more therapy is considered appropriate or needed.  

      I guess this is because I have usually managed to function ie work,  have friends etc. most of my life,  but what they have never seen is that my life has always been severely compromised because I have totally avoided situations I feel I can't handle,  such as intimate relationships,  going travelling,  training for a profession and only being able to cope with an easy boring low paid job.  These have severely limited my life experiences but that doesn't seem to count at all.  

      Unless I can get rid of the dysthemia I will continue to get Double Depression the rest of my life because it stems from that.   I am 62 now and cannot change most of my past ie having children,  training for a proper job etc.   I might be able to have other life changing experiences though as it's never too late for that.  Or do I have to be content with leading a limited life until the day I die?   This makes me feel very sad.

      Let me know what you come up with please Lorraine.  Many thanks.  Your friend Bev xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted


      your life although through illness has left you unfulfilled. And yet I see you as a person who has brought hope, endless compassion and hope to so many! What a truly wonderful gift. I am 55 and like you I reflect on my achievements in life. We may not have become CEO's of a large organisation but...We are certainly CEO'S in making the best of what we have! More importantly you could have a good 38 years or more in front of you! It's never to late to train would make an excellent social worker or head a counselling service. You are wise, knowledgeable, smart and compassionate. Come on Bev, start looking at training opportunities in the area of interest to you. I keep wondering if I will be strong enough to work again but, on good days like today. ..I think it's possible and probable that I will.

      your life has been a gift to not only your family and friends, but all of us here too! Don't think of life ahead as having have unlimited potential and now is the time that's known as 'Bevs time'

      I think your fab...wish you could see yourself as I and many others do! By the way Bev. ..when you get your new career going...don't forget you will need an administrator. ...that would be me lol!!

      Much love and hugs

      god bless x♥♥♥

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks Lorraine,  I am 62 now though and not really fit enough to train (or young enough) to retrain now,  but it's a nice thought.   If I could have done this I would have many years ago.   It's the dysthemia and the risk of double depression  holding me back.  

      I do believe you are sincere in what you say about my being able to help people,  but I can't emotionally believe it as part of my depression is feeling fairly worthless.and having little value.   Life has born me out feeling like this too.   Bev x

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi there - yes I was given a book by psych some years ago re Dysthymia though was never given the diagnosis as such. He also mentjoned 'double depression as what i was suffering from when i had to see him. It kind of made sense and the book is excellent. It does makes sense in as much as i have always felt low even when I was in school and I am 59 now. I did have severe post natal depression after each pregnancy (three) and feel that I felt worse from that tume on. I have mange to work at quite a stressful job whilst quite low in mood year after year but have then crashed for a few weeks and this time have been off work for 6 months. The psych i see now says that I suffer from Major depressie symptoms now with psychotic features but I kind of know that when I am well again that i will dysthymic.  It is really hard work to manage as for me the idea of being happy and intereested seems a far bit away. However i have and know i will have good times in the future as I have had in the past but i do get very fed up of it sometimes. Thanks for your email it was really interesting to hear someone talking about Dysthymia. Hope you are good,Jen
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Jenny I am glad you have managed to do things I haven't.  I have had to avoid them because I feel the stress and pressure it would put on me would have made me crack up completely.   I have traded many things in life so I can now have little responsibility and the least stress possible.  I know I have missed out but I don't think I would be here now if I hadn't. 

      It makes me feel very sad though.  I learnt when I was 19 that I was on my own in life and could never take the risk of putting my life and happiness in the hands of others at all.   It makes for a lonely but safe life.  Bev x


      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    It's an interesting subject, Bev. 

    There is so many different types of counselling out there, not only that but the type of person you have counselling you makes a big difference as well! 

    It is a question I have often wondered about, though I am still only young and haven't suffered from depression for very long in the grand scheme of things! I still find myself curious about the idea that for some, maybe depression will be a part of their life forever. I think for lots of people, that probably will be the case. Not to say nobody can get better of course, who knows what the future brings? Finding happiness is a difficult thing, but...what really is happiness anyway, it's so different for everyone and even people who don't suffer from 'depression' may not feel truly fulfilled, or truly 'happy' more content, I think. 

    The best way I believe is to of course try to fill your life with what you enjoy, explore some new things and see what works. Again, there are lots of different types of therapies usually for different types of depression and disorders, CBT, Dialectical behavioural therapy etc. some probably help more than others, I think it boils down to what suits the individual. 

    Here in Wales GPs often prescribe books, I thought it may be a bit pointless when my GP prescribed me one! But, I went and got this book specified to my particular issues (PTSD) and though it's far from cured me, it has been very insightful and interesting - I think going out and reading books about self help and mental health can be very useful! To a degree anyway! :P 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi fee it's always good to hear what you have to say and you make a lot of sense.  I do do some new things but only within a certain context where I feel safe enough.  Eg I would do an evening class or meet others in a social setting.  

      I used to read self books years ago but now find I can't read any more which is sad.   I have always been a voracious reader until the last 3/4 years when I find I cannot concentrate long enough to read a book.   I even struggle with newspapers now.  

      You will find your way in life fee,  I have great faith in you.  I wish I had been so sensible and bright when I was your age (or any age come to that smile  )     Bev xx


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      It's great to hear that you socialise in classes etc., often depression does cause isolation! I don't have any answers but, for what it's worth Bev, you are a fundamental and much needed asset to this site and I am sure to those around you in real life as well! Your depression, though heartbreaking, has enabled you to perceive the world in such a unique and caring way. Your empathy and support for others is incredible! I imagine you would soar with things such as volunteering with others be it with elderly people, charity or even things such as fostering. (Though that last one may be a bit too much, moody teens probably don't help depression!) Whatever you do, I hope you break out of this lifetime rut of depression! I don't think we all do, but I'm sure we all can. 

      Aha, aw thank you - I'm not sure that I'd describe myself as particularly sensible but, I very much appreciate that :-P  xx

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I say it because it is true fee smile   I have in the past few months been working as a volunteer in a charity shop and I love it.  Mind you it did take me over 5 years to pluck up the courage!  

      I do,  like we all do,  try my best to help others on here but often feel inadequate. 

      How are you at the moment sweetheart?  bev x


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Well, I'm glad that after those five years you faced your fears and are enjoying your volunteer work smile It's a very big step to take! 

      That's the problem with depression, it often screams negativity at you and it's so loud and overwhelming you end up believing it! But, even if that voice tries not to let you believe it I can assure you that this forum is so much better off with you being a part of it! 

      I'm doing ok at the moment thank you, still here, still fighting! xx


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you fee you are very kind and I appreciate what you said.  Maybe I am not quite as useless as I feel smile  

      My middle name is negativity and it is very hard to keep going with depression isn't it?  Even though I am an old hand at it I can't beat it and sometimes it just takes me over completely.   I am feeling quite bad at the moment - useless,  unwanted,  unloved and rejected.   My mood will improve though if I don't push it as it always does.  

      I am glad you are ok love,  never stop fighting.  Hugs  bev xx


      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I know we share this condition.  I just signed on for some help using research based behavioral  change therapy.  With a real psychologist, not a social worker or a counselor with minimal training.  I will see how this works.  I want to know what baby steps I can take to change the course of my life to better, in ways that will improve my outlook.  Feeling good about me, taking care of me, recognizing negative patterns of thinking, etc.

    Like you, I will never be able to escape the constant low grade depression, but I feel certain that there are steps I can take to feel good about me and my life.  And I know this because I have had some up times in my life, even if it was colored by low grade depression and those times were memorable.   

    Maybe I am on a wild goose chase, but I need to keep on trying. 


    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up