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at a loss [Dec. 20th, 2009|02:54 pm]
dysthymics
dysthymics
[tobalina]
Hello group, I'm not sure this is the right place for me, but I was wondering if anyone could help shed some light. 

I have never been formally diagnosed with anything, but have gone through some periods of depression starting from middle school. I know I was depressed at certain times in my life because I would sleep all day or just stay in bed, cry often, cut occassionally and had no energy. But those periods were very brief. In a way I prefer those periods because it was more clear to me that something was wrong and I was certain of my own sadness. I rarely feel like that anymore.

In general, I am not sure what I feel other than "bored" and "tired" much of the time, with little motivation. I have energy in bursts when I get excited about something. There seem to be shallow ups and downs. I always bounce back with some new "life plan" to invigorate me, but it is short lived. I know I am lucky to be so resilient, but sometimes I wish I would just give up.

I can be very outgoing with certain people, especially in relationships - I love being in relationships. I seem to find identity in the people I am with, otherwise I feel very lost, disconnected, and extremely indecisive. I am very shy in "organized" settings, i.e. work or school settings. Things always start out ok, but after several months when people should reach the point of knowing me or joking around, I get very uncomfortable. I've been at my current job for 2 years and am the quietist person in the office. I will go all day sometimes saying one or two words. Small talk is most awkward. I can tell people feel uncomfortable talking to me. The setting reminds me of high school. I have friends, but no one I see regularly. I prefer to meet random people when I am bored as it is more exciting and anonymous.

When I am with my boyfriend, however, I am completely different - full of energy and life. Our relationship is remarkably stable and healthy. When I feel good it's as if I have always felt good and don't remember ever being sad. When I am numb it's as if I have always been numb. I feel as if I have no realistic perspective. My boyfriend just moved however, and after just a few days I am already back to the numbness/apathy/fatigue.

I am 27 and living with my mother and brother. It nothing near an ideal environment as my mother and I butt heads. But I am afraid of moving out because I hate feeling "stuck" having to work to pay rent and bills. Life starts to feel pointless very quick. It is very hard to deal with the disappointment of where I am at 27 when I had such high hopes for myself. I thought by now I would be a biologist or in grad school. But as I get older it seems more difficult to become anything remotely successful.

Part of me wants to take off somewhere...go on a bus and stay at hostels or go do WWOOF in another country...something to awaken me. But I don't want to come back with nothing and be stuck all over again. Part of me hopes I get depressed again and will come out of it feeling wild and will finally do something crazy to force my eyes open.

I have a great shrink who prescribed me short acting Ritalin as a sort of experiment as my friend seems convinced I have ADD. It helps a lot at work but is short acting and when I'm not on Ritalin it is hard to adjust to the marked change in mood. He suggested we try Wellbutrin instead as it is an antidepressant with Ritalin-like affects.

Anyway...I am not even sure anything is wrong. I just feel a little bored. Nothing is really wrong in my life. I feel like I could be making the whole thing up. This sounds bad but I often wish there was something really wrong...that I had been raped or attempted suicide or something. How awful is that. I know I will come out of this and find something engaging to latch onto. But then I feel like I don't even know who I am or what my personality is. I often feel very juvenile and when I am comfortable I act like a little kid. Is that who I am or do I just want attention? I don't know. Blah.

Anyway I'm not sure what I'm looking for...I guess if anyone can identify or shed some light it would be appreciated...thanks so much for reading. :)  

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mendedbutterfly
2009-12-20 08:29 pm (UTC)
No advice, really (I'm sorry).

But you sound a lot like me.

*hugs*
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 07:14 pm (UTC)
That is actually comforting to know I'm not alone...thanks for sharing :)
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[User Picture]From: undefinedstar
2009-12-21 02:36 am (UTC)
Wow. I could have written this and I am 27 too! I have been diagnosed with dysthymia, which is apparently really hard to treat. Right now I am on sertaline which I guess is somewhat helping with my anxiety in depression but there is always an underlying low mood. I can be happy and excited about things, but I still have that "low" feeling in my gut. It sucks! You want to enjoy things but it's such a struggle. Sometimes keeping busy really helps to keep you preoccupied. I find if I'm not doing anything, it just makes me really restless and I just start thinking ridiculous things. I'm not really sure of any other advice to give as I am stumped as well. If you find anything that works, let me know :)
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 07:46 pm (UTC)
Wow that's so true for me-I HAVE to stay really busy cuz I'm afraid once I don't have anything to keep my mind occupied, it will start dwelling and go right back to that low place. I think that's why my mood fluctuates so much when I find something new to latch onto...just so hard to keep up/find a balance.

I have not heard of sertaline. I have social anxiety (but it's contextual, so is it still social anxiety?) but it doesn't really bother me. I mean it does of course, but I feel like I could deal with the anxiety if I wasn't depressed. Have you tried medication for depression? When Ritalin kicks in at work and I feel really energetic/happy the anxiety isn't nearly as bad. Not sure what that means.

I obviously am stumped as well. Only thing that works for me is staying as busy as possible and making sure I spend time with people even if it takes a lot of effort. Exercise helps but it seems short-lived. There is something about being 27...it's like a curse!
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From: tobalina
2010-01-18 01:23 am (UTC)
Sorry this is a late response, but just want to say thanks for sharing, and yes I am the same way (a lot of commonalities on here it seems). In fact usually things are fine when I first start a job, but after about 6 months is when it gets really awkward and just goes downhill from there. Like I'm not able to overcome a hump that everyone else overcomes. I guess it's the point where smalltalk and joking around should come naturally...the point where meaningful relationships form beyond aquaintances. I'm just never able to make it to that point :/

Curious how your social anxiety affects you and how you deal with it.
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[User Picture]From: clamnebula
2009-12-21 07:52 am (UTC)
There doesn't have to be some really specific traumatic event that happened to you for you to be depressed. Depression itself can be a chemical imbalance in your brain, and there's likely nothing you or anyone else did to cause it. I think you're on the right track with your shrink, and in fact I'm actually taking Ritalin myself these days. I had a tough time with Wellbutrin, but for other it's the only drug that works.

Another thing that's helped me a lot is going to support groups, and you can usually find those thru your local mental health associations, or just with a Google search.

Best of luck, and just know that you're not alone.
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 07:52 pm (UTC)
Are you taking Ritalin for ADD? My shrink said that if I'm taking it for the speedlike affects, it can be too addictive and should be used more for attention benefits. But don't most women have the inattentive type of ADD that makes you tired and spacy?

Something about antidepressants scares me...I feel like I'd want it to be a short-term thing only to like get me back on my feet. Also I have read so much negative stuff on antidepressants, that they don't even work and bla bla bla.

Support groups like sitting with a group of people who have similar issues? That sounds really scary to me...ha! But maybe I should consider...
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[User Picture]From: clamnebula
2009-12-29 08:18 am (UTC)
Yes, I'm taking Ritalin for ADD, but I have the inattentive spacey type of disorder, not the hyper type (and I'm a guy, too!).

There are certainly things about antidepressants to watch out for, but generally they should be taken longer than just on a short-term basis. I think some modern antidepressants (like Celexa, Lexapro, Cymbalta, et al) have less side effects than some of the earlier versions, but sadly no a/d is totally free from them, not yet anyway. However, that doesn't mean that they don't work, or aren't worth trying.

I think your Dr's suggestion of Wellbutrin is generally a good one, as it does have stimulating effects (I even lost weight on it), but I wouldn't recommend taking it at the same time as Ritalin. Also be careful with it if you already have major anxiety issues, because it can potentially make those feelings more intense (1st hand experience there!).

Support groups can really be a positive thing (I even helped start one), and just being able to sit down and talk with a group of people who have similar issues can be very comforting. One thing about depression is that it can make you feel increasingly cut-off and isolated from the rest of the world, but a support group can help you feel more connected with others, especially those of us who have the same types of problems. Give 'em a try sometime.
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[User Picture]From: kittenkissies
2009-12-21 10:58 am (UTC)
I wonder if you might have a thyroid condition.
Other than that, you may be dysthimic.
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 07:54 pm (UTC)
I have actually wondered about having a thyroid condition, esp. since growing up at every yearly physical my only complaint was that I was tired...and the nurse always would shrug and say something like "well maybe nothing interesting is going on in your life" or they would tell me to exercise. Kind of pisses me off in retrospect! I have been checked multiple times for low iron but that always came back normal.
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[User Picture]From: bastet11191967
2009-12-21 04:57 pm (UTC)
I can relate to a lot of what you have written here, as I have experienced similar things when I was younger. I was not formally diagnosed with dysthymia until I was 33 and having some relationship issues. In my case, my family has a history of alcoholism and domestic violence, so it was a no-brainer to figure out something was off. My mother and I butt heads as well, but since she has started going to support group meetings to work on her own issues, it has gotten a lot easier to deal with her. I think it tends to be the way of parent-child relationships.

I would get these grand plans for changing my life, only to fizzle out very quickly, so I had to learn to temper my expectations and try to work with my limitations. Since my energy levels are total crap in the afternoon, I actually plan my high function activities in the morning, and leave the mindless monkey-work for the afternoon, if nothing else but to feel more accomplished for the day. My attention wanders when I get tired, depressed or distracted, so in my case, it was not ADD, even though I initially thought that was my problem. If you are still seeing your shrink, you could mention your concerns about possibly having dysthymia, and can print out this entry and show it to him/her. Perhaps some cognitive behavioral therapy may shed some light on ways to deal with this. I hope some of this made sense.
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 08:06 pm (UTC)
This all makes sense. You're very lucky to have a mother that works on her own issues...I can't imagine my mother ever realizing that SHE might have some baggage of her own!

I like your idea of working around your limitations. There are plusses to having ADD; I like when I get excited about a new idea and put a lot into it, I just need to learn to have more balance during the "low" times. And actually I don't even know if I have ADD, since like you it is much worse when I'm feeling depressed. How do you diagnose if it is depression or ADD or both? Are you on any medication?

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[User Picture]From: bastet11191967
2009-12-28 04:06 pm (UTC)
In my case, I had went for counseling before being referred to a psychiatrist for medication. I was put on celexa, which worked well for me, aside from a period of increased appetite and wight gain. When my health insurance was canceled, I was switched to prozac, but found the side effects were bad, so I was switched back to celexa. By that time, the patent had expired and generic forms were available. I don't have ADD, but when I get depressed, my attention is not that great, so I find I have to be more careful when dealing with any kind of detail work. I believe the common symptoms of depression are listed on some web sites, but your mileage may vary. One person's bad day may be another person's depressive episode. Knowing what your personal triggers are helps a lot. While you may not be able to "disable" them, you may be better able to not react so strongly to them. I hope that made some sense.
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[User Picture]From: whenevertheygo
2009-12-26 05:19 am (UTC)
I used to feel the same [and sometimes still do] about the rape/suicide thing. It really takes a while for me to rethink about wanting something bad for myself and put the idea of personal pain into motion in my head while the media often only builds about traumatic pain because it's much more visual and plot oriented.

Honestly all you really get out of things like suicide attempts is a weird story and an easy way for people to categorize you. It's the time spent recovering that people get the piece of mind.
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From: tobalina
2009-12-27 08:11 pm (UTC)
I think I feel that way because I was never very reactive and never got noticed very much in school...in fact I often felt totally invisible. The destructive kids who expressed their anger and were not shy got lots of attention and help, whereas depressed kids who go thru the day mute and don't interract with anyone get ignored. I think that is why so many kids turn to cutting and similar outlets. It is frustrating to feel like so much time has gone by with this heavy numbness in my stomach to the point where I have become used to it as if it's a normal part of daily life.
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From: tobalina
2010-01-18 01:27 am (UTC)
Sorry for the late response--thank you for sharing, and yes this all makes perfect sense! It's a bit overwhelming, but if I want to get anywhere I know I have to stop being so lazy (and it is a form of laziness, I think, and hate using depression as an excuse). I am curious what it took for you to take action on these things and really get moving forward in your life.
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[User Picture]From: passionrlsusall
2012-01-30 12:01 am (UTC)
I'm sure you won't see this since it's such an old entry (and I know lj's comment alert system isn't working right lately), but just in case you do I wanted to say I can very much relate to what you wrote in this entry, and the one after it. All the same words and descriptions you used, I could as well: indecisive, shallow ups and downs, tired/bored, preferring being in those darkest moments to the in between, wishing for rape or a suicide attempt (the rape thing went away, but I used to think about that, and the suicide attempt flashes through my mind frequently, though I know for sure I would never want to actually kill myself). Even the being a biologist and considering doing WWOOF matches me. And the wanting to stay depressed or anxious...I feel guilty about that but at the same time feel it, which I know is counterproductive to being better. Anyway, this is silly, typing to myself when you'll probably not see.
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From: tobalina
2012-02-11 04:59 pm (UTC)
Hey there, wow I forgot I even had this journal, in fact lj was just about to delete it. Just want thank you for your comment, though I'm very sorry you're in the same boat. I don't usually like reading my old entries because they can be such downers, but at least in this case it's nice to see I've gone in a gradual upward direction. Diagnoses have limited value but at least for me I think I was chronically mildly depressed for much of my life and did not realize it because I had no non-depressed comparison. It can seem like anyone's normal blue spell but not when it's drawn out and affecting your life, preventing you from living your potential. And definitely don't feel guilty about it, that just makes it worse and relativity doesn't really have a place with depression. Maybe you don't necessarily want to feel depressed, you just want to feel something other than numb and you don't have much experience with how to be happy. I didn't think I really feel happiness for a while, it just felt like excitement that was sometimes enjoyable and sometimes confusing, sometimes led to anxiety.

Anyway this sounds kind of patronizing, I don't really know your situation and I'm not saying I'm 100% happy and full of life, but I do think I'm better. I'm on Wellbutrin and Concerta and back in school, which is really hard but doesn't seem impossible. I think the Wellbutrin has made a big difference but subtly, like there is a ground beneath me now that wasn't there before. I still have moods and get depressed but don't dwell as much or get as listless as before, and when I do cry it does not feel like a flood that will never stop.

If you really feel this way I think you should see someone about it and don't downplay it or let your guilt affect your portrayal. It's all just static that shouldn't be in your life and you deserve to be free of it!
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[User Picture]From: passionrlsusall
2012-02-11 08:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, you did see! Thank you for responding. It's not patronizing at all to say that you're better now.. it's hopeful, knowing someone was in a similar situation for years and years also and is now doing better.

That's what I always wonder, if my lowered state of feeling is just sort of normal, or if I just don't know what it's like to not be a little depressed all the time, even in many of my "ups". And yeah, about wanting to feel something other than numb so the dark emotions feel better in comparison, if I don't truly feel I can have the light ones...yup.

Who did you go see to get the medication you're on? I've just quit going to a therapist I was seeing- it just didn't seem to be helping and I didn't feel comfortable enough with her to really open up, and she's still in training- but I want to find a new person to go to, and I'm considering seeing if medication might be a good option for me... so I'm wondering if I should make an appt. with a psychologist first, and then maybe have them suggest a psychiatrist or medical doctor to go to, or the other way around, or I know a lot of people start at a general practitioner, but I don't have one. Oh, and when did you start on the medication?

You don't have a new livejournal do you? Cause I'd add you as my friend.
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From: tobalina
2012-02-12 02:06 am (UTC)
I actually saw at least 4 psychologists/counselors that I didn't like before I found one I did like. The one I did like was a psychiatrist with a lot of experience, so maybe that's the difference. He also specialized in childhood trauma and I think I'm adolescent in a lot of ways so I felt like he really understood me. So maybe try hunting for someone you think you might relate to, most of them have specialties. But honestly, I think it's really hard to find someone in that role you can really connect with. I moved recently and started seeing a new counselor and it seemed totally lame; I don't think I'll bother again unless I really need it.

That said, I don't think you need to find a cosmic connection to get a lot out of therapy. You could start with a psychiatrist, nurse practitioner or pdoc, whichever is cheaper/easiest for you, to try out medication. When you meet with them focus on physical symptoms like if you are mostly tired or anxious etc. Then find a counselor who is experienced with clinical behavior therapy and/or mindfulness. They will at least give you some really helpful tools. Probably doesn't matter which order you do it, but if you can afford a psychiatrist they can double as your counselor which is nice.

Actually now that I think of it, probably ideal to meet with a psychiatrist since you haven't been through this before and it isn't really clear what the root of the problem is. I'd hate for you to get drugs from a pdoc and end up manic or something. :)

I think my most recent journal is adogablog, I haven't written in it forever and I'm sure all my old entries are terribly melodramatic lol. But I'll add you!
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[User Picture]From: passionrlsusall
2012-02-24 02:31 am (UTC)
What's a pdoc?

I'm finding this looking for someone frustrating..I can find no or just tiny bits of information about any psychologist/psychiatrist online, when I call the people I talk to don't tell me anything specific about their counseling style, how they like to start things out, what types of people they work with...nothing. And then most of the places have between a two week to 3 month (!) wait to get an appointment. I've been trying to avoid seeing a social worker or other therapist with lower certifiication, though I know they could be just as good but at least that was so criteria to narrow down by.. ugh I don't know. And I'm trying to limit psychologist searches to women only, though maybe I shouldn't...I just feel with indepth talk therapy, certain issues I'd feel less comfortable talking to a man about..but maybe it wouldn't matter. And I don't even know if any of the psychiatrists really do ongoing talk therapy or what. :( Plus I feel stupid on the phone, with people acting like everything's so obvious and I feel stupid for my really general questions, but they give me little information no matter what. Shouldn't they be trying to tailor client to a best therapist?
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[User Picture]From: adogablog
2012-02-29 06:50 pm (UTC)
That does sound frustrating...they should def. tell you about their counseling style so you can decide the best fit...definitely choose a woman if you think you'd be most comfortable, I think a lot of people are more comfortable with someone their gender. Maybe try telling the receptionist you've been having a hard time finding someone and maybe she can narrow it down for you? I dunno I guess I always just looked up someone online and blindly set up an appointment. Do you want to try cognitive therapy? That seems to be the rage, or mindfulness, maybe you could find someone who's very experienced with that kind of therapy and hope for the best.

Yea they all have long waiting lists, apparently most of the world is damaged mentally/emotionally lol, but once you get in they can usually see you regularly without the wait.

Pdoc is just primary care doc, if you already have one she might be able to write you a script. I'm getting my Rx's from my pdoc right now.

And yea I'm sure there are plenty of wonderful counselors/social workers out there, and usually much cheaper! You can always make an appointment and you don't have to go back if you don't connect.

How's grad school going? I just quit my job to focus on school :o let's hope that works out lol
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[User Picture]From: passionrlsusall
2012-04-30 11:10 pm (UTC)
Sorry I never replied to this..I've kept it in my inbox to do so in the future.

Yeah, I really don't get them not having a grasp on how their counselors operate, and after trying 2 I'm not sure if I should just keep on trying different ones or need to give them more of a chance or what.

I did not like cognitive-behavioral therapy when the free school counselor was trying it with me. I just wanted to rebel against it, focus in deeper on my past and who I am, not try to force my thoughts to go away without dealing with them. Part of it is probably that she was still in training, new at it, made it obvious that she was pulling stuff right from a book to try.

Then this second one though..we just talked. Talked and talked, and then the session was over and I never ended up bringing up things I wanted/needed to talk about..like going to a medical doctor/psychiatrist also, relationship stuff, etc. I felt she was helpful after my first session- I could immediately tell how much more experienced she was than the first one. But my second one was a rehash of the first session..very similar, I felt like nothing new was accomplished, and when I said I had a question I wanted to ask her at the end, she said we were already overtime and she wanted to eat lunch. We were overtime b/c her previous session had run over though, though granted the sessions did feel (and were) much longer than with the first girl. But it's been hard to find an appt. slot with her, and I got this impression that she's doesn't so much care whether her patients return or not. I don't know, I'm probably just being the way with therapists that I am with dating prospects- dismissal if not immediately perfect.

How is it working out focusing your attention on school? Grad school is..not going well for me. I'm about to drop out.
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