|Sunny days and rain
||[Jun. 23rd, 2009|10:56 pm]
I just stumbled upon this group, been having a hard time recently and I thought I'd contribute, as the other posts have given me comfort. For some reason it makes me feel better to be able to say, "Yes, I know exactly what you mean."|
I was diagnosed with moderate depression 3 years ago and dysthymia 8 months ago by a therapist, after going through an extended "double dose" type of episode. Depression runs deep in my extended family, and to extreme degrees. So that's awesome.
After learning more about the illness I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it sooner. "Dysthymics experience little to no joy in their lives". That's me. When my parents found out the diagnosis they agreed whole heartedly. "You didn't even get excited at Christmas," they said. I can remember laying in bed as a child after a perfect day at the beach or winning a game of soccer, and still feel the dull ache I couldn't place.
It didn't effect my life in terms of achievement. I was very achieved in high school and when I got to college, I continued to work hard (though like a lot of other dysthymics, I had an awful time concentrating, I thought it was just me..) and got good grades, acted in plays, had a great social life, but the hurting never seemed to stop. I couldn't place it. It was never quite enough to mess up my life, in fact, on the outside I seemed to be excellent, so it went unnoticed. There were weeks where I'd feel on top of the world (or like people without depression feel on a regular basis?) but I'd inevitably fall again. I'd have no energy, be up all night, want to sleep all day. I'd feel hopeless and miserable, usually without cause. For so long I thought it was just who I was... which is the saddest part.
I was put on Wellbutrin (15 mgs and then eventually 30) and that boosted me enough for a while. The 30 mg dose completely destroyed my appetite and ending up losing more weight. I was a little "off" for a while, huge bursts of energy I wasn't used to. I didn't seem to need much sleep anymore. Plus it makes my hands shake, as though I've downed a pot of coffee every minute of every day. I've realized it takes a lot of work to overcome dysthymia, I've been trying to find more ways to deal with it . Most days exercise really is a miracle. Short jogs help a lot. Also, being aware what triggers the lows is helpful, so you can either stay away or be aware why your mood is falling. I was in therapy for 6 months which helped but I never got a "cure", you know?
I've read that dysthymia can be the "water torture of depression" if it isn't handled. It's a quiet type of suffering, drawing less attention than schizophrenia or mania, but I don't think it makes it any less painful. Some don't understand why people with seemingly content lives could be so "emo". They just have no idea. They're lucky.
I agree, the sunlight improves my mood hugely. Summer and spring inevitably boost my mood, as do warmer climates. I've also put on a "happy face", been very social, and made lots of friends that I just don't have the energy to keep... does that make any sense? I feel like I let people down because they meet me and they think I'm someone else. Sometimes I'll meet a great person but feel like I just don't have anything to give to a real friendship. I don't. I've also found dating/relationships to be very helpful, too (I wonder if the chemicals in the brain associated with love are any which dysthymics typically lack?) but when they go sour that medicene becomes poison. Sigh.
Anyone reading this, hang in there. It gets better, you've just got to hold on.