To wish everyone knew how hard having anxiety/OCD/depressi on is?

(109 Posts)
LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 09:52:43

I have suffered from anxiety and OCD for about 25 years now and it's utterly exhausting.

I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, but I wish people could walk in my shoes for a day just to see how crippling it is.

One of my friends has openly admitted that before she suffered from anxiety and depression that she thought it was 'made up'.

I'm not saying everyone is ignorant, and some people are more understanding than others, but some people just don't get it.

My very helpful OH just tells me to relax and stop worrying, if only it was that simple. sad

I just think its a shame at this day in age that its still so taboo and misunderstood.

If anyone wants to add their experiences or ask any questions go ahead.

I won't be online for a couple of hours now, but will come back later.

PurpleRayne Tue 28-Jan-14 09:58:59
ateddybearfromdelaware1 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:04:46

Yanbu. I've suffered from them all including a phobia since I was a little child.

It's bloody exhausting.

Sometimes I look forward to being old and the end being near as it'll be peaceful, no more worrying sad

IneedAwittierNickname Tue 28-Jan-14 10:17:11

Yanbu. When my depression was at its worst I could get the dc up, washed, dressed, fed and to school. Then I'd go back to bed because I was too exhausted to do anuthing else.
My friends who had suffered with depression were fab, offering practical support and keeping me busy so I wouldn't sleep all day.
The friends who hadn't, including my dm offered up advice such as "oh just get over it" "how about a nice cup of tea?" and the forever hated "what have you got to be depressed about?" confused angry

I was talking about depression recently with a couple of friends, and one of them said she had decided to leave a bigish gap between her dc (she has about 5 years between each) because she had noticed that nearly all her friends who had them closer together had suffered from PMD in varying degrees.

I said tha was an interesting observation, and that I had had pnd, with a 26 month gap.

The other friend piped in that it couldn't be true because she had gaps of 2 years between dc1 and 2. and 2 and 3. And that she had 4dc in total, one of whom is asd, yet she never had pnd.

Hmm great, I'm pleased for her, and friend 1s observations were just that. Not a scientifically proven study.

Anyway, she finished it up with "well. I.didn't have time to have depression anyway, I just had to get on with it"

I pointed out that no one has 'time' to be depressed, but that's the thing. That's not how 'depression' works. She didn't understand my point and is convinced that she's just some kind of super mum because she hasnt suffered.

IneedAwittierNickname Tue 28-Jan-14 10:17:41

Oops that was rather long!

OP yanbu

ateddybearfromdelaware1 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:20:02

Anyway, she finished it up with "well. I.didn't have time to have depression anyway, I just had to get on with it

What an ignorant thing to say. Would someone not have time to have heart disease either? They're both illnesses.

I hate how mental illness is seen as martyrdom, especially when women suffer from it

Cranky01 Tue 28-Jan-14 10:36:47

I've a friend f who says she has OCD, maybe she has, but when I talk to her about it she says she likes get cushions straight and to match, but it doesn't matter that much when they don't and she doesn't worry about it.

She couldn't understand how sometimes it used to take over an hour to leave my house because I have to check to taps are off a lot or get half way down the road and go back, and how it would intrude on my thoughts.

I think OCD is such a strange disorder it's very hard to explain and understand.

Are you getting any help?

marzipanned Tue 28-Jan-14 10:52:42

I haven't suffered from any of these, but have seen members of my family go through depression so understand somewhat how debilitating that is.

This article about anxiety was a real eye opener for me:

ebwy Tue 28-Jan-14 10:56:01

YANBU at all.

"just decide to be happy"

ha. very ha.

daiseehope Tue 28-Jan-14 11:16:00

YANBU. IF they had been where we have been........

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 11:18:08

On the fence.

"Just chill out", "Just try not to think about it" "it really doesn't matter" and so on are absolutely fucking infuriating, not to mention the fact that they compound the anxiety by reminding you that "normal" people don't feel like this - another thing to worry about.

But on the other hand I'm glad most people don't understand.

I guess I wish they did not understand but were willing to take our word for it and STFU occasionally.

TawdryTatou Tue 28-Jan-14 11:26:02

I hear you all.

Anxiety has more or less dominated my life and now I'm watching it wreck the life of a young relative.

'Just try not to worry' these days is met with a hearty, 'Oh yes! You're right! I hadn't thought of that! I will then!'

It's worse when 'encouragement' comes from people who have suffered/are suffering themselves. They still can't resist the platitudes.

Then again, I fail to see what anyone could say to help. You just have to wait it out.

It's a total bastard.

cls77 Tue 28-Jan-14 11:43:24

Ive suffered with OCD, eating disorders and anxiety for the past 25 years too OP, and agree its exhausting. Ive lost count of the number of "friends" ive lost since my weird habits and behaviours took their toll. It affected my marriage which ended last year (although I know not totally my fault as he was an EA, but I was "so hard to live with")
I just get told Im too sensitive if I try and explain something, I know its not reasonable behaviour, but that doesnt stop me from not being able to do it - check locks, food phobia etc.
I am a professional in my work, and according to my best friend and colleague, you wouldnt know what I was really like if I hadnt told her.
Trouble is, too tired to fight most days and get through them in a daze sad

yoshipoppet Tue 28-Jan-14 11:49:26

I've had a bout with depression that lasted for a few years. I'm coming out the other side of it now for which I am truly grateful and glad. But I am also glad that I have experienced this as now I can understand just how bloody awful it is. I hadn't realised how bad the physical effects can be, until I felt them for myself.
I told everyone I work with about it, managers included, as I was determined that it would be treated by me & others as the illness it is, and I was amazed at how many other people had been, or were, in the same boat. Fortunately I only got one person saying 'what have you got to be depressed about' and I ignored her thereafter on the grounds that if I listened to her ignorance I'd be forced to do violence.

Aroundtheworldandback Tue 28-Jan-14 11:52:12

I read an article recently that if women are anxious in pregnancy, the child is more likely to suffer anxiety as an adult. This haunts me as my ds suffers from it and I was most certainly anxious at that time. Whatever the cause, it is overwhelmingly debilitating. As with most things though, unless you have first hand knowledge of it you remain blissfully ignorant.

FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 11:55:25

Yanbu. My bugbear is "can't you do it just this once?" about something the OCD prevents me doing. I feel like saying "if I could do it this once, I'd do it all those just onces (aka everytime) and wouldn't have fucking OCD!"

I've very tired of people pointing out how stupid something I do is, however politely they do it. I know it's stupid, I know I shouldn't need to do it, I don't have a choice unless I want to cope with the physical and mental distress of not doing it.

NinjaPenguin Tue 28-Jan-14 12:09:24

YANBU. One of my neihbours told me, 'look, you have to face it (true) and deal with it (true), not just be a coward and run away from all your problems. Have you actually tried to do anything?' At that time, just not throwing myself in front of cars and stopping myself overdosing again was taking most of my energy, and I was damn happy that I'd managed to get up, dressed and had fed my child, because that was my idea of trying.

I have PTSD, and depression and anxiety caused by that- was previously misdiagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder. As a child, I had RAD (reactive attachment disorder).

Also, when I was a suicidal, a friend told me to be positive, think positive, and consider how lucky I was compared to most people. And why would I waste my life, I had a whole future ahead of me? Yeah, the reason I was suicidal was because I hated the thought of the future in front of me. hmm

Anxiety took over my life, and to some extent, it still rules me. I remember as a teen when I was terrified of school, my foster parent went through a worry tree with me. So -can you do anything about the problem now?- if the answer was no, it told you to stop worrying and distract yourself. If the answer was yes, it always managed to get you back to telling you to stop worrying. Because it's that easy. I mean, I'd never tried to distract myself and to stop worrying, obviously...

Entrapped Tue 28-Jan-14 12:23:17

YANBU. I have had OCD since childhood going through counting/checking/cleaning periods. I have what I think is the worst type at the moment. The intrusive thoughts/images around my children. I have suffered (and I mean really suffered) for 8 years now. I have been close to suicide because of it and I really understand how people can do that sad. It is purely the thought that my DC may think I didn't love them that I keeps me going. I think 'normal' people totally underestimate the impact of an 'anxiety disorder. My brain is in absolute hell most days and my life career-wise and financially has been totally ruined. I have spent thousands on therapies, books and DVDs.

My OCD was so bad at one point that we had to come back to the UK after immigrating abroad and finally getting our 'dream life' losing our home and all our savings in the process. I had an abortion because of it FFS.

I have often wished I had cancer rather than OCD as ridiculous as that sounds.

Nodney Tue 28-Jan-14 12:33:47

Love that article marzipanned - thanks for sharing!

BearsInMotion Tue 28-Jan-14 12:47:27

In defence of OP's OH, it is difficult living with someone with OCD too. Sometimes I have to explain to DP what it's like to not have OCD, when he has a go at me for not doing things "properly". And when he gets down, what else can I say except to try and help him relax? It's really hard to help someone with OCD when you know they are suffering.

Regarding the general population though, YANBU. I'm physically disabled but do the lion's share of the house work, as DP can't, because of his OCD. I'm on high rate DLA (can only walk a few steps), he gets nothing, but his condition is far more disabling than mine on a day to day basis. I think it's unlikely we'll have DC2, because of how difficult it has been with DC1 sad He's a great dad, but just finds it so stressful and exhaustin.

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 12:51:51

YANBU. I've suffered from crippling anxiety for years and it has only been recently (think, the last few months) that I realised what it was - I had always thought it was just part of my personality!
I thought this because of the way people reacted and just the general social understanding of anxiety.
I study psychology, work in a psychological field and STILL only realised that it was an illness i suffered a few months back.

I'm finally getting treatment and learning how to manage it but I wish I had been given support or the situation had been recognised earlier.

I've been seeing doctors for depression for about 8 years and it was never picked up.

I had a doctors appointment yesterday which highlighted (IMO) the general opinion of GPs on Mental Health. She made me list (not explain, list) my symptoms and then interupted me half-way through to immediately prescribe me drugs. She didn't look at me once.

She basically ticked some boxes in her head, threw pills at me and sent me on my way. (Despite it being highlighted on my record that I'm frequently suicidal and the pills commonly making people "worse" for the first two weeks). She clearly didn't give a shit.

JackNoneReacher Tue 28-Jan-14 12:53:22

You're not wrong but many people feel like this about 'their' conditions.

For eg people who suffer with constant, debilitating back pain (or similar) feel like they aren't believed because no one can 'see' their pain. They get comments about 'just getting on with it'.

But yes it would be nice if people could at least try a little empathy sometimes. Rather than assuming that if they've not got it/had it, its not real.

grumpyoldbat Tue 28-Jan-14 12:56:39

YANBU. I too wouldn't want someone else to suffer but I really wish that DH at least try and understand what stresses me. If he did then perhaps he'd listen to me (nobody listening to me then blaming me when it goes wrong due to no one listening is one of my stressors). I need to do things in a system so I wish he understood that shouting"why haven't you..." constantly and pressurising me into jumping between tasks isn't helpful.

The thing I most would like him to understand is my nervous tic (for want of a better description). I feel the need to perform this action when the stress is piling on. Although I can see how people would find it annoying it's my coping mechanism and helps me fend off the urge to self harm, it only takes a second and helps me to continue to try and meet my responsibilities. DH however gets so irate that he screams at me calls me things like a "fucking spas" which leads to a massive argument,me cutting myself as punishment for upsetting him and me falling behind with meeting my responsibilities and hence more stress. Vicious circle.

Steffanoid Tue 28-Jan-14 13:03:41

yanbu, my dp is amazing but sometimes he does get fustrated and want me to be better when I am down or when something throws me off. the amount of times I have had to explain that im not just going to wake and be better....
I'm quite open in telling people that im living with depression and the first comment I get is oh but you cant be your so happy they dont understand that a. youre not always down 24/7 and b. The tablets help to put you on a bit more of an even keel than life without them.

SamU2 Tue 28-Jan-14 13:12:48

I have had OCD since I was 6 years old

Off and on depression throughout my life

I also have severe health anxiety.

The other day a person I know who doesn't know my history said that she has never had any anxiety of depression issues because she is a strong person [mad] I am a bloody strong person too!

The last few years I have lived with crippling health anxiety to the point I no longer wanted to go out because I saw little point in living when I was basically living in fear of dying.

I am making good steps now, didn't help that my ex husband died leaving three of our kids behind 6 weeks ago of cancer. That put me back a little but I am getting there again. My worst fear is leaving my kids behind while they are young then I had to see my worst fear play out. I had to watch someone dying and then go view his body with the children sobbing and I am still dealing with their raw grief. That was some exposure therapy right there! All my fears that have crippled me at times played out in front of my very eyes.

My husband tries really hard. He has a mental illness himself but can't quite understand mine. He often feels the strain of mine like I do his but at times he gets inpatient but I completely understand because his makes me inpatient at times too.

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 13:20:33

My personal favourite was from a classmate at school:

"Have you ever thought that your OCD might all be in your head?"


FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 13:21:41

Oh I'm with you on the box ticking and not looking at you. They don't listen either sometimes. I went to the doctor once when it was particularly bad and poured my heart out and told her I didn't see the point in living if I can't even function on a daily basis anymore. All she did was say " about those tablets" while looking at her computer screen.

I mean, I'm a lone parent with a young child, whose just told her that I don't see the point in living anymore and she's quite happy to send me on my way with tablets I've told her I probably won't take due to being scared of them. Excellent work there. Luckily my family rallied round and I've not felt that way again since but what if I was completely alone? Would I be dead right now?

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 13:23:45

Oh yes, and try explaining that you can have depression and still be a happy person. That depression is a chemical state that has nothing to do with whether you are happy in your life (in my case I sometimes think it gets worse when I'm happy, with no big problems to keep my brain occupied).

A friend who is training to be an alternative therapist told me that of course it means I'm unhappy, and I would never be 100% well unless I decided to be. Fuck off.

Sorry, I am angry today. I try to be relatively (within limits) open about my depression and anxiety because if people aren't -- when they feel strong enough -- how will it be taken seriously. But some days it is really hard and you just know the people around you assume that if you'll actually admit to MH issues, you must be far worse than you say (perhaps because they themselves won't front up about their problems)! All sympathy and solidarity to fellow sufferers smile

CuChullain Tue 28-Jan-14 13:30:04

I have every sympathy for people who suffer from OCD, would not wish it upon anyone. I went out with a women who described herself as a ‘mild’ sufferer, my knowledge of the condition prior to that was pretty poor and I had to do some research to get a better understanding of it. She had her routines around the home which 90% of time I would describe as quirky and easy to live with, there were other times though when it would drive me nuts and I would be a liar if I did not find some situations totally exasperating. We mostly clashed in the kitchen, I am very into my cooking, love it in fact, when putting a meal together I would usually organise and prep all the ingredients so they ready to be popped into the pan when needed, she just could not cope with all the foodstuff, bulbs of garlic, peppers, onions and herbs etc on the worktop and would start to put stuff away before I had even used said item, she insisted that I take one thing at a time out of cupboard or fridge just when I needed it. She knew this was utterly impractical and would hinder the progress of whatever I was trying to cook. It would be the same with cooking utensils, it got silly at one stage whereby the moment I had used a knife or chopping board she would remove it and pop it in the dishwasher even though I would be using it again 30 seconds later. I did snap once and told her to get out of kitchen as she was shadowing my every move and she got very upset and I felt awful as knew it was not her fault.

Its an awful condition.

WaitingForMe Tue 28-Jan-14 13:43:43

Oh but OCD is a comedy illness. It just means you're like Monica from friends. And at this point the person tells you they're "a bit" OCD.


FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:15:16

Oh yes. I've had the "oh, like Monica from friends!" line.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 14:30:12

I have anxiety but not depression or OCD (probably). I do perform some OC behaviours but not to a disordered level.

And that's the point. Most people are sometimes anxious and sometimes inexplicably low, and have one or two things they insist on.

But by definition it's only a disorder if it disrupts your life, so obviously someone who has experienced some of the lighter traits without reaching a disorder threshold would think it's "just" a case of slightly changing behaviour. In the same way that honey and lemon and two paracetamol cure the flu.

IneedAwittierNickname Tue 28-Jan-14 14:35:26

It seems to me that ocd is a trendy illness at the moment.

I don't mean that about genuine sufferers by the way, but a group of mums I was having coffee with the other day were discussing how ocd they are, almost trying to out ocd eachother.
Stupid things like " oh yea I have ocd, I mean I have to Hoover everyday, and all my cushions match the colour scheme in the room" normally said with an irritated giggle, or martyred sigh at how perfect they are.

Umm. Isn't that fairly 'normal'
(sorry if normal is the wrong word, not sure what else to use)

I have a couple of friends with real, genuine ocd and its so much more than matching cushions!

FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:46:24

I get what you mean. You get people who don't seem to have OCD competitively trying to out-OCD each other. "Well I can't leave the house unless I've hoovered'<titter>" (when they actually can, they just prefer it hoovered if possible) and the next one is all "well I can't leave unless I've washed every pot and the kitchen is sparkling <titter blush>" (when really they actually can, they just prefer it sparkling). Meanwhile the person who really has OCD just has to bite their tongue or they would jump up and throttle them.

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 14:50:35

I almost find it funny, because I -- and I don't think this is uncommon -- am actually an appalling housekeeper partly because of my OCD. I spend ages cleaning certain things (like kitchen utensils and crockery/cutlery), plus obsessively washing my hands, but I'm naturally messy and don't have much in the way of time/project management skills. So things like tidying and hoovering just pile up, and then there are things like bins and cat litter that scare me and provoke endless hand-washing so it's easier if DH does those. Happily DH is a much better housekeeper so we don't actually live in a tip!

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 14:53:49

I have to say I also feel like a complete mess of a human being because I have all kinds of things wrong with me:

general high anxiety/stress levels
disordered eating

I think they're probably all comorbid and that the anxiety is at the root of all of them. But I just feel like a walking textbook, and it's so silly that I feel ridiculously proud of myself for functioning relatively well and managing to eat in restaurants/handle meat for cooking (sometimes)/feed myself appropriately and at the right time/all these things others do effortlessly. I'm quite good at intellectual stuff which only seems to make it more of a mockery!

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 14:56:50

Thank you got the re

FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:57:01

My mum is used to me ringing up proudly now with a "guess what! I managed to do <totally mundane activity>" when I feel especially pleased with myself haha.

And I'm the same housework wise. I don't like getting my hands dirty so I have to wash them again so sometimes it builds up. I've had people come round on the past and say "but I thought you had OCD?". I've been told on here before by a complete turnip that I can't possibly have OCD because I don't clean all the time hmm

Op YADNBU (that's a d for definitely in case I've just made that up).

I have lost friends as a result of my anxiety and depression - one of who gave me an article about how to be more resilient angry. I wouldn't wish it on anyone

Also picking up on what someone said above about disablement. This time last year I was unable to do anything, and for the first half of last year was able to do very little indeed. Far more disabling than many physical illnesses or conditions (and I'm not dismissing the seriousness of those either). But I guess its less visible...

And yes, exhausting, esp weeks like this one where I'm having to work hard to "manage my mind".

take care all

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 15:03:35

Thank you for the replies so far.

I have had cbt and an awaiting another course. My OCD isn't as bad as it was, but its still enough to affect me every day.

I think people think when I tell them I have OCD they will think I have an immaculate house, but no, I am actually a hoarder. So while my house isn't dirty, it's not perfect either.

It's not to bad, but I have to be in the right mood to have a clear out, as otherwise nothing would get thrown out.

I keep asking OH if he will help me, as I'm rubbish at it, but he never does. My sister has offered to help me declutter its just finding a time when she can come around work.

I hate it when people say they are a bit OCD, because they like the cups facing the same way etc, I feel like shouting lets more to it than that!

GoldenGytha Tue 28-Jan-14 15:26:27

I have severe depression and anxiety,

I am relatively "well" at the moment, but there have been some very very dark times in the past few years, I attempted suicide at one point, it wasn't really a deliberate act of wanting to kill myself, more "I think I'll take all these tablets tonight, and see what happens"

My doctor's response was to prescribe my medication weekly rather than monthly and say "Oh it was just a bad day, you won't do that again"

I haven't, but I do have to fight the urge to do it "properly" Only the thought of leaving my DDs stops me.

My mother and a friend just tell me "Get a job, that'll sort you out, nothing wrong with you really, you're too sensitive, too much in your own company, a job is all you need"

FFS, the last job I had destroyed my already fragile mental health, and was a contributing factor in my ongoing health problems.

They think I'm just a shirker and don't want to work, but I do eventually, but I can't escape the sheer panic and terror I feel at the thought of leaving my house every day, and mixing with people.

I can do short trips out with my DDs, and to the local shops, but my house is my safe place, I don't even open my curtains because I feel panicky and unsafe if I do.

I've had the "Oh I'm too busy to be depressed, I have to just get on with it, you're ok, you don't work, you can sit at home all day and indulge yourself, if you got a job you'd soon have that nonsense knocked out of you"

Some people will just never understand (or even try to) mental health issues, and how debilitating they are.

moanstripes Tue 28-Jan-14 17:56:39

I have major depression, lasting over a decade. Some days I haven't been able to get myself out of bed, even to wash, eat or take dc to school. I think a lot of people can't conceive of how crippling it is, even those who have had mild/moderate depression - many of those people can still hold down jobs or can function at a minimum level in the home. To me, that's nothing like what I have experienced, I would have been shocked to feel able to actually get up and get changed for the day in my darkest moments. It's very taboo to admit how much it can affect basic areas of care. And frustrating when those with mild conditions tell me how a bit of exercise or having a nice bath has helped them.

I have various bits of other MH conditions, I don't have ocd symptoms but I have serious issues with hoarding which is related, and issues with eating disorders as well.

I think it's hard to imagine life with a MH condition though, if you're psychologically healthy and just haven't experienced anything like it. There are some MH conditions that I have trouble getting my head around, it's just so very different from mine. Even though I've taken the trouble to read about them, I couldn't possibly really understand how hard they are.

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:23:23

It's interesting to hear other people's experience of GAS.

I have only ever had one doctor who genuinely seemed to care. I'm pretty sure she was the only one who actually looked at me and didn't just slap everything into the computer.

Mental health is such a common "suffering" I get infuriated that even medical professionals appear ignorant

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:23:54

Oh no!! GPs not gas!!!blush autocorrect.

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:24:45

I'm not sure why I quoted suffering, blush blush blush I'm going to go now...

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:26:58

My GP is brilliant. I didn't realise how brilliant until this thread. She made eye contact and asked meaningful questions and didn't say "just" anything but treated me like a human being.

I think she's the surgery specialist though, as it was an emergency referral from the HV team.

hotritenow Tue 28-Jan-14 19:28:14

I suffer with panic attacks and anxiety, it got to the stage where I wouldn't leave the house for fear of something happening to me, but the amount of people including my DH who said to me "oh take a deep breath you'll be fine it's all in your head" used to drive me mad...I have a really good friend who has been a tower of strength to me,and without her I'd be lost...I am getting better, haven't had a panic attack for a while, but the anxiety drives me mad...

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:34:19

I believe it was Albus Dumbledore who said: "Of course it's all in your head. That doesn't make it not real."

::goes to check copy::

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:36:51

"Of course it is happening inside your head ... but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Deathly Hallows, ch35. Now I'm not holding JKR up as a psychiatrist but I find that idea very consoling, and a big middle finger to the "oh it's all just in your head" crowd.

WaitingForMe Wed 29-Jan-14 19:13:07

When the trendy OCD gets played I quite enjoy it. I tend to go with "I can't have the stereo on an odd number otherwise it feels like ants are biting the underside of the skin on my arms and I want to scrape the skin off with a knife. So silly really."

One really must try to have fun with ones mental illness I think wink

frumpet Wed 29-Jan-14 19:24:13

I think that before i had depression , i honestly thought ' well everyone gets sad , you just need to think positive '
now i know that in the grip of the illness you cannot think positive , because if you could you would , you would see any ray of hope and cling to it for grim death .
I do know some people however who play the depression card whenever it suits them without actually being depressed , this does a MASSIVE disservice to anyone who has actually had to cope with the illness .

RedHelenB Wed 29-Jan-14 19:50:57

Thing is though - if you have a physical ailment you do have to get on with things. And it has been proved with depression that you are better off having a job, going out, having a normal a life as possible. Same with OCD, that you have to confront it.

FanFuckingTastic Wed 29-Jan-14 19:58:23

Invisible illnesses are all treated with slight disbelief that they are as hard as people say they are. I've always found people who have suffered understand best.

I have OCD in the form of worrying about death and serious injury. I'd have horrible scenarios playing in my head all day, no real compulsions other than avoidance of risk, but that was enough to mess up my life.

Even my physical illness, fibromyalgia is treated with disbelief. People think we are slackers and it's all in our heads, despite research coming out to show that it isn't.

And chronic pain, you can't see that or measure it, you have to take the person's word on it. Most people think I'm making it up. Trust me, what I live with daily nowadays would cripple most people if it came on all at once. It's taken me years to adjust to be able to cope with it.

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 29-Jan-14 19:59:46

Gee, thanks dr Helen. I'll just stop all my compulsions magically so I can live a normal life and cure myself. hmm

Kidsarehardworkbutgoodfun Wed 29-Jan-14 20:05:49

Two if my kids have Tourettes, one of them has anxiety/depression/OCD tendencies.
People just don't understand. I've come to the conclusion that it's very difficult for normal people to understand that not everyone can control their behaviour. And that some people are a victim of their own brain. Sorry if that's obvious.
I find it really difficult on their behalf, and I really hope the general public can become more educated for everyone's sake.

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 29-Jan-14 20:28:58

Thing is though - if you have a physical ailment you do have to get on with things. And it has been proved with depression that you are better off having a job, going out, having a normal a life as possible. Same with OCD, that you have to confront it.

This comment is still irritating me. If you have a physical ailment that people can see, you are treated differently to having a mental health condition. You don't expect someone with a broken leg to walk on it. Or someone with a sling to do heavy lifting. But with a mental health or invisible illness, people act as if it doesn't exist. Lots of replies on this thread a testament to that. Including yours. You might be better off having a job, going out etc but depression and OCD etc can make that impossible. I can't work. Sometimes I'm housebound. But because it's physical, I should just confront it and work and leave the house. If I could do that, I wouldn't be ill, would I?

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 29-Jan-14 20:29:25

Not physical*

frumpet Wed 29-Jan-14 20:32:44

I think helen that to a certain degree you are right , in that once the medication has kicked in , and you feel able to do anything , then doing something , no matter how small a goal , does help .
BUT depression is like any other illness in that some people are completely poleaxed by it and others can function at some level .
I dont imagine you would berate someone who suffered hideous side effects of chemotherapy and hold up as a shining light to them someone who managed to work whilst undergoing chemo would you ? because that would be a pretty shitty thing to do .

morethanpotatoprints Wed 29-Jan-14 20:38:08

I think we need educating about OCD. I think most people could give you a vague description of some of the aspects but nobody knows what it is like to live with the condition until you meet somebody with OCD.
I didn't have a clue until my dd befriended a boy we know who has a multitude of problems ranging from OCD to being sectioned under mh.
The poor child is 12 years old, and his family have such a job coping with his disability.
I don't think it fair to blame society for not understanding, although I agree many more could try and be sympathetic.
Some of the nightmares this family have had, you or I before I knew them could not imagine how difficult it can be.

Hotmad Wed 29-Jan-14 20:39:10

I totally understand, my DP has suffered with ocd and anxiety ever since he can remember. He's now In his 30's. We have been together 10 yrs so I know all about his conditions. His ocd is a type that not many people know about, he has something called pure o. When I tried to tell my friends he suffers with ocd, they always automatically assume he washes his hands too much. No one knows the anguish and despair it causes, not even I but so many times I've looked into his eyes and seen the pain and hurt it causes him. Luckily he is in a better place these days but his anxiety has made him become very anti social although he seems happier. Hope you manage to find some inner peace one day

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Wed 29-Jan-14 20:39:50

Thing is though - if you have a physical ailment you do have to get on with things. And it has been proved with depression that you are better off having a job, going out, having a normal a life as possible. Same with OCD, that you have to confront it.

I have to comment on this, I wish it was that easy, I have tried confronting my OCD and all it did was make me more depressed and anxious.

I have been told by professionals that there is no 'cure' and I have learnt ways to try and make things easier for myself, but it will always be there.

If someone did find a cure then that would be amazing, but I don't expect they will.

Hotmad Wed 29-Jan-14 20:41:37

Ocd is complete craziness to anyone who doesn't have it but to the person who has it, it's the realest most awful way to be. Mental health suffering is torture

CombineBananaFister Wed 29-Jan-14 20:47:52

My mum has quite severe OCD but as we grew up in the 70s everyone just thought she was a loon. plastic sheeting over everything, very over-protective about us, had all her teeth removed because of the germs/blood poisoning worry - loads of other stuff.

It made it hard inviting people over or having birthday parties etc. I fought so hard not to end up like her - became very spontaneous and reckless, I felt so sorry for her and was a carer ,almost, from a very young age but I was resentful of her for not being 'normal'.

but then I had my 1st Ds and everything went to shit for a while - major anxiety issues, couldn't go near water or leave the house - really stupid stuff and I got a small taste of how she must have felt all the time and it was debilitating and heartbreaking.

If anyone has a physical issue - broken leg etc, it's so easily sympathised with but to be 'broken' in any non-visible way, well you're just supposed to get over it -not right sad we are very intolerant about these things

it's horrible and i definitely feel as though i can't talk about it to anyone if i'm struggling with it in case they think it's just attention seeking or me being a drama queen. i hate it.

Hotmad Wed 29-Jan-14 20:50:16

You can't cure it you have to learn to live with it. Let it be there is a phrase we come to learn

FloweryFeatureWall Wed 29-Jan-14 21:04:50

Yep, we are stuck with it for life. My therapist said a good physical comparison for people who don't understand is diabetes. Life long condition but with help and treatment it can be managed to some level. It's accessing that help and treatment and being able to apply it that is incredibly difficult with OCD I think. Like cbt, I know what I'm supposed to do and I know how to do it but I cannot do it alone without guidance. I've had a year of sessions on the nhs and it made a slight dent. I'm not eligible for anymore sessions (I only got so many because dd was under 1). So that's that for me.

fromparistoberlin Wed 29-Jan-14 21:12:29

ignorance is bliss literally!!!!

I hear you OP

moanstripes Wed 29-Jan-14 21:21:25

if you have a physical ailment you do have to get on with things. And it has been proved with depression that you are better off having a job, going out, having a normal a life as possible

That is only the case for mild/moderation depression. Full blown major depression is a different beast altogether. I would probably be arrested/sectioned/sacked/collapsed if I'd gone out and tried to work when I have been struggling with very severe depression. I have a good friend who went through chemo for breast cancer and survived, but continued to work p/t throughout it. I would say my mental illness was more crippling than her illness, as there's no way I would have managed p/t work. I can't have a normal life as my illness doesn't allow me to.

I get HRC DLA so it's recognised even by the DWP that I'm as disabled as any person with the most severe kind of physical disability. And even they (and my CMHT) recognise that I don't have to get on with things, and that work isn't appropriate for me right now.

brokenhearted55a Wed 29-Jan-14 21:41:35

When I got depressed for the first time ever I couldnt leave the house other than for work and stayed in bed all day at weekends. I physically couldnt get up.

my mum screamed shouted and swore at me and said all you can do is lie around amd drool and moan. Any fool can do that youre supposed to be intellignet. She ran me into the ground by making the time I wasnt at work a war zone and then she took the credit for me getting over it. I got over it no thanks to her.

People dont get it.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 04:19:28

moanstripes exactly. My DH has treatment-resistant chronic bipolar 2. He held down a job for 14 years after diagnosis but was eventually medically retired because of it and because of his gradual but inexorable deteroriation. He also receives HRC DLA. He hates the fact he is no longer contributing economically and has no role in a society that to a large extent judges people by how they earn their living, but since a good day for him now consists of feeling capable of having a shower and taking the dog for a short walk, he doesn't have many options.

RedHelen do you go around telling wheelchair users they have to just "get on with things"? No doubt they could all be up doing the Highland Fling if they just confronted their condition? Those pesky people with diabetes could save the NHS a fortune in insulin if they simply adopted a PMA, eh? hmm

My DH is just as crippled, only the bit of him which doesn't work properly is his brain. Doesn't make it any less real or any less debilitating. What it does do is make life even harder than it should be thanks to the attitude of people like RedHelen.

iloveny001 Thu 30-Jan-14 04:52:31

I have moderate ocd, have had a year off work in two 6 month blocks.the last time I was so close to giving up my career but managed to hold on, just. I worry about germs and contaminating my house and friends and making them ill, which is ironic as I'm a nurse. I separate work life and home life in a way that works for me, though is still hard work ocd wise. I only use certain train carriages for commuting to and from work, so I can avoid them on my days off to stop 'cross contamination'. I do so much more but Thats one example.

I have what I call 'unhelpfull' ocd, as I avoid dealing with things as am too scared, like cleaning and it can take me ages to pluck up the courage to pick stuff up the floor. I spend a small fortune on hand soap and shower gel. I hate the misconception that to be an ocd sufferer things have to be neat and tidy.

I'm having CBT at the moment, and I know my ocd will never go away but needs constant work to keep it manageable, its exhausting. I have to think and plan all the time on how to feed it, to keep it happy so I can live my life. I hate it. I'm pretty honest about it, and most people are supportive but you do get the odd idiot who thinks they're bring useful by belittling the problem with their 'just get over it' attitude. If only it were that simple.

I've come to accept it will always be a part of me, I have an amazing support network and know I will always be on medication for it. When I last spoke to my gp about stopping anti depressants he asked me why I would risk having a relapse by not taking meds, a diabetic can't not take their insulin, and my condition is no different.

There is still stigma attached to ocd, anxiety and depression, and I wish sufferers felt that they can be more open, I think most people feel its a weakness. I believe that living with it can makes you a strong person and I continue to admire all other sufferers with how they cope. I try to have a positive attitude about it, I openly take the mick out of myself as for me, it helps me to cope.

Katkins1 Thu 30-Jan-14 05:06:32

I have PTSD and I'm the final year of my degree. I was bit down lately because it pulled my grades from high 1st to a 2.1. Not a big thing, but I was only diagnosed in May, and I wanted to come back and give it my best shot. I'm a single mum, too. I was suicidal and couldn't get out of bed in Summer.

Some of my friends are fab, my teachers always support me whatever happens, but comments I've had are "you need to stop with woe is me", "everyone has stuff going on in their lives, you are the only one who uses it as an excuse", and best of all, when I was triggered by something, "I need to let it wash over me."

This was all by fellow students. I can't wait to leave now. It just makes me feel worse.

Crowler Thu 30-Jan-14 06:24:41

I agree OCD has become short-hand for "my house is so clean!", part of our annoying stealth-boasting culture.

Misspixietrix Thu 30-Jan-14 07:09:07

I used to suffer from OCD very badly in my teenageBBC years. I got better and then I had PND after my second child. It seemed to exacerbate the symptoms again. It took me many moons to come out the other side. I read a while ago that its offered triggered by sad / stressful events. I'm currently fighting it again after the minute after a very very stressful time last year seems to have opened up old wounds so to speak. My favourite idiotic anecdote from such lovely people is those that say 'you need to snap out of it!'. hmm. Most would give their right arm to be able to do just that.

RedHelenB Thu 30-Jan-14 07:22:23

Select - I/m not telling anyone to do anything but yes, the wheelchair users I know & knew did get on with things and find ways round their difficulties .As someone else said, you aim to have as "normal" a life as possible.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 07:51:49

RedHelen, "normal" by whose standards?

"Normal" for me is: clambering up and down the ladder to the loft to store things having just moved house; running for a bus and choosing to sit upstairs; taking the dog for a walk and climbing over stiles in the country. I take those things for granted, they are "normal". How do you propose your wheelchair-using acquaintances should do those things? So you think they'd be able to do them if they just tried harder? If they were a bit less negative about not being able to walk? If they pulled themselves together? If they didn't "wallow" in being paralysed?

Assuming you are - by your apparent lack of understanding - neurotypical, then your definition of "normal" is vastly different from that of a person suffering from mental illness, but that doesn't make your definition correct or achievable. Just because it's the brain rather than something visible that isn't functioning as expected doesn't make the "paralysis" any less real or the consequences of the condition any more under the sufferer's control. Just as someone with diabetes or asthma can "will" themselves to have perfectly-functioning pancreas or lungs, so a mentally ill person can't "will" themselves to have a healed brain no matter how much they would wish to be able to.

Of course there are coping strategies and degrees of illness; some are more akin to a broken leg and the person will make a complete recovery, but many are lifelong and life-limiting.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 07:53:28

can't will themselves...

CailinDana Thu 30-Jan-14 09:10:11

I've had two bouts of depression, one when I was about 25 which was very severe and one last year after dd was born. 1st time I lived near my parents and their shit attitude is what drove me deeper into depression, so deep I couldn't get out of bed. Funnily enough my arsehole of a sister is now showing symptoms of depression and childish and evil as it is I would relish the opportunity to sit in front of her looking disgusted and say exactly what she said to me - "you need to just sort yourself out and stop worrying mum." God I would get such satisfaction from it.

Second time round I was far away from them and surrounded by caring, understanding support. The difference was massive. DH spotted the symptoms early and encouraged me to get help fast. When the first useless GP fobbed me off he made another appointment for me with another GP who actually listened and helped. My friend said "I've never had depression so I don't know what it really feels like it but I will help whatever way I can" and she did help, massively, just by being available and totally non-judgemental. She even offered to come and sit up all night with non-sleeping dd! I didn't take her up on it but knowing I could helped. Other friends listened, brought food, and were just kind. It made such a difference and this bout, though it started bad has resolved really fast. MN was a huge help too.

Helen you just don't get it.

PedantMarina Thu 30-Jan-14 09:21:04

I absolutely loved that Stephen Fry documentary - it finally got people talking about it and busting some myths.

But, yes, I'd very much love to see everybody who doesn't get it walk in a depressive's shoes.

StandingInLine Thu 30-Jan-14 09:28:21

YANBU. Depression, Anxiety and OCD (more pure -O) have been a part of me since I started puberty. Is exhausting and sometimes I look forward to sleep so that I can just let go of my thoughts as it's the only time they're not full of doubt and uncertainty. However ,I've got to 25 with 2 kids and have vowed I won't end up like everyone else in my family on my mums side (mental illness runs in the family ) so have looked at CBT. Whilst it's slow I can see a difference. The thoughts are still there but my anxiety has reduced and I'm a thousand times more confident (even though that could've developed as I've got more independent ). All I need now is to allow myself to be happy. Doesn't help that partner ,the one who should support me through this ,simply tells me to "not worry " etc...which is very frustrating !!

selfdestructivelady Thu 30-Jan-14 09:46:15

I have bipolar and borderline and I don't tell people because of one or two stupid responses. Such as I need to be more positive that's all. I need to do more things. But I have to admit even hcp have treated me like shit over the borderline personality disorder. While the bipolar is harder to live with the ignorance about the borderline is harder.

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 10:22:44

I know this will sound incredibly patronising and arrogant but i can't help but believe that unless you have suffered from depression/anxiety disorders you really have NO IDEA of what it is like. I can barely explain it to myself, however when i post on some of the mental health threads on here and read through them, i get an overwhelming sense of relief that other people experience the same and do understand. I often think OMG, i do that, or thats how i feel.

I have had a very stressful week, mother in hospital after emergency addmision when she nearly died. Then i had to do DP's tax return, his books were a total mess because i stepped back last year due to my anxiety issues, he said he would keep the books himself i wont make that mistake again

So you can imagine how stressed i was, just normally but my anxiety takes it to the next level, i was shaking while i was getting ready to file the return, having focused and got through sorting through the mess that was his "accounting" and DP said that he couldn't understand why i was so stressed hmm That i had sorted it out so what was the problem? In my mind it was like if i pressed the wrong button then the house would be surrounded by armed police and I would go to prison and not see my DD again (i have a phobia of this, god knows why, im the most honest person i know!!!). The tax return took 15 minutes to do, no problems but i felt physically sick.

Sometimes i feel like that for no reason - i feel like my head will explode and i am just about clinging on to reality and not running down the road screaming. For no reason whatsoever - sometimes i get confused loading the dishwasher blush and end up physically shaking over the task - I can't work out where to put things - I have a PhD in a highly technical subject hmm When ive been ok, ive dismantled the dishwasher, diagnosed and fixed problems and put it back together with no left over parts (men always have a few screws left over!) When I am anxious i can barely pour myself a drink, sometimes there is no tangible reason for this.

Anxiety has destroyed my career and my self esteem - my DP tries to understand but he gets frustrated because no matter how hard he tries, he just doesn't understand it.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 30-Jan-14 10:29:59

I think if you don't suffer from these problems its very difficult to understand. I've had close members of my family who have suffered from this and while I have tried to be understanding and loving I cannot understand it at all.

frugalfuzzpig Thu 30-Jan-14 10:30:55

Couldn't agree more OP. My least favourite is when people say they're 'a bit OCD' when they actually just mean 'I like things clean' hmm

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 10:35:18

RedhelenB - do fuck off dear - you have NO idea, your ignorance is astounding!!!

All those things you say are true, of COURSE you are going to feel better if you have a job/purpose, get out in the fresh air, have some exercise, have friends around you.

you try doing all of those things when you are scared to walk out the front door incase something takes over your head and you finally walk to the train station and walk infront of the train

On good days, i manage, on bad days - i can't function - on the good days (thankfully there are a lot more of these now - thanks in no small part to some wonderful people on this site) I do get out, im actually too busy to get a job hmm grin and i have people around me. It helps, but when you have an illness of the mind, its sometimes impossible to realise that you need to make yourself do these things - the mind/brain being the most powerful organ we have.

Oh and another thing - anxiety/depression IS a physical illness!!!

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 10:36:21

sonlypuppyfat - the important thing is that you have tried! That will mean so much

QueenofClean Thu 30-Jan-14 10:51:53

I have anxiety & got so bad towards the end of last year I ended up on Fluoxetine. I feel better but it still takes over my life sad I am very lucky that I have a very supportive husband and friends who understand me.

FloweryFeatureWall Thu 30-Jan-14 10:52:04

Redhelen, you have absolutely no clue. Live as "normal" a life as possible, like it's so easy? OCD has robbed me of my career, my relationships, my friends, my physical health, my ability to do things people take for granted and has damaged my relationships with my family. But if I'd just lived as normally as possible, this wouldn't have happened? What do you think I did during all that? I lived as normally as possible until my illness made it impossible. The same way a wheelchair user finds it impossible to walk. But because I don't have a physical reason (well, not a visible one, mr serotonin) and could physically do those things, I should just be able to sing a happy song, confront my OCD (naughty OCD go away!) and be better.

If it was that simple, don't you think people would just do it? And not need massive amounts of medication and therapy to do it?

NinjaPenguin Thu 30-Jan-14 10:54:15

I would love to hold down a job. And go out. Some days I manage the going out bit. Sometimes, I just can't. You wouldn't tell someone who's legs were paralysed to just get up and do some jogging, would you? Now, if someone had, for example, damaged their muscles, I would say, go to physio etc; and then they can, slowly, slowly, get better. I wouldn't tell them to go out and do what anyone without the damaged muscle would do, because that can't happen.

So, it makes sense to say 'have a goal, however small, and do it', but to expect us to do what a neuro typical, non mentally ill person could do just doesnt work.

FeijoaVodkaIsThirstyForVodka Thu 30-Jan-14 11:07:56

I don't have personal experience of OCD, but my DH has it with depression so I know from him how hard it is. It's bloody fucking hard. I have days when I can't cope with it, so I hate to think how he feels.

The hardest thing is I can't even begin to explain to others why our situation is like it is. I know some of my friends just look at me and my little family and think DH and I are complete fuck ups because we are fairly poor, but are obviously 'middle class'. How to explain my husband hasn't worked much this week because his anxiety has been over taking him and that is making him depressed, so of course he's not earning anything, and we have no family to use as childcare, so I haven't been working as I have to look after my children and husband. On top of all of that DH is changing medication so it's even more complicated as it's a process of several months.



SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 12:12:51

Okay, I have my DH's permission to post this, because he is committed to trying to reduce the stigma around mental illness. It would be great if just one person who didn't really understand, who thought that people with mental illness just need to 'think positive', read this and came away with an inkling of life with a mental illness.

My DH's life:

My DH starts every day by waking up and feeling disappointed that he hasn't died in the night, because then he wouldn't have to face living with himself any more. Every morning is a struggle, mental and physical (because depression has a physical component) to get out of bed because what's the point? Today is going to be just as bleak, as hopeless, as pointless, as difficult as yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Sometimes he wins the battle. Sometimes the depression does.

My DH loathes himself. He thinks he is useless and a burden on me. He thinks I would be better off without him because then I could have a "real life". He has a constant, ceaseless interior voice - which at the same time doesn't feel like part of him - telling him that he amounts to nothing, is a failure, is a waste of space. Every little mistake that he makes simply confirms that he can't do anything right. If he leaves the top off a bottle of milk (entirely possible with his memory and concentration issues) and it goes off, he doesn't say "duh, what a daft thing to do" like a so-called "normal" person. It is validation of that interior voice that he can't even manage to do the simplest task and may as well not be here.

My DH takes three different anti-depressants / mood stabilisers a day, twice a day. So to add to the constant dragging exhaustion, the joint and muscle pains if he tries to do anything remotely physical, he also has to cope with the side effects of a cocktail of medication.

My DH can't read a book, because by chapter two he has forgotten the characters and by chapter five he has forgotten the plot. He can't go to the shops alone as he will forget what he went for and buy something else completely unnecessary, and may well leave his debit card in the shop. He will struggle to carry a bag of shopping back along the street and when he gets back to the house, there is a 50:50 chance he will leave the keys in the front door lock. And all of these little 'failures' then compound how much he hates himself.

My DH can't cope with bureaucracy. He struggles to follow processes, he shies away from making decisions because he can't trust his judgement. I have to deal with every agency, every utility, anything regulatory or legal or official. The form to apply for DLA, and then the form to transfer from Incapacity Benefit to ESA were both 30-page-plus booklets, mostly geared towards physical illness / disability. I had to complete as much of the form as possible and when I was unavailable through work, he had to deal with a CAB advisor.

My DH pays £25 a week out of his DLA to see a private counsellor, because he has exhausted the NHS provision for mental healthcare and has been discharged from the Community Mental Health Team because there was nothing more they could offer him. Essentially, he is too ill for their programmes and groups and 1:1 sessions to make a difference. He has had to come to terms with the fact that there is no cure for his condition. This is as good as it gets.

My DH was so fed up with feeling useless that last year, he tried to volunteer at an animal charity. No pressure, drop in as and when you can. He got lost on the way because he couldn't remember the route. He managed two hours, collapsed and was sent home in a taxi. More failure. More self-loathing. Have you seen a grown man cry in frustration because he can't manage a couple of hours of cleaning out animal kennels?

I could go on, and on, and on. That's "normal" for my DH. That's his "normal life".

StandingInLine Thu 30-Jan-14 12:18:55

Have you tried CBT LEMmimgaround ? It takes time as I said but it does help. For anxiety they suggest the exposure route which is basically exposing yourself to what makes you anxious. For instance ,if being in lifts creates anxiety then you slowly get yourself to a stage where you're in that lift ,letting the anxiety just be there and knowing it'll go soon. Eventually you grow immune to it (a lot like growing immune to the nervousness when starting a new job etc...)

Perfectlypurple Thu 30-Jan-14 12:57:30

I had depression years ago and managed to work but couldn't do anything social.

I have generalized anxiety disorder now. My GP was fantastic. The first time I went to see him I burst into tears because I was totally exhausted. I couldn't sleep because of the worries going round in my head. He wouldn't prescribe medication for the anxiety but did give me a short term prescription for sleeping tablets to try to ease the exhaustion and referred me for therapy. I didn't find the therapy much good really but I am now taking tablets that relax me which helps me sleep. If I can sleep I cope with the anxiety better. I know it will never go away though.

Katkins1 Thu 30-Jan-14 14:26:14

Aw, the lady who posted about her DH. I too, loose the keys and forget things like my debit card and what I went in to the shop for. And books. Not great, considering I'm a student! I have a little thing now where I don't panic, and just check where I usually leave things. Or write post-its. Not ideal, but I generally leave them in the same place.

JohnCusacksWife Thu 30-Jan-14 14:43:14

I hesitate to post this because I think I may well be flamed but I do genuinely want to understand.

I freely admit that I do really struggle to understand depression. People talk about being something that occurs independently of external factors…..some kind of chemical imbalance. But my experience, based on what I’ve seen in my own family, is that there is often an external cause. For example anyone looking at my dad at one period in his life would have said he was classically depressed – he didn’t communicate, felt worthless, slept all day, retreated from his family and friends, couldn’t complete basic tasks…was just generally engulfed in a kind of blackness. However the cause of this was redundancy & employment rejection and when he eventually found a job he changed, not quite overnight, but very quickly. So to me that seems as if it’s a reaction to an external stimulus….not a spontaneous event. I don’t believe he would ever have been depressed if he hadn’t suffered unemployment. I think it’s this kind of experience which leads people to say “what have you got to be depressed about” to people whose lives seem to be ok.

Similarly another family member became depressed after injury left them unable to do things they had done before. Again there was a catalyst for their depression.

Could it be that there are different kinds of depression? Some that are triggered by an event and ease once other things in the sufferers life have been resolved and some that just occur for no reason at all?

FloweryFeatureWall Thu 30-Jan-14 15:15:07

Depression is complex. It can happen because of a variety of things. An event might trigger it and then it might just happen out of the blue. I think of it as like a virus laying dormant. Like the person has the depression waiting inside them and it is either triggered by an event or it just mutates and triggers itself.

It's the same with OCD I think. I think I've always had it waiting inside me and various life stresses triggered it. Had the life stresses not all happened at once, it might never have been triggered and I would maybe be "normal" (lack of a better word).

That's just my opinion based on things I've read though so probably not scientific!

FanFuckingTastic Thu 30-Jan-14 15:18:47

I learned about the biopsychosocial causes of depression and my conclusion (which I got a distinction for in Psychology) was that it's often a combined cause, with triggers and a tendency to be more likely to get depressed due to physical or inherited issues. Basically, there is no one cause, and there is no one type of depression.

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 15:24:29

JohnCusacksWife You are absolutely right, there is depression which is an understandable/natural response to a tangible trigger, known as "non-melancholic" or "reactive" depression. This is the type that usually responds best to treatment and individuals can often make a full recovery, and in some cases can spontaneously improve without intervention.

There is also "melancholic" depression, which is usually biological in origin (the "chemical imbalance" you refer to - although other forms of depression can also display serotonin imbalance), has no obvious event trigger and is comparatively rarer. It is believed there may be a genetic component but this is not yet fully understood. This type tends not to resolve spontaneously and has variable response to treatment.

Then there's "psychotic" depression, which is rare but means the sufferer can present with e.g. delusions or hallucinations alongside being profoundly depressed.

To be technically accurate, my DH's diagnosis is treatment-resistant bipolar 2 with melancholic atypical depression. This means there was no obvious event or trigger which preceded him becoming depressed, he has not responded as well as could be expected to medication or cognitive / behavioural therapies, he has what used to be referred to as "manic depression" but the "2" signifies he is 'stuck' in the depressive phase and does not suffer from frequent hypomania (although he does have attacks of anxiety which is a malpresentation of mania) and instead of losing his appetite or suffering from insomnia as a response to being depressed, he comfort eats and sleeps excessively (the "atypical" element).

piratecat Thu 30-Jan-14 15:35:29

hugs to your husband Select.

I've never been properly diagnosed with what type it is, and have therefore found it really hard to know what to do to help myself. Despite, trying so many things.

Who could i see, I'd love to tick a box. x

moanstripes Thu 30-Jan-14 15:38:49

I do the comfort eating and excessive sleeping thing too Select.

My depression has been fairly continuous and treatment-resistant as well, I have suffered for nearly 20 years and it doesn't follow the kind of episodes that others describe. It is always there, in the background, sometimes better and sometimes worse. I am not even sure what 'normal' is now, I have actually been depressed for more years of my life than not-depressed.

I have had traumatic events in my life (don't want to say too much) but tbh they came after the depression started, so I wouldn't say that my depression was a result of the trauma (although it definitely made it more difficult to recover). It is a bit of a vicious cycle, because I ended up in certain situations due to low self esteem, and if I hadn't been depressed I might well have been able to take myself away from those situations and not experienced that trauma.

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 15:46:39

SelectAUsername - are YOU getting any support? It has been bloody tough for my DP who has to cope with my relatively mild MH issues. Most of my issues centre around anxiety which i don't believe will ever leave me but when i was depressed on top of this, many of the things you say about your DH ring true.

Sickofthesnow Thu 30-Jan-14 15:49:05

I'm a very nervous anxious person, and although I'm much better now than maybe 7-8 years ago Im not calm by a long shot.

Any sort of confrontation or THOUGHTS of confrontation send me into panic mode and I have knots in my stomach and sick feeling for hours. I can mull the same thing over and over and over and worry about it.
Some close to me say "just forget about it" or "get a grip" but it's not that easy.
One example was a near car crash which was the other drivers fault, they got mad at me and I got so wound up etc that I refused to drive for nearly 3 weeks. The sheer thought of getting behind the wheel would reduce me to a cold sweat and from there I ended up going mad with the cleaning to keep busy to ignore the problem.
I notice my OCD tendencies with cleanliness and germs shows up when I am really anxious, or stressed. I can actually go mad about toast crumbs on a worktop and DH is magnificent tbh. He has learned my behaviour and never tries to change me, just leaves me be to get it out my system to calm down again.

It infuriates me when people roll their eyes or claim I'm being over sensitive, or ridiculous. Yes maybe I am compared to how you deal with life, but if you can show me a magic cure for that I'd be bloody grateful!

I genuinely feel for anyone with anxiety problems, depression, OCD... it can really crush your life and everything has to come after it x

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 15:54:20

Pirate I'm afraid my husband was only diagnosed to that specific extent after spending weeks as an in-patient on a specialist research ward under one of the country's leading experts, which/who just happened to be part of the NHS Trust we lived in at the time. Originally he was diagnosed with ME and the diagnosis has been changed and refined over time as he has seen various psychiatrists and psychologists.

It doesn't actually help or make much difference in day-to-day living with the condition or trying to treat it, it's just a label which speeds up the process of explaining what exactly is wrong with him when he changes medical practitioners.

piratecat Thu 30-Jan-14 16:09:16

moanstripes, your post resonates.

select, I understand how it doesn't make any difference to him, or the effect on you.

I would love it if some more knowledge of the types were more available to us when we see out gp's, or even the mental health teams.

Being a person who has depression, one of the most difficult thing is having no clarity generally, and having a bit more insight into the types, labels could actually help me. Bit like, 'hey, you've got a trapped nerve' or 'yes you have colitis' iyswim! xx

unmumsnetty ((((hugs))) for select and your dh x

LetZygonsbeZygons Thu 30-Jan-14 19:31:18

I have a thread in CHAT about a problem and its to do with my OCD.

some posters have been understanding and brilliant but some.......have been deleted!

madmomma Thu 30-Jan-14 20:21:00

select how awful for you both.xx
I have melancholic depression which is well controlled now, thank God.
I've found that my biggest critic is myself. Because I went years undiagnosed as a kid (misdiagnosed as glandular fever) I still don't thik of myself as a person with a condition to manage, even though that's exactly what I am. My main coping mechanism when I'm ill is sleeping. So I call myself lazy, but if I wasn't sleeping, my 'coping' mechanisms would be much more destructive I'm sure.

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:24

I think I posted on that Let there were some very rude people. Was it the workmen one?

LetZygonsbeZygons Fri 31-Jan-14 17:16:34

yes, it s that one. unless someone has it don't make rude remarks!

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