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To not accept MH diagnosis?

(59 Posts)
Pimfree Mon 08-Aug-16 12:33:07

I've been diagnosed with depression. I accepted the first diagnosis (eventually and reluctantly) a few years ago and used medication. I came off medication last year and it's back.

I've lived most of my 36 years depression free - this experience is still new to me and I thought I would beat it and be fine again. Be me again.

It's a living nightmare. I'm scared to go back in ADs incase I never get off them again.

I don't want to be unwell and I would never judge anyone else with a MH problem but i just can't accept that this is happening to me - I have nothing to complain about and I worry that my friends and family are now always associating me with not coping and being a bit of an emotional wreck. I don't want to be judged. I want to be well and believe in my own ability - surely if I restart meds I'm just on a roller coaster which I can't get off of?

gobbynorthernbird Mon 08-Aug-16 12:35:09

Would you feel the same if you had to take insulin, or heart meds, or whatever? You're ill. There's no shame in that.

Noonesfool Mon 08-Aug-16 12:36:12

Did the meds help last time?

ayeokthen Mon 08-Aug-16 12:36:49

I understand where you're coming from, I've been on and off ADs since I was 17, so half my life. A year ago I had to admit that the only way to keep myself balanced was to take them full time. It's helped me get back to being me. Part of depression is refusing to accept help, that's normal. But ADs have changed my life and my family's for the better. They're not walking on eggshells any more, and I'm coping great, most days anyway. There are still some crap days, but nowhere near as many as there used to be. If my kids and partner being happy is the result of permanent meds for me, then I'll take them every day.

HavenforHaggis Mon 08-Aug-16 12:37:07

I have a MH issue that very well may mean I'm on tablets for the rest of my life. It took a while to accept this but once I did I felt so much better. I know it's hard now and denial is going to be a massive part but there is no shame in need a bit of help in life. Be it physical or mental.

Feellikearightungreatfulcow Mon 08-Aug-16 12:37:14

^ second that

I'm on medication for life for my asthma. Have accepted I'll probably always be on AD too - to be honest I'd rather that than feel how I do when I'm off them

Msqueen33 Mon 08-Aug-16 12:38:57

I read a book recently by a lady with autism and she's on ad's as she feels it's all down to biochemistry. They help balance her out. Sometimes chemicals are missing within us bit like a dietetic using insulin. If they help you that's the main thing.

Gabilan Mon 08-Aug-16 12:40:47

I would see if you can get a referral for counselling as well as the meds. I have depression for which I've received therapy and it does really help in dealing with it. It may be that on a low dose of ADs you can be healthy and fully functioning so please don't dismiss them, but from what you say, therapy might really help you come to terms with your condition.

Some people split depression into reactive depression that has an immediate and obvious cause and a more systemic kind that's always present. IME it's more that I have an underlying low-level depression which will flare up when shit happens. The shit basically reconfirms my glass-half empty outlook. Therapy helps me to get back more towards Tigger and away from Eeyore but the thing with depression is me accepting that I am a natural Eeyore.

Depression is a shitty illness but something like 1 in 4 people have it at some point. It can be quite manageable and liveable with but unfortunately the key to accepting it is realising that to a degree it might always be with you.

See your GP, ask for a referral. Talk to friends and relatives. Many will understand, many will have had it themselves. The judgey ones? Meh, stop hanging out with them.

Simpsonsaddict Mon 08-Aug-16 12:42:35

If the only reason for refusing medical help for a medical condition is that you're worried about what people think, then taking it is probably the right thing - you don't seem to be disputing that you are actually depressed.

I went throw this but from more of an anxiety point of view and had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which changed my life. I believed, truly, that I wasn't normal, there was something wrong with me, and the treatment helped me address that. If 1 in 5 people get it at some point, it is entirely normal! If you're worried about the long term use of tablets, maybe see if you can get some other therapeutical help?

Posting here is a good step - talking about it brings it out into the open and makes it more normal, in my personal experience hiding it makes it worse (like hiding a broken leg, it's not going to heal).

Finally - is there an underlying cause for the depression that you could tackle when you're feeling stronger?

Thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

IcedVanillaLatte Mon 08-Aug-16 12:43:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gottagetmoving Mon 08-Aug-16 12:45:54

If you get counselling or some form of talking therapy along with the ADs then it is possible to break the cycle.
Your GP should be offering you additional help. Also, read some books on mindfulness training.
I had depression and anxiety in my late 20s & early 30s and was heavily medicated. It was only when I got to see a therapist that I was able to come off the ADs and slowly get better. I have never been back on them but I read lots of books and practised lots of different relaxation techniques.
Ask for as much help as you can.

IcedVanillaLatte Mon 08-Aug-16 12:45:56

Oh damn. I wrote a long post and tried to copy it so that I didn't completely lose the post as so often happens, and instead managed to copy in a post from another thread. Apologies sad

Now I have to try and remember what I posted…

GobblersKnob Mon 08-Aug-16 12:47:39

There is nothing wrong with being on lifelong anti-D's, many many illnesses would need you to take medicine for the rest of your life to combat them and you have an illness.

However you can often also manage depression with therapy is this an avenue you would want to explore?

I have been ill with depression and various forms of anxiety and compulsions since childhood I find therapy better in the long term (for me) but it is VERY hard work and also often a life long commitment, you need to keep coming back to the work again and again (with or without a therapist). I have had stints on anti depressants but find it almost impossible to work on them, though they 'even me out' much better, so unless I have a terrible episode I chose not to take them.

Having a mental illness can have nothing (or everything) to do with circumstance just like many many other illnesses. And just like many other illnesses many sufferers will find themselves asking 'why me?' I think the very unfair part can be feeling stigmatised or as though your illness somehow lacks legitimacy, I felt like that for a long long time, I think therapy can be helpful for that especially group, where you get to connect with other people going through similar experiences.

Good luck flowers

boo2410 Mon 08-Aug-16 12:48:51

YABU, get the help you need, it won't be forever. Who cares what others think, it's you that's important. Don't tell anybody else if it makes you feel better. No one has said it will be forever, it may only be for a short time until you feel 100% again. Remember, MH is not, and should not be a taboo subject. I wish you well.

Wolpertinger Mon 08-Aug-16 12:51:44

I'm on anti-depressants now and suspect I will be for the rest of my life, or at least until I retire.

It's not me, I'm not weak, I don't lack willpower - I'm just built this way. Like someone with asthma (which I also have) or diabetes or high blood pressure or Crohns or whatever has to take meds every day.

I can't do it with counselling alone although I have that too. Which I also can't live without.

The best thing I ever did was accept who I was and I have no doubts it will be the same for you. It is the fastest road to well.

IcedVanillaLatte Mon 08-Aug-16 12:58:42

Right. Let's try again grin Massive apologies for the mispost!

Okay. This isn't what I originally wrote so it might come across as a bit stilted.

I don't think you have to think of yourself as having an illness if you don't want to. Depression is something lots of people experience from time to time and can be an understandable reaction to things going on in their lives, or just one of those things that happens and we don't know why. Sometimes people have it once or twice and some people find it comes back from time to time, and a few people struggle with it longer-term and find it helps to take the medication indefinitely.

It's not something that's always been thought of as an illness in every culture - different people and societies have different ways of conceptualising it. For example, in Japan, depression wasn't thought of as an illness until quite recently, when the advent of the modern generation of antidepressants led to a campaign to get people to think of it as an illness that you can take medication for.

If you've found something that helps you get through these periods of low mood, that's great and there's no reason why you need to think of yourself as being ill if you prefer to frame it in a different way.

I think it's best to think of the here and now, and what the best choice is for you to get through this time in your life. I really sympathise as I'm going through a lot of the same feelings now - I've recently been told I will need to take medication for a mental health problem for the rest of my life, and I'm struggling with that, but I'm trying to just think about what's best for me right now and worry about the rest of my life when it comes around grin

TheFlyingFauxPas Mon 08-Aug-16 12:59:41

I loves the ADs. My life is shit without them. I stopped taking them about 7 years ago and my life slowly plummeted. I got to stage I couldn't face anything not even going back to Drs. It took a neighbour asking how I was and me breaking down for me to get marching back to Drs for prescription. Why did I take so long? I'm a lone parent and I could be pretty shit to be about. I think I'll be on them for life and tbh that feels pretty good that they'll always be there for me. Why would I choose shit life? Taking ADs doesn't confirm you have depression. They help you to stand up to it. And beat that bastard.

Pimfree Mon 08-Aug-16 13:02:13

Thank you all - I'm gathering a lot of comfort from your kind posts and sharing of your experiences.

I was given 6 weekly sessions of CBT but no other counselling offered from NHS. I bought books on CBT and mindfulness but I don't feel like I made enough of an effort - my depression was attributed to long term stress and living a lifestyle to which I am not cut out for (fast paced high pressure work environment) but I feel like a fraud. I know lots of people with more stressful jobs and life situations than me and so I just feel like a failure.

I am seeking private counselling but I'm not sure what I hope to achieve. ATM I feel quite hopeless and withdrawn so I would have a negative view on all aspects of my life but I'm not sure how much I can trust my feelings vs what is the depression talking. Do I really hate my job? Am I really not in love with my partner? Do I really want to pack a bag and run off so I can get some time and peace and quiet?

I wake up and feel empty. Just numb. I can't think of anything I want to do. Or people I want to see. Its an awful way to exist. To not want to face the day. I'm in so much pain and everyone around me has that look of 'oh here she goes again, poor thing can't cope'

I'm not useless, I do have hope and a spark inside me, I want to feel better, I just wish I could make myself feel better or make the changes I need to make to improve myself but I don't know where to start.

I'm sorry for the self indulgent ramble blush

hairycatmum Mon 08-Aug-16 13:06:55

I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago-its an illness with a definite physical/biochemical cause. Different therapies work for different people, my GP told me that antidepressants should be regarded in the same way as a plaster cast on a broken leg. The cast supports and protects your leg while the bone is healing itself, and that's what the ADs do, support your brain while you get better and learn other coping mechanisms. He also said that it takes as long to get better from depression as it does to get into it-most people with a diagnosis of depression don't suddenly wake up one morning feeling depressed-there is usually a long progression gradually going down and further down until you reach a point where its almost 'normal' to feel so awful, because you can't remember a time when you felt differently. Coming off ADs quickly isn't usually helpful, I was on them 2 years before I came off, even though I felt much more myself within 6 months.

Everybody's experience of depression is different, and different therapies work for different people, but its a common illness, and it is an illness-its not a weakness, or a failure, or a sign of cowardice. Anyone who thinks that of you isn't worthy of your friendship.

IcedVanillaLatte Mon 08-Aug-16 13:12:19

I'm not useless, I do have hope and a spark inside me, I want to feel better, I just wish I could make myself feel better or make the changes I need to make to improve myself but I don't know where to start.

You are most definitely not useless and it's really great to hear you say that! You have hope and you have strength. You have made a start already - you've done some therapy to work on the problems you've been having, you're considering trying medication again, and you've opened up about the difficulties you're having.

I agree, CBT is really difficult when you're feeling low, and it's not a failure to have found it hard, when you're tired and your motivation is low. But you will have learnt some of the techniques and when you're feeling a little better it'll be easier to put them into practice - perhaps with the help of some refreshers like Mood Gym (a free online CBT course) or maybe some more sessions. Counselling might be better right now to get you through this bad psych, if you prefer. And if CBT turns out not to suit you, that isn't a failure either.

fusionconfusion Mon 08-Aug-16 13:12:50

I don't accept it as a medical diagnosis like diabetes in all cases. There are many people in psychotherapy and behavioural psychiatry internationally who also don't agree with it as a biochemical disorder.

I have had depression three times. Now many years down the line I would say in all cases there were very good reasons in my learning history that led to me thinking in particular depressive ways. I did take antidepressants but they were not some magic cure all and they don't function in this way for everyone. The science around antidepressants isn't entirely clear.

I think if you're suicidal, unable to function or have long term depression especially that started early in life they're lifesaving and thank God for that, but for people with mild to moderate depression they are by no means a necessity for everyone and lifestyle changes and talk therapy may be more effective for many. And if ANY disease can be managed through lifestyle choices and consultation with behavioural professionals rather than medication that is nearly always a more healthy choice in the long run (though ADs can help as a crutch to get there)

hairycatmum Mon 08-Aug-16 13:15:39

Mindfulness-I had CBT through a scheme at work, which wasn't really what I needed. My main problem was agitation and anxiety culminating in panic attacks. I read about mindfulness and decided that sounded useful, but I found it incredibly hard to do on my own at home. It wasn't until I signed up for a taught class that I got it-we had a class leader who took us as a group through the different forms and processes. This wasn't group therapy (we didn't talk about the reasons why we were all taking the classes), but it was a stepwise progression from the basic sensate techniques and concentration exercises and so on. I found it incredibly useful and have continued with it since then. However, when I was at my worst, my lowest point, there is no way I could have focussed on mindful techniques at all-I needed medication in order to get my brain in order to be able to manage.

Since then, I use mindfulness daily-as well as the more formal exercises I use one called 'three minute breathing space' which is brilliant for calming and controlling anxiety on the go. It is by far and away the best thing I have ever done for my mental health.

Pimfree Mon 08-Aug-16 13:20:50

Thanks Iced - I remember going on the mood gym website and will look again.

fusion it sounds as though you've got great insight into your episodes of depression - this is what I crave - to have sufficient time with a qualified professional to help me understand and identify how to change or what to change in order to improve how I feel about my life.

I'm petrified of having to fight this for the rest of my life. I'm inconsolable that this seems to have snuck up on me again and I'm on the verge of being signed off my work because I just can't concentrate. I just feel so lost as to how to get out of this hole and find my way back to feeling ok and well again

Wolpertinger Mon 08-Aug-16 13:23:11

Pimfree a lot of what you are writing does sound very textbook depression talk. It's very hard when you don't know what is you and what is the depression talking.

When you say there are lots of people in successful jobs - true but you haven't set foot in their shoes. Some of them are feeling just as bad as you, some of them are coping with drugs and alcohol, someone them are doing a crap job and about to get fired, some of them are taking it out on their partners, some them have debt/gambling problems and guess what - some of them are managing because they are on anti-depressants and having counselling!

Depression makes us want to compare ourselves to other people and we always fall short.

I would suggest that about 95% of what you are thinking right now is depression if not more - it's not the time to make any decisions as you can't trust what you are thinking.

Get some help - antidepressants + private counselling and get better. The best bet is that you feel you really don't want to feel like this so you are motivated to get better - that will stand you in good stead.

Have a look at Mood Gym while you are waiting - it will open your eyes to how your thinking has drifted away from how you normally think and get you back on track.

MagentaRose72 Mon 08-Aug-16 13:23:23

I'm on antidepressants too. Been on Sertraline three years- was on 150mg, but am down to a 50mg dose because I've had counselling and feel more able to cope now. The reason I've been cutting down is that they made me put on loads of weight, which made me more depressed as I found getting around harder. I take painkillers too for chronic pain and don't have any stigma about taking medication. The thing is, I think it's best to get all the help you can! Also, meds can help you turn your brain chemistry around. It's possible to wean yourself off them, but you need to do it slowly (well you do with Sertraline or you'll be very dizzy and sick)

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