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Once you have depression, do you have it for life?

(17 Posts)
LadyMaryofDownt0n Tue 16-Feb-16 14:27:53

I've got depression & anxiety. It's gotten better, gotten worse, better, bloody awful, better & now it's awful again.

Today I can't even get out of bed & I've just quit my job. I just can't do it anymore.

I am on ADs but I've had this for 4 years now & it's not getting any better. Will it ever go away or is it here forever now?

charliesweb Tue 16-Feb-16 14:33:02

I don't know the answer but I'm in a similar situation. I've always had bouts of anxiety. Then I had a breakdown last June. I was better for about 3 months August-October but started to slide back November. Now back to bloody awful again.
It would be good to hear from people who beat this long term.
My thoughts are with you it really is shit isn't it.

MeadowHay Tue 16-Feb-16 20:22:34

No. The answer is no. A very tiny minority of people may have it for life, but if you look at research on therapies and medications, the vast majority of people do recover from the illness. One statistic really stuck with me that I was reading about the other day, it was about a specific type of therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder, an illness that even today many professionals claim is untreatable - with this special type of therapy, about 80% of the people who underwent it didn't even meet the criteria for diagnosis any more after 5 years.

I have had depression of varying severities since I was about 9, but I didn't receive any treatment until I was 16. I'm now 22 and far better than I was at my lowest points a couple of years ago. Recovery is a long process for me, and gradual, with relapses (so not just a straight upwards line on a graph) but when I look back I can clearly see it happening. And it feels great. I do still struggle sometimes, more so with my awful anxiety than the depression to be honest, but I am doing tons better and I am hopeful now that I will continue to improve. And the likelihood is that so will you, but it won't happen by magic, it will be trial and error finding what therapies/medication helps most and you do need to take an active role in your recovery by engaging with services and putting all your energy into self-care. It is not easy but it can be done. I also know a number of other people who have suffered with depression at some point in their life and have completely recovered from it.

midnightlurker Tue 16-Feb-16 20:26:16

If you get therapy to remove stress from past events and attitudes, then change your life to suit you better, it goes away.

midnightlurker Tue 16-Feb-16 20:27:21

Bit short there - that is experience. Sometimes the stress can't be got rid of. If it can, you can be free of the depression.

Haggisfish Tue 16-Feb-16 20:33:02

I am better after depression but will always be an anxious Minnie! I'm better at spotting early stress symptoms and giving myself a break.

JeepersMcoy Tue 16-Feb-16 20:38:52

For me it is not something that goes away as such, but it is something that I have learnt to manage so that it no longer impacts on my life excessively.

I sort of think about it like some recovering alcoholics think about their alcoholism. I am fine, but I am aware that I could go back if I am not careful. I have learnt what the warning signs are for me and how to combat them.

I genuinely don't think I will ever again be as bad as my worst days again, but I also wouldn't say I am cured or really expect to be cured. It just isn't that simple.

Of course, I can only speak for my experience today. Someone else's experience will be different. Even my experience tomorrow may be different.

I am sorry, I'm not sure how helpful that was confused

LadyMaryofDownt0n Wed 17-Feb-16 12:21:51

Thank you all for the replies. Am really struggling at the min, I just feel really sad & unmotivated by life. And the thing is I really shouldn't, I've lots to be happy about.

Am trying everything I can think of but I just want to stay in bed everyday.

DH thinks I need to see a counsellor am not so sure.

Haggisfish Wed 17-Feb-16 12:58:26

How long have you been on ads? Maybe change them? Id def see gp. Are you feeling a bit lost at the mo? Any dc? Job?

JeepersMcoy Wed 17-Feb-16 18:11:45

Depression can hit you like that sometimes, there isnt always a reason for it, or at least not an obvious one.

There are some people who have found counseling helpful and some who haven't. I have had various experiences with it and have found it great at times and others it just wasn't the right thing. I do think it is worth a go though. You don't have to have a specific big issue to deal with for counseling to be worthwhile.

charliesweb Wed 17-Feb-16 18:55:41

This letter written by Stephen Fry to a fan has helped me.

IDontWantToLookLikeYou Wed 17-Feb-16 19:12:40

I personally think it's down to each individual, I've managed my depression for 20 years (45 now), medicated, non medicated, CBT, life style change, I've done it all. Like others have mentioned there are no set treatment that cures all, it really is trial and error.
I've learnt to recognise the symptoms and try and be proactive in keeping them at bay, sometimes successfully not so on other occasions. At the moment I'm experiencing the worst depths of depression, signed off from work and on medication. I'm in a place I didn't think I'd ever revisit, despite my efforts to fight it.
It goes to show that this illness is unpredictable and very cruel, so you need to be kind to yourself, accept support and try not to hide away.

Devora Wed 17-Feb-16 19:17:44

I'm sorry life is so rough right now, OP. I suffered terribly from depression for nearly 20 years, on and off. But for the last 20 years I've only had one brief episode. Life has just got better and better - hope it does for you, too flowers

MashesToPashes Wed 17-Feb-16 19:46:15

I had a fairly bad bout in my early twenties, then a horrible bout post natally with some kind of bastard anxiety disorder. When I was at my worst, my body/brain kept trying to convince me that if I exerted myself in the slightest I would die instantly from a massive heart attack.

GP put me on ADs which worked fine, was on them for about a year. Then I tried to come off and relapsed, stayed on them for another year and came off them successfully. I was fine for a year or so and then started to get symptoms again. GP wanted to put me back on ADs his view being that it wouldn't matter if I was on them for life but I dug my heels in and argued for CBT first. I had an 8 week course of CBT (I'd had solution based counselling through work and a "Living with Anxiety" course before that, neither of which worked) and I've been mostly fine anxiety wise for 8 years, just with a bit of management if I'm more than usually stressed and/or when I'm getting ready to go out (which was my biggest trigger in the bad days).

So yes, it can get better, but there was a fair bit of trial and error and I think through plain luck I got the timing right (for me) with the CBT, I got it when I was on a downward slide but before everything had really gone to shit.

It sucks, I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

Is your GP any good with Mental Health issues? Have they tried different ADs? Have you been referred for any kind of Counselling? It took three types of talking treatment before I found the right one for me. Unfortunately there are a lot of variables.


Orangeanddemons Wed 17-Feb-16 19:52:45

I would say, yes you can get better, but I'm not sure you are ever cured. I've had 7 bouts of depression ranging from severe to so so. I've also had several bouts of anxiety.

Counselling has done jack for me, but I am on ads permanently to protect me from future episodes

Ishtar2410 Thu 18-Feb-16 09:24:37

I've been suffering on and off for almost 30 years and although I think you can get better, I don't think it ever goes away. I had a prolonged bout of 3 years where I took fluoxetine and eventually came off of them. 12 months later I'm back on them with a referral for CBT as the doctor thinks the ADs are acting as a sticking plaster.

There's a strong family history on my dad's side - he's been on Citalopram for as long as I can remember, so I think there may be a genetic issue here. I didn't live with my dad and had limited contact - my parents divorced when I was 2. I'm pretty sure there's something in the genes.

I wish it would stop. I hate feeling like this, and this time I am suffering anxiety which I am finding really difficult to cope with.

LadyMaryofDownt0n Thu 18-Feb-16 15:44:46

So overall it appears it's hear to stay all be it in caring degrees.

I feel slightly better today. My major worry is not being able to hold down a job. It's the whole if am having a bad day I just can't go to work at 3pm & not finish until 1am. It drains me completely & the though of shift work raises my anxiety massively.

Now that am unemployed I think I'll take some time to work on myself & then reconsider a career change.,

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