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Can anxiety/stress become depression?

(13 Posts)
Figamol Sun 29-Nov-15 22:54:20

My life recently just got too much with a special needs child and all that involves and I sought help for the overwhelming anxiety it created. The CBT therapy has been quite helpful in managing practically and strategies I can employ to help lessen those anxious heart skipping feelings.

However in the process Ive found myself completely sinking as I realize I just never had the tools or strength to deal with what led me to the point of needing therapy. And most of that is wrapped up in hurtful experiences and relationships along with an overwhelming flatness, joyless black cloud thats started to follow me in the last few weeks. I can't stay asleep, get zero pleasure from things that I should, can't focus on work, small decisions like dinner are too much. I'm not in the slightest bit suicidal but after two recent deaths of acquaintances, my overriding feeling on them is envy of their peace.

I've messaged the therapist to arrange an appt to discuss what to do next, if we try medication. But I'm terrified. I've never taken any, and am stressed about side effects and throughly down on myself that its got to this point. Like I've failed at being positive and grateful, something I'm known for and have been skilled at in the past.

Can anyone relate, share their similar experiences please?

holeinmyheart Mon 30-Nov-15 07:37:46

Anxiety when it gets to the irrational/ no sleep/ churning/ panic attacks is the start of what can deepen into depression.
Why the angst about Medication?
If you broke your leg you wouldn't hesitate to take pain killers. What is happening to you is pain, but in your mind. Anti -anxiety Meds will help. They can be temporary. A GP will not want to prescribe then long term anyway.
However, if you hold out and hold out against them, you may get worse.

I am so sorry that your life seems so awful and you are also dog tired. We need sleep. You can't carry on like this. You need some TLC badly. Hugs

Figamol Mon 30-Nov-15 09:23:48

Thank you. That was an insightful post and gives me some courage to deal with this. With 3 kids there's no time for sleep, I think you may understand that its not the kind of tiredness thats fixed with a lie in ;)

CowardlyLyon Mon 30-Nov-15 09:36:09

Yes, I really think that living, long term, in a very stressful situation can eventually cause anxiety. And when I say anxiety I don't mean 'just feeling a bit worried about stuff'. I mean waking much too early with waves of doom and dread washing over you. Feeling panic at the thought of having to go shopping or meet a friend for a coffee. Being scared of being alone but hating having to be around people too. It's a horrible condition, it really is.

I went through a very stressful period of my life, which lasted about 3 years. I coped quite well with it all until 2 years ago when my DH injured himself playing sport and could barely walk for several months, so I was doing everything for him, our DCs and my in-laws who are elderly and frail.

Out of the blue I started waking before dawn feeling panic stricken. Everything seemed overwhelming, even just cooking dinner or booking an appointment. I felt agitated all the time and couldn't bear to sit down and watch TV or read a magazine. Pretty soon I also had days where I felt so low inside. Life seemed pointless and nothing gave me any pleasure, not even doing nice stuff that I used to really enjoy. I didn't know what was happening to me and thought I was having some sort of breakdown.

Stupidly I have soldiered on like this for another 2 years because I refused to give in and ask for any help. It hasn't all been awful, I've had periods when I've felt almost fine again but the anxiety and depression are always there in the background just waiting.

Last week I had finally had enough. I'd had a dreadful weekend ridfled with anxiety, crying on DH's shoulder as soon as our DCs were out of ear shot and had to cancel meeting my best friend because the thought of driving alone to her house filled me with dread.

I saw my GP and explained everything. He started me on 15mg of Mirtrazapine. I have been on it for 6 days now. I feel a bit groggy when I wake up but I think it's working already. I can sort of 'tell' that the anxiety is still trying to flood me but it's like there's an invisible wall keeping it out. Other times I find myself spontaneously smiling which I haven't done for a long time. It feels quite a fragile state of mind but I'm assuming it will feel stronger iver the next few weeks as the medication settles in.

Being exposed to long term stress can deplete your body of serotinin and noradrenaline which are the chemicals responsible for our sense of wellbeing and contentment etc. And once their levels fall too low for too long it's easy for anxiety and depression to take hold.

Figamol Mon 30-Nov-15 10:01:13

Thank you for sharing that. I think my experience mirrors your own. The 'deterioration' is very similar. Its hit me this weekend when my DH took the kids out so I could catch up on some work and I crawled into bed with the duvet over my head for hours. And when he got home I remembered we were supposed to have friends over which I panicked about and begged him to cancel. On Friday I picked the kids up from school and left them in front of the TV whilst I laid on my bed. When DH came home later and they still weren't fed he laughed and went to get Happy Meals. DH has no idea how bad this is for me. I'm expert at hiding it. How did you share with DH? I don't think he's ever 'got' depression/anxiety when it has happened to friends. I used to be similar I think. I've always thought and achieved a certain level of happiness through choice.

I am pleased you are starting to feel better, smiling must be nice! Im hopeful for the medication after your story. I'm still 'present' enough to understand whatever is happening is physical and stronger than my capacity for positive thinking.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Mon 30-Nov-15 10:01:02

To answer your question OP, yes they are definitely all related and interlinked.

I've taken antidepressants and the side effects were a bit of a pain but short lived (talking days rather than weeks) and their impact was minimised by taking them in the evening. What they did though was give me a boost so that I had the energy to try some self help like gentle exercise, looking after myself better day to day, socialising and counselling. That helped me turn what had become a very vicious circle around into a much more positive virtuous circle if that makes sense?

It sounds like you could also do with further counselling to help you process the difficult stuff the CBT has dredged up. It doesn't need to be one or the other.

Do be kind to yourself, it sounds like you have had an enormous amount to deal with flowers

Figamol Mon 30-Nov-15 10:20:04

Thank you for the reassurance. When you start to research you see side effects like weight gain, hair loss and suicidal thoughts and I just couldn't see how medication could help. Its good to hear that your side effects were manageable. But like you say. I am truly stuck. I know I could feel better with some exercise, good sleep and eating properly but finding the energy to focus on this in insurmountable right now. A vicious circle like you say.

I plan to keep on with the therapy too, I know the medication is just a bandage and that the real work needs to be done through talking about the things that are affecting me. I can put hurt experiences back in a box I'm sure, but sadly having a special needs child and the sheer anxiety that induces is long term and I need to understand how I can live day by day rather than nail biting about the future and ruining my daily functioning.

I still don't understand whether I am anxious or depressed or both. I guess a good psychiatrist will help me with that.

holeinmyheart Mon 30-Nov-15 10:34:01

figamol AW you need your Mum, don't we all! You are so exhausted and could do with a month in bed. I remember what it was like with three small children, thankfully it is now a blur. I had five.
I went on a counselling course at a local college. It was cheaper than having counselling. I didn't realise that I would get counselling as part of the course. It was a real revelation.
I have also had Meds for depression and completed a Mindful course. I am more or less always anxious, but if I feel it getting out of hand then I take Beta Blockers.
I am not too bad at the moment. Mindful definately helps. you could prob ably be referred through your GP.

Owllady Mon 30-Nov-15 10:41:20

I don't know how old your child is, but I had a very similar experience when my daughter (who has sn) was about 4. I think in my case it was delayed shock from the trauma of the early years, her not developing normally etc. It first manifested as anxiety and then later on depression. I saw a psychotherapist, which I had to pay for, but it really helped. Some carers charities have links to therapists who will do concessions rates for carers. It's well worth exploring.

Be kinder to yourself though. You have alot to come to terms with and your reaction to that is normal x

Figamol Mon 30-Nov-15 11:29:17

Thank you. I think we're not kind on ourselves as a general rule smile

I have had thoughts that it might be some kind of shock, my SN child is 3 and is the third of 3 kids in as many years. Its been a bit of a brutal roller coaster and if Im honest these feelings started whilst I was pregnant and crying everyday with tiredness/worry. We live in another country and both our fathers are tired/not well so relief is hard to come by.

I've heard of mindfulness and I know the therapist is encouraging me to explore it but the first time she tried to get me to breathe with her I got stressed and started crying. I wasn't really at a place where I was able to see how breathing for ten minutes was going to help solve my problems ;) If I can start to feel better with medication I think I will definitely explore it.

Owllady Mon 30-Nov-15 11:47:56

It is a huge shock. You've got to give yourself time to get used to everything. Talk, talk, talk.
Even on here if it helps. The early days are really hard. I used to feel like someone had taken out my insides, screwed them up into a tight ball and shoved them back in. Iykwim.
It does get easier but you have to give yourself time. I'm sorry to hear your father's aren't well either. That will only add to your worry

Figamol Mon 30-Nov-15 12:31:05

Thank you Owllady. This thread is helping a lot. Its normalizing a situation I wasn't able to do by myself. And I can sort out the crux of my thoughts for therapy where I often waste time rattling on about my week. In more rational moments I can see it can get better. But in the here and now the overwhelming sadness and need to crawl into bed and hide is stronger than me. And DH is away all week. I wish there was a magic pill that worked straight away!

Owllady Mon 30-Nov-15 12:40:47

Oh my husband used to work away in the week too! If you feel medication will help, then try it. I have beta blockers but I've never taken them blush but knowing they are there really helps. Talk to your husband about how you feel too, you shouldn't have to keep things like this to yourself

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