Post # 1
I have a rather close girlfriend who has recently been diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. It was probably inherited as she suspected that one of her parents is also inflicted with the disorder but refuse to admit it or seek treatment for it.
Without going into specifics, she had always been dealing with feelings of depression because we were both in a course that was super stressful and many students have been known to break down and drop out of the course. We have since graduated from the course. However, recently she had a bad breakup and this probably worsened her condition and she has been crying daily.
I never knew that she had been struggling so badly over the years because she hides it very well. Her parents are very skeptical of her having this mental illness and has dismissed her many times when she shared that she may have depression. Only recently did one parent bring her to the doctor and that was when she was diagnosed with the aforementioned illnesses.
My question is, have any of you overcomed depression and how did you do it? Also, what can I do as a friend to support a friend who has the above disorders?
Post # 3
I have severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and secondary Depression (basically means that the depression is there, BECAUSE of the anxiety).
I was able to function until I hit 17. Someone stole my identity, and the stress and loss of control from the situation exacerbated my symptoms. I graduated high school at 16, and attended university the September prior to turning 17 (In November). I was across the country, 17, and I began to crack. These symptoms continued until I was academically dismissed from my university in my second year, after attempting suicide and missing all of my final exams. It took 9 months after the suicide attempt to be given a diagnosis.
I tried 5 different types of medication before finally being put on one that worked. That was the first part of my mental illness that I was able to overcome. I was still a mess emotionally, but the neurochemical imbalances were significantly lessened. I still had severe GAD, but my depression had decreased.
It wasn’t until much later (4 years after suicide attempt), that I finally found a psychologist who I was compatible with. I loathed any and all counselors prior to meeting him, but I can genuinely say that he probably saved my life.
Overall for me, it was pretty evenly split. Medication can do wonders, but it isn’t an automatic fix. I had lots of issues that I absolutely needed to talk about, with someone who was unbiased and non judging. Finding a good therapist is difficult and long, but it ultimately pays off when you finally find someone you are comfortable with.
It’s also really important to have a physician that you regularly see, and to be honest. I downplayed a lot of my symptoms in the beginning, for fear of being judged as “crazy.” This was a huge mistake. Once I was finally honest about everything I was doing (drugs, panic attacks, self inujry, etc), it enabled my physician to provide a much better quality of care.
Post # 4
I have Major Depressive Order (in other words severe depression), and I believe I have had depression rooted in me since childhood. I got diagnosed in early March, and have been seeing a fantastic psychiatrist ever since. I started off on one antidepressant, and added a second to help sleeping issues. But that made me gain a LOT of weight, which didn’t help my depression and self image at all. So I stopped taking the second one and am now just on one again.
I also did a few sessions of hypnotherapy and am now doing EMDR (rapid eye movement), and I am still not where I should be, haven’t gotten to the deep rooted issues from childhood that instigated my depression in the first place yet. But I am much better than I was, so I highly recommend you suggest your friend get help.
The best thing you can do to support is just be there, don’t ask too many questions about what’s going on with the illness. If she needs to talk just be there. And let her know you believe her and don’t dismiss it like her parents did. Believe me that is amazing when someone is there for you when it feels like no one else is. My parents and sister brushed it off before I got diagnosed, saying I was just ‘a teenager, not feeling like doing anything, lazy, sloth, selfish, faking it, etc’ And my sister even acted like that for a while after I got diagnosed. So please, do what you can to show her you won’t brush it off and you will be there!
Sorry for the long response, best of luck!
Post # 5
@the_future_mrs: Thank you for sharing and I’m glad that you managed to overcome your disorder and depression! I’m not sure what went through during the conversation my friend had with her doctor but I’m hoping she doesn’t downplay any symptoms. I know she is very wary of being judged and she doesn’t share everything with me. I will try to encourage her to be honest with her doctor if I find that she may be withholding information from him. Thanks!
Post # 6
@Jacqui90: Thanks for your response! I’m trying to be there for her but when she is depressed she doesn’t like telling people for fear of burdening them with her problems. I was the one who picked up on her symptoms through reading her private blog and asked if she had depression. She then confessed that she probably did and I encouraged her to see the doctor. I’m so glad she finally did. She is also taking meds now though I’m not sure what kind they are. Hopefully her condition improves. Thanks, your response wasn’t long at all! 🙂
Post # 7
This is such an important post, the part about downplaying your symptoms reslly resonated for me.
I have severe GAD and Major Clinical Depression, Severe and ITA about the combo of the right meds (I’m on several) and a good therapist are essential
Also, exercise really helps.
It is a biochemical disorder and not something she is likely to be able to fix on her own, especially with her combo of diagnoses.
Post # 8
@miss forever: Thanks! Truthfully I don’t think I overcame it, so much as I learned to accept it and properly cope. Mental illnesses are awful things to overcome. The best advice I can give is that you/anyone needs to WANT to get better. It’s a lot of effort! It’s also great to have a strong support system, even if it’s ONE person who you know will always be there for you.
Post # 9
I have severe anxiety and depression but have yet to overcome it. It’s mainly in due to my thyroid. Thanks for starting this thread – I would love to see peoples responses to this.
I especially would love to hear from bees who had childen or are TTC and how that effected/effects their anxiety and depression symptoms.
Post # 10
@sassy411: Yeah, being honest is soo important. A doctor/therapist is relying on your honesty to make a proper assessment. You need to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. If I had been more honest in the beginning, I guarantee that I would have had better luck in getting a diagnosis.
Post # 11
I had my hormone levels fixed. I was extremely estrogen dominanat. I went on a bio identical progesterone for about a year and finally got everything balanced. I no longer take progesterone.
Post # 12
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
For bipolar I highly(!) recommend medication. However, a major part of being bipolar is refusing to take meds as prescribed, if at all. It is a major chemical imbalance which regularly leads to substance abuse because they want to self medicate. Their mood swings can make them friendly one moment and violent the next depending on the severity of their illness. As a result, persons diagnosed bipolar can be very difficult to deal with.
I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. The three best things I have found are: 1) maintaining relationships with friends and family; 2) exercising frequently; and 3) taking medications when necessary. Usually I am able to handle my disorders without medications but occasionally, I need a xanax for an especially bad panic attack. I have also been on Paxil and Zoloft during times when my depression is crushing (every few years or so.) Exercising three or more days per week, especially with a friend or my FH, helps me sleep more soundly at night and generally calms the stress that can trigger an anxiety/panic attack. Sometimes I just need to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone so I have a few people that know about my anxiety/panic attacks and they know when I call during one that I just need to have a conversation to distract me from the attack.
My biggest piece of advice is not to let her push you away when she needs you most. Also, learn about her disorders because they are all different. Bipolar has mood swings with depression being the low and mania the high (if she even has the manic high because some don’t.) Borderline personality disorder can be stressful to deal with because sufferers can be overly needy to the point they take advantage of you.
Post # 13
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
@the_future_mrs: Definitely agree with this. You typically don’t get cured, you learn to cope with the illness. I know my triggers and try to avoid them as much as possible and I have coping behaviors that I use to calm myself.
Post # 14
Just a general questions for the PPs that is a little off OP but since most people don’t talk about mental health because for so long people have had to ashamed of it (so good to see that i’m not alone), how do your SO/FI/DH handle this? Do they help when it comes to overcoming/coping/ect? What do they do they helps or hurts your healing and dealing with the depression?
Post # 15
Thanks so much for writing this post. I had been wanting to make a similar post but had stopped myself so many times.
I was just recently diagnosed with depression and put on medication. Though i am certain i have had at least 3 different instances of clinical depression, this was the first time i was properly diagnosed and put on meds. I have been a master at hiding it. I have been seeing a counsellor and the medication has just started to kick in. I am lucky and the side effects have been fairly minimal since the first week.
Its a long road to recovery and i know i will need to be on this medication for the next 9 months or so, which is the entire time i am planning my wedding. Its sad that the wedding probably triggered my depression as i dont do well with stress, specifically financial stress. But in a weird way i’m happy about it. I had been struggling for so long with my emotions, feeling like a horrible person every single day and thinking in my head everyone secretly hated me. It was my Fiance who finally had the guts to tell me i needed help. And because of that we are both seeing the counsellor and strengthening our relationship even more before we get married.
I can only suggest that you listen when your freind needs to talk. Refrain from giving too much advice. When you are depressed if someone says something like “well just go for a walk and clear your mind” it doesnt help. Its a reminder that while that may work for someone else, if you are depressed it just doesn’t magically go away.
In short, i overcame previous depression because i basically ran away and started over (i was in college and dropped out) . This time i am overcomming it through medication and counselling.
Post # 16
@MrsFarm0619: My Fiance was the first person in my life to tell me i needed help and to not be ashamed of it. He has gone to counselling with me to better understand my emotions and how he can help me. He has agreed to change parts of the wedding to help with my anxiety. He has told me repeatedly to talk to my family about things because i shouldn’t be ashamed. He has told me that he will stand up for me if people start questioning why i have been a little absent lately or why i cant drink (the meds dont react well with alcohol, so people will question if i am preggo or something since its very uncommon to not have beer in our social group).
Basically my Fiance has been my saving grace. I’m very lucky.