View Full Version : Long-Term Coping Strategies...
07-26-2007, 11:09 PM
I would like to ask those of you who frequent this forum what strategies you have devised for dealing with long-term bouts of depression? I live with depression off and on, and it's usually triggered by something else in my life. But every once in a while I will fall into a moderate to semi-serious depression for no obvious reason at all. I suppose it's caused by a conglomeration of all the bad things in my life right now, but I can't be sure.
I've been ill for a long time, and I've suffered from depression off and on for the last five years. Usually it only lasts for a week or so, and then I start to feel better. But this past year I've been falling into depressions that can hang around for up to several weeks, and during that time all I can do is sit and stare at the wall. I even went to my best friend's surprise birthday party and had no fun at all. All the talking and laughing were just like a background buzz to me, and I felt totally apart from it. I don't plan on trying this, but sometimes I feel like I need someone to just slap me hard enough to knock me out of it.
This is not the kind of depression which can be helped by meds. I've tried those already, and still take one each night. But it's like being trapped inside my own body, because I'm explicitly aware of the depression and what it's doing to me. Even so, I can't force myself to ignore it, or to find any pleasure in the things I normally like. Do any of you ever get like that? And if so, have you ever found a way to force it aside? Because it really is senseless, and I would totally appreciate any advice from anyone who's experienced this before. Thanks everyone for reading this, and for any help you can offer.
07-27-2007, 12:32 PM
I understand where you are coming from completely. I have severe depression which is constantly reluctant to medication or therapy. I also have that terrifying feeling sometimes of being literally "out of it." It feels almost like I am stuck inside my head. Thankfully, after spending time in a rehabilitation clinic for the depression, I switched doctors around, and finally one was able to help me get some relief. I cannot rely completely on my medications completely though.
My number one coping strategy throughout the years has been to find something to look forward to. I found out this about two years ago after I forgot a few doses of my anti-depressants (not a very smart thing to do either) while on vacation in my favorite place. I was fine without them though; almost the best I had been since my depression set in! I look forward to going there every year because it is the happiest place I can go to. Everything is peaceful and serene there, but I can do all my favorite hobbies and sports activities easily at my own leisure too. The people there are laid back and love to talk. It is rich in history, and the best part of all is that there are many wild animals who are friendly with their human observers.
I also made a life-changing decision and bought a furry friend for myself. He makes me so happy when I see his cute little face everyday. He even licks my tears when I cry. He lights up my world, and I feel good knowing that he relies on me like I rely on him.
07-30-2007, 01:39 AM
Hi, MacGirl. Thanks for replying. It sounds like you understand what Imean. I hate those periods when I get stuck inside my head and can't find my way back out. I wish I could do like you, and have something to look forward to that would keep me going forward. Unfortunately, my private life is falling apart right now as well. Maybe someday I'll be able to pick up the pieces and put them back together. But for now, I just have to deal with what I've got.
I'm glad that you've found something, though. You look happy in your picture. I had a furry friend until late last year, when a mysterious illness claimed her. I haven't had the heart yet to replace that dog, but during her short life she was a very good friend to me. A better friend that a lot of the two-legged kind.
Anyway, I hope that you find a lot more to look forward to, and enjoy many happy and serene days in your future. Take care and God bless.
08-08-2007, 06:23 PM
Here is a link to something just posted on the Braintalk forum http://www.findingoptimism.com/sleep-relaxation/94-great-resources-for-treating-depression/ It puts a lot of useful information in one place :)
09-11-2007, 11:37 AM
i know exactly what you're going through, as i medication-resistant chronic major depression that been so constant for years. i understand what that's like when you can't find the right treatment to fight the illness.
Idealist... wish I could offer something helpful or hopefull......
I too have been dealing w/ what DR years ago called "situational" or reactive depression. my life changed from "normal" --going to work, doing things, having joy, etc. to one of chronic debililtating pain. --literally changed in seconds when I was hit by car, on my way to work place. Since life has revolved around Drs, med appts, and finding ways to compensate for what/how used to do things...
My life is very small & limited. People I thought were friends disappeared.... I don't have the energy to go out, socialize...
I lost my home & more, after the accident..... moved back to cold NE from tropics, to be w/ my parents, when my mother was terminally ill. My father had been her primary caregiver but when he got sicker & became non-ambulatory, I assumed that role. Despite my medical issues, I was the most able bodied in home. I had to put my stuff on the side to advocate & care for my beloved parents. It's not that I was suddenly in remission --just somehow Do when have to, or generated by love....
Since my mother's death last year, depression deepened. I was committed to keeping my father in his home, and still am but it's challenge.
about 8 months ago I had another head injury. that TBI was Dx: post concusssive syndrome. My pain disorders exacerbated and I was more dysfunctional than ever.
more problems emerged: constant severe headaches, sleep problems; cogntive, perceptual & "neuro-behavioral" . I became despondant, emotionally volitile, immered in suicidal thoughts ( but my father is reason I kept on & still muddle thru each day, hour, minute. I'm not able to do many things I was pre-TBI . ANything to do w/ numbers, money, business, bills is diastrous. As is most of the house work . Some things get done--like my father's basic needs, but most get put aside, w/hopes of doing later. I've had help off & on w/ caregivers but many problems.... I now have some help again, bt not on level needed or desired.
Sorry to ramble on.... and get off topic here... since your question was how to cope w/ depression....
I"ve tried most of the antidepressants & couldn't take...
there are other things I've tried & haven't found discipline or time, like focused breathing, meditation, yoga or similar body/mind therapys or exerices . Tai chi, chi qong, etc.... but hope to pull out those DVD & try again ...
one thing we (family) do is watch movies--drama, comedy, documentary, indies, foreign, some main stream... They provide a distraction or an escape for awhile-- into others lives, offer a different perscpective, cultural experience, history lessons, and more.... since our life/style limited, movies open & bring other worlds, realities to us; often inspirational & hopeful, many have life lessons...... we love movies ....
on a side note, RE: pain . as you probably know it can cause depression & other cognitive dysfunctions. I just got a DVD on Fibromyalgia that presents a unique way of viewing & treating symptoms & manifestations. Based on the dopamine theory of Dr. Woods, and dysfunctions in the brain esp. the hippocampus.
Will post & discuss this in more detail at FMS forum. Stress plays a big role.... even how this Dr views & address stress is unique..
but watching it now helped understand how stressors in my life are affecting my health by a form of brain damage , not only from TBi but also FM & other CNS issues...but more on this in other forum.
I hope you find ways to get thru your depression & pain, & ways to deal w/ stressors that either exacerbate or cause... find somethings, inc. Distractions, that will work for you...
Wishing u the Best....
09-22-2007, 09:53 PM
I have found councelling to be my best advocate in fighting the depression. I have the VNS in me for the depression and it hasn't helped at all. You can read my story on here about the VNS and see how it is suppose to work and what it's done for me. More harm then good, at this point.
Anyway, like you, I have tried every med and I might as well be eating M&M's, although they do say chocolate makes a person happy. LOL
I go to councelling faithfully, I have for years. I have someone to talk to about what I am thinking, living, and fighting in my head. He gives me ideals on how to deal with things that have came up. He has taught me meditation, prayer and got me to taking walks. Now my feet are messed up and that part has stopped but again he is helping me through that too.
I have family and friends. I don't think I have a day that someone doesn't walk in my door to check on me. I have two caregivers also to help me through the day and keep my house up so I won't get depressed about that part too.
I am reading a self help book that my Dr. gave me and I do read a lot of them and do research on depression.
I have yet to get through mine, I don't think I have a day that I don't fight it. I've had it since childhood so I'm sure I will most likely die with it too but at least I have someone to talk me through the ups and downs that I go through. I lost my husband 10 months ago and it's been the hardest time of my life. It makes it even harder for me to keep going so I do know about the bad parts of life we have to deal with.
Don't give up and think about councelling. A lot of places have places that you can go to free if insurance is an issue.
Staying on the forum helps a lot too. It helps us to interact with people even when we are stuck in our homes. I have trouble leaving my home. I very seldom go anywhere. As far as vacations, my kids just offered to pay my way back home for a visit but I know in the place I am in mentally at this point, it wouldn't do me any good. I couldn't enjoy it. That's why I come on here to read and post, like you, it's like I'm just stuck in the place that I can't seem to get out of.
I do hope you start seeing some better days and don't give up.
09-23-2007, 11:26 PM
I was thinking about depression a bit ago after watching an antidepression commercial on telly.
The antidepression commercials always have warnings about more suicidal thoughts.
I had tried to kill myself and was in hospital in 1997, when they took several tests. The hospital appears to go on the theory that if you've tried to kill yourself then you must be on illegal drugs. Still, besides all the drug tests they gave me, they also gave me a B12 test, and mine was very low.
Just before I tried to kill myself I'd been wondering if the thick ridges on my nails had anything to do with how bad I felt.
Well, it took almost a whole year to get a prescription to give myself regular B12 shots... but after that the changes in how I felt were remarkable; and years later I was given a prescription for a shot a day for a year by a holistic M.D. and that made even more of a difference, even though 7 years earlier the neurologist I was seeing had said I might see improvements for as much as two years.
So to me, the medical community too quickly prescribes drugs, and fails to advise about or consider the affect of long term B12 deficiency.
I tried to get some of the researchers who studied vitamin B12 to work toward a higher low in this country, so that people didn't have to sink to 180 in their B12 tests before getting help, but I ran into the proverbial brick wall, which I suppose is that the drug companies would lose a lot of money if people began taking vitamins.
When I tell you this story, I'm aware that your depression may be different than mine. I don't for a minute want you to think I think I know about your depression.
What I know is that after years of B12 replacement therapy, I don't feel the same, either physically or mentally.
The ridges on my fingernails are smoothing out, and I have tiny moons on fingernails where I didn't have them before... so ... my belief is that if someone has ridges on their fingernails, then there is a possibility of low B12, and checking out a good, comprehensive list of symptoms is a good idea.
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