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Is this depression?

mollybug13 posted this thread...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm

So nothing makes me happy Ive thought about sui.cide a lot I used to be so excited about holidays and birthdays but now I just want to be alone all the time and its a struggle to get out of bed somedays. Is this depression?

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm

There's a lot of criteria that psychologically define depression. It's to the disadvantage of pshyciatrists and psychologists that they feel the need to place a label to everything. I know it helps with treatment and understanding to a degree, but it also limits perspective.
 
Those things you mentioned are criteria of depression. If you'd like to know the whole set of criteria (as per the actual diagnosing standards), let me know.
 
I just want you to know that you don't have to label yourself, or place yourself into a box, to be able to manage this. In the end, being labelled can hinder progress, because of how it might teach you to think that you should be handling things in a certain way because other people do, even if it's not going to help you.
 
At the same time, there's nothing wrong with identifying as depressed. I do, but I don't let it define me. Does that make sense?
 
Anyway, whatever you want to ask, or talk about, I'm here :) I know a tonne of things about depression and how to combat it. I'm functional now :) Things are pretty good, even though I still consider myself depressed. I still get all the negative thinking and mood swings and I feel worthless, or like I have no purpose a lot of the time, but I manage things, and I deal with my emotions really well.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 1:30 am

No need to apologise for all the questions! I'm happy to answer them, and wanting to know more is a good thing to strive for.
 
DSM IV criteria for depression is as follows:
 
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest in things once previously enjoyed
- Feelings of guilt/worthlessness
- Sleep changes (more than usual, or less than usual)
- Fidgeting, or sluggishness (the technical terms for these are psychomotor agitation and psychomotor retardation)
- Appettie change or weight change (greater than 5 % for weight)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of energy (fatigue)
- Thoughts of suicide and/or self harm
 
If 5 of these symptoms (one of which must be either depressed mood or lack of interest) have been present for at least 2 weeks, then a diagnosis of depression can be made. It's really easy to be diagnosed with it by this criteria. Psychiatrists will often do other questionaires/testing and ask a lot of background information to properly diagnose.
 
It could get worse. That's not to say that it will/won't, but it is a possibility. It depends on a whole range of things as to whether it will/won't. Things like, how much it consumes your thinking, how well you're able to continue with your life despite it (so, your level of functioning), your perspective on whether you feel like you can change things, etc. There's a huge amount of things that can affect that.
 
As for what you can do to make it better, there's a lot of things you can do. It can be really hard to develop good strategies and it may take quite a long time to figure out a pattern that works for you (it took me ages to get it right). It's generally best to start small, and only focus on a couple of areas at a time. Trying to do too much at once could make you feel burnt out and like it's all too hard to change. A very simple idea (although it can be hard to stick to) is when you feel depressed and like you don't have the energy to even care about what you're supposed to be doing, just do it anyway. It takes some effort and a whole lot of will power, but it's amazing how this can become second nature over time. It makes the other pressures of life stop interfering so much. So that school work still gets done, and your chores at home, etc, so that the pressure of those things not being done doesn't add what you're already feeling. The same goes for socialising and catching up with friends.
 
Sleeping well and eating well can also make a massive difference. Sleep can be a lot harder to control, but eating healthy and regulalrly is usually something that's easy to regulate. There were lots of times where I felt like I couldn't be bothered eating, but when I ate anyway (and made sure that what I ate was still good for me), I got some of that energy back, which helped quite a bit.
 
Enjoying life can be a difficult thing to get back. This is probably one of the most difficult ones to change. That and not letting that depressed state of mind consume you. It's very easy to get dragged down into those feelings. For them to be all that you can think about. It's easy to get trapped into that kind of thinking. I still do, but now I'm much more aware of how things will change. I know I won't feel like that forever. I find it hard to actually remember how I changed all that. It's one of those things that happens gradually, but you realise it suddenly. I think a lot of it had to do with how I changed my perspective on things. I started to believe that I could deal with how I was feeling, that I could live a normal life, that things aren't hopeless. Once I had that ideal, it was a lot easier to make the changes that lead to me being functional.
 
Professional help can be really useful. Therapists are trained to help you function despite how you feel, and find constructive ways to deal with the emotions. You might find that they have a large amount of very helpful coping strategies, and they might be able to offer you some new perspectives on the way you think about things. I'm very for professional help. One of my favourites is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (it's not for everyone, but I like the principles behind it), but a standard therapist or psychologist will also be very helpful. It might take a few goes to find someone that you like, and that suits you, so if the first doesn't work, try another. Even if you don't want to see a professional, telling your mother could help to add some extra support.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Yes, both of those things can be associated with depression. The problem with the criteria I mentioned, is that even though it can allude to the things you mentioned, it doesn't go into the same depth of explaining all the things that depressed people can experience. There's a whole range of effects, emotions, actions, thought processes that aren't covered in that short list.
 
Self-deprication (and low self esteem) is common in people with depression. It comes under the feelings of worthlessness. It can be hard to believe that there is good in you, or that you are capable of anything. I know it can be hard to accept, but the idea that you are not worth anything is simply not true. When people compliment you, they are not lying. They believe what they are saying, even if you don't. I know it might take some time for you to actually believe the nice things people tell you, but if you try to understand that the people who say these things to you mean them, then that's a good step in the right direction.
 
As for the biting. Self harm is a dangerous road to go down. I know people don't often associate biting, punching things as self harm, but it is. Even purposefully depriving yourself of sleep is. Some have more obvious physical detriments, but the mental detriments are major no matter what type of self harm. It's important to teach yourself constructive means of coping, rather than destructive ones.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 9, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean.
 
I guess the idea is to find things that will actually make life easier to use as coping mechanisms. So for example, reading a book, talking to a friend (you don't even have to talk about how you feel), immersing yourself in learning something new, exercise (has some really positive results for combatting depression). Anything that will engage your mind, but also has a positive outcome. It doesn't have to be one of the things that I listed, but those are some ideas to get you thinking. The best idea is to find a range of things that work for you.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 12, 2013 at 2:27 am

Glad to help.
 
If you want to talk about anything, feel free :)

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 5, 2013 at 6:18 am

I can see how that would be a stressful and emotional situation. I'm sorry this is affecting you so much and that it's happened to you. The doctors will do tests and figure out the likely reasons. Did they give you any possible explanations? My advice is try to wait for the doctor's results before jumping to any conclusions. They're the only ones that can give you any real answers.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 5, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Yeah, exaclty what your mum said, it could be something really minor. Best not to get too worked up about it if possible.
 
Best wishes.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Aren't you a bit young to show symptoms of MS?
 
I'm not saying it's not something that the doctors should be concerned about though, just that it might not be all that likely, particularly with the negative test.
 
I hope they figure it out soon. The wait can be very nerve-wracking.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 12, 2013 at 2:14 am

Did the doctor explain it to you at all?
 
An EEG measures electrical impulses within neurons (brain cells). It can be used to measure "brain waves" for conditions related to sleep, epilepsy, etc. Anything that can disturb transmission of neuron signals.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Maybe they will when you get there. It's pretty poor for them not to explain it. Always feel free to ask them questions. It's important that you feel comfortable with what's going on and it's up to the doctors and nurses to help with that.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Yeah it would. Let me know if there's anything I can do, or anything you want to talk about.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 21, 2013 at 10:47 am

Bummer. Being tired can be quite a pain.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 21, 2013 at 10:55 am

Best wishes for the test. I hope it helps make some sense of things.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 22, 2013 at 2:40 am

Jerking? Like involuntary movement? Sounds a lot like epilepsy. Might not be, but sets off that thought in my mind.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 24, 2013 at 3:40 am

My sister has epilepsy. It took her a long time to be diagnosed properly. Her seizures didn't have obvious triggers though, so they couldn't be induced to be tested.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 25, 2013 at 6:06 am

Yes. She takes medication morning and night. She gets absence seizures (as well as other types) and there's only a limited amount of medications that cover them, so she doesn't have many options when it comes to meds. It's well controlled though. She hasn't has any seizures since she's been on the meds. She just has to be aware of medication interactions.
 
My sister's boyfriend also has epilepsy. He takes a few different medications to manage his.

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JubilexThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
May 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Best wishes. It took a long time for my sister to be diagnosed, as everything kept coming up normal for her. They diagnosed it based on exclusion of other diagnoses and response to medication.

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