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Clinical Depression and how to go about handling it...?


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Old 31st October 2006, 10:34 PM   #1
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Clinical Depression and how to go about handling it...?

I was brought up in a home and enviornment, where it's believed that taking medication for one's mental health meant you must have had some serious "crazy" issues. Being upset, sad, or scared about something was nothing more than a temporary set back you just had to suck up. Pschologists and therapists are for "crazies" or people who are too lazy to help themselves; people who are weak.

As I grew older, and moved out from my parents home and began starting my own life, I realized most of what I was brought up to believe about those issues were wrong, and quite frankly, immature and closed minded.

-------------------------------------

I've been doing a lot of research on depression, ever since I saw a commercial for Cymbalta. The commercial almost... it basically described me as to a tee. I really never believed I was "clinically" depressed, because I just always thought that was something more of a disease or something that's hereditary. The other thing I was never sure about was, how could medication make you "happy"? I mean, it can't make me forget about all the things wrong in my life at the moment, right? But I researched it anyways...

When I started reading their website, I was floored to find that almost everything they listed as sympotoms of depression were exactly what I was dealing with every day for the past year or so. These are just a few of the basic symptoms listed on Cymbalta's site that I am experiencing:

Sadness throughout the day, nearly every day - I honestly have been crying at least once everday for months now. Sometimes, the littlest things set me off. For example, today, as my younger brother was walking out the door to go trick-or-treating with his friends, I just broke down and had to hide myself quickly so no one saw me. I didn't even know what it was, but I suddenly felt so lonely and guilty at the same time.

Loss of interest in or enjoyment of your favorite activities - I've only realized recently that I actually have no drive to do anything that used to be meaningful to me. I thought I was going through ajust a phase of getting bored, but that is not the case. Art, gaming, going outdoors; I don't want to do any of it at all. In fact, I haven't even touched a canvas to paint in about 5 months. I just want to stay in bed all day; I feel like I have no reason to want to do anything.

Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness - Basically I feel hopeless about my entire life. I feel like I've lost everything that's ever had meaning to me; my art, my schooling, my career, my parents, my boyfriend (who is also my BEST friend). I feel empty in the means that I have nothing left to go on anymore in my life; nothing to look forward to, nothing to experience, no one to turn too, no one to love, no one to love me in return; nothing.

Feeling stressed, nervous, or overwhelmed - I feel overwhelmed about the world. I feel overwhlemed with all my emotions and thoughts. I'm nervous about working in the real world. I used to be so goal and career oriented, and now, I don't even want it, but at the same time, I don't want to cheapen it either by spending the rest of my life doing something easy, like retail. What exactly am I doing?! Nothing - and I'm just scared of doing anything at this point. I don't want to be a loser or a failure, but I'm stressed and nervous and scared of a successful career and future. I'm stressed over my parents; I wait every day for my father to come home and yell at me, so I hide out in my room and pretend I'm asleep every night. I feel overwhlemed with my problems with my boyfriend (now ex). I have no idea what he is doing or thinking and I have no idea what the right thing to do with us is anymore - I just feel so hurt and lost.

Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt - I feel guilty about everything that has gone down in the past year or so. I feel worthless because I'm letting my life slip away; I'm throwing my life away. I feel like it's my fault I didn't finish my degree, that I gave up and wanted to go for something else, but never did. I feel like it's my fault I lost my love and might never have him in my life or see him again or have him feel the same about me. I feel like it's my fault my parents are so frustrated; I feel guilty that I let them pay for my college, and at my last year, I left, and now, am having such a hard time getting a job to pay all the loans from school and all the money back. I feel like it's all my fault they have such a hard time with me now; that all they can seem to do is yell at me and scream at me everyday. I feel like it's all my fault I feel this way.

Feelings of worthlessness - I feel because of all my guilt, because of these failures and losses, I feel I am worthless. I can't get this feeling out of my being. I feel like nothing I do is right, and no one likes to be around me anymore. I feel rejected by my boyfriend, I feel like I let him down, and lost the only person to ever truly understand me, and the one person I loved more than my own life. With both parents now telling me over and over how angry they are with me, all the constant yelling, I just... I feel like I let everyone down, and now I let myself down, so where is my worth, where is it to even myself?

Irritability or restlessness - I realize lately I snap at the dumbest things. All someone has to do to me now is look at me the wrong way or make one negative joke and I will freak and leave the room, and be upset for the rest of the night. Later, I don't even remember what was said, and sometimes, I don't even think I actually HEARD what they said, it's just a tone or look that sets me off, and I end up feeling like a schmuck, so guilty for snapping at someone who means so much to me.

Thoughts of death or suicide - I have had alot of these thoughts lately. But I don't think it's something I could actually ever do. It's more that I think about not feeling pain, or day dreaming about my funeral, and what people would show, what wouldn't; would people remember me and what for? I think about how it would probably make some people's lives easier. Sometimes, I imagine more being in a coma or just "sleeping" for the rest of my life, not necessarily killing myself. I really fear death and pain, so it's more of the idea of not exsisting then anything.

Fatigue or lack of energy - (as mentioned above with not wanting to get out of bed anymore)

Sleeping too much - Given I'm one to sleep a good and long time if I get the chance, however, I've been sleeping for hours MULTIPLE times during the day. I will sleep all night and all into the afternoon. I'll wake around 1pm - 2pm, usually only to eat, then I fall right back to bed for another 3 or 4 hours, and I might even go at it again around 8pm. I don't even think it's because I'm tired. I just have nothing to do, and I don't want to feel things or think about things, and my only way out is to sleep, because I am one who can NOT busy myself. Even when I am extremely busy, I am STILL dwelling on everything that's wrong at the moment.

Change in appetite or weight - Also a given, I have an EXTREMELY high metabolism, and come from TWO parents who also have this, but in the past year, I have gone from 110lbs back to 93lbs (a weight I had finally over come 3 years ago, which I had stayed for years growing up - I have been to multiple doctors about gaining weight, but othing ever helped - sometime 3 years ago, I just started gaining weight again and I looked and felt great).

Aches and pains - I have chest pains like no other. Sometimes my heart just starts racing and I find myself catching my breath as if I had just ran ten miles. It feels like a 300lb man is sitting on my chest.

Headache - Usually more of a result of when I'm crying too much, but I rarely, if never, get headaches before all of this in my life.

-------------------------------------

I'm not even sure if any of this is justified as clinical depression. Maybe I am just over reacting to everything and just being weak and helpless. I don't even know. How can I tell if I really do have "an imbalance of two naturally-occurring chemicals -- serotonin and norepinephrine -- in the brain and the body"?

The other thing is, I just moved back in with my parents since things got too rough for me. During this time, I have been completely dependent on them. Such as, I don't have the money to go see a therapist or psychologist or to even be on medication. I'm pretty sure I'm still covered under my father's health insurance, but not entirely sure.

-------------------------------------

I know they're the ones I would need to turn to to help me even if I wanted to consult in a doctor about the depression. I have no idea about how to even bring something like this up to them, since they don't believe in any of it. One night in particular, my father found me crying in my room, brust open the door and started FREAKING out, screaming "WAAA WAAAA F***ING WAAA!!! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO CRY ABOUT?? STOP BEING A BABY, GROW THE F*** UP! WAAA WAA! GIVE ME A BREAK!" etc, etc, on and on...

I'm scared I'll feel this way forever and wither away to nothing. How can I go about seeing a doctor, consulting on what might or might not be clinical depression, getting medication (if needed), and/or seeing a psychologist or therapist?

I feel so... hopeless.
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I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm and the crickets sing, I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don't know... Maybe I've had my happiness. I don't want to believe it, but there is no man, Jilly... Only that moon. - Sandra Bullock as "Sally" from the movie Practical Magic.
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Old 31st October 2006, 11:36 PM   #2
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I'm scared I'll feel this way forever and wither away to nothing. How can I go about seeing a doctor, consulting on what might or might not be clinical depression, getting medication (if needed), and/or seeing a psychologist or therapist?

I feel so... hopeless.
Hey there. Your father's attitude is not unlike mine - you might call him an extreme pragmatist, haha.

It's nothing to laugh about, though. It's cold and unsympathetic. My dad did cut me a break when I opened up to him in the best way I could try to explain it. I guess your dad just can't see things from your perspective.

But that perspective is no doubt warped. I don't mean that you're wrong to feel the way you do...you feel the way you do, and that's all there is to it.

Almost certainly you have a lot to be thankful for, and you have lost sight of that.

I encourage you to ask for help. That's all it takes, really. Just ask.

Now here's my story. It gets ugly, I'm warning you.

I'm probably clinically depressed. Or not. At least the last time I went to the doctor (due to a serious work-related issue) he asked me a bunch of questions and came to that conclusion.

I went on anti-depressants. Because I felt out of control. Much like the fight-or-flight response - except all the f*cking time.

The drugs did something. They made me feel nothing. Numb. Like "who gives a sh*t" nothing. I survived because I felt guilty about self-destructing in front of people that actually cared about me. So I blundered on, one day at a time.

Then I came off the drugs, because I made a life-changing decision. And I didn't want to feel nothing any more. I have an unopened pack in my drawer that I haven't touched for 10 months now. I haven't felt the need to, either.

I have gone for counselling before, but I'm a mean-arse know-it-all that just doesn't listen. I've been inside my head now for a long, long time - and I think I know what works and what doesn't. I just won't do anything unless I want to.

There is only one thing that helps me get through my days. Forgetting myself. Yes, that's right...I couldn't give a sh*t about myself any more. That doesn't necessarily mean that I want to die - although a clean and painless way sounds very, very attractive.

Forgetting myself.

That means that I try to stay positive about the world, and try to be a positive to the world. Simple as that, really.

I haven't really forgotten myself, though.

I try to enjoy the really, really simple things. Like food, people smiling at me, and a whole bunch of things that I can't think of right now - but that I'm betting lots of people take for granted.

To sum up, haha, I think that depression is a common problem, and that there are trained professionals that can help. There's certainly no shame in asking for help.

I seem to be doing an okay job with managing mine, but my life is definitely not for the faint-hearted, haha. My coping mechanism seems to have been to exclude a lot of things from my life that would undoubtedly make it richer. But, having said that, I have been very, very lucky in my life to this point...so much so that I'm not overly upset with the prospect of going the rest of it alone. Well, not exactly alone if I have chocolate ice cream.

I think you're in touch with your feelings, and that's a very positive sign. You have your whole life ahead of you, goddamn it, so put a smile on your face and count your blessings!
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Old 31st October 2006, 11:56 PM   #3
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There is only one thing that helps me get through my days. Forgetting myself. Yes, that's right...
As philosophical as that sounds, I can't help but wonder if forgetting oneself helps relieve us of depression or places us further in it.

Sometimes I tend to lean towards believing the latter.
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Old 31st October 2006, 11:59 PM   #4
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As philosophical as that sounds, I can't help but wonder if forgetting oneself helps relieve us of depression or places us further in it.
It helps to forget that I'm a complete arsehole, haha.

We should get cozy on a couch, and talk some more about this.
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Old 1st November 2006, 12:24 AM   #5
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I'm not sure.

I remember that some time ago (when I used to read) I was reading some things in relation to Buddhism. I stumbled upon one "branch" of Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, which, more or less, made the way to enlightenment synonymous to "forgetting oneself," which refered to the accumulation of habits that formed someone's genuine personality.

In addition to this, I believe this was refered to as the "shedding of body and mind."

And well, if this is what "forgetting oneself" means, (and it seems rather, uh, literal, in a way) then I just fail to see how this doctrine/mentality can help anyone ameliorate their peception of themselves, others, what they have, and what they can have, etc.

Sometimes it seems to me that depression has much to do with the fact that the self is so primordially focused on the other (people, things, achievements, etc), that they do end up "forgetting themselves," but in a rather negative way. The self becomes focused on outer things and their affixation or lack of to themselves, thinking and feeling that they are empty or overwhelmed by the effect/impact of other things on them, and not the other way around.

I'm not saying that we should think ourselves the center of the world, no, but I also don't think that we should make ourselves invisible to it.

But then again, I don't know wtf I'm talking about.

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We should get cozy on a couch, and talk some more about this.
What happened to forgetting yourself?
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Old 1st November 2006, 12:30 AM   #6
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I'm not saying that we should think ourselves the center of the world, no, but I also don't think that we should make ourselves invisible to it.

But then again, I don't know wtf I'm talking about.
That makes two of us. I think you're making me think, though. And it hurts.

Maybe I'm back!?
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What happened to forgetting yourself?
Hmmm...I was thinking about you. It was worth a try.
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Old 1st November 2006, 12:53 AM   #7
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Woops. I totally forgot to include this in my last post; sorry.

Anyway, lp, I can entirely empathize with this:

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I was brought up in a home and enviornment, where it's believed that taking medication for one's mental health meant you must have had some serious "crazy" issues. Being upset, sad, or scared about something was nothing more than a temporary set back you just had to suck up. Pschologists and therapists are for "crazies" or people who are too lazy to help themselves; people who are weak.
In my "family," this belief was the same. They thought that life was as good as it was bad, and that we needed to confront and overcome the bad times in our lives by ourselves, just like we dealt with the happy times alone.

To them, the entire branch of Psychology was nothing but a waste of time and money. They believed therapists/psychologist to be nothing but charlatans who were out to take advantage of those with "weak" hearts.

At first, they equated psychologists with friends, and gradually down-spiraled them to equate psychics--other "quacks."

I actually never shared their belief, but my reason was probably as immature as their reason for labeling these people as wastes of time and money.

So, if you can imagine, when I decided to derail from my English major and head over into a Psychology major, I was (even more) ousted by them; there was just no changing their minds, no matter how hard I tried to explain to them that there was so much more to this than "advice."

Imagine that.


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How can I tell if I really do have "an imbalance of two naturally-occurring chemicals -- serotonin and norepinephrine -- in the brain and the body"?
I don't believe you are supposed to diagnose yourself. The average person probably does not know if they posses a chemical imbalance of serotonin and norephinphrine. The average person probably does not even fully know that the latter is.

The thing is--that's precisely why you go to a trained professional. The symptoms they give on that commercial/found on websites are meant to give you some kind of guidance. You read through them and try to determine how many of those can be used to describe your current self (and how strongly, maybe), and then if you think, "Hey, a lot of this stuff sounds like me!" or something, then you go to a clinic to see if you really are clinically depressed or are simply going through a "depression spell."

Chances are that if you are looking for imformation or are actually paying attention to these types of commercials, it is because you have given the thought of you and depression some type of consideration beforehand.

I guess what I'm trying to say if that you are not expected to diagnose yourself as clinically depressed or not. Giving a proper diagnosis is one of the points of therapy, and is the job of the therapist, not yours.

If you find that you are chronically feelings many of these symptoms, they it may very well be that are depressed; the next step would be to go to a professional to get an accurate diagnosis.

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Maybe I am just over reacting to everything and just being weak and helpless. I don't even know.
This is contradictory to what you said in the begining. If anything, this sounds like the beliefs of your family, which you said you disagreed with.

It may be that out of fear, you are regressing back into old ways of thinking that, even if wrong, at least a higher sense of security.


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I'm scared I'll feel this way forever and wither away to nothing. How can I go about seeing a doctor, consulting on what might or might not be clinical depression, getting medication (if needed), and/or seeing a psychologist or therapist?
Do some more reasearch. If you do a search for the listings of local psychologist's in your area, you might want to call a few of them. I know that some of them actually offer a free "trial" consultation.

And while I'm not insinuating that you'll be healed in the first session, it may be worth a try so that you can discuss with him/her your situation and come to some kind of solution.

Other than that, there is always insurance, if you have that.

And if these two fail, talk to your parents. You are their daughter and they should understand and support you.

Unless, of course, they are like mine, in which case, good luck.

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That makes two of us. I think you're making me think, though. And it hurts.
Oh no. You should never put any thought into anything I say. I know I don't.

Quote:
Hmmm...I was thinking about you. It was worth a try.
You are so generous. But I think your generosity is best spent on those frisky 20-something-year-olds on campus.

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Old 1st November 2006, 1:02 AM   #8
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And if these two fail, talk to your parents. You are their daughter and they should understand and support you.
Great advice...
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Unless, of course, they are like mine, in which case, good luck.
...maybe.
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You are so generous. But I think your generosity is best spent on those frisky 20-something-year-olds on campus.
"Hi. My name is...my name is...f*ck, I forget."
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Old 1st November 2006, 1:13 AM   #9
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"Hi. My name is...my name is...f*ck, I forget."
Slim Shady?
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Old 1st November 2006, 1:21 AM   #10
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Slim Shady?
My tea's gone cold, I'm wondering why I got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window and I can't see at all
And even if I could it'd all be grey, but your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it's not so bad
It's not so bad
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Old 4th November 2006, 10:30 AM   #11
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Leopardprint - which incidentally is my favorite print! I have glasses, tennis bags, purses, hats, coats etc., etc. Leopardprint is the BEST.
a) I'm sorry for your living situation. If you were my child, I would want to know what was bothering you and how I could help instead of yelling at you for crying. It hurts me to think of you suffering and having no one to turn to or that you can talk to about this. I can remember being about 12 or 13 and depressed and crying in my room and my parents never asking me what was wrong, never giving me the belief that they loved me, me taking an "extreme amount" of aspirin and then never even knowing about it - still to this day.
b) The test that you took/answers you gave ARE indicitive of depression. Those questions are on just about every site you could/can find on depression. Bravo for you for realizing and admitting how you are feeling and knowing that it's not ok.
c) even if you do not have health insurance or money for a therapist there are places to get very reduced help. You just have to look for them - try the yellow pages or the health department of where you live. I bet even planned parenthood would be able to tell you where/who to contact.
d) you do NOT have to live like this. You can get help. You can learn how to talk to your parents when they say **** like that to you. I've been working on that for years. I've been in therapy off an on for years. Depression and other mental issues run in families. I've since found out that BOTH my grandmothers had mental problems. I have been extremely depressed before, suicidal, through hell and back too and it hasn't been just a one time thing. That's one of the criteria for diagnosing people. I'm sure some people just have one depressive incidence but when you have more than one or two or three, that's a sign that you are prone to them.
If you are covered under your fathers insurance, just make an appointment to see a doctor. Tell your parents you just want to get a check up or a flu shot or something.
I wish you all the best. You can IM me if you would like.
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Old 5th November 2006, 9:17 PM   #12
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My suggestion to you is to lower your ego and get a job, any job that will pay off your loans and get your parents off your back. Getting a job and be self-sufficient is called becoming an adult. Your parents are good people but they are frustrated beyond their limits with you. 7 months ago, I was exactly in your place. Didn't finish college, stayed at home being supported by parents that slowly became annoyed with me and were pushing me for a job and I wanted to study on my own to get a career. Then one day they decided to move overseas to their homeland. I had a choice, to either go with them and be again dependant on them or stay here and get a job and start my life. So I stayed, got a totally different job that I ever dreamed getting. Turns out that the job is perfect for me, I made tons of friends, completely slashed my social anxiety, made enough money to support myself and to save money for a rainy day. I have little stress in my life and most of the time you'll see me with a smile on my face. I laugh at myself and when others make jokes about me because it's funny. I don't get pissed off or anything like that. I'm working on a girlfriend right now and things that I used to think would be important like career, being known, etc. has zero meaning now. I take pleasure in simple things and am completely content.

When I was applying for a job, I got rejected but then I applied for another one and got accepted. I thank my lucky stars that I didn't get the first job. The HR person even said that the second job was perfect for me and at first I doubted her because I had zero experience in it but overtime she was right. It was so scary to be looking for a job, all the unknown were making me stressed out. I would never ever go back to where I was before to tell you the truth. I get up 4:30am start working at 6:45am and get home at 3pm. I used to over sleep until noon, when half of my day was already gone. Got to bed about 1am and it was hard to break that cycle. I love having a job and I like working also. Kills the time, I get to talk to lot of funny people and laugh and I'm a people person not a solitary like I thought I was. Good luck to you!
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Old 5th November 2006, 11:16 PM   #13
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leopardprint,

There is help out there for people without funds so please seek it out rather than turning to your parents because it sounds like they would not be willing to understand or help. You can feel good again and maybe drugs are what you need but you need to find out which route to take and you need a professional to help you decide. Depression is nothing to kid about and you certainly are not alone in this. If there was ever a time to take yourself seriously, it is now so I hope you will be good to yourself and seek out some help.

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Old 14th November 2006, 1:35 AM   #14
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Here's a great update.

I nearly had a nervous break down, and a few days ago, I was having what felt like a 24hour anxeity attack. My heart was racing a mile a minute, I was shakinhg, couldn't breathe, etc. My parents finally took notice and allowed me to go to Urgent Care to see a doctor.

Long story short, he put me on Lexapro for mild anti-depressants, and Clonazepam for my aniexty problems. So far the Clongazepam has worked really well - my breathing is back to normal and I feel fine.

Don't get me wrong, I still have my problems and sad about, but atleast I could focus when I'm at work, and I can also sleep easier at night now.

Thanks for EVERYTHING from EVERYONE! You all gave me the strength to finally stick up to my parents and ask for help. I thank you and love you all! I even made my dad cry a little! (I hope that was tears that he wanted to help, and not "OMG my daughter is mentally insane tears! oops!).

I'll keep you guys updated, since I was told the anti-depressents don't kick in for a while.

Anyone have any experience with either the Lexapro or Clonazepam?
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Old 14th November 2006, 6:25 AM   #15
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LP: " I was brought up in a home and environment, where it's believed that taking medication for one's mental health meant you must have had some serious "crazy" issues."

But the world is changing. (Smile)

And it's not just *your* family who felt this way -so did (does) my own, for generations back.

(Smile) And I almost embarrass some of them to death because of my views, beliefs on the subject. I also anger them; this is a subject that, for them, is as volatile as politics and religion.

But they're *learning* about it through the "discussions" we have whether they admit it, or not.

You keep learning, too, LP.

Depression is an illness that everyone (even the one who is affected) must be educated about, if you are to be successful in treating it.

The better you know and understand your illness, the better the outcome of ongoing treatment.

Stigmas are historically most likely attached to things we humans beings have the most difficulty in understanding -the mysterious, frustrating "unknown"- and are normally created out of fear.

The more we know about depression -and how to treat it- the more the chances are that the stigma will lessen.

I am glad for you in regards to your recent "breakthrough" with your family -and that you are getting help.

Don't give up -depression, this illness that (often "secretly") affects untold numbers in varying degrees of severity- is *treatable*.

(Smile)

Take care.

-Rio
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