i have many ups and downs, and esp when i am very down, i tend to isolate myself. i know i am doing it, but the trouble with severe depression is that even if you know you are being antisocial, you don't have the energy to interact with anyone. as i said in my earlier post, even tho i know people are calling or e-mailing out of concern for me, it feels like pressure to me. here i have barely enough energy and will to get out of bed and make it thru the day, and people are wanting me to do things!
what i do usually with my sister or other friends is to write a short e-mail saying that i'm not doing very well right now but that i'll be in touch when i'm feeling better. sometimes my sister will say, i haven't heard from you in several days, and i'll say i'm not up to interacting very much right now. she doesn't take offense because she knows i will call if i need help or when i get ready to talk again. if it is a close friend and they call, sometimes i will just say that i don't have the energy to talk much; everyone who knows me at all well understands this, because i have suffered from depression my entire life and they are aware of this.
i'm glad that you will see your friend soon; i know that he appreciates your love and concern even tho he can't reciprocate very well right now.
i am so sorry that life has treated you so harshly. you are absolutely right when you say that depression "has a way of grabbing at your soul"; a friend of mine describes it as "life-sapping." but suicide is not the answer; it is never the answer. i know that it feels like the answer, but it isn't. that is the depression talking, not your true self; one of the most vicious things about depression is that it tells you lies about yourself.
here is a list of resources for free/low-cost medical care, including counseling -- http://forums.webmd.com/3/depression-exchange/forum/6522 (you need to know that i have not checked out these links in quite some time, so if you find one that no longer works, please let me know). don't give up; if you run into a place that can't help you, ask if they know of someone else you could try. i hope this might be helpful to you.
when is the last time you tried meds? new ones, and new recommendations for combinations of meds, come out every year, and if it is a while since you've been on them, you might find it worthwhile to try them at least one more time.
you might also consider trying a local support group. you can find these by googling ("support group" depression "[name of your town>" "[name of your state>"). in addition, if you live near a medical school or teaching hospital, a divinity school, or a university with a graduate program in psychology, psychiatry, nursing, or social work, you could check at those places for local support groups. finally, if you are a churchgoer or are connected -- even loosely -- with a church, you might also ask the pastor/minister/priest about support groups and about sources of free/low-cost counseling.
you can also locate local support groups by contacting the national alliance on mental illness (NAMI, http://www.nami.org, then click on "support and programs," then on "state and local NAMIs"). a second national source of support groups can be found thru the depression/bipolar support alliance (DBSA, http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home, then click on "peer support," then on the top left dropdown box that says "find a support group").
finally, are you sure that you want to continue not telling your parents how bad you feel? it sounds like you might be getting to the stage where they would need to know; they might even want to help you with a contribution toward counseling. i know, i know, i myself always feel like a "bad patient" or a "bad person" when my depression rears its ugly head (and, wow, is it ugly!) and i don't get better right away even with some help. but there is no shame in being sick. would you hesitate to tell your parents that you had broken your leg if you had broken your ankle three years before? of course not! this is no different.
if you get to the point where you feel you are close to acting on your thoughts of suicide, please call one of the phone numbers on the crisis resources sheet at -- http://www.webmd.com/help/crisis-resources?printing=true. in fact, why don't you print out several copies of that sheet and keep one in your purse/wallet and one in each room in your house if that doesn't help, please call a friend or your parents or 911; call the police or an ambulance if you have to, and get yourself to an ER.
please let us know how you are doing. i send you caring thoughts and hope that these suggestions are useful to you.
i am so sorry you've been feeling so bad. i'm sure that facing your knee replacement is making your mood even worse.
it sounds to me as if you might want to talk with your psych dr about adjusting your meds, because they don't seem to be working very well for you right now. it may be time to add or switch to a different kind or or to increase your dosage. is it possible for you to get an appointment soon?
everyone i know who has had a knee replacement was glad afterward. it is tedious to keep up with the strengthening exercises, but once you get past that hurdle, i'm hoping that whatever your current mobility problems are, they will be better after your surgery.
please call your psych dr today, meaning right now, as soon as you get thru reading this! if you do start with an increased dosage, be sure to tell your surgeon as well, because it may affect the amount of anesthesia you need for your surgery.
i send you caring thoughts and hope that all goes well with your knee.
you sound like a loving and loyal friend, and it seems to me that, for the present, you have probably done as much as you can. your friend knows you care about him and knows you are available when he is ready to talk with someone.
until he responds to you, the only thing i can think of would be to send a short e-mail or note every week or two, just saying you're thinking of him and maybe including one small piece of light news or comment of your own (as minor as "the cat helped me clean the house today!"). try to remember that what feels like concern to you may feel like pressure to him -- exactly what he can't cope with right now. his lack of response is not a reflection on you; it is a reflection of how crummy he feels.
since you are not concerned about self-harm, i agree that contacting other friends of his might be seen as intrusive unless your friendship with the others is independent of your relationship with your depressed friend. i would not contact his employer except under the most extreme and immediate-emergency circumstances.
how long will your friend's mood last in this state? well, it is apparently tied to an anniversary, so i'm guessing that he started to go downhill two or three weeks before the anniversary. he will probably start to feel better within two or three weeks after the anniversary, i am also guessing, but of course everyone is different. you can take some consolation from the fact that as time passes, each anniversary is likely to be easier for him to get thru.
your last paragraph refers to anyone having been in this situation "while they were depressed." does that mean that you are suffering from depression as well? if so, you need to be very careful about watching out for your own emotional health. becoming so entangled in your friend's problems that you begin to go downhill yourself won't help anyone.
remember, you are not responsible for solving your friend's problems. you are doing exactly the right thing by letting him know that you are available as a resource; beyond that, however, unless you think his circumstances have become life-threatening, you are limited in what you can do, in my opinion, until he is ready to respond to your overtures.
i hope that your friend starts to feel better soon and that you are taking care of yourself as well.
i apologize for taking so long to answer. somehow i missed your latest post.
it will take approx six days for all of the zoloft to clear your system if you stop it all at once.
ordinarily, it is not wise to stop a psych med all at once, because your body has gotten used to to having it and therefore you should wean yourself off it gradually over several weeks. however, since you've only been on it a week and since your dosage is at the bottom end of the recommended therapeutic dosage, i think the chances of having a problem re its withdrawal are probably pretty minimal (please note, tho, that i am not a medical person, see PS, and your dr's opinion on this would be better than mine).
you are currently taking 50 mg/day. let me suggest that you withdraw from it over three days. in other words, on the first day, drop your dosage to 25 mg. on the second day, drop it to 12.5 mg, on the third day to 6.25 mg, and on the fourth day don't take any. if your symptoms reappear during this withdrawal period, slow down your rate (in other words, maybe take two days each for the first and second reductions in dosage).
of course, it might be wisest to ask your dr about how long you should take to withdraw completely. whatever s/he says will trump anything i have said.
i hope you will have no problems with going off zoloft/sertraline and that you can find a med that works better for you.
-- susie margaret
PS -- i welcome, solicit, and indeed beg for correction, amendment, or replacement of any of my conclusions in this post from someone more knowledgeable about psych med half-life and withdrawal.View Thread
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.
i am so sorry you've been feeling so terrible. you are among friends here.
i know what it is like to move to a new place, to a new job where every day you are working as hard as you can to figure out what is expected of you, are you doing everything correctly, are you getting along with everyone. and then when you're thru for the day, you have to face finding a new grocery store, and a new hair person, and a new car person, and new everything in the way of establishing a routine for yourself.
this takes a tremendous amount of emotional -- not to mention physical -- energy. and when you get emotionally and physically drained, that's when depression sneaks in under the door and rears its unlovely head and says, hi, remember me?
i think the first order of business has to be getting some help for your depression. were you seeing a psychiatrist or therapist where you used to live? can you get a referral from either of them to see a local person? have you found a primary-care dr where you are now; maybe s/he could give you a referral or, at the very least, evaluate whether some psych meds might help. are you on psych meds now?
how are you managing your time outside of work? i'm assuming that you have checked out the obvious places to meet people -- house of worship, book clubs thru the library, classes thru the community center, sessions at the rec center? have you met any of your neighbors? do you have any time for volunteering somewhere?
i know all this seems overwhelming. but you don't have to do everything at once. just do one thing at a time. just one phone call a day to get a name for a referral, then just one phone call a day to get an appointment. even one phone call a week will help. one phone call is one more than no phone calls.
you have done a tremendous amount so far, and you need to give yourself credit for that. it is hard to move to a new city. it is hard to start a new job. it is hard to find a new place to live. all of these things are hard even if you only have to do one of them, and you've had to do all of them.
from your post, i can't tell exactly what you mean when you say you feel "desperate," but i want you to know that webMD has a list of crisis resources at http://www.webmd.com/help/crisis-resources?printing=true. please print it out and keep a copy at your house and in your purse/wallet.
finally, let me ask this -- are you getting enough sleep? when you are feeling down like this, it is really important that you get enough sleep and (OK, i'm not your mother, but here goes) eat real food, not junk.
you have had enough experience with your depression to know when you are in trouble; that's why you wrote here, and you did exactly the right thing. so you know you are on the right track. you can do this.
i send you caring thoughts and hope that you will keep us posted on how you are doing.
i'm not quite sure how you would go about this, but maybe you could print this out and make it available to your daughter somehow, so that even if she doesn't feel comfortable coming to you when she is at her darkest moments, she would know of other resources available to her for help.
i hope that tomorrow is a good day for both you and your daughter.
i'm very glad that R started this thread. i have been deeply affected by this robin williams thing, and, in fact, i've been shocked by how distressed i am.
even now, more than a week later, i notice that when i'm talking about it, i say "this robin williams thing" rather than "robin williams's suicide." i think my objectifying it in that language is my attempt to distance myself from the very intense emotions i am feeling about it. he must have been in such incredible pain, and i know what that feels like, and it scares me even to imagine it again.
i used to post quite regularly in this community, and after several years, i had to take a break. i was going thru more ups and downs than usual and was very tired. last week i realized that i wanted to reach out again here, and it wasn't until i looked at this thread tonight that it dawned on me that thinking about robin williams might have been what prompted that impulse.
so now i'm remembering robin williams and how brilliant he was -- what a joy it was to watch his mind in action -- he was always about 25 steps ahead of everyone else, and going in a completely unanticipatable direction (is that even a word?) -- and he could be so moving and insightful and tender at the same time -- and i'm so grateful that we had him as part of our lives, even tho it wasn't for long enough.
people come to this community because we know that it is a place where we are safe, a place where we understand each other's fears and anguish, a place where we look after each other and give what comfort is possible to each other, and, most of all, a place where we know we are not alone.