Persistent Depressive Disorder

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Persistent Depressive Disorder
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    About Me

    Hello everyone; I'm still kinda new to TheMighty and brand new to this Group, so I wanted to introduce myself and kinda explain what I'm doing here and what I hope to get out of this group.

    My name is Ashlie. I'm from PA, USA. I turn 30 in 2 days. I'm divorced and have a boyfriend of 2ish years (we never really kept track of an anniversary date). I have an 8 year old daughter with my exhusband and 50/50 custody where she spends 2 weeks with me & my boyfriend and two weeks with her father at his mother's house. It's hard not having her for two weeks, but I'm also grateful for her relationship with her father and his family.

    I work from home, overnight, as a supervisor at a call center, so it's a lot of metrics reports and presentations, employee development and evaluations, and answering questions if anyone needs help with their calls or tickets. Not super interesting, but entertaining enough; I like the data analysis side of it more than the employee evaluations, but I digress.

    It's funny, when you start thinking of your hobbies, you start to realize that you're actually quite boring lol I like puzzles, normal jigsaw puzzles and also any sort of strategic puzzle games. I play a lot of single-player video games on my PC - a lot of the Fallout games, Satisfactory, Portal, Raft, Don't Starve, Cities: Skylines, stuff like that. Apocalyptical or city building type games. I like a lot of different tv shows; some things I frequently rewatch are Bojack Horseman, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Smiling Friends, Family Guy, American Dad, Rick and Morty, House, Weeds, Archer, Always Sunny in Phila, Bobs Burgers, and honestly soo soo many more.

    I am diagnosed with ADHD, Persistent depressive disorder (aka dysthymia), general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Undiagnosed, but I feel strongly that I also have Borderline Personality Disorder, but this is unconfirmed. I don't have a doctor that I actually talk to at the moment, just med checks. I take Vyvanse and Lexapro. My disorders are not currently under control with the current meds, but I'm having an impossibly hard time finding anyone to talk about it. Everywhere is completely booked. I use medical marijuana (it's only legal medically in my state) in addition to my meds to battle the symptoms.

    I'd like a friend that has similar interests as me and understands my struggle with mental illness. I don't have any friends that share my interests. I have a lot of mentally ill friends, and we bond over that, but I found that I don't really otherwise have anything in common with them. I'd like a friend that likes what I like.

    Wow, that was long, so I'm going to wrap this up! Thanks for reading if you got this far, hope to hear from you.

    4 people are talking about this
    Janet Coburn

    Is There a Difference Between Dysthymia and Major Depressive Disorder?

    Of all the types of depression that get discussed — major depressive disorder, exogenous depression, endogenous depression, bipolar depression — there’s one type that isn’t talked about very often: dysthymia. The word comes from Greek, where it is made up of “dys” (bad or ill) and “thymia” (mind or emotions). But in clinical terms, dysthymia has a more exact meaning than “ill humor” or “bad mood.” I had always assumed it came along a scale of severity that ranged from major depression through dysthymia to stability to hypomania to mania. It could be I was mistaken. Johns Hopkins Medical has this to say: “Dysthymia is a milder, but long-lasting form of depression. It’s also called persistent depressive disorder. People with this condition may also have bouts of major depression at times.” So, it’s milder, but long-lasting, persistent, and may occur in people with major depression. Not very specific, is it? Johns Hopkins also notes that to diagnose dysthymia, “an adult must have a depressed mood for at least two years (or one year in children and adolescents).” Dysthymia seems like a “squishy” diagnosis, as the signs and symptoms overlap so greatly with major depressive disorder. Garden-variety depression or “major depressive disorder,” according to the Mayo Clinic, “affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.” The risk factors and symptoms of the two disorders are extremely similar. However, major depressive disorder, according to multiple sources, must last around two weeks, while dysthymia lasts for two years or more. Personally, I can’t see how this is called “milder.” Alternating between the two conditions is sometimes referred to as “double depression.” I have thought of dysthymia as milder, and perhaps it is what I have now that my depression is pretty well controlled by medication and therapy. I no longer have extreme symptoms such as the self-harm and suicidal ideation. Then again, one of my major depressive episodes lasted three years or more, with no visible letup. Was that relatively mild? It sure as hell didn’t feel like it. Perhaps it doesn’t matter what you call it. The experience of the disorder seems to me more important than the label put on it. I haven’t looked the conditions up in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as I don’t have a copy. But all my life I have been diagnosed with depression or major depression (before my diagnosis was changed to bipolar II with anxiety) and it seems pointless now to call myself dysthymic. Maybe I’ll ask my psychotherapist when I see her next week if she can shed any light on this confusing nomenclature. Maybe she’ll have a handle on which of these I technically have. However you want to name it or frame it, though, I have — and probably have had since I was a child — some version of the disorder, and have applied the treatments for it (meds and therapy for both), and now experience occasional episodes of the “milder” version, though they certainly don’t last two years. In a way, I wish the various authorities would make up their minds and quit changing the labels. In another way, I don’t care what the labels are (unless they affect insurance companies and what treatments they allow). I experience this disorder in the way I experience it. Most of the time, I simply call it depression, and I don’t see how it helps to subdivide it. When I hit rock bottom, I call it a major depressive episode. When I’m relatively stable, I call it “in remission.” These may not be the technically correct terms, but they’re what make sense to me. I don’t know whether other people with bipolar disorder make these fine distinctions, or simply think of their shifting moods as lows and highs, depression and hypomania or mania, or whatever. But do we really need more labels? Isn’t lived experience good enough? Does the definition affect how our doctors treat us? Are there going to be more subdivisions in the future (a trend which seems particularly rampant right now)? Does what we call it really help anyone get better? Maybe I’m wrong here, but I don’t think so.

    Community Voices

    Damn it!!

    I checked my weight yesterday and discovered that all the weight I’d lost before the pandemic has returned, and 20lbs more. I am now at my heaviest - ever.

    It took a long time, 2 eating disorder programs, and somebody being mad/disappointed at me to regain the weight. Add in Persistent Depressive Disorder, Spondylitis, and MS and I’m looking at a very long road to getting back to the pre-pandemic me.

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    Community Voices

    Diagnosis Change

    My diagnosis was recently changed from simply Major Depressive Disorder to Persistent Depressive Disorder. It's no wonder I'm on antidepressant 15 or 17. I lost count. I’ve been officially depressed for over 20 years. I always thought it would get better. Now I know for sure I will always have a black cloud above my head. Everything will always be a shade of gray. What do I hope for now? I don't want to be sad forever.
    #PersistentDepressiveDisorder

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    Community Voices
    emma

    Late nights

    So I finally started therapy during the pandemic and I was actually doing ok. Not great, but I was doing so much better than I had in a long time. This year was my senior year of high school so there were a lot of extra stressors in my life on top of just dealing with life in general but through therapy (especially EMDR therapy) I got through them. I was doing so well that my therapist told me that believed I no longer needed therapy. At the time I truly believed that too. But now I’m slipping back into depression and anxiety (I have persistent depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder). I am so exhausted all the time but when night comes I can’t asleep. I just lay in bed for hours upon hours not being able to sleep. Some nights my head is racing with thoughts, while other nights it’s just so quiet and lonely. I can’t do anything during the day because I’m so tired. But it makes me even more depressed because I keep missing more and more of my life. Even the days that I actually get myself to leave the house and do something, the night isn’t any different. It’s just exhausting being so exhausted.
    #Depression #Anxiety #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #PersistentDepressiveDisorder

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    Community Voices

    Why I Still Take Antidepressants, Even Though I'm Not Depressed

    I have had depression for as long as I can remember, but I had no idea until my mid-20s. My childhood was very good: full of love, encouragement and plenty of opportunities. I wasn’t necessarily sad or troubled in a way that impacted my development. But I was a very deep thinker, and often acutely aware of the emotional temperature of those around me, even if I didn’t understand the cause. I had dark thoughts that I was afraid to talk about, and was frequently confused about my emotions and frustrated with feeling misunderstood. This often resulted in an angry temper tantrum or flood of tears. During adolescence, I became defiant, restless and “moody.” I left home and headed for the downtown streets in search of “adventure.” I toted along with me a growing melancholy and slight self-loathing that continued to grow and flourish as I explored various forms what turned out to be self-harm behaviors (drinking, drugs, promiscuity, etc). After enduring a two and a half-year abusive relationship , giving birth and giving my child to another family, spending time in prison and often earning money in unsavory ways, I finally returned home, physically unharmed but mentally and emotionally battered. As I became an adult, I put on a brave face and tried to become responsible, despite the deep sadness and lack of respect I felt for myself. To me, the world was a dark place filled with suffering, and I was adrift in it with little hope. I discovered the power that alcohol had in numbing the hurt and turning the dial down on the world, so I began to drink regularly. I had learned long ago how anger was often very effective in handling overwhelming feelings, so I leaned into it as “being alive” became less tolerable. I didn’t understand my feelings and behaviors, and knew they weren’t “normal,” but I simply assumed they were a part of my personality, my identity. Little did I know that they were behaviors attributed the chemical balance within my brain, and not shameful personality quirks reserved just for me. In my first year at university, while visiting the medical services department for a birth control prescription renewal, a doctor took note of my responses to some routine questions, and began asking about my mental health . She sent me to the department’s psychiatrist, and after much discussion and some testing, I was diagnosed with clinical depression . I was relieved to learn that I was not intrinsically bad or evil, and that these horrible feelings were treatable. We spent the next couple of months finding the right antidepressant for me and adjusting the dose. Life got better after that. I still had moments of melancholy and apathy, and a sense of angst permeated my life regularly, but the fog seemed to lift and the dark wave of self-harm and suicidal ideation all but disappeared. Coupled with therapy and a renewed interest in creativity, the medication and therapy changed my trajectory. Over the next 25 years, I would realize just how essential that medication is to my continued survival, mental health and emotional well-being. I haven’t stayed on the medication during this whole period. There have been several times throughout my life when I stopped taking it. Occasionally, it was because I had forgotten or was too bust to renew the prescription, but usually it was because I felt so much better that I didn’t think I needed it anymore. Each time, the sticky grey fog would slowly descend and cling to the edges of life, coating my experiences in bleakness, and eventually compelling me to permanently end the pain. And each time, a climax to the crisis would land me in a hospital bed or a psychiatrist’s office receiving a revised diagnosis ( major depressive disorder , rapid-cycling depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder ) and another prescription for antidepressants. Since my last diagnosis and round of therapy about eight years ago (after I became disabled and wheelchair dependent), I have stayed on the meds, periodically checking in with my doctors and adjusting the dose according to season and quality of life. Over the last two years, I have not been depressed. I have had my share of traumas, crises and days when I can’t shake “the blues.” For the most part, however, I am the happiest and most content I can ever remember being. Although I cannot work, I busy myself with advocacy, creative projects and learning. My relationships are peaceful and mutually respectful. I regularly practice self-care, and I am aware of fluctuations in my mental health . I can honestly and proudly say I am not at all depressed. So, why do I stay on the medication? Because I know I still have depression . Experience, research and professional help tells me so. Yes, it is possible to have depression and not be depressed. I continue to take my antidepressants for the same reason some people continue to take medication for other illnesses. Antidepressants are not a cure for depression or a happiness pill. They are a valuable tool amongst many in my mental health toolbox. They are a mood-stabilizing and suicide prevention measure. They help lift the fog of hopelessness and blunt the sharp edges of despair, so that I can reason more clearly and focus my energy on healing what hurts and pursuing what brings joy. Swallowing one and a half small pills each night is a simple, physically harmless task, and compared to the alternative I know all too well, I can tolerate the side effects which I barely notice anymore. Along with the joyful moments in life, I will probably experience more moments of crisis, trauma and grief in the future. When those moments arrive, the antidepressants I have onboard will not eliminate the pain or prevent the sorrow, but they may help to prevent those moments from overwhelming and destroying me. So, I am happy to continue taking my antidepressants and enjoying the peace and joy I’m experiencing, knowing that I’m doing what is best for me, and that it’s working. Because that’s all that really matters.

    Community Voices

    I'm exhausted!!!!

    <p>I'm exhausted!!!!</p>
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    Community Voices
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    Community Voices