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The start of my journey to recovery. Saturday July 5, 2014

My awareness of being depressed only occurred in the first part of this year, but I look back and wonder just how long I have been living in a depressed state.

In February I found myself contacting a Counsellor and nervously attending a session. I was in a very unhappy place in my relationship and had been for a number of years, I needed to work out what to do about it.

Prior to attending the session I was petrified that the counsellor would think I was wasting their time, that there wasn't really a problem, that I should deal with things.

I have lived with an addict for 18 years and, having tried numerous ways to 'cure' the addiction I had reached a point of realisation that I was helpless to change my partner. My way of coping over the past few years has been to shut down my emotions completely.

I cried my way through that first session, and then the next, and then the next. I was handed a checklist which I duly completed and it was suggested to me that I speak to my GP about depression. My initial reaction was defensive, I am not depressed, it can't happen to someone like me. I work with people with mental health issues, I work with people with addictions, I work in a very challenging role.

And yet here I was, living with an addict and in denial about my life and my own depression. I felt a complete failure and was adamant I was not depressed.

But then I thought back to my childhood, living with a mum who was severely depressed, and vowing that if I ever was I would do something about it. So here I am, taking action to do just that.

A Moodscope member.

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Misty Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 5:35am

Like you Rosie, I can't seem to accept any diagnosis thrown at me, even though, it's very evident that I am really struggling. I can explain what's going on, as far as symptoms, and then just cry in panic. There's been life situations that have gotten me to where I am and I don't know where to start. Life is too overwhelming and hurts so much. I take the medication prescribed and like you, try my best to push down the emotions. How do we accept?

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:00am

I am male, 56 and I am from a family who outwardly have been relatively successful. But depression is a constant theme not only for me and my siblings but also for all my entended family. Sadly it is all too evident that it has definated inherited traits. Having looked into it within my family it has a constant presence in 3 generations at least. Sadly I have lived most of my life in the North East and where help was offered via NHS the approach because I spoke well was "talkung solutions". Result upset, crying but no resolution. Having moved to the SE the approch at GP level had beed a revelation. Chemical help has improved my date 10 fold. Without it I sure I would by now have taken my life. However, were it not also for the help of communities like this I would not have had the patience nor support to persist (not a word you even know when in the midst of depression) with the drugd and effectively establish the right doseage for me. Also I know recognise that I, in my state have been the cause of depression in my wife. She has grown to hate my state and sadly hate begets a mind condition. My appologies..this becomming cathartic do I will take it elsewhere BUT to address your state mind aknowledge that there there is likely to be a physiological reason, a chemical imbalance that needs addressing via medical professionals plus support from a caring community such as this

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:04am

Sorry for spelling mistakes - publish and be damned

Julia Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:23am

There is so much documented evidence of inherited conditions but none or little of depression. Perhaps it's not a depression gene as such but a view of and problems coping with life which children pick up from their parents. I also worry ,as Rosie suggests that my depression affects those around me in the same way as living with an addict.I think it's the inability however hard a partner tries, to change an addict's or a depressed person's life around. Effective help has to come from outside, whether from medication or objective therapy. However the kindness and loyalty of a partner helps enormously in the day to day survival of an afflicted partner. It's good to read your blog Rosie and in a way see it from a different perspective and also don't worry Anonymous about your typos. I am finding it difficult expressing myself this morning. It's far easier to read a comment with typos than try to understand what someone writes if they don't write down their thoughts clearly.

Adam Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:33am

Thank you for your moving and heartfelt post Rosie. Please know that you are not alone and I am sure all Moodscopers wish you strength and success on your journey.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:57am

I echo everything that Adam has just said. That tiny first step is a monumentous one. I hope you can take comfort from the fact that there is an entire community here who understand what you're going through, where you are and wish you well x

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:03am

Thanks Rosie. It's astonishing how effectively we can blinker ourselves about our coping (or not coping) mechanisms. I've been depressed since I was two - long story, won't go into why - and have always thought of myself as an emotional person, in touch with my feelings. I am beginning to realise that in some situations my emotions are too painful to feel, so I cut off from them and don't feel them. I do of course, one of the ways they manifest is depression! Thanks again Rosie, an interesting post. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:05am

Rosie your blog has inspired me to write for the first time, I work with vulnerable women an children, always have a 'smile' on my face an to the outside world I am strong an able to cope with anything! It took me 2 yrs to finish an 18 year relationship as didn't want to upset him, I don't want to 'burden' my family an friends with how low an lonely I feel so as I write with misty eyes an lump in my throat I thank you for your blog an one day I will seek help, for now will get strength from moodscope an knowledge others do understand

Elaine x

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:36am

Firstly, well done.
Apparently people who work in roles like ours are more likely to have their own difficulties - this is actually part of what gives us the understanding to be able to empathise with and support vulnerable people so well.
Sometimes struggling on in a bad situation is easier than taking the chance to stop and get out of it into the unknown.
Once the penny dropped with me and I started to acknowledge my own issues (depression and anxiety) I too realised that they had been with me a lot longer than I had thought.
What you have done over the past few years was to find a way to cope with them, you are now tackling the root cause of them.
It will no doubt be an emotional roller coaster of a journey and it is hard work but you WILL come out the other side, one day you will think back and realise you feel better than you do now.
My advice is to seek support from everyone and anyone who is willing to give it, talk to people and be open and honest - I did this from day one with friends, family and colleagues and was rewarded not only with their support and understanding but also in them all opening up to me in return - it made me realise quite how many people who I considered to be 'normal' have 'issues'... This to me was so reassuring
Best of luck

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:56am

Hello Rosie, Anon 8am and Julia.

Well done Rosie for taking this first tough step - possibly the hardest. Good luck on your road to recovery.

Anon 8am your words about depression ..."has a constant presence in 3 generations..." ... it is as if someone has shone a bright light for me and illuminated what should have been the blindingly obvious .. Please write again as I am sure others have been hugely helped by your words as I have - thank-you.

Julia, your words about depression being "a view of and problems coping with life which children pick up from their parents" - ouch! As I watch my darling daughter struggling, I have to recognise that her coping strategies (or lack of) mirror ours more than I care to admit. One thing that has helped us (hubby and me) has been his ability to admit to when he is under his black cloud - it has helped me to accept rather than to try and change his behaviour. I think it is also helping him as I am not constantly trying to get him to do things my way ...and by the way, if I could express myself as coherently as you do when you are finding it "difficult" I would be well pleased! (this being the third version of what I am trying to say - hope it makes sense). Frankie

valerie Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 10:41am

Depression to me meant taking to ones' bed,not eating,unable to face people,unable to work,maybe not even washing,staring at the wall.That was not me,I was a "bundle of nerves",fretting,exhausting myself with responsibilities,perfectionism.

When I first requested Prozac my G.P (Incidentally also a homeopath/holistic healer and all round good egg) asked if I felt suicidal.I said something like " I don't want to kill myself but my life means nothing to me"

About day five of medication came the revelation.I did not realise how profoundly depressed I had been until I was no longer depressed if that makes sense?

I explained all this on my next visit,and my G.P nodded,grinning broadly-she had heard this said so often.Depression takes many forms.

Whatever the outcome of your domestic situation,you owe it to yourself to get your strength and life force back.Without that you can't even begin to tackle the other problems.Good Luck!

Valerie x

heather Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:03am

When I was 14 an old woman walked into my bedroom, turned around and walked out again - I asked my mother in the morning if we had had a visitor and she became severely distressed - she told me that my Grandmother had died the day before. I have never seen a ghost before that or since. BUT I didn't know I had a Grandmother - she had walked out on six children (when my mother was 2) and had lived her life as a "bag lady", peering through the railings of her children's school, and always around all her life but they were not allowed to acknowledge her. My mother even got married in another area so she would not turn up. Only the eldest son who remembered her helped her kept in touch. She was looked after by the wonderful Salvation Army. I was furious with my mother as I wanted to see her and it was too late. The purpose of this story is there is a lot of evidence that "Manic Depression" now called Bipolar is hereditary and when I developed the illness in my 20s my mother was beside herself with guilt about her mother, but it was not her fault that she had been brought up to ignore. I am filled with sorrow when I think of my grandmother, although she managed to get through life somehow and lived to a reasonable age. She even managed to see me once in my pram apparently. I see no reason why Depression would not also be hereditary but I suppose that like all illnesses it takes something to bring it out, or exacerbate it. I just know I am so lucky that my mother helped me so much when I was first ill. That I have my children and grandchildren and all the help that my poor darling Grandmother never had.
Love to all of you from Heather xx

heather Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:23am

ps: You are making a brave new start and with the sort of character you are, I think you are sure to have a good future. May the very best of luck go with you.

Kate Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 3:43pm

You have taken some very important steps on your journey. Understanding that you cannot "cure" your partner's addiction, taking steps to focus on what you can do for yourself, deciding that you deserve help even though you have always been the "helper"--all of these are life-affirming, life-changing changes. Depression is about brain chemistry, and we are only at the threshold of understanding it. Medication can be very helpful for some. There is clearly an inherited aspect to this, and I am confused as to why anyone would say there is not. A good overview:

In any event, good for you to have the courage to move forward, even though depression makes grief deeper, and moving harder. Life can be better and you deserve for it to be so. Best wishes!

Julia Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 7:41pm

Hi Frankie. I am not expert on depression running in families. I am not sure if it does even! I have heard and read that it might but nothing conclusive so don't worry, please. I do worry about my children but so far they seem fine and very happy. I didn't know your husband suffered too. I think us depressed folk are actually very nice kind people and I am sure your darling daughter and my children have inherited those nice streaks in our natures but won't end up depressed or suffering like we do from time to time. I am sorry I haven't emailed BTW. I have been thinking of you and wondering how you are. I will have lots of time over the next few weeks to put this right. Thank you for your kind words! XX

Julia Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 7:44pm

What an amazing story Heather. I will re read this. Fascinating if very sad.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 8:30pm

Thanks Julia. I'll email soon. Frankie xx

heather Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:29pm

Thank you Julia. It is sad, and she has always been on my mind. I am glad to have been able to share this and I hope that somehow or other she knows and is happy about it. I wrote a poem about her too. If anyone wants to read it I would be happy to type it.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 9:46pm

Some people demand and need a label. It means they can get to grips with something that seems intangible. Addictions, our own and living with addicts of one kind or another. We too are obsessed by the addict so just as ill? Well we have 12 step programmes thank goodness and they are free. You don't have to be co-dependent to go to CODA or living with an addict to go to then but whichever one you like the best you will feel better going to meetings once you hit rock bottom and have the energy to get there!

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:14pm

I keep typing a lovely long response and then keep losing it! Basically my response is that I am very much on a journey to acceptance but it is something that I believe is essential for me to do in order to progress. Lack of acceptance is ultimately what has kept me where I was and led me to being depressed. Acceptance is hard as I am having to really look at myself but in doing so it's helping me see I have actually have control in my life.

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:25pm

Thank you for replying to my post. I am glad that you have found methods that have really helped you. I am working hard to address where I am at but am struggling to find a support group for people in a similar situation. However, the responses from the post show me that maybe the moodscope community is just what I need to get involved in!

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:34pm

Hi thank you both, it has been lovely to receive such accepting responses and I look forward to becoming part of the community. Rosie

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:42pm

Hi Elaine, you are already getting help by using moodscope. This blog was my first post too but I know that just reading the blogs and doing the tests has been a huge help for me over the past few months. I fully empathise with "faking it" and absolutely hate the thought of being viewed as weak and unable to cope. I have very few people around me that know my circumstances and so that is why I need to find other forms of support too. Hopefully moodscope can help us both. Rosie x

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:50pm

I would always describe myself as emotional too, which I am, often reduced to tears by a sad story, or lyrics in a song. What I have been shocked to find out over the past few months is that I really am not very good at being able to identify what emotion it is I'm feeling. I guess having learnt to shut myself down means I have lost touch with recognising emotions. It sounds to me as though you have been experiencing depression for a very long time, I too hope that you are able to journey to a healthy place. Rosie x

Anonymous Sat, Jul 5th 2014 @ 11:54pm

Thank you for your response and your advice. I have to admit that being open and honest with those to me is something I'm really struggling with. I have always had friends confide me but for some reason I don't feel able to reciprocate by letting others into my life. This then makes me feel guilty and bad about myself! I am hoping that being involved in this community might be a step in the right direction for me tackling that issue. Rosie x

Anonymous Sun, Jul 6th 2014 @ 12:03am

Hi Kate, thank you for your encouraging words. It has taken me a long time to get to this point and I know it's going to be a rocky path but I am determined to stay focused on my goal, which is what is driving me to get as much and help and support as possible with my low mood. Moodscope has been so useful over the past few months. Rosie x

Anonymous Sun, Jul 6th 2014 @ 12:06am

Hi Valerie, thank you for sharing your experience and for your words of support and encouragement! I look forward to being able to offer the same back in return, Rosie x

Anonymous Sun, Jul 6th 2014 @ 12:12am

I have accepted that I am co-dependent. I fought it, I didn't want to accept it, I cried, but eventually gave in! And I am glad I did because accepting it means I can begin to work on myself. I am struggling to find any support group in my local area unfortunately but am using as many resources as I can find.

Anonymous Sun, Jul 6th 2014 @ 12:15am

Hi heather, thank you for sharing your wonderful story. It shows how vital awareness, understanding and support is. Rosie x

Julia Sun, Jul 6th 2014 @ 8:56am

Hi Heather. I would really love to read your poem. I am travelling to France today but if you type it on this page or Sunday's I will read it tomorrow definitely. or else ask Caroline for my email address. xx

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