Author Topic: Getting help for depression  (Read 2496 times)

Pigeon

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Getting help for depression
« on: July 24, 2017, 04:04:40 PM »
I'm having a really hard time with my college aged daughter.  She suffers from untreated depression/anxiety.  She refuses to get help, insisting that she will get over it herself.  It sometimes manifests as disordered eating.  All of this comes and goes in waves. 

We have excellent insurance and money is no object where her health is concerned.  She uses the idea that she doesn't want us to have to pay for it as one of many excuses, but it is not an issue. At one point, I tried basically forcing her to see a therapist, but she would not participate.

She is a very smart, talented, loving young lady with so much potential.  So far, she's done well in school but that won't continue if something doesn't change.  My heart is breaking watching her suffer, when help is out there. I can't understand how someone could be in such pain and not want to take steps to feel better.  She has always been stubborn as a mule and she insists she can overcome this on her own.  It's not happening.

If anyone has experience about what motivated either you or someone you love to overcome resistance and actually seek help, I'd appreciate your insights.

Warlord1986

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2017, 07:06:29 AM »
You have all of my sympathy. What are you going through is extremely painful. Knowing someone you love is hurting is never easy.

Unfortunately, you can't force her to want to get better. That's something that has to come internally. She has to want it for herself and it doesn't sound like she's there.

You can see a therapist though. You're dealing with some very difficult things right now, and the therapist might be able to give you some tips on how to reach out to her and help her.

I'll pray for you.

L. WereBear

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2017, 07:58:23 AM »
You may be the wrong person to talk to her about this.
I know my father was in denial about how severe his problem was until my sister and I started verbalizing concern. He had brushed off my mom and his mom.
Is there a sibling, close friend, or significant other who may be able to talk with her?

Sailor Sam

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2017, 07:59:57 AM »
I found this book pretty helpful. https://www.amazon.com/How-Survive-When-Theyre-Depressed/dp/0609804154

Good insights on how a depressed brain is operating, and what you can to do support yourself, and her.

Laura33

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2017, 08:34:00 AM »
I'm so sorry.  It sounds like there are both depression and control issues running through her head, which makes it impossible for her to follow your advice, and the more you push/suggest/arrange/etc., the more she insists on running the other way, because getting help would require admitting that you were right.  So I would second the suggestion for a therapist for YOU, to help you navigate your own stress about this problem, and to help you learn what might be helpful and what might not be.

FWIW, depression is evil and insidious, because you feel "normal" the entire time, and you don't realize your perception is so warped until you come out of it.  I have had a couple of bouts (one recent), and neither one was a big, "oh, woe is me, life is so awful" crying-jag kind of thing -- honestly, I never felt "bad" at all, ever.  I just felt disconnected from everything.  The world was grey, and everything was boring, and I just couldn't think of anything that sounded exciting enough to justify the effort required to go get my butt off the couch and do it.  This is the best thing I have ever read that explains it:  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html.  So I would do completely self-defeating things -- like go to work and putz on the internet literally all day -- knowing I was shooting myself in the foot, but unable to force myself to do the work.  I started driving ridiculously fast, and it wasn't until later that I realized that the nerves/adrenaline that come with doing that were the only time I actually *felt* anything -- I was intentionally choosing stupid things, just to feel something.

The first time, I got very, very lucky:  turns out it was a side-effect of a medical condition, and when I got that condition diagnosed and started medication to get my hormone levels back to normal, within three days, it was like the sun came out on my life again.  And I looked back at the prior 6 months, and basically said, "oh, holy fuck, wtf was THAT?!"  I didn't even realize I had been depressed until I was better!!  And that experience was what saved me this time:  again, I felt 100% completely normal -- but then my rational brain was able to look at my behavior, and think, hmmm, I like my job and yet am doing things that I know will get me fired; I'd like to live and yet am driving like a total maniac; there's something wrong, let's go to the doctor.  Even then, it took me 3 months to care enough about it to follow through -- the thing about depression is that it is like a virus that wants to replicate itself, so your brain becomes extra good at coming up with excuses for why it's NOT depression ("it's just a really boring project") or why you don't have time to go to the doctor or whatever.  It wasn't until I didn't even want to go out and do things with my family on the weekends -- my family, which has always been my sunny day no matter what -- that I was able to overcome the evil lady in my head, because I KNEW that was not me, and force myself to make the damn phone call to set up the appointment.  But once again, as soon as I went on the meds, the cloud lifted, and I was able to see the past few months clearly.  But without that prior experience, I wouldn't have had the knowledge to really "see" how not-me I had become, and the evil lady in my head would have been able to keep convincing me that I was the same person I'd always been, and that the way I was feeling/behaving just a rational response to some outside problem.

I know this is long, but the point of all of this is to try to explain why you cannot force someone who is depressed to get help -- who they are and what they are doing feels 100% normal to them.  And the more you push, the more ammo you are giving to the evil lady in their head -- oh, no, honey, it's not you, it's that crazy mother again, trying to control you and tell you what to do, you need to assert your independence and show her who's boss, don't go to that silly therapist, don't go to the doctor, you're just fiiiiiinnne.  I think all you can do is just provide quiet support, without judgment (I know, as a mom, it's almost impossible to say anything without either intended or unintended judgment, right?).  The message has to be "I'm here for you, I love you."  I think the hardest question you can ask is something like "are you ok?  you don't seem like you."  If you need to push for something, don't push for therapy ("you're 'wrong' and need to be fixed"), push for a visit to a doctor (because in many cases, depression is biochemical, and you actually NEED medication to produce whatever your body isn't -- I had therapy a few times over the years, and it never fixed anything, but medication, whoa, poof, gone.).

FWIW, my brother has been dealing with anxiety/depression all of his life, and spent probably 20 of those years in a pushme-pullyou with his parents.  It wasn't until he moved across the country and severed all normal communication that he had the space he needed to see a therapist and get on meds, and after many years of hard work, he now has a job and a car and appears to be back to functioning again.  Watching him flounder, and seeing that every effort they made to help just backfired, was THE hardest thing my mom and stepdad ever went through.  But part of parenting adult children is realizing that you can no longer fix everything for them, and that they are entitled to make their own decisions, no matter how stupid they are.  I'm sorry.
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Pigeon

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2017, 02:24:29 PM »
Thank you all for your comments--you all made me tear up a little and I'm not a person who tears up easily.

She has had a boyfriend who is a pretty decent guy.  He's actually the one who first clued us in to how badly she was suffering while she was away at school with him.  We'd only met him once at the time, so that took guts for him to do.  I know he's encouraged her to get help, too.

I know I can't force her to get help.  Trying was a bad decision on my part made out of desperation.  I've apologized to her and it won't happen again.

I do have some reason for a tiny bit of cautious optimism.  She's had a few very bad spells this summer and while she wants to curl up in a dark room and shut everyone out, including me, a couple of times she has let me sit quietly with her.

Last night, after having a bad day, she wanted to talk, and in between the sobs, she allowed as how there is one therapist she might be willing to see back in her college town.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that she will give this a try when school starts.  It's not much, but it is the first indication ever that she would even consider it, so it's a small crack in the brick wall. 

I agree meds might be very helpful, but if she makes it to the therapist, I'm sure they will suggest it.  Her family doc already has suggested meds and said she could prescribe, but dd wouldn't hear it.  In our conversation last night we talked about a couple of family members she is close to who have been on anti-depressants with positive outcomes.  We've talked about them before (well, I've talked), but she showed a glimmer of interest this time.  She does have  an appointment scheduled for a physical before she goes back to school.  Maybe it will come up again and she'll be more receptive.  I can only hope, I guess.

She also told me how helpful my support has been, which shocked me as I feel like I've been supremely useless.  Baby steps, I guess.

wenchsenior

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 02:49:10 PM »
Does your daughter suffer from any other health conditions that you know of? Any endocrine or hormonal problems?  I had pretty severe depression once in junior year of HS, and then again in my late 20s/early 30s several years of alternating low-grade and severe depression with a couple short remissions.  In my case, a big cause/worsening factor was an underlying un-diagnosed health issue.  It's not the only cause of depression in my case (there is a family tendency as well), but when the condition is well managed I typically only have to deal with occasional bouts of a few months of mild depression, and I know how to combat it pretty effectively.

ETA: Suspect I might have a similar condition to Laura33.

Also, is your daughter on the Pill or any hormonal birth control?   There are tons of types, and people react horribly to some.  I did fine on one type, but my sister (who is NEVER depressed) became nearly nonfunctional on the same one.  She suffered for a year before I stupidly thought to ask if she was on hormonal bc.  She went off the pill and felt totally normal 2 weeks later.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 02:54:03 PM by wenchsenior »

Laura33

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2017, 04:23:25 PM »
Thank you all for your comments--you all made me tear up a little and I'm not a person who tears up easily.

She has had a boyfriend who is a pretty decent guy.  He's actually the one who first clued us in to how badly she was suffering while she was away at school with him.  We'd only met him once at the time, so that took guts for him to do.  I know he's encouraged her to get help, too.

I know I can't force her to get help.  Trying was a bad decision on my part made out of desperation.  I've apologized to her and it won't happen again.

I do have some reason for a tiny bit of cautious optimism.  She's had a few very bad spells this summer and while she wants to curl up in a dark room and shut everyone out, including me, a couple of times she has let me sit quietly with her.

Last night, after having a bad day, she wanted to talk, and in between the sobs, she allowed as how there is one therapist she might be willing to see back in her college town.  So, I'm crossing my fingers that she will give this a try when school starts.  It's not much, but it is the first indication ever that she would even consider it, so it's a small crack in the brick wall. 

I agree meds might be very helpful, but if she makes it to the therapist, I'm sure they will suggest it.  Her family doc already has suggested meds and said she could prescribe, but dd wouldn't hear it.  In our conversation last night we talked about a couple of family members she is close to who have been on anti-depressants with positive outcomes.  We've talked about them before (well, I've talked), but she showed a glimmer of interest this time.  She does have  an appointment scheduled for a physical before she goes back to school.  Maybe it will come up again and she'll be more receptive.  I can only hope, I guess.

She also told me how helpful my support has been, which shocked me as I feel like I've been supremely useless.  Baby steps, I guess.

Again, I am so sorry you are dealing with this, and what you report from your daughter is encouraging.  The other part of the problem with depression is that it is so stigmatized -- you feel like a total entitled twit because you have all of these good things and aren't happy-happy-happy, and even going to see someone sounds like you are admitting to some horrible character flaw.  The best thing you may be able to do is to help her de-stigmatize it and treat it like any other medical condition -- which, again, is exactly what it is.  I.e., go to the doctor -- not just for a prescription antidepressant, but to check for any of the totally physiological health issues that can lead to depression as a symptom. [side note: this is the key to what I was saying above -- not just using the doc as a more-acceptable way to get prescription meds, but to have him run blood tests to see if there is an underlying health problem, because all the therapy in the world will not fix a damn thing if your hormones are out of whack.  Can you contact the doctor doing the physical in advance, privately, and ask them to run some blood tests?]. 

And also: "you know there is a genetic component, right?  Just like your blue/brown/etc. eyes and brown/blonde/red/etc. hair."  If you have relatives who have dealt with depression, your daughter is *definitely* at higher risk -- it's nothing to be ashamed of, more like "dammit, I got mom's horrible teeth and spent 5 years in braces."  I mean, if your DD had inherited high blood pressure, then part of adulting would be getting herself to the doctor for periodic checkups, and following whatever meds/lifestyle advice he gives.  This *should* not be any different.  [Yes, I know it *is*, again because of the stigma and mushiness of "feelings" and all that.  But that is not the disease, that is our societal response to something we are uncomfortable with.  Fuck that.  This disease is nasty and ugly and insidious and wicked hard to overcome, and those who are fighting it deserve praise and support instead of whispered comments and pitying sighs.]

You are doing an awesome job of supporting your daughter, and the fact that she is willing to acknowledge that to you is a great sign.
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Pigeon

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2017, 05:28:52 PM »
The relatives in question with a history of mental health issues aren't biologically related to dd.

Her doctor did quite a bit of blood work  and is aware of dd's struggles. We have known this doctor for years.

retiringearly

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2017, 06:26:07 PM »
Sorry to hear she is having trouble.

I have dealt with depression/anxiety for all of my adult life.  It runs in my father's family.

I did not want to talk to a therapist or a doctor about it.  I felt that it would be admitting defeat in a way.  Once I did talk to a therapist it was a huge relief.  I found out that what I was going through wasn't uncommon.  She eventually referred me to a  psychiatrist for meds.  I was very, very hesitant to go on meds.  My regular doctor explained how they worked and he encouraged me to give them a try.  I am grateful that I did.  I will most likely be on SSRI's for the rest of my life and I am fine with that.

I would ask your doctor for a  referral to a therapist so you can ask about different approaches to helping your daughter.  I suspect that there a plenty of people out there going through exactly what you are going through.  Hopefully a professional will be able to give you some coaching.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2017, 07:37:22 PM »
I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder so I'm somewhat of an expert on this subject. Depression is a really nasty illness because it actively prevents the sufferer from seeking or accepting treatment. This is not really a situation where you can encourage the sufferer to get help and expect something to happen. You have to go to your daughter and make her go to a therapist. At least until she can get into therapy and regularly take her prescribed medication.

I know it's unpleasant to try to force someone to get help, but that's what you have to do. That's what my friends did and I fought them hard about it. They were persistent and I begrudgingly did what was necessary to help my illness.

Dicey

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2017, 11:56:43 PM »
OMG, my sister "Sue" struggles with depression. After ten relatively good years, she decided she didn't need "those chemicals" in her body anymore. You can only imagine the havoc that has ensued.

Finding her way back to something that works is a hell she has yet to emerge from. I've kind of stopped writing in my journal because I was in the middle of telling her story when this happened (there is also inheritance drama mixed into the plot, sigh). I am so afraid she will not get back on track. I reach out as often as I can add sometimes she responds, but I would not wish her hell on anyone, ever, anywhere.

My heart goes out to everyone who knows this darkness first hand.
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shelivesthedream

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2017, 02:08:19 AM »
Just wanted to chime in on not realising how depressed you are when it's happening. It's like how 17 degrees feels cold in the height of summer but warm in the depths of winter. I'm fine right now and I can't really remember what it feels like to be really depressed. I can describe it but I can't remember what it feels like. So my yardstick for "Am I sad or depressed?" is "Can I remember what it feels like to be happy?" Because when I am depressed I honestly can't. So your daughter may not feel like she has a major problem because she cannot remember what it's like to feel OK, so she assumes this is what life feels like because at the moment she doesn't know any better - so why go to a therapist if this is as good as life gets? I couldn't engage with treatment properly until my depression started lifting on its own and I could recognise how bad I felt. I didn't feel better, but I could understand that I felt bad. I think this is what people mean when they talk about people having to want to be treated. If she can cope with it, some reading material by people who have recovered from depression may help her remember that there is a sunny side to the street. The Hyperbole and a Half link above is excellent.

StarBright

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2017, 06:02:58 AM »
I just wanted to give you internet hugs and hope.

My younger brother ended up being diagnosed with manic depression and OCD when he was in his late teens. His late teens and 20s were rough but my parents (especially my mom) were just always there quietly in the background. Living with them was always an option for him, as long as he needed it. One day he just sort of broke down to my mom and said "I need your help now."

He got on medication, pops in and out of talk therapy and occasional behavioral therapy for his OCD, and his life has been on a fairly steady upswing ever since. He has dark moments but he calls us and tells us and we ask what he needs and he comes out of it again. He says the thing that made the most difference was that when he was ready for help he knew my parents were there because they had always been there.

It sounds like you are doing a great job with your daughter!

wenchsenior

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2017, 06:47:37 AM »
The relatives in question with a history of mental health issues aren't biologically related to dd.

Her doctor did quite a bit of blood work  and is aware of dd's struggles. We have known this doctor for years.

No need to answer me explicitly on this forum if you don't wish to, but in the case of the hormone condition I was thinking of, your GP might not know enough to run the specific hormone and other tests (ultrasound) that would identify it.  Even ob/gyns are horrifically bad at recognizing all but extremely typical cases.  I was somewhat atypical, and was not diagnosed until I was near 30!

Some things to consider: I there any history of infertility or type 2 diabetes in your the family? Did your daughter's period start at a normal age and was it regular, or were her cycles particularly long or erratic?  Is she normal weight or does she have a tendency to gain weight easily or quickly? You mentioned disordered eating...is she overweight now?   Does she have any tendency to hypoglycemia (shakiness, moodiness, anxiety, extreme hunger between meals)? Any particularly heavy, male-pattern body hair (face, stomach, etc) or excess acne?  (I realize that, as a mother, you might not actually know the answers to some of these once she actually got her period...in that case you will need to ask).

One problem with identifying hormonal disorders is that if your daughter is on hormonal birth control, some of the symptoms will be 'masked'.  Also, there's no point doing the tests for her regular hormone levels if she's on the Pill, etc. 

But, as I commented above, hormonal birth control also sometimes causes depression.


Of course, your daughter's issues might be totally unrelated to endocrine/hormone issues. But feel free to PM me if any of this sounds familiar.



   


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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2017, 10:51:23 AM »
I was not diagnosed with depression until I was 30 and it was life altering to have context for all that I had been feeling in the earlier part of my life. We can't diagnose what is going on, or what the contributing factors are from an internet board, but it sounds like she would benefit from professional help. I think the message is pretty simple.

"We love you, we see your pain, we support you. With some help, you don't have to feel this way."

That last part is surprisingly hard to accept. That pain is wrapped into so many parts of the experience of the world and life that to give that up can feel like losing a part of yourself. That can be really, really scary and vulnerable. The implicit question is also what if it doesn't work and this is as good as it gets?

We don't know what the trigger will be for your daughter to get help. Coming from a place of love and support is never a bad approach though. She's lucky to have people in her life that care enough to reach out. Many are not so lucky. I know that I wish I'd had people close to me that recognized it and had been able to support me in that way.

dougules

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2017, 11:19:00 AM »
That sounds rough.  +1 on you going to a therapist.  It's tough enough on you to even watch your daughter go through that. 

You may not think your suggestions are getting through, but if you've said it once or twice the idea is rattling around in her head somewhere.  Pushing it more than that will only push her away. 

Mental illness is hard to deal with.  It seems subtle in the moment, but looking back you realize it's hard to know you're drowning when you're used to water in your lungs. 

Inaya

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2017, 08:24:35 AM »
FWIW, depression is evil and insidious, because you feel "normal" the entire time, and you don't realize your perception is so warped until you come out of it.  I have had a couple of bouts (one recent), and neither one was a big, "oh, woe is me, life is so awful" crying-jag kind of thing -- honestly, I never felt "bad" at all, ever.  I just felt disconnected from everything.  The world was grey, and everything was boring, and I just couldn't think of anything that sounded exciting enough to justify the effort required to go get my butt off the couch and do it.  This is the best thing I have ever read that explains it:  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html.  So I would do completely self-defeating things -- like go to work and putz on the internet literally all day -- knowing I was shooting myself in the foot, but unable to force myself to do the work. 


This is me. I am hugely apathetic, often bordering self-sabotaging. But the only time I "realize" or "remember" I have depression is on days where all I want to do is stay in bed, and even things I enjoy immensely hold no interest for me.


A quick word on medications. I won't take them anymore. I should, but I don't--it's a psychological hangup and it's bad and I'll own it. Part of that is stigma--"I have to take medications just to be a normal person." But part of that is due to therapists and doctors whose only solution was throwing prescriptions at me. Often at the first appointment without even getting to know me (which of course enforces the stigma--"I'm so bad even a therapist doesn't want to get to know me before subscribing medication"). I've had bad reactions, then been prescribed the exact thing that caused the reaction. As a result, I'm very suspicious of both medication and therapists. (If you think I refuse to see a therapist, you're entirely correct.)


I'm not saying that therapy or medications are bad. They help so many people. And they could probably help me if I hadn't been so poorly handled in the past. I guess what I'm saying is, tread very carefully, especially where medication is concerned. You don't want to scare somebody away from something so beneficial the way I was scared away from it. From your posts, I can tell you already realize this. But apparently therapists don't.
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shelivesthedream

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2017, 08:43:06 AM »
This is me. I am hugely apathetic, often bordering self-sabotaging. But the only time I "realize" or "remember" I have depression is on days where all I want to do is stay in bed, and even things I enjoy immensely hold no interest for me.

A quick word on medications. I won't take them anymore. I should, but I don't--it's a psychological hangup and it's bad and I'll own it. Part of that is stigma--"I have to take medications just to be a normal person." But part of that is due to therapists and doctors whose only solution was throwing prescriptions at me. Often at the first appointment without even getting to know me (which of course enforces the stigma--"I'm so bad even a therapist doesn't want to get to know me before subscribing medication"). I've had bad reactions, then been prescribed the exact thing that caused the reaction. As a result, I'm very suspicious of both medication and therapists. (If you think I refuse to see a therapist, you're entirely correct.)

I'm not saying that therapy or medications are bad. They help so many people. And they could probably help me if I hadn't been so poorly handled in the past. I guess what I'm saying is, tread very carefully, especially where medication is concerned. You don't want to scare somebody away from something so beneficial the way I was scared away from it. From your posts, I can tell you already realize this. But apparently therapists don't.

I was on medication for a while. It didn't make me feel better at all, but it kept me functional enough that I did my dissertation while seriously depressed and scraped a 2.i. It kept me able to feed myself and clothe myself and not drop out of university. When I started feeling not-depressed enough to realise how depressed I was, I weaned myself off it without telling my doctor until after I'd done it. For me, it was a good thing to have done: actually taking action and believing in myself. It's really not what you're supposed to do. (FYI, this was with the therapist I didn't get on with, see below.) In my experience, medication won't make you better but can prop you up until you're ready to start getting better.

I also had one dreadful therapist (I was too depressed to engage, CBT is not for me, and she was just dreadful) and one excellent one (really kind and encouraging, talked about what I wanted to talk about, it was a good time for me and I took the initiative in going to see her). OP, if you do talk to your daughter about it, one thing I would say is that you don't have to have a particular agenda to go and see a therapist. It's OK to just go and sit there for an hour and not be sure what to talk about or not really want to say anything. It's also OK to go and sit there and cry for an hour (I'm sure most of their business expenses are tissues.) They are so so used to people just turning up and being weird. It's also OK to not get on with a therapist - that does not mean that the problem is you. Give it two sessions, then find another one.

I worked in reception for a psychiatric outpatient clinic for a few months, and one of the department policies was that the patient had to make the appointments. In practice I did speak to a lot of spouses and parents, but I think they had seen a lot of people who had been shoved in there (for the best of reasons) by someone who cared about them and the person just was not ready or willing to engage with therapy so the doctors didn't want to waste their time trying to force someone to engage.

Re: bolded part above: there just is huge stigma about depression and medication and therapy. It's a sad truth that your daughter will probably get more out of them if she takes the initiative, but while she's really depressed she'll find it hard to. One thing you can do is to make it easy when she does. Let her know that if she's ever ready, you'll hold her hand through finding someone, making an appointment, planning how to get there, even driving her there and back... all the admin that can make it totally overwhelming just as you finally crack enough to realise you'd like some help. All she has to do is ask.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2017, 08:46:53 AM »
I would pay attention to the role the eating disorder might be playing in resistance to treatment. People with eating disorders can be particularly resistant to seeking help (she doesn't want someone to tell her that she has to eat more/stop vomiting/etc). I don't have specific advice, but perhaps think about if there is a way to make it clear to her that a therapist will not require her to work on her eating disorder but instead can focus on the depression (in reality, a therapist should try to gradually get her to work on this, but build up trust first).

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2017, 10:52:10 AM »
Just posting to follow this.  I worry about my sister, but she can be difficult (which I guess go without saying when you are worried about a family member).

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2017, 10:56:45 AM »
I will second all of the comments on finding the right therapist, and the difficulty of finding a therapist when finally in a position/state to ask for help.

My first therapist was helpful and got me over that initial hump, but a bad fit for many reasons. I swapped to a psychiatrist who has been a tremendously good fit. One benefit of the psychiatrist is that they have a far better understanding of the medicine of the drugs. Often a therapist will have a working relationship with someone with prescribing authority rather than being the person who is doing the prescribing themselves. In my limited experience, it was a world of difference in how they talked about realistic expectations for what the drugs would do, what the side effects may be, and how to work with them. For me, medication has been a positive life-changer with an acceptable level of side effects.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2017, 11:01:53 AM »
FWIW, depression is evil and insidious, because you feel "normal" the entire time, and you don't realize your perception is so warped until you come out of it.  I have had a couple of bouts (one recent), and neither one was a big, "oh, woe is me, life is so awful" crying-jag kind of thing -- honestly, I never felt "bad" at all, ever.  I just felt disconnected from everything.  The world was grey, and everything was boring, and I just couldn't think of anything that sounded exciting enough to justify the effort required to go get my butt off the couch and do it.  This is the best thing I have ever read that explains it:  http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html.  So I would do completely self-defeating things -- like go to work and putz on the internet literally all day -- knowing I was shooting myself in the foot, but unable to force myself to do the work. 


This is me. I am hugely apathetic, often bordering self-sabotaging. But the only time I "realize" or "remember" I have depression is on days where all I want to do is stay in bed, and even things I enjoy immensely hold no interest for me.


A quick word on medications. I won't take them anymore. I should, but I don't--it's a psychological hangup and it's bad and I'll own it. Part of that is stigma--"I have to take medications just to be a normal person." But part of that is due to therapists and doctors whose only solution was throwing prescriptions at me. Often at the first appointment without even getting to know me (which of course enforces the stigma--"I'm so bad even a therapist doesn't want to get to know me before subscribing medication"). I've had bad reactions, then been prescribed the exact thing that caused the reaction. As a result, I'm very suspicious of both medication and therapists. (If you think I refuse to see a therapist, you're entirely correct.)


I'm not saying that therapy or medications are bad. They help so many people. And they could probably help me if I hadn't been so poorly handled in the past. I guess what I'm saying is, tread very carefully, especially where medication is concerned. You don't want to scare somebody away from something so beneficial the way I was scared away from it. From your posts, I can tell you already realize this. But apparently therapists don't.

Sometimes it seems like mental healthcare is still not quite out of the leeches and bloodletting phase.  Just like with doctors, though, get the right psychiatrist and/or therapist makes a huge difference.  Some are worth way more than others.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2017, 12:07:39 PM »
How do you go about finding a doctor/psychiatrist when you think you might have mild depression/anxiety? I only recently got a PCP who I've seen a grand total of 3-4 times and don't have much of a relationship with yet (and I'm not sure if it matters but she's a PA not and doctor). I have an annual checkup with her in October but if I don't make an appointment with someone specifically for this I'll probably chicken out and not bring it up.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2017, 12:33:42 PM »
How do you go about finding a doctor/psychiatrist when you think you might have mild depression/anxiety? I only recently got a PCP who I've seen a grand total of 3-4 times and don't have much of a relationship with yet (and I'm not sure if it matters but she's a PA not and doctor). I have an annual checkup with her in October but if I don't make an appointment with someone specifically for this I'll probably chicken out and not bring it up.
Your insurance company should have a listing of in-network providers (I can see this on a webpage). If you are in an area with many choices, choose someone that is easy to get to. Choose someone who specializes in things that are relevant to you. They usually have bullet lists. You can call and talk to them on the phone for a few minutes and discuss what their specialty is as a brief litmus test. On the whole though, I think the priority is to get in and just be willing to shift to a different provider if they are not a good fit (and they may be great, too). To some extent it is most important to get over that initial hurdle. Once it is a known thing, it is far, far easier to move to a different therapist if needed, etc.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2017, 12:34:29 PM »
Lots of good replies so far.

I will reiterate one thing and add two items of my own.

First, as others have said, the depressed person can feel normal or OK from their perspective.  But they also have a rational part of their brain.  What I do for myself is set limits that my rational brain can tell whether or not I'm crossing:  If my kids are being taken care of and the laundry and dishes and housekeeping and lawn are all good, then I'm doing OK.  If any of those start to slip by the wayside, I need to take action.  And then, as others have said, being depressed can often cause motivation to fly out the window.  It can be sort of like being paralyzed:  Part of me wants to make a phone call, but I just can't move to pick up the phone.  Like gravity or inertia are 10 times stronger than they actually are.

Second, college can be a stressful environment.  For me, stress exacerbates my depression.  So I would look to see if there are practical things you can do to help her reduce her college-related stress items.  Can she cut back her class load by a class or two?  Is she happy with her college and her major and her friends?  Learning stress management techniques can be really helpful and are good life skills to have for everyone.

Third, I will specifically suggest Prozac as a medicine.  It has been around for a very long time, so it is a very well understood medication.  It generally has very few side effects.  I know you said money isn't an issue, but it does happen to be dirt cheap.  Finally, it is a very gentle and smooth medicine that takes weeks to months to build up and the effects are very gradual.  The effects are also very gradual when one stops taking it.  The effect of this is for the person to feel more like it is a no-big-deal every-day maintenance thing that helps her feel better and not so much as an instant-chemical-now-you're-happy-even-if-it-doesn't-make-sense drug.  Anyway, if maybe your daughter is concerned about the "druggy" nature of antidepressants, Prozac may not seem so scary or intimidating.

I guess I would also encourage checking for all the other potential physical causes as others have mentioned - thyroid, iron, hormones.
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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2017, 12:56:45 PM »
Second, college can be a stressful environment.  For me, stress exacerbates my depression.  So I would look to see if there are practical things you can do to help her reduce her college-related stress items.  Can she cut back her class load by a class or two?  Is she happy with her college and her major and her friends?  Learning stress management techniques can be really helpful and are good life skills to have for everyone.
This!!!


And I will add that she might be having trouble with her classes and it's exacerbating her depression. Or her depression might be causing her to have trouble with her classes. Or a nasty feedback loop of both. You might (with or without even mentioning the depression) try to get some idea of how she is feeling/doing academically. If everything is fine, then peachy! But if not, I would strongly advise she get some academic help (tutor, extra office hours with professor, etc.), because struggling with classes is bad enough without depression.
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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2017, 01:19:53 PM »
Yep,

I had a mother with severe depression and spent the better part of my twenties running away from he fact that I was depressed.  Like others in the thread, I rarely felt really “bad”, just very blah most of the time.  I didn’t seek help until after I had kids and I was having trouble coping with my son’s autism diagnosis.  Basically, a real crisis tipped my dysthymia into a bout major depression.  Again, similar to other posters, after a few days on Prozac, it was like “ah-ha!  This is what normal feels like!”  I had no idea because I was always that way, and I figured that this was just who I was.  FOr me, CBT really helped a lot, and still does.  I now treat my dysthymia with a trifecta of exercise, meditation and CBT. 

My daughter told me she was depressed at age 13.  While I was sad for it, I considered it a win that she told me, and she now sees a therapist regularly. 

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2017, 01:40:45 PM »
I appreciate all the feedback. 

The college situation does complicate matters.  Where we live we have great healthcare and tons of options.  Her college is in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere many hours away from where we live, so I can't drive her around to appointments.  We could provide a car for her if she would be willing to travel to the nearest city, but she won't  and doesn't want to take the car back.  Fortunately, the one person she is open to seeing right now is right in the little town.

I know that sometimes you have to try a number of providers before you find the right one.  I'm trying to balance that fact with not overwhelming her when in reality her options will be limited there.  I'm also trying to see how to make payment as easy as it can be.  I'm sure the therapist won't take our insurance and we'll have to go the reimbursement route.  That is a pain and will give her another excuse not to go.

I took an antidepressant once while going through cancer treatment and it was so, so helpful.  I know situational depression is different and everybody reacts to drugs differently.  Still, I hope she will change her mind and be open to meds. I'm just holding my breath that we really can get her to see somebody and she doesn't change her mind. 

Inaya

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2017, 02:00:43 PM »
I appreciate all the feedback. 

The college situation does complicate matters.  Where we live we have great healthcare and tons of options.  Her college is in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere many hours away from where we live, so I can't drive her around to appointments.  We could provide a car for her if she would be willing to travel to the nearest city, but she won't  and doesn't want to take the car back.  Fortunately, the one person she is open to seeing right now is right in the little town.

Does her school have an on-staff therapist or counselor she could see?

My college was in a tiny rural town more than an hour from "civilization," and the on-site clinic and counseling center were often the best care students at the school could get. And definitely the most convenient.
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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2017, 02:46:21 PM »
I appreciate all the feedback. 

The college situation does complicate matters.  Where we live we have great healthcare and tons of options.  Her college is in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere many hours away from where we live, so I can't drive her around to appointments.  We could provide a car for her if she would be willing to travel to the nearest city, but she won't  and doesn't want to take the car back.  Fortunately, the one person she is open to seeing right now is right in the little town.

Does her school have an on-staff therapist or counselor she could see?

My college was in a tiny rural town more than an hour from "civilization," and the on-site clinic and counseling center were often the best care students at the school could get. And definitely the most convenient.

They have a counseling center but it's very underfunded and understaffed.   I called to get general information about it.  It's ridiculous and forever to get an appointment.  From what I could tell, the few counselors in town are better qualified and I'm sure are very used to seeing students, so I think that's a better option.  Plus, the only therapist she has indicated she would consider seeing is the one who taught her class as an adjunct before and is in town.  She would be mortified going to the campus health center for fear someone she knows would see her and in her mind everyone would know about it.

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2017, 10:59:34 AM »
What I did was I started acting nicer towards people and made myself think positively, also I set goals, even simple ones to make myself feel accomplished. These self made techniques worked for me and it has a nice long term effect too

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2017, 07:44:49 AM »
Hey Pigeon,

I'm sorry to hear that your daughter is going through this. And as her parent, it must be very tough on you as well.

I've been through some tough patches with depression myself. I want you and your daughter to know that it honestly gets better.

I think each person is different. But for what it's worth, here are some things I learned. They might be useful to your daughter.

- I saw a therapist. It actually did nothing for me. But the action of seeing one somehow made the problem feel more real, and led me to being more proactive about handling the depression. So I think there's some value in seeing one even if you're sceptical about them being able to help.

- My diet was far more important to regulating my mood than I realised. Cutting back on the sugars, bread and dairy brought some much needed stability to my mental states, which gave me the space to do some deeper inner work.

- I learned to meditate. Cultivating the ability to step back from one's thoughts can be very powerful. When I could let my negative thoughts unfold without getting caught up in them, I began to realise just how ignorant and mundane they truly were. Your mind is like the most boring person on the planet; always talking and always complaining about trivial things (including you), over and over. That's its job, and that's OK. But it's so valuable to recognise that you are not actually the voice in your head.

- I realised how self-centred my thoughts were. I don't mean that I was a selfish person. But my perspective was locked into how I compared against everyone and everything else, so I was quite literally centred around the self. Learning to take myself less seriously and admit that my flaws were OK became a game changer.

- I learned that other people go through bad times as well. This is a weird one which I don't see mentioned by others all too often, but I think I was so self-centred (see above) that I honestly had difficulty processing the fact that other people could have it worse than I did. I was in total victimhood. I don't really know why this was empowering. I guess in some sense it affirmed that it was OK to have a rough patch in my life, and that I wasn't as abnormal as I had first thought.

- This was unintentional, but by happenstance I surrounded myself with excellent role models in the forms of book authors and podcast hosts. Many of these people have their own "super hero origin story" where they've gone through bad times and made something truly remarkable out of themselves. I learned that if they could make it, so could I.

All the best. Good luck to you both.


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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2017, 07:51:44 PM »
Congratulations to you on wanting to help your daughter.  I had recurring depression throughout my teens, 20s and 30s.  Episodes in my life would set it off, it was a recurring pattern although I didn't realize this until I saw a clinical psychologist.   

Therapists did help.  They did resolve my depression.  But, I would be back in their office 6 months to 2 years later. 

The clinical psychologist found the underlying and root causes of my depression.  Depression for me was a side effect, a defense mechanism of underlying issues. 

If your daughter doesn't want to see a therapist or psychologist, perhaps she would consider some reading?

https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy-ebook/dp/B009UW5X4C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502329860&sr=8-1&keywords=burns+depression

I am not allowed to take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications in my profession.  I also realized my days of depression and anxiety were wasted days, and I was sick and tired of ruining my life.  It helps greatly to recover from depression when the patient really wants to change.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 07:56:25 PM by egillespie »

NeonPegasus

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2017, 08:40:16 AM »
I'm sorry you and your daughter are dealing with this.

As another poster mentioned, any use of birth control should be closely scrutinized. This may be a difficult topic for you to discuss with your daughter and/or her boyfriend but it can have a huge impact. I remember trying one particular pill and feeling suicidal within a couple of weeks of taking it. It was so stark that I realized what was causing it and quit it immediately.

Another issue I could see her facing is the potential problems with weight gain and sexual dysfunction that can be caused by antidepressants. Frankly, I don't know if I'm depressed or just an asshole but I've not been doing well since having kids and seem to have gotten worse over time. I think sometimes about trying meds but I have no tolerance for potential weight gain or further sexual problems. The IUD has done enough to mess with my libido. I can't take anything else lowering it further.

I certainly do not want to threadjack or open a discussion about my issues. I bring it up only to consider some of the angles your daughter may be considering, especially with a history of eating disorders. At the very least, her boyfriend may be able to shed some light as to whether a change in birth control may be correlated with her depression.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2017, 10:01:02 AM »
I mentioned this earlier in the thread, but I just want to reiterate it: If you know someone with depression, you have to force them to get help. I know that's an uncomfortable idea for most people, but simply encouraging them to get help is not going to work. Depression prevents sufferers from taking the initiative when it comes to getting help with the illness. You cannot offer only emotional support and expect them to go see a doctor. You have to actively get them and take them there, call the doctor and set up the appointment for them, push them out the door and into the car, etc.

I know that sounds terrible, but it's what must be done for most people with depression before they will be able to take charge of their own treatment.

Pigeon

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Re: Getting help for depression
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2017, 11:35:39 AM »
Thanks, again, folks. 

I'm pretty sure birth control has nothing to do with this.  We have a very good relationship about discussing those things. 

Re forcing her to get help, maybe that works for some people.  It backfired for me.  I did drag her to a therapist.  She wouldn't say two words and was really angry at me to the point where I think it set her back.   She is a very stubborn person.  I need for her to be able to talk to us and not shut us out of how she's doing and forcing help she won't take was doing that.

We've managed OK this summer.  It actually was better than I feared.  She didn't address her mental health issues, but she did manage to take a couple of summer classes and take some other positive steps.  She did a lot of volunteer work in a field related to what she wants to study, and that put her in a better frame of mind and gave her some purpose. Most days, she managed pretty well.  Still, the issues are still there.

I'm very nervous about her return to school.  I'm hoping she will go through with making an appointment with the therapist near school she seems more open to seeing.  When she's coping better though, she thinks she doesn't need help and when she can't get out of bed, she can't cope with the idea of opening up to someone.  I'm working with her on the idea that this will help her learn some new skills for dealing with the negative thoughts that she should do while she's functioning better, but who knows if she'll do it.

I think she broke up with the boyfriend, and he was a good source of support, so that makes me nervous.