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Recurrent Major Depression: I Don’t Always Want to Die

Living with major depressive disorder can be very challenging even when it's not at its most severe stages, it's important for others to understand why.

One of the most horrific aspects of major depressive disorder (MDD) is the severe stages of it, when the pain is most unbearable and so intense that a person feels like it would be better if life were over. It is truly one of the most terrifying of experiences to live in that space between fighting to live and fighting to die. But there are also challenging times living with major depressive disorder that are not quite so dramatic, yet still difficult and require an extra sort of energy to manage.

Recurrent Major Depression Requires Constant Vigilance

Living with recurrent major depressive disorder is not all about wanting to die, it is also about managing a “lower level” of depression and watching out for the prodromal stage and symptoms that occur just before a major depressive episode might occur (5 Signs You’re Heading Into a Depression & 5 Ways to Fight Back). This less intense but still present part of living with major depressive disorder means that life is not of the caliber and quality that I wish it would be a lot of the time. It means that I still have to push myself harder than what I believe the majority of people who do not live with recurrent MDD have to do; it takes a different kind of effort.

Diligent Effort and Self-Care

Am I feeling sorry for myself? I don’t think so. I believe it is absolutely true that I have to take extra care and effort to do things like getting out of my pajamas, eating healthy, taking my medications, and employing healthy practices in my life. If I don’t do these things, then in addition to the normal, “I feel really icky” response, I could be headed towards a debilitating and very dark time, that with each episode may take longer to recover from. Everyone needs to pay attention to their self-care, but if I don’t, it can spell major disaster for both me and my family. Even with putting these things into practice, it is still possible for a severe episode of depression to sneak in, but at least, if I can do these things, I can help to protect myself against it.

Little things, like getting out my pajamas, are truly extra difficult for me, as silly as it may sound to some and as silly as it sounds to me sometimes. It’s definitely my truth. Some of this may be further amplified by the condition of fibromyalgia that I also live with, but the effort that it takes some days to get from pajamas to pretty can feel insurmountable. It’s the extra level of difficulty that normal tasks hold within them that reminds me I am not living the same kind of experience as a lot of my family and friends. I don’t consider myself lazy, but it may appear that way at times. When I feel good emotionally and physically, these normal basic kinds of things aren’t as hard, it’s a good way to gauge how I am really doing, but it isn’t always so easy to see.

Major Depressive Disorder Blinds Us

Something about major depressive disorder blinds us. It makes it harder to see ourselves objectively and to catch on quickly to changes in our mood and behaviors. As a result of living with this for so many years, I am sometimes extra observant, perhaps at times overly so.

I pay attention to my mood fluctuations and I feel them intensely. I can easily become fearful if I feel a big dip and I can easily feel saddened by a lack of energy. On the other hand, when I am doing well, I am extra appreciative and do my best to be present and not to squander it away. In some ways it is a blessing, in others, it’s a curse.

What I Want You to Know About MDD

It’s important that others understand that living with major depressive disorder does not mean that I am always feeling suicidal, that I am always on the brink of unmanageable depression. It’s important that people know that living with major depressive disorder is not always the drama and darkness that it can be at its worst.

But what I most wish people knew and understood is that living with MDD is hard work. It’s an extra burden. Please don’t think me lazy or sad, just know that I need a little extra umph! to get me going and extra care to keep me healthy.

15 thoughts on “Recurrent Major Depression: I Don’t Always Want to Die”

  1. I have just recently been diagnosed with ptsd and severe mdd and for years i thought i had bipolar when clearly ive been misdiagnosed!!! I remember wandering y in the hell the meds for my bipolar never worked and made me have worse thoughts and actions towards suicide attempts…. I guess now i know y and doing my research on my newly diagnoses i found this witch is really helpfull is explains me perfectly and how i live my everyday life now i feel horrible for thinking my therapist was crazy and didnt know what she was doing!!! Glad i did my research before switching clinics!!!

  2. I started 14 years ago with PTSD from Domestic Violence during two back to back pregnancies. I escaped my abuser while both children were in diapers. I slid from Depression into MDD about 8 years ago. I used to be bubbly, joyful and had a zest for life before it all but now, I can’t even work. I have Fibro, several spine issues, peripheral neuropathy and osteoarthritis. I am 49. I take meds and have been in therapy for 10 years. I want to try TMS but Medicaid does not cover it. Before I was diagnosed with the PTSD and subsequent depression, I told people I felt like I had a brain injury but that t wasn’t physical. I hate he my brain is now. I want to get better but it’s not. I don’t know what to do. I am wasting away.

  3. I hope to help 1 or more people with the most debilitating disease out there: MDD severe recurrent and Borderline Personality Disorder, and OCD, severe pain, and digestive problems that are a struggle to “hide” from others. I had 20+ years of severe pain, stomach problems, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, eyes hurting, every muscle in my body hurting, and more …. until I was finally diagnosed with MDD with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I lost 3 really promising career jobs but had to resign because I needed to stay in the bathtub every hour or two in boiling hot water. I could not concentrate, talk normally, had no memory, esp short-term memory. I had real promising career jobs that I knew how to do well, but I didn’t know what I had; I went to over 2 dozen doctors including Cleveland Clinic, and everyone just said they could not find anything wrong. I had every test known to man from head to toe. The only thing that was not done was a 2 hour visit with a psychiatrist; I finally had to go to someone to talk to. My last job with AT&T, paid well and I needed the benefits, I was not going to walk out like I did my other jobs. I went into the program that helps with counseling for people who are having trouble with their performance and can get fired if need be. I went into the program and got a wonderful therapist; I told her that the last doctor I went to was a rheumatologist who told me he doesn’t handle people like “me”. I was suicidal because he was my only hope but he said I did NOT HAVE FIBROMYALGIA, I had depression. I was beyond suicidal but called my therapist and my first Psychiatrist put me in the hospital, knowing that I had depression and not one doctor looked into the “mental” asked of my problems. The other doctors only went by physical symptoms and couldn’t find anything wrong with me. After 20 years, I finally had a “life” without pain, without everything I suffered with most of my life. One of the major reasons I have it so severe is because, after 30 years, I told the therapists at the inpatient psychiatric hospital that I was sexually abused by a neighbor and never told anyone about it. I had to go to counseling for many, many things, esp. therapy dealing with the PTSD I was diagnosed with. IF I COULD JUST SAVE ONE PERSON OUT THERE WHO HAS WHAT I HAVE, I WILL BE SO GRATEFUL TO GOD. THE SYMPTOM IS ONE THAT MANY PSYCHIATRISTS NEVER HEARD OF BUT BELIEVED ME: BEFORE I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH MAJOR DEPRESSION I HAD THIS TINGLING THROUGHOUT MY HEAD AND BACK OF MY HEAD AND NECK. THEN I WOULD FEEL LIKE LIQUID FLOWING IN MY VEINS AND MY BODY HURT SO BACK. I HAD TO LIVE IN THE HOT, HOT WATER TO SURVIVE. I CAN TELL WHEN I AM NEEDING HELP BECAUSE OF THE TINGLING IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD (THERE ARE GIANT “BUMPS” 2 of them, AND THEY DRIVE ME CRAZY. PLEASE TELL TELL TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THIS. I HAVE HAD DOCTORS BAFFLED UNTIL I WAS TREATED FOR THE DEPRESSION AND THE PAIN AND TINGLING WENT AWAY. I have always wondered if there is anyone that experiences this like I have. If you are experiencing so many symptoms and the doctors cannot find anything wrong with you, keep trying, going to every kind of doctor there is. But, if you don’t get anywhere, SEE A PSYCHIATRIST!!! He/she will be the piece of the puzzle that will fit into the questions of severe pain you don’t have to live with!! God Bless All!

  4. I have lived with MDD for 30 years but I always see myself as a survivor never a victim.People always comment on how bright and happy I am and that is because I have experienced such crushing lows I truly appreciate the beauty of life when I am well.My motto to fellow sufferers is keep active and never ever give up

  5. I believe this is what I have. I’ve been to a therapist but it was really hard for me to talk about what happened to me when I was little. I only went a few times. I have a really hard time getting through each day. I have 3 children and I don’t want to ever leave them but sometimes I just think it would be so much easier if I wasn’t in so much pain anymore. That I didn’t have to wake up and remember everything that happened. I don’t know what to do. I just want it all to end. Its so horrible that anyone has to live life this way.

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