Living With Chronic Depression

Tuesday, December 4 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

Once a person has been diagnosed with a mental illness--is being treated for it--and moving forward in their recovery, life is not suddenly peaches and cream. For many of us, myself included, we still often live with depression on a daily basis.

Living With Depression Despite Being Treated for Mental Illness

Is much more common than people may think--if they do not experience it. I'm writing on this topic because it is something I live with. It's not the sort of depression that takes over your entire life, no, it sort of sneaks up on you for various reasons, such as:

>The changing of the seasons. In the fall and winter months many people struggle with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

>Sudden or consistent life stress.

>A sudden event such as the end of a relationship, the death of a loved, or loss of job.

Other life changes, such as grief over the diagnosis of mental illness and financial problems for example, can also contribute to chronic depression.

How Can You Treat Chronic Depression?

First, always check in with your mental health team. Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and is treated as such. My experience with chronic depression is much different than yours and vice versa. Mental illness exhibits itself uniquely in everyone and treatment is different for all of us.

Having said that, once you are being medically treated for depression you may still live with lingering, chronic, depression. Throughout my journey with mental illness I have found a few things helpful when medication cannot "cure" my depression.

>Practicing Self-Care.

>Talking to people I trust.

>Keeping an open and honest dialogue with my psychiatrist.

>Keeping track of my moods and being honest with myself. Ask yourself: "How am I feeling? Do I need to talk to my mental health care team or can I manage my symptoms with self-care?"

Take a few minutes and think about what might work if you feel low--write your ideas down and practice them. Practice, in the case of mental illness, certainly does not make perfect but it can make for an easier ride.

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

View all posts by Natalie Jeanne Champagne.

Living With Chronic Depression

cindyaka
says:
December, 4 2012 at 10:25 am

My husband has chronic depression and has been effected by all three situations that you describe. They've added one new med and increased its dosage and discontinued another. The use of a "light box" has also been encouraged. Hopefully this works. You're right, depression does sneak up slowly. It's slow enough that suddenly you feel like you've hit the floor face first, you really don't see it coming until you are falling apart. I think that's what makes depression so insidious.

Anna T Wilsson
says:
December, 5 2012 at 11:11 am

Its realy good to read this, myself have chronic depression, i´m geting help for it, and have somtime so hard w to do, and i just don´t realy now w to writh, but this is realy good for me to read.

thanks

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
says:
December, 6 2012 at 10:27 am

Hi, Anna
Glad you're getting help and thank you for reading!
Sincerely,
Natalie

RieRie
says:
December, 5 2012 at 3:21 pm

Ah yes...you think you are o.k., then with your mentioned stressors...boom...feeling terrible...what helps me is doing all I can do to keep myself "up" so the low times wont feel so bad or last so long......rest, limit committments that are overwhelming, listen to upbeat music daily, pray, ...it all helps...and to accept that I can't tackle every project that comes my way, that would lead to burnout and MAJOR depression could follow... a real balancing act...also avoiding people and situations that leave me feeling bad, because it is so darn hard to shake off those bad feelings for days.....does anyone else relate...??

Laura
says:
December, 9 2012 at 2:07 pm

Patience and hope are essential. Every step you take, big or small, is one step closer to relief. Give yourself credit for your achievement. When you feel as though you are stuck remind yourself of what you can do. You know its possible because you gave yourself credit for doing it before. Every person is different and what might help you may not help me. Explore your options. After 20 years of struggle, I am trying something different and am slowly feeling some relief. I take medication, supplements, special diet, exercise and believe it or not I see a chiropractor twice a week. Believe that there is something that will help!

Judy
says:
December, 9 2012 at 2:06 pm

I live with chronic depression, fibromyalgia, and suicide attempts and it is extremely difficult to self-motivate. I'm on two anti-depressants and in therapy. I still battle really negative thoughts, including suicidal thoughts. MDD is brutal and it did consume my life at one point. I am struggling with finding a support system that works for me. I also can't seem to work full-time. Does anyone else have advise on working and still being able to function well? I have found that doing enjoyable things helps. I love my profession (Librarians and Information Scientists) and am honored to be a member. My depression wasn't diagnosed until 2010 but as I looked back on my life over the 10+ years, I would have to say I had been living with untreated and undiagnosed depression. I didn't even know what went wrong in my life. I just hope to be able to help others get the care they need. We need to talk to each other because so many of us, including myself, don't realize we have it. Depressed people can be happy but that's not what chronic depression is. It's so easy for others to say "just deal with it" but sometimes I just can't.

Alexis
says:
December, 10 2012 at 11:39 am

Living with chronic depression can be quite a struggle. My mother was diagnosed 7 years ago with chronic depression and it was one of the toughest times our family has ever had to address. She seemed to always be unhappy no matter the situation and we were all becoming drained by this horrible mental illness. As being the oldest and a mommmys girl since I was young; I adopted the responsibility of searching for help. I found our insurance company covered mental health and her visits that she needed would be free eliminating the stress of financial incapability. I organized a family meeting to discuss her fragile state and what we could do to help. We found listening and a walk in the evenings once she was home from work and dinner was made brightened her mood almost instantly. Depression is debilitating not only to the one suffering but the family as well and when this crisis strikes a family such as mine bonding and creating a safe haven is one of the most beneficial things you could do.

Kewanna
says:
December, 10 2012 at 11:35 am

I defiantly have chronic depression. I can not take any antidepressants for it either because of the side effects. It does help to keep a positive outlook when you can and to practice skills such as DBT or CBT. It gets rough but there can be no shame in asking for help.

Jim
says:
March, 6 2014 at 6:07 am

25 years of pills doctors and therapy has not helped me one bit. There is no cure .
Very let down by the system. I want to die.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Sarah Ashfield
says:
April, 26 2017 at 11:44 am

Don't give up Jim, you don't want to die really....you want to 'live'. You've fought it for 25 years, stay strong please.

Janet
says:
June, 13 2018 at 9:43 pm

I am one of the fortunate ones. I am living with chronic depression, but you would never know it. Even I hardly remember any more!!!

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