I want to make it clear from the start that I am a patient and not a professional and all views are mine unless otherwise stated. I am merely using my own experiences to form a conclusion about recurrent depression. Please seek professional advice if your symptoms are the same.
At the age of eighteen I was first diagnosed with depression and was prescribed lofepramine by my GP. I was also physically healthy, weight wise, but depressed and anxious. I look at myself now, overweight, cumbersome, bad back, full of aches and pains and wonder how much the depression has contributed to this. Of course it could be said that it is my fault. I’m the one who chose to eat. Yes, but the depression took away the motivation to remain healthy.
Recurrent depression, as the name suggests, ebbs and flows throughout your life. For weeks even months you can be fine and tick over in life, but you are never far away from another episode. Sometimes it can be triggered, events in life get too stressful and it is your bodies way of saying ‘get out of there!’. Just like you wouldn’t keep your hand on a hot surface for very long. Or, episodes can occur for seemingly no reason. These usually hit you slowly, you feel yourself go down hill. Getting a good night’s sleep in more difficult with constant awakenings, and then a feeling of tiredness all day. Motivation levels drops and you experience less pleasure from activities you used to enjoy. Then along comes irritation. I have started to shout at people who annoy me in the street or supermarket. This, for me, happens over about two, three weeks, then the worst part of depression hits: self harm, suicidal ideation, and feelings of despair and hopelessness. This is coupled with strong feelings of doom and anxiety. All this while still taking all the medications. Depression is like Japanese Knotweed; it will find a way through any barriers.
So it is dealing with these issues. The correct port of call is the GP or mental health clinic. Yet you have to wonder that there is not a lot they can do apart from juggle your meds about again. That in itself could make the problem worse and take weeks if not months. You have to taper off one before starting another and then you have the suicidal thoughts before the new drug kicks in. I don’t think I want to go through that again. The wrong way of coping is drink and drugs. Drink has always been my problem. I like a drink sometimes but it was a problem over seven years ago. I blotted out the pain by drinking every night. Thankfully, I haven’t done my body too much harm, my liver is OK, but it made me put on weight. Obesity is going to lead to diabetes (I am borderline diabetes) and heart problems.
So the depression has indirectly lead me to have a unhealthy disposition. I am nearly thirty six and dread to think what I will be like in ten, fifteen years. Of course I need to just snap out it. I thought I could do that ten years ago but I couldn’t without the crutches of alcohol, tobacco (given that up, thankfully), sugar, and a high fat diet. Also what does an episode of depression do to the brain itself? The very organ that is keeping you alive and functioning is consuming itself. Is there real physical damage done to brain cells. For one thing I can have a terrible short term memory, forgetting things very quickly. Long term is generally ok, but has the depression caused irreversible damage to the brain’s ability to store short term memories. Maybe not I don’t know. Perhaps all the medications are harm full in the long term, but they could be the one thing that is keeping you alive.
In conclusion, I decided to drink and over eat yet depression has to take some of the blame. I wish I could blame something concrete because then I may be able to reverse it. If it was that easy depression wouldn’t be the terrible problem it is for millions of people.