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  1. #1

    Major Depressive Episode - Have you had one? What did you do?

    So I am currently in the midst of my first major depressive episode. Just curious to see if any of you guys have had one and how you coped. If you're not sure what a true major depressive episode is, here's the wiki link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_episode

    Suffice it to say, this isn't just your everyday blues. I have experienced minor depression before and never understood why people needed medication. I was like "Shit, I'm sad, but so what? Life goes on."

    A major depressive episode, however, is not "sad." It's hell. It's a constant feeling of being utterly worthless, completely devoid of a single ounce of hope. It's suicidal thoughts that creep into your life on a daily basis. It's holding a knife up to your wrist and pondering whether you should just go ahead and do it, not calling anyone first for the drama, not half-assing it for the attention - just really planning to do it. (side note: I didn't do it, and I won't - not for myself but because I'll be damned if I'll let this disease rob my dad of his son).

    A major depressive episode can mean crying - not just a little weeping but full-on sobfests - on a daily basis. It can mean being afraid to go to bed because your evenings are actually decent, but your mornings are hell, and you're terrified of having to feel that way for one more day.

    And it's not just the emotions that are difficult. A major depressive episode carries physical symptoms as well. The first time my appetite was so far gone that I literally gagged and almost threw up at the sight of food even though my stomach was completely empty, I was surprised and almost intrigued. By the third or fourth time, the phenomenon began to get old.

    A major depressive episode can mean alternately sleeping 9-10 hours a day and having great difficulty waking up because sleep is the only place where you have some relief, and it can mean waking up ten times over the course of six hours because your hypersomnia has suddenly decided it would rather be insomnia. It can mean going from a brainiac to a moron because you have completely lost your ability to concentrate on anything but the never-ending stream of hopeless thoughts that replay over and over in your brain. I think that's the most frustrating part; knowing on a rational level that I'm going to be perfectly fine and yet not being able to convince myself or stop those god damn thoughts from invading my brainspace. Head and heart are existing in two completely different dimensions and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

    I could go on and on about just how hellish this experience has been. But I won't. Either you've been here and you recognize yourself in what I'm saying, or you don't. And I'm not coming here for help, either - I'm getting help. I have a therapist. I'm beginning to understand what I can do myself to combat this (exercise good! junk food and TV bad! etc.) and, despite everything I've ever said about psychiatric medication, I'm finally giving in and going to a doctor's appointment Friday to get put on some meds. I didn't want to do that, but I can't take the risk that, at some point, this will become too much to handle and I'll do something stupid.

    So yeah, I'm not posting this for any of those reasons. I'm posting this because I know statistically that I am not alone, and I want to hear from those of you who have been here - so I don't feel alone, and maybe so you won't either.

  2. #2
    Raised by Chocobos
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    How do you think I got into FFXI so hard back at release? Nothing like turning your mind off and disappearing into another world for 14 hours a day to forget about your real life.

    Great for weight loss too.

    Best way to get through is to force yourself to keep doing things that you know used to make you happy. Good luck with that motivational battle though...

  3. #3
    Brown Recluse
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    I don't suffer, but my wife does. She is on meds, and it helps. Whenever she is starting to spiral, we get out of town and do something adventurous. It seems to help. I'm glad you are getting help.

  4. #4
    listen!
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    I have experienced minor depression before and never understood why people needed medication. I was like "Shit, I'm sad, but so what? Life goes on."
    It's funny because you probably hate those people now.

  5. #5
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    The most common symptoms that I recognize from there is being unable/willing to go to sleep because of dread of the following morning, mornings being absolutely brutal, sometimes just laying in bed awake, but unable to sit up for 1-2 hours. Loss of appetite was a major one, I got down to about 125lbs(I'm 6" even) for awhile because I'd only eat one meal a day, I still fight with trying to eat like a regular person on a daily basis. I have some pretty intense fits of anger/sadness over sometimes incredibly minor things(in my defense I have a lot of really legit things to be upset about in my life, usually I just let those go but then something little sets me over the top and it looks like I blew the fuck up just because I forgot my hat at home or whatever). I haven't really had full on A BLOO BLO BLOO WOE IS ME crying sessions but I've had lengthy sessions of intense apathy, loss in interest in things that are normally really important to me, thoughts of suicide, etc. The latter was, as shitty as it is to say, aided by the death of a good friend last fall(natural causes). Seeing the wreckage that losing a 29 year-old did to my circle of friends & family was a pretty big deterrent from the concept of offing myself, the thoughts still pop up but never get taken seriously as an option.

    For lack of a better explanation, I sucked it up and moved on. Largely aided by the fact that I have a lot of really good friends who force me to get out of the house, I would feel a lot of pressure to act like I was having a good time so I didn't have to deal with the onslaught of 'are you okay?'s, but I legitimately enjoy being with them so the more I lean on them the better it gets. Probably once every few months it resurfaces, I've gotten fired from jobs and such because I just can't get motivated to do anything, show up and do mindless crap all day.


    Probably the oddest part is having an active recognition of what is happening, telling yourself to snap the hell out of it, and that not happening for whatever reason. I have insurance beginning in the summer and I'll be looking into therapy/medication ASAP. I hear exercise helps a lot, which makes sense since the 6~ years or so this has been going on was when I wasn't really working out, I did feel better while I was playing men's league hockey last year, then got hurt and was unable to do most types of exercise and fell back into the pit pretty hard over the last 10 months, somewhat aided by finding new hobbies as of recent.

  6. #6
    Old Merits
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    Can't really give any advice. I usually just try to keep busy at work and not let my mind wander back to self destructive thoughts. It's harder when I have a day off work or when I'm home, because I usually have nothing I need to do so I start thinking and over analyzing things.

    I sleep around 3-4 hours a night, waking up about 2-3 times each night.

    Sorry I can't be of much help, but I understand what you mean.

  7. #7
    Banned.

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    Exercise does make one happy. @Callisto

  8. #8
    2600klub
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    Non-Troll question, but how much sunlight/exercise are you getting?

  9. #9
    Yoshi P
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    I had this depression thing about 2 years ago, at first I slept A LOT, like 8-12 hours a day, for like a week. Then I just pour all my energy/hours into my work, and watch a lot of comedy movies when im home. Got over it in about 2 months.

  10. #10
    Canadian Fury
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    I've had a couple, they basically completely gutted me, and I never really did much about it except get some anti-depressants that kind-of-sort-of worked during the first one. I really have no idea how I remained mostly functional during them, it was kind of a miracle of sorts. For me, both of the episodes mostly cleared up in 6 months or so and fairly suddenly at that. I guess maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that this is probably going to be only temporary.

    Don't have much to add besides making sure that you're getting enough exercise and sunlight. Therapy, especially stuff focused on clearing up the cognitive distortions that you almost certainly have in these situations, is a very good thing. I don't really think I'll have any more in the future, if only because I've taken great steps to try to safety-proof my life, mostly through exercise and healthy living along with some kind of goofy stuff that I wouldn't really recommend to anyone because it falls pretty solidly under the realm of YMMV.

  11. #11
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    I probably should have added banning people, if you can get modded it helps a lot when you can just come home and blow up a few accounts from the political section. :D

  12. #12
    Nidhogg
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    I had a serious one after my "cool aunt" died from complications from a cosmetic surgery. She was rejected from the procedure the first time, but told me she was secretly going to have it anyway. For a long time I kept thinking about "if only I told her not to have it, she'd still be here..." and it drove me nuts. I didn't eat, barely slept, didn't want to do anything I enjoyed doing, and started drinking heavily. Aside from going to work (which I took overtime at every chance) I felt completely isolated from my friends and family. After a while, I was even haunted by recurring dreams of being stuck in a time loop and trying to find a way to stop her from having the procedure done.
    To be honest, I can't really remember what snapped me out of it. The most I really remember was talking to one of her best friends, who was going through the same thing. I think we helped each other through it, because we're best friends now.

    I still have the dreams from time to time, but I think it's mainly because I miss her so much.

  13. #13
    listen!
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    Probably the oddest part is having an active recognition of what is happening, telling yourself to snap the hell out of it, and that not happening for whatever reason.
    Seriously.

    This thread is making me depressed.

  14. #14
    Yarglebargle
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    Quote Originally Posted by archibaldcrane View Post
    Best way to get through is to force yourself to keep doing things that you know used to make you happy. Good luck with that motivational battle though...
    This is good advice. This is a constant struggle with me and forcing yourself to go hang out with friends or go see a movie or something with somebody you care about will help you forget why you didn't want to in the first place. Also force yourself to improve on your self-image. Be it exercise, buying new clothes or what have you. Forcing yourself to make improvements upon yourself and your lifestyle helps. I started exercising to deal with the self-worth aspect and it's helped a lot.

    This is of course things to be doing while seeking professional help. The above things are only temporary fixes if you can't fix the core issue.

  15. #15
    Relic Shield
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    a 12 pack a night

    Edit: side effects may include weight gain...

  16. #16
    I'm more gentle than I look.
    Mr. Feathers AKA Mr. Striations

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    Try this
    Spoiler: show


    Rly though, good luck in your battle man

  17. #17
    ♥ I CANNOT SELF TERMINATE ♥
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    Depression is my best friend! I've had three serious incidents that required I be hospitalized. Once in 2005, once in 2007, and once in 2009. What is sad is that I reached out to family and friends, and they didn't care. Which I eventually adapted to.

    All relating to the same thing, more or less. What sucked is that the hospital's psychiatric ward was more of a substance abuse ward, and I more or less spent the legally mandated amount of time that I had to there & was released. I personally listen to music and go for a walk to get shit off my mind now.

    No matter what, hurting yourself is never the answer. You'll regret it in the long run. We're all awesome, some in ways that others don't get or appreciate. Do what you need to get through the day, and tell anyone putting you down to fuck off.

  18. #18

    I've never had a major episode, no. I've had a few where for days at a time I felt on the verge of tears for no real reason other than frustration with life in general. I think they were enough of a taste to hint at how awful it could be. I'm sorry you guys have to deal with it, and I hope you figure something out that helps. When I had my episodes I talked to my doctor, which helped a little, but mostly I just kinda buried myself in my various hobbies and bitched about life to my friends, and eventually it just kinda... went away. Not something I care to repeat, and frankly it scares me just thinking about it. I don't like not being in control of my mind. It's the only sanctuary I have.

  19. #19
    ♥ I CANNOT SELF TERMINATE ♥
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaneTheBrawler View Post
    I've had a few where for days at a time I felt on the verge of tears for no real reason other than frustration with life in general.
    Yeah, I know that feeling. Being on the verge of tears. Looking at your family, wanting to tell them, but knowing your words would fall on deaf ears.

  20. #20
    Raised by Chocobos
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    Mine was in november/December when I was in grad school. I kept telling myself shit would get better if I could just make it until winter break and be home for a few weeks. Got to snowy dark December in Wisconsin for Xmas, thinking it would help, and just lost my shit for 2 weeks, crying for no reason. Flying back to Miami in January, I got off the plane in sunny 70 degree weather and was like "ok maybe shit won't be so bad after all...."

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