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An Introductiom/my experience with depression! am I bipolar? (Long read... sorry)

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PSA

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Sep 4, 2009
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An Introductiom/my experience with depression! am I bipolar? (Long read... sorry)

Hi All,

I'm 23, male from the south of England and have suffered from depression since I was 17 :(

Any help or advice would be great!

When I was about 14 I was doing well at a Grammar school, had a happy family home etc. but then I started to smoke weed and do other drugs on occasions but mainly I was stoned for about 3 years pretty much constantly very rarely stopping and feeling 'normal'

During this time my parents split, I dropped out of school after getting ok GCSEs, went to college twice and dropped out and basically wasted a few years getting stoned and chilling with mates. I am assamed to admit that during this time I even resorting to stealing from my parents to buy drugs something I can't forgive myself for. I've also had a bit of financial stress, never bankrupt or anything but always balancing loans etc.

When I decided to stop smoking weed I started getting incredibly bad anxiety attacks almost instantly and was diagnosed with depression and prescribed venlafaxine, I was bed bound for almost a month and could barely even speak to my family. I guess it was a nervous breakdown.

After months of no work or responsibility I slowly built back my confidence thanks to healthy living and the medication and before long was socialising again... I started smoking weed again this time probably for about a year. This stopped when I met a girl who I was with for over a year, my time with her was very happy and I rarely felt depressed. When we split I was devastated by kept on with my job and despite being heart broken managed to live normally,

skip a few years and Im in a good job, well paid, and at 23 the equivalent job a new graduate would step in to in the same company so its fair to say I was doing ok, new girlfriend and down to 17.5mg venlafaxine per day. Still getting stressed out but in my eyes just normal day to day stress everyone experiences so about 3 weeks ago I decided to try stopping the medication

I was ok for about 6 days then bang at my girlfriends I have a bad anxiety attack, these anxiety attacks continue for about a week getting worse despite beginning to take Venlafaxine again (75mg) and I feel like im on the verge of a breakdown again, I couldnt cope with work so I called my GP and they recommended taking 150mg ven per day which I have been doing for the past week but right now I don't feel much better. Towards the end of my week off I started feeling better and went to the cinema, shopping etc. and coped ok but today I was going to go to my girlfriends house when I was overwelmed with anxiety and now again I feel terrible.

Work don't know about my condition and I was signed off with a virus but I don't think I'll be back on Monday and to be honest right now don't know if i'll be able to go back at all :(

Im not sure if another week off will benefit me or not or whether Im facing an inevitable breakdown

Surely if im still suffering after 6 years I must be bi-polar? I dont know, my GP isnt too helpful but maybe Im not helping myself. Ive had about 2 counscelling sessions but they didn't seem helpful to me.

Im sorry this is all a bit jumbled and vague its not easy to condense 6 years into a few paragraphs! but after finding this forum wanted to share my experience and see others views.

One other thing that has always played on my mind is there was one occasion when I was living my 'bad' lifestyle before prescribed with depression when I did alot of speed and literally felt like my nerves exploded, I have never felt the same since but am unsure whether this was just a bad come down and unmasked my depression or whether that one occasion could have caused my anxiety condition. Basically could one occasion like this have a permanent effect on my brain which I will never recover properly from?!

I'll stop talking sh*t now... any comments of suggestions would be appreciated and even if not thanks for reading my esssssay.
 
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riverofdragons

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Aug 8, 2008
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I dn't think i can help much more than to listen, but im here.

I have heard that cannabis can trigger a major event like you described and you can feel its after effects many years after you stop taking it.

in the nicest possible way...you need to stop the drugs permanently...it doesnt agree with you hun.

might help to show GP your post....get there opinion, maybe refer you on?

Always here is you need to talk

River
 
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PSA

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Sep 4, 2009
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Hi River, thanks for the quick reply :)

I haven't smoked weed for years now and havent done any street drugs at all for a long time. Probably only on about 5 occasions in the past 18 months.

So the drugs definitely aren't a current issue, unless they caused me permanent damage!

Appreciate your reply and I hope you are well.

Anyone else who reads this and has any questions about my experiences (as I know I don't make everything clear) feel free to ask away
 
trombone_babe

trombone_babe

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Hi, I'm not a doc or anything but I'd say you have recurrent spells of depression/anxiety rather than being bipolar. From what I know, those with bipolar have episodes of being really high in between the lows and they can sometimes do crazy things like spending loads of money, being loud and talkative and being very indiscreet sexually. That doesn't sound like what you describe.

As far as the venlafaxine goes, give it a chance, it takes up to 4 weeks to kick in. 150 sounds a lot but it isnt really, Ive just gone up to 225. If after a few weeks you're not feeling better perhaps have a chat with the doc and see if another drug would be better. There are lots and some work better for some people than others.

Whatever, keep talking, we're here to listen :hug:
 
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PSA

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Sep 4, 2009
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yeah thanks for your comment

I think i've been kind of ignorant as far as bipolar is concerned and should have done more research

I thought permanent/life long depression was the same thing as bipolar/manic depression, not good considering I studied Psychology for a while at college :redface:

I guess what I was asking was am I beyond curable!
 
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PSA

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Sep 4, 2009
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also pretty paranoid ill develop Schizophrenia! :(
 
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smurfemmasurf

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Sep 4, 2009
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similar

Hi, your experience is so similar to mine its actually really weird. Basically i did the whole better, stopped medication (seroxat) etc then got better then bad. Had full time job etc, lived with gf.

Basically now I am suffering again after panic attacks depression coming back after my nan became ill and died.plus gf dumped me so have the whole heartbreak thing u mentioned too. So anyway how to look forward.. umm after spending most of today in bed crying and not going to work this is a hard one. Its good u have your gf's support. One of the main things is u seem to be worried about it all coming back. The most important thing from my experience is not to second guess, ie if u feel a twinge dont think oh no its that coming back.


Do your parents help at all????As for what u said about drugs, i dont really think it can just be as the result of one experience, i think sadly some people are just going to get like this even if we behaved like nuns.

emma
 
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PSA

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Hi Emma,

thanks for your reply.

I went back to work today and it went fine :) it's crazy how I can go from feeling on the verge of insanity and not being able to speak to even my closest family and friends and genuinely believing I will never live a successful life to feeling like I do now, although I know I only feel ok now due to my medication!

my job involves alot of stress and speaking with very demanding clients all day and although I kept expecting to have a anxiety attack that lead to a crisis it didn't happen, now I'm feeling positive but still a bit edgy

the girl I mentioned who 'broke my heart' called me completely out of the blue this evening after no contact for about 8 months and would like to meet up. coincidence?!? I probably won't meet her as my current girlfriend wouldn't be happy and theres always the chance it could lead to more stress but we'll see

I hope you take a turn for the better soon too, good luck and take care
 
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PSA

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and regarding my parents, my mum isnt too understanding. She isn't horrible about it but I know deep down she doesn't see it as an illness and thinks I am being weak! she does try to be supportive though

my Dad... I havent seen for months but when I first got bad he was an absolute diamond and basically nursed me back to relative normality!
 
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Ben

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other ways out

Hi PSA and others,

after our replies on another treath i found this posts of you too. I'm sorry to read about what happened to you in life and how you arrived to where you are today. Depression is a heavy thing to live with and you can feel so down and anxious. I'm happy for you your father was such a big support. Pitty your mother doesn't understand. this can be really hard, I know. If not knowing by experience about depression it is not easy, if not impossible, to understand how we feel when being depressed. For you I'm sure it is hard she (might) think you're weak, but know she can not judge it. Either she doesn't know what depression feels like, or maybe she does but doesn't allow herself to get there, she might feel weak herself. Good for you you have an understanding father.

I hope i don't hurt anybody, i really don't mean too, but i read so many sad stories on this depression forum and taking medication forever that i get back being depressed almost. I only tell this to show there are alternatives, I hope you'll have energy left to read it and to try other ways.

I had a very heavy year and i only started to take anti depressives also against anxiety, when being 45. it took me till this age finding out what makes me afraid in life and that I can feel very vulnerable and depressed. Under pressure of my wife, who saw me changing on several aspects, both sexualy and in my daily behaviour, feeling, (non)sensitivity and getting much more shallow in my connection to her, our kids (all things I myself hardly noticed until i stopped medication) I got of pills. Still i'm sometimes afraid not managing without them but today i go to an acupunturist, i started sport (which is proved at least as good as medication for 'us' kind of people) and i do biofeedback (you can see on a monitor your heartbeat/heartcoherence, and while learning all kinds of ways you can use to relax yourself, calm yourself down, change your thoughts and with it your feelings etc.).

What I know is that we live in a crazy world, where in commercials 'happiness' jumps out of a coca cola bottle, succes and money are the keys for happiness and relationships depend on who your are economically much more than on you as a person. Employers expect full commitment.... anyway to feel happy just being who you are is not obvious in this world.
even without being hurt in childhood like you are it is not easy to survive this world without getting depressed.

but i learned that the way out of depression can go without pills. it is hard work, but i hope it will hold for life. And there will be phases in life I feel heavy and anxious. And also that's o.k. I rather feel heavy in order to feel intens love, connection to others and happiness on other moments that to flatten out my emotions, become indifferent when sad things happen but also loose the light and deep happiness in life. Life is a package deal with ups and downs. And there is a lot to learn but also there is a lot out there to help us dealing with life.

I know, sometimes everything looks dark, and fearful, but there is a way out, with the right help, for all of us. iIt's growing. This is life.
 
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PSA

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interesting response Ben and I pray that you are right but right now for me I don't think I could go without medication. I at least have to get back to feeling 'normal' before I try anything like you mention.

I do alot of sport and stay fit which I agree helps alot but still isn't enough on its own. Maybe I will try these other things which you have.

I do still feel emotion on my medication, maybe im lucky, maybe my dose is lower than some peoples. I do think the emotion I feel now is different to before I upped my medication but its not like I dont care about things.

Can I ask how bad was your depression? Without medication I wouldn't necessarily feel sad, I would literally feel insane and unable to function... I don't know if that is more anxiety and nerves than actual depression.

Also how long did you use medication?

I agree reading threads on here as well as being some comfort at times can make me feel worse!
 
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Ben

Guest
First i can fully understand you don't think you're able to stop today, and as you say, better to feel stable and starting the other option from that place then from anxiety.

I took medication for a year, cipralex which is concidered 'light'. But as I wrote already it had more side affects than I realized. Know I see it more, even though still less than my wife noticed and still (I stopped one and half month ago) she says I'm not back to who I was before I took pills. I feel myself a slight difference and hope i'll get back to myself completely soon. I'm still afraid i will not manage without pills but i pray i will and also will learn to live with my 'weakness' of vulnerability and heaviness.

I start taking medication because i had a panic attack at work. Since I remember I am an (over)sensitive person and can feel very vulnerable when criticized by others. When I moved to a demanding job with a lot of exposure to other people and a lot of decisionmaking I just panicked out and felt heavy. Emotionally, fysically. I couldn't move anymore and not function, felt like i could start crying in the middle of a meeting and be completely useless.

I was scared my wife wouldn't support my choice for antidepression pills (she's more the psychological type of person) so I didn't tell her. After about 9 month i had to, since we went together to a heartcheck for me and i had to tell there about medication. i tried not to take her but she insisted. She was in shock and said that for god's sake how could I push myself working like an idiote as I did last year if my body and soul told me this is not good for me at all (let's say, she proved my point that she wouldn't agree:redface:, but she also showed me she loved me as i was, less 'strong' maybe but more real and with all the scala of lifes feelings).:redface:
then i also found out she was already worried for months what the hell was going on between us, that sexually i was not a shadow of what i was before and that she had no clue why i was twisted to a career guy and so indifferent to what would happen to her, us and the kids.

Today I see better what happened and realize that instead of taking what happened as a signal and figured it out (i still didn't all the way by the way, now i realize i suffer from this already very long and really want to get out of it all the way) I took pills. Now i read more and more about others taking them, also on other sites, for years i feel there is a whole world out there of psychiatrists that don't have many evidence of what really happens to our brains, no proper ways to check or test it, but with a lot of ideas and complicated names for all kinds of desease we have. Next to them stand a whole farmaceutical industry loving us to take these pills. And yes, they help more or less, and yes, they make a lot of damage, while there are much better options. If you are interested to read, read David Servan Schreibers book (no freud no prozac... or something like this) there is a writing about it on this forum in the book store. Believe me, there are other, better choices.

So first be aware you might change more than you know, since being less intense in your feelings you also don't miss these feelings. Best is to ask someone close you trust what they see as changes besides that you overcome the anxiety and feeling of not being able to function.

wishing you a good and happy life. it is there for all of us.
 
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