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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:46 pm 
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Hey guys need your help here.

I often experience quite serious depression around the month of April (the fall into our Winter). My first real acute psychiatric episode 15 years ago was in April, and it appears to have turned into a bit of a pattern since then. It seems if I can get through April without serious depression returning, it's most likely going to be a good year. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of my relapses into addiction after experiencing months or years "clean" (on Sub or otherwise) seem to happen around April. That's usually because the depression (sometimes with psychosis) I can experience is so painful I will reach for ANYTHING to provide me with relief.

Unfortunately this year is turning out to be one of the difficult years. I had experienced mild depression in the months leading up to April, but it wasn't severe and I was still functional and able to work / socialise / motivate myself. For a while I thought my doctor and I might have actually have found the combination of medication that could keep me functional through my depressive episodes. Unfortunately I was mistaken. My bipolar just hadn't brought out the big guns yet. A couple of weeks ago I started to notice I was avoiding talking to friends, socialising. It was hard to motivate myself, and I found myself sleeping lots to avoid the feeling of pain when I was awake.

The problem with experiencing depression like this is that I can become desperate to seek relief. Not unlike someone who's experiencing physical pain, the emotional pain of depression can cause me to put my need for relief before my recovery. This is why I often relapse this time of year.

So I'm asking for some help here, especially from those people who might have experience with dual diagnosis / concurrent mood and substance abuse disorders. What are some psychological techniques to get through depression / suicidal ideation etc without using drugs? The last time I used heroin was April of last year. I don't want to have to go through that again!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:56 pm 
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Hey TeeJay,

First off, I've read many of your posts and learned lots from them. Dude, thank you. Next, I notice how you really think about the OP question and the answers and often come back w important detail and info, Thank You for that too. I also know you have/are hurting. I hold much respect for all your efforts you put forth as you face your challenges.

OK, I really thought about not posting this bc Idk anything about bipolar. And Idk anything about what I'm going to mention. And its not what you asked for. The weird and wonky thing is that I get odd bits of info across my laptop, have no idea why. Most times its not pertinent to me, but is interesting! This came recently and Idk if its anything and if it is, it has side effects -- so know that... I wonder what Dr J thinks?? Hope comes out -- and is later proven unworthy so I hesitate bc I've read your story and most of your posts and I am well aware how hard life can be for you and do not want to send you sideways. But anyways, here is what I copied... Idk, maybe you are already aware/ have tried?

Pramipexole (Mirapex, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc), which is used to treat Parkinson's disease, can significantly improve symptoms of treatment-resistant depression, provided patients can tolerate the doses needed to achieve a therapeutic effect, new research suggests. "These were quite treatment-refractory patients who did remarkably better on an adequately dosed dopamine agent," session co-chair Steven Hollon, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee said at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Conference 2016. The study, which was published in the February 1 2016 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, included 42 outpatients, 24 of whom had major depressive disorder; the remaining 18 had bipolar depression.

I looked up this issue and it costs $35 to download to read more than the abstract.

That's all I have for you except to say how much you rock dude and you help lots more than you know. Truly, wish life were easier for you, Peli

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Did well on Suboxone. Stopped May 2011.
Stopping went well -- its the staying stopped -- where the real work begins.
Coming here 'keeps recovery green'.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:01 am 
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Teejay, I don't have the answers that you are looking for, although I will scour my university library for articles on the subject.

I just want to remind you of how many people love you and are sending good, positive thoughts your way. We will never stop feeling grateful for all of the insight we've gained from knowing you. Teejay, you are very important to us, so I can only imagine what your loved ones feel about you.

I know you probably don't need or expect a pep talk here. :) But I wanted to make sure you know how valued you are. I hope that others can come up with some practical ideas for you!

Amy

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:15 am 
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Tee jay,
I spent many years incredibly depressed, beginning in childhood. To some degree I understand how it feels. I bargained with myself continuously to delay what I believed as the inevitable. I have tried a handful of times to end my life. I suppose my depression was different to yours. Mine was everything to do with my self worth and ability.
My struggle to feel worthy also translated into really low expectations of myself.
I feel being stable on suboxone and finally being able to hold down a job has put me in a wonderful place. So in some ways my experience was circumstantial reinforced by a belief system.
Recognising a pattern that is triggered by an event gives me hope you can work on this successfully. Have you tried CBT?
Try not to succumb to isolating yourself. Lean on those who are close and more importantly those who understand.
Without minimizing how difficult it can be, attempt to....
Have a purpose each day no matter how small
Try and stay focused on tasks
Practise meditation
Get creative
Volunteer
Exercise and have sex
Regular massages- assuming you enjoy them
Do what has helped in the past
Talk to us!
I'm not much help but I hope you know we are here for you.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:10 pm 
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Hi Tee Jay, I am a social worker that has worked with dually diagnosed people for 30 years. I am so very sorry that you have not found an answer to the darkness you feel. I so believe that those dealing with depression are the strongest people I know. I have seen drugs come and go...I have clients who do ect and it has helped some. But, I have to tell you, in my experience I have seen a pet work miracles. Something about the unconditional love they give is what has the greatest effect. Also, the sense of responsibity you develop gives you something to get up for every day. If you are allergic, get a hampster or a turtle. Communicate with them as if they were a person. I promise, it will work! I have so much respect and admiration for you! I have seen responses from you and the advice you give is always from a caring place. I hope you allow yourself the opportunity to take in all the positive being said about you and realize how important you are to us!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 5:05 pm 
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That's a great idea Michelle!!

I can't imagine how difficult it is to suffer with this teejay, I know how it feels to have days here and there involving sadness and that depression feeling from pre menopause. One of my fears is having depression that doesn't go away. U give such great encouragement to others here and I hope u can find something that will give u relief.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:27 am 
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I think I've mentioned this before in similar threads, but one of the things that can combat depression is feeling like you have something to live for. I've wondered if you would be able to find a volunteer activity you are passionate about.

I know you have skills. Could any of them be turned into something to give of yourself to others? I know that there are "sponsors" in 12 step groups, but I believe that anyone in recovery could use a guide when they are getting started and have a lot of questions. We could each use someone in our corner. So what about mentoring? Do you like kids? Is there an organization in Australia like Big Brother, Big Sister? There are tons of kids out there who need a positive influence in their lives.

What are you passionate about, at least when you are functioning at a more normal state? What moves you?

I'm sure that starting a volunteer project when you're in the midst of a difficult depression seems daunting. That's why I am hopeful that once you are through this patch of darkness you could start with something relatively minor and build it into something that creates real meaning in your life. Does that sound like something you might be able to do? We all sometimes need something to cling to in life, especially in times of darkness and despair. I'm sure that you have a lot to give!

Amy

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:37 pm 
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Thanks guys for your support. I know I went AFK for a while there, probably because I was either in bed or on the couch for a few days. I also had 3 days where I lapsed in the middle. Probably the only time I during the whole episode where I wasn't in bed or on the couch were those 3 days. I'm really behind on my studies, and thanks to my lapse my finances aren't where they should be. But my mood has improved a bit. This has been from an increase in my anti-depressant and my lithium, which has put my head just above the stormclouds for now.

My doctor also put me on this horrible stuff called Topamax. It made food taste horrible! I could go whole days without eating simply because the thought of food made me feel sick. Given I can't really afford to lose weight, I stopped taking it.

According to my doctor, he's had to put a few patients of his into the psych ward because of seasonal depression in recent weeks. However he won't put me in because he's concerned I'll end up using while I'm admitted. Given the hospital is a block away from my city's local heroin-supermarket, I don't blame him for this thinking. It's still frustrating though.

Anyway I really hope this is the end of it for this year. Next year I'll definitely try to get my doctor to pre-empt this part of the year by increasing my lithium and anti-depressant in May before my mood goes south. And then once winter finishes and my mood lifts naturally maybe drop it again before summer. Hopefully if this works I'll get a few years up relapse-free and can then look at dropping off the Sub again.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:19 pm 
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Hi Tee Jay, You are very fortunate to have something that is working! So happy to hear that you are doing a little better! I also know it is hard work for you and lots of people think its something you can just shake off! Very proud of you!


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