What are some major symptoms of depression that caused you to seek help?

I thought since it had been a long day, I’d post one of our older posts. I’d love to see all the new voices chiming in!

I am hoping you can speak to the symptoms of the depression side of your illness…as it is very much related just as we are Marybeth!  I think there are so many people out there who don’t realize they could be happier or handling life so much better if the just recognized a few symptoms.  I have become friends with gals that remind me of myself before I sought help and it is hard to just stand by.

So…question…what are some major symptoms of depression (other than suicidal thoughts) that caused you to seek help?

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I don’t think it was ever suicidal thoughts that caused me to seek help. After all, when one is suicidal, the last thing they want is help. (Unless it’s help opening a bottle of asprin with a child proof lid…or am I the only adult who has trouble with those?) When one is suicidal they usually aren’t going to seek help, at least not directly.

I wasn’t the first one to seek help for me, it was actually my (your) mother. (Ann rocks!!! Just saying….) I was able to somewhat manage my depression (on and off) for quite a few years, and/or hide it well enough to believe I was managing it.

Unfortunately it was hitting rock bottom that made me really seek out the help I needed. It took me losing everything (including three of my closest friends) and getting in a huge fight with my husband to finally hit that jagged rocky floor. I can’t say that I wasn’t really looking for help before that day, however, I was looking for it in all the wrong places.

I was expecting my friends to notice something was wrong and suggest I do something about it. And when they failed to do so I was expecting my husband to understand and somehow make it better, but he couldn’t. Only one person could really help me, and that was…well…me!

I knew something was wrong. I knew the day I sat on my porch and cried for two hours straight. I knew the day I walked out of work and drove myself to my favorite place and cried for another two hours straight. I knew, when after fighting with my husband who was, in his own way, telling me something was wrong, I stared at my little miniature suitcase and dreamed of all the places I could go to run away….while crying.

Running away wasn’t going to help though. I was off my meds because I felt like they weren’t working. (That should have been the first clue) and I was broken. Broken into so many tiny pieces that all the kings men and all the kings horses had a better shot of putting that damn egg back together than they did trying to pick me up.

So as I stared at the little suitcase I made a decision. I was going to run away, but not to anywhere I actually wanted to go. Instead I walked out of my house, suitcase in hand, and drove myself to the hospital.

I don’t think we go without noticing our depression. I mean, when I was sleeping 18 hours a day, I knew I was depressed. But we tell ourselves that it’s temporary. It will go away. It’s not a problem, not a real one at least. It’s just a stressful time.

Newsflash! It’s life, it’s ALWAYS a stressful time. Even when life is good, something is stressful. It’s just the way things work.

We are in denial. Nobody wants to be sick. How many times have you started to feel a cold or the flu come on and you still went about your daily routine swearing up and down, “I am NOT sick.” only to crash two days later because you refused to read the signs and take care of yourself right from the beginning? Depression is no different. We know the signs. We see the signs. We choose to ignore the signs.

And I hate to say it, but when I am depressed, there is no possible way of convincing me that life could possibly get better … ever!

Also, and I’m sure many people may not agree with me on this, but I think depression is kind of an addiction. Stay with me on this one…. I’m not sure if it’s the extra attention we are seeking, the need for someone to notice us, or the fact that maybe we don’t want to get better because if we get better what will happen if it gets worse again? So we cling to that depression, because it’s all we know. We hate it, yet it’s comfortable. We can’t stand being sad, yet we crave it’s return. Because when we feel depressed, as strange as it sounds, we feel normal. I know that sounds borderline crazy, but there has to be someone out there who agrees with me on this one?

Needless to say, after rambling on for a good three novels worth of a post, your friends probably do KNOW that they can be happy. But there is something stopping them from doing so. Whether it be they are afraid to get better, afraid to admit they are not well, afraid that going on medications will “change them”, or afraid that they’ll find their way back to their dark place again anyways, they are in some sort of denial.

I would (cautiously) suggest talking to them. Tell them you’re concerned. Share my story, share your story, share any story and give them hope. Ask them what it is they are afraid of. Try to help them understand better and let them know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I know this is far easier said than done, but I’m not really sure there is much else you can do for them.

As for what those signs are…here are a few to look for.

  • they can’t sleep or they sleep too much (I was the queen of sleeping too much!)
  • they can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult (like brushing your teeth or taking a shower or cooking a meal)
  • they feel hopeless and helpless (in a VERY Eyore  sort of way)
  • they can’t control their negative thoughts, no matter how much you try (And I’ve tried it!)
  • they have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating (I stop eating…it’s a lovely diet plan! Not really!)
  • they are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual (Now this is a hard one if your normally an irritable person….though that’s not me…not at all…What? No one asked you Rebecca!)
  • they have thoughts that life is not worth living (You don’t have to be suicidal per say to think life isn’t worth living. When I drove myself to the hospital I did not think or really want to kill myself, but that doesn’t mean that thought sounded appealing…if that makes any sense)

And remember …

If you know  they are thinking about harming themselves, we advise you to seek help immediately.

You can get help by doing one of the following:

  • Call a doctor.
  • Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help or ask a friend or family member to help you do these things.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.

Make sure the suicidal person is never left alone.

10 thoughts on “What are some major symptoms of depression that caused you to seek help?

  1. Pingback:Tweets that mention Ask a Bipolar » Blog Archive » What are some major symptoms of depression that caused you to seek help? -- Topsy.com

  2. “Because when we feel depressed, as strange as it sounds, we feel normal.” I SOOOOO know what you mean by this. I’ve felt this way, often, at different times in my life. Depression sucks, but it’s also comfortable…and at one point, it was the only way I knew how to feel. What happens when that’s taken away from me? What do I become? Being “that depressed chick” was who I was. And not only did the depression feel comfortable, but in a way it felt creative and interesting and important and shiny and needed. And when I finally got myself out of that dark place, I missed it. (yay, I’m crazy too!) I couldn’t write anymore. I didn’t think of super interesting enlightening things to say anymore. I didn’t hang out in coffee shops reading Huxley anymore. I was worried that people wouldn’t like me anymore, because I felt like I’d disappeared. I didn’t know who I as at all. And that, in a way, was even scarier than the depression.

  3. I just had a conversation with my psychologist about this. I am bipolar, and I have been known to suffer from severe manic & depressive episodes. I am on wellbutrin for depression. I went through a really bad depression spell not long ago so i think i know what it feels like to be “really depressed”. But during my session yesterday I mentioned to her that i had lost the desire to go anywhere with my friends or really leave my house and go much of anywhere at all lately. Also, I just didnt have much motivation anymore to do things around the house and i havent been sleeping much lately. She told me it sounded like i was depressed. i told her i didnt “feel” depressed. i remember what it felt like when i was “really depressed”. I couldnt get enough sleep, i slept all the time. i couldnt drag myself out of bed. i wouldnt take showers for days. i felt horrible, down all the time. i dont feel that way now. She explained that there were different levels of depression. i get that now. i understand. and i get what your saying about wanting to stay depressed, about being a comfort zone. She asked me if I wanted to get better, if i wanted to be happy again. my answer was simple, “I am content” i may not be happy, i remember the girl i use to be before the bipolar set in and took over my life. I see that person in my mind. i remember what it felt like to be that person, but i am a realist, i also know that that type of happiness is out of reach for someone like me so i am content with my lot in life. There is no medication or combination of medications that will get me to that place. So i am Content.

  4. Jess, it’s hard to admit it, but it is comfortable. It’s what we know. And don’t worry…I like you depressed and happy! Hey guess what…tomorrow is FRIDAY!

  5. Angel I was SOOOO there with the sleeping. It’s all I wanted to do. I also have those days when I just don’t want to do anything. I love my friends but the last thing I want to do is talk to them or be around them. I’d prefer to chat with strangers online. I know it doesn’t make sense, but it is what it is. But those moments go away too. Happiness does seem like a distant fantasy, but it is possible. Now a days I take any bit of happiness I can get because I know I can and will get back to that comfort spot again, whether or not I want to.

    Thanks for visiting the site. It sounds like you and I can relate on a LOT of things!

  6. YAY for tomorrow being Friday! And SUPER YAY for you liking me no matter my brain state 🙂 It’s nice to be liked. hehe Thanks though, for saying and vocalizing something that I think a lot of people don’t want to admit about depression. I’ve never had anyone discuss that aspect of it before, and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way!

  7. I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous about posting it at first. But then I though, you know what, it’s true. And I have a good feeling those around us think it too. Thanks for understanding!

  8. ps. one should qualify it need not all venture into depression
    upon the spiritual journey its not nessessity that all must fall.

    It a nessessity that some do fall / thus being such the guide
    for others with practical experience (not guesswork) where
    advising ways avoid depression as how one best cope with
    its minor symptoms / before they become major symptoms

    As those falling into material pit (it a stage of development)
    thus the getting out ( the learning ) be but a vital part in their
    spiritual development // in learning depths of understanding
    that well beyond the experience of normal familiar lifestyles.

    Though can be painfull to the extreme in physical / emotional
    terms. Depression much needed exercise of brain as added
    physical challenges needed. The individuals development as
    courage in facing depression can be of a gigantic magnitude
    it but cripples / Yet persevere one must / It be one convinced
    there being no end to it, yet in time one seeing light at its end
    thus the journey made easier / in seeing a approaching hope.

  9. Pingback:Mental Disorders 101

  10. I’m diagnosed with Bipolar II. And, just for those of you who don’t know, depression is the commonality between Bipolar I and II. Our depressions can be just as bad as BP I. What got me to seek help? I’m a devoted parent. When I saw that the depression was interfering with my parenting, I had to do something. My kids are still my motivation.

    Plus, the fact that I would(and this is gross) go days without showering and brushing my teeth. Up to this point I had been OCD when it came to my pearly whites! UGH…I knew something was wrong.

    Then, the lack of enjoyment out of anything. I had nothing. Only my kids that made me smile.

    But, it’s a constant battle to not get the habit of depression to “take hold”. I’m still a work in progress.

    I admire all of you who are so young and working so hard to stay well. It’s very inspiring! thanks!

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