Chronic Unhappiness= Depression? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-09-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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In the "Stopping Medications" thread, Daral the Christian said I sound incredibly depressed on here, despite how far I've come in recovery from mental illness.

I am wondering if there are others on here like me, who have made big strides towards recovery but still have issues with chronic unhappiness?

Would this still be considered depression?

What can be done to reach a more placid state? Any particular supplements/programs/practices helping out in attaining a happier attitude?

To be honest, I was shocked to read Daral's view that I was sounding unhappy, because this is the happiest I've been in years!!
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#2 Old 03-09-2006, 03:13 PM
 
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I've had people tell me the same thing. I have made slow, but huge changes in my mental health. I thought I was happy, while others thought I was still depressed. I don't have any advise for you other than if you have any second thoughts on your happiness that don't change after a while then seeing a counselor or something wouldn't be a bad idea. Also yoga is suppose to help with mental health and listening to your body. I wish you luck.
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#3 Old 03-09-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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What do you feel is making you unhappy? If you are surrounded by negative people that could be one reason you feel unhappy. Choose to associate with positive and uplifting people. Exercise also gives you a boost in the "feel-good" chemicals in your brain. Eating well is important too and getting sufficient fatty acids.
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#4 Old 03-09-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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We just studied all the different forms of depression in class today (I'm a Masters of Social Work student) and chronic, long term depressive symptoms that are not part of a major depressive episode are considered dysthymia. One of the kickers with dysthymia as opposed to major depression is that you're functioning okay and it isn't really interefering with your life. If you are maintaining status quo and you feel pretty decent but still have a good number of depressed days over a long period of time -- could by dysthymia.

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#5 Old 03-09-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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when dealing with my own depression issues, I like to give myself a bit of perspective:



A year ago, I was nearly suicidal, making self-destructive choices, screaming into my pillow because the arguments in my head wouldn't stop... When I finally got into therapy, I couldn't imagine that things could get better. I was convinced that I would always be psycho...



Today, I am MUCH MUCH improved. I have learned a lot of useful tools that I am able to apply in my daily life. I am NOT cured. I am NOT perfect. I still have the same challenges, but they don't overwhelm me anymore.



I still have a lot of personal work ahead of me. I have made excellent, deliberate changes in my life, but I still have a long way to go, and I still tend to fall back into old patterns.



I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though you've come a long way in this journey, there's still a long way to go. That applies to all of us, even the ones who aren't psycho...

Nec Aspera Terrent
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#6 Old 03-09-2006, 06:06 PM
 
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I can relate! I've gotten SOOOO much better with my mental issues, I feel the best I've ever felt, yet people tell me I'm too negative...I'm like damn, if I'm negative now what was I then?? lol. It's kind of frustrating though, to think I'm so much happier/not depressed, yet I still come off as negative? Maybe part of us gets so used to being depressed that we just "talk depressed" or something. You know what I mean? Like I'm always quick to say "That sucks" or "I hate that", I don't even realize it but apparently I always point out the negative. Do you think maybe you tend to talk in a negative way too without realizing it?
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#7 Old 03-09-2006, 07:21 PM
 
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I don't know the answer, but I do know how you feel... it's a journey.
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#8 Old 03-09-2006, 07:30 PM
 
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There's a lot to be unhappy about in the world. I don't think it's unreasonable to be discontented about a lot of things. That doesn't mean you are unhappy with your own life.
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#9 Old 03-09-2006, 08:13 PM
 
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Sometimes people tend to only write about the bad stuff rather than share all the happy moments as well so the readers don't get the whole picture. I don't know if this is the case for you but I tend to do it. I have a blog on another forum and I've titled it my complaining blog. I'm sure to some I seem like I'm sad but I'm really not. Crappy things happen and I write about them while the majority of my days are pretty good.
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#10 Old 03-10-2006, 10:28 AM
 
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Thank you all. Especially WonderRandy, as it sounds like we've been down the same road.

I guess I do tend to post my problems more than happy things, & as Ludi points out, there are many rl things to be depressed about, esp. when vegan.

I am also considering that maybe "hey, you still seem extremely depressed despite your _______" (insert belief or practice here) may be sort of a Christian "pick-up line".

Daral may have expected me to say, "gee, I *am* still down, maybe I'll see what makes Christians so gosh-darn happy!!"



As Wonder Randy sez, everybody has a way to go, & I am proud of how far I have come. There was a time where I acted terribly because I felt the only place for me was in jail, a mental hospital, or a coffin. Things are better now, considerably better.



Special thanks to Ludi for years of ongoing help. :hugs:
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#11 Old 03-10-2006, 10:46 AM
 
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Organica,

I think, too, that not everybody has to achieve the same level of 'happiness'. I suffered from major depression for years (used various medications, had therapy, etc.). I seem to be back to 'normal', for some time now. (I still take an anti-depressant, but it's for anxiety issues.)



On the other hand, I'm not running around smiling all the time. My husband nearly died in 2004 (medical problems), and we went through long periods of medical care, financial troubles (which we're still experiencing), and just all-around difficulties. We both ended up unemployed when his medical problems were at their worst. That was hardly anything to be 'happy' about. And now I'm working two jobs to pay down some of the credit card debt that we accumulated during that time. I hate working two jobs. My husband works different shifts, so we rarely get to see each other. I'm not happy about that either. I don't get enough sleep, I never get a day off, I don't get to see my husband much at all, I have no time to myself to pursue my own interests/needs, etc. I'm hardly bouncing off the wall with joy.



On the other hand, I don't think I'm depressed, in the clinical sense. My life is just not a 'happy' one, but that's not the same thing as being depressed. The feelings I experience now are just frustration and disappointment at my lief situation, but I don't feel depressed per se (and I know what that feels like).



So, other people might think that you're still sort of 'low', but you can feel that way without being clinically depressed, I think. The important thing is how *you* feel, not how other people perceive your feelings. If you think you might be depressed, though, then you should seek medical/professional care.



I will never be one of those happy-boppy people who jumps out of bed in the morning, just bursting with happiness, and feeling high on life. If other people feel that way, then good for them. But it's not me. And I don't think that means there's anything wrong with me - we're just all wired differently.



Right now, my only attempt at achieving a happier attitude is just to ake a stoic attitude - more one of resignation than anything else. I realize that there are certain things about my life that I can't change right now, and I just have learned to cope with that. That's not the usualy key to happiness, but it works for me right now.



Best wishes!
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#12 Old 03-10-2006, 10:47 AM
 
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There is a diagnosis called Dysthymia which is basically a chronic low grade depression. Typically speaking if some one is diagnosed with Major Depression) and there are no other mental health diagnosis involved) they will have periods where they don’t feel depressed and have a more typical range of moods.



With dysthymia the lows are not as lows but one is less likely to see periods with little or no depression.
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#13 Old 03-10-2006, 11:34 AM
 
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I think that it is all how you perceive things to be. I believe that everyone has control over their mind (and therefore their mental health). You just have to take the step to realize that and then the next step to correct the problem.



I'd recommend reading some books on learning how to perceive things better, Louise L. Hay for example. I love her books. If you can conquer your mind, you can release yourself from any state of depression.



I use this quote a lot:

"Men are disturbed not by things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." -Epictetus
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#14 Old 03-11-2006, 04:25 PM
 
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I read recently that some scientists believe that our brains have a set level of happiness which little can do to alter over the long-term. For example, having something drastic happen in your life which can be either positive like maybe coming into a lot of money or social status, or negative like divorce or death of a loved one, won't necessarily affect your overall happiness in the long-run. It's a bit of a fatalistic attitude I guess, but I am sure there are exceptions to the rule, like some people might find ways of changing their brain chemistry or those who have a chronic run of bad events will find it very hard to be at all happy no matter how they are programmed.

The idea behind it though is to not look for huge changes to improve your well-being and try instead to focus on the smaller and more achievable everyday things which keep us content.



And as long as you feel satisfied with where you are at then it shouldn't matter if others think you are happy or unhappy. Easier said than done, I know. I have hugely extroverted friends who often think I am down simply because I am quiet that day, but I think that is just in my nature.
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#15 Old 03-11-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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I agree with those that think unhappiness is not neccesarily depression.



Personally, I'm generally an unhappy or not-happy person, but I don't think I'm exactly depressed. I have trouble being happy without having something to be "happy for". Happiness is caused by specific things, and it is a temporary high that is a diversion from my regular mood. When I'm happy for no good reason, I think I must be imagining my life to be better than it really is, and I hate feeling delusional, so the delusional happiness goes away pretty quickly.



Organica, from the posts you've made in the past month or so I definitely got the impression that you're doing quite well, and much better than before. I'm actually happy for you in that way only a total internet stranger can be.
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#16 Old 03-12-2006, 06:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heabrook View Post

If you can conquer your mind, you can release yourself from any state of depression.







Sorry, but I disagree with that statement. There are some conditions of depression which are not caused by the way a person thinks.
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#17 Old 03-12-2006, 06:44 AM
 
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I'm not sure I can "conquer my mind". I've been trying for decades. I manage it now, but people still think I'm weird & depressed, even when I think I'm feeling/acting normal & happy.



I agree with Ludi- it's not always "mind over matter".
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#18 Old 03-12-2006, 06:46 AM
 
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Organica, from the posts you've made in the past month or so I definitely got the impression that you're doing quite well, and much better than before. I'm actually happy for you in that way only a total internet stranger can be.



Thank you April!!



It's funny that you think I'm doing ok but Daral the Christian says I seem extremely depressed...

I'm thinking more & more what he said is just a way of sucking me into his cult or something.
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#19 Old 03-12-2006, 06:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by heabrook View Post

I'd recommend reading some books on learning how to perceive things better, Louise L. Hay for example. I love her books. If you can conquer your mind, you can release yourself from any state of depression.



Isn't Loise Hay the author who says negative thought "x" causes your cancer, while negative thought "y" induces schizophrenia, etc?

I seem to recall a book called "You Can Heal Your Life" where she says every illness/condition is directly related to a particular negative thought pattern.

She's big on angels & affirmations right?



I don't think that's something that can help me, but thank you.
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#20 Old 03-13-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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I don't take other people seirously when they try and tell me how I feel. I deal with people all the time who assume I am unhappy because I don't walk around with a grin on my face 24/7. In fact the best example of this would be a few years back when I did some travelling with a friend. A lot of the people in the tour group would constantly comment to me and my friend that we were "real downers" and "depressing." Which made no sense considering how amazingly happy and excited I was almost every day! I don't recall complaining about anything...actually, I laughed when I saw how tiny the rooms were or found out we had to squat over public toilets. And yet, everyone decided I was depressed....probalby cuz I'm introverted, I guess.



So people misinterpret things sometimes...I am not a doctor or anything, but I would say that if you don't feel that you are depressed, then you probably aren't.

It's not in what you say, it's in what you do (Oasis)

Feeling bored? Why don't you wander over to my blog sometime. http://thebohemiankitchen.wordpress.com
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#21 Old 03-13-2006, 04:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

Sorry, but I disagree with that statement. There are some conditions of depression which are not caused by the way a person thinks.



what are they caused by then?
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#22 Old 03-13-2006, 04:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by organica View Post

Isn't Loise Hay the author who says negative thought "x" causes your cancer, while negative thought "y" induces schizophrenia, etc?

I seem to recall a book called "You Can Heal Your Life" where she says every illness/condition is directly related to a particular negative thought pattern.

She's big on angels & affirmations right?



I don't think that's something that can help me, but thank you.



to each is own. Thought I'd recommend it tho
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#23 Old 03-13-2006, 04:15 PM
 
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what are they caused by then?

The role of serotonin or maybe dopamine
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#24 Old 03-13-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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The role of serotonin or maybe dopamine



sometimes that is true. there are supplements you can take to correct that and identify if that is the problem. But there are a lot of times when it is "in your head"
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#25 Old 03-13-2006, 04:28 PM
 
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sometimes that is true. there are supplements you can take to correct that and identify if that is the problem. But there are a lot of times when it is "in your head"

Sometimes?lol I don't know. Maybe. If it is in your head then that is indicative of a problem. Our entire mental contrstuct of reality is based on our neurochemical make up. We are our neurochemicals.



What do you mean there are supplements that you can take to correct and identify the problem. what supplements and which problems?
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#26 Old 03-13-2006, 04:40 PM
 
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What do you mean there are supplements that you can take to correct and identify the problem. what supplements and which problems?



It depends on the problem and the level of the problem. Like you said, depression can be caused by other factors and is not necessarily limited to the state of one's mental health. The most popular natural treatment, however, is St. johns wart or sam-e for depression.



Also, you said that depression isn't necessarily caused by one's perspective and how one chooses to view life but is caused by low levels of seratonin or dopamine. But, one can argue that because you are depressed, the state of depression is what is causing the levels of seratonin, melatonin and dopamine to be low.
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#27 Old 03-13-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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clinically speaking...



(from national guideline clearinghouse, www.guideline.gov, adapted from the DSM-IV)



Major depression = depressed mood or interest + 4 SIGECAPS for 2 or more weeks

Dysthymia = depressed mood or interest + 3 SIGECAPS most days for 2 or more years



Sleep increase/decrease

Interest in formerly compelling or pleasurable activities diminished

Guilt, low self esteem

Energy poor

Concentration poor

Appetite increase/decrease

Psychomotor agitation or retardation

Suicidal ideation



well, that's how doctors define depression. however, the word 'depression' has a much different connotation to most. moral of the story: if you are not sure, it's always best to see a professional, as depression affects not just you, but everyone around you, and can be an extremely serious health problem (leading to suicide, or negligence of other health problems).



often, it is not just in your head, and professional help (and medication) might be the best way to help. BE CAREFUL: all this stuff about positive and negative energies... i don't know if those therapies have been proven to be as effective as seeing a professional.
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#28 Old 03-13-2006, 04:56 PM
 
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To each is own.. if you have a problem, you should treat yourself in a manor that you feel comfortable with.
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#29 Old 03-13-2006, 05:00 PM
 
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It depends on the problem and the level of the problem. Like you said, depression can be caused by other factors and is not necessarily limited to the state of one's mental health. The most popular natural treatment, however, is St. johns wart or sam-e for depression.

St. John's wart has been found to help non-depressive people. It can highten mood but has no affect on those diagnosed with depression which is a debilitating condition.



Quote:
Also, you said that depression isn't necessarily caused by one's perspective and how one chooses to view life but is caused by low levels of seratonin or dopamine. .

It doesn't seem like you understand what severe depression is. For example, it would be fruitless to treat a broken leg like you would a skinned knee. Feeling blue every once in a while (which is normal) is not equivalent to major depression.



Quote:
But, one can argue that because you are depressed, the state of depression is what is causing the levels of seratonin, melatonin and dopamine to be low

Can one really argue that? I'm not saying which came first (chicken or the egg) but considering how little we understand I don't see how it can be argued. Again, it seems like you are trying to separate the person from her neurochemistry. The two are not mutually exclusive.
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#30 Old 03-13-2006, 05:13 PM
 
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St. John's wart has been effective for treating chronic depression.



A state of depression causes low levels of those chemicals. How one becomes into the state of depression can be for various reasons.



It's best not to dwell, because our facts and opinions are very different.
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