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Depression vs Unhappiness

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by learningyoghurt, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    I wonder if anyone could give me a hand with this? I am not feeling great and whilst I don't want to fight on with a losing battle if it's now a case of the chemicals being all wrong in my brain, nor do I want to be putting the onus on a doctor to cure me if it's just the case that I'm unhappy and that the solution lies in my hands.
    Obviously, no-one can diagnose me but your thoughts would be really helpful.

    Feeling as follows:
    - I've sort of given in and 'accepted' that the world is a horrible place, that I'm mysteriously cursed and/or just a genetically appalling person or else that I do everything wrong etc. Feel as though I want to 'stop trying' although I'm not exactly sure what that would entail.
    - Still having difficulty processing/coming to terms with the circumstances of my pregnancy and the last two years of my life etc. I don't know why this is. I can rationally break it down and I'm aware that Lite's dad really isn't a particularly worthy person but even so I feel like I can't get over any of it and, unfortunately enough, this presents as feeling as though I'm not over him. This is then embarrassing, because he was a total waste of space and not very nice to me and I know that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
    - Not keen to see people/do things, although I know that this would generally help my mood I also know that I'll either beat myself up for some small thing that I did/didn't do afterwards or else feel annoyed because they don't 'get it'. I don't know what 'it' is, though.
    - Don't really want to meet new people. Feel as though people are horrible.
    - Bit scared to go out. On its own this would I think be overcomeable, but on top of weather/time restraints/getting baby and self ready and planning things like food, seems impossible.
    - Cry a lot, for not much reason.
    - Issues with food, ongoing.
    - Can't visualise good things - the only things that I think would make me 'happy' are a) impossible and b) probably wouldn't anyway.
    - No confidence, even though again this isn't rational.

    Having said all that:
    - I do hold down a job and look after a toddler by myself, I'm aware that this is not a recipe for relaxed living, but I manage both pretty well.
    - I do love the baby very much and enjoy work - anxiety attacks aside - when I'm there.
    - The last few years haven't been easy but I've dealt with them, also am not starving or on a slave ship or concentration camp, also shouldn't expect life to be happy all the time.
    - I don't always feel rubbish and sad, although I mostly do these days.
    - Am not sleeping well just now, which doesn't help anything.
    - It's winter and the end of the Christmas term and traditionally a time for teachers to feel ****.

    Went to the doctor a few month's back because of anxiety-type things - he recommended me to counselling. I've had two sessions so far and I guess that they must be helpful (I think they're moving me on etc) but I do seem to leave them saying "Yep, everything's really rubbish..."
  2. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I think that 2 sessions of counselling isn't long enough to make a difference. Give it at least a couple of months. Talk to the counsellor/GP about your sleep/eating patterns and see if there is anything they can suggest. Both of those can also have a significant impact on your emotional well being. Take care.

  3. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    I'm not going to make any attempt to advise you other than to point out that what you should be telling yourself is how bloody amazing you are for coping with all the things that life has flung at you in the last couple of years.
    My circumstances were vaguely similar when my daughter was born and it was only in retrospect that I realised that I was bloody amazing! Looking back now I don't know how I managed it.
    Read your op as though you were A.N.Other Poster and see what you think.
    Then go to the doctor to allow him/her to decide whether you need medical intervention.
    In the meantime: bravo for getting this far!
  4. MisterW

    MisterW New commenter

    After reading your post, I would say that the solution lies in your own hands (although you should speak to your doctor about your symptoms). It sounds like you are suffering from depression, even if it is only mild.
    Depression and its causes is a controversial topic but personally I think it is caused by errors in thinking and in behaviour. Until these change, you will always be susceptible to depression whatever medication you are taking. From what you write it sounds as if your thoughts and behaviour could be causing the problem. For example, believing that the world is horrible is a thought process which will make you unhappy. You can make yourself feel better by disputing these unhelpful thoughts (for example - if the world is such a horrible place, why did I write this message back to you?). By disputing these beliefs and realising that they are false you can begin to enjoy life again. The end of your post shows that you are more than capable of seing things in a positive light.
    Similarly, behaviour like avoiding seeing people and doing things will be a source of unhappiness and so I think you need to slowly pull yourself out of that trap, no matter how difficult it may be. You can change your behaviour gradually over a long period of time if it seems overwhelming at first. It will be worth the effort in the end.
    The ideas I'm giving you are those encouraged by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the best known cure for depression. There are many good books on this subject so you don't have to go and see a therapist if you don't want to. I am not a doctor though so you should get medcial advice as well.
    Stay positive - you obviously can.
    Good luck!
  5. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Thanks for your replies
    torey - oops, I thought that two would be more than enough! In all honesty I find the whole counselling thing quite vague and woodley, plus I'm getting it on the NHS so I'd anticipate that it will be outcome-based and short-term. She will not clarify this for me, however, mostly says "that depends on how you are" and does that mysterious counsellor-thing with her eyebrows. So I say "well, how am I?" and she says "how do you feel that you are?"
    MisterW - thank you for your long and well-thought-out post and I can testify that everything in it is quite true. However, I've been DIY cbting for most of my twenties (I'm aware that I'm quite deeply neurotic) and the bother is that I really really can't right now, it isn't working for whatever reason. That's why I flagged up the doooooom feelings as one of my 'symptoms'... it's unusual for me to start looking at a situation (or the world) in terms of 'no solutions', generally I don't.
    seren_dipity [​IMG]. That was just nice and it made me feel better - thanks
  6. seren_dipity

    seren_dipity New commenter

    Some people just aren't suited to counselling - I've always found it woolly and vague dependent, as it is, on you essentially actually answering your own questions. I was put through counselling training and I found it all but impossible not to say 'if I were you....'. I've always been the sort of person who either gives or asks for advice - counselling seems pointless to me so don't feel guilty if you feel it isn't for you.
    I've also always been a 'worse case scenario' type of person - when I'm right it means I'm prepared for the worst and when I'm wrong it's a nice surprise.
    It's taken me a looooooong time to reach a point when I accept that over-analysing problems doesn't make them go away - I just live with them until they are resolved and accept that some problems will never be resolved. I spend much less time navel gazing these days. None of that is much help to you but I thought it might be useful to have another perspective.
    Enjoy Christmas with your wee one and try to allow yourself at least a few days when you put aside your problems and relax.
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I'm not sure if your response to me was intentionally sarcastic, but you were asking what to do after only having 2 sessions. I was making the point that you need to give it more time. Chances are it will make it worse before it gets better. If after a couple of months you find counselling isn't for you, then you can ask for a different type. Are you going to ask them or your GP about your sleep/eating?
  8. Totally agree. You sound like a very decent human being, and I'm really sorry you're having a hard time.
  9. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    No, it wasn't - sorry if it came across that way.
    To put it into context, the doctor originally said "we'll see about sorting out one or two counselling sessions to get you through this patch" or similar, so tbh I was expecting to have one. I don't particularly mind it - I'm always happy to talk about myself [​IMG] - but I don't quite 'get it'.
    It's difficult to explain what I mean, but it's rather like when I was having a baby and I didn't know that the midwives had to couch every suggestion as 'would you like us to...?' I genuinely thought that they were really asking and as a result, didn't take their advice and ended up in the transition stage for an hour longer than I had to.
    I feel a bit like that with counselling, tbh, it's like they know what they're doing but I don't and they won't explain it to me.
    I will ask the counsellor about the eating and the sleeping. I may decide to go to the GP before that (which I certainly will if things don't improve fairly quickly) in which case I'll ask him.
  10. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Hmmm, this explains rather a lot!
  11. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Sorry, I want to reply to everyone who was kind enough to reply but can never remember who said what and thus end up filling up my thread with posts about myself.
    I'm generally of this pov but without going into too much tedious detail part of the problem is that the situation is ongoing and keeps changing, insofar as I have deal with Lite's father and that's a bad dynamic and a festering wound. I can deal with the dynamic or I can deal with the wound, however I don't seem to be able to deal with both simultaneously.
    (that's good and cyptic, innit?)
    Thank you - my mum is coming to stay soon and I think that'll help [​IMG]
    coffeekid - thanks xx
  12. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    You may find that taking medication would help alongside the counselling. Counselling is basically reflecting bayouth you, so they won't ever tell you what to do. In a way that is good as it is about helping you to think of your own solutions with support. Imagine how disempowered you'd feel if someone was telling you what to do. I'd tell the counsellor how it is making you feel. If they are any good they may change there approach or give you reasons for why they are saying what you do. From what youve said CBT sounds more appropriate. Hope they can help.
  13. seren_dipity

    seren_dipity New commenter

    I know that's a common perception but sometimes it's exactly what a person needs - even if it's just putting various options and allowing you to choose it can be more helpful than reflecting everything back at you. After all, if you could think of your own solutions you would have done so already. Counselling isn't for everyone.
    Sometimes we are unhappy. Usually it's a feeling that lasts until we are happier. I'm not being obtuse - that is my experience and one I've had many times in my life. The difficulty arises when you can't see how it is going to end or even that it will end...my experience is that it does. On a couple of occasions I have sought medical advice too and for a time I was on anti-depressants. I'm not sure to this day whether they made any actual difference other than to make me feel that I was actually doing something to help myself or whether the unhappiness passed naturally (if a lot slower than I'd have liked).
    Also - your child is still very young - are you certain that there is no PND involved? It's another consideration.

  14. joli2

    joli2 New commenter

    I didn't want to read and run, just to add you seem to be doing an amazingly good job in the circumstances.Everyone's different and I'd hate to give you advice - that needs to come from your GP/yourself/your counsellor.
    However, to share experiences - I too did an amazing job of holding everything together for a very long time, in difficult circumstances- I had great coping mechanisms. It meant I went on for far too long and things got really serious before I asked for help. That for me was a combination of anti-depressants for a time and counselling (not CBT). I found the counselling process difficult, it made me feel worse and for at least 6 sessions I only got through by promising myself I wouldn't go back. However, I'm convinced the counselling saved my life, even though I'm the sort
    of person that can usually sort out my own problems. I've learned to let a lot of things go, (those I can't change), I've learned that it's ok not to cope. I've learned I can't fix things for everyone else at the expense of myself.Surprisingly, there was one session my counsellor did give me some direct advice - not to go to a family event she didn't feel I was physically or emotionally strong enough for. She was right.
    I'm not advocating counselling, it's not right for everyone, but it helped me 'sort my head out' when there just seemed to be so many things that were going wrong that I couldn't straighten anything in my head.
    Whatever you decide, or do, I hope you have some peace over the holiday and try to get some sleep.


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    LY I read your post and the feelings of being down all the
    time seems very familiar to me. I went through a period of this a few years ago
    and then ended up seeing a doctor (who was useless and said I wasn’t depressed
    enough to need Ads but I could have a few sessions with the practice counsellor)
    and then going off and having private counselling myself for 6 months. I
    remember just sitting in my car and crying for nothing, everything was grey and
    I could never imagine myself EVER being happy.

    The counselling I had was brilliant and made me see things very differently. It
    did take a couple of months before I felt differently about myself and my
    situation however. My counsellor had to keep reminding me it was a “process”
    where I would not get “better” overnight, instead I would see small changes and
    these would have a big impact in the future and she was right.

    The only things I would say LY is I think you have coped brilliantly with your
    situation and it’s no wonder you are feeling low at the moment. Counselling may
    not be for you but I do think a good 5 or 6 sessions will help you decide whether
    it is or not.

    Let us know how you get on LY. x
  16. i did a year of councelling - i hated it even though when i wasn't actually stuck in that room i knew that it was helping. i stuck it out by equating it to the dentist. but it isn't for everyone, and it isn't for all situations - when i went under last year i gratefully accepted anti-depressants instead.
    can only echo everyone who's pointed out how amazing you are and how amazingly you've coped with everything.
    do beware of taking hard, objective looks at things - there's a couple of cautionary studies out there which shows almost everyone over-estimates their abilities and the likeliehood of good outcomes - human beings seem to need a certain rose-tinting to function normally, for the excetions, who saw themselves clearly and predicted accurately were - oh yes- diagnosed depressives!

  17. I agree with the other posts, you need more counselling sessions to see good results. I am a holistic therapist and I would also recommend CBT as this will help you retrain your mind to think more positively. You may also like to try Emotional Freedom Technque (tapping) as this can have amazing results when dealing with negative thoughts.

    Good luck and have a lovely Christmas.
  18. I havent read all of the replies, so sorry if I'm just repeating things.
    I have been where you are - is it real, or just imagination?
    Honestly, for me, depression is literally a virus. I can feel it, a darkness seeping through my veins. Churchill once said that is was a black dog that plagued him; never a truer word said.
    Life has been very hard on you - it will have made you unhappy. Has it made you more than unhappy? Only you can tell.
    In all truth, honesty, counselling and drugs will probably help.
    Sam_Bow xx
  19. chicabonita

    chicabonita New commenter


    As you know I've been in a similar place to you (and keep popping back to visit). I agree with what Seren has said- this too WILL pass, but it might take longer than you are comfortable with- and in the meantime, you are constantly wondering whether you ought to be doing something more/different, or being someone else, or being with someone else- I think a lot of these thoughts lead to feeling worse as you feel somewhat guilty for not dealing with a perceived 'fault' or not being able to cope.
    Keep going to the counsellor, for a while more at least. It may be that the counselling per se helps, or things change while you are going to counselling. But if it doesn't help then you could see where ADs get you.
    Incidentally, the most recent time I felt like you feel was in the summer and I'm pretty certain it was at least in part PND. The HV told me that it really is caused by a chemical imbalance, and even though circumstances may be unhelpful, acccording to her, it might not correct itself by itself. It is a horrible way to feel and I've nothing but sympathy for you. Unfortunately that's not very helpful, but please try to persuade yourself that it's not you, it's just how things are just now- and we are very much here (and, of course, over there) for you if you need us. xx

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