Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
I have been suffering from chronic depression since I had an operation two years ago- the surgery was supposed to be for an appendectomy, but it was discovered that I had a chronic health problem that wasn’t going to go away. My doctors aren’t sure if my depression is from an emotional reaction or a physical one, but the gray cloud just won’t lift.
They have tried more than one type of antidepressant but not only don’t they work, the medications seemed to make me feel even more removed and detached from life. I finally made a decision to just try to live with it. I use every trick in the book to left my mood- I exercise, I eat right, I meditate, get out of the house and join groups. I’ve tried acupuncture. I do yoga. It is all a distraction for a short time and then the gray cloud settles in again.
I know I am struggling with a difficult problem. I am proud that I haven’t given in to drinking or drugs or other destructive behavior.But sometimes I just feel like I want to kill myself if the rest of my life is going to be like this.
Other than suggesting another opinion (I’ve gotten at least seven of them) or another pill (there’s nothing left to try), do you have any ideas?
You are right- SSRI antidepressants do work by creating detachment. So do benzodiazepines, opiates, and marijuana. But there are many other options both pharmaceutical and non pharmaceutical.
I guarantee you haven’t tried all the options available.
There are medications you have not tried. There are many types of acupuncture treatments if one didn’t work for you. The Sarno method is helpful for chronic pain. There are hundreds of alternative medication options and many different types of yoga. They make a portable TENS unit for pain. Bee sting therapy is good for arthritis, pain , inflammation, and immune system troubles. TMR (trans cranial magnetic resonance) has a lot of promise for pain , mood, and abdominal issues. EEG biofeedback is a good alternative option to improve pain, mood, and focus.
Pain and mood are directly related to one’s attention span so sometimes ones attention span needs an adjustment to reestablish equilibrium.
It might seem like you tried everything but you have not. Not every method works for everyone but something works for everyone. You just might need to really look for a while to find what works for you.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: Rather than suggesting lots of other stuff to try, I am going to give it to you straight- nothing is going to work. No matter what you do, you will not achieve what you are really looking for which is a return to the way things used to be. And that is probably a good thing.
You need to understand- whatever you were doing or however you approached life before your operation is a huge part of why you became ill. Many people who have had cancer or a heart attack end up saying it was the best thing that ever happened to them. This is because it forced them to change the way they thought, the way they lived, and the habits they’d fallen into. Every health “disaster” can also be viewed as the opportunity to make changes that you would never otherwise make.
From the way that you describe your efforts, I can tell that you gave one thing after another a “try” and then abandoned it when you didn’t get the result you wanted. This is the kind of thinking that results in frustration and stress; it can induce a sense of hopelessness and lead to health issues. If anything is going to “work”, it is going to have to be YOU.
Whether your current depression was brought about by a chemical imbalance that resulted from your operation or an emotional reaction to news of a life-long problem, you need to accept that there is a shift in your entire system that has occurred. No one-time remedy will change anything about this. If you try acupuncture, a single visit will not help you. You need to get a series of treatments and then keep it up with visits at regular intervals. If you try exercise or yoga, you need to do it on a regular basis for optimum results. Trying anything a few times is pointless when it comes to managing life-long issues. The only solution that works with one try is shooting yourself in the head. And believe it or not, such attempts also fail an astonishing amount.
Change your attitude, and your whole world will change. I suggest going to some support groups so that you can hear firsthand from other people who are struggling with chronic illness and depression. They, far more than your doctors, will know what works.