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Sudden Onset Depression

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by farmerjerome, May 28, 2007.

  1. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Third in for professional help ... it's good to have an objective ear.
  2. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Seeing a therapist is the way to go.

    And don't let yourself wallow in it, like I tend to do.

    Make lists for the day, even if the things on there seem meaningless, and even if you don't finish.
  3. rokski2

    rokski2 New Member

    Not in my opinion. I think your courage could actually help others who may have similar issues but were afraid to discuss them. Nice job.

    It's been awhile since I thought about some of this, so I might get some information wrong, but most of this should at least be on the right track.


    OCD and panic disorder are two illnesses which are both part of what is known as the "OCD Spectrum of Disorders:"


    These are all illnesses which exhibit traits similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder. All of these disorders fall under the larger heading of anxiety disorders.

    - - -

    Anxiety disorders, and mental illness more generally, are certainly no strangers to the world of pro sports.

    Ricky Williams has social anxiety disorder, former jockey Julie Krone suffered from anxiety attacks, Rob Bell of the Baltimore Orioles suffered from anxiety attacks. The list goes on and on.

    Here's a link to an excellent 2003 article by SI's L. Jon Wertheim on professional athletes and mental illness:


    And that's just high-level athletics.

    - - -

    I have suffered from OCD for about 20 years. FarmerJerome, I know exactly what you're talking about: The thought patterns, the interspersed depression, the shame and the feelings that no one else can relate to/understand what you're experiencing.

    Anxiety is a normal and necessary part of human existence; it serves a function. If our ancestors didn't have anxiety, they would not, say, have been properly concerned that they were being stalked by a bear, or they might not have been too disturbed when a funnel cloud was being formed in the sky. Anxiety is part of the hard-wiring in our amygdalas, and we wouldn't be here if we didn't have it.

    That said, for some of us, the signals from the amygdala can be a little stronger than we want them to be. This shouldn't come as a surprise, we are not so far removed from our hunting and gathering forefathers, who relied on the messages from that part of their brains for their basic survival. Hunting and gathering societies still exist in the world today. The amygdala is a little less useful in our modern, post-industrial society.

    OCD and its anxiety disorder brethren are attempts by our minds to exhibit control over something/some situation which we don't feel we have control over. This is the basis for superstition, and is thought to be the basis for totems, gods (e.g, the 'rain god') and other similar constructs in our species' past. For example, if you don't understand why or how it rains, it might feel 'better' or 'more in your control' if you believe that a god you can appease/appeal to is the rain's source. This gives the person who believes in the rain god more peace of mind.

    Using that example, let's look at one feature of OCD: 'magical thinking.' For those who don't know, this term refers to the OCD sufferer's illogical belief that thing 'A' and thing 'B' have a causal relationship. Example: If (and only if) I wash my hands ('A') 50 times, I will get my office project ('B') done by the end of the day. There is no relationship between A and B, but the sufferer believes that there is one, much as the person in the above paragraph believed that if (and only if) he prayed 'correctly' to the rain god, he might be granted rain.

    Every human being seeks control of his or her existence, but some feel less certain/capable of that control and stability than others, for a variety of reasons. It could be that their amygdala's signals are too strong for today's situations. It could be that they came from an abusive situation and their ability to cope with the situation required that they 'tapped into' the resources found in the amygdala. Think of two people's minds as CPU's: Person 1 lives in a stable situation, so perhaps about 10% of their CPU capability is spent on the things governed by the amygdala: fear, deep emotion and stress response (to name a few, I think). Person 2 lives in a less-stable, more volatile situation. Their single parent is a drug addict who tends to physically abuse them when the parent misses a fix. Person 2's CPU, relative to Person 1, might spend about 40% or their CPU on being afraid, wondering when the next beating may come, and what they might be able to do to avoid it. Given this information, you might think that you would be more likely to see higher incidence of anxiety disorders in inner cities than in the suburbs. And that's what research shows is the case.

    One final timely example before I move on: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Same type of thing, same 'family' of illnesses. The mind is put into a situation where its ability to cope, process, and deal with the (horrific) information it is receiving overloads the rest of the system and the higher-level regions of the brain are shut out, hopefully only temporarily.

    Depression is (often) the result of sustained stress. In other words, if you are experiencing a heightened state of anxiety for any period exceeding a few weeks (I believe), you are very likely to suffer from depression. Your body cannot handle that elevated level of stress for very long before it 'crashes,' much as an overworked computer might crash when running too many applications. Anxiety and depression almost always go hand-in-hand.


    I said that I have suffered from OCD for 20 years. During that time I also suffered from: depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia (inability to leave the house/apartment because of anxiety) and various phobia. As mentioned, all of these are very similar illnesses. Only the OCD and the depression linger today.

    There is much more to the science, natural history, theories, and psychology of depression, anxiety disorders and OCD spectrum disorders. There are some great books and online information about the subject. But hopefully the previous post gives you some idea of the general subjects. Suffice to say, they are about as far removed as possible from being 'out of one's mind;' if anything, they reflect being a bit too in one's mind, or that mind being a bit overtaxed in a given time frame, during a particular developmental stage, or during a particularly traumatic period. Example: A friend's relative endured the horrors of the Holocaust. To this day, that friend's relative consumes their meals as though they have a fixed, very short time in which to eat or else be denied the opportunity. Though the events which led to that behavior occurred more than 60 years ago, some mental imprints are more lasting than others. Such is the wiring of the brain.



    OCD tends to wax and wane, in general. The one thing which invariably stimulates OCD is stress, including 'positive' stress. It sounds like things are going well for you now financially, which you mention is a departure from the past. You're going to be purchasing a new house soon. It sounds like there are some different stressors going on for you right now, and thankfully, they sound like 'positive' ones. I'm happy for you and your spouse.

    As Cadet mentioned, medical research points towards the primacy of chemical considerations over psychological ones. The best treatment is a combination of medicine and talk therapy, but if you had to pick one based on financial considerations, I would recommend seeing a doctor who can prescribe before seeing a counselor to talk to. Depending on whom you see for your primary medical care, he/she may be able/willing to prescribe you something without your having to pay to see a psychiatrist. This also could substantially reduce your waiting time to start on any possible medication.

    There are a number of discounts available on these types of medications in many areas of the country. Many state and local governments recognize the importance of the medicines and have worked to help further their availability to people of all financial situations. Similar sliding-scale arrangements exist for many counselors as well. Check into these things. Some of the pharmaceutical companies also have their own discounts available in some instances.

    I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to PM me anytime to talk or ask advice about anything having to do with this stuff, or anything else.

    You have a lot of courage. I just want to express my sincere respect for that to you.
  4. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Look at it this way: If your knee was constantly popping out of joint, causing you no end of agravation or pain, would you just sit there and obsess about it, or see a trained professional to find ways to improve things?

    Your brain is a body part, just like your knee, and if you don't think it's working correctly, get evaluated by a professional. It's not about being weak, or silly, as some people think. It's about fixing a problem you believe you have, or possibly getting answers as to why it occurs and ways to cope.

    There's work involved, of course, but like in any rehab the reward is worth the risk. You don't have to tell anyone, and no one has to know. Do it for yourself.
  5. Layman

    Layman Active Member

    FJ, from my own experience (anxiety disorder), the only thing I'd add is (if at all possible) to not wait until the insurance kicks in. Go talk to a pro......and don't wait. You'll feel better mentally, physically and spiritually......something you can't put a price tag on.

    In hindsight, I've always suffered from some level generalized anxiety disorder, but it always got "kicked up" when life got tricky. Money, job changes, my spouse suffering from a serious illness. I had every reason in the world for putting off seeing someone (including "not having quite enough money, yet"). Once I went.....couldn't believe I'd ever waited.
  6. shockey

    shockey Active Member

    get right to a therapist. and if he/she says PAXIL or something of that ilk, do it. you won't regret it. ;D 8) ;D 8)
  7. Ashy Larry

    Ashy Larry Active Member

    FarmerJ......although easier said than done, try to focus on the positives in your life, and it sounds like there are many. You can even turn your sudden feelings into a positive........while it stinks that you're obsessing and stressed at this moment, you do have a grasp on what the causes are, and because of that you seem to be able to cope better (obviously you wish you never had previous experiences with these feelings....but since you have had them, use that knowledge to your advantage) most people can't explain why they're feeling down or stressed, and tend to quickly spiral downward because it's foreign to them.

    Take a nap, get rest, and gradually adopt BigDogs advice...take little seriously.
  8. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Especially if you were a kicking mule (inside joke)
  9. KG

    KG Active Member

    WOW Until I read this thread, I just assumed my obsession with lists (I take them way too far sometimes) was just related to my ADD. I sometimes have to map out everything and I will change from time to time what I'm focusing hardest on.

    But my lists are usually even MS Spreadsheets. Even my grocery list is done on a spreadsheet. I do that because I have to have everything organized by related categories. For example, on the grocery list, everything is organized by the department i.e. fruits, fresh veggies, breads, meats, frozen veggies, frozen meal, etc. There's even a section where I check off if I have coupons and how much they are for.

    You don't even want to see how crazy my camping lists are.

    But worse than the lists I label everything. I kid you not if you open my cabinets in the kitchen you'll see labels that say "Plastic cups", "Glasses", "Coffee cups", "Travel Mugs", "Plates", "Bowls", etc...

    I tell myself that I did that because my husband would just put dishes pretty much anywhere, but the sad truth of it is, I did it because he would mix the plastic cups in with the glasses and it really bothered me. It bothered me to the point that I complained several times before I even made my labels.

    I go through phases with my obsession being over finances. I'll map out what I'm making, along with what I need to be making, along with pages of suggestions I'm offering myself on ways to "fix" things. Then when my ideas get shot down (husband won't allow me to get a second job) I totally go into lockdown mode. We're talking panic, fear, chest pain kind of lockdown mode. I also won't sleep. I'll stay up all night, multiple nights in a row just trying to figure out what to do, when there's nothing I can do to change things.

    Right now I'm on a combination of things I'm worried about. Career, marriage, finances and trying to figure out the solution to all at once. For the most part if I take my adderall like I'm supposed to, none of this stuff surfaces too badly, but if I just miss two days, I'm in full-blown, list-making, worrying constantly mode. That's why I've always attributed it to ADD.
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