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How long does depression last?

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littleem
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

How long does depression last?

Postby littleem » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:42 pm

For how long can a depressive episode last?

For how long between depressive episodes can a period of time without depression last?

Can depression go away completely? Or at least for a substantial amount of years?

Can depression be a lifelong illness where it is managed mostly but comes with its blips?

I first had an acute episode of depression at 19 for nine months where I barely left my bed let alone the house!
I snapped out of it due to some very unexpected life-changing experiences and I was free of depression for two years.

Before this, I had only experienced depression as a symptom of anorexia which I suffered with aged 9-18 (with acute episodes aged 10-12 and 16-18 when I was consequently very low in mood). When I fully recovered from anorexia aged 18, I was free of any depressive symptoms for a whole year.

Aged 22, I became depressed. I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression a year later. It was hell. Over the last 18 months I have been getting better and I am now in a completely different place aged 25.

I've been on the maximum dose of sertraline for 18 months and I have completed 20 sessions of CBT for depression and 12 sessions of CBT for self esteem and 20 sessions of CBT for anorexia (with 20 more to complete). I've also been to loads of courses on stress control, low mood, anxiety, acceptance and commitment therapy. I am still underweight but I am functioning very well and I feel well. I have no underlying health problems.

Nothing externally is going on to cause me to feel depressed. I am not stressed or anxious. I am coping.

But I'm not feeling happy.

I want to crawl under my duvet, hide from the world and sleep life away. (I don't unless home alone on my one day off).

When I'm out - even when I'm doing something I want with people I like - I want to just come home and be on my own.

If I'm home alone, I never find the motivation to go out (unless it's work and I have to).

Mornings are always the worst. I feel "UGH!!"

I no longer have any ambitions. I feel things like, "I'm done", "I can't be arsed", "There's no point" and "leave me alone".

I zone out and often feel disconnected and lost in my own head.

At some point every day I will feel numb, brain-dead, deadpan, fed up and apathetic.

I've been debating for at least six months augmenting my meds with an antipsychotic I've been on before. I'm worried it will sedate me though and stop me making it to work and other commitments.

Should I wait it out? Re-evaluate in six months when the last of my CBT sessions is complete?

I'm doing all I can to manage it but it isn't budging.

So should I just take the pills, sleep and see if they help rather than postponing?

Any advice and/or shared experiences much appreciated!

Em xx

Isap
Posts: 1843
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby Isap » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:53 am

Hello Em

Sorry to see you back here. I know that happens after a person has been feeling well for a while.

I can only talk from personal experience and from what I've read.

Depression can recur for no apparent reason. It seems like you have moderate depression i.e. feeling yucky but able to function.

Obviously you need to see your GP again. ADs do stop being effective after a while so he may try you on one similar to sertraline (SSRI). I'd continue with the CBT since it obviously helps you.

Apart from that, two recommendations. The first is to start meditation. This appears to be the most effective and natural method to come out of depression and prevent it recurring. Just simple 5 minute breathing meditation, building up to 20 minutes over a period of time. Do as many times a day as you wish. Count to 4 on inbreath, 8 on slow outbreath. Otherwise there are countless other ways you'll find.

I'm also going to post links to free guided meditation and 4 fantastic talks by Dr. Claire Weekes. Make sure you listen to 1 and 4.

Don't force a time scale on yourself for recovery. However long it takes. But it will pass. Make sure you understand the difference between reality and tricks memory of past suffering plays on you. Those thoughts have no significance.

You'll be fine again

Isap xx
Last edited by Isap on Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Isap
Posts: 1843
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby Isap » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:55 am

Link to free download of Dr. Claire Weekes

http://www.junior-anxiety-depression-ex ... relax.html

Isap
Posts: 1843
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby Isap » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:59 am


Isap
Posts: 1843
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:13 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby Isap » Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:25 am

This long explanation may also help if I got the link right


viewtopic.php?f=4&t=35168

It's the 5th post

minniemoo
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby minniemoo » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:22 am

I have a friend that was ill with anorexia for many years as a young person. She has children now and has been a healthy weight since her mid twenties. She leads a good life from what I’ve seen of her.

I had quite serious anxiety for a couple of years. Depression followed and lasted 3 months. Ive probably always had low level mental health issues prior to all that. I’ve been fairly well for five years with very brief episodes brought on by specific events.. now it’s back for a longer time.. though it’s manageable this time as I know what to do, and my life is very different than is was, I’m older and can handle not meeting the expectations of others, I have a regular therapist etc. I’m trying to be kinder to myself and maybe once I’ve mastered that it will be even less next time.

I think everyone is different, clinical depression is not the same as a period of sadness that most people experience sometimes.

I definitely think it’s possible to lessen the severity and increase the time between episodes by learning about yourself and what works for you. I would love to think it can completely go away but I don’t know. Good luck xx

minniemoo
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby minniemoo » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:41 am

By the way, I would recommend discussing with a good doctor - your meds and therapy. You can then decide what to do from there, you don’t have to immediately act on all their advice. Personally I gave in to my depression and just stayed in bed for 3 months, sleeping, reading and just leaving the house to walk the dog. It eventually lifted just by taking small steps every day like phoning a kind friend, volunteering, and doing yoga. Or maybe it was just time. Having a new focus is also great for me, but I don’t tend to find it in the shape of work - fortunately I don’t have to work full time as too much work can exacerbate for me but I would find financial troubles stressful if I didn’t work.

Could it be your meds making you feel apathetic? Could you find others on the same meds and ask them? Your doctor should be able to tell you about the meds, if they are a good doctor. Sometimes just feeling ‘meh’ can be a relief but you don’t want to feel that all the time :-)

Are you an introvert by the way? Some people just find social situations very draining, they are not anti social, they just prefer to do other things or meet one on one.

littleem
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby littleem » Mon Sep 02, 2019 10:06 am

Hey Isap,

Good to hear from you. Thanks for your support and guidance.

Yes, I agree that the depression is now mild/moderate.

I don't want to switch sertraline because it is what keeps me stable and enables me to function in spite of feeling yucky.

Although, as miniemoo suggested, the sertraline could be the cause of me feeling apathetic, slightly disconnected and just 'not my old self'. I've heard that antidepressants can cause this. The sacrifice one makes in order to get relief from the depression at its worst, perhaps.

My CPN is visiting today so I will discuss with her. Shortly, I will make another post in regards to the medication too.

My options are to augment the sertraline or decrease it. Regarding the former, I am reluctant to take the prescribed antipsychotic as it sedates me. So thank you miniemoo for noting that I don't have to act on the first medical advice given. There may be another medication that could augment the sertraline without knocking me out cold. The plus side of the prescribed medication is that I have taken it previously and, once the sedation period has passed, it has agreed with me.

I tried twice to ween off sertraline and experienced awful symptoms. With hindsight, it was probably withdrawal rather than relapse as it happened after only a couple of days and was horrible!! So I'd have to endure a period of misery - opposed to s period of sleep - before I know whether I will more 'real' and thus better or not.

Either way, I will need to plan it well and take a good week off work because a sedated Em or a depressed Em makes for an unreliable Employee who can't function well enough to get up in the morning let alone hold down a busy full time job

If I come off sertraline, I would probably wait until next Spring. That way, all my therapeutic CBT treatment would be complete and I would be discharged from the Eating Disorders Team extending from the community mental health team. Plus, by then, the cold and darker months would have passed and bright and sunny spring may feel a more optimistic time to start decreasing meds.

So that's where I'm at.

Isap, thank you for the links. I've not tried meditation. I will be sure to look at the links you have sent me and try the sessions out and listen to the talks. I really appreciate that. I've been flat out working but I'm off today so hope to check them out. Much appreciated.

How are things with you?

I hope you are as well as you can be right now.

Stay strong,

Em x

littleem
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby littleem » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:46 pm

Hey Minniemoo,

Thanks for your message.

I agree that with time and a growth in one's self awareness, it is possible to lessen the severity of symptoms and to increase the time between episodes. I hope that it is possible to go away forever but I think probably it's more about being able to manage the illness - be it anorexia, anxiety, depression etc.

That's good to hear about your friend. From my experience of chronic and recurrent anorexia, one's life can improve the more one becomes in control of the anorexia. When anorexia has taken control, my quality of life has become very limited.

You seem very self aware and it is positive to hear that you are acting on your desire to treat yourself with kindness and self compassion. I like to think of managing things this way: Do more of what helps you and less (or none at all when possible!) of what doesn't.

Likewise with time, age and therapeutic support, I have become far less concerned with not meeting the expectations of others. I remember that I know my own truth and reassure myself that I am doing the best I can in the situation I am in.

I also think that having had clinical depression, later episodes of general every day sadness that anyone and everyone can experience can cause a fear of it being depression when really it might just be totally natural and expected to be sad as a reaction to something. Just the thought of having to experience the symptoms of clinical depression is awful!

I met with my cpn today. Most certainly, antidepressants can flatline/emotionally blunt when taken for a considerable time to stabilise one's mood. Our hope is for me to come off the medication but now - going into the seasons of darker mornings and evenings, bad weather and the stress, business and emotions of Christmas and being due to complete the CBT-e treatment - isn't an appropriate time to start reducing. In the Spring, on being discharged from the eating disorders service, I can then plan a very gradual reduction of my medication with the support of my cpn and the community mental health team.

I suppose yes, I am an introvert. Social events can drain me but (mostly) not due to social anxiety or depression. I'm naturally more reserved and quiet. I prefer smaller groups or one to one. I can be shy until you get to know me.
All perfectly acceptable behaviour and not necessarily symptomatic of mental illness.
Likewise, I feel I have always or at least mostly since I was nine years old had low level mental health issues. Perhaps me being introverted results from this rather than mental illness or perhaps I am just naturally an introvert.

I hope you are as well as you can be just now.

Take care,

Em x

minniemoo
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:32 pm

Re: How long does depression last?

Postby minniemoo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:27 pm

Hey Em

Thinking of you, hoping you see an improvement soon. Your cpn must have been pleased with how well prepared you were for the chat so that it could be so productive. It sounds like you feel comfortable with the plans you agreed?

Oh joy Christmas on the way! Actually I love Autumn and the build up to Christmas, I just don’t like Christmas itself and it can be emotionally draining with all those expectations (our own and those of others!).

I know exactly what you mean about being scared that another ‘episode’ is coming. I find it gets easier tho, with each time I get through a bad patch and it’s not as bad as the first time.

Take care Minnie x


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