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apicius9
12-17-2012, 12:38 PM
Hi everyone,

since many of you almost feel like family, I would like to get this out there. I heard last night that a good old friend of mine in Germany commited suicide after experiencing depression. While we all have busy lives, I would just like to encourage you to keep your ears and eyes open for friends who may be struggling with depression. Almost 10% in the population are affected by some form of it, almost 4% are affected by Major Depression. Chances are good that you know someone who is affected. This is not a temporary mood problem or a weakness. Major Depression is a severe condition that can and in most cases does affect peoples' lives - their job performance, family life, relationsips, social life etc. 10% of Major Depression patients commit suicide, even more may attempt it. Sometimes it is easier to see some of the signs from the outside than when you are affected yourself. Please have a look at what the main symptoms are and at what you can do. A few ideas are in the second link. The main thing is to provide support without nagging, and not to drop your support when you don't get the reaction you hope for. For example, keep inviting people, even if they haven't shown up the last 5 times - not being able to incolve oneself in social events is part of the disease, but seeing that people don't give up on you can make a huge difference for people who struggle.

It is really unfortunate that there still seems to be some stigma attached to mental health issues, including depression. There is a lot of work to do in educating each other.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm

http://www.volunteerguide.org/minutes/service-projects/symptoms-of-depression

Thanks,

Stefan

heldentenor
12-17-2012, 12:40 PM
Thanks for posting this, Stefan--and I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's an epidemic in modern society, and one that doesn't get nearly enough attention.

Zwiefel
12-17-2012, 12:51 PM
I've had several friends commit suicide over the last 20 years, including one last year. Every time I find it surprising and baffling on multiple levels. Sorry for your loss Stefan.

Lefty
12-17-2012, 01:41 PM
Classy and informative, as always, Stefan. Thanks for sharing, and I'm sorry to read about your friend. Hang in there....

Duckfat
12-17-2012, 02:09 PM
Sorry to hear about your loss. Depression is an illness just like any other. We all get sick and we all need help. It seems to be more prevalent where I live with SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

Dave

Pensacola Tiger
12-17-2012, 02:12 PM
Sorry to hear about your friend, Stefan.

Rick

DeepCSweede
12-17-2012, 02:19 PM
Thanks for sharing Stefan and I am sorry for your loss.
I know firsthand the affects of depression as I have two family members who suffer from it and I was engaged to someone who had borderline personality disorder. You are right that it can be extremely frustrating to deal with these people and you really need to step back and be supportive no matter what. These people also may have severe self esteem issues and no matter how much you support / love them they often don't feel worthy of attention and may draw even more into their shell. Keep up the support nonetheless.

Take care,

Eric

Benuser
12-17-2012, 08:25 PM
Great post. A necessary encouragement to keep our eyes and ears open. Sorry to hear about friend, Stefan.

kalaeb
12-17-2012, 08:42 PM
My condolences on your loss Stefan. Thanks for posting.

snowbrother
12-17-2012, 08:52 PM
I'm very sorry about your loss. I lost a friend to depression a couple of years ago. My wife has depression as well. Thank you for posting this and sharing the information.

franzb69
12-17-2012, 10:00 PM
sorry for your loss stefan. i've been probably clinically depressed many times but i've gotten myself out of it as much as i've "lost it".

thank you for sharing the info.

apicius9
12-17-2012, 10:28 PM
Thanks for all your kind and encouraging words. Since this is not totally clear from the first post: This topic is so dear to me because I have also struggled with Major Depression since 2007, so I have seen it from the side of a psychologist with at least some training in clinical psych (although not to the level of licensing to become a therapist) and from the side of a person going through it. Even with my training and interning for a few months in the shop of one of the most prolific depression specialists in the world (AT Beck), it took me almost a year and a half to realize what was going on, and again that time to find a treatment that got me back close to 'normal'. Today, I am still a little slow sometimes (ask the people on my waiting list...) but otherwise o.k. In the end, the 3-year struggle with depression and its effect on my work - plus a psychologically trained director of public health and a medical dean who don't give a **** about people they work with - cost me my university job. I find it sad that even these 'professionals' don't know how to deal with one of the biggest public health problems, that's why I find it even more important to get the message out there and make people aware of it. I could have done without my friend's suicide as a stimulus to finally write this up, but I am sitting here thinking I should probably also integrate that better into my work (assuming I will find a job...) and hopefully make a difference for others who are struggling. And that includes creating awareness and taking away the taboos by openly talking about it.

Thanks again,

Stefan

Johnny.B.Good
12-18-2012, 12:34 AM
Thoughtful and brave post, Stefan.

I'm very sorry for the loss of your friend.

rshu
12-18-2012, 01:55 AM
Sorry to hear that you lost a friend. Thank you for sharing, it makes me reflect on my relationships with those that I care about and how I can work on being a better friend.

Sincerely,

Roger

Salty dog
12-18-2012, 09:05 AM
I've sullered from depression most of my adult life. (self diagnosed) I'm also guilty of self medicating all of my adult life. It became acute when my wife left me. Both the depression and medicating. I've struggled in 2012 to keep what's left of my sanity.

One of the things I've learned in life and preach in my kitchen is "don't run, don't hide, make it your bitcsh!

Went on the wagon, got my stuff together, checked my ego and remembered how much I love my wife. Divorce court was scheduled for this Friday. We cancelled yesterday.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you look for it. And I have to admit, God is great!

P.S. Merry Christmas!!!!

adletson
12-18-2012, 09:22 AM
That is an amazing story Salty! Congrats! I pray the Lord's blessing on your marriage!

DeepCSweede
12-18-2012, 10:24 AM
Scott,
That is great news!

add
12-18-2012, 12:48 PM
Well, tough to say "great thread" considering the topic.

Regardless, thanks for sharing Stefan and am VERY happy for ya Salty...

quantumcloud509
12-18-2012, 01:15 PM
Im sorry to hear about your loss Stefan. Three weeks ago, I finally visited a doctor for the first time in 10 years. He diagnosed me with major depression and put me on anti depression meds. I quit smoking cold turkey and no more coffee. The last thing I want to do is off myself, but as the doc said...Ive been depressed for so long I really don't know what being not depressed feels like. Just a fact a of life for me I guess.

cnochef
12-18-2012, 01:22 PM
Stefan:

My condolences for the loss of your friend, that's tough.

I have suffered from the "black dog" (Winston Churchill's phrase) of depression for the past 8 years or so. It all started with losing my business and my Mom passing shortly thereafter. I spent almost a year in bed. When depressed, some people like me find their body releases cortisone to try and make you happy. It's a steroid and can cause you to gain a tremendous amount of weight in a short time period. Of course, the inactivity didn't help either. Then the self-hate and lack of confidence that comes with being overweight began. I lost many friends and a few good jobs because of it. I have never been suicidal or anywhere near it, though. I do believe it is important to get outside, go for a walk, have coffee with friends and generally keep integrated in society. I also live where SAD is a factor and I do my best to combat it with vitamin D and getting sunshine whenever I can. As men it is in our nature to not complain, bother anybody with our problems or seek professional aid when needed. I know that I should have got some advice earlier on, I would have learned to cope much better. I hope that stories like Stefan's and mine encourage a few people to evaluate their own lives and seek help if they require it.

Thank goodness I have a wonderful and supportive wife who I can talk to and props me up when I'm down. Without her, I can't say where I'd be today.

Sara@JKI
12-18-2012, 04:56 PM
I'm sorry for your loss. Suicide is not only a sad end to one's life, but it cast a shadow on his/her friends for a long long time, if not forever. Are you doing okay? Let us know if there's anything we can do for you. I know I'm not much of a help, but please know that we all care about you.

mano
12-18-2012, 06:57 PM
Depression is among the worst of all thieves.

Major Depression can take your life, loved ones and happiness. It can sneak up on you even when everything is going well. Others can see anxiety and mania, but depression is easily hidden behind a facade of humor, sarcasm, irritability or appearing unperturbed. Most depressed people are outwardly well-functioning, even high achievers. But it can be pernicious, leading to the darkest of thoughts and making every day life miserable. Depression may the triggered by life events or passed on genetically. It's surprising how many people become accustomed to their depression, thinking that's just how life is.

A number of years ago when I went to my family physician, a dear friend, for antidepressant medication he was surprised. My wife had no idea, but I was scared by how dark my thoughts had become. By every objective measure my life was excellent; not just good or okay. But on one side of the family there's four generations of depression, casting a wide net to distant relatives.

As Stephan said, there are good medications and good psychotherapies for depression. The best therapies nowadays target the areas of the brain that "hold" the depression. For a some people just meds are needed to adjust the brain chemistry but for others psychotherapy is necessary.

One irony is that most self medication (drugs and alcohol) only make the depression worse.

Glad this thread was started, but I'm sorry for Stephan's loss.

knyfeknerd
12-18-2012, 07:37 PM
Sorry for your loss Stephan. Depression is awful and no one is immune to it. I wish it was taken more seriously by the general public.

ajhuff
12-18-2012, 10:38 PM
Depression sucks. I wish I could afford the good meds but the real solution is I need to move. Suicide is a little trickier. An old friend of mine texted me tonight that his son's classmate committed suicide last night. Kid was 13. Youngest I have ever heard of. That's sad. But at say age 30, I'm not sure it should always be demonized....

-AJ

apicius9
12-18-2012, 11:34 PM
Thanks again, everyone, for your thoughts about my friend and myself. I think that I am appropriately sad about this situation, but I don't think it could derail me now like it would have 2 years ago. That's a bit of a relief and shows me how far I have come back from the dark side.

I almost wrote that I am glad to see that some of us have gone through a similar experience, but, of course, that is not what I mean. I also didn't write this to stimulate any 'outings'. But with several hundred people being active here, there have to be a number who have had that experience in their lives. Depression is now the number one reason for early retirement in the US. But when you talk to health experts (and being in the field, I know quite a few of them...) what the biggest health concern is, the majority will tell you the obesity and diabetes epidemic. Not that this isn't a problem also, but almost twice as many people are struggling with forms of depression than with diabetes, and it's about time that this gets talked about more and without a stigma attached to it. An imbalance in neurotransmitters is almost always found in people with depression, and meds can help restoring the balance and the metabolizing process. Nobody would think to stigmatize an imbalance in the cholesterol metabolism in the same way. I don't know all the reasons why this is being dealt with so delicately, there may be historical reasons, we may feel uncomfortable or helpless when we see ourselves or another person change during depression. But I hope that a more open talk will increase awareness and encourage others to seek help. As Salty, Craig and others said, there are different ways to treat it. 'Self medication' can work but in more cases it has the risk of driving you deeper into it and isolating you more. It's also the typical male way, women are more likely to look for outside help. As a psychologist, I had always been skeptical about medication, always thought we should try the 'natural' way of therapy first. Finding pills that work for me was a revelation. There is nothing magical, there is no high, they just restore the neurotransmitter balance to the point where you feel like yourself again, and you then can start working on everything else - like restoring relationships as Salty said (congratulations and good luck with that, Salty!).

O.k., enough rambling. Thanks again everyone for being supportive.

Stefan