Empathy

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by beckmonkey, Nov 25, 2007.

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  1. beckmonkey

    beckmonkey Guest

    Hello, I'm new to this forum, and I suppose I'm posting this both for my own benefit (I find that this sort of thing helps me to arrange and deal with things better in my own mind), and to show a little empathy for some of the stories I've already seen within the various threads.
    I'm a British girl in her mid twenties, and I have been depressed (that is, the depression manifested itself and I sought medical advice) since my early teens. I do not feel depressed constantly, though I am a natural worrier, but I do have rapid and very serious swings of temper. I have made an attempt on my own life once, but I was very young at the time- this will sound very silly, but I didn't really know what to do and I understand now that I could never have killed myself doing what I was doing. Nevertheless, it was a genuine attempt (not what one might call a 'cry for help'). I have been prescribed numerous forms of anti-depressant, and I'm sorry to say that none of them ever benefitted me. Having said that, if anyone reading this is still in the stage of considering whether or not to approach their GP for medication or just advice, I would say that you should certainly do so. I was unfortunate in that medication did not make me any better, but many people benefit enormously from a prescription- I certainly bear no criticism or 'ill-will' towards medication or those who take it. The long and short of this is that I no longer take medication- my doctor is of the opinion that I should have persisted with it, but having felt no benefit at all after nearly a year, I made an educated decision to stop taking it. And if I needed further proof that I was right to do so, when I stopped the medication, I had no more or less episodes than I did when I was medicated (my doctor strongly cautioned me to expect extreme suicidal inclination, but I suffered no more than I usually do).
    I am currently considering some form of psychiatry or counselling, but I haven't really made a decision about that yet. On my better days I try to convince myself that there is nothing wrong, and that I don't have depression at all. I suppose that stems from the reaction I got from family and friends at the time when I was first 'diagnosed'- it was very much encouraged that I should 'stop this nonsense immediately' and 'pull myself together'. The result of this was that when I did have an episode, it made my perception both of myself and others so much worse. To tell anyone with a mental illness to 'pull themselves together' is, quite literally, one of the worst things you can do- it has entirely the opposite effect, often making them feel much worse.
    There is a history of mental illness in my family, so it seems odd that it came as quite such a surprise, particularly to my parents who are both sufferers also. I suppose it isn't impossible that they have associated some form of guilt to my diagnosis, as though they are somehow to blame. When I suffer, it is very self-destructive and implosive, I almost never have any negative or nasty feeling towards anyone, and I have never blamed them for my condition. Self-blame and closing in on myself is what happens, and I rarely feel any inclination to involve anyone else in how I'm feeling. There have been things which have happened in my life which have 'catalysed' my episodes- I was mentally and emotionally mistreated as a child, and I was very much excluded from most things. I feel pretty constantly a sense of being on the outside of what should be my existence, but looking in and not being a part of it. For various reasons my relationship with my parents is scant. They divorced and remarried, and there were active attempts by both of their spouses to flush me out of their lives, which I'm sorry to say they both allowed to happen. We do speak, and let me be quite understood when I say that there are worse childhoods than the one I had! I lived with my grandparents, which went fairly well until they became ill, and I essentially became a carer for my grandfather during the final years of my schooling. Fortunately I did well at school despite this and have gone on to do well from there (I probably sound very over-confident, I'm really not, I'm just trying to be as honest as possible). There were other things, and they are things that might seem very small to some people. I read on another post that your parents often don't even remember the things that they did to most hurt you, because they seem so insignificant to them. How true.
    I live with my partner now, and he is generally a nice person. He has had an idyllic childhood, and finds some of the things I bring up very hard to comprehend. As a result, we don't really talk. As you can probably see, I can communicate how I'm feeling for the most part, but of all his lovely characteristics, he's not a good listener. I think he finds it a struggle, although I have been honest with him about my condition from the beginning. We have been fighting a lot recently- I feel a lot of pressure to keep our relationship working, but I don't think he cares that much. He doesn't notice the little problems, so they all tend to gel into one massive problem, which comes out in a screaming fit or my self-harming. I feel very isolated and very lonely. This is all compounded by our being short of cash and his parents' hostility to me (I don't think a podgy depressive was what they had in mind for their son, and I guess I can empathise with that to some extent). I have been considering suicide lately. I examine my life and see very little in it that isn't corrupted by how I feel. I would hate to leave broken hearts, and that is what has sustained me until now. But with this relationship in tatters, my sister nearly grown up and no children (I had one miscarriage), I'm running out of anchors. There are bright days, which is why I feel a twinge of guilt about posting this- there ARE times when I can look at it sensibly, and there ARE times when I laugh. I feel extremely sad and angry for some of the poor souls whose stories I have read, who don't seem to be able to break through the depression at all (that's not blame there- I know it can be very opaque even when there are things worth living for).
    I don't suppose I'm looking for comfort, mine isn't the worst story here, so I've got no right to ask for it. I will take advice if it's offered, god knows I'm not proud. I know some of you won't like me- I must seem very clinical in my description. That's just my way of getting through it. We all have our different ways I guess. If someone can feel some sort of common ground by reading my story, then that would make me content. If you've read all of this then thank you!
     
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