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Ellen042

Bona fide emotional pain or clinical depression? Are any psychiatric conditions real?

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Ellen042

Hi.  I have had mild depression since childhood, but of course also live through the real emotional pains of life as well.  How do I know when my emotional pain is appropriate for the life experience, and when it is clinical depression?  I hit a heartache in one of my relationships today, but I don't know if I'm overreacting.  How do I know if this is bonefide emotional pain?  

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Altostrata

What do you think is the difference between emotional pain and clinical depression?

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GiaK

I personally don't think there is a difference...that's pharma and psychiatry creating a market when they call emotional distress clinical depression...though as holistic beings, there is always a physical dimension to emotion as well...which is why diet and exercise etc are so important in supporting foundational well-being. 

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Ellen042

Interresting point Alto and GiaK.  I guess for me the emotional pain is out of proportion to life when I'm down for no reason- just down.  I remember experiencing this my whole life, even as a young child when my environment was as near perfect as one could possibly expect.  Through the years I've also occasionally cried for no reason too.  I couldn't explain why; I was just down or cried.  I guess I've learned to view those times as clinical depression.  Other times, such as when a loved one died, when my fiance broke up with me, when I reflected on my physical illness robbing me of my life for 17 years, when I was in unbearable physical pain (I could go on and on) I cried as well, but absolutely didn't consider the crying out of proportion to what I was experiencing.  On these occasions, I most certainly did not consider myself clinically depressed.  Perhaps I should avoid that term if it belittles others' pain.  If I came across that way, please, please forgive me.  I'm not here to add to anyone's pain, but rather to give and recieve support, which of course includes validating everyone's pain.  Today I simply heard from the man I love that he doesn't love me anymore.  I've been fighting tears all day and have had an EXTREMELY gloomy outlook on life.  Since MY emotions sometimes get out of control, namely my emotional pain and my anxiety, I feel like I'm sometimes over reacting.  Was just wondering if any others ever experience the same thing, and if so, how you identify when you're overreacting.  Hope this clears up my question. 

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GiaK

you heard that the man you love doesn't love you...that is a legitimate reason to feel pretty horrible...I'd say anything goes...you're talking about grief...and we all do that in our own way...

 

I've learned one of the most important things we can do is allow ourselves to FEEL whatever we are feeling...our culture and in turn psychiatry makes that out to be somehow wrong...that strikes me as insane...not us...but the culture that tells us we shouldn't feel strongly...

 

I"m sorry you're suffering, but it sounds totally reasonable and it's okay to feel bad and grieve when painful things happen...in fact I would argue it's quite healthy to do that rather than avoid or deny or minimize what is our human inheritance. We are feeling creatures.

 

and don't worry...you didn't hurt anyone...

 

I've come to reframe much of what I was brainwashed with about how we are supposed to feel and it's helped me in my recovery in numerous ways...

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Ellen042

Thank you, GiaK. I see your point.  And what would you say about those times when all of life feels like a black cloud, and I start crying for no identifiable reason?   I agree that depression is WAY over diagnosed and Way over treated, but I personally feel like my emotional pain and my anxiety can sometimes be inappropriate for my situation.  I DON'T like drugs, and I want OFF this trazodone and Klonopin, as they've only made my depression and anxiety worse, but of course I also know that the original pain and anxiety are still there lurking.  I want to feel the feelings when they're there for a reason, but I don't want to sink into black holes or go into panic for no reason.  That's whay I asked my original question to begin with: I want to recognize when I'm about to slip into despair or panic and avoid it with something non-habit-forming. 

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GiaK

here is what I think...

 

SEE: http://beyondmeds.com/2013/10/21/transforming-despair-2/ (I'm cutting and pasting most of the post below)

 

To reframe what we’ve generally  been told about mental anguish and suffering by the mental illness system is a very important part of healing. Psychiatry makes out that the individual is sick. A much more honest as well as empowering way to view much mental anguish is to see ourselves as part of the web of life. Our despair is telling us something very real and valid. We should listen to it and pay attention and learn. Feeling pain is not a weakness, it is a capacity. We can learn to let it fuel us rather than cripple us.

 

The below is an excerpt from an interview with Joanna Macy from Personal Transformations:

 

Personal Transformation: In our society, we talk about despair as if it is primarily a psychological matter, coming out of personal life. Your understanding is that despair also comes from a different source.

 

Joanna Macy: Yes. I learned, when I began to work with groups 20 years ago, that despair arose in relation to something larger than individuals, personal circumstances. There is a complex of strong feelings that I call ingredients of despair. One is fear about the future based on what we’re doing to each other and to our planet. Another is anger that we are knowingly wasting the world for those who come after us, destroying the legacy of our ancestors. Guilt and sorrow are in the complex. People in every walk of life, from every culture, feel grief over the condition of the world. Despair is this constellation of different feelings. One person may feel more fear or anger, another sorrow, and another guilt, but the common thread is a suffering on behalf of the world or, as I put it, feeling “pain for the world.”

 

In American culture, we are conditioned to try to keep a smiling face and remain chipper at all costs. A lack of optimism somehow indicates a lack of competence. Feelings of despair are treated reductionistically as a function of personal maladjustment. This doubles the burden individuals carry. Not only do they feel bad about their world, but they feel bad about feeling bad.

 

Feeling the pain of the world is not a weakness. This is God-given or, put another way, an aspect of our Buddha nature. This openness of heart that characterizes the caring individual is a function of maturity. Don’t ever apologize for the tears you shed on behalf of other beings. This is, in its essence, not craziness, but compassion. This capacity to speak out on behalf of others, because you have the right to, because you can suffer with them, is part of our spiritual nature.

 

PT: Realizing that despair comes out of compassion legitimizes what people feel and provides a context for addressing what they feel.

 

Joanna: It also provides a context for action. It transforms the pain that isolated them.

 

PT: How are we to relate to despair?

 

Joanna: We have to honor and own this pain for the world, recognizing it as a natural response to an unprecedented moment in history. We are part of a huge civilization, intricate in its technology and powerful in its institutions, that is destroying the very basis of life. When have people had this experience before in our history? We ask people to relate to what they experience with respect and compassion for themselves. They’re not just griping and grumping. It is absolutely shattering when we open our eyes and see that we are actually, in an accelerating fashion, destroying the future.

 

PT: As people take in the staggering enormity of what we’re faced with, how do you address their sense of being insignificant and feeling overwhelmed, as if what they do will make no difference?

 

Joanna: People fear that if they let despair in, they’ll be paralyzed because they are just one person. Paradoxically, by allowing ourselves to feel our pain for the world, we open ourselves up to the web of life, and we realize that we’re not alone. I think it’s a cardinal mistake to try to act alone. The myth of the rugged individual, riding as the Lone Ranger to save our society, is a sure recipe for going crazy. The response that is appropriate and that this work elicits is to grow a sense of solidarity with others and to elaborate a whole new sense of what our resources are and what our power is. (read the rest here)

 

 

 

there are many reasons to despair if we are sensitive to what is happening on the planet...to our human family, to the earth and to all the earth's inhabitants...

 

still...lots of things can help support us so that it's not as difficult to process this stuff...diet, exercise, meditation, radical acceptance...on and on...

 

I didn't have time for a long response now...so I just shared the above link which features Joanna Macy's work.

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Altostrata

Ellen, some of your emotional distress may be side effects of the drugs you're taking, plus your health challenges. This is understandable.

 

The label "clinical depression" has no meaning whatsoever anymore, except as a code to justify drug prescription. If what you're asking is "Am I depressed enough to have to take a drug?" -- well, you're not going to get a lot of support for that here from people whose lives have been ruined by psychiatric drugs.

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mattinsmom

Last weekend I had a near identical situation. I cried until I had no tears, caught my breath, and cried some more. And I'm grateful

 

I am letting myself feel whatever emotion is cropping up and I am feeling it to its fullest. I make no apologies for how I feel nor for how I express it. (No one/nothing is being harmed by my expression) This is new for me and I don't know how it will play out but it's where I am right

 

I've also laughed this week and never felt the need to limit or label it. It just was what it was.

 

I am sorry for your pain. I'm finding my way. I think you'll find yours.

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Nikki

mattisnmom you recently posted about a break-up of a long term relationship.  That is one of the most painful situations we go thru in life.  Here is a spin on it:

 

In the movie Somethings Got To Give with Diane Keaton and Jack Nickolson she (Diane Keaton) presented the healthiest walking thru a break up.  It was a comedy, so we laughed a little, but it really hit home.  She cried for weeks on end.  And she let herself cry until she stopped crying.  She felt her feelings and then tried to immerse herself in her work (playwright) by writing the story.  She was able to cry, purge and move on.  Yes.....it is the movies, but she didn't ask herself if she were clinically depressed.  She accepted the depression which was mostly sadness and let it rip.

 

When my ex wanted a divorce I knew it was better for me, but I was terrified.  For me, there is terror and fear underneath everything that I claim is depression or anxiety.

 

If, If I could remove the fear maybe the depression, anxiety or fear of having it would go away.

 

I did have a therapist once tell me that I was labeling myself as depressed when I was actually sad.

 

However, I have had depression and I've had it bad.  For me it is an overall body feeling coupled with my thoughts and emotions.  I know it and recognize it and it still scares me.

 

I believe in clinical depression. I've seen it in people and it's pitiful.  They don't want to be like that.  Neither do we on this site.

 

Thank God we can talk about it.

 

PS when growing up and even now my mother will tell people (me too) that if they cry, they are depressed and they shouldn't cry

No wonder I have issues :blink: :blink:

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Jemima

I agree with Alto that there's no such thing as "clinical depression", whatever that's supposed to mean. In my opinion, there are two kinds of depression: an emotional upset resulting from some sort of loss or fear of loss in one's life, and physically-based depression resulting from some sort of disease or medical malfunction such as hypothyroidism. So-called "clinical depression" supposedly comes from a chemical imbalance in the brain or bad genes, but these are unproven theories.  In fact, the American Psychiatric Association has renounced the chemical imbalance theory altogether, although that hasn't been widely publicized. On the patient's side, claiming "clinical depression" is a great way to avoid responsibility for one's life and to take pills instead of acting like a mature adult and accepting that real life is full of hardships and working through them. The public has been hoodwinked into believing that there's a magic pill for every problem, no effort needed beyond swallowing.

 

There is also the 'neuro-emotions' element in withdrawal, again based on organic causes.  Many people who are getting off psychiatric drugs experience feelings of hopelessness, fear, and depression, but again, these feelings can be traced to organic causes, namely the temporary brain damage caused by antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs.

 

Who is to say that anyone's emotions are an overreaction? There's really no point in trying to pass that kind of judgment. Feelings are what they are and so often after calming down I've been able to find the reason behind them, although not necessarily right away. Figuring out the reason can be very helpful, but even that isn't necessary. Trying to run away from feelings via some sort of escapism, such as getting numb on psychiatric drugs, however, can only compound personal problems.

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Ellen042

Ellen, some of your emotional distress may be side effects of the drugs you're taking, plus your health challenges. This is understandable.

 

The label "clinical depression" has no meaning whatsoever anymore, except as a code to justify drug prescription. If what you're asking is "Am I depressed enough to have to take a drug?" -- well, you're not going to get a lot of support for that here from people whose lives have been ruined by psychiatric drugs.

Not sure that that's the question I was asking- I'm wanting to know if 1)what I'm feeling is normal for most people, and 2) if it's not, what I am to do

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

 

On the patient's side, claiming "clinical depression" is a great way to avoid responsibility for one's life and to take pills instead of acting like a mature adult and accepting that real life is full of hardships and working through them. The public has been hoodwinked into believing that there's a magic pill for every problem, no effort needed beyond swallowing.

 

I was trained as a nurse at a time when medication was accepted as treatment for depression. I thought I was doing the mature thing in taking meds. Now I see that I was wrong. I don't know why I did not develop any maturity in dealing with my feelings but I did not and am dearly paying for it now. My future is so very bl;eak right now because all of the choices I have made and choices I didn't know I was making at the time that I am feeling the consequences of. I am devoid of hope at this point. I think you have a faith in God that helps you, I do not even have that and have no clue how to have faith. Too much stuff is missing from my growing up from parents who did the best they could. I do not know any way of fixing my life.

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GiaK

I've ceased to accept that normal exists...

 

Some thoughts on that here: 

 

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well. ~ Alfred Adler

 

 

The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted. ~Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

 

 

It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society. — Jiddu Krishnamurti

 

 

The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.~ R.D. Laing

 

 

What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical ‘mechanisms.’ There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically ‘normal’ forms of alienation. The ‘normally’ alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the ‘formal’ majority as bad or mad.
 
R. D. Laing, from Politics of Experience

 

 

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Ellen042

Looks like I've used not one but two offensive terms here: clinical depression and normal.  Sorry- didn't mean to offend anyone.

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GiaK

you're not offending anyone...this is a discussion...please you're very welcome here...and we all appreciate the obstacles you're facing as we too have faced similar obstacles. 

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mattinsmom

Ellen

I don't find your words offensive. For  me I am only trying to look at things like "normal" and "clinically depressed" thru a different lens. When I frame them (and many other words) differently they can take on entirely new meanings. Words are so powerful. Keep exploring :) 

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Ellen042

Thanks.  Back to my tapering off trazodone topic, I got my intenist to Rx the 50mg tablets for easier tapering, as my pdoc refused.  Now I can cut my dose of 100mg into 12.5mg quarter tablets.  I know this is faster than the recommended 10% (12.5% reductions at a time instead), but at least I don't hve to weigh crumbs anymore!  Yeah!  He also prescribed Lyrica for the rebound migraines I'm getting during withdrawal, but I'm not going to take it.  Still looking for natural migraine relief.  :)

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Altostrata

This is an interesting topic. Let's stay with it rather then going off onto tangents.

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Meimeiquest

The medical definition of clinical depression specifies that the symptoms have persisted for at least two weeks. Any emotional reaction right after a loss does not constitute depression. Otherwise, I think the question is more along the lines of "am I dealing with this appropriately, am I practicing proper self-care." Some people, like me, are just more emotionally reactive to life than others. But trust me, if you're in trouble, you want me walking with you more than my more level-headed husband. It's just a difference, not right or wrong. People grieve in their own ways. That said, depression, mania, and psychosis are all damaging to the brain and to overall health, and they, IMHO, all need to be dealt with. If someone is non-stop symptomatic for more than 2 weeks, something needs to be done...that might just be daily walks, but something. Which reminds me of a FB post that I will put in the Finding Meaning forum if I can figure out how to link it.

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Altostrata

Let us all stipulate that "The medical definition of clinical depression specifies that the symptoms have persisted for at least two weeks" is horsesh*t designed to justify the prescription of pharmaceuticals -- purely for profit.

 

One could stub one's toe and be suffering for 2 weeks. Any type of emotional distress caused by situational factors -- divorce, relocation, getting fired -- could easily last for 2 weeks.

 

Situational depression has a very high rate of spontaneous resolution (as you would expect, with changing situations) and does not require drugs.

 

Prior to the profit motive corrupting all psychiatric diagnosis, "clinical depression" was a paralyzing state in which the person could not function at all. No going to the store, no chatting with friends, no playing with pets. It had no discernable situational trigger and it lasted for a very long time, much longer than 2 weeks.

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Ellen042

I disagree with the medical definition of depression, and I disagree with drugging depressed people.  The way this thread has gone so far is defining depression and debating whether it should be treated.  Keep going if you prefer, but this wasn't what I intended with my original question.  I was seeking support, not a medical debate.  Thank you to those who offered support, and best wishes to those seeking to define and discuss the ineffectiveness of drugs.  Yes, drugs are ineffective and counterproductive from my experience too, but emotional support is VERY effective. 

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Rhiannon

It sounds to me like you're wondering about times in the past, before the drugs, when you would just spontaneously experience a dark mood or dark feeling, and you're wondering if that's a pathological/disease/clinical type depression. As opposed to the times when you have felt down and upset and sad for obvious reasons connected to things that happened in your life.

 

You aren't the first to ask this question and I think it's a valuable one and I appreciate you bringing it up.

 

When I first started dealing with my emotional pain and confusion back in the 1970s, there were a lot more options for therapy and drugs were only given to people who had the kind of depression Alto describes above--absolutely crippling, unable to move or think or function--with actual motor slowing, for example, cognitive slowing, etc.. The only times I've had that type of depression have been when was withdrawing from psych meds or had just quit taking one. So I know what it feels like, but it was caused by the drugs (iatrogenic).

 

I would say that if you had experienced that kind of depression before ever taking psych meds, that would have been an authentic clinical depression, if that's a useful concept. Which it might have been once upon a time, but I don't think it is nowadays.

 

In my own case, though, the "unexplainable" moods, those dark moods that just came on without any obvious situational trigger, turned out to be due to unresolved childhood trauma. And I think that they usually are, in people. It can be very difficult to make that connection, since by its very nature trauma causes us to dissociate the memory of the trauma, and that's especially true in children.  

 

So given my own experience and that of other people I've known, I would speculate that your earlier episodes of dark moods were probably due to unresolved, unprocessed painful experiences from earlier in your life. 

 

Again, thanks for bringing up this subject. It's important to talk about, since our society pathologizes anything but "happy" emotion so much, and is so deeply in denial about the struggles and pain of children and for that matter of people of all ages. We are not a society which is nurturing or encouraging to actual human beings.

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Ellen042

Thank you.  That does help.  Guess I'll never know some of the trauma I encountered leading to depression.  I still think it's possible, though, that I can get depressed without a life event triggering it.  I'll just have to agree to disagree there.  Of course I can't prove this, and of course it's possible I'm simply wrong, so thanks for your input.

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Altostrata

What does having a disposition tending to feeling down mean to you? It doesn't mean "clinical depression" to me.

 

Ellen, please look at the way you started this topic. It seems you're asking for help verifying a diagnosis, not asking for emotional support.

 

How does thinking of yourself as "clinically depressed" help define yourself to you?

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Ellen042

When I realize that I have a disposition to feeling down, it helps me realize that life isn't as bad as I'm viewing it.  In a round-about way it gives me hope that the depression will pass, as in my case it always does with time  Yes, I do come across sounding technical quite often, when what I'm really needing is emotional support.  You're right.  Maybe it comes from my being a health care provider myself.  I don't know.  I'm not trying to define myself, I'm just needing to get myself emotionally functional.  Not sure if this answers your questions.  Hope it does. 

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Ellen042

Neat!  I like that idea.  I personally turn to my faith as a distraction and source of perspective  In retrospect, it has indeed helped with depression, just not with anxiety. I realize this isn't an anxiety forum, and the idea was for depression anyway.  I myself seem to become obsessed with my emotions. I analyze them to death, which isn't good.  I'm very OCD - or whatever term you prefer, so the advice is pertinent.  Thanks.

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Ellen042

Hi.  After a short time on this forum, I think I'm beginning to see the mindset of this site.  Some things are just mentioned here and there, though, rather than clearly put forth as "Our Statement of Beliefs" or something along those lines.  When I try to share, I inevitably say something contrary to the unspoken statement of beliefs, and it's not fun being a mistake that has to be corrected over and over.  I'm sure if I read through every post here I could avoid saying what I shouldn't, but reading through everything is an unrealistic goal.  I've said many things I wish I could take back, but there was no way of knowing at the time that what I was saying something wrong to begin with. 

 

Having said that, I thought I'd just ask a question rather than state my opinion.  I don't want to push anyone's buttons.  I learned through a past post that the official belief here is that there is no such thing as clinical depression. This leaves me wondering if any psychiatric conditions are recognized as legit here.  What about those who are so down that they kill themselves- before the introduction of any medicines?   What about those who are so out of touch with reality that they believe they are Jesus Christ- before any medicines?  What about those who fly into destructive rages then hate themselves for it- before any medicines?  What about those incapacitated with panic attacks- before any medicines?  I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  Yes, all of these things can and do happen to people before any medicines are introduced.  I'm pointing this out so that the behaviors aren't simply called withdrawal effects.  Yes, life circumstances definitely play into our emotional psyche too, but does that invalidate the reality of a psychiatric condition?  Aren't some of us born with predispositions toward illnesses, perhaps later triggered by a life event?

 

I myself was born with a chiari malformation (herniation of the brain right out of the skull).  No drug did that.  My mother took no drugs when she was pregnant with me.  No environmental factors played into the disorder.  I was simply born with it, period.  Doesn't it make sense that if we can't guarantee that any other system in our body will be free of illness, that we can't guarantee that our nervous system will be free of illness either?

 

I for myself admit that I have insomnia, depression, and anxiety.  I won't conclude that about you, but it only makes sense that I'm free to conclude that about myself.  I am thankful for nortriptyline, which lets me sleep and eases the depression, and I'm thankful for Klonopin, which prevents my panic attacks.  I'm just as thankful for these medicines as I am for my physical illness medicines.  If it weren't for medicine and surgery, I'd at the very least be paralyzed by now, and at the worst be dead.

 

If everyone disagrees with me, that's OK.  I'll just agree to disagree.  At least this way I'll know the beliefs about this topic on this forum, and be able to avoid putting my foot in my mouth for making yet another unintentional blooper.

 

Whatever your views, have a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.  I wish all of you well.  Ellen

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Meimeiquest

Ellen, my personal opinion is that mental illness exists, and that diagnoses are a sort of shorthand for describing a cluster of symptoms which may or may not have a known or assumed common etiology. To me, the million dollar questions are what causes it and what helps. For example, lithium helps me but I am 100% sure I wasn't born with a lithium deficiency. We also sometimes underestimate the risk of non-treatment. Some of the studies that "prove" the dangers of psych drugs compare death rates against normal people. But a valid study would compare drug-naive people with the illness to drug-treated people with the illness, and that almost never happens.

 

One core value of this site, I think, is that we discuss symptoms over diagnoses. I think we are already so far out on a limb, doing this over the web, that we can't make assumptions about diagnoses. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. I just appreciate beyond words all that I have learned here, but I have to draw my own conclusions and control my own treatment.

 

More practically, to your issue of APs, I am moving more towards making a plan for IF a symptom occurs rather than trying to prevent it with anticipatory medication. For example, if you developed an auditory hallucination, bumping the benzo back up might be the first step. How will you manage your kids and your safety if things go south? To me, those are the more compelling questions. And to me, staying on a benzo is much safer than starting an AP.

 

All in all, it is much more complex than "50 Shades of Grey."

 

Merry Christmasto to you as well! Glad you're here!

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dunerbug

I believe mental illness exists as well. Throughout history, well before the use of medications such as SSRI's.

 

I had OCD before I ever touched medication.

 

That being said.....I think most (not all) chronic depression and anxiety can be linked back to the use of medications nowadays.

 

I read somewhere that most people will have at least 1 depressive episode in their lifetime. Lasting usually about 6 months. But will resolve in time without treatment. 

But since the introduction of antidepressants meds depression has become a chronic condition. 

I wish I could remember where I read that. Now sure how valid it is but makes a lot of sense.

 

I tend to believe that this last round of prozac has given me a chemical imbalance ...not treated an already existing one.

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Ellen042

Thank you both for your quick and honest feedback.  Meimeiquest, you're absolutely right that "we can't make assumptions about diagnoses".  PLEASE don't think I would ever suggest we diagnose each other!!!!!!!  I was rather asking if we could EVER accept a mental health care professional's diagnosis as legit.  That's all.  I would love to hear more feedback and will be respectful of each person's opinion.  My goal is to see how honest I can be without pushing others' buttons, without offending others, and most of all, to avoid unknowingly saying something that's not supposed to be said here.  You're helping me already.  Please keep the replies coming.  I know I can sometimes be overly sensitive, but I really want to move out of being a mistake that has to be repeatedly corrected.  That's painful for me.  Makes me feel invalidated  and not respected.    

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John

I think we all here believe that conditions exist, we here are just mainly talking about conditions caused by withdrawal or side effects.  Thats the purpose of this board.

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Meimeiquest

What I meant is I don't assume whether or not a person's diagnosis is legit. I just take everything as they say it. You may have a skull malformation, or you may have a delusion that you do (hypothetically). I'm just going to go with what you say...I have no way to actually know. If you (anyone) are worried that you might have bipolar (sorting out my dx is a big deal to me), I am going to encourage you to use natural treatments to the extent you wish, because this forum is about getting off meds. But we are all welcome to identify with diagnoses or "need" drugs as much as we want to. I hope Alto will give her thoughts. Whenever I explain SA to someone, I say, "Psychiatry made the wrong lady mad.":). She doesn't have her avatar for nothing!

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Ellen042

Thanks, John.  To me my question is still valid, as some of us have more than one condition going on at the same time.  It can become tricky separating which symptoms are caused by any legitimate psychiatric condition, which are caused by drug side effects, and which are caused by drug withdrawal.  I seem to be reading much about symptoms caused by withdrawal, some about symptoms caused by drugs (side effects), and little of symptoms caused by psychiatric illness.  Seems to me to be quite a stretch to assume that ALL symptoms are caused by drugs or their withdrawal.  Maybe people do have a foolproof way of not confusing psychiatric illness symptoms with drug/withdrawal symptoms, but I've yet to find it.  Personally, and I'm going out on a vulnerable limb here, I don't know that there IS a foolproof way to differentiate the two, and thus, the possibility of mental illness needs to be taken into account whenever we're discussing psychiatric symptoms.  I think we need to be honest with ourselves and recognize that we may have more than one thing going on at any given time.  Seems like the humble and wise thing to do. 

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Barbarannamated

I believe a large category that is disregarded (when initially diagnosing symptoms and beginning treatment) is "psychiatric" manifestations of medical illness - neurologic, nutrition/vitamin deficiencies, endocrine, etc. The symptoms are "treated", the person is forever labeled as a "psych patient" while the underlying medical condition goes undiagnosed and often worsens because psych patients are seen thru a tainted lens. The drugs often exacerbate underlying conditions.

 

This applies not only to mood symptoms, but also psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions) which can be caused by physical conditions (low blood sugar psychosis is one example). I believe that most withdrawal symptoms fit this category. I never had severe low mood or anxiety prior to taking and withdrawing.

 

That said, I do believe that true psychiatric illness exists but is quite rare.

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