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Who is or has been really depressed?

Old 11-22-2010, 06:46 PM
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Who is or has been really depressed?

Is this a common symptom of ACOA, or dealing second-handedly with addiction? I can't seem to shake it, and come to think of it I think I have been living with depression my entire life. I just always ran away (traveled) and distracted myself with relationships.

Does this tend to subside with alanon recovery, or does it require more intense psych treatment? Any personal experiences out there?
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:06 PM
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My personal experience was despite actively working 12-step recovery, not only did my depression not subside, it got worse.

I also know people whose depression gradually disappeared as they worked a program of recovery.

I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression by a psychiatrist and thank God for that.

I will probably be one of those people on meds the rest of my life, and I'm okay with that.

I too used relationships as a way to 'medicate' my depression, and also drugs/alcohol.
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:06 PM
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Great question!

I can't say if it's common but I do know that depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand.

And, I can't think of anything more anxiety-producing than living in an alcoholic household.
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:07 PM
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Hi there,

I'm not an ACOA, but while I was living with my AH, I started getting pretty depressed. I think I've had very mild episodes in the past where I've felt down for an extended period of time for no reason, but it never got as bad as it did while I was living with AH. I think I've also tended to "run away" quite a bit to find "happiness" or to distract myself from feeling low - which by the way didn't really work well for me in the long run.

I think AlAnon can definitely help you gain insight into who you are etc., but therapy in my opinion is never a wrong thing to do and can only help.

Talking to a counselor helped me find a way back to myself and (together with SR) helped me find the strength to finally move out of AH's apt. Unfortunately my service ran out at a crucial time (2 weeks after I left) and I've been trying to get into a cheap clinic that seems to have a crazy long waiting list (been waiting for close to 3 months now ... argh
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:10 PM
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I have been chronically and seriously depressed a few times in my life. Once while living with my ExA, and a few yrs after when I was divorced and dating a man who was in recovery (NA) but wasn't a healthy partner for me. I am also an adult child of 2 ACOA's, both of whom had their own issues with depression from time to time.

I learned that depression runs in my family, ultimately my mother, father and a brother have all been treated for it. I also know that I am in a healthier place today and currently don't take any antidepressants. However, I know the signs and if I was to find myself in that deep dark place again, I wouldn't hesitate to go back to my family physician to explore options.

I believe that actively working a recovery program (I use Al Anon) and some good counseling helped me deal with some of my issues. I am kinder and gentler with myself, and I know about those things in my life over which I am powerless, which means I struggle less. It has helped me immensely.

I'm not sure if my depression was exacerbated by my relationships, or if it was a by product, or if it led me to certain partners. Interesting to think about, though!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:28 PM
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I hear that, Lotus 2009...I too need a CHEAP clinic, more like a FREE clinic.

My boyfriend is also a RAH (painkiller addict to be more precise), has almost 6 months clean now, and I was really depressed and obsessed when he was high and abusive, and flip-flopping/unavailable during the first few months of his recovery. Then, he did a complete 180 after steps 4 and 5, got a sense of humor and coping skills, got a stronger sense of self and acceptance, and became so attentive and supportive, and committed to me. It's really cute, like we're falling in love the right way, and it's what I wanted, him getting healthy and clean and us riding off into the sunset together. Then I got the job I wanted, and things, while they are not perfect, are on the right track. But I am STILL depressed! Last week my alcoholic mother was found in an unfathomably horrible state by my aunt, and she's in the hospital while my 13 year-old brother is bouncing from relative to relative (familiar situation). Not helping with the depression...

Point is, even when I had a fairytale life with prince charming I was STILL depressed! Hoping it will subside with long overdue alanon and spiritual recovery, but like Freedom 1990, I too will be OK with meds as long as they work!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:30 PM
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I learned that depression runs in my family, ultimately my mother, father and a brother have all been treated for it.
Same here!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nicam View Post
Same here!
Me three!
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:56 PM
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Ha, looks like we are all predisposed to depression. My inner voices say, Get thee to a sliding scale clinic woman, and QUICKLY!

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Freedom 1990 wrote a beautiful post on addiction being just a symptom...that's what my RAHBF always says, addiction's just a symptom of spiritual sickness and unrest, or something along those lines. Funny, I always though the alcohol/drugs caused the depression (second-handedly or directly) and myriad other issues. Maybe I haven't given genetics enough credit!
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:00 PM
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Hi Nicam. I'm an ACOA as well. That's a really good question. I'm not sure I can answer it very well though because I believe I've suffered from depression my whole life too and have been diagnosed with PTSD and all that comes with that.

I have some friends who take anti-depressants. One says she used to always feel joy and happiness. After her last baby, she had post-natal depression for the first time and went on the AD's. She's off the antis' now and says she has that same feeling of joy and happiness she's always had. The difference between her and me is, she describes her childhood as "magical" whereas mine was a living hell. I've never experienced the "joy and happiness" she has been blessed with feeling her whole life (except for the that small period of time where she felt depressed after giving birth). Her life seems so easy (from the outside looking in, although I know it has its difficulties) and she has good family support. She says that it's 'normal' to wake up and feel happy! That is so foreign to me.

What I believe it all comes down to is how we feel about ourselves. When my friend was looking for a husband, she made sure he had a good job, owned a home and could provide her with the lifestyle she was accustomed to. When my husband came into my life, it didn't matter he owned nothing and had an alcohol addiction. I had such low self worth and I attracted what I felt I deserved.

I also have friends with crap upbringings who are ACoA's too and they're on anti-depressants because they have had rough lives from childhood to now.

I have anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication sitting in my cupboard ready to take and a couple of my friends have told me to start taking them! I've taken them before and they did help. I don't know what's holding me back from taking them now. Maybe it's the part of me that knows I usually suppress my emotions and distract myself (like you described) and now it's time for me to feel the pain and reveal the real me and find out who I am? Discover myself as I've said before, rather than recover because I have never known who I really am and who I would have been without the abuse. I actually need to 'find' myself. Who am I? What do I need? What do I want? What do I deserve? How can learn how to love and accept myself? How do I live a life with joy and happiness in my heart?

So, back to your question about whether the depression subsides with alanon recovery. I don't know. All I know is that I have to take it one day at a time. One foot in front of the other and maybe take my meds...What I keep reminding myself is recovery (or discovery) is a process, not an event. All the best to you Nicam...
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:19 PM
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Nicam, yes, I have suffered and am currently suffering from major depression. My first diagnose of major depression began when my 23 year old daughter completed suicide on May 16, 1995. She suffered from schizophrenia. It took me ten years, therapy and two hospitalization for my grief and major depression before I was able to accept my daughter's death. I was prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills.

I suffered a life changing massive stroke in DEC 2009. From DEC 23rd until JAN 8th I suffered from vascular dementia, and almost died. Once vascular dementia develops, there are no drugs currently approved by the FDA to treat it. My doctors had no scientific explanation why I came out of the vascular dementia. When I came back into reality I was filled with so much rage inside of me for living with alcoholism for so long in my life.

For about the last three months I have been in individual therapy, and on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I am working my codependent recovery program, and using SR for support. I feel that each day I'm regaining my physical and emotional strength.

******************************************** *****************

Each individual has their own story of living with alcoholism. Each individual will have their own road to recovery.

The higher our expectations, the lower our serenity. Try to keep your boundaries high, your expectations low, and your heart open.

********************************:ghug3************ *****************

Willingness comes from the pain, the healing comes from the steps.

Step 1. Surrender
Step 2. Sanity
Step 3. Serenity

There is a difference between “relief” and “recovery”.

Steps 1-3 bring relief
Steps 4-9 bring recovery..
Steps 10-12 maintain it…

Steps 6 & 7:

Step 6 Be willing, Be ready and let God do the work

Step 7 Humbly ask (acknowledge who you are in relation to God)

Al-Anon is program that is meant to be worked with another and with God.

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Old 11-22-2010, 08:27 PM
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I think a whole array of emotions come out from living with addictions. I am an ACoA (more accurately child of crack/meth addict) and currently separated from an AH. I found living with my AH I had episodes of depression, but mostly suffered from LOTS of anxiety in trying to keep up. Like Lotus I always (as a kid and adult) distracted myself from the pain and just ran around with friends whenever things got tough. I am just now learning to get in touch with my feelings and deal with them for the first time and it can be uncomfortable. Either way I hope you can find a way to treat the depression and move forward. Best to you!
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:53 PM
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I myself go up and down emotionally. I was recommended at one point to get on meds, but I'm scared to and I can't afford it financially. I don't have a job that provides health insurance. I work construction and its all cash but it doesn't pay crap. I barely make enough to keep a roof over my head and to pay my bills, I literally am left with little money for food. I know its very unhealthy but often times I only eat once a day. I'm trying to find a different job but I don't have my drivers license and cant get it until April, two DUI's on my record doesn't help either. I'm scared to take meds because being that I'm in recovery I don't want to get hooked or dependant on rx meds. My depression (pity party) stems from the fact that I f'd my marriage up and rarely see my kids now cause of my work schedule. It's been almost two weeks since I've seen them. The f'd up part about it is that they are my reason why I'm sober. I know its going to take time for me to get back on my feet and until then what the f else can I do. I guess this is Gods way of making me work on some of my character defects. Being that I dont make the money I used to I have to really humble myself and work on my impatience. I went from making $1700 every two weeks down to $700. But when I think back upon my childhood I wasn't even happy then. I've always felt something was wrong with me. I really wish I had health insurance so that I could go see a shrink. Even though I'm scared to get on meds I really think I should. I can get some for free from the county but it would only be 30 days worth. I want to go see a shrink to find out if I'm clinically depressed or if its just me having a pity party, I kind of feel its the latter. It's funny because I can go the whole day feeling like crap, but once I get on SR I start to feel better.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:34 PM
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by johndelko408 View Post
It's funny because I can go the whole day feeling like crap, but once I get on SR I start to feel better.
I know what you mean...it becomes like a lifeline sometimes, we can connect to people who understand and are supportive and we benefit from their ES&H, for which I know, I'm grateful.
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by SteppingUp View Post
Great question!

I can't say if it's common but I do know that depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand.

And, I can't think of anything more anxiety-producing than living in an alcoholic household.
i agree. i have both and i can't seem to shake it. i'll be fine until my AH goes on another drinking binge. then it all comes around again and i spend a couple of days in depression. its bad enough that i am fighting extreme menopause without putting up with his crap.....
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:36 PM
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I am an ACOA and have chronic, recurring depression. I am not medicated because I cannot physically tolerate the meds that are available. I have to be careful the kinds of people I allow into my life and the kinds of situations I allow myself to get into. I have to be alert to (check in with myself on) how I am feeling and acting (to know if and when I need to see a physician). I also have seasonal depression and use light therapy and vitamin D to combat it.
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:42 PM
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I was finally diagnosed with clinical depression by a psychiatrist and thank God for that.

I will probably be one of those people on meds the rest of my life, and I'm okay with that.

I too used relationships as a way to 'medicate' my depression, and also drugs/alcohol.
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:57 PM
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I could not improve my life while very depressed, it is with the help of antidepressants that I was able to function again and even begin to pursue a healthier for me path.

LiKe Freedom and Wicked, I will always be on meds. I have fought against that and gone off a few times and all that has done has proven to me that I do have a chemical illness that is treatable if I treat it.

I would strongly suggest you get to a sliding scale clinic and get an evaluation..life is too short to waste it in misery.
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:14 PM
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I think I have suffered from depression since I was in middle school. I just did not get treated for it until my 30s. It is hereditary. For me it was just an underlying thing that came out full forces after marrying my first husband-who was an alcoholic and mentally abusive. Eventhough I left him-he had left me before that with the alcohol and other women and it triggered a major depressive episode.

That along with a very stressful job kept it going until I ran into a DVR counselor who basically told me I was being ridiculous (in a very kind way) because I was refusing to take medication. The stigma attached to mental illness at that time and especially in the job I was in (showed weakness and weakness was not OK) drove me away from accepting what was going on and taking medication. So much so that I became even more depressed and could no longer function in my job and had to go on disability. So the DVR counselor really got me to understand that taking the medication was essential and that given the history of depression in my family it was easy to see I had a chemical imbalance in my brain--and now why would I not correct that. So I finally did and it helped.

The severe depression slowly ebbed away. So much so that I went off my meds. For me, big mistake. Also, went off my meds because xah (the one I just left) told me how stupid it was to take the medication. Yeah, now I think and why did I listen to you--Mr. Self Medicator.

The second round of clinical depression was not something I would wish on my worse enemy. It sucked the life out of me. I woke up every morning and could feel it and thought I would never be happy again. I went back on meds and after about 8 or 9 months it lifted. I have never gone off my meds again. I don't ever even want to teeter on the edge of clinical depression again.

I think it differs for everyone. Some people have situational depression and they can go on meds and then go off and are fine. I had to accept that was not the case with me.

Life is too short to live it poorly if you have a choice. The big thing with meds--there are a lot of them out there. Some of the newer ones are quite pricey. I am fortunate that I take "older" medication and they are affordable. You also have to deal with the side effects of the meds and I think that is where some of the newer ones are different.

But I also wanted to say the meds would not have worked if I had not gone to therapy and changed the way I live my life. I would have continued to follow the same pattern and probably would have continued to go off my meds. When I decided I was worth keeping I worked harder.

I also have seasonal affect disorder (da** north--no sun and cold) but I use a light box and it is a miracle as far as I am concerned.
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