This site is about depression. Perhaps more particularly, it is about ways to cope with and recover from depression.
My depression story
My name is Martin*. I’m a male in my middle years and I suffer from depression. I’ve suffered with low moods which may or may not have constituted depression since my teenage years. However, I always resisted seeking any treatment or diagnosis for fear of being stigmatised as mentally ill. I also always vowed to myself that I would never take medication for depression, for fear of becoming drug dependent.
Over the last few years I became increasingly unhappy. There were certain things in my life that could account for this – mainly career dis-satisfaction and, some time later, moving to a new country and away from family and friends. But during that time I also had some wonderful new aspects to my life – I married a beautiful, loving and supportive wife and we soon had baby girl, now 3, who is an utter joy.
Yet, notwithstanding the positives, some time ago I became very, very unhappy and could not find a way to change the way I felt. Eventually I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with quite serious depression.
I first underwent an intense but short period of psychotherapy. I found this helpful in enabling me to begin to understand some of my feelings and the reasons for them. But when I was re-tested after 6 weeks my level of depression had not changed at all.
Despite my reluctance and in light of the unchanged circumstances, I was persuaded by my doctor and psychotherapist that I ought to take medication. So I was prescribed the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), Lexapro.
Almost immediately I felt better.
I’d had this idea about depression being an apt word for the condition because I had felt as if some great weight was pressing down on me the whole time. When I started taking the medication, it was as if, within the space of a few days, the weight had been lifted clear off me and I could walk upright again.
Suddenly I was engaging properly with my wife and, especially, my daughter again. I even started dancing with her in the living room at one point, much to her surprise and great delight.
I felt almost normal again.
And, despite the great improvements, that was the problem. I didn’t feel normal. I felt almost normal. As if I was very nearly me, but not quite. Over the months that followed there is no doubt that I felt significantly better than I had when the weight was pressing me down. But I still wasn’t right.
I was still prone to occasional very black days and I felt stressed and uptight most of the time. I still didn’t feel very connected to other people and was reluctant to socialise except with those I was closest to.
Most importantly of all, I still was not a great husband – I would be ill-tempered with my wife and blame her for things that were not her fault. Worst of all, when she needed it most I probably didn’t really give her the support that I should have.
Maybe all this means I’m just an asshole at heart or maybe it means that, despite the improvements, the medication hadn’t really done the whole job.
I think (and very much hope) it’s the latter, particularly since I have now researched a lot about the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication.
But I also know that I hadn’t fully helped myself – I hadn’t done enough exercise, I ate too many sweet things and was carrying too much weight, I hadn’t done enough to try to mix more with others.
In the end I went back to see my doctor and she suggested that I should come off the Lexapro and switch to Effexor. Effexor is a serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).
I decided, after further consultation with my doctor not to take the Effexor and instead to reduce my dose of Lexapro. The idea was to see whether that can help make me feel more normal while I also try to some other self-help strategies to improve my overall health and lifestyle.
This site is itself one of those strategies, in that it is a way to explore and record some of the ways you can get help with depression whether by self-help or other means.
My depression story continues on the Depression Blog pages.
Why am I qualified to write about depression?
Let’s get this quite clear, I am not medically qualified in any way.
Instead, I am a sufferer from depression. I’m also a lawyer, a writer and a website publisher and in the past I have been a teacher. So I know something about research, about proof, about evidence based information and about presenting facts in a way that is helpful to the reader.
It’s not my intention to espouse any particular points of view, except personal ones based upon experience and/or evidence. I am not ‘for’ or ‘against’ medication in general or any depression medicines in particular. Everybody’s situation is different and there is no single approach that will suit everybody.
I’ve put this site together because I know from personal experience how damaging depression can be. I know that it is still stigmatised and I believe it is an illness that is likely to affect more and more people as the pace and pressures of modern life intensify.
I believe that the more informed a person is about the difficulties they face, the better they are able to cope with and overcome those difficulties. I think that it is also always a great help to hear from others who have faced similar problems themselves.
When the issue is a matter of health and well-being, it is, in my view, essential to have the best possible understanding of a problem and the potential solutions available.
Those are the reasons I have started this site. Whether they are good enough reasons, you can decide for yourself.
What’s in it for you?
In simple terms, information clearly presented by somebody who understands the problems. Hopefully, this will be an interactive site where you feel comfortable to join in, add your own comments and tell your own story.
Ultimately, it’s a matter for you to judge whether your time could be well spent here.
I hope that you find that it is.
What’s in it for me?
- Some therapeutic benefits – writing about something I care about and trying to help others.
- Some financial benefits – as I said earlier, I am a website publisher, so I will treat this like other sites I own. It will need to pay for itself through advertising and affiliate and other products, just like almost every other site on the web. Please see the Disclosure page for full details
You may get sick of me repeating this, but …
The site is written from the point of view of a sufferer from depression not from a clinical or medical perspective. I am not a medical practitioner of any sort, so nothing on this site constitutes medical advice. Even where material on this site is written by qualified medical practitioners, it does not constitute medical advice because it is general in nature and not related to any individual’s particular circumstances.
Nothing on this site is a substitute for seeking assistance from properly qualified practitioners who can help you based upon your own circumstances.
If you need to contact me, please use the contact form and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
*Who am I?
I’ve written a little above about the stigma surrounding depression. I have personally found it very difficult to deal with the fact that I have suffered from this illness. I have told almost nobody (although I am sure that many people who know me would not be surprised if I did tell them). For reasons connected with business and family, I’ll keep my identity to myself for now. Hopefully, I will be able to ‘come out’ in due course.Last revised on September 11, 2011