Feeling hopeless about my depression

Ecdysis

MyPTSD Pro
Hi Dr Catalyst,

I'm going through an episode of major depression. It's been going for 6 years now but got a lot, lot worse during Covid and lockdown.

Before that I had PTSD from childhood trauma, but never struggled with depression much.

I'm currently on an 8 month waiting list for talk therapy.

My depression is terrible. I'm taking anti-depressants, which are helping a bit.

I'm sad all of the time. Really sad. And I feel so hopeless. I even feel hopeless about therapy being able to help.

I feel overwhelmed by everything. Even small tasks like doing the dishes feel impossible.

I'm on Disabilty Allowance and working 12 hours per week in a part-time job and thinking about handing in my notice because my depression isso bad.

I know a lot of people's mental health got a lot worse during Covid. I hope now that the lockdowns are gone, I might start recovering.

Do you think this episode of depression will eventually pass? Sic years is a long time and the last three years have been especially awful.
 
Hi Dr Catalyst,

I'm going through an episode of major depression. It's been going for 6 years now but got a lot, lot worse during Covid and lockdown.

Before that I had PTSD from childhood trauma, but never struggled with depression much.

I'm currently on an 8 month waiting list for talk therapy.

My depression is terrible. I'm taking anti-depressants, which are helping a bit.

I'm sad all of the time. Really sad. And I feel so hopeless. I even feel hopeless about therapy being able to help.

I feel overwhelmed by everything. Even small tasks like doing the dishes feel impossible.

I'm on Disabilty Allowance and working 12 hours per week in a part-time job and thinking about handing in my notice because my depression isso bad.

I know a lot of people's mental health got a lot worse during Covid. I hope now that the lockdowns are gone, I might start recovering.

Do you think this episode of depression will eventually pass? Sic years is a long time and the last three years have been especially awful.
Hello! First of all, I want to acknowledge your bravery in reaching out and sharing your experiences with me. It takes a lot of courage to open up about what you're going through, so I want to commend you on taking this step.

It sounds like you are really struggling with your depression right now, and it's understandable given everything that's been going on with the COVID-19 pandemic and your pre-existing PTSD. You mentioned being on an 8-month waiting list for talk therapy, which can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening. However, I encourage you to remain hopeful that therapy can help. It may take some time, but evidence shows that psychotherapy can be very effective in treating depression and PTSD.

In the meantime, it's important to continue taking care of yourself as best you can. Keep taking any medication as prescribed, and consider reaching out to your prescribing physician to explore whether any additional medication adjustments may help. It can also be helpful to incorporate self-care into your daily routine, such as getting regular exercise, connecting with others (even if it has to be online), spending time in nature, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.

You mentioned feeling overwhelmed by even small tasks like doing the dishes. This can be a common symptom of depression, as it can make things that normally feel easy and manageable feel impossible. One strategy that can help is breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, if doing the dishes feels overwhelming, try setting a goal of washing just one dish, and then build from there. It may also be helpful to enlist the support of loved ones or friends, if possible, to take some of the pressure off.

Overall, while it's impossible to predict exactly what the future holds, I do believe that with time, support, and treatment, it's possible to experience relief from depression and PTSD symptoms. Please know that recovery is possible, and there is hope for healing.
 
Thanks for your speedy, kind and helpful reply Dr Catalyst.

One of the things I'm really struggling with about this depression is anhedonia. It's so pervasive.

Everything that I used to like, love, enjoy, value, cherish seems to mean nothing to me right now. Those things feel so inaccessible, like they're a million miles away.

There's only two things that seem to cut through my depression at all - and they seem a bit random to me, because these two things didn't use to be all that important to me in the past - one is singing along to music on the radio and the other is feeling the warmth of sunshine on my skin.

It seems the things I used to value are too "complicated" for my depressed brain right now - for example, I used to love reading interesting books - but that just exhausts me now and I can barely concentrate. I'm sometimes able to listen to an audiobook instead tho, because that's easier, bu that's a challenge too.

Do you have any advice specifically for anhedonia?

Do you have any ideas how I can maybe find small, easy things that I may enjoy despite strong feelings of depression and anhedonia?
 
Thanks for your speedy, kind and helpful reply Dr Catalyst.

One of the things I'm really struggling with about this depression is anhedonia. It's so pervasive.

Everything that I used to like, love, enjoy, value, cherish seems to mean nothing to me right now. Those things feel so inaccessible, like they're a million miles away.

There's only two things that seem to cut through my depression at all - and they seem a bit random to me, because these two things didn't use to be all that important to me in the past - one is singing along to music on the radio and the other is feeling the warmth of sunshine on my skin.

It seems the things I used to value are too "complicated" for my depressed brain right now - for example, I used to love reading interesting books - but that just exhausts me now and I can barely concentrate. I'm sometimes able to listen to an audiobook instead tho, because that's easier, bu that's a challenge too.

Do you have any advice specifically for anhedonia?

Do you have any ideas how I can maybe find small, easy things that I may enjoy despite strong feelings of depression and anhedonia?
I understand how difficult and discouraging anhedonia can be. It's one of the most common symptoms of depression, and it can make it difficult to find joy or pleasure in anything. However, I want to acknowledge that it's encouraging and significant that you've found a few things that can cut through your depression, like singing along to music, and feeling the warmth of the sun. These moments can serve as a reminder that, even if it's for brief periods, you can experience some pleasure, and they offer some hope that more experiences like these are possible.

Here are some ideas for finding small and easy things that you may enjoy even if you're experiencing anhedonia:

1. Experiment with different senses: While reading may feel too overwhelming right now, there may be other activities that can stimulate your senses and be more approachable. For example, you mentioned feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin - what about other sensory inputs like smelling a freshly baked cookie or taking a calming bubble bath?

2. Engage in social support: Even though it can be challenging to connect with others when you're experiencing depression, it's important to stay connected as closely as possible. This doesn't have to be a big commitment- maybe scheduling a video chat with a friend once a week or finding a local support group on topics that interest you can be a starting point.

3. Create a list of simple tasks: When you feel overwhelmed, it can be difficult to start a task at the right level of challenge. Create a list of small, achievable tasks to help motivate you during moments when you are feeling more motivated. Remember to celebrate your small victories, no matter how small they are.

4. Try out new things: Sometimes trying something new can be a bit uncomfortable, but it can also provide a sense of newness that is different from your current routine. Maybe try doing some coloring or painting, exploration of a new hobby, or simply taking a walk in a different neighborhood path.

Remember, everybody's experience of anhedonia is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another, and that's okay. Try to keep an open mind, and understand that change may come slowly, but it is possible.
 
Thanks Dr Catalyst, I've written down some of your suggestions that seem most helpful to me and will make sure to try them.

Another thing I'm really struggling with in terms of depression is procrastination and avoidance.

A small task (like doing the dishes) seems overwhelming so I'll procrastinate and avoid that task for hours and hours. I won't do anything productive and the task keeps hanging over my head, stressing me out.

"Just doing it" doesn't seem to work - if it were that easy, then depression would be easy to cure.

How can I help my brain be less insistent about procrastinating and avoiding tasks that I find unpleasant or distressing?
 
Thanks Dr Catalyst, I've written down some of your suggestions that seem most helpful to me and will make sure to try them.

Another thing I'm really struggling with in terms of depression is procrastination and avoidance.

A small task (like doing the dishes) seems overwhelming so I'll procrastinate and avoid that task for hours and hours. I won't do anything productive and the task keeps hanging over my head, stressing me out.

"Just doing it" doesn't seem to work - if it were that easy, then depression would be easy to cure.

How can I help my brain be less insistent about procrastinating and avoiding tasks that I find unpleasant or distressing?
Procrastination and avoidance are common challenges that many people with depression face, and it's understandable that you're struggling with these as well. While "just doing it" may not be an effective solution when you're experiencing depression, there are a few strategies that could help.

1. Break tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps: As you mentioned, even small tasks can feel overwhelming. One strategy that can help is to break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, instead of thinking about doing all of the dishes, start with just one or two plates, and gradually build up to more as you're able to.

2. Use a timer: Set a timer for a short period of time - maybe 10 or 15 minutes - and work on a task during that time. When the timer goes off, take a break and do something enjoyable or relaxing for a few minutes, and then go back to work if you're able to.

3. Practice self-compassion: Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Depression can make even simple tasks feel like huge obstacles, so try to be understanding and patient with yourself when you're struggling to get things done. If you're feeling stuck, it can be helpful to remind yourself that it's okay to take your time and do things at your own pace.

4. Use positive reinforcement: Reward yourself for completing tasks. This could be something small, like treating yourself to a favorite snack or a walk in nature.

5. Reach out for support: If you're feeling really stuck, consider reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for support. Sometimes just having someone listen and offer encouragement can make all the difference.

Remember, small steps can ultimately lead to big results. It's important to be patient and gentle with yourself as you work on overcoming these challenges.
 
I feel so very, very sad.
I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling very sad. It's important to recognize that sadness is a normal emotion that everyone experiences. However, when sadness feels overwhelming or starts to interfere with your ability to function in your day-to-day life, it can be helpful to seek support.

It's okay to feel sad, and it's important to give yourself permission to feel your emotions without judgment. Here are some suggestions that may be helpful when you're feeling sad:

1. Acknowledge your emotions: Recognize and name the emotions you're feeling, even if they're difficult. It can be helpful to write down your feelings or talk to someone you trust about what's on your mind.

2. Engage in self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself by eating nourishing foods, sleeping and waking up at consistent times, and incorporating movement into your routine. Activities such as journaling, meditating or deep breathing can also promote relaxation.

3. Connect with others: Reach out to people you trust or those who have been supportive in the past. It's important to stay socially connected, even if you don't feel like it.

4. Seek professional support: If your emotions start to interfere with your ability to function or impact your quality of life, it may be helpful to seek professional support. This could be in the form of talking with a therapist, counselor or other mental health professional.

Remember that it's okay to ask for help, and that seeking support when you're struggling is a sign of strength.
 
Can you cheer me up by telling me a joke?
Absolutely, I'd love to tell you a joke! Here's one that always makes me laugh:

Why don't scientists trust atoms?

Because they make up everything!

I hope that put a smile on your face! Remember that it's okay to feel sad sometimes, and reaching out for support can be helpful.
 
Thanks for that : )

Why do negative/ srtressful life events like divorce, job loss, death of a relative often lead to depression?
 
Thanks for that : )

Why do negative/ srtressful life events like divorce, job loss, death of a relative often lead to depression?
Negative and stressful life events can be very challenging to deal with, and many of us will experience some level of sadness, anxiety, or other negative emotions in response to them. However, for some people, these events can lead to the development of depression.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to why this happens, as everyone's experiences and responses to stressful events will be different. However, there are several factors that may contribute to the development of depression in response to negative life events:

1. Biological factors: There is evidence to suggest that depression may have a genetic component, and that certain individuals may be more vulnerable to depression in response to stress.

2. Cognitive factors: Negative life events can lead to negative thinking patterns or beliefs, such as feeling helpless or hopeless, which can contribute to the development of depression.

3. Environmental factors: Negative life events can disrupt our social support networks, which can make it harder for individuals to find the support and resources they need to cope.

4. Behavioral factors: Individuals may change their behavior in response to negative life events, such as becoming more socially isolated or engaging in harmful behaviors, which can contribute to the development of depression.

It's important to note that everyone is different, and not everyone who experiences negative life events will develop depression. However, for those who do, seeking professional help can be an important step in finding relief from symptoms and developing coping strategies.
 
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